Cussing Calico

By Linn Browning

“Fuck.” Trevor kicked his way out of the thin cotton blanket and managed to put his feet on the floor before he lost his balance to fall out of the bed. Foggy with half-sleep and his head pounding, he stayed there a minute, just holding his temples and growling at the pain inarticulately. “Where the hell’s that dose.” He stood and started to shove things around on his dresser, looking for the bottle of T3 he had left there the previous night.

Movement behind him made him stop and look over his shoulder. He was greeted with the sight of a very pink mouth yawning open, framed with precisely pointed canines and a barbed tongue. He smiled in spite of himself and waited until Mithrime had finished her jaw-cracking yawn. “What’cha looking for?” she asked him, half-mumbling in her own barely awakened stupor. The catfolk girl had been sharing his bed for almost three years now and he still wasn’t used to the idea that she was doing so voluntarily.

“Just the rest of last night’s dose,” he told her and turned back to the dresser so he didn’t have to see her eyes as she telegraphed her disappointment to him. He knew she hated when he Twitched. “I’m going out anyway. You don’t have to see it.”

Her hands slipped around his waist and Trevor stopped with his eyes closed. Mithrime leaned her cheek against his back and whispered, “It’s not just that I don’t like seeing it. You know that.”

“It’s better than me moping around all the time.” He pulled away from her a little and kept hunting through the discarded socks, wadded up bits of paper, and half-empty alchemical vials. “Oo, look. A seashell! Forgot I had this thing.”

His girlfriend snorted and pushed her muzzle against the back of his shirt. “Don’t change the subject.” Trevor could feel her whiskers twitching and grinned to himself; she tried to sound tough, but she enjoyed it when he was random too much to really scold him about it. “I’m worried about what it does to you. It can’t be good for you, long-term.”

“I’m not worried about long-term,” he sighed and turned around to hug her. “I’m of the ‘burn brightly, then burn out’ mentality myself. Die young, leave a pretty corpse, though I suppose that ship’s already sunk for me.”

Mithrime slapped the palm of her hand against his chest, claws retracted. “You are neither ugly nor old,” she informed him. “You’re rough around the edges and experienced, but you’re not old or ugly.”

Trevor chuckled and leaned down to kiss her. “Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment anyway.”


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