Life During Wartime

He remembers that, once, he was just a boy with a guitar.

When he mentions this to his lover, in a brief respite they have from the ongoing war, sitting next to each other on the small couch in the back office -- a shelter against the storm battering outside -- his lover smiles, and replies back, in the softest voice possible:

"So was I."

And they laugh at that, just a little, because despite everything that has happened, despite everything that shouldn't be happening, there's still that faint taste of normality. Two boys, two guitars, and the twenty-five years difference seems like nothing at all.

It shouldn't, of course. A person in his position sleeping with a student -- it should never be allowed. It wouldn't have happened, of course, if things were has normal as they had wished, but, well, there was a lot going on, and having to be on alert all the time took a lot out of a person, and these brief moments...they were a vice that could be overlooked.

And in the afternoons -- the incredibly safe afternoons, the time when the hazy daylight filtered through the dust and the stacks and everything looked normal -- they would share sloppy soft kisses on the couch, hands scrabbling over their war-battered bodies, tracing slowly over old scars and gingerly over fresh wounds. Night would fall and candles would be lit (can't turn the lights on, still a public building and can't have Them noticing that there are people in here...not yet), the wax from the candles dripping onto ancient texts, mingling with the wax from centuries ago. The candles kept up the mirage of the dreamy afternoon light, and they felt safer in the candlelight...just two men who were once two boys with guitars -- who still needed to laugh, and to love, and to remember back when everything was the way it should have been.

Because when they went out in the night, they were not men, boys, or lovers. They were warriors, and this weakness -- this need -- could be their death.