Wolves at the Door (part 9)

At first the not-a-god did not comprehend Gil’s reluctance, but eventually he understood that nudity was a stumbling block. He tried dismissing it as an unimportant detail.

“Come, look at your audience. Do they look worried?”

Worried they certainly were not. Amused, some of them. Others looked bored, and began to drift away, as the entertainment had failed to live up to their hopes. But it was less a sense of decorum than vulnerability that made Gil wary of walking naked through such a crowd.

“Very well, if this is a thing that means so much to you. See what great hopes I have for you, that I would give you the very shirt off my back.”

With that, he suited words to actions, removing his vest and shirt with a flourish, and handing the shirt to Gil while he readjusted the vest over a chest as pale and hairless as his face. As he pulled the shirt on over his head, Gil snorted as a ridiculous thought crossed his mind: the young man’s skin almost blended into the softly glowing whiteness behind him, and his hair barely contrasted with his skin.  His cavalier attitude to nudity made Gil wonder for a moment if he only wore clothes because without them he would disappear entirely.

Nobody seemed to notice his fleeting amusement, and he felt more comfortable now that he was wearing something. Between his shorter torso and having no waistband to tuck it into, the shirt hung down almost to his knees. Not the height of fashion, but compared to some of the locals, he was now dressed downright conservatively.

Speaking of the locals, nearly all of them had lost interest in the show. Perhaps they had been expecting him to start a fight or run around naked and wild; disappointed, they had moved on or turned to more interesting discussions between themselves. Only the blond boy remained, holding out his hand expectantly. He smiled as Gil, with some hesitation, took it in his own.

“Now, my friend, let me show you the world.”


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