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불 (Fire)

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Chanyeol had been seen as faulty for all his life.

 

Well, maybe not all his life, but certainly a high span of it, long enough to be seen as mostly all of it.

 

Chanyeol was the heir to the throne of the Fire Kingdom, one of the biggest and most renowned of the kingdoms. As the only son to the King and Queen, certain things were expected from him. For example, impeccable manners, exquisite taste and wide wisdom to be able to rule the kingdom and its inhabitants with justice. At this, Chanyeol greatly exceeded the expectations put on him; for the people of the Fire Kingdom had never seen a prince so handsome, so prepared and so eager to demonstrate his abilities.

 

The problem was of other kind.

 

As a tradition, every ruler of the Fire Kingdom was gifted with the power of fire. Controlling it, creating it; even magical creatures related to fire as phoenixes or dragons that lived in the kingdom or outside would obey their commands when ordered to. It was a gift given by blood, royal blood.

 

And the young prince didn’t have it.

 

Powers weren’t expected to start revealing themselves until the young heir was already five or six years old. It could even be delayed a bit more, but usually by the age of ten, every single one of the princes and princesses born under the name of the fire had already developed their power. But that wasn’t the case of Chanyeol.

 

He was a tall and good-looking young man of seventeen, and a prince many kingdoms would die to have as their heir, but there wasn’t a single drop of magic in him. He could not control fire, nor create it and although he was good at handling magical creatures, it was in no way the same as to be able to control them by magic. He couldn’t make his own phoenix, the same one that was born the same day he had been, obey him more than a domesticated eagle would obey his trainer.

 

At first, the people of the kingdom had claimed that the Queen had been unfaithful and deemed Chanyeol an illegitimate child, a bastard. Nevertheless, the Queen defended her good name and the King stood right beside her, stating that there was no way the Queen had laid with a different man other than himself. They claimed that a sorceress had made a prophecy about Chanyeol; the heir’s power was predicted to be so great that, unless he found his soulmate and became one with him, the power would be not awaken to avoid disaster.

 

But said sorceress was nowhere to be found when the murmurs and whispers about Chanyeol started. Messengers and knights were sent to search for her, they searched until the very ends of the known world for her, but their search was fruitless and they came back after years with their bare hands. People then started to call Chanyeol ‘faulty’ behind his back but, in a kingdom like that, the news soon reached the castle and its inhabitants.

 

So that left Chanyeol with nothing but the love of his parents and the distaste of the Kingdom, secluded behind the walls of the castle that gave him protection from those who wanted to harm him. This created a feeling of uneasiness in the young prince, feeling that he was nothing but a burden to his parents, even though they had never said anything of the such and loved him dearly.

 

So when the King and Queen announced a ball to celebrate the coming of age of their son, inviting only a handful of very selected guests, Chanyeol was in ecstasy. He could finally socialise with people, he could meet people of his age according to the guests that had already accepted the invitation and he was really looking forward to it. Even more, prince Baekhyun from the Light Kingdom was said to be coming and, since he was the most acclaimed and famous prince of the Kingdom Union, Chanyeol couldn’t avoid but feel his coming of age party was going to be a huge event.

 

The day of the party arrived earlier but still later than Chanyeol would have wanted it to. Even though snow storms had been recurrent on the previous days, it had stopped right before his party, and so the day dawned in perfect, balmy even weather. Chanyeol woke up, revising mentally all the rules of protocol and trying to remember the speech one of the royal scribes had written for him. He had conveyed to his parents his desire of writing his own speech but, as he was going to be the centre of attention, they didn’t judge the decision sensible. He would have time to write his own speeches in the future, they said.

 

Chanyeol had merely nodded, but his insides were churning. He knew people thought him to be too protected and to be useless, and he at least wanted to prove his worth writing his speech. In the end, he couldn’t even do that.

 

Guests had already arrived some days prior, but still carriages after carriages were leaving important and glamorous people at the front gates of the castle. Chanyeol looked at all of them gather on the main hall, waiting for him and his speech and felt his mouth going dry. He looked around and thought that he was going to be sick, but his parents appeared and patted him lovingly on the back, wishing him good luck before stepping down the staircase to announce his entrance.

 

It was all over quicker than he had thought. The speech was perfect, even though he felt like he was an automat when saying it, since those weren’t his words; but he made no mistakes and was applauded when leading their selected guests to the dining hall.

 

Then the party started. Loads of appetizers were brought to the ball hall, a dozen or so of servants making sure everyone was attended and had enough to eat. Chanyeol suddenly had the horrible feeling that he didn’t belong in there. Everybody knew other people, they were all talking together and enjoying their time while he was there, awkwardly standing next to a column, fidgeting with the hem of his luxury jacket and trying not to listen to his inner voice and run for it.

 

Thinking that maybe a bit of fresh air would help his nerves, he headed to the balcony, went downstairs and walked into the well-kept garden, breathing slowly and trying to calm his nerves. He walked a bit around, he always liked to see the flowers the royal gardener grew there, they were like small, mute friends Chanyeol could rely on at anytime. He was, however, surprised by seeing some Snowflowers or Galanthus fighting their way up a snowy patch under a bush. It was most unusual, since these flowers usually decorated the sight in January or February, but certainly not by the end of November. Intrigued, Chanyeol walked up to them and crouched, touching ever so slightly and smiling.

 

‘Do you also feel out of place?’ he murmured to the tiny white flowers.

 

A crack sounding behind his back made him stood up very fast, turning to see what had caused the noise. His breath clutched at his throat, his palms began to sweat slightly as he looked right into Prince Baekhyun’s eyes. He was instantly mesmerized by his appearance, blond hair glowing even under the moonlight, fair skin and facial features that were the cause of jealousy even between females. He had a distinct aura of elegance and beauty surrounding him, even his movements were precise and careful. The Fire Prince felt an instant attraction to him, something that he could not explain, for the other was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen.

 

‘Hello,’ the young heir tried, fighting internally to look as normal as possible while smiling. The blond seemed to hesitate before answering.

‘Hello. Are you Prince Chanyeol?’ he asked, sharply.

Chanyeol’s smile faded a bit. ‘Ah, yes, I am. You are Prince Baekhyun, aren’t you? You are famous for your good looks.’

Baekhyun smiled, but his smile was as cold as the snow the Snowdrops grew through. ‘And I guess that’s all it is about me.’

Chanyeol blinked, surprised. ‘I didn’t mean…’

‘No one never means anything,’ cut the shorter, but he sounded more tired than angry, ‘but no one ever means something else. Not that I expected more from you, anyway.’

