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Something that Never Happened in Mal Zeth

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"--across the middle of Mallorea."

"You wouldn't!" Zakath gasped.

"Try me."

The King and the Emperor stood face to face, the slightly taller Rivan using the bulk of his frame to attempt to tower. Zakath, however, was the older of the two and the dark eyes that stared back weren't about to back down because of a few inches of size and a few pounds of muscle. Men had tried the trick on him in the past. Usually only once.

There was silence for a few moments as light eyes met dark, as the two men took the measure of one another. There was heat between them, anger and violence swirling dangerously between two very deadly men. Garion's fingers clenched and unclenched in unfufilled rage and Zakath's eyes glinted harshly as swordpoints.

I need to control my temper, Garion thought to himself. This man...Zakath. Zakath. Zakath is quickly becoming a friend for all of his disbelief in those things staring him plainly in the face and his gods-damned stubborness, but there's something worth exploring in him, something I want to get to know better.

He let go of his breath then, leaning forward the smallest measure as he began his rock backwards to step away, to leave, to calm himself and go to bed, as was wise.

But then there were hands on either side of his face, dry and smooth with the marks of work and the shuffling of paper, nails smooth as the tips brushed into his hair. And then the hands were nothing because there were lips on him, warm and surprisingly soft, and they were kissing him.

Garion was no stranger to kissing. He loved his wife, loved her more than his own life, and he'd been married for the better part of twelve years. Thus, he was no stranger to kisses, especially since his wife was a dryad fond of showing her affections. But this...this was different.

It was rougher, for one thing. The gentle sweetness of Ce'Nedra's kisses was lacking. Instead, the kiss was demanding, an order as much as it was anything else, and the press of lips allowed no questions as to the appropriate response.

He found himself kissing back, found his hands rising from his sides, uncurling from the fists they'd tightened to. One slid along Zakath's side, along the fine white linen of his robe, and curled around his waist. The other somehow manuevered through the Emperor's own arms to cup the back of his head, tilting it ever so slightly to deepen the kiss.

Deepen the kiss. What was he doing deepening the kiss? What was he doing pulling the Emperor of Mallorea closer, pulling the older man flush against his body as he slid his tongue along a lower lip, taking advantage of Zakath's small gasp to slip within, to stroke and taste? What was he doing kissing someone other than his wife? Someone he was angry with? What was he doing kissing someone other than his wife who was a man?

What was he doing enjoying it? What was the thrill that ran up his spine and skittered to every nerve, tightening his stomach and stirring his desire?

"Garion? This is not what I meant when I said that you should make friends with Zakath,"a dry voice observed.

And he was so startled, he jumped, teeth knocking with Zakath's as the spell broke, as reality flooded back through his senses, as he shook his head in wonder and confusion at just what had happened. Wide blue eyes turned to Zakath... find him utterly unperturbed. In fact, it didn't look as if he'd noticed anything odd at all. Intelligent dark eyes stared back at him politely as Garion looked for answers to questions he hadn't even thought existed.

"Zakath, what--"

"I think," he said finally, those eyes anywhere and everywhere but Garion's, "that we should both, perhaps, head to bed. It's for the best, really."

It took him a minute to think, a minute for time and space to return to where they were supposed to be and even as they did, Garion still felt oddly out of place with them.

"Y-yes," he answered at last, "That...that might be the best idea."

He stared another moment before stepping back, feeling as if he was moving through molasses or an especially harsh wind, and blinked once before turning to the door.

"Why don't we continue this conversation some other time, after we've both had a chance to cool off a bit?" Garion offered.

"I think perhaps you're right," he said.

Garion nodded curtly and started toward the door.

"Garion," Zakath said then.


"Sleep well."

"You too." Garion left the room.