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Original Fiction

Part 2

It was growing dark. Smoothly and imperceptibly the grey light dissipated into grey dimness that was getting thicker with every minute. Nighttime for sure.

Well, he could use the rest . With a flashlight Simon had arranged a place to sleep near the wreckage. He didn't want to use the shuttle itself; had plucked a heap of fern leaves that together with the sleeping bag from the emergency kit they made a very comfortable bedding.

The fire of quasi-coals made him even warmer and after he had eaten a few nutrition-bars, as nasty as they tasted, and drank some water from the shuttle supply, he realized he was nodding.

Hope it's as empty around here as it seems, he thought and fell asleep under the crackling of the fire - the sound of it on the brink of his consciousness reminding him how his ship had burned a moment before he and his crew were captured by the League... his favorite nightmare - but for once there was no bitterness in it and he went through it without jerking up out of sleep in silent horror.

When he opened his eyes again, it was already light. He lay inhaling the slightly bitter smell of dead leaves under him, looking at the smooth glimmering surface above. It mystified him somehow - he couldn't even say how far away it was, tens or hundreds feet. And in silence - the quasi-coals died out some time at night - he suddenly could hear a soft rustle of running water. Strange he hadn't noticed it yesterday - he must've been stunned with the fall.

Or too busy.

He got up with a sense of enjoyment that getting up hadn't brought him in the last twelve years of his life - or, maybe, never - stretched and, sinking his teeth into another nutrition-bar, went to look for the source of the sound.

It was a narrow trench - clean or at least transparent water running swiftly over the ground. Simon knelt at it, patting the neat edge of its bank. Artificial, too. Just like everything else.

Suddenly he understood what it reminded him of. Once in the Academy they'd visited a greenhouse - an award for success in the studies - and he'd almost been shocked then to see all these green bright plants that one could find nowhere else on Aben. The air there had been the same - wet and bitterly fragrant.

He looked at the running water wistfully and turned back. And that was when he found the path. Well, in fact, he had expected something like that - fitting into an so neat and cleverly made environment - yet he had a slightly creepy feeling as he looked at the narrow band-like way going through the ferns. Empty... as everything else around. But the path was there. And it led somewhere.

Why, you might take it right now. Wasn't it what you were going to do yesterday - to leave?

Yeah - and he still was going to leave. Once he made sure the League brat had died overnight.

He returned to the shuttle via the burnt-out way it had made through the ferns - moving almost unwillingly around the twisted heap of metal to see the place where Peter was tied.

He must've been dead. Fuck, the night had been cold - and God knows the bastard was injured enough not to survive... No, wait... It was strange, wasn't it? Logically Simon knew he should want Peter to be alive... to be here for his revenge - for the nine years Simon had spent as his slave and, maybe, for the three worst years before that, too. Three years of hell in the League concentration camp that made him submit to be whatever the League wanted him to be - a wordless pet, a fucktoy, a boogey man - just to get out of there.

He should have died; should have killed himself - like the navigator of his ship had done. But Simon had been so young then - at sixteen the youngest captain of a destroyer, at least at that time, he heard by the end of the war there were fourteen-year-olds leading ships. He knew he would never be able to get back to Aben - Aben disowned those who were enslaved: die or stay free.

He spat on the ground seeing the white motionless hands with the rope around the wrists - and then the rest of the half-naked body spread on the ground.

The kid looked like shit. He smelled like that, too - no wonder - and with a bit of sick feeling in his throat Simon saw the patch of blood-soaked ground between his legs and the gaping wound that was his anus. Then he met the stare of the black-circled eyes on the haggard face. Pretty much alive.

Simon made a contemptuous sound sniffing - deliberately letting Peter see the grimace of revulsion on his face. He saw Peter's eyelids flop up and down tiredly as if the light hurt his eyes. It might have hurt - everything might. Pathetic...

"If you eat my shit and lick my ass clean I'll probably let you live."

He said it for the mere sake of enjoyment to hear his own voice - besides, he had already taken a dump... no need for the little bastard to know, right?

"Can kill me right away."

"You hear?"

"Yes. Must've been temporary."

"Okay, then," Simon nodded, reaching for the pain gun that was hanging so conveniently on his belt. "It's a shitty way to die, you know. Gary O'Donnell could tell you lots about it. But, maybe, I'd better leave you here like that and see what parts of yours starts rotting first."

He knew he got Peter with the last phrase - saw him turn away slightly, as if unimpressed, and gnaw into his lip again. He must've bitten them raw by now, Simon thought.

"Go ahead," barely audible. Ouch... still resisting!

