The day after the day after Willym”s return there was a heavy storm, one of those that seemed to swallow the town whole in one great gulp: rain without remittence and nothing to be seen of the sky but a low ceiling of formless grey, as if one were inside a cloud.
`Ugh. The rain”ll bring up the crawlies”, Kathyn said. `Crawlies” was what he called the things that, well, crawled up from the sea, drawn by the warmth of the land or driven up by other, worse things from farther down. In their grandmother”s house there had been mousefalls in the pantry; in Highmouth people set up crabfalls. `Good thing you got home when you did”, he said to Willym.
Willym was gazing out the window with his hands in his pockets and no shirt on. Kathyn was gazing at the muscles of his broad brown back. `We rode in on her skirts. You could feel her like an animal, just behind, snapping at our stern.” As he spoke, calmly, without emotion, Kathyn was reminded that this boy�no, this man�had almost every day moments of flirtation with death, that most jealous and inescapable of mistresses, moments of which Kathyn knew nothing and in which he had no share. `Well, there”s no chance of us sailing soon. We”ll be windbound for at least a week, I reckon.”
Kathyn”s heart rejoiced at this, though he knew it must be a blow to Willym, for even the most uxorious seaman cannot bide too long a confinement to shore. As Kathyn was not quite able to feign regret, he said instead, `Is it too early for supper? It being so dark makes it feel like evenfall already.”
`Whatever you wish, love”, Willym said placidly. He was in one of his quieter moods.
`Well, are you hungry is the question.”
Willym turned around and flashed his white teeth. `Always”, he said, with a wink and a waggle of his crotch, which was, as usual, obscenely distended.
Kathyn tsked, but moved off to set out the supper-things. `Anything you want in particular?”
`Could I have stovies?”
`Urgh, you want that? Those are disgusting.”
Willym just pouted, which at nineteen he could still do very prettily. The things that pout had let him get away with…
`All right, if you”re sure that”s what you want.”
He made to move off but Willym caught him and claimed his mouth in a punishing kiss, thrusting his clothed erection between Kathyn”s thighs as he did so. Kathyn found himself practically riding the rigid flesh-steel bar, until it left its load somewhere in his petticoats, while Willym half chewed his face off. He chomped lightly on Kathyn”s tongue before he let him have it back. There always had to be some sort of mark.
Kathyn was struck by the colour of his eyes. Willym”s eyes changed with storms, as they did with the seasons. Only yesterday, when it was fine, they had been the colour of a clear summer sky. Now they were a deep, whelky cobalt, almost a dark grey. In the mountains, though Willym did not believe it when he told him, they had been green.
That was why captains were keen to hire native Islanders: they said you could read the weather in their eyes. Kathyn didn”t see what good it was supposed to do. When you were in a storm you didn”t need to look in someone”s eyes to know it. They were beautiful, though. He wanted to drink their brightness. He wanted to dive in their depths and never come up.
While he was making Willym his disgusting food, there was a knock on the door�a rare sound at any time, and more so because of the storm�and a trio of men in oilskins deposited Willym”s trunk amid a bluster of wind and obscenities. They had been engaged to deliver the heavy hardwood chest the day before, and were now paying for their tardiness.
`Thank you”, Kathyn told them, wondering if Willym had paid them already, or if he would have to. But they left without asking for money, and he shut the door, then had to open it again as the men came back in with another, larger load.
`Hold up, missus, there”s more to come.” It was about the same shape as the chest, but they carried it vertically, like a piece of furniture. It was covered in tarpaulin tied with rope and they put it in the parlour, with Willym swearing and growling at them to be careful all the way, and the men taking no great notice.
After the men left Willym ripped off the tarpaulin with a ringmaster”s flourish.
It was like a cabinet or a small armoire, but made of iron wrought in marine designs�seashells, seahorses and seaweed and the like, with a glass top and sides. It was a fish tank. The slate bottom was covered with pebbles and the water was murky with tall fronds of kelp.
`Cost me a sixmonth”s pay, that did”, Willym said, trailing his hand down the nubile body of a nymph who formed one of the corners of the tank.
