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
PART ONE ** PART TWO
PART THREE ** PART FOUR
PART FIVE ** PART SIX
PART SEVEN ** PART EIGHT
The fic that took over my LIFE.... O_o Damn plot bunnies!!! DONE DONE DONE-SKI
“Fast thinking to get Farin and Mandy out of here.”
“Get Enjoe out too. Burn him, we can’t take chances with him just in case, this place is contaminated.”
Eran nodded as Beau sank to his knees beside Val and Cris and prayed for their souls.
Eran joined Beau in his vigil, adding his own prayers for a miracle and adding his own tears for fallen loved ones.
Eran was sitting by a large bonfire outside, smoking a cigarette as a small cruiser craft landed and seven Collectors came out in a formation rush. “Save it. You’re late.” Eran
“We’re a head of schedule, are you Captain Callum?” The Sigma Unit leader saluted as Eran nodded once.
“We’ll set up your perimeter sir, I must say it’s an honor to serve you sir.”
“I said save it, you’re late. The augment is there.” Eran motioned toward the fire.
“Amazing, single handed. You really are all they said you were.”
Eran just hauled off and punched the youth. “I don’t need your praise. Any man who likes killing and is awed by it is not fit to fight.” Eran growled as Beau walked out of the Homestead.
Beau tossed into the fire several sodden blankets and what looked to be clothes. “I don’t want anyone in here or within a hundred paces of this fire.” Beau told Eran as he went back inside.
“You heard him.”
“What happened sir?”
“I’ve already filed a report with the bureau. You just stay away from the dwelling and the fire. We had a contamination and we’re cleaning up the mess, it’s not safe.”
“Neither of you are covered for hazardous materials.”
“We’re immune. You are not. Don’t question my orders.”
“Yes sir. Are there any casualties?”
Eran sighed. “The augment left a string of casualties in his wake.” He couldn’t even say Enjoe’s name, he felt responsible, he felt foolish, and he felt betrayed by a boy he’d tried to help. “Call Upsilon Unit and cancel the orders, we don’t need them. You are released back to your primary schedule.”
“I’m sorry sir, we were the closet unit.”
“It’s not your fault, I know that.”
“May I ask you a question sir before we head out?” Eran nodded, watching the flames.
“How old are you sir?”
Eran had known the question was coming; it always did when his past caught up to him. “Old. Very Old.”
“What planet are you from? I’ve never met a humanoid race with your lifespan.”
“I was born about fifty miles north of here. I’m human, same as you.”
“I will not answer your next question. I am still alive and that’s all anyone needs to know. You’re Dismissed Commander.” The Sigma unit leader saluted and the collectors came and went without incident.
Beau returned to the fire with the remaining linens he’d used to clean the cave with dumping them in the fire.
“What I cannot understand is I’d had that canister buried in there. What it was doing out of that hole I can only come up with one conclusion.” Beau said coming over to Eran who held the titanium box that had been blasted open shattering the canister within.
“I tested it, Enjoe’s fingerprints are all over it. He must have snuck in there sometime earlier while Mandy and Farin were busy and we weren’t here. The lock shows signs of tampering; he was probably going to use it on himself and Cris. It’s my only guess, was that yours?”
“Yes. You confirmed it with the fingerprint analysis. Please go burn that.”
Eran got up and tossed it into the fire.
“All that’s left is to torch the cave, thankfully my scans show the only contamination is the cave itself. Mandy and Farin will be safe to return as soon as I get this done. Did you contact them yet?” Beau asked watching everything burn with Eran.
“An hour ago, Mandy is groggy, but fine he just used Chloroform on her, no damage to her or the baby.”
“They asked about Val and Cris.”
“What did you tell them?”
“Nothing, that sort of news is best done face to face.” Eran said shoving a rag in a large bottle of kerosene fuel. He walked into the Dwelling with Beau and together they stood at the opening of the cave and Eran lit the rag hanging from the bottle with his lighter and tossed the bottle inside.
