"Dion, can I ask something?" Nova asked as he put his cup of tea down on its plate.
Dion finished sipping his tea and looked at him with a smile.
"Of course Nova what is it?"
Nova looked at the painting hanging over the chimney, they were having their tea in one of the "secret" libraries in the castle, as usual, but this time Nova wanted to ask about something he thought of a lot when being there.
"That portrait of you, it's beautiful, but unlike the other paintings around the castle, this one doesn't have a
a signature, I just thought that was strange"
"Oh, that? it doesn't have a signature because the person who painted it doesn't want to be known" Dion grabbed a cookie from the plate in front of him and bit into it.
"An artist that doesn't want to be known?"
Dion used his napkin to clean the cookies crumb from the corners of his mouth.
"Not an artist per se, just someone with a lot of talent that can't be shown to the world"
"Do I know the person? Are they somebody that works in the castle, one of the maids?"
"You DO know the person, they don't work in the castle tho, they are someone that spends a lot of time here and they are also close to me, someone who spends most of the time brooding…"
Nova thought about it, there weren't a lot of options really, the king and the twins didn't look like they had any artistic talent but they also were someone close to Dion…
When it hit him, Nova's eyes opened wide and he turned to look at Dion surprised.
"Elun painted this?!"
"Yes! You figured it out!" Dion clapped.
"But! Elun?! How?!"
Getting up from the table, Dion walked to where the painting was, he stood in front of it and looked at it with tenderness in his eyes.
"He doesn't look like an artistic person right?, do not judge a book by its cover is relevant here, Elun painted this when we were teens"
Nova got up from the table too, walking and standing behind Dion, looking up at the painting.
"He showed talent since he was a kid and he only got better with the years, he looked so happy when painting too"
"But he doesn't paint anymore, why?"
"At one point Elun's father made him throw away the brush and put a sword on his hand instead… it changed him, Elun wasn't a sweet fruit back then, I am not saying that, but he was different, that look in his eyes when he has the sword on his hand… so much rage…" Dion looked down at the floor.
"I wish I could make him go back to before when he was a little more… happy"
Nova put his hand on Dion's shoulder
and squeezed, wanting to comfort Dion.
"Have you tried to get him to paint again?"
"I have but the only thing I get when I mention it it's a frown and him walking out of the room"
"Well, that was before, yes? When he stopped right?"
"Yeah?" Dion turned around to look at Nova, his hands went to Nova's arms.
"Well maybe he will be more approachable now, you are both adults and maybe you can talk to him about it and be successful" Nova wrapped his arms around Dion, hugging him, Dion
did the same.
"Mmh… maybe you are right, I would love to see Elun painting again, maybe I'll try to talk to him about it"
"That would be nice, I known Elun doesn't like me… and with reason, but I don't think such talent should be wasted"
"I will bring it up to him after he finishes training, you will have to leave us alone tho…"
"That's alright, I'll disappear then, it's almost time for your piano lessons, shall we go?"
They kissed softly before cleaning up and walking out of the library, they had already gotten used to this, being a normal couple behind closed doors and then going back to being Prince and Knight outside, in front of everyone else they were just a royal and their protector but in front of the garden flowers, library paintings and statues, they were lovers.
Dion was fine with it and Nova was too, but lately, the reality of things had randomly appeared inside Dion's mind, the question, how long can this last? is this alright? what will happen when he has to marry?" And more had been constant in his head lately, he tried to ignore them tho, keeping them in the back of his mind.
He didn't want to think too hard about it…
That night before dinner Dion slipped a note under Elun's door and he knew Elun had read it because he couldn't stop staring at him during dinner, they exchanged playful looks while eating.
When dinner was over, they both excused themselves, Dion followed Elun out of the dining hall, walking beside him thru the long hallway leading to the garden.
"Was the note necessary? couldn't you have told me you wanted to talk?"
"I am a romantic, you know that I like sliding notes under doors"
"That doesn't make you a romantic, it makes you a lunatic" as they got to the garden door, Elun opened it for Dion.
