Another week, another flash update with the Wednesday Briefers! This week my chapter is inspired by the prompts: wind, cross, and silver.
Fortitude Part 16
Being alone in his bed sucked. It was too big, and even though he could hear Teddy’s breathing, it wasn’t good enough. They’d risked life and limb together, and Will felt closer to Teddy than ever. He refused to allow them to drift apart and follow the paths others set in front of them.
He wanted a different life.
Will slid off his bed, wincing at the cold stone floor against the sore soles of his feet. He cautiously made his way over to the door. He found the lantern and sent a tiny wave of power down his hand, lighting up the dresser with faint blue radiance. Finding the thick, silver key he was looking for, Will locked the door to his room. He carefully set the key down.
Turning, he paused, wracked with indecision. The lantern lit up just enough of the room for him to see the shadowy lump of Teddy’s body under the blankets on his trundle bed. Will had a hard time getting enough air into his lungs. They’d danced around the attraction between them for years, but Teddy wasn’t good at hiding things. He fugued easily, coming out of his spells groggy and far too malleable. Sometimes he said things he wouldn’t normally reveal—which was how Will had found out Teddy was attracted to him in the first time.
All he had to do was cross the room. Just a few steps was that that separated them. There was no telling what might happen to them in the next few days. Was he willing to risk never touching Teddy the way he wanted to? His need had grown too strong to bear.
Will sucked in a breath and let it out slowly, trying to slow his racing heart. How could this be so scary? It was just Teddy. Steeling his resolve, Will put the lantern back on the dresser. He made his way to the trundle carefully. Reaching the bed, he knelt on the mattress. The room was pitch black, so he slid a hand across the mattress until he felt Teddy’s body.
“Teddy?” he whispered.
“Hmm.” Teddy hunched his shoulders, burying his face in the pillow.
Gnawing on his bottom lip, Will decided to get in the bed. He hiked his nightshirt between his legs so he could inch across the mattress. Carefully, Will eased down beside Teddy on his side, close enough to feel his heat and smell the soap he’d used when they bathed before turning in.
Unable to resist, Will ran his hands through Teddy’s hair. It was still slightly damp, soft and silky around his fingers. “Teddy. Wake up, Teddy.”
“Hmm? Will?” Teddy pressed against Will’s hand, so he kept stroking. “S’wrong?”
Teddy sighed. “Then why are you awake?”
“I’m cold, and my bed is too big.” It was the truth, but not why Will was really in bed with Teddy.
“Wanna sleep here?” Teddy offered sleepily. He rolled over, tugging on the blankets. “Get under the coverlet.”
Will squirmed and finally got the blanket out from under him and scooted inside the gap Teddy was holding up. He put his head on a pillow, just inches from Teddy’s. He had his eyes shut and his breathing was deepening.
“Hey. Don’t go back to sleep yet.” Will scooted closer. Teddy’s sweet breath puffed like a warm wind against his face. Will could just barely make out his pale features. He couldn’t resist; Will rubbed his thumb against Teddy’s cheek.
“I’m tired,” Teddy groused. He opened his eyes a thin slit, reaching up for Will’s hand. Teddy pulled it down, lacing their fingers together. As much as Will liked caressing Teddy, their entwined fingers gave him another thrill. He loved the feeling of connection. Teddy closed his eyes. “Sleep.”
“I want to talk to you,” Will whispered. He squeezed Teddy’s fingers. “It’s important.”
“Can’t we talk about the plan tomorrow?” Teddy groaned.
“It’s not about the nobles, or the machine. It’s about us.” Just saying that much had Will’s heart pounding.
Teddy cracked his eyes open, blinking. “Us?”
Will licked his lips. He was going for it; he had nothing to lose. He knew how Teddy felt, and there wasn’t any reason to wait any longer. “We’re friends, best friends, but I know you want more.”
Teddy opened his mouth, but Will forestalled him, rushing to say, “I do, too. I love you, Teddy. I always have, but it’s different now. I don’t love you like a friend, or a brother. I love you and want to be with you.”
He watched as Teddy opened and shut his mouth, his eyes now wide open.
“I’ve always known, Teddy.” Will pulled their joined hands up, pressing the back of Teddy’s hand to his chest. “How much you love me… and how.”
“How?” Teddy’s voice was strangled.
“The way you watch me. You hate touching people, but you touch me. You offered me a place beside you without even thinking about it, tonight. You wince when someone asks me about girls.” Will rubbed Teddy’s hand back and forth. “You don’t have to. I’ve never done more than polite conversation with women at the parties my parents host. I’ve wanted to be with you for a long time, but I know what we’re up against.”
“No one would accept it. Your parents. My father.”
“But if I’d restarted Schvesla’s machine, they wouldn’t be able to say a thing about my personal life. We’d be untouchable.”
“Is that why…? You’ve been working on finding his codex for years!”
“Yes,” Will said simply. He waited, unsure if everything he’d said to Teddy had sunk in. He was on tenterhooks, wondering….
“You love me?”
There it was.
“Yes, I do.”
Teddy made a sound, his breath hitching. “I love you, too.” Teddy leaned forward, closing the distance between them. “Kiss me.”
Those words fulfilled every dream Will had ever had.
OMG! Such a long time coming, right? What do you think about the boys now? Still hate Will? Okay, go read more flash from the other Briefers!