By Jack Llawayllynn
Chapter 34: Retribution
Matt woke to a dim, empty hospital room, cold bed, blinking lights and incessantly beeping monitors. He wanted Sin to be at his side again. He would just shove him out of bed again but damn, he wanted him there. Where was he now? A thousand miles away probably. Lost for good this time. Matt had thrown him out and Sin didn't take rejection very well. Matt stared at the ceiling. Did it matter? Really? He could make a new life now, leave Sin behind. He'd proved his point. Surely by now Sin knew that Matt was acting under his own free will. But, he thought, on the other hand, Sin had been here. For days, he'd been here, sleeping in Matt's hospital bed, keeping him warm, keeping him calm. Yeah, Sin knew the truth now and had come to terms with it. He'd be back. But was it worth it? Getting Sin back came with dangers unknown. Matt's life had been a scramble and fight since the day he'd laid eyes on Sin on that bus on the way home from Miss Sylvia's. Was getting Sin back worth a future that was certain to be violent, volatile and unpredictable?
Matt suddenly laughed out loud. Why was he even bothering to ask himself these questions again? If he hadn't been sure from the start then he wouldn't be laying here in this hospital bed, he wouldn't have chased Sin half across the country, he wouldn't have set out disprove Sin's crazy notions about how Matt really felt. Of course Sin was worth it. Life had been dull as hell until Sin had opened his Pandora's box. Matt wouldn't close it now even if he could. Sin would be back. It was just a matter of time.
* * * * *
"Are you finished making all your calls?" Nathan asked and Sin looked up at him with tired eyes. The call to Matt's mother had been both harder and easier than he had expected. He felt like he'd just gotten off a roller coaster that ran on rails of lumpy rocks.
"Yes, I'm done."
"So who is he?"
"What? Who?" Sin's voice was puzzled, his mind still on Matt.
"Our father...who is he?" Nathan demanded.
Sin leaned back, feeling exhausted. "I noticed that Mary keeps old newspapers to lay down when your daughter does her finger-painting. Cute art by the way."
"Yeah, it is. She may grow up to be the next Picasso. So what does that have to do with anything?"
"Go get them. The newspapers. Then we'll talk."
"Dammit Michael just tell me!"
"Newspapers." Sin flipped Matt's phone hand to hand. He wanted to head back out to the hospital. Surely Matt had gotten over his fit by now. He wanted to tell Matt all he now knew and he wanted to hear Matt's side of the story. He really wanted to know about the collar too. There was something odd about that collar. Matt knew that Sin would never be a slave so why bother with a collar? And if it was a slave collar why didn't it have a ring? It would need at least one ring to hook a leash to. But no, it had only a buckle, the carved ravens and three letters. Not a slave collar, but what then?
Nathan had disappeared while Sin sat there thinking but now he reappeared and let a large stack of old newspapers thump to the floor by the bed at Sin's feet. Sin eased off the edge of the bed and sat beside the stack. He began to flip through them quickly.
"What the hell are you doing? What are you looking for?" Nathan demanded.
"Pictures speak louder than words," Sin said simply and continued to flip through them. Frustrated Nathan lowered himself to floor across the stack from Sin and waited. Half way through the stack Sin stopped and stared down at the headlines. Nathan turned the paper around so he could see it. "Senator turns federal evidence against corrupt political associates" the headline read. Under it was a picture of Senator McKenna.
"No way," Nathan said, not looking up.
"Go look in a mirror if you must," Sin snapped. Nathan looked up at Sin then back down.
"I just did. So that's our father? He know about me?"
"Just you then. How did you find out?"
"I'll have to plead the fifth on that one brother. You're a cop. There are things you can never know about me, about Matt, about good old Dad there."
Nathan was quiet a moment, still staring down at the photo. "You going to tell him about me?"
"He's not a good man, Nathan. If he hadn't decided to rat on his friends he'd be going away for a long time. I can't think that it would be good for your career to be linked to a corrupt politician for a father."
Nathan shrugged. "I'm just a street cop, Michael. I never planned to go places, no dreams of being Sheriff. I just wanted to make a difference in my community, and find you. Family means everything to me. I can always start a new career."
Sin looked up and caught his brother's eye. "Yeah, okay, I can understand that. I never had a family until now. I always wanted to have what everyone else had, a father, a mother, a sibling. At least a cousin. Someone, anyone. Then I found Matt. He eased that hunger, eased it a lot but..." Sin trailed off. He had never been any good at expressing emotions properly.
