Xaxac had been proclaimed as healthy as he felt and he had a bounce in his step as he dragged Alex along behind him. Lee had thrown his traveling cloak over him and demanded he keep it on, for reasons that Xaxac did not understand, but he was still floating on the high of his victory and didn’t feel like asking questions. He felt like answering them.
“That was amazin!” Alex said, “What’d you hit him with?”
“I chewed through the fence!” Xac giggled, “Like a bunny! Your master said that bunnies chewed through fences, and also remember how you said my teeth was messed up? I got bunny teeth. They hurt if I don’t chew on stuff. They can grow up into my eyes.”
“Really?” Alex asked, laughed and said, “Oh my god, Foo Foo, that’s crazy. That’s buckwild.”
“Discuss it quietly,” Lee demanded as he led them back onto the main street, “Let’s not draw attention to how valuable he is in the middle of the rodeo, around all these folks! That’s askin to get him snatched, askin for trouble. Hush.”
“Lee,” Alex sighed, “Why do you hate fun?”
“I ain’t in the mood for your nonsense,” Lee snapped, “I’m prayin Bobby didn’t have no trouble gettin that room. They give humans trouble down there sometimes. Just hush and come on.”
“Ain’t nobody gonna start nothin’ out here on the street,” Alex said, “right in public like this.”
“I swear to god,” Lee said.
Xaxac could not stop smiling.
“Come on, Lee, didn’t you see me?” Xaxac asked, “Ain’t you even a little bit proud of me?”
“Xaxac, if you’ll keep your mouth shut for the rest of the walk I’ll pour you a glass of wine,” Lee promised, “I know how you like to drink. I’ll pour you the whole bottle.”
“Yeah!” Xac agreed, “Let’s celebrate!”
“Hush!” Lee demanded as he led them around the side of the bathhouse, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he found the door to the private room Agalon used blessedly open. “Get inside.”
Xaxac bounced into the room tugging Alex along behind him and smiled when he saw Bobby standing by the table eating a pear he had apparently taken from the bowl of fruit laid out with their wine and the pipe. Xac was, however, confused by the situation, because there was no water in the bath.
Alex wasted no time walking to the little bench to undress, which he could do with amazing speed, and he giggled when he looked up and saw Xaxac.
“They cleaned it, honey,” he said, “I love comin in when they just clean it. You pull that string there and one of these little wood things comes out of the ceilin’.” He snapped his fingers and said, “Bamboo! Bamboo’s the word I was lookin for. It’s all the rage on the water continent.”
He tossed his discarded clothes on the floor, which prompted Bobby to huff, roll his eyes and go collect them to put them in a laundry bag while Alex advanced on Xaxac.
“Let’s get these clothes off,” he said as he tore Xac’s cloak over his head and tossed it behind him, then began to unbutton his shirt, “Get shitfaced, and then… you wanna fuck my brains out again? Seems like once upon a time you said you needed practice.”
He giggled and Xac giggled with him, then leaned in to kiss him as Alex’s nimble fingers pried him out of his clothes.
Lee frowned and directed his gaze to Bobby who picked up the bloodstained workshirt Alex had tossed to the floor and stared at it.
“What happened?” He asked, but Xaxac did not hear him, because he had more pressing matters to attend to.
They had not made it to the bath by the time Agalon, Kyrtarr, and Wyatt stepped into the private room at the bathhouse.
Alex was still on all fours, babbling strings of words that Xaxac realized he was actually fairly good at interpreting, despite how drunk he was. He did not slow his pace when he saw Wyatt and his smile somehow spread even wider.
“Didja win?” He asked.
“Hell yeah, I won,” Wyatt responded, held up a hand, which Xac stared at for a moment in incomprehension, then reached out, took it, and used it to pull Wyatt down to his level so he could kiss him so deeply it nearly knocked him off his feet.
“I actually meant for you to take a bath,” Agalon said as he moved to the bench and sat down to unbuckle his boots, “But I can’t fault ya, darlin.”
