Silas eats, just like Violet told him. The soup makes him feel heavy and warm. He doesn’t realize he falls asleep, but Malachai is soon shaking his shoulder gently.
Silas sits up from where he’d been slumped against the couch. Blinking and looking around, he sees that River is sleeping peacefully on the couch. Violet is gone.
“Silas.” Malachai tightens his grip to mimic the stern tone of his voice. Silas looks up at him.
“I’m not trying to kick you out, but I’m a government official and can’t just have an exile laying on my couch. Important people come over here.”
Silas pushes himself to his feet, wincing at the stillness.
“Okay.” He mutters, turning back to River and brushing a hand over his forehead.
Malachai hesitates before speaking, “Will he be okay at your place? With the gang?”
Silas glances over his shoulder at Malachai. There is true concern in his expression.
“I think so. His coven won’t come looking for him. We’re powerful enough that people won’t try to touch him if he’s under my protection…hopefully.”
“Some in the gang won’t accept him.”
Silas shrugs. “Even if they don’t, even if others think about coming after him, I don’t think they’ll really try anything.”
“You did scare the crap out of all of us with…whatever happened.”
Cobalt appears slithering up Silas’ arm, as if called there by the memory of what had happened.
Silas is quiet for a moment, watching the snake’s movements.
“I’ll teleport us back to my house now. I think he’s strong enough.” Silas reaches out to lay a hand on Malachai’s shoulder. It feels odd, to touch him in such a companionable and kind way.
Malachai nods. “Okay. You owe me one.”
Silas gives a little smile before Malachai turns to leave. Then he kneels back down by the couch, running his hand down River’s cheek. He whispers his name. The witch’s eyes blink open and focus on him. They are bright and aware. He smiles weakly.
There are so many things they will need to talk about. Silas closes his eyes and winces when he imagines telling River about the other fiend he’d fucked. He can picture the hurt so clearly on River’s face.
“Silas?” River whispers.
Silas shoves all the thoughts aside and smiles down at him.
“Malachai has let us stay here longer than he should.”
River frowns. “I thought this was your house.”
Silas blinks, registering the fact that River had never been to his house before.
“This is Malachai’s new house, the one he got when he became a part of the government. We’re going back to my place, the gang house. You’ll be safe there. I’ll protect you.”
River nods and begins to move to get up. He winces, but he’s able to pull himself to his feet with help from Silas.
“Are you ready?” Silas asks, his arm tight across River’s back.
“I hope so.” River mumbles. “I’ve never done this before.”
Then the ground falls out under them, and they fall into safety.
Some of the gang members grumble behind Silas’ back, complaining about River. Silas isn’t deaf, he can hear what they say. They think River’s a spy, they all know about how he fucked his way into Silas’ confidence before, only to turn against them. Who’s to say it won’t happen again?
If they really paid attention, they’d probably realize that although River has been living there for weeks, they haven’t had sex yet. Haven’t kissed yet. Haven’t been anything more than…friends since River recovered.
Silas climbs tiredly up the stairs. It had been a rough night, trying to track down the men who’d beat up River. Tracking them down and making them pay has become his single mission since they had gotten back from Malachai’s house. Sure, there are still things to manage, drugs to sell, but he can do all that without his full concentration. He’s devoted all the energy he can to getting revenge. He’d spend the night out himself, chasing down what he’d thought would be the lead that would bring him to them. It had ended in disappointment.
When he pushes open the door to his room, River is standing at the window. Streetlights and moonlight paint colors over his face and pale hair.
The joy of having him there hasn’t worn off, even after almost a month. They haven’t even touched, but Silas can be patient. River’s slept in his bed every night, and he’s awoken next to the witch’s warm presence every morning. So far, that has been enough. More than enough, after thinking he’d never see River again.
Silas smiles and opens his mouth to say something to River. Then, River turns and Silas can see that tears run down his face. Silas’ stomach drops as he strides to River’s side, wrapping gentle fingers around his upper arm.
“River? What…what’s wrong?” Silas is wide-eyed with concern. River keeps his gaze fixed on the ground.
“What are we doing, Silas?” Silas has to lean even closer to hear River’s voice.
Silas stares with confusion into the top of River’s head, still bowed down to focus on the ground.
“What do you mean?” He asks
River sighs and pulls away. He finally picks his head up to look Silas in the eyes. “I mean that I betrayed you.”
River looks at him with eyes that do not beg for pity. They do not speak of his conflict or his sorrow, only the fact that he is tired and sad.
“I really wanted to stand with you, and I understand now that I have should have. My loyalty to my mother didn’t get me anywhere.”
“You left.” Silas’ voice is quiet. He isn’t thinking about River siding against him. Yes, that happened, but he’s agonized over it plenty already. River chose his family. Silas wants to just admit that and get on.
