Author's Note: This is highly AU. The two main characters are Seifer and Squall, but I changed names so I could fit something in. I actually wrote this story pre-FF8, but reread it to find my characters basically the same as my fav pair. I've updated it to match them a little better, but they are still a bit OC. None of the other characters are FF8 based.

Bloody Tyr

Part 1

By Sukunami

With a straight thrust into the throat, the last guard was dead. The blonde soldier jerked out his blade, letting the body drop to the ground. With the three guards taken care of, he took his time examining the area. It was the typical dungeon with dim lighting from scattered torches, open barred cells that held warm bodies to skeletons, and the light noises of skittering rodents.

Glancing into a few cells, the blonde decided that it may be a hopeless search to find someone alive and worthy enough to risk saving. During every mission, he would make this quest since some of the most loyal followers were the ones who owed you their lives. But in this case, the castle had been under siege for almost a fortnight, the baron refusing to accept his ultimate defeat. It would be common sense to save the water and food for those fighting, leaving these prisoners practically forgotten. But the blonde continued his search since if anyone here has survived this long, he would certainly be a valuable ally. That is if he could be convinced to join their ranks.

Walking down the row of cells, the soldier started to get an uneasy feeling, the hair on the back of his neck rising slightly. He gripped his sword a little tighter and checked his back to make sure there were no new guards to face. Except for a rat that had already discovered the new corpses, there was nothing living behind him. Examining this warning feeling, he realized it was coming from the front of him. From where the open barred cells ended and a few closed-door cells waited.

Shooing away the rat, the blonde searched the guards for keys to the last few cells. With keys in one hand and sword steady in the other, he opened the cells one at a time. The first held a corpse that had died recently, starvation probably pushing him over the edge. The next cell was empty except for some chains and random bones. Taking a deep breath, he opened the final cell, prepared to attack since the danger sensation still filled him.

Inside, a man was hanging from chains in the middle of the room, much like the corpse in the first cell. The blonde let loose a sigh, disappointed at finding another dead man. But then he noticed a single blue eye staring at him from beneath dark hair. Amazingly, the eye practically glowed with anger.

"Ho, you're a suborn one to still be among the living." The blonde smirked and sheathed his sword. Slowly he walked up to examine his find.

The naked body was filthy, covered with grim, dried blood and puss. It made it hard to determine the extent of damage the body held, but it was easy to tell that the man would need some serious medical attention. This was not to forget food; his bones appearing through tight skin seemed almost painful. Looking at the arms and hands, it was interesting to note that nothing was done to make it such that the person could never hold a weapon again. Perhaps they wished to use him someday. His hair wasn't long, just enough that the bangs covered his eyes partially, which suggested this person hasn't been a resident of the dungeon too long.

The man's eyes, however, were the most interesting. Even though he was obviously only upright because of the chains, he glared as if he could kill once he was set free. The gray blue color burned with cold fire, amazingly sending a chill through the blonde. Silently, he called the prisoner an ice demon. Soon to be his demon.

"Let's get you out of here, hmm?"

Turning his focus to the keys, the blonde looked for one that would fit to undo the chains. Finding it, he came right up to the man and brought an arm around his waist intending to steady him. Suddenly, the prisoner stiffened and then bashed his head up into the blonde's chin. The soldier reeled back from the unexpected attack.

"Don’t. Touch. Me." The voice was harsh and low.

The blonde rubbed his chin, grateful that he didn't end up biting his own tongue off. The strike wasn't that powerful, but from this weakened man it was amazing. Afraid the man would take it the wrong way, he held back a smile. Yes, demon was the right choice for this one.

"You do realize the moment I release you from those bonds you will drop to the floor in a rather unpleasant manner. If you'll let me, I can get you out of here. But this requires some good behavior on your part. Understood?"

