Konstantin checked the map he had acquired upon coming to this land, wanting to make sure he was still going in the right direction. He had come here looking for new stones, stones he had never seen before. A merchant passing through Protea during one of the festivals he attended with his family had marveled at his work and had traded information for a necklace. Now he was here, far across the sea and from home. He couldnâ€™t wait to return and show his parents and siblings. The merchant had told him the story of a tower deep in the jungles of this place, had said it was rumored to be cursed, but there was supposedly a cavern beneath it full of the most beautiful stones. He was determined to find it.
Dejen stared out at the world from the top of the tower, at the beautiful jungle, at its promise of freedom and once again felt the pain of never again setting foot there. He was a prisoner here. He reached up and touched the collar around his neck, feeling the magic there that kept him just out of reach of the wilds. There was a barrier there and he had only tried crossing it once, but the collar had put him in such agonizing pain, that he had nearly died. It had been centuries of punishment and he knew it would be many more.
So many mortals envied immortals like him but this was one of those situations it was more of a curse. A mortal would die and be freed of such torture eventually, he however, was truly stuck here for eternity, left to suffer even though he hadnâ€™t actually done anything wrong. Time had long since been something he had lost track of and he wondered at times precisely how long he had been suffering like this. He knew boredom and depression could play tricks on the mind as far as time so even though he could clearly see the days coming and going he knew he couldnâ€™t be sure. For all he knew the cohorts of the corrupt, cruel official he killed could be long gone and could have possibly long since even forgot they were doing this to him.
That or they joked about it, still getting joy over his wrongful misery. He closed his eyes and decided to find some peace again. He pictured himself as the beast within him. He reached into a memory of running through lush green grass on a warm, perfect day. His paws repeatedly hitting the ground as the wind rushed across his face. He would give anything to be able to run like that again.
A new scent pulled him out of that memory and he could tell his cat within didnâ€™t like being back in reality. â€śa demonâ€ť he whispered to himself. He liked to say things out loud sometimes, just to prove to himself he could still talk. Besides, if someone did care to ever help him he had always wanted his voice to still be clear, not rough from lack of use. He wasnâ€™t the first being to pass him by, non ever wanted to help but he tried as he always did. He had to try or truly have to live this misery until the end of time.
Konstantin could feel the stones calling out to him as he tuned into the earth beneath him and pushed through the jungle overgrowth. He reached up and wiped at his face. It was much more humid here, so sweat dotted his skin even though he wasnâ€™t even working that hard. He had been warned that the weather here had a mind of its own, that it would start raining at the most inopportune moments. At least it was warm, so he wouldnâ€™t mind a little rain. He spotted the tip of the tower as he crested a hill and smiled. He was almost there and he couldnâ€™t wait to see the stones. He couldnâ€™t wait to make something for his parents and siblings. He had something special in mind for his twin baby brothers.
He felt something tingle over his skin when he finally made it to the tower and he quickly jumped back. Magic, there was a magical barrier here. His father had taught him and his brother to always be wary around unknown magic and even though he wanted to find those stones, he refused to go running headlong into potential danger. He held out his hand as he walked along the perimeter, feeling the spell. He let his sense expand out and the scent of feline filled his nose, but he ignored it. He had been told that big cats stalked the area and they werenâ€™t something he was truly worried about.
Dejen spotted him as he came around to the side of the tower he was on. Even from where he was, he could tell the man was concentrating. Was he feeling out the barrier? If so, Dejen needed to tell him it wouldnâ€™t hurt him, that it was made for only one person. He hopped up on the edge of the tower and jumped off, trusting the cat to help him land. Him landing caught the demonâ€™s attention and he shifted into a fighting stance, his eyes immediately locking with Dejenâ€™s.