He raised the gun but suddenly felt that he wanted another outcome - wanted to win the brat not by pain but... to out-will him. Make him obey his former slave on his own accord. The families of the League - they always considered themselves the coolest - the toughest.

"If you lick my ass, I'll give you something to drink," he could only imagine how thirsty Peter was by now - and enjoyed seeing him run his tongue over his lips involuntarily. "There is water right over there. I'll let you wash yourself."

His voice was mild - almost seductive - and he knew it would work better than threats would. It had worked on him, after all. Hadn't he'd been ready to agree to everything when after countless months of beatings and rapes a man came and just talked to him - like a human being to a human being? Simon Kewlene never liked to recall how he had been broken; but the truth was that it was not some unbearable torture they put him to - it was just a conversation.

He watched the struggle in the pain-filled eyes of Peter and cold triumph filled his chest slowly.

"Come on, do it!" he lowered his pants, squatting over his prisoner's face and waited, long enough but not too long - and then felt the soft touch of a warm tongue against his anus. He nearly shivered. Wow, a sensitive spot where you would never guess, right? Well, it was true - no one had ever touched him there... like this. Soft and velvety and careful... fuck, it didn't matter how it felt! It was the tongue of his proud master rimming his ass - that's what mattered!

He let it go on long enough for his cock to start hardening and then got up - looking down at Peter who failed to put on the mask of indifference now - or was too shaken for it. There was no reason for Simon to keep his word - and he saw in Peter's unhappy eyes that he thought about it, too. But he bent down, untied his hands and dragged him up by the collar of the sweater that was still slightly wet. Did his best for the squeamish expression to be apparent on his face and pushed Peter slightly away. It was sheer enjoyment to watch how the kid suffered silently through taking control over his numb body.

Simon didn't need to say anything about not making stupid moves - the pain gun in his hand spoke eloquent enough. He picked up Peter's boots and pants and walked him to the trench.

"And wash your sweater, I don't want you to stink around, bitch."

Looking at the trench before, Simon felt apprehensive about the water - but Peter slid into it eagerly, whether it was cold or bad or what. He gathered handfuls of water, drank it greedily first thing, then yanked off the dirty sweater and soaked it in the water. It looked like he was trying to do everything at once - washing, cleaning himself - in feverish, nearly hysterical motions. Simon noticed, though, how he flinched using his left hand - and nodded, filing the fact. Broken... or fractured.

"How come you aren't afraid to drink it?" drinkable water was vital - who new how far away from real civilization they were - and there was not much of shuttle supply left. Peter dumped his sweater and turned to him, face and hair wet and most blood washed off; blue-lipped with cold but looking less miserable.

"You wanted me to check it, right? If it's bad - you'll know."

Trying to be smart again? Simon thought about catching up with this then shrugged. In fact, he hadn't done it consciously - using Peter to see if the water was good for drinking. But the little bitch was right - it would work this way.

At last Peter got out, shaking so badly that he nearly dropped his sweater on the ground when tried to wring it one-handed. Simon watched how he pulled up his pants quickly and even though his t-shirt and sweater were soaking wet, put them on, too.

"So, where are we?" Simon didn't want to ask questions but couldn't help himself.

"I don't know," for a moment Peter stopped struggling with his boots and looked up at Simon - and even though lying was never a problem for him, Simon could see in his eyes that he was honest this time. "The crystal showed it was an empty part of space. The only chance was a Danarian observatory - I thought they would notice the shuttle," fat chance - not to mention that Danarians didn't even use oxygen to breathe. "But this..."

"Your crystal is shit."

"No, it is not," now Peter's voice sounded exactly as usual - the notes of superiority so apparent in it. "It can help us. Let me put the info through it. I am the only one who can do it. You need me."

Here we are! Did the fuckin' League whore ever give up? Simon felt his hand reach for the pain gun - funny how easily these habits get acquired - but changed his mind: should spare the elements. He just made two steps towards Peter, momentarily intoxicated with the immediate fear making the kid's grey eyes black, and hit him with the handle. He watched him sprawl on the ground and look up, wiping blood from his mouth, starting:

"Yeah, I know you can beat me..."

He never finished.

"Right, I can. Wrong, I don't need you," Simon caught the fractured hand and squeezed the wrist, finding the small broken bone intuitively, pressing on it with his thumb. He saw the thin film of perspiration appearing on Peter's forehead, the eyes getting wide and dark at once. Must be too hurt to cry out. "I just might want to keep you alive," he twisted his arm behind his back, turned him on his side, pulled down his pants, "as long as I am not tired of sticking my cock up to your pretty smart ass."

