"Well," said Takamatsu, his amused black glance moving back and forth between them, "guess I'll leave you two to get reacquainted. 'Night, Servis. Nice seeing you again, Jan."
He nodded and strolled towards the double doors leading off the balcony. The slight limp in his walk was the only remaining sign of the attack that had nearly taken his life six months before.
"Good-night, Takamatsu," Jan said to his back. Servis said nothing. Jan turned round and their eyes met again.
"Well?" Jan said at last.
"You look terrible," Servis remarked. "Where did you get those clothes?"
"These?" Jan looked surprised. "What's wrong with them? They're what I always wear."
"They're twenty-five years out of date. No-one wears khaki vests and dogtags any more."
After a moment, Jan asked, "Does everything change out here? Always?"
"Everything," Servis said. "Always."
"Guess I'll just have to get used to it." He sounded quite cheerful. "I'm not going back, after all."
"I'm not," Jan said, in his end of discussion voice. "I have to be where you are. Even if I could go back, I wouldn't. Even if you didn't want me, I wouldn't."
Servis's eyes went to search the horizon, darkening now to the deep blue of night. Jan was silent at his shoulder. Jan-- was beside him. Again. Beyond hope, beyond any kind of possibility, a miracle had happened. He'd thought- no, he'd known- that he'd never see Jan again. Back on the island he'd made himself say good-bye to him before joining in the last battle. There'd been little chance of his surviving it and he'd wanted Jan to know-- well, to know. That he was sorry, that he wasn't angry any more, that he was glad to have met him again even for a little while. But the battle had reached its sudden end and he was still alive. It was Jan who was gone: Jan who had left unseen, following those he was sworn to serve to some far unknown destination. Jan was gone- for good this time, after that too-brief, too-complicated, too-painful re-encounter. There was no use indulging regrets that he hadn't behaved differently... He'd schooled himself to live again with the familiar emptiness, with the constant not-thereness of Jan, as he'd done before when he was eighteen. If it hadn't killed him then when he was young and new to pain it wouldn't kill him now.
And then came the moment, not half an hour ago, when he'd heard Jan's voice behind him and turned, unbelieving, to see him coming through the door. It had been as incredible, as impossible, as when he'd found him on the island again after twenty-five years, still alive and still young. In the tumult of joy and shock and everything in between he hadn't known whether to laugh or cry and had ended up helplessly doing both. That first unbearable rapture had faded, thank god. The happiness was there still, underneath everything, like a change in the whole structure of the universe: like a rightness returned after years and years of wrongness. But now something else was there with it and he didn't know what it was. It seemed to be connected to the centre of blackness out to sea where the night had come from. The sight of that moonless lightless space sent a little chill into his heart.
"You're cold," Jan said. "Shouldn't we get inside?"
There was a warmth in his voice that Servis recognized from long long ago. He knew what Jan wanted, but for once, and very strangely, he wasn't sure that he himself did.
"Mmh," he said noncomittally, and turned to the doors.
"What is it, Servis?"
"Nothing," he said, putting a note of surprise in his voice as if to ask 'Whatever made you think there was?' Then he was ashamed. He was using the same tricks with Jan as he had with Takamatsu- with Shintaro-- All those years apart- the years of wrongness, the years when nothing had mattered- they'd made a difference after all. He wasn't the same as twenty-five years ago. What was he now? He looked over, and found Jan's black eyes on him, and looked away. Not what he had been; not what Jan thought he was...
The elevator doors opened and they got in.
"I'm old now, Jan," he said as they rose up.
"You still look the same to me," Jan said. "Still beautiful," and he tried for a kiss. Servis turned his head away from those warm lips.
"You don't understand," he said.
"Then explain it to me," Jan smiled. "Whatever it is, we're in it together."
Something was hurting his chest. He closed his eyes against it. The elevator reached the floor where his apartments were, and he jerked himself forward and off.
"This way," he said, and led him down the corridor.
The door opened to his pass card.
"I'll have to get you one too," he said without thinking, and felt the contraction around his heart again. What was it...?
"I'll say. Boy, this place is great." Jan's wide eyes were taking in the furniture of the series of rooms that opened one from the other. Servis had barely noticed his apartment since he'd returned from the island, and saw it now as if for the first time. Well, it was pretty luxurious-- and Jan wouldn't have seen anything like it during his years in the army- or before- or after-
"I suppose," he agreed, indifferently, as they passed from the living room into the study that led to the bedroom.
"A present from nii-san?" Jan gave him a sardonic smile.
"He does care about us, you know. He just doesn't know how to show it, so he has to give us things instead. He always did." Sadness, it felt like sadness-
They came into the bedroom.
