Aeramin and Sanimir had practically picked out all of the robes they were interested in trying on the previous evening, before Sanimir’s father returned from his appointment. Isturon had frowned deeply when Sanimir told him how many robes he intended to buy. He had included a few for Aeramin when asking, without saying they were for Aeramin, which doubled the total. Sanimir had not been discouraged by his father’s frown. He had continued on, insisting that they were all necessary, and describing certain ones and where he intended to wear them. One was perfect for the library. One was perfect for entertaining guests in the new apartment. Yet another was perfect for walking around town. Aeramin had almost laughed at that one. Sanimir wasn’t exactly known for walking anywhere. Rather, he had a tendency to teleport everywhere. Luckily, his father did not question his son’s reasons, and in the end, gave him enough to cover the cost of all the robes.
Sanimir had worn his tight, red pants and the red shirt that was open in the front again. Aeramin did his best not to look as they walked up the steps to the shop where the robes were. His friend had vowed to wear them until they both had new robes. Aeramin was glad it was almost over, but he knew he was going to miss stealing glances at his tight pants. Sanimir quickly went to the racks of robes and pulled off the ones he wanted to try.
“I’ll try these on. You pick out the ones you wanted to try.”
Aeramin nodded as Sanimir disappeared behind the changing curtain to try on the robes he wanted to get. Aeramin pushed the robes on the rack, going through them one by one. His friend had helped him choose at least five different robes the previous evening, but now he couldn’t recall which ones. There were two dark red ones that looked like they would fit without too many adjustments, and a blue one. There was a nice green one and a purple one of the same style. He managed to find three of the robes before Sanimir peeked out from behind the curtain.
“Tell me what you think. Are you ready?”
Aeramin looked up. “I’m ready.”
Sanimir stepped out. He wore a bright orange robe that snugly clung to his thin frame.
Aeramin smiled briefly. If the robe had been a bit shorter and slightly wider, he would have gotten it too. “I like that one. It looks great on you. You should get it.”
Sanimir grinned, “I like it too.” He disappeared behind the curtain again, as Aeramin turned back to the rack with the robes hanging on it.
As he continued looking for the last two robes, three other mages came in. They started looking at robes on one of the other racks. He didn’t recognize any of them.
He found one of the last two robes he had looked at last night, before Sanimir peeked around the curtain again. “Are you ready?”
Aeramin nodded, and Sanimir stepped out. The elegant purple robe had been the least favorite of Aeramin’s while it was on the rack, but now that he could see what they looked like on his friend, he had to approve of it. “That one looks wonderful on you.”
“You’re sure?” Sanimir looked in the mirror. “I wasn’t sure about getting purple again.”
Aeramin nodded. Sanimir still didn’t look very convinced. “It’s very handsome on you.”
Sanimir looked at Aeramin, then back in the mirror. He nodded. “I’ll get it.” He ducked back behind the curtain to change again.
Aeramin resumed looking for the last robe. The other mages, all men, spoke quietly behind him, and moved to look at another rack of robes.
Then he heard the voice.
– Summon me.
Aeramin frowned. The voice was only in his head.
– I will summon you when I choose, imp. I’m busy looking for mage robes.
The imp laughed in his mind.
– Warlock. You’re no mage now.
He looked back quickly towards the changing area. Sanimir stood there, wearing another robe.
“Are you okay?”
“I was just thinking.” Aeramin twitched an ear and quickly turned the subject back to robe shopping. “That looks really fancy. Are you sure he gave you enough?”
Sanimir nodded. “I’m sure. I like the embroidery on this one.”
“It goes well with your hair.” The dark reddish-brown borders did match his hair well. The shimmering white fabric nicely accented it. Sanimir took another look in the mirror, and smiled before disappearing back behind the curtain again.
Aeramin found the last robe just as Sanimir left the changing area with the robes he was going to get.
“Did you find them all?”
Aeramin nodded. He glanced at the other people again. They didn’t look ready to try anything on. “I found them. I still can’t believe you managed to convince your father to give you that much.”
Sanimir smiled, “I had to. You don’t have any robes at all. Go try those on.”
Aeramin went into the changing area, opting for the blue robe first. Blue had never really been his color, not with his bright hair. He stepped out, watching Sanimir’s reaction carefully.
“Oh, that looks striking. The contrast with your hair is nice.”
Sanimir nodded. “You should get it.”
Aeramin looked in the mirror. The contrast was a bit much, he thought, but if Sanimir liked it… “Okay. It does look good.”
Sanimir nodded, and Aeramin returned to the changing area. Next was one of the red robes. Sanimir had one of the same style, but it was purple. He was sure to like them, since he had his own. While changing into them, he wondered if there weren’t some way he could find out if Sanimir did more than look at his robes. He could ask, but he had never been that forward.
He stepped out from behind the curtain.
Sanimir smiled his approval.
Aeramin noticed the other people who had come in to shop had moved to another rack of robes. Before Sanimir could say anything, Aeramin quietly asked, “Sanimir, do you think those guys are looking at us?”
Sanimir glanced at the three men, then looked back at Aeramin. “No. Why would they look at us?”
“Because sometimes guys are attracted to other guys.”
Sanimir looked back at the other shoppers. “I don’t think they’re looking. That robe looks good on you though. You should getit.”
Aeramin twitched an ear. He had hoped for some sort of positive or negative reaction. He frowned, and with a nod, returned to the changing area.
Aeramin pulled the curtain closed behind himself. He decided to try the greyish green robes next. They were one of the two robes that matched in style. The other was the same, but dark purple. He stepped out from behind the curtain.
“That one is nice! It’s slimming, don’t you think?”
Aeramin instinctively looked towards the mirror. He twitched an ear. “Slimming?”
Sanimir nodded, “Yes, I bet the purple is even better. Dark colors are more slimming.”
“You should get them both.” Sanimir said, oblivious to Aeramin’s ear twitching.
Before Aeramin could return behind the curtain, Sanimir grabbed a robe from the rack he was standing next to. “Try this one too.” He said while shoving the pale orange robe into Aeramin’s hands.
The pale orange was nice. Aeramin thought it might match his hair. He looked at his friend again. Why was he buying all these robes for him if he didn’t like him? He retreated back into the changing area.
The imp’s laughter filled his mind.
– Fat, gay warlock! Fat, gay warlock!
Aeramin frowned, quickly removing the ‘slimming’ robe.
– I’m not fat. Shut up now, Rupyap.
The imp’s laughter stopped. Aeramin couldn’t deny the rest. He knew what he had become and he knew who he liked. However, he was not fat. Sanimir couldn’t have meant it that way.
He tried on the rest of the robes quickly without mentioning, or even looking at the other group of shoppers again. They wound up getting most of the robes they had looked at the previous evening. He went outside while Sanimir paid. He did not want to know the total bill. He would have to find some way to repay his friend’s generosity. They both went home to change into their new robes.