The man glared with his stormy eyes for a few moments, then closed them with a sigh. The blonde took this as a sign of consent. More aware this time, he put his arm once again around the man's waist. The body tensed, but that was all. Deciding not to press his luck, the blonde hurried to undo the chains. The prisoner's arms fell immediately and suddenly the body went limp. The change in position was probably too quick for the man who now appeared unconscious. Skillfully, the soldier managed to undo his own cloak to cover the naked body he held. Lifting the too light body in both arms, the blonde headed out of the dungeon.

At the stairway stood an older man with mostly gray hair speckled with brown. The sword he held down to his side shimmered slightly in blood.

"Perfect timing as always, Baker."

The man smirked. "It was a simple guess as to what you were up to. Most kids bring home stray animals, while you always favored prisoners."

"You have to admit, I have found some good men."

"Hmm, and just about the same number of worthless thieves and murderers. What do you have this time?" The elder man looked at the bundle in the blonde's arms and let loose a disapproving grunt. "Pathetic. Even if he was full health, I doubt he could hold a blade upright."

"Perhaps, but I have a good feeling about this one. He caught me off guard and smacked me good in the chin. I'm probably going to have a bit of a bruise in the morning."

Baker looked at him with nothing but disbelief on his face, then turned around towards the stairs. "As if I could talk you out of anything. Let's go before the place is set aflame."

Opening his eyes had been a horrible mistake. The world had somehow changed, making his stomach ill and his breath come quickly. Carefully, he retraced his memory to understand what was wrong. An image of a blonde in armor came to mind.

If you'll let me, I can get you out of here.

With this possibility, the man paid closer attention to what his body was feeling. Cool softness. A bed and sheets. Slowly he reopened his eyes understanding that he was lying down and it wasn't the world tilting against him.

After many moments and some blinking, he found himself in a room that was painfully bright after the time he spent in near darkness. It wasn't a large room, but much larger than he was used to. This main section held the bed, a dresser, a small table with two chairs near the window, and a bookshelf lined with some books and random objects. There was an entrance to another section of the room, which the man assumed was the bathing area, but he couldn't tell from the bed.

There was a light knock on the door, which then opened despite the lack of response. It was the blonde from before. He seemed less threatening now out of armor and splatters of blood gone from his body. His short hair was streaked back with wetness, though a few strands hung over his forehead. Green eyes seemed to glitter with amusement as he looked upon the lying man.

"Ho, I wasn't expecting you to be awake this soon, my little demon."

"My little demon," he says? What the hell… He tried to sit up to face the man properly, but his arms didn't move like we wanted to.

"Don't strain yourself too much. We haven't taken care of your wounds yet."

He gave up the currently hopeless struggle and glared at his new captor from his prone position. Though the man's smile wasn't threatening, he knew what they all wanted. He refused to belong to some else. To not be in control of his own actions.

"Actually, I came here for that purpose. With you awake, hopefully it'll be a bit easier."

The blonde walked up to the bed and carefully removed the sheets atop the man. The cloth stuck at times to blood from reopened wounds, but the pain was minor. As the blonde leaned forward though, the man couldn't repress a flinch. Surprisingly, the other quickly backed off.

"Forgive me. I should have realized that you wouldn't trust me yet. You don't even know my name yet, do you? You can just call me Shaen."

The silence that followed was obviously meant for the man to give his own name in reply, but he didn't feel like giving this 'Shaen' encouragement of any sort. Despite appearances, this was still a prison and he wouldn't break to such easy questioning.

Shaen gave a little shrug. "Have it your way. Will you at least let me help you clean up?"

As if on cue, his body felt a bit itchy and his wounds ached from infection. Reluctantly, he nodded his assent. Shaen grinned a bit too broadly for his likes, and then quickly but gently lifted him out of the bed. The blonde cringed in sympathy when he heard the sound of the sheets separating from skin.

The man was carried into the other part of the room that he couldn't see, which turned out to be indeed a bathing area. He was set next to the bath onto some cold tiles. Surprisingly, the bath already held hot water. The blonde dipped a nearby bucket into the bath water and then placed it next to the man. A cloth was dipped into the bucket, and the cleaning began.

