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Original Fiction
ZERO TOLERANCE

Part 4

Time had a curious quality. He couldn't point exactly to when Simon had left; one minute it seemed to him that it was ages - hours - ago and that so much time passed since then that he, maybe, would never come back. A blink of an eye later Peter was sure that only a few minutes before he had seen the lithe dark figure of Simon towering over him.

Then Simon was back - and reality began seeping in.

His mind was not quite clear. He knew that something very bad had happened, worse than anything that had happened down there, in the ferns, but he couldn't pull his tattered thoughts together enough to realize what and how exactly it was.

He knew it was the stuff - the effect being so familiar to him that he could predict every next stage of development - though the dose had been too big, Simon couldn't have been more generous. There, in the hut among ferns, Peter half-consciously thought the dose might be lethal... no, not a suicide, rather the flip-coin choice of life and death... and the inability of a user to resist feeling the spicy taste of melting jellies in his mouth.

But he was alive - and tied again - tied to the bed somewhere that looked like a sleazy rent house in an ugly city that by no means could exist.

His forearm hurt - steady burning pain that reached him even through the cloudiness of his mind. He turned his head and looked at it and saw the square of blackened skin with the network of small letters inside it. "Property of..."

He wasn't sure if he had known what it would be before he let the doctor put it on his arm. In a way he thought he had. Simon could do nothing less. Their past - Simon's hatred - a couple of rapes just couldn't settle it up.

And he still kept telling himself that nothing was irreversible, that fortunes would change again. He would get out. With what remained of his dignity intact.

He recalled a moment from his childhood, some family event, with lots of people everywhere in their house and the yard - and he made some faux pas, he couldn't even remember what it was, maybe, he was too agitated to hush immediately when told so. His father abruptly stopped the conversation he had, came up to him, caught him by the sleeve and led into the house. He remembered the momentary regret that overwhelmed him - how could he be so bad again, why hadn't he obeyed. But he knew it was too late now - and he knew what awaited him, the punishments his father created were both painful and humiliating. But what he remembered best of all was the faces of people who looked at them - and he knew they had no idea, they probably thought Guido just wanted to talk to his little boy... and he thought what would be if he screamed, told them what was happening, if he begged for help... Maybe, someone would help him. Maybe, his uncle would.

But he never screamed. The shame - the impossibility to admit how deep in trouble he was, what he brought on himself - was worse than fear of pain, than pain itself.

Well, this time there would be no uncle who would know everything without words, who would eventually get him out.

Feeling the throbbing of the burn, Peter tried to listen to the optimistic part of his mind and shush the sober one - tried to convince himself that nothing irreparable happened. The brand didn't mean nothing. People were not enslaved like this in the Union.

But he knew one thing very well, even if he didn't want to think about it consciously: it was not the Union.

The grey light seeping through the window changed into smooth velvety darkness and Simon turned on the light that made Peter blink agonizingly. Sharp pain was seizing his head every time he moved - a sign of over-dose - but he was too anxious not to try and keep Simon in his sight.

The man seemed happy - practically beamed, the white teeth sparkling on the dark face. It was the stuff, he knew. All the way through the ferns Peter had waited for Simon to try the drug - hoping that it would give him a chance - but Simon hadn't then. Well, now... he probably needed to prove the customers it was a high-class stuff.

I hope you'll keep taking the same amount you fed me - it'll kill you in a few months.

And yet the expression of absolute triumph in Simon's eyes was more than the drug could bring.

//"Hey bitch,"// Simon said something else but Peter didn't get the rest of the phrase. The man kept talking, moving around the room, Peter saw his smile flash from time to time. It was strangely exhausting trying to figure out what Simon was saying; Peter found himself making the effort even though he knew it couldn't change anything.

Then Simon turned to him and articulated deliberately - this time Peter understood - because a heap of clothes was thrown on his bed:

//"I bought these for us,"// Simon undressed swiftly and shamelessly; changing his old clothes - slave clothes: pants and vest and sandals - into a comfortable suit and shoes. //"But first you'll have a bath. You stink."//

He needed a bath - he felt so desperately uneasy with everything what was on his skin - and the unexpected joy that overwhelmed him at the thought of a bath brought him more pain than a physical blow would.

