It was still a little strange for Dwyn to be here with Alvar in his homeland. Even here at the castle, people were nice and incredibly accepting of him. Many of those who practiced magic had taken an interest in him and his lack of pain response. One had even asked to electrocute him and seemed astounded when he didn’t so much as flinch. “You don’t have to let them do that you know.” Alvar said as they walked along the river.
“Poke and prod you, you can tell them no and they’ll go away.”
Dwyn gave a gentle smile. “It doesn’t hurt so I’m not worried, it’s kind of fun seeing the looks on their faces.”
Alvar chuckled. “I’m proud of you for making friends.” His fingers slid through Dwyn’s and he tugged him closer. “Has anyone made you feel uncomfortable?”
“No, but I find that sometimes letting others touch me makes my stomach turn. It’s not their fault.”
“I’m sure they understand. Are you liking it here?”
“It’s nice, I’m just still in shock I guess. I’m not in that place anymore. I keep trying to find my place here, keep trying to find myself. I don’t really know who I am and I guess it bothers me now that I can actually think about it. I remember being raised in that brothel, but did I have parents, did they throw me away or was I taken. I can’t remember anything from before that time.” He sighed and Alvar pulled him to a stop, hugging him. “I guess I just want to know my past the more I move forward.”
“as a prince I’d probably be able to find that all out. You should have said somthing sooner. I didn’t know you had a desire to know your past. I’ll get focused right away on helping you”
“You have so many studies and duties already. I can’t have you doing this to”
“I want to. Your happiness means everything to me and you obviously need to know where you are from. I don’t mind. I’d love to know myself” Dwyn pulled back enough to pull his lover into a passionate kiss. The two men just stood there holding eachother and letting their tongues mingle. When they pulled back Alvar and Dwyn had stars dancing in their eyes. Every kiss still felt like their first.
The walk back to the castle had Alvar asking Dwyn for any details he could remember about his childhood. It was hard for Dwyn trying to conjure up any memories of a time before he was forced into slavery. “I think I remember a smell, like baking bread and spices.” Dwyn said as they passed through the castle door. “There were eyes.”
“Blue and soft.” He sighed. “That’s all I’ve got.”
“That’s okay, it’s a start. Just give yourself time.”
“It’s hard not knowing, I already feel like giving up.”
Alvar gave him a small nudge. “Don’t you dare because I’m going to see this through with you. I’ll do some more research on the city I found you in and expand out from there. Chances are, you’re either from a neighboring kingdom or a nearby village. If you were kidnapped, it would have been easier for the slavers to get you and if you were sold, it would have been convenient to be close.”
“I’ll try to remember more then.” He looked down at his hands and had another thought. “I think I helped mix dough.”
Alvar gently grabbed his chin and lifted his head. “See, we’re making progress. Let’s go to the library.”
“Let me get us something to eat and then I’ll join you.” Alvar chuckled and Dwyn blushed. “That’s right, I forgot I don’t have to do that anymore.”
“You’ll get used to all this eventually. Until then, it’s adorable my love” They slid their hands into one anothers and went to the library. Along the way Alvar stopped a maid and asked for food to be brought. She responded “Yes sir” and hurried off. Once inside they dove into books and talked, making it seem like no time had passed when two servants came with food. “thank you, this is wonderful” Alvar said and the two servants bowed before walking off. “well lets put all this to the side and enjoy our food. We’ll think better on a full stomach”
Dwyn agreed and sat down at one of the tables and chairs in their library. Being served had to be one of the biggest things to get used to. It was a big leap to go from a sex slave and forced to fight for entertainment to dating a prince. Especially such a kind one. Alvar treated everyone as if they were his equals and his entire staff seemed so happy.
When they were done eating, Dwyn stacked their dishes to make it easier to clean up and Alvar gave him a sweet smile. “Did you know the staff really loves you Dwyn?”
“Of course, everyone here loves you. My dad thinks you’re a perfect match, Hillevi would kill for you, everyone thinks you’re amazing.” He took Dwyn’s hand. “You make me the happiest of all.”
“I feel the same.”
Alvar kissed his cheek. “So I need to ask you a couple of hard questions, about the brothel.”
“I don’t have to if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“No, it’s fine, you’re hear and I know I’m safe.”
“Good, but please tell me if it’s too much.”
“Alright, so what are your earliest memories of that place?”
