Friday, December 30, 2011

Pandora Post #29

Title: Pandora

Part Twenty-Nine: Goes Around

Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. OMG, next to last post! I’m hoping my first post of the new year will be the final part of Pandora. This is a very talky, exposition heavy section, I know, but grin and bear it. The last part will be dirtier than you can shake a stick at, I promise.


Garrett wasn’t a naturally organized person. It was one of many differences between his own and his father’s personality, and had led to a lot of memorable arguments when he was a teenager, but eventually he’d gotten it into his head that everything and everyone he enjoyed would be a lot easier to handle if he kept things like the names of his various boyfriends straight. He went from a laissez-faire slob to a conscientious planner, and the change stuck. As he took on more responsibility with work and his father’s career, he became more and more grateful that he’d bothered to learn the skills. Garrett could network, reference and crosscheck like a pro, and all of that ability was coming in handy now, because when life got busy naturally it didn’t stop at “busy,” it tried to kick his ass.

He had scores of contacts from his solitary days in the central system, and he tossed two thirds of them immediately when it came to getting help for Isidore. He needed someone patient, compassionate and relatively wealthy to act as a sponsor, and honestly Garrett’s tastes hadn’t run that way for most of that phase of his life. In the end he talked to several different friends before deciding on Symone St. Clair, the daughter of a Federation senator who lived in New Paris on the planet Solaydor. She ran a charitable organization now, but when Garrett had known her she’d been a slutty, outcast aristocrat who could find anything for anybody, good or bad. Since then she’d reformed somewhat, but she was still willing to do a favor for the right price.

“What do I possibly have that you want?” Garrett asked as they chatted via vidscreen.

“Nothing but your company,” she pouted. “And the name of your fucking tailor. You refused to give it to me when you lived here and you always looked so fucking good, and my Jeanine is finally leaving me for New Caledon and I hate to buy without the creation fitting me like a glove.”

“You’ll find him a place to stay?” Garrett pressed. “And help him get whatever professional certifications he needs to work there? Immigration visas, health screenings—”

“I won’t let your little lamb loose on New Parisian society, Garrett, don’t be so fussy,” she sighed. “He’s that good a piece of ass, hmm?”

“No prying, Symone.”

“It’s not prying, it’s gossip!” she exclaimed. “That’s totally different. And word has trickled down that you’re actually living on the Fringe, willingly. And that you’ve had a baby.”

Garrett burst out laughing. “I have absolutely not had a baby. Hell no. I’m dating a guy with a kid.”

“But do you want to have a baby?” She batted her long, violet eyelashes at him. “I bet you’d look super hot all knocked up. Some men really enjoy the experience, and you know, you could just have the uterus and it’s accessories put in without going for the entire changeover to female. Although either way you could always change back afterwards.”

“Thanks for the thought, but I don’t have any desire for swollen feet or awkward cravings,” Garrett replied, remembering some of his conversations with Claudia.

Solaydor was one of the most gender-fluid planets in the central system, and it wasn’t uncommon for people to swap sexes or create their own entirely. Garrett had slept with Symone several times when she went through her Symon phase, and might have stayed for longer if she hadn’t abruptly decided to switch back when she met a straight guy that she wanted to go after. As a result of their mental and physical flexibility, Solaydors had some of the most open immigration policies in the central systems. Incoming immigrants were judged more on their mental fitness and ability to accept other cultures than they were on their health or job set, and Garrett was sure that Isidore could pass the psych exam.

“When’s he going to arrive?” Symone asked, letting go of the pregnancy issue for now.

“In a month. He’s got a few transfers to make, but I’ll give you his Federation ID number and schedule. I’m giving him a com too, so expect him to call you once the distances get a little more manageable.”

“Gotcha. I can’t wait to meet him.”

Garrett hoped Isidore would survive meeting Symone, but she could provide the quickest avenue to an exit for Isidore. The sooner he left Paradise, the better.

The plan was made in one week, getting the equipment and documents Isidore needed took a second week, but the delay was all right since it took that long for Isidore to regain most of the weight he’d lost and learn the basics of interstellar travel. Garrett lent his ship to Thérèse to drop Isidore off at the nearest space station that ran regular trips back to the central system, because even if Thérèse wasn’t crazy about him, she wasn’t going to screw him over either.

“I don’t know how to thank you,” Isidore told Garrett as they said goodbye, his mouth muffled against Garrett’s shoulder.

“Don’t thank me. Just go and don’t look back.” Garrett kissed his cheek and then let Isidore go. “And keep in touch with me, all right? I’ve paid for service on your com for six standard months, so don’t let it go to waste.”

“I won’t, I promise.”

Seeing Isidore leave was satisfying and more than a little bit of a relief. One thing down, a seeming thousand others to go. Wyl had regenerated to the point that the doctors had decided to wake him up, and Garrett wanted to be there for that, but he had to deal with some family troubles first. Not with his father, who was still comatose, and not with Claudia or Renee, but with his grandmother, who had decided that she needed to take a larger role in her son’s life now that he could no longer fight her about it. Claudia was afraid of defying Dame Mildred Caractacus, but Garrett, who was more than accustomed to pissing off his grandmother, took point on the issue.

He let his grandmother’s call come through on the video, then muted it before she had a chance to say anything. “Hi, Millie.” He watched her carefully sculpted mouth make a moue of vicious disdain. Mildred Caractacus had seen more surgery than a ward of cardiac patients in her lifetime, and these days she looked like the most brittle twenty-five year old that Garrett had ever seen. After a few centuries not even grafts and Regen could hide the passage of time, and Garrett had the feeling that Mildred was growing herself a transplant shell in some hidden underground bunker. He watched her mouth move for a few seconds, then said, “Oh, sorry, we’ve lost sound capacity. I actually can’t hear a word you’re saying.”

