Chapter 44:

The Emperor Within Me

Draconia Offline

Erik stayed unnaturally quiet for the rest of the meeting. He didn’t touch me after that and kept his thoughts to himself. I’m afraid I did hurt him even if it wasn’t my intention. Well, maybe not him specifically but his humanity. I think that for the first time ever, he hates the fact that I can read his emotions all the time.

The meeting was extremely tense but went rather well. Draconians all over the world seemed to calm down when I recorded our official statement and announced what we agreed on but I didn’t ask them to be passive. Not this time. Not anymore. I hope that if humans know that we will fight back should the need arise, they won’t bully us as much.

We get home at half past nine, the day seemed endless. We’re both dead tired and Erik hardly spoken to me. He refused to hold hands on the way back and a lot of people noticed because normally we’re inseparable and touch each other all the time.

He finally speaks to me again when the guards and the maids leave and the door closes behind them. They sense that the Royal couple will have a serious debate so they’re quick about it this time.

“Do you see me that way?” Erik whispers, heartbroken. He takes off his tie and collapses on the sofa. “As a human who can’t keep promises?”

“Erik, I…,” I start and want to hug him but he jerks away.

I freeze. His love for me didn’t diminish but I can feel him wavering. He finally sees me as completely non-human. He was convinced that he always did so it surprises him even more. He realises that he was kidding himself the whole time. Despite claiming that he came to terms with me being a totally different race, he was projecting his own concept of humanity on me.

But it was also partly my fault because I was mirroring it back. I clung so desperately to Erik that I wanted to stay human enough for him. I was afraid he wouldn’t accept me if I was too alien. And I was right because he’s shaken right now to the point of a mental breakdown.

I don’t blame him. He’s been doing his best for so long, hanging there against all the adversities. This time it might be just too much for him. He has every right to crumble. To change his mind. To back off. To stop loving me and run away.

“Would it be different if you weren’t a telepath?” he asks me, his voice cracked. He avoids looking into my eyes and studies his fingers instead.

Oh, right. I’m not just the Celestial Emperor. I’m also… that. I’m a Celestial and something else. I wasn’t quite human from the beginning and I tend to forget about it lately because I’m surrounded by people who don’t mind. I have no idea how normal people think and perceive the world. I never did.

Erik buries his face in his hands and sobs. I’d love to envelop him in my wings and comfort him but that wouldn’t help anything. We’re way beyond simple comforting and nice encouraging words to heal the rift widening between us. Dread overcomes me when I realise how fragile our relationship is despite our love being so strong.

What if my telepathy influences him after all? What if he doesn’t really want to be with me anymore but our telepathic connection makes him unable to see that? What if me being a telepath is a much bigger problem than me being a Celestial?

Draconians have all kinds of crazy abilities that will seem miraculous and dangerous to humans once we properly level up. Yet, it’s my inborn telepathy that would make people, especially politicians, go crazy should they find out about it. Invading one’s very mind is a thousand times more threatening than any flashy fire spell or being able to lift a car.

I slowly sit next to Erik but I don’t hug him with my wings. I don’t want to remind him of my inhuman parts when his emotional state is delicate. I’m watching him hopelessly when his sobbing transforms into crying. His emotions spike and flood over me like a wave. They’re human emotions but nothing coming from my beloved could ever make me sick.

He needs more humans around he could talk to. The only other human who’s still sticking with us is Julia and Erik isn’t exactly fond of her. There’s also Hana, Liana’s housekeeper, but now that I think about it, I haven’t seen her around recently. Did Liana send her back to Germany? I bet Hana must have a family there.

Suddenly, Erik looks up, gently grabs my left wing and snuggles in my feathers. I take it as a signal that I can lean closer and hug him. His mind doesn’t resist me anymore which means that Erik doesn’t want to keep me out. Still, I don’t push and just send him my love.

He’s crying into my feathers, his mind full of worries about our future. The idea of the future in which we’re not together never came to him before but it does now. He doesn’t want to even think about it. I don’t want to think about it either. But it’s there, bugging in the corner of our minds and it’ll probably never leave no matter how much we’ll try to ignore it.

I’m comforting him so skilfully that he eventually falls asleep leaning against my shoulder. After a while, the door opens and Cien carefully pries inside to see if we’re still talking. When she notices that my partner is sleeping, she comes inside very quietly, bringing us a late dinner. I thank her and dismiss her. I wait a few minutes if the smell of food will wake Erik up but he’s sleeping deeply. It was an exhausting day.

