Indulgence ©2006

By Jack Llawayllynn


Chapter 17: Salving the wounds

Matt groaned and shifted in the early morning light. Every inch of his body ached beyond anything he had ever known before. He squinted his eyes tightly closed hoping against hope that he could go back to sleep and escape the discomfort. Even his face felt stiff and unnatural. His mind felt full of bubblegum, sticky and sickly sweet, confused. He slid a hand blindly across the sheets, searching for Sin. His hand only found empty cool cotton.

"Sin?" his voice came out in a dry croak. His eyes cracked opened and he peered through a gummy haze.

"I'm here kid," Sin's voice said nearby. Matt twisted around to look where Sin sat in a hard kitchen chair by the bed, his hair loose around his shoulders, his eyes pinched with fatigue.

"What the hell happened?" Matt croaked out. "Did we get into a fight again? I don't remember. Was I drinking last night? Shit! It's all a blank."

Sin sighed deeply. He wasn't sure if he was relieved or not. His eyes skipped down to the collar around Matt's throat. Maybe he could remove it before the kid noticed it there. Not bloody likely. As if his thoughts had drawn attention to it Matt's hand came up and his fingers skimmed over the leather.

"You collared me?" Matt asked shakily.

Sin rose stiffly and moved to the bed, sitting down gingerly so as not to jostle Matt. "We didn't fight Matt. I didn't beat you up. Not this time."

"But this is your collar right?" Matt asked in utter confusion, his fingers running over the branded initials in the leather. "I mean, you put it on me didn't you?"

"Yes, of course it's mine, do you think I would let you lay there wearing another man's collar?" Sin snapped, angrier at himself than at Matt. He didn't know how much, if any, he should tell Matt of what had happened the night before. Maybe the kid would never remember any of it. Sin snorted. That was wishful thinking. All Matt had to do was attempt to ring up his parents for a lovely little chat and it would all come flooding back to him.

Matt swallowed loudly. "I think I'm late for work. What time is it? I need to call in."

"You aren't going to work Matt. I've already talked to Silverman."

"You called in for me? Thanks," Matt muttered, his hand rising from the collar to touch the swollen side of his face.

Sin didn't correct him, he didn't think Matt was ready to hear that Sin had talked to Silverman the night before and had demanded a month off for him. It was a good thing that he had too. Matt wouldn't be in any condition to be out and about for days yet.

"Shouldn't you be at work Sin?" Matt asked, his fingers testing the tender cut on his cheek bone.

"No kid, I took some time off. Stop touching that." Sin grabbed Matt's hand and pulled it away from his face then gently swept an errant strand of hair from Matt's forehead.

"I hurt all over Sin. What the hell happened to me?" Matt asked, his mouth turned down with worry.

Well, it would come out eventually wouldn't it? Sin thought as he rose and crossed to the closet. He figured the best way to jog Matt's memory was with proof. He took the battered bible with its loose pages out of the lock box and carried it to Matt. He had no idea what Matt's reaction would be. He could blame his father or he could blame Sin. Sin sat down on the bed again before placing the bible in Matt's lap. Matt stared at it uncomprehendingly.

"He must have beaten you with this first. I had to gather all the pages together," Sin said gently.

Matt opened the cover, looked at the inscription on the inside cover leaf and snapped it closed again. His face crumpled into sobs and he leaned heavily into Sin's embrace. Sin tried to hold him gently, to avoid the large expanse of battered flesh that was Matt's back but that left no where for him to put his hands. Finally he gave up and crushed Matt to him, feeling Matt shudder with the pain but he didn't pull away, instead he clung more tightly to Sin.

"He hurt me so much," Matt cried, undone once more.

"I know Matt. But we both know he thought he was saving you from me. He thought he was doing his spiritual duty. He does love you but he hates what I have turned you in to."

"He...he did it before...the first time," Matt stuttered out.

"What first time?" Sin asked darkly. "You said I was your first time."

"There was a school...I sucked his dick, just a little, but Dad caught us."

"Ah, I see. So that is what he meant when he told me he had saved you once before."

"Did you hurt him Sin? You didn't...didn't kill him did you?"

"You don't remember?"

Matt shook his head.

"No, I didn't touch him. I pulled a gun on him but I didn't touch him. He's convinced you will be returning home to him today. Will you Matt? Will you be going home?"

Matt shuddered in Sin's arms and buried his face in Sin's hair. "I can't! I can't!" he wailed.

Sin wasn't sure what he felt. Relieved that Matt wanted to stay, worried that he should send the kid home for his own good. Afraid that Matt's decisions were based on the thoughts planted in his head and not by anything he really felt.

"Shhh, it's okay. You don't have to go." Sin gently slid his hand down Matt's back. It felt hot, burning. Sin pushed Matt away.

"Don't go!" Matt pleaded.

"I'm not going anywhere, kid. Turn around a little, let me look at your back." Sin didn't like what he saw. Several of the cuts were an angry red around the edges.

"Can you make it to Miss Sylvia's Matt? I think she needs to look at your back."

Matt nodded miserably, wiping his nose on the back of his hand.

"Matt, you understand that if you stay with me your parents may never speak to you again, right? You do understand that don't you?"

Matt nodded again, more miserable.

"I love you Matt," Sin said, his voice rough with emotion. "I don't want to lose you but I don't want you to keep getting hurt either. I don't want you to get killed."

"I want to stay with you," Matt said quietly. His hand rose to touch the collar. "I belong with you. To you."

Sin smiled and kissed his lips. "Yes, you do." Inside though Sin was still struggling with doubt. Matt's words sounded too much like what Sin had told him to repeat last night. Did Matt really mean it or did he only feel it because Sin had told him to feel it? Matt's life was falling more and more to pieces and it all centered around Sin. Sin knew that it was only going to get worse for Matt.