Well, get it back! she mouthed. Garrett tilted his head and frowned like he didn’t know how to read lips. “Wait, is this about your trip? Because there’s really no room for you here, Millie, the mansion is completely full right now and anyway, I can’t approve your temporary visa.” He saw her say something about Claudia but feigned ignorance. “Bother? Oh, it’s no bother for me to pass the information along. Maybe you can come next year, once Dad is up and running again. No change recently with him, by the way, but thanks for asking.”

I wasn’t asking that! he saw her say.

Garrett’s face lost all expression and he leaned in toward the vidscreen. “No, but you should have been,” he said grimly before canceling their link. The com beeped again a few moments later, and Garrett went on to block Mildred’s com signature from getting through.

Claudia covered her mouth with one hand from where she sat off screen. “She’s going to be furious.”

“Furious at me.”

“And at me, Garrett.”

“Yeah, and at Dad, but it’s going to be okay. He’ll be awake soon and he can take care of her from there. I’m just running interference.”

“She’s your family,” Claudia reprimanded him gently. “I don’t know why you and Miles have always been so upset with her.”

“Millie’s something of a perfectionist,” Garrett replied with a twisty little smile. “She hated the bad publicity my mother’s death brought on her family, and she recommended that my father disown me when I went through my own difficult period. Dad disagreed, obviously, and they haven’t been civil to each other ever since.” He held out his arms. “Gimme baby, I need oblivious cuddling.”

Claudia rolled her eyes but moved over to sit next to him and handed him Renee. “She looks bigger,” Garrett said, shifting the sleeping baby in his arms so that she rested more horizontal. “I haven’t even been back a month, but she looks bigger to me.”

“Little babies grow so fast,” Claudia agreed. “Miles is missing it. I feel so bad, like I should be filming her, capturing every moment so that he can relive it later and see what he didn’t get to, but I just don’t have the energy.”

“He’ll see plenty,” Garrett predicted. “I mean, she’s not even crawling or talking yet. All he’s missed is watching her eat and make messes in her diapers, which isn’t exactly compelling.” Claudia smacked the top of his head. “Although she’s so cute that everything she does is special,” he added with a grin.

“Nice try, mister. Have you talked to Jonah and Cody?”

“I heard from them last night,” Garrett replied. “They sent me a vid of their new house. They’re almost all moved in, apparently.” Toys were already littering the floor and getting in Jonah’s way. It hadn’t taken long for Cody to forget the time he used to spend making sure the floor was clear so that Garrett didn’t fall and trip over any of them when he was blind. Cody had held onto the portable projector and taken Garrett all around the house for the message, leaving a few rooms unopened that he described as “just full of Daddy’s stuff.”

His bedroom was pretty large for a small child, and the walls were sunshine yellow and made to look like fields stretching out into the distance. Garrett had no idea why Cody had chosen that simulation for his room, the kid had never lived anywhere with fields, but maybe it was the oddity that appealed to him.

“I got a new Space Ranger,” Cody said, and he set the projector down on the floor and picked up a foot-high doll. “The black Ranger. He’s new, his name is Dallas. He has a really cool special move.” Cody gave a command and the doll jumped into the air and kicked his legs out to the sides, then managed a front flip before landing in a crouch. “Isn’t he cool? There’s another new Ranger out that’s white too, but Daddy says I don’t get to have her until my birthday. But that’s not until forever, but he says I need to learn to be patient but I don’t want to.” Cody sighed massively. “He’s grumpy, so you should come home and we can cheer him up.”

Jonah had looked okay when he came on screen. Tired, but still absolutely gorgeous. “Hey, darlin’. I hope things are looking up for you and your family. We’d love to talk to you, Garrett. Call us when you can.”

Garrett had taken the coward’s way out and sent them a message instead, and then he had been unable to go to sleep for three hours until he finally jerked himself off, picturing Jonah the whole time. Bastard.

Still, he felt relatively alert and fresh the next day when the doctors took Wyl out of Regen. Robbie was there, not pacing but set and still in that watchful way that meant he was tenser than a taut wire.

The Regen tank was drained, Wyl was taken off the respirators and then the top of the tank was opened up. It shouldn’t have been enough to wake Wyl up; he’d been under sedation for weeks and usually it took an injection of strong stimulants to get the subject stirring, but then Wyl always had to be different. Five seconds after the tank was cracked open his eyes were fluttering, and five seconds after that they were wide open and he was speaking. His voice was hoarse, he was still covered with the viscous healing gel of Regen and beneath that he was stark naked, but he either didn’t notice or didn’t care.


Robbie stepped forward stiffly, reaching a hand in towards Wyl. Wyl got a grip and pulled himself up against his lover, holding him in a brutally tight grip. “Fuck, ‘m sorry, I’m so sorry, I knew you would be upset but I couldn’t wait but I wanted to, Rob, I swear I did but I just couldn’t, I couldn’t, I couldn’t...” After a second Robbie’s arms mirrored Wyl’s, coming around to hold him up and close and so tight that you didn’t have to be an empath to know that this was a desperately intimate moment, the kind of moment that didn’t need a lot of outside eyes intruding.

“Come on,” Garrett whispered to Claudia as he gently pulled her back towards the hall. “We’ll come by and say hi later.”

“Right…” Claudia replied, a little dazedly. They left the room but instead of heading back towards the living quarters, Claudia pulled away from him. “I think—I think I need to go see Miles. I need to talk to him for a while.”

“Okay,” Garrett replied. He watched her walk towards his father’s sealed room and gave himself one moment to feel the kind of pity he knew Claudia didn’t want, then went back to their living quarters.