The kerosene exploded into the cave as the bottle shattered and they watched the controlled blaze burn hot and fast. Once the fuel was exhausted, Beau ran another scan.
“All clean. They’re gone for good.”
Eran nodded and went to call Mandy and Farin back.
Mandy was in shock as she sat beside the two men laid together on a mattress on the floor of the main room, a single sheet draping them. Beau had burned their clothes and the sheet was to cover their nudity and dignity.
“How?” she asked dumbfounded, both men were ghostly pale but breathing. They showed no outer wounds, even Cris’ arm was no longer broken.
“Enjoe earlier today took the canister out of the place I’d had it hidden. During their fight it ruptured. He’d blasted enough holes in them both the algae had plenty of access to get into their blood stream. I don’t even want to think about how badly that must have hurt in open wounds.” Eran said as they all sat around Val and Cris.
“The mites abandoned the algae for a better meal ticket.” Beau sighed running a hand through his hair. “Val was blown apart, just like Eran. But Eran and I had been infected months, I really didn’t think they could work this fast. But Eran and I only ingested a small amount and they took months to take over our bodies. Both Val and Tinks were saturated with the Algae, they took in a lot more. And my scans show the mites are taking over at a staggering rate. They were both dead when we found them. I half hoped I’d be wrong, but we just waited to see what would happen.”
“This mean they’re?”
“Just like us now.” Eran said lighting up a cigarette.
“It’s a miracle.” Mandy was relieved.
“It’s also a curse.”
“Only if you let it be Eran.” Mandy said taking both his and Beau’s hands. “You will always have each other, no man is cursed who has a family around him.”
“True.” Eran said then grinned. “The “Infinity” just took on a whole new meaning. There’s a big universe out there, we can get into a lot of fun trouble.”
“Eran!” Beau chastised but smiled. “I call shot gun!”
“Naturally, first officer Shannon.”
“Do we really need military titles?”
“What else would you call that position?”
“First Bard? First Boy? First Chair? Do you really think I’m cut out as an OFFICER?”
“You have a point I hate rank, it’s really not necessary for us either. Rank will get old fast with an eternity in front of us. But we do need them to use with other people when they ask.”
“Just be pirates and collect booty.” Farin laughed and Eran smiled and reached out to slap Beau’s ass.
“I have booty thanks.” Beau slapped him on the back of the head.
“You really are a pirate, scurvy dog.”
Eran laughed as Val moaned. “He’s coming around, he’s gonna be out of it for a minute give him time to come around. That first time you get killed is really tough to snap back from. Trust me I know.”
Val’s eyes were unfocused as he blinked them open his hand blindly groping until he found Cris at his side. He rolled over, still on autopilot his senses nothing more than a clouded haze. He was still living his last conscious memory, and he found it and curled around him protectively. “Cris.” He breathed falling back into his un-conscious state a moment before.
Beau smiled and pulled the sheet up over them both. “They’ll be fine, they have what we didn’t Eran love. They will at least awaken at each other’s side.”
“You’re probably right. Let’s move them into their room, Farin can you please un-weld the door?” I think if we leave them with pace and quiet and some food, we’ll see them when they’re ready to have some questions answered.” Eran said as Farin went to work getting the door open again.
Mandy took in a large bowl of fruit and a pitcher of ice water and set it on their card table as the others put a mattress back on Val’s bed. Farin and Earn carried Val and Cris back into the room and laid them together on the double bed. Beau following behind the others with a sheet and blanket to cover Val and Cris with as they slept on unaware of the world around them and healing still from their fatal injuries.
Once they had them settled together, everyone left to go about making the “Homestead” home again. Mandy helped Beau clean up the back room while Farin and Eran placed a large steel panel over the cave, sealing it forever. Then Farin welded the original door leading to it shut. Removing the knob and making it a permanent wall, Beau moved a dresser in front of it and hung a curtain behind it; it would never be opened again.
