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    Summary

    After his injury at Isca Dumnoniorum and subsequent discharge from the army, Marcus moves to Calleva, learns to live with himself again, and happens to fall in love with a young British man on the way. Also, Esca is a werewolf.

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  2. 21 Aug 2017

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  3. 20 Aug 2017

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    How many of you are there here?" He hopes he does not sound that astonished.

    Esca laughs, a gentle sound. "Not as many as you might think. I'm the only one in Calleva. Mostly we don't live in the south, not any longer. And there aren't many of us to begin with."

    "No?"

    Esca's explanation sounds almost like one he has memorized, waiting for someone to ask him this. Waiting for Marcus, perhaps. "We breed true, you might call it, only with each other. My parents were both skin-changers, yes, but if I had a child with a human woman she might or might not bear a skin-changer. It is a funny thing. A trick of the gods, I suppose." He shrugs, and there is a strange look in his eyes. He pauses, long enough that it must mean something. "It's not likely to come up, anyway."

    Marcus has the queerest feeling, the feeling that Esca wants him to ask. Esca is looking at him, still looking, and as he watches Esca is biting his lip a little.

    He thinks he might be licking his own lips in response. "Why is that?"

    "Oh, you know how it is," Esca drawls, and his voice sounds casual, but his body, tight and closed-in, is anything but. "The sort of people I most like to spend time with... aren't the sort who can end up with child afterwards."

    He clears his throat and makes himself meet Esca's gaze. "What sort of people would those be?"

    As he watches, the corners of Esca's mouth turn up a little, and there is an even longer pause before Esca speaks.

    "Soldiers."

    "Oh," says Marcus, finally, trying to sound as though the reply makes sense to him. He forces a smile. "The armor, is it? I used to know a fair number of people who liked the look of a man in armor."

    But Esca smiles and shakes his head. "Not the armor," he says, and his voice is soft, almost too soft to be heard, and he steps a little closer and looks up, wide-eyed. "I misspoke just now. I was thinking of one man in particular. Retired soldier, actually."

    Marcus draws a long, shaking breath. Not a coincidence, then.

    "Maybe you know him," Esca says, still quiet, and as Marcus watches he is trembling. "I've been... well, I've been courting him, honestly, you might say the word is. Trying to impress him. Spending time with him. Hunting for him. I'm not certain he's noticed."

    Marcus tries to swallow past his suddenly-dry throat, his mind blank of all useful responses. "He's— he's noticed."

    "Ah," Esca breathes, and the sound is barely more than air. "I wasn't sure he would consider... someone like me. If he likes me at all. I thought he did, I thought he could, but— I might be mistaken."

    Esca wants this. Esca wants him. Esca would never hurt him; he knows that now. The stories are wrong, the stories are lies, the stories would keep him from this.

    Marcus takes a step closer. The words he needs to say echo in his head until he finally opens his mouth.

    "I think he likes you very much," he says, and he holds out his hands, holds out his heart, and bares his throat to the wolf.

    And then Esca is smiling, he is laughing with the joy of it, and he steps forward into Marcus' arms.

  5. 19 Jul 2017

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  20. 31 Mar 2017

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