Thérèse was with Renee and didn’t seem to have any intention of handing her over, and so Garrett went to his room and lay down on his bed. After a few minutes he took his journal off the table beside him and opened it up. The little cartoon hopped to brisk attention. “Journal Record Twenty-Three Recording!” it shouted. The tiny machine clicked, and Garrett knew he was supposed to start talking, but he didn’t know how to start. He couldn’t even parse it all out in his mind, how could he possibly make his thoughts intelligible enough to be spoken? Eventually though, words did start come through.

“I think…I might be…an idiot. I think it’s entirely possible that I’m too much of a fool to keep the good things that seem to come my way, which you’d think would indicate that I don’t deserve them, but…I still want them. I want them more and more every day, yet I’m awful at expressing that. But I also think that it’s past time I work through it. And I need to do that fast, because I’m starting to feel hollow and I know that when my dad wakes up it will help, but I know now that what I need most in my life isn’t something I can find here. I’m just afraid I’ve already fucked that it all beyond repair. I do that.

“Miles needs to wake up and he needs to do it fast, because we need him back and then I need to go. I really, really need to go.” He paused for a second, then shut the journal down and rolled back out of bed. Whether she needed it or not, Thérèse was going to get some help with Renee, and Garrett needed to use the house’s off-planet connection to order something anyway.


Two weeks later, Miles woke up. His awakening was much more structured than Wyl’s, more gradual and controlled. The doctors had given them a few days to get used to the idea and prepare things back at home for Miles before doing the deed, and Claudia was a nervous wreck the whole time.

“He might not remember us.”

“They can do some restoration therapy if that’s the case,” Garrett said reassuringly as he stirred a pot on the stove under Thérèse’s watchful eye. “But he’ll remember.”

“He might not.”

“He will.”

“He might have changed emotionally,” Claudia continued, her worry unabated. “That can happen sometimes coming out of a long Regen. He might remember us but not love us anymore.”

Good fucking lord, had Garrett ever been this insecure? He dropped the spoon, earning himself a smack on the shoulder from Thérèse, and went over and sat next to Claudia on the couch. “Sweetheart, of course he’s going to love you. Even if he didn’t remember you, he would love you. How could he do anything else? You’re awesome. Your baby is awesome. And hell, I’m obviously awesome, so how can he not remember and adore us?”


“You need to calm down. It’s going to be fine. Want a sedative? Maybe a drink to soothe your nerves?”

Claudia huffed an amused sigh. “I’m breastfeeding, Garrett.”

“You have packets and packets of that stuff stored up. You can afford to go out on a limb and have a glass of wine without polluting your baby.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Crass,” Thérèse muttered from the stove.

“Don’t talk about my stepmother that way!” Garrett protested, and got glares from both women for his trouble. “Fine, I see that my attempts at levity are unappreciated. I’ll just sit here quietly and brood with you.” He put a mock-tortured expression on his face. “Oh no, will he remember the color of my hair? Will he remember the time I crashed his official car when I was ten? Will he retroactively punish me for the tree incident?”

“What tree incident?”

“You don’t want to know,” Garrett assured her. “Let’s just say I barely escaped with my life after destroying some very public property and leave it at that. By the time Miles found out it was a little late to ground me, thankfully.”

“You must have been a frightening child,” Thérèse commented.

“The emotionally supportive term is ‘challenging,’” Garrett replied, and changed the topic before she could say anything else. “The doctors want us there in half an hour. Do you want to get gussied up or anything?”

Claudia’s eyes went wife, and she glanced down at herself in horror. “Oh God yes. Oh, I have to hurry.” She checked that Renee was still sleeping in her bassinet before rushing over to her bedroom and shutting the door behind her.

“You don’t need to be adding to her stress,” Thérèse chided.

“Are you kidding me? I’m making her happier. She’ll spend the next twenty-five minutes doing her hair and putting on makeup she doesn’t need instead of worrying about Miles and what he may or may not remember.”


“Still nothing. Stop talking to me and stir.” That got him a dirty look, but Thérèse did keep stirring the pot, which was beginning to smell delicious. Garrett didn’t tell her that, though. She didn’t need the encouragement.

They weren’t allowed in for the process of actually removing Miles from the Regen tank, cleaning him up and getting his first impressions like they had been with Wyl. Miles was a more medically complicated case, but after about ten minutes one of the doctors came out with a smile on his face, looked at Claudia and said, “He’s asking for you.”

“Oh,” she breathed. Her arms were shaking slightly as she held her baby, and Garrett was almost tempted to offer to take Renee, but he knew Claudia wouldn’t give her up now. She wanted them to be reintroduced as a unit, and there was no denying that her daughter was an emotional support Claudia badly needed.

“Get going,” Garrett said. He gave her a little push towards the door. She went, the doctors left and the door shut. Garrett looked around the barren hallway, figured it would be a while before he was needed, and called up Wyl. “Bring cards.”

Wyl came, looking as healthy and normal as he ever did after two weeks out of Regen, and they sat cross-legged on the floor and played poker.

“How’s Robbie?”

“Busy as hell,” Wyl replied, but the smirk on his face was very informative. Garrett groaned.

“Glad your homecoming party has been so vigorous.”

“What can I say, absence makes his heart grow fonder,” Wyl said, and the smirk spread into a grin. “And abstinence makes his—”

“Stop, I already know, and please don’t talk to me about abstinence.”

“Feeling a little pent up?” Wyl asked as he laid down a straight flush. “A little…restricted? A little unfucked?” Garrett sighed and folded.

“No. Maybe.”


“Shut up.”

“Whatever,” Wyl said. “You’re so pining for Jonah. You can’t even touch yourself, can you?”

“Of course I can.”

“Not without thinking of him,” Wyl predicted.

“Shut up.”

“You’re just so adorable.”

“Seriously Wyl, I don’t care if you’re fresh out of the tank, I will hurt you.”

“Then Robbie will seek terrible revenge on you.”

“It might just be worth it,” Garrett warned, staring at his cards. Three queens. He had to win. He laid his cards down and Wyl nodded his head for a moment, impressed, before he put down three kings.