"Well," he said, and turned to look at Jan, "here we are. Want to start?" The coldness in his voice shocked him. 'I sound like I hate him, and I don't-'
"I didn't mean that," he said, but could say nothing else. He looked away again, mouth twitching a little, feeling his breath strangling him and his back tightening and everything wrong, all wrong... I know better than this, he thought. What's the matter with me?
Jan's warm hand took his cold one, drew him over to the bed, sat him down on the side. Jan's hands rubbed his, gently, and the wrists as well.
"You haven't changed," Jan said. Servis's head jerked up and he felt his eyes narrowing.
"In twenty-five years?" he asked in fury. "Do you really think that? You think I've sat still, waiting for you? I didn't know I'd ever see you again. I thought you were dead, and no-one told me different. You're the one who hasn't changed. You don't. You can't." He turned his back to him.
"That's not true. It's supposed to be but it isn't." Jan's hands went to his shoulders. "Servis, listen. You were punished twenty-five years for something you didn't do. I'm sorry. I can't give that back to you, all the time you lost. But if it makes you feel any better, I was punished too." Servis felt his shoulders tightening against the words but Jan's hands didn't leave them. "Time began when I met you. All the time before that, all the centuries, the milennia, they were like a single day. I never noticed them going by. But I met you- and suddenly, every day, every hour- I could feel it passing. I started counting the minutes we were together, and when you were away somewhere I kept watching the clock until the time you'd be back. I thought I'd go crazy. I still don't know how you people stand it."
"I remember," Servis said, feeling the memory in the back room of his mind. "You and that watch of yours. You said it was because- oh-"
"Because we don't have them where I come from. No. We don't. But Servis, listen- it didn't stop. I woke up on the island and I asked the Stone if I could go back. It said no, I didn't have to, it'd taken care of the matter. I'm a servant, Servis: I have to obey my master. I couldn't leave the island. And every minute was as long as it had been back in the army, when you were away with your family or something. But this time I knew it wouldn't end. I thought I'd never see you again. I'd live for centuries, for milennia, wanting you every minute of them and knowing- not knowing-" Jan put his head down on Servis's shoulder and spoke in a low voice- "I didn't know if you were still alive, even, and I knew some day you wouldn't be. You're angry about those years we were separated, I understand that-- but me, I was looking at centuries. I'm glad it wasn't any longer than it was."
Servis reached a hand and stroked the rough head leaning on his shoulder. The same- exactly the same...
"Twenty-five years are nothing for you. It's a third of my life. There's so little time left now. It's what I told you. I'll die before you do, Jan, and then what?"
"It's what I told you. Stop thinking about the past. It's over. We have now, and all the nows that follow. Isn't that enough? It's all I ever wanted."
The sob in his own chest caught him by surprise. He turned in Jan's arms and pulled him down to lie at hi side. Jan's mouth tried to find him, but Servis hid his face in the curve of his neck and clung. Something was happening to him, and all he could do was let it happen and hope it wouldn't be too terrible. And meanwhile he shook as if the world was ending.
It felt as if his insides were trying to rearrange themselves. Whatever had been hurting him all evening was working its way out, a blind mole from the dark. He held on to Jan, fingers biting into his shoulders and his biceps, feeling the resistance of the flesh as if it were an enemy's he was trying to strangle. He was strangling. Desperately he dragged air into his throat, raw and hoarse, and it came out in a ragged moan, over and again, down to his gut and out. The rasping breaths grew deeper, turned into a rough-edged howl that shocked him with its animality. He sounded like a wounded beast bellowing, or a woman insane with grief, or a terrified child crying alone in the night... He twisted in shame at the sounds coming from him but he couldn't stop. Obscurely, deep inside him, he could feel a wall of frozen pain begin to crack, begin to break into shards of black ice that scored his viscera as they moved. He cried aloud as each one passed, at all the pains of all his life: the one called Jan is dead, the one called I killed Jan, the one called Luzar killed Jan, the one called why did Luzar leave me, the one called why didn't Magic stop it, the one called Harlem knew and didn't tell me, the one called Luzar is gone forever and I'll never see him again... Jan held him, steady as a rock, the way he had on the island when Servis had learned the truth from Asu's mouth- but he'd been still as well then, numbed by the horror of what he was hearing. Now his hands caught and clawed at Jan as if he wanted to hurt him, and he bared his teeth and cried out at the final one, the most hurtful of all, the one called Jan is alive Jan is here Jan will never leave me until I leave him; and at last a rush of tears flooded his eyes and there was relief in the world. He wept and shuddered like a man in a seizure, and Jan held him, held him still, one strong hand cradling his head, an iron arm about his shoulders, until he could cry no more. He lay, heavy and empty, with his face buried in Jan's chest. Heat came up from his skin, even through the cotton of his ridiculous t-shirt, warm and dry as an August afternoon... it was so nice on a bivouac to sleep next to Jan, he was always like a hot water bottle no matter how cold it got... He opened his eyes and saw the unlined skin of his neck, fresh and young as it had been a quarter century before. Young. Unchanging. Forever eighteen. He brought his hand up to touch: his own skin was dry and faded as parchment.