Sin brought Matt breakfast in bed, refusing to let him get up for anything more than to go piss until he had eaten every bite. He then helped Matt into his jeans and chose the softest largest sweatshirt that he could find, cursing the weird cold snap that had come blustering in right in the middle of a late spring, winter seeming to try to strangle the city in its grasp. When it came time for his jacket though Sin hesitated over the leather. It was new and not yet broken in so it would be too tight against Matt's back. He had forgotten to get Matt's denim jacket back out of his saddle bags and so it was at the motorcycle shop. In the end Sin chose to put his own well worn jacket on Matt and wore Matt's newer one himself.

Sin hailed a cab and waited patiently for Matt to get in. Matt moved like an old man, stiff and slow. Sin folded himself into the warmth of the car gratefully and gave the driver the address. With a sigh he closed his eyes. He was exhausted and they had barely pulled away from the curb before he had drifted off to sleep.

Matt sat uncomfortably on the edge of the seat, careful not to lean back. He shoved his hands in the jacket pockets and sat miserably waiting for the ride to end. A crackle in the in the inner pocket caught his attention. He fished in the pocket and pulled out a large stack of papers stapled together and folded in half. Glancing over at Sin to see if he was paying attention Matt found him asleep and opened the paper, scanning its contents quickly. It was a copy of the proposed contract for Chains. Matt skipped back up to the top and began to read it word for word. His surprise grew with each word. Why hadn't Sin told him that his band had been offered a deal with one of the best managers in the city? When Matt saw Silverman's name listed lower down he crumpled the contract in his fist. In a sudden rage he threw the crumpled contract into Sin's face. Sin's eyes sprang open.

"When were you going to mention to me that you've been dealing with Silverman? Damn it Sin, I work for the man! You should have gone through me! You should have told me!"

Sin sat up and shook his head, picking up the crumpled paper. "I haven't been dealing with him Matt. Come on, calm down."

"Don't fucking lie to me!" Matt yelled and the driver glanced back at them in his rearview mirror frowning. His eyes shifted to Matt's hideously bruised face then back to Sin's angry one and he shook his head, obviously deciding he didn't want any part of any sort of argument between those two.

"Matt, I'm not lying to you! Silverman showed up at practice last night with Charles Debroy in tow. He came in waving this fucking contract, reminding me how I owed him favors!" Sin spat back.

Matt's breath left him in a rush. "He said that? That you owe him favors?"

"Damn straight," Sin growled. "Told me he could fuck up my life. And you know he can make good on that threat Matt. He's got me by the balls."

"I'll talk to him Sin. I'm sorry, I never imagined he'd do this. I'll talk to him first thing in the morning when I go in to work."

"No, you won't Matt because you aren't going in to work. Silverman gave you the month off."

"The month off?" Matt asked shocked. "Why the hell would he do that? God Sin you didn't call him and tell him about my dad did you?"

"Of course not! I told him I needed your help to get my shit together so I could seriously consider his offer." Sin shook the contract at Matt. "If your dad hadn't been there ahead of me I would have kicked your ass last night myself. You had no business bringing Silverman in on my plans."

"You were in jail!" Matt defended himself.

"I was fucking innocent and you knew it. There was nothing they could pin on me. They could have held me a few days and roughed me up but in the end I would have walked. If you hadn't lost your fucking head you would have known that! You work for an attorney for fuck's sake!"

"You're right, I'm sorry Sin. I did panic. Shit, is Silverman going to be a serious liability?"

"No, he isn't," Sin said firmly and leaned forward to pay the cab driver as they pulled up to the curb in front of Miss Sylvia's.

"I knew he had reasons for helping us," Matt muttered as they mounted the steps to Miss Sylvia's. Sin rapped loudly on the door and they waited patiently for Miss Sylvia to answer it.

"Well my goodness!" Miss Sylvia exclaimed. "I wasn't expecting you two! Matt! You're face! Come in, come in! I have company but he was just about to leave," she prattled as she lead them into her sitting room. Matt's steps faltered as he saw her guest sitting on the sofa. The man looked like a gruesome corpse, thin beyond reason, his eyes sunken in his head and his flesh ghostly pale and dotted in sores. "This is Ronnie," Miss Sylvia said cheerfully, "Ronnie, meet Matt and Michael."

"What's up Ron?" Sin said jovially, going to shake the man's hand. "Long time no see! You look like shit. Guess the medications aren't working too well huh?"

"You know each other?" Matt asked curiously as he too stepped forward to shake the man's hand.

"Oh, we've met a few times, out at the club," Ronnie said smiling, his narrow face looking like a malnourished ferret. Matt's mind wheeled around the word "club" for a moment, wondering if it was the same club that Estaban had mentioned the night before or if Ronnie meant a bar that Sin had gigged in with Chains.

"Ronnie has HIV-AIDS," Miss Sylvia said quietly as she settled herself into her favorite chair. Jensen, her little black cat hopped up into her lap and curled herself into a comfortable furry ball. "I was recommended to him recently by some mutual friends of ours. The medicine cocktail he is on is tearing up his system even more than the disease. It happens often. The medicine is harsh. He's here so I can get him on a diet of healthy foods and herbs that will help build up what immunity he still has and not work against any of his medications. I can also help him with the pain he suffers. Doctors can be so stingy with pain medications."

Sin didn't look in the least bit surprised or uncomfortable but Matt shifted nervously, uneasy.

"I appreciate your help Miss Sylvia," Ronnie said, getting up slowly. "I will definitely try the new herbs and remember to drink more fluids. I know it's something I should have been watching. I'll be back next week, let you know how it went."