“Son of a bitch.”

“I’m a lucky guy,” Wyl said expansively, collecting the cards again. “I’ve got Robbie, I’m alive and fully functioning, I still have a job…thanks for what you did for Izzie, by the way.”

“You call him Izzie?”

“It was that or Door.” Wyl shrugged. “And honestly it was just as much my fault that that dumbass got into the compound, because I was the fucking supervisor and I could have checked the guy out more, but I didn’t.”

“Don’t dwell on it,” Garrett advised him. They both glanced over at the closed door.

“How long do you think they’ll be at it before they remember you?”

“If I’m lucky,” Garrett said, gathering up the cards and shuffling them, “all day.”

In the end it was only about two hours, but that was long enough for Garrett’s ass to get numb and for him to lose ninety percent of the poker games he and Wyl played. Usually Garrett was pretty decent at poker, so he figured Wyl was cheating and informed him of this suspicion. Wyl just laughed, gathered up his cards and left when Claudia came out of the room, looking just disheveled enough and holding a squirming Renee.

“Are you ready to go in?” she asked him, the brilliance of her smile lighting up her entire face.

“Sure,” Garrett replied easily, getting to his feet. “I take it your reunion went well.”

“Yes,” she murmured, her hips swaying back and forth to a gentle , unconscious rhythm as she rocked her baby. “Very well. After you two talk the doctors will check Miles’ blood work again and then he’ll come back to the house. They don’t want him stressing over his duties yet, so he’s going to take another week off just to be with us.”

“Good,” Garrett said. He kissed the top of Claudia’s head, then went into the room that had formerly held his father’s Regen tank. Now there was a bed, and the lights were bright and his father was awake, sitting on the bed in loose pants and a short-sleeved shirt and looking a decade younger than he had the last time Garrett saw him. “Dad.”

Miles smiled. “Son.”

“Nice to see you up and about,” Garrett said. “You took your sweet time,” he added.

“Sorry about that.”

“Yes, well…see that it doesn’t happen again.” After another second of just looking at each other Garrett came over and sat down on the bed, and he tried not to feel too much like a kid again when his father slid an arm around Garrett’s shoulders.

“Where are your boys?”

“They stayed on Pandora, Dad.”

“You’ve been away from them for a while, then.”

Nearly two months. “I have. But I needed to be here.”

“I’m glad you came.” Miles smiled. “Claudia couldn’t praise you enough. Thanks for everything you’ve done for her.”

“I couldn’t do anything else,” Garrett replied seriously.

Miles stared at him for a long time, totally silent, doing that assessing thing that he did that Garrett had hated as a child, because his father could always read him like a book if he could get him to hold still long enough, which was one reason he’d never stopped moving. “But now you can, Gare,” Miles said at last.

“I will,” Garrett said, and it felt so good to have it out there, even if obliquely. His father knew what he meant. “As soon as I’m sure you’re okay.”

“Soon, then.”

“Yes,” he said, finally returning his father’s embrace. They held each other tight, reconnecting with flesh and bone and breath, and Garrett felt lighter than he had for months, maybe years. Soon. Soon he would leave. Soon he would be back where he was needed now, and where he needed to be. He thought maybe he was finally ready for it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pandora Post #28

Title: Pandora

Part Twenty-Eight: Comes Around

Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. Still not quite dirty, but very plotty. We’re tying up loose ends, people!


Therese had become Garrett’s unofficial escort around the base, and she was the one who walked him to Isidore’s cell. The marines guarding the brig didn’t look happy to see either of them, but they opened the door without question.

“Do people around here really want him dead?” Garrett asked sotto-voice as he and Therese walked down the hall toward Isidore’s cell.

“Enough do that Robbie won’t let anyone back here unaccompanied. You’re the only one other than him and the staff cook who’s keyed to get through the door.” She glanced sideways at him. “A lot of marines died in the explosion, and Commander Freeman was very popular. The marines guard in pairs to help prevent any accidents.”

“Accidents,” Garrett repeated with a small, bitter smile on his face. “This man is innocent.”

“So you say.”

“So I know. But you certainly don’t have to take my word for it,” he allowed. He looked more closely at Therese. “Are you looking for revenge too?”

“It’s not my place, sir.”

“That was a very nice and almost reassuring non-answer.”

Therese stopped outside of an opaque white door and turned to face Garrett. “I’m not going to do anything to harm the prisoner, sir.” She indicated the security pad. “He’s in here. I’ll be back for you in an hour.”

“Thanks.” Garrett watched Therese walk away, then turned back to the door. He was actually a little nervous. It was one thing to proclaim to all and sundry that Isidore was innocent, but when it came right down to it, Garrett didn’t really know the man all that well. He had been a lover, a fling, a few pleasurable moments in the timeline of Garrett’s life. But Garrett had always been a good judge of character, and he didn’t think he was wrong about Isidore.

“One way to find out,” he muttered to himself, then pressed his hand to the pad. After a moment it blinked an affirmative and opened, and Garrett stepped inside.

The cell was fairly typical, bare floor and bare walls, recessed lighting in the ceiling, a sink, a toilet and a cot. There were also a few atypical touches: a bedside table, and a tablet on it that probably held a lot of books, knowing Robbie. The cot had a blanket and a pillow, both of them mussed, and lying on his side but on top of the blanket was Isidore. As soon as Garrett saw him his heart clenched.

Isidore had changed. Not just an “oh, has it really been so long?” kind of changing, but truly physically altered. Isidore had been slim before, but he was pathetically skinny now, no more sweet, kissable tummy or rounded cheeks. He was even skinnier than Wyl, and Wyl had the highest metabolism Garrett had ever seen. Isidore’s dark hair fell lank across his face, way too long for him, and the silver insets were gone from his eyes, leaving them simple black pools of misery. His lips looked dry and chapped, and he barely seemed to register it when Garrett walked in.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Garrett breathed softly.