â€śI do not want to fight you demon. Iâ€™m hoping youâ€™ll listen to me, please. My name is Dejen, did you know Iâ€™d be here?â€ť Konstantin relaxed only a little â€śI was looking for stones. Iâ€™m told they are underneath this tower in a cave. Whatâ€™s this magic Iâ€™m sensing?â€ť
â€śItâ€™s meant to cage me, it wont hurt youâ€ť
â€śwhy would you be caged?â€ť
â€śDo you want the true story first or the one everyone is told?â€ť
â€śYour truth firstâ€ť
â€śI watched a city grow into a magnificent, wonderful place. The people respected me and I respected them. I took care of them and they took care of me until this one, terrible official came along. He was in the slave trade and I killed him for his crimes, to protect the people I had always protected but the trust I thought I had with them wasnâ€™t as strong as I thought. Before I could shine light on who that man really was accused of cold blooded murder, beaten and caged in this tower. His cohorts destroyed what evidence there was so my story canâ€™t be proven. I donâ€™t even know how long ago that was, Iâ€™ve just been left to suffer for eternity since Iâ€™m immortalâ€ť
Dejen had been studying this man throughout his story, looking for the smallest sign of deception but he couldnâ€™t find any. He still couldnâ€™t know for certain this man was telling the truth but what he did know for sure was this all had to have happened generations ago. There was no city here any longer, it was but ruin and the story of him was now a ghost story, simply a lone tower in the woods, haunted. Konstantin told Dejen this, that there was no city and all anybody knew of his prison was that it was haunted.
â€śItâ€™s really been that long?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, you seem innocent. My family is pretty skilled at reading people and I could see no deceptionâ€ť
â€śIâ€¦I canâ€™t believe it.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, I canâ€™t imagine.â€ť Konstantin took a step forward. â€śThe barrier really wonâ€™t hurt me?â€ť
â€śI swear, itâ€™s meant only for me.â€ť He touched his collar. â€śItâ€™s connected to this so I canâ€™t leave. If I try, the collar hurts me.â€ť
â€śHow cruel.â€ť Konstantin stepped through the barrier and smiled at Dejen as he moved closer and held out his hand. â€śMy name is Konstantin.â€ť
Dejen actually froze. Now that Konstantin wasnâ€™t standing so far away, he could actually see how beautiful he was. It was almost shocking. He blinked, shaking his head. â€śSorry.â€ť He shook Konstantinâ€™s hand. â€śItâ€™s nice to meet you.â€ť
â€śYou as well and Iâ€™m used to the stares, donâ€™t worry about it.â€ť
â€śMaybe itâ€™s just the fact I havenâ€™t had anyone to talk to or look at for a really long time.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t mind.â€ť His smile had one tugging at Dejenâ€™s lips. How long had it been since he had actually had cause to smile or even laugh? â€śIf itâ€™s not too much to ask, would you mind if I stayed here with you? I want to look for my stones, but maybe I can help you.â€ť
â€śHelp me? How?â€ť
â€śMy father taught my brother and I many things, maybe I could work on breaking the spell keeping you here.â€ť
â€śYou would do that? You donâ€™t even know me.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll be here for awhile, so weâ€™ll have plenty of time to get to know each other.â€ť
Dejens heart swelled with both pain and joy from the truth of how much time he had spent imprisoned and the joy of finally having someone want to help that actually, possibly could. â€śThank you Konstantinâ€ť
â€śHey, donâ€™t even feel like you owe me anything alright. Iâ€™m going to get something too. I enjoy a challenge and on top of that I should find incredibly beautiful stones. Lets start with going into your tower so I can get a good look at your collar. It might take awhile for me even to get a good idea so youâ€™ll want to sitâ€ť Dejen showed Konstantin in and they settled where he most often sat â€ścould we talk or do you need silence?â€ť Dejen asked, he has missed conversation immensely and he wanted to know more about this demon who would help him.
â€śtalking wont be too distracting. If I need silence a few moments Iâ€™ll just tell youâ€ť
â€śdid you have to travel far to get here?â€ť
â€śOh yes but no distance is too far for me when I want somethingâ€ť
â€śDoes determination like that run in your family?â€ť
â€śOh yeah, from both sidesâ€ť He answered with a chuckle then continued â€śMy mom can be a little timid but she definitely has drive in her and my dad was thought to be a god by some beings for awhileâ€ť
â€śThey were good parents?â€ť
â€śyeah, in my family if you arenâ€™t someones going to come kick your ass though my dads and my great grandpa Chthons are pretty hard to kick but then again, they are the two main ones in our family who started making their lineage kind and lovingâ€ť He didnâ€™t even know which story thread to follow. There seemed to be so much to talk about and it was a little overwhelming. Konstantin thought briefly to ask about Dejens family but they couldnâ€™t have been close for him to end up alone here, suffering all these years. He knew his family wouldnâ€™t have stodd for this. That city would of basically had a horde of beings here setting them straight.
