Baqet was concerned - he saw Horembeb consume himself in remorse. Outsiders were not aware of Horembeb's drama, for he knew how to conceal his feelings, but Baqet knew him better than that.
Since Tut had entrusted Baqet to Horembeb, and his lover to Baqet, the young man had always slept next to Horembeb. However, the pharaoh, even though at times he held the boy in his arms, never made love with him. He no longer made love with anyone, after that terrible day.
The strong man had devoted all his energies to the reorganization of the kingdom. He made sure that the land would return to its rightful owners, be they priests or private citizens. He had warned the higher military officers to ensure that none of the soldiers oppressed the poor, or demanded by force sexual services from girls or boys from the lower classes, or took away from them slaves or property that were not theirs.
He restored order and morality. He built temples to Ptah and Horus, protected and adorned the tombs of kings, made laws in favour of peasants and merchants. Under his wise reign Egypt prospered. When necessary, he personally led the army to repel enemies beyond it's borders and to regain the territories that had once been under the rule of the pharaohs. Baqet was always at his side, with his discreet and assiduous presence, even though almost invisible. The whole nation was singing Horembeb's praises... even the priests of Amon.
One by one Horembeb made sure to kill, exile, imprison or place under surveillance every official that had conspired against Tutankhamen, his Tut. But that didn't give him peace of mind.
Horembeb was sitting on the throne, in the great and empty audience hall, whose gates were guarded outside by his elite guard. He was not wearing the regalia, but only the loincloth and short linen skirt of a common soldier. His elbow was resting on his knee, his face half hidden in his hand.
Baqet entered the hall of the throne. The guards never stopped him, he was the only one at court who, even though he had no rank and no role, could move easily through any door, without ever being stopped by the guards. Not even the grand vizier had this privilege.
The boy stepped forward and stood silently before the throne.
"Horembeb..." the boy said softly.
The man lifted his head and looked at him, as if he found it hard to focus on his image.
"Oh, gazelle... it's you. Come here..." he said wearily.
The boy approached the throne. Horembeb took him gently by the arm and pulled him, making him sit on his lap.
"My sweet Baqet... shouldn't you be busy with your studies at this time?" the man asked in a tone of gentle reproach.
"Yes I should, but I felt your pain scream and echo through the corridors and halls, and I had to come."
"Only you have ears capable of hearing that. And you are all I have left of... of... of him!"
"Why do you never pronounce his name? What good is it to delete it throughout the whole kingdom? You know you can never erase it from your heart."
"He blames me, he accuses me... I have killed him... I killed him..."
"Horembeb! No. You have loved him!"
"And what use has my love been to him? Tell me, gazelle, what use has it been?"
"To live happily as long as he lived, and to live forever, thanks to your care."
"It was his place to sit here, not me. He would have been a great pharaoh, the greatest in all history."
"You're doing what he would have done."
"What will posterity say of me? That I stole the throne from him? First his life, then his throne."
"Tut knows that it is not so. I know it's not so. And you know it. Who cares what the others say?"
"I let him die."
"You loved him. More than anyone else could have loved him. More than I loved him..."
"Yes, you loved him, you were his shadow..."
"And I still am - he wanted me next to you. You know Horembeb, he never knew, nor did you ever know, but at first I was jealous of you. "
"Jealous of me?" Horembeb asked, surprised.
"Yes, stupidly jealous of you. I was just a child, a silly little boy, but I wanted him to keep me in his arms. I wanted to be the one making love with him instead of you."
"You... You loved him in this way? You never let it out."
"I wished that was my body to give him happiness, but he chose you. He needed you, not me. When growing up I realized that you were his happiness, I was happy for you both. But now my heart is bleeding for you."
"For me, my sweet gazelle? Why for me?"
"Because of loving him, I learned to love you too. And I cannot bear your torment. He would not want this, you know. I do not want this. Stop, Horembeb, stop tormenting yourself so much. For the love of Tut, for my love, stop it! Make of your heart a temple honouring Tut, not a tomb in which to bury him forever. He lives for our love, Horembeb. Your absurd remorse is making him die a second time, don't you understand? "
"Do you love me, my gazelle?" Horembeb asked, amazed. "You love me? Don't you hate me? He died because of me..."
"No. I was there, don't you remember? I was there when you spoke to him that last time. I was there when you refused to kill him. I was there when you moved away to prevent him to kill himself. I was there, I saw everything with my own eyes and heard everything with my heart. Our Tut died for the hatred of men, or perhaps because the gods had decided so. The gods, not you! Horembeb, please... reopen the doors to your heart! "
"Do you love me, Baqet? In spite of all... do you think I'm worthy to be loved?" Horembeb asked, profoundly shaken.
"Didn't you say that I was the shadow of Tut? Yes, I love you... I love you like he loved you," the boy whispered. Timidly he took Horembeb's face in his hands, and drew his lips near those of the man.
Horembeb closed his eyes and felt on his lips the sweetness of the boy, the same sweetness as that of his Tut! He parted them a little, and the boy kissed him with all his tenderness.
"Oh, Tut... Tut..." Horembeb murmured full of emotion.
