This story contain no graphic scenes of sex
This story contain no graphic scenes of sex


TUM   BIN...
[ Without You... ]

Part Seven

"I really don't think you should be taking him around for treks," his mother said, looking at Neeladri.

"Ma, he'll be fine," Neeladri replied, "He's not unwell or sick, it was just those firecrackers... the sound, otherwise he's absolutely normal and can travel. Besides, the past two days we were home, we didn't even go out for our walks..."

"Of course, you're the doctor," his mother sighed.

"Don't worry mother," Neeladri smiled, hugging her, "I'm not taking him for long treks, we'll drive to Tarakeshwar, and do a bit of trailing before returning home, by tea-time! And tomorrow we'll do Bhairavgarhi and Jaihari Khal, again, back home before sunset. And, twenty-sixth and twenty-seventh I'm with you, the whole day!"

"Yeah, sure!" she grimaced, rolling her eyes.

"Maaa..." he exclaimed in feigned astonishment, "you don't trust me anymore!"

On the twenty-fourth they went to Tarakeshwar, tucked deep in the forest of deodar and pine; and the next day it was Bhairavgarhi, hiking up the hill. Both trips amazing - the place, the trails as beautiful as ever; and with the festivities over, totally quiet and serene... the whole wide world all to themselves!

They got off the roads, and took detours - trekking and trailing, meandering their way along cattle tracks, and venturing deep into the woods... climbing hills and fording streams... catching spectacular views of the misty valleys and the towering peaks.

Aahan in an amazingly cheerful mood, laughing and talkative... untiring as he rushed ahead, veering off the trail, skilfully scampering up the sheer rock face with an incredible agility. Leaving Neeladri wide-eyed as he stood gaping... Aahan laughing down at him, gesturing, "C'mon, hurry up!"

"Where did you learn all that, huh?" Neeladri panted, finally catching up with him.

He shrugged, grimacing, and then grinned, "This is so much more cool... more fun, rather than following those tame trails!"

" 'Tame'?!" Neeladri asked in wonder, eyeing the man curiously.

Aahan shrugged once more, looking around the valley below.

"You've hiked before... you know, rock climbing and stuff?"

Aahan looked back at him for a while, before shaking his head, "Don't know... "

"Lover's Lane!" Aahan exclaimed with a chuckle as he read the signboard pointing towards the path.

"So it is called," grinned Neeladri, "and it's the best trail in all Lansdowne. I told you I'd show you the trail, on that second evening, but it didn't happen, and tomorrow we leave, so..." he shrugged.

They followed the narrow, twisting trail as it snaked its way under a canopy of green, thick with oak and blue pine... mysterious and mystical. The sudden vantage points offering spectacular views of mist shrouded valleys and distant snow clad peaks. Clouds floating under their feet, as tendrils of mist rose, curling and twirling around them... Ethereal!

The trail was entirely deserted, and they encountered not a soul... probably it being a weekday just after the festive season, and therefore no tourist; and the locals too exhausted after all the celebrations to venture for an evening walk!

"It's amazingly beautiful!" Aahan finally stated in a soft voice, bewitched.

"I love coming here late in the evening - less people, more peace..." Neeladri said, sitting down on a rock projection and letting out a soft laugh, "and yes, it can get a wee bit spooky after dark, but I love it!"

Aahan too sat down, staring across the valley... watching the clouds float by - wisps of fluffy cotton wool... reflecting the kaleidoscopic hue of the heavens above, the sky rapidly changing colour as the sun prepared to bid another day adieu...

"It's getting dark, we better start," Neeladri said after a while, getting up.

Aahan suddenly reached out and took his hand, stopping him, "Neeladri, why are you doing this for me?"

Neeladri looked down, seeing the face, the eyes, "What?"

"You are a doctor, it's your job to cure patients, take care of them..." Aahan paused for a moment, looking away, before turning back, "you're not supposed to take them home..."

Neeladri smiled, the corner of his mouth twitching with nervous pother, his heart beat suddenly rapid... wondering what to say, how to say it, "Um, no, doctors don't take patients home," he finally mumbled, "but I didn't like the idea of you going away to a Home, and so I..." he trailed off with a shrug.

"You are a good doctor, and a very nice person..."

Neeladri's heart skipped a beat... he didn't know how to react, and so he just kept staring back at the man.

"Do you like me?" Aahan asked.