"But now that you have real family around you you've come to understand just how special that is," Nathan finished for him.
Sin nodded silently and swallowed hard. "You have a beautiful family Nathan. Mary and Fawn, they're...they're something special."
"I'm glad you think so. You're something special too Michael. You're my brother, my twin. I searched for you all my life. So what that you are like nothing I expected you to be. You're damaged goods but aren't we all in our own way? But you're mine. My brother."
Sin swallowed again. He couldn't understand why it felt like he had a lump of bread stuck in his throat. Or why his eyes felt watery. Shit. No way he was going to sit here and cry. No way. But he did anyway. "I'll...I'll call McKenna in the morning. I...look I'm sorry...I just can't take anymore today, I'm drained out. I need to see Matt. Tomorrow. I'll call Dad tomorrow." It was the first time Sin had ever referred to McKenna as "dad" aloud to anyone.
"I've waited this long. I can wait until tomorrow." Nathan rose, taking the newspaper with him and patted Sin on the shoulder as he passed by.
* * * * *
Sin appeared in the doorway with an armful of roses and Matt burst out laughing. He'd been telling himself all day and night that Sin would return but still that stone of doubt had settled itself in his stomach and would not be budged. Seeing Sin now felt like a bolder had been lifted off his body, letting him breath, making him feel light as helium.
"Can I come in?" Sin asked, shifting from one foot to the other.
"Please do," Matt answered and used the controls to ease the bed up into a sitting position. "Where have you been?"
"At Nathan's," Sin said as he arranged the flowers into a vase and set them on Matt's side table. "I had some calls to make. I spoke to Gunner and Trev."
Matt grunted and looked away.
"Then I called your mother."
Matt's head jerked back around to stare at Sin. "What the hell for?"
Sin ignored the tone and the question. "We talked a long time Matt. Your mother is a very nice lady. Forgiving too. You're lucky to have her. She says your father is improving more every day and can even speak a few simple words. His prognosis is better too. Not a full recovery mind, but that he'll regain a lot of what he's lost."
"Why did you call my mother?" Matt asked again, his fingers plucking at the blanket that covered him from stomach to toes.
"I had to apologize to start with. Don't you think she deserved that from me?" Sin eased a chair closer the bed and took one of Matt's hands. "I've taken you from her more than once. Risked your life more than once and this time nearly got you killed. She deserved to know why."
"And what did you tell her. Hell Sin, you haven't even told ME why yet."
"Because I'm a coward and I was scared of you. I told her about the tea, about some of the things I said to you that night."
"Sin! You didn't!" Matt's face held a horrified look.
"Shhhh, easy now. I was discrete. I promise. I told her I was entirely to blame for this whole mess."
Matt's hand tightened in Sin's then his thumb began to trace lazy circles over on of Sin's knuckles. "So you've made peace with my mother. Who else did you call? Trev? Gunner? Razor? Andy?"
Sin's own hand tightened at the mention of the last two names but he forced down the taste of angry bile in his throat and shook his head. "No, just Gunner and Trev. Then I called Stan. I've heard their sides of the story. Now I want to hear yours. It seems you have been a very clever boy in my absence."
"You left me to locked away in the damn Club Sin. I had to think my way out."
"And take a few prisoners along the way."
"I had to. Or rather I felt I had to. It doesn't matter, it's over now."
"Yes, yes it is. Mostly. Matt, what is this?" Sin reached behind his back and pulled forth the black leather collar that had been tucked into his jeans at the small of his back. He released Matt's hand and turned the collar round and round, examining it yet again. "It has no rings, it's not a slave collar."
"No, not exactly."
Matt eyes looked away. He stared at the ceiling refusing to meet Sin's eyes. Sin continued to turn the collar.
"I assume it was meant for me. Is meant for me. I understand, or think I understand the symbolism of the ravens. They're like the ones on my cane so I know it's for me. But these ravens aren't in free flight, their circling, eternally circling your initials, and I assume, my neck. What is it Matt? Tell me."
"Have you changed your mind about it?"
"No you haven't. Tell me what it is Matt."
Sin suddenly hauled off and punched Matt's shoulder. He didn't hit him hard, he pulled the punch but it was enough to make Matt arc up in pain and hiss between his teeth as the punch jarred his other injuries.