Val awoke to the sound of weeping. Soft hair fell across his chest in waves and his chest was wet with tears. “Don’t cry Baby.”
“Oh God Val. I swear I thought you died; you’re not even scratched. How?” Cris was everywhere kissing him touching him, crying with relief.
“How? Cris look at you? When did you?” Val sat up looking at Cris’ healed arm and then his leg and then his back. Not a mark, no infection, no word carved in his back.
“Are we dead or did we just dream all of this?” Cris shook and Val took his right hand.
“Neither, look.” Val rubbed the Banding ring on Cris’ finger.
“Then how did we live through that? Val I felt you DIE! I died!”
Both men looked at each other “THE WATER! Was that?” Cris gasped and Val nodded.
“The Box was under the bed, I thought it strange it was out so I moved it away under the bed. When he shot you he shot it too. Oh my God!”
Both men were up out of bed, holding blankets around their middles as they burst into the main room to where the others were playing a hand of cards at the table.
“Welcome to Eternity Boys. Wanna ante up?” Beau said gaily as he tossed a chip into the pot.
“HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?” Val and Cris blurted out in unison.
“Don’t play in mite contaminated Algae and don’t get blown to bits where it has a lot of holes to get into. I raise you ten.” Eran said tossing in two chips.
“Will you stop playing for two minutes?” Cris asked going over to Eran and grabbing his shirt and shaking. “Are you saying Val and I are...?"
“Infinite.” Eran grinned and removed Cris’ hand from his shirt.
Cris sank to the floor and Eran just patted his head. “While you’re down there little brother, wanna shine my shoes?”
“Eran will you be serious?”
“I am. The best way to cope with it Cris, is to just cope. You just pick up the pieces and continue with life like nothing happened. And don’t make a habit of getting killed, it hurts as you just found out.”
Cris just sat there stunned and Val sank to the arm of the couch. “Fuck me.”
“That’s Cris’ job. Eran you fucking shark you’re bluffing. I’ll met your ten and raise you another ten.”
“Can someone please tell us what happened? All I remember is Enjoe blowing holes in us and feeling like I was on fire, I remember DYING.” Val was shaking and Eran laid his cards down and faced them both.
“Yes, you will always remember dying, that can’t be changed. What happened is simple. You got infected, by fate or by accident believe either you wish. You were both killed and you both came back. I tend to like choosing fate, it’s much more romantic.” Eran winked once more patting Cris’ head affectionately.
“I can’t say I’m unhappy about this in the slightest. It’s nice to know I’ll never have to watch you grow old and die.” Cris turned his face up and smiled, tears in his eyes.
Eran reached into his pocket and handed an old piece of paper to Cris. “I never showed you that, I never told you. I was afraid to then. But to get you off Mirastor I told them I was your brother and I adopted you. That’s your certificate of adoption.”
Cris opened it; his name read “Crispin Elias Callum” upon the page.
“Oh my god. Why didn’t you tell me? Why the hell did you give me a name like Elias? Dude!”
Eran laughed. “You didn’t have a middle name, I made one up. I liked Elias, that was my father’s name. And I didn’t tell you for a lot of stupid reasons that don’t mean a damn thing, I’m telling you now.”
“Well, Tinks was made up too. I never knew anything other than my first name anyway. It’s nice to actually have a legal identity. Thank you Eran. For everything.”
“Don’t thank me. I never did enough for you when I should have.”
“Please let’s not go through this again. It was Enjoe. He told me everything. He’s been working us for years, we were all blind.”
“What did he tell you?” Val asked coming over to sit by Cris on the floor by Eran’s feet.
“This was after he shot you and just before he killed me. Oh god, for years. He told me how when he met on Mirastor he marked me. God Eran this was when I was five, I never even remembered. But I know what he said was true; because he said a name he could not have known. Remember when I told you about Sendel? He was a soldier my mother brought home. He liked little boys. Apparently Enjoe was with him and when he found out about what Sendel did to me, he killed him and my mother for allowing it to happen.”
