When There’s A Lot on Your Mind, Having A Friend to Share it With Is Nice
Edwin shivered as a cold wind blew over the ship, made worse because he was all sweaty from practicing. He’d sparred with Holly for a while, then run through some drills of his own, then lost against Owen—more slowly than usual—before doing a few more drills.
He should probably stop for the day, but stopping meant he’d have nothing to do and Edwin had been trying not to have nothing to do the past few days.
“You know,” a voice said, as Edwin started a new set of drills, “my teacher told me that if you practice nonstop like that without ever taking breaks, you’ll actually get worse.”
Edwin paused, looking over at Denver, who was watching him with hesitation in his eyes. “What? That doesn’t make any sense.” Even though it did.
“Nothing he said ever made sense,” Denver agreed. “He also didn’t think time was real. But that doesn’t mean he was wrong. I think what he meant was that you’ll just tire yourself out or worse, hurt yourself, and then you won’t be able to fight for real when you need to.”
Edwin snorted, changed his grip on his sword. “You learned that in the middle of lessons on how to sail a boat?”
“No, it was partway through my training as an assassin,” Denver said with a smile. “One of my friends hurt his wrist practicing his knifeplay too much so we all got lectured.”
“You don’t look like much of an assassin.”
“I quit.” Denver got a little closer, and his confidence seemed to recede as he did. “I, uh, noticed you’ve seemed upset. I hope it wasn’t something I did. If it was I promise it was an accident.”
“It wasn’t anything you did,” Edwin told him, sheathing Monstersbane with a sigh. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Okay. Only it was while I was banging your friend, so if I was stepping on your toes or…”
“No.” Edwin shook his head. It wasn’t Denver’s fault. “I just wasn’t feeling well, that’s all. It wasn’t because of you.”
“And…you’ve continued to be not feeling well?” Denver asked.
“It doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about it.” Edwin wasn’t sure why Denver cared.
“Yeah…” Denver looked like he might walk away, but then he didn’t. “Only I heard the way Sir Erik talked to you.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Edwin repeated, feeling funny.
“It kind of does if he’s saying stuff to make you feel bad about yourself, Edwin.”
“He’s not,” Edwin snapped, angry when he shouldn’t be. “He was only joking. I was just…being dumb.”
Denver sighed. “You really care about him.”
“I’m his squire. It doesn’t matter how I feel about him.”
“I can tell you really care about him,” Denver persisted. “Because if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be this bothered by the fact that he upset you.”
“You don’t know me,” Edwin said, striding off a bit. Denver followed him. “You’ve only known me for a few weeks. Stop acting like we’re friends or something.”
“I’m just saying that people talk to me like that sometimes and I don’t stay mad about it—I just don’t fuck them again and move on. Then other people learn not to treat me like crap.”
Edwin leaned on the ship’s rail, eyes shut against the spray of the water. “Well, that’s not an option. Erik and I work together. I’m his squire. We’re going to keep fucking.”
They hadn’t since Edwin had gotten upset the other day, but it wasn’t like they never would again. Edwin was upset about something stupid, but it was something stupid, and so he was being a little childish and punishing Erik for something that wasn’t a big deal. He was just being a brat. He’d get over it soon and things would go back to normal. It was fine.
“Yeah. So…that sucks,” Denver said.
Edwin looked at him. “That’s all you have to say? That sucks?”
Denver shrugged. “I’m good at the part where dicks go inside me. Feelings outside of the orgasmic variety aren’t my strong suit.”
“And yet you made a point of talking to me about this.”
“Well.” Denver let out a sigh. “I don’t like seeing people get treated badly. I have a thing about bullies.”
“Erik isn’t a bully,” Edwin said, defensive. “He’s just got a weird sense of humour.”
“A sense of humour that makes you feel bad.”
“I don’t know,” Edwin said, shaking his head. “I’m just being dumb, that’s all.”
“No,” Denver said. “I don’t think you are. Since you care about him, I’ve heard from a friend I trust that talking about feelings helps a lot when you have them. Something about not putting emotions in bottles made of other emotions so you don’t have to cry in a storage room?”
“What?” Edwin had no idea what he meant.
“I don’t know, it sounds fake to me, but I figured I’d pass it along. Maybe you should tell Sir Erik that it hurts your feelings when he makes belittling comments about you?”