It was obvious to Shaen how wary the man was about his situation. He chided himself, knowing that there was no reason for the man to instantly trust him. But it irritated him slightly every time there was a flinch at his touch. When he moved to his backside, the other clearly didn't like the idea and tried to turn around.

"It’s all right. I promise not to do anything to you. There are several deep wounds here that have to be cleaned out."

The man held still for him, but the tenseness didn't leave the body. Shaen was too focused however on the wounds. He had really only seen the front of the man until this point, so he was startled by the extent of damage. Most were wounds from a whip and knife cuts, and all were infected. He squeezed the wounds to try and remove most of the puss, and then cleaned with the warm water. He noticed two long, barely healed cuts near the man's shoulder blades that didn't seem to be caused by a whip, but it was hard to tell.

As he went further down the back, the man got tenser. Shaen stopped for a moment, suddenly realizing the other sort of torture this person had suffered. It explained the other's reaction in the cell and the odd amount of dried blood on the man's thighs.

"I'm going to have to clean down there, as well. But if I do anything to make you uncomfortable, just tell me to stop."

Shaen watched as the man's jaw muscles flexed, but no other action was coming. As fast and non-threatening as he could, he cleaned off the blood and grim, grateful that there weren't any deep cuts that needed to be looked at closely.

He went to the front of the man and started on the shoulders and arms, then moved to the chest. Compared to the backside, it was mainly dirt and dried blood with only a few deep wounds. Once he reached the man's lower stomach, Shaen sat back on his heels. He wetted another cloth and handed it to the man.

"Think you can handle that area while I get your legs?"

Shaen wasn't sure, but he thought he saw a bit of relief in those stormy eyes. As the other cleaned himself, Shaen made sure to focus on the feet and calves. When they finished, Shaen threw the filthy rags into the colored water of the bucket.

"How about a quick soak in the bath before I bandage you up? It'll get rid of the dirt I missed and I can wash out your hair."

As expected, the man didn't reply, but he wanted to make sure that the other knew every move he was making and why. His chin still hurt a bit from the day before, reminding him the man wasn't completely helpless. Shaen lifted the man up and slowly let him slip into the warm water. He was rewarded with the man's eyes closing in pleasure. The blonde wondered how long it has been since his last bath.

Leaving the man to enjoy himself for a few moments, Shaen left the bathing area and opened the outer door. In the hallway, two boys sat against the wall, one talking to the other. The blonde cleared his throat and smiled when they jumped to their feet.

"Sorry, sir. You were taking so long…" the taller of the two said, an ashamed blush crossing his cheeks.

"Don't worry yourselves over it. I want one of you to fetch some food for him, but nothing hard to chew. The other needs to get some light clothing. Something a bit smaller than my size should do. And the bed needs to be remade with fresh sheets. Understood?"

"Yes, sir." It was the tall one again.

Knowing the two boys could easily handle their tasks, Shaen closed the door and returned to his ward. The man hadn't moved, but his eyes were open and wary.

"Sorry about that. I just ordered some food since I know you must be hungry. How about we get to your hair, then?"

He dipped some soft soap into the water and lathered it in his hands. The man closed his eyes as ordered and Shaen worked the soap into the hair. Some bugs appeared at the onslaught, but not as many as the blonde feared. After some moments, Shaen told the man to hold his breath and dunk. He did, but came quickly back up, clutching his side. Shaen softly swore at himself and pushed the man's hands aside so he could feel the area. He was upset at himself for not realizing that the man could have hurt ribs, and indeed, a bone shifted slightly to Shaen's touch.

"I think that's enough fun for now. I'll wrap your wounds, you'll have some food, and then it's bedtime for you."

As the blonde placed cool salve on the cuts and bruises, the man tried to figure out this new captor. Although it was under his breath, he heard the blonde curse at himself for not noticing the hurt rib. He didn't understand why the person bothered to blame himself.

The outer door opened and a boy entered carrying a pile of cloths. He placed some on a chair and then brought the others in the bathing area.

"Good job, Ant. These will do fine. Get to work on the bed."

