“Sempre Dolcissimo Cantabile”
(Always Sweetly Singing)
Author: D. Sanders
---- continued... Go read this post first
The rest of what I have thus far....
While Tinks was gone, Beau and Eran excused themselves and walked along the old overgrown road that ran alongside the field. The sun was just rising and as they walked they collected wildflowers from the obliging field.
Their feet had not walked this deserted road in many years, but they remembered the way as if it was walked mere days before.
Their first reminder of the loss was a large stone that lay in the road, Eran remembered the day he had put it there and how he had etched the words with an abandoned Tsion blaster rifle into it’s surface.
We were the Village of Mistrelle.
We were peaceful people.
Most of us are now gone.
But we will never forget
And we will live on…
Those of us who lived
We will not let our loved ones die in vain.
Founded Niice, 28 3457 – Destroyed Decee 8, 4515
Eran laid his flowers at the base of the marker and bowed his head for a moment of silence. Beau followed suit and knelt, his head bent in solemn prayer. Eran took his hand and quietly they walked past the marker and into the ruins of their village, time and nature reclaiming much of what had once been and a few earthy mounds and a few stone columns still remained of what had been the town center monument fountain.
It wasn’t until they reached the remains of the fountain Beau broke the silence. “You put the marker there, didn’t you?”
Eran only nodded.
“I thought so. It sounded like you.” Beau’s voice was far away as he folded himself into Eran’s arms.
“Upon these stone stairs, I bind myself to you…” Eran began and Beau noticing where they were standing took but a step backward, his hand holding Eran’s.
“Upon these stone stairs, I bind myself to you…” Beau echoed the wedding vows they had made on this very spot on this very day so many years ago.
“My path joins yours by will and by love.”
“My path joins yours by will and by love.”
“My soul is bound to yours as this ribbon now ties our hands.”
“My soul is bound to yours as this ribbon now ties our hands.”
“Together we walk life’s road.”
“Together we walk life’s road.”
“I, Eran Marius Callum, vow to love you and be faithful to you until the end of my days. By witness of those we both hold dear as we stand here today as one.”
“I, Beau Galen Shannon, vow to love you and be faithful to you until the end of my days. By witness of those we both hold dear as we stand here today as one.”
“Happy Anniversary Beau. I love you.”
“Happy Anniversary Eran. I love you too. Here’s to the Next one-sixty.”
They shared a melancholy and bittersweet kiss as they finished repeating their impromptu vows, paying long overdue respected to their fallen friends and families memories and then walked slowly back to the caves, arriving just a few minutes before Tinks returned from his trip into Rael.
“Where did you two wander off to?” Mandy asked as the shuttle landed nearby.
“Paying our respects to our loved ones. The village we lived in is not far from here.” Beau said as Tinks and a familiar looking stranger walked out the side hatch. “It can’t be!” Beau gasped with a smile spreading across his face.
“Know him?” Eran asked and Beau nodded.
“That red hair is a dead give away. He grew up nicely. He was only twelve when I left.”
Val turned and the minute he caught sight of Beau he dropped everything and ran over and lifted him up in a large bear hug. “BEAU! You’ve come back!”
“Put me down Val.” Beau laughed as Val set him back down. “Who said you were allowed to grow up taller than me?” Beau teased grinning fondly at the man who so resembled the boy he loved like a little brother.
“I’d not have grown up at all if not for you. I wish Mom were still alive, she’d have loved to have seen you again.”
“Oh Val I’m sorry. How long ago did she pass?”
“A few years now. It was peaceful in her sleep.” Val said as Tinks and Eran just exchanged looks.
“I take it Val knows about, you know?” Eran asked and Beau nodded.
“I couldn’t hide the truth.”
“We sort of figured it out when Beau saved my life.”
“How? If you don’t mind me asking?” Tinks asked his insatiable curiosity piqued.
“Not at all. My father was a horrible bastard of a man. He used to beat my mother and I constantly. It was worse when he’d been drinking. I was all of ten and I used to come out here to hid from him. That’s when I met Beau. I was crying in one of the caves when he found me. He let me cry it out and then walked me home to intervene and get mom and I out of that house. I begged him not to, my dad was huge and I just knew he was going to hurt Beau too.” Val began as Mandy and Farin walked in to listen to the tale.
