Chapter Nine / Discussing DisgustMature

            Henry went over to the door, locked it, then returned to the bed and lay down beside him.  “I want to know more about you, Seymour.”

            “There’s not a lot to know.”

            “Then it won’t take long to tell me.  Will you?”

            “Well,” Seymour began.  “I’m twenty-two, six-foot-four, bisexual, though I’ve mostly been with women.”  Rosalind’s face crossed his mind, and he swallowed to ease the sudden dryness in his throat.  “Raised by humans, never met my birth-parents, know about three words in Merrish.  Fell ill with the Blood Plague on my sixteenth birthday, survived, woke up a week later to find out that everyone I knew was either dead or had fled the city and the authorities were fixing to torch my house.”

            “Oh.”  Henry looked at him with concern.  “I didn’t mean to make you dredge up any painful memories.  I’m sorry.”

            “Nah.  It’s been six years.  By now, I’m numb, for the most part.  Talking about it won’t hurt me.”

            Nodding, the mage ran his hand over the merman’s tattooed body.  “Can you tell me about these?”

            “The Blood Plague leaves scars.  I got all these to cover them up.  People ask me what they mean, but there’s really not much more to them than that.”  He paused.  “Sometimes, I wish I hadn’t gotten them.  Those scars made me look tougher than any ink ever will.”

            “What about the earrings?”

            Seymour grinned.  “I think they’re sexy.”

            “A valid point.”  Henry rolled over on top of him, then sat back, straddling his torso.  “I have to agree.”

            “Henry,” Seymour grunted.  “I’m still a bit hungover.  My belly is probably the worst place you could be sitting right now.”

            “Right.  Sorry.”

            Henry got off of him and resumed his position at his side.

            “I think,” said Seymour, “I’d like to sleep for a while more.  Wake me up when it’s time for supper, will you?”

            “All right.”  The mage started to get up to leave.  “I’ll leave you in peace.”

            “You can stay if you want.”

            “That wouldn’t bother you?”

            “No.”  Seymour rolled onto his side and slid his hands under his pillow.  “I find it difficult to sleep alone.”

            Henry chuckled darkly.  “So is that the real reason you invited me home with you the other night?”


            “I could provide company to aid in your slumber and fish to aid in your digestion.  Is that it?”

            “Maybe.”  He raised his eyebrows.  “Are you starting to believe me at last, then?  When I say that I’m not a good person?”

            “I suppose I am.  I still love you, though.”

            “Thanks.”  Seymour yawned again and turned his head to face him.  “To be fair, though, the fish thing was an afterthought.  I was gnawing on that fucking lump of stale bread when I realized that I hadn’t taken a shit in days—”

            “Don’t talk about that, Seymour.  It’s disgusting!”

            “You say you love me?” he asked.  “Well then, ‘disgusting’ might just have to be a thing you get used to.”

The End

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