Fiction~~The Last Pure Human~~Ch. 24


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The Last Pure Human
Chapter 24 - Protecting Max

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Pacing between the shelves in the public archives, Kasan lashed his tail irritably. Max was taking too long. Kasan’s tail lashed to the side again with a quick snap. He heard it topple a pile of scrolls right before he felt the rolled parchment ruffle his fur.

Damn, not again.

Within seconds, three archivists converged, making tching sounds in their throats as Kasan tried to stuff the paper irritants back on the shelf. They politely urged him to go stand ‘somewhere else.’ He’d heard that same phrase enough in the last few minutes to make him want to let out his claws and see if he could make the scholars scatter.

“And Zonta wonders why I hate this place.” Kasan kept his voice low, but he didn’t really care if anyone heard him. He disliked the archives intensely. In his opinion, the reason their forefathers had kept rooms and corridors wide and open was because Kyashin originally had tails. All the shelves added to this room in the past 200 years made it so cramped that Kasan was in danger of knocking over something every time he forgot to keep his body reined in.

And Zonta had kept him waiting for almost ten minutes now. What was taking him so long to bring Max over?  Zonta had to know that the older archivists wouldn’t let Kasan enter the sections containing the oldest papers. But waiting like this, when all Kasan wanted to do was see Max, was pure hell. For the first time since they were mated, Kasan could spend the entire evening with Max getting to know him instead of satisfying the heat or keeping him calm. They could make love slowly for once, just because they both enjoyed it. Considering how quickly Max was learning Hinta, Kasan thought they might be able to actually talk

Kasan could finally learn more about his husband. Like the actual size of his family that they should be looking for, or how Max got here. What he’d done before the slavers had acquired him, what he liked to eat, what he enjoyed doing….

What he really felt about Kasan.

Kasan lashed his tail again, bumping against a stack of hand comps. He winced, the clacking, metallic slither echoing like a screeching yowl through the archives.  He had to stop doing this. The archives were not hell, and he didn’t have to dwell on hellish, nerve wracking worries every time he came here.

But he usually did, which was another reason why he avoided the place like it was infected with kouloc. The last time he’d been in the archives had been - before last year’s battle? Yes, that had been it. His first time as the Battle Leader, when he’d had Zonta look up a strategy that would work better in hill country.

By the time he’d left, Kasan had been second guessing his choices already, wondering if he was ready to lead, or if he’d lose the Hinta their concessions for the year.

Competitions in warfare might be a quick way to sort out political disputes, but they were still a pain in the ass.

Kasan had managed to avoid thinking of it, but after waiting in the archives, the old concerns were creeping back in. He growled under his breath, dodging another low shelf. No matter how complicated his family’s situation was currently, there were only a few months left until this year’s battle. Preparations had to be made.

And he had no idea what to do about Max.

How was he going to keep the little one safe? Kasan had to participate, and that meant so did Max, but all the other consorts would be trained and able to defend themselves. And Max…wasn’t. Not that there’d been any deaths in years, but there were still some debilitating injuries. Any one of which could kill someone of Max’s small stature.

Kasan shuddered, fighting against an image of Max lying on the ground, broken. That would not happen. Slavers and shokan and this year’s battle – it didn’t matter. Kasan wasn’t letting anything hurt Max. If he had to, he’d work with Zonta and Tisu on making sure of that. They could figure out a way to keep Max safe. Untested newbies had been forced into the battle before. It could be done.

He’d simply never done it with someone he cared about so much.

Kasan took a deep breath, wrapped his tail around his own thigh, and closed his eyes. God but he wanted Max. His fingers twisted in on his palms just thinking about running them over that fluffy, golden brown hair. He wanted to see the soft blush over Max’s cheeks when Kasan flustered him into incoherency, that little smile that Kasan had only witnessed a handful of times now.

It wasn’t right that the expression Kasan was most familiar with on Max was fear.

Kasan growled under his breath, his tail jerking once against his leg.

Dammit, he wanted to be able to look into Max’s face and tell him that everything was going to be all right. That Max’s family would be fine. That nothing was trying to hurt him anymore, not wild animals or rogue members of his family or fanatics. That Kasan hadn’t failed him.

He wanted to Max to be happy. And he wanted Max to be his.

Kasan’s ears flattened. He couldn’t explain it, but every time thoughts of Max entered his head, he knew he wanted something more than mating. Yes, right now, Kasan was Max’s, and Max was his. Most people would be content with that; they’d be mated for at least a couple decades. Plenty of time for feelings to deepen between them.