Dwyn remembered them clearly. “I was being examined by a doctor for any deformities or diseases. I was terrified. I’m not sure how old I was. After that it was the beatings and then my first customer, I…I think I was twelve, maybe younger.”
Alvar squeezed his hand, feeling anger bubbling up. A child, he had been just a child. He calmed himself, not wanting Dwyn to see him mad. “Do you remember anyone ever saying anything about your heritage?”
“Not that I can remember, I was too scared to pay attention.”
“It feels so hopeless when I don’t have much information to give you”
“Dwyn, I am immortal and I promise I’ll never give up on finding out about your past. You have my entire life time to figure out where you’re from” Alvar kissed him, hoping Dwyn felt just how much he appreciated him. Alvar smiled gently against his lips. That kiss was just what he needed to let go of the anger that had swelled inside him. He didn’t understand monsters who would force a child into prostitution. How did they sleep at night when they were robbing someone of their innocence? He hoped with all that he was they’d find Dwyn had been kidnapped. He didn’t know if he could keep from punching his father and as a prince he knew he shouldn’t be going around decking his subjects or another kingdoms subjects.
“I thought I’d find you two here.” Hillevi’s voice broke the light chatter of their studying half an hour later.
“Hello Hillevi, have I done something to drive you mad and you’re here for payback?” Alvar said in a joking tone.
“You’d know if you had, I wouldn’t let myself be seen until after I’d paid you back. I actually came here because your dad was looking for you, something about reviewing new maps of the territory.”
“I’m a bit busy at the moment.”
“Go, I’ll just keep reading and seeing if I remember anything else.” Dwyn said with a warm smile. He didn’t want to cause Alvar’s father any trouble, the king was just as kind and understanding as his son.
“Yeah, go, don’t make him wait.”
“Okay then.” He gave him a gentle kiss. “Hillevi, why don’t you keep him company.”
“Sure.” She said.
Hillevi sat down and asked “what’s going on? Just learning more about the land or what?”
“I..um…” he seemed so nervous and she wished he was more comfortable with her. He finally said “I asked him to help me find out who my parents were and if I was sold or kidnapped. If I was sold into the life I was forced to lead I want to know why if we can find that out and if I was kidnapped….I…I might have parents out there who would want to get to know me, who could tell me about my family line and what we did before I was gone”
“How can I help?” He handed her a book and explained what precisely he wanted her to look into. Hillevi was glad for the opportunity to help and she, like Alvar really hoped Dwyn would find he was stolen from his parents. Nobody wanted to face a reality where his parents had just handed him over to a life of misery. Dwyn found his father “yes dad?”
“ah there you are, no doubt Hillevi was the one to find you”
“Of course” The king chuckled “Lets get this done so you can get back to your boyfriend. He could have joined us you know”
“we were in the middle of an important project. He’d rather continue to work on it while I do this I’m sure”
“What kind of project?”
“Well, he wants to know where he came from, if he was kidnapped, which I’m hoping he was because the alternative is that his parents were a couple of heartless bastards.”
“If that’s the case you should go back.”
Alvar smiled. “He wouldn’t let me, he already feels like he’s taking me away from my duties.”
“Then after this we’ll do some research of our own. Chances are he came from one of the elf kingdoms or worlds. If I have to I’ll send out messengers to the other kingdoms and ask that the kings and queens put out a call for them.”
“I can’t have my future son in law unhappy. After all he’s been through, he deserves all the help he can get.”
They reviewed the maps diligently. This was important and not somthing they could rush through. When they were done King Huan went to find his wife and a few intelligent men he trusted while Alvar returned to Dwyn, knowing how much more comfortable his boyfriend was when he was at his side. “anything guys?” Alvar asked as he pushed open the library door. Dwyns face filled with that familiar relief as he got up to embrace and kiss his lover. “My dads helping now”
“does he have the time”
“He’s making the time. This is important to him”
“I’ll have to find a way to thank him.”
“You know he doesn’t mind, he just wants us happy.”
“Do you think something will come out of it?”
“My father is tenacious and won’t stop until he has answers.” He stroked Dwyn’s cheek. “You look exhausted, would you like to nap?”
“Not really, I’m a bit energized from all of this. My heart might explode.”
“How about we relax in the garden then. The flowers really like you.”
Dwyn smiled. “I’ve been thinking it’s my gift.”
“Nature magic does suit you my love.”
“If you two are planning on doing it here at least let me leave.” Hillevi said making Dwyn blush and Alvar laugh.