It was nearly dark, but Neeladri could still see the glint in Aahan's eyes in the fast fading light of the day... the pupils dilated, "Yes..." he whispered, barely audible, his pulse racing.

Aahan's hand slid across his palm as he slowly stood up, facing him... the fingers curling... interlacing... their eyes locking...

It was magical in that lonely trail... in the stillness of the evening. The air suddenly resonating with a tremendous static force, the whole atmosphere electric, intensely charged.

Neeladri felt a shudder course down his entire body as Aahan took his other hand, the fingers clutching him... the grip tighter now.

Almost simultaneously they leaned forward, Neeladri's head tilting as he saw Aahan part his lips in moist invitation... the breath hot against his cheek. He closed his eyes... feeling the light brush of lips, almost imperceptible...

With an abrupt start he paused, quickly drawing back... horrified with what he was doing... appalled by what he had done... looking away... a whole range of guilt laced emotions rapidly sweeping through his mind - How could he succumb to the temptation... take advantage of Aahan's confused consciousness?!

But that slight brush of lips just before he pulled away had also ignited a raging flame in his soul... and it smouldered as he stood in the darkness, feeling Aahan's hands still holding his... the fingers still intertwined, but now uncertain... the grip slowly loosening, before Aahan released him and stepped back.

Neither men spoke as they turned homewards... walking the dark path in awkward silence.

"Hmm," Dr. Reddy nodded, deep in thought.

Neeladri had managed to catch the doctor for a few precious minutes on the 29th, the very next day after his return, recounting the latest on Aahan - his curious behaviour while driving through Delhi, and his reaction to the crackers on Dusshera evening. "But, doctor, neither incident was followed by a nightmare as earlier... in fact he had none while in Lansdowne!"

"Well, from what you've already told me it's obvious that any loud, explosive sound arouses that sleeping part of his brain, takes him to that point when he was at the eatery on the night of the blast, and that probably sets off his nightmares... some disjointed sequences from his past, some traumatic experience? His agitation in Delhi, and I'm sure that you weren't mistaken in your observations, is very interesting... but what's more intriguing is his NOT having a dream after his experience in Delhi, or the firecrackers that your cook's little boy set off...

"Though it does trigger his unconscious mind to return to a forgotten past, I don't think that exposing him to sudden, shocking noises would be right... in fact, it should be avoided. But his curious dreams could be a clue to his past, and if it keeps coming, with more new details, maybe we can start to understand it better... maybe some crucial facts will emerge..." the doctor broke off, pondering for a while before looking back at Neeladri, "I suggest you bring him over... you know, we could keep him at the hospital for a couple of days... keep him under observation, run some tests..."

The three days of detailed observation, and extensive tests provided nothing new for the doctors... there was nothing new to discover - the young man was perfectly fit, and completely healthy... mentally alert, lucid and entirely coherent. All vital parameters too were absolutely normal. And in the two nights that he spent at the hospital, he had no raptuses, nervous attacks, seizures, or even dreams.

The doctors had nothing new on him!

Flipping through the reports Dr. Reddy shook his head, "Nothing here Neeladri, your patient is perfectly normal, except that he doesn't know who he is!

So, after his work was done at the hospital, they left for home...

The sky had been overcast since early morning... everything still and quiet; and by late afternoon it was obvious that a terrible storm was brewing, the silent flashes of lightning criss-crossing the darkened sky clearly proclaiming the imminent arrival of a deluge.

"Hope we make it in good time," Neeladri said as he manoeuvred the car through the choked streets, "I don't want to be caught in the traffic with a downpour!"

And as they got out of the car and walked up the steps, the gale started - furious catabatic gusts of wind raging across the metropolis.

The rains started soon after dinner, a torrential downpour accompanied by distant rumbles of thunder, the night sky rent by the flashing bolts.

"Well," Neeladri said, "guess, you should go to bed, Aahan..."

Aahan hesitated for a moment, briefly looking up at Neeladri, and then nodded, silently getting up and heading for the stairs.

Neeladri too went up to his room, listening to the storm pick up... the winds howling as the storm raged over the cowering city... the trees groaning as they huddled under the lashing rain, the windows rattling in agony. The muted rumbles in the distant now explosively loud as it came progressively closer to the house... the ground almost vibrating with the intensity of each burst... the rooms fulgent with the blaze of the thunderbolts.

It was late, but Neeladri sat curled in bed, awake, flipping through the latest issue of a medical journal... the words on the pages making no sense as his mind drifted...