“You left me.” Silas says again. “I let you inside my body and you left me.”
River crosses one arm over his chest, and lifts the other up to cover his pink lips. He’s quiet for so long that Silas thinks he might not speak.
“I said I regretted it. Maybe I did, then. Maybe I felt ashamed, when I was still so caught up in everything with my mother and my coven. Now I relive those moments with you over and over in my head, Silas.”
Silas blushes, unable to keep out the image of River flushed and twisted in the sheets, imagining the night they’d had together.
Silas closes his eyes and gathers his strength. He doesn’t want to say it now, but if he doesn’t he never will.
“I slept with someone else.” He barely articulates the words. He’s not even sure if River heard him. It releases some of the tight, guilty feeling in his chest regardless.
River does say anything, so Silas keeps talking. “I thought…” Wetness begins to run down his cheeks. His voice hitches as he tries to keep talking. “I thought I’d never see you again. I was just trying to…feel something.”
River moves forward and wraps Silas in his arms.
“I forgive you. It’s alright.” He whispers, his hand coming up to brush a tear off SIlas’ face. “It’s alright. I’m here now.”
SIlas leans into him, buries his face in the crook between his neck and shoulder. He shakes as he says again and again how sorry he is.
Silas still feels the hurt of what happened. In his chest he feels the pain of watching magic drain from his friends, waking up alone, seeing River and the High Priestess standing with Valiant. He is angry, still, but the type of anger that is really deep sorrow he simply is not ready to feel. As River holds him with a restrained desperation, he realizes that sorrow is not just his.
“I want to feel like I felt before.” River whispers into Silas’ ear. His warm breath tickles down Silas’ neck.
It’s all River needs to say. Silas’ mouth closes on his and they move against each other. The kiss is heartbreakingly familiar and achingly slow. They continue to be tentative with each other, Silas moving his hands lightly up River’s arms. When his lips brush over the soft flesh at the base of River’s throat, he lets out a soft moan which tickles Silas’ lips.
Silas’ eyebrows knit together as he crushes his mouth against River’s. His hands grab the witch’s waist and pull their bodies closer. Their kiss doubles in intensity as River reciprocates his enthusiasm, and all the aches in Silas’ chest cram together into a simple need. Silas makes a small sound of surprise as River reaches for the hem of his shirt first. They part to pull it off, and River stays holding him by the shoulders, his eyes roaming Silas’ body followed by the soft touch of his hands. Silas breathes under his attentions, looking up at River with dark eyes. They reach for each other again, this time they do not break apart except for a brief moment to release River from his shirt. Skin on skin overwhelms him after so long convinced they will never see each other again. Silas leads him to the bed and climbs up onto it, laying on his back and looking up at River. The witch is sitting up, straddling him, gazing into him.
“Are you sure you’re ready?” He asks, his voice surprisingly young and innocent.
“Am I ready?” Silas couldn’t keep the bitterness out of his voice, “after all the guys I’ve let dig around inside me, you want to know if I’m ready?”
River flinches. “I just…it’s so fast. Isn’t this different from all those other times?”
Silas sits up and braces himself on his hands. His face is inches from River’s but he looks down, picking at a non-existent piece of thread, of course it’s different. It’s totally different. He’d given River his body but also something much more precious. Something harder to guard, something he’d never given away before.
“Make love to me.” He lifts his eyes from the bedspread to stare into River’s eyes. Captivated by the blue and brown of them. Their brief pause had stilled some of the energy between them. With those four words it is electric between them again and they are grabbing at each other. Silas’ hand is fisting in River’s soft hair. He leans back on the bed and pulls the witch on top of him.
Their bodies are flush together again, their lips roaming each other gently, tentatively. It all comes over them slowly. Silas’ mouth opens under River’s, and their tongues move wetly against each other. River grabs Silas behind the neck and pulls him close while Silas wraps his fingers around his biceps. He doesn’t mean to start rocking his pelvis against River’s, but once Silas notices he can’t stop. When they both have fumbled each other’s pants off Silas can feel his dick rubbing up against River’s, moving against the wonderful smoothness of his taut stomach. He begins whispering River’s name in moans and his warm breath tickles the hairs by River’s ears. He reaches his hand down and grabs them both in his fist, pumping. River gasps at the sensation. As Silas raises his speed, River’s moans become deeper in pitch. He releases a growl in the back of his throat before grabbing the hand Silas as wrapped around them and pinning it over his head.
He lets go of Silas’ wrist after getting the message across, planting a kiss on River’s neck before leaning over and grabbing something off the table next to the bed.
Silas moans his encouragement as River rubs his fingers over his entrance.
