The Centurion Cycle Book Five: Of Shadow and Fire

Chapter Twenty~Five: Angels Entwined

Waking up, with a start Jason was half surprised to find he not alone as so often happened back home. Instead, he felt a pair of warm arms around him. Looking up he saw James' pale glowing face looking down at him with concern. "Another nightmare?" the Duke whispered.

"It was nothing," Jason whispered back, not wishing to wake Kyle.

"Do not think to lie to me King of Qul Tos. You almost leapt out of the bed for a moment. You should also be careful around me. What is in your heart is not as well hidden as you might think."

"Good, I am tired of hiding," Jason sighed as he sank deeper into James' embrace.

"Do you regret your choice?" James asked after a long silence.

"What do you mean?"

"Picking Philip to be your demon."

"No... if not him there would have been no one."

"But he has hurt you."

"No."

"Yet every time you say his name a pained look grows on your face."

"You aren't angry with him. By all rights, you should be. He is your Demon after all. His place should be at your side."

"I cannot force him to forgive his brother and Alex has done horrible things."

"Yet you forgive him."

"I never had the need to. Regardless of what Alex has done he is and will ever remain my friend."

"You love him."

"Yes."

"Does he love you?"

"Too much," Jason sighed.

"How can someone love you too much?" James chuckled softly.

"Can't love lead to despair."

"Are you asking will I despair when Kyle goes into his deep sleep then yes I understand what you are trying to say. If Alex loved you so much how did he not end up being the one?"

"It wouldn't have worked. He loved me more than I was capable of loving him. I love Philip but I do love others, something Alex would have never tolerated as my Demon."

"The jealous type," James laughed. "Kyle can be the same way. As his body suggests he tends to be very insecure about his place in my life."

"He shouldn't."

"I don't mind. I like that Kyle feels he needs me. Dealing with his fears is a simple task. I wish all things were as easy."

"He doesn't feel jealous toward me does he?"

"Does he have reason to be? Trust me, Jason, he is enjoying your company immensely. After all how many Demons do you know who gets to have two angels dote on him?"

"And you your grace?"

"I suspected something was missing from my life. Until you entered it I didn't know what that something was."

"And what was that?"

"An equal," James chuckled.

"But you're many years older than me."

"Given how long the two of us will live does age really matter between us. You are the King of Qul Tos. It is I who should feel intimidated by you."

"But you don't."

"Only because you don't act like some arrogant ruler."

"Neither do you."

"Thank you. I was once an admiral so sometimes I give orders to people I shouldn't. I hope I never attempt to do that with you."

"What is it you want James?"

"Let me say it's not just me but Kyle as well. If things happen as you've foreseen Domus will be your home for some time. I hope you won't mind us visiting you from time to time."

"I would greatly like that," Jason smiled.

"There is more involved of course. Will, that cause problems between you and Philip?"

"Philip will be more than eager to have you two in his bed."

"That is the problem. I have no wish for him in mine."

"You haven't even met Philip."

"But I do know my Kyle. While he eagerly looks forward to meeting your Philip, it would be a mistake for me to ever hint at loving him."

"Because that would make Kyle jealous?"

"Insanely jealous," James agreed. "Give your physical description of Philip Kyle is sure to feel inadequate next to your Demon."

"Well I must agree," Jason said rolling on top of James. "I don't think I would like to see you in Philip's arms either."

"Then you won't protest too much when I frown when you are in your Demon's arms."

"You jealous of Philip?" Jason laughed.

"Spend much more time with me and I might never let you go," James said holding Jason tightly to him. "By the Mother, I must be going mad."

"Insanely happy?" Jason asked.

"Maybe," James laughed as he rolled both of them right into Kyle.

"So early in the morning?" The demon yawned.

"Would you rather go back to sleep?" James asked.

"Of course not," Kyle laughed finding himself happily stuck in the middle between the two.

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Riding on horseback up the road from Aquanos leading to the Imperial Capital Jason found himself sandwiched between James and Kyle the two men constantly giving him mischievous looks. "You two are awful," he declared after Kyle had slapped him on the back with his tail one time too many. Urging his horse forward he joined the ranks of the Sithian army King Samuel and Louis at its head.

"Glad you decided to join us," Samuel laughed.

