Darkness wraps its arms around the shivering boy. He rubs his ice-cold arms with his hands, trying to bring about warmth to his small frame. He stares off into the utter blackness in the large barracks. Rows of metal frames making up hard sleeping surfaces, row… upon row… upon row. Human figures curled up side by side, so many... So many people, sleeping in the icy darkness.

"How did I end up here..? Do we all really deserve this...?" is the boy's only thoughts as he curls up a bit more. The gray, tattered fabric wrapped around his body holds no warmth. His feet are left as lumps of ice with no shoes. This had become the norm, the every night, sleeping in cruel conditions.

The sun breaks the horizon with its white light. Loud yells come from foul mouths of red uniform wearing men. The frozen humans get up automatically, like zombies arising from the grave. They make their beds in military fashion and march out upon their numb limbs into the bleak outside. The boy is one of many, falling into the marching line.

The boy lets out a tired sigh as the line of people stops and they face the barking uniform. He yells out numbers. In school the children had had first names and last names, last names coming first, all in alphabetical order. Now you no longer had a name. You were a number and nothing more. "6165233," drops from the mouth of the talking uniform. The boy replies "Here," emotionlessly. He looks off to the hard ground, feeling the painful sting of the ice upon his bare feet.

When the last number is called, the line marches off to do their pointless work, tiring, starving, relentless work. Many would die in the mines, and then their carcasses would be dragged off to be disposed of without a thought.

Nourishment time rolls around, and the men march from the mine. The pitiful excuse for soup is poured into crude bowls, then a small piece of bread is dropped into each person's hand. The boy sits down upon the ground, eating his soup slowly. His stomach growls from hunger. His eating quickens in little time, and the bowl is empty and the bread is gone.

The boy looks up at the blank sky, no clouds, no sun, no soft blue. His ears quiver in fear when the uniform hisses the words "Selection,". He stands up slowly, looking around at the other dying men around him and gulps. The uniform backs off, allowing the selection officer to inspect the row of bodies.

He stands in suspense, his young heart racing at an incredible pace. The selection officer comes to him after what seems like an eternity and stares down at the boy with fierce blue eyes. He stands tall in his blood red uniform and knee-high, brown, leather boots. Badges line his shirt, and a cap sits upon his head of downy blonde curls that frame his fair complexioned face.

The boy bites his lip, feeling the intensity in the officer's eyes. "How old are you?" demands the officer with sharpness to his voice. "Sixteen," replies the boy softly. "You're too short to be sixteen," smirks the officer, as he looks over at their head uniform. "Take this one away," he continues.

The teen blinks in realization, then without a thought falls to his knees, grabbing onto the officer's shirt. "Please, Sir! I am a hard worker!" pleas the boy, staring up at the officer with watery eyes. The officer, caught off guard, looks down at the boy. The teen's amber brown eyes, wide with fright and starting to drown in tears, continue to look up at the blood red officer.

His hand pulls the boy's hand off of his shirt, then closes around his wrist and pulls him up. "You're going," says the officer, pulling the boy away from the line. "No!" screams the boy, pulling back on the officer's grip.