If only his previously sane emotions would agree; right now, it didn’t seem to matter that they had time and that Kasan barely even knew Max. Even a moment alone with his consort reminded Kasan how viscerally attracted to Max he was. How Max looked, and spoke, and acted – it was permanently etched into Kasan’s bones. He didn't know how Max had invaded his mind so easily when Kasan didn’t even understand yet what went on in his consort’s head, but at the same time?

The thought of life without Max felt flat and colorless. 

Kasan started pacing again. How would Max react to joining with Kasan for the rest of their lives? Zonta had taught him the word, hadn’t he? So Kasan could ask, but if he did, what would Max say? What if he didn’t want such a commitment?

What if he didn’t feel the same way?

“Of course he doesn’t feel the same yet.” Kasan’s sharp growl startled one of the younger archivists and she jumped before scurrying away.

The little one had been through so much in such a short time. How could Max possibly feel as deeply as Kasan? Gisho might be enjoying their sex – thankfully – but he was separated from his family, newly mated, and on a strange world. How could there be any place left in his mind for an equally strong attachment to Kasan?

But what was Kasan going to do if it never developed?

Kasan lost control of his tail again and groaned as it toppled a small stack of books. Dammit, he  wanted Max! What was taking Zonta so long?

“Destroying the archives again?”

Finally! Kasan turned, his ears rising off his head, but they stopped half-way as he faced Zonta. His brother was clinging to a large sheaf of papers. Max wasn’t with him. Kasan peered around Zonta’s legs, just to be sure.

“Where’s Max?” He couldn’t help the snap to his words.

“Max?” Zonta’s own ears fluttered, then drooped. “Didn’t Waran get in touch with you? Max is already back in your rooms.”

“No, he didn’t get in touch with me!” Max wasn’t here? “What the hell are you doing here if Max isn’t? I asked you to watch him, Zonta!”

Zonta’s eyes narrowed. “I did. For most of the day.”

“But he’s alone now!” What if he tried to go outside on his own and the shokan was there? Kasan whipped around to find him when Zonta’s voice cut him off.

“Did I say he was alone?” Zonta’s voice was flat. “Waran’s with him. I thought you would feel more comfortable with family watching out for Max, so I asked him to stay until you were finished with your work.”

Kasan stopped, his stomach still trembling from the adrenaline rush. He inhaled deeply to get back some control before he could turn to face his brother. “I asked you to watch him for a reason. Max doesn’t know Waran. What if Waran frightened him?”

Zonta put aside the papers in his hand, laying them on the nearest table. His ears flickered in annoyance. “He’s cared for, Kasan. The poor thing was exhausted, and I was detained here. I was not going to make Max suffer because I cannot keep up with my own workload. Besides, he’s an adult. If he were worried over Waran, he would have found a way to make it clear.”

“He’s fragile, and high-strung. And you’ve seen how he acts when he’s startled; he might hurt himself trying to get away. What if Waran couldn’t keep track of him?”

Zonta snorted. “Do you really think that’s likely?”

Kasan’s ears went back as he heard the tone in Zonta’s voice. His youngest brother used it primarily when he thought one of his older brothers were acting like an idiot.  Kasan flicked his ear for it. “Don’t be a brat. It’s a legitimate worry.”

“For a first time parent, perhaps. Don’t be so overprotective. Give Max a little room.”  Zonta sighed, closing his eyes. He looked tired.

Kasan caught himself before he spoke again. He wasn’t going to apologize – Max needed special care, and Zonta of all people was aware of that. But he could calm down. A little. As long as Max was safe… “Waran knows what he was supposed to do?”

“He knows to stay with Max until you arrive. He was going to take him to Lastmeal, but obviously that’s not necessary now.” Zonta’s ears fluttered back to their normal position. “I’m sorry that you wasted the trip here. I should have thought to have one of the other guards get in touch. Waran has so much on his mind right now…”

Kasan nodded. Zonta looked exhausted. Had it been that difficult today?

What about for Max?

Reaching out to touch his finger to Zonta’s lips, Kasan softened his tone. “Forgiven. I’m sorry the day was so arduous.”

