Companion to A Demon for Midwinter
Can a rock star and a half-demon ever get married?
That question’s been on Justin Moore’s mind a lot lately, especially now that life’s going so well. He’s moved in with Kris Starr, his very own rock-and-roll legend; he has a new job he loves; Kris’s career is taking off all over again; and he’s happier than he can ever remember being.
There is something he wants, though. Justin might be half-demon, but he’s also half-human, and he rather wistfully likes the thought of the whole human ritual of marriage: standing together and saying vows. But Kris has never mentioned the idea. So Justin can’t ask, not when everything else is already wonderful.
Kris Starr never planned to settle down, that’s true -- he never imagined he’d want anything other than the rock and roll life. And he isn’t convinced he’s great at domesticity. But he’s pretty sure his half-demon boyfriend wants a very human commitment. And he’s beginning to think finally, maybe, he wants that, too.
Justin remained unsure precisely how Kris did feel about getting married. Not outright opposed, he thought, or at least that hadn’t been the associated emotion. But clear about not asking. Of course not, had been the phrase. Never even previously considering the idea.
He knew he wanted to -- the second he’d had the thought, he’d known, shining as true as gold, as rightness. He just didn’t know whether it’d be a fair question. If it ever would be.
Because Kris would say yes if he asked. He wiggled toes again through sunlight, not moonbeams and speculations. Kris would say yes no matter what: if Justin felt safe enough to show that desire, if Justin wanted this enough to ask, that’d be that. A yes.
He wasn’t sure he wanted that kind of yes. He wanted Kris to want this, too, if they went through with it. He hadn’t been able to think of a good way to bring up that question. Kris hadn’t returned to it either.
But they were happy. And if this was their life it was already wonderful, and he did not need anything more; this was more than he could’ve ever imagined, running from hurt and pain into the shelter of Kris’s touch.
He gave up on doing any meaningful editorial in-depth reading for the day.
He flopped back across the sofa. He lay there beaming at the ceiling and the sunshine for a while. He whistled a line from Kris Starr’s hit single “Sometimes;” he swung a leg, idly, and just was happy.
The cushions provided support. The sunbeam tangled in his hair, fire for fire.
He shut both eyes and poked lazily at the universe. Kris had lost a bracelet on the way home from a morning talk show two days ago, nothing fancy or expensive, nothing he’d been remotely upset about. Justin had meant to go looking for it and had gotten distracted. Those musician’s hands. Talented. Sneaking up under his shirt.
Ah. There. A shape. Fraying battered leather. Familiar brushes with skin. Gentle warmth and ironic self-dismissal and the pulse of that equally battered beautiful heart, beating in a wrist, a memory held in the bracelet’s curve. The universe, as usual, opened up wide and shimmering and kaleidoscopic: a tapestry of temptations and tales, palimpsests and chiaroscuro, darkness and light. He could taste honey and wild oceans, could cradle ancient pottery or heavy gold, could inhale coriander and clove or the scent of a rare and flawless rose.
He could have anything. He could reach out and find whatever needed conjuring; shapes overlapped and blurred and became trails throughout time. Demon-magic, innate and seductive, flickered across his sight. He could tempt a human with any price, in return for a sip of vitality, their energy, their lovely thrumming soul.
He laughed at himself, fleeting and wry, and plucked Kris’s bracelet out of an unswept subway corner. It tumbled into existence across his hand.
He personally could do less than half of that. Any price, he thought, entertained. As if. Half human, and he’d never been able to conjure anything he hadn’t seen or touched, and the one time he’d tried to yank people out of a burning building he’d only managed to save five of them before the strain had caught up and he’d collapsed.
He wasn’t that good a rescuer. He never had been.
But he was doing okay.
And this afternoon he could save his boyfriend’s bracelet. He regarded dirt-smudges critically for a moment, said to it, “I can help with that, hang on --” and tried to find and banish everything that didn’t belong. Leather draped itself over his fingers in gratitude.
He might’ve overdone it. The bracelet wasn’t only cleaned to its previous state; it looked brand-new. Oh, well, why not, he decided, and set it carefully on the table, with a small pat of reassurance for them both.
At this point cheerful if somewhat ragged emotions approached the door. Justin pushed himself up on elbows, tugged at a few more universe-strings, and had Earl Grey -- with lavender -- billowing tea-scented steam from a hastily heated-up mug on the table by the time Kris came in. “How’d the meeting go? Also I love you.”
“Love you, I’d’ve been back twenty minutes ago but I stopped at that bakery you like -- here, it’s got chocolate and chili spice and cayenne pepper in --”
“I love you even more.”
“-- and good, I think.” Kris kicked off boots, shed leather jacket, padded over to the sofa: a rock star in jeans and sock-clad feet, absentmindedly tucking loose shaggy hair behind an ear, rumpled from pastry-hunting adventures. He tasted like tea and sugar and orange cream; he at first leaned down over the sofa to scoop Justin into the kiss, and when this proved insufficient proceeded to climb over the back and tumble down into cushions and welcoming demon limbs. Justin shoved his cupcake onto the table to protect it, wrapped arms and legs around him, held on, and fell willingly into being kissed.