"Tell me what it is Matt," Sin growled, his frustration getting the better of his senses now.
"Fuck you," Matt hissed. The pain had already subsided but he knew Sin could hurt him worse. Wished Sin would hurt him worse. Wished to hell Sin would just go back to being Sin and everything could be as it was before Sin had left. Matt got part of his wish. Sin hurt him again by grabbing Matt's hair and yanking his head back. He sank his teeth into Matt's neck hard enough that Matt felt his flesh tear. Matt clenched his teeth to hold back a scream. Sin's teeth let go but his mouth didn't move, instead he sipped at the blood that welled up from the wound like a vampire. Matt's cock made a tent under the hospital sheet. Sin's own cock was so hard it hurt him inside his jeans, a devil begging to get out. Just then a nurse walked in and Sin sprang away from Matt and tucked the collar back against the small of his back once more.
"What's going on here?" she demanded seeing the bloodied hicky on Matt's neck.
"It's alright," Matt panted out. "I wanted him to."
"To what, cause you to have a heart attack? God, I'm calling security."
"No!" Matt and Sin insisted together.
"Let it go," Matt said quietly. "It's alright."
"To hell it is!" The nurse spat. "You're my patient. You're supposed to be resting, not making out with a vampire!"
Both men chuckled and the nurse turned beet red.
"It's alright Nurse Smith," the doctor said as he came into the room and took in the scene. "A little stimulation isn't going to hurt the patient. In fact he's been improving by leaps and bounds since the vampire arrived. We'll let him stay."
"Hmmph, then you take his vitals Doctor, I'm taking my break," she said and shoved Matt's chart into the doctor's hands.
"She's a good nurse. Don't think badly of her because she's got a mouth on her," the doctor said smiling. "I do think though that you two are hard on my staff. This is still a pretty small town compared to your city. My people aren't used to seeing gay men interact. I think, Mr. Darvins, that you are well enough to transfer out. You're going home. Well, to Dr. Jamison anyway. Transport has already been called. You'll go by ambulance, courtesy of one Miss Sylvia Lancaster. She says you'll pay her back."
"Good old Aunt Sylvia," Sin murmured grinning.
"You're going with me, aren't you Sin?" Matt asked, the doubt in his voice stinging Sin like a bee.
"Damn straight I am. I just have a few details to wrap up first. How long do I have doctor?"
"Oh, about three hours or so, then he'll be ready to travel."
Sin nodded and went to Matt's bedside. He leaned down and kissed him on the mouth. "I promised Nathan I'd make the call to McKenna. I'll be back soon."
Matt didn't want Sin to leave but he knew that call was important. Nathan and his family had taken Matt in, treated him with respect and dignity. He wouldn't begrudge them taking Sin away from him for a few more hours.
* * * * *
The ride back was definitely no pleasure cruise. By the time Matt was settled under Dr. Jamison's stern eye he felt almost as weak and hurt almost as much as he had on the first day he had been injured.
"Mathew, you look like hell," Dr. Jamison said as she finished examining him. "I'm sure you feel like it too. I'm going to up your pain meds again, just for tonight, maybe in the morning too. Don't bother," she said, holding up a hand when Matt opened his mouth, "I already know that you will insist Michael be able to stay with you. That's fine but no more shenanigans. I mean it. No hitting, biting and definitely no more sex!"
She laughed when Matt's eyes grew round and he flushed. "You were on heart monitor you know. It wasn't hard for the doctor to guess what made you spike. Promises now, both of you." She gave Matt a glare then Sin. Both promised but reluctantly. "Come on guys, don't look so down. It won't be much longer if Matt is just given sufficient resting time."
"Damn she's a harsh woman," Sin muttered as Dr. Jamison left the room.
"You never told me what McKenna's reaction was to the news that there are two of you."
Sin snorted and gave Matt a dirty look. "Nathan is nothing like me. I am a pure original. Besides, I wasn't able to tell good ole Dad anything. He's in protective custody until the hearing. Even his announced impromptu wedding was postponed."
"Really?" Matt asked though his tone said he was losing interest in the conversation and was more absorbed in trying to find a less painful position to lie in.
"It doesn't matter. I'll tell him when I can. Right now I want to know about the collar. What's it for?"
"Drop it Sin. If I wanted you to know I'd tell you."