After a few moments of silence Dejen went with â€śhas anybody in your family ever had to be set straight when it came to parenting?â€ť
â€śMy Uncle Zeus, he was married to my Aunt Lucy. Sheâ€™s my grandpas sister. He wasnâ€™t abusive or anything but he neglected his children and made them feel unloved, by him at least. In his first life Zeus didnâ€™t care about anybody except my Aunt Lucy. They knew their mother loved them immensely. He had a pretty rough childhood himself though. His dad actually was abusive, probably one of the most rotten kings this family has ever met. He killed many of his wives and only wanted Zeus because he was a male heir. Godâ€¦his poor mother. She had manyâ€¦many daughters before Zeus and she had to listen to their deaths every time they were bornâ€¦just to give you some context to the kind of home Zeus was raised in.â€ť
â€śHow was his mother after all that and did you say in his first life?â€ť
â€śHis mother was just a silent shell. I hear she was incredibly heart breaking to look at but sheâ€™s happy now. Sheâ€™s married to a water spirit named Neme now who adores her and gives her all the love and care she should of had in her first marriage. Heâ€™s even given her two daughters, Shri and Suka, they are amazing womenâ€ť
â€śGood, Iâ€™m so glad she got a happy endingâ€ť
â€śUs too, oh when my great grandpa found out how Zeus;s mom was treated he was livid and he made sure Zeus knew his daughter would never be treated that way but I dont think there was ever any danger of that. I mean you can say what you want about Zeus Delmar but you canâ€™t deny how deeply he loves Aunt Lucy even after I tell you the story of how his first life endedâ€ť Dejen listened intently, actually tearing up when Konstantin was reaching the end â€śeventually Zeus lost out completely to the drugs. He killed his father first, then he killed Lucyâ€™s brother Noah because he tried to protect her then finallyâ€¦he killed Lucy, his father had pumped so many drugs into his he was absolutely mad, he shouldnt have even been able to regain his mind. Most would have been broken forever but his love for her woke him upâ€¦thoughâ€¦it was too late. He couldnâ€™t live with what he had done so he apologized to her then took his own lifeâ€ť
â€śThatâ€™s so heartbreaking.â€ť
Konstantin paused and gave Dejen a smile as he reached up and wiped at the tears on his face. â€śItâ€™s alright, everything turned out good in the end.â€ť
â€śI know, I canâ€™t even begin to imagine how he must have felt.â€ť
â€śYou have a really big heart, you wouldnâ€™t have watched over an entire city otherwise.â€ť He sighed. â€śAnd this collar is going to be more complicated than I anticipated.â€ť
â€śOh, I see.â€ť
â€śDonâ€™t worry, Iâ€™ll get it off, I promise. I wonâ€™t leave this place until youâ€™re free.â€ť
â€śI feel like Iâ€™m troubling you.â€ť
â€śNot at all, Iâ€™m already enjoying your company.â€ť He studied Dejen and the jaguarâ€™s heart jumped, the cat within perking up. â€śDid your tattoos hurt?â€ť
â€śHuh? Oh, no, not really.â€ť He pushed up the sleeve of his shirt. â€śA lot of my kind, at least back then, got them.â€ť
â€śTheyâ€™re beautiful.â€ť Dejen smiled. â€śThere we go, thatâ€™s better, I prefer you smiling to crying or being upset.â€ť
â€śYour family has quite the historyâ€ť
â€śThats not even the tip of the ice berg. I can think of happier stories though.â€ť
â€śwell as long as they end happyâ€ť
â€śHes an amazing father now and we also brought Lucy back to life so their lives are perfect. I mean, if you want to I can introduce you to everyone one day. Weâ€™re all pretty close to one another. We can just house hopâ€ť
â€śYouâ€™re that sure you can get me freeâ€¦youâ€™re making plansâ€ť
â€śOne way or another youâ€™re getting out of here. Even if I end up having to go get my dadâ€ť
â€śItâ€™ll be so nice to finally be freeâ€¦to run like I used toâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m sorry, anybody would suffer like this but I know itâ€™s even harder for an animal shifter to go through what youâ€™ve been going through.â€ť Dejen heard Konstantins stomach growl â€śYouâ€™re hungry, why donâ€™t you go find food.â€ť
â€śwhat do you normally eat?â€ť
â€śJust anything that gets close enough normallyâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll go find something incredible then, you deserve a good meal and I can at least give that to you nowâ€ť
â€śJust be careful, I know youâ€™re a demon, but there are more than a few predators out there.â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll be safe, just try and relax.â€ť
Dejen could feel his jaguars irritation at Konstantin leaving and he shook his head. He had been alone for so long that it was effecting the cat. He decided while Konstantin was gone to make sure everything was picked up and the sheets on his bed were changed. He had been lucky the tower at least had a well, so he could wash things and even luckier that it rained all the time in the jungle, so it never dried up. He would give his guest his bed and hoped he wouldnâ€™t make too much of a fuss over it.
