Author: RoughDraftHero PM
The world has been dead for 36 years. There is a small population of humans. Most of them are insane. Good luck, Charlie. slashRated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Angst - Chapters: 12 - Words: 42,525 - Reviews: 173 - Favs: 128 - Follows: 163 - Updated: 09-20-12 - Published: 09-29-08 - id: 2578150
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Charlie looked from Hadrian to Vespasian. "Outriders?"
"From Necropolis," Hadrian replied, his voice tight. He had his chin tucked down, as if he was trying to focus. After a moment, he looked over his shoulder at Charlie. "We need to put Reg in the trunk."
An involuntary snort escaped Charlie, and then when the moment stretched out too long, he felt his mouth run dry. "You tell him, then."
Hadrian stared back, his lips in a thin line, and then slowly, he moved his eyes over to Reg. With what looked like great reluctance, he gestured at the distant outriders, then at Reg, and then back towards the trunk. Charlie glanced at Reg, and saw that his expression was completely closed off, his eyes dark.
After a moment, Reg shut his eyes— his rough features smoothing out for a moment —and then opened them. Exhaling, he reached for the car door handle, and slid out. The door slamming shut behind Reg jolted Charlie, and without thinking, Charlie flung his own door open, and jumped out automatically. He watched Reg walk to the back of the car, and looked down at Hadrian. "He can't hear," Charlie trailed off, not sure why he felt the need to reiterate that.
"Just … " Hadrian replied, apparently equally at a loss for words. "He can't be seen, ok? We just have to get past these guys, and then we'll come up with a better plan." He took another glance at the outriders in the hazy distance. "I didn't expect to run into them so early, they must be widening their perimeter."
"Perimeter?" Charlie replied.
Hadrian gave Charlie a flat look, before turning to the wheel, and popping the trunk with a crank of a lever. When he realized Hadrian wasn't going to explain anything more, Charlie straightened back up, and watched as Reg bent into the trunk. After a tick of hesitation, Charlie looked back down at Hadrian, and said, "I'll go with him." He slammed his door shut, and trotted over to the back of the car.
He needed to be constant, if he really was going to commit to this Charge thing, or at least to this pretending-to-be-a-Charge thing. Letting Reg rot in the trunk of the car, unable to hear what was going on outside, would be a mistake. Reg would appreciate Charlie coming with him. He would appreciate the loyalty.
"Mind if I join you?" Charlie asked with a crooked smile, looking down at Reg. He breathed out through his nose, shaking his head at his attempt at humor when Reg couldn't even hear him. Reg was staring at him quietly, waiting for Charlie to do something. With an awkward shrug, Charlie climbed into the trunk, and pulled the lid down after him, shrouding them in darkness and heat. A second passed with Reg lying silent behind Charlie, when he suddenly felt an arm slide over his waist, and pull him backwards. He immediately yielded into the embrace, shifting until Reg had his arm square against Charlie's chest. With a light breath, Reg rested his cheek against the top of Charlie's head.
"You're learning," Reg rumbled.
Smiling ruefully, Charlie closed his eyes, and then curled himself more into Reg's chest. He could be obedient. He could be very obedient.
"I almost believe it this time," Reg said, as if he could hear Charlie's thoughts. "Coming with me in the trunk, that was a nice touch."
Charlie didn't know if he should be apprehensive. Reg sounded more amused than anything else, so maybe he was letting Charlie's insincerity slide … which was odd, since anything Charlie did seemed to set Reg off lately. In fact, Reg sounded positively calm and collected, which in itself was terrifying. Charlie wished Reg could hear him, so that he could make whimpering noises or some shit— promise that he was slavishly devoted to being Reg's Charge.
But, he couldn't. So, he had to rely on physical submission.
Rolling around, his pushed his face into the crook of Reg's neck, nuzzling Reg like a dog. He was completely playing by ear, and wondering if he was making a fool of himself by acting this way, but apparently he wasn't, because Reg brought his hand up to the back of Charlie's head, and petted him— like a dog.
Charlie tried not to laugh when Reg murmured, "Good boy."
Maybe Reg would start scratching Charlie's belly next. Well … fine, at least Charlie had a guideline to follow now— just act like a fucking dog.
A drop of sweat lined down his neck, reminding Charlie that they were still in the desert. Hearing the car turn back on, the engine making the trunk vibrate, he groped through the darkness for the water they had stashed back there. When his fingers found the canteen, he drew it closer, placing it in between him and Reg, so that Reg would know it was there. With one swift movement, Reg grabbed the canteen and tossed it behind Charlie, removing the only obstacle between their two bodies.