"So you wanted me to know at one time because you brought it with you when you hunted me down but you don't want me to know about it now."
"What's it for?"
"Stop it Sin."
"I could ask around at the Collar Club."
"Go ahead. All you'll learn is that I had it made there and paid for it there. That's all they know too."
"Well, I know you had it made for me. How about I just put it on and see what happens?"
"No!" Matt yelled, jerking upright. "It isn't yours!" Matt clutched at his chest where stabbing pains jolted through him from his sudden movement.
"Oh? Then whose is it?"
"It's mine," Matt ground out between his teeth.
"Oh, you want to wear your own collar?"
"I didn't say it was mine for me to wear." Matt eased himself back down onto the bed. "Give it to me please."
"I rather like having it," Sin said as he tucked it back into its usual place in the top of his jeans at the small of his back where he used to carry his pistol.
"Please Sin, let's not fight. Just give it back, alright?" Matt's voice was growing weak, the pain meds starting to kick in.
"How about we talk about it again when you wake up?"
"How about you hand it over so I can sleep peacefully then take the truck over to Stan so he can get to work on fixing your motorcycle?"
Sin had followed Matt's transport ambulance in the rickety truck that Matt had bought, both of the motorcycles strapped in the upright position in the bed of the truck. Sin had to admit he was eager to see his motorcycle fixed. Tiring of the game and knowing he could take the collar back from Matt whenever he wanted it Sin finally relented and gave Matt the leather circlet. Matt tucked it under his pillow. Sin gathered up his leather jacket and took it to the bed, tucking it against Matt's side. Matt gave him a wane smile but brought the jacket to his nose and inhaled deeply. He snuggled it against his body then drifted slowly off to sleep.
* * * * *
The rattle trap of a truck came to a sputtering, shuddering halt outside of Stan's bay doors. Sin had stopped by the apartment to change his clothes and was glad to be back into his black denim and tee shirt and shed of the more western style jeans he'd been wearing. He was also glad to be rid of the cowboy boots and back into his biker boots. Sin climbed out of the truck and went around to the front of building. When he entered he saw that Kim was behind the counter while Stan was helping a customer. Kim's eyes widened at him sight of him then narrowed but he said nothing. Instead he waited along with Sin for the customer to pick out his items, pay and leave.
"What brings you to our neck of the woods?" Stan asked, his voice unfriendly.
"I've got a truck parked out by your bay doors. Both bikes loaded on the back, mine and Matt's. Mine's been trashed Stan, pretty badly."
"It's a real shame to hear it Sin," Stan said, still glaring at Sin.
Sin sighed. "Look, I fucked up okay? I'm back with Matt now. That's all that really matters right?"
"Back to stay?"
Sin nodded but when that didn't seem to satisfy Stan Sin said, "Yes, damn it, for good."
"Matt know that?"
"I think so. You gonna fix the bikes or what?"
"What's wrong with Matt's bike? It get trashed too?"
"No, it just needs a good cleaning and tune-up. It was real dusty out where we were. The system could use a good flush."
Stan finally nodded. "Okay, I'll go open the bay. You can help me unload them. So how is Matt doing? Still in the hospital?"
"Yes, but he's improving in leaps in bounds," Sin said over his shoulder as he pushed out the door. He didn't see the meaningful look pass between Stan and Kim nor did he see Kim go to the door and lock it, flipping the "open" sign to "closed".
Stan and Sin had the bikes unloaded quickly. While they stood over Sin's vandalized bike Kim went over and shut the bay door. Suddenly Stan lunged and grabbed Sin, yanking him up in an unbreakable wrestler's hold.
"What the fuck?" Sin demanded but that was the only words he got out before Kim began to work him over. Kim was small but he was powerful, trained in several Asian fighting techniques it didn't take long before every inch of Sin's body felt tortured beyond bearing. Kim's hands and feet landed blow after merciless blow and Sin struggled just to breath. Finally Stan let him go but before he could fall Stan whirled Sin around and punched him in the jaw. Sin sprawled across the hard concrete floor, gasping like a landed fish, hurting everywhere.
