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Life becomes hazier and hazier as his coronation approaches. Hours pass without much notice. His friends by and large stop coming by. Even his men only speak to him when necessary. The answers come to him easily then, what he should say, and the mist subsumes him again.

When he is crowned, he feels vaguely the weight on his skull and inside it as well. Puck stands close by and him alone he always sees clearly now, like a beacon. Puck has stayed since the beginning, about which Bastion had his reservations... at first? No, never. He’s so fortunate and glad to have his friend’s advice throughout his reign.

So grateful he’ll give anything. Money. Special access privileges to the prison and barracks. Travel permits. He doesn’t even know where to, or why, except that he misses him as long as he’s away. It’s only when Puck is around he feels remotely like himself.

Many nights anymore, he joins him in his royal chamber. Someone has to be your queen, he teases, or at least Bastion thinks he does. They talk into midnight in a refreshingly familiar way that reminds him of the old days. Sometimes he thinks he might see a starry sky instead of the bed canopy, or a campfire instead of the contained fireplace. He could be a normal young man again, traveling with his father, and Milea, and Puck... Puck could be normal again too.

Something is wrong now, when he strokes his hair, or kisses him. It starts slow but moves impatiently from step to step, tearing the past away, and the experiments they’d perform on each other’s bodies, hidden beneath their blankets. It’s too rough. Puck is smaller than him, not as strong, but his fingers bruise and it’s hard to fight.

Who they are now isn’t who they were then. But he can’t remember how things led to this.

Puck removes his glasses. Moonlight shines fully reflected on the lenses for a brief moment, with the wrist flicked in just the right way, and instantaneously dies in another.

“Soon, Bastion,” he says. The voice is Puck’s but the sardonic intonation isn’t. “Zulwarn is getting so strong. I wonder if I need any blood at all now.”

He covers his body with his, ankles resting back on Bastion’s knees. His body weight is inert, like a dead thing. “Guess I shoulda done for you a while back, but... we’re best friends. Right?

“Yes...” The words drag slowly from his lips. He’s not sure if they are, even in this intimate moment, his own.

“And you can behave for me.”


Puck kisses him, gentler than usual, breathing out ‘good boy’ into his mouth.

Their bodies more collide than meld together, or any other such romantic thing. It’s not bad. Puck doesn’t seem discomforted by slamming against him, and for Bastion’s part, the roughness is soothing. He can feel it through the haze.

It only hurts at the end, when Puck digs his nails into his shoulder. Even then it’s fine. Puck looks more vulnerable (and himself) when he comes. The squeezing feels best too, though that pleasure is just a glimmer. And with Puck’s finish comes the end of this. Bastion doesn’t have the focus to get anywhere close on his own. Asking for help doesn’t even occur to him.

Puck presses his forehead to his, fingers combing through his hair with masterly affection. “I want you to be around to see it. All of Eptina united under your rule. An era of peace. Doesn’t that sound nice?”

Bastion mumbles an agreement. His eyelids flutter close while he feels out the notion. The lives lost. Both of his fathers dead for his sake. The burden of royalty. The reawakened Zulwarn, Puck...

Peace. Peace will make everything worth it.