This story deals with the following touchy topics, although not all in one part - bad language, severe angst, yaoi/homosexuality, crossdressing, prostitution, child abuse, drugs, and suicide attempts.
Please note that is is an original YAOI fic, whichs means boys doing other boys. If this offends you, please leave. Also note that this is for girls, by a girl. Gay men will surely laugh... ^_~
Part 1: Happy endings don't come easy
"They say that love was easy
Don't they know it's hard for us all
Happy endings don't come easy
Don't you know, love's not easy at all"
("One blind love," by Real Life)
That something was very wrong, was utterly clear to Adrian as soon as he woke up that morning. That the sun was setting after yet another day without seeing him out of bed, and that he had fallen asleep with his clothes on, was just the kind of thing that usually happened after a hectic day like yesterday, and had nothing to do with the discomfort Adrian felt as soon as he opened his eyes. Or rather - tried to open his eyes.
The burning pain that finally had driven Adrian out of his blissful dreams once again manifested itself as soon as he cracked the eyes open the tiniest bit, and wasn't improved one bit by the warm sun, that in its leisurely pace conquered more and more of his bed.
The blond youth muttered a curse, and hid his head deeper in under the pillow in an attempt to spare the stinging eyes, without any notable success. The sun moved slowly across the sky with an irritating indifference to the young man's agony. Soon, Adrian's entire bed was under the warm rays of the sun, and it could only mean one thing - time to get up.
Adrian sat up in bed, and rubbed his eyes experimentally. Black and purple make-up, that he hadn't bothered washing off before crashing to bed early this morning, rubbed off on his fingers, and the eyes stung again. Sighing, he flopped back on the bed, before he mentally gave up the struggle, and rolled off the bed, with the purpose of making his way into his little bathroom to examine the damaged eyes.
The floor was cold under his feet as he entered the bare bathroom. He ignored the slimy cold feeling of mouldy tiles against his skin, and leaned over the cracked and discoloured little washbowl against the mirror. Pale grey eyes stared back at him, lined with yesterday's make-up, and not at all healthy looking. He pulled a hand through the blond hair, absently noting that the dyed dark pink streaks weren't so dark anymore. With the troublesome bangs out of the way, it turned out the eyes were just as bad as they felt.
"Fuck," Adrian told his mirror image.
Grey irises were surrounded by a glaring red area, which really ought to have been white. It wasn't the first time he had caught an eye infection, and certainly not the worst, but he realised after a failed attempt at wiping off some make-up with cheap toilet paper, that he needed medication this time as well. Another curse passed his still painted lips, and Adrian sat down on the edge of the bathtub with an irritated sigh. He was startled when the cold porcelain chilled the part of his thigh that wasn't covered by the entirely too short black skirt, and slid forward until the fabric covered the naked skin. Altogether, it was a totally useless morning. Well, early afternoon, to be honest. And he was hungry too.
Two green stickers fastened to the skin of his arm caught his attention, their green neon-colour telling him that he had thought he needed painkillers and numbing drugs last night, although when thinking about it afterwards, he couldn't remember exactly why. At least nothing hurt as the drugs wore off. Adrian reached for the sheet to find something more suitable for the moment, and eyed the colourful stickers. He passed the blue, purple, green and orange stickers up for the yellow one with pink dots.
Fastening the yellow sticker to his wrist, he licked the shiny surface to activate the drug. It only took a few minutes, then warmth spread through his arm, and soon his senses were sharp again, the hunger vanishing shortly after. On the other hand, his eyes still hurt, which reminded him of his inevitable errand. Back in the bedroom, he sat down on the bed to pull on the knee-high boots of vinyl, that fitted with the skirt he wore since last night.
Adrian hesitated only for a short moment, before he left his rented room with a sigh, hoping the doctor was still at his clinic, despite the late hour.
+ + +
The doctor's waiting room was one of the few places where Adrian felt genuinely exposed, and he would usually avoid the situation as long as possible. It was as if society's rules didn't apply there, and instead of just hurrying past him on the street, their eyes attached to some boring shop window, the assembled men, women and children, would stare rudely, whispering to each other. He knew exactly what they were saying, and what would happen if he were left in the waiting room too long. It made him nervous. Defiantly, he leaned back on the rickety chair, crossing his arms over his chest, and provocatively spread his legs as wide as his skirt would allow him.
The room silenced immediately when Adrian stared back at the group of women without any thoughts of averting his eyes. The embarrassed women watched each other, before the whispering started again, more loudly. Before Adrian could provoke them further, the door to the little reception room of the doctor opened, and a female nurse appeared, list of patients in her hand.
"Adrian..." the woman faltered, desperately looking for the surname that wasn't on his ID badge. "Mr. Adrian."
