What Haunts Us
Summary: Post Saltrock angst. Pellaz asks Cal about his life growing up, which I took some liberties with, I must admit. Pellaz POV.
Rating: hmmm… R
Disclaimer: Characters and the world they inhabit belong to Storm Constantine.Post Saltrock angst. Pellaz asks Cal about his life growing up, which I took some liberties with, I must admit. Pellaz POV.
What Haunts Us
The nights were cold but it was warm enough inside our small tent with our limbs entwined and the heat from the dying fire outside seeping through the canvas walls. Cal lay beside me with his arms pillowing his head. I could barely make out his features in the dark but I knew he was awake, even if he was pretending to be asleep. I shifted to face him, resting my cheek on his bent arm and touched his chest. He didn’t move.
“Tell me about your family,” I said carefully. I was curious to learn about Cal’s past. Well, to learn anything about him really. I was a sponge ready to soak up everything and anything he told me. Unfortunately, he never told me enough for my liking.
“I don’t have a family,” Cal sighed. “You’re my family, I guess.”
I pushed on. “No, no. Your human family. Tell me about your life before you were Wraeththu.”
Cal paused and I felt him stiffen ever so slightly beneath me. I caressed his chest lightly with my fingers hoping to relax him. Cal was like a wary cat on nights like this and broaching this sort of subject left me never knowing when he might bristle and bolt. He exhaled heavily and I could picture his face creasing in a frown.
“What do you want to know?” he finally asked.
I was bursting with questions. I wriggled up and leant over him. “Where did you live? What were your parents like? Did you have brothers…. sisters? How did you meet Seel? What was it like being in the city?”
Cal laughed a little and held up his hand in surrender, pushing my shoulders back lightly. “Hang on! I can only answer one at a time.” His hand covered mine on his chest. “I forget you’re just a simple farm boy. Never been to the big city…!”
I pinched his skin beneath my fingers.
“Ok! Ok… If I’d known you were going to be this demanding, perhaps I would have left you on that farm,” but he pulled his other arm from behind his head and wrapped it around my shoulder, pulling me tight against him.
I rested my face against his neck, breathing his scent in deeply through my nose. Cal fell silent for a few minutes but I knew better than to throw more questions at him. Joking aside, Cal’s childhood was an uncomfortable subject for him. I had picked up that much at least from those who knew him in Saltrock. Eventually Cal began speaking again and his low voice hummed from his chest and through my ear.
“I was an only child,” he said slowly. “And as you know, my family was wealthy. We lived in a large city far north from here – it was not the first place that was touched by Wraeththu, but it was one of them.”
I listened, rapt, as Cal spoke of the sprawling city that had been his home. The dark and dirty streets, the fenced and paranoid suburbs. It was hard to imagine. Even though I had heard hundreds of tales from travels who had stayed with my family, this story was different.
“Your parents?” I asked softly when Cal silent again.
“My parents? What to tell, what to tell…” he paused as if searching for the right words. “My father was some sort of businessman – who knows what the fuck he did all day. He wore a suit and was never around. My mother was a society woman – well as much as she could be at that time. The social scene had deteriorated somewhat at that stage. She was also a terrible drunk. In my last few years there I don’t think I spent a sober moment with her.”
I frowned against Cal’s neck. A bitter edge had crept into his voice. His limbs tightened around me and his story started to flow faster. “I hated school,” he told me. “I don’t think Seel minded it much but I was… something of a bad influence on him, I guess. Anyway, it seemed pointless. Human society was already breaking down – I wasn’t learning anything of use there.” He almost laughed. “I hated life; hated my parents. But the whole world was angry, so that was ok.”
He sounded so angry just then that I pressed my lips to his neck and kissed him softly. I felt him shift as he turned his head towards me.
“You don’t really want to hear my sob story, Pell,” he said softly.
“Yes, I do,” I told him. “I want to know all about you.”
In the dark his lips found mine and he kissed me softly. He kept his breath from me though, as if he didn’t want me to taste the dark thoughts that were. It didn’t matter though; I could feel them coming off him like waves anyway.
“You want to know what made me turn to the Uigenna.”
It wasn’t a question but I answered with a whispered “…yes…” anyway. Did I? Trepidation filled me. Perhaps I didn’t really want to know after all.
