This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters in this story and real people (appearances, names, etc.) are purely coincidental. This story may contain homosexual material, including love and sex, so if material like this is illegal in your region or if it discomforts you, please leave.
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Nic woke first. His forehead was pressed against soft tufts of hair. He felt a warm, firm body under his right arm, which breathed deeply.
Nic opened his hazel eyes. The early morning sun shone red-orange through the thin white curtain over his window. Aiden's back was pressed against his chest and stomach, flush together. Nic nuzzled his forehead against the back of Aiden's head softly.
And he fell back asleep.
Together, the two young men slept. Their unconscious minds craved more cuddles and affection. Nic turned onto his back in sleep. A minute later, Aiden turned onto his other side and Nic's shoulder was his pillow. Nic's left arm wrapped very loosely around Aiden's mid back.
Forty minutes later, the unconscious men once again changed positions. Well, Nic did. He turned onto his side, and the sleeping men faced each other. Aiden's head was still pillowed on Nic's shoulder and bicep, and Nic's arms had limply wrapped around Aiden's back.
At seven o'clock, Nic's phone beeped incessantly. Nic shot awake, and reached behind himself. He grabbed his cell phone off his nightstand and turned off the alarm.
"M'rning," Aiden groggily said, but was smiling.
Nic smiled sleepily back, and replied with a simple morning kiss.
Aiden groaned out of the kiss and stated, "I don't wanna be late for class again."
Nic brushed Aiden's sleep-mussed orange hair and said, "You can shower if you want. And then I can drive you to your dorm hall."
Aiden pressed another smooch to Nic's lips before he got out of bed. As the ginger took a shower, Nic positioned his pillows just so, and then fluffed them. Afterward, Nic tossed his comforter high in the air, and folded the top over his pillows.
Nic still wore nothing but his red and black striped boxer-briefs when he went into his kitchen and scrambled egg whites on a skillet. He ate half of it with toast quickly, and was loading the dishes into the dishwasher when Aiden came out fresh and clean but wore his dress clothes from working the night before.
"Eat," Nic said pleasantly while he pointed to the plate on the countertop. "Gonna dress up."
Nic tried to walk around Aiden. But Aiden grabbed his hip and pulled him close. Nic giggled as he accepted a kiss. Aiden only stood an inch taller than him, and it was only a small, quick kiss.
Nic hung his navy blue pinstriped suit on the door of his walk-in closet, but had difficulty deciding which shirt to wear. In the end, he chose a pale pink shirt, and a neck tie that matched but had silver stripes.
"Hey," Aiden greeted from the closet door as Nic adjusted the cufflinks. "Wow. Don't you look gorgeous. As always."
Nic blushed, but responded, "Thanks. I'll just put in a pocket square and then we can go."
Aiden offered a shrug and replied, "Yeah, take your time. My first class doesn't start for another... forty minutes."
In the elevator down, Nic checked his emails on his phone. His free arm was holding Aiden close by the hip.
"This is the weirdest casual relationship I've ever been in," Aiden commented with a chuckle. "Not that I've been in many. I mean we haven't had sex yet- not that I'm complaining that- and we cuddle like we're on a honeymoon. You cook for me. You drive me places. You help with money."
Nic shrugged while he continued to look down at his phone, and replied, "I'm just affectionate."
Just then, on the eleventh floor, the elevators opened, and a woman greeted, "Morning, Nic."
Nic smiled, "Good morning, Lynett."
Nic went back to reading emails as he listened to his neighbour say to Aiden, "Hi. I'm Lynett. Are you Nic's boyfriend?"
"Oh," Aiden said. "No. We're just- not boyfriends. Name's Aiden."
"Nic," Lynett said as she smacked the Greek's arm. "I've never known you to sleep around. But your arm around this beautiful redhead says something more."
Nic looked up from his cell phone and responded, "It's casual. How are Blu and the kids?"
"Oh, they're fine," Lynett answered. "Blu's uncle just passed away, so he's on bereavement leave. We're all flying out to Moncton for the funeral in a couple days."
"Oh, I'm sorry," Nic said empathetically. "Pass my sympathies to Blu."
Lynett replied, "Of course. Thank you. Uncle Siven had been battling lung cancer for near a decade, so he's not suffering anymore. Sean and Erin are fine, too. Excited to see their cousins at the funeral otherwise."
Nic and Aiden separated from the brunette woman in the parking lot. On the short walk to Nic's S.U.V., he asked, "Mind driving to your dorm? I have to finish this report, like, as soon as fucking possible."
Nic saw Aiden's gorgeous face morph into shock and excitement. The redhead asked, "You mean I get to drive this fucking sick B.M.W.?"
