STILL PRE-PROOFREAD...lots of errors that will eventually be fixed... just sharing the progress...
“Sempre Dolcissimo Cantabile”
(Always Sweetly Singing)
Author: D. Sanders
---- continued... Go read these posts first
They had all gone DOMESTIC. He could not wait to get off this backward planet, so he stuck his nose back in his book and ignored them all.
During the day while the others had been out Farin and Mandy had set about making space for Enjoe, it would serve two purposes, since this was their home now, they had built a totally separate room in their vast private section of the “Homestead”. Right now it would be Enjoe’s room, but once he left, it would become the nursery for the baby. Close enough to sleeping parents to attend to until the child was old enough to have it’s own room where Cris and Val were currently living.
Everyone was gathered around the table for dinner and as they ate Mandy struck up a conversation. “I have a question for the Pirotaine natives. Your binding rings, how come some of you wear them on the right hands and some of you on the left?” Mandy asked and Beau smiled and swallowed before answering.
“Simple. They start out on the right hand. You’re BANDED if they are on the right hand. That means you intend on being bonded but have not taken any vows yet. It’s a symbol of intent and commitment. You move them to your left hand and become BONDED during the vow ceremony. Some people stay banded some bond. Like take Eran and me for instance, I think I wore my ring on my right hand all of a week before Eran had me up taking vows in-front of all our friends. My sister, god rest her soul, was banded three years and had two children with her partner until they got around to the vow ceremony. It’s different for everyone.” Beau stated diving in for seconds of the peas and carrots on the table.
“AH, now that makes sense, practical.” Mandy nodded understanding the difference.
“Why do people have to attach symbols to sex? Its just sex.” Enjoe grumbled sawing away at his steak.
“It’s not about sex idiot. It’s about love.” Cris replied rolling his eyes.
“Hardly.” Val said pouring more tea into his cup.
“I fail to see the point. Emotions are excuses for explaining natural and biological behavior. Sex is a Drive, Like Hunger, breathing, sleeping. All people have the need. But they repress sex and have to make up an excuse to have it. Stupid.”
“Is that really how you see it?” Cris asked a little shocked.
“Of course. You want it; you take it, why make excuses? Just do it without guilt, without emotional baggage. It’s a hormonal impulse.”
“How sad. Really.” Cris sighed. “I used to think that too. I really hope you find someone to Love Enjoe, you’ll see the difference. “
“Sad? I call it fact. If you’re so wise on the subject now, enlighten me.”
“It’s like, I dunno. It’s hard to describe a feeling. I wake up and I can’t wait to see him, I go to bed and he’s the last thing on my mind.”
“It’s good sex and the desire for more.”
“Very wrong.” It was Eran’s turn to speak. “Sex is meaningless gratification. Feels good in the moment and is gone. Love remains and after you fall in love, really and truly you find a piece of your soul and then there is nothing left after it’s gone. Believe me, I know.”
Enjoe just looked to the only man in the room he respected and just raised an eyebrow. “What the hell happened to you?”
“You knew a very dead me Joe. You knew me after I thought I had lost everything that meant something to me. I was a shell; I was nothing but emotional baggage as you call it. Sex means nothing after you experience it with a partner you love. If you lose that partner, even the joy of sex is gone.”
“Bullshit. It’s denial.”
“Christ Joe, you’re stubborn. Believe what you like, find one empty relationship after another if that’s your view on it, but you knock everyone who does not think like you. There’s and entire planet here of people who’d disagree with you, and I’m sure there are more out there as sour as you. Can we kill this stupid argument? Just accept the fact that there are people in this room who do want to have that emotional baggage. I feel a hell of a lot happier than I have in almost two centuries. I do not plan on going back into that shell you knew. Accept the change or fuck off I really don’t give a damn.”
“I still think this so called Love is just a by-product of really great sex.”