"That's for making me hurt Matt you dirty worthless fuck!" Stan shouted and planted a boot in Sin's ribs before yanking him up and tossing him out back door into the alley. Sin lay bleeding on the pavement, unable to believe what had just happened. How long he lay there he wasn't sure, other than that he lay there too long. A new silver car was creeping up the alley. Sin could barely lift his head to see it. It stopped near him and a hooded man sprang out. He had a cloth bundle in his hands that turned out to be a pillow case which he thrust over Sin's head. The man was nearly as big as Stan and strong. Sin couldn't fight him off and found himself thrown headfirst into the back seat where another man was waiting with a pair of handcuffs. He got Sin's hands twisted up behind him and cuffed even before the car rolled out of the alley.
* * * * *
Sin wasn't sure but he thought they had put him in an empty railway car. They had beat him too but thank god they hadn't the experience or expertise of Kim. They had been clumsy and almost light handed but they left a new layer of bruises over Kim's nasty work. Sin was dizzy and nauseated with pain. He knew he couldn't let himself throw up though. They had gagged him and puking now would surely kill him. He had the horrible suspicion that they had left him bound here for a reason. Someone else was coming to have yet another go at him.
He was right. He could hear the two men as they hoisted themselves up into the railcar. They didn't speak. When they lifted him by his elbows Sin could tell he was taller than both of them but they weren't small men. The cuffs around his wrists were unlocked from one hand but only so that they could pull his shirt off then recuff his hands, this time in the front. The cuffs were attached to a chain and hoisted overhead, Sin could hear it clinking as they pulled it tight enough to bring him up on his toes. Still the men did not speak. In silent consent Sin could hear one pull up an object, probably an empty crate, and sit down while the other moved behind him. The first lash stroke was a shock. The second one expected. The man worked slowly, methodically, from shoulders to waist and back up. It felt as though he hadn't missed a single inch of Sin's bare flesh. Sin was screaming behind the gag but there was no one around to hear him except the two men. Finally, finally the lashing stopped and Sin was left dangling and sobbing, sagging in his restraints.
The second man finally stood. Sin heard him and hated him. He knew the man had been enjoying the show. Sin wanted to kill him but he couldn't even stop sobbing, more or less try to find a way to fight back. The second man reached around Sin and unbuttoned his jeans. Sin went utterly still. This couldn't be happening. It couldn't. His jeans where yanked down hard to pool around his ankles. The man's hands were hard on Sin's buttocks, squeezing, pinching, spreading. By the time the man's cock penetrated him Sin was prepared for it. He had known the minute his pants were dropped that he'd be raped. And he was, quite thoroughly. The man was rough, driving into him hard, the man's breathing harsh and rhythmic. Would they both take a turn? Sin wondered or would it be just the one? In the end it was just the one man who pleasured himself on Sin's abused flesh. Finally the chains were lowered and Sin's hands came down, allowing him his first full intake of breath in what seemed like hours but must have only lasted minutes. He was lowered battered and bleeding to the dusty floor and the pillow case was pulled from his head. Only one man now remained in the train car with him. He was masked and gloved, but a razor blade glinted in one hand. Without a word the man grabbed Sin's hair, wrenched back his head and made two small slices in Sin's eyebrow, right above Sin's left eye.
* * * * * *
Matt woke to find a very pleasant surprise waiting for him. Estaban and Drift were both in his room, lounging back in uncomfortable chairs speaking quietly to each other.
"Hey you two," Matt croaked out. His mouth had gone dry from the after effects of the pain meds and he was terribly thirsty. As if reading his mind Estaban leaped up and brought Matt some ice chips from a container near the bed.
"How ya doing kiddo?" Estaban asked gently.
"Better. Much better. Where's Sin?"
"We thought he'd be here with you," Drift answered, "but he hasn't shown up the whole time we've been here."
"How long have you been here? When did you get back in the country?"
"We flew in yesterday, grabbed a bit of sleep then headed over here," Estaban said, spooning another mouthful of ice chips between Matt's lips. "We've been here about six or seven hours."
Matt choked on the chips and wiped at his mouth. "That long? But Sin should be back by now. He just went to take the motorcycles over to Stan. This kid named John Gooddeer did a real job on Sin's bike. Maybe he stayed to watch the repairs." Matt didn't sound very convinced at his own reasoning.
"I don't think so," Estaban said uneasily. "Sin knew we were coming. I talked to him early this morning but asked him not to tell you so we could surprise you. He said he'd definitely be here." Estaban and Drift exchanged a long loaded glance. Had Sin run out on Matt again?
"I'm sure it's nothing," Matt muttered. "Probably went by the apartment to change and fell asleep."