"You prefer to fuck me when I am clean?" it was kind of strange to talk like that - without being able to hear himself. It almost made him unsure if Simon could hear him. But Simon could - Peter saw it in his eyes that lost a bit of satisfaction abruptly. It was creepy to see how quickly Simon's face could change: a moment ago he was beaming - and then as if someone switch it off - his eyes were so sober and so hateful.

Yeah right - that's how he had deceived you. He practically made you forget that he was Abenian.

//"I give you more than you deserve, bitch, and you know it."//

Then don't waste your time on me. He didn't say it aloud. He chickened. He saw Simon lean over him, releasing him, and clenched his jaws in self-hatred that was sharper than the disgust he felt about the man.

Fight him! For God's sake, fight him - don't give up while you still have any fight left.

He sat up and patted his bandaged wrist watching how Simon walked out and returned with his hands wet.

//"The bath is ready. Get undressed!"// the words were clear, the gesture negligent but Simon often confirmed his speech with gestures.

He had to get undressed here?

Oh my, it was stupid. For nine years he felt no more shame about the man than he would feel about himself - and yet the present situation seemed so highly degrading suddenly.

It anything, Simon had seen enough of your naked ass during last two days.

Exactly because of it.

He didn't have time to obey as Simon lost his patience, grabbed him, the backhand slaps hard enough to make his head spin. He struggled saying:

"Stop it, I'll do it myself," but it was too late.

His injured hand resounded with pain as Simon pulled off his sweater and t-shirt. Like a small kid, he thought helplessly. He tried still to take off his pants himself and Simon hit him, made him fall flat on the bed - and Peter was too stunned to get up again. His pants were pulled off of him - and he felt Simon's hand stick between his legs. That's what he was afraid, right?

The pain in his barely scabbed opening was sharp and hot. It was just fingers, not a cock, penetrating him, scissoring inside him - the movement made him sick - and then Simon was over him, his broad mouth covered his lips, the tongue thrust in.

It was the first time Simon kissed him - no matter what else he had done. Peter felt surprised; he felt nauseated, too - smothered by Simon's bulk he fought on pure instinct; his arm groped around, trying to find something, anything... he knew what he was looking for: the long pincers the doctor used to keep the brand in.

He flung his hand, aiming at the man's eye - but Simon always reacted with a speed that Peter couldn't match. His hand captured Peter's wrist, pressed it to the bed, twisting and squeezing until his fingers grew weak and he felt the slick metal slide hopelessly out of them.

He expected it when Simon hit him then- pure rage in his eyes. He felt blood in his mouth and the ringing heaviness in his head - but stronger than that, stronger than the fear of what Simon would do to him for what he'd done, there was the disappointing thought: you lost again. You are a failure, Peter. A failure.

He caught only parts of what Simon yelled at him from above:

//"The Block... No..."// shaking his head. //"Something better for you, whore..."//

He caught Peter's wrists in one hand and now Peter was too dazed to really resist. Simon held him, settling between his legs, immobilizing him successfully. Peter was ready to see him pull his pants down and bare his cock - but instead of this it was Simon's hand driving between his thighs, three fingers entering at once, then the fourth, slick with blood. He was tearing him.

He had been hurt before - but that... The pain went right up his belly, piercing and wild, making him cry out and choke. He didn't really feel how Simon added the fifth finger, his sensations seemed to be a mess - and yet he felt as something huge move inside him, making its way through his guts farther and farther.

He was shrieking; he knew it even though he couldn't hear. He raised his head and looked at his belly because he was sure he would see the contours of Simon's fist bloating it. There was nothing - but he couldn't see clearly all the same. His vision was exploding - red and white of every inward and outward movement.

It didn't continue for long. Later he had to admit Simon drove in and out, maybe, three or four times - but then it seemed to him it was going on for ages - that it was how hell felt: you would want it to stop but you wouldn't be able to do anything. Then Simon pulled out his fist - from what felt like a gaping wound in his bottom - wiped the dirty blood over Peter's thigh. When he was let go, he curled - excruciatingly slowly, it seemed - leaving a trail of blood soaking into the sheets of his bed.

He seemed to black out for a few moments - but then something dragged him out of unconsciousness. He felt being pulled up - held because his feet didn't want to stand on the floor firmly. He was in and out of the mist - and when he was out, he saw Simon's face - the lips moving - and somehow he could read them even better than being fully conscious:

//"I'll either break you - or you'll die."//

He didn't know it was the formula that the personnel in the camps repeated to Aben prisoners.