"I'm old," he said, numb with despair.
"How old?" Jan asked casually.
"I'm older than you. Decades older. Middle-aged. Something you'll never be."
"Servis. How old do you think I am?"
There was a note in his voice that stilled Servis's soul. 'So long ago it would make your head spin,' Jan had said of his beginnings, back on the island. He raised his head and looked in Jan's eyes. The sight did indeed make him dizzy.
Old. So old. An intelligence old beyond generations. Something he'd never seen because he'd never known to look for it. Those eyes had seen milennia pass. They looked, oddly, a little like Magic's did, sometimes-- No, not odd, both of them creatures of the Secret Stones, in their own separate ways- but older even than Magic, and different... Jan blinked, and Servis was looking at a young man, but he looked again and the young man was older than the rocks.
"Come on, tell me what a pretty face I've got on me," Jan said, and Servis loosed an exasperated breath.
"How can you-?"
"Easy." Jan rolled suddenly on top of him, smiling. "I never worry. That's my beauty secret. What's yours?"
Teasing him, as he always did when Servis brooded over something. Half the load that weighed his heart lifted suddenly, and he gave a shaky laugh. "Hormone cream."
"You're kidding." Servis shook his head, and Jan looked amazed. "You're serious? What kind?"
"What do you think?"
"I dunno. Don't they come from cows or something?"
"No. Virile young men, specially selected for beauty and strength-" He reached between Jan's legs, and Jan jumped.
"Christ, Servis--" He got it suddenly, and bit his lip to stop a laugh. "Oh christ--"
Now he knew to look for it, Servis could see the change: the eighteen year old shifting into godling and back again, like the wavering shadows deep in a forest that fool the eye as to shape and depth and height. It caught his heart a bit, but he thought 'I'll get used to it. This is Jan-' and was unprepared for the ambush of happiness that hit him like a wave. 'This is Jan.' He grabbed him, pulled his head down and got their mouths together, and Jan's tongue came inside his own, the familiar taste of it sending his heart spiralling high as the sky. Jan's tongue rolled lazily around his own, and Jan's weight on top of him shifted a little back and forth, the bulge in his crotch moving against the one in his own, teasing, enticing him into harder and harder-- faster and faster-- Jan was rocking back and forth, his mouth leaving Servis's as his neck stretched up-
"Stop it," Servis snapped, and Jan froze in shock. Servis flipped him over and ripped the fly of his jeans open. Clear liquid oozed from the head of his cock; he got it in his mouth just in time. Jan's hips bucked and pumped and the hot acidic liquid spurted onto Servis's tongue.
"Servis--" Jan's dazed voice came after a moment. Servis's mouth was playing with the familiar tastes and sensations of Jan's groin- the sweaty muskiness under his foreskin, the scratchy hair on his balls- but he tore himself away to look up at him.
"It's a problem," he said, trying not to smile at Jan's perplexity. "Your body's still eighteen. I'm not that fast any more. Next time better get our clothes off before we start."
"That changes too?" Jan looked bewildered.
"Everything changes. It isn't going to be the same as it was before. It can't." They looked at each other. "It's the way we are, Jan." What do we look like to him- dragonflies? butterflies? creatures who live for a day--
"Everything changes." Jan's voice was deep. "How wonderful."
"To you, maybe. You only have to watch. It doesn't change for the better."
"Any change is better than no change. Do you know what it's like when nothing ever changes?"
"No-" but his mind checked. "Yes- yes I do. All those years I thought you dead- until Shin-chan grew up and I thought there might be a second chance for all of us. Fifteen, sixteen years- every day the same as the one before it." He remembered, and shuddered. "Thank god that's over with."
Jan's eyebrows drew together. "Shintaro."
"You don't like him, do you?"
"I don't dislike him. But--" He scowled at Servis.
"Are you jealous?"
"He had you longer than I did."
He was jealous. "It's over. I shouldn't have done what I did to him. I was using him, and he knows it." Well, he couldn't not. "I've barely seen him since we got back. He's busy running the army." A little pause. "I'll have to make my peace with him some day. You know that?"
"Yeah, I know. Well, we can't have bad feeling in the family. As long as you're mine, and you both know it."
"What? No more cadets?"