Going tense at this, Charlie told himself to calm the fuck down. Reg was not only perceptive to real hesitation, he also managed to see it when it wasn't even there. Charlie had to be over the top with affection, or risk …
Charlie swallowed. He wouldn't even think about the things an angry Reg might do to him. Instead, he told himself that if this was any other situation, he would be thrilled to have this hot and mysterious guy demanding that Charlie pay attention to him, to touch him, to let him touch Charlie in return. Yes, Charlie would have been quite pleased with that, so he had to find it in himself to be pleased with this.
He inched his fingers forward, brushing Reg's chest, and sliding down the line of his abdomen. Reg was silent, but he didn't stop Charlie, so Charlie continued, rubbing his hand back up, feeling Reg's chest rise against his touch.
Charlie coughed. Reg was … well, he was really fit, probably the result of having healthy nutrition growing up. Wondering how much effort Reg put into toning his body, Charlie wrapped his hand around Reg's bicep, and blushed when Reg flexed it, probably to show off. Charlie started to draw his hand away, but Reg grabbed his wrist in the darkness, and brought Charlie's hand to his lips.
"Don't stop," Reg growled, his voice rough, his lips brushing against Charlie's palm.
He let go, and Charlie paused for a moment, and then slid his fingers through Reg's hair, brushing it behind his ear. Charlie's heart thudded loudly when he felt Reg reach forward, and place his hand on Charlie's hip, immediately feeling inadequate at how bony he still was.
"I wish you had always been my Charge," Reg said, and Charlie blinked when he felt Reg gently kiss his forehead. "I would have fed you meat and desserts every day."
Charlie's turned breathing shallow, and he really wished he could see Reg's face. All of this excessive niceness was unnerving, and Charlie could feel his pulse picking up as he tried to gauge how long it would be until Reg's mood shifted again. There was no way to guarantee that Reg would stay this way, not even Charlie acting pliant. Any second, Reg could decide that Charlie was secretly trying to kill him, and the trunk would suddenly become a very, very dangerous place.
"You would have been my favorite Charge," Reg continued, oblivious to the panic washing over Charlie. "I would have doted on you."
There seemed to be a wistful clarity in Reg's voice, but he also sounded like he was talking about something that could never come to be. Did this mean he would eventually let Charlie go?
"If whatever this is kills me, Charlie, will you come with me?"
It was as if all the air had been sucked out of the trunk, and Charlie went cold in Reg's arms, retracting his arm with an unconscious jerk. And then he was clawing away from Reg, turning around and grasping for the trunk's emergency release. He almost had it when hands wrapped around his wrists, and pulled his arms back against his chest. "Charlie," Reg whispered behind him, "Don't act like this."
There was a clear warning in his voice, one that was just strong enough to pierce through the fog of terror clouding Charlie's mind. But he couldn't settle down— Reg wanted Charlie to die with him! To follow him to the fucking afterlife!
"Oh, god," Charlie moaned, pressing his face against the floor of the trunk. The hands grasping him felt like vices, not even human, just anchors pulling him closer to death.
Charlie's breathing slowed. He wasn't dead yet, he thought to himself, and if there was one important thing he had learned out there in the wild, was that survival meant getting from one moment to the next without being eaten alive by a nosher. He had to get to the next moment, or he would fall.
Nudging around, still tightly bound to Reg, he reached forward as best he could, and grabbed Reg's face in his hands, and pulled himself forward, locking lips with Reg. He felt Reg stiffen with surprise, and then loosen, his hand sliding down Charlie's back. Charlie arched into the embrace, and Reg groaned, his fingers lingering on the swell of Charlie's ass. He broke the kiss, breathing heavily. To Charlie's utter surprise, a light chuckle escaped Reg's lips.
"Charlie," Reg said, "I wasn't being serious."
Liar. Charlie felt no relief whatsoever at Reg's words. His jaw clenched, his fingers itching to grasp on to Reg's throat and squeeze. But, he couldn't do it.
"I just wanted to see what you would do," Reg continued, the friendliness in his voice slightly strained. "Charges aren't expected to die with their Providers."
"They aren't expected to have sex with them, either," Charlie bit back, smirking in the darkness, relishing the ability to at least rebel vocally. Unfortunately, he realized too late that Reg could feel the vibrations in Charlie's chest. There was another light chuckle.
"Cursing me?" Reg said, his hand brushing Charlie's cheek. Charlie breathed out, not saying anything.
Suddenly, the caress turned rough, Reg shoving his thumb into Charlie's mouth like a fishhook, and then dragging his face up so that his neck was exposed. Charlie felt teeth on the vulnerable skin, and winced, hoping Reg wouldn't actually bite him. He didn't, but he kept mouth over Charlie's neck, leaving the threat open-ended, his teeth dipping slightly against the soft skin. There was a flicker of tongue, and Charlie sucked air in, wondering what Reg was doing, and then realizing he was pressing his tongue against Charlie's jugular, testing the pulse.