The boy nodded and then started to strip off the stained sheets.

Shaen talked while he continued to treat the numerous wounds. "That there is Anthony, but I like to call him Ant since it annoys him. I haven't heard a word from him since he told me his name two years ago, and I'm trying to get him angry enough to yell at me. The other one who is getting your food right now is David. He looks over Ant like an older brother, and he talks enough to cover the both of them."

Patting a bandage that just got placed on the calf of his leg, Shaen looked up at his face. "I think that does it for now. Back to bed with you."

He was lifted up and taken to the bed that Anthony had just finished making up. After sitting on the tiles of the bathing area, the soft mattress was soothing. The man felt angry with himself for enjoying the comfort, knowing he should be stronger than that. But his body argued that it deserved the rest.

"While we wait for food, let me explain what will happen to you." The blonde pulled out from his shirt a necklace that held a key on it. "Currently I am the only one who can get in and out of this room. Observing your actions thus far, I wouldn't be surprised that if I left this door unlocked, someone would find you crawling out of the building and bleeding from reopened wounds. So, this door will be locked until I judge you well enough to move about.

"At that time, you will have the choice to stay or leave. If you chose to stay, you will have your own key to this room in addition to mine. This is my fortress, and I will not have any door that can lock me out. But despite this, you will have freedom and some privacy. If you instead choose to leave, then that's that. You owe me no debt and I will not force you to stay. Do you understand?"

It was too good of a deal. Why would this man save a person from death, bring him back to health, and simply let him go? Humans just don't work like that. Everything is done with a gain, some kind of profit in mind. He refused to buy into it.

The blonde smirked. "I see you don't believe me, little demon. You will see when the time comes. For now, just focusing on healing."

Forcing himself not to clench his teeth, he debated about telling the blonde his name so he would stop with the ridiculous nickname.

With the man cleaned of the grim and blood, he seemed a different person. He looked younger and less threatening. The gray blue eyes still seemed to glow slightly, brought out by dark brown hair. His face was a bit angular, but would probably be very attractive once he filled out again.

The blonde's examination was interrupted by a knock and opening of the door. David held a tray of various foods and a pitcher of water. Behind him holding the door open was Baker, who had a serious look on his face and a beckoning finger. Shaen leaned over to David's ear and told him to note the foods their guest seemed to enjoy, and then he joined the older man in the hallway.

"What did you find out?"

"If the information is true, you certainly did find someone interesting. Ever hear of 'Bloody Tyr'?"

"'Bloody Tear'? Not sure that I have."

"Though it's pronounced like 'tear', it is spelled t-y-r. Some kind of southern region spelling. Supposedly Tyr is his given name. The man got the title 'Bloody Tyr' after killing so many people that the blood ran down his face like tears. He is rather famous among us mercenaries."

"Ah, wait, is that the one who is said to have killed over fifty men by himself while his group defended Almy?"

Baker nodded. "But he doesn't belong to any one group. He seems to be wherever the action is."

"How did he end up in the dungeon of that bastard Kelbaugh? His men weren't skilled enough to catch a dog on a leash."

"Word is that he was overwhelmed by a large group of men in the town of Etheny. I personally wouldn't trust the stories of those who caught him, though."

"Good work, Baker. Keep at it." The older man bowed and walked off as Shaen reentered the room.

The two boys sat on the end of the bed, watching the man eat some soup. Shaen found it a bit odd since this man could possibly be a rather dangerous man despite his wounds, but David and Ant didn't seem at all threatened. And why should they be when he had left them alone in the room to watch over the guest. He reminded himself to be more careful with this man.

"Does the food suit you, Tyr?"

When the spoon stopped before reaching the man's mouth, Shaen got the response he wanted. The man then finished the mouthful and set the spoon aside. What other reaction the blonde expected, though, wasn't the suddenly tired look the man didn't even attempt to hide.

"I think our guest needs some more rest. Get the tray, David, but leave the pitcher of water. Thank you both for your help."

