A slight knock on the door and blinding sunlight on Acacia’s face woke her up that morning. With a small yawn, she turned around and pulled the blanket further over her shoulders.

It was then she noticed a heavy something draped over her waist and the stable breathing in her neck. Her eyes flew open, and she was met by Avondir’s curly, red hair, now even messier than before.

The girl sucked in some air, scooting backwards slightly and trying to recollect all her memories from last night to get to the conclusion to why, my God, she was all tangled up with this guy who was supposed to be in the bed next to her?

Another knock on the door ringed through the girl’s ears. ‘Avondir? I’m gonna come in!’

Acacia’s face went pale after she recognised the voice of her uncle, Regulus, and as quickly as she could, she tried to crawl out of bed. However, she noticed too late her legs were still entangled with Avondir’s, and with a yelp, pulled them both out of bed.

As the door opened, Avondir woke up, laying half on top of the very red Acacia. She rapidly tried to push the young man away, but he was too numbed by just waking up, the only thing he could do was whisper a sleepy “hi”.

Ace?’ the confused voice of Regulus ringed through her ears, and Acacia groaned, before looking at the man in the doorway. ‘Hey, Regulus,’ she said, her voice a little high-pitched as she gave him a nervous grin. ‘H-how are you doing?’

Regulus stared at the two teens for a moment, before sighing deeply. ‘I’m not even going to ask,’ he mumbled, trying to avoid the sight in front of him – Acacia was still trying to push a sleepy Avondir away from her.

‘Regulus, it’s not what you think!’ the girl said, red as a tomato. This was obviously the most embarrassing moment of her life.

The blond Elf chuckled softly, though a little discomfort leaked through his voice. ‘Hey, I don’t care what you do with the guys you like, as long as you keep it safe. I won’t tell your parents though, dear.’ He winked at the girl, who groaned and let herself fall backwards on the ground.

Avondir yawned, before sitting up. Once he saw his mentor, he smiled sheepishly at him and waved. ‘Mornin’, Regulus,’ he said, the tiredness very active in his posture and words. ‘Is it training time already?’

‘Yes, and don’t you think about going back to bed, son. I don’t care you two had a long night.’ Regulus squinted a little, before frowning. ‘Avondir, is your nose broken? Why do you have so many cuts on your face and arms?’

Don’t ask,’ Acacia groaned, still remaining on the ground as Avondir stood up. ‘We don’t wanna talk about it.’

Regulus shook his head. ‘I don’t even want to know.’ He took a deep breath, before crossing his arms in front of his chest and flashing a stern look to his niece. ‘Ace, your father was at my house last night. He was looking for you, and probably still is.’

Acacia’s face went pale, and she got up. As she walked towards her uncle, she clenched her hands into fists. ‘Tell him I don’t wanna talk to him, ever again,’ she hissed, placing her hands on her hips.

With a sigh, Regulus placed a hand on her shoulder. ‘Listen, Ace,’ he said gently, ‘you know your father only wants what’s best for you, right?’

‘It doesn’t seem like it.’

‘That’s the only thing he wants, though; the best for you, Al, Meth and Cassi. However, he wants what he thinks is best for you, while you should be the first person to decide for your own happiness.’ Regulus smiled wearily, before flashing a glance at Avondir. The young man had quickly pulled on a tunic, his blue scarf tucked over it.

The man sighed, before turning back to his niece. ‘Remember that, dear. Your father is a… complicated man. People are complicated. You just do what you wanna do with your life.’

He gently squeezed Ace’s shoulder, before turning to the door and walking to the hallway. ‘Training starts in ten, Avondir!’ he yelled, and Acacia heard the young man groaning behind her. She chuckled slightly, before closing the door behind her uncle and walking to Avondir.

‘Not so good at waking up, are you?’ she mocked the young man, who rolled his eyes as he clasped his sword to his belt. ‘Not funny, Ace,’ he yawned, before giving her a slight wink. ‘Don’t you remember we stayed up past twelve?’

Acacia’s face reddened again, and she avoided Avondir’s blue eyes nervously. The redhead chuckled, wrapping an arm around her shoulder as he watched her tense up. ‘Relax, Ace. You were sad, and you asked me to keep you company. We probably fell asleep before I could get in my own bed.’

A sense of relief washed over the girl, and she let out a sigh. ‘Thank God,’ she said, ‘it’s bad enough my uncle thinks we…’

She hesitated for a second, before pushing Avondir’s arm away and walking towards the door. ‘Let’s go!’ she said, a forced smile on her face. ‘You have some training to do.’

‘Wait, you’re coming with me?’ Avondir raised an eyebrow as he walked after the girl, making their way into the hallway. Acacia chuckled, linking her arm through his. ‘I can’t go home,’ she whispered, ‘and I don’t wanna be in your room all day. Regulus already knows I’m here with you, so what’s better than going training with you?’

Avondir smiled. ‘Alright.’


***

Next up, very angry Audace and preparations for Ace and Avon's exam!

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