 

The brunet was very confused about this. What was the shorter trying to say? Then it hit him. Prince Baekhyun, like everyone else in the whole Kingdom Union, thought he was worthless and a shame, that he could not understand how things worked or how to behave properly because of his lack of powers. Chanyeol was used to this, to people judging him before even meeting him in person, but somehow, the Light Prince’s rejection hurt him more than others’.

 

It hurt a lot.

 

‘Prince Chanyeol, sir,’ the voice of a servant coming at them made his train of thought stop. ‘The Queen is looking for you, your Highness. She said you must return inside immediately.’

‘Tell her I will go inside now, thank you,’ he said politely to the messenger, which made Baekhyun raise his brows unnoticeably while the servant made his way back to the hall. Chanyeol was polite even to the ones he was suppose to treat as inferior. ‘Well… Goodbye,’ he said, turning to the shorter and bowing to the exact point the protocol said he should. ‘I hope to see you again.’

 

And he left, leaving Prince Baekhyun and his inner turmoil behind.

 

The Queen, turned out, was looking for him to introduce him to Prince Sehun from the Wind Kingdom. He was a couple of years younger than Chanyeol, but he had in no way the appearance of someone who thinks himself superior. In fact, the young Prince was eager to meet Chanyeol, and practically absorbed him during the rest of the night, talking nonsense about his older brother and making Chanyeol laugh. He realised, after a three hour span, that he might have made his very first friend.

 

‘I swear, most of the time he looks like he has a stick up his…’ Sehun was telling him, but was abruptly cut by someone else.

‘Sehun, I hardly believe that Seyong would like to know what are you telling Prince Chanyeol about him,’ said a calm voice, making Sehun turn around and smile brightly, as if he hadn’t been just told off.

‘Junmyeon, how nice of you,’ he said, beckoning the other man to sit with them. ‘Chanyeol, this is Prince Junmyeon from the Water Kingdom.’

‘My pleasure,’ said Chanyeol, quickly raising up to bow adequately to Junmyeon, but he only smiled and shook his hand dismissively.

‘No need to be so uptight,’ he kindly said, sitting next to Sehun. ‘I also wanted to meet my contrary.’

‘Excuse me?’ Chanyeol asked, slightly confused. Junmyeon smiled.

‘Yes, Fire and Water are opposites, right?’ the handsome prince stated, making Chanyeol go slightly pink and nod. ‘I wait for the day your powers reveal themselves, we have to fight against each other.’

 

It was common for the heirs of the Kingdoms to fight against themselves in public shows, to display their powers and abilities to entertain their subjects and other nobles from the different Kingdoms. Princes who participated were highly thought of, and it was a must-see between the high classes of the Union. Junmyeon saying that he wanted to fight against Chanyeol not only meant he believed what his parents have said about the sorceress, but that he believed his powers were going to be worth of testing in a fight. It pleased and flattered him both at the same time, so he couldn’t avoid smiling and nodding vigorously at his words.

 

            ‘Please wait for it, Prince Junmyeon,’ he smiled brightly, causing the other two males to smile softly.

 

            The night went by, the three men chattering animatedly until something caught Chanyeol’s eye. He turned his head and saw Prince Baekhyun glaring at them, his stare so piercing Chanyeol felt almost like some kind of spear was shot across his chest. They looked at each other without breaking the contact, until an elderly man, presumably one of the noblemen his own parents had invited to the feast, talked to the prince of the Light Kingdom and he was forced to look away from the Fire Prince.

 

            ‘Prince Baekhyun…’ he said aloud without realising.

            ‘Oh, interested on him, Prince Chanyeol?’ said Junmyeon, amused.

            ‘Oh, no, no, it’s just…’ he looked at Baekhyun again, still talking with the old man. ‘He is really mysterious.’

            ‘Indeed,’ agreed Junmyeon, nodding slightly.

            ‘He seems really uptight,’ frowned Sehun, looking at him. ‘He always looks so superior and better than the rest.’

            ‘Sehun,’ the oldest of the three princes warned him.

 

            But Chanyeol wasn’t listening anymore. It was true that he thought that Baekhyun, as everyone else did, thought poorly of him. But Baekhyun didn’t have the feeling of someone that felt superior to others. In fact, in that garden Chanyeol thought he just seemed… lonely.

 

            ‘Chanyeol, fireworks, look!’ Sehun exclaimed, excited.

            ‘Ah, yes, that marks the end of the feast,’ he explained, and went outside with them to see the amazing display of colours and sound outside.

 

            He could see Baekhyun looking at them too, but the shorter felt eyes on him and looked right into his eyes, making him blush and look away again at the fireworks.

 

            Yes. Baekhyun, he thought, was really lonely.

 

-------

 

           

Years passed by.

 

As the King and Queen saw it wasn’t dangerous to open the gates of their castle to celebrate parties for Chanyeol’s birthdays, they kept on doing it during the following years. But it wasn’t as easy to let the young prince out.

 

Rumours spread like disease in the Kingdom. Someone wanted to kill the young heir to claim the throne to themselves. The King and Queen could protect their son as long as he was under their roof, but they couldn’t do so when he was travelling abroad. Because of that, it was decided that Chanyeol would not leave the castle, less to say the kingdom.

 

It wasn’t as bad as he have thought, Chanyeol often said to himself. He could go out to the private forest of the castle to take long walks, or get into the garden to appreciate the beauty of nature at its best. His friends, prince Sehun and prince Junmyeon, also came from time to time to visit him, when their fairly more busy agendas let them.

 

But Chanyeol was fooling himself, and he knew it. In no way staying inside was the same as going out. He couldn’t go out of the boundaries of the castle’s walls, his friends could only visit him sometimes, he even missed Sehun’s coming of age party. But the Fire Kingdom was settled in one extreme of the broad land all the kingdoms possessed, so he would have had to travel a long distance, taking a risk none of his parents was prepared to bear.

 

His birthdays were like fresh air for him. With the passing of the years, he had started to know almost everyone of the guests, and was able to talk comfortably with most of them. He really didn’t like Count Changmin, a relative whose eyes spoke all the cold indifference he had for Chanyeol while his lips pursed in a sort of wicked smile. Chanyeol had to talk with everyone, even more if it was his relative and the Count of his own Kingdom, but he couldn’t say he was completely comfortable.

 

And there also was Prince Baekhyun.

 

Even though they weren’t exactly on good terms when his first party finished, he kept coming to his birthdays every year without even missing one. They greeted themselves, and exchanged some words of courtesy every time, but nothing more, nothing less. He still had that piercing look Chanyeol feared, and the Fire Prince, although taller and better built than the other, didn’t dare to approach him to talk.