Drift nodded. "You're probably right. If he's not here soon we'll take a cab over to check on him."
"So what are you guys doing back here? Miss me that much?" Matt asked teasingly then wished he hadn't. The joke was in bad taste really, considering what was in their past.
"Of course we missed you guys," Estaban said smiling, not missing a beat, but Matt noticed he used the plural not the singular. They had missed Matt and Sin, he was saying. No putting up favorites. Matt was relieved. He was glad that Estaban had finally moved on and gotten over his obsession with Matt.
"There was no reason really for us to stay away now." Drift said. "My parents aren't interested in me and now that the McKenna affair is over there is no need to hide. No one will ever link us. McKenna has made that clear by sticking to his story and then turning rat on his old buddies in crime. We're in the clear and honestly, Madrid was boring after the newness wore off. This is home. And god it feels good to be back."
"It feels good to have you back. Hey, Drift, why don't you just call the apartment and see if Sin picks up. Maybe he really did just fall asleep. We've had a rough week."
Drift complied but shook his head after a long pause of silence in the room. "It just rings and rings," he told them. "Don't worry Matt. He didn't skip out again. I just know he didn't."
Matt wished that Drift hadn't put his greatest fear into words. His brows knit with angst and he shifted uneasily.
"Hey, I met your mom this morning. She's a real nice lady," Drift piped up suddenly, obviously trying to change the subject. "She told me about your dad being here in the hospital too, on a different floor, but she says he's doing much better and is eager to see you."
"Wow, Mom's really getting around. You meet her too Esty?" Matt asked, wanting to be distracted.
"Yes. We didn't get to talk long but I like her. Miss Sylvia came and visited also. She's glad to have us back in town."
Matt nodded and plucked at his blanket. He had a very bad feeling about Sin. "Try calling the apartment again Drift."
"Matt, it hasn't even been five minutes," Estaban said in a soothing voice. "I'm sure he's just..." Estaban trailed off as a knock sounded at the door and Dr. Jamison came in, her face blank. All the men turned to look at her and her eyes softened as she looked at Matt.
"I have bad news," she said softly.
"What is it? Did the other doctor miss something? You don't have to do more surgery on Matt do you?" Drift asked, looking worried.
"This isn't about Matt." She went over and took Matt's hand. "I wouldn't tell you but if I don't I think it would be worse. I know you depend on Michael being here with you and the worry would just aggravate your condition more. I'm sorry, but it's bad Matt. Two teenagers were out tagging rail cars and found Michael. He's been badly beaten. He has you listed as next of kin so I can divulge his condition to you but do you want me to ask your friends to leave before I go into more details?"
"No, I need them here. Sin trusts them as he does me. They are family too."
"Okay. He definitely has some broken ribs. We're waiting on the x-rays of his arms and legs. He has multiple contusions over most of his body. Strange thing is that they seemed to spare his face for the most part, only six stitches needed. He was also flogged, his back is stripped from shoulders to waist. They were really out to cause him a lot of pain, but not to kill him. And he was raped. We have him downstairs in the ER. The rape kit came up negative for semen so at least his attacker wore a condom. "
Drift gasped and Estaban put a hand over his mouth in horror.
"What...what he was he doing there, down near the rail yard?" Matt asked, his senses mottled, his mind whirling.
"He says he was assaulted first elsewhere, in an alley behind a motorcycle shop. They tied him up and abducted him from there. He's been worked over really badly. He says there were at least six men involved though only the one that raped him. I'm so sorry Matt. I wish I could spare you all of this. You've had a rough enough time already."
"I want to see him."
"Impossible. For right now. We're running more tests and the police want to question him. I'll be admitting him to a room as soon as the tests are done, then I'll move you to the same room, alright?"
"How is he...how is he emotionally?" Estaban asked, his voice catching on a quaver.
"He's angry. Very angry. And not cooperating much with the police. I think he knows more than what he's told us." Dr. Jamison touched Matt's shoulder. "Would you like some medication to help you rest until its time for me to have you moved to the new room?"
"No. I'll stay awake and wait. Thank you though. Now, well right now I just want to be alone with my friends."
Dr. Jamison nodded. "I understand. And keep in mind Matt that I've been seeing Michael as a patient for a long time. I know how to handle him. I know not to push him too hard. He's in good hands."
"I know that. Actually I believe he's in the best possible hands. Thank you again Doctor."
