A Meeting

“So, what did he do to you?” A young, white-haired man asked over the coffee table.

“Do you really want to know?” The redhead grouched, flicking a glance to the brass bell over the door ringing. A tall man, the type with padded muscle who would never look like a bodybuilder but could bend steel, ducked a nod in their direction. Black hair fell around his shoulder as he pulled a small chair out from the table and settled into it.


“You must be Dmitri?” The redhead cocked his head to give the man a once-over.

“Um…yeah. Kinda weird hearing someone use it. Call me Lunam. It’s what everyone does.” He glanced between the two men’s coffee cups. “Are you Eoin and Fane?”

“I’m Fane, that’s Eoin.” The redhead flicked a finger for the server. The tiny woman beamed a smile and nodded, letting them know she would be over.

“Hi.” Lunam swallowed again.

“Seen the other guys?” Fane asked.

“Merin, Tylwyn, and Thaddeus? Not yet. Oh, and the couple of new folk too. Roman said he’d have to miss for the night.” Lunam gave the server his order for black coffee and a sticky bun.

The clock was overly loud in the silent bubble as they all stared at each other and the change in the group dynamic. “Fane was just about to tell me what Author did to him,” Eoin tried to open up the conversation after the twentieth tick.

“Gave me a terrible childhood, ptsd, and a fucking tentacle monster is what he did,” Fane hissed. “Well, not the fucking part. Wasn’t that type of story. Heard that was Merin’s story. Dark. Action. Adventure. Hot boyfriend turned into hot husband, so would like to not complain entirely, but jeez, Author has a dark spot.”

The bell on the door rang again. This time a twig of a man with strawberry blond hair down to his shoulders joins them at the table.

“Nat!” Eoin’s smile broadened.

“Gonna need a bigger booth.” Fane motioned for everyone to shift over to the large booth in the corner now that they knew they had enough people for it to be polite.

“Hey, Fane, good seeing you again. Nice to finally meet you, Eoin.” Nat shook the white-haired man’s hand.

“And you,” Eoin’s smile could break hearts.

“So, is Author done with our stories then? He’s moved on to other people, new stories. Feel like we’ve kinda been waiting for a while.” Nat slipped into the chair rather than the booth that Fane, Lunam, and Eoin had already slid across.

“I heard something on my end recently,” Lunam kept his voice low.

“The Egypt-Japan thing?” Fane regarded the black-haired man warily.

“Yeah, well, kinda. I mean, The Library of Thoth is supposed to reference things that’ll get expanded in three more books with a big conclusion regarding Corbin and yours and Ishan’s fate. I’m supposed to be doing something in this upcoming story, but Author’s not sure if he wants me to be speaking in it or having Temp translate.”

Eoin rubbed a hand across his head. “Not more italics.”

“Yeah, more italics.”

“That one is always a pain in the ass. Tell Author no. Don’t do it. Go with the translating.”

Fane perked up. “What’s wrong with italics?”

“Everything.” “Formatting.” The two answered simultaneously.

“So, is that whats-” Fane was interrupted by another bell.

In ducked a shaggy-haired blond man with a multitude of glowing blue circles spiraling across his hands and disappearing under his long-sleeved white shirt. Fane waived him over. “Merin! Over here.”

“Hey,” Merin’s response of nerves was almost mirror perfect to Lunam’s.

“Welcome,” Eoin smiled.

“Oh, woah. I thought Author shot your throat out? Sorry, that was rude. Nice to finally meet you, Eoin. Um…Lunam, Nat, Fane. We still waiting on more or someone pop over to the bathroom?” He cast a glance toward the far end of the cafe where an alcove hid a pair of doors.

“In my main story with Fearchar and Seonaid, I’m mute. My internal monologue, so me here, is the one before getting my throat shot.”

“Huh, okay.”

“I hear tell Author is stumped with your story.” Lunam regarded Merin with a raised eyebrow.

“Rushed a…um…” Merin coughed, cheeks going bright red, “rushed the intimate scene and didn’t have a plan for after that because the battle with Keris was actually supposed to be part of the climax, and I was supposed to meet with my progenitor before that, but no, Author went and got himself stuck up a tree mucking about with a perfectly good storyline. So, now he’s been sat in his chair staring at his computer demanding I give him something to work with, and I’m over here going ‘you’re an idiot, Author, and it’s showing’.”

All the men let out a heavy sigh of shared exasperation.

“He does that.” “Why does he always?” “Story. Line. Storyline, you dunce.”

“The guys from the short stories have at least been enjoying their time in the sun,” Nat offered.

“I heard Author is sad about those. He was enjoying his time playing with those but was getting annoyed that he couldn’t get anyone close to him to read any of his bigger pieces. That he was feeling used.” Lunam supplied.

“Feeling used, yeah. But who the hell wants to read gay stories by a trans author? Especially with explicit stuff. It’s just not what normal people palette.” Merin crossed his arms over his chest, his lights fading.

“He finds it a good way to figure out conversations with people, and the stories are stuck in his head,” Eoin placated.

“Author left you with Marduk. How are you even okay with the situation?” Merin shot back.

Eoin rolled his shoulders. “It’s the story that needed to be told. I don’t hold it against Author.”

“You are amazingly forgiving,” Fane growled.

“You sound ticked.” Lunam motioned for the server for a refill.

“The way Author plays, he’s gonna do something mean to Ishan, and I’m not looking forward to it,” Fane hissed.

“Mean is a soft way of putting it.”

“Ya’ll have some bad stories?” Merin took a sip of coffee from a fresh mug.

“Who doesn’t when Author gets involved?” Nat muttered.

“Don’t think he has anything bad planned for me.”