 

He did admire him from afar, though. He liked to see how the Light Prince changed from year to year. How his shoulders broadened. How he became slightly taller, although not as tall as Chanyeol. How his hair was lighter now than then, a soft honey blond shade that made his features stand out even more. How his eyelashes casted beautiful shadows on his cheeks when his gaze was low. But his eyes didn’t change, those eyes that pierced Chanyeol until his very soul, and so, the tall prince never talked to him more than it was necessary.

 

‘But you like him, though,’ Sehun had said one time he was there visiting him with Junmyeon. ‘You pay a lot of attention to him, you ask us for news about him… You are in love, Chanyeol.’

‘Sehun, you are indeed tactless,’ Junmyeon had sighed, but turning to Chanyeol he had added. ‘He is right, though, Chanyeol. You seem to have developed feelings for Baekhyun, even without talking to him.’

‘I don’t have feelings for Baekhyun,’ Chanyeol had blushed furiously trying to defend himself. ‘I just think he’s… interesting, so to speak.’

‘It’s good with us, Chanyeol,’ Sehun had patted his back. ‘It’s Baekhyun who seems to be less enthusiastic with your interest.’

 

Yes, Baekhyun still looked at him with the very same eyes as the first day. Chanyeol knew he still thought that he was an ignoble prince, unworthy of his position as heir for his lack of powers.

 

Maybe that was why it came as a surprise to see that the Light Prince had arrived three days in advance to his birthday. The announcement came as sudden for him as for his parents, who quickly motioned him to follow them downstairs to receive their honourable guest.

 

‘I’m sorry to intrude like this,’ he apologized, bowing deeply. ‘But I had affairs to manage in the Water Kingdom which took longer than expected, and it was easier for me to come here directly. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to attend the party.’

‘Oh, there is absolutely no problem with that, prince Baekhyun,’ smiled the Queen, motioning him to enter the castle.

 

The shorter’s eyes dashed to meet Chanyeol’s for a second before he followed the sovereigns inside, to a guest room very near to the heir’s own one. It made him giddy, thinking that prince Baekhyun was just a few metres away from him, crossing at the end of an almost always deserted corridor.

 

The heir decided to take a walk in the royal gardens to freshen his mind. On his way, he passed several servants who were starting to put up decorations and clean for the party that was due in three days time. He sneaked to the gardens without being seen by his visitor and sighed when he reached the outside.

 

The air was cold, the sun had set but there still was a soft light lingering in the horizon. As he walked, through the snow-clean paths, he noticed a bush under which some Snowdrops were elegantly rising. Chanyeol smiled as he approached it, kneeling to softly touch the white petals. A gust of wind made him shiver, regretting now not having taken any coat.

 

‘You will fall ill if you don’t go inside.’

 

The Fire Prince jumped on the spot and stood up, meeting his gaze with the one of the Light Prince, who was standing right next to him.

 

‘I won’t,’ he replied softly. ‘Heirs of Fire don’t catch colds.’

            ‘But you don’t have any powers yet. Will you be okay?’

 

            To the taller’s surprise, there wasn’t any hatred or sarcastic tone in the other’s voice. He seemed genuinely worried about his health, which took Chanyeol by surprise and made his heart thump loudly inside his chest. Also, that ‘yet’ meant that he believed, much like the heir’s own friends, that he would develop his powers eventualy.

 

            ‘I will, even if my powers are asleep, fire runs through my veins,’ he paused for a second before talking again. ‘I thought you hated me,’ he couldn’t avoid saying, making Baekhyun smile softly.

            ‘I never did,’ he said softly, somehow regrettably,  ‘although I had to admit that, at first, I thought you were like everybody else.’

            ‘What do you mean?’

            The blond smiled bitterly and shook his head. ‘Everybody just cares about how good I look and how well I do things,’ he explained. ‘Even my parents want to choose me as their heir, despite having an older brother who is very fit and capable. He hates me now.’

 

            Baekhyun averted his gaze, biting softly his lower lip and trying not to lose his composure. Following an impulse, Chanyeol closed the distance and put a hand quietly on the smaller’s chin, using his thumb to softly free his lower lip. It felt funny, touching the shorter, as if his skin tickled for being in contact with the one of the other prince. Something was igniting inside him, but he chose to ignore that feeling for the time being and concentrate in making the other feel better.

 

            ‘It is not your fault, Baekhyun,’ he whispered, making the other smile shyly.

            ‘Is it not? I feel like everyone’s lives would be easier without me around.’

 

            The taller shook his head, making dark locks wave around in the air, and thought deeply for a moment. Then, he took a step back and motioned the other prince to look at their feet.

 

            ‘Look at this Snowdrop,’ he said. ‘It blooms early every year. It’s the only one that does, but that doesn’t mean the flowers aren’t beautiful or that it shouldn’t exist,’ he paused, trying to convey his message the best he could. ‘This plant is special. The gardener hates it because it needs special attention, and wanted to uproot it. But I didn’t let him do that.’

            ‘Why?’ the taller smiled.

            ‘Because for me, this plant is special. It makes me smile, it makes my heart flutter. In a way, I feel like we are connected because we are both out of place. I see its beauty and I’m sure the Snowdrop also sees good in me.’

 

            A comfortable silence fell upon them. Baekhyun was smiling as though he knew that in the end, the dark-haired man wasn’t talking about the Snowdrop anymore, but about someone else.

 

            ‘I think,’ the shorter started after a while, ‘I owe you an apology.’

            ‘You don’t owe me anything,’ the heir to the Fire Kingdom replied. ‘I thought you hated me, so we can say we are even?’

 

            The blond chuckled adorably and looked up at him, the smile still lingering in his lips.

 

            ‘We should go inside or I’ll catch a cold,’ he announced. ‘I do catch colds, Fire Prince.’

 

            Chanyeol’s insides churned warmly at the name, as if it was the way the shorter had to acknowledge him. He returned the smile and nodded, leading the way back inside while the dusk made way for the night. Once inside, they kept chatting, slowly discovering the things they had missed about each other in all those years of misunderstandings and fixed glances.

 

            Somehow, they had both had the wrong first impression about the other. For Chanyeol, he thought that the other thought poorly of him, deeming him unworthy and faulty. For Baekhyun, he thought the taller just saw him as an object, as some kind of perfect entity as everybody else did, not worrying about his feelings.

 

            But also, both of them had kept an eye on the other, watching them from afar and trying to understand what the other felt or how they were, thus creating a sort of bond that inevitably linked them together, as if tied with an invisible rope. The bond, which was weak when they first talked, had grown stronger even if it was just a single strand which was uniting them. Talking, they discovered this bond, their mutual interest that hadn’t faded with the years but much on the contrary, had increased greatly. The Fire Prince could felt his heart thumping in his chest, elated for having at last solved all misunderstandings.

