#1415

[They lay silent in the darkness, bodies curled into each other like spent Autumn leaves. It is Daren who speaks first, his words a low murmur against Tanim’s bare chest.]

Daren: What does it feel like?

Tanim [shifts to draw Daren closer against himself ]: Being with you?

Daren [nods]: Yes.

[Tanim is silent for a moment as he considers his words.]

Tanim [thoughtfully, more to himself than his companion]: Like living and dying at the same time. I can’t tell which I’m doing, and I don’t care.

Daren [at once both weary and hesitant]: Do you wish it were otherwise?

Tanim: I wish a great many things, but not that. Never that.

Daren: What do you wish, then?

Tanim [reaching up to brush his fingers through Daren’s short hair]: I wish for you to sleep peacefully through the night, love, just once before I die.

Daren: The only small amount of peace I’ve ever known has been with you.

Tanim [emphatically]: And I have never known peace before you. Not once.

[Daren says nothing to this, and a brief moment of silence passes between them.]

Tanim: Do you believe me?

Daren [sighing]: No. But you are a fool, and I know you believe yourself.

Tanim [tightening his embrace on Daren for emphasis]: Your fool.

Daren: Mine. [He nods, a faint smile of concession drawing back his lips, and turns his face into Tanim’s chest.] Yes. Mine.

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