Konstantin stalked the boar, moving quietly the way his father had taught him. He waited for the creature to turn around and then he was on it and killing it. He lifted it, slinging it over his shoulders and started back to the tower. He allowed his thoughts to drift to Dejen and the collar around his neck, about the magic he had felt on it. The spell was old, the magic powerful. It hadnâ€™t worn off in all the time it had been around Dejenâ€™s neck. He couldnâ€™t believe he hadnâ€™t gone insane from being alone. He found that he wanted the jaguar to be happy, he wanted to see him smile again, to give him a new home.
Dejen was trying to get the bed perfect when Konstantins scent returned. His mouth almost instantly watered when he realized what he was carrying was boar. It had been such a long time since he had something that good. Even though Konstantin had been the one to do the hunting he insisted on preparing it for them â€śI just want to let you try a recipe my parents taught meâ€ť
â€śyour father cooks too?â€ť
â€śhe was alone a long time and most the time he and mom cook together. They just love being together that muchâ€ť
â€śdo you want to tell me more about your family Konstantin? Itâ€™s so nice having conversation with someone againâ€ť
â€śsure, who would you like to know more aboutâ€ť
â€śHowâ€™d your parents meet?â€ť
â€śAurel came to visit Chthon and fell in love with my mom. Aurel and Chthon had been friends when they were young. He says he knew the moment he laid eyes on her. It was hard to get my mom to come around because of how intensely shy she used to be but dad says it was worth every bit of patience and effortâ€¦I want to find the kind of love they hadâ€¦I just keep reminding myself of how old my dad was when he finally found momâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m sure you will, youâ€™re incredibly kind and beautifulâ€ť
â€śThank you, Iâ€™m surprised you were single when this happened to youâ€ť his jaguar purred which made him blush. He internally told his cat to stop that. â€śprotecting the city took all my timeâ€ť
â€śWell, once I get you out of here, youâ€™re going to meet all sorts of people. My parents, siblings, and I travel to Protea every year for a huge festival they put on there. Protea is where my father grew up and itâ€™s beautiful.â€ť
â€śI havenâ€™t been to a festival in a long time.â€ť
â€śI sell my jewelry there, you could help me if you like.â€ť
â€śIs that why you want the stones?â€ť
Konstantin nodded. â€śI was told they are extraordinary.â€ť
â€śI can show you after dinner.â€ť
Konstantinâ€™s smile had the jaguar urging Dejen closer, but he stayed planted, holding the animal back. â€śI would really like that, thank you.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s the least I can do, youâ€™re doing so much for me.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d do it anyway.â€ť
Konstantin soon had the tower filled with the delicious smell of whatever he was cooking and Dejenâ€™s stomach growled. He hadnâ€™t realized how truly hungry he was. Konstantin chuckled when he leaned in closer to get a better smell and let Dejen taste a little bit of it. â€śThatâ€™s amazing.â€ť
â€śDoes it need anymore salt or anything?â€ť
â€śNo, itâ€™s perfect.â€ť
Once they were truly eating together it was all Dejen could do to keep any semblance of composure. He didnâ€™t want to embarrass himself by eating like a hog or small child who hadnâ€™t learned anything about manners yet. Konstantin found himself feeling almost blissful in the moment. It was almost surprising how much happiness it brought him to make this jaguar happy. It was obvious how much he appreciated and needed a good meal like this. Dejen made a conscious effort not to over stuff himself, he needed to be a guide. All it took was reminding himself this wouldnâ€™t be the last time he ate something that tasted this good.