I don’t want to disturb his peaceful sleep so I decide to try moving him into our bed. I don’t have the physical strength necessary to carry him, of course, so I resort to levitation. When Erik’s body lightens, I pull him into my arms. It pains me to see him so vulnerable and I’m burning with desire to protect him.

When I was facing those terrorists and locked Erik inside our bedroom, he was furious and hated it. I promised that I won’t do anything similar ever again but I have to admit that I blatantly lied. I’d do anything to keep him safe. He’s my beloved. My treasure.

Celestials are anxiously protecting me, their Emperor. Naturally, they also protect Erik but I suspect not as fiercely when he’s not with me. I have to do something about that. It seems they fail to fully realise that should something happen to my partner—should humans of anyone else hurt him—I’d wage war against them and have no mercy.

I kiss Erik on his forehead to get a taste of his humanity. I can still experience it but it does nothing to me. I don’t mind, though. I’m not afraid of myself anymore. I’m the Celestial Emperor which comes with certain tendencies but I’m no monster. I still have my conscience so I would never hurt the innocent. I can still love deeply and have all kinds of emotions. I just think about things differently now.

“I love you and that will never change,” I whisper and kiss Erik on his lips when I gently put him on the bed.

I keep calming his mind so that he doesn’t wake up when I take off his clothes. I quickly undress myself, throwing the layers of my expensive royal attire on the floor without care. Then I pull Erik to my chest and envelop us both into my wings instead of a blanket. I keep caressing his hair until I fall asleep as well.


“Sorry,” he tells me the first thing in the morning. He always wakes up before me. I have no idea how he does it. Or do Celestials simply need to sleep more than humans?

“What for?” I blink a few times, my eyes still sleepy and unfocused. I stretch all my limbs including wings and yawn.

“I had a breakdown and then fell asleep on you,” he sighs and kisses me on my forehead.

“Don’t be sorry for something like that,” I shake my head. “Do you feel better now? What about talking to that psychologist?” I check that the sleep helped him and he does feel better. But still far from his usual calm state.

“Zetraya is a Celestial, he wouldn’t understand,” Erik refuses. “And I think it’s something I should come to terms with on my own anyway.”

“What’s the time? Are we free to cuddle a bit?” I ask hopefully because I feel he’s not against the idea.

Erik moves my feathers out of the way and looks at the alarm clock.

“Shit, it’s 8:30 already?!”

We’re both wide awake all of a sudden, trying to get out of my feathers which are everywhere.

“How come nobody woke us up?” I don’t understand and collect my robe from the floor. It’s badly wrinkled, though. I need a new one.

“It was an exhausting day, maybe they wanted us to have a good rest?” Erik shrugs and puts on his pants.

I quickly fasten one layer of my robe so that I’m not completely naked in front of the maids but just when I’m about to stand up, my head spins and I end up on my knees. Thankfully, there’s a fluffy carpet around the bed so it doesn’t hurt much.

“Ryuu?!” Erik jumps to me. “What happened? Are you okay?”

“Just a bit… dizzy,” I admit.

Erik puts his hand on my forehead but I don’t think I’m running a fever. I don’t feel sick, just out of energy even after I slept really well.

“Ryuu,” Erik repeats my name, this time menacingly. “Don’t tell me you didn’t eat anything after I fell asleep?”

“W-well,” I bite my lip guiltily and let him help me onto the bed. “I transported you here and then…”

“Okay, that does it,” he hisses. “If you’re not mature enough to watch over your diet, we’ll have to terrorise you from now on. I was hoping your Celestials metabolism would make you finally eat normally but no such luck it seems.”

I don’t oppose him because he’s right. I feel totally drained and for a Celestial it means no mana. And no mana means no magic. Well, I should still be able to cast but on expense of my body mass which is dangerous. Especially in my unfortunate case.

“I just can’t enjoy food when I’m anxious,” I pat my stomach which is rumbling loudly and hurts quite a bit.

“Then you won’t enjoy it, you’ll just chew to give your body nutrients,” he purses his lips. “I’m sorry, Ryuu, but I’m afraid we’ll have to be strict with you.”

