My first story!  n.n ah, shonen ai.  Fantasy.

Plot: Working in an art gallery while running for honors, Arven had little time for a social life.  In fact, his only 'companion' was a nameless portrait in the lobby.  He led a boring and uneventful existence, that is, until that fateful night, when the man in the picture disappeared, and he discovered the secret behind…

The Portrait With No Name

By Turin

It was probably his imagination, but Arven thought that the picture was looking at him.

Standing to his full height, the young man tried to intimidate the man in the picture, to no avail.  The man's eyes continued to follow his every movement.  His majestic cerulean gaze sent shivers up Arven's spine.

"Hey!  Arven!"

His breath caught in his chest as he wheeled around.  He almost let go of the mop, but he caught the steel handle just in time.  He smiled stupidly at the floor manager, consciously acting stupid, since the man had a reputation of firing anyone whom he thought was smarter than him.  And that meant any one with an IQ of more than 75, he dryly added.

"Stop clowning around, and do your job, or you're gonna get it!" the overweight man growled.  Arven immediately saluted, but when the manager turned his back, he quickly changed the salute into a glare, even sticking out his tongue.  Good thing that he had infernal luck, or he might very well just lose his job to-night! 

He pretended to mop for a few minutes more to make sure that the manager was finally out of earshot.  Then he stopped, leant on the mop, and stretched his back like a cat.

"Oh gosh, I really don't know how I'm gonna get through with all this.  I have duties til midnight, exams tomorrow, and I got to make top grades or I'll lose my scholarship… oh, man!"  he looked angrily at the man in the painting, observing his arrogant gaze and expressionless lips.  "Yeah, and great HELP you are!  You get to sit around while I work my butt off!"

The portrait looked at him with an expression of disdain.

"Yeah.  Harold.  Your I'm-royalty-and-mighty-act don't work on me!" 

Harold.  He didn't know why he called the man in the portrait 'Harold'.  Didn't know any Harolds.  But he looked like a Harold to him… so… well, that's just the reason.  It's like when naming a dog, you just know.

He's so pathetic. 

Countless minutes passed, with only the sound of sloshing water and his mutterings.  Then…

WHAM!

Arven started as the sudden noise reverberated though out the room.  It sounded like something very hard striking something very soft. 

What was that? His heart ran in his chest, and countless fearful thoughts flashed through his mind.  He was a brave person, but he wasn't stupid.  What if the intruder had a gun?  Knees slightly shaking, he tried his very best to look for a place to hide.

The gallery was very big.  But it had few closed spaces.  The architect who designed this was obviously very good, as one can see almost everything standing anywhere.

Drat.

He heard a weak moan, and muffled footsteps.

Drat!

He bit his lips as he pondered what to do.  Finally, he decided to duck behind the life-size copy of 'The Thinker'.  He held his breath as best as he could, taking only small gasps when he ran out of air. 

Sweat streaked down his forehead.  He looked at the intruder's shadow beyond 'The Thinker"'s stationary one.  He gulped as the man took out a large jagged knife, and aimed it at the Thinker's throat (it looked like that in the shadows). 

Rrrrriip!

The sound of ripped canvas, then the loud clash of a metal pail falling.

Metal pail?!

It took a moment before Arven's mind registered what happened.  He looked stupidly at his wet jeans, and the spreading wetness beneath his feet.  The smell of detergent. 

Suddenly, Arven came face to face with the menacing glint of the jagged knife, with bits of canvas still hanging across its blades.  If not for the adrenalin coursing his veins, he might not have ducked the swing in time.  His skin paled as he stared at the blade embedded on a wooden sculpture, just a millimeter away from his throat.

"Gngh!" he cried, as he struggled to his feet.  He scampered like a rat as the slippery detergent made him fall a couple of times.  Panting, he finally managed to get to his feet.  The man was still trying to budge the blade free.  A nasty thought crept in his mind, that if he hadn't ducked, the man might have had an easier time, as he was all soft flesh and bone.  Wah.  Best not to think of such things!

Arven saw the glint of the forgotten metal mop.

Are you stupid?  No!  Don't get it!  Just run away!

But why was his body doing opposite what his mind was saying?  Why was he risking slipping on the soap, as he ran towards the mop?  The man was growling at him!  He should stop!  No!  The knife's free!  Great!  Now he had no choice! 

It's as if time stopped and they were frozen in the air as Arven lunged for the mop, and the intruder lashed the 10-inch blade at him.

Then it was over in the blink of an eye.  The very moment he grabbed a-hold of the mop, Arven spun his body around, just at the right moment, that the rod hit the man's hand and the knife flew away from his grip.  Arven's eyes widened in at his extreme luck!  He really didn't plan to do that.  The man was as surprised as he.