"No," the boy said softly, "I'm just Baqet, only his shadow. But my love is his love."
"And do you want to be mine, Baqet?"
"Yes, if you want me, I would be yours. But I'm Baqet, not Tut. Tut lives only in your heart and in mine, not in my body."
"But now you have the age of Tut, when he died."
"Yes. Last night he appeared in my dream, and scolded me..."
"He reproached you? And why, gazelle?"
"Because I promised him to take care of you."
"And I promised him to take care of you."
"So you did, and still do. You made me study, you're making a man of me. But what did I do for you? I've seen you suffer, and I suffered with you, but what did I do to lift the pall of lead from your heart? What have I done to make you feel that our Tut still lives in our hearts?"
"You have not abandoned me, not even for a moment, you almost became my shadow..."
"Almost, but not completely."
Horembeb kissed him again, this time with more intimacy, and for the first time a new desire flashed through his body and his heart. His hands, that had touched Baqet's fresh and beautiful body many times, touched him now in a new and different way. Continuing to kiss him, he freed him of his clothes.
Baqet ventured to do what he had never dared before. His hand slid under the short skirt of the man, rested on his bulging loincloth and caressed the incipient erection.
"Oh, my sweet gazelle..." Horembeb sighed, caressing him in a more intimate way, quivering in feeling how the boy's excitement took over.
The handsome Pharaoh stood up and his clothes, opened by Baqet's delicate hands, slid to the ground, revealing the man's glorious nakedness. Horembeb took the boy in his arms, lifted him up and placed him on the throne. Baqet instinctively spread his legs and rested on the armrests of the wide seat. Horembeb knelt before the boy and began to prepare him.
He took him by his shoulders, sliding on his knees, and advanced his pelvis until his cock, hard and throbbing, pointed at the flesh rosette of the boy. Horembeb began to push, but the natural resistance of the ring of flesh made him stop.
"Is this your first time, gazelle?"
"Yes," Baqet whispered, "but do not stop... Make me yours, I pray you."
"I don't want to hurt you..."
"Tut told me about your first meeting. For him it was the first time too. He said that the initial pain is nothing, compared to the pleasure that comes later. He told me that that pain was right. He told me that you have given him your strength, your vigour, your manhood... Do so with me too, please."
"I don't want to hurt you." Horembeb whispered, but he resumed to push.
"I know... Make me yours, Horembeb, make me all yours."
Horembeb felt the boy's ring of flesh slowly relent under him. He looked into Baqet's eyes and saw the same smile of encouragement he had read in the eyes of Tut, that first time. Baqet eyes were dark blue and not light blue as those of Tut, but in them the same light was shining.
The strong man slowly entered the boy, who received him with pleasure. His smile did not fade during the calm and vigorous invasion of the strong pole of meat. In the rich and great hall resounded, slightly subdued, only the gasps of pleasure of the boy, while the man held back his breath, tasting for the first time that sweet and ripe fruit.
Then Horembeb began to retreat with caution and to go again forward, invading every time a little more of the boy's narrow and hot love channel.
"I'm not hurting you, gazelle?"
"No, I like it..."
Thus encouraged, Horembeb began to move in the boy with greater vigour; his comings and goings became more confident and stronger. Baqet caressed the beautiful manly body, the dark nipples, he rubbed the hairless, strong chest, and stirred gently, instinctively, under the thrust of the man, thus increasing their mutual pleasure.
"Oh, I love you!" Baqet moaned, pleasantly shaken by the manly assaults.
Horembeb wondered if he loved the gentle yet strong boy who had dared to speak so vehemently and with so much love to his pharaoh. Did he love Baqet, or did he only want to find in him his Tut? He looked at the boy: he was handsome, but he was not Tut. He was sweet, but it was not the sweetness of Tut. No, it was Baqet, the gazelle. It was with Baqet he was making love and to whom he was giving his love.
Baqet had been able to reawaken in him the flame of desire, the burning of passion... even the fire of love.
"I love you too, Baqet!" the strong and handsome man whispered, hoarse with pleasure, while he continued to move over and inside the boy with increasing vigour and passion.
The pleasure the boy felt at these words was even more intense than the bodily pleasure the man was giving him. In his heart Baqet had already donated himself to Horembeb the day that Tutankhamen had "communicated" their love affair to him. But now, with joy, he was finally giving his body and was receiving the gift of the body and the love of his pharaoh.
Horembeb made no attempt to control the course of his own pleasure, he was just bothering to give pleasure to "his" boy, so when he passed the point of no return, he surrendered to the intense joy and let his orgasm explode.
When Baqet realized that the man was filling him up with his manly liquor of life, jet after jet, he felt in heaven.
Horembeb, partly recovered, slowly pulled his still hard and quivering rod from the boy. He bent over his groin and began to kiss and lick, then to suck Baqet's nice erect member, bringing him quickly to orgasm. He took all the jets and noticed that the flavour, while pleasant, was different from that of his Tut.
The boy was panting, feeling relaxed and happy. Horembeb stood up, caressed him and said again: "I love you, Baqet... Forgive me for having been near you so many years without noticing your love for me, unaware of my love for you..."
"I love you too, Horembeb." the sweet boy sighed happily.