"Now don't go expecting to feel better over night. These things take time. I know you feel like time is something you can't afford to wait on but what else would you be doing anyway? Do everything on the list I gave you, stop by a store on your way home and pick up a yoga video to follow. Look for one with someone on the cover that you will enjoy watching because you will be looking at them everyday for the rest of your life if you do what's good for you. Now, come give me a kiss before you leave," Miss Sylvia demanded, tilting her cheek up. Ronnie looked stunned for a moment then went to obediently lean down and kiss her check. She kissed his cheek back then patted it. "I won't show you out dear, my knees are too old to be getting up and down so much but you won't hold it against me, will you?"

Ronnie smiled. "Of course I won't. I'll see you next week. It was good to see you again Sin. Nice to meet you Matt." Ronnie nodded to them then let himself out.

"So are you rascals here in the hopes that I can do something about the bruising on Matt's face because I can't," Miss Sylvia said, her eyes flashing hotly at Sin but he didn't see the look because he was helping Matt out of the leather jacket.

"No, it's his back. I'm afraid it might be getting infected. It only just happened last night but I thought I better bring him over here and let you look at it, catch it early before it gets bad." Sin had laid the jacket aside and helped Matt out of the sweat shirt as he spoke. He turned Matt around so that she could see his back. Miss Sylvia caught her breath at the sight of so much damaged flesh. Slowly she stood and reached over to pick up a large black handbag from a nearby side table. Without warning she swung it at Sin with all her might. It hit him in the middle of his back and he leapt away, shocked.

"What the hell?" Sin bellowed and Matt stepped quickly out of the way as Miss Sylvia swung the huge heavy bag at Sin again.

"Shame on you Michael!" Miss Sylvia screeched. "How could you do that to poor Matt? How?" She continued to beat at Sin with the purse and Sin shielded his face and head with his arms.

"I didn't! Tell her Matt!" Sin bellowed but Matt was having too much fun watching and didn't come to his aid. In fact, he was enjoying the show so much that he encouraged her.

"Hit him again Miss Sylvia! Hit him harder!" Matt wheezed out, trying to hold in laughter.

Sin scrambled over the sofa but his foot caught on the back of it and he sprawled across the floor. Miss Sylvia wasted no time in scooting around the furniture, amazingly spry for a woman her age who had just complained of bad knees. She began smashing the purse over Sin's arm shielded head. He managed to get his feet under him between swings and stumbled away into the kitchen, Miss Sylvia pursuing him, the bag still smacking at Sin with every step. In desperation he dived under the table. Miss Sylvia threw the bag aside, grabbed her broom and began to poke at Sin under the table with the broomstick.

"Naughty! Naughty!" she scolded. "How could you be so mean?"

"Damn it Matt! Tell her what happened!" Sin bellowed angrily, sliding out the other side between kitchen chairs but Matt was doubled over with laughter now, his face red, his eyes watering. Suddenly Miss Sylvia seemed to realize that he was laughing and turned towards him.

"Michael didn't do that to you? Really?" She asked, eyeing him sternly.

"No," Matt gasped out. "Innocent this time."

"Humph! Pooh on you Mathew! You were very bad not to tell me right away," she said as she leaned the broom against the wall. "Poor Michael," she muttered but she was patting Matt's arm. "Go sit down on the couch Mathew so I can mix up some medicine for your back. You too Michael. I'll call you when it's ready."

Matt went away still chuckling.

"Is it safe to put this down now?" Sin asked as he cautiously lowered a chair that he had hefted like a lion tamer.

"Yes of course you can. But you're a scallywag and we both know it so I'm not going to apologize to you. That was naughty of Matt though," Miss Sylvia chuckled and went to gather some herb jars from the cabinet. Sin crept out from behind the table and went to sit in the living room with Matt.

"You could have helped me out there," Sin said sulkily and Matt fell into another fit of guffaws. Sin's hair had gotten ridiculously mused in the chase, probably while he had been trying to protect his head from the handbag. His ponytail was askew and there was a large lump of hair sticking up over his left ear. Several strands had escaped his ponytail as well and stuck out in wispy tails.

"What, and miss out on seeing the vicious Michael Synn run like hell from a little old lady with a lethal purse?" Matt slapped his knee and shook his head, "No way, no way would I have missed that for the world!"

"Asshole," Sin muttered but glanced around quickly to make sure Miss Sylvia wasn't lurking nearby with her monster handbag.

"Beside," Matt said in a much quieter voice, "I needed a good laugh. I mean really needed it. I haven't felt much like laughing in a while."

"I know," Sin said and reached up to smooth his hand through Matt's hair. "It's been a hell of a rough couple of months. It's going to get better though, I promise."

"You think so? Like when my parents finally realize I'm not coming home, not leaving you, and they disown me forever? Or maybe when we go to commit murder together? That is things getting better?" Matt spoke very quietly but Sin still flinched and glanced around again.

"You don't have to stay with me Matt. You can go home. I won't try to stop you."

"Damn it Sin, you know I don't want to do that." Matt's hand strayed up to the collar around his throat. "You've got too many ties on me for me to just be able to walk away and you know it. Offering to let me go home now is just empty words. A few nights ago I might have still been able to get away from you but not now, not ever again."

Sin gave him a sad smile and leaned in to give Matt a gentle kiss. Matt was right, Sin owned him now, had for a very long time but Matt had been fighting it. At least now he could openly admit that knew he could never walk away easily.

"Aw, how sweet," Miss Sylvia said from the doorway and Sin reared away from Matt, Matt blushing like a school girl. "Now don't be embarrassed," she said grinning as she shuffled forward with a tea tray. "There is nothing wrong with showing affection."

Sin cleared his throat loudly and thanked Miss Sylvia for the teacup she handed him but he didn't meet her eye. She shuffled out again and sounds of utensils banging together in the kitchen soon followed.

"Sounds like she's mixing up a hardy brew," Sin said dryly and Matt snorted.

"She's a strange woman, that's for sure. For such an elderly lady she is shockingly open-minded."

"She's a witch though, isn't she? I guess an open mind would be a necessity with them wouldn't it?"

