Author's Note: Happy Monday everyone! Here's the newest chapter of Moonlight. It's a little longer than the previous few, but not long enough to make up for skipping last week. My only excuse is that my life is just really busy right now. I've been doing a lot of house/pet sitting, and I was given an added responsibility at work, which mean extra hours for a while, which is great, but it keeps me really busy.
I've got Spring Break coming up, but again, I'm house-sitting, so who knows how much writing time I'll have, but I'll try to keep to the schedule, even if they are short chapters. I'm also working on prepping Magebound for re-publishing, and I'm thinking about re-pubbing Long Winter's End for a spring/Easter release, probably around the first of April.
Anyway, enjoy the new chapter, and I apologize for my absence.
After checking in at the receptionist's desk, Izeri and Charias were shown to separate exam rooms. Sitting on the padded, sterile table all by himself, Izeri couldn't help but feel a little relieved. After he'd agreed, he'd starting thinking, and wondering if they would see the same healer that had fixed up his broken wrist and his injuries after that party. He nearly worked himself into a mini-panic imagining all the different ways the conversation could stray into Izeri having been a Were, and he almost told Charias that he had changed his mind, but he could think up no plausible excuse that didn't make him look like he was hiding something.
It was several minutes before the door opened, and Izeri felt vindicated in his anxiety as the familiar healer stepped inside and closed the door behind himself. His gaze slid down Izeri's body from head to toe and he gave Izeri a friendly smile.
"Nice to see you again. Glad to see you're not injured this time. In for a checkup, are we?" He glanced at the folder in his hands. "Oh, a sexual health checkup. Is that your boyfriend in the other room, then?"
"Yeah," Izeri said, then added, more assertively, "Yes."
"Good," the healer said. "Nice to see young men your age being responsible about their and their partner's well-being." He stepped over to a low cupboard and pulled out two empty sample cups and an empty vial. "I'm going to need blood, urine, and semen samples from you. I can take the blood, but you're going to have to handle the other two."
Izeri gave a tight chuckle. "I think I can manage that."
"I figured you could. So, when you masturbate, do you favor your right or left hand?"
Izeri felt his face heat up. "Um...why?"
The healer chuckled. "I don't think you want me poking a hole in the arm you're going to need to use in a few minutes, right?"
"Oh," Izeri said. "I'm right-handed."
The healer put a pressure cuff on Izeri's upper arm, making his vein pop out at the crook of Izeri's left elbow, a slightly darker ridge in his black skin. "So, how's your wrist doing?" the healer asked as he wiped the area down with an antibacterial swab. "Notice any lingering weakness, stiffness, or pain?"
"No, nothing," Izeri said, absently flexing his wrist. "Actually, I forgot all about it."
"That's good. Just a little poke, now."
Izeri flinched as the needle pierced his skin. The healer twisted the vial, breaking the seal inside of it, and the vacuum drew the blood out of him, quickly filling the small, glass tube.
"There we are; all done." He pressed a cotton ball to the wound, then covered it over with a bandage. He motioned to the door opposite the one he came in. "There's the bathroom. There are also some magazines in the rack if you need a little help producing that semen sample."
Izeri really wished he'd stop talking about it, but he nodded and accepted the two sample containers that the healer handed to him.
"Just have a seat when you're finished," the healer said, gesturing to the upholstered bench against the wall. "I'll be back in a few minutes, after I see to your boyfriend." Izeri waited until he had left before locking himself in the small bathroom. There was a sink and toilet against one wall, and a comfortable chair and rack of explicit magazines against the opposite. It looked and smelled clean, but wasn't exactly the kind of environment to put Izeri in a masturbating mood.
He took care of the urine sample first, then washed and dried his hands before sitting down in the chair, empty cup in one hand while he glanced through one of the magazines. It was full of naked human men, mostly posing by themselves, but some were engaged in various sexual acts. He paused on one page, trying to decide if he was strong enough or limber enough to manage the position, but he didn't find it particularly erotic. With a sigh, he put the magazine back and looked for a different one. Considering his current relationship status, he would have thought human males would have dome something for him. He found a magazine of faerie women, but that didn't really help, either.
Leaning back in his chair, his rubbed a hand over his face, stifling a frustrated groan. Was there something wrong with him? Was he just some kind of freak with no libido, no desire? No, that couldn't be true. He'd felt desire for Charias, felt it singing through his veins with every touch of Charias' big, strong hands. He remembered how it had felt to have Charias' hand around his dick, stroking and pulling...
No, there was nothing wrong with him. He quickly unzipped his jeans as his cock hardened, imagining that it was Charias' hand, Charias' arms wrapped around him, holding him, Charias whispering sweet nothings in his ear...or maybe talking dirty to him. He couldn't decide which was more likely. He came into the little cup and quickly screwed the lid on it, then washed his hands again and made himself look presentable before he stepped back out into the exam room. He was a little surprised to see the healer seated at the counter, looking through the papers in Izeri's medical folder.
"Sorry I took so long," Izeri said, setting the two sample cups on the counter.
The healer turned, giving him a long, serious look. "No, you're fine," he said finally. "It didn't take very long to see to your boyfriend." That serious look, almost a frown, drew his brows together slightly. "Was it his idea to get tested?"
"Yeah. He's the practical one," Izeri with a forced laugh. The healer's gaze was really starting to get to him, like he'd come up positive for some terminal disease. "Is everything all right?"
"I'm going to need you to take off your shirt," the healer said in lieu of answering Izeri's question. He stood, waiting expectantly. After some hesitation, Izeri peeled his T-shirt off over his head. The healer's eyes narrowed as he leaned closer, staring at the faint, silver scars on Izeri's chest. "How did you get these?"
