I set the letter down on the desk and laid my head upon it. Definas... my friend... had survived the war. But he was not himself any longer. He had been badly injured in the battle of Fispur and was now living in the protracted duration lodging in Berit in Haiu Menshir. His father wrote that Def did not often recognize the family, or friends and he asked that I not visit, at least right now. It might upset Def because he often felt that he should know people.
It was late. I had given interviews all day long, even through meals. Kallijas had flown off to speak at Irniran and I would be leaving tomorrow before Rim dawn to start a talk-tour to Marsae and then looping back north along the edge of the mountains and back down to the city. We would be back for Kyriala’s big salon/party where all of the Fortunate Fifty would be invited. Including my opponents of course. Guildmasters, the fessas heads of merchant houses, the Fenjitza, the Fenjitzas, the various associations of voters. And anyone who could wrangle an invitation.
By then the garden should be repaired. Probably not the old baths renovated but I could not have everything. That just depended on what they found buried under the folly.
Gannara and Farasha were sleeping and they had told me they wanted me to wake them up and crawl in with them when I was done. This little office was across the house over a small enclosed courtyard on the other side of the house, away from the torn up garden. I had talked to Ky about possibly restoring her Great Grandparents’ hidden legacy. I’m always re-building baths…
I jumped up and pulled off my shirt. Def was as good as dead to me. He’d… he’d…
I had found that most of my companions… the six who had been my friends, were dead, of war or illness. Sil had been squiring his father against the Yeolis, both dead. Ord drowned on the Miyatara. Tom and his family had left the Empire entirely and disappeared. Fil had been with Definas, and died at Fispur, both of them had lied about their ages and the desperate generals had just ignored that, sent them onto the field. Tob was living… actually an under-officer, fighting in the North with the 103rd Rejin.
I went into the cascade just off the bedroom suite, closed the door tightly and just stood there under the flood. It was late and the cistern on the roof above held a great deal of hot water. I put my forehead against the cool tile and prayed for them all. Thinking about Def and standing in the hot water made me bless him once more but I wanted to hate my own body when my vile organs stirred.
How could my body react like that? I bit my lip. I had promised Surya I would not abuse any part of me, but how could my body react so? Was it the water? The soap? My remembering the last time I ever saw Definas? I looked down at my… self… my penis, standing up now. I couldn’t touch myself, the way Surya said I might consider trying, and as I stared at myself, it began to soften again, drooping like it was disappointed.
I dried and bound my own hair back. Gannara and the mane artist had shown me how to keep all the extensions so I didn’t end up looking like a mangy dog. I could not touch myself… to please myself yet… but I promised Chevenga I would heal that way. I also had to believe Surya that it was possible. By that time I was completely soft again and able to dry myself quickly without setting myself off again.
Gannara and Farasha sighed and folded me between them, Farasha sliding over me to let me between them. Her casual brushing of her breasts over me as she moved got me warm all over, not just between my legs and I had to lie still again as I settled once more.
I’d have to deal with that soon.
I woke slowly and gently. There was someone breathing under my ear, the soft, even breaths stirring wisps of the hairs there. There was somone’s hand lying warm against my belly. It was warm, even hot through the silk of my night shirt that was rucked up high over my thighs. The silk coverlets had worked over the two on either side of me, leaving only my feet covered.
Someone else’s hand – bare hand. Bare skin… but it lay innocently on my bare thigh. A soft snore from that side. Gannara’s hand lay on my belly. Farasha’s was on my thigh. I came awake even more, my breathing coming fast. It was still dark. I’d have to rise and start my trip. I didn’t want to wake them up. I just… wanted to lie there. They both wanted to cuddle me and in the cool of early morning their hands were lovely and warm and loving.
Um. Farasha… was… her fingers moved and um… my mind suddenly focused entirely on exactly where her bare hand was on my skin, as if her fingers were outlined with heat and… well… um. Gan stirred as well and his hand on my belly made a little circle before stilling again and I was torn between the two sensations.
My… I… um… vile organs weren’t just stirring. I was so hard I hurt. I caught my lower lip in my teeth and tried very hard to lie still. I must have quivered a little though and I caught the glint of Gan’s eye and then his teeth as he smiled. I had to look away and found myself looking at Farasha’s sleepy smile on the other side, her teeth bright against her skin, the colour of kaf with just a dash of heavy cream. Her hair was a tousled mass and the shirt she wore for sleeping… silk as well… was pulled tight to show her nipple on that side, that it was hard.
Gannara… I could feel his whole body against my other side. He was hard too. And… he was not Chevenga. I knew that down to my bones. He was just himself, pale Yeoli with eyes almost as dark as hers, his hair falling in a black mane of ringlets. I had two amazingly beautiful people pressed against me, both sides.
“We have, perhaps, half a bead before we have to get up,” Gannara whispered in my ear. Neither of them had let go of me. “Minis. If you say so, we’ll let go, hearts’brother, no hard feelings.”
Farasha nodded. “We want to help, Minis.”
I was quivering all over, trying to keep breathing and my breath jumped into a gallop. I was so afraid and it felt so good all at the same time. Just like Def had done… he… they… were offering to help me… offering me the choice.
“I…” I swallowed hard. “I… um… d…d… don’t want… you to let go.”