Matt shrugged. "I've never really asked her about it. I called her a witch once and she didn't deny it. She says she has these visions but you know, she hasn't mentioned them in a while. I wonder why?"

Sin sipped cautiously at his tea, taking only a small amount on his tongue. It tasted like regular tea. He had no idea why she would want to drug him today but he would never take chances with anything she served him again after the powerful brew she had fed him the day Trish had been murdered.

Matt wrinkled his nose. "Phew, something is starting to smell really vile. I hope she doesn't intend for me to wear whatever it is she is mixing up if it's going to stink like that."

Sin nodded in agreement. "I don't think I'll be willing to go out in public with you smelling like that either."

"Okay, it's ready," Miss Sylvia called a little while later and both men exchanged dismayed looks. The stench had only grown worse as they waited. Sighing in unison they rose and went to the kitchen. Miss Sylvia had positioned a shortened stool directly under the light in the kitchen. Matt doubted that it would do much good for her, she didn't see well even in the best of light and often just didn't bother turning lights on.

"Um, Miss Sylvia, I hate that you've gone to so much trouble and all but I'm not sure I want that stinking stuff on me," Matt said, hesitating near the stool.

Miss Sylvia laughed. "The stench isn't from your salve Matt. I thought I'd go ahead and warm up Jensen's cat food while I was at the stove. Here's the salve, smell it." She handed him a bowl and Matt sniffed at the green gunk carefully. It smelled minty and fresh. He handed it over to Sin for him to sniff.

"Now that I can live with. The other stuff, whew, no." He handed the bowl back to Miss Sylvia and stood watching over her shoulder as she smoothed it gently over Matt's back. Matt flinched a little at the first touch then relaxed when he realized it would not sting.

"How did this happen?" Miss Sylvia asked quietly as her fingers smoothed and soothed Matt's back.

Sin glanced over at Matt, his face blanched and he coughed discreetly as he turned away, indicating that it damn sure wouldn't be him who told this story.

"My father paid me a visit last night. He is not very happy over my relationship with Sin," Matt said flatly. His eyes took on a far away look.

"You let him do this?" Miss Sylvia asked shocked. "Just let him beat you?"

Color rose up in Matt's face. "Well, I guess so," he admitted quietly. "I had...I wanted to be able to sleep well so I mixed up a cup of the tea from the black tin. I guess I didn't pay very much attention to how much I used. I had only just drunk it when Dad showed up and started lecturing me. By the time he got around to taking his belt off I was...ummm..."

"Totally fucked up," Miss Sylvia said darkly and both men flinched in surprise at her language. Sin cast Matt a stealthy glance, aware now that Matt must remember most, if not all, of the night before.

"Yes ma'am," Matt admitted. "That was the way of it."

"Michael, you will throw that mess away as soon as you get back to Matt's house. Well, your house now too right? Didn't you tell me he had moved in with you Matt?" Miss Sylvia asked as she placed the now nearly empty bowl onto the table.

"Yes, that's right."

"About time," she said with a small happy smile. "Alright Matt, all done. Hop up off that stool and let Michael sit there."

"But I'm not injured," Sin protested as Matt complied and waved a hand at the stool.

"Come now, I just want to fix your hair. It's a mess," Miss Sylvia said and bullied Sin over to the stool, producing a hair brush from her killer purse. Sin sighed and pulled the elastic band from his hair knowing that to argue would be futile. He sat patiently as the old lady ran the brush through his long tangled hair.

"My sister and I used to brush each other's hair," Miss Sylvia said wistfully. "She died many years ago. She was my twin. Did I ever tell you that Matt?"

"No Miss Sylvia, I don't think you did."

"Oh yes, we were identical twins. It runs in the family you know, twins. When my mean old husband died I nearly danced for joy but when hers died, well, she just mourned herself to death. Frank was an ugly, ugly man but he had such a big heart."

"Do you have no family left at all Miss Sylvia?" Sin asked, twisting a little to look back at her.

Her hands stilled in Sin's hair for a moment then she gave her head a small shake but her words didn't agree with her body language. "Yes, I have some family left."

"Don't you ever see them?" Sin pressed. He wasn't sure why but he felt a connection with this strange old woman, both of them so far removed from the norm of society. He felt that she was holding something back, as if she shared his same type of loneliness, exiled from whatever family she may have in the world.

Miss Sylvia sighed and began to braid Sin's hair. "I have a nephew. He, well, he's not a very nice man. Not the sort one can be proud of. I hate to say that of my sister's only child but it's true. He never liked me much and quite honestly I never liked him much either. He was spoiled and hateful. Not my sister's fault mind. He was just too much for her to handle. Something wrong in his head probably. Anyway when he grew up he had two sons of his own but one died. So I do have a great nephew that I am very fond of. Now that boy is one I can really be proud of. He makes mistakes, don't think he doesn't. Not perfect, no, but I love him and am very proud of him. And he's so handsome too. Thank god he didn't inherit any traits from his grandfather Frank!"

"Do you get to see your great nephew very often?" Sin asked as he placed the elastic band in Miss Sylvia's hand when she reached for it.

"Not as often as I'd like," she said as she began twisting the band around the end of Sin's braid. "His father wouldn't let me see him or his brother after they were born though I did try to see them in the hospital nursery. The one died early, before he became a man. I never got to know him. It wasn't until the other one was nearly grown that I actually got to meet him. Then he moved away to another state and I didn't see him again for many more years. Then one day he just showed up on my doorstep. I was so happy to see him! You can't imagine! He drops by with his friend every now and then. Not often enough. At least his friend is a polite fellow. Very well behaved and respectful. He's handsome too. They look very nice together."

Matt's brow went up. "You talk like, well now don't be offended if I am wrong, but he sounds gay."

"Well he is. Nothing wrong with that now is there?" Miss Sylvia asked, giving Matt a smiling wink.

