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Korin curled in, rested his head on Ádan’s shoulder. The sheer decadence of lying in a bed with his lover—Korin wasn’t going to get tired of that any time soon. “How was your trip?”

With his hand on Ádan’s chest, Korin could feel Ádan’s heartbeat speed up. “Nothing I need to repeat any time soon,” Ádan said. An answer and a non-answer. A clear hint he didn’t want to talk about it.

Which Korin could respect. There were things he wasn’t ready to talk about either. “Now that you’re back…” Korin paused, unsure what he wanted to say. Or ask. Or even what he was allowed.

Ádan lay his own hand over Korin’s, laced their fingers together. But he didn’t say anything.

They’d left things up in the air. Part of that was because Korin had still been recovering when Ádan had been summoned by Prince Lysander. He hadn’t been in any shape to make real decisions. But the rest was the sheer enormity of the things they hadn’t really talked about.

Ádan was a wizard-knight, had lied to Korin about who he was and why he’d approached Korin in the first place. Ádan was trying to carry on the work of his order, was tried inextricably to the Tree.

The Tree, the Tree—that haunted Korin’s dreams, that spoke through his nightmares. Korin wanted nothing to do with the tree, with the knights, with Ádan’s cause.

He just wanted Ádan.

Which was probably a sign of terrible judgement. Ádan had deceived him. Ádan had drawn Korin into this business without warning him of the cost. Ádan had needed help and he’d used Korin to get that help.

But on the other hand, Ádan was kind. Ádan listened. Ádan saw Korin.

Ádan had saved Korin’s life.

“Tell me about your day,” Ádan murmured, his breath warm in Korin’s hair.

“It wasn’t anything exciting. I healed people.”

“I like hearing you talk about that.”

So Korin talked about the colds, the bad backs, the little girl with her broken arm. And Ádan listened, smiling at some of Korin’s descriptions, asking questions whenever Korin paused. Before, when they’d talked like this, Korin hadn’t known the truth about Ádan. It was different now, knowing that Ádan understood magic—even if he wasn’t versed in Korin’s specific magic—because Korin could really talk about observations, thoughts, theories, and Ádan understood enough to at least nod along.

Korin couldn’t deny how nice it was to have someone to talk to.

And when he reached the point where he was yawning more than he was making words, Ádan pulled the sheet up over them both. It was too sticky to sleep pressed against each other, but Ádan rested his hand on Korin’s hip and dropped a kiss on Korin’s shoulder. “Sleep well, Sunshine.”

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Barbara J Webb

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