Gay Romance Teens & Young Adult

 “Someone finds you interesting. Can’t take his eyes off you in fact.” Dagon smirked.

Kai Kenneally turned from Dagon to glance over his shoulder, already knowing what he would find. Sure enough, his gaze landed on Monarch Academy’s newest addition.

Kai locked glances with Namir Caspian’s dark doe eyes for a fraction of a second before Namir dropped his gaze and a fierce blush crept up his high cheeks.

Been there, done that, Kai thought, remembering his experience as the new kid on the block once upon a time. The only thing that had gotten him through that trial by fire was having his best friend Dagon Damaris by his side. Dagon, who danced to the beat of his own drummer and couldn’t care less what anyone thought of him. Dagon was the type of individual who would have been executed during the witch trials because he was different and a rebel.

Kai and Dagon well knew different was an easy target of tyrants…and humans.

“Do you think he’s kind of weird?”

Kai watched the way Namir’s dark-brown hair fell across his high forehead, fingers itching to push the locks away from the guy’s smooth ochre face so he could see his anime-come-to-life eyes again. Kai wondered if Namir’s hair was as soft as it looked.

“Earth to Kai.”

Kai turned back to find Dagon waving his hand in Kai’s face. “Weird? Shame on you.”

“I know, right.” Dagon chuckled.

“Anyway, if by weird you mean unique, then sure, he’s weird. And maybe a little lonely.” Like I was. Because even sitting with Dagon in a cafeteria swarming with rowdy teenagers, Kai still felt alone. Misunderstood.

“Why don’t you invite him over to our table for lunch? We need a third.”

“More like a seventh.” Kai glanced at the four royal guards—his nation’s version of the Secret Service—strategically stationed at each corner of the long cafeteria table where he and Dagon sat by themselves.

“You think I won’t?” He’d been dying to get to know Namir Caspian since first noticing him in the school halls a couple of weeks ago and he was sure Dagon knew it.  

“I think HRH is chicken.”

Kai scowled, surprised Dagon hadn’t used His Royal Highness since he knew how much Kai loathed the label, especially here in the outside world. He hated HRH just a little less.

Kai and Dagon had been baiting each other since the cradle. Dagon knew the best way to get Kai to do anything was to dare him. It was how Kai and Dagon had wound up at Monarch Academy together. Dagon had challenged Kai to go to his parents, Conri and Accalia, the king and queen of Villarreal, and convince them to let him attend high school abroad. Kai, of course, had mentioned the benefits of a prince expanding his horizons and learning about the world outside his province. His parents had agreed to four years of high school in the human realm. Kai had had to surrender his gifts for the duration, however, no small sacrifice since shapeshifting came as easily to his kind as breathing. To ensure that he wouldn’t be tempted to use his abilities, the king commissioned the royal court’s sorcerer to cast a spell, removing them.

The absence of Kai’s powers made the royal guards more of a necessity, hence four instead of the usual two.

The school administrators and student body all knew of his royal heritage and the need for security, but only Dagon and the guards were aware of Kai’s family’s abilities as everyone in Villarreal—royalty and commoner alike—could shapeshift into some animal from the Canis species or Canidae family. The Kenneallys were a ruling class from a long line of gray wolves.

Dagon joked that Villarreal was a nation of mutts, a very prosperous and independent nation thanks to hundreds of widely-used inventions and patents but mutts nonetheless.

Kai glanced at his best friend now, and amended his previous thought. Everyone in Villarreal except Dagon. Dagon was from an entirely different species from Canis, the only one of his kind in Villarreal, probably the only one of his kind in the world.

Which made Kai wonder about Namir’s background. He got the same vibe from the new student as he got from Dagon. He sensed Namir was much more than he seemed. Maybe it was the new student’s size, even larger than the average Villarrealean, whose young adults grew to at least six-five and two-hundred pounds, even the females. 

Namir would fit right in standing just shy of seven feet and weighing at least two-hundred-and-fifty pounds from the looks of it. He wore it well, however, not appearing to have an extra ounce of fat on his broad-shouldered frame, a fact that probably disallowed even the largest and meanest Monarch Academy’s males from ideas of bullying.

By contrast, at six feet and one-hundred-and-eighty pounds, Kai, remained one of the smallest of his kind, so small in fact many in Villarreal questioned his connection to the royal family and teased him about being a coyote. Yes, kids and teens in Villarreal were just as cruel as those in the human realm. At least he didn’t stick out as much in the human realm as did Namir who looked more suited to the starting line-up of an NBA team.

There was also something about Namir’s coloring that reminded Kai of his kingdom’s golden jackal, but that animal didn’t feel quite right either. In fact, Namir felt like an entirely different species from Canis or the Canidae family.

Kai decided to investigate and before he knew it, he was on his feet.

“I was only kidding, Kai,” Dagon said through his teeth as Kai strolled across the cafeteria floor toward Namir, several tables away.

Kai felt Dagon and the security detail on his heels, taking up places at each corner of the table where Namir sat by himself.

Namir’s head jerked up and he gaped as Kai slid on the bench opposite him. “What are you—?”

“Couldn’t help notice you were staring.”