Wyatt pulled away and Xaxac giggled because the expression on his face was so funny.
“Hey,” Xac asked, “Wanna fuck me from behind while I absolutely destroy Alex?”
“Accurate,” Alex chuckled, “Accurate appraisal of the situation. You get better every time, Foo Foo. You’re about ready to go pro.”
“Lee, darlin, do me a favor,” Agalon instructed as Wyatt considered this offer, “Run down to the Sparklin Sorceress and get us all a bite to eat. Let me find my purse. I need more than a bowl a fruit and I know the fighters need to carboload. Tell um’- wait I’ll just write it down.”
He took the small book he often wrote on and a pencil out of his bag and did proceed to write something down. He paused, in contemplation and spoke to Kyrtarr, as Wyatt made up his mind about Xac’s suggestion.
“Where’s the lube, pretty boy?” Wyatt asked.
“I’m tryin’ to get folks to call me Foo Foo,” Xac teased.
“Where’s it at, Foo Foo?” Wyatt asked again, punctuating his question with a playful slap to Xac’s backside, earning him another giggle.
“Right here!” Xac picked it up off the floor and handed it to him.
“No eggs, no meat, no milk, no butter,” Agalon read from the list, “That’s it, right?”
“I think so, sir,” Lee said.
“I don’t even know what I want,” Agalon said, “Ky, what are you gettin’?”
Xaxac screamed as Wyatt knocked him forward, and Alex somehow held his ground and kept all three of them upright. Xaxac thought he was stronger than he looked, but he didn’t think on it very hard or for very long, because he was in heaven. It was the best of both worlds, and he felt the tension rising within him.
He didn’t even notice that the cloud of darkness that had once enveloped him had dissipated completely, that Alex had been absolutely right when he had told him it would eventually go away on its own. He did not want to remember what it had been like, so he could not fully appreciate its absence.
But he appreciated everything else, and he was thankful that his brain had stopped working almost entirely, and left him without thoughts, left him just a vessel to experience sensation. He wished he could live his entire life in that blank state of ecstasy.
“Do you remember what the special is today?” Kyrtarr asked, “Is it steak? Like beef steak? I think it’s beef steak. It’s beef something.”
“I think it’s roast beef,” Agalon said.
“Get me that,” Kyrtarr said, shrugged, and continued, “Fuck it, get it for my slaves too, Kai, you’re rubbing off on me, but I might as well spoil Alex this once. He’s been real good lately.”
“It’s so heavy,” Agalon said in contemplation, “Would it be weird if I got two appetizers and ate that? Like as an entre? It’s just real late at night. It’s a late dinner.”
“Get whatever you want,” Kyrtarr said, “You’re the duke; ain’t nobody gonna say nothin. I’m turning the water on.”
Agalon went back to writing as Xaxac felt himself losing his balance.
It was all too much, too much sensation, and he was drowning in it.
“Pull my hair!” He demanded, and when his command was not obeyed he glanced over his shoulder and saw Wyatt staring at him like he had lost his mind.
“Don’t stop!” Alex whined.
Xaxac pried one of Wyatt’s hands from his hip and shoved it into his hair and demanded, “Pull! It’s what Aggie does!”
“I ain’t about to hurt you,” Wyatt said, “Rumor is last time somebody did that-”
“You wanna see me angry!?” Xac snarled, and did not really understand what he was doing. He knew he was overreacting, but he was annoyed, he did not want to stop, and the pain grounded him, kept him in reality, and Agalon had always understood that. Agalon had always done what he had asked.
And he finally suspected that his look of annoyance may mean something to people.
“Whatever,” Wyatt said, dug his fingers into Xac’s hair and pulled, but not nearly hard enough, so Xac had to lean forward as Wyatt picked up his pace again to get the results he wanted, but he did get them.
He moaned as the sensation became too much for him and those familiar lights flashed under his eyelids as everything, the anger, the tension, the maliciousness drained out of him.