“When we got there my dad was drunk and poor mom was a mess. Beau burst in and confronted my dad. They fought and dad pulled out a blaster and fired at mom and me. I was trying to move her outside. Beau jumped right in front of the blast. He never even flinched.”
“I did flinch. I may not be able to die, but I still feel pain. That bloody hurt. Hit me right in the shoulder and shattered my collarbone. You just saw it through a child’s eyes.”
“You still manage to wrestle away the blaster.”
“Your father was in shock, it wasn’t difficult.”
“You’re making light of it Beau. You took a shot meant to KILL us. By this time the noise had drawn the neighbors and my father was arrested and Beau…”
“Healed before the Doctor ever got there.”
“Mom and I kept his secret, and he helped us get back on our feet. My father was arrested and was taken to prison in the capitol. Beau helped us take over the salvage yard and run it ourselves. Then one day he said goodbye and that was the last we saw of you.”
“People like Eran and I can’t stay in once place too long Val for obvious reasons.”
“True. But I am glad to see you again, and glad I can return a favor and help you out for a change. I have three pre-fabs that are all yours.”
“Don’t be daft. We’ll pay.” Eran began and Val vehemently shook his head.
“I don’t want one credit chip. I refuse to take it. I owe Beau my very life, this is the very least I can do to say thanks.”
“Thanks Val. It’s nice to see you grew up so nicely. Are you married? Any children?” Beau asked and Val shook his head.
“Neither. One, I’ve not found the right person and two, the particular people I fancy aren’t equipped with the right anatomical abilities to produce the latter.”
Beau laughed. “Gotcha.”
Informal introductions ensued as the shuttle was unloaded and Tinks used the laser cannon on the “Infinity” to blast a precise trench for a septic system.
“Nice Aim” Val commented as Tink reemerged from the ship.
“Thanks.” He quipped as he passed, his braid bouncing gaily behind him as Mandy called a halt to construction for breakfast. Val’s eyes trailed after Tinks, his eyes finally taking a good sweeping look at the young crewman. Beau chuckled as he came up behind Val carrying various boxes of supplies from with the ship.
“He’s got great hair. Doesn’t he?”
“He got Great everything. Wow, where the hell have I been looking all night?”
“You’ve just now noticed He’s cute?”
“Val, we have to work on your perception.” Beau teased as he continued on his way to deliver the goods to Farin and Eran who were mapping out the layout of the three additional units. One unit they would attach to the front of the existing unit. Making that the main living and working area and the other two would attach in a diamond shape. The one to the left would be Farin and Mandy’s area, the original dwelling would remain as Beau and Eran’s space and the one added to the Right would be Tinks and Enjoe’s space if Enjoe ever deigned to join them.
After breakfast the septic system was laid out and Tinks was once more back blasting a well out for fresh water. Plumbing was added to the foundation and Val supplied the water filtration system and piping they needed.
Lunch came and after lunch they finished the groundwork and the easy part of their task of erecting the pre-fabrication units was finished just about dinnertime.
Dinner was subdued. Everyone was working on pure adrenalin and lack of sleep. It was easy to see the moment they finished eating, everyone was turning in for an early night. Val noticed Tinks half asleep in his soup, sitting at an awkward angle holding his shoulder. “You okay?” He asked as he sat down next to the exhausted youth.
“I’ll be alright. I’m not built for heavy labor. I’m puny. I’m more the let’s play with the electronics geek. I hook up the generator, I don’t usually tend to be the one lugging it around.” Tinks said laughing at his physical limitations. He was fairly tall but thin; his muscles were toned but functionally small. He honed them doing sit-up in his cabin, not lifting things four times his size. He was worn out.
Val on the other hand was tall and quite well built. He was used to heavy lifting occasionally. He wasn’t overly large, but he was a fair size, and his bone structure was large. He was just naturally big and we was used to a good days labor. Like Farin he was an engineer and got his hand dirty daily. He had also had sleep the day before; he moved behind Tinks and laid a large hand on the offending muscle.
“That one the one hurting you?” Val asked as squeezed.
“AH! Yes. OUCH not so hard.”
“It’s gotta loosen or else come morning you’ll be locked up solid unable to move. Mandy do you have any muscle creams in your stash there?”