â€śYou ready to go see the stones?â€ť
â€śyou have to be stuffed, we can wait a bitâ€ť
â€śIâ€™m fine, I want you to see themâ€ť
â€śalright, Iâ€™ll just get these left overs put away then.â€ť Dejen helped and soon they were headed for the cavern. It had been awhile since Dejen had stepped foot or paw in it. The wide open spaces of the jungle had been what he was craving. â€śI know most demons can see in the dark but of course not all. Do we need to figure out a light source for you Konstantin?â€ť
â€śIâ€™ll be able to seeâ€ť
â€śWatch your footing, sometimes the rocks get slick in places.â€ť
â€śYou can hold my hand if itâ€™ll make you worry less.â€ť
â€śI apologize, I would just hate for you to be hurt.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t mind.â€ť He took Dejenâ€™s hand. â€śLead the way.â€ť
Dejenâ€™s heart sounded overly loud in the silence of the cavern and he glanced at Konstantin, knowing he had to hear it. The jaguar grumbled in irritation at his inaction, but Dejen refused to follow his animal instincts. He feared it was simply loneliness driving the beast.
â€śThis place is amazing.â€ť Konstantin said, eyes marveling at the stones and crystals he was able to see.
â€śThere are many buried here too.â€ť
â€śI know, I can feel them.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s my gift.â€ť
â€śIâ€™m glad you like it.â€ť
â€śI love it, I could spend forever here.â€ť
â€śThen at least I know youâ€™ll truly be happy here even if it takes a long time to set me freeâ€ť This cave turned out to be everything Konstantin had been hoping for. He spent this first evening just marveling at the beauty surrounding him. He was also just trying to get a good idea of which ones he was taking home since he couldnâ€™t take everything this cave held. There were however a few he had to collect right now since he knew without a doubt theyâ€™d be coming home with him.
They took them back to Konstantins bag and they looked even more gorgeous in the light of the. The first one he had picked up had dark blue crystals in the center with a snow white circle surrounding it. It went on this way though the shades of blue and white changed. The second one was almost a neon pink with canary yellow. The rest were different opals and he put them all safely into a container.
â€śYouâ€™re really amazing at that.â€ť Dejen said as they got ready for bed.
â€śYouâ€™ll have to come out with me every time then when I take you home.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d really like that.â€ť
â€śYou should also pick out a stone you like so I can make you something out of it.â€ť
â€śYou donâ€™t have to do that.â€ť
â€śI know, but I want to.â€ť He looked around the towerâ€™s room. â€śAre you sure you want me to take the bed?â€ť
â€śYeah, youâ€™re my guest, so please.â€ť
â€śAlright, but if you get uncomfortable, you can lay with me, Iâ€™m sure I can make some room.â€ť
â€śI will and if you need anything, let me know and Iâ€™ll try to make you more comfortable.â€ť
Konstantin smiled and couldnâ€™t help but to reach out and take Dejenâ€™s hand. He could hear the catâ€™s heart thumping in his chest. Was he nervous? He didnâ€™t blame him, after being alone for so long he was probably unsure of the contact. â€śTomorrow, weâ€™ll get back to working on your collar, so try and rest.â€ť
â€śI will thank you.â€ť Dejen laid down on the bed he had made on the floor while Konstantin settled into bed. The demon was soon sleeping, but Dejen himself couldnâ€™t fall asleep. The jaguar was even more restless than usual, wanting Dejen close to Konstantin, wanting to rub up against him and mark him. He wound up getting up, moving as silently as possible so as not to disturb Konstantin, and heading to the top of the tower. The tower was already filled with his guestâ€™s scent and he thought maybe a little fresh air would help.
