Love for Me is Like a Carbon Copy

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Love for Me is Like a Carbon Copy

Post by Rasek on Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:48 am

The door of their little apartment stood ajar, and the room was illuminated only by a spectral glow through the half-open blinds; a mixture of the full moon and torchlight that gave it a silvery wash and revealed a familiar situation.

Still fully dressed in his work clothes, Juzmik lay on his side with his back to the door. He’d kicked the sheets off in his sleep; a crumbled heap of linen at the end of the bed, and had pushed the pillow so far up against the headboard his tousled hair was spread out over the mattress and nothing more. His bare shoulder rose and fell with every breath.

It was not unexpected, nor was it unusual for him to be asleep before I got home. Sometimes he’d wait up for me, talking to whomever well into the early hours of the morning, and catch up to me as I came back from watch. Night shifts have always been my natural inclination, not needing to sleep myself and being conscious of a heightened fear people tend to have of the dead when it’s dark. So it was routine at that point; removing armor as quickly and as quietly as possible.

What was unexpected was the stirring of his body, the turn of his head toward me as I stopped with only my fingertips on the edge of the bed. His eyes were half closed and he spoke to me in a small voice, still very much existing in a dream world beyond anything I could ever hope to see.

“You can still do a lot with one arm.” I looked down at my arms to be sure. I had both. When I looked back at him his eyes were closed once more and he turned away from me, sighing and shuffling his way back into pure sleep. I waited for a moment, unwilling to press my luck and wake him by moving either way. Only when the rhythmic tempo of his breathing returned to normal did I climb the rest of the way in, kicking what remained of the sheets further off the end. I had no need of them, and in the heat, the melting and refreezing of the frost that crawled along my skin only made them stick to me.

I moved closer as slowly and as carefully as I could, fully aware that a troll my size could do almost nothing without heavily impacting his environment, but if it cut through Juzmik’s dream state he made no indication of it. Only when I let my hand hover above his skin did he tense, hairs standing up on end as goosebumps dotted his bare shoulder. He shuffled again, curling up into himself and sighing, and I removed my hand.

“S’okay, Umcha. Nobody’s gonna… do… hmm.” And he was gone again, quiet and content, and I had nothing to do but watch him.

It had been some weeks since the two of us, Umcha and myself, found our way back to Booty Bay. I hadn’t seen him awake much since then, nor had I spoken to him much since his recovery. He seemed ashamed to see me, ducking into or out of the inn when he saw me. But his temperament is one of insecurity, and I suspect his desire to be praised was curbed only by his desire to not be fully abandoned by his newfound friends.

My concerns about his activity were cut short, though I still saw the two of them, my Juzmik and his Umcha, sitting side by side on the hull of an upturned boat that decorated the lower docks. I was here, only a foot away from my charming scout, running my fingers through the stray strands of his hair that wormed their way out of his braid in the natural progression of sleep, and Umcha was elsewhere, probably alone.

Cruel as it was, I couldn’t help but take pleasure in the emptiness of his bed, if he even had one, and the emptiness of Taz’jin’s, and Tiombi’s, and Ezzran’s back in Revantusk. It had taken years of hard work; of pressure and lessons and encouragement often too rough for the boy, I admit, but it was only now beginning to seem like it was really coming into fruition.

While they balked and muttered and worried about the past, my Juzmik was pulling himself ever higher, growing taller and sturdier than all of them as he was meant to, as I conditioned him to. And please understand when I say I am as proud as a man of my condition possibly can be, and my love for him is as real as it possibly can be, which is not much, and the higher he climbed the more eager I got to see him reach the end and emerge the victor over those who spent so long denying him; a jewel upon my crown for all to see.

But beyond that the matters of the warband were next to meaningless in my concerns. The men and women who fought with us were the swords in their hands and the shields on their backs and nothing more, disposable and mountable hurdles that served only to elevate me and mine or be removed. Anyone can join an army. Anyone can hold a sword and stick it in another man and call themselves a hero. I am different. My endeavor is not rooted in the love of Gor’Watha’s green and gold or the dream of Zul’Watha: I only want to win.

Rasek

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