He wanted to die - or to pass out for a long time at least - but he was not so lucky. He still felt unable to control his body, but he was conscious enough to realize that Simon was dragging him somewhere - into the elevator - and then he saw people, lots of them, in a dimly lit premise - they drank and talked - and they looked at him. And like in a bad dream he knew he didn't have any clothes on.

First they seemed surprised, then amused - and, maybe, Simon was saying something but he didn't know what - because now they looked understanding and curious. He felt Simon twist his arm, showing the brand - and people jeered and someone even applauded.

Then Simon shook the ware off of one of the tables - glasses exploding on the floor soundlessly - and pushed him on this table, face down - but Peter turned and saw the gesture Simon made - a welcoming gesture - and then saw Peter looking and made another one, the one he recognized easily:

//"Whore!"//

There were people around him - hands - some pressed him to the table, held his arms and head down - and others groped him - but it was not the sickest thing... unlike when he felt someone get between his legs, the hands spread him open - and he didn't know if it was good or bad that he didn't even know who it was.

He didn't know how he could feel the moment of penetration, he must've had everything torn there - but he felt, convulsing with pain, his cry muffled. He felt the man fuck him and then stop - and another one take his place - but this time he was slick with blood and cum enough to barely twitch at the cock slammed into him. He knew they must've been saying something - maybe, that he was a lousy lay, what with Simon's fist being there before them - but all he heard was silence - the same as all he saw was the polished wooden surface of the table in front of his eyes.

It was a long night. And on this night Peter knew he reached the bottom. He didn't remember everything - although he was pretty sure he didn't lose consciousness. He was turned on his back after a while - and now he could see the face of the man who entered him - but he looked up, at the low dirty ceiling of the bar and sank his teeth in his lip so deeply that he was pretty sure he was not screaming any more. They came in his ass and they came on his face - they probably found his position too inconvenient to stick it in his mouth or thought he was too gone to suck but the worst thing was that he knew that they could've used his mouth if they wanted to - and there would be fuckin' nothing he would do against it.

Then the things slowed down - and stopped all in all - and then all he felt was cold. He was cold and wet, a part of this wetness probably his own piss. Nobody touched him any more. Maybe, nobody even was around - and he slid down from the table, knees hitting the floor. He didn't know what he thought about - why he didn't let himself just lie - and what? - die? But he didn't make any conscious decisions - he rather moved instinctively, like an animal trying to crawl away from a bad place.

He knew he moved like an animal - on his fours - until stumbled against anything - and he looked up - and then suddenly it was Simon - not standing but squatting in front of him wrapping his arms around him so quickly that Peter didn't have time to flinch away. His long arms were like living heat on Peter's skin and he felt Simon grab his slackened limbs gathering them all in a heap, and picked him up like a child.

He suddenly recalled one thing - how his uncle came to him right after his father's death. And he said all correct words, what a great man Guido was, what a loss for the family and how he would never stop searching for his murderers. But then he squatted in front of Peter and braced his arms around him - warm and so... safe... and he said something else, something that others were not supposed to hear:

"He won't do it again."

Oh fuck... he knew it was just a flip of his mind - the feeling of safety was never true... and feeling safe about Simon was an abomination. But - and that was the worst part - he was not sure if he cared. The warmth - the sheer size of Simon and the possibility to cling to him - that mattered. He hooked his fingers into Simon's clothes and felt too weak to hate himself for that.

There was the bathroom again and the bath and Simon lowered him there and the water was blue and hot. He didn't know why he started shaking now, when he should've been warm. But he felt Simon's rough big hands scrape over his body, cleaning him - and he sobbed - and had no control left at all to stop it.

Then he saw Simon lean to him - and turned his face up, brushed off the tears from his eyes because they hindered him to see and he knew it was important - and Simon said slowly, very clearly - somehow it was not difficult at all for Peter to understand:

//"Don't make me do it again."//

"I won't," he said and cried again.

* * *

So, that's how Peter gave up.

There was nothing more he could try to save or spare. He had become a slave - a prostitute - and it was acknowledged by everyone who had been there, in the bar, who had used him. *This* he wouldn't be able to undo, no matter how he would try.

And now he couldn't even afford to hope for the possibility of being rescued, of getting back to his past. He had become an embarrassment of the family - so, he had to cut himself off of the family, not to dare to think about it, about his uncle any more.