Shaen held open the door as the two left the room. "No bother, sir. Master…Tyr, was it? He was really nice. He gave us his dessert."

"Oh?" With eyebrow raised, he looked at him, but the man had already turned on his side, apparently playing asleep. A killer and friend to the innocent. A smile played on Shaen's lips as he thought of the secrets to discover about this man. Quietly, he closed the door and locked it.

After hearing the telltale clicking of the door being locked, Tyr rolled onto his back and looked up at the ceiling. Since the blonde had been here, the light outside had grown dimmer, the sun perhaps already set. He was tempted to try to reach the window for a look outside, but he doubted he could stand up, let alone make the roundtrip from the bed and back.

It was frustrating to be in such a state. He felt like a helpless child while in the larger man's arms, and he didn't appreciate the smug smile that the other showed every now and again. While he had to admit there was no lust in the man's eyes at anytime, he couldn't take the chance at hoping this person only held good intentions. Especially when that man would always be able to enter his room at whim. When the chance came, he would leave this place and laugh at the foolishness of this Shaen.

Unfortunately, that time would be several weeks at the earliest, most likely a couple of months. All this time underground, Tyr wasn't even sure of what season it currently was. If it were near winter, travel would be risky. He wouldn't be surprised if his captor would use that as another excuse to keep him locked up. But he couldn't afford to be here through the winter into spring. He'd rather fight a way out of here.

But, that is the future and there are too many unknowns for him to worry about his situation. He should instead focus on healing and gaining back his strength. With a sigh, he reluctantly decided that he should take advantage of this 'prison' as much as he could. At the least, there was warm, comfortable sleeping arrangements and hot food. If he didn't behave, he could end up in another stone cell. With a shiver from the thought, he curled up as much as he could without hurting his wounds. Slowly his eyes closed and his breath evened out.

Early in the morning, Shaen walked down the hallway and started to remove the chain and key from his neck. The morning after his first day with Tyr, the blonde had awakened earlier than usual and decided to check in on his new guest. As expected, the man had been sound asleep. But watching him, Shaen was overwhelmed with how peaceful and young the other appeared as compared to when he was awake.

The few days following that, he made the effort to be up and dressed in order to spend the time examining the man when he wouldn't have any masks in place. Of course Tyr didn't appreciate waking with another in his room, but he never voiced the opinion.

He unlocked the door and quietly opened it. He was shocked to notice no body lay in the bed. Opening the door further, he could see Tyr sitting at the small table and focusing on a chessboard. He was already dressed in clothing that was a bit too big for him. Shaen chuckled at himself for believing the man would always be unable to move without assistance. He was then disappointed that he would probably never see the man asleep again.

"Where did you get your hands on a chess board?"

He moved a piece and a black knight was captured. "Anthony brought it for me last night with dinner."

He was mildly upset at himself for not noticing this the night before, but he had been focused on a wound of Tyr's that seems be to getting worst unlike the others that are quickly on the heal.

Shaen walked to the table and looked over the game in play. "White is going to win easily."

Tyr's lips actually turned up into a smirk, the first time he had seen the mouth set in anything but a neutral line. "If you think so, would you like to finish the game as white?"

"Gladly, although I won't count it against you when I win."

A few short moves later, the white king was set down on the board in defeat. Tyr's smirk never left his face.

"I just wasn't used to where the pieces had been placed starting in the middle like that. Let's have a fresh game."

The dark-haired man nodded and setup the board giving Shaen white and first move.

"I should warn you that despite the last match, I have been trained by some of the best chess players." And he moved a pawn forward.

A dark eyebrow rose, "Oh?"

He moved his far right pawn forward. The game continued with odd moves from Tyr, and suddenly it was checkmate, the white king defeated.

Tyr played with a white knight in his hand. "You know the best way to beat someone trained by the best? Attack in ways you can't be trained."

As if by cue, there was a knock on the door and the two boys entered carrying trays of food. Since Shaen had been spending his mornings here anyway, his food was brought as well.

"Morning, sirs. I hope you're taking it easy on him, Master Shaen. He is on the mend, you know."