“My parents found out about my affection towards other boys,” Cal told me. “They weren’t happy. Well, I don’t really think my mother noticed. My father hated it. Tried to beat me up,” I squeezed him tightly and he chuckled. “Don’t worry,” he said. “My last night there I woke up and he was standing over me…”
Cal’s voice was icy sharp; the sound of it filled my mouth with a bitter taste. “Seems he didn’t hate the idea of it quite so much after all.”
A dark shadow started to form and my stomach dropped. My mouth twisted down. “What?” I sat up but Cal pulled me back against him and continued.
“When he saw I was awake he figured he’d put me to good use…” Cal shrugged beneath me. “Told me he wanted to know how good my cock sucking mouth was. He didn’t realise I kept a knife beside my bed. I told him if he tried anything I’d cut his dick off.”
I couldn’t stop myself and a soft whimper slipped out of my mouth. Cal’s fingers lightly caressed my shoulder. I squeezed him tight.
“The knife was blunt as anything,” Cal said with a humorless chuckle. “Wouldn’t have cut anything but he didn’t know that. He left me alone and the next day I left and went to Seel’s.”
We lay in silence for a few minutes and despite Cal’s apparent calm, I could tell his breathing was coming faster than it had been before. We continued to embrace tightly and I tried with all my might to banish the shadows that had formed in our tent. The fire outside did not warm us any longer.
Finally I told him, “I would have kept that knife nice and sharp for you.”
Cal rolled to face me and in the darkness I could see him smile. “I know you would have.”
I felt like I was going to cry. Cal’s story had struck me harder than I thought it would. My female side knew Cal’s past had affected him more than he would admit and my body screamed that it hadn’t been there to help him. Of course it would have been impossible and what could I have done anyway? Cal could take care of himself, he had survived. But I hated the thought of what had happened to my beautiful Cal.
Long before I realised it I was thinking of him as mine.
I ran my hands through his hair and he leant into me without speaking. My palms smoothed over his cheek and across his shoulder and neck. I listened to him sigh heavily. I was chewing the inside of my lip because if I didn’t, I was sure I might burst into tears, cry, sob, wrap myself around Cal and never let him go.
Eventually his sighs turned into a whisper. “Stop it, Pellaz. Don’t worry about it; it’s in the past now.”
Of course he knew what I had been thinking. I said mournfully, “It’s not fair…”
“No,” he agreed. “But I’m sure lots of other hara got it worse than me. I don’t tend to make things easy for myself.”
“I’m so glad you found me.”
I felt him smile against me. “Me too.”
Then I decided I couldn’t go another second without tasting him properly. I needed to reaffirm that we were both here, both alive. I pulled his face up to mine and breathed into his mouth. I filled him with memories from my own childhood to blow away the dusty shadow of his. The scent of my mother’s cooking replaced the stench of dirty back alleys.
He murmured against my lips. “Mmmm. I think you’re wearing rose coloured glasses, my Pell.”
I didn’t reply, not sure if he was right or not and not caring. Instead I focused my attention on his neck, nipping and sucking until his response grew more and more enthusiastic. His hands started to slide over my skin and I pulled on him until he rolled above me opening my legs for him so he could settle against me. I felt almost a desperate need to submit to him and give of myself – perhaps to restore some kind of balance or to thank him for opening himself so much to me. Maybe it was just to make myself feel better but Cal did not argue and swiftly took control of events.
I lay back as he moved above me, pressing into all the sensitive spots he knew so well. He sucked the breath out of me and replaced it with his own until he was the only thing I could taste. I craved him like water on a hot day. My finger nails dug into the bare skin of his shoulders, his back, his hips and I was arching against him and crying out.
When he entered me I felt like crying again and it seemed like maybe he did too because he stilled for a second and pressed his lips against my forehead. I curled my arms around his back and lifted my face to kiss his lips. It felt like the first time when Cal’s tongue pressed lightly into my mouth and a tear managed to escape and slide down my temple. He licked it up and then began moving again.
I was quickly lost and could do little more than hold on to him tightly with my arms and thighs locked around him. When the moment of completion came I cried out loudly and barely felt Cal bite down on my shoulder. Colour washed over my closed eyelids and I felt like neither of us were even in the tent anymore – we were somewhere else and all I knew was Cal, Cal, Cal.
When I came to the tent was full of our panting breaths and the scent of aruna. Heat pulsed through me and sweat made my skin sticky. Cal moved to lift his weight off me but I tightened my thighs on his hips to keep him where he was. “No, no. Stay…”
After a brief moment of hesitation Cal relaxed against me and pressed his face into my neck. I closed my eyes and sleep found us.