“See that’s where you’re wrong. Val and I haven’t yet. But I still love him desperately. Love is not sex. It has nothing to do with sex.” Cris said understanding now why Val made it a point to wait before they slept together. He finally understood, he had been like Enjoe a once; Val opened his eyes to what Love really was all about.
“You haven’t? You!? Look how you're dressed like a slut, Mr. Tight Pants, tell me you’re not advertising merchandise for sale. The last person I’d believe falling for love is you. You make a poor argument knowing how you’ll make any man happy with a couple of drinks down your throat.” Enjoe was shocked, he was positive Cris was flat on his back already.
Cris looked crushed for a brief moment then angry, but rather than argue he just got up from the table. “Why do you always have to insult me? Did I kill your mother in a past life?” Cris grumbled taking his leave of the table and out the door.
Val fumed. “If you bring up his past again to hurt him out of spite again I’ll murder you.” Val shoved up from the table, knocking his chair over and headed outside after Cris before he kicked in Enjoe’s teeth.
Enjoe just could not understand what the hell was going on, he only stated the truth. Everyone always got bent out of shape when faced with the facts. He failed to understand people, he was done for the evening and was about to go to his room when Eran appeared before him and shoved him back into his chair.
“You sit the fuck back down before I shove my foot up your ass.” Eran growled backhanding Enjoe across the face hard enough for him to see stars.
“I picked your sorry ass up off the streets too and I’d be more than happy to put you back. You wanted to know what the fuck was wrong? What happened? I can ask the same question you ungrateful, mean-spirited little punk. Just what the hell is wrong with you? Why do you torment Cris?”
Enjoe rubbed his jaw and scowled. “It’s FACTS.”
“No it’s insults. Christ do you think he wanted the life he was forced into as a kid? Of course not. He’s trying to move on, you keep shoving him back. Why? DO you get some sick pleasure in hurting him? I thought you loved him!” Here Eran’s jaw dropped, he’d just connected the dots.
“Enjoe, you have five minutes to explain yourself before I kill you.”
“I’m not stupid. All that talk about sex and love. You son of a bitch. All those times, all those times I found Cris left like a used rag doll in shit-holes, it was YOU wasn’t it? WASN’T IT?!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Enjoe never met Eran’s eyes.
“I can’t prove it, but if I do so help me God I will kill you with my own hands! I trusted you! You betrayed us all. Get out, you’re dismissed from duty, you are no longer a part of this crew. You have one hour to collect your things and get out of my site.”
“Eran! I…” Enjoe looked in shock, surely this wasn’t happening.
“He said leave.” Beau was beside Eran, arms folded across this chest, flanking Eran to the right, Farin appearing at Eran’s left.
“You stay out of this!” Enjoe barked at Beau, which was a mistake. Eran’s fist was slammed into Enjoe’s face sending him flying out his chair. No one had noticed Val and Cris had come back into the room, Cris trying to stop the sudden tremors. He’d heard Eran’s accusations, all the pieces of blank puzzles rushing back.
All those times he’d been literally torn apart and he could never remember how he’d gotten into those situations to begin with, those horrible memories, days of feeling gutted and dirty, all of them Enjoe’s fault.
“Tell me it wasn’t you. TELL ME!” Cris cried out sobbing and Enjoe stood, wiping the blood from his nose and he smirked.
“You always wanted it, I just gave you what you wanted. You little whore.”
Val charged like a raging bull, tackling Enjoe in his rage and both of them flying over the table, knocking it over in the brawl. Val was showing no Mercy and neither was Enjoe as the punched and kicked and tore each other apart.
“You raped him you son of a bitch!”
“He wanted it, the little slut was built for the job. He always went willingly!”
“Drunk and no doubt drugged you bastard! I kill you!”
“STOP! STOP!” Cris was sobbing trying to dive in to tear them apart before they really did kill one another and before he heard another word.
“He was mine! You want my leftovers?” Enjoe taunted grabbing Cris and holding between like a shield. Cris’ arm bent back at a horrible angle where Enjoe held him prisoner by the wrist.