Those sad dark eyes suddenly seemed to revive, and Garrett could tell after a second that Isidore was really looking at him now. Instead of being happy though, he looked pained, and made a whimpering noise deep in his throat. Garrett moved forward but Isidore scrambled back, tucking his knees to his chest.

“Please, no,” he whispered, and his voice was broken. “Nonono, I can’t…you can’t…you can’t be here.”

Garrett knew better than to run on in, but he took a small step forward. “Why can’t I be here?”

“Because you must hate me,” Isidore replied earnestly, his lips stumbling over the words, “and I can’t take it if you hate me, I can’t hear you say that because…please, just don’t be here.”

“I don’t hate you,” Garrett promised him, scooting forward another few inches. “I know this wasn’t your fault.”

Isidore was already shaking his head. “It was, though, it is, because I let Jayce in. He’s my cousin and I vouched for him, it wasn’t the first time he had dropped off a part for us, but I should have been more careful. I knew he thought…I knew how he thought.” Isidore shrugged helplessly. “I just didn’t think he would do that. Who would do that?”

“You can’t predict insanity,” Garrett said with a sigh. “Not even the most highly trained doctors can always predict insanity, so how could you expect to? I don’t blame you for what happened, sweetheart.” He got close enough to the bed to gesture to it. “May I sit? I’ll stay on this side if you want.”

Isidore looked at Garrett for a long moment before shaking his head despairingly. “This can’t be real. You can’t really be saying this. I must…I must finally be crazy too. I’ve gone mad.”

Garrett snorted and sat down. “No you haven’t. You’re just being selectively deaf. Isidore, your cousin was definitely to blame for the damage he caused, but all you were to this whole situation was an avenue of attack. You were a way in. You’re a victim, not a violator. Now for fuck’s sake, stop cringing and give me a hug before I develop a complex.” He held out his arms towards the younger man.

Isidore stared at him blankly, like it was too much to take in, and Garrett thought for a second that he had pushed too hard, been too blunt, but then Isidore was hurling himself across the cot, jamming his head beneath Garrett’s chin and digging into his chest with his sharp chin. He couldn’t hold on very tight but Garrett took care of the holding for him, ignoring the discomfort of bony edges and enfolding Isidore in the hug he’d been dying to give him from the moment he saw him. For the second time in under twenty-four hours he had his arms full of traumatized ex, and even though the men couldn’t have been more different, the situation was similar enough that Garrett had to smile a little, just to himself. He felt like a fucking shrink.

The nice thing about Isidore as compared to Robbie, though, was he welcomed the affection. Not that Garrett could blame him, the kid was clearly starved of touch and attention, although he didn’t believe for a moment that Robbie would mistreat him. Still… “Have you been eating anything at all? Seriously, sweetheart, a few more missed meals and you’re going to be nothing but skin and bones.”

“I can’t keep anything down,” Isidore confessed in a small voice.

“Are you sick?” Garrett asked seriously.

“No, I just…”

Feel so guilty you can’t keep yourself fed. For fuck’s sake. Garrett sighed, part exasperation and part resignation. “You know, Robbie’s going to put in a feeding tube if you keep this up.”

“He already said that was a possibility.”

“Good. You know he doesn’t think you’re guilty either, right?”

Isidore actually laughed, but it was a dark, choked sound. “But he can’t let me go, because everyone wants to kill me.” His hands clenched unconsciously in Garrett’s shirt, and Garrett stroked a hand through his hair and down his neck. “My mother came to see me, but it was just to tell me that she couldn’t have me back in her home. My cousin’s family is threatening her; they told her to get me out, but she told them she couldn’t. She’s just trying to protect me too, but she can’t. Eventually they’ll have to let me go or charge me with a crime, and Commander Sinclair doesn’t want to do that. So he keeps me here, but the marines…” He sniffed wetly into Garrett’s shoulder. “I knew a lot of them. Some of them were my friends, the ones in the motor pool, but most of them died in the blast. The ones who bring me my meals, sometimes they talk to me. It’s usually not good.”

“That’s just them being assholes,” Garrett said hotly. “If you can identify them we can go to Robbie and bring them up on charges of misconduct.”

Isidore was shaking his head before Garrett even finished the sentence. “No, that would just make things worse. Besides, it’s not like I blame them. They have a right to be angry.” He lifted his face and stared into Garrett’s eyes. “So do you. Why aren’t you? I carry some of the blame for this, I do. I let him in, I helped kill Commander Freeman and put Wyl into Regen and hurt so many other people, and your father was hurt by the same people, fuck, Garrett…why aren’t you angry?”

Garrett framed Isidore’s face in his hands. “Because I’m not,” he said softly. “Not at you. I’m not angry at you. I don’t blame you. I’m not angry. It’s okay.”

He didn’t have a chance to say anything else, because a second later Isidore’s mouth was attached to his, heads tilted and their lips locked like lovers. Isidore moaned into Garrett, clutched at him with heat and desperation and Garrett…

It felt good. God, it felt so good, the sudden need and passion, this feeling that the man he was kissing would suddenly die without him. It felt like something Garrett wanted, or that he should have wanted, but as good as it felt…it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like Jonah, and that was what would have made it right.

Fuck me, I am fucking ruined for life. He was ruined for anyone other than Jonah, he actually was. Garrett was more than in love, he was living in a state of voluntary monogamy. Motherfucker.

There was no way that Garrett could push Isidore away, but he didn’t let himself go with him either. He waited for the kiss to end, holding Isidore but not really responding, and after a few more seconds Isidore fell back. His eyes were wet, but there was a wobbly, self-deprecating smile on his face. “Too little, too late, huh?”

“It’s not you,” Garrett assured him.