"No more cadets. If you want eighteen-year-olds, there's me."
"And if I want someone older? Someone sophisticated and mature? You may be three thousand years old but you'll never be that."
"Bring him round and introduce him, then. And if it's Takamatsu, I'll break his neck."
"He looked after me when you were gone."
"I'll send him flowers. He can't have you."
"Dog in the manger."
"Who's a dog in the manger? You think I can't keep you satisfied?"
"Oh, energy. You've got enough of that. Always did. Technique's the problem, Jan."
"Yeah, so you said. Guess you'll have to teach me. Everything you've learned in the last twenty-five years."
"Everything?" A warmth ran through his blood, and he felt himself stiffening. "That'll take time."
"Time is what we've got."
"Ok. Roll over, soldier boy. I'm going to fuck you."
Jan's eyes widened. "I don't get fu-" He closed his mouth. They looked at each other. Jan's eyebrows creased.
"You gotta do it?"
"It's our wedding night," Servis smiled at him. "I'm going to have your cherry."
"Oh god, Servis. You always did know how to get your way." He bit his lower lip. Then a corner of his mouth went up. "OK. Everything. I'll be taking notes." He shucked his jeans off him. "And the shirt?"
"Most definitely the shirt. I'll get you something better in the morning."
Jan pulled it and the vest over his head in one move, and lay, naked, smiling up at Servis. Servis's eyes roamed the familiar planes of chest and belly and groin and felt he could barely stand the happiness inside him. Jan- again- He stopped himself from falling on him in a frenzy of puppy love. Time for technique, here.
He stripped his own clothes off, got the cream from the bedside table drawer and lay down next to him.
"On your side, facing me. Put your leg over here."
Jan turned over and laid his heavy thigh across Servis's. Servis snuggled up against him, and reached down with a handful of cream into the hot crack between Jan's cheeks. His fingers found the puckered circle and laid the cream on heavily around it. He played a bit with the rimpled flesh, wriggling into the opening with a paddy finger. Jan was still smiling, but there was a line of stress in his eyes, and his butt was clenched tight.
"Your ass has forgotten me," Servis said sadly. He kissed Jan's cheek. "It's been too long. Come on, Jan. This is me. Let me in."
"I want to- it's just-"
Servis stroked back and forth, up and down the narrow valley. "You remember how I always did this when I was jerking you off? Or when we were in the dorm together- how I'd stick my finger up you and watch you try to come quietly?"
Jan gave a shaky little laugh. "Yeah- could I forget it? Jeez, that was hell back then."
"Yes. Well now you can yell like Tarzan if you want to. And you will want to, believe me. We're going to make up for all that lost time. We're going to fuck ourselves silly- any time, anywhere. We'll be the scandal of the Ganmadan. They'll keep finding us with our pants down shagging up against walls, or wanking each other in corners, or sucking each other off in the staff offices-" He could see the flame running through Jan's eyes. A game they used to play in the endless hours of guard duty, to see if Servis could get Jan hard- get him off- without touching him. It'd always been a piece of cake. "Shin-chan will throw us out for demoralizing the men. We'll screw each other so much no-one will be able to think of anything but doing it themselves. The whole building will be full of bodies humping and pumping, and the smell of cum everywhere, and no sound in the hallways but moans and groans-" He was getting too excited himself, and Jan was too close: he had to put his lips to those other ones and kiss them, and kiss them again, and put his tongue in the hot cage of Jan's teeth and feel the hard wetness of his mouth. Jan began to kiss him back and got so engrossed in the proceedings that he forgot what was going on-- and Servis's finger slipped inside the familiar scalding passage that immediately closed tightly around him.
"There," Servis said. He kept his finger still, the rest of his hand splaying spider-like over Jan's buttock. "Here I am. Not so bad, is it?"
"No-o," Jan said. "Your finger doesn't hurt." He was smiling with slightly forced nonchalance, to show he didn't mind. He looks so young, Servis thought tenderly. But he wasn't young- not young enough to get through this on sheer bravado, like Shin-chan would-- had--.
"You did this with Shintaro, didn't you?"
He'd better get used to this too. Jan had always been able to read his mind. "Yes. He said it didn't hurt; and he was lying." He'd always been able to read Jan's too-- or so he'd thought. He'd thought wrong. The soaring eagle of his heart gave a little jerk and fell suddenly, plummeting wounded towards the earth.
"OK," Jan said. "I don't mind. I can take it."
"You're a liar too." The old poison was seeping into his veins, hot and misery-making, the one that had eaten him on the island- he lied, he lied to me, they all lied and left me to suffer...
"Go on- try me." Jan ground his hips around Servis's finger. Servis pulled it out without warning, and Jan gasped. "That didn't hurt," he said at once. "You just took me by surprise."