`What”, Kathyn began, fighting not to be distracted by the unconscious eroticism of his brother”s deft fingers caressing the smooth iron breasts and mound of the figure. Then he said, `Oh!” for something tiny flashed through the dim water.
`Tis called a merdle. You keep em in salt water.”
Kathyn stooped down, trying to catch another glimpse of it. `That”s a lot of water for such a little thing.”
`About the size of a kitten.”
Kathyn leaned forward until his nose was practically on the glass, then gasped. `Why, it”s a wee baby mermaid!” It turned in a panicked pirouette and he saw that only part of it, the bottom half, was finned like a fish, though not scaled, and it had a head, though not much of a neck, on top of a bell-shaped torso with two limbs at either side, halfway between arms and flippers.
`Aye, that”s what they call em. They”re not though�they”re a different kind. Beasts�not canny, like.”
And indeed, now Kathyn looked closer, its upper body was more like a seal than a man. It had a face not altogether unlike a puppy”s, and it was darting back and forth through the water very fast, bumping into the glass every second dart.
`Oh, it”s hurting itself. The poor thing”ll be scared out of its wits, being shook about like that. Poor darling.”
The top had a catch so it could be slid open, which he did. Then he rolled back his sleeves and put his hands into the water, managing to catch the merdle on the second grab. He cradled it loosely inside them, feeling the vibrations in the water as it trembled.
`Can he come up in the air?”
Willym nodded. `Just for a short time, like mermaids.”
Kathyn reverently lifted the merdle out of the tank. The creature lay on its back in the palm of one hand while with the other he stroked its mottled grey flesh. Slowly the trembling stilled and he seemed calmer. `Got a bit of belly on yer, haven”t you?” When Kathyn prodded his round squishy tummy he let out a great spout of water, and Kathyn fell in love for the second time in his life.
`Oh, you funny little thing. Aren”t you just lovely?” He rubbed his tiny wet nose. `I”ll have to think of a good name for you.”
The merdle opened his mouth and his luminous black eyes very wide and swallowed Kathyn”s finger whole in one bite�or as much of it as he could, the tip to about halfway down the nail.
`Oh, he”s hungry!” Kathyn squealed (in delight, not in pain, for the creature evidently did not have teeth of any kind). `Oh, Willye, what”s he eat?”
`This.” Willym held up a paper bag that released a strong oceany smell as Kathyn took it. It was full of flakes of dried seaweed.
Excited, he lowered the merdle back into the water and barraged it with a hail of black flakes. He”d dumped half the bag in before Willym could snatch it back, laughing. `Hey, hey, not so much. He only needs a teaspoonful at meals. Lor, you”ll make him fat as a whale you go cramming him like that.”
`Oh, it”s wonderful, Willye.” And to show his appreciation Kathyn sucked a long kiss into Willym”s Adam”s apple. Then he let his head fall against Willym”s breast, let his eyes fall shut, and just held him, arms around his waist, leaning slightly to one side. He would never take this for granted.
Willym had been looking sort of rueful as he watched Kathyn swoon over his new baby. But now he was pleased. Kathyn turned around but Willym kept him locked in his arms, bound-up hair compressed against his chest, the warm lump of his groin firm in the small of his back.
`It”d be funny if it did grow into a mermaid, though. We”d have t”build a bigger box. You know one of the Sea Lords has a huge aquarium in his stateroom, and it”s full o” the prettiest mermaids you could find in all the Far Seas�for his own private use, yeah? But it fucked the men off, y”see, that ee was tarring his spar in salt-cunny, whiles they ad nowt but their own ands. So ee said ee”d build one fer the crew, so long as they kept it stocked. And ee did: t”was a great tank made wi portholes in the sides so the mermaids hung out arse-first and you could use em while their top halves was still in the water.”
`Did you see it?”
`Nay, but I heard of it”, Willym said dismissively. Kathyn twirled his eyes at the ceiling and shook his head.
`And I remember once I was talking to this old feller who was second mate of the Sea Bride, and he told me how once she had her figurehead broke off in a squall. An you know tis gey bad luck for a ship to sail without her head. So what did they do but net themselves a live one and stick er on the prow! They said she lasted seven days before the bleeding and the thirst killed er. I never knew mermaids could last so long above water�did you, Kath? The ones they have down at the mermongers on Sull dinna last even a day�though that en”t şişli travesti from being parched. More like drowned.” He chortled, vulgarly, but not viciously.
