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Janus

His eyes were blue (but they were gold, too, one color melting into the other, the iris fading into the pupil, shadowed but bright. They were terrible eyes; you could see all the bad things they had seen just by looking at them and when they were turned to you, you were pinned like a butterfly in a glass case, until he blinked and the spell was broken.

Bravely, I stepped forward into Janus’ space and I watched those eyes go pale in apprehension. He stilled, like a startled animal about to take off through the woods, weight light on the balls of his feet—

(as though the five feet, three inches of me filled with crooked glasses and stutters and purple fingernails, was the greatest threat in the world)

—they were terrible eyes (wreathed in feathery lashes, quivering with uncertainty) because they were beautiful—

“Janus,” I breathed, like a wish to the god with two faces, “are you scared?”

“No,” he rumbled, and I knew it was a lie; I felt it in my veins. I took a step closer, perhaps too close, and reached up so that my hands framed his face and his cheeks were cupped, warm between my palms. By the time I pushed up on my toes, his eyes had fluttered shut, so my words against his lips must have been a surprise:

“Janus, are you scared now?”

His answer: “Yes,” and it sounded like a sob so I swallowed it, sighing and breathing his breath and bumping his nose, until suddenly, we ceased to be two people and started to be just one, hearts beating rapidly, side by side).



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