When Jason woke up, the sun was already shining brightly through the window of the captain’s quarters. It wasn’t too great an inconvenience. Perseus was well aware that Jason didn’t have much more to do that day than hopefully find a worthy crew for the ship.
“Good morning, sunshine,” said Perseus, as the sky-fae blinked bleary eyes at him. He pressed a kiss to Jason’s face and tried to shift, but found himself well and truly stuck.
“Why am I sticky?” Jason groaned. He stretched his arms above his head. Just as he did, Perseus saw an opening and jammed his fingers in Jason’s armpits. Jason roared with laughter. “S-s-stop!” he begged as Perseus mercilessly tickled him.
Perseus could feel Jason trying to push him off, but they were stuck fast to each other. “Ow!” said Perseus when Jason finally managed to unstick their chests with considerable effort. He could see the dried come on Jason’s chest, and could only assume that there was just as much on his own chest.
The two of them might have coupled many times since they were reunited, but Perseus still could not quite wrap his head around how much come they both produced.
Perseus held out a hand and waved his fingers at a nearby jar of water that they kept for this very eventuality. He wasn’t sure if it would be warm enough to do the job, but he supposed they had to make do with it. Perseus guided a controlled stream of water through the space between the two of them, washing away the dried come that had stuck them together.
Perseus also made sure that the water cleaned between his legs, as Jason’s come had started dripping out of his hole while Jason was sleeping. He would have cleaned his hole out as well, but he did not think that was a very appropriate thing to do in bed.
Perseus slipped off of Jason and waited a moment before turning to face his lover. There was a content smile on Jason’s face, and Perseus could not help but plant a kiss on Jason’s lips. Nevertheless, they had to talk about something that had been on his mind for quite some time now.
His voice quiet and hushed, as though he were asking after a secret, Perseus said to Jason, “Why is it that we have not yet set sail to the seas of my people?”
A strange look passed over Jason’s eyes for a moment, vanishing so quickly that Perseus had to wonder if he had just hallucinated the whole thing. Jason shook his head and sighed, the sound heavy with disappointment. “Truth be told, I have yet to find any human in town that I would trust to man this ship alongside you and I.”
“If only there were an easier way to tell if there are fae among the humans, finding a crew would be a much easier task,” said Jason. Perseus frowned.
It was not often that Perseus saw Jason this distressed. He had never thought that looking for a crew had affected his lover so adversely. He suspected that Jason had been hiding things from him in a naïve attempt to protect him. Perseus rubbed Jason’s shoulders and said, “Perhaps bring a little steel trinket and make the people you approach hold it?”
“Huh,” said Jason, tilting his head sideways at Perseus. Why had he not thought of that? “That is brilliant, Perseus!” he said. “Though, it does present a different problem entirely. I have never come into possession of any steel. I have stayed well away from it! How shall we ever come by any of it?”
“There is a market in the city, no?” said Perseus. “I have seen blacksmiths working their craft in the city during the few times that I saw it prudent to visit. Perhaps you could buy something from them?” Perseus frowned. “Then again, I am sure entering such a place would be painful for either of us.”
“Yeah…” said Jason. “That seems a rather insurmountable challenge. Perhaps I could bribe a child into getting something for me? Though I do not think that is the most pragmatic thing to do.”
“Truth be told, Perseus,” said Jason, with a frown on his face. Perseus was concerned. He wanted to wipe that look off of Jason’s face and replace it with something… happier. “I am beginning to get worried. If we do not find a crew soon…”
“The Guild is getting more and more fretful with each passing day that we remain docked,” Jason admitted. Perseus frowned, eyebrows knotting. “Were it not for my insistence that we are leaving as soon as we can get a crew together, I am sure they would have forced a crew upon us by now.”
Perseus had not known the truth of their situation. He had expected that the Guild would be understandably upset that they had dallied, but he would never have thought they would force a crew upon Jason. He thought that the whole issue with hiring Jason was that they couldn’t get a crew to pilot their ship.
“I cannot imagine what it would be like,” said Jason, “should we be stuck with a human crew that is not of our choosing.” There was a look of utter devastation on Jason’s face that made Perseus’ heart ache for him. “The things we have been doing for the last two weeks would be nigh-impossible with them around.”
Perseus was beginning to feel rather awful for posing the question and starting the conversation. Nevertheless, there was also a part of him that felt it was necessary. “And I can only imagine that when they learn of the secret that you are not a child of the earth but a child of the sea—” Jason nearly choked on a sob.
Perseus’ eyes widened with concern. He pulled Jason close to him and pressed a kiss to his lover’s cheek. “I fear that I will have to share you with them so that we would not have to face a mutiny at sea.”
“Do not fret or worry about me, Jason,” said Perseus. “I am certain that it shall not come to that, and should it ever, I would not hold it against you.”
Perseus pressed another kiss to Jason’s cheek. He looked into Jason’s blue eyes and said, “I will understand that you will do what it is that you have to do. So long as you swear to me that at the end of the day, I will still be returned to you and not to some unnamed grave at the bottom of the sea.”
“I will never let that happen!” said Jason, his eyes flying wide open with shock. “I will swear that I will not let that happen. On my life and on the lives of any that might follow after me!”
“Do not make such oaths so foolishly!” said Perseus. His eyes flashed with anger and with magic. Jason felt a slap land squarely across his face. “You cannot take it back now that you have spoken it. I certainly appreciate the gesture,” said Perseus, sternly, “but you cannot know if this oath is one that you can keep.”
