“I will return. I will find you.”
Nolan sighs and looks to the blond man across from him, bound in chains. “I’m well aware that you’re practically immortal. This execution,” he snorts dismissively, “is a farce.”
Callum pouts childishly, his blue eyes doing that annoying fluttery eye roll. “You take the fun out of these heartfelt goodbyes.”
Nolan ignores this, raking a hand through his own dark hair, and considers his companion with a frown. “Although, your resurrection magic is...” he punctuates the pause with a slow, condemnatory blink, “Unpredictable, and you have no sense of direction. It’s more likely that I will end up finding you.”
The chains restraining Callum’s wrist tinkle as he moves to tug at Nolan’s elbow. “Your apathy wounds me, but I will miss you all the same. It devastates me to part from you for even a minute, my love,” he laments grandly.
“Spare me your theatrics, please.”
More tinkling chains as Callum clutches his chest in mock outrage. “But I’m going to die. They’re going to cut off my head in the morning. I think a little drama is appropriate.”
Nolan clicks his tongue in apparent disagreement. “You’ve died and come back a dozen times already. This is not a novel occurrence. What I want to know,” he says, dark eyes flashing dangerously, “is why you would kill the king in the first place, and then allow yourself to be caught.”
Callum shrugs an elegant shoulder. “Queen Verna asked me to.”
“Oh, the barbarian queen asked you to frame yourself for murder—”
“It’s not really framing if I actually committed—”
“I wasn’t finished,” Nolan says tetchily. “In your inexplicable eagerness to cater to Verna’s whims, did you even spare a single thought for our employer? What excuse am I to give her when she asks why the target was killed and not captured?”
Callum has the nerve to aim an insolent grin at him. “Verna is an ambitious woman. When she approached me to take her husband’s life, I agreed on the condition that she give me carte blanche to also do away with her lords of Council.”
“Which was most fortuitous,” Callum continues loudly, “As she planned to purge the court of her husband’s supporters anyway. And our employer does not actually need the king himself, only someone of his bloodline. One of his many illegitimate children will do nicely, don’t you think? Jealous Queen Verna all but gave us the pick of the litter,” he quips with a conspiratorial wink. “Problem solved. You’re welcome.”
Nolan was massaging circles over his temples, breathing deeply. “And why, why have you suddenly inflicted yourself so spectacularly upon the politics of this country?”
“They threatened you,” he answers simply. He notes the furrow in Nolan’s brow, and feels the familiar tendrils of his friend’s psychic magic probing gently into his mind. He defiantly denies him entry.
“Callum,” Nolan says quietly, “This is more important than just my life.”
“Not to me.” Callum smiles winsomely at Nolan’s stoic expression. “If you die, you die for good, and then my power will truly be a prison, more than the stone of these paltry walls could ever be,” he says, gesturing airily around the dungeon. “Are you so cruel that you would sentence me to eternity without you?”
Nolan is silent for a moment. He leans in and kisses Callum, who makes a small noise of surprise and pulls him closer.
“What was that?” the blond man inquires softly.
“Goodbye, I think,” Nolan murmurs against his lips. “I won’t see you for a few days, at least.” He draws back, brandishing his usual critical eye. “With my luck, you’ll probably turn up somewhere in the desert again.”