Edwin snorted. “Yeah, so he can make fun of me for being pouty. Sure, I’ll do that.”
“I don’t know why you think he’d do that,” Denver said quietly. “That’s something a bully would do.”
Edwin…didn’t have an answer to that. Or maybe, if he was slightly more honest with himself, he didn’t have an answer to that that he liked. “So is Louis any good at sex?” he asked, to change the subject. “Or is the front-facing tail all for show?”
Denver seemed to think about that for a minute. “He’s pretty good at it, actually,” he admitted. “Knows what he’s doing. Highly recommended if you can take him—he’s bigger than he seems.”
“He seems pretty damn big.”
“It’s like having a tree up there,” Denver laughed. “Trust me, you’ll underestimate him the first time. I got fucked by two guys at the same time once and I still think Louis had more dick than they did.”
“Wow. I should be impressed that you’re even walking,” Edwin teased.
“I’m something of a miracle worker,” Denver admitted. “Or maybe secretly I’ve got magic powers. Can mages have magic sex powers? I’d like to be a mage if I could have magic sex powers.”
“I fucked a mage once,” Edwin told him. “I don’t think he had magic sex powers, but he was pretty good at sex.”
“What’s the point of being a mage if you don’t get magic sex powers?”
“I don’t know,” Edwin admitted. “Something about protecting the people from blah, blah, I don’t remember.”
“Sounds boring. Unless there’s a sex monster somewhere that people need protecting from.”
“You really have a one-track mind, don’t you?” Edwin asked. It was kind of amusing.
“No, but I do like sex. Hey, you want to have sex?” Denver grinned at him.
Edwin couldn’t help but chuckle. “Sure. But not right now.”
“Fine,” Denver said, waving his hand. “But I’m remembering you said yes. I’ll be collecting.”
“Louis clearly isn’t satisfying you,” Edwin pointed out.
“You know, you’ve obviously got a thing for him—just fuck him if you’re that into him,” Denver said. “It’s not like I own him. He’ll say yes. He complains about you sometimes and how you said you’d fuck him and then haven’t.”
Good. “He already said yes. I’m making him wait a bit,” Edwin explained. “To make sure he realizes I’m the boss, not him.” Louis would walk all over him otherwise. He was that type. He was…
He was a bit like Erik that way.
“Huh. I should have thought of that…” Denver muttered. “Maybe the way I asked him made me seem a bit too eager. Desperate, like.”
“How’d you ask him?”
“I climbed up to the crow’s nest butt naked the first night he was here and told him I wanted to fuck.”
“That…” Edwin snorted, then started to laugh. “I don’t know, that doesn’t sound that desperate to me.”
“Oh, good,” Denver said, nodding to himself. “That’s good. I was worried it was because he felt bad for me that he’s started to get all clingy.”
“Clingy?” Edwin asked.
“Yeah, like…” Denver shrugged. “Wanting to be with me all the time, watching me, and stuff.”
“Sounds like he likes you.” Or at least that was what it sounded like to Edwin.
“Yeah, but I’m ignoring that because feelings.”
“Didn’t you say something about talking to people about your feelings?” Edwin asked.
“Yeah, but that’s for people you like, not for people you’re only fucking for a few weeks until they leave the ship and go back to live in their cave in the mountains because they’re literally a dragon.”
“Right, of course,” Edwin said, kind of amused. “That’s a useful out for you, then.”
“Yep, I’m making the most of it.” Denver smiled. “You know, you’re a good friend.”
“We’re not friends.”
“We are now. We’re invested in each other’s lives and we’re about to be fucking the same dragon. I’m pretty sure that’s the actual definition of friendship.”
“Pretty sure, Eddy.”
“Don’t you have a job on this ship?”
“Not really. I keep morale up.”
“And boners down?”
“They’re my natural enemy, I do everything I can to get rid of them. I’ll show you sometime.”
Edwin laughed again. “Sounds fun.”
“Yeah it does,” Denver agreed, settling in. “By the way, I saw you guys in the hammock a while ago, which, fucking impressive for what I assume was your first time. I fell out so many times the first time I tried that.”
“Just lucky, I guess?” Edwin asked.
“No, I think you’re cursed or something. It was actually kind of weird.”
Edwin talked to Denver for most of the afternoon. And even afterwards, he didn’t go back to training. He felt a lot better than he had, a lot more like he was okay.