Dejen gazed up at the sky, taking a few deep intakes of air and pushing the air back out at first before breathing normally. The sky was as gorgeous as it had always been but while it offered some distraction his cat still urged him closer to Konstantin. It crossed his mind the demon had said he was welcome to share the bed but he wasnâ€™t sure it was a good idea to give in at all. They hadnâ€™t known eachother twenty four hours yet and Dejen knew the Jaguar may become more persistent. It was probably best to leave more room for loss of willpower so heâ€™d save actually joining him in bed at night until he absolutely couldnâ€™t fight it any longer.
Konstantin woke the next day alone, with Dejen nowhere in sight. He got up, feeling concerned that something had happened to him until he heard the sound of someone moving around above him. He moved over to the tower window and started to poke his head out when Dejen came swinging down. â€śGood morning.â€ť Konstantin said with a laugh. The look of shock on Dejenâ€™s face was far too adorable, almost like he had been caught stealing. The fact that he was just frozen there only added to it.
â€śGood morning, sorry.â€ť
â€śWhat were you doing?â€ť
â€śComing back inside.â€ť
Konstantin nodded and moved back so Dejen could slip through the window. The jaguar looked embarrassed as he straightened his shirt and adjusted the collar around his neck. â€śWhat were you doing outside?â€ť
â€śI fell asleep on the roof last night.â€ť
Konstantin moved closer his hands taking Dejenâ€™s face in his hands as he looked him over. â€śIs everything alright?â€ť
â€śUhâ€¦â€ť his heart leaped, â€śyeah, I justâ€¦I couldnâ€™t sleep so I went outside and I guess I fell asleep.â€ť
Konstantin frowned. â€śWhy didnâ€™t you wake me?â€ť
â€śYou were sleeping.â€ť And the jaguar was far too interested. He thought to himself. â€śI didnâ€™t want to be rude.â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t really need a lot of sleep. I mean of course after awhile it catches up but Iâ€™m enjoying getting to know you. It would have made me happy to spend more time with youâ€ť
‘alrightâ€¦Iâ€™ll remember that next time”
â€śNow that Iâ€™m well rested let me get another look at that collarâ€ť Dejen and Konstantin sat down together and Konstantin began messing with it again. After awhile Konstantin stated â€śIâ€™m starting to think theyâ€™ve put something inside this collar but itâ€™s made out of an incredibly strong substance and I dont want to harm youâ€ť
â€śI can take any pain I need toâ€ť
â€śthis things attached to your neck Dejen. Let me look and mess with it some more before we make any final decisions. I really am shocked at how sophisticated this thing isâ€ť
â€śI just cant imagine beings wanting you to suffer for eternity THIS badly. They wanted to be sure youâ€™d truly be stuck for eternityâ€ť
I just want it off, I want to be free, even if it hurts.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s okay,â€ť Konstantin hated the look on his face and gently caressed his cheek, â€śeverythingâ€™s going to be okay.â€ť
Dejen found himself leaning into Konstantinâ€™s touch. â€śI want to go home with you.â€ť
â€śI want that too.â€ť He pulled Dejen into a hug. â€śBut we need to be patient.â€ť
â€śBut what if you have to leave me to get help?â€ť Now that he had Konstantin, he wasnâ€™t sure how he would deal with being alone again.
â€śYou know I wouldnâ€™t want to.â€ť Dejen nodded and Konstantin pulled back to look at him. â€śI wonâ€™t abandon you, Dejen.â€ť
â€śI know, sorry.â€ť
â€śdonâ€™t be sorry, how you feel is completely understandable. I donâ€™t know how youâ€™re even sane. Nobody was made to be alone. Even people who prefer being alone, they do need people now and again. To me, youâ€™re doing amazing emotionally considering what youâ€™ve been suffering through.â€ť Dejen asked the question without thinking it over â€śthen would you understand if I needed you just to hug me a little while?â€ť Konstantin gave Dejen a gentle smile â€śyeah, Iâ€™d be happy to Dejenâ€ť He pulled the jaguar into his arms and held him in a tight embrace. When embarrassment finally took hold of Dejen he gently pushed out of Konstantins arms. â€śthank youâ€ť
Konstantin took his hands and gave them a squeeze. â€śYou never have to thank me. Even if it takes forever, Iâ€™m getting you out of here.â€ť
Konstantin spent a week trying to get the collar loose and in that time he found himself growing closer to Dejen. They spent the day visiting the cave, Konstantin finding stones Dejen had never seen before working on freeing him. At night, they spent time on the roof of the tower, Konstantin telling him stories of his homeland and his family, while Dejen added a couple of his own from before he was locked up. He enjoyed his time with him and when the cat finally crawled into bed with him, he couldnâ€™t help holding him. The fact Dejen snuggled into him despite his embarrassment made him smile.