"Liar. Why don't you tell the truth for once? You're scared shitless."
Jan smiled jauntily, but there was anger in his eyes.
"Us virgins- we're just so scared of you big rough men."
Servis smiled back at him.
"Say 'Be gentle with me, Servis.'"
Jan snorted. "No way."
"Oh shit- Ok. Be gentle with me, Servis." He batted his eyelashes at him.
"No," said Servis, deliberately, "I won't. You owe me, Jan. You owe me big time, and tonight is when you start to pay." Jan froze. "I'm Magic's brother, remember? We don't do gentle in my family. And your ass is going to find out all about it." He gazed intently into Jan's shocked eyes. "You'll do it on your back and on your face and on your hands and knees and bent over to touch your toes and up against a wall with your fanny shoved out and wide open for me. You'll be begging for mercy and it won't do you a damned bit of good. You're going to bleed for me, Jan, the way I did for you." He pushed the hair away from his right eye socket so Jan could see the hideous scars close up. "When I'm done with you you'll walk like a cripple and you'll sleep on your face and you'll stand to take your meals and you won't shit for a month." The words poured out of him. He hadn't known they were there but he knew he meant every one of them. He stroked Jan's hair with passionate concentration, smiling at his white face. My lover, my enemy- as it had been on the island, circling each other for that final fight. Now there was another one coming and he strained towards it. He'd beat Jan this time, he'd be repaid somehow for all that had happened. "I've changed. I'm not an eighteen year old kid any more. I'm a man, and you're going to learn what happens when you go to a man's bed. You're going to learn what it means to have to do with one of my family." He felt the pain even as the words left his mouth. "You'd better get ready."
Jan turned his head away, his gaze fleeing to some far corner of the room. His fingers wound themselves in Servis's long hair. After a moment he closed his eyes and brought the bright silk strands to his lips.
"I'm ready," he said. "Whatever you want, Servis."
He hadn't expected this, and he stared, dumb. Jan's eyes opened. "Wherever you are, I want to be there too," he said.
"I'm Magic's brother." It was all he could think to say.
"We're the same." He had to make Jan understand.
"You don't believe me. You'll find out."
"Even Magic doesn't know everything about Magic, Servis, though he's learning. And you don't know everything about you. And I'm going to be with you when you find out. Whatever it is." Jan's eyes searched his. "I need you. I'm only half alive without you. We belong together but we got separated ages back. Whatever you are- whether it's good or it's bad- it's part of me too. Oh shit- I'm no good with words, you know that. I can't explain. Just- I don't want to be without you, ever again. If you have to hate me for what happened, that's- well, I'll live with that too. Just- don't- Just let me be with you-" He looked up into Servis's eyes, pleading, and Servis felt his heart at war. He couldn't defend himself against Jan's gentleness. He never could. When he was younger he'd yelled at Jan and called him a coward when he gave way, smiling and loving, in the face of Servis's rages, because when Jan did that he couldn't stay angry with him and it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair. He had a right to be angry.
"You lied to me."
"You shouldn't have lied to me." The huge childish hurt was as loud in his ears as a wail, and he winced. Let Jan try to defend himself with excuses- "I didn't have a choice." "What would you have done if I'd told you?" "Could you have chosen between me and your brothers?" He could handle that...
"No." Servis waited. "All I ever wanted was to protect you and all I ever managed to do was hurt you. I'm sorry, Servis. I'll make it up whatever way I can."
He bit the inside of his mouth. I won't cry, he thought. I won't cry again. I'm the invincible Servis. No-one in the Ganmadan can beat me. No-one can hurt me- except him. Except him. He can, and he has, and he does.
"Turn over," he said, his voice barely level. Jan moved over onto his face. That obedience-in Jan- it hurt- He called his anger to his aid. "Get your ass up."
Jan took an audible breath and bent his legs, lifting his hips. Servis got the cream and and put it on his cock, fisting himself harder. The ache in his chest merged with the ache in his groin as he stared at Jan's hard golden-brown buttocks and thought, 'I'm going to fuck him, I'm going to have that ass of his-" A hot unhappy excitement ran up from his groin and through his veins- 'I'm going to fuck him and I'll ream him senseless-' even as his heart pleaded: 'Don't hurt him, he's sorry, don't, it's Jan." He doubled a pillow over and shoved it under Jan's hips. In spite of himself his hand reached over to caress the curved arching butt. Jan's face was turned to the mattress, there was no telling what he was feeling--
"Couldn't we do this with me on my back? You used to like it that way-" Jan's voice was carefully neutral, but Servis almost shuddered in relief.
"It hurts more that way."
