Author’s Note: This scene takes place at the very end of Chapter 21, on the first night after Dan and Leif come back from their tryst in Asheville. It didn’t move the story along, and was really just an excuse for me to write another sex scene (What can I say? I like writing sex scenes!). There are a couple of references to Leif’s past which were also cut from the final draft. Still, I liked the scene and thought I’d share it with you, although please note, it hasn’t been thoroughly edited!

“Just put your stuff wherever. I’ve got plenty of space, and I’m not particular about where things go,” Dan said.

They stood together in his bedroom—or, Leif supposed, their bedroom, at least for now. Night pressed against the lone window, which looked out over fallow fields toward the mountainside. The lights of other houses showed here and there in the distance, but otherwise only moon- and starlight blanketed the landscape.

The faint murmur of female voices floated through the creaky old walls. Taryn was camping out on Bea’s floor, and it sounded as if they were treating the arrangement like a slumber party.

He understood why Taryn neither liked nor trusted him. But she shouldn’t try to turn Dan against me.

Unless she’s just trying to look out for Dan. Which…fine. He couldn’t argue with that. But she could treat Dan like an adult and let him make his own decisions without turning it into a fight.

If he listens to her…

He wouldn’t, though. He’d made it clear enough. Right?

“Thanks,” Leif said, pulling his stack of black t-shirts, differentiated mainly by the band logos on them, from his bag. It felt strange and a little awkward to be in Dan’s personal space, instead of the manufactured welcome of a hotel room. More intimate, somehow.

Dan stepped up behind him and slid his hands under Leif’s shirt, the palms warm and rough against his skin. Leif sighed happily and leaned back against him, even though their difference in height made the position awkward.

“Come to bed when you’re done?” Dan whispered against his shoulder.

“I’d love to.”

The room contained an antique oak highboy. The bottom two drawers were empty, so Leif hurriedly stuffed his clothes into them and decided to worry about hanging things up tomorrow.

As Dan stripped off his clothes, his reflection in the mirror on the old, scarred dresser caught Leif’s attention. The lamp on the nightstand cast warm light over Dan’s olive-toned skin, feathering shadow across the muscles of chest and abdomen, the wings of the scapulae as he turned and pulled down the covers.

“Coming?” he asked, arching a brow at Leif.

“Just enjoying the view,” Leif replied, pulling his own clothes off hurriedly and tossing them in the direction of the hamper.

Dan’s skin against his was wonderfully warm, and the sensation of strong arms closing around him made his cock jump as it hardened. They kissed, softly at first, then with more passion, tongues tangling and exploring. Leif slid his hands down Dan’s back to his ass, fingers digging into the firm muscles.

Dan’s mouth traced the line of Leif’s jaw, back to the sensitive shell of ear, teeth tugging playfully on the silver hoop in the lobe. “Do you know how many nights I laid in this bed and fantasized about you?” he whispered.

“Did you?” Fuck, what a hot image: Dan sprawled naked, stroking himself, whimpering Leif’s name as he came.

“Mmm hmm. I imagined touching you like I am now. Kissing you.” He put words into action, his tongue invading Leif’s mouth before withdrawing again. “Sucking you and having you suck me.”

“Yes,” Leif whispered. He pulled away, rolled over, and opened the drawer on the end table where he’d stored the condoms and flavored lube. Dan took advantage of his position to bite him lightly on one butt cheek.

Leif rolled on his back and unwrapped a condom, sliding it over his straining erection while Dan made the process more interesting by tweaking and nibbling on his nipples. He bit back a moan—they weren’t the only people in the house tonight, after all.

Once he had the condom on and slicked with the raspberry-flavored lube which Dan had liked well enough last night, he dragged Dan up for a kiss. “Want to do a sixty-nine?”

Dan’s cheeks were flushed with arousal, his dark hair delightfully mussed already. “Yeah,” he said, then rolled off and onto his back.

If that was how he wanted it, Leif wasn’t about to argue. Instead, he kissed Dan fiercely, exploring Dan’s mouth, then nipping lightly at his lower lip. Working his way down, Leif tongued the hollow of Dan’s neck, paused to give his nipples some attention, then bit lightly at the half-ticklish spot on Dan’s belly. Dan’s breathing had gone rough with desire; he tugged at Leif’s legs, encouraging him to move into position.

More than happy to do so, Leif straddled his lover. Dan’s hands closed on his hips, pulling him down. A moment later, a hot tongue ran down the length of his cock, making it jerk and bob with helpless little spasms of pleasure.

Leif muffled his moans by gripping the base of Dan’s cock and wrapping his mouth around the head. The salty taste of pre-come made his cock stiffen even more in response. He ran the ball of his tongue piercing up and down the shaft, then scraped his teeth lightly against the head, before sucking it back into his mouth.

Dan, in the meantime, had decided to turn his attention to Leif’s shaved balls. His warm, wet tongue glided over the wrinkled skin, before mouthing each in turn. It felt so good it was hard for Leif to concentrate on the blowjob he was giving.