"So that's why you are so open-minded about gays?" Matt asked.

Miss Sylvia laughed and went to put her brush back in her purse. Sin unfolded himself from the short stool and put it back in its place near the wall.

"No." Miss Sylvia answered finally. "That isn't why, not entirely. My husband's brother was a gay man and I liked him a lot so I was used to gay men even before I realized my great nephew was gay. I admit though that I really didn't understand much about them until then. I didn't want to misunderstand my great nephew so I started to seek out gay men and ask them questions. They really didn't seem to mind and most answered me quite bluntly. I learned a lot through the years and made a lot of friends. They make up a large portion of my patients. Well, I guess I shouldn't call them patients since I'm not a doctor. They are more my friends in need I guess."

"We'd be lost without you Miss Sylvia," Matt said wrapping an arm around her shoulders and drawing her in to place a kiss on her head.

"And so you would," she laughed. "Rascals."

Matt and Sin stayed until the salve on Matt's back dried enough to pull his shirt back over it. At the door Sin turned back to Miss Sylvia.

"I'm sick of the cold. When is it going to turn warm like it should be? If anyone knows I bet it's you."

Miss Sylvia nodded seriously. "Three more days. The cold will go in three days and not come back until it's supposed to at the end of the year. Now scoot. I have another patient coming in a little bit and I need to mix up her herbs for her."

"I like her," Sin said in the cab as they rode back to the apartment.

Matt nodded. "Me too. I think she really cares about people. It's never an act with her."

Sin stared silently out of the window and thought about her great nephew. At least she did have some family, little though it may be. Sin had no one but himself. Matt shifted restlessly on the seat and Sin turned to look at him. Matt's eyes were warm and content when he gazed back at Sin. Well, not entirely alone then, Sin thought as his eyes dropped to the collar around Matt's throat. Not entirely alone at all.

* * * *

The phone was ringing when they arrived back at the apartment. Matt brushed passed Sin and snatched up the phone before Sin could reach for it. Sin shot him a bland grimace but didn't notice that Matt's eyes kept skipping away from the walls, as if he couldn't bear to look at any one part of the room.

"Matt here," Matt said as he turned to watch Sin slide the bolt home on the door.

"Matt, it's Ruben."

"Hey Ruben, what's up?"

Sin turned and cocked a brow at Matt, just as surprised as Matt felt.

"Something has been bothering me. It's weird. I didn't want to ask Estaban about it and upset him but I figured if anyone would know it'd be you."

"Okay, what is it?"

"Well, see, you know I had to clean up those dead cats right?"

Matt shivered at the distasteful vision that sprang up in his mind. "Yes, Esty said you handled that for him. It must have been awful." Another vision sprang up behind the first, a vision of himself crawling across the carpet, trying to escape the madness of his father. He pushed them both away forcefully.

"It was man, totally disgusting. I ain't fond of no cats but nothing deserves to be chopped into little pieces like that. Anyway, so you know there were pieces everywhere right?"


"Okay, whoever the sick fuck was he took part of one of the cats and put it in a water glass on the counter."

"Uh-huh," Matt said, starting to feel queasy. His mind was skipping around wildly. He kept seeing his father in his mind but now the man wasn't holding a belt, he was holding a bloody knife and advancing steadily on Matt as he huddled against the wall. Matt shook his head and forced himself to only concentrate on what Ruben was saying.

"Well here's the deal...I think it was testicles."

"Testicles?" Matt asked confused. Sin barked a laugh at the look on Matt's face and the strange turn the conversation from his side had taken.

"Yeah man, you know, the nuts. The balls."

"Yes Ruben, I understand that but Estaban's cats didn't have testicles. He had them neutered so they wouldn't spray in the apartment."

"I knew it! I knew he had said that to me but then I thought, well maybe he hadn't."

"I went with him to take the cats to the vet and also helped him bring them home. They were definitely neutered." Matt leaned against the edge of the couch feeling weak and sick. His father, he knew, would love to castrate Matt right now too.

Ruben was silent so long that Matt began to think he'd lost the connection. "Ruben? Are you still there?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm here. Well, if it wasn't nuts what was it? I mean, like I said, I don't like cats. I don't mess with em. What other part of their body could look like nuts?"

"Umm, well, I have no idea. Was it like, just raw pieces of flesh or was the skin and hair still on?" Matt shifted the phone away from his mouth so that Ruben wouldn't hear him follow the question with several nausea quenching swallows.

"There was skin and hair on em. I didn't save them though. Maybe I should have?"

"God no!"

"Okay, so tell me what else it could have been cause it's really giving me the heebie jeebies thinking about that shit man. I can't get it out of my head."

"I'm sorry Ruben. I have absolutely no idea." Matt threw Sin a confused look. Sin was propped up on the arm chair listening to Matt's side of the conversation with puzzled interest.

"Okay, yeah, I guess I'll just try to forget about it. It just horrified me, ya know? That someone would stick the poor cat's nuts in a glass of water on the counter like that. Then it bothered me more when I remembered them cats wasn't supposed to have no nuts."

"I'm sorry Ruben, I don't know what to tell you. Don't mention it to Drift or Estaban though okay? No need to upset them more over the whole thing."

"Aw hell no! You think I'm stupid, white boy? Shit."

Ruben hung up and Matt slowly placed the phone back down.

"What the hell was that about?" Sin asked.

"Honestly, I have no idea. Ruben just had some weird notion about cat parts he found in Esty's apartment."

"Bluh," Sin muttered and turned away. "Crazy ass giant," he grumbled, referring to Ruben. In this at least Matt was inclined to agree. Matt's eyes skipped to the wall, to the couch, to the coffee table, everywhere he looked he thought of his father.

"At least he knew better than to bring it up to Esty. Christ, he'd have gone ballistic."

