The Tangled Webs of Love Ch. 04byjaxxom87©
Thanks again to all my readers. No sex again this chapter, more development and growth for the cast. More Sharyn next chapter and thank you again for the positive feedback and voting.
And that is how they find him in the morning, snoring loudly in his disheveled clothes, the now empty bottle tucked in the crook of his arm. Harian stops just long enough for another harsh snore to convince him his friend was alive before hurrying his children off to school. Cheyenne, though she cares for him, passes him by next with little more than a cursory glance. She has to be at work and it's hardly the first time she's seen him like this, especially coming up to the Solstice.
It's his brothers in the Summer Court who take the time to actually take care of him. Chivalrous Cowan with his long ginger locks and old-world attitude reaches him first while Sampson, the half-satyr, is still abed. He gives his head a shake and reaches to ease the empty bottle out of its little nest and moving to the kitchen to dump it into the glass bin with the rest, "Oh, Merrin."
Really, not all of the discarded bottles of beer, ale, whiskey, and bourbon are Merrin's, but they all know he's responsible for a good portion of them. He does a quick mental count before letting the lid shut again. He turns to pull a glass out of the cabinet, letting Merrin continue to sleep while he fills up the morning cup of hangover treatment at the kitchen faucet. He knows just how much pain Merrin is likely to be in when he wakes and he does try to help his friend through these times. It's something that's always repaid to him.
By the time he returns to the living room, Merrin has managed to roll over, one arm hanging off the side of the couch, his face mooshed humorously against the arm with his other arm looped over it, waving oddly in the air where it dangles with hefty snore. Anyone who didn't live with Merrin would be surprised the slim, toned man could produce such a sonorous sound.
Cowan has heard it many times, though, and merely accounts it to his talent as a singer. He sets the glass of water aside and moves to lean over the back of the couch, prodding his index and middle finger into the small of Merrin's back, "Wake up, Merr. You're drooling on the couch."
When Merrin doesn't immediately stir, Cowan nudges him a bit more forcefully and he startles suddenly awake, rolling defensively away from the probing digits and onto the floor with a high-pitched yelp followed by that unmistakable 'oh, hi ground!' THUMP. Merr groans softly, his golden eyes with their cat-like slits fluttering open, still bleary from the amount of alcohol he consumed before slipping into the stupor he's no longer enjoying. Ever so slowly, they focus on Cowan, slurred speech only complicating the matter now, "Mmf, Cowan? Wha' time is it?"
"Ten. Maybe eleven. I didn't really look, just figured it was time to wake you up before the weave from the upholstery became a permanent addition." Cowan's hair is far longer than Merrin's and straight, falling down his shoulders and around his face while he peers over the couch at his friend, rubbing indicatively at one cheek. It would have been imprinted right here. "You going to live? When did you get in?"
"I dunno," Merrin gives his face a scrub as if that would magically make it presentable, "Two or three? It was dark out?"
"That's a lot of hours that could cover, Merr." Cowan gestures towards the glass of water, "Bad night?"
"Yes... and also no. Shouldn't you be off hunting in Summer or something?" Merrin knows that, as close as he is with Cowan, they're different people and where his Fae blood drives him to balm his nerves with sex and alcohol, Cowan is at home in the forests of the Summer Court and that would be more likely to calm the ever-mounting wildness as the solstice approaches.
"Eh, might be calmer there, but I have a job. And what would you do without me?" Deciding it's safe, Cowan hoists himself easily over the back of the couch and settles into one of the cushions where he can reach and offer the water glass to Merrin more actively this time.
Merrin finally pulls himself to a sitting position, still ignoring the water to rub at the back of his head, "Still on the couch, for one. I don't have to work until this afternoon, you could have let me sleep."
"I could have." Cowan wiggles the glass of water at Merrin again and smirks when his fellow Summerling finally takes it and downs the whole thing in two swallows, "But I know you, Merrin. What was she like and how much did she beg you to stay?"
Now it's Merrin's turn to laugh, though there's a sad, rueful edge to it, "She was pretty. I think. I'd had a few drinks."
"Like that's unusual."
"Shut up, Cowan." Merrin oofs, slowly getting to a stand so he can move to refill the glass and raising his voice so it carries easily to where his friend sits, trying so hard not to laugh at his half-drunk, half-hung-over state, "She didn't beg as much as the last one, but I didn't give her much chance."
Cowan looks over as Merrin re-enters the room and sighs, "You don't even know her name, do you?"
"Does it matter? She was willing, we both enjoyed it. There are no debts." Merrin flops onto the couch beside Cowan and takes a slower sip of the water now, nursing at his would a strong drink, "It's too bad you're straight as your arrows, Cowan."
Cowan wraps an arm around Merrin's neck, promptly bending him a bit to give him a solid noogie, "Sorry, Merr, you're just not my type."
The headlock doesn't last long, mostly because Cowan's not really trying to contain Merrin, allowing his friend to worm loose from his arm and punch him on the arm, "I know, I know." He looks down into his empty glass, for the water became a casualty to their rough housing, "Can't blame a guy for hoping."
"Well, you can, but it's hardly fair. Who doesn't want a piece of Cowan?" The new voice belongs to Sampson. Tall and lanky, he's almost unhealthily thin, though it accentuates the squareness of his jaw and the height of his cheeks just below his unnaturally piercing blue eyes. What really stands out, though, is the pair of curved horns that sprout up from his currently water-slicked hair. He appears to have come straight from the shower, right down to the crisp white towel wrapped around his waist that seems to be all he's wearing, leaving his smooth, pale chest and recently shaved legs in clear view. The sudden arrival of the third Summerling makes both Merrin and Cowan jump, but Sampson continues on as if he's not basically naked and sneaking up on them, "That being said... What are you doing down here instead of still sacked out, Merrin? You've got the afternoon shift."
Cowan gets his words in before Merrin can, "Because I found him down here in the first place. He's just lucky Harian didn't let his kids use him as a trampoline."
"He wouldn't." Merrin huffs the slightest of laughs as he stands, "Kids have school." He waggles the empty glass at the pair and moves back to the kitchen, "Looking hot, by the way, Sampson."
The pair can tell by the unmistakable clinking of bottles that the clear liquid in the glass when he returns to the living room is not water, but neither will goad their friend by mentioning it. It's Sampson who keeps the silence from becoming awkward by asking, "Long night?"
"Not as long as I'd have liked, but you know how people get when they get a taste of my magical dick. First it's 'oh, oh, don't stop,' then it's 'how dare you,' then 'no, don't leave.' She didn't stumble into the hallway like the last one, at least."
Sampson snorts, giving him a clout on the shoulder, "You're losing your touch, Merr."
"I'll touch you, Sam."
It barely takes a moment for Merrin to thunk his glass down on the table and lunge over the back of the couch towards Sampson, who dances back, leaving the cat-eyed Sidhe flailing awkwardly over the back of the couch while Cowan tugs on his shirt, "Hey, hey, I don't want to see you two like that."
There's a moment of flailing before Merrin manages to tip the couch over backwards, spilling both him and Cowan across the floor. It's hard to say who it is who runs into Sampson's legs and topples him into the pile of Summer Changelings, leaving them all smiling and laughing as they're tangled together.