"Thought that's what you wanted--"
"This is best the first time. Trust me, Jan." He hadn't meant to say that- he mustn't give in to him, to that sweetness of his.
"I trust you." He turned his head and looked up at Servis over his shoulder. "You were right," he said. He smiled, but his eyes were wet. "I'm scared shitless. You're sure it wouldn't help if I begged?"
Servis shook his head, unable to speak for the turmoil in his heart. Jan had always been so strong and unafraid. It wasn't right that he should be naked like this, bare and defenceless. Except that he wasn't, not really. There was always a part of him that nothing could touch. He might be frightened of the unknown thing that was going to happen to him but he wasn't afraid to have Servis see him brought low, in tears and ready to beg. And it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair, when he, Servis, had to try so hard to cover his nakedness from the world.
His hands wandered over the hard buttocks and the edged muscles, wanting to comfort Jan's fear, but wanting a little, too, to see him punished for his invulnerability-- 'Whatever it is, we're in it together-' His hand brushed the heavy softness of Jan's balls and his finger stroked the lovely line between them and Jan's asshole. 'I won't talk to him- let him get through this on his own.' He put his head down against the smooth skin of Jan's ass and rubbed his face against it as if for his own comfort. If only everything could be the way it was before, back when they were seventeen. So simple, like the sun shining: not all dark and shadowy and confused like it was now. Tentatively his tongue came out and licked at the skin, a little salty but sweet underneath, almost like a baby's... His mouth moved over the ridge of buttock, towards the centre, and Jan caught his breath audibly. Servis worked down towards his balls, where the flesh grew more and more sensitive. 'Oh, why wait?' he thought suddenly, and ran his tongue over the remembered bristly red skin. Jan reared up and yelled "Servis!!" Smiling in spite of himself, Servis rode with the bucking hips. His tongue invaded the little crannies, insinuated itself into slick narrow spaces, worked up the back of Jan's balls-- and Jan arched and bellowed, "Servis, shit, Servis!! Servis!!" loud enough to wake the dead. 'Like Tarzan,' Servis thought in satisfaction. 'You always did have a loud voice, Jan.' He wrapped his mouth about the heavy sac, sucking and poking at the burden within. Jan had his cock in his hand and was jerking himself off; Servis could feel him pumping on the other side, and his own cock was stone hard, not to be ignored. He straightened up and moved in. He spread Jan's cheeks with one hand, readying himself with the other, and felt Jan's back go rigid at the touch of his flesh.
"This is it. You ready?"
"When you are," but his voice shook.
He thrust the end of his cock into the tight opening.
"Shit, Servis, it won't go in-" Jan's voice was sharp with panic.
"Yes it will. Get your hips higher-" he pushed Jan's hips up- "high as you can- good-" the head went in, and Jan groaned into his clenched hands- "push, Jan, push against me-"
"Oh God-" Jan pushed, and Servis moved steadily against that hot pressure, in and more in and more--
"It hurts," Jan whispered.
"For me, Jan. Do this for me. Let me come inside you- way deep inside- I want to be right inside where you are-" Jan's neck arched as Servis thrust into him, and his mouth framed a silent cry- "I'm coming right into the heart of you, we're turning into one-" Tears ran down Jan's face and his breath sobbed in his chest but he was easing open, he was yielding to Servis's entry and Servis gave a mighty push home so that his hips came flush up against Jan's asscheeks. Jan was scalding hot and cramped around him, Jan was impaled on his cock and he was buried in Jan's ass, oh yes oh yes here here here was where he wanted to be, had always wanted to be, here in the middle of this sweetness...
He dragged air into his lungs and curved himself over to meet the curve of Jan's back.
"Mmmh," Jan said.
"Ungh-" he gulped. "Not like before."
"Can you feel me inside you?"
"I feel you," he said on a sobbing breath. "Believe it."
Servis put both arms around his belly and hugged him hard.
"You have a really sweet ass, you know that?"
"Oh thanks," he groaned. "Just what I always wanted to hear."
"Be glad of it. This is the best advocate you've got. I think I'll have to forgive you after all." He pressed his face to Jan's back. "I wish I'd known about this before. It's like honey. I could stay here forever." He kissed Jan's shoulder, and the back of his neck, and then stopped, because his mouth could go on tasting Jan for hours once it began and there were other things that needed doing first.
"I'm going to start moving. You ready?"