He entered him sharply, tearing the passage that didn't even have time to scab - and tearing more, under a different angle. He heard the little "ah" escaping Peter's lips - saw his face go blank with pain and become strangely boyish. This time it went much easier than yesterday - just two thrusts and he got fully in, his balls resting against Peter's ass. The young man's head was pressed against the ground, his mouth half-opened silently and his other hand, lying on the ground, trembled unceasingly. Simon started fucking - fiercely, in long, deep strokes - enjoying a moan, then another one he managed to elicit. He dropped the arm he had twisted but all Peter did was to gather it to his chest, like a bird's broken wing.

Anger and dissatisfaction fought in Simon - more powerful that arousal, no matter how steadily and strongly he kept battering - until he willed himself into feeling hatred, not pity.

"You think I am a bad motherfucker," he leant over Peter, turning his head towards himself by the hair. His mouth neared almost as if he wanted to kiss - but when touched, he bit - tasting blood from Peter's torn lip, not knowing whether he wanted more to spit or to swallow it. "Wrong! I am a very bad motherfucker."

His hand slid under the wet sweater, catching the nipple he had squeezed yesterday. He saw Peter shiver - aha, something new for you - and twisted and crushed it between his fingers - blood wetting the tips of his fingers as the heady sweeping orgasm covered him.

He shuddered, feeling not exhausted but electrified, pulled out his bloodied cock and got up, towering over Peter.

"Not so squeaky-clean any more - but at least you'll have something of me till the next time I feel like riding your ass, slut."

He looked how Peter got on his knees and gathered his pants silently, shakily. He played with the pain gun absently. He knew he could make him fall on the ground again, writhing in agony - just with one move of his finger. And the best part of it was that he even didn't need any special reason for any, any thing Peter could do to anger him. He would do it just because he could. Wasn't it the ultimate pleasure of owning a slave?

For a moment he wanted to tell Peter about it - to see how the poor fuck would twist and turn trying to make him change his mind - but then he caught the gaze of his grim, dark eyes looking from the pale withdrawn face - the gaze full of such strange thoughtfulness - Simon understood in a flash of empathy - that, maybe, it was exactly what Peter knew and thought about right now.

He spat in anger and pushed the button and watched Peter dig his fingernails into the ground in agony.

* * *

He killed for the first time when he was eleven. The man was from the family and cheated on Andre - and apparently did something worse, too - because otherwise he wouldn't have ended up in the basement of their suburban house, cuffed to the chair.

It was the first operation Peter was allowed to watch from the beginning to the end - and he had been pretty excited when the man was proved guilty and caught. But now, looking at him - he was not beaten or tortured, just cuffed and angry - Peter hardly could believe that it was the same man who used to be a frequent guest at their place, always courteous with Peter's aunt, always amiable with Peter. Now just in minutes away from his death.

"Hey..." the man was talking on and on, saying it was a slander, Andre was sorely mistaken. At last he ran out of steam and his voice sounded just pleading as he looked at Andre. "You know me... I wouldn't do it to you..."

Peter's uncle shrugged with his usual almost somnambular tranquility and turned away to say something to his people. He looked at Peter who stood not knowing what to do. He wanted to hate the man but he couldn't; in fact, he would prefer not to see him dying.

"We need to come out. Can you keep an eye on him? Here is the gun and he is chained."

Sure. Peter nodded without doubts, took the heavy black gun in both hands and directed it at the man. He heard Andre order something to his people as they left. He looked at the man who sat motionlessly and silently, not meeting his eyes. Everything seemed quiet.

But when it happened, it happened very quickly. The man made a strange twist with his wrists and got up - and his hands were free. There was a very concentrated expression on his face as he reached for something in his boot.

Peter pulled the trigger. He was not even particularly scared, he did everything like on the shooting lesson. The bright red of the wound blossomed on the left side of the man's chest - and as much as Peter's hand demanded to shoot more and more, he knew that the man was dead; he never missed.

The man swayed for a few seconds, his eyes acquired that introspective expression that Peter saw in the eyes of dying men so many time after that - and then fell flat on the floor with a thud.

Peter just stood there. His mind was kind of blank as he struggled to understand what he did - by his own hand - and then there was another shot and the man's body jerked on the floor. He turned and saw Batista, his uncle's right hand man, putting his gun away.

"Always make the control shot."

And there were others, coming up to Peter, greeting him with a good shot - greeting him with passing the test. It had been a test. He knew it now.