Zonta shook his head, a smile creeping in. “Only the last hour or so. Max was an enormous help.  Elder Minoru retrieved some of the documents from the Reconstruction, and Max was actually able to read them.  The translation is still going to take some time, until Max learns more Hinta, but we made definite progress. With his knowledge…I can’t tell you what a benefit having Max in the family is going to be, Kasan. Even for other clans. There are so many records that we’ve never been able to understand, including some that might pre-date the citadel’s creation.” He paused and his ears lowered. “There has to be something in there that would help us reprogram the citadel’s defenses.”

Kasan caught the stress in his voice and suddenly Zonta’s irritability made sense. He reached out again, rubbing Zonta’s ear. “Worrying about Aosh?”

Zonta nodded jerkily. “You know how he feels about our tec constraints. It’s been wearing on him lately how little he can contribute, hamstrung like that. If something doesn’t change soon, I’m worried he’ll try and leave for another family.”

Kasan nodded, adding that to the growing pile of concerns to be dealt with. He should mention this to father. “I’ll talk to him.”

“No, please. Don’t. It’ll just put his back up. He wouldn’t like to know I mentioned it.” Zonta’s ears flattened and Kasan nodded slowly. He’d still try to figure out how to keep Aosh from making a serious mistake, however. “I wish he could- Never mind. Can Max come to the archives tomorrow to continue the translation?”

“Not on his own.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll work with him.”

Kasan sighed. “Zonta, you have training tomorrow, remember? I know; I double checked the schedule to see when you were busy this week.”

“Training can wait.”

“No, it can’t. You postponed it last week and then ‘forgot’ to set a time to make it up. You need to keep up with this as much as with your studies.” Zonta frowned and Kasan flicked his ear. “How are you going to help us with planning for Battles after your mating if you can’t help us in Battle? Train tomorrow. You can study with Max the day after.”

Zonta grumbled, disgruntled. Kasan kept his encouraging smile until he turned to leave. He frowned as soon as Zonta couldn’t see his ears anymore.

Aosh, thinking about leaving. Yet another problem to deal with, but at least it was a familiar one.

It was hard to wrap his mind around Max working as an archivist, though. Kasan knew Max was smart, but thinking of him working was…strange. Did Gisho even want that? And if he did, why was the thought so disquieting?

Max as a working member of society, earning a place in the family, interacting with people every day - without Kasan.

Kasan pushed open the door exiting the archives and frowned again. He felt…. 

He felt left behind. Max was his consort. His. Kasan had barely had the time needed to exchange more than a few words with the little one ever since they’d mated. He didn’t want to damn well share his consort with everyone else, this soon, when they hadn’t even had enough time together yet.

Kasan didn’t want to chance losing Max’s interest before he was sure he had it in the first place.

Which was unfair and selfish on Kasan’s part, if that meant keeping Max from something he took pleasure in. But Kasan couldn’t help one last growl as he imagined it. He’d rather lock them both away for a week or two so they could make love, and talk, and Kasan could feed Max new foods just to see his eyes go wide in surprise over the tastes.

While the rest of the world waited to continue until they got back, of course.

Kasan’s ears slapped against his head and he blew out his breath. That was never going to happen. But at least for tonight, he could spend time alone with his consort. If he hurried.

He jogged the rest of the way to his room.

Waran and Quim were standing guard outside his room when he arrived; both their ears flattened for the briefest moment when they saw him.

Max wasn’t with them.

“Where’s Max?!” What the hell did Waran think he was doing out here without Max? And if he had guard duty, what had he been doing down in the archives fetching Max? It was still mid-shift.

“He’s inside the room.” Waran smiled as though Kasan’s claws weren’t slipping out. “Don’t worry; you don’t need to take a break from your work just to check on him. Seamus will be taking over my shift early. I’m still able to take your consort to Lastmeal.”

“I’m done,” Kasan growled, cutting himself off when Waran’s ears drooped. Control, he reminded himself. Max was safe; that’s what mattered. “You were supposed to stay in the room with him, Waran. Max needs looking after. If you had other commitments that kept you from doing your duty, you should have told Zonta.”

Waran’s ears went down further. His eyes glinted. “Your consort didn’t wish for anyone to be in the room with him, and Seamus felt that we should adhere to his wishes.” He cleared his throat. “After that, I asked if I could change shifts so I could remain nearby. I have not been neglecting my duties, Prince Kasan.”

Kasan scowled. Waran only used the title when he was annoyed. But the man should have known better. “Tell Seamus to get off his ass and box me, next time there’s a conflict.” If Shoru’s ill health was affecting Waran’s judgment this way, maybe the man needed to take a few days off.

“Of course.” Waran’s jaw was tense and angry.

