Chapter 3: Lovers Reunited
Adrian heard his lover’s long-awaited voice calling out from the entrance and he couldn’t help but grin. He had been planning this for six months now and he couldn’t wait for the surprise. Besides, it sounded like Damien already knew he was here.
“Here, love,” he called from the bedroom, and in an instant, Damien was at the door.
Damien looked tired and worn out and the gravity was affecting him as much as it was Adrian, but his eyes sparkled with delight and a broad smile crossed his face as he strode across the room, cupped Adrian’s face in his hands, and kissed him thoroughly. He nearly melted against the man. Absence had indeed made the heart grow stronger as he held on for dear life and Damien kissed him until his knees went weak. Then Damien pulled away and they stared at each other for a long time, just drinking in each other’s appearance.
“You’re really here,” Damien said. “I knew you would be, but it’s been so long.”
“Never again,” he said. “I’ll never let it be that long again.”
Damien kissed him again and he hugged him, but when his hands reached his back, Damien flinched. He pulled out of the kiss. He had heard about Damien’s losses despite the treaty that Alexander and Sabine had made – one of the perks of running the black market – and he knew that Alexander had punished Damien, but he didn’t know the extent of his injuries. He took a deep breath. Time to find out.
“Take off your shirt and lie down,” he said.
Damien looked miserable and helpless, but he obeyed. Damien covered his head with his hands as though unable to stand seeing his reaction. His entire torso was covered in a bandage. Adrian started to unwind it and after only one layer, blood started to show in thin stripes. His lips tightened and he kept going. When the bandage was off, he stared at the whip marks crisscrossing Damien’s back. He had expected it to be bad. He had never expected it to be this bad.
The wounds were stitched, but many of the stitches had broken loose, no doubt due to Damien’s active lifestyle. Even the stitched wounds were bleeding, though not heavily. All of his injuries were clearly visible. He closed his eyes in rage, took a deep breath, and opened them again, preparing to deal with his lover’s injuries as best he could.
Frankly, he didn’t know how Damien had survived. His energy must have been low due to his nonstop fighting and injuries like this should have killed him, but somehow he must have found the energy to heal himself just enough to prevent death. If he were human, he would be dead without question. He must have drained every last resource he had to heal, and made himself completely vulnerable in order to survive. If anyone injured him right now, he would likely die.
Adrian had no idea Alexander would do something like this. He had expected Alexander to punish Damien, of course, and he had expected to have to heal him. But even the worst case scenario that he had prepared for was nothing compared to this. He had been idly making deals on Vega while his lover was fighting for his life. He trembled as he went to the bag he had stuffed with healing ointments and bandages. He took out the bandages, and looked through the ointments. He was unprepared for this kind of injury. Finally, he took out the strongest one. It wouldn’t heal the injuries in any way, but it would help.
He cautiously restitched the injuries, then opened the jar of ointment.
“This will numb the pain,” he explained, taking a small amount and gently rubbing it across each slash in Damien’s back, careful to keep to the outside of the mark and not get it inside the flesh itself. “But if you use too much, it’ll slow your reflexes, so be careful with it.”
“Thank you,” Damien whispered, and he meant for more than just the ointment.
Damien was thanking him for not asking any questions, and he was willing to bet that Damien was not up to talking about what had happened yet. The incident was no doubt highly traumatic and would scar him mentally as well as physically. He ground his teeth as he rubbed the ointment in. Damn Alexander for harming something that didn’t belong to him. Damien belonged to him, and no one else had the right to touch him.
Once he was finished and had put the ointment away and washed his hands, Damien cradled him in his arms and kissed him again.
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you,” he said.
“Probably as much as I’ve missed you,” Adrian replied.