That was when panic caught up on him. He looked at the gun in his hand and the thin trickle of blood that crawled to his feet on the floor - and felt about to choke on upcoming tears.

He knew he'd better die than start crying now, of course. So, he smiled and nodded - but when he looked in his uncle's pale eyes - calm water blue - he knew that the man knew. And he was not going to turn away from Peter for it.

"Next times will never be so bad."

He stumbled and balanced desperately trying to stay on his feet, knowing that if he fell, it would be twice more difficult to get up. And Simon would hate it, too.

They were going along the narrow path among ferns - walking for hours, with the trench getting farther from it and getting nearer again, crossed with other trenches from time to time. But otherwise the surroundings stayed the same. So much the same that Peter couldn't help slipping out of reality - into the past or future. Maybe, it was a blessing.

But the more painful was the return.

"Where are you going to go?"

"There," Simon waved his hand as if it explained anything.

"Why there?"

"Because," the blunt consonants were back in his voice when he was angry, "I want to ."

Peter obeyed; he just understood he couldn't take another blast of the pain gun - deadly one... or worse - again one that wouldn't kill him. The road was going slightly uphill. He noticed it when he started walking. Well, just putting one foot in front of the other would be bad anyway. Funny toddling walk that made his face color red when he realized it; when he understood that he walked exactly like some slaves walked from time to time and everybody knew why and made jokes about it. But as much as he tried to walk normally, nothing came off.

Just like he couldn't seem to keep his attention to the present moment.

Too hard to face what you are now, Peter?

"Keep moving."

What he made me... He felt painful, choking anger sticking in his throat at the presence of the big man behind him.

Don't you know that nobody can make you be shit? You can only let it happen.

Shit... He nearly went into dry-heaves when the memory of what he had to do this morning caught up with him. He wished he could believe that he didn't really do it. Oh fuck, he should've stayed there, at the wreck of the shuttle, with his hands tied - dead or dying - not to walk wherever Simon was going to take him - and certainly not to earn the right to walk with what he had done.

Couldn't you stand a little pain, Peter? Why did you want to live so much, Peter?

To revenge?

Dream on.

After a few hours Peter hazarded to start a conversation.

"It's a ship, right? But no one builds ships so big now."

"Maybe, it is not a human ship," Simon shrugged. He had thought about it. But all other humanoid and non-humanoid races of the Union had different needs about air and water... why, the water seemed all right - he wasn't dying of it, anyway. "Or, maybe, it was not built in this age" Simon added.

This hadn't come to his mind. And especially confusing was that Simon was able of making a conclusions like that. But it might as well be true.

Would Andre care enough to send the ship for him? Peter registered the thought and recognized it for what it was - another illusion, just like the memories of the joys of his childhood which were nothing short of joyless. But as much as he tried to get rid of it - he had to see the situation clearly for his own sake - it came back again and again. Andre could make the same calculations and get to know where the Kingfisher was supposed to come out of the warp... yeah - and to know that it would blow up.

But still... Andre always came and helped him. Just like when Peter was seven years old.

"Stop doing it to the boy, Guido, I warn you for the last time, you and your drunk bitch of a wife."

He would tell Andre nothing of what happened. And he had to take care of Simon. The thought was like a lash across his back - like another shot of pain through the dizziness. He had to kill him. It was the only way to resurrect something of his honor. Honor? Truly, it looked like he would never be able to say this word in relation to himself.

Several hours later they stopped for a break - and Simon shared a few nutrition-bars with him. Peter was not sure eating was a good idea for him - he knew he probably wouldn't be able to pass anything for the next few days - but he had to have some strength to keep going - for the moment when he might need it for real.

"Time for fun, little bitch."

Oh shit... Who would think one could be so interested in sex?

"If you do it again now," he tried to be reasonable; yeah, try to convince this savage of something for your benefit. "I won't be able to walk."

"And I am going to miss your little butt so much that it will make me spare you?" he was amused so far, not mad. Peter knew how close the pain gun was - and felt his mouth get dry with apprehension. "You think you are so bright? You think you know where my buttons are to push them?"

Well, it was worth trying, he thought and saw Simon pull the string of his pants, taking out his heavy, already hard cock - the tower of dark flesh. Simon didn't say anything - and he didn't need to - because surely Peter knew what was expected from him.

He knelt, making his body obey before his mind started making circles as usual, as to whether he could make himself do it or not. Just a little step per time; and mind you, not that it was the first time for him to tell himself that, to use this method - think about this morning, for example. After all, seeing the damn monster of the cock just as a piece of meat - well, a piece of meat that was going into his mouth - he might get through it all right.