Well, physically it had never been so bad as on that first night. In the morning Simon called for the doctor who sewed Peter's rectum and checked for other injuries. Nobody damaged him on purpose but after so many hands groping him his genitals were bruised blue and swollen and his nipples so painful that he barely could stand any touch there.

He couldn't walk for a few days and Simon let him stay in bed - and wanted just oral sex that Peter could give, no harm done. Simon... the only one whom Peter saw - except the doctor and the maid that cleaned the flat - and they always looked away from him.

Simon was the only one who talked to him - and with time it became easier for Peter to read his lips - and they even developed a kind of private sign language, unlike anything else that existed for this purpose - but who cared if they both could use and understand it.

Simon's business affairs were going better and better. They didn't move from the building but Simon bought out the whole floor... Simon had a strange attachment to the upper floor - Peter saw him so many times standing on the balcony over the City and looking at the smooth scintillating surface above them. Peter hated the cupola - it made him feel claustrophobic...

He knew Simon was selling the stuff - but it took a few days to realize that he was not pushing it around but sold it to one customer... The Commander. What the Commander did to it was not his business. But it was surely a good way to secure the loyalty of some people.

Simon was making some investments in other things, too - apparently for the time when he ran low of the stuff... Peter wouldn't be able to play his cards better than Simon did! The money was coming - and there was almost nothing Simon couldn't afford to acquire now, within the limits of the City, that is.

"A transporting correctional spacecraft," a few days of doing nothing but lying in bed - enough time to recall some things that Peter had never cared to know - and figure out where they were. "A few years before the great migration, when the Earth still didn't know it was doomed - they tried to clean the planet from negative elements - from criminals. They built six or seven of these ships and put the convicts there, men and women. Like spiders in the jar, you know - who cares if they eat each other."

It looked like Simon knew all of this - well, surely he did - he could just talk to people, after all.

"They found some of 'the Spheres' later... last century... empty - people dead. They were dead for two hundred years. Starved to death, you know. The end of the experiment. I can't believe it worked with this one! If the Union gets to know about it..."

If the League gets to know about it... The Sphere can be something very new in the balance of forces.

//"Listen here,"// Simon's thumb brushed roughly across his dry lips, silencing him. //"They don't know we are from outside. And I don't want them to know. So keep your fuckin' mouth shut - or I'll sew it up."//

He wished he had the crystal here. There was so much he would be able to get from it... but it was lost, Simon had bothered with the bag of stuff but left the crystal somewhere in the wrecks of the shuttle.

You don't need it, whore.

Whore... right. That was what he was. And not just because from time to time, when Simon got pissed off with him, he sent him to the bar, for a very moderate price, no more expensive than the two sad prostitutes that hanged around there usually.

//"You must earn your living."//

There were not many clients - three, four by the night - after all, they had to pay for it, not like on the first night when they got everything for free. But even though it was never intolerable physically - the men mostly were not inventive - he still feared the moment of getting down, standing in the bar with people staring at him, making remarks he didn't hear.

His hands usually shook uncontrollably by the time he was taken back upstairs and had to take off his clothes and do what the customer wanted him to do. Some of the men kept talking as if they thought he pretended not to hear - but he understood the gestures all right, mostly so deliberately obscene that it was not even funny.

Down, up, down again - until no more clients came or until Simon considered that he redeemed his fault. Because it was redemption - that was how Simon saw it. Because on the warped scale of bad and worse of Peter's life now sex with the clients was worse than sex with Simon, than taking off Simon's boots, than beatings he got from him - than standing at wait at the wall with his arms crossed.

One night Peter dreamed about Joanie. It was strange because awake he practically never thought about her. He had never loved his girl-wife - but she was clean, stayed clean when he would never be able to wash all this dirt off of himself.

At night he couldn't forbid himself to think about her - and he strangely missed her - her flowing hair and flowing skirts, her perfume, the sheer safety of her presence in their bed, the softness of the crook between her neck and shoulder that he liked to nuzzle.

He woke up crying silently, feeling the stickiness of Simon's cum between his legs, and lay sticking his fingernails in palms, repeating to himself something that became an unceasing mantra in his head: that everything was over, his past was gone - and he could live or die with it but he could change nothing.

* * *

"You deaf?" A small notebook and a pen landed on his lap.

