He came to my door laughing on the first night. He had run out of money, as he often does, spent too freely on wine and cheer and women, no doubt. Joly had been having a fight with his pretty mistress and so had no space to spare for even the tamest of eagles. I lingered, commiserating with him, which with Bossuet only ever means laughing at the jokes he points at his own misfortune. I invited him along, for I have space enough, and he came with the beatitude of one who knows that he will trip and land on his head, but that is always better to laugh than to cry.

I had no spare mattress that night, nowhere to put him up but in my own bed, and it would have annoyed the concierge no end to be roused at that hour, known only to students and criminals. I am the former and I have no care to be taken for the latter, so he slept by my side. It was odd to have someone else there with me, and difficult to get any rest.

The matter worsened when I woke in some indeterminate midnight hour and found that he had embraced me. He was apparently caught in some dream that required a material object for verisimilitude, and I was the nearest to hand. He murmured nonsense into my hair even as I poked him and called his name. It was most disorienting to be nuzzled when I was still half asleep myself. I found the contact far more pleasant than I should; it had been quite some time since my last mistress and I had parted ways, and I had been lonely since.

My reactions were nothing compared to those of my friend. I tried to push his arm away, but he clung more tightly; I called his name and he took it as encouragement, snuggling closer to me. He kissed me, not knowing who I was, I am sure, and would not be dissuaded from running his hands down my back. I was embarrassed by this bizarre affection, but still I could feel my body responding to his overtures.

He sighed loudly, and when I tried to get away, he pinned me quite effectively by putting most of his body onto mine with a smooth roll. I had never realized how much bigger than me he was. I did not want to shout, though that seemed the only way to wake him. I called his name again and shook at his shoulder. It was frightening, in a way. I opened my mouth to wake him definitively, and he kissed me again, pressing against me.

He woke himself a few moments later with a small noise and a humiliating and sticky climax. He blinked at me, no doubt wondering what had happened to the girl in his dream and how she had acquired a mustache. For my part, I could not move. I was blushing horribly and I could not then meet his eyes. When at last he realized where he was he let me go and moved to the side, covering his eyes and laughing. "Oh, God, Jehan. I'm so sorry."

I wrinkled my nose at the mess he'd made of my nightclothes and his own shirt. "Do you make a habit of that?"

"No. Oh, God, no."

"You'd best undress."

He blinked at me from between his fingers like a small boy. "What?"

"You're a mess."

"I'm sorry, I am. I'll go --"

"And sleep in the park?" I got out of bed. "It was a mistake you're not likely to make again, tonight."

He touched my shoulder lightly, chuckling again. "That's true, at least."

"I need to change," I told him, and pulled away. The nightshirt would not be the same until it had been laundered. I searched around on the floor until I found a rumpled shirt that would serve. Before I put it on, I used some of the cold water in the pitcher to wash myself. It eased some of the desire he had all unwittingly ignited in me. "Do you have another shirt?" I asked.

"Not at the moment, no," and how sheepish he was for an eagle, then.

"I don't suppose my shirts will fit you."

"I doubt it. I'm all right like this --"

I laughed. "You most certainly are not. Clean yourself off," and I waved a hand at the pitcher. "In the morning I'll go to your laundress and bring your shirt to you."

"You're too kind, Jehan."

"I offered you a bed," I said defensively. "You need help, and it's -- it's all right."

I put my shirt on and closed my eyes as I heard him undress and wash himself. I was all too aware that I had implicitly ordered him to spend the night naked next to me, and that if he had been at all conscious while he was sitting on me, he would have noticed my arousal answering his own. There was nothing to be done for it.

We both got back into bed, and he touched my shoulder. "Thank you, mon ami, for everything."

I shivered at the touch. "You're welcome."

"I'm sorry about --"

I shook my head, not wanting to think about it, while the memory flooded back with all its desperate, thoughtless heat. "It's all right."

He gave my shoulder another squeeze before he let go. "Thank you."

I lay there for a long moment, arguing with myself, before I turned on my side and embraced him. Our noses bumped before I managed to kiss him properly, but he must have known that I was awake and at least partially conscious of my actions, and given his nudity he certainly noted my excitement immediately. He returned the embrace with a small noise, and when he broke the kiss, he laughed again. "Why, Jehan, what -- ?"

In a rush, I was humiliated, and I pulled away, feigning that he had woken me with his question. "What?" I echoed in my best awakening voice.

"You were asleep?" I debated the answer for too long. He reached over and ran a hand over my chest, toying with the buttons on my shirt. "I didn't think so."

"I'm sorry," I said, feeling the heat in my cheeks.

"Don't be," and he kissed me again and set to unbuttoning my shirt.

"You needn't --" I caught at his hand.

"I would like to, if you don't mind."

The proximity of his body had confused me enough that I could not in conscience claim that I did not want him to do what he offered. And so I let him kiss me again and caress me. He made no mistakes then, only guided me swiftly and carefully to a gasping release. Afterward I fell asleep almost instantly, for the hour was very late.

I woke in his arms again at dawn to find that he was already looking at me. I blushed and he let me go. "I can find somewhere else to stay."

"If you would rather."

"Surely -- after that -- you want me gone?"

I could not look at him, and yet -- "Why would I?"

"I thought --"

"You may stay," I said, and embraced him. "At least -- if you want to."

He touched my hair lightly. "I would be honored."

There is a poetry in how he moves, sometimes authored by Virgil, sometimes by Aristophanes. He smiles, and that lights my despair on any day; he laughs at misfortune. He is blessed by Thalia, if she has anything to do with blessing mortals in this day and age, and I, who could not write a comic verse about the most amusing occurrence can only laugh along with him. Perhaps if he stays with me long enough, I can learn some of his joy.

<< Back to Bookfic
<< Back to Main