“Christ! The General said he’d killed four prostitutes and five soldiers on Mirastor!”
Cris nodded, “one of them was my mother and the other Sendel. He said he came for me, but had to leave before he could find me.”
“The collectors were after him. He could not have been more than eight.”
“I know, he said he spent the next years tracking me down and getting you to take jobs closer to Mirastor.”
“He did do that, I thought it strange but we made a lot of money in those sectors so I took his advice.” Eran could see the dawning of the most elaborate, psychotically brilliant master plan unfold, no wonder none of them noticed. Enjoe was a master strategist and subtle, the moves had been so slow in the dance that by the time one step was finished and the next started no one except the one directing the dance would notice.
“I never told you, there was a boy in a hooded sweatshirt, he came up to me and told me you were easy meat. Loads of cash. Enjoe was that boy. He said he’d knew you’d pick me up, he set us up.”
“That’s one thing I can actually thank him for.” Eran smiled and Cris smiled in return.
“So why all of a sudden did he stop being subtle? It just does not make sense.”
“He mentioned that too.” Cris said turning toward Val. “I left him in his mind for you. He blamed me for it because I fell in love with you. He was like a boy with a toy, I can see it, he was still eight years old and you came along and took his toy. MINE! MINE! MINE!” Cris threw a tantrum.
“Damn it, Cris you are so fucking smart. That’s exactly what he was doing! He threw a temper tantrum!”
“Precisely. He may have looked twenty-five, he was still eight years old inside, brilliant, but still a child in so many ways. I really truly pity him.”
Eran sighed. “Pity? A little. But even eight year olds know better than to kill. He did that of his own free will. God knows how many others he killed we DON’T know about.”
“It’s hard to say, we’ll never know. What happened to him?”
“He’s dead. His ashes are in that Urn there. I thought I’d let you decide what to do with it.”
“There’s a beautiful cave here, full of blue neon. He had no beauty in life, I think maybe if he has it in death he can rest in peace.”
Val took Cris’ hand and kissed it. “You have an amazing capacity to forgive. You are so absolutely beautiful. I’ve never met a soul like yours.”
Beau walked around the table and squatted on the floor to hug both men. “I think you’re both beautiful people. Cris, I’ve never been prouder to call a man my brother.”
“In-Law, brother-in-law” Cris teased and Beau laughed.
“Speaking of Brother’s by bonding…” Beau said tapping the ring on Cris’ finger “…when did he give that to you?”
“Back in the cave.” Cris smiled as Val wrapped his arms around him from behind.
“I see. We sealed it, that cave caused enough havoc. All four of us became as we are in it.” Beau said and Cris smiled.
“We also filled it with a lot of love the four of us, you two made love in it, Val proposed to me in it. It gave us an eternity to share it. I will never curse that cave.” Cris smiled leaning back into Val’s embrace.
Beau looked to Eran, neither of them had thought of it quite that way. “Leave it to Cris to put things into perspective.” Eran said leaning over to kiss his husband at his feet.
Later that evening six people dressed in black walked in procession toward a cave, one carrying a small clay urn.
Eran set the urn on a rock shimmering with blue and Cris laid a small ceramic plate next to it, he’d written on it a simple epitaph.
You were a tormented soul in life,
We pray you find peace in death.
We forgive you, your sins against us.
We understand they were not born from Malice
They were born because you knew nothing else.
We will remember you.
The Crew of the “Infinity”
As they walked back together, Cris sighed. “So what happens next?”
“First lesson down a long road for you two. Always go on like nothing happened. You can’t let others know, you must keep the masses unaware by going on like life is normal. We continue to fix the ship, we go to choir practice, and we act like normal every day people. The catch being we don’t stay in one place too long. They start asking too many questions after a while.” Eran said and Cris nodded where he lay tucked under Val’s arm.
“Makes sense. But I sort have already figured out that part. I meant ‘next’ as in how long are we staying currently?”