Mandy nodded tossing over a bag. Val rummaged and found the tube of camphor smelling ointment. “Dude that stinks.”
“Yes it does, but it works and clears your sinuses all at once. Take off your shirt, trust me you’ll all need this before bed.”
Farin laughed. “He’s right, save some for me!” he said rubbing his own older muscles.
Tinks just rolled his eyes and obeyed. Stripping off his shirt as Val rubbed the ointment into his tired muscles.
After about a minute he was purring like a kitten. “You have forever to do that. Man, goodnight all, I’m about two-nanos from crashing out here. Ugh, magic hands.” Tinks’ eyes rolled and he sighed in bliss.
Val laughed “You’re sufficiently putty I see, I think that muscle is still gonna give you fits in the morning, but not nearly as bad. Keep it warm tonight and you should be fine in a day or so.” Val said wiping his hands off with a towel to remove any cream residue then passed the cream to Farin. Who applied some to his shoulder then tossed the tube to Eran and Beau who just smiled and tossed it back.
“Sure rub it in you too.” Tinks winked as he yawned. “I guess I should take you home first huh before I pass out here.”
“Just go to bed, I can walk from here.”
“Don’t be absurd, you worked as hard as everyone else. Take Enjoe’s bed, it’s not like he’s ever gonna use it. Just be warned I snore.” Tinks said fighting another yawn.
“So do I so we’re even then.” Val replied as they finished dinner and everyone moved to their respective dwellings to sleep.
Eran stoked the fire in the dwelling he and Beau had retired to for the evening and they both curled up together on the small couch. Both content to lie in the other’s arms and watch the firelight dance on the other’s skin. “This is one of the simple pleasures I miss while in space.”
“What’s that?” Beau asked sleepily where he lay against Eran’s chest.
“Fire. There’s something peaceful about it.”
“I know. I don’t know how many nights I lay here watching the flames thinking of you.”
“I’m sorry for not coming back here sooner.”
“Don’t blame yourself Eran. You could not have known I was here and I knew that. We’re together again, I’m content to just move forward with our lives now and lay to rest our past.”
“There’s a whole galaxy out there to see. You always wanted to travel.”
“I did. There are hundreds of worlds out there, so much music to hear.”
“That’s all you want the music?”
“Pretty much. You know me; I’m easy to please. I don’t need much. Just you and a good song and I am content.”
Beau laughed. “And sweets. Yes.”
“Wait until you taste Lumarian Laugerberry crème pastry. I thought of you first time I tasted it. I wanted to vomit it was so sweet and rich. You’d have loved it.”
“Glad to know you think me at times you feel revolted.” Beau teased sitting up to stretch. “Now I’m hungry.”
“You could give Tinks a run for his money in the bottomless pit department.” Eran teased as the pair wandered into the small kitchen and Beau showed he’d raided the “Infinity” and it’s kitchen. He held up a bag of cookies.
“These looked fabulous.”
“Sweet tooth and don’t let Tinks know you stole his cookies.”
“I’ll make it up to him. He seems as sweet as his tooth.” Beau remarked as he savored the cookie.
“He is a sweet kid. Troubled though.” Eran sighed opening a beer and leaning on the counter.
“I wish I knew Beau. I know about as much of Tinks past as he knew of mine. I can guess at a lot of it, but he’s seen more hell than anyone his age should have.”
“What do you suspect? Talk to me, sometimes another perspective helps.”
“I picked him up just over a decade ago. He was twelve, picking my pockets, and knew far too much about the world for my liking. It’s why I took him along really. You can see how nice he is on the eyes now; he was positively beautiful as a kid. Hard to tell if he was a girl or a boy back then.” Eran began relating what he knew of Tinks, sipping at his beer.
“He was a mess. I took him back to the ship, and Mandy must have cried all night after examining him.”
“In the worst of ways. By God’s grace he had no diseases, but had he continued to live on those streets he’d have been long dead by now. He was only twelve.” Here Eran got angry and Beau took his hand.
“There are pigs of men out there, you saved him from that life.”
“Yeah, PHYSICALLY. He’s still emotionally a wreck. Don’t let his clown like manner fool you. That’s his mask. He’s bleeding inside, and I just can’t fix that, no matter how hard I try. He’d die for you, me some stranger he just met. He’s got such a capacity to care about people it boggles my mind. But offer to help him in return and he won’t let you.” Eran sighed swirling his beer around in his bottle.