"Yes," Nic answered with a laugh. "But it's no ninety-five Chevy, so you treat him right."
As he opened the driver's door, Aiden retorted, "I will treat him so right. I'll finesse the fuck out of him."
"Calm down," Nic said. "Don't make you and my car into a porno."
"You'd watch and you know it," Aiden teased. "You'd illegally download it and watch it on a loop over a whole weekend."
"Oh, my god," Nic laughed. "Shut up."
While he drove, Aiden asked, "Any advice for my shoot with Janik Verhofstad?"
Nic paused the typing of Talia's account of a model's photoshoot with Armani. He didn't wanna be the one to give Aiden this speech.
"Nic?" Aiden pressed softly.
Nic sighed heavily before he answered, "If, at any point, you're left alone with Janik, you turn voice recording on and keep your phone really close. You hear me?"
"I- yeah," Aiden replied anxiously. "Is he..."
"Janik sometimes abuses his power. I can't even count how many times our male models have pressed charges but either have never been able to successfully prove it, or Janik settles out of court. So you keep your phone close always. Turn on voice recording when alone with Janik. If he threatens not publishing your photos, you counter with having him arrested."
"Should I-" Aiden began, and Nic certainly heard the fear in the model's voice, "should I even stick with the shoot?"
"That's up to you, Aid," Nic softly responded. "Janik may not even try to seduce you. I'm just telling you not to be surprised if he does."
Aiden knocked on Prof. Coralee Tetlin's office, and she called for him to enter.
"Morning," Aiden greeted the middle-aged woman brightly.
"Aiden, right?" Prof. Tetlin asked from her desk. "The model, if I'm correct?"
"I am," Aiden answered. "I have my assignment here to hand in. And I was hoping to pick up tomorrow's assignment now, because I won't be in. I have a photoshoot, you see."
As she accepted the black clear-front report folder, Prof. Tetlin asked, "This is the letter to your hypothetical superior explaining a tumultuous relationship with a coworker that you couldn't resolve yourself?"
"Yes it is," Aiden answered with a smile.
"Thank you. Tomorrow's assignment will be an oral presentation on a given subject that will be studied and then given before the whole class on Monday. I'll email the details to your C.U. portal.
"How is your final project coming along?"
"It's getting there. I've started on the slideshow template."
"Good. This project is worth fifty-five percent of your final grade. And the report is due in my dropbox in two weeks. If you fail this project, you'll have to take another communications class next semester. Don't forget that."
On his walk to Butler Library for a study session with his friends, Aiden's cell phone chirped and vibrated in his back pocket.
Aiden couldn't contain the smile that grew on his face. There was a pep in his step.
So Aiden worked on his accounting coursework for over three hours. At five o'clock, he microwaved a bowl of chicken stew and ate it while he studied.
Just after six thirty, Nic buzzed him into the building and he went on up with the instruction to enter the Greek man's apartment without knocking.
"Nic?" Aiden called as he shut the door behind him.
"Living room!" Nic's voice called back.
Aiden set his backpack neatly inside Nic's coat closet and ventured with excitement into the living room.
Aiden was more than surprised to find the Greek standing before an easel. In Nic's right hand was a painting palette, and in his left was a paint brush.
Nic said, "Good evening, Mr. McCriskell. Mind being my model?"
"Oh," Aiden replied lamely in shock. "Sure. I guess. This some kind of foreplay?"
Nic offered no response. He just kept on painting green hills below a grey mountain. Aiden thought that the image was beautiful, astonishing.
"Where do you- umm... where do you want me?"
"By the window please," Nic answered gruffly, and his voice bore a very pronounced Greek accent.
As he stood there, modelling, Aiden commented, "Ya know, I wasn't aware that painting was a hobby if yours."
"No?" Nic asked as he tabbed the brush on the yellow paint. "I didn't mention that?"
"No," Aiden answered with a smile. "Never. And we've been sleeping together for, like, a week and a half."
Again, Nic gave no reply. He just kept painting. But Aiden didn't mind. He stood patiently, and watched the beauty that was Nicos Georgiou. Nic's brows furrowed in concentration, as did the chewing of his bottom lip.
Finally, about twenty minutes later, Nic set the palette and brush on the couch and asked, "Bedroom?"
"Yes please," Aiden agreed. "Been thinking about you since yesterday."
Nic pulled Aiden into him and began a heavy, heated makeout session. As their lips danced together and their tongues duelled, Aiden was slowly pulled into Nic's bedroom.