“Can I ask that you stay at least to meet the baby?” Farin asked and Eran smiled.
“That I think can be arranged. We should build a better “Homestead” if we’re here for a while. We sort of wrecked the windows and doors.”
“Let’s just take one day at a time. None of us are thankfully in a hurry.” Beau said as they reached the “Homestead” and called it an evening.
Val and Cris retired to their room and as Cris laid his clothes out to change into something comfortable, Val was suddenly behind him, arms pulling him close. “I love you.”
Cris turned around and wrapped his arms around Val and laughed. “That’s a good thing, seeing as you are stuck with me for a very, VERY long time.” Cris purred undoing the buttons on Val’s shirt.
“I can think of worse things.” Val replied leaning in for a kiss.
Cris however had other things in mind and squirmed out of Val’s grasp and picked up a pen from the table. “I want you naked, you promised if I got better…”
Val laughed and stripped and lay down on the bed. “I did promise, that had better not be permanent.”
“It’ll wash off.” Cris cheered shedding his own clothes and coming over with a decidedly demented gleam in his eyes.
“That tickles! Cris!”
“What the hell are you doing to my back?”
“You so do not want to know love.”
“Cris what are you drawing?”
“Just a huge penis.”
“You are not!”
“I’m not?” Cris laughed he wasn’t of course he was just drawing random lines connecting the freckles on Val’s back, but of course Val didn’t know that.
“I’ll murder you.”
“Sorry, you can’t do that either.”
Val growled and flipped over and tackled Cris into the mattress. He squealed and the pen went flying. “My turn.”
“I don’t have spots.”
“I’m about to give you some Baby.” Val dove into Cris’ neck.
“No hickeys! No hickeys! Ah! Ooooooh.” Cris purred as Val tortured his neck. “Mmmmm, never mind carry on.”
Cris had half a dozen hickeys all over his body before he couldn’t stand it anymore. “Val if you say we’re gonna wait more I’ll cry!”
“Oh no, I have no intention of being a Gentleman tonight.” Val licked his way up Cris’ abdomen to plant a huge wet sloppy kiss on his lips.
“Oh thank GOD!” Cris kicked and flipped Val on his back where he straddled Val’s middle.
Val quirked an eyebrow wondering what Cris was up to, he found out as Cris slid down his body and proceeded to make him quite happy with lips in all the right places. He’d waited so long however that if Cris continued much longer it was going to be over before it started.
Val gently pulled Cris up and laid him back in the mattress. “My turn and I want you not to hold back, promise?”
Cris smiled and nodded and then lost all rationale as Val returned the favor and more, so much more.
They made love for the first time that night and as they lay there tired and sweaty and happy the crickets sang them a song outside and the fire in the hearth kept them warm and content shining on their rings and dancing in their eyes.
“That was beautiful Val.”
“I’m thirsty as hell.”
“Me too, I’ll go raid the cooling unit. What do you want?”
“Anything. And Food, I have the munchies too.”
“I feed you. I’ll be right back.”
Val wrapped a sheet around him and went out to grab food. Beau and Eran were at the table playing cards and both men stared at him as he crossed the floor, both wide-eyed and Beau broke out in hysterical laughter.
“What?” Val asked and Eran took a drag from his smoke.
“Nice, um ART.”
Val had totally forgotten he was covered in Cris’ handiwork.
“Blame Cris.” Val grumbled raiding the cabinets and toting back cool drinks and various items to munch on. “And for goodness sake what the hell did he put on my back?”
Beau and Eran just grinned.
“Fuck. CRISPIN You LITTLE SHIT!”
They could hear his laughter come ringing out from the bedroom. “I LOVE YOU YOO!”
Val grumbled all the way back to his room.
“Nice flower. Cris draws well.”
“I’m absolutely positive Val thinks it’s something else.”
“Probably. Deal shark.”
Val went straight to the bathroom to look at his back. Cris came in behind him and smiled. “It’s just a flower, like I’d draw a penis on your back?”