He moved out a little and Jan gasped. He moved back in, slowly, slowly, as much to tease himself as out of consideration for Jan- and back out, and in again, rocking on the axle of his pelvis-
Jan groaned beneath him, but with a note in his voice that kept him going. In and out and in and out- Jan moaned at each withdrawal, as the head of Servis's cock came near his tight inner ring, and Servis ground his hips a little each time he felt that obstruction. A high note came into Jan's voice- not pain, not quite pleasure, somewhere between the two. Servis recognized it from his own experience, 'I-can't-stand-it-don't-stop', the noise that went with remorseless fucking and a burning asshole and an aching weight in the groin. His excitement mounted at the sound, and he moved faster and faster, in and in and IN- He felt it beginning inside him, the weight filling his chest and belly and moving out, huge and irresistible, as his cock pistoned in in in into Jan's asshole. A cry came from his throat as his world exploded. He fell and grabbed onto Jan as came down, face buried in the hot sweat-slicked skin of his back, open mouth pressed against the muscled smoothness, panting and gasping and clinging for dear life.
The wave withdrew, dropping him back in the real world. He slipped out of Jan but held on to him still, arms wrapped around the sweaty trembling body. Jan's arms folded over his own, Jan's hand covered his hand and moved it down to where Jan was hard and hot. Servis felt himself flowing into Jan, will and body becoming one, wet skin melting into wet skin, his soft cock still caught in the crack of Jan's ass. He squeezed hard at the thick flesh in his hand, blindly, eyes closed up against the furnace warmth of Jan's shoulder. He didn't need to see, his hand remembered from years ago, in the dark of the dorm or the camp, how to do it, hard and fast the way Jan liked it, first his fingers and then his palm. Jan's ass bucked back and forth against him, banging against his groin as Servis milked him hard. Jan's back arched, his neck stretched up and away, and he yelled again and again, deep 'Aaunghs' drawn up from the depths of his belly. Sticky stuff spurted suddenly across Servis's fingers. Jan jerked spasmodically and fell, heavy and limp, back into his arms. Asleep, probably. He always fell asleep after sex like a stone dropping into a pool. Servis was half there himself- at least, he was somewhere else, floating in that warmth-- so long, so long since he'd been this warm. 'How did I ever live without this?' he wondered. It was like missing a sense- sight, or...
He woke with a sudden start, clutching at Jan. Jan groaned, turned a little, half awake. Servis's heart was hammering with the terror of nightmare-- seeing the bloody body propped empty-eyed against the cliff's edge, feeling the pain in his own eyesocket where he'd gouged his monster flesh from him. His clawing fingers were at his chest, trying to reach the worse pain in his heart-- trying to fling that from him as well. He opened his cramped hand with difficulty. He was shaking so hard he thought he was going to be sick.
"Ngh- Servis-" Jan's voice was blurred. "Wha'izzit?"
"Hey, what is it?" Jan was completely awake, and rolled over to look at him. Servis held him tighter, and Jan's arms came around him.
"Oh Jesus, Jan- oh Christ. Christ. Christ."
"Hey-" Jan's hands gripped his shoulder, rubbed his back.
"I killed you," Servis's teeth chattered.
"No you didn't. Wake up, Servis. You're dreaming."
"I killed you. Oh God, Jan, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. I never wanted to hurt you and look what I've done."
"Servis, look at me. I'm alive. I'm here. You didn't kill me. You didn't hurt me. Wake up, for god's sake."
Servis gulped air, but the burning pain was still there in his chest, demanding to be released. "It's no good," he wept, "it's no good any more." He had to tell him the truth. "I'm not good enough for you-"
"What?" Jan was staring at him in bewilderment. "Servis, what're you saying? Look, is this just because you fucked me tonight? I don't mind-"
"No," he said. "No. It's - why..." The tears were still choking his throat, and the pain in his heart was going to kill him. "It's no good. I've changed too much. I'm not what I was- not the boy I used to be." He took a ragged breath and the words came tumbling out on the cold river of his sadness and fear. "He died when you did- that boy who loved you back then. When I cried for you I used to cry for him as well: for those two lovers who died young. I turned into- someone else- I had to, I couldn't survive- I had to pretend I could live alone, without you and without my eye, and without L-Luzar. But now- oh Christ, Jan: I don't know how to love you any more. I've forgotten how. It's been too long."
"Give it a little time, huh? I only just turned up, after all."
"Some things don't come back," he said in despair. "Like this." His hand went to cover his right eye.
"OK," Jan said. "I don't mind loving you more than you love me. I always did before."
"Jan!!" He cried out at the new pain. "That's not true! I loved you-- I did--"
"So why not wait and see whether you can do it again? Why do you keep trying to get rid of me?"
He checked. "Is that what it sounds like?"
"Yup. Is it because you're afraid I'll leave you again? I won't, you know. I've already told you that."
His gaze went to search the shadowy ceiling. What do I want? Do I really want him to leave? He felt his heart clutch at the thought.