"Please... there is only so much I can tolerate from those love birds," Jason smirked.

"They do act like the perfect couple, don't they," Louis smirked.

"Kyle was James' personal aid for many years before becoming his lover," Jason explained.

"I'm sure they don't mind having you to spice up their bed," Samuel added.

"I've never been with another Angel before," Jason blushed.

"And how is it?" Louis asked curiously.

"It's different. I've don't know when I've met a pair who so loved telling jokes in bed."

"And foreplay?" Samuel asked.

"They have their little games," Jason said blushing deeper.

"Nothing you would be afraid of telling Philip about?"

"Knowing Philip he will try to make Kyle his pet."

"What about James... do you think your prince consort needs a spare Angel?" Louis joked.

"No, I can't picture the two of them becoming lovers. They both like being in control too much."

"So what about you and James?" Samuel asked.

"It's good to know there is someone like me I can talk to."

"And sleep with," Louis laughed.

"I have not been that bad," Jason insisted.

"Tell that to Geoff. He can tell long stories about what he has heard outside the duke's bedroom door."

"All right so things tend to get a little rowdy."

"I would say breaking the bed a half dozen times qualifies," Samuel winked.

"We didn't break the bed. We just moved it around a lot."

"While you all were still on it," Louis grinned.

"Have you made fun of me enough or should I just leave now?"

"No Jason... we only jest," Samuel said grabbing hold of the reins of Jason's horse. "We are glad to find you in a better mood, however."

"I do feel happier." Jason nodded, "Though I don't know what to do about James."

"Why what's the matter?" Louis said.

"I think he wants to bond to me."

"So?"

"I don't know what that will cause."

"You didn't know what it would do to me," Louis said rubbing the short stub of red hair on his scalp.

"I know but I had no choice with you."

"Do you want James' bond?" Samuel asked.

"I do not know. A part of me is very curious to experience what I give to others for myself. Another part of me is too afraid the experience will change too many things about me."

"Well, there's no rush, unless you wish to get it done before we are all slaughtered," Samuel chuckled.

"Have you no faith," Louis scolded his brother.

"You're the Arch-Priest if I remember, not me. Having faith is not something I'm required to have as King."

"Do you have no trust?"

"Oh, I do trust Jason, there's no question about that. I trust he will try his best to convince Armageddon to turn sides and when he fails, I hope Jason trusts that I will come to his rescue," Samuel grinned.

"If I fail with Alex, we will all be in need of rescue."

"What I don't understand is why you didn't bring along a few legions of your Centurions," Louis replied.

"Because I know the kind of army we are facing. We're not going up against trained soldiers but men-children who are more animal than human. If faced against an army of Centurions, these anima addicts would go into an insane feeding frenzy. It wouldn't be a battle but butchery."

"Yet you think my men will stand a chance."

"Your men have no anima. It is my guess that Xavier's devil children will feel less motivated to fight if anima isn't at stake."

"That is a big gamble," Samuel complained.

"You will just have to trust that I'm right," Jason said his eyes darting up into the sky. "Oh no, he's found me too soon," He whispered covering his head with the hood of his cloak.

"What do you mean?" Samuel asked looking at the dark figure flying towards them from the north. "Is that another Saint?"

"No," Jason said sheepishly.

"Oh, I see," Louis laughed. "Philip has finally tracked your down."

"Please don't say that so loud," Jason pleaded.

"Do you think you can really hide from him?" Louis asked with an amused grin as the figure grew closer.

"Maybe for a few more minutes," Jason replied has he hunched over his horse.

"Are you embarrassed by us?" Samuel asked. "Took on too many lovers while away from your husband?"

"No, actually the fact that I have three new Saints will please him greatly. He will want to take each of you in turn... maybe even all at once," Jason replied in a low voice.

"All at once?" Louis chuckled looking at his brother.

"Don't look at me like that," Samuel winced as they both suddenly flinched on hearing a gigantic roar as the obsidian demon landing in front of their army.

"Jason!" Philip bellowed in a commanding voice.

"Don't expect us to hide you," Samuel said as he and Louis drew their horses to the side of the road leaving Jason standing alone on his horse in the middle.

"Jason," Philip said in a chiding voice as he walked towards his lover, his feet kept wide apart.

"Hello Philip," Jason whispered, peeking out of his hood.


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