Kathyn was watching the merdle, his forearms loosely crossed. It was snowing seaweed all throughout the tank, and the merdle was zipping excitedly to and fro, gulping up every crumb of fishy manna. But in his head he was seeing men at a fishmart fucking mermaids laid out on tables beside piles of hake and herring, oozing sperm from their gaped-out holes, just another kind of meat. The joy in his stomach had curdled cold.
`Why are we so cruel to them?”
Willym hadn”t been looking at Kathyn”s face, but now he did. `They”re cruel to uz, Kath. They”re animals.”
`If men truly thought that they wouldn”t want to sleep with them. And what if they are? Does that make it right? You wouldn”t treat your rat friend that way, would you?”
Willym straddled the arm of a settee and drew Kathyn down into his lap, settling his head under his chin, fingers smoothing his hair. `Listen, I”ll tell thee summat I did see. There was some men out in a yawl, and a shoal of mermaids came up. They just watched em fer a bit, as the men did their best to row back to the ship fast as they could, but then they started singin.
`You”ve never heard such hamely voices, and singin songs such as thou would sing, Kath, not strange or foreign at all. They spake nowt; dinna think they could, but they come right up to the boat and put their arms over the side, smiling at the sailors and singing all the while.
`One by one by one, more of them came, till they was all around, hanging off the boat like minnows on a dead whale, and all their bosoms was hanging over the sides�they didn”t have no shells or seaweed or nothin, like you see in some pictures, they was all there, such tits as you”d hardly think they could swim with the weight. But the men knew better than to touch em. It didn”t matter, though. They gave one great shriek and flipped the boat over, then pulled the whole thing down into the water with the men trapped under it! You”d never think they was so strong to look at them, but they are. It”s their tails what gives em their strength. Anyhow, after a bit the boat came up again, but there was nowt in it but blood. They even et their bones.” He pulled Kathyn up to look in his face and bared his long white teeth. `So don”t you go feeling sorry for em. What we do to them is no more than what they do to uz. Tis the way the world is, Kath, on sea or land.”
Kathyn chopped up the spuds, onions and the last of the roast lamb they”d had (or rather, Willym had) for luncheon and left them to simmer on the stove while he curled up in Willym”s lap beside the fire, in the cosy inglenook formed by the arch of the staircase above. Most of the heating in the house was provided by the huge tiled cocklestove built into the central wall that divided the rooms on each storey, but Kathyn liked to have a fire going in the parlour for the cheeriness of it, and the interest of watching the flames. And for this. Cuddling in front of a stove just wasn”t the same.
Kathyn took his needle and thread from the sewing case in the pocket on the inside of his apron and picked intermittently at a hand screen he was doing for a Methodist widow who lived Uptown, using the back to shield him from the fire”s blaze while he stitched a botanical design on the front. Willym talked of places with names like Scraghaven and Linport, Stenharbour and Shander”s Bit, and other, farther-flung ports; names that meant nothing to Kathyn, but meant worlds to Willym, and Kathyn felt in each one, from the meanest gunkholes to the grandest waysteads, the kernel of a story he could tease out at leisure on lazy mornings entangled together in bed, or chilly evenings snuggled together by the fire. And he talked of all the variety of craft that were to be found there: clippers and cutters, and schooners and sloops, and brigantines and brigs (which Willym assured Kathyn were as different `as apples is from pears”. So, not that different, Kathyn thought, but held his tongue), and sealers and slavers, and mermaid-men and men-o-war and French galleons and Dutch galliots, and little Cingalese spice-droghers with their half-naked lascar crews, and vast emigrant hulks bearing settlers from the Old World to the new ones. He could have talked of anything and Kathyn would have listened just as happily, just to hear the sound of his voice, which had gained a fine rich timbre that went right through Kathyn when he spoke and made him shiver and ache with the need to be taken, rough and hard and then and there. It was funny, but also somehow frightening, listening to Willym talk. It was like when he was a little lad, putting on the manners and moods of a man: forced to grow up too fast, like all boys in that town. But somewhere between then and now it had stopped being a pretence. Willym was a man now.