Val dared not lunge, Cris’ arm would snap. “Let him go you fucker! You’ve hurt him enough!”
“Enjoe! STOP THIS!” Mandy cried out, Eran holding her back from going into the fray herself. Cris was sobbing from pain and grief and a shattering of spirit. He felt sick and vile and wanted nothing more than to run and never stop running. He was five years old again, helpless and lost and gutted.
Enjoe dragged Cris across the room to the door. “He is mine.”
Cris’ eyes widened in horror and struggled to be free, but Enjoe was stronger. “NO! Let me go you bastard!” Cris wailed anger welling and fear, total overwhelming fear surging from within.
“Let him go!” Val was rushing forward and Enjoe’s hand closed around Cris’ throat cutting off his air.
“One step closer and he dies.”
Val halted in his steps his eyes begging for a miracle any opening to get Cris out of this situation. Enjoe’s let Cris breathe again and continued backing out the door and out across the yard towards the small two man hopper.
“NO! God no! Enjoe please don’t! Let me go!” Cris begged as everyone raced after them.
“Enjoe don’t you dare! LET HIM GO!” Eran ordered and when the blaster appeared and was pressed against Cris’ temple everyone froze.
“Get in the hopper.” Enjoe ordered and Cris’ eyes turned to Val’s devastation in their depths.
“I love you.” Cris’ voice was haunted as he was pushed into the hopper.
“CRIS! CRIS! Please don’t do this!” Val was desperate, the gun pointed at his chest from across the yard kept him rooted to his place.
Enjoe climbed into the hopper and before anyone could rush the vehicle, the engines fired and they were gone.
Val dropped to his knees and cried out “CRIS!” Beau and Mandy were instantly at his side holding him up as he sobbed.
“Cris is smart, he’ll find a way to get out this, have faith in him. Farin, help me track that hopper.” Eran said going over to the shuttle and firing it up for a chase.
Val anger driving his motions followed them scrubbing tears off his face. “He touches Cris, I’ll kill him with my own two hands.”
“You’ll have to beat me to it.” Eran hissed slamming the controls wide open as Mandy and Beau shut the hatch. The shuttle was soon on the chase and tracking the hopper that headed back into the Capitol.
“Jam them! They’re tracking us.” Enjoe ordered and Cris punched up the console, and tapped out a few commands. He was no idiot, he was going to amplify the signal, and naturally it looked like they were running silent.
“There’s our boy! Red Hot signal! Way to go Cris!” Farin punched the air with his fist. “You got him Eran?”
“I see it, pray they don’t land and bail. Tracking on foot in this area will be like finding a needle in a haystack. Everyone take a communicator in case Cris finds one to contact us with.”
Luck didn’t hold out, by the time they found the hopper, it was abandoned.
Cris was dragged down one slum and one street after another, every big city smelled the same, even on Pirotaine it smelled of sweat, oil, feces, and alcohol. One alley after another they ran, Cris stumbled along as Enjoe dragged him by the wrist. “Move your feet.”
“Why are you doing this?”
“I said shut up and move.”
“No damn it, why?”
“You talk to much. That’s why. I want your ass, not your annoying habits.”
“You’re insane. Let me go god damn it!”
“I said shut up!” Enjoe used the butt of the blaster to slam into the side of Cris’ head. He crumpled like an autumn leaf.
Enjoe shouldered his limp body and ran down darkened alleys.
Cris woke up lying in a pile of mildew and trash. He smelled like someone had pissed on him, he was wearing only his shirt, which was torn open, and his pants were nowhere to be found. He was hurting from head to toe, covered in bruises and there was blood on his legs. Cris curled into a fetal ball on wet pavement, frozen to the bone and wept.
“I found him. Do NOT let Val back here.” Eran said turning off his communicator and kneeling beside a broken youth.
“Don’t look at me.”
