Gauging the passage of time was imprecise at best on a desert island, but the sun's descent was obvious even to the distracted white-haired man who sat musing upon a rock overlooking the ocean. Kain had been there for hours while his companion journeyed inland alone to replenish supplies at their storm shelter within the island's towering volcano. Left to his own devices, Kain found solace in his thoughts, which quickly turned to Cillian despite his absence. Since Kain had finally given in--allowing his desire to manifest and not be overshadowed by a lover long dead and gone--he and Cillian had grown much closer than he had ever thought possible. Despite his misgivings of allowing their relationship to progress to a more intimate level, Kain knew he never wanted to regress to simply being friends ever again. Having a lover, one who cared about him as deeply as Cillian, was a feeling Kain had completely forgotten but now simply could not do without. Though he was initially reluctant, every time Cillian wrapped his arms around Kain or brushed his soft lips against his own, Kain seemed to forget everything but the green-eyed man and the hunger that engulfed him completely. Whether they were bathing at the falls, waking up beside one another within their dwelling on the beach, or simply unable to resist each other a moment longer as they walked through the forest, Kain and Cillian found any occasion to seek solace in one another's embrace.
And yet they still fought like wild dogs constantly battling over who should be pack leader. But though they were always at one another's throats over even the slightest provocation, there was no animosity beneath the feuding, simply strong personalities colliding, exacerbated further by Cillian's strange delight in goading his companion. Whereas their previous fights would end by Kain rolling his eyes or distancing himself from Cillian, now the navigator found a better use for the brunette's lips then taunting him. Cillian often found himself pushed up against a tree or thrown into the shallow tide as Kain locked his lips to the brunette's, seeking to suppress further argument by means of distraction. And it seemed that Cillian did not mind conceding to such a compelling proposition. Kain was even beginning to wonder how many arguments the cocky brunette instigated simply as a means toward a much more intimate end.
Allowing himself a rare smile, Kain sighed before looking down at the object that lay nestled in the palm of his hand. Glinting within by the last rays of the setting sun was Lyam's gold locket, the last and only momento Kain had of his dead lover--the final thread that tied him to a past of sorrow he wished now more than ever to leave behind. With Cillian he remembered what it felt like to be happy, to be loved, to be accepted, and he didn't wish for anything to come between them, especially a relic of a love long dead. He still missed Lyam, his heart ached for that lost love, but the hurt was slowly mending, hastened along by Cillian. Though their relationship was incredibly different than what he had had with Lyam, Kain knew he would not change it or the cocky, annoying brunette who had delved his way into Kain's heart. Kain could not explain how or why but they seemed to complement and challenge one another in ways that allowed both to grow and thrive.
But Kain's feelings for Cillian were not the issue at the moment. The strength and conviction to put Lyam behind him once and for all was what Kain sought as he let the locket dangle from his long fingers.
Hearing the crunch of sand behind him, Kain was not surprised when moments later strong arms wrapped themselves around his back and soft lips found purchase along his neck.
"What, no 'welcome back?'" Cillian started before turning his gaze downward, noticing the memento that Kain held. Prying himself away from the white-haired man, the brunette frowned as he took a step back from his lover.
"Kain, what are you doing with that?" the brunette asked tentatively, not sure he would like the answer.
"Oh," the navigator looked down, having forgotten his earlier train of thought, "Sorry Cil...I...just..." The merchant's son nodded for Kain to continue, knowing how awful Kain was at expressing himself. Taking a deep breath Kain sought to convey his conviction into his voice. "I want this to be finished, I'm done with it."
Cillian's eyes grew wide as he sought out the other's gaze. "Wait, what? You're done? With us?"
"What? Oh no!" Kain gasped, holding up the locket instead. "With this. I can't hold on to it any longer, I want to let it go. And I think I can finally do it." Kain felt a hand grasp his shoulder as relief spread across the brunette's countenance.
"Don't scare me like that," Cillian chuckled nervously as he looked down at his companion. "But are you really sure? I don't want you to do this for me. If you're doing it for you then..."
