Re: Dinner: Athelstan and Ragnar
Ragnar lifted a shoulder in a shrug, willing to acknowledge that maybe that was true. "Perhaps deep down. I have thought of children often but it is impossible and would only break my heart. I fathered no more. I wanted to. But I could not. I could not because I knew I would have to leave them, it is my curse. And you know me-" he laughed a little sardonically. "I like company. I like bodies beside my own. That I have not been without."
He paused, sighed, and wished he could put into words what that promise meant to him. That Athelstan would not leave him. That he would live his life here.
"If you never left then you would make me happier than I can tell you," he said quietly, turning on a pan to sear the steaks, speaking a little louder over the sizzle.
"I am too old for war, now. I have seen enough. It is less pleasing when you have no idea what you are fighting for. Now I just fight with my intellectual friends. I think I have a good few more years to do this before I raise suspicions and have to move on to another job. But this pleases me."
Ragnar lifted his eyes, looking across the room at Athelstan. "I know you did. But you never needed to prove anything to me. I think you wanted to prove to the others that you were worthy of my love, but you never needed to do anything for me."
The steaks went into the oven to keep cooking, and Ragnar crossed the room again, stroking his beard as he looked at Athelstan. "Please, now, do not think you have to do anything to make me happy. You make me happy."