“Not that he has anything planned right now anyways,” Lunam sighed, turning his focus to the gridiron and plaster ceiling.

“Took a pretty good hit to the feels recently?” Eoin guessed.

“Not recently. The rejection dysphoria hit pretty hard last October or September, I think. You know, you get a nice handful of people who are pleased with the writing, and then just a couple negative comments completely crumpled him. He needs to get a thicker skin. Seriously, not everyone is going to like a person’s writing.” Marin frowned at his coffee, grabbed a salt shaker and added in the crystals.

“Heard he did another stay at the hospital,” Lunam provided.

“He got that AVM resectioned; seizures show up again?” Eoin retrieved the salt shaker before Marin could twist the cap off and dump it.

“Hey!” Merin protested.

“You’re part-Kraken; doesn’t mean you have to eat all the salt in the restaurant.”

“So, why hospital?”

“Oh, he’s been trying to pin down some bad dizzy spells. Saw a heart doc who said it wasn’t his heart and wasn’t sure if it was disautonomia. So, he went to visit with the neurologist, you know, to do a follow up on the resection and talking to the guy, comes to find out he’s got chronic migraines. That led to a nice round of trying out medications. Had an EEG. No more seizures, at least. None that could be triggered anyway. One of those meds landed him in a hospital because of a bad stomach ache. Nothing learned at that point, but a couple weeks later ended up back in the same room with the same docs and getting a lovely diagnosis of colitis. Which got him admitted overnight and triggering his ptsd.” Merin gave the other men the run down.

“Bad stomach ache was the colitis, I guess?” Fane asked.

“No, called it pelvic congestion syndrome, which got him spiralling on a different ptsd avenue dealing with reproductive organ docs. That one’s gonna be fun. He just wants the organs out entirely so no one can go mucking with them anymore. Has enough dysphoria to deal with on a good day. Then there’s the politics going down. He thinks the docs are wrong about the pcs and instead firmly believes it was the med that had a warning about excessively bad stomach aches. I don’t know which to believe, but at least another episode of ptsd going off the charts will narrow down one or the other.”

Eoin sighed. “I can understand why Author is struggling to get a story out.”

“Doesn’t help he’s dealing with trying to get an Etsy business up and running along with general house care, cooking, and education,” Merin tacked in. “Apparently, the med giving him the stomach ache at least let him have a level of productive focus he hadn’t seen in years.”

“I thought Author was doing Line and Substance editing. Why is he trying to open up an Etsy site?” Lunam tipped his empty cup in hopes it wasn’t as empty as it was.

“Was. Doesn’t trust people to actually read the contracts. Doesn’t want to deal with people complaining about commas when what he does is look for repetitive grammatical patterns. Pretty much is just not sure how to advertise his services. Wants to do the work, but with all the medical and personal life stuff going down, doesn’t know how to carve time to do what he’s good at. And doesn’t want to keep doing free stuff because it just adds stress, and ‘if he’s going to be stressed, he might as well be paid to be stressed.'” Merin slid down in his seat.

“Uh, that’s just giving up on yet another idea. He does that a lot,” Fane grouched.

“I don’t think he wanted to give up on this one. He doesn’t know how to advertise his services, and-“

“Those are excuses. He can do the editing. He can get another social media account and actually advertise. He’s not trying hard enough.” Fane slammed his cup on the table.

“He doesn’t even know how to try. So he’s making an effort at something tangible,” Lunam came up to the defence.

“What a waste,” Fane muttered.

The conversation stalled at that. Merin finished his coffee and pushed his mug to the center of the table so the server wouldn’t come back and refill it. “What are we going to do about the stories? I want mine finished. And if anything, Author does always give us a happy ending.”

Nat sniffed at that. “Ruben would like to have a word with you on that.”

“You did get a happy ending, just in Fane’s story,” Eoin pointed out.

“I don’t know. He seems keen to work on Tynwyn and Jaegar’s stories at the moment. He’s got other story ideas, like an expansion of Roman and Jule’s world.” Lunam set his mug next to Marin’s.

“He likes the honeymoon phase of his stories, doesn’t he? Author likes developing chemistry between us mains and our LIs. Then he actually has to get a story down and hits a brick wall,” Eoin snickered.

“Slow writers are slow,” Fane bemoaned the fact.

“Eh, ten weeks on my story, so I wouldn’t say he’s slow,” Lunam smiled.

“Lucky. He wrote mine for a decade and a half before he brought you in and finally figured out how he was going to finish it.” Nat pointed at Fane in a blaming way.

“What about Jian’s story? Is he going to work on that for Cashia? I remember him mentioning that once.” Eoin stacked his mug on Lunam and Merin’s.

“I don’t know. He wants to do the Glendweller’s arc, but having so many other stories already active and dealing with all the other regular life stuff, he hasn’t figured out more than a paragraph worth of an outline,” Fane provided, finally dropping his gruff persona.

“Wanna go see what’s taking the rest of the guys so long? If they’re at the coffee shop across the street, I’m gonna laugh.” Merin scooted out of the booth to let Lunam out.

“Might as well go on a look-see. About time for dinner anyways.” Nat got up to follow Merin, whose blue lights were glowing merrily.

“Is he still trying to learn Gaeilge?” Nat opened the door.

Fane rolled his eyes. “Wants to. Keeps getting a few weeks in at a time, then getting off track. Wants to keep up with Japanese and Scots, and on top of that, wants to take up Danish, French, German, oh and Welsh. Can you imagine? He needs to figure out where his focus needs to lay.”

“Hurray for neurodivergence,” Lunam sighed heavily, closing the door behind the group.

Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.

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