“Tell me where he is!”


The fist breaks Daren’s nose this time and smashes the back of his head against the pavement once more. Through the blood streaming down his lips, he smiles up at his interrogator. The man swears impatiently and pulls a hunting knife from his belt.

“Tell me where he is or I’ll gut you,”


Daren clenches his teeth as the knife plunges into his stomach, but his smile remains.

“Daren! Daren, wake up… Jonathan, hurry!”

He is still alive when Tanim finds him, but barely. Tanim’s voice rouses him from near-unconsciousness and he offers a paler, much more pained smile to his lover.

“Good, you made it,”

“Only thanks to you. Daren, I told you not to do that! You promised, you said–”

“I lied. What did you expect?”

Daren laughs, not unkindly, at the expression of sorrow and horror on Tanim’s face; the laugh turns into a wet cough, blood bubbling at the corners of his mouth. Tanim has one hand pressed to the knife wound, but even he knows it’s futile. Tanim bows his head.

“I won’t forgive you for this,”

“I didn’t apologize for it,”

By the time Jonathan arrives with the medical supplies, it is too late to do any good.

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