He pulled Damien to the bed and laid down, positioning them so the man was straddling him. He didn’t want Damien’s back to rub against the covers, so Damien would have to be on top. He had hoped to be able to reverse positions on this trip, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Oddly, he didn’t mind. He wanted Damien however he could get him, and submitting to the man sounded very pleasurable even though it wasn’t what he was used to. Damien leaned over him and kissed him, then let his kisses trail down his body. He unbuttoned Adrian’s shirt and kissed the skin that was revealed, and soon had the shirt completely off. Then he unbuttoned Adrian’s pants.
“My turn,” Adrian said, and then from his position on bottom he started kissing his way along Damien’s body until he reached Damien’s pants and unbuttoned them.
They both shucked off their pants until they were naked on the bed together, and he inhaled sharply in preparation for what would happen next. Damien heard his breath and stroked his cheek.
“Adrian, if you don’t want to do this-”
“Oh, I do, trust me I do,” he assured him, and lifted his legs to give Damien permission. “Please, Damien,” he whispered.
Damien’s eyes dilated with lust and his breathing grew heavy as he entered Adrian and he moaned at the sudden pleasure. Damien was incredibly gentle, as he had been before, and soon they were rocking together towards ecstasy. Adrian threw his head back and cried out as his orgasm hit, and he heard Damien grunt and felt an explosion inside of him and knew that Damien had also orgasmed. It was incredible to feel Damien’s pleasure within him and the feeling heightened his own orgasm and extended it for several long seconds. Then everything grew fuzzy and pleasant and he smiled as Damien collapsed on his chest. He stroked Damien’s arm, careful not to go near his back, and kissed Damien’s neck.
“That was incredible, love,” he whispered.
Damien’s eyes were slowly shutting and he laughed.
“You must be exhausted,” he said. “Why don’t you go to sleep, and I’ll watch over you tonight.”
“Would you, Adrian?” he said.
“Of course, my love.”
Damien drifted into sleep and he propped himself up on the headboard, careful not to wake the man sleeping on his chest. He grabbed a book from his nearby bag, one of Bertran’s diaries, and began reading. Nami had traded these diaries quite a while ago now, and he had read all of the books written by the king of the alien Valeforans. This was a diary about Damien that he had read before, but he wanted to share it with Damien when the other man woke up. Even though Nami had given him these journals with the understanding that Damien, Mat, and Sabin would read them, only he had actually read through all of them. Mat had read through several of the older journals, and Damien had skimmed one or two, but Sabine hadn’t read any. Not only did she want to avoid anything related to Bertran, Adrian had discouraged her because several of the diaries were about her and Nami and that would stir up bad feelings. He had asked Chris to have Edmond cancel the negotiations for the day, so they had plenty of time. Damien could get some rest, and he could refresh himself on the book’s contents.
Several hours passed before Damien opened his eyes. Adrian smiled and kissed him. He still looked tired, but it would take more than a few hours for him to recover from six months of fighting.
“I’ve been reading the most interesting book,” he said. “One of Bertran’s diaries. It’s about you.”
“Me?” Damien asked.
“Yes, you. You’ll have to read it yourself, but I’ll give you a hint. You saved his life.”
“Right,” Damien said.
“Read it,” he urged. “I think you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Certainly what you were like as a child.”
Damien narrowed his eyes as if considering the offer, then he scooted up on the bed and cautiously rested his back against the headboard. He must not have felt any pain, or else it was pain he could tolerate, because he reached over for the book and Adrian handed it to him. He opened the journal to the section he wanted Damien to read and set it on the man’s lap. Damien stared.
Bertran had drawn a rough sketch of what had to be him when he was younger. How young, it was hard to tell, but it had to be in his early teens. Damien had been a lovely child, and had grown into an incredibly handsome adult. As a child, his wide eyes had been more prominent than his aquiline nose. That had reversed, with his nose a more compelling feature than his beautiful eyes, and it improved his appearance, in Adrian’s mind at least. He wore his lightly curled hair to his ears in a casual sweep whereas now he wore it trimmed on the sides and a little longer on top. But it was unmistakably him in the picture. Bertran had drawn his hazel eyes and red-streaked hair with special detail, noting in the borders, “Not pure Lithilien.” Below was a sketch of two hands, they must also be Damien’s, with swan tattoos.
