C O N S T E L L A T I O N
Written on June 20, 2020 (♌)
Content Warning: There's sex, but it is not terribly explicit; its depiction is honestly a lot more subdued than the all of the astrological metaphors/references.
Author's Notes: Vaguely paired to Transit.
One of the things Olan liked best about Ramza was that he never asked him to tell his fortune. After happenstance had seen them so often thrown together, the youngest son of House Beoulve seemed content to accept their intertwining destinies without any botheration about the stars. They met when they ought meet, and they always parted well for the meeting. Ramza had no great curiosity as to the particulars of fate and was glad to live his life without having a chart upon which to map it.
When they'd swept into one another's orbit this time, Ramza did not give any sense he thought the meeting a strange one. That his little company should be on the road to Zeltennia instead of the road to Limberry did not faze Olan in particular either, although he found it passing strange to meet with a father from whom he'd parted with such a sense of finality. The mountains had blazed red in the distance when he had seen them on the road out of Gulofavia. Their birds kept a slow pace and bristled ever so slightly in the cool air of the coming autumn.
He rode down to meet them before the sky was dark and treated the reunion as being a pleasure not unexpected. Orlandu, who clapped him close when first he dismounted, was perhaps the only man who knew the truth of it: it never paid to be an astrologer who acted surprised.
Ramza, however, was not an astrologer. Ramza was merely a man who seemed to accept things as they came to him, and when Olan approached, he accepted him with every grace. They had a long discussion that evening, trading reminiscences of a war that crossed two childhoods. They spoke of northern stars and southern stars, of bastards and foundlings, of what it was like to spend one's days under the Gallione sun or under the Zeltennian moon. There was banter enough with the rest of God's good heretics, but when everyone one else lay asleep, the two men still talked long into the night.
"So what will you do if it all comes to an end, Ramza?" Olan eventually asked, poking about some of the coals of the dying campfire. "If the war is set to rest and the price falls from your name, will you head back to Igros?"
Olan could see Ramza's features soften with melancholy, even in the dim light of the stars and fire—even as he smiled.
"I don't really know if Igros is a home to me anymore," he said softly. "I suppose I will go there if Alma wishes, though."
"Where else would you go?"
Ramza turned to him, laying his hand perpendicular to his on the blue-green grass—close but not quite touching. He suddenly looked much older than Olan had initially taken him for.
"Where will you go if Zeltennia is no longer home to you, Olan?"
They sat there silent a moment, while some night bird gave a low whooping cry. Olan thought that if he were a prudent man, it would be wise to finally retire; he had a hard ride through hilly country tomorrow, and it did not do to dawdle on one's way to a princess.
When he moved his hand athwart his companion's and pressed his fingers close around it, his course was—all told—quite a surprise to himself.
He did not let it show. As Ramza leaned against him and they both fell onto the cool earth beneath them, he pretended that all these things were foretold and foreseen. He acted with the self-assurance of a man whose passions were plotted along some private ecliptic, and he allowed their mouths to meet—hot and hungry—as though somebody had written it down before and recorded the hour.
When the kiss finally broke, Olan looked at the flaxen-haired youth smiling above him. He leaned himself up some ways from the ground.
"If it’s the same place you’re headed," he whispered conspiratorially, "I think I should go somewhere that isn't in earshot of my father.”
Ramza managed to stifle a laugh. The two of them took their conversation elsewhere. Overhead, the milky way cut through the sky as if to mirror the winding Finnath below.
Olan did not dwell long on all the potentialities by which they could have thus met in the warm enclosure of an inn. One was hunted by the state, the other by the church; he accepted that a clear patch of ground beneath the mountains was a fine enough bed for two men in exile. Summer was also not quite yet gone, and they had fire enough in their blood to keep away the chill.
Everything played out with both the foolish spontaneity of adolescent lovemaking and the deliberation of men trying to make a moment linger. Ramza was boyishly insistent, cascading rough kisses along Olan's tawny frame as he pushed him firm against where their cloaks covered the ground. Olan imagined excommunication encouraged a man to be bold with his sins. There was a thrill to each muted gasp and groan cut short—a thrill to secrecy. They tumbled about, limbs entangled under the full barley moon as they strove to make the most of a meeting that might never recur.
When it was all over, they lay beside one another a little while, warm and winded. There was the first chatter of songbirds in the air. Olan sat up, and looking to where Ramza lay collapsed, almost absent-mindedly traced lines across the moles and freckles on his back.
"What are you doing?" Ramza asked with lazy bemusement, flinching a little where Olan's nails grazed the skin.
Olan paused, not quite having an answer. He realized after a moment, that he was running his fingers over a spidering pattern—a stick figure with tethered arms.
"Just reading someone's fortunes," he thought without speaking, smiling as he recognized poor Cassiopeia's daughter writ out on his friend's skin.