Nic grabbed the hem of Aiden's tee and peeled it off. Aiden, in response, hastily unbuttoned Nic's waistcoat and dress shirt.
"God," Nic said around a moan. "I really want you to fuck me."
Shocked beyond relief, Aiden asked, "Really? Are you- are you sure?"
"Yes," Nic answered before he kissed the model's neck. "S'why I bought condoms."
"Oh yeah," Aiden moaned as Nic planted sweet kisses to his neck and unbuttoned his jeans. "Wait. Waitwaitwaitwait. Stop. Why today? You told me you never bottom."
"Aiden," Nic whispered huskily. "Please."
"Stop!" Aiden commanded and pulled Nic's face out of his neck. "Are you even Nic?"
"What?" Nic asked with a laugh. "Of course I'm Nic. Look at me."
"You mentioned having dis- dissoci- dissociative identity disorder. I don't- I don't think you're Nic. Who are you?"
Again, Nic laughed. "I'm Nic. Of course I'm Nic. Aiden."
"Nic would never bottom," Aiden argued and took a step back. "Nic doesn't leave his ties lying on the living room floor. Nic is right-handed, but you painted with your left. Nic doesn't have any accent. Nic never once mentioned painting. Nic, when we're alone, calls me 'Aid'. Who. Are. You?"
Nic's face formed a smirk before he replied, "Damn it. But I had ya going for a minute there, didn't I? No, Nic is... indisposed for the time being."
"Who are you?" Aiden demanded, anxious. "Bring Nic back."
"If we're not going to fuck," Alter's Greek-accented voice began as he walked into the closet, "mind being my model?"
Aiden rushed into the walk-in closet, grabbed Alter's shoulders, and demanded, "Who are you?"
"Hey!" Alter shouted. "How about a little gratitude, Fuck Toy!? I almost couldn't get out! Nic was having a massive panic attack! He could have been hospitalized! Fucking meds makes it so difficult for us to get out!"
"What?" Aiden asked breathlessly. "What happened to Nic? Why was he having a panic attack?"
Alter grabbed a duffel bag from the floor and answered, "Some old man at C.V.S. was wearing that stupid Joop cologne. I saved your fuck buddy from throwing a fit, getting locked up in a mental ward, missing work, and facing mountains of medical bills."
As tears formed in his green eyes, Aiden asked, "Whe- when will Nic be back?"
As Alter rummaged through the duffel, he responded, "Whenever he deems it safe. It's always different. When he was thirteen, he was gone for almost two weeks. Luckily we kept notes for him so he didn't fall behind in his education."
Even more anxious, Aiden asked, "H-how many of you are there?"
"Myself, Nicos, and three others," Alter answered and walked out of the closet with a giant sketch pad.
"What's your name?" Aiden asked, but wasn't sure if he wanted the answer to that.
Instead, Alter said, "Look, Fuck Toy, are you gonna be my model or not? Nicos gets angry at me for leaving the apartment, so I gotta stay busy."
"Don't call me that," Aiden groused with hatred. "Why does Nic get mad at for your leaving the apartment? Are you- are you dangerous?"
Again, frustratingly, Alter did not answer.
"Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy," is what Nic woke up to, with great confusion and fear, Aiden's voice was reading Tolstoy, "and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy."
Nic's heart clenched, painfully so. His mind reeled. His left hand tightened around the tiger orange coloured pencil. Before his eyes was the sketch pad.
"Aid?" Nic asked with a trembling voice.
Aiden sat there on Nic's love seat, his feet hoisted up on the arm, with War & Peace opened before his face. The exact image that was sketched in the pad.
"Nic?" Aiden asked, hope very much evident in his voice. "Nic, is that you?"
Nic dropped the orange pencil and it clanked on the hardwood floor. Nic whimpered, tears waterfalled down his face. His eyes were already pinked by the brutal onslaught of fearful tears. He clung onto Aiden the second the redhead enveloped him in a warm, comforting embrace.
"Wha- what happened?" Nic asked in his tears. "What was the trigger? Time's it?"
"Sshhh," Aiden's soft, soothing voice said as he stroked Nic's hair. "Just let it out, Nicos."
Nic allowed the redhead to lift him up off the dining chair and away from the easel. Nic cried brokenly as Aiden sat down on the couch with Nic on his lap. Nic cried with his face buried in Aiden's neck.
Two minutes had passed before Nic stopped crying. But he still clung to Aiden. His arms remained wrapped Aiden, and Aiden's shirt had wet spots from the tears.
Aiden whispered, "Want me to carry you to bed?"
Nic answered piteously by nodding his head softly. So the model did. Aiden stood, and carried the Greek bridal style down the hall and into the bedroom.