On the following page was an account of how Damien and Bertran had met on a planet in the Unclaimed Quadrant, how Bertran had offered to protect him, how they had been attacked and he had healed Bertran, how he had fled with Bertran’s sister to find safety. Then nothing, but in the latest diary there was another section about him, this one linking him to Yashim, Damien’s father and king of the Drakor, a different race of alien.
Damien’s cheeks were red as he skimmed through the account as if he were embarrassed or angry that he couldn’t remember any of it. Adrian could guess how frustrating it must be. He had saved Bertran’s life and apparently lived with the man for a while, but had no memory of it whatsoever. Bertran was a complete stranger to him.
“It’s all right, Damien,” he said, leaning close to his lover. “It’s all right if you don’t remember anything. If doesn’t change who you are, or how much I love you. I love you so much, especially right now,” he added, leaning in to kiss him.
Damien hesitantly smiled and returned the kiss, then laughed helplessly and rolled over until he was on top of Adrian again. His breath hitched; he hadn’t expected such stamina from his lover when he appeared so exhausted. But he was more than ready, and he wrapped his legs around Damien’s waist in invitation. Soon, they were bound together again and he was crashing into another orgasm with Damien not far behind. As they lay panting after their second time of the night, he couldn’t help but smile. This was far more than what he had expected and he was beyond delighted. He kissed Damien again and again before urging the man to get up and take a shower with him. Damien obeyed, and seemed to relax as the hot water sprayed against his bare body. It was a pleasure to watch, and Damien seemed to enjoy watching him, too.
They returned to bed and then Damien sat bolt upright.
“King Edmond,” he said. “I have negotiations.”
“I requested that the negotiations begin tomorrow so we could have the rest of today together,” Adrian said, waving a hand as if to erase his panic. “You have nothing to worry about.”
Damien lay back down, but Adrian could tell he was still tense. “What did you tell him? How did you arrange it?”
“I told him the truth,” he said with a shrug. “That I hadn’t seen you in a long time and we had some catching up to do first.”
“Good,” Damien said. “You didn’t tell him about us, did you?”
“Is it a problem if I did?”
Damien stared at him. “Of course it’s a problem. I can’t let people know that I have a boyfriend, especially not you.”
“Part of the point of being boyfriends is that I can tell people,” he pointed out, a little annoyed. “That’s what makes it official instead of secret.”
“If people find out about us, then they can use it against us.”
“Oh, Damien,” he said, “No one here will use it against us.”
“Maybe not here, but what if word spreads? What if my king finds out?”
He was silent. He hadn’t really considered that, but now that he thought about it, King Alexander would probably see Damien being in a relationship as a threat. Well, he would simply tell Chris and King Edmond to keep it secret. Besides, rumors in Kreutzer were unlikely to reach Lohen, not with the relationship between the nations being what it was.
“He won’t find out,” Adrian assured his lover. “I’ll make sure of it. Only Mat, Chris, and King Edmond know but in front of them, I want you to treat me as your boyfriend. Do you understand? I want you to hold my hand, and kiss me, and do all the things boyfriends do.”
“Even if other people might see us?”
“Yes,” he said.
Damien looked incredibly serious, but he didn’t protest. “All right, Adrian, as long as you think it’s safe.”
He was a little surprised that he acquiesced so easily. Alexander must have really done a number on his confidence and fighting spirit if Damien didn’t want to fight over this issue more, because normally he would protest and insist on privacy. He hoped the change in Damien’s behavior was temporary and Alexander hadn’t done any permanent harm to the man he loved, but even if it was temporary, a slow rage built in his belly. He was going to hate Alexander for the rest of his life for what he had done to Damien.