Note—This fic contains a few references for things past EAP’s TL (at the moment of writing this, is currently at Chapter 19), though they are minor enough to hopefully not spoil any future reading experience!
With all that said, please enjoy this cheesy ship fic!
The burning in his chest was a gradual thing, really, as much as it was sudden.
Minutes and hours gone by whilst listening to the rustling of leaves in the alentours, the sun slowly flickering down until they were basked in the gold of sunset.
Sitting in the gardens of Juliette Palace where the other prince resided, they were seated before a table filled with an assortment of sweets and a brand of tea that was more than familiar—gifted to Jesse personally upon Cédric’s demand when he had noticed the liking the Venetiaan prince had taken to it.
Cédric looked up, plate relatively untouched. He had never been one to indulge a sweet-tooth, after all, and the snacks were all for Jesse—treats that Cédric had called for servants to deliver to the other prince at once upon hearing of their popularity from Christelle. The young lady of Sarnez had been hearing praises about it since her last sejour into town and carelessly let slip about it during their last clashing—an accident on her part, given how she herself was planning on visiting the other prince in her own time to spoil him with sugared delicacies they both knew he was so fond of.
So it was with small delight that Cédric took in the triumph of having them procured before the young dame could, an unofficial match declared won. And if one were to continue with such an analogy, then the prize for the winner of such a race would undoubtedly be this— The sight of a golden-haired prince munching away on the wide assortment before him, nibbling not unlike a small squirrel as the platters before them slowly emptied the more he ate—slim fingers either dropping them into his mouth or affectionately fed to Demy, comfortably curled up on his lap under the table.
Looking at the exchange before him, Cédric couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to be a divine beast who needn’t even move an inch to be fed like a pampered king, leisurely sprawled on a pair of slender thighs.
Taking a sip of his dandelion tea, Cédric felt the heat waft in his visage—but in no way could it compare to the one currently blazing in his chest.
Soft, but violent..
Tender and strong…
Indescribable with words but so easily identifiable with its overwhelming presence.
Ah, Cédric then blanked, watching Jesse awkwardly looked his way after a moment too long filled with nothing but silence. Smiling sheepishly as he finally mustered the courage to inquire for the occasion of this impromptu tea time, Jesse’s head had tilted slightly to the side, prompting the wind to brush his hair softly with the momentum, gold strands etincelant when graced by the sunlight—a field of dandelions, wheats and sunflowers, encompassing every single shade of gold within their silky folds.
Transfixed, Cédric merely clicked his tongue and made a vague gesture to the table, saying nothing more than the silent demand that the other prince continue eating. In response to that, Jesse merely seemed to huff—a light breeze just faint enough to make a sound as it escaped him, fanning against the plush lips of his faintly sugar-coated mouth.
Hiding the lower half of his face once again behind his cup, captivated Cédric found himself when met with the sight of Prince Jesse basked in the hour’s golden sheen, figure wrapped thoroughly in the orange shade semblant of Cédric’s own eyes.
The white of his robe glowed, and his pale skin was no different. A warm haze sitting across from him, more gentle than any setting sun yet with a gravitational pull senseless amounts stronger than any star could ever aspire to achieve.
“You’re staring so much, Crown Prince-nim,” Jesse finally spoke as the minutes (or seconds, perhaps. It was hard to tell when one discarded all notions of time in favour of getting lost whilst staring at a dazzling flame) had passed.
Had it been anyone else, maybe their voice would’ve cut the tranquil silence between them like a knife—but Jesse’s had always been different, his presence always so seamless, so natural. As if it could kick open a door yet somehow manage to make it feel akin to the slow drop of a feather.
“Are you sure you’re not hungry..?” Jesse exasperatedly pushed a plate of macarons over his way, his face slightly tinged red, no doubt embarrassed for doing nothing but stuff his face when he was the obvious guest of this impromptu tea time. “At least try some. I’d feel bad if I were the only one eating between us..”