"In an accident," Izeri said, frowning. "What's going on here? Am I sick or something?"
The healer drew back, his expression softening as he took a seat on his stool again and looked up at Izeri. "When I was talking to your boyfriend, I realized that his name was familiar, but not his face. And he has one of those faces that you don't forget. Then I realized where I knew his name from. It's right here." He tapped his fingers against the open file. "He's the one that you said broke your wrist."
"That was an accident," Izeri said.
"You seem to have a lot of accidents. Was he the one who bit your ear and gave you those bruises a few weeks ago?"
"No, that was someone else," Izeri said, his chest tightening and his heart starting to pound as he realized what the healer was getting at. The room was suddenly unbearably hot and stuffy. "I know what you're thinking - I'm not stupid - but you're wrong. Charias is not some abusive, controlling boyfriend. He loves me. He would never hurt me. My wrist was an accident, because he was trying to protect me, to keep me from touching a sleep of death shark that someone hung from our door. Now, I do appreciate your concern, because there are people who do need your help, but I'm not one of them."
The healer was silent for a moment, just looking at him. Finally, he sighed. "I honestly hope that you're right. But I've been doing this for long enough to know that guys don't always realize when they're in trouble. If anything happens, if you need help, come here and ask for me. My name's Roehm. If I'm not on duty, someone will get me."
"Thank you," Izeri said, and he meant it, because it was obvious that Roehm meant well, even if he was a little overzealous.
"I'll go run these samples now," Roehm said, picking up the containers. "It should only take about twenty minutes if you want to wait in the waiting room, or we can have a courier bring them to your room."
"I don't mind waiting," Izeri said, putting his shirt back on. "I'll see what Charias wants to do."
"All right. If you decide to leave, you can just tell the receptionist."
Izeri followed him out of the room, then headed back down the hall the way they had come. He took a seat in one of the not-quite-comfortable chairs and let out a deep sigh. He didn't understand how anyone could think that Charias was abusing him. Was it because he was so small and Charias was so big, or because Charias was a shark? Was this something he was going to have to get used to? He hoped to Elais that it wasn't.
A few minutes later, Charias emerged from the hallway, wearing a slight scowl that Izeri had grown accustomed to not seeing anymore.
"Everything okay?" Izeri asked as Charias sat down beside him.
"Did that healer seem brusque to you?"
Izeri hesitated, trying to decide which would hurt Charias more - being accused of abuse or being lied to. "He's the one who healed my wrist after you- after it got broken," he said. He was sick of lying. "And I saw him after that stupid party where Akitra nearly bit my ear off. He thought...he assumed that you might be hurting me."
"Is that why your shirt is wrong-side-out?" Charias asked, an undercurrent of cold anger in his voice. "He made you strip so he could check you for more injuries?"
Izeri glanced down at himself, the seams of his T-shirt clearly visible. "Just my shirt," he said. "I was pissed off, too, at first, but you have to admit, I've had some suspicious injuries, and while they might be wrong about us, they could be right about someone else."
"I suppose," Charias said, albeit grudgingly. After a moment, he glanced over at Izeri. "It's a good thing one of us looks for the best intentions of people. I figured the guy was just being an asshole because it was me, like a shark couldn't be a good boyfriend."
"Oh, I never thought of that," Izeri said. "My first thought was that I'm so weak and scrawny, I must be a victim. I'm glad we're both wrong."
It was a long twenty minutes, and Izeri was starting to worry that something bad had shown up on their tests when Roehm finally emerged into the waiting room, carrying two large envelopes.
"Sorry for the wait," he said, glancing at the front of the envelopes before handing one to each of them. "If you have any questions about the results I'd be more than happy to answer them. Have a good evening."
"Thank you," Izeri said as he headed back down the hall. Izeri glanced up at Charias. "You want to open these here?"
"Let's go outside; it's kind of stuffy."
They made their way down the corridor, pushing through the double doors into the commons. It was late, the open space thick with damp, drifting fog. Dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, Izeri shivered as he followed Charias to the nearest lamp hanging under the breezeway, a cloud of tiny moths circling around the light. Without preamble, Charias ripped his envelope open and pulled the papers out, tilting them to catch the light. Izeri held his breath, waiting.
"I'm clean," Charias said, and held out the papers for Izeri to see. "What about you?"
"Oh," Izeri said, looking down at the envelope, forgotten in his hands. He peeled back the adhesive flap and shook out his results. Squinting in the dim light, he scanned the columns of print, amazed by the number of diseases and infections and parasites that it was possible to contract just from sex. Luckily, each disease had Negative printed beside it. "Me, too." They exchanged papers, but Izeri barely glanced at Charias'. He trusted him.
"So, what now?" Izeri asked, taking his papers back and returning them to their envelope.
"Well..." Charias seemed to hesitate. "It's getting late and I have some homework to do-"
"Or you could show me what else you bought in town," Izeri said, trying to keep his voice steady and casual even as his heart raced, pattering at the base of his throat. He couldn't believe what he was suggesting, but he also couldn't believe that it wasn't what Charias was really wanting to do, either. He glanced up at his boyfriend and gave what he hoped was a neutral shrug. "You know, whatever. I'm good with either one."
Charias regarded him for a moment, then leaned down and gave him a long, slow kiss that left Izeri's lips tingling. "I take it you'd rather do homework, then?" Izeri teased. Charias chuckled and wrapped an arm around Izeri's shoulders as they headed toward the dorms.