It's something in his eyes, Sinbad thinks.

There's madness there, plain and simple. There's madness even when Judal is smiling, laughing, crying—madness when he whispers into Sinbad's ear how he'll make him the greatest king that ever lived, and madness even when he's sprawled out over Sinbad's bed, gasping, clinging, writhing, wanting.

There's also a stark sort of honesty, close to a child's brutal frankness, and it's why Sinbad can't quite hate Judal, even when he hurts what is most precious to him.

This time, it's Ja'far, and that alone should be a step too far.

A single drop of blood should be too far, let alone the state Judal leaves him in—bruised and bloody and battered—and Sinbad wants to feel nothing but anger, a desire to turn away the Magi every time he appears in his bedroom window henceforth.

He knows, all the same, that he can't.

It's something in Judal's eyes, and it's something in the way he talks and breathes and moves and is, and Sinbad wants to fix him. He wants Judal to only breathe out his name, wants him to smile in a way that doesn't hurt, wants him to stretch up on tiptoes and grab his hair and kiss him. He wants Judal to be free from Al-Sarmen, and who is going to help him do that but Sinbad, because no one else cares like he does?

Or so he thinks, and he's probably, mostly right.

He'll apologize to Ja'far later for all of this—perhaps daily, if he has to—but he can't let go, not just yet.