“Not hungry,” he murmured, brief in comparison to the onslaught of endless feelings brewing within him. But at the insistent gesturing encompassed within the encouragement of purple eyes, Cédric finally conceded, slowly picking up one of the pastries nudged his way. Taking a bite of it, it was sweeter than he preferred—but from the corner of his eye, he saw Jesse eating a treat from the same plate and couldn’t help but wonder if the other prince would taste even sweeter with the amount of sugar that routinely slipped through his lips on the daily.
And at the sight of Cédric’s actions that seemed to contradict his curt words, Jesse let out a small laugh, amethyst eyes squinting slightly in his amused mirth. Resonating like an unforgettable melody, the sound bounced off the walls of his chest and head in pulsating tangents, the sensation anything but unpleasant. It was breezy, light, tickling Cédric’s ears in a pleasant way like the caress of wind, a gentle touch without fingers, a sigh that befell him like an entrancing spell.
It occurred to him without any hesitance that he wouldn’t mind listening to this man’s voice for the restant of his days.
A flame both gentle and wild continued burning in his chest—yet in no way was it a hindrance.
(And so was spent the two princes’ evening in the gardens of Juliette Palace.)
In silence, not uncomfortable, but rather pleasant. So when the sun began to steadily disappear under the horizon of the trees, they parted cordially after leaving the table to the attendants to clear everything up.
“I’ll escort you back.”
As if wanting to say there was no need, Jesse questionably raised his brows, though Cédric appeared resolute and his tone left no room for opposition. He needn’t even wait for Jesse to follow behind him when he started walking, and predictably, Jesse wasted no time in speeding up his smaller steps to follow with Demy securely curled up in his arms in a comfortable hold, no doubt lulled to drowsiness by the prince’s comforting warmth.
In silence did their walk ensue. Jesse was no longer engulfed by the warm haze of sunset from a few hours ago, but rather finely lit by the reflecting shine of the moon. Golden hair appeared brilliant and pale skin seemed to glow—Cédric had to wonder if it was a coincidence that the skies were clear at this time past dusk, or if the stars themselves wanted to catch a glimpse of the Venetiaan prince’s beauty before them.
Cédric also had to wonder if it was reasonable to wish for the skies to close up, though he supposed he could forgive it when their lights made it possible for him to witness the other prince in this sensual glow, ethereal in the way it complimented the lighter colours his appearance was encased in.
Befitting of the title the nobles greeted him with, Jesse truly was like a moon amongst stars.
“Goodnight, Crown Prince-nim,” Jesse’s voice rang softly in the hallways. With how quiet he made himself sound, as if subconsciously not wanting to disturb the silence of the night, Jesse’s voice was lowered into a low hush, the timber gentle despite their surroundings being void of anything to awaken or disturb. Even the few guards that had been stationed had decisively stepped further away, more than aware to not intrude on the two princes on their night stroll, so with the distance between them, even if he hadn’t quieted himself, they wouldn’t be able to fully hear.
“Thank you for inviting me for tea today.”
The grin sent his way, lit by the moon and the nearest torches, made Cédric want to stay longer. Lured, drawn, pulled in—its strength so formidable for something so demurely small.
“You enjoyed yourself.” A statement, rather than a question.
And at his confidence, Jesse let out a chuckle that was both amused and exasperated, and the sound only served to solidify Cédric’s will to remain grounded where he was.
“It was pleasant,” he confirmed with a nod.
“Good. You’ll join me again soon.”
“Wh—” It was with a surprised laugh that Jesse looked up at him with incredulity, almost as if he was taken aback and stunned by Cédric’s sudden words. “Ah- Well, if you insist?”
“I do insist.”
The increasing number of demands felt oddly reminiscent in a way, with how much they reminded Jesse of the young mosquito who frequently came and went at will and demanded aether like a pig.
It was with a twinge of joy that he watched as Jesse huffed out yet another chuckle, no doubt finding increasing amusement in his behaviour. If this was what it took to make the other man laugh, Cédric wouldn’t mind acting all the more petulant—but he knew there were limits to how childish he could be before Jesse snapped and sacked the children on him for being annoying.
Hearing his laughter was soothing… serene.
… He wanted to hear more.
“… Ah, um- Prince-nim?”