He helps me reach the living room with hope to eat our last night’s dinner even if it’s cold but instead, we find both of our maids already inside and looking really pissed. When they notice that Erik has to support me, they get even angrier.

“You’re lucky that doctor Julia is too preoccupied with the research and her newest patient, Your Majesty,” Cien berates me. “Or we’d make you go visit her infirmary to weight you again. Are you sabotaging your meals on purpose?”

“Of course not,” I assure the maids hastily. “I’m just not able to eat when stressed.”

“So sit and relax now,” Ayala says uncompromisingly. “Because your breakfast should arrive in a few minutes.”

“Do we have time for that?” I doubt. “We overslept.”

“Fortunately, the first meeting today starts at ten and Her Excellency told us to let you rest after yesterday,” she explains.

Erik seats me on the sofa, grateful that we don’t have to hurry today. We know that a lot of work awaits us but ever since coming to the skyscraper, we never had a day off if I don’t count my recovery after being shot. A morning off is the best we can get for now so let’s just enjoy it.

“Are you restless?” Erik asks when he notices that my wings are trembling. “You won’t repeat your yesterday’s escape, will you?”

“I’m fine,” I promise. “I’d gladly fly if I could but it’s not urgent. Don’t worry, my mind is perfectly clear.”

We cuddle as much as we feel comfortable around our maids and guards until our breakfast arrives. This time I don’t resist. My mouth waters at the sight of fried eggs and freshly baked bread which is a very good sign. Cien serves me a mountain of scrambled eggs, Erik gets sausages on top.

“That’s how it should be from now on,” Erik comments happily, watching me chewing my food ravenously.

“I’ll do my best,” I say but I know I’m not able to promise anything regarding my diet. I’m just too inconsistent in these things.

Ryuu, Erik switches to telepathy and gets serious. I don’t want to be too hard on you but are you sure you don’t have anorex---

I’m sure I don’t, I stop him before he can finish that word. Look up its definition, it doesn’t apply to me at all. People suffering from it want to lose weight and even when tragically underweight, they still see themselves fat. Not my case. I know I’m too skinny and I’d like to put on a few kilos. I just have problems eating sometimes, that’s all.

So why do you feel so sensitive about it every time I bring it up? he nudges me and passes me butter.

Because people were assuming that about it for years and I’m just fed up with it, I say. And because there’s not much I can do about it. I was born with weak digestion and lesser appetite and my transformation didn’t change that. In fact, it made it even worse because I can’t eat meat anymore.

“More bread, Your Majesty?” Cien offers because we emptied the tray quickly. It’s a question but I can tell she hopes I’ll say yes.

“Please,” I nod. I’m pretty full at this point but one more crunchy bun I can manage.

We’d love to relax and cuddle a bit more but everyone else is hard at work already so I’d feel bad lazing around.

“Are you sure you’re strong enough?” Erik wants to support me again but I decline.

“I’m fine now. I can literally feel that food is being processed into mana as we speak.”

“Super fast metabolism,” Erik says enviously. “Which reminds me that I should seriously start hitting the gym or my muscles you love so much will disappear.”

“You know I love you with or without them,” I land him a kiss. Erik was always a bit too self-conscious about his looks. A well-kept partner is definitely a plus but I didn’t fall in love with him only because of his handsome appearance. I hope he knows that.

“Well, I have to look my best so that you’re not ashamed to have me be your side during official events,” Eriks smirks and we return to our bedroom.

It’s a routine now. We brush our teeth and Erik does his usual grooming while the maids are dressing me. I wasn’t comfortable with it for a long time but today I don’t feel weird about it at all. They’re my maids and it’s their job. Besides, these expensive royal attires Liana is commissioning for me would be a nightmare to put on by myself.

“I’ll need a robe for flying,” I remark. “It’s too difficult to fly in so many layers.”

“Of course, Your Majesty, Ingri is already working on the designs,” Cien says with a smile. “Actually, we started to commission mostly Draconians recently in order to give our people who don’t live in the skyscraper jobs.”

“Oh, that’s neat,” I appreciate.

I don’t want to cut off humans entirely but at the same time if it’s about deciding whether to employ Draconians or them, our people are a priority, naturally.

Ayala turns around to switch with Cien and her wings accidentally bump into the wardrobe. She swears silently.

