And so, here we are. Welcome to the dark reaches of Keith's past. Sorry for the long wait; we've been busy. But, here it is! Chapter one! Introducing Keith's first boyfriend, Justin, and a younger Fox and Bear. Please note that this takes place about two years before the beginning of New Horizons. So, enjoy, or not as the case may be.

Chained to the Past

Chapter 1

"No, stop!" the teenager cried, thrashing in his bonds. The older boy beside him smirked.

"You know you like it, Keith," he grinned sadistically. Keith shook his head.

"No, Justin, please don't," he pleaded. Justin's face grew cold and he hit the boy's face as hard as he could. Keith's head snapped to one side, his cheek reddening. That would bruise. He whimpered. Justin stood glowering for a moment, then released Keith's bound hands and feet. The boy curled up into a ball, expecting an onslaught that never came.

"We're going out. Get dressed," Justin ordered coldly, throwing some clothes onto the bed and storming out. Keith uncurled slowly, surprised. Justin hadn't taken him out anywhere since…well, since before they had become boyfriends. Before he had been trapped.

As he dressed, Keith thought about Justin. He wasn't always so harsh, and he didn't always hurt him. In fact, there were moments when he was so sweet and so gentle. Keith lived for those moments. He lived through any abuse Justin could throw at him for those times when he felt loved. After being rejected by his parents, Keith would do anything to make himself feel loved. He felt weak for it, and hated himself sometimes for needing affection, but he couldn't deny it.

"Are you ready yet?" Justin called impatiently from the other room. Keith buckled on the last item, a black collar, and went out to meet him.

"Where are we going?" he asked timidly. Justin attached a lead to Keith's collar and pulled him along, taking long strides into the growing night.

"To meet some old friends of mine."

As they entered the bar, Keith's senses were completely overloaded with sounds and smells, although he strained to see sometimes in the relatively low light. Still being pulled along by Justin, he was forced to stop suddenly as the 'friends' his boyfriend had mentioned saw them.

"Justin! How've you been?" A man slightly taller than Keith with short ginger hair, wearing a combat jacket and leather trousers bounced towards them. He was followed by an intimidating man in only combat trousers, heavy boots and a leather collar like the one Keith was wearing. However, the man didn't seem to be bothered by not wearing a shirt; he was covered as far as the boy could see in thick, black hair. Keith found himself staring in a mixture of fear and awe, and he didn't notice Justin and the smaller man starting to speak until Justin pulled on his lead.

"Got a dreamer there, haven't you, Justin. May I?" Keith was confused by the man's last words, and saw Justin nod. With this 'permission', the man turned to Keith.

"Hey, kid. I'm called Fox, and this here is Bear." Smiling weakly, Keith looked up at Bear. Apt name for someone so big and hairy. Looking back at Fox, he saw concern in his blue eyes, rather than the jovial sparkle he had expected. Of course. The man must have seen the bruise forming on his cheek.

"Hey, Justin. What d'ya say about heading over there and catching up a bit?" Fox addressed Justin, but his eyes were still on Keith. "I'm sure Bear needs to go for a smoke right now, how about he take Keith too?" Justin looked surprised.

"Keith doesn't smoke," he replied.

"Naw, I mean just to chat! It's not often Bear gets to talk to someone new." Behind Fox, Bear grunted. Finally, Justin gave in.

"Five minutes," he scowled, unclipping Keith's lead. "And I didn't know Bear smoked." Fox smiled sweetly at him.

"It's a new habit. Now, let me buy you a pint."

Bear felt the boy's eyes on him as he led him outside. Leaning against the wall, he made no move to take out a cigarette or lighter, which seemed to confuse the boy.

"How old're you, kid?" he asked gruffly. The boy looked puzzled, but answered the question anyway.

"Sixteen."

"I'm nineteen. You got a name?"

"It's Keith," the boy replied timidly. Bear smiled at him.

"I'm Bear, or at least that's what the people here call me. It seems to have stuck." Keith nodded.

"How long you been with Justin?"

"About a year." The man nodded understandingly, then sighed and asked the question he had been meaning to all along.

"Were'd you get that bruise?" The boy hung his head and fell silent, lifting a hand up to cover the bruise on his cheek, but Bear continued.

"He hit you, didn't he." It was a statement rather than a question, but Keith nodded anyway. "Does he hurt you often?" Bear asked, concerned. Keith paused for a moment, then nodded again. Bear sighed.

"Do you like it?" Keith's head snapped up, his light hair flying over his face. He shook his head quickly.

"It's abuse, you know," Bear stated, his dark eyes meeting the boy's paler ones. "You don't have to stand for it." Keith nodded slightly, indicating that he did.

"You can speak, you know," the man prompted. Keith hung his head again.

"I can't leave. I have nowhere to go. Justin is the only one who cares for me." Bear looked at the boy sadly.

"That's not true, you know. I know I've only just met you, but I care. And I'm sure your parents care too."

"They don't," Keith choked. "They threw me out. They hate me." Gently, Bear gathered the boy into his arms and patted his head in a comforting way.

"I'm sure they don't hate you, kid. They just can't deal with who you are right now." Pulling back, he looked Keith in the eyes. Then, he dug in one of his pockets and produced a small card.

"If things get too bad, you come find me or Fox. We don't live too far from here." Keith's eyes widened in disbelief. No-one had ever offered him that. Smiling faintly, Bear tucked the card into Keith's collar. "Now you look after yourself, OK? Oh yeah," he added, looking around, "never start smoking. It's bad for you." Keith smiled. Maybe the big man did care, after all.

It was late when Justin and Keith got home. Justin seemed a lot more relaxed than he had earlier, which Keith deemed to be a good thing. However, he was still apprehensive about what would happen to him. Justin could have huge mood swings if he wasn't careful. Keith was silent as he followed the man up the stairs. When they got to the bedroom, Keith went to the end of the bed. He usually slept on the floor there when Justin didn't want him in the bed. As he was uncertain, he thought it better to sleep there than anger Justin. He undressed, careful to hide the card from Bear in a small notebook under the bed; his diary. Then he lay down to try and sleep. Justin, however, had other ideas.

"Come up here, Keith. You don't have to sleep on the floor." Keith's eyes snapped open. That sounded like the kind Justin! Carefully, he made his way to the side of the bed, and the man pulled him down to lie beside him. Gentle arms encircled the boy, who buried himself in the soft covers. This was what he lived for. This was the man he had fallen in love with, the man who held him in the evenings and petted his hair, the man who cared. This was his Justin, who would never hurt him. Feeling safe and secure, Keith drifted off to sleep.