It is upon hearing Jesse’s voice come out in a confused murmur that Cédric snapped out of his daze, realizing only then that his hand had reached up to curl around the other prince’s neck. Thumb pressed under his jaw, Cédric could feel the way Jesse’s pulse had jumped and sped up, thrumming under his finger at a rhythmic pace.
Humming, he let his finger caress over it, watching as Jesse’s lashes fluttered over his amethyst irises that darted around, looking everywhere but at his face. A shade of punk dust covered his face, darkening with every passing second spent in silence, and Cédric reveled in the way the skin underneath his gloved hand warmed up to match his own bodily heat.
The evening sky was getting darker.
… Cédric wanted to see those eyes again. To see them on him.
Just once more, before they parted for the night.
An ungodly stutter slipped out of Jesse’s stated mouth as his head was lifted—an act that was in no way aggressive, of course, but if one were to compare their strengths, even the slightest push from Cédric would probably be stronger than any punch Jesse could throw.
And finally, Cédric could clearly see those lovely pools of lavender. It was way too dark by now, even with the faint sources of light coming from the lit torches a little further away, so Cédric had no choice but to bring their faces closer together in order to properly see. Slowly pulling the other prince towards him with his palm on the back of the other’s neck, he felt the pulse beneath his finger thrum rapidly once again as a startled gaze widened at the sudden proximity—a spotlight he wanted to monopolize for himself.
Jesse was starting to struggle a bit in his fluster, so Cédric decided it fit to place his other hand on the man’s waist to secure him in place. It was with a jolt that Jesse stopped squirming, eyes wide with swarming questions, head no doubt flying into a frenzy at the new development.
Cédric took in the sight of the Venetiaan prince in his arms, pulled towards him and rendered speechless, lit by both the faint glow of the distant moon and the contrasting warm sheen of the torches beside them. As opposed to the black outfit he wore, Jesse’s contrasting white robes reflected them all, to the extent where embracing him felt akin to holding both the sun and moon at once, a vibrant light he wanted to whisk away and keep for his eyes alone.
Had Demy not been there, curled up in Jesse’s arms and preventing their chests from touching, Cédric didn’t doubt he would’ve pulled the man even closer.
He felt Jesse’s breath hitch at their close proximity when Cédric finally spoke up, words fanning over the other’s lips in a low hush.
“I am lacking aether.”
Pressing his palm a little more firmly against the back of Jesse’s neck, Cédric pulled the aether out of the other prince without much resistance on the latter’s part, no doubt so terribly taken aback he couldn’t find it on himself to refuse the words he appeared to not have even registered yet. But even so, Cédric could only remember rare few instances where he had been deprived of Jesse—always so kind and willing to give—and even now it was no different.
And watching the splash of red darken and crawl up to Jesse’s face was satisfying. Almost as much as the soothing sensation given by the aether now flowing within him, warm like the sweetest of honey.
It was a nice parting gift for the night. One that Cédric would be sure to cherish.
“I’ll be heading back now,” Cédric nodded, letting his hands fall as he stepped back, widening the distance between them once again.
Cédric felt the corners of his lips twitch up. With how Jesse’s face twisted, he didn’t doubt the man saw it appear on his face, no matter how minuscule.
“What did you do today that made you lacking in aether?? We were having tea this whole time!”
It didn’t take long for Cédric to disappear around the corner. Jesse would’ve chased after him, but with Demy fast asleep in his arms, there was no way he could ask for the divine beast to capture Cédric nor could he chase after him.
And so, back in Romero Palace Cédric soon found himself, alone as he was cloaked in the remaining chill of the evening air—though despite that all, not once did he feel cold.
A burn continued to swarm in his chest, and its appearance was a gradual thing, really, as much as it was sudden.
Pressing his lips to his palm where a comforting heat still lingered, imagining the taste of sugar-coated lips… Cédric decided it wouldn’t hurt to let it consume him.
(On the other hand, all the way back at Juliette Palace, a dumbfounded Jesse could only helplessly stare at the empty space left behind, the back of his neck feeling oddly cold without the warm hand that had been there a few moments prior.
With a tremble, he felt the heat finally burst from both his heart and head, and cried out in the injustice:
“That aether pig!!”)