"Thank you~" Dion smiled at him playfully as he walked out, Elun blushed and looked away, following Dion out of the place, walking into the garden.
They walked to their favorite spot out of instinct, the spot right next to the water fountain where they used to play with the water when they were kids.
Sitting down on the bench Dion looked
down at his hands.
"So? What is it? Why have you decided to kidnap me? And why isn't your shadow with you today?" Elun teased.
"I haven't kidnapped you, I just wanted to ask you something, be alone for a while, I gave Nova a break tonight"
"Then what is that you wanted to ask me?
"Elun… Do you miss painting?"
All playfulness that Elun was showing before was gone, his smile turned into a frown and he straightened himself, looking away from Dion.
"Again with that? I thought I told you to leave it" Elun stood up intending to walk away but Dion didn't let him give a step, grabbing him tightly by the arm.
"Elun, please! Listen to me?"
Elun didn't look at him.
"Please, I know I am insistent but it comes from good faith! I swear! you were happy back then, I wish to see you happy like that again, I would do anything to see you paint again!"
Elun turned around, staring down at Dion, he grabbed his arms back so now he was the one holding on.
"You said you would do anything? Are you being honest?"
"Yes! Yes, Elun I just want that joy to come back to your eyes!"
Elun smiled, letting go of Dion's arm, his hands went to Dion's face.
"Meet me in my room tomorrow morning" was all he said before letting go and walking away, leaving Dion alone in the garden.
In the morning before going to meet Elun, Dion told Nova about it, asking him to spend the day doing whatever he wanted until Dion and Elun were done, to what Nova agreed, wishing him luck.
Before parting, they kissed goodbye, and those feelings appeared inside Dion once again but as always he shoved them to the back of his mind while he made his way to Elun's room.
Getting there was more difficult than he thought, he probably looked weird just walking around by himself, without Nova behind him, so the maids approached him and asked him he needed anything to what he would
respond that he was fine.
Finally alone in the hallway, in front of Elun's door he sighed, before knocking on it.
"Elun, it's me…" he tried to keep his voice down just in case.
He heard steps on the other side of the door and then the door opening.
Elun appeared in front of him, a certain glow on his face.
"Come on in, to my guestroom…" Elun opened the door to let Dion inside.
Once inside Dion was uneasy, not knowing what to do, he didn't know
what Elun was planning and even tho he knew Elun would never hurt him he was still suspicious.
"Please make yourself at home, you know since this room is practically more yours than mine…" Elun walked to his bed, kneeling in front of it and reaching under it.
"Why did you want to meet here?" Dion asked.
Elun got what he was looking for from under the bed finally, an easel, a canvas, and a box that Dion instantly recognized.
"Hey, that's mine!"
"Of course it is, where else was I supposed to get supplies?" Elun stood up, setting up the easel in front of a divan.
"So does this mean you are gonna do it? You are gonna paint again?"
"What does it looks like I am doing?" Elun opened the box and took out a couple of brushes, some paints, and a palette.
"Oh, Elun! I am so happy! You have talent it's not alright for you to hide it away" Dion went to hug Elun while he was setting up.
"I will do it once more and then we'll see… but you know, I have a special
request if you want me to do it…"
Dion stopped hugging him and stared at him. Of course, there was something.
"And what would that be?" He asked, a little bit anxious.
Elun avoided his gaze as if he was embarrassed.
"I want you to model for me, like before, like when we were teens…" Elun finished setting up but he still wouldn't look at Dion.
Dion noticed him fidgeting with the brush while looking into the white canvas before him.
Was he that embarrassed? just because he wanted him to model for him?
"So? you don't want to do it anymore it seems…"
"No!, no I would love to Elun…" Dion smiled, Elun was blushing now but he still wouldn't look at him, Dion looked at the divan.
"Should I sit there?"
"Please…" Elun answered in a whisper.
Dion smiled again before walked to the Divan, sitting on it and looking at Elun.
"How do you want me to pose?… it's been a long time don't know what to do"
"You get your portrait done all the time"
"I mean that it has been a long time since it's been you…"
"If you don't want to do it then-"
"No! I want to!"
