Today’s Friday Flash Fics made me think of Jace, of course, which let me delve a bit more into what’s going on with him and Matthew in the events after Triad Blood and Triad Soul. There’s no real spoilers here, beyond their being together, so even if you’ve not read the books, this should be fine. Matthew Stirling has a gift for prescience, which he inherited magically along his family bloodline, and he’s been feeling something coming for a while.
Matthew rolled over, lazily sliding a hand beneath the blanket and reaching out for Jace, intent on something naughty. When he came up with nothing but sheet, he frowned, and opened his eyes.
Jace had already gotten up.
So much for naughty.
He stretched, his shoulders popping and languishing in feeling both well rested and comfortable. He never slept like this in the Stirling Chantry, and it was getting harder and harder not to think about what that meant.
At least tonight there’d been no dreams.
Matthew rolled his head the other way. The sun hadn’t begun to rise yet, and that meant Jace couldn’t have been up long. He allowed himself one more stretch inside the warm bed, grabbed his glasses from the bedside table, then slid out and started hunting for his boxers in the chilly air.
He couldn’t wait for spring.
He got dressed and checked the kitchen—no sign of Jace—so he set up the coffee machine he’d bought Jace for Christmas, humming a little to himself while he worked. He had a good idea where Jace was now, and if he was right, he’d be ready for a cup of something hot once he got back. He eyed the fridge, but he was at best a passable cook, and Jace was way, way better at breakfasts than he was.
He’d stick to making the coffee.
He filled the jug with water, and then paused, looking at the surface of the liquid in the simple glass container.
He exhaled magic, shaped it with instinct, the way his magic always worked—more of a reflex than by design—and felt it move into the water. Water was his element, and his gift tended to lend itself to the ephemeral. Sensations, intuitions.
The water swirled, and he waited for something to appear on the surface.
He exhaled again, with relief, not magic.
Whatever it was? It wasn’t today.
He poured the water into the machine and slid the carafe to catch the brewed coffee.
While the coffee machine started to gurgle and hiss, Matthew grabbed a couple of mugs and the milk and then went to the sliding glass door at the back of the small living room, waiting.
It didn’t take long.
The first glimpse was just motion out of the corner of his eye, but it meant he knew where to look among the snow and trees. The second time, he caught the shape and smiled.
The wolf was sniffing the air, puffs of breath visible in the cold. From the distance, it was harder to tell just how large the wolf was—nearly double the size of any to be found in the wild—and you couldn’t see its eyes, which Matthew knew first had just looked… different.
It wasn’t that they didn’t match the eyes of a regular wolf. They did. It was the way they looked at you that was different.
Behind him, the coffee machine finished its work and he went back and poured two mugs, adding milk to one and leaving the other black. Then he crossed back to the glass door and slid it open, stepping outside with both cups.
In the distance, the wolf tipped its head back and howled. A plume of breath steamed out as the notes slid along Matthew’s skin and made him shiver from the beauty of the sound.
In the distance, there were answering cries. There was no way to know if they were from Jace’s friends or other wild wolves.
The big wolf turned, loping out of the woods and across the back yard. At the half-way point, the cadence of its pace changed, and it slowed, muscles rippling beneath the fur and body twisting and broadening across the shoulders while twisting at the waist. It rose onto crooked back legs that straightened with every step, and as Matthew held the mugs—and his breath—the fur seemed to slide away as what was once a wolf but was now a man approached the deck behind the house. Jace wasn’t wearing clothes, and the view was spectacular.
“You made coffee,” Jace said, stepping up onto the deck. Steam was rising from his skin. He was always almost hot to the touch after he changed from a wolf.
“I never get tired of this view,” Matthew said, holding out a mug.
Jace took it and sipped, seemingly not remotely bothered by standing barefoot in the snow. Then he leaned forward and kissed Matthew, a kiss that made it perfectly clear there would be no need for clothing any time soon.
“Good run, I take it?” Matthew said, once he’d come up for air.
Jace nodded, reaching past him and sliding open the door. He sort of crowded Matthew backwards through it, and Matthew grinned, backing up in increments.
“You sleep okay?” Jace said. It was said casually enough, but Jace had been woken up enough times in the last couple of months to know Matthew’s dreams were giving him trouble.
Which meant real trouble was on the way.
“I slept brilliantly. I can’t remember the last time I was so rested.” Matthew put his cup down on the coffee table. “In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had this much energy.”
“Oh yeah?” The rumble in Jace’s voice did things deep in Matthew’s stomach.
The next time Matthew got out of bed, he wasn’t alone. And they hadn’t beaten the sun.
He’d check the water again tomorrow.