Adrian ignored the nurse's attempts and slid past her into the doctor's room, with steps as determined as the situation demanded. Even though he already knew the citizens thought he was worse than plague, he would not give them reason to think their words had been paid attention to this time either. Contemptuously, he slammed the door shut behind him, without letting the nurse enter first.
"I need something for my eyes," Adrian pointed to the obvious problem, as he sat down in the chair on the other side of the doctor's huge desk made of some expensive kind of wood.
There was no reason to waste polite phrases on the man in front of him. The doctor only eyed him briefly, before reaching for his pen. It wasn't the first time Adrian had an eye infection, and the same symptoms should mean the same medicine and no examination. But he still had to pay full price, of course.
"This wouldn't happen if you behaved like a normal fourteen year old," the doctor admonished him in a voice all but fatherly, while picking up a pad out of a drawer, to write out the prescription. "I don't even want to think about the other shit you're spreading."
"Half of which I got from your son," Adrian bit off.
The doctor glared with irritation at the blond youth, while scribbling down the requested prescription on a note. All the other times Adrian had needed some medication or another, the doctor had grabbed the opportunity to lecture his blond patient. But this time was different. Under unusual silence - Adrian had expected at least one thinly veiled threat - the doctor finished the note.
"I don't want you to come here anymore, you scare my patients," the doctor gave Adrian the pale blue prescription note.
"You're the only doctor in town," Adrian reminded him.
"I don't want to see you here again," the man answered coldly.
"Fine," Adrian snatched the prescription out of the outstretched hand, and left the room.
"Trash," the doctor muttered, just as the door closed behind Adrian.
/One down, one to go,/ Adrian sighed, and turned his steps towards the little combined mini-market and pharmacy, where he didn't expect a better treatment.
+ + +
Happily unaware of Adrian's troubles not far from them, the 56th unit of the United Defence Force's special groups, arrived to the little demolished town by the outskirts of the southern European desert. In years long since passed, the now ruined little town had been the proud center of the Roman Empire, but of the ancient city of Rome, not much was left but damaged houses and ruins. The only part still populated was the old town center, even though its narrow alleys and ancient houses had been condemned as inhabitable only three generations ago, and not been restored since then because of the war.
The southern part of town was implacably eaten away by the approaching desert, meter by meter, and would soon be entirely consumed by the endless dunes. It was with reverence and sadness the dark-haired young soldier gazed out at the desert. Ever since he had read about ancient Europe in school, he had wanted to visit the continent. Now when he finally stood there, it was with disappointment he noted that the books had not been particularly well informed of the extent of the destruction.
"Naoki, stop drooling over the sandbox and help out here instead," a man from his team suddenly yelled, and the young man on the top of a sand dune, reluctantly wandered back to their camp.
"No signs of pirates," Naoki reported to his superior, captain Morgan, even though the threat they were there to examine had not been the reason for his climbing the sand dune.
"Acknowledged," the captain answered without looking up from his papers. "You better start with the tents before Hennessy throws a fit," he added.
With a soft sigh, Naoki turned towards the assignment at hand. It was one of the things he wouldn't miss when he went home in six weeks - being in charge of their living arrangements, the tents, was certainly no favourite task, but it was what he had agree to do in exchange for not having to handle weapons. He kept count - 312 times he had, without any help, built or tore down a tent in the past year.
Naoki's thoughts returned to the city just north of him, and the continent expanding beyond. Even though he knew before arriving, it was still painful to have to see old cities - apparently legendary, if one were to believe his books - like Rome, fall into complete destruction.
The southern parts of Europe, south of the Alps and the Pyrenees, was mostly desert, and the areas north of the mountains covered with new in-oceans, lakes, rivers and swamps, thanks to the humid Atlantic air sweeping down across the continent. It never reached past the mountains though, to areas where it was needed the most. People nicknamed the northern part of Europe the Rain-Zone, which effectively described the state of the region.
Southern Europe had been Naoki's best chance of seeing ancient architecture, but it seemed as if his hopes had been too high. He had never spoken about his wishes to his team mates, he doubted they would understand his interest in old decaying stone buildings, when there were more interesting things to devote your spare time to, like... food. Naoki's stomach rumbled at the delicious smells that spread in his direction, and finished the 15th and last tent for this time, in a hurry.
+ + +
Later the same day, the captain gave the little group the rest of the day off, and as it was Saturday evening, they decided together to find a place to party, which proved to be easier said than done. The town they had arrived in was mostly abandoned, and only a few houses were lit up. The group entered the first bar they had found, after twenty minutes of fruitless wandering among dark buildings. The little pub was inhabited by two elderly men, that held a quiet conversation in one of the corners, and Naoki started to believe the town was really as abandoned as it looked.
"Is it always this empty on Saturday nights," he asked the bartender, who read a magazine, obviously bored.
"The regulars are probably a couple of blocks north, where the illegal night-clubs are," the man answered, and the mystery got its natural explanation.
