The Summer Palace by C. S. Pacat
Captive Prince #3.5
Read on January 6th
This short story is an epilogue to the Captive Prince trilogy so there will be spoilers if you haven’t read it.
First, let’s go back to this scene in King’s Rising:
“Laurent’s breathing was easy, as though he was relaxed and sleepy, lying beside Damen. Damen heard himself say it.
‘There’s a summer palace in Ios outside the capital. My mother designed the gardens there. They say it’s built on Artesian foundations.’ He thought of the meandering walks, the delicate, flowering southern orchids, the sprays of orange blossom. ‘It’s cool in summer, and there are fountains, and tracks for riding.’ His pulse beat with uncharacteristic nerves, so that he felt almost shy. ‘When all this is over . . . we could take horses and stay a week in the palace.’ Since their night together in Karthas, he hadn’t dared to speak about the future.
He felt Laurent holding himself carefully, and there was a strange pause. After a moment, Laurent said, softly, ‘I’d like that.’
Damen rolled onto his back again, and felt the words like happiness as he let himself look up again at the wide sweep of stars.”
MY BABIES DID IT THEY WENT TO THE PALACE TOGETHER ON THEIR HORSES AND IT MAKES ME EMOTIONAL OKAY.
I am so so thankful to C. S. Pacat for giving us this, it was everything I wished for and more. The perfect first read of the year! The writing was beautiful as ever and so was the world-building. The character development throughout the trilogy was off the charts, but I felt like there was still something missing because we left Damen and Laurent before they had the chance to fully heal. And in The Summer Palace we got to see just that. We got to see Damen and Laurent mend each other’s wounds, in an emotional level, bringing them even closer together. The ghosts of Auguste’s death and the scars on Damen’s back will always remain between them, but after this epilogue I think it’s safe to say that they won’t forget, but they’ve forgiven each other and themselves. They got their happily ever after and I feel so b l e s s e d. They deserve it so much. And this was just pure Lamen fluff to shame all fluff out there but it’s OFFICIAL and then there was smut, actual love making, and these fools are so in love it’s beautiful and RIP me I’m dead and buried in a grave filled with my own tears.
Now, because I’m still too emotionally unstable, let me break down my favorite parts of this story
which is basically the whole damn thing but still, I need this
SPOILERS, PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
*Damen leaving his retinue behind so he could surprise Laurent
*Laurent watching the road so he didn’t miss Damen arriving so he could surprise him
*Them k i s s i n g
*Laurent in Akielon clothing
*Damen being horny af by all the skin Laurent is showing in his Akielon clothes
*Laurent !!! tucking !!! a !!! flower !!! behind !!! Damen’s !!! ear !!!
*Damen doing the s a m e
*JUST LAURENT WANTING TO COURT DAMEN
*Damen saying hIS MOTHER’S GARDENS ARE THEIRS NOW. T H E I R S.
“Damen was smiling; there was delight in seeing Laurent explore himself, a young man who was sweet, teasing, at times unexpectedly earnest. Having made the decision to let Damen in, Laurent had not gone back on it. When the walls went up, it was with Damen inside them.”
Bye I’m dead and I’m actually writing this from my grave
“‘I’ll take care of your son,’ said Laurent. ‘I’ll protect his kingdom as if it were my own. I’ll give my life for his people.” (…) “I won’t let him down. I promise you.’”
“‘I killed him. I killed him.’
‘Why?’ said Laurent, quietly. It came out like a throb, a child’s question, that couldn’t be answered.”
TAKE MY HEART OUT AND STOMP ALL OVER IT, IT’D HURT LESS HONESTLY. But it’s such an important for them.
“‘The night you told me about this place, it was the first time that I ever thought about the future. I thought about coming here. I thought about… being with you. It meant something to me that you suggested it. What we had on the ride to Ios, it was already more than I… At the trial, I thought it was enough. I thought I was ready. And then you came.’
‘In case you wanted me,’ said Damen.
‘I thought, I have lost everything and gained you, and I would almost make the trade, if I didn’t know it had happened that way for you, too.’”
*Laurent wanting to take Damen to the place where Auguste is buried just kill me now
*Laurent knowing exactly how Damen feels about his brother deep down because he just knows him so well
*Laurent wanting to serve Damen like Damen served him asghddhesf
*Laurent undressing himself and Damen and pouring water over himself and washing Damen and just tHE WHOLE BATH SCENE GODDAMN
*LAURENT K N E E L I N G FOR DAMEN
*Laurent gently washing Damen’s scarred back and Damen dying a little inside
“Flesh and self were linked. The cleansing was slow, attentive, drizzling water, then soaping his skin. It was healing something he hadn’t known needed to be healed. Like breathing, it was necessary, even as the tenderness of it was too much, gentleness where he had never expected Laurent to be gentle.”
*THEM JUST HEALING EACH OTHER
*Laurent lying down by the side of the bath and Damen getting turned out and wanting to “run a proprietary hand over Laurent’s body, over his thighs, his flank and chest. He imagined himself coming up dripping out of the baths to take Laurent there on the marble.” Ha I’m totally fine
*LAURENT NOT WANTING TO TAKE OFF THE FLOWER DAMEN GAVE HIM UNTIL HE ABSOLUTELY HAD TO TO WASH HIMSELF
*Damen talking to Laurent about his capture
“‘Believe you’d make it back to Akielos? Yes. I did. You were a force of nature. It was infuriating to fight you. Frightening to have you on my side.’
‘You didn’t know how afraid I was of you?’
‘Of me? Or of yourself?’
‘Of what was happening between us.” (…) “Sometimes I’m still afraid of it.’ Laurent’s voice was honest. ‘It makes me feel—’
‘I know,’ said Damen. ‘I feel it too.’”
Who needs a heart anyway
*Laurent pouring cold water over Damen’s body after a hot bath like the little shit he is
*Damen pressing himself against Laurent in revenge
*DAMEN AND LAURENT WRESTLING
*Nikandros is teaching Laurent how to wrestle !!!
*Laurent rubbing Damen’s hair with a towel and drying the rest of his body
*Damen and Laurent walking naked to their room and Damen being too aware of Laurent’s nakedness
*Laurent said, “I like it here. I like it here so much.”
*Damen and Laurent kissing everywhere every few seconds like the love struck fools they are and it makes my heart swell with joy
*“Our new palace.” OUR. O U R. I REPEATE, OUR
*Damen remembering every single time he and Laurent made love
“He loved the way that Laurent kissed, as if Damen was the only person that he had ever kissed, or would ever want to.”
Hi. It’s me. Your local Lamen trash can. Drowning in feels.
*Damen and Laurent making love
and making me combust
*Laurent inviting a guard inside their room after they were finished and Damen groaning cause he knew he’d do just that, the little bastard
*DAMEN SMILING W I D E BECAUSE “You were watching the road.” *pterodactyl scream*
HONESTLY JUST DAMEN AND LAURENT BEING HAPPILY IN LOVE IS ALL I WANT AND IF C. S. PACAT WANTS TO WRITE 20 MORE BOOKS ABOUT THEIR FUTURE LIFE TOGETHER I WILL BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE LIKE TAKE ALL MY MONEY EVEN IF ITS JUST FLUFF AND SMUT HONESTLY THATS ALL I ASK AT THIS POINT MAYBE EVEN SOME LITTLE HEIRS *wink wink nudge nudge*
I tried keeping my feels in check and the caps to a minimum, I swear I did… D0n’t judge me, I love them okay. I needed to share my feelings.