Better that than another agonizing fucking that would leave his rectum torn even worse. Everything else was - sentiments. He couldn't afford them.

"You hurt me - I'll hurt you worse," Simon's voice over his head, low - quiet and unmistakable in its menace.

Simon's skin tasted sweat and bitter musk - just the same as Peter had tasted in the morning - no, don't think about it - but the size was a kind of shock, even though he should've been ready - hell, he knew how it felt inside him. There was no way he could take more than its head in his mouth.

"You think me an idiot? What are you sucking - a lollipop? As if you never had your cock deep-throated."

Oh yes, he did - only he had no idea how exactly to do it. Not to mention that he couldn't imagine...

His hair was yanked. The grip bringing involuntary wetness to his eyes as Simon got up suddenly, pulling him up on his knees. The cock, glistening with spit, slipped out of his mouth - and was guided in again - and this time he didn't have any choice how deep to take it. It was shoved against the back of his throat and - with amazing, sickening sensation that made his eyes flew open - behind it, ruining the barrier of his gagging reflex. The sensation of his throat being expanded was incredible. He couldn't breathe - he realized it with momentary horror that the lack of oxygen caused - and was shocked immediately with another wave of pain as Simon pulled his cock out. Just to be sent in again.

"Hands," he heard Simon's angry voice from above, obeyed unconsciously - as Simon kept yanking his head back and forth, fucking his mouth, almost slamming his face against smooth pubis of his.

At that moment Peter didn't feel humiliated. He hardly realized anything at all through astonishing pain. How could it be so bad? I mean he had fucked enough faces in his life - and even though it was what you only did to slaves or whores, not to a clean decent girl like Joanie, his wife. But he never guessed it might have been so agonizing. His throat was burning - the feeling of something plunging into and plucked out of it made him sick - and the worst of it was that he was never sure when he would breathe. Then Simon pulled him forward and kept like that - and Peter knew he was coming, right into his throat, no chance of spitting or turning away. But the thought of having "something of Simon" from both ends now was not so bad as the choking sensation when Simon's sperm must've taken a wrong way in his throat.

He was stunned mute when some of it leaked out of his nose after Simon let him go - whitish slime that was another man's cum - and he coughed and coughed, kneeling on all fours, until his chest felt on fire. He threw up, too, but there was too little in his stomach and he just heaved helplessly.

He knew that Simon stood over him, could see his shadow on the ground and thought that the man was smiling - most likely satisfied and amused at the same time. But when Peter got up at last, still swaying, whispering half-coherently:

"I need to wash myself," he knew he was wrong.

There was no mockery in Simon's eyes - but the same hungry, burning disgust Peter had seen there when he had opened his eyes the first time after the crash and met Simon's stare.

"You think we're done, little shit? Maybe, you think you get away cheap this time?"

Cheap? He didn't have time to think it over as another shot of the pain gun threw him back on the ground - and by the time the convulsions stopped Simon was over him, fumbling with his clothes. He didn't have time to think no, not now - as Simon's hands roamed over his body, up along the ribs, hectic, deliberately painful.

"Shush!" his knee was on Peter's hand, on the broken one, pressing it to the ground. It was bad - and worse with every second - but still not as bad as when Simon's fingers grasped his nipples, clutching like vices and twisting unmercifully. He thought he would puke again with pain; it had nothing to do with sexy tweaking. He felt how he started bleeding under Simon's fingers - from the scabs Simon had left on him before - and new lacerations - and the worst was that he couldn't even follow his instinct to protect himself.

"Don't you feel turned on? Don't you like me playing with your tits? Should I suck them to make you happier?" he guessed what would happen but could do nothing to prevent it - Simon's mouth clamped on the left side of his chest, teeth jamming into his skin so hard and hot until he felt a thin trickle running over his ribs. Simon's hand still kept moving - under the belt of his pants, finding his genitals - the intimacy of skin against skin was appalling; but Peter forgot about it at once when Simon fisted his hand on his balls, tugging them up and aside savagely. He couldn't scream - just gasped a little - and heard the laughter above, satisfied at last. "Do you like having sex with me, family slut?"

"I am not a slut. I am a man - I proved I am..."

He didn't quite know what he talked about - must've been too out with pain - but Simon hardly cared. He slapped him - stinging but barely felt by Peter as the pressure on his balls rose even more. And then it was gone.

"You are not a man. None in your family are. I bet your wife would enjoy my cock better."

"Remind me to send it to her," he should've been silent. Simon's fist shot in his mouth, straight and hard, making him feel the sharp bits of the broken tooth in the salt blood that he swallowed.