“We’re arranging for a bigger apartment,” she says, caressing her wing. “This one isn’t good enough for Your Majesty and the Royal Consort. It’s too cramped with us and the guards. The reconstruction will take place during your New York visit, it’s scheduled.”

“Sweet, looking forward to it,” Erik returns, his chin perfectly shaved.

I roll my eyes. If anything, Erik got used to luxury a bit too much. He’s not a vain person but it brings him pleasure to wear expensive brand suits, leather shoes and trendy watches. And if his salary from AstraTech is as big as mine, he’s loaded and has no problem to enjoy it.

I ponder for a moment how I feel about it. I got rid of my Mom’s debts and became rich almost overnight. Not anywhere near Liana’s level, of course, but rich nonetheless. But I don’t particularly enjoy it. I’m more concerned about what good my money could bring and how to help people like Zirand and Iyapa who are struggling every day with just basic groceries.

When I think about my people, I feel burning desire to protect them. I’d do anything to secure our future. The survival of Celestials is my absolute priority now.

“Is it okay like this, Your Majesty?” Cien asks, interrupting my thinking process.

I look at her and can’t help seeing her as my subject. I want to protect her but at the same time I realise that I have a problem seeing her as my equal. I try to get shake it off but not even delving in her mind does the trick.

In panic, I focus on Erik and thankfully, my Celestial Emperor’s instinct doesn’t kick in. Is it because he’s human?! Humans didn’t exist in Draconia Online so I have no response built in. I’m glad for that.

“There, Your Majesty,” Cien nudges me so that I look in the mirror, not at my partner. “Do you like it?”

I finally pay attention to my reflection and notice that Cien braided my hair. It looks a bit too girlish but at least it won’t get in the way as much. If only she did it yesterday, my hair was in my face during the whole flight.

“It’s so cute,” Erik is moved and plays with the braid.

“The Emperor is not supposed to look cute,” I sigh. “How can I impress people now?”

“Just like always,” Erik laughs. “Come, love, we don’t have to be that late.”


I don’t feel that much different but at the same time everything is different. I’m not forcing myself to think human anymore and I’m not forcing myself to think as a common Celestial either. Every Celestial I meet on my way to the office I see as a precious subject I have to protect. Have to… but also want to. It’s both an obligation and my genuine wish.

As I’m walking the corridors, I’m making eye contact with as many Celestials as I can and try to remember their faces. I feel concerned about every single one of them and my heart aches when I’m thinking about Celestials who are out there in hiding and possibly in danger.

With other races, it gets more complicated. I don’t feel the same burning desire because they don’t belong to me but I don’t feel indifferent. Celestials are my utmost priority but I wish to protect all Draconians. As for humans, though… to be honest, the only human I really care about is Erik.

Unexpectedly, we encounter Dubois standing in front of a vending machine near Liana’s office. His emotional state isn’t stable today and he’s irritated for some reason.

“Good morning,” I greet him casually, curious for his reaction.

He flinches and his eyes widen when he looks at me. After yesterday, he finally learnt that he can’t mess with me. He can hear that my tone is much firmer now and that I don’t experience any discomfort when dealing with him anymore.

“Good morning, Your Majesty… Mr Anderle,” he greets us both and even bows because that’s what the protocol dictates.

“Trouble with the machine?” I tilt my head and notice that a chocolate bar he paid for got stuck. I decide that I’m feeling generous today even towards him and push the bar with my telekinesis. “You’re welcome.”

He opens his mouth to reply something but I’m already passing him. Erik smirks.

“The window is fixed, we can go to the main office,” Miruel, who’s the captain of today’s shift, informs us. “Please, don’t break another, Your Majesty.”

“I won’t,” I assure her because I feel she’s nervous about it. “My wings are still resting after yesterday’s strain. But tomorrow… ehm… not sure about that.”

“His Dominance is working on securing your flying sessions,” she says. “He mentioned observatory drones.”

It’s a bit weird to hear Fefnir’s official title but it’s just a fragment of how I’d feel about it before. Everything clicked for me finally, it’s how it should be. Funny that I was probably the last one to become fully Draconian mentally, especially considering that my physical transformation was the fastest.

I think it’s because of me, Erik says, catching my thoughts I keep channelling to him upon touch. I was holding you back. I made you cling to humanity.

Even if it was true, I don’t mind. I think I’ll be a better ruler exactly because I have you by my side.