“You can take the end of this shift off, if Seamus is spelling you. I’ll go with Max to Lastmeal.”

Both men’s ears quivered sharply. “You- You don’t have anything else to finish today?” Waran asked slowly.

“Nothing that can’t wait. I’m going to spend the rest of the evening with Max.”

Waran and Quim exchanged a look and Kasan wondered what it was supposed to mean. And then why Quim was there at all. “Wasn’t Zerard supposed to be on shift with Seamus today? Or did he get caught up in the frenzy, too?”

Waran paused and then smiled, nodding. “You know how it goes; the young ones are so easily overwhelmed. Quim was able to take over after Zerard left. We have it covered. And truly, if you have things you need to do, I would be happy to take your consort to the meal for you. It would be no trouble at all. I-” 

Kasan opened the door and patted Waran’s shoulder as he passed. “Thank you, Waran, but the only thing I need to do is spend time with Max.” He shut the door on them, ignoring the determined look on Waran’s face. With a nasty consort like Shoru, Waran was unlikely to understand how happy Kasan was to simply be with Max. 

Who was fast asleep, as usual. Kasan smiled as he walked to the bed. Max was curled up in a small ball, taking a nap in a nest of pillows like some exotic baby bird. His head was partially buried under a black velvet pillow. He looked sweet. Vulnerable. Sexy.

God but Kasan wanted him.

“Max?” Max didn’t move and Kasan shook his shoulder gently.  His little one slept on, stretching once and turning over onto his back. He started to snore softly. “You do sleep with a will, don’t you, Gisho?” Kasan gently shook his shoulder again. Max’s face scrunched into a grimace. He kicked out once with a grunt and settled, his legs splayed wide. Grinning, Kasan reached down and cupped the now-visible bulge of Max’s testicles through the fabric of his loincloth.

Max stopped grimacing, but he still didn’t wake. Kasan leaned down and nipped at Max’s bottom lip. And then spoke more loudly. “Max! Wake up, little one!  If you sleep too much now, you’ll never get to sleep tonight!”

Max blinked his eyes once, seemed to register Kasan, and then let his lids drift shut again.

“Max!”

Another slow blink and then Max’s sleepy face brightened with a sudden, sweet smile.  “Kasan?”

It was the expression Kasan felt like he’d been waiting all day just to see. “Hello, sweetheart.” Kasan brushed his fingers over Max’s small sac as he withdrew.

Max’s smile faded and his face flushed. “Uh. I-” He glanced down at where Kasan’s hand was removing itself and clamped his thighs together. “H-hello.”

They stared at each other until Max stumbled up out of the cushions with an awkward cast to his limbs, scooting them around self-consciously. Smiling again, Kasan stood back to let him up. Max shuffled about, trying unsuccessfully to scoot himself over the pillows and off the bed. He grumbled as he finally had to stand and walk. Kasan couldn’t stop smiling, his eyes taking in everything about Max, from his tousled hair to the rosy tint to his cheeks. Max’s eyes shied away as he soon as he noticed. 

He immediately tripped on a large teal pillow.

Kasan caught him with a laugh. “Careful, Max. One day, you’re going to fall and I won’t be there to catch you.”

Max flushed was brighter. “Yeah, been there, done that,” he mumbled. He squirmed until Kasan let his feet reach the floor.

Looking down at the top of his head, Kasan was reminded – as though he needed a reminder –of  how small Max really was. The little one would have to go on tiptoes just to lick Kasan’s nipple. And no matter how thoughtful Waran was, he wasn’t Zonta. He hadn’t studied humans so that he was aware of their fragility, and their issues.

Even on something as safe as the bed, Max seemed determined to injure himself. The walk back with Waran could have been a complete disaster. Kasan frowned just as Max looked up at him.

He had to keep him safe. “You should have stayed with Zonta.”

“Huh?” Max tilted his head.  “Why?”

“Zonta knows you, Zonta knows what you need, and Zonta is the person I asked to watch you.”

Max stared at him and Kasan wasn’t sure what he expression on his face meant.  “Still feeling like a slave,” Max muttered. “I’m safe.”

“No.” Kasan changed tactics when Max’s eyes widened. “All right, yes, you’re safe, but it was Zonta’s responsibility to make sure you were safe, Max. To protect you.”

Max struggled with something, his face scrunching up in a particularly cute manner. “Kasan… That’s not-  Ugh, this is so frustrating!” Max took a deep breath. “I like that Kasan think of Max.” He didn’t sound as though he liked it.  “I just don’t want to be some sex-toy alien-husband thing that has no life but to get passed around and get screwed, okay? I want to- I want to freaking do something.