Peter looked up at the young man who stood over him: flimsy black pants clinging to his thighs and a fluffy jacket of bright red he was huddling in. He waited in the Commander Duvall's hall for Simon - for his master - to finish the visit.

"I am deaf, not mute," he handed the notebook and pen back and toned down his voice when the man pressed his finger to his lips.

"Good," the handwriting was minute and as he showed the paper, Peter noticed that the fingernails of the man were painted - the red color of gore, almost black. Then the man pulled the sleeve of the jacket up and showed the square of the brand on his right forearm. "Seth Cane, property of Alexander Duvall." If it was the usual form of introduction, Peter didn't know it and he found it sick and when he didn't do or say anything, just stared up, the man started writing again quickly, flipped a note: "I know who you are," in front of his face. He waited a couple of moments for Peter to read it - and then the scraps like little white butterflies disappeared in his pocket.

"What do you want?"

Writing messages... now that *was* strange. Peter had enough experience by then to see that people usually tried to talk to him, even those who knew he didn't hear - and only when failing, reverted to sign language or writing. The guy shrugged - and then wrote: "Nothing, why?"

Then fuck off of me.

"Never mind."

The guy looked hideous, Peter thought. His hair was black - not natural black but dyed and with streaks of crimson red in it. He looked like a whore... him and two bitches in the bar would make a nice trio.

Yeah, with you as their companion.

And him continuing to stand here, looking down with a slight smile, was making Peter strangely agitated.

"Your master and my master are buddies, ya know?"

"Don't I?" suddenly it descended on him. The guy was making conversation. Small talk, so to speak - just like he would talk if Peter could hear. Now wasn't it funny? For such a long time nobody talked to him - and now someone did - and he couldn't cope with it.

"I think they aren't buddies - it's business relations."

The guy laughed, yellow wild sparkles flashing in his heavy-lidded eyes the color of something bright between green and blue. He was young - or just boyish looking - with almost translucent pale skin. And with a kind of creepy feeling Peter noticed that he was missing two fingers - index and middle one - on his left hand.

"My master did that," the man saw the direction of his look and wrote quickly. "I was bad. He burnt them and then cut them off."

Uh oh. Slave-talk? Tell him, Peter, what your master did to you.

He swallowed slight upcoming sickness and thought he could stop it - not talk any more. Talking was one of very few things he couldn't been made do, right? And caught himself on asking:

"Is he your first master?"

"I was born free," the man - Seth - smiled again. There was something weird in how his eyes gleamed when he smiled - smiled at what was not amusing at all. "But he is the first. He owns me for four years. And you?"

He thought and realized with amazement he didn't know the exact time; why, one would think every day must've been imprinted in his mind.

"Three months."

"You didn't come here before."

"Like that depended on me."

When Simon took him out to the street for the first time, Peter was amazed with the abundance of people around - and with how much effort it took him to keep himself from freaking out at strangers - even though none of them paid any attention to him.

Seth laughed. And then waved another paper in front of his nose. "I watched you - do you know from where?"

Oh perfect! He watched... Something sarcastic danced on his lips but Peter bit it down - and caught Seth's look again - head slightly tilted awry - a strangely attentive look. Not unkind, suddenly he had to admit.

//"Let's go,"// for the first time Seth talked aloud.

"What?"

He didn't answer, his mutilated and manicured hand caught Peter's wrist impatiently and pulled him somewhere. Peter followed - realizing that they were in some dark corridor. It was stupid, wasn't it? He was supposed to wait for Simon...

The grasp on his wrist was firm but not painful. Peter found himself in a small windowless room, with enough space only for the messy bed there and a kind of wall-installed wardrobe, the mirror on its door, the shelf under it littered with jewelry and cosmetics.

"You live here?"

Yay, what a clever question!

Seth said something and then wrote it down quickly, the words seeming meaninglessly polite on the paper: "Sorry for the mess."

"Well, it is not an official visit."

The man laughed and covered his mouth quickly, listening intently to something. Then his face smoothed and he pushed Peter to the wall, directing his head lower almost forcefully. The guy's fingers were cold and bony but strangely non-violent and for a moment Peter thought what difference there was between Seth touching him like this and all those men who claimed his body, even those who pretended to be gentle or playful with him.

