Friends or Lovers? Part 10
As soon as the words had been uttered, Edwin instantly wished there were a spell he could use to take them back. An uncomfortable silence fell over the room, as Kane stared at him but didn’t speak. He looked as though he was struggling to take it in.
“Well,” he said finally, trying to keep his voice light. “I can’t pretend that I’m not surprised to hear you say that, but it does explain why you have been acting so strangely of late.” He stood up and walked across the room, shaking his head. “Wanting to spend so much time in my company, freaking out when I touch you, not concentrating on your spellcasting, not eating, not sleeping…it adds up. I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t figure out what. I just don’t…don’t believe it.”
“I’ll leave!” Edwin said quickly. “First thing tomorrow morning. I will…”
“I never said I wanted you to go,” Kane interrupted, turning to look at him. “Why would you think…?” He paused as something suddenly occurred to him. “It was Viconia, wasn’t it? I should have known. What’s she been saying?” His voice turned hard. “As if I couldn’t guess.”
“That you would never want anything to do with me again when you found out,” the wizard said weakly, his eyes still on the bedcovers. “That you could never feel anything for me except pity and my feelings for you were disgusting and unnatural and wrong and that I should be ashamed of myself. But I never wanted to feel this way, I swear to you!”
“Strange words coming from a drow.” Kane muttered under his breath. “I know, Eddie, I know. Just listen to me for a moment.” He sat down once again and took the wizard’s hands in his own. Edwin flinched, wondering what cruel game his leader was playing, when the stinging blow would come. “We can’t control who we are attracted to, no matter how much we might want to sometimes. I can understand that feeling this way is frightening and difficult to come to terms with, but being attracted to someone and wanting to be close to them is nothing to be ashamed of. Not even if it’s another man.”
“But it is not natural!” Edwin protested. “Is it? And what will people think?”
“Who cares?” Kane shrugged. “There will always be some people who won’t like it, who will try and make you feel guilty, but those people aren’t worth bothering with. And no, I suppose it isn’t natural, but who cares about that either? Most nobles, who look down on anyone who isn’t perfect, some idiots who believe that we should all keep reproducing. Who cares about them? As long as you can accept how you feel, then it shouldn’t matter.”
“You…you don’t care?” There was no malice or scorn in the warrior’s voice, only concern, though Edwin still could not bring himself to believe that it did not matter to his leader. “You really don’t care that…”
“I’ve had male lovers in the past, Edwin.” Kane smiled faintly. “Not many, but a few. My teacher, Benny, he had male lovers too, and there were one or two other men in the Shadow Thieves who preferred the company of their own gender. I’m not ashamed of it, I’ve never been ashamed, and there is no reason why you should be either.”
“But…” For a moment, Edwin was sure that he had misheard. “But…I thought…Viconia, she doesn’t know, does she?”
“Never really something we’ve spoken about,” Kane told him. “She never needed to know. And besides, she already threatens every female who even dares to look at me and I’d rather that she didn’t start doing it to the men either. How is your wrist, has the bleeding stopped yet?”
“I think so,” the wizard said quietly, moving his eyes from the bed to the blood-soaked bandage. Some of the feeling was beginning to come back and it was starting to ache. “It hurts.”
“Of course it is going to hurt.” His leader sighed and shook his head. “I can’t believe you did it though I can understand why. Trying to deal with all this alone couldn’t have been easy, especially with Viconia on at you. But it was still a stupid thing to do.”
“You think I don’t know that!” The sharp words slipped off Edwin’s tongue before he could bite them back. He was tired and he couldn’t quite get his head around the whole conversation. “It just…made sense at the time, but I am pleased that…that you found me when you did. Why did you come in anyway?”
“I don’t know,” the Bhaalspawn said honestly. If he was offended by Edwin snapping at him, he didn’t show it. “All I know is that I have been worrying about you for days and tonight I just had this strong feeling that something was really wrong, that you needed someone. Just instinct, I suppose, but I’m so glad that I acted on it. If you had been left much longer, you would have died…” he broke off and shuddered. “And I don’t even want to think about that.”
“You still care?” Edwin could not keep the surprise out of his voice. “Even after what I have told you…you still want me to travel with you?”
“Of course I do.” Kane said firmly. “I just said that there is nothing wrong with feeling the way you do and I don’t hate you for something that you can’t control. As long as I have a say in what goes on in this group, you are not going anywhere. If Viconia has a problem with my companions, then she can leave.”
“She is not going to want me here after this. She will do everything she can to turn you against me.”
“There is nothing she can say that will make me stop caring about you.” Kane sat back down and took Edwin’s hands again, noticing with some amusement that the wizard had kept his head lowered throughout the whole conversation. “Edwin,” he commanded. “Look at me.”
A little embarrassed, Edwin did as his leader asked and looked up, finding himself looking directly into the warrior’s dark eyes. Kane chuckled faintly and touched the wizard’s face, stroking his cheek and coming to rest under his chin, tilting his head slightly upwards. As he moved forward, Edwin knew what was going to happen, but he couldn’t believe it was really happening until Kane’s lips brushed his. It was very brief, but it was enough to make Edwin’s head spin. He had been longing for this for so long, but he had never thought for a minute that it would happen and, for once, he was completely lost for words.
“Was that what you’ve been wanting?” Kane whispered, his hand still cradling Edwin’s face. “Or was that not enough for you? Perhaps you want a little more than that. Maybe…something like this?”
Before Edwin could reply, Kane’s mouth was once more on his. But this time, the warrior didn’t pull away. Edwin froze for a second, unsure of exactly how to react and a little frightened, but he soon found himself responding to the kiss, sliding his arms around Kane, his fingers lightly brushing the back of the warrior’s neck, pulling him closer.
“Was that what you wanted?” Kane asked when they finally parted, breathing faster than usual.
“Yes,” Edwin whispered, leaving his hands where they were. Kane didn’t seem in a hurry to break free either. “Yes, that was what I wanted.”
“Good.” Kane smirked, idly catching a lock of the wizard’s dark hair. “Good, because it was what I wanted too.”
This time, Edwin kissed him and the warrior responded eagerly. It seemed to last forever and that suited him. He didn’t want the moment to end; he had no wish to be anywhere else. Even the thought of Viconia and her cruel words could not destroy the happiness he felt.
“Will you…stay with me tonight?” he asked hesitantly, half expecting his leader to refuse. Kane said nothing, just pushed him gently back on the bed, biting at his neck as his hands slowly began to remove the red robes…
Friends or Lovers? Part 10
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