The thunder rolled overhead like an army with drums marching down the rooftiles and Willym told yet stranger tales, of regions where the charts stopped, where the wind blew sunward and the seas changed. Where the world got thin–when the waves parted and you saw…
“Clouds below us, like we”d sailed up the side of the world and turned upside down. Or like the sea herself was only the sky of another world, a world beneath the world…”
`Were you not afraid to fall?”
Willym shook his head. `It was too strange for fear.” The firelight danced in the blue deeps of his eyes. `We saw great whales swimming overhead and… I thought they was swallowing the stars…”
He spoke of voyages on soundless oceans, when the tides were knotted and the winds tied and the ship was stranded for weeks, months at a time amid the eerie, endless calm. Of crewmen who stared so long at the same unmoving patch of water they took it for a kind of glass pavement, and hopped overboard to take a stroll.
`You know, of all places we went, of all uncanny things I saw, I weren”t so much frit of what was out there, but what I might become. There”s seas no ship were meant to sail, and things happen to men. I don”t just mean in their heads. But their outsides, too. Like when a ship gets ironsick, but faster.”
Kathyn tried to imagine a man rusting, his skin flaking off, his joints and limbs all corroding away. It was both too bizarre and too horrible to picture clearly.
`What was the worst thing you saw?” Kathyn felt safe to ask it now, nested in his brother”s arms amid the soothing rhythm of the rain.
Kathyn felt a kind of suction in the pit of his stomach. The name to an inlander may have been no more than a fable, but it held a dread kind of power for one who had seen the drag-marks of tentacles in the sea walls of the harbour, like plough-furrows in the ancient stone.
`What was it like?”
`Like�” He broke off, and shook as if he were cold. `Not what you think. Nothing like what people think. Those little pictures on the edge of old maps…” He scoffed. “You”ll think I”m mad, but for one moment the sea was clear as crystal, and I could see down. Right down…”
He looked straight ahead, through the flames and beyond, face twisting and eyes wide as his mind still grappled with whatever unearthly vision had greeted him that day. `Nobody else saw. But. What we all�what they all thought was the kraken, the monster that took a whole ship–it were just it”s hand�just an arm of�an all them tentacles were just it”s fingers. It were holding a twelve-masted weighnought like you”d hold that toy on the mantel.” He shuddered, and broke off into a brooding silence. Kathyn knew better than to push. He was not the kind of cat to be killed by curiosity.
The wind hurled itself at the house with all its screaming might, but could not get in. Willym stared at the fire. `There”s gunny be another war. Everybody says so.” Suddenly he looked fourteen and frightened again.
Kathyn stroked Willym”s skin, still smooth despite the wearing of the elements. `A new war? What will that mean?”
`For the Empire–who knows? For uz�nothin.”
`I never meant to stay in the Navy forever, Kath. I mean to join the Expeditioners. To discover new worlds, not just defend old ones.”
`New worlds…you”d have thought they”d found them all by now. How much more can there be to discover?”
Willym could have been a figurehead himself in that moment, the warm fire-glow on his tan skin giving his face a woody, statuesque cast. All traces of childishness were gone. `I saw one. Through a seagate.”
`What”s it like?”
`What, the seagate?”
`Yeah.” Kathyn had heard about them, but couldn”t really envision one.
`Like a door, but made of water. Only it”s a darker water than what”s around it, like a deeper sea inside the sea. It”s�I cannot rightly describe it. You”ve got to see it.”
`And what”s on the other side?”
`Dunno. But I will, one day.” He said it as a simple statement of fact.
Kathyn thought of the sea, of Highmouth, and of Grandam”s cottage in the green heart of Ingelsea, and felt small and old. He was being pulled along in a riptide, one he was too weak to swim against.
`And what will I do, Willye?”
Willym turned to him, gaze knowing and indulgent, as if the answer was obvious and Kathyn was being silly. `Come with me, o” course.”
`I”m not cut out to be a ship-wife, Willye.”
`You”re cut out to be my wife, pet, and you”ll go where I want you. And where I want you is by my side.”