“Oh, Your Majesty, good that you’re here,” I’m apprehended by Taranah the moment we show up in Liana’s office. He bows to me as if it’s the most natural thing to do. “Can you look at this training plan and authorise it? And just a reminder that our training is today at four.”

“Good morning to you too,” I reply sarcastically but assure him that I certainly will.

“Good morning, did you sleep well?” Liana greets me enthusiastically but unlike Luviael and other people, she doesn’t bother standing up to bow to me.

I’m really happy about it. I feel like the Emperor through and through now but that doesn’t mean I require that kind of highly formal behaviour from my closest friends. Liana knows that, of course.

“Really well,” I thank her. “Where’s Fefnir and Emi?”

“Fefnir is working on the ways how to secure your flights and Emi is bonding with her pack,” Liana says. “It’s apparently super important to Clawfangs. As for today’s agenda, we have a ton of things to take care of so let’s start working on it right away. Switch.”

“Hm?” I don’t understand what she means until she stands up.

“I’m not taking your place, Liana, there’s no reason to,” I frown. “I’m quite happy with…”

But my Viceroy doesn’t listen to me and ostentatiously sits behind the desk that used to be mine and which probably belonged to her human assistant. Was I too harsh towards her yesterday? I was just annoyed that she called me stupid but it seems that the side effect was that I also put her to her place. I didn’t mean to.

Was I too strict with her? I ask Erik with worries.

I don’t think so, she needed to hear that. Go rule, my Emperor, he kisses me and then claims the chair next to Liana.

I sit down reluctantly. Liana’s desk is super spacious, real wood, with many drawers and built-in tech. I almost feel like I could rule the world from here. Well, maybe not the world but definitely a huge company. Is government a kind of company?

I look at the screen and sigh when I see a long list of tasks that await me. I decide to start with appointing our new officials which is something that I was supposed to authorise yesterday before I flew away. I hope that if I give more Celestials privileges to act in my stead, not everything will have to go through me and my workload will become lighter.

If you need help, just call me, Erik sends me his thought long-distance. I inconspicuously look at him and have to smile that he’s mastered to act as if nothing extraordinary is happening. I also need to train my poker face. Being so playful, I hope that he’s mostly recovered from the yesterday’s shock. But I know that he didn’t. He’s just a good actor.

I go through the candidates and have to thank Luviael that she’d already filtered only the best ones. Still, how am I supposed to choose between people with such good qualifications? And will they come to AstraTech’s skyscraper once I choose them?

It’s rather funny and it’s actually me who has the worst qualification with an unfinished degree that isn’t useful at all. Not that it matters. Nothing matters when one is proclaimed to be the embodiment of Celestial magic.

“Luvi, can you arrange short interviews with the candidates?” I give a task to my adjutant. “We should talk to them before we choose.”

“Of course, Your Majesty,” she nods. “Should I put them into both your and Her Excellency’s schedules?”

“Please,” I say. I need Liana to be present.

I finally feel and think like the Celestial Emperor but it doesn’t mean that I suddenly miraculously know everything. A Celestial character flaw is arrogance so I have to be wary. I’ve always had a problem with the opposite—lacking self-confidence—but that doesn’t mean I can’t develop arrogance gradually now that I don’t suppress my nature anymore. I really don’t want to.

At ten, we move to the main conference room. The Czech Prime Minister Bauerova is already waiting for us and she brought two ministers with her. One of them I do recognise, it’s the Minister of the Interior Kovar I’ve met before. The other person is new to me.

“Your Majesty, this is Mrs Hanzelova, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs,” Bauerova introduces her.

Mrs Hanzelova is a lady in her late forties but she’s one of those people who could be ten years older and you wouldn’t know. She’s wearing an expensive business suit, her brown hair is tied into a perfect know and I feel from her that she’s a practical person who doesn’t beat around the bush.

“Your Majesty, Your Excellency,” she bows to us.

Her expression doesn’t show anything but I can tell she’s glad that she doesn’t have to shake our hands. She’s scared of us. Minister Kovar is braver but, unlike Bauerova, he doesn’t feel relaxed in our presence either. But they calm down a bit when they look at Erik. A perk of having a human boyfriend. Erik is an excellent mediator.