“Sorry Hillevi, I just can’t help myself when he’s around. I get all mushy and just want to spoil him. I can’t wait until we’re married, it’s going to be so exciting.”
Dwyn held the hand Alvar was touching him with, looking into Alvars eyes with his intense love burning in his eyes. Alvar made Dwyn feel so special and loved, emotions he couldn’t remember experiencing before him. When they could manage to move they went to the garden and sat down together, Alvar between Dwyns legs as he held him close. Alvar yawned and Dwyn asked “were you sleepy? We could have napped”
“Oh no, I’m fine, it’s just you holding me is that relaxing” Dwyn smiled, kissing Alvars head before resting his own on him again. It smelled amazing in the garden. The flowers were chosen to compliment eachothers aromas. Not only that but it was gorgeous. Dwyn hadn’t gotten to see many types of flowers but he was convinced there were the most beautiful in the kingdom.
Dwyn smiled when Alvar fell asleep. He was so incredibly endearing, he melted Dwyn’s heart. He didn’t mind and just held him a little tighter. Alvar was really and truly the most amazing man and he would never get over how lucky he was. It saddened him to think of them never meeting, of him never escaping that horrid place.
“Thank you so much, Alvar.” He whispered softly and pressed a kiss to his prince’s cheek.
He slowly shifted him so they were laying side by side and Dwyn watched him for a few moments. That calm, sleeping face had always brought him such peace in the worst of times. He gave a contented sigh and snuggled closer before closing his own eyes.
There wasn’t any way to know how long they had been asleep but rain pouring down woke the two men. Dwyn lifted Alvar and ran him inside. Alvar laughed “that’s what we get for sleeping out there.”
“we should get you dry” Dwyn said in concern and Alvar smiled, giving Dwyn a quick kiss “lets shower and change” They walked to their room, warming under the hot spray of the shower then dressing again. The storm seemed to have gotten worse while they were dressing “damn, this will be no good to travel in. I hope it doesn’t last long. What an inopportune time”
“It’s fine Alvar”
“I’m just in such a hurry for you Dwyn”
“We find out when we find out. I have you, that’s all that really matters to me Alvar”
“It’s just so stressful and exciting. I’m impatient and afraid, I just don’t know what I’ll do when we find them.”
“Well you’ll either be really happy or I’ll be hitting someone.”
“Alvar, you can’t just hit people.”
“I know, I was just teasing, I’ll contain my rage if it comes to that.”
“Perhaps we should plan on bringing Hillevi, she might have to help me hold you back.”
“You don’t trust me, how sad.”
“I didn’t say that.”
Alvar chuckled and pressed their foreheads together. “I’m just kidding, I know you trust me, you’re just worried. My instinct is to protect you and the urge to lash out at anyone who hurts you would be strong.”
They stood there, soaking up eachother as they listened to the rain hitting the castle and ground below. It rained through the rest of the day so the two played chess hoping that maybe if Dwyn was really working his mind for a game it might help him work out more memories. It didn’t seem to do much until that night while Dwyn slept. He was a child in his dream and he was helping a woman in the back of a bakery. She seemed so warm and slowly in the dream he started to hear her voice clearer and clearer. She was telling him what ingredients he needed to mix for her.
“M…mom?” He asked softly and he saw her smile.
“That’s right mix it just like that dear, Queen Thalassa will be so happy.”
“Mom!” He reached for and she started to fade. He called out to her and his distress woke Alvar who quickly sat up and shook him awake.
“Dwyn, wake up.” Dwyn’s eyes snapped open and Alvar gently brushed some hair away from his face. “Baby you’re crying, what happened?” He pulled him into a hug and could feel him shaking as he cried. “Tell me.”
“She’s my mom, I know she is. The one I keep remembering baking with. She said something about us making Queen Thalassa happy”
“Queen Thalassa? You know that’s what she said?”
“Yeah” Dwyn said, wiping at his face. “Then we have our first clues. That kingdom isn’t far from mine. We’ll head out in the morning”
“what if it’s still raining?”
“It’s not right now so it shouldn’t be in the morning” Alvar began to rub Dwyns back “lets get some more rest baby” he whispered and kept running his fingers up and down Dwyns back until he was back asleep. In the morning they had a quick breakfast and got a carriage ready to head over to the Aitken kingdom. It was Dwyn, Alvar, Hillevi and a driver. Hillevi planned to drive too but this way she had someone to switch with so Alvar could just be a comfort to Dwyn as they traveled. He was trying hard to work up memories and even if they were all good he was bound to be emotional.