The boy looks back at his previous place in the line. He looks at the men, with their indifferent expressions on their faces. He continues to struggle. "Please! Don't annihilate me!" cries the boy. Within a second, the officer punches the teen in the stomach, and the boy's world goes black.

~~~


His eyes open slowly, feeling a soft warmth emitting from somewhere nearby. The boy sits up slowly, then grimaces a bit, holding his bruised stomach. His eyes focus and he looks about, taking in the surroundings.

The warm glow flows from the fireplace on the wall across from the small bed he finds himself sitting upon. A wooden desk with a wash basin and a pitcher of water stands in the corner, and a small eating table stands in the opposite corner, with one chair.

"Is this my afterlife?" murmurs the boy. He notices a door, half-hidden in the last corner. As if by thought, the door is pushed open. The teen's eyes become wide with a returning fear as the red officer walks through the door. The officer closes the door behind him, then looks over at the boy. The silence falls as they stare at one another, not sure what to say or do. The officer looks off to the table, and walks over, setting down a large bowl of soup upon it. He looks back over at the boy. The teen sits still as a statue, watching the officer's every move.

"Well, aren't you going to eat?" asks the officer. The boy looks at him with a dumbfound expression. "Eat?" repeats the boy, sounding confused. The officer nods. "What if he poisoned it? It would probably bring him entertainment to watch me choke," thinks the teen to himself bitterly. He doesn't budge from the bed.

"It's going to get cold if you don't eat it," says the officer, looking a bit aggravated at the boy's stubbornness. The boy shakes his head obstinately. The officer narrows his eyes. "Eat it or I will have you killed," he orders. A shiver runs down the boy's spine.

Without a word he gets up from the bed and shakily makes his way over to the table. While standing he picks up the bowl. "Sit," orders the officer. He sits upon command and starts sipping the soup. The officer heads over to a small coat hanger and hangs up his hat and takes off his uniform jacket.

The teen finishes his soup and stares down at the empty bowl, perplexed. He suddenly feels the officer's hand fall upon his shoulder. He gasps a bit. The officer traces his finger over the boy's shoulder, leaving a light trail in the dirt upon the boy's skin. "You're so filthy," murmurs the officer. "Not my fault I have to live in these conditions," grouses the boy to himself.

The officer grabs the boy's wrist once more and pulls him to his feet. The boy looks at him suddenly with fear in his eyes. "Did I do something to upset you?" whimpers the boy. The officer pulls him over to the wash basin. "Undress," instructs the officer. The shocked teen stares at him. The officer lets out an annoyed sigh, then grabs the boy forcefully by the shoulder.

He pulls the rags off the boy's thin frame and drops them on the floor. The boy continues to stare at him. With the silence remaining, the officer picks up the soft sponge from the wash basin and wets it in the pitcher of water. With a surprisingly gentle hand, he starts cleaning the boy of the grime that had been building up on his skin. The teen's fair complexion starts to shine through once the filth is gone.

Upon finishing the sponge bath, the officer turns the boy's forearm underside up and looks at his number. "6165233… you have a real name don't you?" asks the officer. The teen, a bit dazed from the current events, takes a moment to process his request. "Kelan," replies the teen softly. "Kelan, hm? Such a gentle name," mumbles the officer, still resting his hand on Kelan's shoulder. Kelan remains silent, instead just nodding in acknowledgement. The officer takes his free hand and tips up Kelan's chin. "I am Selection Officer Evander Cainnech," he says, speaking straight into Kelan's brown eyes.

Kelan returns the glance with bewildered eyes. Evander pushes him up against the wall, pinning him there. Kelan's eyes widen as he asks, "What are you doing?". Evander's left hand tenderly moves across the boy's shoulder and down along his small chest. His index finger lightly circles Kelan's soft, pink nipple. His eyes widen even more, followed by his body's sudden shiver. "Don't touch me like that," whimpers Kelan as he puts his hands on Evander's chest and starts pushing away.

"Shhh," whispers Evander comfortingly. He slowly brushes his lips over Kelan's, causing the boy to tremble. His warm kisses make a path down Kelan's chin then subtlety down his tender neck. Kelan stares off at the wall facing him, his eyes partly open, a small moan escaping his lips.

Kelan pushes with his weakened arms against Evander's chest. "Stop it!" he says defiantly, after working up the strength to yell. The officer drops his hand from the boy's chest and looks down at him. Kelan looks back up at him with fearful, wounded eyes. A small, hopeless smile emerges on Evander's lips. He looks off to the side. "I am sorry," he murmurs.

The teen's hands ball into fists. "All you people are the same! You enjoy making Eilyunes miserable and uncomfortable!" screams Kelan with explosive rage. Evander watches the fire of anger flicker in his eyes. He steps back from the boy.

With a new found courage the boy continues, "Why did you bring me here!? Why did you bring me to your little chamber!?" . Evander continues watching the boy in his ire, the smile remaining on his face. "Because of your joie de vivre," he says. The flickers extinguish themselves. "You showed me you're strength through your eyes," says Evander.

Kelan watches the words flow from his mouth. Evander carries on, "So I brought you here to reward you with food and a bath, because someone of your vigor has earned it,". "I did not want the last gift you bestowed upon me!" says Kelan, the wounded look reappearing in his eyes. The sincere officer bows his head then says, "Yes, and I am sorry for it, please pardon my licentious actions," .

The teen falls down to the floor, hugging his knees. He buries his face in his thighs and lets out a sob. "I want to go home. I've been in the hell you Opidons have created for three years. I can't take it anymore!" weeps Kelan.

Evander kneels down by the boy. "Even if I let you go home, you'd be recaptured," says Evander quietly. Kelan continues to quake and weep. Evander gently places his hands upon the teen's shoulders. "Listen to me, I promise you I will keep you alive," says Evander.

Kelan stops sobbing a little suddenly, then looks up at Evander. "You will live out in the barracks, but I will send for you at least once a week. Each time you come you will be able to eat your fill, clean yourself, and get a decent nights rest," continues Evander. Kelan narrows his eyes. "Why would a Opidon do that for a Eilyune?" says Kelan bitterly.

The officer smiles at the sour teen. "Wouldn't it be better to take the chance, than live how you'd been living without?" replies Evander. Kelan looks down. "I can't promise I'll come when you call for me," mutters Kelan. "That's alright, its your choice," says Evander as he stands up from the ground. Kelan stands up too.

"May I have my clothes back?" grumbles Kelan under his breath. With that, the officer picks up the boy's rags and hands them to him. Kelan takes the clothes in his hand and drapes them around himself like they had been before.

Evander sits down upon his bed and pulls off his boots and sets them off to the side. Kelan stands in the middle of the floor, silent. The officer looks up at him. "You'll be safer sleeping here for the night. Tomorrow I will see to putting you into a barrack," says Evander. Kelan nods slowly then crawls onto the bed and curls up on the left. Evander lays next to him on the right, letting him have as much space as the small bed would allow them.

