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The Immortal Rules

By @choppedmint

Story 14

“Are you hungry?” asked Myrnin, half hearing the answer before he’d even removed his head from the refrigerator. It would be a ‘No’ and then he’d tell the boy ‘okay’ and set the bottle in front of him anyway. Then there would be a verbal fight or some sort of stony silence. And sometimes Myrnin won and sometimes Sam won another day without Myrnin’s strong protests.

“Yes,” came the low answer.

“Okay,” said Myrnin, clearly so into the routine that he hadn’t heard. He set the bottle down on the island countertop and half moved away to get a bit of distance between himself and the hard stare.

Which he didn’t get, and the word Samuel had said registered in his brain. Myrnin took a step forward, tilting his head as he set a hand back on the container he’d set down. He was trying to get a good look at Sam’s face. “You alright?” he asked, almost gaping and reaching out a hand to feel Sam’s forehead. The last part was a joke, since Sam probably would never catch a cold or fever again. Sam didn’t appreciate the joke very much and pushed Myrnin’s hand away. “Get off!” he huffed. “I said I was hungry, okay! Don’t make a big deal about it.”

Myrnin shrugged, eyeing Sam one more time before he took his hand off the container and backed off. Hey, he wasn’t going to complain. Instead he turned away and took some things off the counter, moving them around or back to where they belonged. The small kitchen was more a breakroom for Claire than anything else and it looked like one. She bought donuts and coffee and set it around and a salad or some other form of food was shoved into the fridge between different chilled substances and things delivered from Morganville blood bank. Myrnin’s attempt to look busy was at least a successful one, since he found powdered sugar (what was probablypowdered sugar, since it could have been some type of poison or battery acid or who knew what) by the container of donuts and he started scrubbing at it with a finger, apparently annoyed to find it there at all.

Sam was quiet, but Myrnin made very little point in ignoring him for very long, instead turning around and walking toward the cabinet that contained coffee mugs. It happened to be the top most cabinet and he, even though he was pretty tall, still had to stretch to reach them. Then Myrnin began filling his own cup with not completely coffee and unlike Sam, didn’t seem to be avoiding eye contact. Well, Myrnin was okay if the boy felt awkward. He was almost cheerful enough about it to start whistling, since this was the first time that Sam hadn’t been screaming or giving him the cold shoulder. He didn’t care how the boy went about taking care of himself. But either way, when Myrnin was done he did leave the room – and Sam – alone.

It wasn’t the biggest step. It was only once, but Myrnin felt a great tightness in his chest relax just a little. Were things going to be alright?

As he passed one of the counters out in the main part of the lab, he picked up one of the test tubes, watching the part liquid swirl around in it as he took a sip from the mug. If he thought it would go any other way then there would be no way to forgive himself. He needed to protect Sam in the best way possibly and that was only going to happen if there was some way to teach him the way to go. If Myrnin could be something Sam could at least not look on with hate. Myrnin knew that he was no father. No colorless, one dimensional copy of some authority figure. He couldn’t even pretend that. No, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t have the boy’s interests at heart, that he couldn’t care about the well-being of others.

He set the test tub down again, sighing. But he knew that the boy was still thinking about the Daylight cure. Myrnin couldn’t blame him. He was hardly half a year into this. A half year was not enough time to forget what being human felt like. Myrnin had forgotten centuries ago. Should he take that Sam was eating as some fragment or sign that he might be willing to try?

He was suddenly glad that he’d set down the test tube, since he was now trying not to crack the glass of the coffee mug in his grip. He couldn’t take it as any sort of sigh, he really couldn’t. Somehow, he had to make sure that Sam was happy. That was all Myrnin was looking for. Alive and happy. The risk that any cure poised wasn’t worth that possibility.

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