He was worried... he was upset... and yes, full of remorse.

After that last evening in Lansdowne, evening of the twenty-seventh, Aahan had once more become silent, hardly ever talking. Simply shaking or nodding his head; avoiding making eye-contact as he quickly turned away whenever Neeladri looked at him.

And when Neeladri took him to the hospital on the 30th, he had gone silently, staying back when Dr. Reddy asked him to remain there for a couple nights, never questioning. He neither asked anything when Neeladri told him that he'd be going home that evening, gathering his stuff and following him to the car.

Probably it was the incident on that lonely trail... and his reaction to Aahan's offer of love that night. His abrupt drawing back, and turning away taken as a rebuff... a rejection of Aahan's amatory overture...

Whatever, but it troubled Neeladri... and there stemmed his remorse and sense of guilt...

Oh, how he wanted the man, and yet when Aahan approached, he turned away... God, life was so fucking complicated!

And as he sat absorbed in his thoughts, he heard the soft knock on the bedroom door...

"Yes?" he asked, wondering if it was Ahmed.

The door opened and Aahan stepped in... in his pajamas... a terrified look on his face.

"What happened?" Neeladri asked, getting off the bed, wondering if he Aahan had another of those nightmares.

"I'm... uh, I," Aahan hesitated, "I can't sleep..."

"That's just the thunder..." Neeladri said, noticing the light shudders... Aahan's body jolted by spasmodic jitters... his hands shaking... his eyes fearful.

Aahan nodded, "Yes, I know, but I don't like the... it... it... it ..." he stuttered, the look frustrated, "Please, I'm scared!" and then fell silent in shamed defeat.

"Okay, you can sleep here," Neeladri smiled, taking his hand and leading him in.

"Thank you..." he mumbled, letting out a soft sigh.

Sitting him down on the bed Neeladri went to the table and picked up the bottle of medicine...

"No," Aahan said, "please, I don't want the pills..."

"It will help you to sleep," Neeladri smiled as he turned around.

Aahan shook his head, "No, please don't... I want to face it, face my fears... I want to know why sounds scare me..."

Neeladri sat down beside him, placing the bottle on the nightstand, "Aahan, you don't know why, and neither do we understand all the details... but the tablet will help relax you, and..."

"No, please..." he interrupted, pleading.

"Okay, fine, then just lie down and try to relax..."

"Thank you..." Aahan whispered and then grabbed Neeladri's hand as he was about to get up, "Don't go, please..."

"I'm going nowhere, but you try and get some sleep."

Aahan got in and lay down, "You won't, um, sleep?"

Neeladri nodded, removing the journal and getting in, reclining, looking down at Aahan... his hand almost unconsciously reaching out to stroke Aahan's head... the fingers running through the hair, "Don't worry, I'm right here... close your eyes and sleep."

But Aahan kept looking, his eyes adoring as he stared on... his hand reaching out, tentative, taking Neeladri's other hand in his own, holding him.

With a deafening clap the night sky lit up with a fiery blaze... and the power went out, the whole area plunging into darkness...

And suddenly they were hugging, arms tight around each other as their mouth joined in famished desire...

Oh, it felt so fabulously good to hold someone again, hold him close, feel his warmth... the touch of his naked flesh against his own bare torso. To kiss again... and be kissed...

Neeladri rolled over the young man... delirious as he moaned, lavishing the prone man with his passion, his arms suffocatingly tight around Aahan... as if desirous of fusing the two bodies together... merge into one...

Frantic hands tugged off the restrictive pajamas, their naked limbs wrapping in a contorted embrace... rolling and tumbling... both seemingly unable to get enough of the other, sibilant as they cried out their need. The raging hardness fierce against one another...

And as the tempest bellowed outside - the claps of thunder deafening and the fiery trail of flashing bolts casting its eerie glow inside the room - the two young men united in the roaring frenzy of long suppressed thirst... primeval in their boundless expression of passionate love... groaning and grunting as they carried each other on the rapturous wings of ecstasy... the pelting rain against the bedroom windows an euphonic accompaniment to their unbridled wail of ardour.

The tempest eventually abated, its raging impetus finally expended... a serene calm gradually descending as the winds of passion assumed its peaceful demeanour; the young men silent in each other's arms, languorous in the aftermath.

The storm outside too had stopped... an irenic calm slowly descending over the city.

And sleep, finally came...

to be continued...            

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