Konstantin let out a sigh one morning while he was working on the collar and Dejen frowned. â€śItâ€™s bad isnâ€™t it?â€ť
â€śIâ€™ve tried everything I can think of except trying to forcefully open it.â€ť
â€śYou could try that.â€ť
Konstantinâ€™s hands framed Dejenâ€™s face and he let his thumbs brush his cheeks. â€śI donâ€™t want to hurt you.â€ť
â€śI know, but I trust you and I really want this thing off. Youâ€™ve been studying it and using spell after spell, constantly exhausting yourself, so please try. Itâ€™s not just about me anymore, itâ€™s about you too.â€ť
Konstantin looked the collar over. â€śLet me try something else. The collar is metal, but itâ€™s really just a natural ore thatâ€™s been altered. Maybe I could try tuning into its natural vibrations and break it. It may still hurt though.â€ť
â€śI can handle it.â€ť
Konstantin looked him in the eyes a few moments. It touched Dejen how worried Konstantin looked/ He was about to encourage him again but a look of determination replaced the concerned one and he began. It did become extremely uncomfortable but Dejen did his best not to show it atall so Konstantin wouldnâ€™t stop. He just closed his eyes and imagined how amazing it would be to run and now, how amazing it would be to travel with Konstantin, to meet his family. It almost felt like he was choking for a moment but even if that would have gone on for awhile he wouldnâ€™t have said anything.
However, he suddenly felt the collar falling to pieces and tumbling off of him. He almost didnâ€™t want to open his eyes, sometimes his imagination was just that powerful but the way Konstantin said Dejen he could tell this was real so he opened them and felt at his neck â€śI did itâ€¦â€ť Konstantin said and Dejens eyes dampened as he moved to hug him. When Dejen pulled back he asked â€śyou arenâ€™t tired are you?â€ť
â€śI wouldnâ€™t want to stay in this place another second either, lets goâ€ť
â€śare you sureâ€¦Iâ€™m so gratefulâ€ť
â€ślets go Dejen. I want to see you be able to leaveâ€ť Dejen got up â€ścould I just run a few moments and come right backâ€ť
â€śIâ€™ll run with you, Iâ€™m incredibly fast and Iâ€™m fine, I promise.â€ť Dejen hugged Konstantin again. Running was even more of a dream come true with him at his side. They both left the tower, Dejen shifting and Konstantin happily following at the jaguars side. Konstantin had honestly never felt happier about an accomplishment, not only because this man had been wrong but he had realized days ago he was falling in love with him and if he still could read beings correctly, Dejen loved him too.
It was almost right when they finally stopped that Dejen shifted back and kissed Konstantin. They were wrapped in it a few moments before Dejen jerked back, realizing what he was doing. He had been so wrapped in euphoria, his head just hadnâ€™t been clear. â€śiâ€™mâ€ť he started and Konstantin pulled him back into it, needing this as much as he did. They were soon rubbing and feeling one another until suddenly they were both naked, now not only hands traveling one another but their mouths licking and nibbling.
They made love right there and afterwards Konstantin said â€śI hope that means you love me tooâ€ť
â€śYes and Iâ€™l always feel this way. This isnâ€™t some rush from you freeing meâ€ť They fell asleep wrapped in one another, right there on the jungle floor. When Konstantin finally got his mate home he was eager to introduce him to his family and like the amazing group they were they accepted him instantly.
~ The End