“You don’t need to be honest with me.”
Crescent turned over in his sleep, instinctively nuzzling closer to the warmth in the bed next to him. Hazily, his mind told him something was slightly off and pulled him to wakefulness. His eyes shifted immediately to the clock, where the display read 1:45 am. It wasn’t the time that was off, but the fact that Domerin was no longer under his arm.
The other man was, perhaps, one of the very few people who could move around without waking him, but unlike some nights he hadn’t gone far. Domerin was still in bed, but sitting up with his back straight, and his hands resting in his lap. He was close enough Crescent could still feel his warmth, but he looked in a world of his own.
Some light filtered in through the windows as he shifted to look at the man’s face. Even in the low light he could see the tenseness in Domerin’s jaw, but more telling was the fact that the other man didn’t stir when he pulled himself half-up beside him.
Domerin didn’t reply right away, staring across the space at the far wall, lost in thought.
Brows furrowing a bit, Crescent reached out a hand to run it across his lover’s bare leg. “Domerin. Are you all right?”
The other man seemed to come very quickly back to himself then, looking over at Crescent with a flash of surprise in his dark eyes.
“I’m sorry. Did I wake you?”
“Of course not, darling. But are you all right? Can’t sleep?”
Domerin’s momentary silence told him there was something. The other man didn’t need to sleep as much, but usually he laid in bed by his side or went to do work.
Despite the silence he didn’t press, letting Domerin speak when he chose to.
“I’m being sent out on assignment in a week. We were briefed just today.”
Was that all that was bothering the other man? Assignments had always been part of Domerin’s job.
“I’ll miss you while you’re away. Where are they sending you?”
“It’s classified. I can’t tell you any of the details.”
“Well, that’s all right. You don’t need to be honest with me, Domerin. You never did when it comes to work.” Crescent kept his tone light, not wanting the other man to think he was mad at him.
But, unlike usual, the other man’s mood didn’t lighten. Domerin turned to face him and there was something dark and pensive in his blue eyes.
His humor vanished, replaced with concern for his lover.
“Domerin? What’s wrong? This is hardly the first time you’ve gone on assignment since I’ve known you.”
“It’s different,” he said, shaking his head. “We’ve only been together, properly together for, what, a few months? I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone, or if I’ll even be able to check in with you. It’s going to be a dangerous one.”
Domerin hesitated, unable to say more than that, and for a moment he looked wretched.
“What if I don’t come back?”
The man’s words struck him. It was true that this time was different. They weren’t just casually sleeping together anymore. After far too long, they were properly dating, a proper couple. He’d never thought he’d be happy in a relationship like this, but with Domerin it all felt right.
The other man had waited so long for this, and now he had to go away, not knowing if he’d be coming back. No wonder it was troubling him.
Crescent shifted, moving to sit next to the other man. He slipped an arm around his middle.
“You can’t let that get to you, Domerin. I won’t lie to you, it’s going to be a lot harder seeing you go than it ever has been, just as I can tell it’s going to be a lot on you to go. I don’t know what I’d do if you didn’t come back, but I’m with you knowing that’s a possiblity. I know the risks involved. It doesn’t change how much I love you.”
Domerin leaned a bit into his touch, and he gently rubbed a hand across the man’s dusky skin.
“That’s good to know. I guess, after Kail, part of me still worries, even if you’re nothing like him. It was such a production every time I had to go away. He always made such a big deal out of it.”
“You wont ever have to worry about that with me. You have a duty, and the last thing you need is more stress and worry on top of everything else. I understand how important your job is.”
“Thank you for that, Crescent. It does help. And I hope I didn’t make you think I thought of you like Kail.”
“Of course not, darling.” He assured, lightly nuzzling Domerin’s arm.
The man smiled, briefly, but Crescent got the feeling there was still something else troubling him. He waited, not pressing him to speak.
After a time, those blue eyes were turned upon him again. He met them as they searched his face and he tried to project all his love through his eyes.
Lifting his hand, Domerin brushed calloused fingers gently down Crescent’s cheek.
“I have never resented what my duty asks of me. I would never turn my back on my responsibilities. I do neither now, but… I can’t help but want more time with you. Part of me wishes I wasn’t going.”
There was a tinge of guilt in the man’s voice that Crescent had never quite heard before.
“I’ve always known each mission could be my last, but every part of me wants to come back to you.”
Crescent reached up to gently brush his fingers across Domerin’s cheek in return.
“There’s nothing selfish about that. Who wants to leave their loved ones behind? I doubt even the queen would fault you for feeling that way. You’re hardly the only solider to feel guilty about having to leave and do their duty.”
“No, I suppose not.”
“I know you, Domerin Lorcasf. No matter what, you’ll do the job you are sent to do, and you’ll do it to be best of your ability. I want you to come back to me too, but you shouldn’t feel guilty for how you feel.”
“I hear you,” Domerin said, a bit more of a smile finally touching his lips. “I won’t forget. Besides, it’ll be nice to come back home to someone who isn’t going to spend the first week I’m back fussing all over me.”
Crescent couldn’t help but chuckle.
“I’ll fuss, but in a very different way. A man has to welcome his lover home properly.”
He leaned in, slipping his arms around Domerin. The other man responded and gathered him up into his arms. For a time they just sat together, enjoying the quiet and the warmth.
Eventually he leaned his head up, to press a light kiss to Domerin’s jawline.
“And, at the very least, we have an entire week to make all sorts of good memories for you to take with you.”
“I see no reason to wait.” Domerin said.
Crescent could see the hint of a smile on his lips as the other man drew him back down onto the bed.