`Ah, leave it now. Let”s have tea.”
After a couple hours stewing the stovies were done, and Kathyn served up the greasy agglutination of meat and potatoes. He shook his head. Real ladeen”s fare.
They sat at the round table at one end of the kitchen. After he”d dished up, putting all the lamb in Willym”s bowl, Kathyn sat down at the opposite side of the table from his brother. But Willym took his chair, with him still in it, and moved it round, so he was sitting at right angles to Willym, their legs touching.
Kathyn took one of the bottles of liquor, the remainder of which he”d put in a locked cupboard for safe-keeping, and poured out a careful half-mug. Willym looked at it dolefully, but no pleading eyes would sway Kathyn this time. He wasn”t taking any chances with this stuff, since as well as an intoxicant it was apparently some sort of aphrodisiac. Hopefully one half-mug wouldn”t do too much harm.
Kathyn had to eat one-handed, for Willym kept the other in his lap. When a tiny babe he”d insisted on having Kathyn”s hand under his cheek at night, and Kathyn would have to sit there beside his cradle till he”d fallen asleep. The more things changed….
Supper proceeded uneventfully, in the beginning. Willym”s rat didn”t make an appearance. Kathyn supposed that normally people talked during meals, but Willym was not the type to let idle chatter divert him from the all-important task of eating and Kathyn didn”t know what to say, anyhow. Willym”s stories, though enthralling, were not exactly supper-table fare, and Kathyn had no news that would interest a sailor.
He did have something else, however. After a few minutes Kathyn became aware the bulge in his brother”s lap was growing. He started to pull his hand away, but Willym held it fast, and with his other hand reached down to unbutton his crotchflap.
`Oh Willye, no. For goodness sake, can”t I even eat in peace?”
Willym slid his hand over the familiar hot hardness. `Well, dinna let me stop you, sweetheart.” He moved Kathyn”s hand steadily back and forth over his cock, using his body as a mere aid to orgasm. It was awkward, the drooling head bumping into Kathyn”s wrist with every stroke. It didn”t make it any less damnably arousing.
For a while they both ate one-handed, Willym”s eyes twinkling and Kathyn”s glaring back in flushed exasperation. Deciding the sooner he got Willye off, the sooner he”d get his hand back, he tugged as furiously as he could without spraining his wrist, until Willym bit his lip and made the tell-tale noises, like he was lifting an especially heavy load. It sounded like it would be, too.
Kathyn offered him his napkin. Willym stood up and took Kathyn”s bowl instead, swiped it right out from under his descending spoon and shot his roe into the middle of it, the impact of the forceful volleys sprinkling gravy over the white tablecloth. He set it down in front of Kathyn. Kathyn gave him a wordless look of disbelief.
Willym grinned slantwise and leaned over to wipe off a smear of spend on Kathyn”s nose. `Just close yer eyes, love, if it helps. Close yer eyes, take a big mouthful, and swallow.”
Willym groaned and ran his hand over his face.
`Shall I stir it up for ye?” Without waiting for an answer Willym stuck his half-hard member into the bowl and swirled it round. He drew it out dripping fat and caked with mushy bits of potato.
`Now, here comes the cockboat�long and hard and full of seamen.” He chortled as he shoved his meat into Kathyn”s mouth. For a moment Kathyn just stared into Willym”s eyes, blinking, his mouth full of cock and gravy. Slowly, not knowing what else to do, he moved his tongue over it and sucked off all the food till he was only tasting come. Willym withdrew his prick, now returned to full mast, and dipped it into the bowl again. They continued with this obscene parody of spoon-feeding until Kathyn got fed up (and Willym stopped dipping between thrusts) and took the bowl back. He did eat it all, though and felt butterflies in his stomach with each bite.
Once, Willym had sent home a stoppered glass phial of his spend. Of course by the time it had arrived it had been rancid, but mixed into a heavily-seasoned stew Kathyn hadn”t even tasted it. The taste hadn”t been the point, but the knowing�what he was eating, and what it represented. That Willym owned him, heart and body. That he could have Willym inside him, even when all but those few drops of him were miles on miles away.