 

But there was this moment, just when they were about to return to their rooms after the long hours spent together, when one of the maids almost ran into the Light Prince without noticing, due to the large pile of linen sheets she was carrying.

 

            The brunet grabbed the shorter’s arm and pulled, back colliding with chest while embracing him, and then it happened.

 

            A spark.

 

            The maid passed without even looking at them, but they couldn’t stop looking at each other. It was the first time they had touched each other and it had ignited something inside Chanyeol and, for the look on his eyes, also in Baekhyun. That feeling the heir had had when he touched the shorter’s skin earlier had exploded now, burning inside his chest and travelling fast through his veins, a powerful feeling that suffocated him with its strength but that, at the same time, felt completely right.

 

            They said nothing, words were of little worth for them in that moment. The taller let go, instantly feeling as if he was missing a part of himself. The Light Prince opened his mouth, but no sound came so he licked his lips, nervous like the other hadn’t ever seen him before, and clasped his hands together prior to finally speak.

 

            ‘I think I will go to bed now,’ he announced. Chanyeol nodded and the shorter turned to get into his room, but something retained him and he turned again slightly to look at the other prince. ‘Chanyeol?’

            ‘Yes?’

            ‘I’m sure the Snowdrop also likes you.’

 

            And with a soft smile adorning his face, he got into the room and closed the door.

 

            Later in his room, looking at the same hand that had grabbed Baekhyun, the Fire Prince smiled. Finally, the Snowdrop also liked him.

 

---------

 

            The next morning dawned with an extremely happy Chanyeol, who jumped out of bed and stepped out on his balcony to see the sunrise. The cold air of November hit his face, but he could only smile as the flaming sphere started to warm up the land that was covered again in snow.

 

            A sound to his left made him turn his head, discovering a yawning prince Baekhyun, who evidently had had the same idea as him. The taller cleared his throat, thereby gaining the other’s attention. The Light Prince smiled, the morning sun casting beautiful shades on his face, his blond hair seemed as if it was made of pure gold under the sunlight and, in general, the whole of Baekhyun seemed to be made of and surrounded by light.

 

            He was so beautiful it was mesmerizing the brunet.

 

            ‘Good morning,’ he finally spoke, waving his hand. The shorter responded similarly.

            ‘Good morning,’ the blond walked to the side of his own balcony, and the other prince imitated him, their arms almost touching when they leant against the only stony fence dividing their balconies. ‘Isn’t it too cold for walking around in your pyjamas, Your Highness?’

 

            The Fire Prince chuckled, putting one hand on Baekhyun’s sleeveless forearm. Instantly, the spark ignited in them again, their eyes locked with each other’s with an intensity and a desire none of them had ever felt before. The burning sensation was there again, drowning his body in a sort of haze, but he didn’t feel confused or dizzy; everything felt right again. The taller licked his lips and the shorter parted his, before the first spoke again.

 

            ‘I’m always warm,’ he said, referring to the hand that was touching the milky skin. ‘I told you yesterday that I never catch colds.’

            ‘I can feel your warmth,’ the shorter said, and Chanyeol wasn’t sure if he meant his body temperature.

 

            The moment was broken by a distant thunder and a cold gust of wind, making the Light Prince shiver. The taller smiled and finally let go of his arm.

 

            ‘We should go inside, or you’ll catch a cold.’

            ‘If I’m close to you I’ll be warm anyway, right?’ Baekhyun smiled a bit mischievously, his eyes inviting as he turned to leave.

 

The Fire Prince felt again that something inside him that was burning like a flame, a kind of power that encouraged him to do something that, in any other circumstances, he would have never dared to do. An impulse rose inside him as it had done the day before, and Chanyeol didn’t dare stopping it.

 

He moved swiftly, gently grabbing the smaller’s arm to stop him. He made him turn around again, closing the distance between them until it was nothing and then, it happened.

 

            Soft lips encountered even softer ones, grazing each other in a caress that was too short but at the same time, so intense that the taller felt as if his body was made of fire. When they parted and the heir to the Fire Kingdom opened slowly his eyes, he could see Baekhyun, who still had his closed, in a sort of sweet amazement that lasted for a short while. Then, he opened his eyes and looked at the taller, light in his eyes as he licked his lips nervously.

 

            ‘Meet me at the library after breakfast,’ he said, a glimpse of a smile on his face, before returning to his bedroom.

 

            Chanyeol stood there for a minute, smiling broadly despite the weather that was worsening with each passing second. Finally, he went inside to tidy himself up for breakfast and then walked downstairs. He found that his parents and his guest were already seated and talking animatedly about the upcoming party.

 

            ‘Our relatives are arriving already, of course,’ the Queen was explaining to the foreigner, ‘but we also expect people from all over the Kingdom Union. We just hope the weather doesn’t worsen anymore.’

 

            But it keep growing darker and gloomier as the day advanced and their guests started showing. The heir hoped that his friends could make it when he saw that heavy snow was beginning to fall, but the moment he stepped into the library, he forgot about anything else.

 

            The library was an extense room, filled with thousands of books neatly filed in shelves that were taken care with extreme caution. It was the most important library of all Kingdoms for its rare books and manuscripts, so it wasn’t alien to see some stranger roaming the aisles or sitting in one of the many tables, their nose buried between the sheets. But the library was closed to the public due to the upcoming celebration, and there was no one there. No one except Baekhyun.

 

            The short man was sitting in a window seat, watching the white snow falling mercilessly upon the gardens, which were increasingly becoming white. The heir said nothing as he approached him, sitting next to him in the comfortable place.

 

            ‘It’s snowing a lot,’ the blond murmured, his gaze still fixed outside. The taller smiled before answering.

            ‘Yes. If it continues like this, people won’t be able to attend the party the day after tomorrow.’

 

            The Light Prince then turned to look at him. ‘Does that upset you?’ he asked curiously.

            ‘No,’ the other answered earnestly. ‘I already have everything I always wanted.’

 

            Baekhyun smiled broadly and leaned in, placing his hand on top of the brunet’s, making him also lean closer to hear what he was whispering.

 

            ‘But I don’t have a present for you.’ Chanyeol couldn’t avoid to smile.

            ‘You are worth more than a thousand presents.’

 

            His eyes glistened with all the years of hidden emotions, of secret glances directed to the unreachable and perfect Light Prince, of unconfessed feelings. And he also knew that he didn’t need to say them aloud, because that same feeling was visible in the shorter pupils. A feeling that was conveyed to them by mere contact, a contact that told them the truth. That they were made for each other.