Reg drew back. "Charlie," he said, "Offer yourself to me."
There was a extended moment of silence— Charlie trying to figure out what the fuck Reg was talking about. Was this some Necropolis thing? A Charge ritual? Offer himself to—
No. Charlie laughed, a little desperately. No, no, no. That couldn't be a real thing. That was beyond … just, no.
"Charlie," Reg said, his voice going flat, "I'm not fucking around. Offer yourself to me." Fingers creeped around Charlie's neck, tightening. "Obey."
Feeling his air flow restricted, Charlie made the quick decision to get over his reservations, even as common sense told him that what Reg was asking him to do wasn't normal, if indeed it was what Charlie was thinking. 'Get over yourself,' Charlie thought, 'Get over pride, just fucking do it, you want live, don't you?'
He twisted around again, this time with his back to Reg. Fingers curling, he pressed his knuckles against his forehead, and then half-heartedly inched his ass towards Reg's groin. He heard a derisive snort. "You've gotta be kidding," Reg said, his tone cruel, "I said offer yourself to me, didn't I? How the hell am I supposed to take you like this?" He snapped Charlie's waistband to accentuate his point.
"I can't believe you're doing this right now," Charlie breathed, feeling close to tears. Didn't Reg remember there were men from Necropolis speeding towards them at this very moment?
With that one cold word, and every threat promised behind it, Charlie was quickly tugging at his fly, undoing the button, and pulling the zipper down with jerky movements, his back curled towards Reg. His heart was pounding, his mouth dry, and he shoved his pants down to his ankles, his bottom finally exposed. He didn't even hesitate, and just pushed back, offering himself to Reg.
"Like you want it."
Charlie closed his eyes, his face contorting with misery. Biting his lip, he bent more, pushing his ass against Reg's front, utter helplessness choking him when he felt hardness there. Then there was a hand sliding down his back, getting too close to that one spot, the one Charlie absolutely did not want Reg anywhere near. When he felt a finger almost touch that vulnerable spot, he reached back without thinking, and grabbed Reg's wrist.
"You said," Charlie gasped, his voice tight, cracking with swallowed sobs, "You said you would wait for me to be less weak."
There was silence, and Charlie wondered what firestorm he had ignited behind him. But then, to his surprise, the wrist in his grip twisted around, fingers lacing through Charlie's. "I know, but you're always fucking testing my resolve, Charlie."
Charlie froze. And then tried to roll around, but a hand pressed down on his hip, stopping him. "No," Reg said, with a calm tone, "I didn't say you could move." He languidly slid his hand down Charlie's naked thigh. "You really need to learn how to be more obedient."
"You can hear," Charlie replied, shivering at the touch. No one had ever touched him in any of the places Reg had, not ever. Charlie was too overwhelmed to feel violated, but he knew that would come later. He blinked, realizing … "Just now?"
Stupidly, he sighed with relief. He felt a sharp pinch at his thigh, and winced. "You must have had fun," Reg said, "Saying bad things about me."
The hand rubbing against his thigh paused, fingers digging into the skin. "Charlie, I don't understand why you think I'm an idiot," Reg said, his voice low, "You weren't born a Charge, there's no way you don't feel resentment because of your new station in life. You must hate it, and I know that."
"Does it matter if I hate it?" Charlie snapped, and then grimaced. His head was reeling, and he was speaking without thinking, but how the hell was Reg so calm? He had been deaf a few moments before! Not to mention— they were in the trunk of a car. Yet, Reg had all the time in the world to discuss why Charlie wasn't naturally submissive.
"It does," Reg said, "It matters a lot. A disobedient Charge breaks the harmony of the House."
"But I'm not disobedient," Charlie replied through clenched teeth. When Reg was silent, disapproving and silent, Charlie's lip curled upwards. "You just want me to want this, don't you? I bet there's no fucking rule saying a Charge has to be happy being a Charge, but you want me to be simpering and boneless and just brainlessly overjoyed about the whole fucking thing, don't you?"
Again, silence. And then a sigh. " … Fuck," Reg said suddenly, his fingers curling around to the inside of Charlie's thigh, making Charlie jolt from the feeling being too close to his groin. "That brazen attitude of yours always just makes me want to fuck you, you know that?" Lips pressed against the slope of Charlie's neck, and he felt his stomach flip. "Especially when you act obedient, but I know you want to slit my throat … god, Charlie."
Reg didn't finish his thought. Not that Charlie cared, he was too hyped up on this apparent free reign to say everything he wanted to say, but was too fucking scared to do so.
"And offer myself to you?" he said, his voice biting, "What the fuck was that? My ass is still naked, you know."