Their eyes locked, and Arven saw how deeply blue the man's eyes were.  It was so blue, that not even the darkness could hide its color.  He would never forget those eyes.

Then…

"Freeze!"

The gallery burst in sudden brightness as all the hall's lights were turned on. 

Arven shielded his eyes.

And the moment that he opened them…

The man was gone.

What the…?

The police were everywhere, and he suddenly realized that he was on the floor, and his back was very wet.  He struggled to get up, but was stopped by a firm yet gentle hand on his shoulders.

"Were you hurt?" the man asked.

"N-no…" he felt his jaw shaking, his feet, too, as the officer helped him up. 

"That was a brave thing you did there son," the officer praised as he checked him for injury. 

Brave?  I was terrified!  But no words came out of his mouth.  He walked past the throng of police and inspectors bursting inside the building. 

He walked as if in a daze. He felt dizzy as the investigators asked him question after question about the break-in.  He just nodded or shook his head when asked a question.  He couldn't utter a coherent word, and he felt so cold, like ice was poured in his veins.

Finally, when they seemed satisfied that they wrung all info they could from him, they put him in an ambulance where a doctor examined him and announced him healthy, but in mild shock.  Nothing to worry about.  Totally normal under such stressful circumstances. 

"Boy, this will hurt, but it will make you feel better okay?"

He looked blankly at the physician.  He should feel afraid as the man produced a nasty-looking syringe, but he just watched as the needle was inserted into his arms.  Then he felt very very drowsy.  The room swirled in and out of focus, until finally, everything turned white.

*          *          *

Arven woke up with a start.  His head throbbed, and his heart raced.  He looked around, fear spreading its wings as he found himself in very alien surroundings.  He was in a white room, with white sheets, and white curtains.  Great.  Now he's gone bonkers!  His apartment was muddy white, with blue cotton curtains, and green bed spreads. He clutched his head in his palms, willing himself to breath deeply and think nice peaceful thoughts…

"Ah, good… you're awake!" 

Arven turned and saw the most beautiful creature in his very short 18-year life.  Her face was enveloped by a halo of golden-brown hair that cascaded down her shoulders.  Her expression was so calm and cheerful that all his apprehensions were forgotten and he was turned into a scatterbrained schoolboy.

"Hello, I'm Lianne, and I'm here to check if you're all right," she explained cheerily.  She produced a stethoscope and warmed it in-between her palms.  Arven swallowed as she placed the device on his chest, and listened to his heartbeat.

Then his pillow rolled off the bed.

"Oh!  I'm sorry, I'll get it!"

She began to bend down, and the future was all so clear in Arven's still immature mind.

Look!  Look! He tried to stifle the imp of perversion in his mind, but it kept screaming louder and louder!

Okay!  But just a peek!

While Lianne was busy, he opened one previously tightly shut eye, to look at the heavenly valley in between those majestic moun…

"The patient's as strong as an ox, Miss Wind.  I've checked him personally.  You can go now."

Arven suddenly closed his eyes again, instinctively ashamed that he entertained such an evil notion.  His cheeks still burned, as he listened to Nurse Lianne's as she left the room.

"And here I was, thinking that you were a man with many qualities… I didn't imagine that perversion could be one of them."

The doctor's tone was as cold as ice, but the words struck true.

"I-I'm sorry… I" he clenched and unclenched his fists as he strove to apologize.  He felt a tide of embarrassment as he raised his head to look at the man.  He seemed unable to meet his gaze however, so his eyes wandered from the chest up.  The doctor was very tall, more than six feet.  He was pale, like someone who barely went out much.  But his body was trim and fit.  His golden hair was tied back, and he had no idea how long it was, but it must be long, since tendrils of it flowed from his shoulder up to halway down his torso.

"What are you looking at?"

The doctor's voice sounded very much annoyed, and Arven blushed even harder as he realized what he must've looked like doing.  But he wasn't doing anything!  It's just his habit to notice everything! 

He gathered all his courage as he willed himself to meet the man's eyes and explain.  He didn't want him to think that he was a pervert, or anything.  He might just decide to give him some sedative again…

The doctor's lips were set in a grim line as he waited for Arven to speak.  He removed his glasses and wiped it on his handkerchief.

That was when Arven's blood stopped flowing…

…as he once again saw those deep blue eyes.

To Be Continued

Turin:  Did you get it?  Earlier in the story I emphasized the intruder's blue eyes.  n.n  So, what will happen next?  Will this story end in 2 chapters, with Arven being brutally murdered?  Or will his fate become entangled with two bishonen brothers, one of which had tried to kill him the night before?  And what's with the portrait with no name?  Oh well…  See you.  If you've reached this far, you've obviously read it already… so next step is review, okay?  Ja!