…despite the blade, Tanim does not draw away, lets the knife edge remain pressed to his throat, his every breath shifting the honed metal. The moment stretches out, Daren unmoving save for the faint traitorous tremble of his hand, the rise and fall of the blade as Tanim inhales, murmurs on the exhalation, “Why do you hesitate?” Black eyes flick, sharp and guarded, to meet his own, and the trembling stills for a breath as the other swears through clenched teeth and the desire to draw back, the need to draw blood, “I won’t.” A smile, sad and wry, and an imperceptible twitch of his head presses Tanim’s neck against the blade, razor edge gliding through unresisting flesh; movement just enough to embed the knife’s point in a vein pulsing with each heartbeat. “We must.” He holds his companion’s gaze while one hand rises, curls over the elegant fingers wrapped in turn about the hilt, and draws the buried blade across…


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