"You shit. You made me angry again," coldly and even with a bit of content. "You are going to pay for that."

And he did. It was not long but it was intense, the level of the pain gun raised to the highest possible without being lethal.

He managed to take a hold on himself somehow when Simon allowed him at last to get down to the trench and wash. And there, in a few steps away from Simon, in deceptive privacy - he broke. There were no tears but he had to cover his mouth trying to muffle the sobs - knowing that Simon could hear it all the same - and yet unable to do anything. He couldn't stop shivering, too - not with pain or cold but with the appalling thought how easily it all was for Simon - how with some pain and some violence he could make Peter in what he was now - a whore, a weakling, a wreck.

Yeah, that's how he's breaking you, Peter. And if you don't take care of it soonest, he'll succeed.

* * *

He wished he had restrained himself somehow in the afternoon. Not because he regretted what he did to the little bitch - that was a pure joy. But the easiness of slipping into anger - no, the impossibility to fight it - and that he didn't even try to fight it - made Simon feel vaguely uncomfortable. Revenge was sweet - for everything the bastard and his people had done to Simon over years - but control was more important. And if someone less smart could ask what more control he wanted over the fucked-up League slut, Simon still remembered what Goodman, the police officer that got him arrested and later sent to the Academy, said to him:

"Everything that gets you going - owns you. Everything that makes you want to do it again - owns you. Sex, murder, drugs..."

Simon had tasted all of this by the time his life in the streets was over - and enjoyed all of this. But Goodman's words stayed with him somehow - maybe, taught him something... and the truth was that the memory of it, maybe, allowed him to survive twelve years of captivity.

And even now, having six hundred packs of the most treasured drug in the Union in his bag, he still didn't try any. He was free to do it - but he chose not to. He knew Peter wanted the stuff - he could see it in how desperately the young man looked at the bag sometimes: take a dose and not to be in this world - in this hell - at least with his mind, at least for an hour.

He should have killed Peter. Should've let him die. Sometimes this thought was so obsessive that Simon chased it away angrily... but it returned.

Well, go on as before and the problem will solve itself, Simon thought watching the sad state Peter was in - even he had to admit it. Barely hobbling - and Simon didn't like the way he pressed his hands to his temples from time to time; some concussion, wasn't it? Let the bitch die.

No, let him go on.

They made probably ten miles after the break; Peter was a lousy walker, true - but it was not that Simon was in a hurry going anywhere - and nobody chased them. After what happened during the break Peter didn't try to say anything any more - no pseudo-conversation as to what Simon thought of this and that - with his eyes, wide and wild with pain, and yet icy calculating, looking for an opportunity to turn the tables again.

Simon liked him more when he was silent. Who knows - if the kid could keep his mouth shut, he would get away easier, maybe.

When it started getting dark, he made a fire of quasi-coals again and gave Peter another nutrition-bar but he just shook his head, huddling up with an unhappy expression on his face. For God's sake, it was his choice - for a few moments Simon thought about some little interlude of making him eat and then decided that succumbing to the urges again wasn't worth it. He sat at the fire, nibbling the nutrition-bar, looking at the young man who curled on the other side of the fire, seeming asleep - if Simon didn't see how his sticky but still curved eyelashes flutter at every little sound Simon made.

He wasn't horny this time - and rather tired than angry. Maybe, for once he would do without sex. Just for once.

"What do you think about?" he couldn't resist; did he aim for a little sneaky remark... why, he was just making a conversation! He saw Peter stir, his dark eyes open on the white face. "What would your uncle say if he saw you?"

"But he won't see me, right?"

For a moment Simon's temper flared up - the bitch robbed him of his remark - but he calmed down - and heard Peter continue suddenly, strangely wistfully, as if it was all the same for him who he talked to:

"I wonder who will take over for me."

Why, don't you hope to return? Apparently not. He knew there was no way back, Simon thought with a fresh pang of gloating; and yet Peter's thoughts were still about the past, he still couldn't let go. Well, no wonder - the past belonged to Peter - but the future was Simon's.

"I think, maybe, Batista. He will do. Not Dario, the guy is a wimp. But Joanie will marry Dario, I know. She'll stay for seven months in our house and then she'll be able to go home - and in a year she'll marry again."

Joanie... sweet thing of a girl whom the son of bitch didn't have brains enough to appreciate.

Well, it looked like Peter would never see her again. Simon got up and saw Peter tense - and saw how he tried to hide it almost immediately, his mouth pressed into a jagged line of split lips. He felt a sparkle of malicious joy at the sight - and enjoyed even more taking out the rope, knowing what Peter had to think. There was no shuttle but he tied him up well enough.