The door closed behind Dr. Jamison with a soft click. Matt looked up at Estaban, his face a mask of rage. "Find the fuckers who did this and kill them."
Estaban exchanged a long glance with Drift. Drift nodded in silent response. "We'll find them Matt. You know we will."
The phone on the bedside table rang startling them all. Drift picked it up and answered. His face immediately paled. "Matt, it's Sin. He's calling from downstairs."
Matt took the phone with a trembling hand. "Sin, are you alright?"
"Yeah, fucking peaches. I had to...beg...to make...this call." Sin's voice came out breathless and painful as though breathing alone took all his strength. "Call off...your dogs Matt."
"I know...what you'll tell those two...with you. Call them...off. No...hunt."
"What the hell do you mean no hunt? We'll find these bastards and kill them!" Matt growled into the phone.
"No! No Matt! Leave it...be."
"Because it was...a hit. Punishment. I deserved...most of...what I got."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"Shut up. I...don't have...much time to...talk. The cops will...be back in here...soon. Call them off Matt. This is...it was Club business. Retribution...on your...behalf."
"On my behalf? I don't understand!"
"Yes...you do. I broke...the rules. Didn't play...by the book. Leave it be Matt. Let it...go."
"Promise me damn it!"
"Promise! We'll...take care of it. Me...and you. Later. Leave...Esty and Drift...out of it. Promise!"
Matt could hear voices in the background, getting closer to Sin. "Please," Sin wheezed down the line. "I'm...begging you."
"Alright! Alright! I promise." The line went dead.
"What is it?" Estaban asked as Matt handed him the phone to place back into the cradle.
"Sin says for me to call you two off. He said it was a hit. Club business."
"Oh god," Estaban sank down into a chair. "The doctor said he was taken from alley behind a bike shop. Matt, it was Stan and Kim who did this, or started it at least."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"You said that Sin left Stan in charge of you. That was totally unfair to Stan. He can't handle something like that and Sin knew it. It was hurtful to Stan and Kim both. They probably worked him over then called the next set who had a problem with how things went down with you. Six the doc said. I can't imagine who the other four are. It doesn't matter anyway. Sin will never testify against any of them. Only one of them went too far. I wonder who?"
"The rape you mean?" Matt asked, tasting bile in his throat. Estaban nodded.
"That one, if Sin knows who it was, could be in danger. The rest of them Sin will forgive because he felt he deserved it."
"This is all fucking madness!" Matt said through his teeth, clenching his fists in the sheets.
"That whole Club is a mad house Matt. Why do you think I won't have anything to do with it? I got out of there a long time ago but you and Sin are in it deep. Oh well, at least it's over. Retribution has been meted out. No mention of it will ever be made in the club. Sin can now return there as if he'd never broken a single rule because he's paid for it all now. Stan and Kim will probably show up here with roses for him and it'll be hugs and kisses all round. Sin won't hold a grudge."
"I fucking will," Matt hissed.
"No, you won't. You'll follow Sin's lead like a good little slave if you know what's good for you and what's best for him."
"Best for him," Matt said dully.
"Yes. Listen to me, I'm telling you true. You forget this ever happened. Just follow Sin's lead."
Matt sighed and lay back into his pillows. "I always do," he said wearily.
* * * * * *
The room was blessedly quiet. No monotonous beeping or flashing lights. Matt no longer needed to be on monitors and Sin didn't need them either. All they both needed now was rest but neither of them were asleep. The beds were at least four feet apart but each was painfully aware of the other's silence. It was Matt who broke first.
"Are you really okay Sin?" Matt asked quietly. The nurse had made her rounds less than five minutes ago. No one would bother them for almost another half hour. They could talk in private now.
"Yes. No. Both." Sin sighed and Matt could hear him trying to find a comfortable position to lay in. "I can live with the beatings. The beating absolved me of my transgressions. It's the violation that gnaws at my pride."
"Who was it Sin? I know that you know."
"It doesn't matter. It only proves what a fucking coward he really is. Shows how weak he really is. He'll be thinking about that tonight. The last one to lay hands on me, me already tied, beaten and whipped. He thought he could demean me I guess but he demeaned himself more."
Matt stayed silent, sensing that Sin was still thinking about the rape, had more to say about it.
"It wasn't that big of a deal," Sin said in the darkness. "I've had rougher sex by far."
"By consent maybe."