"I'm doing this for us. It's okay...I'm okay," Kain said, reassuringly squeezing the hand upon his shoulder. Standing from the rock, Kain strode toward the tideline, now orange with the setting sun's reflected light dancing upon its surface. Before he could begin to lift his arm to throw the locket, losing it forever to the depths of the sea, Kain's hand was stilled by the brunette's own.
"Wait, I..." Kain cocked his head as the other man stumbled over his words, "I know I shouldn't, but can I see him?"
Kain knew the shock registered on his face at the unexpected request.
"I know it's strange, " Cillian continued nervously, "I've just always wondered..."
Momentarily pondering the request, Kain furrowed his brow, attempting to ascertain if this was in fact a good idea.
"Oh, I mean...the photo doesn't really look like him...it was taken when he was a child," Kain explained as he reluctantly placed the keepsake in his lover's outstretched hand.
Thin fingers browned from the sun carefully worked the locket's gold clasp, prying one side from the other as the necklace opened to display an empty frame on one side and a small sepia portrait of a young boy on the other. His clothes were well tailored, tellings of a rich upbringing, but his smile was broad and impish as if he cared not for his lavish surroundings.
"I've only looked at it once or twice..." Kain started to explain, not wishing Cillian to think him depraved in any way, when Cillian interrupted him with a single word.
Kain's eyes widened in complete bewilderment at that name...a name that he had not uttered in years and his new lover had no reason to know.
"How did you...Cil, did you know him?" Kain stammered, touching the brunette on the shoulder even as Cillian drew away from the contact.
"Him?" Cillian huffed, pushing the locket back into its rightful owner's care, anger apparent in his tone though he sought to restrain it. "Him? You have no idea!" The brunette's practically spat the words as he glared down at the visage within the locket.
Suddenly meeting Kain's eyes, his own narrowed and dark with anger,Cillian proposed, "Why don't you take out that photo and look on the back?"
Confused, Kain did as he was bid, carefully sliding the small portrait out with a fingertip before turning it over. As he read the script on the back, Kain fell to his knees in shock.
"Cillian," he read, looking up into his companion's green eyes--eyes that were brimming over with accusation. Trying to comprehend the situation, Kain attempting to understand his lover's anger. "Why...this is you? But Lyam..."
"...was my brother. I told you once that I had an older brother who died, but you stopped me before I could finish my tale. Too sad--too intimate for you when you never wished us to divulge our pasts to one another. So here it is, my past--your past..." Cillian shuddered as he looked at Kain with new eyes--imagining his brother and his lover together. He attempted to rein in his thoughts, but they came unbidden. Kain and Lyam--a couple, laughing, kissing...embracing. Clenching his jaw, Cillian fought back the betrayal such images conjured up.
Tears began to well in Kain's golden eyes as he struggled to his feet, meeting Cillian's accusing stare. "But...I didn't know! How could I know?" The navigator attempted to reach out a comforting hand but was stilled by Cillian's icy gaze. "You can't blame me, he's gone Cil...I'm with you now."
But the brunette was beyond reasoning with. "You looked at this, and thought of him?," he gestured toward his own photograph. "Even with me right in front of you, all you ever have wanted is him. My brother, who always did everything right, who my parents could find no fault in, who always succeeded where I failed. The man I could never replace. Not for them, not for you." Cillian was so furious he could not meet Kain's eyes. Despite the hurt he was causing, the brunette was too caught up in his own pain to care. Fighting back his own tears of rage, Cillian tilted his head toward the sky.
"Congratulations Lyam, you win!" Cillian yelled up into the heavens.
Before anger could overtake him completely, the brunette strode quickly past Kain, ignoring the navigator's cries to stop, before disappearing into the forest without looking back.
Kain sank to his knees in the sand once again, baffled and hurt, unable to comprehend the situation which has complicated itself so unexpectedly by such a small object.
Brothers, he thought, rolling the word around in his head. But so unlike one another that I missed it completely. And Cillian...the way he looked at me, like I had betrayed him. Kain slid the photograph back into the locket, clasping it shut before stuffing it in his pocket. Cillian will come back, he had to come back, then I can reason with him--explain so that everything can go back to normal. Because Cillian has to forgive me, doesn't he? Suddenly unsure, Kain sat, hugging his legs to his chest as he stared out at the sun as its last rays sunk behind the glittering ocean, once again leaving him alone on the shore.