As they rode the two continued talking, trying their best to work up more memories to have as much as possible to say to the king and queen. A few more minor details about his mother and the bakery did surface and Alvar hoped it would be enough. They arrived without incident on the rode and requested an audience. Being a prince he was welcomed in right away, Thalassa and Pontos dropping what they were doing to see him.
“Alvar, how nice to see you. We received your letter. Is this Dwyn?” Thalassa asked.
“Yes ma’am.” Alvar gently tugged Deyn forward. “Don’t be so nervous, she nice.”
“Sorry, you’d think being with you would have me used to this sort of thing.” He cleared his throat. “I believe my…my parents were bakers and my mother was an elf. I remember baking with her. She…she seemed to know you, like you ate her breads and pastries.” Alvar squeezed his hand. “She has blue eyes and hair like mine. I remember a wedding ring. I don’t really remember my father, but that’s probably because I spent so much time with her. She also had this pendant of a…a horse.”
Thalassa’s face grew inquisitive and she approached Dwyn. Thalassa studied him, everyone else looking at her with wrapped attention. “you can’t remember anything more? If you’re the boy you seem to be you should be able to remember them, your parents…though…I have heard what you’ve been through. Maybe it was the trauma”
“so you think you know me”
“Yes, My favorite bakery, the couple who ran it closed down due to their grief over losing their son. They made the most amazing bread but they just couldn’t do it any longer after their son was kidnapped. They blamed themselves, coming up with scenario after scenario on how they could have prevented it. It was heartbreaking to see them falling apart. There was nothing I could do for them because the only way to mend them was you coming back. Maybe it’s just hopfulness but I really think you have found your way back for them” Alvar had never seen the queen emotional and she was obviously fighting back tears.
“Where can I find them?” Dwyn was much braver now. These people had looked for him, Thalassa had said so, so he wasn’t an abandoned child.
“They moved a day from here, I will send for them. Please rest here until then, you look exhausted.”
“Thank you, Thalassa.” Alvar replied as he pulled Dwyn away. The queen was right, Dwyn did look tired. He had been so serious about finding his family, that he hadn’t rested easy. He studied his love’s face. He looked equal parts excited, nervous, and scared. “You alright?”
“Yes…and no. I…what if they don’t like who I am?”
“You should know by now that that would be impossible. So many people already love you and care for you, why would they be any different and you heard the queen, they’ve missed you.”
“Yeah, but…look at me, at these scars, at my trauma, I’m not that boy anymore, whoever he was.”
“they will still love you. You’re their son. You three will have to get to know eachother again but I promise you they’ll like you. I find you pretty amazing myself” Dwyn pulled Alvar into him, needing the contact. “Hey, lets lay down okay? I’ll cuddle you to sleep” Dwyn picked up Alvar and took him to their bed. Dwyn was resting surprisingly fast for having so much on his mind. Alvar kissed his chin “sleep well, you’ll wanted to be rested when you finally meet them” Alvar was jubilant they had found his parents, especially before their wedding. Now they could be a part of it too. He wondered if he could convince them to move into the castle so Dwyn could have them nearby. He had spent so much of his life without them, he knew his parents would understand.
He just wanted them to be able to make up for lost time and as a prince he couldn’t just stay here indefinitely, he had too much too keep up with at home. If they wouldn’t go though he would just come with Dwyn as much as possible and if he ever just wanted to go to his parents alone he would do his best not to be selfish about it because Alvar knew he would miss him immensely. Alvar inwardly laughed at himself. He was getting way too far ahead of himself and needed to rest aswell.
Dwyn was pacing and stressed as he waited for his parents the next day. To calm him Alvar started helping him figure out what he wanted to ask them. It passed the time and kept him from coming up with horrible scenarios in his head. When they finally arrived at the castle a maid came “are you ready Dwyn? They’re here” Dwyns heart was pounding so hard it hurt. Alvar took his hand “They are going to love you Dwyn” Alvar pulled him as he stepped forward, knowing his boyfriend needed the nudge to get going.
