The stark light of the mirror betrayed the price. Line etched eyes, echoing the slashes Elijah had scarred into faded grey walls. Counting days in a life outside time, insubstantial to the staccato world lying beyond the bars.
An existence spent subjected to threats, propositions and fears. Strengthened only by cherished memories of Krak Des Chevaliers’ twilight interior. The caress of interlaced fingers, of shared pulses racing. Walking in shadow, the pain of longing giving them courage. Seeking escape, seeking their true self. Stolen clandestine moments, lips entwined, shared breath.
That fateful morning, whispered promises of a future, a ring slid onto Elijah’s finger.
Walking outside together, apart, the police waiting in the morning light.
Elijah rested his elbows on the railing of the balcony. Chavaliers lay before him basking in the afternoon light. The hotel door opened, Firas entered, older, hurting, still beautiful. Wearing those very clothes he wore three years ago.