“He used to have terrible nightmares, I don’t even want to think of the sorts of memories he has to deal with on his own. I watch his behavior and I want to scream at him that he’s worth more than he thinks. It’s like he gravitates to those sorts of pigs who hurt him because he thinks that’s all the better he can do. I can only guess from watching people over the years.”
“Sounds to me he needs someone to love him, plain and simple.”
“We love him, God Beau he’s like a brother to me. He’s indispensable to me. He’s got a mind like a steel trap, there is not an electronic grid he can’t walk like a master, not a code he can’t break, he’s witty, he’s funny, and he’s full of boundless energy. But he’s dangerous to himself; he gets into real nasty situations if I don’t watch him. He’s been getting better, but far too often I find him beaten up and used like trash. Enjoe does not help in the slightest. The more I think about that situation the more I want to toss Enjoe out an airlock. He’s a real bastard towards Tinks. The same behavior that Tinks gravitates too.”
“Because if what you said was true, that’s the treatment he associates with love. He’s not in love with Enjoe, he sees in him the type of man he’s known. He’s not known any others in that manner.”
“That’s what I think too. It’s probably best Enjoe stayed in the city. Tinks could use some time to just be himself and to let go.”
“He deserves someone, he really does Beau. I want to see him truly happy.”
“You’re more a father to him you realize. You are a good influence on him, I’m proud of you.”
“I just wish I could do more.”
“We’ve his lifetime to help him. You’ll get through to him eventually. I also suspect another influence is likely to do some good.”
“For such a smart man sometimes you can be painfully unobservant.”
“Okay sweet-cheeks, what have you noticed Mr. Keen Perception?”
“Only that every time Tinks walked by today, Val would drop something, hammer his finger or just stare like a fool. The same behavior YOU exhibited when you first met me.”
“That was lust and hormones and…”
“The start of a crush, Love starts like that.”
“That’s good to hear. I’ll have to pay more attention.”
Beau just winked and smiled and finished off the cookies. “Just leave it and watch. No interference. Just observe and keep Enjoe OUT of the mix. It will only confuse Tinks.”
“Enjoe is not likely to turn up here until I call him. He’s probably gambling and whoring in the city. If he weren’t smart and if he didn’t scare me if I let him loose on the masses I’m serious, I’d fire him. He’s too dangerous not to watch like a hawk. The only person he listens to is me. I don’t know why, but I can keep him in line, and people don’t die needlessly.”
“Enough talk, it’s getting late. Let’s just observe a while.”
“I agree. I feel like a voyeur.” Eran chuckled falling into bed.
“It’s a parents job to let babies spread their wings and fly.”
“You’re getting off on this parenting thing. MOM.”
Beau just laughed. “So are you DAD. Face it.”
Beau shut off the lights and crawled in bed, they spooned up together with a sigh and listened to the crickets chirp in the field.
Tinks woke up in a cold sweat; he hadn’t had that nightmare in a long time. He was shaking as he sat up and shivered. He looked over across the room to where Val was sleeping. It must have been his story and being overly exhausted that had brought back Tinks memories to haunt his sleep. He stumbled into the kitchen and found the closest bottle of whiskey to drown out the voices in his head. He was silently crying and shaking and halfway through the bottle when a large hand closed around his and took the bottle. “Are you alright?”
“I will be when I can no longer remember.” Tinks growled reaching for the bottle and falling off the stool he was perched on. Val was there to help pick him up off the floor.
“You’re drunk, how long have you been up?” Val asked helping Tinks stumble back to bed.
“You’re crying. Are you sure you’re all right?”
“Allergies. I’m not crying.” Tinks said wiping his eyes and Val nodded he knew pride, however feeble, when he saw it.
“Want to talk? Sometimes it helps to just tell a stranger what’s eating you.”
“I’m fine. I’m FINE!” Tink grumbled standing and falling again.
“You’re not fine you’re a mess. Don’t run off. I won’t press for you to talk to me, but don’t run away either. Okay?”
“Whatever. I’m not worth the trouble, just go back to bed. Leave me alone.” Tinks as fighting tears, he was shaking like a leaf with tremors, and his eyes were haunted. Val reached around and pulled the blanket up over Tinks’ shoulders.