As they both stripped their clothes off- which Nic was not surprised to see that the alter had changed into a pair of sweats and his N.Y.U. hoodie.
In bed, Nic snuggled tightly to the redhead. His tears had not ceased, but he was no longer a bumbling mess.
"Wanna talk about it?" Aiden whispered.
Instead, Nic asked, "What time is it?"
"Just passed midnight."
Aiden tensed at that. But he answered, "Same day. Well, the next day, technically."
"Seven hours," Nic whispered in a small voice. "I was gone for seven hours. Fuck, you have school in a few hours."
"Don't worry about it," Aiden assured. "I don't mind missing a day."
"You were-" Nic began, but a lump formed in his throat. "You were supposed to be working. I'm sor- sorry."
"Sshhh," Aiden soothed. "I promise it's okay. I called someone to cover for me. Sarah was happy for the hours."
"I'm sorry. I can- I can give you the money you--"
"No, no, no," Aiden said placatingly. "Seriously, don't worry about that. Money is trivial."
"Did you call anyone else?"
"I almost called Talia, to see what I should do. But I got scared that she'd find out we're sleeping together. I remembered you mentioning your uncle Demitrius. The alter allowed me to unlock your phone to call him. He offered to take you off my hands, but I told it was fine. He said to call him if you were still not back by morning."
"Thank you. But... but if an alter takes over around you again, call my uncle. I don't want you to miss school or work."
"It's fine, Nicos. I swear."
"Why though?" Nic asked brokenly.
"Because I think I could love you. Because I want a relationship with you. A loving, caring, affectionate relationship. I want you to be mine. I don't care that you might have fifty other personalities."
"Aid," Nic pled as a hydro dam's worth of tears spilled from his reddened eyes. "Y-you can't. I don't want this for you. I don't want you to live with someone with this- this disease."
"I don't care if that's not what you want. I don't care if you think it's stupid. I want you. All of you."
"Please what?" Aiden asked softly. "Please hold me tighter? Please care for me, despite all my flaws and sicknesses? Done."
Aiden spoke no further. Nic continued to cry, but his sobs subsided slowly.
"If you truly want me to go," Aiden whispered and kissed Nic's forehead, "I will. But you have to mean it."
Aiden scoffed, and whispered, "See? You didn't mean it. If I were a vampire, I could've heard the blip in your heartbeat. A lie."
So Nic, broken still, pressed a tearful kiss to Aiden's neck.
After a few minutes of companionable silence, Nic asked, "So what did Layland do besides draw?"
"Layland?" Aiden asked. "That's the alter that does art?"
"Yeah," Nic whispered. "But he doesn't just paint and sketch. Layland is a Greek name. Means protector of men."
"Hmm. Well Layland did nothing but draw and paint. And had me reading Tolstoy. Does Layland- protect you?"
After a beat of silence, Nic answered, "When I was eight, my uncle Alajos- mom's brother, he- he raped me. I don't remember much of that day. It's what broke my mind. He was sentenced to five years in prison. A week after he was released, he came home to- to apologize to me. My parents were there, my therapist was there, and two police officers. I was well-protected. But I still- I still dissociated. Layland came out. I was fourteen. I couldn't fight worth shit. I didn't even know load and arm a gun. But Layland kicked Alajos' ass, evaded the police's efforts to subdue him, and took one of their guns. Layland aimed for Alajos' heart, but one of the officers got him and Layland shot Alajos' leg."
"Jesus," Aiden cursed in a whisper.
"I came to in the psych ward. I was strapped down to a bed. Layland had taken over for three days. Dave for five. I was gone for eight days."
"Dave is another alter?"
Nic nodded against Aiden's shoulder. "Dave is pure anger and hatred. If you think Layland is a fighter... Layland defends. Dave fights. None of my alters instigate violence, but Layland and Dave protect me.
"Jean-Luc is a baker. I can bake okay, average. But, Jean-Luc makes the most delicious cheddar croissants. His lemon strawberry muffins are so soft and moist. His danishes are always flaky and have the perfect amount of filling.
"Sammy is the last. He's only taken over s handful of times. Last time was about... four years ago. He's a child, but nobody knows how old he is. Layland thinks Sammy is four. Dave thinks he's five. Jean-Luc thinks he's almost five. Sammy does nothing but explore. He's the one I'm most fearful of because he doesn't listen to me or the others and its really difficult for any of the others to take over when he's running the show. He almost got me run over by a U.S.P.S. truck when I was twelve."
"Hmm. Also, Layland mentioned something about you being gone for two weeks once."