"Maybe," Sin conceded. "Honestly Matt, I'm not that tore up over it. I think that's what scaring me the most."
"You're frightened?" Matt asked, shocked.
"Yes, I am. My heart won't stop racing. You know why? Because I'm not mad. I should be mad as shit and hell bent on revenge but I'm not. I'm just tired. Just plain tired. I don't want to run anymore. I don't want to hide anymore. I don't want to fight anymore. I just want a moment of peace. But he's still there in my head. Scared. Shit. I don't think I've ever been this kind of scared before."
"Scared he'll come back you mean?" Matt asked in a whisper.
"Ah hell no. I'm not scared of him Matt. I'm scared of me. Scared of the calm inside. I know that I can get up out of this bed, pull some clothes on, catch a cab, go to his house and murder him and his family in their beds and not turn a hair. Is that all I am Matt? A murderer?"
Matt snorted. "Your mind isn't really thinking of him is it Sin? You're thinking of Katherine."
"You think so?"
"Yeah. I think you're in denial. Things like this just don't happen to you. They happen to other people. You do things like that, not have them done to you. You don't want to feel like a victim. So you've shut down. That's what the calm is. I know it well."
"Have you forgiven me Matt?"
"You don't even know what I'm asking about."
"Yes I do. Everything and nothing. That's what you're asking about. Yes, I forgive you. For everything and nothing. It's all the same."
"Do you forgive me for being weak today, for letting that punk ass piece of shit rape me?"
"You didn't let him. You were tied up and beaten half unconscious. But I tell you what, I'll even forgive you for laying there and feeling sorry for yourself, for laying there and blaming yourself, for laying there and being selfish because you think this is all about you and couldn't possibly affect me."
Sin grunted as if Matt had reached over and hit him. "Is that what you think, that I'm feeling sorry for myself?"
"That's what I know. See, you still feel him inside you and you can't stop thinking about it."
"How would you know?"
"You raped me. That time in the bathtub, I didn't ask for that and I didn't want it. The difference is that in the end I got off on it anyway. Did you get off on being raped Sin?"
"It didn't get your juices flowing?"
"Then stop feeling guilty."
"I wasn't. I'm not."
Matt threw off the sheet and carefully swung his legs out of bed. He clung weakly to it a moment before tottering over to Sin's bed. Slowly he crawled up onto the mattress with Sin and lay down. Sin was laying on his stomach to avoid the pain of laying on his lashed back. Matt rolled toward him and slid his hand under the sheet to touch Sin's thigh.
"What are you doing?" Sin asked, amusement tingeing his tone.
It took some effort but Matt managed to work the sheet down past Sin's waist then past his buttocks. Matt ran his hand back and forth over the exposed flesh but refused to answer Sin's questions. With great attention to both Sin's wounds and his own Matt slid over and covered Sin's back with his own body, keeping his weight up on his elbows. He moistened himself and Sin's ass crack with saliva that he spat into his hand. It took several tries but finally he was able to successfully penetrate Sin's clenched butt cheeks, then his tight hole. He moved in him slowly, he didn't have the energy for a real fuck but he pushed in and pulled back again and again until his strength gave out. Finally he rolled off away from Sin and lay on his side panting, one arm draped around Sin's waist.
"Why did you do that?"
"Whose cock do you still feel inside you now?" Matt whispered raggedly.
"Yours. Just yours," Sin said, sounding relieved.
"So when you dream tonight there will be only me there, touching you, wanting you, taking you. Maybe I couldn't pleasure you, not tonight, but it's not for a lack of desire on my part. I just don't have the strength." Matt reached up and smoothed a strand of Sin's hair behind his ear.
"Do you love me Matt? I mean really love me? I don't want you to say it just because you know I want to hear it."
"I love you Sin. I have for a very long time. I loved you before I ever drank that poisoned tea. It was your doubts that tore us apart."
"I know, I know. I panicked."
"Do you love me Sin?" Matt was still stroking Sin's hair and Sin felt like purring.
"You know I do. It just frightens me. I always seem to lose what I love."
"I'm not going anywhere," Matt said softly.
"Matt, tell me about the collar. What is it?"
"Another time Sin. I'll tell you when the time is right. For now let's just try to get some sleep."
"They won't be happy to find us both in the same bed again."
"So what? It's our happiness that I'm concerned about. Fuck the rest of the world. Now go to sleep Sin."