If I had to wish for something, just one thing, it would be that Hannah would never see Tate the way I did. Never see Tate's beautiful, lush hair turn brittle, her skin sallow, her teeth ruined by anything she could get her hands on that would make her forget. That Hannah would never count how many men there were, or how vile humans can be to one another. That she would never see the moments in my life that were full of neglect, and fear, and revulsion, moments I can never go back to because I know they will slow me down for the rest of my life if I let myself remember them for one moment. Tate, who had kept Hannah alive that night, reading her the story of Jem Finch and Mrs. Dubose. And suddenly I know I have to go. But this time without being chased by the Brigadier, without experiencing the kindness of a postman from Yass, and without taking along a Cadet who will change the way I breath for the rest of my life.
The night was fading. It was too early to be called dawn yet, but Taylor could just make out the outline of Will's weary, unshaven face. His deep blue eyes were the only color in the gray world of rain and shadows.Will leaned in, and his mouth covered Taylor's, rough but sweet, his tongue seeking Taylor's. Taylor opened willingly to that kiss, forgetting for a second his scratched, scraped hands and the rain running down the back of his neck. They kissed a lot these days, especially for men who had never been much for kissing. Taylor had become expert in all Will's kisses, from the hungry, lustful kisses that always made his own cock rise so fast it hurt, to the tender, almost cherishing kisses that Will generally saved for when he thought Taylor was sleeping. That dawn kiss beneath the pine trees rippled through him like an electric shock, a reminder that, tired, wet, and lost as they might be, so long as they were together, they were all right.
The moonlight streaming through the sheer draperies revealed Taylor smiling, boneless and peaceful in Will's embrace. The most dangerous man Will knew rested sweetly in his arms, trusting him with his love as he trusted Will to guard his life. It was beyond precious. Life, love, was made up of fragile moments like these. Fragile as Paris moonlight.