It was dark, lit only by a handful of torches against the wall, and Marcus let his hand trail alongside the arches to help him guide his way through to where the slaves were kept. The moon was covered by clouds and there was no natural light to help him, just the flickering of tallow in the cuts along the corridor.
When he arrived at the pens, he recoiled at the sharp smell of the slaves’ quarters. His eyes adjusting to the low light, Marcus searched the cots for the man with green eyes, Kapua. His mind was still fuzzy, half-asleep, and he did not know why he searched for the man, only that he wanted to see him again.
There. Kapua was in a corner of the pens, head leaning against the bars. His chest rose and fell in the steady rhythm of sleep, and as Marcus moved around towards him he tried to make his footfalls silent so that he would not wake the man. His shadow flickered large and menacing on the wall in front of him, like a monster stealing forth into the night.
Then he was standing in front of the slave that had haunted his dream the night before. Marcus knelt down, squatting on his heels, and watched the man breathe. Kapua’s skin was dark, his hair darker, and his almond eyes were closed, the lashes laying soft on his cheeks. His arm was resting on his knee and Marcus leaned forward to see the scars that crisscrossed the skin there, raised and pale against the rest of him.
Not knowing why he was so drawn to this man, Marcus reached out a hesitant finger and let it fall onto Kapua’s skin. He traced the scar tissue up his arm, to his shoulder. It was soft, tender, the ripples under his fingertips oddly pleasant to the touch, and he let his fingers rest on the top of the scar for a moment before raising his hand and breaking the connection.
Immediately Kapua’s eyes flashed open and his hand came up, grasping Marcus’s wrist through the bars. Marcus started, falling forward onto his knees with his one arm immobilized. He brought his other hand up in defense but stopped as soon as he saw the look Kapua was giving him.
It was a look of plain desire.