Flight of Destiny
Akhenaten was lying on his back on Ksunamun's bed. She had demanded Akhenaten do this, so that he wouldn't move too much while she worked on him.
Akhenaten groaned, a reaction caused by Ksunamun commencing the stitching up of Akhenaten's wound. She was using a thin, sharp needle, with a sturdy black thread of cotton.
"Hold still, my Prince." Ksunamun whispered soothingly.
"I'm trying." He ground out.
Ksunamun tentatively continued to sew up the long, deep gash in Akhenaten's arm. "It will be okay in seven days or so, Akhenaten. Look at it this way; if I close up the wound, it will heal much faster than if it was left alone. And another plus, it won't as much chance to become infected."
Akhenaten laughed ruefully. "Your preaching to the converted, little Lotus Blossom. I'm just having a rather difficult time being silent, that's all."
Ksunamun briefly paused from stitching Akhenaten's arm. She considered him for a second. "How can I make it easier on you?"
"Well, when you get that cut you're working on now and the cuts on my chest done, you can repay my cooperation very easily."
"Yeah, you can promise to give me a really good kiss after it is over." He proposed.
"Alright." She agreed with a giggle, "But you must be patient and grit your teeth, Your Highness." She resumed stitching.
"Agreed," Akhenaten nodded. "You realize I would not make such a bargain with any other nurse or doctor, right?"
"Well, I should hope not!" She paused, "I'm not a doctor."
"Nay, but you are my little nurse," Akhenaten contradicted lovingly.
Ksunamun studied Akhenaten's face. "I could swear I see amusement on your face, Akhenaten. Am I right to assume you like the idea of my being nurse to you?"
"Oh yes, I really, really do," Akhenaten admitted freely, "It's simply delightful."
"So I'm exciting you, eh?"
"Aye, maybe you could play nurse to me once we're married for a little naughty fun." He chuckled devilishly.
A radiant smile broke out on Ksunamun's face. "That does sound like something I might enjoy," she conceded, "But let's keep it for after we're married, aye? Until then, I am just a girl you like." she formed the last stitch to close Akhenaten's wound.
"You're more than that, Ksun," Akhenaten breathed, the nickname a caress.
"Thank you, Akhe," she returned, using her own new nickname for the Prince. She took up one of Akhenaten's daggers and gingerly cut the excess black thread. With the tip of her finger, she gently traced an invisible line over the largest of the deep, bloody scratches on Akhenaten's otherwise perfect chest.
"Now for the fun part." She said apologetically as she cut a fresh length of thread and threaded her needle again.
Akhenaten held Ksunamun close with his arm around her at the waist as the two made their way to the Pharaoh's chamber. The prince was going to tell his father detail for inconspicuous detail what had happened, and Ksunamun was to verify his story, for her part. Then, they would show the wound Akhenaten had received. It would place a lot of stress on the Pharaoh, but this must be sorted. Either Setana would be left in the dungeon to rot, or he would be executed for what he'd done.
They paused at the archway.
"Are you sure you're alright?" Ksunamun ventured in a whisper.
"I will be better once I get payment for my patience," he whispered back hotly.
Ksunamun backed against the wall to the left of the archway, and beckoned Akhenaten to her with her index finger. The Prince smirked as he joined her again, obviously pleased. Ksunamun wrapped her arms around Akhenaten's neck amorously, pulling him into her. Akhenaten more than willingly surrendered.
Akhenaten placed his hands at the small of Ksunamun's back, so he pressed himself against her. His lips met hers, sweet, yet savage with his hunger. It seemed Ksunamun did not mind in the least, for when Akhenaten's lips parted, she gently, maddeningly chewed on the Prince's lower lip. Akhenaten moaned throatily. He couldn't help it. Desire was snaking through him, and wicked thoughts were swirling in his mind, he was tempted to sin by Ksunamun's touch. He prayed to Ra for strength to keep his self-control.
He forced himself to break away. Ksunamun tried to kiss him again, but he stopped her, pressing his fingers to her lips. "Let's get this conversation with my father over with."
She looked saddened, "Very well."
Akhenaten placed his index finger under Ksunamun's chin and pushed up, forcing her to meet his eyes. "Don't worry, my dear. This is to be continued in my chamber later."
Ksunamun brightened. "I will hold you to that."
Akhenaten knocked on the archway. "Father?"
"Come in my boy," The old man answered weakly.
Akhenaten obeyed, Ksunamun following close behind. The Prince remained standing this time. The old Pharaoh seemed to have once more inexplicably deteriorated since Akhenaten last saw him. "Father," The Prince said at length, "I have some rather distressing news."
Amenhotep sat up in his bed, all attention on his son. "What is it?"
"Setana, he has attempted a foul deed, so I had him put in the dungeons." He paused for effect, "In the Treason Block."
"What on Atem-Ra's green Earth did he do?" Amenhotep croaked.
Akhenaten decided that he should sit now, and did so. Ksunamun moved so she stood at his side. "Setana tried to kill me, father." He said hesitantly, "If it wasn't for Adam, he'd have succeeded, too."