Namir blushed and lowered his head, staring at the peas on his plate as if they were the most fascinating legume in the world. “I wasn’t,” he mumbled.

“Would you like to join us for lunch?”

“I’m finished.” Namir raised his head, gaze growing suddenly cold as he grabbed his tray and slid off his bench.

Did he think Kai mocked him?

Kai, and everyone in the cafeteria, watched Namir. He was the sort that stood out in a crowd, mostly because of his size, but Kai sensed something much more special that made Namir the cynosure.

He caught Namir’s wrist. “Please don’t go.”

Bleddyn, chief of the royal guard, loudly cleared his throat and Dagon laughed.

Kai had just committed sacrilege. Royals did not beg but Kai thought that was the problem with the Kenneallys and other sovereigns. They were so full of themselves and tradition, unwilling to listen to dissenting views, always handing down orders.

Kai wanted to change things. It was the main reason for his agreeing to give up something so precious to him, his main reason for wanting to attend Monarch Academy. Now that he’d met Namir, he wanted to get to know him better and he knew that ordering him around wouldn’t be the best way to do that. Catch more flies with honey, and all that.

“Meet me after school.” There was the bossy royal. Kai couldn’t help himself. When he

saw something he wanted, the prince in him came out.


Could Namir’s gaze have gotten any wider and more innocent? For someone who was so large and threatening from a distance, up close Namir seemed like a pussycat.

The warning bell signaling the end of lunch period sounded and Bleddyn cleared his throat again. “You’re Highness. It’s time to return to classes.”

Kai barely heard him, still holding Namir’s gaze.

“I have to go,” Namir murmured.

“For now,” Kai agreed.

Namir’s full lips barely formed a smile as he shook his head and turned to leave.

Dagon came to Kai’s side. “Royal charm failing you?”

“I’m just warming up.”

* * *

It took two weeks before Namir finally gave in and agreed to have lunch at Kai and Dagon’s table, Kai’s royal charm winning over Namir’s suspicion. And from there, the three teens remained on a fast track to becoming the best of friends.

Namir was like most average teens in the human realm. He liked the same sort of music and artists as Kai and Dagon, and he fanboyed on the same video games and movies—though Namir was a hardcore Marvel fan and Dagon and Kai both loved DC. Namir also vegged out on the same TV shows and read similar books as Kai and Dagon. Except Namir was a big fan of Game of Thrones like Dagon, and Kai was a Harry Potter fan.

Dagon had teased Kai about Namir’s obsession with Drogon, the personal mount of Daenerys Targaryen, while Kai pointed out both series featured themes of abused orphans discovering their inner strength while rising to power.

“All right professor Kenneally,” Dagon joked. “No literary lessons with my fantasy. I just like how cool the dragons are.”

“Dragons are cool,” Namir agreed. “I wish I could ride one like Daenerys and Jon.”

“Doesn’t everybody.” Dagon had given Kai a look here and Kai’s heart swelled at the idea that he might be able to grant Namir’s fondest desire, maybe make him open up more.

Because it hadn’t escaped him that Namir didn’t talk about himself other than expressing his fondness for certain things, and try as he might, Kai couldn’t get passed the other teen’s walls

to learn about the real Namir—his hopes and dreams, what made him tick, why he’d come to Monarch Academy, where he was from, what his family was like.

Dagon cautioned Kai that everyone wasn’t as open and free as Kai, and that everyone’s parents weren’t as supportive and loving as Conri and Accalia.  

Kai sensed that his friend knew more than he was saying about the enigmatic Namir Caspian and while they were all out walking in the forest after school—Namir several yards ahead, exploring the flora and fauna as he loved to do—Kai asked, “What are you not telling me, Dag?”

“It’s not my place to reveal another’s secrets.”

“What has Namir told you that he hasn’t told me?”


Strangely, Kai wasn’t. He knew that Namir preferred him over Dagon, not to mention Dagon preferred females. So there was no competition. 

“You have nothing to worry about, Kai. You are the one Namir wants.” Dagon put an arm around his shoulders as if to comfort him and Kai had to admit, hearing the words out loud did help. “Hey, look at him,” Dagon said. “He’s like a freaking Disney princess communing with the woodland creatures.”

Kai followed the direction of Dagon’s gaze and his breath hitched in his chest at the beatific expression on Namir’s face as he crouched his big body low to shake the paw of a chipmunk while petting a skunk with his other hand.

Kai laughed. His man was beyond a Disney princess.

Then all of a sudden the atmosphere changed, Kai, Dagon and his guards all feeling it and tensing at the same time.

Danger lurked nearby.

Kai smelled the beast before he saw him, an enormous brown bear charging at them from a clump of trees.

Before his guards could swing their rifles off their shoulders to take aim, a huge tiger hurtled through the woods, and leaped on the bear’s back.

Two of his guards grabbed each of Kai’s arms and dragged him away from the ferocious fray, establishing a circle around him with the rest of his security detail. All four guards aimed their weapons at the two furred combatants.

Why hadn’t Dagon shifted by now?