They were guided to the tea room where it was nothing but a medium sized table, chairs, couches and china hutch after china hutch of gorgeous tea sets. The King and Queen had tea, snacks and sweets already out, thinking it might help when it came down to the them talking. The woman from his dreams was standing by Thalassa in the middle of the room, looking as if she cried all the way here upon hearing about him. It had taken the queen a moment to realize it was him but his mother, unable to help herself ran to Dwyn. He found himself unafraid in that moment and just embraced her as she cried again “Dwyn” she said through her tears. “I’m so sorry Dwyn” soon followed, that guilt he had been told about really was in them.
His father came up more cautiously, his face a story of pain. His mom moved and held out her arm so he could join the hug. Dwyn started crying himself. He could already feel so much love coming from them and he wished his mother would stop apologizing. The heart breaking way she said it was wrenching his heart. Thalassa brought them tissues and the king brought a pail over for them. Eventually Alvar and Thalassa got them all sitting down and Dwyn gathered the courage to ask them what happened.
“When you were little you used to help your mother bake while I ran the front of our shop. We only used the freshest ingredients, it was the only way to make sure the bread and pastries were perfect.” His father explained. “There was this one flower, it gave our food the perfect taste, it’s hard to describe. We ran out and decided to take you out and get more.” His father looked away, his eyes swimming with tears. “We didn’t think for a moment we were in danger and we always gave you your freedom.”
“They grabbed me in the field.” Dwyn said.
“I heard you screaming from the other side of this little hill and your mother and I dropped everything. I tried to fight them, but…but I was too weak. I’m a damn vampire, I should have been able to do something, but they beat me down.”
“It was me too Dante, I…I can only use magic to make my food, it’s all I’m good at.”
“No, I’m your husband and I was so useless. You even got hurt trying to help me. All we could do was listen to you scream as they took you away, Dwyn. Please forgive me.”
Dwyn swallowed the lump in his throat. “But it wasn’t your fault. You took me out all the time right? You believed it was safe. I never blamed anyone for what happened to me except the men who hurt me. You haven’t done anything wrong.”
“Dwyn, we…” His mother started.
“You tried and that makes me happy, thank you for not dying.”
Dwyn hugged his mother tightly, wanting her to feel how much he loved her and how he didn’t blame her or his father one bit. During the next calm from tears she said “so Thalassa tells me you’re marrying prince Alvar. I’m so happy that despite whatever you went through with those horrible people you found happiness”
“Alvar saved me from them” His mother was afraid to ask but had to “what..what did they steal you for?” The expression on her sons face said it all and she struggled not to cry again “They wanted me as a sex worker…they started me right away” he couldn’t look at her as he said, couldn’t see how much pain he knew it would cause her. “I’m sorry Dwyn..” he could hear the tears she was forcing down. “it’s alright now, Alvar has been giving me such a happy life. We’re getting married soon…you two are welcome…I..I want to see you two”
“Your father and I could maybe start a bakery again in Alvars kingdom. Until now, it was just too painful. We had you at work with us from the time you were born so we just couldn’t function when we tried to run our old one.”
“Yeah, please, I was hoping to find some way to get you to my kingdom so he could see you all he wants. I will personally get one up and ready for you when we get home. You can stay in the castle and we can get a home built for you or you could just stay there. I know my father would understand” Alvar interjected. Dante cleared his throat “we’d stay until a home was ready for us. I know you would say its fine but we would never want to abuse the kings kindness. You gave us back our boy and are helping us be near him again. That’s more than we could have ever asked for your highness”
“I’m Alvar, father in laws don’t tend to call their son in laws your highness ”
“Thank you Alvar” he turned “and thank you Thalassa for not forgetting our son. For seeing him and knowing who it was”
Thalassa smiled. “He looks a lot like you save for his nose and ears. When he told me about himself, I started to see the familiarity in his features. It makes me happy that he’s back. I am sad I won’t get to eat your bread.”
“We’re a bit rusty, but we could bake you a big batch.” Kaya said. “Dwyn, would you like to help?”
Dwyn looked at Alvar out of habit. “You don’t have to ask, baby, go have fun baking with your parents. I’ll raid their library.”
Dwyn kissed Alvar then went off with his parents. The two stayed a couple more days then arranged for Dwyns parents stuff to be moved. They all thanked Thalassa and Pontos then headed out. It didn’t take long for the new bakery to be opened and their new house to be set up near it. Neither could believe all this was happening. They had their son and they would be baking again. The best part for them was that Dwyn wanted to work with them which Alvar thought was wonderful. He needed somthing to do, somthing to give himself a different identity than sex worker. He was a baker and the husband of a prince, well soon to be.
~ The End