Nik sat at the edge of his bed. He stared at his carpet and said nothing. He hated being lectured. Maxwell was trying to convince him to talk to Taliesin and let him apologise but he didn’t want to hear it. He was distracted by the descendant’s words that were still echoing in his ears.
“Your parents gave you a manor, they gave you a butler, you are living like a royal.”
A royal? A royal piece of shit maybe. He huffed and dismissed Maxwell with a small hand gesture. The Butler didn’t appreciate that but there was nothing he could do. He had to obey his master. “One last thing.” He said and Nik glared up at him. “Mr. Thornwell vanished after pushing me away.” “So? It’s not his first time, he’ll be fine.” Maxwell considered that. “I do hope so. He seemed distressed.” “Leave, Maxwell. I’m not in the mood for it.” The butler sighed and then gave him a polite bow. “As you wish, Nikandros.”
As soon as the door was closed Nik let his back hit the mattress. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He wanted to get up and study but no matter how hard he tried his thoughts circled back to Taliesin and his words. Did he really seem to be living the life of a spoiled brat? Could he hide his sadness that well? He thought he’d been an open book but maybe Taliesin was too oblivious to connect the dots. Maybe he’d been too occupied with his own self to realise that other people could have a tragic past and trauma as well.
“God damn it.” Nik groaned in frustration and kicked the air. He hated the feeling of grief that washed over his body like a wave summoned by the sea god himself. He didn’t want to get emotional. Not because of such a small statement. Why had it even bothered him that much? His eyes teared up. He gulped and closed them before the tears could stream down his face. That’s why. Nik had hoped that Taliesin out of all people would understand him. He thought that he could be someone to share the grief with.
Both of them had lost their parents one way or another. They grew up by raising themselves. Nik has never had friends he could relate to. All of them came from rich families like himself but they all still had a picture-perfect family. Nik didn’t. He knew how Taliesin came to the Academy. It was Mr. Hemlock who advocated for him since he was an orphan. He hated to think that maybe they were too different after all. “I should distance myself from him before it’s too late.”
Too late for what? Nik asked himself but this time couldn’t find an answer. What was he afraid of? Why was he so sensitive? He closed his eyes again and clenched his jaw. He didn’t want to think anymore, he just wanted to go to sleep and forget about Taliesin’s words.
A few hours later a knock on the door woke Nik up again. He grumbled a reply while being half asleep and the door opened. Light shone into the room and forced Nik to open his eyes despite not wanting to break his slumber. Maxwell was still in his work uniform. He walked towards the bed and sat down. “Nik?” “What?” “You were screaming.” The Butler gently wiped the tears from Nik’s cheeks. He hadn’t even noticed that he was crying. “Oh,” Nik sat up. Maxwell drew his hand away and let him wipe the tears himself. “What time is it?” “Barely past eleven, you should try to get more sleep. Unless you’d like to talk.” He shook his head and wrapped his arms around his legs. “What about Taliesin? Did he come back?” Maxwell hesitated before answering. He pressed his hand against Nik’s forehead to check for a fever. He used to get them a lot as a kid, right after his parents had died. He’d wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night after screaming continuously and his body would get so hot that Maxwell had to nurse him back to health for at least a day or two. “No fever, I’m relieved.”
“Maxwell.” The Butler sighed. “No, the descendant did not return but I believe he might have rather teleported himself back into his own home instead of coming here. You don’t need to worry.” “Who says I’m worrying about him?” Nik scoffed and straightened himself. “If that’s all you have to tell me then I’ll try to get more sleep. I have school tomorrow after all.” Maxwell pulled Nik into his arms for a short hug, fully aware that the knight would pretend to hate it while he secretly enjoyed his company. “Sleep well, Nikandros. I’ll stay nearby.” Nik hummed a reply and lay back down. He watched as Maxwell got up and left the room. As soon as the door was shut Nik closed his eyes. He thought about Taliesin and wondered where the descendant had gone. He wouldn’t have gotten himself into trouble, right?
Uneasiness kept a tight grip on Nik all night long. As much as he tossed and turned the knight was unable to rock himself to sleep. Instead he let his thoughts take over and draw a map of all the places Taliesin could have ended up in. As long as he’s not hurt, he thought and rid himself of the blanket. But why would I care about that?