“Cris… I’m sorry we weren’t faster.” Eran laid a hand on Cris shoulder; he was shaking and cold to the touch. Cris flinched and shied away.
“It’s not you, it’s me. Once a whore, always a whore. Just leave me with the trash, I belong here.”
“No you don’t and never did. Had I known, I’d have stopped him years ago.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“Yes it is, I failed to protect you when you needed me most.” Eran lightly stroked Cris’ hair.
“Just leave me Eran. I can’t face him.”
Eran was answered with a choked sob.
“He loves you.”
“I’m dirty, he’s too good for the likes of me.”
“Cris. Please don’t say that. None of this is your fault, it’s mine, I was blind to this for so long.”
“I didn’t even know, to think I thought I loved him. I’m such a fool.”
“You were abused, you are no fool and I failed you. I pray you can forgive me.”
“Eran, please stop. How can this possibly be your fault?”
“When I took you in, I should have been a father to you. Now you are the brother I never had in my heart. Please lean on us, we love you. We’ll never let him hurt you again, I swear.” Eran was in tears as he collected Cris into his arms and lifted him up. He was weeping and fragile as a newborn. His arm was twisted; it looked broken at the elbow and wrist.
“Just leave me, I can’t face him.”
“Yes you can. You love him, he loves you, you’ll both get through this. It'll be hard, but you will make it.” Eran said carrying Cris back to the shuttle. Mandy was there waiting and was already setting a broken arm and ribs just as Val came running back.
“Stop Val. Wait a minute.” Eran looked grim and kept Val from going inside the shuttle. “I have to tell you first so you’re prepared.”
“No…” Val’s knees went weak and he sank onto a trashcan crushed.
“I’m afraid so. He will need us all, you most of all even if at the moment he is terrified to face you.”
“Why?” Val cried as Beau softly walked over to comfort Val.
“Because he loves you most. He’s afraid you won’t love him anymore. Irrational fear, he’s out of sorts emotionally.”
“Did anyone find him?” Val was furious and distraught.
“No, he’s disappeared.” Farin sighed running his hand through his hair.
“He’ll be back for Cris, not tonight, not soon, but he will, I feel it in my gut. I order you all to shoot him on sight.” Eran ordered lighting up a smoke and Beau shivered.
“It’s murder.” Beau whispered and Eran exhaled a cloud of smoke.
“It’s Mutiny. I am his Captain; I am the law where he is concerned. My orders override planetary jurisdiction. Federal Interplanetary law gives me the power to dispense justice on my subordinates. Pardon me while I go put a price on his head.” Eran said walking over to a freestanding communicator panel. He called the local federal outpost and supplied the warrant on Enjoe’s head.
“Captain Callum, your warrant is issued, he’ll be tracked. What’s the bounty?”
“One million credits. I want his head.”
“You’ll get it for a million reward. Dead or Alive?”
“So noted Captain Callum. The notices are being sent and posted.”
Eran walked away from the communicator vid grid wall and Beau looked blank and void of emotion.
“The war did that too him. He can be brutally cold sometimes.” Farin said laying a hand on Beau’s shoulder.
“I know. So can I actually. We saw both sides of that War. It left its mark on me too. I do not forgive easily, even if I am hard to anger, I carry long, long grudges. I agree with Eran’s choice here. I shall never forgive Enjoe, never.” Beau stated walking after his husband into the shadows to talk.
Farin sat with Val while Mandy sedated and tended to Cris in the back of the shuttle. He was asleep by the time she had him stable and everyone went back to the homestead very late that night.
Cris looked pale and frail as he slept. His arm in a sling and his ribs and his forehead were bandaged and Mandy had him on a saline IV drip with painkillers. He was brutally beaten up, it was a miracle he was alive at all.
Val sat by the bed all night, just keeping vigil and softly talking to Cris as he slept. Reassuring him that he still loved him and would never ever stop loving him.
It was a very long night for everyone.