“Sure it isn’t.”

Isidore’s tear-damp eyes went wide a second later when Garrett smacked the back of his head.

“I understand the compulsion to wallow, sweetheart, but you’ve done more than enough of that. Seriously, it isn’t you. I just happened to fall for someone far far away, and as it turns out I seem to be incapable of falling, however briefly, with anyone else. It’s not you, but we do need to figure you out.”

Isidore leaned back, not quite far enough to leave Garrett’s arms but far enough to give them both some breathing space. His hands trembled slightly where they rested against Garrett’s hips, another place to stay connected. He still needed that connection, even if it couldn’t be intimate, and Garrett didn’t begrudge him that. “What is there to figure out?”

“What you’re going to do. You can’t stay here, that’s obvious.”

“Commander Sinclair looked into extradition procedures, but there are too many legal loopholes for me to be sent to another planet, and I can’t afford to send myself.”

“I’ll send you.”

Isidore blinked, somehow opening his wide eyes even wider. “You can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because…because you can’t! Interstellar travel is incredibly expensive, Garrett, and you can’t afford to…” He paused, and Garrett grinned at him.

“Yeah, actually I can,” he confirmed. “I have to admit, my first thought was just to bring you back to Pandora with me, but I don’t think that’s going to work.”

“No,” Isidore agreed with a slow, sad shake of his head. His hands tightened for a second on Garrett’s hips before he forced himself to let go, wrapping his arms tight around his own waist. “It wouldn’t. But,” he laughed a little, mostly to himself, “I really don’t have any idea…I mean, I’ve never been off of this planet. I’ve barely even been outside of this city. I have no idea how to live out there.”

“I have friends who can help you out,” Garrett promised him. He did, too. He had lots of friends from the occasionally-misbegotten days of his youth, friends with means and opportunity and who also owed him favors, and he was more than prepared to cash some of them to set Isidore up. “You’ve got skills, and there are plenty of people who would pay for them. You’d have to head to a planet in the central system because I know more people there, but the basics would be taken care of long enough for you to get on your feet. We’ll get you released, and the next step you take will be onto a freighter headed away from here.”

“Why?” Isidore whispered. “Why are you going to all this trouble? We never really spent much time together, and clearly there isn’t—I mean—” He gestured back and forth between the two of them. “So…”

Garrett shrugged. In truth he felt more than a little responsible for Isidore, seeing as he was the one who had introduced him to Wyl in the first place and set this chain of events in motion. That wasn’t what Isidore needed to hear, however. “It’s the right thing to do. And I always liked you, and Wyl likes you, and you’re a good person, so please stop looking for ways in which this isn’t going to be a good thing for you, because I’m determined that it will be.” Garrett smiled broadly, eventually coaxing an answering smile from Isidore. “You got it?”

“Yeah,” Isidore said after a moment. “I got it.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Hi there!

So, thanks to my conscientious readerwife I will definitely be posting the next part of Pandora before Friday, but this post isn't really about that.  This is a Real Life mini-rant, solely cathartic for myself since I know the person I'm mad at will never, ever read this blog.  I'm gonna give it a go anyway.


To the thieving douchebag who stole our 4-Runner's catalytic converter:

Are you fucking serious?  Do you not have anything better to do with your life than crouch beneath our twenty-two year old Toyota in the wee hours of the night, lying on your back in the darkness on cold and ice and trying to be sneaky while you hacksaw through the part of the car that keeps us from sounding like a motorcycle gang on the road?  Is the incredible after-market price of $40-150 really so enticing that you would go to that trouble and stick us with a huge bill right before Christmas?  Also, do you believe in karma?  Because I tend to lean that way, and given the way your life seems to be going I'm going to bet that eventually you're going to get pneumonia from lying on the cold cold ground, or cut yourself with your damn hacksaw and get sepsis or lockjaw, or get into a car accident and end up with me for a PT, at which point I will "accidentally" kick your crutches out from underneath you. You suck.

Sincerely, me.

I had no idea people even went after that kind of thing.  Stereos maybe, in a big city, but we live in Boulder!  Granola-friendly college town.  WTF?  Anyway, done now!  I'm going to go write about something I like instead.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pandora Pt. 27: 2 of 2

Title: Pandora

Part Twenty-Seven, 2 of 2: Action

Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. This part is especially for my readerwife, who informed me that my lack of posting punctuality resulted in her battling the plague. Poor darling! Have some story and a nice hot cup of tea.


Garrett got Therese to help him find the parts and pieces he needed to get the maximum effect out of his upcoming confrontation. Putting body armor on felt strange—Garrett hadn’t worn it since he’d worked a job in a war zone almost twenty years earlier, and before that he hadn’t touched the stuff since his teens. But Miles had insisted that his son get combat mods and learn how to use them right, and that had meant practicing with the unsympathetic marine drill instructor that his father ordered to teach him and surviving several months’ worth of daily private lessons. By the end of it Garrett was screwing his instructor after every class, which made learning much more fun, but he wasn’t sad to say goodbye once the class’ tenure was over.

Learning how to fight as a kid didn’t mean that Garrett had any chance of lasting very long against Robbie, but he didn’t really have to last; that was the beauty of the armor. He just had to be there and moving around long enough to get the other man to open up. If he could have fucked the sadness and guilt right out of him Garrett would have considered it, but both of them had other commitments now and he knew that Robbie would never be with anyone but Wyl as long as Wyl was his, whether he was in Regen or not. It was just the way the man was wired.

Therese passed the word that Robbie was back just as Garrett got the last piece of armor locked into place. He put his cheat code into the programming, felt the locks between the joints strengthen and then looked over at her. “Thanks. Don’t let him leave, okay?”

“He said he would be in for several hours,” Therese replied.