When both his bowl and Willym”s prick were spit-polished and shiny, Kathyn took the big Bible (a house-warming gift from the Minister) out of its carved oak box on the hutch and brought it to the table. Willym had finished his second bowl and didn”t bother scooping more out of the big copper saucepan. Instead he set the whole pot down on the tablecloth. Kathyn raised his brows as he started in again, using the big serving spoon to shovel food straight from the pot into his maw. Willym met his eyes undaunted and said (with his mouth full), `May as well get started love, cos I”ve just got going.”
`We”re going to have Scripture reading, Willym. You can”t eat during that.”
`I can eat during anythin, love. War, sex, storms, you name it.”
`I don”t doubt you can, but that isn”t what I meant.” Kathyn sighed and opened the hard black book. It was no use. Willye would have his way.
Kathyn had come up to Ecclesiastes in his yearly read-through of the Bible. He had some misgivings about reading this, undeniably the most heathen book in the Canon to his half-heathen brother and had half a mind to read him about the sin of Onan instead. But he decided to stick with his regular reading, or it would throw off the whole schedule. It wasn”t as though Willym was listening, anyway.
He had only got to the second verse, reading slowly, reverently, sounding out each word the way Grandam taught him, when Willym took his hand again and cupped it around the burning arc of his cock. Kathyn choked off mid-sentence.
`Keep going. Dinna stop.”
He should have stopped. He should have, but he didn”t. Instead he stroked his brother”s prick, the plush foreskin stretching over the steely shaft as he pulled in the wringing motion he”d specialised over the years, drawing milk out of Willym”s stones. He tried to focus on the familiar, straight columns of small black print, tried to block out the enormity of what he was doing, while Willym”s cock pulsed in the palm of his hand, growing slicker with pre-come every pass. He tried to pretend his hand wasn”t connected to him, that it was an appendage belonging to some masturbatory mannequin, as he stumbled through the chapter. He was hampered in this by Willym”s deep grunts of appreciation, Kathyn couldn”t tell if from his cooking or his touch, or both (with Willye a good meal and a good fuck sounded much the same). The animal sounds spilled out of him unconsciously and continuously, mingling in Kathyn”s pounding ears with his own quavering voice to form a blasphemous symphony.
And the worst thing was he was hard. Reading the Word of God and stiff as a nail in his petticoats! He tried to will himself soft, but his fervent prayers availed naught. His fingers trembled on the page. He hardly knew what he was saying. The greasy smell of the food mixed with the holy smell of paper and old leather and his brother”s pungent, unmistakable cock-musk. He felt himself slowly drowning in it, shoved to the brink of something�like he was about to faint or come or throw up.
When he read, `In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand”, Willym exhaled and sowed his seed all over Kathyn”s hand and up his sleeve. He squeezed Kathyn”s fingers over the gushing head to make sure they were thoroughly coated before letting them go. `That”s a good bit o Bible”, he remarked, in a tone of possibly sardonic admiration.
“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment,” Kathyn hissed, skipping to the end. He slammed the book shut. He rattled through the after-reading prayer as quickly as he could without impiety and stalked off to rinse his hands in the sink. After that he retrenched to the parlour, shutting the door on his brother and all the supper dishes. Let Willym wash them, and see if he got any pudding either!
In the parlour the rat was sitting on top of the tank, little claws clattering over the glass as it moved to shadow the merdle”s every movement. Kathyn rushed over, heart constricting even though he knew logically it couldn”t get in. `Get away, you! Don”t even think about it!”
The rat got, moving in a dark blur down the side of the tank and across the carpet toward the stairs. But it stopped on the first step, turned and raised its head challengingly.
Kathyn jabbed his finger at the rodent. `Don”t let me catch you near him again. Or I”ll make you into a glove.”
The rat held him for a moment with its eyes, black like the merdle”s, but impervious and cold as beads of jet, then disappeared upstairs. Kathyn spent a wee while making sure the merdle wasn”t too alarmed, then settled into the nook by the fire, deciding he”d finish the hand screen tonight.
Willym came through a bit later, rolling down his sleeves and whistling the Sailor”s Hornpipe. Kathyn pointedly did not look up. He wasn”t going near Willym the whole night, and let that teach him. Making him touch him during the istanbul travesti Bible reading–had he no respect for anything?