“Max? I can’t understand you.”

Dammit.” Max began to pace, gesturing with his arms as he picked up speed. “Max want to take care of Max. Sort of. Not that I wouldn’t mind some help with the blobs and the big freaky cats, and the perverts, but I can at least pick what I want to do, and where I want to walk. Eventually. Right? I’m not a stupid kid, Kasan! I just- I take care of… me.”

“Max, you’re too small.” Far too small.

Max clenched his fists. “Maybe you’re too damn big. I might need help sometimes, yeah.   Who doesn’t need help when you’re all big, lecherous mutants? But…I….”  Max struggled with something and Kasan sat down on the bed.  He pulled Max onto his lap. Max glared at him, squirming again.  It was rather adorable.

Max’s finger poked Kasan in the nose. “Max is not a toy.”

“I didn’t think you were.”

“Max is not weak.”

Kasan hugged him around the back, reveling in the feel of his pert ass clenched on Kasan’s thighs.  “I know. Not many could survive an entirely new culture so soon after the loss of their family. I have every respect for your strength, little one.” He rubbed Max’s back, trying to sooth him.

“Max can look after himself.”

Kasan’s hand paused as he really thought about that. Should he be honest? “I’m sorry, Max. I don’t agree.”

Max growled. “Max is adult!”

Kasan wished he could make Max understand. “I know that. But you’re so ignorant about the Hinta, yet, Gisho. There is so much here that could harm you, and you are not even close to knowing what all the dangers are. Even one of the littles could injure you if they happened to catch you alone. I know you want to have more independence.” Kasan thought that’s what Max wanted, if he was reading it right. “But you have a lot to learn, still. You need looking after. You…you need help, still.” You need me.

Max’s eyes focused inwards, confused. Kasan sighed; the little one probably hadn’t caught all that. Simpler might be better. “Max, you can’t look after himself.”

That’s bullshit, Kasan.” Max stared up at him and bit at his lips while he half-glared. “Yeah, I don’t know what the hell’s going on, and maybe I trip over my own feet sometimes, but I’m not an imbecile! And I hate Waran. He’s a creepy freaking bastard. And if you think I need to be taken care of all the time, you can- you can just do it yourself and stop running off everywhere so I’m all alone in this stupid room all the time!

Because I’m telling you, if you leave me alone here one more time, I’m going to get Androcles to slobber all over you. Maybe you’ll remember what a pet really is, then, huh? Androcles is a dog; I’m a person. Not a dog. Which you should know. Dog saliva is nothing like mine, you big, honking-” Max stopped, his voice cut off as Kasan gave into an urge and kissed him. Max’s tongue slid against his own, curling around it when Kasan sucked it into his mouth.

Kasan could do this every moment for the rest of his life and never grow tired of it.

They were both breathing heavily when Max pulled away. The little one grumbled under his breath, his fingers trembling. “Just have to be good at that, don’t you? I bet you do it on purpose, too. Just to drive me crazy. Because this is insane, you know that, right? I’m an insane nympho now.

Kasan rubbed his hand over Max’s back again, making soothing sounds. Max all hot and bothered was something he’d been waiting for all day, but he wished the little one wasn’t quite so upset.

Dammit, he hated still not being able to understand him. “Soon, Max. You can tell me everything soon, when you have the words. Although I won’t compromise on your safety.  You can hate me for it as much as you like. But it’s my duty to care for you, precious. And I enjoy doing it.” Kasan smiled as he looked Max over and rubbed a dusty smudge off Max’s nose. “Right now, that means I can help get you clean.”

Kasan popped Max on the bed and walked over to the shelf with the cleaning oils. He picked out a new rag.

Max sighed behind him. “What, you kiss me and then that’s it? I thought we were going to have sex? And why do we need the oils again? Not that you don’t look really hot when you put the oil on your cock and-” Max stuttered to a stop and then started grumbling again. “Why can’t you have non-perverted ways to clean people? Hasn’t anyone here ever heard of a shower? Or even a bath?

“What did you say?” Kasan walked back with the cloth, wondering as Max paused and looked at him with a struck expression.

“Kasan? Kyashin have big water to clean in?”

It was no effort to stop. Kasan barely registered that he had stopped.  “Big pool of water? To wash in? You want to wash in water? To…take a bath?”