 

            The second time their lips met wasn’t like the first one. Caution was left aside as both of them asked for more from the other’s mouth. Their kiss was hungry, greedy, as if wanting to compensate all that time that had been lost. Heat was burning inside the Fire Prince, but it made him feel complete as he had never felt before, a kind of fire that felt right and made him want to stay with the shorter. For it was something big and intense, a kind of feeling that surrounded him, what he felt for him. And he wanted to feel it forever.

 

            When they broke the kiss, their lips looked slightly red and swollen, but none of them seemed to be bothered by this. Soft pants could be heard, but none of them cared about the lack of oxygen, not when the taller put one of his hands on the soft cheek of the blond prince.

 

            ‘I… ,’ he whispered, caressing the skin that had turned pink, but unable to put any of his feelings into words. The shorter shushed him softly and smiled.

 

            Baekhyun kissed him again, as the snow kept falling.

 

 

            It didn’t stop snowing at all and, by the next morning, the guests that had arrived were the only ones that could attend the party, as the snow didn’t seem likely to stop falling. To Chanyeol’s surprise and pleasure, both Prince Sehun and Prince Junmyeon had arrived. They had entered the castle during different but anyway late hours of the night. So they were trying to warm themselves up with a good breakfast when both the Fire and Light princes entered the dining hall to have something to eat.

 

            The Wind and the Water Princes seemed completely surprised seeing the other two together, but none of them mentioned anything (Chanyeol thought it was mainly because of Junmyeon elbowing the youngest hard on his ribs) and simply chatted while they filled their stomachs.

 

            Even though the tallest had not openly said this, the blond left with an excuse so all three others could talk openly about the recent development of their relationship. The heir looked at him and smiled softly, making the shorter chuckle and promised him that he would go meet him at the library again.

 

            ‘So… Prince Baekhyun is less unreachable now?’ asked Junmyeon, cautiously.

 

            Chanyeol smiled and started to tell them what had happened since the day the other had arrived at the castle. He didn’t omit any details, well, maybe he did omit a couple of them, but he wanted them to understand the spark he had felt, how they changed when in contact with the other, how a bond seemed to had been created, something almost tangible now between them.

           

            A sound of chairs being dragged made him stop, however, noticing then that Count Changmin had arrived for a late breakfast. The older man smiled coldly at them and started eating the steaming food, not even bothering to spare them a second glance, but the Fire Prince didn’t feel like talking about his relationship with the Light Prince anymore when he was around. He really didn’t like his relative.

 

            They then left the room and went to the taller’s room since the castle was being still prepared for the feast of the next day, it was the most likely place to be and not bother any servants that would be either cleaning, sweeping or preparing other rooms. They found also Baekhyun in their way, so all four of them ended in the heir’s room, seating around the small table he had to welcome visits there.

 

            Chanyeol discovered then that his friend the Wind Prince had a very good relationship with whom had been the object of his longing looks, and that he hadn’t been the only one interested in the well-being of the other. The shorter had smiled apologetically at him, but that only made him happy, knowing that the blond had cared about him for as long as the taller had cared for him.

 

            Nonetheless, the topic was soon changed and they simply talked about the different Kingdoms and the guests of the party that had been able to reach the castle on time, inevitably leading to gossiping, in which they were all surprised to discover, Prince Junmyeon was very well informed. They laughed together and ate in that same room to the delight of the King and Queen, who always showed their happiness when their son was able to socialise normally.

 

            But they also had duties and obligations, so after resting for a short while after lunch, all of them parted ways to tend to their different affairs. The Light Prince took the taller’s hand in his and smiled, wishing him good luck and promising to meet up after dinner to spend some time together. The mere thought had him smiling already, making the shorter chuckle and kiss him lightly before going away. He watched him until he disappeared turning in a corridor, smiling broadly.

 

            It was odd how a simple talk had given him both ease and that something he was afraid to put into words, but that also made him feel happy and complete, as if he had always lived with a part of himself missing, and Baekhyun had given it to him. It was a complicated feeling, but one that he didn’t care to feel. He felt alive, for the first time in years. He had to tell his parents, too, they would be beyond happy to hear his news.

 

            So, with that last thought, he walked off.

 

-------

 

            It was late when the Fire Prince finally finished his duties.

 

            He had talked with his parents about Prince Baekhyun and, just as he had expected, they were utterly happy to hear about the news. Not only because they cherised the few social interactions their son could have with people of his age, but also for what they meant, both for him and possibly for the Kingdom.

 

            Because they knew what that could mean for Chanyeol, the long-awaited awakening of his powers and therefore, the doubtless right he had to be the heir of the Kingdom.

 

            But, powers or not, he had duties to attend, so he did. He visited his guests, signed important papers, read important documents, wrote important letters. And just when he was back from delivering those letters to the servant in charge of the mail, something happened.

 

            At first, he didn’t pay it much attention as he was climbing the stairs back to meet Baekhyun as he had desire during the whole day. Soft footsteps could be heard, but since the castle was full of people during those days, he didn’t pay much attention. It was a whooshing sound which made him turn back, but he could only see the deserted corridor. It was creeping him, so he sped up, trying to reach a safe place.

 

            He could sense that he was being followed, the sound of those quiet footsteps was also pacing up, and for the first time, he really felt he was in danger. Following a sudden impulse, he turned in a corridor that popped out on his right, just in time to avoid a silver dagger that was thrown directly at his face. He hissed as the cold metal scratched his cheek, but wasted no more time and started to run. The good thing about not being able to go out was that he had discovered some secret passages during his younger years, so when he focused and realised where he was, he remembered one secret tunnel by the end of the corridor, behind one suit of armour.

 

            It took him barely five minutes to reach the library, where the Light Prince was waiting for him with a smile on his face. The smile faltered and died, however, when he saw the other prince was out of breath and that he was bleeding from a cut on his cheek.

 

            ‘Chanyeol!’ he exclaimed, approaching him. ‘What happened? You’re bleeding!’

            ‘I’m not sure,’ the taller breathed, grabbing the blond and hugging him tightly for a few moments before releasing him and keep on talking. ‘I was coming back when I started feeling that someone was following me… Then, I sped up and I heard them coming after me,’ he stopped again to regain air. ‘I turned in a corridor just when they threw a dagger, and it scratched my cheek.’

            Baekhyun seemed horrified by the tale, his eyes and mouth open. ‘How did you get here?’

            ‘I used a secret passage,’ he told the other, sighing. ‘I need to talk with my parents.’

            The shorter nodded. ‘I’ll go with you.’

The heir smiled softly and caressed the other’s cheek with the back of his hand. ‘Thank you.’

 

            The other shook his head and smiled before kissing him.