~~~


"6165233, you're being called down by the Selections Officer," snarls the uniform one desolate winter morning. Kelan looks at the uniform from his place in line. "You're to report to his quarters at dusk," continued the uniform, handing the teen a yellow slip. "Yes, sir," says Kelan quietly.

Dull sunlight fades beyond the dark horizon, casting an eerie glow over the camp. Kelan emerges from his barracks, rubbing his upper arms due to the biting cold of the on coming night. "Should I really go back to him?" wonders Kelan to himself. He walks for a bit, holding the yellow piece of paper allowing him such freedom to walk alone.

"What if he's going to kill me this time?" thinks Kelan with a cringe. He stops walking for a moment, looking down at the dark ground. "Wouldn't it be better to take the chance, than live how you'd been living without?" Evander's voice echoes through the boy's mind. A shrill wind blows past, sending a shiver through Kelan's frail body. "This could be my only way to survive," murmurs Kelan to himself.

He looks forward, seeing the officer's row a few feet away. His fingers subconsciously brush over his lips, causing a faint blush to come over the awkward teenager's face. He abruptly pulls his fingers away. "What if he tries that again…?" ponders Kelan, a fearful, yet, exciting thought. He gulps slowly then starts walking again. "I have to. I am given this to increase my chance of survival. I have to take it," Kelan decides finally.

Kelan walks up to the officer's door and knocks a few times. Within a few moments, the door opens. Evander's face welcomes Kelan with a soft smile. "Good eve'. Come in," says Evander, stepping to the side to allow Kelan entrance. The gentle warmth of the chamber greets Kelan with open arms. He steps inside. Evander closes the door and walks back over to his bed. "Your food is on the table, and there's clean water in the pitcher," he informs. Kelan nods then walks over to the table and sits down.

He contemplates the large bowl of soup and healthy helping of bread. After taking it in, he breaks the bread and begins eating his fill. Kelan pauses in mid bite. "Why are you watching me?" Kelan asks, not turning about, but sensing the eyes staring down his back. "I wasn't," says Evander casually, while looking back down at a stack of papers on his bed. Kelan looks over his shoulder at the officer. "You were too," says Kelan, a bit childishly.

Evander laughs lightly. "Alright you win," he says. "You make me uncomfortable when you watch," murmurs Kelan, serious as ever. "Well don't worry, I have papers to attend to," says Evander, putting his attention completely on the written words.

The boy continues eating his soup in silence, staring down into the bowl as it slowly became empty. He stands up from his seat and walks over to the wash basin. He looks over at Evander. "You have better not watch me at all during my bath," says Kelan with a scrunched up nose. Evander glances up at him. He chuckles a bit at the teen's expression, then nods. "I promise I won't," he says.

"Good," says Kelan, pulling off his tattered shirt and laying it on the small wood desk. He picks up the sponge from the basin and soaks it in the water and starts wiping off dirt from his skin.

