He took some arrai out of the backpack and opened it with a short knife. “We brought you this, Chysis.” The dolphin made happy, clicking sounds and jumped to catch the opened arrai in the air.
“Good boy.” Aerides exclaimed and patted the magnificent animal close to his blowhole. “We’re waiting for you, Phaius.” Aerides teased cheerfully.
“I’m coming, I’m coming.” He grunted stepping into the delicious water. It caressed his body sensually sending chills throughout. “Can I touch him?”
“Of course you can. He’s very friendly. Here.” Aerides took his hand and guided it along the dolphin’s dorsum. “How does it feel?”
“It’s strange. It’s different from a horse or a cow. It’s really silky.” It was an amazingly indescribable sensation. He didn’t have anything to compare it. Chysis swam away. “Please don’t go...”
“He’ll be back, don’t worry. He’s gone most probably to get some friends.” Aerides chuckled.
Now that they were alone, the only sound was their own splashing motions. The ocean outside was muted by the rock walls of the cove. The world became an utterly new place, as if time had slowed to accommodate to their breathing rhythm, to the languid motions of their floating bodies.
Both submerged and Aerides’s hair was a dark halo flowing magically in a forbidden dream. He was deeper than Aerides, and he admired enthralled the sinewy fluidness of this Clark Gable look-alike. Something primal boiled inside him, and he forgot the need for oxygen; he wanted to stay there forever, in those depths with Aerides above him, drowning to submission.
A spear crossed beside him after wounding Aerides’s left shoulder. Blood flew endlessly from the ugly gash, and he swam up furiously, desperate to reach Aerides. A second spear had inflicted another wound on the right thigh. He shook the water from his face, holding fast to Aerides and searching the perimeter for the attackers. They had short knives only, and those were at the shore. No attackers were visible. He felt movement in the water behind him, and three dorsal fins headed in his direction. He prayed the fins belonged to dolphins and not to sharks. The animals showed their heads, and it was Chysis and two other dolphins. They circled him and helped to move an unconscious Aerides to shore swiftly. He lay Aerides down and shredded his ehungai to make bandages to stop the bleeding.
“Poison.” An eerie voice murmured around him. “The wounds have poison.” He darted his head looking for the source of the voice in vain. “You need to save him, use your power.”
The voice was inside his head. His nervousness was making him go crazy.
“Phaius...” Aerides murmured searching for his hand. “Listen to Chysis, follow his instructions.”
“You’re delirious. Chysis cannot give me any instructions; he’s a fucking dolphin. Let me secure this, and I’ll call for help.” He finished a knot on the thigh’s wound.
“Lie on top of him and concentrate. Use your power.” The voice ordered in his head.
Now they both were delirious. He argued nonetheless. “What power? I have no power. I’m just fucking scared here. We need to get help.” He couldn’t possibly be having an argument with a dolphin.
“Phaius, lie on top of Aerides, put your hands on both wounds and your brow over his, now!” The eerie voice commanded fiercely. “Now, or he will die, poisoned.”
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” He did as the voice ordered. “Now what?” He felt Aerides chuckling against his mouth. He groaned, trying to concentrate. “Fuck, Aerides. Not the time for that.”
Aerides answered in a rasped whisper. “You don’t have an idea, how much I’ve wanted to have you on top of me like this. I’ll die, a happy man, if you kiss me.”
“Fuck, Aerides.” Nevertheless, he kissed him anyway, a slow, lingering kiss.
The dolphin spoke again inside his head. “Imagine you both surrounded by golden light and your hands sucking the poison out of him into you. As if, you were blotting ink. Do it.”
Never a good one with visualizations, he struggled for a minute; then he felt the warm, golden light around them, and a distinctive itch on the palm of his hands like swelling blisters. He had his eyes wide shut to concentrate, but -- in his mind -- he could see a purulent green fluid bursting and encrusting around his hands.
“It cannot hurt you.” The dolphin soothed. “Now bring your hands here and we will do our part.”
Reluctantly, he moved away from Aerides and entered the pond. Two dolphins approached him with clicks and little moans. “Put your hands on our heads and concentrate in transfer the substance to us.”
That was easier to say than to do. He stared in awe as the disgusting pus traveled from his hands to the dolphins heads like thousands of snails in a wicked migration. At the end, the nasty smudge was a birthmark from Hell on the beautiful dolphins. “What are you going to do with that?” He asked worried about them.
“We have our ways. Now you can call for help; the enemies are far away, and he is out of danger.”
“Thank you.” He said with a deep sigh of relief.
“You are very welcome, Phaius Salbatz.”
He took the transmitter in Aerides’s backpack and informed their coordinates to the rescue team.
He sat beside Aerides with his elbows resting on his knees and reviewed the whole episode. He realized he’d had the entire communication with the dolphin in Atlantean. I’m happy I’ve been learning it quickly. He thought uneasily. Aerides’s breathing was even and peaceful, the wound on the shoulder had stopped bleeding, already drying and healing. The tourniquet on the thigh looked fine.
He focused on those lips he had kissed in the heat of the nightmare they’d just lived. A soft smile slept calmly on the luscious mouth. Aerides wanted him, as much as he wanted Aerides. There was no mistake; he was something more than a burden for Aerides. But what? Just a possible bed-partner?
He tossed those ideas aside. He caressed a warm cheek slowly with the back of his hand trying not to awake Aerides, feasting on the amazing body, laid there for him to contemplate. He wondered what the dolphin had meant with Phaius Salbatz. He had made it sound like part of his name.
Inadvertently, he had voiced the thought, and Aerides answered, his silver eyes shining with devotion. “Salbatz means healer.”
“OK. I see. He said it because I helped you.” That made sense.
“No. He said it because, now, you have a surname. Phaius Salbatz.”