River’s finger presses into Silas, making the fiend’s back arch up off the bed. To have River inside him again, even if it is only this prelude, is so wonderfully familiar. He whispers River’s names against the pale skin below his ear as River pushes another finger in.
Silas braces his hands on River’s shoulders, notices that the witch is shaking. He moves his hand down between them to pull River’s fingers out from inside him.
“What is it? Did I do something wrong?” River’s eyes are wide with concern, the patch of blue standing out in the light of the room.
“No. No, you did nothing wrong.” Silas shushes, running his hands up into River’s blond hair. “But you’re trembling. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” River whispers, leaning forward to press his lips against Silas’ neck, his hands wandering downwards between them. Silas grabs his shoulder, stopping the movement of his hands and pushing him up so they look into each other’s eyes.
He says nothing, only searching River’s eyes. Finally River sighs, sitting back on his heels.
“Nothing is wrong. I’m just…nervous.”
Silas looks him over. “That’s all?”
River blinks and nods. “I know it’s embarrassing-”
He cuts off as Silas pushes him over onto his back, rolling himself on top. River’s breathing grows more uneven as Silas nips his neck, his chest, his belly, his hip bones, and finally closes his mouth over where River is fully erect. River moans, one hand burying itself in Silas’ hair, holding him without really controlling him in a way that was just the right amount of dominant.
River pulls his head back suddenly, reaching back over for the bottle of oil and pouring it over his fingers. Silas moves up so his thighs bracket River’s hips, and Silas gasps at the gentleness and love in River’s touch.
“Do you think you’re ready? I need…” River doesn’t finish his sentence, but his meaning is perfectly clear.
Silas nods wordlessly and reaches for the oil, coating his own hand before touching River, preparing the place where they will be joined.
Then Silas spreads his thighs apart. River’s hands reach up to grab his waist as their bodies finally meet. They moan in tandem as Silas moved slowly, bringing them fully together. River’s eyes are closed, his face screwed up with pleasure as he moves into Silas again and again. Silas pushes one hand into the short hair at the back of River’s neck, the other braced to support him, pressing their foreheads together. Their breath mingles in the small space between their lips. River moves his head down to press his lips against Silas’ neck as Silas leans back, pushing his hands into River’s chest. The change in angle feels good, and Silas growls low in his throat. River leans up to pepper kisses down his body, licking into the deep hollows of his collarbones. Silas puts his hands on River’s chest and pushes him back against the bed. His lips press against River’s ear and he begins to speak unevenly in Infernic, not quite sure what he’s saying and knowing only that he is in love, and after so many things that have happened it is a full-blown miracle that he is here right now, straddling River’s hips and with River’s arms reaching up to press into his back as he rocks down onto him again and again.
River’s fingers press into Silas’ back, and the fiend whispers praise in Infernic into River’s ear. He loves the pressure of River’s fingertips digging into his shoulder blades. He’s excited by the violent feeling of it. No matter how much this is powered by love and delight at River’s return, he is still a fiend. He communicates best through violence, and even the semi-rough grip of River’s hands is enough to amplify the feelings. He gives a whine and moves over River faster. Beneath him, the witch’s eyes are heavy-lidded with lust, his mouth open and red. His eyes are suddenly blown wide as his voice grows higher.
With a breathless cry that might be Silas’ name, River’s body tenses. Silas smiles at the look of him, totally lost in the feeling. He guides River’s hand to his cock, and finally gives himself up to the feeling.
Naked, next to each other, they both breathe fast and deep. They don’t touch each other for a moment, both enjoying the break from each other’s sweaty skin. It isn’t until that moment stretches out, becomes minutes, that Silas feels butterflies beginning to move in his stomach. Last time they had done this, River had slipped away, or tried to, in the middle of the night. Silas turns over towards River.
“Is this real this time?” He asks.
He watches River absorb those words, try to figure out from them what exactly is meant. It dawns on him all at once, and Silas sees it play across his face. His pale arms reach out for Silas as he whispers: “Yes. Yes.”
Silas reaches for him too, and they hold each other as the light in the room fades, and slowly sleep comes over them.
Silas wakes next to River. It feels different than all the other times they’d shared the bed. It feels like the first time. Angled afternoon light ffilters in through the windows. River is already awake and he smiles before reaching out a hand to lay on Silas’ cheek. They shift closer to each other, their legs tangling together underneath the blankets, coming back together after drifting apart during their sleep. Putting everything back together after all the wrongs. It’s fragile. More fragile than glass. It is full of intricacies and unknown territory that they might not be able to cross. This knowledge passes unspoken between them.
“Are you hungry?” River asks, his finger outlining Silas’ lips.
Silas reaches out and takes those fingers between his own, holding them so he can kiss them gently.