Evander ruffles his papers a bit, clears his throat and continues reading. The silence hangs about the room, making time flow slowly.

Kelan swallows hard, then murmurs, "What are those papers for?". Evander doesn't respond immediately. Kelan looks over at the officer slowly. "Did you hear me?" he asks. Evander nods a bit. "Their numerical documents," he replies almost inaudibly. "Numerical? In what way?" Kelan questions. "Death percentages," the officer continues in his soft tone.

The boy's eyes widen a bit, then he looks at the water in the pitcher. "What did the Eilyunes ever do to the Opidons that caused this? What?" asks Kelan, biting his lip. "Emklay is using the Eilyunes as scapegoats for the country's problems," replies Evander. "But why!? Why did he have to choose us!?" argues Kelan.

Evander looks up at the enraged boy. "He's tapped into a general universal dislike for Eilyunes, and uses it to his advantage to pull off such an event like this," says Evander, sounding rather sympathetic.

"If you see through his motives then why do you follow him?" inquires Kelan. "I have no choice," responds Evander, sounding a bit dispiriting. "Why?" questions Kelan again. "Obidons are either in service to Emklay or they're dead," says the officer, his eyes showing despair.

Kelan is silent for the moment. He looks over at Evander, catching the weary eyes. "You're forced into working for Elmklay? Or else you're murdered?" clarifies Kelan. Evander looks back down at his papers and nods.

"That's horrible," murmurs Kelan, looking back at the water pitcher. "I know," agrees Evander. More silence sets in on the two men, the utter indecency of the country dawning upon them in realization.

Kelan sets the sponge back on the basin and pulls on his shirt. Evander stands up from his bed and walks over to a leather portfolio by the coat stand and files the papers into it quickly. Kelan walks over to the bed and sits down, looking down at the floor. Evander walks back over to the bed and sits next to him.