“Even better.” Garrett twisted from side to side, testing the fit and flexibility of the armor before heading out of his father’s home and into the rest of the compound, the military section. The place was crawling with marines, and he got more than a few confused or disdainful looks as he walked along, but Garrett calmly ignored them. Just outside of Robbie’s office he was stopped by two guards.

“Commander Sinclair isn’t seeing civilians right now, sir.”

“That’s nice, but I’m not a civilian,” Garrett explained with a languid smile. “I’m the new political liaison for the governor’s wife, and there have been a few concerns raised over the legality of some of the action that Commander Sinclair is taking in his laudable and never-ending quest for the truth. My questions won’t take more than a few minutes of his time.”

“Your name, sir?”

The second marine rolled his eyes. “It’s Governor Caractacus’ son.” Moron, he added unspoken, but Garrett could read it in his body language. “Sir, I’m sure he’d be happy to meet with you at any other time, but Commander Sinclair specifically ordered that he remain undisturbed right now.”

“I appreciate that, but this matter really can’t wait for your commander’s next free minute, which I have the feeling won’t be until sometime next week,” Garrett replied. “He won’t be mad at you for letting me in, Corporal. I guarantee your safety.”

“I don’t think you can do that, sir.”

“Try me,” Garrett suggested winsomely. “If I’m wrong I’ll owe you a bottle of whiskey. The real stuff.”

“Great,” the corporal deadpanned. “That would give me something to drink when I get stuck with KP duty.”

“It’ll certainly make the time go faster,” Garrett promised him. The marine sighed and cast his eyes towards the sky, but he went ahead and opened the door. His fellow guard looked shocked and anxious, but Garrett just ignored them both and strode inside of Robbie’s office.

Well, what was now his office. It used to be Jane’s, and Garrett could tell. The walls were fuschia and the ceiling was cornflower blue, and neither of them were the sort of personal touches that Robbie had ever felt compelled to put into his work or living spaces. It was a big office, with a circular table surrounded by chairs, a desk and a large operational command projection laid out on one of the walls. Robbie was behind the desk, and when he looked up from his files and saw Garrett, his neutral expression didn’t change at all.

Well, it didn’t change to someone who wasn’t a connoisseur of everything Robbie, but Garrett had spent years learning to read the man. That tightening of the mouth meant anger, the barely-discernable squinch of the eyebrows was guilt, and the sudden relaxation of his fingers signified happiness, which Garrett was gratified to see. It didn’t show up in Robbie’s voice, however.

“Shouldn’t you be with Claudia?”

“She can live without me for a little while,” Garrett replied, sitting down in the chair across from his ex. Fuck, but Robbie looked tired. He even looked a little grayer through the temples, and that wasn’t supposed to happen with Regen charging your battery. “I thought I’d come by and say hello to you instead, since you seem to be avoiding the world.”

“I have work to do, Gare.”

“I know. I’m sorry about Jane,” Garrett said sincerely. “She was a brilliant person.”

“Yeah, she was,” Robbie agreed. He let his shoulders sag for a moment, showcasing how tired he really was. Robbie never let his guard down with people he didn’t implicitly trust, but even then it was rare.

“When’s the last time you slept?”

“I catch cat-naps,” Robbie said with a shrug.

“You should catch a real rest, in your own bed.”

Robbie’s jaw clenched for a moment. “I’d rather not.”

Garrett could see why he wouldn’t want to play shack up in his own place if it meant being alone. It was the same reason Garrett was reluctant to go back to his own apartment on board the Neptune. “Maybe when Wyl is up and running again.”

“Whenever that is,” Robbie said tonelessly, as though he didn’t know down to the minute when Wyl was expected to wake up. Liar. “What do you want, Gare? Because you’re not doing as good a job of mothering me as Claudia would, so if that was the purpose of this visit then she would be here instead of you.”

“I can’t just want to see you?” Garrett protested.

“Not under the circumstances.”

There was no beating around the bush with Robbie. “I want to talk about Isidore Cain.”

It wasn’t at all surprising that Robbie immediately sat back and shut down, the friend evaporating in the face of the military persona. “There’s nothing to discuss. Mr. Cain is being held as a matter of national security.”


“He has proven links to a terrorist organization, Garrett.”

“So what? I have proven links to suicidal psychopaths too, but that doesn’t make me one of them.”

“We’re still actively investigating all leads concerning the series of attacks on our forces,” Robbie continued as though Garrett hadn’t said anything. “Mr. Cain might not be a terrorist, but his connection to them is undeniable. He could be in danger from those connections if we were to release him into the general populace, or even into the larger prison system.”

Garrett gritted his teeth. “I get the protective custody idea, but Isidore shouldn’t be in prison at all. You know he had nothing to do with what happened here, or you’d have drawn and quartered him by now. He at least should have access to legal counsel.”

“No.” Robbie’s voice was implacable. “He stays where he is.”

“You’re being a real dick about this.”

“You can go now,” Robbie said calmly. “Give Claudia my regards.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Yes, you are.”

“No I’m not.”

Robbie’s eyes narrowed. “Yes. You. Are.”

Garrett pretended to consider it. “Ah, no. I really don’t think I am.”

“This is why you wore the armor, isn’t it.”

“I had been hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” Garrett said honestly. “But I’m not going to just let it go, either.”

“You’re asking to get hurt.”

“Oh, please,” Garrett scoffed. “You won’t really hurt me.”

“I could put you in the brig instead.”

“Good! Then I could talk to Isidore.”

Robbie sighed audibly. “You’re being a child.”

“No, you.” The cheat code that Garrett had put into his armor had given it more-than-human strength and resilience, and when he kicked the edge of Robbie’s desk, it slid back two feet and pinned Robbie to the wall. Wow. Garrett wondered for a second whether he should have turned the power down some, but after a second he didn’t have any time to consider it because Robbie was shoving the desk away, and his neutral expression had become furious. He was on Garrett in a second, picked him up and slammed him against the circular table a few feet away. Garrett heard the joints around his chest plate whine a little at the force, but they held. Good.