Which was not at all fair, especially since he was in the enviable position of being able to enjoy the taste and feel of a bare cock. So he bent his attention back to Dan’s thick length, taking it completely, working his tongue and sucking hard.

Now it was Dan’s turn to lose concentration; he let out a little gasp, his hands tightening on Leif’s thighs. Suitably encouraged, Leif redoubled his efforts, losing himself in the taste and smell of his lover, in the muffled whimpers and sudden, hoarse whisper: “Leif—I can’t—”

Dan’s back arched, pushing up against Leif, his whole body going taut and his cock twitching as he came. Leif didn’t hesitate, sucking hard, swallowing the salty-bitter come flooding his mouth.

“Mmm.” He pulled away from Dan’s softening cock and stretched out on the bed beside him. “Yum.”

Dan rolled toward him, eyes glazed with release, and kissed Leif unselfconsciously. “Fuck, you’re good,” he gasped.

Leif grinned, pleased with himself. “Glad you think so.”

Dan slid down further, snagging the lube as he did so. “Spread your legs.”

Leif obeyed, and Dan positioned himself between Leif’s knees, stretching out on his belly and fastening his mouth around Leif’s aching cock once again. Leif grabbed a pillow and stuffed it under his head, making it easier to watch while Dan’s lips slid up and down on him. “Feels so good,” he whispered.

Dark eyes flashed as Dan glanced up at him, and, oh, was that sexy. Then he felt the cool touch of lube at his entrance as Dan slid a finger into him.

He bit his lip hard against a groan, throwing back his head and spreading himself wider. Dan added a second finger, working him gently, stretching him, then sliding in further, finding his prostate and pressing.

And, gods, everything was stretching and pushing and suction, too much to take, balls tightening and heat gathering. He barely had the presence of mind to turn his head and muffle his cries against the pillow as his orgasm roared through him like a lightning strike inside his brain.

Dan’s hands stroking his sides brought him back to himself. Blinking sweat-soaked hair out of his eyes, he grinned lazily up at his lover. “Has anyone ever told you that you give fantastic head?”

Dan blushed and glanced away shyly. “Glad you enjoyed.”

“More than enjoyed.” He tilted his head up for a kiss, tasted the raspberry lube on Dan’s lips.

After cleaning up, they curled together under the blankets, sated and sleepy. The pillow against Leif’s cheek smelled like laundry detergent, sage, and Dan’s skin, and he breathed deeply. Dan snuggled against him, head a comforting weight on Leif’s shoulder, arms tight around his waist.

I could get used to this.

You won’t have the chance to.

The treacherous little voice had less force than usual, but it spoke the truth. Rúnar had the Eye of the Uktena, which meant their only hope of stopping him rested on finding the Harrow and somehow preventing him from using it. At the moment, they were no closer than they had been the first day he’d driven into town.

If we do somehow keep him from what he wants, he’ll just leave the area and move on to something else.

And I’ll have to follow.

Leif opened his eyes and stared at the white-painted wood of the ceiling. A sudden vision of his life unrolled in front of him: year after year spent chasing Rúnar, never stopping, never bringing an end to things. Empty and useless and wasted; penance for not dying in that fucking warehouse alongside Fast Jack.

How long will Dan wait for you? The whispery little voice curled along the root of his skull, greasy tendrils poking into his brain. How long before he gets tired of someone who can never be with him? He isn’t yours, not really. No more than any of the others were.

“Can I ask you something?” Dan murmured sleepily against his neck.

Glad to forsake his gloomy thoughts, Leif turned his head to press his lips against Dan’s forehead. “Anything, baby.”

“What was your name? Before?”

And, Hel’s mercy, he actually had to think about it for a second, it seemed so distant, so unrelated to who he was now. “Jonas.”

“Is it the name you want me to use?”

“No.” Leif stroked Dan’s hair affectionately, understanding the impulse behind the offer. “It’s sweet of you, but no. I’m not that person anymore. I haven’t been for a long time.”

“Oh. Okay.” Dan seemed to think about it for a minute. “It seems too…normal…for you anyhow.”

Leif laughed. “Are you calling me a weirdo, Dante?

“My kind of weirdo.” Dan nuzzled his neck, then settled in with a little sigh.

I love you. But he couldn’t say it, not yet, not so fast.  He didn’t want Dan to think he was some sort of clingy loser.

He wouldn’t mind if he loved you, too. Rúnar didn’t mind.

Shut up. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply, concentrating on the smell of Dan’s hair, on the weight of his arm thrown across Leif’s waist. Maybe Leif couldn’t have this forever, maybe he couldn’t even have it for more than a few days, but while he did, he wouldn’t waste a single precious second.

The ache in his skull withdrew, and the insidious whispers of his cracked brain fell silent. Pulling peace around him like a thick blanket, Leif drifted off to sleep in his lover’s arms.

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