"Good night," murmurs Kelan as he crawls to the left side and scoots under the covers. Evander does the same and closes his eyes.

~~~

"You know what I heard?" gossips one of the inmates to another. "Is it about the Indrosi?" replies the other. "Yeah, I heard their freeing Eilyune by the number!" says the first. "Do you think they'll get to us in time?" says the second. "We can only pray," the first sighs. Kelan listens in to their evening conversation, sleep refusing to come to him. He curls up a bit. "The Indrosi, why are they taking so long?" speculates Kelan to himself

Upon the morning, Kelan finds another yellow slip of paper waiting for him. He takes it from the uniform and continues about the daily routine. Upon finishing his normal ration of soup he sits down on the hard ground and stares off into space.

"The evening is taking so long to come," mutters Kelan to himself. His eyes widen a bit in slight confusion. "Why am I so eager to go see him?" he asks himself. He pulls his knees up to his chest. "Well I get food and a bath, that makes sense. Any person in my position would be excited to have those," decides Kelan, watching the other prisoners eat their watery soup.

When the sun has set and the moon hangs itself in the sky, Kelan leaves the barrack and makes his way to the officer's row. His feet walk at a quicker pace, his mind already made up this time around. "Half a year already, like this, visit upon visit," thinks Kelan to himself, kicking at a rock in the path while making his way.

With one knock, the door is opened and the familiar smiling face welcomes the boy. Kelan walks in after they say their hellos. He walks over to the table, such a habit for him now, and sits down to eat his large portion of food.

Evander lingers around the table, leaning on it. "Been behaving yourself, right?" he asks nonchalantly. Kelan nods, his mouth full of bread. Evander smiles some. "You look funny with your cheeked stuffed like that," he muses aloud. Kelan looks up at him, and swallows his food. "Well, you'd be stuffing your face too if you didn't get much to eat," retorts Kelan, spooning soup into his mouth. Evander chuckles a bit at his comment. "I suppose you're right," he says.

The teen finishes his soup and scoots the chair away from the table. Evander waits for him to get up and head to the wash basin, as always. But Kelan does not move. Instead he looks up at Evander and asks, "Is it true the Indrosi are freeing Eilyune encampments?"

Evander takes his time in answering, looking like he is pondering his answer. "Yes, that has been the general news," he says, a bit apathetic. Kelan looks off at the fireplace. "When they come, I'll be free after almost 4 years here," says Kelan, his throughts drifting into sentences. "Yeah," says Evander. Kelan looks up at Evander. "Once everyone's free, and the Indrosi have conquered the Obidon empire, you'll be free too, right?" asks Kelan.

The officer shakes his head. "I am afraid not. When they free the Eilyune, they will capture the Obidon and put them on trial for all their crimes," Evander states in a monotone voice. "But, you could tell them you didn't want to do what they made you do, and…" starts Kelan. Evander shakes his head once more. "None the less I have still killed many innocents, and for that I will be punished," says Evander.

Kelan's eyes grow wide with sudden worry. "But, I was hopeing that …" the sentence drifts. "Hoped what?" asks Evander. Kelan stares down at the floor, then shakes his head. "Never mind," he says. Evander looks at him in silence.

Kelan stands up and walks over to the wash basin. Then he looks over his shoulder at the officer. "Could you…" starts Kelan. Evander looks over at him. "Could you bathe me, like you did when you first brought me here?" requests Kelan, with genuine sincerity. Evander looks a bit surprised.

"You want me to?" he asks, clarifying the boy's request. Kelan nods. The officer stops leaning on the table, and makes his way over to the scrawny teen. Kelan watches him walk over, he swallows a bit nervously.

Evander places his hand on the boy's waist and pulls his rags from his small body with gentle precision. He sets them off to the side. Then he reaches for the sponge with his free hand, and pauses. He squeezes the boy's waist, easily feeling bone through the skin. "You're still so thin. You make me think I am gonna break you. You seem so fragile," says Evander, sounding a bit worried.

Kelan looks forward. "I know," he replies. Evander picks up the sponge and soaks it in the water. Then he gently washes the teen of the filth upon his body. "But you're not fragile. You've got the will to survive in you," continues Evander, in the middle of washing the boy's back.

"Thank you," murmurs Kelan quietly. The washing moves to his concave stomach. Kelan slowly leans back on Evander, leaning his back upon the officer's chest. Evander's skilled hand slowly moves down the boy's abdomen, then slides even further down. A small gasp escapes from Kelan's lips, his eyes closing gradually.

The sponge continues its path down the teen's thighs. When he clear skin shines through, Evander places the sponge back on the basin to dry. "Done," states Evander. Kelan turns about in the officer's grip, then leans his head against his shoulder. His gaunt hands grip the officer's shirt.

Evander looks down at the boy. "Are you alright?" he asks. The teen shivers, nuzzling his cheek into the officer's chest. "My mother was taken to the woman's wing. My father was annihilated on the first day we arrived here," whispers Kelan Evander looks at him silently. "I've been alone so long. Please… please hold me," sniffs the teen, tears welling up at the corner of his eyes.

Without another word, the officer embraces the thin teen, holding him tightly against his body. "You're not alone. I am here for you now, and I swear I always will be," says Evander gently. He kisses the boy's short brown haired head and gives him a small squeeze. Kelan looks up at him with an astonished look in his eyes. "You really mean that?" he asks. Evander looks straight into Kelan's eyes and nods. Kelan still looks a bit stunned, and then a small smile comes over his face.

The officer leans down his head and affectionately kisses the boy's lips. Kelan slowly closes his eyes once more, and pushes his lips up against Evander's. The officer drags his lips down to the boy's jaw, nipping at his slender neck. Kelan sighs softly, leaning his head to the side, gripping tighter to the officer's shirt.

Evander picks up the frail boy and lays him on the bed. Kelan looks up at him, his face looking a bit disappointed. Evander smiles as his fingers starting to unbutton his shirt. Kelan looks at the officer's working hands, followed by a nervous smile coming over his face.

Within a few moments, the officer has rid himself of his garments. He crawls onto the bed, looking down upon Kelan. "I am scared," whispers Kelan. Evander gently strokes Kelan's cheek with his thumb, smiling kindly at the boy. "I am a bit scared too," replies Evander. Kelan smiles shyly. "But I am also excited," says Evander, his eyes lighting up. "Like butterflies in your stomach?" asks Kelan softly. Evander nods. Kelan slowly reaches up his arms and drapes them around the officer's neck, entwining his fingers in his blonde curls.

Their lips meet once again. More than just a touch, Evander fervently kisses Kelan, over and over. The boy moans softly into his companion's seductive mouth. Kelan suddenly turns his head to the side, yelling out painfully. "It hurts!" cries Kelan, his body trembling all over. "It hurts so much, Evander," he whines softly.

"It won't hurt much longer," murmurs the officer, gently kissing the boy's ear. He pushes back in, causing the boy's back to arch. Kelan cries out, a moan of pain and pleasure wrapping around one another. Evander kisses down the boy's chest to one of his small nipples and takes the pink bud into his mouth.

Kelan's moaning cries fill the small silent chamber. And in the heat of the moment, he yells it. He yells it with all his being. "I love you!" cries Kelan, the overwhelming bliss flowing over his small body, causing every muscle in him to spasm.

Evander lifts up his head, his own body trembling from ecstasy. "I love you too," he breathes, his arms giving out, letting him fall softly upon Kelan's breathless body. Kelan inhales deeply, his heart still racing.

The officer listens to the teen's heart in his chest, and smiles happily. "I can't move," whispers Kelan. "Neither can I," says Evander. The officer closes his eyes. "I really meant what I said," he murmurs. "I did too," says Kelan, closing his eyes as well. "I love you," drifts off Evander. "I love you too," Kelan sighs softly.

