Here you'll find
Into the Light
This is a sequel to "Boots in a Flowerbed", and reading that one first is recommended -- otherwise it will be rather hard to understand what is going on and who all these people are.
1. Stairway to Heaven?
It's bloody dark here - better not let go of the railing. Don't want to bump into walls, and I can't see a fucking thing, but at least the stairs still go on. Upstairs, that's where I'm going. Can't remember why, but anyway.
Shit, there are too fucking many steps. I've lost count and I'm out of breath. But when they end, I'm there. I suppose I'll remember where and why, when I get there.
Fuck, that hurt... must watch my step better. Mustn't slip like that again - oww, what was that? Oh, the door. The door. Now I remember. Now I bloody well remember where I am and why I am here. And there's the bell, right there.
The door opens, there's light from inside. It's the younger one, he looks astonished but doesn't try to stop me as I step past him - fuck, the corridor looks strangely wobbly - and then he's disappeared somewhere. Well I don't need him, my business is not with him anyway, and I've been here often enough to damn well know this place.
"I want to talk to you," I tell him as I reach the fawn room, but he's not there either and I'm getting frustrated. Is he trying to avoid me? "Goddamn it, where the hell are you?"
"I'm right here." He's standing at the door, as tall and calm and gorgeous as ever, or actually even more so. My breath catches, the way it usually does, as he folds his arms on his chest and looks at me from under those bangs. "What is it? I heard you wanted to talk to me."
"Chaim." I swallow. Fuck, if only the room would stop reeling. "Yeah, I want to talk to you. Now."
"I'm listening, Toni." He doesn't move but I can see someone behind him. The toyboy. The 'Demieni. The pretty boy. He steps to stand next to Chaim, Chaim glances at him and says something so low I can't hear.
"No," he says, scowls at me before turning again to Chaim. "Why should I go?"
"Please," Chaim says. "We need to talk."
"He's in no condition to talk!" he snarls. Ooh, how can the sweet little fucktoy look so vicious...
"Please, Kim." Chaim puts a hand on his arm, and miracle of miracles, he does turn and go to the next room. I can't hold back a smirk, or at least I think so. My body feels like it belongs to someone else, and my ears are humming. But I can see everything so clearly, so crisply. Chaim across the room, especially him. He's looking at me, one eyebrow rising.
I can't breathe. I can't force my gaze away from his face, from his lips, from his jawline, I follow it down to his throat, I can see it under the half-open collar of his shirt. And a little more downwards where I can't see, but I remember what comes next. His chest, stomach, so flat to touch, so unlike a woman's rounded softness. That tall lanky body, I remember what it feels like when those long legs entwine with mine, what it feels like when it hardens into stone and then relaxes on top of me...
The only man I've ever let fuck me. I do the fucking, that's a hard and fast principle. With him it goes both ways.
"Toni." He sounds exasperated. "Are you going to talk or fall asleep standing up?"
Ah yes - talk. What did I want to talk about? "You and that toyboy..." My tongue doesn't want to work.
"His name is Kim," Chaim says patiently, but I can see his lips thinning. I know which buttons to press, Chaim... "What about us?"
"How long are you going to - well, keep him?" I must know it. It's very very important.
"Toni," Chaim sighs. Not the reaction I wanted. My stomach lurches as if in panic. "Nobody is keeping anybody anywhere. I love Kim, he loves me, we live together, end of story. Please get it now. I don't want to keep explaining this to you over and over again."
My head is reeling more, I have to hold it still but it just doesn't stop. He can't mean it. No, he just can't go and leave me like this, not alone like this.
"Toni, it's you who up and left a long time ago," Chaim says heavily. "You knew all along what I thought of Leiden's bunch of people. I made no secret of it. You knew what I thought of the things they were up to, and you with them. You chose to leave. Don't blame me for it."
"But." I don't manage more, my lips just refuse to obey. "But you..." I try to say something, but the words are so jumbled. "I need you."
Goddamn it, my feet are in the same conspiracy, I try to step closer to him but they just buckle underneath me, then my face is buried in his chest and I nearly choke on his scent. The cologne. The cigarettes. Just Chaim. His arms are tight around my waist and he pulls me up. I can't help giggling, he feels so good there. "Chaim..." I want to hug him but my arms are so limp. What the fuck?
"Damn you, Toni!" Now how did I get into this armchair? Chaim is standing in front of me, leaning on the armrests, glaring at me. "What the hell are you on? This isn't just regular booze! Have you started popping those pills again?"
I frown. Can't remember. Have I? But now I feel good again, now that he held me. And I want more. With him everything's going to be all right again. I want to stay here, with him, with Chaim. My Chaim.
"You're damn well staying here," he tells me. "I'm not letting you go anywhere in that condition... Toni, tell me it's not those pills!"
"But I feel so good." I want to make him understand. It's so good, so super, everything feels so - well, everything feels like something. He shakes me.
"Feels so good, right?" Chaim, your eyes are so beautiful... "Remember how good Thaidan felt, in the party back in Hotel Palace? Remember how good he looked there on the pavement? Wasn't he a nice sight?" A dried rivulet of blood from the corner of a lax mouth, glazed eyes, the splatters of red all around, oh gods I'm going to be sick... Fuck it, Chaim, don't shake me that way! "Remember what we promised that morning, Toni? I have kept that promise - what about you?"
"Let go of me." I have no idea whether I'm whispering or screaming, but he doesn't let go no matter which. Just looks at me so intently.
"Toni, you bloody well don't deserve it, but I still care for you." He sounds resigned. "And you're staying here now. But not in my bed."
I can feel a smile on my face. Oh yes, everything's going to be - what did you say?
"You're not sleeping in my bed."
What the hell?
"I care for you - as a friend."
He's forcing me to look at him. I wince at his expression. It makes me feel so strange, like years ago when - no, fuck, no! I don't want to remember. But he's still looking at me, I blink when his face goes rounder, softer, and I can almost touch that mass of ash-blonde hair flowing down along his back before it disappears again. "I still think of you as my friend, my little brother Toni, and if you're not looking after yourself then I guess I must."
He kneels in front of me, those long arms pull me close and his scent overwhelms me again. My throat constricts painfully, I can't breathe and it fucking hurts, my fingers clench into a fist around a handful of his shirt, and I know vaguely that I'm fighting for air. It hurts.
"Hush, Toni," Chaim whispers, holds me tighter. "You're tired. It's all right, Toni."
"No," I manage. Why is my face wet all of a sudden? "No it's not. Don't you fucking lie to me."
"It's going to be all right," he modifies. "I'll see to it."
I want to tell him that he's no fucking lord of the universe, but I just can't get the words out, any words. My fucking body feels so far away and everything is just spinning around me so that I have to hang on to him in order not to fall. I clutch to him and try to breathe. Fuck, why do I feel like this now? Why am I not feeling good anymore?