Simon, Seymour and the dog remained behind after Alt-Mage MacQuarrie had escorted Henry from the room. None of the three moved or made a sound for a while.
It was Simon who broke the silence. “We should get you to the infirmary before you bleed out.”
Seymour’s priorities, however, were not entirely in accordance. “Where’s Seoc?”
“He’s safe in his own bedroom. Fiona’s already tended to him.”
The Aechyed did not seem entirely convinced, but he moved on to his next line of inquiry nonetheless. “The dog…what did you say it’s name was?”
“And how do you know…?”
“It told me,” Simon replied simply. “It claims to have told you, too, you just weren’t listening properly.”
“Raif!” the dog barked in agreement.
Seymour shivered. “That’s strange. It’s very strange…”
Simon did not bother to ask what exactly was strange. He did not particularly care. “Come on, Seymour! Those cuts look nasty.”
The Aechyed examined his wrists in the torchlight. The thorns had torn his skin up pretty badly, but the injury didn’t go very deep. “It isn’t as bad as it looks.”
“All the same, you ought to get them fixed up as soon as possible.”
“Alright, alright,” Seymour conceded.
They left the room, Simon walking alongside Seymour—who was limping slightly, his arms folded self-consciously across his bare chest—with Raif tagging eagerly along behind them.
“Are you sure Seoc’s all right?” Seymour asked with concern, glancing distractedly around the corridor as they proceeded onward towards the infirmary.
“He’ll be fine,” Simon assured him. “Fiona’s with him.”
“It’s all my fault. It’s my fault that this happened to him.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“What if he’s permanently traumatized? What if—?”
Simon cut him off with a sigh. “Seymour, Seoc has been through experiences much more traumatizing than having a knife held to his throat. Certainly he won’t be forgetting it any time in the near future, but I very much doubt it will make his top-ten list for worst memories.”
“He’s stronger than he looks, Seymour. He’ll be fine.”
There was another long silence, which Seymour eventually broke. “Simon?”
“You’re too logical to be a madman.”
“Shh,” Simon whispered, holding a finger to his mouth and giving Seymour his best sly smile. “Higgledy-piggledy squeak.”
When they reached the infirmary, the attendant nurse was busy with another patient, so they sat down to wait on a bench near the entrance. Seymour’s countenance still reflected extreme worry, presumably for Seoc’s wellbeing, so Simon lay a hand on his shoulder with intent to comfort him.
He withdrew the hand quickly. “Damn, you’re hot.”
Seymour raised his eyebrows.
“I meant that literally. As in physical temperature.”
“Of course you did,” the Aechyed droned, closing his eyes.
“I’m straight,” Simon felt obligated to clarify.
“I know that, honey,” Seymour replied, leaning back against the wall and crossing his legs in front of him. “And even if you weren't, I’m taken.” He smirked wryly at the ceiling for a moment before continuing. “Anyway, I was already well aware of the fact that I’m hot. In more than one sense of the term.”
The dog, Raif, snuffled at Seymour’s bloodied hand and then lay down on the floor with a whining sigh.