The meeting starts and I’m secretly communicating with Liana the whole time. We’re supposed to discuss financial aid, work opportunities and security but I’m barely keeping with all those professional terms they throw at me. From time to time, I ask Liana aloud because I don’t want to seem unnaturally knowledgeable. Erik is openly taking notes, bless him, I’ll need to study those later.

The meeting ends at with a formal lunch. I finally manage to choose the right cutlery without Liana’s hints and Erik is making sure that I finish everything on my plate. It’s strange to eat in a presence of someone who is scared of you but I should get used to it. I don’t know what scares them more—that I look so alien or the power I’m holding.


“Ryuu? What is it?” Erik asks because I close my eyes when sipping my afternoon coffee. The Czech representation left so we can relax for a few minutes.

“Just checking everyone,” I say and quickly scan the whole building with my telepathy.

I have to smile because I can feel the Clawfangs being totally euphoric that their Supreme Alpha is back. Close to Emi, I feel Brina and her partner. I open my eyes again and flinch because Erik is staring at me just a few centimetres in front of my face.


“Don’t do it in public,” he forbids me. “You don’t pay enough attention to your surrounding when your mind wanders like that.”

“I wouldn’t. It’s only us here.”

“Us,” he clicks his tongue. “Not just the two of us, though.”

He’s right. While Liana offered to escort our guests out, we’re still left with six guards and Ayala the maid. I don’t find anything wrong with that anymore but Erik does.

“Don’t mind them,” I poke him, put away my coffee and since we’re sitting on a sofa, I move to his lap. I want to kiss him but he catches my chin.

“In front of them?” he rolls his eyes.

“Don’t mind them,” I repeat and enclose us into my wings. “We have to use every possible opportunity.”

With my wings blocking the view, he finally relaxes a bit and is willing to cuddle. But he’s not particularly content with it. He longs for real privacy.

“Oh,” I have to pull away when I feel strong irritated emotions all of a sudden.

They aren’t dangerous and they belong to Draconians so I don’t worry but something is definitely happening.

“Miruel,” I open my wings and address the guard captain. “Two Dragonkin and three Earthborn are arguing. They should be somewhere around floor 22. They’re becoming hostile towards each other. I guess they strongly disagreed on something. Racially different points of view.”

“Understood, Your Majesty,” Miruel steps closer, takes out her phone and calls the security. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it and calm them down. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding.”

“Thanks,” I appreciate and want to return to cuddling my partner.

Erik’s emotions flutter.

What is it? I ask softly.

It’s still you but at the same time… I’m having the Celestial Emperor on my lap, he says and plays with my hair, saddened. In times like these, I truly realise the difference between us. The way you acted just now…

Just now? What do you mean? I blink.

Ryuu, you miraculously perceived a problem happening dozens of metres away from us and gave an order to resolve it as if it was nothing special, he explains.

Because it was nothing special, just a minor quarrel that could grow into something bigger if not stopped, I still don’t understand what he’s hinting at.

My beautiful angel, Erik shakes his head. You really have no idea how normal things work anymore, do you? Or maybe you never did. Have you even shown me everything? he asks bluntly all of a sudden and clutches my feathers. Have you ever shown me yourself fully? Or were you afraid that I wouldn’t be able to take it?

Erik, I…

“Your Majesty, I’m afraid your break is over,” Miruel interrupts us. I get tiny bit angry at her but she can’t know that we’re talking telepathically about such an important topic.

“There you go,” Erik gently lifts me and put me on my feet. It comes to him as a painful realisation that overpowering me physically is the only advantage he has over me.

“Erik, I…,” I repeat, this time aloud.

His phone vibrates. He takes it out of his pocket and glances at the screen. It’d be rude if only we didn’t have to be available all the time and when every message can be of grave importance.

“Oh,” his eyes widen. “It’s not work, it’s… my parents.”

“That’s also super important,” I nudge him. “Are they okay?”

“They’re texting me if we’re free this Saturday afternoon,” he says. “You know… to officially meet you.”

“Riiiight,” I smile. “I’m sure we have work because it’s not like we have free weekends but I’ll beg Luviael to clear our schedules for them.”

“Thanks,” he nods and writes them back to confirm the date.

I expected him to feel more joyful about me finally meeting his parents but somehow Erik isn’t as excited as when they first proposed it. He doesn’t want to admit it consciously even to himself but he’s worried.

He’s worried that his parents will be afraid of me.