"Yeah. When I come to, it's like waking from sleep but I still feel exhausted, if that makes sense. The alters never tell me themselves what the trigger was. Or how long I was out. They try to hide the fact from everyone that they're not me."
"I wouldn't have known it wasn't Layland if he hadn't asked to be the bottom. I just thought you had chosen not to hide your Greek accent."
"I don't have a native Greek accent. Layland does. Dave sounds a Cali surfer bro. Jean-Luc has a barely noticeable French accent. They can all hide their accents, though, to blend in. To hide the fact that they're not Nicos."
"Damn. But Layland told me the trigger tonight was a man wearing Joop cologne. At the drug store. But you don't remember leaving work, do you?"
"No, but that's normal. I could be me, completely fine, but a dissociative episode can erase some memories of before the transition."
"Do you- do you talk to your alters?"
Nic shook his head, "Never been able to. A psychologist had tried in the part to initiate conversations between us all. Sometimes the alters didn't show up, or one of them took over and I don't remember it. The alters can speak with each other, though, I've seen video tapes of their conversations. It's... eery. But Dr. Lymin wants to try getting us all speaking. To try getting me in on their meetings."
Aiden kissed the Greek's temple and asked, "You okay?"
"Yeah. Sleep. You sound so tired."
"Will you sleep, too?"
Nic nodded his head against the redhead's shoulder again. So the two young men laid there after Nic asked the Google Home device to turn off all lights. Nic felt a warmth in his chest. It was a comfort he hadn't felt in years and years and years. He hadn't felt it since he was a small child. The sensation made him sniffle.
Aiden woke having slept soundly, in comfort. He smiled because he remembered asking Nic to be his boyfriend. He opened his sleepy eyes, and his smile dropped. Nic was not in bed. The Grecian neither cuddled him, the rest of the queen-sized bed was empty and cold.
Concerned, Aiden got out of bed. He ventured out of the bedroom, and down the hall. He found Nic, who was seated at the kitchen table with Layland's sketch pad open before him. There was a mug beside the pad, and Nic was still wearing only his green and grey colour blocked boxer-briefs.
"Hey," Aiden greeted with concern. "Did you sleep at all?"
Aiden ran his fingers through Nic's black hair, and the Greek leant into the touch.
"No," Nic answered quietly. "Didn't sleep."
"I see you cleaned up," Aiden commented, having looked around the apartment. "Layland is a talented artist, huh?"
"I also called Dr. Lymin," Nic said. "I have an emergency session with her at ten. And I called Posie Wouralen, the only temp Talia likes. I can drive you to the dorms whenever you're ready."
Aiden knelt down on one knee beside Nic's chain and replied, "If you want me to- to leave, I can. But I don't mind staying with you today."
Nic sighed heavily and closed the sketch pad before he asked, "Are you serious about a relationship? With- with me? Wi-with all of us? D.I.D. is so much for anyone to handle, let alone a college freshman. Aid, you have so much to look forward to. You have a whole life to live."
"And I can still live it," Aiden said quietly, meaningfully. "I still look forward to what life has to offer and throw my way. With you by my side."
"You are gonna resent me," Nic brokenly said. "You're gonna resent my diseases."
"I won't," Aiden promised, and then kissed Nic's shoulder. "I know I won't. I- I'm gonna kiss you now. If you don't want a relationship, you stop me."
Aiden, anxious, brought his left hand up to Nic's neck. His thumb rubbed soothing circles under Nic's jaw. And he pulled the Greek in. They shared a passionate, sweet kiss. Aiden felt a tear slide down Nic's cheek and wet his own.
After the kiss, Aiden affectionately stated, "You're mine now. And I'm yours back. We have each other."
Nic let out an emotional laugh, and replied, "Yeah. We have each other."
"Feel like taking a bath?" Aiden asked. "You have an appointment in... two hours."
So ten minutes, we find Nic sitting in a hot bath. He was still feeling lost- so lost. But he also felt a shimmer of hope. He nuzzled the back of his head on Aiden's shoulder. Aiden tightened his arms around the Greek, and kissed Nic's temple.
To Be Continued...
So there we go! Our first look at Nic's other personalities! I seriously hope that I have not butchered the disease that is Dissociative Identity Disorder, and I sincerely hope that this story does not offend anybody with mental disorders.
Stay tuned to see how Nic and Aiden continue. If you are interested in reading my other fictions, they're listed down below:
Do Not Go Gentle
Near Wild Heaven
The Other Half of Me Unknown
A Quick Fall
Some You Give Away
Somewhere A Clock is Ticking
Tearing Me Apart
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
You Call it Madness
You Don't Mean to Hurt Me