The empty hall was in his field of vision, not that he could see the whole perspective, just a part of it - but Seth was right, it was where he usually stood or sat. He suddenly imagined the door would open and Simon appear on the threshold, mad at once for not seeing him. He stepped back, turned abruptly, and saw Seth's blue-green eyes very close, looking at him with the same attention as before - the attention that seemed to melt something inside him despite his wish. Hurting him.

"Don't worry. I can hear them talking, too. I'll tell you when they finish."

Peter nodded. His head started spinning for some reason - was it the smell? Lemon and cosmetics and something intoxicating that was, maybe, just the smell of lots of clothes stuffed together. He saw Seth writing something again and peered to read it in half-darkness: "How are the things outside?"

"What do you mean?"

"In the City."

"Cold," he saw Seth shake his head with mocking annoyance. "As always. New birth rate limits are introduced. A few insurrectionists are on the Block, losing their private parts. The Commander's rating is up."

"Any new places open?"

"Yeah, all the time. I've not been there, just seen it when going by."

"Have you been in the café at the square, the one with glass arcs?"

He caught a strange dreamy expression in Seth's eyes - both agitated and unhappy.

"I said I didn't."

"I used to hang around there a lot."

"If you think I can pass a message to some of your friends - I can't. My... master doesn't give me slack."

He didn't know why he got pissed off suddenly - and thought he would only deserve it if Seth snapped back at him.

"My friends don't need to hear from me. Not after four years."

Well, Peter, it's not any news that you are a major asshole, is it? He asked despite himself, despite trying to feel as distant as he could:

"You don't come out?"

//"No,"// he didn't have to write that. //"For four fuckin' years in the fuckin' house - how would you like it?"//

"I would go mad."

Peter winced. Getting out after a month upstairs was bad... how about not getting out at all? So, the golden sparkles of madness in blue-green eyes were really there, not just imagined. He felt a wave of shame coloring his cheeks red but Seth probably noticed nothing. Instead he was writing like crazy: "I can handle it. I'll get out. Or, maybe, he'll get bored with me earlier and let me go."

"I thought slaves and workers and collective farmers - it was forever."

"He can let anyone go. That's what helps his order to stay. Everybody hopes it will be them. Didn't you know about it? You are not from here, right?"

The last phrase made Peter suck in the air. A fool! Simon was fuckin' right about keeping his mouth shut. The first time he talks to someone and look at this. He tried to appear unperturbed:

"What do you mean?" and saw another paper put on his lap - and the finger-less hand patting his knee along the way.

"I knew that. The Commander knows that. He just doesn't fuckin' care as long as you master doesn't give him shit."

He looked at Seth, wondering what it meant. How many years did they live without a chance of contact from outside? And now here was Simon - a link to the outer world - and all they cared was for him not to change anything.

"I won't tell anyone," Seth wrote and there was this smile again, small and warm and ironic... and Peter thought that he, maybe, liked this smile.

Then Seth made a small gesture with his hand that Peter knew - could read it in only one way: "Never mind." A moment of amazement before it came to his mind that he must've made it himself a little while earlier, automatically - just as he caught himself more and more often during last time - redundant gestures that accompanied his speech.

"Do you want a candy?"

A transparent yellow one, tasting honey and lemon, and he thought he recognized this taste - this smell - Seth smelled like that, he must've been very fond of them. And the quirkiness of the stuffy room and of this taste - and Seth's dizzy exhilaration suddenly seemed to Peter almost desirable.

Seth's face changed suddenly, eyes peering as he listened - and then he closed his hand on Peter's wrist again, pulled him out of the room - back to the empty hall. Peter looked at the door, waiting for it to open, but Seth must've heard things what was going on - because he wrote something quickly, showing it only for a brief second: "See you again.."

Peter felt his cool soft lips touch his cheek just for a moment.

He was gone when Simon came in.

* * *

He dreamed about smoke. Not the smell of it but sharp, caustic burning in his eyes as he walked along the ruins. Narrow streets which were streets no more - but debris - and buildings turned into burial mounds for those who were crushed under them. Buried with their beds and clothes, their dishes and children toys. He saw a hand or a foot here and there - but not living - dusted, turned into pieces of broken sculptures. And the dance of orange fire around.

He walked and looked at the place where he had spent half of his life - place that ceased existing - and he didn't know if it was really smoke that made his eyes sting.