"I don't deserve you," he said, his voice small with shame.
"I'm- you don't know what I've become. What I did to you tonight-"
"I told you, I don't mind-"
"And Shin-chan- what I did to him-"
"You turned him into a man, is what I heard-"
"I made him fall in love with me but I couldn't love him back-- not the way I should have-- And he wasn't the only one. There were other young men. Lots of them. They loved me and I slept with them because they wanted me to and then I left them." He remembered some of their faces, briefly, though the names were long gone. He said slowly, "When you died, I wanted to tear my heart out. In a way, I suppose I did. I felt nothing after it happened, for years and years. It was all the same to me- nothing mattered any more-"
"So what's your problem? If nothing matters, what's all the fuss tonight been about?"
"It matters now. I feel- I don't know what I feel."
Jan nuzzled the side of his neck. "I told you, we're two parts that got separated. You've got your heart back now. Of course it'll be uncomfortable until you get used to having it where it belongs."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Nothing ridiculous about it. We need each other. We're not right otherwise. Not-- complete. You know how I felt back on the island? Like I'd lost my shadow. Like the light could go right through me, I was so thin and unreal. You fucked me solid tonight. When you did that I knew I was real again. It wouldn't have hurt so much otherwise."
"Will you forgive me for that?"
"What'll you give me if I do?"
"What do you want?"
"Lots of things. I want you to stop living in the past, for one thing, and start living in the present with me. I want you not to be so angry about what happened before."
"I'm not angry--"
"That's why you were so lovey-dovey with me tonight?"
Put like that, there was nothing he could say.
"Well, maybe I am, a bit." It felt odd, thinking of himself like that. Harlem was the one who was angry, always, not him. He put the problem aside for another time. "That all you want?"
"No, of course not. I want you to forgive me, and forgive Magic, and forgive Harlem-"
"-and forgive Luzar, and mostly forgive yourself. Think you can do it?"
"You don't want much."
"Can't hurt to ask."
His fingers played with the line of muscle on Jan's chest.
"What do I get in return?"
"What do you want?"
"I can't have what I want."
"What is it?"
"I want us to be together, forever. I don't want to lose you. But-"
"I'll stay. I won't leave you. I can stay, now. The two stones- they're together again- so the world's changed for us too. I won't leave you alone ever again. Believe that, Servis, if you've never believed anything else."
"I do believe you," he said, numbly, "but- Jan- you know we can't make promises. I'd never have thought, twenty-five years ago, that I could lose you either, and I did. The last way I could have expected to."
"That was then, Servis. This is now. Now. Do you even know the meaning of the word?"
"You just don't understand. Nothing lasts out here. You can't hold on to anything. Whatever we do, it ends in pain. Even if you don't leave me, I'll leave you."
"No you won't." Jan's hand stroked his cheek. "I'll go with you. I don't like living by myself." He smiled. "Aw, don't cry again, Servis, for gods sake--"
"This is some homecoming you're having. I'm sorry, Jan."
"Nothing to be sorry about." Jan kissed his hair. "I expected ructions. You always did carry on."
"Now you're trying to make me angry."
"Me? Hell no. All I want is a little sleep. How about it, guy?" Jan's hand pulled Servis's head down onto his chest, and Servis turned round, fitting himself to Jan's body, and felt in surprise a drowsiness coming over him- his eyes were closing...
He floated to the surface next morning with the sense of detached contentment that lingered sometimes in the wake of his infrequent, unremembered dreams. His feet were warm, itself a rare occurrence, and he lay drifting in the dark lowlands of sleep, not quite awake, relishing that sensation of comfort. He couldn't immediately remember who he'd spent the night with but clearly it was someone worth holding on to... He reached out a hand to hold on to him, rolling over on his side and opening his eyes, and saw four inches away the familiar outlines of Jan's sleeping face. His heart stopped in shock. 'I'm hallucinating' he thought, near panic. Then he remembered, but his hand still shook as it came to rest on the smooth warmness of Jan's chest. Jan's eyes opened, and jumped with surprise.
"You're here," Jan said, dry mouthed.
He nodded, dumb.
Jan's arm reached out and Servis moved closer, up against his chest.
"Jan." His voice shook too.
Jan's mouth moved over his left eye and down his cheek. Servis couldn't remember if he'd woken up with a hard-on, but he had one now, like Jan. Like before, in camp, in bivouac-- No. No. Not like before. Like now. Now this very minute, with Jan in his arms and himself in Jan's arms, the immortal eighteen-year-old ancient and the scarred forty-three-year-old man. Us: me and Jan, Jan and me, for as long as it lasts... He stopped thinking, and gave himself over to the demands of their two bodies.
MJJ February-April '96