"Alright… just… sit down and look at the window…" Elun kept looking at the palette on his hand, when he heard Dion move in the seat he finally looked behind the easel by the side, Dion sat there looking away from him, as regal as he always looked in every portrait.
Now ready to do it Elun feels weird, the brush on his hand moved on his own tho.
"This is weird…"
"Just weird… it's been such a long time"
"You haven't done it since…?"
"No, not at all"
Dion could see Elun's movements from the corner of his eye. He wanted to turn around and watch but he knew this was too good to be ruined.
"Did you miss this ever?"
"I don't know… I just didn't want to think about it…"
"If you told me, I could've helped you… you know I am always here for you"
"But are you?"
"What do you mean?"
Elun kept on working, the truth was that he had missed this, the brush on his hand, palette on his other hand, the vision he had of Dion appearing before him as it was magic.
"We haven't spoken to each other in some time, I only see you from a
distance and you are always being followed by your loyal knight as if he was a dog"
"Nova is not a dog" Dion snapped his head to look at Elun, who gave him a blank stare in return, before continuing the painting, Dion looked at the spot from before again.
"I am sorry we haven't spent time together lately, I've been caught up in my head"
"I bet but it wouldn't kill you to have some tea with your future husband from time to time, would it?"
"No of course no… Elun about the wedding-"
"I know, I know you think it's too soon but if you want, I'll send a letter to father with some excuse, to give us some time"
"Really?" Dion asked hopefully.
"Yes, we'll get some time to spend together like before again, before the big day comes"
"Oh…" Dion's voice was a whisper.
"Maybe when we get married, if you want, I could paint you again… I would like to do a portrait of you in your wedding gown, in the garden by the white roses…"
There was a tender tone in Elun's voice, one Dion hasn't heard before, the
mention of him in a wedding gown made his heartache and the way Elun was talking about it so dreamily made his eyes start to water.
"And then after that, after some time, maybe I can be the first to paint you and our child…"
Dion couldn't hold them in any more, tears fell down his cheeks onto his clothes, his head was a mess and so was his heart, he felt guilty.
"And then once our child grows up enough, I would like to teach him to paint too, would that be alright with you? Dion?" Elun looked at Dion from the side of the canvas, Dion was still sitting in the same position but now he was crying and he looked like he was holding in the noise.
"Are you alright?-" Elun put the things down and went to where Dion was sitting before he could touch him Dion stood up and moved away from Elun.
"I feel… Elun I am feeling kind of ill, can we continue this other day?" Dion wiped the years away while looking at his feet.
"What's wrong? What's happening?" Elun kept asking but Dion only shook his head.
"Must be the food, I am alright please, I just need to go lay down"
Without looking at Elun, Dion walked to the door, before he could open it Elun grabbed him by the arm.
"Dion, did I do something wrong?"
Dion hated this, the tender voice coming from Elun that he wasn't used to, the care and attention.
"Not at all, please… I need to go" he brushed off Elun's hand and opened the door, exiting and walking out of the room almost running, he could hear Elun's voice calling his name from behind but that didn't stop him, neither did the fear of being seen walking out of Elun's room.
All he wanted was to lock himself inside
his room and go to sleep.
When he got there, he locked the door and got into bed without even changing his clothes.
Finally, he let himself cry into the soft pillow, sobs being muffled by it.
His heart was beating hard and fast, it starting to make him dizzy.
Was he a villain? Was he the bad guy in the story?
He had never thought about it like this, from another perspective.
Never really thought about the fact that he was being unfaithful.
All this time he had thought Elun didn't love him, not the way Dion needed to be loved.
But he did, all this time, all of Elun's actions and words to him had been from the heart, they were true! They were genuine!
Elun loved him, he fantasized about their wedding, wished to have a family…
Dion's head was pounding, he was still sobbing but there were no more tears coming out of his eyes, he was too tired, too exhausted.
As his heart started calming down, he started falling asleep, breathing becoming normal again, until he let himself fall into dreams.
Wishing he would forget about everything by the time morning came.