The smile that lit up Max’s face had Kasan’s cock so hard it was awkward.  Max wanted a bath?  A bath?

“Yes!  A bath!  You have these?”

The oil dropped to the floor and Kasan had to pick it up quickly before it all poured out. Saliva pooled in his mouth. Max wanted to go to the baths.

Max couldn’t know what that meant. Probably. Did humans even bathe the same way? But what if he did? Kasan hadn’t even dreamed they’d be taking a bath together for weeks yet, if not months, not with the state of Max’s nerves.  But he looked so excited right now, the frustration from earlier erased entirely. Max…Max seemed to really want it.

Max was looking forward to it. 

“We…have baths. But Max, how human’s take baths?” He had to be sure there was no miscommunication here.

“How do we-? Uh, we get clean? In water?”

That sounded the same, for part of it. “Do you do…anything else?”

What the hell else is there? Uh, clean hair? Use liquid, like cleaning oil? That ‘anything else?’ Or more?”
 
Kasan swallowed, envisioning Max covered in oil, hair damp and shining. “Yes,” he said hoarsely. “More.” He could lay Max down on the furs and stroke him until he was incoherent, babbling in his human language non-stop, then fill him so slowly they were both writhing with the need to come.

And then they could do it again.

Max shifted, staring into Kasan’s eyes. His pupils darkened, leaving only a thin circle of blue around them. His cheeks were pink when he spoke again. “Kasan mean sex.”

Kasan smiled slowly. Max wasn’t trying to step away from him. “Yes.”

Max’s hand gripped the fabric of his tunic. “Of course you do. Couldn’t have something non-perverted in cat land, could we? Dammit, why are you all so-” Kasan drew a finger down Max’s arm and the little one swallowed heavily. “W-Want to know, humans have sex in baths?”

“Yes.”

“I- Uh.” Max licked his lips. “Yes. We have sex and bath. Sometimes.”

Kasan moved one step closer and the little one shifted his head to look up at him, still flushed. But Max stood his ground. “This time?” Kasan whispered. “Sex and bath this time?” 

Max chewed the lip between his teeth. His feet shifted again. He looked up at Kasan, down at his body, and then down at his own hands. Taking a deep breath, he straightened his shoulders. “I- I don’t know…” Those blue, beautiful eyes looked up through dark lashes. “Y- Yeah. Okay. This time.”

Kasan grabbed Max’s hand before his consort changed his mind and tossed the oil back to the shelf.  Max started sputtering before they even hit the door.

Kasan, woah! What are you-

Max tripped and fell against Kasan as they both paused to open the door. Kasan turned back, wrapped his arm around Max’s waist, and kept going.

Waran called out as Kasan raced through the door. “Kasan, wait. I needed to ask you-”

“I’ll be back after Lastmeal. We’re going to the baths!” He grinned as he glanced back, ignored their odd looks, and pulled Max along.  He hadn’t turned the corner before he realized that they weren’t going nearly fast enough, even if Max was scampering to keep up.

Kasan picked up Max and chuckled when his consort smacked him in the chest.

Dammit, Kasan, what the hell?

“Shhh, Max. Don’t worry. We’ll get there soon. In fact, here, hold on to my neck, we’ll get there faster.” 

Max glared at him. “Where?”

Kasan pulled him in close and nuzzled his hair as he moved. “The baths, Max. We’re going to the baths.”

Max finally stopped squirming. “Oh. Bath not in Kasan’s room?”

“No. Very big baths, not here. Now hold on!”   Max did, a blush staining his cheeks as he wrapped his arms around Kasan’s neck.

Kasan grinned and ran full out down the corridors. They’d have to get to the heart of the citadel, where the springs came up, warmed in the bathing chambers. If he didn’t want to waste their time together, he was going to get there as quickly as he could. A few cousins tried to hail him and he simply yelled out, “Baths!” as he passed.

Most responded with a grin, some with yelled out suggestions.

Aosh stared at him as he ran by, and did both.

Max’s face was crimson by the time they arrived at the in front of the glided doors that separated the baths from the rest of the citadel. Putting him on his feet, Kasan watched Max carefully to make sure he hadn’t changed his mind.  He couldn’t always understand his husband, but it was moments like this when he felt that somehow, he still knew Max. Max wasn’t having second thoughts. His face flushed so brightly he glowed, but his eyes were clear, he wasn’t chewing on his lip, and he looked at the door impatiently until Kasan finally opened it for both of them. 

Time to go take their first bath together.

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