It had been a frantic hour since leaving the slums. He had run into Saul at the stables, and been told that Thorn had gone looking for him.
Gone looking for him. The words had warmed the last bits of worried ice in Kenneth’s heart. Thorn wanted him too.
And when he saw him on the road, he felt the familiar flare of magic, warming his body and making Jade’s pounding hooves feel like he was gliding on air.
He stopped when he got close, staring at his lover. It had only been a few hours, but it felt longer. His magic thrummed beneath his skin, as though it too was glad to see his lifemate again. Thorn was beautiful in the evening air, his head cocked as though waiting for something, his eyes sparkling with what Kenneth hoped was happiness.
“You didn’t get very far, did you?” he said with a small smile.
“I…you said you needed time to think.” Kenneth chose his words carefully. “I wanted to give you time, but I did some thinking of my own. I know you don’t need me. You’re an independent, wonderful man, and I know that me being a mage might create problems. But its your independence that makes me love you.” His cheeks warmed. “You’re my equal, Thorn. You’re any mage’s equal. Don’t let anyone else make you think differently. Your choices should be made yourself, just as mine are.”
Thorn twisted the reins in his hand, his gaze distant for a moment. “It’s good to hear that,” he said. He patted his horse’s neck, then dismounted, hopping down on the ground. Kenneth followed suit, very aware of Thorn’s nearness.
“I know you’re right,” Thorn continued. “I’ve always made my own choices. But I always think…what would my parents think?” his smile slipped for a moment. “I know its foolish. So many people who’s parents are alive rebel against them and their wishes for their children. But I do want to honor the memory of those who’ve gone before. We talentless don’t get to do that with surnames, so we cling to memories, I suppose.” He shrugged, Kenneth’s heart going out to him.
“Your parents, I’m sure, would want you to be happy,” Kenneth said. “I know mine wish that for me, no matter what. Things will work out.”
“I know,” Thorn said. He turned to Kenneth. “It’s just that fool George put concerns in my head, about my parents and other talentless and…everything, really. But it was a moment of weakness, that’s all.”
“Not weakness,” Kenneth said. “You could never be weak.” Thorn was stronger than any mage Kenneth had every known. Most talentless, Kenneth had to admit, probably were too. All he had learned in this short week proved that several times over.
“I do love you, Kenneth,” Thorn said. “And I’m glad I get to make that choice.”
Kenneth’s heart swelled, and he moved forward, going to envelop Thorn into a hug. Thorn hugged him instead, the inventor’s arms crushingly strong and his body strong and firm against Kenneth’s.
“I know things won’t always be easy, but love never is,” Thorn whispered. “Is it?”
Kenneth didn’t answer right away, letting himself be folded into Thorn’s arms. He knew things would get tougher in the future. He had no idea what sort of challenges would face them, both as men and then as Enforcers. But he was sure they could handle it.
“If it were easy, it wouldn’t be as rewarding,” he finally said, and Thorn laughed before pulling him into a slow, languid kiss, his lips soft, and then his tongue warm and slick against Kenneth’s.
"C'mon," Thorn said, his voice husky. "Let's go back to my place."