 

 

            News spread like wildfire that the Fire Prince had been attempted to be murdered. Murmurs ran through the castle and double guards were set both inside and outside. The brunet was accompanied, either by his friends, by the Light Prince or by a special set of bodyguards that followed him always wherever he went after that, even though it was nearly bedtime.

 

            That night, he even let the others sleep in his room because of how much they insisted on being with him to help his well-being, accommodating his friends the best he could while guards were set both in the entrance and in the balcony of the room.

 

            ‘They hadn’t caught the culprit, right?’ whispered Junmyeon’s voice from around his feet, once all of them were already in bed. It had been a problem accommodating three more people into his room, but they could fit two single beds for the Wind and Water Princes, while Baekhyun cuddled next to him in his queen-size bed.

            ‘No,’ whispered Chanyeol, feeling the shorter wrapping his arms around him and holding him tightly. ‘They had fled from the place when the guards showed up… But we are blocked from the outside because of the snow, so…’

 

            He didn’t dare finish the sentence. If someone inside the palace wanted him dead, that meant it was someone who was invited to the party or that lived in the castle. But why now? If they lived inside, there were plenty of other occasions where they could have killed him without being trapped inside. And if it was someone who was invited to the party, well, they had been inviting the same people for years, why hadn’t they attacked before? The answer came to him as he felt a light kiss on his jaw.

 

            Baekhyun.

 

            He changed everything. If the prophecy was right, when he found his true love, his powers would be unleashed, thus proving his right to the throne. If, as rumors had assured for years, there was someone willing to kill him and take the throne for themselves, the bond he had felt with the Light Prince, the connection could mean that the prophecy was soon to be accomplished. And that meant time was running out for the person who wanted to annihilate him.

 

            All of that made him feel dizzy and scared, putting a hand on his forehead and breathing heavily. But the shorter, although his vision was clearly nullified by the profound darkness around them, felt it, and took the bigger hand in his, caressing the skin.

 

            ‘Everything will be okay,’ he whispered. ‘I’ll be right here, with you.’

            Chanyeol smiled in the darkness. ‘Thank you.’

 

            The blond smiled and, for a split second, the taller could actually see light emanating from him. He closed the almost nonexistent distance between them and kissed him, pulling him close and tangling their legs together.

 

            ‘Oh, please, don’t make out in front of poor single souls,’ cried Sehun, making them break the kiss.

            ‘Go to sleep, Sehun,’ the taller grunted, but the Light Prince chuckled and he couldn’t avoid the smile blooming on his face.

 

            They kissed again, ignoring the Wind Prince’s protests.

 

 

 

            Nothing happened neither during the night nor during the next morning. Whoever was the culprit, they seemed to think that maybe it wasn’t the best moment to attack when the heir was so tightly secured. Chanyeol could then attend his compromises without any problem, although the security around him was still very high.

 

            As the evening approached, he went to his dormitory to change his clothes for the ones he had prior chosen to wear to the celebration. He was surprised, however, to find a note under his already prepared attire, one that he hadn’t noticed while changing. The paper was carefully folded and he took it with curiosity, unfolding it to reveal just a few words scribbled on it, but words that made him tremble.

 

            Be careful, little prince.

 

            The door slammed open in that moment and he dashed to look there, but it was only the Light Prince, also wearing his best clothes for the party.

 

            ‘Are you ready, Chanyeol?’ he smiled, but then he saw the look on his face, the smile was wiped away as he approached the taller. ‘What happened?’

 

            He hadn’t even had time to start talking when his parents entered the room, beaming happily at the two of them.

 

            ‘Ah, Baekhyun, son, good to see you here too,’ the King smiled broadly in a way that reminded that of his own son. ‘We have some ideas for tonight.’

            ‘We know this might be sudden,’ the Queen continued, ‘but we thought that, taking into account the past events and how close to each other you are now, maybe it was a good idea for you both to go together to the party…,’ she let her speech die as she looked at the worried faces of the two young men. ‘What’s the problem, dear?’

 

            Chanyeol then told all three of them about the note and showed it to them, but none of them could guess whose handwriting it was. In any case, and as means of protection, they all agreed on the blond prince to accompany him to the party. The King and Queen left before them to secure the way and to tell the guards to be prepared for a sudden attack on him. The heir could hear his parents talking away to the soldiers and sighed heavily, the note still in his hand. The shorted approached him and gently grazed his wrist with his slender fingers.

 

            ‘It’s going to be okay,’ he whispered to him.

 

            The taller looked at him, seeing his eyes full of worry and smiled slightly, caressing the soft cheek of the other man. He leaned and caressed his lips with his own, a soft moan escaping the Light Prince’s mouth when his tongue run over his bottom lip, looking for permission to enter the wet cavern.

 

            The blond opened his mouth slowly, granting him permission and also using his own tongue to explore the other’s mouth. The moment their tongues touched, fire burnt inside Chanyeol, who circled the shorter’s waist and pulled him closer, bodies trembling with the intensity of the flames that heated them inside. They broke the kiss softly in contrast with the passion with which their lips had been dancing with each other’s, and the heir smiled.

 

            ‘I know it will be.’

 

            They descended the stairs together, surrounded by guards who were standing along the route they had to follow to reach the great hall where the party was going to take place. All guests were already there, barely twenty people had reached the castle on time before the snow had blocked all paths. Luckily, it had already stopped snowing, but they would have to start to move away snow early in the morning when the sun had started to melt it if they wanted people to be able to return home. Both princes entered the hall, which was mostly empty for it has been prepared to hold a much larger crowd, and Baekhyun finally let go of him in order to the taller to deliver his speech, one that, this time, had written for himself. On stage, he cleared his voice of the fear that bit him in the back of his head, resolute to show that he wasn’t afraid and that he was going to fight against those who wished him bad. This determination poured from every single one of his words, his gaze fierce directed to no one in particular and to everyone at the same time, conveying his message. He wasn’t going to let them get the best of him.

 

            The speech was brilliant, everyone clapped enthusiastically for him when he climbed down the small stairs that led to the stage. He could see his friend’s faces, his parents’ faces, Baekhyun’s face beaming at him, and he felt good and ready for anything that could happen.

 

            And then, the lights went out.

 

------

 

            ‘Chanyeol!’

 

            Baekhyun’s voice rang in his ears between the scared, high-pitched screams and the rustling sound of people running in the darkness. The prince didn’t know where to go or what to do, but before he could make up his mind, lights were turned on again, revealing a frightening sight.

