once again nothing, but you can see more of Samuel here

Their first night together, Samuel awoke to Craiton sitting on a chair by the windowsill. The gentle morning sunlight played across a man nobody could describe as beautiful—his face was drawn in the craggy way Samuel knew well. He sat up and moved to the edge of the bed, ran his fingers over the intricate web of burns across Craiton’s shoulders.

Craiton flinched, the scowl evaporating from his face. For a moment he looked younger—like he had when he and Samuel had been boys kissing beneath the apple tree. When he’d possessed more blind idealism than blind hatred.

“Sorry about that,” Samuel said, allowing his fingers to linger over the burns. When Craiton turned to meet his eyes, Sam gave him a little smirk that said he wasn’t really that sorry.

“No you aren’t,” Craiton grumbled. “Besides, I like when it hurts a little.”

“Must be a mage thing.”

Samuel stood from the bed and moved to the windowsill, clutching the edge of it with his fingers curling under. It didn’t escape him, the way that Craiton’s face tightened a little. The erratic, masochistic thing that lived in Sam’s gut made him want to call Craiton a mage again and again, just to see the kind of power he would unleash. He’d witnessed it before—if he’d been anyone else besides the man they called Salamander, it might’ve frightened him.

“So what now?” Sam asked, because it didn’t escape him that Craiton had ambitions that overruled a brief fling with a childhood flame. Craiton had ambitions that involved marrying the king’s daughter. And he’d promised Sam a place within these ambitions, but Samuel didn’t think it involved being a lover. Craiton lifted his eyes, sharp and ruthless ordinarily but with a touch of softness reserved for Sam. He reached out and took Samuel’s hands.

“I love you,” he said.


Craiton smiled, the expression breaking across his wide, angular face.

“But you know of my plans.”

“I have no intention of interfering,” Sam said. “I only intend to be a member of your army. A tool. A sword.”

Craiton narrowed his eyes, tightening his hands over Samuel’s.

“I intend for you to be much more than that,” he said. “I would make you my second.”

“Then I will serve you as a loyal and honorbound second.”

“Until your death.”

“Until my death.”

Samuel knew Craiton well enough to detect the note of delectation in his voice. He knew Craiton well enough to know that the man he loved was not a good man.

“This felt right,” Craiton said.

Samuel nodded.

“I would like to wake up beside you in the future.”

Again, Sam nodded. He knew his place had been decided the day they’d first met, as children. His place was beneath Craiton’s heel.

And he’d never been happier.


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