Edric was just curious.
Hunter always wore long sleeves and long pants, always had gloves on. It was his ‘ unofficial uniform ’ in a way. He was never seen without those things.
The closest Edric had gotten to seeing any of the skin beneath layers of cotton had been when Hunter had rolled up his sleeves, once, when helping clean Hooty. ( Boy, that was certainly a day .)
Hunter and Luz had sighed, looking disgusted and disturbed as they grabbed soap and water before marching outside. Amity, Edric, and Emira had been visiting (learning the ways of wild magic could be thrilling , sometimes) and Eda had asked if they wanted to help. Of course, the Blights said no , politely, yet quickly. Nobody wanted to get near Hooty for longer than necessary.
Edric had caught a glimpse outside the window at Hunter rolling up his long sleeves to his elbows, revealing a couple of scars that marked his forearms.
Edric tried to imagine how far the scars went, after that. How many snaked their way around his arms? Did he have any on his legs? Were there any in… other places? (Edric smacked himself for that thought, face burning at the idea. It wasn’t too bad of a thought to entertain… sometimes.)
In the present, Edric was invited to stay the night– which was thrilling on its own. Being around Hunter without Luz or King tagging along sounded like a dream come true. Not that Edric didn’t like the other two! It’s just getting any alone time with Hunter was almost impossible, where it was just them at the Owl House.
Hunter was changing into pajamas, which were a lot more revealing than Edric had thought they’d be. He assumed the former soldier slept in long pants and big shirts, because that’s the only thing that made sense.
What Hunter actually wore was a pair of loose shorts and a large tank top. Which was completely normal– Amity slept in something similar, with graphic designs on her shirts of cartoons she was too old for. It wasn’t odd for pajamas, but Edric couldn’t stop staring .
Edric took in the amount of scars littered on his frame; multiple long, thick lines slashed along his arms and legs. There were a couple in a shape like an ‘X’, and two wide ones rooted where his neck met shoulder. He wanted to kiss each one.
Hunter must’ve noticed his attention, because he quirked an eyebrow and huffed. “What?”
“Hm?” Edric bit his tongue to keep himself from saying anything else. He didn’t trust his voice, his flushed face was evidence enough.
“I mean– what are you staring at. There’s– it’s not much to look at.” Hunter mumbles the last part, with, was that shame in his voice ?
Not much to look at? Edric sputters at the sentiment. For someone so smart, Hunter could be so blind sometimes.
“What do you mean ‘not much to look at’, dude, you’re ripped!”
Hunter looks at him questioningly, before looking off to the side. Okay, wait, that one probably went over his head.
“I mean– it means you’re jacked . Like, muscular. Strong! Your arms look really strong.” Edric rambles to save face but it’s not working. He’s sounding even more like a fool but he can’t help it.
His embarrassment is worth it though, to see color rush into Hunter’s cheeks. “You…” Hunter coughs a little awkwardly, moving to sit next to Edric on the floor. “Do you mean that?” His voice is small– unsure – like he’s expecting Edric to hit him with a ‘just kidding!’, which is absurd.
Edric stares at him dumbly. Does he not think the same? All the boys Edric hangs out with are just like himself; tall and skinny. There’s not a lot of fat on any of their bones. Hell, Jerbo looks like a twig that could be snapped in half if you stepped on him wrong.
Hunter on the other hand looks defined– sculpted . His muscles don’t bulge uncomfortably like on some of the men Edric’s seen on posters for arena matches, but they’re still there and pretty well defined. His calves looks strong and sturdy, (Edric’s fingers twitch with the desire to touch) and his thighs look like they could run miles without breaking a sweat.
“Of course I think so! Just look at you!” Edric gestures a little wildly with his hand, up and down Hunter’s frame. It causes Hunter to pull his knees to his chest and settle his neck into them shyly.
The gesture itself was cute, but now an uncomfortable feeling poked at the back of Edric’s mind. After a couple beats of silence, before Edric could ask if everything was okay, Hunter blurts out an “I’m sorry.”
Edric looks at him with a confused stare, but gently responds; “What for?”
Hunter gnaws on his lip, why’s he seem so nervous now ? “I just… aren’t the scars kind of… well, not kind of, really ugly?” Edric can’t believe what he’s hearing.
“Why d’you think that?” Edric leans over, bumping their shoulders together in reassurance. Hunter takes a breath.