Although, it occurred to him, as the minutes drew on, it really wasn”t as though he was any better. They were sitting on opposite sides of the room, Willym with his scrimshaw and Kathyn with his screen, and the thought came to him, like a thunderbolt from the earth up: Why am I sitting here when I could be sitting on Willym”s prick?
He looked at his brother, legs parted to show off the plump swell of his cock, obvious even at this distance, and blushed. Willym looked up. Somehow he could always tell.
`What is it, kittlin?”
There was no reason why they couldn”t sit through one decent evening without screwing like rabbits. But then, there really wasn”t any reason not to be doing it, was there?
Because of the missing buttons on his broadfall, Willym”s bell-end was peeking out the corner of the flap and Kathyn”s mouth watered just watching it. He wanted to lick it more than the most delicious ice-lolly. He chewed his lip and stared at Willym imploringly, instinctually canting his bottom up and down the cushion.
`What you doing, Kath?”
Kathyn made a grizzling sound. `Willym.”
Willym”s smile shimmered like light on the water. `Are you wanting something, my sweet?” He put his tusk on the end table beside the chair and spread his legs wider in a clear invitation. `What do good little bitches do when they want somethin?”
No sooner were the words out than he was floating across the floor to kneel between his brother”s feet. It felt perfectly right.
`Please, Willye. I need it. Need you�in me…” He trailed off into a mumble, too embarrassed to go on.
`What do you need?”
Actions spoke louder than words, and in this case were less humiliating, so he started to lean into the inviting, cockscented warmth between Willye”s legs. But Willym flicked him between the eyes. `You have to tell me, sweetheart. Use them big words you learn from aw them books.” His voice was stern, but his eyes gleamed. The brat was loving this.
`I need your blinkin cock, Willye, now stop teasing”, Kathyn snapped, beginning to cry from frustration and embarrassment.
Willym took pity on him, and released his manhood from its fabric prison. It stood straight and tall and wonderful and Kathyn dove on it like a starving man on bread, smearing the musk-sweet slick all over his face. He licked up from the base to the crown, sloppily and sluttishly, then opened wide and swallowed the leaking head, ignoring Willym”s murmured, `Easy, easy”, and his own urge to gag. He”d only got in a couple good sucks when jets of hot fluid were hitting the roof of his mouth, gushing over his tongue. He did his best to gulp it down, but there was so much he couldn”t cope. It spilled out the side of his mouth and dribbled down Willym”s cock to make a matted mess in his pubes and Kathyn lapped at it.
Willym tucked back a few bright strands of hair that had fallen in his eyes. `What are we to do with you?” he mused.
Kathyn kissed at his brother”s hand, looking up in silent shame and need, hardly blinking. His cheeks were red, but his loins were afire with want.
Willym picked him up by the waist and lifted him easily into his lap. `Eh? What would you do if I wasn”t here to wallop you up the way you need?” His hand was digging round Kathyn”s backside, under his skirt. He found his hole and shoved his fingers in–not one at a time but all at once, three or four or maybe five. And he had big fingers.
Kathyn clenched around the prick-wide girth of them, and tried not to spill there and then. He held himself in, not moving, and nor did Willym. He didn”t move them in or out or spread them (he would have torn Kathyn open if he had) but just held them still, curled behind the rim, maybe brushing the tips slightly over the little bump inside him that gave so much pleasure, gazing bright and fixed as Kathyn unravelled on his hand.
They each had their games. Willym”s was to see how many ways he could make Kathyn come, proving over and over again how much his brother”s body was a slave to his touch. Kathyn”s was to see how long he could keep Willym inside him without coming.
Kathyn lost this time. He usually lost. Somehow he couldn”t mind too much. Willym kept milking him down to the last watery drops and only then did he let Kathyn seat himself delicately on his cock. Still there was a stretch, a feeling that some intimate part of himself was bursting at the seams, as he impaled his boycunt on his brother”s engorged pillar. He went slowly, relishing the slow burn and the feel of his arse moulding itself like clay around every bump and ridge. He got about two thirds of the way down before Willym”s patience ran out.
