3:14 – I am sorry

He was greeted by a gentle purr from Ollie when he came home, giving the cat a quick pet on the head, before walking past Derek and straight into the bath locking the door. He needed to take a long shower before this talk, he just had to wash of the smell and the feeling before he could even begin to have this talk.

As he could feel the water going cold as he was standing there, he knew it was time to face up to it all and tell Derek what he had done and what he had learned. He slumped into the sofa where Derek was still sitting, the tv playing in the background.

“I’m sorry.”
“I know.”

Derek looked over at Toshi who tried his best to meet his gaze.

“I don’t know where to start, I just keep wanting to tell you I’m sorry.”
“I know, but how about you tell me what you learned, I believe I can imagine the rest.”

He swallowed hard a couple of times, trying to wipe away the tears streaming down his face in the end just giving up on it, and letting it be.

“It’s a curse cast on a merman… Eric, that is his name, has found no way to cure it.”
“The elders did not like Sirens, I guess he had no help.”
“No, and as odd as it sounds, he has no choice in what he has become.”
“Does he know the one who put the curse on him?
“Yes, but he can’t find him or her anywhere.”

There was a quiet moment, as Derek seemed to go through what he had just told him. This was one of the many things he loved about the man sitting on the opposite side of the sofa. Instead of shouting and yelling at him, he did just as he had promised him.

“I’ll go talk to the villagers in a bit then, I can fish for some old stories.”
“Okay. And he said he would come here tomorrow, so we can try and figure something out together.”
“Good.

Derek looked at Toshi, part of him was angry and hurt, but it had perhaps been the only way, and the logical side of his brain was still the ruling one in the matter. It hadn’t been a choice, even the stories he had found told him that.

“Now come here.”
“I…”

He didn’t get any further before Derek had pulled him over to him, wrapping his arms around him, that safe feeling he had missed all night finally there.

“I don’t deserve this…”
“But you do need it.”
“I never meant too…”
“I know, and it wasn’t your fault.”

Derek could feel how Toshi was fighting the sobs that were for now stuck in his throat, his body was shaking almost uncontrollably even with his arms firmly locked around him.

“It will be okay, we’ll find a way.”
“What if we don’t. I never want to have this happen… but the curse will make it happen.”
“He said it lessens with range, right?”
“Yes… but only for a while.”
“Then trust me, if we can’t find a way, I’ll give us another way.”

Toshi just looked at him, somehow knowing he wouldn’t be hearing more about that option until it was the last way out.

“Get some rest, I’ll go out later.”
“I…”

It took almost an hour before he could feel Toshi sleeping soundly in his arms without light sobs between breaths. It had taken much more self-control than he would like to admit keeping his calm, and he had a feeling he would need an equal amount of it the next day.

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