Fluin just grinned at him. Steppan was friend and brother and lover all rolled up into one. He felt happy, despite the fix they were in.
That night, as they lay in bed together, Fluin clung to Steppan like a long-lost brother, and Steppan was glad of it. He could feel the tickle of Flu’s breath on his shoulder, and the soft thud of his heart, as if they were twins in the womb together. The blood-bond lay coiled between them like a safety rope, secure and comforting. As they approached an unknown fate at the hands of the king, they drew what comfort they could from each other. The presence of their guards, sleeping on the floor, did not concern them one jot.