 

            Most of the guests were hiding and freezing outside of the hall in the great balcony, in which they had been locked out by some guards, some that Chanyeol didn’t know and that, he guessed, should be intruders. All entries and exits had been blocked. The King and Queen, were kneeling down far to his left, flanked by two gloomy-looking men sporting deadly axes that were just below his parents’ throats. Likewise, the Wind and Water prince were being held back by well-built and intimidating men near the door, which was closed down to prevent the royal guards from entering. And in the centre of the room, holding the Light Prince’s hands back and putting a silver dagger that the taller knew way too well against the exposed neck, was Count Changmin.

 

            He was smiling broadly, the same cold smile that he always directed to the heir. But this time, it reached his eyes in a way that could make anyone’s blood run cold.

 

            ‘Hello, Prince Chanyeol,’ he said, almost spitting out his name instead of pronouncing it. ‘How nice to see you.’

            ‘Count Changmin…,’ the named started, but the other shushed him.

            ‘Let’s skip that part when you say you didn’t expect this coming from me because we all know you aren’t surprised at all.’

 

            Chanyeol pierced him with his stare. It was true that he had guessed that it had to be someone who wanted the throne for themselves, but he hadn’t thought of Count Changmin. Even though he never liked him, he also never thought he would endanger so many people’s lives to get to him, to reach the throne.

 

            ‘I considered you an intelligent man,’ the prince said, cautiously. He had to think, and quickly.

            ‘Oh, please,’ the other replied, feigning a blush that never came. ‘I was intelligent enough all these years, wasn’t I?’ he sniggered. ‘The only thing I wasn’t counting on is you falling in love with little Light Prince here,’ he tugged forcefully at Baekhyun, who let out a gasp of pain. ‘It only rushed my plan, however. I got here and nearly killed you in that corridor last night. What a pity, if I had succeeded, none of these people would be in danger,’ he shook his head, regretfully. ‘Even dying Prince Chanyeollie can’t do things right.’

            ‘Dying?’ cried the Queen, suddenly paler and more frightened, but the Count made a signal to one of his men and he knocked the woman over, the limp body hitting the floor amidst the screams of her husband and son.

            ‘What do you want?!’ screamed the Fire Prince, turning violently to him. Changmin smiled triumphantly at his despair.

            ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ he asked smoothly, walking forward two steps and forcing the short prince to follow suit. ‘I want the throne.’

            ‘It isn’t yours to take,’ replied the heir, eyeing the Light Prince who was still quite far from him, before looking at the other man’s face. ‘You’re not of royal blood and you don’t have the right to…’

            ‘But you don’t, either!’ he exclaimed, clearly amused by the whole situation. ‘The rightful heir must possess the gift of fire, a gift you lack of. I’ve already heard,’ he started again, deafening the protest of the King, who was still looking at his unconscious wife with eyes full of worry, ‘about the sorceress and all those fairy tales, but the truth is that this young man standing here,’ and at this, he looked directly at Chanyeol, ‘does not have a single drop of magic in him. And if he can be the next King, so can I.’

 

            At this, the Fire Prince gritted his teeth and clenched his fists. It pained him that his lack of powers was what was putting everyone in danger, but what could he do? He looked around at his parents, his friends, the people freezing outside in the balcony, and to Baekhyun, who was still struggling to free himself. The taller felt desperation overtake him. He could do nothing. He had no powers, he had no physical strength to fight all of those men just by himself, and he wouldn’t be able to bear with the guilt of being responsible of so many deaths.

 

 

            He opened his mouth, slowly, ready to surrender.

 

            ‘Son! Don’t give him what he wants!’ shouted his father, making his son look at him. ‘You are the heir! Your powers are there!’

            ‘Shut him up!’ cried the Count, and the King was, as his wife, knocked out to the despair of their son.

            ‘Chanyeol, don’t surrender!’ shouted the Light Prince, this time.

            ‘You shut up too,’ hissed Changmin, sinking the sharp tip of the dagger into the shorter’s neck, making a drop of ruby-colored blood run down the smooth skin.

 

            The heir’s eyes followed the path he drop followed, leaving a red trace down the beautiful neck and disappearing under his clothes. It was just a single drop, but it was enough.

 

            Rage.

 

            Fear and desperation were replaced by fury and rage, a feeling which burnt him from inside. He couldn’t stand this any longer, he wasn’t going to permit this, nor could he stand there motionless anymore. The Fire Prince advanced while the fire inside him rose up, burning his insides and travelling through his body, but it didn’t stop at his insides. It reached his skin, his pores and instead of repressing it, he let it flow as he kept on closing the distance with the Count.

 

            Flames started emerging from him, just a few at first but soon enough his body was covered in flames that did not burnt himself nor his clothes and the traitor was stepping back, dragging the Light Prince with him and pointing the dagger at the shorter’s heart.

 

            ‘Stop!’ he shrieked, and now fear could be seen in his eyes and heard in his voice. ‘Stop or I’ll kill the prince!’

            ‘Don’t listen to him, Chanyeol!’ the blond prince exclaimed, gaining himself a hard hit on his temple.

 

A rush of wrath took over the Fire Prince, who unconsciously blasted a ball of fire to the Count’s face. He dodged it just in time to avoid it although it burnt some of his hairs, but it did make him loosen his grip on the Light Prince, who then blinded him flashing light at his eyes and run next to the heir. If he was afraid that the flames could hurt him, he didn’t show it. The shorter slid his hand down his arm, the flames gently licking him, but not leaving any burns. The touch somehow calmed the taller and the flames stopped emerging from his body, but he was still eyeing Count Changmin furiously.

 

‘Do anything stupid,’ the latter warned them, ‘and I’ll kill everyone.’

 

They didn’t have time to do anything stupid, however. A scream that sounded almost like a song pierced the air, taking them all by surprise. Chanyeol felt safer listening to this song, lighter somehow, as if it was a mother’s voice soothing her child and telling him everything would be okay. The sound was approaching, and, out of nowhere, flames burst above their heads and a phoenix appeared, soaring across the room until it perched itself on the Fire Prince’s shoulder. He looked at the superb bird and it looked into his eyes. It was his own phoenix, the thought amazedly, the one that had been born on the same day he had, but this time, unlike all those times in which he had fruitlessly tried to make it obey him, it was communicating with him somehow. They weren’t words, that was for sure, but he could sense what it wanted to tell him. It wanted to help.

 

‘That’s your biggest asset?’ laughed the Count, regaining himself. ‘A pitiful bird?’

‘Do what you have to do,’ the taller whispered to the phoenix, ignoring his relative’s words. ‘Help my parents.’

 

The bird then sang a loud high-pitched tone and rose in the air, directing himself towards the men guarding the unconscious King and Queen. Count Changmin cursed aloud, and the heir signalled the shorter prince to help the other two princes, which could help them in a fight. The shorter nodded and ran, blinding the guards with light directed to their eyes, and consequently, freeing the princes. The taller threw himself towards the distracted traitor, tackling him by surprise while he was too busy watching chaos unravelling around him.