The discovery of their mutual love was like a balm for Horembeb's heart , who finally, after all these years, began to find some peace of mind.
Horembeb had always taken care of the boy, by making him learn to read and write, and other useful things. But now he decided he must have a full education like a noble, as a prince. So he also began to train the boy in the military arts, to ride a horse and to drive a chariot.
So he could take him, when there was some military action at the borders. Baqet was willing and intelligent and did everything to please Horembeb. He applied himself with all his being to assimilate thoroughly everything his pharaoh and lover asked him to learn.
The years passed. Baqet had strengthened and was now educated, though he always continued to keep a low profile. He never appeared at the Pharaoh's side or in the official ceremonies, so that, apart from the staff of the court closest to the pharaoh, no one knew of his existence.
Nevertheless Baqet spent nearly all his nights in the bed and the arms of Horembeb, and the two lovers made love every time with renewed passion and pleasure. Horembeb had also started talking to his boyfriend about state affairs and each time he urged his opinion. As an independent man he was never influenced by the boy, but every time he listened to him with pleasure, and always explained to him the reasons behind his final decisions.
However, it was at the suggestion of Baqet that Horembeb decided to create a real police corps, separate from the army, taking the most experienced and well balanced among the ranks and hierarchy of the soldiers. Police officers, in peacetime, could always seek the assistance of soldiers to carry out arrests, to protect someone or to quell a riot.
It was the fifth year of the reign of Horembeb, when the pharaoh decided to go and spend a period of rest at the great river's delta. Not wanting to be separated too long from his Baqet, he ordered him to follow, what the boy did with pleasure.
The pharaoh installed himself incognito in the house of his old comrade and dear friend, general Seti, who also had been "raised" by Abana. He was a few years older than Horembeb. But unlike him, Seti had remained in the infantry, where he made his career.
"How old are you, Seti?" Horembeb asked.
"Forty-eight, five more than you, don't you remember?"
Horembeb leaned back in his chair, stretched his legs a little, and drank the beer that his friend had ordered for him.
"Yeah... but you seem weakened... you put on some weight..." the pharaoh said to him jokingly.
"Unlike you, who are always in perfect shape, as I see."
"I continue to train every day with my soldiers, affairs of state permitting. You remember, Abana always said that a good soldier must take good care of his body. Therefore also a good general, or a good pharaoh..."
"It this a reproach?" the general asked with a smile.
Horembeb shook his head: "No, you have a family, a beautiful wife, children... A married man, with age, tends naturally to plumpness, when he has a good family."
"And you? I know you've chosen a beautiful queen."
"Only for the form. She is my queen, my wife for everyone... but not for me. She is not my woman, if you know what I mean."
"Yes, I got some... echo on your preferences."
Horembeb laughed: "The rumours run faster than the messengers of the king!" he said, quoting an old proverb.
"That boy... Is he your boyfriend?" the general asked.
"Baqet? Yes he is."
"He seems a very decent boy, no airs and graces for the fact of sharing your bed. He is also nicely shaped. How old is he?"
"The same age as Ramses, my eldest son."
"Where is he now? I have not yet seen your children."
"Oh... the less I see them the more I'm comfortable. Especially Ramses, who does nothing but give me headaches. I should not say this, since he is still my son, but sometimes I think it would be better for me if he was never born. "
"Really!" Horembeb remarked, sipping on his beer.
"Yes, he has no brains... He is not a bad boy, but thoughtless and lazy, and he will never be able to take my place."
"You have other sons, isn't it?"
"Another one and three females. The little one... I fear that he too will never take my place. The only thing that interests him, and where he seems to have his talent, is medicine. I think he will become a good doctor, but never a soldier."
"My poor friend! I do not have these concerns..." Horembeb laughed.
"But tell me, Horembeb, and forgive an old friend if I ask what may seem intrusive..."
"If you do not lie with the queen and you do not have children, who will take your place? Who will succeed you on the throne of the Two Lands? Have you thought about that?"
"I thought about it, yes... and maybe I still hope to live long enough to find a solution. See, you and I are in the same situation: I have no children that can take my place, and you have children, unable to take your place..."
"And... your Baqet?" the general asked.
"Seti, my Baqet was a slave, he can never ascend to the throne, unfortunately."
"Do you judge him unworthy of it?"
"No, not at all, on the contrary! And if I could..."
" Can't you adopt him?"
"He will always be a former slave. He would never ever be accepted as my successor. See, about me they cannot say much, because I have always carefully hidden my past. Anyone who knows me, knows just I'm a soldier who has done a fast career, a good soldier... "
"An excellent soldier, loved by all his men, too."
"Exactly. My strength is all there. But if you knew that I really am only a peasant, a farmer's son..."
"Are you serious? A farmer you? Yet you seem born to command..."
"The gossip didn't tell you that?" Horembeb asked amused.
"No, on the contrary... There are rumours that you are the son of some important man. The bastard son, but of noble blood."
Horembeb laughed aloud and drank the beer that was left in his mug: "You are from a family of old nobility. If only one of your sons was worthy, then I could adopt him and name him my heir. But my lovely Baqet! Never."