Garrett grabbed a chair off the ground beside the table and smashed it into Robbie’s back. Robbie barely even shivered, but it was enough space for Garrett to wrangle a little more distance for himself and to get a knee up between them. He used it to shove Robbie back and sprung up to his feet, then directed a fast thrusting kick towards Robbie’s midsection.

Robbie caught the kick and used it to throw Garrett onto the ground again. His hands automatically moved to break the ankle, and Garrett was glad he hadn’t neglected to attach any of the pieces of armor when he heard the ankle joint fixture snap into its furthest allowable configuration. Garrett grabbed one of Robbie’s feet and yanked, pulling him down to the floor. He punched him in the stomach and kicked towards his face, and when Robbie dropped his leg Garrett rolled off his back and didn’t hesitate, he just piledrove Robbie back into the table. Robbie managed to reverse them mid-throw and this time when Garrett hit the table, it broke beneath the force of his impact.

They beat on each other hard—not with abandon, because neither of them really wanted the other person to get hurt, but with intent. The chairs surrounding the table were splintered after a couple of minutes, but even when the two of them hit the door the guards didn’t come in. Garrett really did owe the one a bottle of good whiskey for going along with this.

It was hard, though. Robbie didn’t have on any armor but that just made him tougher to fight, because Garrett had to be careful while still not letting Robbie beat the ever-living fuck out of him. He had to push him just hard enough to start to break, but not to break entirely. He couldn’t let Robbie just work him over, though; if he did Garrett would just get thrown out and he’d be further than ever from reaching Robbie or talking to Isidore.

It was a fine line to walk, and Garrett was struggling to maintain it as the pair of them proceeded to trash Robbie’s office. The only thing they managed to stay away from was the tactical projection, and by the time Robbie was breathing hard Garrett was almost willing to take that out too, if it meant he’d survive another couple of seconds.

But then as fast as it had started, it stopped. One second Robbie’s hand was poised above Garrett’s face, ready to provide him with another black eye to match the one Garrett had already collected. The next second he was kind of collapsing, trying to fall in on himself and not being allowed to. Garrett fell down with him and a few seconds later they settled against the wall, Robbie with his eyes shut and Garrett sitting next to him, holding Robbie’s head against his chest. Robbie wasn’t the type of man who even knew how to cry, but Garrett could feel the tension releasing jerkily inside of him, resulting in sudden twitches and hitched breath.

“I only saw him once before he went under,” Robbie said after a moment. “I found Wyl in the motorcade and he was bleeding, there was blood everywhere and I had already seen what had happened to Jane. I went crazy looking for Wyl. I ignored people that I should have helped trying to find him and when I did, he wasn’t awake. And I had work to do, your father had been attacked and there were civilian casualties piling up out in the city… By the time I got back Wyl was in Regen. He didn’t wait for me.”

“It must have been really bad,” Garrett murmured, stroking back Robbie’s short hair.

“Bad enough. And I know Wyl didn’t mean it personally, I know that he can’t handle that kind of sensory stimulation without freaking out, but…well. You know.” Garrett just nodded, still stroking. “No Jane, no Miles, no Wyl. No one.”

“I’m here,” Garrett told him.

“For now,” Robbie sighed. “And it helps. Thanks, Gare. I think I needed this.”

“I’d say so,” Garrett agreed wryly, but he didn’t stop petting Robbie until Robbie finally pulled away, leaning his head back against the wall.

“I wasn’t joking about the protective custody thing,” Robbie said after a second. “People know who Isidore is and what his connections are. He’s gotten threats from both sides, Garrett. I’ve got a lot of marines here who are feeling vengeful, and none of his family members will come forward and claim him because they’re afraid of being targeted in the city, either by their neighbors or by the terrorists themselves. If I let him go he’ll end up dead, and if I let him into the legal system the first thing they’re going to do is get his status changed and have him transferred. I have a lot of things to deal with right now, but I’m not going to send this kid to his grave just because I don’t have time to work out a solution.”

“Then give him to me,” Garrett suggested. “Let me have him, as a pet project. I’ll get him taken care of and you won’t have to worry.”

“I always worry when you’re involved, Gare.”

“Well, you shouldn’t,” he retorted, “because I’m always perfect.”

“Liar. Why haven’t you talked to Jonah and Cody yet?”

Garrett scowled at the pointed non-sequiter. “Have you been gossiping with my stepmother?”

Robbie chuckled. “I know it’s hard to remember when she’s changing diapers, but Therese is still a marine, which means she debriefs me on what’s happening.” He turned calm if tired eyes on Garrett. “So what’s going on?”

“I just can’t talk to them right now,” Garrett said.

“That’s a dick move, Gare.”

“I’m not doing it to hurt them,” he insisted. “I’m doing it to keep myself from hurting, Robbie, which is exactly what will happen to me if I talk to Jonah and Cody right now. I need to be here, not there.”

It wasn’t the total truth, and the way Robbie was looking at him right now, Garrett knew that he knew that. Stupid ex-lovers and their stupid ability to read his stupid thoughts. But Robbie didn’t call him on it; he just shrugged after a second. “I’ll get you keyed in to see Isidore.”

“Thank you,” Garrett said earnestly. He kissed Robbie’s forehead, eliciting a smile from his friend.

“Whatever. Get out of here, Gare, and tell my marines they’re going to be on KP duty for the next week because of this.”

“Don’t be so mean,” Garrett scolded him. He groaned as he got to his feet, then reached down and helped Robbie up. “Go get some sleep, then come have dinner with us. Claudia is worried about you.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“be careful, don’t strain yourself with that.”

A final smack on the shoulder propelled Garrett towards the door with a smile on his face, even though it stung.