"Don't thrash," warningly.

He didn't. He winced involuntarily when Simon grabbed his hands - the rope burns were barely scabbed on them and the left wrist swollen and pink. Simon felt the urge to draw the rope as deep as possible into puffy flesh - and fought it. He had all time in the world - or till the bitch's death - to hurt him - so, he could stop behaving like it was the last chance for him to revenge himself.

He knew Peter fell asleep almost the moment he moved away from him. By the time Simon finished his supper, the kid was already in the middle of nightmare. It might be something new, brought on by the events of the last two days, but somehow Simon thought it was the usual one, the one he witnessed so many times during those nine years he had slept in the bedroom of his master.

His father - he knew as much as that. Heated iron. "Show me that you are a man."

In sleep the little bitch whined; made the sounds that were so difficult to elicit from him when he was awake - with Simon fighting for every shriek, every moan of his. But in sleep he couldn't control himself - and he cried - and tossed, probably hurting his tied hands even more - and the orange flashes of fire danced on his battered face.

He was keeping the nephew of Andre Solana in hell. Just like Aben sent the Kingfisher to hell... savages or not, whatever the League thought about them. Weird... he still felt proud for his planet, no matter that it had rejected him.

Simon got up abruptly, turned his face to the dark surface above - no bright dots of stars, no lights of leaving and coming ships. This world was different. But somehow it made sense. He was going to have a new way here. He knew it.

He wasn't sure what woke him up. The night was so quiet - just the quasi-coals kept crackling softly near to him. But it must've been his sixth sense that warned him - singled out one particular sound, uncharacteristic to the peace around, yanked him out of his dream... to see Peter's face impossibly close. A moment before he plunged forward, aiming for the pain gun under Simon's side.

You bastard! Simon flipped over - just a moment too late, feeling the smooth handle of the gun slip from under him - but not too late to hit, sending Peter rolling on the ground. The blow was intended to be strong enough to make the pain gun fall out of his hand. But as Simon got on his feet and looked down at him (how did the son of bitch get free?.. like a rat that is ready to gnaw its paw off), he saw the dark eyes full of hatred shining at him - and the sharp stinger of the pain gun. Hell turning its face on him again.

He had to do something about it. He had to - he thought it so desperately as never before in his life. He knew Peter's finger was pushing the button - and grabbed the knife, threw it - saw it slash along the kid's palm - but he knew it was too late...

Convulsions never hit. He watched Peter push the button again - and started laughing, already knowing what happened. The elements... he still had not been thrifty enough with them. He laughed so hard that tears spilled from his eyes.

"What are you going to do now?" he looked - and the bitch wasn't there, the grass wet with blood - but he was gone, the knife was gone.

He listened hard; there was just silence around.

Fuck... fuck it! No, don't blame anyone but yourself - if you'd tied him up as you wanted, he wouldn't have been able to twist his hands out of the rope, especially so silently. Now go look for him...

Well, he was probably running non-stop, trying to put as much distance between himself and Simon as possible. No... Somehow Simon knew it was not that. He could've run away when Simon was asleep. It was not what Peter wanted.

Oh yeah, how easy they were to read, these League people.

Peter probably had no idea how apparent the trace of blood was on the ground - for Simon who could see in the darkness like a cat - and the smell alone would lead him, sweet and maddening, unmistakable smell of blood.

He'd memorized this smell from the first time when he killed - stuck his knife in the belly of another eight-year-old kid - his own age - over a pack of cigarettes. Simon had stolen it and was going to exchange it for food. He needed this food; the kid probably needed it more, was starved enough to make a wild attempt to shank Simon. And died himself.

The first one... not the last one. Simon Kewlene, the gang leader, the wildest cadet in the Academy - the youngest captain of the destroyer ship.

Peter should've known whom he was playing with.

He moved through the ferns and caught the rustle of Peter strike from behind. The knife was aimed right - but his slashed hand must've let him down. Simon dodged - turned - and saw Peter's shocked, disbelieving eyes - before he hit, knocking him off of his feet in one blow, never letting him get up again, kicking and kicking even when the man on the ground was too gone to be able to cover himself or even to curl.

* * *

Don't kill him; don't let him get away so easy.

If it was not too late, that. He pushed the body with the toe of his sandal and it rolled slackly, like a broken doll. Simon was panting - he couldn't hear Peter's breath even if it was there - so, he had to squat to touch Peter under the jaw to check the pulse. He felt it beating, strong and fast, and Simon thought again that the bitch was tougher than he looked.