“Okay Cris, I’ll leave you be. Keep warm.”
“What did you call me?”
“Cris. That’s your name isn’t it?”
“No one has called me that in… not since…” Tinks broke down in sobs and Val pulled him into a light embrace, he felt horrible for triggering something so painful.
“I’m sorry.” Tinks said sitting up after a few minutes to wipe his eyes.
“Don’t apologize. It’s not necessary.” Val comforted is deep baritone rich and soft.
“It is. You don’t need my problems. I’ll be fine.” Tinks said this time standing and not falling over.
“Where are you going?”
“Fresh air. Go back to bed Val, don’t worry about me. I’m not worth your time or effort.” Tinks sighed walking outside and vanishing into the night. Val sat there confused but knew whatever was bothering Tinks was old and you couldn’t force a man to tell you his secrets, no matter how much you wanted to help.
It was late morning and everyone was gathering in the main room for breakfast when Val wandered in lookin like he had not had a wink of sleep. Tinks was nowhere to be found.
“Is he not back yet?” Val asked and Eran paused buttering his toast and dropped his knife.
“He’s gone? What happened?” Eran demanded and Val shrugged.
“I woke up to find him drinking himself stupid, I tried to get him to go back to bed he was miserable. He wouldn’t tell me what was wrong and went out for fresh air hours ago. I waited up for him to come back and nothing.” Val said raking his hair back from his face.
“Damn it.” Eran cursed heading out to find Tinks.
He wasn’t far. He was wrapped in his blanket, curled up next to a rock in the field, his eyes where swollen shut from crying and it looked like he cried himself into an exhausted sleep, his hands held a few withering flowers he’d obviously picked on his late night walk.
“Ah Tinks.” Eran sighed squatting down beside him. “Wake up Tinks.”
Tinks blinked open red-rimmed eyes and gave a weary smile to his friend.
Tinks nodded. “I was too tired. I always get them when I’m too tired.”
“You worry me. I wish you’d let me help.”
“I’m not worth it Eran, really. You’ve done enough.”
“No I haven’t if after all these years those memories still hurt you.”
Neither man heard Val walking up behind them.
“Eran really, you’ve got to know. Must I tell you what you already know?”
“I suspect. But you never did tell me the whole story.” Eran said pushing Tinks’ matted bangs from his face. Tinks smiled into the touch.
“It was Val’s story, it made me remember my mother.”
“I didn’t know you had one.”
“I don’t now. She abandoned me when I was eight. It was before that. She was a whore and a drug addict and liked to sell her five year old boy to men for money.”
“Ah god Tinks.”
“Here Cris, Uncle Sendel has a come to play with you, be a good boy. He’d rip me apart while she got high. Then one day she never came back. She probably overdosed in an alley somewhere. The next four years I survived by picking pockets and being a fuck toy. You saved me from that Eran. Like I said you’ve done enough.”
Val was horrified, no wonder when he had called him “Cris” he had broken down like a lost child.
“I never knew it was that bad. I’m so sorry Tinks.” Eran said his mind reeling from picturing gentle Tinks’ innocence being ripped away at a mere five years old.
Val was furious and deliberately made noise as if he’d just arrived and not heard the exchange. “Sorry to intrude. Did you find him?” Val asked playing dumb. Eran nodded and Val saw an elegant, finely boned hand lift from behind the rock and wave.
“I’m here, Good morning. Sorry I disturbed your sleep. I’m okay, fell asleep in flowers and now my eyes are all shot from pollen.” The bright cheerful voice was like night and day to the ghostly sad and hollow voice that had told Eran the most horrific tale Val had ever heard. Eran frowned; the mask Tinks wore was back in place. Once again Tinks shut the turmoil of his past deep within and showed the world a bright façade.
“Come eat Tinks, you’ll feel better.” Eran said helping Tinks off the ground, Val almost gasped, Tinks looked horrible. Allergies were a bad ruse; you could tell he’d spent all night being miserable alone. He was only a year or two younger than Val and Val could relate somewhat to a bad childhood. An abusive father was peanuts in comparison to the hell Tinks had known. If Tinks wanted to forget, Val vowed to help him try to the best of his abilities.