“It’s… When I worked for my– for Belos , I was really proud of most of these. I gained them through my ‘ hard work ’ as the Golden Guard, they were proof I was strong. Like trophies.” Edric nodded his understanding. “But, now that I’m not the Golden Guard… now that I know a lot of the crap I did wasn’t for… something greater, it feels… wrong. I feel wrong.” Hunter frowns, curling a little more into himself. “It’s like I’m damaged goods, nobody’d want to look at that.” He mumbles so quietly he’s sure Edric couldn’t understand.
Okay, so there’s a reason for covering up so much. That reason absolutely breaks Edric’s heart, but at least he understands why now.
“I want to.” Edric blurts. Of course Edric had heard, because this is Edric, who devotes all of his attention to something that means a lot to him.
“ Huh? ” Hunter stares wide eyed.
“I mean– you’re not– I like the way you look, scars and all.” He’s blabbering like an idiot again, but once the flood gate opens you can’t really stop it; not when it’s Edric. “You’re really handsome, everything about you, the scars, your hair, your face; Titan, even your nose. I like your nose, it’s cute, but that’s not like the only thing, it’s just– are you laughing? ”
Hunter’s laugh is cute. It’s small little chuckles and snorts that make Edric’s heart soar . (He wishes Hunter would laugh more often.)
Hunter waves his hand, a smile still tugging at his features. “Sorry, sorry, I just– you really think that?” His face is flushed all the way to the tips of his ears. It’s too cute. Edric nods enthusiastically, reveling in the way it makes Hunter blush even more .
“Scars don’t mean you’re ruined, or anything like that. They’re proof you’re strong enough to take on tough shit and still live. Which I think is pretty cool” Edric tries his hand at explaining, but it might not do much; the only scar he has is a small one on his finger from where Batric had scratched him. “It’s like you’re given’ Belos the finger, in a way. ‘Cause you’re still here, even after the junk he’s thrown at you.”
Was it too soon for a comment like that? Edric couldn’t tell, but he really hoped not. He didn’t want to ruin Hunter’s pleasant smile.
Apparently, it was the right thing to say, because Hunter’s face melted into something softer. Titan , did Hunter know that that look melted Edric’s heart? Because it did. “I guess you’re right.” Hunter mumbled, loud enough for Edric to hear this time.
“Of course I am, I’m always right.”
“Wow, moment ruined.” Hunter laughed, shoving at Edric playfully. Edric tugged at his arm in return.
“Psssh– It’s true! When it comes to looks, I’m a pretty good judge. Just look at me! I’m a catch !” Falling back into banter like this is easy; playing up the pretty boy persona has almost become second nature to Edric. It helps diffuse the tense atmosphere from before.
Instead of responding the way Edric expects, with a playful insult, Hunter’s response is completely sincere; “Yeah, you are.”
That gets Edric to turn red in the face, looking off to the side with an open mouth. He’s aware he looks like a fool, but he’s lost complete control of his body.
Does Hunter know he has this effect on him? Does he know that with just one look, Edric would happily be stuck to his side for hours? Hunter chuckles softly at Edric’s moment of short circuiting.
Okay, well now Edric wants to get back at him. Fight fire with fire, or something like that. Edric regains some composure before reaching for Hunter’s ungloved hand. Hunter shuts up at that, looking down at their fingers with wide, curious eyes.
Edric closes his, and leans down to gently kiss a scar that wraps around Hunter’s rough hand. He doesn’t miss the little squeak Hunter lets out, filing away that sound into his memory. It’s way too cute . Edric opens an eye to look up at Hunter, who’s gone wide eyed and red faced.
Edric moves to kiss each scar going up his arm, reveling in the way Hunter averts his eyes and holds his breath. Edric’s on a mission, damnit, to make this perfect boy feel loved . Every inch of him.
He gets to the scars on Hunter’s shoulder, and pulls back, looking for some sort of sign of uncomfortableness. Edric’s instead met with an awestruck look, pupils blown wide and teeth biting into his lip. Edric wants to gush about how cute he looks, but instead goes back to the task at hand.
Peppering soft kisses up Hunter’s neck, he reaches the side of his mouth. Edric can’t hold back a smile anymore, and mumbles “I love every part of you, okay?” directly into Hunter’s cheek. Hunter nods, quietly saying ‘ same to you ’, before meeting Edric’s mouth in a kiss.