#1680

A rare moment, the calm after one storm and before the next spent in weary and listless silence. Head to Tanim’s shoulder, Daren asks idly, “Which madness do you prefer? Which is the least of the evils?” but “I’m not sure I’m the best judge of evils,”  the other answers with a wry nod to the bottle at his side, half empty or half full depending on the day. It earns him a jab in the ribs and, “I’m the only one who gets to dodge questions.”

“Fine,” Tanim stares down at the bottle, rocking it from side to side to make the amber contents dance. “I don’t prefer any of them,” his reply thoughtful, “but I think the quiet one scares me the most. When you’re not angry, not sneering or snarling, not fighting back or lashing out or anything. When you’re just still and blank…” His voice trails off and Daren laughs, or his rough version of the sound anyway, honest amusement with a one-sided smirk for accompaniment. “You prefer the times when I try to gut you to the peace and quiet? You really are a masochist.” Tanim ignores the last comment and shrugs, careful of Daren’s head leaned against his shoulder. “I suppose so, yes. The knife I can see, even if I can’t always dodge. It’s predictable. This… it’s like not being able to hear the ice cracking beneath your feet.”

“That’s fair,” The smirk twists, turns sour and oddly introspective. “I’m not sure even the ice knows when it’s about to shatter.” Tanim nods in acknowledgment and the silence expands once more until, “It’s never really peace,” he admits, unnecessary confession, “But I don’t want peace. Neither of us would be here if we wanted peace.”

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