Just as the thought struck Kai, the bear released a mighty roar when the tiger sank its sharp teeth deep into the bear’s neck. The bear wildly spun, trying to shake its attacker off its back, but the tiger wouldn’t let go until the bear dropped to the ground, snorting and bleeding profusely.

The earth seemed to shake with the crash of the two apex predators against the ground. 

Kai used the lull to rush through his protective barricade.

“Your Highness! No!”

Kai sped by Dagon, who dutifully blocked the path of Bleddyn and his men.

The bear scarcely moved as Kai neared the scene but only after the beast had closed his eyes and took his last breath, did the tiger release the other animal’s throat.

Kai walked closer, peering at the fearsome tiger.  

“You’re highness, he is an enemy of Villarreal! Can you not see that?”

Kai glanced over his shoulder to see his detail with their weapons raised, preparing to

fire. “Drop your weapons,” he ordered and turned back to the tiger, not doubting that his orders would be followed until he heard Dagon’s words.

 “You heard the prince. Drop your weapons.”

“Your Highness, the king and queen will be furious if anything happens to you.”

Kai barely listened, too curious and moving closer to the tiger. He could indeed see now what Namir had been hiding, that he was an Amur tiger from the laborer class of Amana, notorious adversaries of Villarreal, and even more guarded than Kai’s culture. So circumspect and secretive, in fact, it was thought that the Amur were long extinct.

But here was one of them, having just saved Kai and his guards’ lives.

“Kai, you must come back.” Bleddyn raised his weapon and began squeezing the trigger.

“You will not harm him!” Kai boldly stood in front of Namir who was much larger in his shifted form than his human form. Larger and more intimidating. He could have ripped all of them apart as easily as he had the bear, but he chose to remain still, watching the drama unfold as if he were not the subject of the heated dispute.

Kai was not afraid and, evidently, neither was Dagon, whom Kai noticed had not shifted during the entire ruckus. That proved something to Kai: that Namir could be trusted.

Bleddyn, reluctantly lowered his weapon. “We will not leave you alone with him.”

Namir head-butted Kai’s hip and purred as if to prove his trustworthiness and challenge Bleddyn’s doubt.

Kai could well be making a mistake and taking his life into his hands, but feeling Namir’s rolling vibrations against his leg was reassuring, letting him know he was safe. Pussycat came to mind again and Kai almost laughed at how right—and wrong—he had been. Namir was so much more than a pussycat. “You will leave us alone.”

“No harm will come to the prince,” Dagon assured.

Kai gave Dagon a grateful look as he knew his friend would stay close enough to protect him should things go awry, but give him and Namir the space they needed to talk in private.

Kai led the way, walking further into the forest, retracing Namir’s steps before the bear’s attack. The chipmunk and skunk that Namir had been communing with earlier, or any other small prey, were long gone.

Namir sat beneath the shade of a large sycamore tree, glancing up at Kai as if inviting him to sit too.

Kai didn’t hesitate, sitting beside the tiger and burying his fingers in the animal’s

luxurious, soft pelt. “Thank you for saving my life.” Without his ability to shift, Kai had been a sitting duck but for Namir’s quick reactions.

Namir yawned and put his head in Kai’s lap, nuzzling close.

Dagon came over and handed Kai his uniform blazer. “Namir’s are shot to shit and he’ll need something to wear once he shifts back.”

“I’m aware.”

“Apologies, Your Highness.”


His friend paused, arched a brow.

“Thank you.”

Dagon tipped his head. “I’ve sent one of the guards away to get Namir some more clothes. It shouldn’t be too long.” Then he left as silently as he had appeared. 

Kai caressed Namir’s large head, the desire to talk and learn more about the quiet teen all but forgotten. He knew all he needed and wanted to know, that Namir’s heart was pure no matter his heritage.

Some moments later, Dagon reappeared, offering Kai a fresh uniform shirt and pants that were large enough to fit Namir.

Kai didn’t need to ask where he had gotten them so quickly. Money talked and he was sure his guards had had no compunction throwing their weight around to get what Namir needed.

Kai gave Namir one more pat, then stood and turned his back.

Several seconds later, Namir’s hand reached for the clothes and Kai kept his back turned to give his friend privacy, though he was sorely tempted to turn around and see if Namir’s naked

human form was as gorgeous as his tiger form.

“You can turn around now.”

Kai turned as Namir finished buttoning his light-blue shirt. He remembered Namir once telling him their uniform shirt was the exact color of Kai’s eyes.

Kai approached, craning his head to look into Namir’s dark gaze.

Namir bent his head and gently kissed Kai on the lips. “Thanks for not letting your guards shoot me.”

Kai chuckled. “How ungrateful would that have been?”

“Very.” Namir smiled, tracing Kai’s bottom lip with his thumb.

“Okay, guys. Time to knock off the lovefest for some real fun.” Dagon loudly clapped and broke the spell that Namir’s kiss had woven. “Still want to ride a dragon, Namir?”

Namir pulled away to look from Kai to Dagon and back again.

Kai smiled and nodded, the childlike expression of excitement and wonder on Namir’s face a priceless gift that made giving up his abilities to come to Monarch Academy worth more than all Villarreal’s riches.

April 09, 2021 21:22

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