"Oh, I know," Reg replied, his voice an amused rumble. "I am well aware."
Charlie flushed, most of the fight knocked out of him. "I want to pull my pants back up."
There was a pause, and then, "Fine." Charlie quickly reached down, and dragged his pants back up, zipping his fly and fastening the button. He refrained from breathing out with relief again, but he did feel better, much, much better. "Charlie," Reg said from behind him, "It's not like you're getting out of something. It won't be today, but someday— someday soon, I will take pleasure from you."
"Would you force me— " Charlie began to say, only to be cut off when the car suddenly came to an abrupt halt, sending Charlie careening into Reg, who caught him with a pair of strong arms. A hand covered his mouth, and they both laid there, listening intently.
A car door opened, and then another— some scuffling of shoes walking on cement.
"Who're you, kid?" barked a gruff voice.
"Hadrian Hero, from the Kearny House."
There was some distinct mumbling, and then: "Heard your House was having a bit o' trouble."
"Oh?" Hadrian replied with a measured tone. Charlie felt the hand against his mouth start to tremor, but he ignored it, straining his ears.
"Yeah," the gruff voice said, "Heard tell your next-in-line took off, got himself killed in the badlands," there was a pause, "after murdering some of my men."
Charlie flashed back to Wilcox and the other men Reg had shown up with at the gas station. He moved to elbow Reg, but flinched when he realized Reg's entire body was now shaking lightly. He tried to look over his shoulder, and then gasped with pain when Reg's knee suddenly jerked into his back.
After that, it was a blur. Charlie flipped around, leaning up on his elbow, and nearly got knocked over when Reg convulsed into him. Without thinking, Charlie lunged on top of him, grabbing his arms.
Reg was having a seizure. Charlie had seen this at his clan, a young girl who had suddenly collapsed and started writhing on the ground. "Reg?" Charlie said, trying to keep a firm hold on Reg's limbs. He wasn't jerking around as much as the girl had been, but his entire body was twitching. "Reg?" Charlie repeated, keep his voice low.
"Just keep holding me down," Reg hissed back, his voice sounding strained. "Don't make any more noise."
Charlie tried his hardest, but he was already winded from the effort he had expended. Still, he wrapped his arms around Reg, locking his hands together under Reg's convulsing body, and pressed his face against Reg's chest, hoping he could just weather the storm. Whatever was being said outside was completely lost on them by that point, and all Charlie could think about was making sure Reg didn't accidentally kick the lid of the trunk, or do anything else that would make noise.
After a few brief tense seconds, Reg's body came to a rest. Charlie rose and fell with Reg's breathing, and they stayed like that. "Charlie," Reg whispered, after a moment, "What's happening to me?"
Charlie didn't answer. He wanted to hear what the men outside were saying, and he didn't want to think about Reg having seizures. Instead, he unclasped his hands, and brought them up to Reg's head, kneading the pads of his fingers against Reg's scalp in calming circles, while still focusing on what Hadrian was saying. He barely noticed the small sigh escaping from Reg's mouth.
"He's one of my Charges," Hadrian was saying, "I brought him with me to help with the land search."
"They let second-tier Providers have their own Charges now, do they?" the gruff voice responded. "How old are you, anyhow?"
"Excuse me?" Hadrian replied, "Last time I checked, outriders were below second-tier Providers in station, no matter of age."
There was a pause, and then a sharp laugh. "Alright, I get it," the gruff voice said, "You and the brute move right along, then."
Charlie breathed out with relief when he heard the car doors slam, and the engine flip on again. Dropping his forehead against Reg's chest, he kept massaging Reg's scalp, gently scratching the skin. After a moment, Reg's plaintive question finally hit Charlie, and his fingers paused. Reg had sounded so lost.
Maybe … maybe Reg acting the way he did wasn't who he actually was. Hadrian made Reg sound like some prodigy, a natural born leader, but from what Charlie had seen so far, Reg was more like a ticking time bomb. But maybe there was a different Reg, like the one Charlie met at the gas station, a Reg who was indifferent. A Reg who didn't want Charlie.
"Hey," Charlie said, resuming his massaging. "Don't worry, Reg. That's why we're going to Necropolis, so we can find out what's going on with you."
He thought he could almost see Reg's eyes in the darkness, but probably not.
"Charlie," Reg replied, sounding tired, "I have a headache."
Charlie frowned, unsure of what to do when Reg sounded so weak. After a pause, he placed a chaste kiss on Reg's lips.
"Charlie," Reg repeated. " … I don't want to die."
Charlie stared down, but he couldn't see Reg at all in the darkness of the trunk. He wondered what Reg's expression looked like. "I wish I could make you feel better, Reg," he said, slowly.
He almost meant it.
A HUGE thank you to my fancy new ~BETA READER~ :
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