Talsin crowded Cihro into a wall behind some crates. His back cracked into wood and a rush of air escaped his mouth in a cough – Talsin’s hand flew up to cover it.
They were in a warehouse at the docks of Stilben. The night was thick and swampy and the sky a pungent shade of navy blue. Cihro heard crickets, frogs, the gentle lick of waves, and most importantly, approaching voices.
They stilled like wax figures of themselves, but Cihro’s body conspired against him – when he strained his ears, his other senses sharpened to match. Talsin’s chest was flush with his, an arm braced on the wall beside him and he felt every swell of breath, every minute shift of weight. Like wax, Cihro feared he’d melt under his hand.
He felt hidden and protected in Talsin’s shadow but exposed in a new way. Talsin craned his neck to the side, eyes trained on the entrance with moonlight accenting the swoop of his nose from under his hood. Cihro’s attention fell to his neck. Also mostly covered, but even from beneath his collar he saw the pop of muscle connecting behind his ear.
Cihro struggled to hear, could really only focus on surviving himself. After a minute Talsin relaxed and uncupped his mouth. His head turned to him, grinning, but his smile dropped and his eyes widened.
The next few seconds passed like a lifetime and a half in their shared gaze. Talsin straightened his arm and leaned back, but not wholly – the hand on the wall stayed put. The magic was gone, though.
“That was close,” he whispered. “Do you think they would buy it if we pretended to be horny youngsters making out if they stumbled upon us?”
Cihro was grateful for the dim light – he knew he was redder than a hot chili pepper. The prospect of aggressive and enthusiastic kissing right after Talsin had his hand smushed against his mouth made his heart gallop and head swoon. No amount of acting could hide that he would enjoy it.
“Don’t get us in trouble just so you have the excuse,” he scoffed, then glared for good measure. Talsin chuckled and stepped away proper.
“Well, c’mon, then,” he said. “That nasty crime boss isn’t going to kill himself.”
Cool air rushed over the empty space he left behind, and like always, Cihro was equal parts disappointed and relieved.