He gripped Kathyn by the hips and at the same time thrust up with full force, bracing himself against the chairback and raising his hips off the cushion. Kathyn found the breath literally fucked out of him, and for several seconds he couldn”t make a sound. He gripped the arms of the chair, bunching the antimacassars in his clawed fingers, mouth hanging open, as Willym slammed him down over and over, empty then full then empty again, too fast for his brain to keep up, until finally he came again with a gasping whine.
Willym wore a look of concentration as he lifted Kathyn off him fully and sat him down astride his thighs. The hairy root of his cock throbbed against Kathyn”s soft stones and he felt his belly drenched in warm slime. It was better that Willym came in the beginning, because then he wouldn”t while he was nestled snugly inside Kathyn. He wouldn”t go soft, either, so long as Kathyn”s quim was keeping him hard.
He bunched up his petticoats around Willym”s cock to clean him off, then Willym swiftly sheathed himself again, still rigid as a poker. Kathyn wondered how many women had husbands capable of such feats. He wondered if they would be jealous if they knew. They ought to be. The last vestiges of his outrage from before had left him with his climax. It may not have been the textbook way to resolve quarrels, but sex really did make everything better.
Now he was settled on Willym”s willy, and the achy need that had been crawling up and down the inside of his cunt was sated, he could go back to his embroidery. But he”d left the hand screen in his chair on the other side of the room.
And let it stay there, he thought. He smoothed his skirts decorously over Willym”s legs (no need to scandalise the merdle more than the poor thing already had been) and stared dreamily at his little brother, for the moment perfectly contented. Now they were eye to eye�the only time they ever were on the same level. Willym pushed up his blouse and massaged his thumbs around the spot in Kathyn”s belly where his cockhead bulged through. He looked thoughtful.
`What I told you about before, how I could see through the sea�d”you reckon I”m�” second-sighted, is what he wanted to say, but didn”t, whether because he thought Kathyn would call it superstition, or call it silliness, Kathyn couldn”t tell.
Kathyn shifted on Willym”s dick as he tried to wrap his head around this rather abrupt change of subject.
It was silly, but not for why Willym thought. There was second sight, and it came to the likes of Grandam, and maybe Kathyn, but not to the likes of Willym. Willym wasn”t fey, not that way. He was, ironically, given his profession, the most grounded person Kathyn knew.
`Maybe it wasn”t you. Maybe it was the ocean, giving you a glimpse of herself. A kenning, they call it, in Island. I had one, once. When we were leaving for Highmouth in the cable-coach�you were only a babe then. It was a morning of purple mist, such as you get up in those hills. I was looking back, trying to see our meadow�you know the one, where we used to have picnics. I could see nothing, and I thought I would leave it behind without getting a last sight of it. But then the mists parted like the waves of a sea, and there it was, a patch of bright green, and the little silver ribbon of the brook running through it. Just for a moment. Our mountain was giving himself to me as a parting gift. Because I belonged to him. To that place.”
Willym looked struck by this. `Meadow…brook. I never thought…”
`I”ve told you afore, our names mean something. And that means you mean something, Willye.”
`But not here. Not like you. You”ve got your meadow, and I”m glad for it. But I don”t mean nowt here. I”m a whore”s brat�born in a gutter, brought up in a sewer.” He gestured with his chin � North? West? � out. Out from the land to the water where his ship was waiting. `If I mean anything, it”s out there, where a man is master o” himself, and nowt else. I en”t like you, Kath, to be happy with what”s been given�old fields, old names an all that. I have t”make it meself, or it en”t mine. It en”t me.”
`You weren”t born in a gutter, Willye. You were born in our grandam”s garden. You don”t remember.” His brother said nothing.
Kathyn took his brother”s hands in his own, and held them, rubbing the callouses, not looking up. `Once, you told me the only feeling that came close to�” here he stammered, and blushed, but carried on `�to doing me, was running into Highmouth harbour on a shoreward wind at night, to see the landlights shining on the horizon. And know you”re home.”
Willym gently reached up to clasp his face, Kathyn”s hands slipping down to his wrists.
`And so it is, Kath. Not because of the town, or the island. But because you”re there. Waiting for me. Wherever you are is my home.”
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