They got the directions, and after another five minutes of walking, the streets were finally more populated. Music clamoured out of open doors and windows, and more or less drunk young men and women criss-crossed the narrow alleys. It wasn't long before Naoki's group was split up, as some went into a club whose choice of music suited their tastes, while others walked past them to more tempting places.
Naoki eyed the visitors with curiosity; most were dressed in rich and imaginative clothes, and one could hardly believe that they were as poor as their living conditions hinted. Or perhaps they rather spent their hard-earned money on personal belongings than housing. Women with heavy make up wearing clothes that revealed more than they hid, tempted him to enter one of the clubs, but Naoki continued strolling down the alley, smiling.
What he was looking for, he wasn't sure was even there, until he stood outside the open door. At first glance, it appeared to be a regular club, but the black dressed doorkeeper outside was a sure sign he had finally ended up in the right place. A quick check into the dark room confirmed his thoughts, and he offered the man a smile and a polite phrase, before heading in.
Music high enough to make his ears ring for a day after, greeted him from the crowded dance-floor. Naoki continued onwards to the local bar, lit by various colourful neon-signs that had nothing to do with the club, and probably were stolen from some abandoned shop nearby. 'Special price' flashed friendly in yellow, as he sat down on one of the chairs of the bar.
"One Orange Delight, please," Naoki told the bartender that appeared in front of him, while showing his identity card, which allowed minors to purchase alcohol, thanks to the special regulations soldiers were lured into duty with.
Naoki gazed out at the dance floor while the bartender fixed his drink. Consisting solely of men, the mostly black dressed group danced close and frenzied. Now and then, there was a flash of red or green, but black was the dominant colour on the whole, both for clothes and hair. For a second, there was a flash of brightness in the black mob, but the moment was over quicker than it had arrived. Naoki dismissed it as a product of the colourful lamps that painted the dancers in yellow and pink.
"What will it cost me?" Naoki asked the bartender, who put down a large glass beside him on the counter.
"The first one's on the house," the older man answered with a polite smile.
"Thanks," Naoki replied, and sipped the bitter beverage.
Naoki turned his eyes back to the dance floor, and suddenly the picture had changed completely. The once compact orgy of black vinyl and leather were interrupted by a short young man, while also dressed in black, still stood out because of his pale blond hair. Laughing, he danced with his arms around another, much older man. Naoki knew it was impolite to stare, but he simply couldn't tear his eyes away from the unusual sight. For long minutes while sipping his ice cold drink, Naoki watched the blond, hidden in the half darkness of the cramped club.
Suddenly happy that he hadn't joined his friends, Naoki noted that at least there wouldn't be any embarrassing "I'm not like that"s and flustered smiles, if he started talking to someone. Someone like the blond, for an example. Not that he had a need for company at the moment, but it was soothing to know it anyway. He entertained the thought to approach the blond and buy him a drink, only to then laugh at it. He had been in the bar less than three minutes; perhaps it would be better to blend into the group first.
Next time he raised his eyes to watch the blond, the said person was walking straight towards him. For a second an irrational thought occurred to Naoki - what if the blond guy could read his mind - but it was wiped away as the young man pushed himself in between Naoki and the chair closest to him, to lean in over the counter.
"Water," the blond ordered, when the bartender had seen him.
Taken by surprise, and acutely aware of the warm body pressing up against him, Naoki could do little more than to sit still, discretely eyeing the short young man. Clad in black trousers made of some shiny material, and a short vest that looked like it was painted onto him, the blond looked like most others in the club did. The pale arms were sweaty from the dancing, and decorated with several colourful stickers with pointless patterns.
If the young man had noted Naoki's staring, he didn't show it, or it didn't bother him in the least. He gulped down the water, still pressed up against Naoki, before returning back to the dance floor, as quickly as he had appeared. Naoki breathed again, letting out a deep sigh. His eyes quickly found their way to the dance floor again, and were helplessly stuck on the blond, again.
"Stay away from him, he's nothing but trouble," the bartender, who apparently had noted Naoki's obvious interest, suddenly spoke.
Naoki turned his eyes towards the man, questioning, but received no replies to the inevitable question that would follow such a statement. For a couple of minutes while Naoki finished his drink, he waited for the bartender to speak again, but not a word left the other man's lips, and Naoki didn't want to ask. After a while, he realised he would get no answers, and decided to do what he was there for anyway - relax and have fun on a night off.
"Thanks," he raised the empty glass to the man on the other side of the counter, before heading out to the dance floor.
For hours afterward, they danced at the same dance floor, Naoki and the blond, even though they rarely were as close as Naoki had wanted. In the dawn, Naoki walked home to the camp, and stumbled in bed before the sun had risen. Of the dreams he remembered afterwards, most of them were dominated by the blond youth he hadn't even talked to.
to be continued