Catrin opened her eyes, blinking at the weak sunlight that had pulled her out of slumber. Art department, 3rd floor, right. She rolled her head left, then right, trying to work out the crick in her neck from sleeping on a college building floor with nothing but a folded leather jacket for a pillow. Catrin pulled her left arm up over her head to glance at her watch (6:30, half and hour before the building officially opens, several hours before anyone shows up on a Saturday. Probably.) and then tucked her hand behind her head, between it and her jacket. Looking down, she contemplated the head of short, curly black hair resting on her stomach, right above the jeans. Somehow or other, the boy said head belonged to had managed to nuzzle her shirt up in his sleep, enough to be resting on skin. He was curled on his side, left arm snaked under her at the small of her back, right arm thrown across her hip. Catrin tried wiggling her right hand out from where it was trapped between her leg and the boy’s shoulder, but stopped when he whimpered a little and clung tighter. Again.
All night in one position. That can’t be comfortable. Catrin sighed and contemplated the ceiling while massaging the back of her head. They could probably afford another fifteen minutes before she really needed to start poking him awake. Hm, probably less if he didn’t have a spare set of clothes around here. The boy was as naked as the folks on a nudist beach and his clothes definitely hadn’t survived… well, last night.
A soft change in breathing drew her attention back down. Guess she wouldn’t have to start poking after all.
“G’morning. JJ right?”
“Good morning.” Ah, that’s what someone yawning against her stomach felt like. Interesting. “Catrin?”
“Yeah, I think we have Writing Composition together.”
“Right, with Dr. Compton. So, how much do you remember from last night?”
Catrin raised an eyebrow. “Me? I remember perfectly. You’re the one who passed out after transforming back.”
“Have to admit, this is my first run-in with a shapeshifter. That common, passing out when you come back to human form?”
“Well, I’m not a shapeshifter, I’m a Minotaur. And, well, sometimes I pass out, other times I am awake. Whatever you did probably didn’t help. What did you do, anyway? I couldn’t touch you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad, I didn’t want to hurt you…”
“Yeah, sorry about the binding hex, got kinda rushed when you took that swing.”
“It’s fine. So, you’re a magician?”
“Witch, but eh. It’s not like there’s an official body of magical terminology… that I know of. Mind relaxing a bit? I’d kinda like my hand back.”
“Oh, shit, sorry.” JJ tried to pull his left arm out from under Catrin’s back, but could not. “The hell? I can’t move. Well, my arm–”
“Whoops. Almost certainly my fault. Sorry. Uh, just relax and don’t tense up.” Catrin tried wriggling her hand out and off the floor. Hand finally free, Catrin shook it out to regain circulation, then rested it on JJ’s head. “Give me a second, and I’ll undo that little hex. Be really freaking nice if I could get that thing to work reliably,” she muttered, fingers tangling in JJ’s hair.
Breathing out, Catrin let her eyes defocus on the world around her and started paying attention to the feel of her magic. A thin pool of magic lay over JJ’s head, with some snaking down his neck, like a waterfall, before branching out across his back to terminate inside each shoulder socket. Catrin shifted her fingers half an inch over to the left and cupped the back of JJ’s head with the palm of her hand. Just like centering; pull in with each breath. The magic felt warm and soft on return; half a minute later, Catrin had reclaimed all of it. “There, that should do it.”
“So, now what?”
Catrin’s stomach rumbled. “Breakfast?”
“Yeah, that sounds like a great idea…” JJ said, absentmindedly reached his arm down towards his thigh, hitting skin about where a pants pocket and wallet would be if he were clothed. Catrin smiled softly at his look of bemusement; most teenagers in her experience went with abject horror at unexpected nudity. “Oh. That might be important. Let me get changed.” JJ climbed to his feet and headed over to the workbench.
“I take it you’ve got a bit of practice waking up somewhere buck naked,” Catrin said, taking the opportunity to sit up, reach up the back of her shirt, and refasten the clasps of her bra. She’d been lucky to manage unfastening it last night before falling asleep; damn thing was awful to sleep in.
“Yeah,” JJ said, pulling a book bag out of the workbench and then jeans out of the book bag. “I don’t have magic Incredible Hulk pants. Most of the time I control when I transform, so I just wanted to come to a safe place to let off some steam.”
“Makes sense. Sorry for intruding on that. Nice to know I’m not the only one with ‘unusual’ abilities around here, though.”
“Yeah, it is. I only ever knew my siblings were ‘unusual’ since they’re also Minotaurs. No big deal. What were you doing in the art building anyway? I thought you were an English major?”
“... Is a name. I’m not familiar with her.”
“Senior, dual major in biology and illustration – wants to be a medical illustrator. Incredibly demure until you piss her off, at which point she has the foulest mouth I’ve ever heard on anybody. That Jessica.”
JJ shrugged. “I do more physical art and don’t have any classes with seniors. Were you here to meet her or… ‘meet’ her?”
“I’d say ‘a lady doesn’t kiss and tell’ but no way I want to qualify as a lady. Yeah, we had a very lovely evening fucking before I wandered by and ran into you. Right before you punched that wall and suddenly grew horns. Impressive by the way.”
“Thanks. I was just gonna… let off some steam by myself, but then you showed up and, well, that’s out of the question. I just needed… needed to vent. After Charlene–”
“She is the worst.”
“Right! I mean, I was trying to be nice, I don’t know why she’d… she’d... “ JJ sighed again as he finished zipping up his jeans. “It’s lonely here, you know? I’m from Iowa, so to come here with no friends, no support, no… lovers, it’s hard. I was just trying to make a friend.”
Catrin accepted JJ’s offered hand up, climbed to her feet, and then dug her fists into her lower back, stretching. “I’ve only seen her in one class but she’s such a fake snot. I’m from Cali, that is not what the Valley Girls sound like.”
“Yeah, everything about her is so fake. Well, thanks Catrin. I appreciate what you did. Sorry if you got an eyeful.”
Catrin snorted, a sharp burst of air out her nose, as she threw on her jacket. “I’m not. It was a very nice eyeful. Trust me, if I wasn’t so hungry, I’d be working on getting you back out of those pants. Come on, let’s go get that food.”
JJ’s mouth opened to say something, shut, then he started to speak again as he followed Catrin out the door. “Holy Grounds?”
“Yeah, the dining hall is shit.”