~~~


Bashing, clashing, smashing, screaming, roaring, rocking. Kelan awakens in his barracks, the sun still under the horizon's dark blanket. He looks about, finding other prisoners awake, all huddled by the door. The boy gets up from his bunk and walks over. "What's going on?" asks Kelan.

Another inmate looks at him. "The Obidons are running around frantically," he says. "The Indrosi are here," says another. Kelan's eyes widen. "They are?" he asks. Sudden bouts of excited cheers erupt.

Kelan looks through the smudged window to see people wearing shimmering white uniforms and silver boots. Many are catching the red coated Obidons and putting them in cuffs. His fellow inmates start banging on the door. "Let us out!" they cry in unison. Within a moment, the pearly soldiers open the large door.

Their eyes widen at the sight of the prisoners. They speak in a strange language, no one could understand. But their faces told them that everything was going to be all right. Some of the victims fall to their knees, crying with joy. Kelan stares at their saviors.

He walks out of the barracks and looks down the road a ways, looking at the levitating crafts, and pearl colored soldiers pushing the blood red Obidon's into them. His eyes grow wide as the pit of his stomach falls. "Evander!" cries Kelan, running away from his barracks and down the road.

Evander, cuffs holding his arms behind his back, looks over his shoulder at the poor boy running his way. The Indrosi pushes him and mutters some words of annoyance. Kelan grabs onto the Indrosi's sleeve and pulls. "Please, sir! Don't take this one away! Don't take Evander away! He didn't want to do this!" cries Kelan. The Indrosi looks over at Kelan. He mumbles some words to the boy. "Please!" cries Kelan.

"Kelan, he doesn't speak our language," says Evander gently. Kelan looks up at Evander with tears in his eyes. "But you'll be sentenced to death," says Kelan. Evander smiles at Kelan. "You're free, don't look at me with those eyes. I want you to be happy," says Evander. "But…" whimpers Kelan. Evander pushes back against the Indrosi guard, and leans down to Kelan.

He places a short kiss upon the boy's mouth. The Indrosi pushes Evander away from Kelan and growls something menacing at him. "Good bye, Kelan," says Evander, letting the Indrosi push him into the vehicle. Kelan stares at him, watching as the Indrosi closes the doors, shutting in the Obidons.