Well, all to the better.

It was already getting light when Peter came round - spread-eagled on the ground at their camping place - with Simon sitting at the dying fire, watching him, sharpening a thin wooden stick with the knife he had acquired again. He saw Peter jerk regaining consciousness, pull at his arms and legs instinctively. What - no luck? Simon hadn't spared him this time, tightening the rope viciously.

Yet he struggled; in vain, with the strange introspective look on his face - until Simon moved and his attention shifted. His eyes became angry and miserable at once as he looked at Simon - black pools of pain and hatred and fear.

"Oh fuck..."

"Later," it was meant as a joke but Simon knew Peter hardly appreciated it. He seemed to lose control for a while, yanking on his arms again and gasping in pain. It was not the only source of pain, judging on how he shivered at every breath and then looked with almost pathetic terror when something sloshed in his chest and a clot of blood came out of his mouth.

"You are a mess," Simon informed him. "Don't make me hit you again."

"Do whatever you want."

"I hope you won't change your mind. Because I am going to punish you, you know."

"Use the pain gun," his voice was so tired that Simon wouldn't believe he still tried to be ironic. He saw Peter close his eyes - but they snapped open again when Simon got up. No matter how indifferent to his fate he tried to pretend to be... how could he be?

Simon wrapped a bit of cloth around the sharpened end of the stick and rolled it. He knew Peter looked - trying to figure out what it was and forbidding himself to ask. No matter, you'll know soon.

He checked the smoothness of the stick against the place between his thumb and forefinger and then probed the spike. Not really sharp - but it had to do.

"What..." Peter couldn't stand it; started and bit his lip. Simon came up to him, knelt at him and put his hand on Peter's jaw.

It didn't surprise him when Peter tried to resist - he had no problem to cope with it, though - turned his head on one side, holding down strong enough to keep him from trying to bite.

"Remember after the explosion you couldn't hear anything?" he didn't need the answer, he could read it in the staring eyes of grey suddenly becoming black and wide. "I found that I felt safer with you when you were in that state."

He thought Peter understood; when Simon pressed the sharpened stick into his ear, he understood for sure - and was probably speechless with shock, just gasped shortly. He couldn't thrash, too - not only because Simon held him down - but with the spike finding the way inside, he froze in terror - cried out as the spike pressed against the ear-drum and farther, tearing, destroying the membrane.

Deafening slaves was a customary way on Aben - in times when Aben was powerful enough to have slaves - but Peter couldn't know it. In fact, Simon hadn't ever seen it done, too - just heard about it. But he hoped he was doing it right - pushing, turning, twisting - until blood and some clots of film-like tissues started coming out - until Simon was sure there was nothing left more he could destroy without killing the kid.

He pulled the spike out - and Peter was gasping feverishly, strange - shocked - expression on his face - as if he couldn't believe this thing was done to him. Simon didn't wait for more struggle, turned his head to the other side forcibly and stuck the bloodied spike in again, repeating the process, meticulously: it had to be done completely, anything less didn't work. He saw blood once more - felt it on his fingers - watched a few trickles that crossed along Peter's neck. They changed direction as Peter shook his head, free from Simon's grip at last. He was shaking his head as if he thought something got in his ears and he could shake it out.

No way; it was over.

He was still silent while Simon untied him - then sat up slowly, wincing in pain - and reached to his ears carefully as if checking whether they were still attached.

It was when he looked up at Simon who towered over him and asked softly:

"What have you done?" almost childish voice. Almost begging for reassurance.

"Don't you know what?" he muttered.

But it was not what Simon said - it was seeing that he said something - that made the truth descend at last on Peter and Simon saw the expression on his face he wanted to see it from the very beginning - not indignant shock and disbelief - but the utter desperation, almost na´ve horror, as he started saying quickly and monotonously:

"No. No. No," quicker and quicker, like a very short prayer - and panic was penetrating his voice swiftly, making it higher and louder. "Don't mutilate me. Please. Do something else."

A little bit too late for that, huh?

Simon crossed his arms on his chest and watched Peter sit on the ground, still clasping his ears - with the trickles of blood slithering between his fingers - and sway from side to side repeating:

"Please undo that. Please do something else."

He told himself he enjoyed it - the devastating effect of what he did was having on Peter - but then it somehow started getting on his nerves. The bitch couldn't hear himself - but Simon could. He groped for the pain gun and recalled that it was gone - but he still had his fists - and he hit him - just to stop it. This swaying, this muttering - just to see another expression except frozen terror in the widened grey eyes.

The End of Part 2

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