Amenhotep's face fell. This was the last thing he needed - a second attempt on his son's life.
Akhenaten then plunged into a detailed telling of what had happened, not leaving out how as soon as Setana walked in the chamber he'd felt uneasy, or how the High Priest had slipped his hand into his pocket and closed his fingers around his dagger.
The Pharaoh listened to it all, grimly, taking in every word with contemplation. He knew his son was not the type to fabricate stories, especially about something as serious as this.
"May I say something, my Pharaoh? I mean ... father." Ksunamun broke in.
"Of course." Amenhotep replied.
Ksunamun rolled up the right sleeve of Akhenaten's robe, exposing his wounded upper arm. "Setana did not hurt Akhenaten badly, father. Adam was quick to defend him. Right Akhenaten?"
Akhenaten only nodded.
Ksunamun continued, "Akhenaten has a rather nasty cut on his arm where the High Priest lacerated him with the dagger. That is his only injury besides the fact that he's quite shaken." She hesitated, then continued, "I am the one who stitched his wound, Phar- I mean, father."
"I cannot truthfully say that I'm surprised considering who your mother is." Amenhotep acknowledged.
"In any case, I'm intact, father. But, as a crime was committed within the walls of this palace, you must be told, so we have come to tell you."
"The pain isn't bad - and the shock - is wearing off." Akhenaten added.
"Well, I'm glad for that." Amenhotep nodded, "Nevertheless, I will try Setana as though he had carried it out. An attempt is just as bad as success, because of his intent. If he pleads guilty, he will spend his life in the prison he's in now. If he pleads innocent, he shall die. This is a serious breach of conduct on his part, he will receive a fitting punishment."
"Thank you, father." Akhenaten inclined his head to the Pharaoh before rising from his chair.
The Prince and his soon-to-be-Princess were once again back in Akhenaten's own chamber. Akhenaten had elected to lie down on his bed, he was feeling rather faint. He was lying on his side, watching Ksunamun, but every once in a while his eyes drifted shut for five or ten full seconds. So far, this day had been long, and just a touch too eventful for his liking.
Ksunamun had been sitting in a chair, but she chose to relocate so that she too, was on Akhenaten's bed, but she was sitting up, leaning back against the stone wall. Akhenaten shifted so that he lay on his side, his head resting on Ksunamun's lap. He was facing her, his eyes closed.
To Ksunamun, he looked at that moment very much like a young boy. A peaceful, beautiful boy of perhaps twelve or maybe fourteen. She realized then, that it was really Akhenaten's piercing, wise eyes that gave him his maturity, for the rest of his face was youthful compared to his eyes. If she looked deep enough, she could see that his dark irises showed untold pain and inner turmoil.
Ksunamun moved one hand so that she was able to rub his neck, and his left shoulder, which was the one he'd decided not to lie on. She massaged him for a while, then stopped, and just allowed her hand to rest on his upper arm, her other hand at her side.
"How do you think Setana will plead?" Ksunamun asked softly.
Akhenaten exhaled noisily. "I do not know. To be frank, I do not really care." There was a pause in which Akhenaten placed his left hand on Ksunamun's thigh. "I just don't want to see him again."
Ksunamun ran her hands through Akhenaten's hair affectionately. "I think your father may request your presence if he tries Setana at a royal court."
"I think, Ksunamun, that, considering my father's age and health, he will revert to his favoured methods and try Setana in what I believe you would consider an unconventional way."
"Explain, please." Ksunamun prodded as she continued to toy with the Prince's glorious mane of hair.
"I believe, that he will summon the strength to go down to the jail, tell Setana that he knows what he did, and then simply ask him how he pleads."
"Is that legal?" Ksunamun questioned.
Akhenaten snorted. "My father has so little in the patience department that that's how he did most trials when he was healthy."
Ksunamun raised an already arched eyebrow. "You're serious?"
"Do I sound serious?" He retorted, his eyes flying open so that his gaze caught hers as he looked up.
"Aye." Ksunamun admitted, "I suppose - he is the Pharaoh. He can do things the way he wants to."
"Aye, that's the truth." Akhenaten said, after which he closed his eyes again, exhaled deeply, and buried his face in Ksunamun's lap.
Ksunamun sighed. "Well, at least if he does it that way, you won't have to see Setana again."
"I'd be ever grateful if that were the case." He squeezed her thigh playfully with his hand. "This subject is rather tiring me. Could we talk about something else?"
It was a while before Ksunamun could come up with anything different to talk about. "How about that leopard skin?"
"I will take it down to the tanner tonight." Akhenaten replied, a yawn escaping him just after the last word.
Ksunamun stroked Akhenaten's hair tenderly, smiling down at him. "Get some sleep."
Akhenaten sighed in agreement, for he was indeed exhausted, and the atmosphere carried a thick ambience of slumber. He was relaxed in this position, even with all that happened. At length, he allowed sleep to claim him.
Akhenaten had been correct about how the Pharaoh would try Setana.
The old man, escorted by two slaves, slowly, deliberately made his way to the dungeons. The walk seemed impossibly long to Amenhotep, so much longer than the days of his youth.