Perseus shook his head in disapproval at Jason. He could not understand why there was a blank look of confusion on Jason’s face. “You have spent time with the Tuatha. You should know this better than others. The words that we fae speak are powerful. Especially when making vows!”
Perseus stroked Jason’s stinging cheek and cooed soothingly. “I apologize if I snapped,” said Perseus. “But know now that should you ever fail to do as you swore to me, you may well curse all the children that you will ever have, be they born of me or someone else.”
Silence fell between the two of them. The moments ticked on as though they were hours. It was not until Jason raised his eyebrow in a mixture of amusement, slight terror, and apprehension, that the silence was broken. “I understand all but… Children by you?”
There was a look of fear in Jason’s eyes, and Perseus could not help but chuckle. Before he could explain himself, Jason began to ramble. “Should I have been using some form of contraception this whole time?” he said. There was a panic to his voice that Perseus found increasingly hilarious the more he listened to it. “Could I have possibly gotten you pregnant the way that I have been fucking you this whole time?”
Perseus shook his head, the laughter having brought him to tears. He wiped the wetness from the corners of his eyes and smiled at his lover. “The day will yet come when I explain the way that merfolk so inclined to lay only with mates of their same sex reproduce.”
Perseus simply could not stop laughing. In between gasping fits of laughter, he managed to say, “Now is not that day, however.” When he finally calmed down, Perseus put on a much more serious expression and said, “Only know that you cannot make me bear you a child without my consent.”
Perseus smiled, baring his sharp teeth once again in a savage grin. “Then again,” he said, “Even if you were able to, I would not call it a pregnancy.”
Perseus chuckled at the hesitant look on Jason’s face. “Trust me,” he said. It was perfectly understandable for Jason to be skeptical. It was nearly unheard of for same-sex couples to bear natural children, but such was not true for merfolk.
“Now,” said Perseus, steering the subject less-than-gracefully away from the topic of his ability to rear young without the aid of a woman, “Do you remember the exquisite silver bowl on deck that I purchased some time ago along with quite a few skins of oil?”
Jason frowned for a moment. Perseus could tell he was trying really hard to remember. He saw the exact instant that the memory hit Jason from the way that his bright sapphire eyes lit up. “Yes!” he exclaimed, a bit more loudly that Perseus would have liked. Jason immediately lowered his voice, but grinned triumphantly. “I thought that the oil was for our coupling, though?”
Perseus rolled his eyes and pinched one of Jason’s cheeks. “You, love,” he said with affection, “are much too adorably naïve about the matter of sex. Yes, the oil was partly for our coupling, but if I had bought all of it for fucking, we would have had nearly enough to last us the year on top of all that we have on the ship!”
“No,” said Perseus, voice taking on a more somber note. “My people have always been known to have a talent for divination. As the son of our ruler, mine is more powerful than most. Though, admittedly, my skill still leaves a lot to be desired.”
“I have been using the bowl as a focus for scrying. I have been trying to divine what the future may hold for you and I, but try as I might, I have had no luck.”
“Allow me to catch up for a moment before you continue!” said Jason, with a self-deprecating smile. “How come I have never heard of this skill of the merfolk, if, as you say, your people are known to have access to the prophetic art?”
“That is true,” said Perseus with a lighthearted chuckle. “Perhaps I shall use a different phrasing next time I speak of my talents. They seem to not be well known, after all.”
Perseus patted Jason’s cheek. “All that the scrying bowl has shown me for the past week are swirling eddies of black and gold. The colours have always seemed to be dancing together, pressing close and intertwining…”
Perseus shook his head. “I doubt that even my old masters would know what my vision means, but should you ever see anything of black and gold when you go into the city, you would do well to keep my vision in mind.”
Perseus caressed the side of Jason’s face with the palm of his hand. “I might not know what the colours that are dancing upon the oil mean, but nonetheless, I am certain that they possess some significance in our immediate future.”
“Immediate future?” said Jason. Perseus understood the skeptical look on Jason’s face well enough. It was only rightful cynicism. During the golden age of the fae realms, many self-professed oracles had risen to prominence only to be proven false soon after.
“The gift I possess,” said Perseus, “while it is nearly ubiquitous among my people, is anything but powerful. There are times when it is useful, but most times, it is not. The best it can do at times is help narrowly avoid a coral outcropping every now and again. Much of what our gift shows us is imminent.”
Another eternity of silence descended upon the two fae. “I am certain that the right crew will come along eventually,” said Perseus after a few minutes. “And even if they don’t, do we truly have no alternative but to take what the Guild recommends? Is it not possible to find ourselves a crew of a few men who wish to leave this city, stay close to the coast for a while, and try again at another city?”
Jason sighed heavily. Perseus waited patiently, with thinly-veiled amusement, for Jason to react to the idea that he had just had. Jason gasped, and his eyes lit up. “You know what?” said Jason, “That is another brilliant idea!”
“Where have you been hiding these ideas of yours, Perseus?” said Jason, pressing a passionate—and thankful—kiss to Perseus’ lips. The merman beamed with pride. “Why didn’t I think of that? It certainly works in our favour, as well. A smaller crew would mean less expense, and the Guild would most definitely love that.”
“Good!” said Perseus, voice cheery. “Now,” he said, voice taking on a sultry tone. “I know you have not noticed it, but I have been sneaking off elsewhere when you have been gone to the city.”
“Would you like to know what I have been up to?” said Perseus, offering a hand to his lover. Jason nodded vehemently. “Alright!” said Perseus, “But we will have to travel through one of my Waterways.”
Perseus smiled at the hearty chuckle that escaped Jason. “So long as you hold me,” he said, “I do not mind.”