If He Only Had the Key

Alexander could always tell when his friend was concerned about him. Adrian stood there, unmoving, a worried look breaking across his face at Alexander's latest command.

"Alexander, you know my desire is only to ever assist you...so giving you what you ask is something I cannot do."

Controlled by his own lack of control, Alexander rose from the throne, hands clenched into fists. "Who are you to deny me something which is mine?" he hissed, unable to keep the bite from his tone of voice.

Adrian did not appear to falter in his resolve. "Sire..."

Ignoring Adrian's pleading tone, Alexander refused to bow down to someone whose rank was inferior to his. "I gave you the key for safekeeping, not for you to keep it as your own. Don't withhold something from me that was only given you to borrow!"

"Borrow? Alexander, you told me to keep it from you. That is an order I cannot disobey."

"I repeal the former order!"

Stepping forward, Adrian paid no heed to protocol as he stood face-to-face with Alexander. Alexander had always been annoyed that Adrian had a good two inches of greater height than he, but now, he was especially annoyed. It was hard to be commanding when one's figure was relatively diminutive.

"Alexander, you are like a brother to me. You know I wouldn't do anything unless I was sure it wouldn't harm you."

"I am past the point of caring about harming myself!" Alexander shot back, hating the wrath in his tone. It wasn't Adrian's fault - no, it was entirely his own. There was nobody to blame but himself. Swearing rather explicitly, Alexander turned from his friend and kicked the table beside his throne. The table and its contents were overturned, and in a fit of rage, Alexander grabbed a nearby vase and threw it against the wall.

Calmed ever so slightly by the sight of the destruction he'd caused, Alexander sank to the floor. But "calmed ever so slightly" didn't mean much - he was still a sweating, trembling fool with no greater need than that stupid key. If he only had the key, then everything would be fine! He knew it. In the midst of his misery, he could see nothing, feel nothing but his overwhelming need. Adrian was being irrational!

No, Adrian was the only one of the two of them who was actually using common sense. Drinking had never solved any problem -

Drinking had solved every problem!

Cursing himself over and over again for his stupidity, Alexander knelt there, overcome with all the emotions he'd been trying to avoid. "Tia..." he whispered, weeping. "You were my everything..."

Like he always did, Adrian forewent protocol and knelt beside Alexander. "I know," Adrian said softly. "I know how much she means to you."

"I should have known better. I should have married her when I had the chance. I should have done something!" Stopping there, Alexander looked up. There stood that accursed wench, Sara, watching through the crack in the door.

Rising, Alexander felt the self-hatred within himself boil uncontrollably. Usually, he was able to keep his own self-loathing from influencing his interactions with others, but this time, he was in such misery that he couldn't begin to condition his words. "Curse you!" he shouted at Sara. "Don't you know when to leave a man alone?"

Sara disappeared.

What have I done?

Adrian looked rather upset with the way Alexander had treated the prisoner. Shakily, Adrian turned to Alexander. "What did the doctor say to do when you're feeling overwhelmed by the need for...ahh...the key to the wine cellar?"

"I don't care what he said. Adrian, you've never been in my shoes. You don't know what this is like. Please, for the love of all things sacred, just...just give it to me...please, Adrian..." Alexander hated whining, but there was nothing he could do to stop himself now. He was desperate.

And Alexander could tell that Adrian had been slightly swayed by the sight of his prince in such depths of despair.

The End

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