“With you I have no clue what you’ll do next.” Val grinned at Cris in the mirror. “Thank God.”
Cris sipped from his bottle and sashayed back into their room.
They didn’t actually go to sleep until almost dawn.
Winterfest came, the choir was perfect, the “Homestead” was bedecked with all manner of festive cheer from the decorated pine in the front room, the holy on the hearths and during the first day twelve of festivities, Val and Cris stood in the field and Shaman Frieg tied their hands together in front of all their friends and loved ones and they exchanged vows, moving their rings from their right hands to the left.
The celebration of their bonding lasted all night.
Everyone exchanged gifts and ate and laughed and enjoyed life to it’s fullest. Eran could not remember a more joyous Winterfest.
It was summer, the ship was finished and so was the new “Homestead”. They had turned the pre-fab units into a guest house of sorts and next to it, they had built a larger two story structure right off the cave face and right on top of the pre-fabs. It was as unique as Mandy and Farin; it was their home and had plenty of room for an entire brood of children.
Cris and Beau paced the floors waiting for news. Val sat reading and Eran chain-smoked and Farin, the father looked the calmest of them all.
The mid-wife came out smiling. “It’s a girl!”
“You owe me five credits Beau!” Cris grinned trailing Farin into the bedroom to get a look at his “niece”.
Mandy looked tired but happy.
“Name? What’s her name?” Beau asked fawning over the beautiful newborn in Mandy’s arms. She had mix of colors from her parents. Mandy’s very dark skin and Farin’s fair skin making a rich chocolate color on the baby, her hair was like her mothers Dark, black and curly, and her eyes were her father’s almond shaped and slightly upturned.
Eran and Cris looked at each other then back to Mandy and Farin. “After us?” Cris asked and both parents smiled.
“You are our family, of course.” Farin stated matter-of-factly.
Little Erin was a few weeks old when the Crew of the Infinity kissed everyone good-bye. They promised to come and visit soon and Mandy and Farin stood in the field waving them off one early morning, wondering what trouble Eran was going to get them all into and just how long they’d be gone before they came back.
Eran punched up the power and Cris in the co-pilots seat threw open the channels. “We’re good to go Eran. Let’s shake off the cobwebs.”
“Beau you ready?” Eran asked Beau who sat where Cris had used to sit in the cockpit, it made more sense to let Cris actually ride “Shotgun” as he called it, since he actually new how to work the ship, there were some thing Beau had no desire to learn.
Flying a ship was one of them.
“I’m all set. I’m just sitting here after all.”
“Val you secure down there?” Eran pressed the com-link to the engine room.
“We’re lit up green across the board. We’re good and my tray table is in the upright position.”
Eran chuckled and the “Infinity” lifted off.
“Second star to the right and straight on till morning!” Beau sang and Eran turned around to glare at him.
“Shut up Peter Pan. Get us in orbit; we’ll decide as a group which job we take. I have a huge back-log of requests, we’ll be busy a while.” Eran said and Cris set the controls and Eran lifted them off into orbit.
“To Infinity and Beyond!”
“Beau don’t make me hurt you or ban you from the cockpit.” Eran slapped his forehead and Cris just laughed.
Life was certainly never going to be boring having each other.
“Hey Beau, We’ll always have Paris!”
“CRIS! DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM!”
“A long Time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.”
“BEAU! I’m banning you two from watching old earth vids! STOP IT.”
Cris and Beau just laughed. The com-link buzzed from the engine room.
“My Schwartz is bigger than your Schwartz.” Val added, after hearing the exchange and laughing down in the engine room.
“I. Hate. You. ALL!” Eran mumbled as they settled into orbit and he broke out his cigarettes.
Eternity was a long time. Especially when one was were surrounded by idiots.
Beau broke out into song and Cris joined him in harmony.
But then again, Eran mused; having them around always sweetly singing wasn’t so bad a fate after all.
Now I have the daunting task of going back and editing all this CRAP.