It was tempting to take the easy lie that he let the other win, but the blonde just laughed instead. "If this is taking advantage of you, I'd hate to see your skill at full health."

Tyr let out a breath that may have been a suppressed chuckle, but it was hard to tell. The man removed the chessboard and pieces so the boys could set down their load. It was interesting to watch the other eat. Unlike many of the other mercenaries here, he actually showed good manners. Shaen laughed inwardly thinking how half the men in his group probably didn't even know what a napkin was. For all the rumors there were about 'Bloody Tyr', one had to imagine something closer to a barbarian rather than this polite, boyish man. Then again, rumors are rarely close to fact.

"May I ask some rather ridiculous questions?"

Shaen stopped in mid-bite, surprised at the other breaking the normal silence he held. In fact, already he had heard more from the man this morning than in all the time he had been here. Unable to speak with his mouth full, he nodded somewhat excitedly.

"What day is it?"

"Tenth of August, twenty first year of Rucard II." It was an expected question from a man who has been in the dungeons for a long amount of time. He was somewhat surprised by a touch of relief in the man's shoulders.

"Where is this place? As compared to a major city."

He was somewhat reluctant to tell their location incase he was planning an escape, but Shaen knew if this man wanted to do it, he wouldn't let the possibility of getting lost be an issue. Anyway for all he knew the man was educated in navigating by the stars. As for a city to choose, he thought back to the talk with Baker. Something about being captured in Etheny, wasn't it.

"About thirty miles, or a day of walking from Ethney."

Ah, the tenseness returned to the other's shoulders and there was a harsh glint in his eyes. Shaen enjoyed appearing to have the upper hand, when in fact that was all the information he had about the man. Baker had come up dry with anything solid on 'Bloody Tyr' beyond the basics and wild rumors.

"Anything else?"

"You mentioned possibly working for you. As what, though?"

"I run a mercenary group, so fighting for your keep would be the obvious choice. However, there are always duties to be done around this place, such as what the lads do here."

Was he actually considering about staying? Looking closely at the man, Shaen decided that this was just another mask. Playing the game that if he appears interested, he may get more privileges before he disappears. As it is, there is still time for convincing the man to want to stay.

Tyr nodded, apparently done with his questions. Shaen decided he'd push his luck and try a few of his own.

"So, have you figured out yet how long you were locked up?"

"About 11 months."

"Basically a year of your life, isn't it. A shame you were wasted all that time in a cell, especially if you are indeed the infamous 'Bloody Tyr'." He tried to sound casual, to catch the man off his guard, but apparently he was expecting the implied question.

"If I said yay or nay, would you believe either one?"

"That is a good point. But you do reply to the name of Tyr."

"Call a man 'stupid' enough times and he'll respond to it. Anything else?"

Shaen smirked and shook his head. "Not for now, at least. I have plenty of work today, so I better get my morning practice in sooner rather than later." He stood up from the chair and opened the curtain a bit to look outside. "It has been beautiful weather lately. Not the extreme heat of mid-summer, and the fall wind hasn't started up yet. Since you're already up and about, should we do lunch outside in a couple days?"

There wasn't a reply, so he turned to look at Tyr. Gray blue eyes were open wide, practically sparkling.


The blonde just stared a moment at the raw excitement in his guest, and then started laughing. Of course he would love the idea. He spent a year in the ground without much light, and the week spent here was under a roof. Nothing quite felt like the sun shining directly onto bare skin. If he was indeed a mercenary, he probably spent most of his life outdoors training or fighting.

The man quickly hid his excitement at the laughter and his lips set into a scowl, perhaps angry with himself for letting his neutral mask slip. But it was too late now. Shaen burned the child-like face into his memory.

Laughter under control, he smiled at the brunette. "I promise."

The sky was just beginning to lighten from black to deep navy when Tyr awoke. He dressed quickly and sat at the table so he could watch the sunrise that still had a long time coming. Intently he looked at the scenery as things gradually emerged from the dark of night.