"Or worse," Sin agreed as he headed for the kitchen. Matt followed him, suddenly terrified to be left alone in the living room. He watched as Sin opened the cabinet and took down the black tin.

"What are you doing?" Matt asked.

"Throwing this out like Miss Sylvia said to," Sin said as he lifted the lid from the container and prepared to pour it into the garbage. Matt leapt forward and seized his hand, stopping the tilt of the container.


"What the hell Matt? You nearly died because of this shit."

"Give me that!" Matt growled and jerked the container away. He capped the black lid back on tightly and tucked the tin under an arm as if hiding it.

"Jesus! What the hell! Throw it out Matt!"

"No. I might need it for something!"

"What the hell might you need it for?" Sin demanded glowering threateningly at Matt.

"Nightmares," Matt said quietly, his eyes suddenly pleading and dark. He knew the nightmares would come, would haunt him for months. The tea might be his only real hope of escape into normal sleep.

"Shit," Sin spat and spun away. He didn't want Matt to keep the tea. He understood well enough though the fear of nightmares. He felt torn, not sure what he should do. He damn sure didn't want Matt drinking that tea alone again, leaving himself vulnerable to attack. Sin turned back and lunged for Matt, wresting the tin away from him. When Matt tried to snatch it back Sin held it as high as he could over his head and danced back. "Stop it Matt!" Sin demanded, fending Matt's attempts off with his other hand. "I won't throw it out but I'm keeping it under lock and key. You will never touch this shit when you are alone again. Do you hear me?"

Matt was up on his toes, reaching for the tin. At Sin's words he dropped back down to the soles of his feet and hung his head. Sin pushed passed him, hating to see Matt look so hangdog and pathetic. It disgusted Sin when Matt was weak like that and he really wasn't sure why. He knew he himself was guilty of weakness from time to time but damn it Matt was stronger than that. Sin put the tin into his lock box and hung the key around his neck on a silver chain, tucking the key in under his shirt. Matt was still sulking in the kitchen when Sin returned.

"I want to go to Chico's tonight," Matt announced suddenly as Sin stood frowning at him. Matt had no desire to stay in the apartment, thinking of nothing but his father.

"No, not tonight. Have you even looked into a mirror Matt? You look like someone ran over your face with a tractor."

"So? I don't think anyone at Chico's would give a damn. Do you? I want to go out."

Sin ground his teeth audibly. Why the hell was Matt being so damn difficult now that they were home? "I fucking said no!" Sin growled at Matt.

"Fuck you! Just because you are sleepy and grumpy doesn't mean I should have put up with your temper. Go take a fucking nap or something. I'll go to Chico's on my own."

Sin took a step back. Was he just tired and taking it out on Matt? He hadn't slept at all during the night. He had sat up, watching Matt breathe, afraid he would just simply stop breathing during the night. He'd caught maybe five minutes of sleep in the cab on the way to Miss Sylvia's. "Yeah, okay, you might be right. I'm tired. I haven't had any sleep and I'm edgy. I'll try not to take it out on you but Matt, you can't go to Chico's. You had the hell beat out of you last night. You've been through an emotional hell with your dad going off like he did. You need to stay home. Rest."

"Dammit Sin! Don't you understand? I don't want to be cooped up here. What am I supposed to do? You want me to go in there where my dad was last night and just sit down and watch fucking television? Or should I crawl into bed with you and lay awake staring at the fucking ceiling while you sleep? I feel...I don't know...I'm restless."

Sin sighed and stepped closer to Matt, cupping his head to kiss him gently. "I didn't think of it that way," he said, trying to make peace. Matt glared at him and Sin tilted his head to the side. There was something edgy in Matt's eyes, something...taunting. Sin didn't think he'd ever seen quite that look in Matt's eyes before. Sin scowled. He didn't like it. It made him feel like Matt was testing him, or about to test him. "I don't know what you are thinking Matt but watch yourself. I feel bad about what you've been through lately but I'll be damned if I'll let you push me in any way."

Matt's answering grin was dry and sarcastic. Sin cocked a brow in confused exasperation. Suddenly Matt took both hands and slammed them into Sin's chest, knocking him back several steps. Sin's anger exploded. His fist contacted with Matt's eye before he even realized he had swung it. Matt hit the kitchen floor hard. Sin resisted the urge to kneel to check on him, hoping like hell he hadn't broken the kid's cheek bone. To make matters worse he realized that he had hit Matt on the bruised side. Matt was absolutely still on the floor, his head turned away from Sin.

"Fuck!" Sin spat and took a step forward but Matt finally stirred, shook his head and pushed himself up into a seated position. Sin stepped over him, opened the freezer and took out a handful of ice. He wrapped it quickly in a rag and squatted down by Matt.

"What the hell did you push me for Matt?" he demanded as he pressed the ice to Matt's face. Matt didn't answer. He jerked his head away and yanked the cloth from Sin's hand. "Matt! Answer me damnit! What has gotten into you?"

Matt sat seething. He wasn't really sure himself why he had pushed Sin. He just knew that he couldn't stand to feel the panic and fear that kept bubbling up in him, setting his heart to racing about madly behind his ribs. He'd rather have Sin beat the shit out of him than have to deal with the overwhelming and unreasonable fear he was feeling. Sin had taken control of every situation, had made Matt feel things he had never known he was capable of, had been able to bend Matt to any desire he wished from the night they had met, so why couldn't or wouldn't he do something about this unreasonable panic? Why couldn't he see it? He had known when he pushed Sin that Sin would react violently but Matt had been hoping that Sin would just take whatever unreasonable fear Matt was feeling and give him something real to fear instead. Matt's face throbbed and he sighed in frustration.

"Maybe I should go on home," he muttered finally. If he couldn't get his father out of his head then he knew that his father had won. No matter what he did the fear would control the rest of his life. Matt finally glanced over at Sin, realizing that he had not answered or moved in any way. Sin squatted down near Matt, his eyes searching Matt's face.