Simon woke up feeling the sheets stick to his moist body, staring at the dark ceiling, regulating his breath from sharp gasping until it became steady and smooth again. It was not true... He hadn't been on Aben when the bombings started - he didn't even know whether his neighborhood suffered. And anyway there was nothing he left there he should have missed.

But, maybe, that was the thing: if he had anything left, he wouldn't feel so lost now. Not as if *he* lost something - but as he *was* lost. The feeling that came only in dreams, when his consciousness couldn't tell him how lucky and successful he was - a free man, a rich man, the Commander's close friend - the slave owner.

Yeah, right. In the darkness he reached his hand and pushed the button, seeing the light lit up in the next room - looking just like a thin line under the door but blinding bright out there. Having a slave that was deaf had its disadvantages - like you had to think how you would call for him when you needed him at night. But the light in his eyes would wake up Peter all right - and he knew what he had to do, never mind.

Simon saw him appear at the door - and stand waiting for his orders, huddling in his robe. Why was he always cold?

"On your knees," there was just enough light for Peter to see the sign - and as he made a few steps towards the bed and slid on his knees smoothly, Simon threw his feet down on the floor, taking his cock out of the shorts.

It was a good thing he could see so well in the darkness; he would miss it for nothing watching how Peter's face blanched, all color, all expression leaving it, even his soft pink lips going white. It was one of the things Simon couldn't make him get rid of - the attempts in feigned indifference - to whatever happened - that only pain could ruin.

Still trying to be Andre Solana's nephew when you are nothing?

He directed his soft cock towards the young man's mouth, felt warm dry lips envelop it - such softness when Peter was probably wounding his palms with his fingernails at the same time. Since the first time it had never been so good - Simon still relished recalling the expression of disbelief and horror on Peter's face when he was explained what he was supposed to do, his eyes dashing as he was willing himself into not begging - because he knew begging would be declined all the same.

Yet it still felt good enough. Almost the only thing that could make Simon feel better after another nightmare of the past that kept haunting him.

He relaxed his bladder muscles and started pissing.

He controlled the stream, not wanting any mess here - the pleasure of punishing Peter for spilling not worth ruining the night - and watched how the young man's throat worked swallowing. Peter had his eyes open but Simon was not sure he saw him in the darkness, even though his eyelashes kept rising and falling. He knew, though, that there was no way for Peter to switch off his mind from what was happening... neither get used to it, no matter how often it repeated.

What are you doing to survive what I am doing to you, bitch? Do you want me to tell you what I was doing? Sometimes I think I didn't live then, for those nine years. I hibernated; I put myself in the limbo. I was not sure there would be time when I came from it - but if yes, I wanted to emerge unscathed in my mind, if not in my body.

It was exactly what Peter *didn't* do... Simon knew it, even if it was the last thing he would believe about Peter. He didn't do anything to stop feeling. Just on the contrary - sometimes it seemed to Simon that he *made* himself feel - consciously - spurred himself into responding to every little thing Simon did to him.

As if feeling was what kept him alive.

Well, everybody had their own way to survive, right? And that's what made Peter such a fascinating toy.

Simon finished - the soft tongue, cat-like delicate, cleaning the head of his cock - and felt the familiar desire twitch in him. But beyond logic he pulled his cock out of Peter's mouth instead of letting the little bitch bring him on the peak of arousal - and off.

Hey man... Why do you deprive yourself of something? Simon lay down again, half-covered with the blanket and made a waving gesture to Peter who continued to kneel at his side. Why don't you want sex? Because you have the dreams? Because you are unable to discard the creepy, sad feeling even after you are awake?

Or, maybe, feeling the immediate arousal as soon as his cock was in his slave's mouth was giving away too much control? For he could fuck Peter whenever he wanted - his mouth or ass - for hours - or put his fist up to his ass (carefully). But wanting to do it, feeling overwhelmed when doing it - it was dangerous. Simon always knew it.

It was not what Simon was building his new life for.

He heard Peter running the water in the bathroom, retching, then cleaning his teeth. Yeah sure - but you know it isn't so easy to wash it out of yourself.

He thought about the nights he had spent in Peter's bedroom, listening to him sleep and playing with his cock with twisted, both spiteful and exciting thoughts of what he would like to do to this small, tender-faced bastard of his master.

He didn't need to lie in his bed alone now and think the twisted thoughts again. But Simon did.

The End of Part 4

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