Stranger in the Bedroom

The High General of the Retha had not had a good day. The lower generals were not happy with the idea of “wasting” nearly a quarter of a billion evra trying to protect the planet of Kolasi, only to have a massive meteor suddenly disappear. No one could have predicted that the planet would be saved by a literal miracle, yet they were still pissed off at the High General for wanting to save lives. It was as if money was more important than the two military bases and countless families the Rethans had stationed there. Oh, and the population of the planet in general.

Thankfully, they had not wasted too much. General Elkay had always planned accordingly. The money lost would be recouped in just under five months. Still, he had drawn the ire of his fellow Rethans.

That was the reason why Elkay had decided to have an early night. To get out of the way for a few hours. Some battles were simply not worth fighting, or at least taking a step back to rest and regain one’s strength before fighting again.

As Elkay returned to his quarters, he waved goodnight to his guards before closing the door. Little did most of his opponents know that Elkay himself had saved approximately a hundred million on his own, simply because he was single and didn’t need extra guards to protect a partner or kids. Not that the money was that much of an issue to Elkay, but it was just a thought he used to comfort himself.

Then again, the High General never having anyone by his side did make him somewhat lonely. The empty bedroom was a stark reminder of how monotonous his existence would be if he hadn’t achieved what he had.

Elkay paused on that thought, then quickly shoved it to one side. Tonight, there were two beings in his bedroom. Himself and a vaguely familiar stranger.

“Arkadin, I assume?” Elkay lowered himself slightly. He knew that this being, a skinny, bright yellow-armoured Rethavok, must have teleported into the room somehow. He had faith in his staff and guards, they’d sweeped the room before he entered, they couldn’t have missed this strange figure.

“Yeah, didn’t think you were about to go to bed. How are you doing, General Elkay?”

The Thantophor, the God of Death and Decay, was sitting on Elkay’s bed. The last time Elkay had seen the deity, they had taken the form of a Skyavok. In fact, that was how most mortals had seen the Death God. Clearly something had changed. But what made Elkay curious was how the Death God almost… saw Elkay as an equal.

“I am annoyed but thankfully still healthy, Lord Arkadin. How are you?”

Arkadin shrugged. “Eh. Things are okay. Weird. Confusing. Normal, I guess.”

“Why are you here?” Elkay asked, wanting to get straight to the point. He was unsure whether his guards knew someone else was in here and didn’t want them to barge in, perhaps causing the Thantophor to retaliate.

“Oh, I just wanted to apologise.”

“What for?” Elkay paused. “Aside from the constant death and all that.”

The Thantophor smiled. “Heh. Yeah. I wanted to apologise for making you waste all that money when I snapped my fingers and made that nasty meteor go away. Most vok are cunts that can’t think about other beings outside of their circle. Sure, your attempts and evacuations were all for nothing, but you did the right thing.”

“Does that mean anything though, in the grand scheme of things?” Elkay asked.

“Well…” Arkadin trailed off, then smiled again. “Technically nothing means anything in the grand scheme of things. It all means nothing in the long slide towards the heat death of the universe. But I’m pretty sure all the Rethans living on Kolasi appreciated your gesture.”

Elkay took a deep breath before speaking. The Thantophor’s blunt talk worried him. More than he’d like to admit. “If you say so.”

Arkadin realised he had upset the Rethan general. He didn’t mean to. Having gone back to his godly duties as of late, he’d forgotten just how small mortal lifespans were and how macroscopic talk terrified them.

“Sorry, that was mean of me. Of course your actions mean a lot. They mean a huge amount to a huge number of beings. Your fellow Generals may not think so, but they forget that they sit on thrones lifted up by those who follow them. Let me guess, it’s the more… well off Rethavok, the more pampered ones, who are complaining, right?”

Elkay nodded.

“Well, they should spend a day in your little armoured footpads. See how they like it. I bet they’d crumble in hours.”

“We are made of stronger materials than you think, Lord Arkadin. Even the pampered vok.”

“What you say and what you do are two very different things.” The Thantophor laid back, across Elkay’s bed. As he did so, he seemed to change the subject. “Blimey, this bed is bigger than mine. Don’t you ever feel lonely in it?”

The High General blinked in confusion. “You do not have a big bed?”

“I’m but a humble deity, with a bed that fits me just right. You must get super lonely though, lying in this massive bed that’s clearly built for two normal Rethavok.”

Elkay immediately thought of a snappy reply, but was reluctant to actually say it. After a couple of short breaths, he decided to go ahead. What was the worst that could happen?

“Well, there is always room for you in that bed as well…”

The Thantophor sat up. Elkay covered his mouth, realising he had completely messed up his words.

“That is not what I meant!”

Arkadin smiled, then laid back down. “I’d be happy to share a bed with you.”

“Still not what I meant!”

“Then what did you mean?”

“I… I do not know…”

“May I share your bed with you tonight?” Arkadin asked.

“Are you… asking me on a date?”

The Thantophor shrugged. “We are two beings bound by insane rules of honour. Frankly this is probably the closest you and I will ever get to having sex in a long time. All we’re going to do is lay in bed, probably as far away from each other as possible. Nothing will happen. We’re just keeping each other company.”

Elkay wasn’t sure what to say. Arkadin was right. As always.

“You may stay, as long as noone finds out.”

Arkadin grinned as he stretched out across the bed. “Awesome.”