"You want to go home to that fucker?" Sin asked flatly.

"I don't know. I don't want to feel trapped here like this. I don't want to be afraid to move around in my own house. How long before I stop thinking about the blood spots on the wall? Oh, yeah, so you wiped them up but I still see them Sin, fresh and wet, every time I pass that wall."

"You're going to let him win?" Sin ground out between his teeth.

"I'm not letting him win Sin. You are."

Sin eyes widened for a second then narrowed with sudden understanding. He rose and yanked Matt up onto his feet. He took the ice away from Matt and slung it against the wall so hard that the ice escaped the rag and shards of it bounced back at them, stinging like broken glass. Sin pushed Matt back against the refrigerator hard and Matt's breath hissed between his teeth as his injured back came in contact with the hard surface. Sin moved in fast, kissing Matt violently, desperately. Matt responded immediately, clawing at Sin's clothes. Sin was dimly aware of the sound of rending fabric but the taste of Matt's mouth, the warmth of his breath was all he wanted to focus on. Sin wasn't even sure how he got Matt out of his clothes or how he himself was now bare to the waist. He shoved Matt away and quickly stripped off his jeans, tossing them aside and reaching for Matt. Matt slipped away from him but only long enough to grab a bottle of cooking oil from the cabinet. Sin grinned evilly and snatched it from him, pouring the oil over his cock and splashing a large puddle of oil onto the floor. He tossed the bottle onto the counter, neither of them noticing that it tipped over and spilled over the counter top and dripped onto the cabinet front. Sin grabbed Matt's arm and hustled him into the living room. Matt's eyes stayed riveted to Sin but Sin could see his body tensing, his anxiety building. Sin kissed him again then pushed him hard against the dreaded wall. Matt bellowed in pain as his back banged into the wall. Sin advanced and literally lifted Matt from his feet, the muscles in his arms and neck standing out in cords as he hefted Matt high against the wall. Matt hooked his legs around Sin's waist and groaned when Sin entered him hard.

"You're mine Matt, forever. Do you hear me?" Sin demanded as he pounded into Matt, hefting him higher against the wall. Matt's hands clamped down hard on Sin's shoulders and his head fell back against the wall, his teeth gritted in a terrible grimace of ecstasy and pain. Sweat broke out all over Sin's body as he strained to keep Matt pinned against the wall. In the back of his mind he knew that he shouldn't be doing this, scrapping Matt's back against the wall had to be extremely painful for Matt but for the moment Sin didn't care. He was enjoying Matt's pain far too much to have enough self control to stop now. In fact he wanted more. He pounded into Matt's ass harder, gritting his own teeth now, sweat running in a rivulet from his temple and down his jaw. Matt's eyes sprang open and he looked down at Sin, the brown eyes flaring with inner fire. Sin met that gaze with a fiery look of his own, savage and wild, possessive. Matt let his head fall back against the wall again, feeling the intense burn of the scabs as they peeled away from his back against the wall again, feeling the even more intense burn of the lust roaring through him. Sin's pace showed no signs of waning and Matt was impressed with his strength, his ability to keep Matt hefted against the wall even as he pumped madly and with pure abandon. Matt dropped a hand from Sin's shoulder to his own cock, reveling in the feel of Sin buried deep within him. Sin was grunting now, his body glistening in sweat. Suddenly Sin lifted Matt high and withdrew from him and let him slide down the wall. Matt's eyes flew open, disappointed. Sin turned away from him and Matt panicked.

"Where are you going?" Matt demanded but Sin didn't answer. With a massive heave he threw the coffee table aside. It crashed against the easy chair and hit the floor with a dull thud. Sin grabbed Matt and threw him down face first into the floor where the coffee table had been, wrenching his hips up and entering him again, growling. Matt's heart thumped wildly in his chest. He realized that Sin was out of control, totally lost in his passions now and Matt's lust raged hotter, trying to match Sin's. Sin's hands were hooked over Matt's shoulders and Matt rocked back to meet his thrusts. Suddenly Sin's hands dropped and his fingers clawed down Matt's back. Matt screamed, his body twisting away involuntarily but Sin's hands had gone all the way down to his hips and clung there, keeping Matt from crawling away. Matt thrashed under him and Sin bellowed, a cruel and triumphant sound. Suddenly he withdrew from Matt again and flipped him over onto his tortured back, spreading Matt's thighs with hard hands and plunging in again. He hooked a hand into Matt's collar and pulled him up to ravish his mouth with his, growling and groaning into Matt's mouth. Matt could taste the sweat that ran down onto Sin's lips and he tasted blood too, not sure if it was his own or Sin's. Sin's hand dropped down to Matt's dick, squeezing and pulling even as he pounded into Matt's ass. Matt groaned back, sinking into the exquisite pleasure of being Sin's play toy. Sin was biting him now, his sharp white teeth clenching the muscle in Matt's neck. Matt let his head drop back, enjoying it.

"Tell me you are mine Matt," Sin demanded.

"I'm yours!" Matt gasped.

"Tell me you'll never leave, not ever!"

"I won't!"

"Swear it!"

"I swear!"

Sin loomed up over him, his eyes so hot now as to seem like the burning stare of a raving lunatic. "Tell me I'm your master!"

"Yes, you are, you're my master!"

Sin suddenly slowed, his face leaning in close to Matt's. "Tell me I'm your Daddy."

Matt stared up at him feeling a sudden emptiness drop into his gut.

"Say it Matt!"

Matt opened his mouth, his jaw worked, he tried to get the words out.

"Say it!" Sin bellowed in his face.

Matt shook his head, trying. Sin's hands came up suddenly and wrapped around Matt's throat over the collar, tightening.