With that it takes off, leaving a small cloud of dust. Kelan watches the vehicle vanish into the horizon. He falls to his knees. Kelan grips his hands into fists and hangs his head. A pitiful sob emits from his throat as spots of salty water fall upon the cold ground. The war was over.

~~~


The year 2452, 10 years after the end of the Eilyune genocide, the country is recovering pretty well from the damages. Destruction wasn't the problem. It was the unbelievable number of casualties. The Obidon had killed millions of Eilyunes in their holding camps. Survivors of the Eilyune genocide had to go into rehabilitation, since many suffered from disease, malnutrition and mental abuse.

Inside of a large condominium complex, one of the doors is knocked upon. It opens, showing a man in his twenties, with shoulder length brown hair and amber brown eyes, eyes that had a story behind them.

"Hello, is this where a man named Kelan lives?" asks the stranger at the door. The man inside nods his head. "I am he. What is it you want?" he replies. The stranger clad in a long, brown coat, and a dark brown fedora, peers at Kelan with familiar blue eyes.

"My name is Evander Cainnech," says the one outside the door. Kelan's eyes widen. He steps back from the door. "Please, come in," he says. Evander nods and walks in. Kelan closes the door behind him. "Who is it, Kelan?" calls a woman's voice from the kitchen.

Kelan looks off towards the kitchen. "An old friend, Aneria," he calls. Kelan looks back at Evander. "Would you like me to take your hat and jacket?" he asks. Evander takes off his hat and hands it to Kelan. Then he pulls off his jacket, folds it over once and hands it to him. Kelan walks to the closet and hangs up the garments.

"Have seat, I will be right back," says Kelan as he walks off to the kitchen. Evander sits himself in one of the chairs in their spotless living room. Vivid light colors enchant the room. The whole complex seems like the opposite of sadness and death.

Kelan walks back in carrying three glasses of water out. He sets the tray down on the coffee table. A slender woman with strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes follows him out. She looks at Evander. "You are Kelan's friend, Evander? My name is Aneria," she says with a happy tone.

Evander nods to her. She kisses Kelan on the cheek. Kelan looks over at Evander. "She's… my girlfriend," says Kelan, sounding a bit guilty. Evander smiles at them. "That's wonderful. I am happy for you," he says earnestly.

Kelan and Aneria sit down in chairs about the coffee table. Evander picks up a glass and sips. "You've changed much over 10 years," he says between sips. Aneria pipes in. "Kelan tells me you used to be a Obidon officer," she says, a bit fearfully. Evander nods slowly, looking down. "If I could have avoided it I would have," he says quietly.

"But he also said you helped him survive," adds Aneria, trying to make it sound positive. Evander nods. Silence sets in for a moment. "I thought… I thought that you were…" stutters Kelan. "Dead?" finishes Evander. Kelan looks down and nods.

Evander smiles a bit. "I was tried and found guilty," says Evander. Kelan looks at him, looking a bit confused. "But I wrote in and told them what you did for me," says Kelan. Evander nods again. "Yes, they got your report. So for that, instead of death, I was given a 10 year sentence, followed by close observation for the rest of my days," says Evander. "I see," says Kelan.

Silence falls back onto the party. Aneria gets up. "I am going home for a bit, Kelan. You and your friend catch up a bit, alright?" she says with a smile, then heads out the door. Kelan watches her leave.

He then looks back at Evander. "I am sorry. I didn't know you would…" starts Kelan. Evander shakes his head. "You've found happiness. That's all that matters to me," says Evander selflessly.

He stands up from his seat and heads to the closet to get his coat and hat. "Where are you going so soon?" asks Kelan, getting up. "I wanted to see how you were. Now I should leave you be, so you can live the rest of your life happy," says Evander.

Kelan grabs the tail of his shirt. Evander looks at him over his shoulder. "Take me as yours, just for tonight. Dominate me like you did… ten years ago," says Kelan, a serious gaze in his brown eyes.

Their eyes lock, staring at one another. Evander gently pulls Kelan's hand from his shirt and brings it to his shoulder. He wraps his other arm around Kelan's waist, pulling the younger man to him.

He murmurs seductively into his ear "We'd better get started then, hm?". Kelan smiles a bit and nods.

~~~


Aneria walks in the door of the condominium. "Good morning," calls Kelan from the kitchen. "Good morning," she replies. She walks into the kitchen and looks around. "Did your friend stay over or did he leave?" she asks.

"He left his morning," says Kelan. He yawns deeply. "That's too bad, I bought all this food to make up a nice dinner for the three of us," sighs Aneria, holding up a bag of groceries. Kelan yawns again. "You two must have talked the entire night," giggles Aneria, noticing how tired Kelan looks. He looks up at her. "Yeah," he replies thoughtlessly.

"Why did he leave so soon?" asks Aneria. "He left because he needs to find a place where he can belong," murmurs Kelan after rubbing his sleepy eyes. Aneria looks at Kelan oddly. "What do you mean?" she asks. Kelan looks over at her. "For Evander, he grew up during the Eilyune genocide. He's trained to be an officer of a war that no longer exists. Where do soldiers go once a war is over…?" he says.

Aneria looks out the window. Kelan continues, "He's one of the unfortunate victims of the war. Even if he wasn't an Eilyune,".

And by letting him go… I made the worst mistake in my life… My you find where you belong Evander… And maybe… Maybe that place is with me…