 

The surprise lasted for short, though, and soon enough the Count was fighting against him, the silver dagger missing vital points of his anatomy by mere millimetres. Cold shot him from behind as he felt wind rushing around, probably Sehun was already freed and was trying to help. But he couldn’t stop to check how they were doing, not when Changmin was looking at him with mad eyes filled with rage and fear while he tried to stab him.

 

‘Baekhyun, careful!’ someone shouted.

 

The scream made Chanyeol lose his concentration for just a split second, but it was enough. The Count saw his opportunity and, even though the heir was able to correct his position quickly, stabbed him with all his might. The mortal wound that was aimed to his heart, however, ended up to be under his clavicle but made him scream in pain while a mad-like and triumphant look appeared on the other man’s face, hysterical laugh filling the air. Blood started to spill from the wound the second Changmin withdrew the dagger from his body and lifted his arm, ready to finish the prince with a last well-aimed stab.

 

But the heir wasn’t ready to die, not in any sense even though the wound hurt unbelievably and that he was already tired because of the struggle; so the moment his relative moved aside to get a better angle, he reunited his strength and blasted a giant ball of fire directly at him. It engulfed the traitor completely, his screech of unbearable pain cutting the air like the dagger he still sported, and sent him flying across the room until he crashed against the wall with a high thud and fell. The Count crashed lifelessly on the floor, his limp body slightly set on fire and limbs in strange angles.

 

            There was silence for a second. The men that had been working with the count then started to escape, but were soon reduced by the royal guards that were finally let in by the princes, who were also opening the rest of the doors to let people in. Chaos and screams filled the room suddenly, as someone approached the body of the Count and claimed his death to the rest of them. Adrenaline then flooded out of the Fire Prince’s body, and he felt the tiredness, the amount of blood he had already lost, and he lost his balance while standing. He was however held by thin but strong arms, and the worried face of the Light Prince, who had a nasty bruise, appeared in front of his own face.

 

            ‘Baekhyun,’ he murmured, as they both scurried to the floor and he touched the injured cheek lightly, ‘are you okay?’

            ‘I am,’ assured him the shorter, but the worry did not disappear from his expression. ‘Chanyeol…’

            ‘I will rest now,’ he whispered, closing his eyes and resting his head against the blond’s shoulder. ‘See you later, Baekhyun.’

            ‘Chanyeol!’ he screamed.

 

            But for the Fire Prince, everything was already turning black.

 

--------

 

            For some time, the story of how Count Changmin had died trying to steal the Fire Kingdom throne was the favourite tale to tell in taverns and gossip circles. However, it was nothing compared at the story of how Prince Chanyeol had finally unleashed his powers, in an admirable manner. No one before him could produce flames with his body, they could merely control the already existing fire in the surroundings. So finally, they had accepted that what the King and Queen had told everyone so many years ago was actually the truth.

 

            It had taken him a while, but the heir was able to fully recover from the wounds and extenuation he had subdued his body to. The Light Prince had remained by his side the first weeks of his recovery, but also he had to go back to his own country and talk to his parents.

 

            It was now clearer than ever that the bond they shared was something big, greater than any of them had expected it to be. Thanks to him, the Fire Prince was able to finally gain his powers and claim the throne without any fear that he would be doubted.

 

However they decided to take it slowly. During those weeks, they spent time knowing each other, learning their habits, the things they enjoyed doing and the things they disliked. They talked, they walked, they kissed. And when Baekhyun went back to his parents, he was already decided.

 

            ‘I’ll support you, no matter what,’ had said Chanyeol before he had left.

            ‘I know,’ the shorter had smiled. ‘I’ll be back soon.’

 

            They had kissed passionately, said goodbye with a soft caress and then, the blond had gone.

 

           

            It took him longer than he had expected, though. At first, the King and Queen of the Light Kingdom refused to what their son requested of them. How could they let him go away and live in the Fire Kingdom to be the King consort with Chanyeol? He was supposed to take over their own land, not someone else’s. But then their son claimed how he wasn’t supposed to do that in any case, since his older brother was as good as himself, or even better to rule the Kingdom. Abiding by their own laws, it was his older brother, not him, the one who should be the heir to the throne.

 

            And then he explained them how it was him, and no other, the one that had to be with the Fire Prince. How he loved him and how he desired to be with him. He also put special attention in mentioning how good it would be to have a union of this kind with the Fire Kingdom, one of the most powerful of the Kingdom Union. The blond prince believed that it was that what made them accept in the end, but he really didn’t care. He had achieved what he wanted, and it was enough.

 

            Things never go fast enough, however, so it took him a couple of years of visits and talks before the marriage was formally announced. The first time the taller went outside the great walls of his castle was to travel to the Light Kingdom in order to meet his future in-laws. The shorter couldn’t stop smiling when he saw the amazement with which the brunet looked at everything, how he was always mesmerized by the beauty of the outside world.

 

            He had run back to the man he loved with the great news, hugging him close while the taller left light, feather light kissed on his face, both of them giggling in blissful happiness. The King and Queen of the Fire Kingdom and their respective friends congratulated them, and preparations for the wedding started to take place in no time. The shorter stayed there, next to his future husband learning about the Fire Kingdom and its customs to be a good King alongside Chanyeol.

 

The day of the wedding, people from all the corners of the Kingdom Union were there, looking at how elated both of them looked while looking at each other. Their hands interlaced together, smiles on their faces while the world outside of their own was erased. The first kiss they shared after they were officially married tasted the sweetest to them, enjoying it as if it was really the first. Cheers erupted as their lips still danced together, and they couldn’t avoid laughing, their happiness too great to be expressed otherwise.

 

As tradition dictated, the day of the wedding was also the day were Chanyeol was crowned. His moved parents passed him and his new husband the power to rule the land and its inhabitants, retiring and letting the new blood take matters into their hands. The feast started then, for everyone wanted to rejoice and celebrate with them.

 

            But for both Chanyeol and Baekhyun, the celebration didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was the years to come, together. They looked at each other and smiled, sure that both of them were thinking the same.

 

            ‘I love you, Chanyeol,’ the shorter said, softly taking the taller’s hand into his. The other man smiled broadly.

            ‘I love you too, Baekhyun,’ he whispered in his ear, ‘and I always will.’

 

            Baekhyun looked at him, his eyes twinkling with all the emotions running inside of him, the same one that Chanyeol himself felt in his chest.

 

            And they kissed, forgetting everything else.

 

THE END