After such a long time, today he would breathe in fresh air and feel warm soil beneath him. A voice told him it was dangerous to let his captor know how greedy he was for the outside world, but for today he decided to ignore the warning instinct. For today he just wanted to relax and pretend to be a normal person lying in the sun.

The sun rose over the mountains and Tyr had to squint a bit. Light still bothered his eyes, but he would bare it to witness the coming of another day that he was alive. It was a daily ritual since he was very young, always the first one up and out of the door before the rooster crow. He was pleased that he easily got back into the habit after so many months without the sun.

With that done, Tyr was bored. Chess wasn't that enjoyable against oneself, and he had already played it enough times over the past few days. He decided to risk the bookshelf, hoping something decent was among the dusty covers. Many of the titles were horrid romance novels, unsurprising to the man. This room had probably once served as a guestroom for visiting ladies that followed the higher nobles. Why else would a 'prison' have a bathing area? Settling on an aged book with a history of royal bloodlines, the man went to the bed and waited.

By the time he got a third through the book, there was a knock on the door and the sound of metal on metal. He continued to read the page, trying to suppress the urge to jump out of the bed.

"Don't tell me you are actually reading that."

Noting the page, Tyr set down the book on the nightstand. "It was this or some story about a woman finding her true love, a dashing man who can fight dragons with his smile."

"Yes, the ladies do tend to fancy that rubbish. If you remind me, I can bring you some real books from my library."

"If these are books about civilizations of women who don't believe in clothing, please spare me."

He smirked, not at all ashamed. "The rumors of my tastes have reached even your ears? I didn't realize I was that famous."

"As you once said, David talks enough for two. He mentioned a book you used to teach him how to read. And for your information, it is an infamous reputation you have for the ladies. The Count of Mercenaries, the stealer of hearts."

"So you found out that ridiculous title everyone calls me. Please, never use it again. One day I will hunt down the man who came up with it." The blonde ducked into the hallway and pulled out a basket and a folded blanket to show Tyr. "Shall we be off, demon?"

The man decided to not let the nickname bother him this time around. It was strange walking out of that room. Tyr half expected an invisible wall to stop him from leaving. The spot Shaen had in mind for their picnic was a bit of a walk, and the blonde didn't hide his close watch over Tyr, making sure the healing man wasn't over working himself. The brunette didn't mind since the taste of fresh air was already in his mouth.

By the time they reached the grassy area just outside the castle turned fortress, a light sheen of sweat covered Tyr's face. But the moment he laid out on the ground and felt the sun on his face, he allowed himself a satisfied grin. To his credit, the blonde didn't say anything for the first long while as Tyr tried to soak in as much of the warm light as he could. Eventually there was a brief breeze of the blanket being set down. The smell of fresh bread and cheese made him sit up.

As they ate, the blonde, when asked, talked about some of the major events that had taken place since the man had been locked away. While there had been several scattered fights as always, there hadn't been many serious changes in the surrounding countries.

Soon, the food was gone along with most of the wine. After a time of silence, Tyr asked, "Why do you always call me 'demon'?"

"Does it bother you?" The smile was teasing.

He shrugged in reply, suddenly feeling the idiot for asking. Just like poor Anthony, the nickname was most likely a tool that the blonde used to get a rise out of him. He just proved that it was doing its job.

"You seemed to have the fighting spirit of a demon the first time I laid my eyes on you. I guess I just voice what I call you in my mind."

Tyr hugged his legs to his chest as he stared at the nearby hills that preceded high mountains. So I seem the demon…

"Right then. I believe it's time we headed back. I'd hate for you to burn from your first day out."

Still tired from the trip out, the return walk was hard on Tyr. He finally let go of his pride and let Shaen help him halfway back. Surprisingly, the room was rather inviting. It was supposed to be his cell, but it felt good to be back after the exercise he wasn't used to. The blonde helped him onto the bed. Briefly, the thought of asking for books crossed Tyr's mind, but the sheets were cool against his skin and his eyes closed before he realized it.

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