"Come on Matt. Tell me. Say it!" Sin was screaming in his face and Matt couldn't breath. Sin was fucking him again and his hands clamped tighter and tighter. Matt's hands came up to lock around Sin's wrists, trying to pry them loose. The sound of his heart thudding seemed to echo all around the room. Matt's vision began to swim but down below he came suddenly, lost in the feel of being under Sin's absolute control, teetering on the verge of letting Sin kill him, almost wanting Sin to kill him.

Neither realized that the pounding they both heard only distantly was someone at the door.

"Say it damn you!" Sin snarled.

Matt was starting to black out, losing his ability to focus. "Please, Daddy, stop!" he managed to wheeze out almost silently. Sin's cock suddenly exploded deep in Matt's bowels filling him with hot cum. Sin's hands clenched and flexed on Matt's throat as his head dropped to Matt's shoulder, washed under by his orgasm. Finally the pressure on Matt's throat eased and he could breath, a little.

"Police! Open the damn door!"

Before Matt could understand what he had heard the door suddenly shook violently in its frame. A second smash against the door sent it bursting open, the locks breaking away from the sill. Armed policemen spilled into the room, guns drawn, vests making a black wall of Kevlar. Sin was literally lifted off of Matt and thrown across the room. Matt flipped over, choking for breath, gagging and gasping. Turning his head after a long spell of heaving for breath he saw three officers sitting on Sin's naked back, his hands wrenched up behind him and cuffed. Sin was laughing like a madman, great bellowing guffaws that made the officers shift uneasily and train their guns on him more intently. Matt shook his head then he too was laughing. He rocked back on his heels and threw his head back, laughing hard enough to hurt his ribs. Some of the guns swung his way.

"What the hell is going on here? Are you okay sir?" one of the officers asked Matt. His eyes shifted from Matt's bloody back to the huge bloody blot ground into the paint on the wall where Sin had propped him earlier. No amount of scrubbing would remove that blot. They would have to paint over it.

"I'm okay," Matt panted at last, clutching his ribs.

"You don't look okay. I think we should call an ambulance." Several of the officers nodded in agreement. Sin was still laughing like a hyena at an antelope feast.

"No!" Matt said angrily and heaved to his feet. His chest and belly were sticky with cum and sweat and small smears of blood. "I'm fine. Let him up for fuck's sake!"

"Look, you don't have to live like this," a black lady cop said to him, her eyes full of pity. "Domestic abuse applies to gay men too. You don't have to let him beat you, choke you or demean you in any way. We'll take him in to jail and you'll be safe, alright?"

"No! Goddamnit! Let him up! This isn't a case of domestic violence!" Matt shouted loudly, waving his arms in frustration.

"And he wasn't just choking you out when we came in either, right? That's not your blood all over the wall? You do realize that the whole side of your face is bruised don't you?" the lady cop demanded.

"Yes ma'am. I do realize. Don't you get it? This is not domestic abuse. I'm just a masochist so please get the hell off my lover and get the hell out of my house!"

Several of the cops shifted in obvious discomfort, casting glances at each other, honestly not sure if they could prosecute Sin or not, not if this guy was going to go in to court and testify that he had wanted to be abused. Finally the cops sitting on Sin got off of him and dragged him to his feet by his elbows. He was still laughing but at least it had lessened to a rumbling chuckled. Matt scowled at him. He couldn't believe Sin was enjoying this so much.

"Tell them you're my pet Matt. Tell them I'm your Master. Or better yet, tell them I'm your Daddy!" Sin burst out into guffaws once more and one of the big male cops suddenly sent a vicious elbow into Sin's midriff. Sin doubled over with a whoosh of breath but didn't stop laughing. Enraged the cop went for his nightstick.

"Don't you dare!" Matt warned, stepping forward with his fists clenched. Several guns once more came up, all of them pointed at Matt. Matt took a breath and stepped back, showing his palms. "I just want you all to leave. Please."

There was a gasp in the doorway and all the cops turned to see several of the neighbors peering into the apartment. The cop with the nightstick fondled it wistfully but seemed to realize that there were too many witnesses now for any kind of brutality to be any fun.

"Hell, this is too weird for me," the lady cop said at last as she lowered her gun and holstered it. "If he wants to let this man kill him I guess there is nothing we can do about it. Give them a citation for disturbing the peace and let's go."

Sin was still chuckling after they had all gone. Matt pushed the coffee table against the door to keep it closed until they could get it repaired. Several of the neighbors were still lurking in the hallway, waiting to see if there would be any more excitement at Matt's apartment. He wondered which one of them had called the cops to start with.

"You really enjoyed that didn't you?" Matt asked darkly as he turned toward Sin.

Sin nodded gleefully, his eyes gleaming. "Yes, I really did. But next time I'll try to remember to keep it down a little. In my apartment building no one ever called the cops, no matter what they heard. They were too afraid of being busted themselves for whatever bit of contraband they had tucked under their mattress."

"Next time? Jesus Sin. I don't think I could handle something that intense again any time soon."

Sin smiled and grabbed Matt to kiss him. "You did real good kid. I can't believe you came right out and said you were a masochist. Did you see their faces? Holy shit but I can't remember when I've had more fun! Are you sure you don't want to do it again? What about now? We can take it to the bedroom and be quieter about it."

Matt pulled back from him. "You're kidding right?" But Sin didn't answer because he was already towing Matt down the hall. Matt let himself be led, feeling the warm glow of Sin's praise flush through him. He had known that if he could only get Sin to take control of the situation that he would make it all right. Matt knew that even if he did have nightmares of his father he would never have to worry about being haunted by the living room. From this day forward he wouldn't see small spots of blood on the wall. Instead his mind would see only the large smeared stain of ground in blood and think of the way Sin's muscles had bulged, of how he had sweated and groaned, and better yet Matt would never forget the sound of Sin's insanely inappropriate but highly amusing laughter. Sin had reclaimed his realm.