The Murder of Grief, the Solace of Surrender
"Ken?" My voice echoed curiously around the insides of the vaulted ceiling and floor of the chapel. I had been in here only a few times, mostly in the beginning of when he and P'nyssa had vanished into space, lost for nearly five decades. I had hated those years, every last one of them. Despite all the time I spent in Backwater I never did understand religion or even the solace of faith until those awful years. I think I went through every stage of emotion possible in a living being, from desperation and rage to resignation and even peace.
He was bent over in the second row, his head lying against the wooden railing of the first row. As I approached, he raised his head to look at me, his eyes red and tired, his body weakened by crying and lack of sleep. I slid beside him on the bench, placing an arm around his shoulders. "You okay?"
"No," he sighed. "No, I don't think I'm okay. I think I'm sick."
"What kind of sick? Should I call P'nyssa or Brieanna?"
He shook his head, leaning against me. "Neither. Well, maybe Cheryl."
"Nobody's heard from her in centuries."
"I know." He leaned against me and began crying again. I pulled him into my lap and held him, waiting for him to finish, stroking the long, human fur that cascaded down his back. He held onto me, sobbing, and I felt helpless, not sure what was wrong or why he needed to be consoled.
His tears finally slowed, and I stroked his back gently. "Feel better?"
"No," he gasped through his tears. "I don't know if I can ever be better again." He looked up at me, his face wet. "Aaden, I... I killed people out there. I..."
"Ken," I said, "You did what you had to do. You couldn't save all those people. You didn't kill them because you weren't there."
"No, no, not the llerkindi. The Sinox. I... at one point I was fighting my way into the ruins of the palace and I came on six soldiers. They weren't in powered armor, just environment gear, and I... I just tore them apart. I realized they were hunting for Anni and Stevves and I just went berserk. I tore them up and splattered their blood all over the walls. Do you know what powered armor will do to an unarmored biological?"
"I can imagine," I said, not quite sure that I could imagine it.
"The worst part," he continued, burying his head against my fur, "was that I enjoyed it. I was snarling, Aaden, like I do when we do SM, and I remember the huge, vicious grin on my face, and oh gods, Aaden, I just, just wanna get sick and, and..."
"It's okay, Ken."
"NO IT'S NOT!" he shouted. "IT'S NOT! Don't you understand? If, if the feelings are the same, Aaden, how can I be sure that the... reasons, the results aren't the same?"
I stopped and thought about his words. I wasn't sure how to answer him, because I wasn't sure of my own feelings. The last time I was in combat was centuries ago, and it was very hand-to-hand; he was trying to kill me with a knife, and I killed him instead. That was a very precise set of circumstances, and nobody would say I did anything other than self-defense. "Ken," I started, hesitantly, "I think the best thing right now is that you're feeling this way... right now. You don't like the fact that you killed people, you don't like what you became on the battlefield. Tell me, do you ever feel this way when you top?"
"Huh?" he said, looking up. A very common phrase in his vocabulary. "No, of course not. I... I know what I'm doing then, and I know I have permission."
"Ken, those were soldiers. They knew what they were getting into. And, from your perspective, from our perspective, they were animals that needed to be removed from the face of the universe. They got what they asked for. That's what war is. It's supposed to be ugly and unpleasant, it's supposed to make you want to throw up."
"No 'buts,'" I said, standing up. He looked up at me, his face reflecting an immensity of pain that I don't think I would ever understand. I reached down with one hand and said "Come on."
He hesitated, then finally grasped my hand in his. I hauled him up to his feet , then swept him up into my arms. "It's not as easy to do this with you as it is with the kids," I observed. He smiled, finally, then wrapped his arms around my neck and let me carry him back upstairs, through the Castle and back to our home.
I carried him back to bed and eased him down to the covers. Sliding in beside him, I reached out and held his hand with mine. He patted my hand with his free hand. "Thanks."
"I don't need thanks," I said. "I need my Ken back. The one who I love. The one who loves me." I stroked his chest, feeling the clasp under my fingertips. I hooked one claw underneath the top of the clasp and pulled downward, separating the two halves of his shirt. It fell open; he's given to wearing long, flowing shirts with plenty of sleeve room, and just by brushing the cloth aside I found I could get under his armpits, where he's most ticklish, and stroked downwards.
His back arched instantly and he hissed. "Aaden!"
"Just seeing if you're awake," I said.
"I'm awake, I'm awake." He grabbed my wrist in his hand. "Don't tickle me."
"But I like tickling you. See?" I began tickling him in earnest, digging into his sides. He fought back, of course, but it didn't do much good. He was laughing and giggling and screaming too much.
"I hate that!" he said.
"Uh-huh," I said. I reached down and undid the buttons on his pants, pulling them open. "Help me take these off."
"What are you planning on?"
"I'm planning on putting you to bed, you oaf. You have been in that chapel all day. Do you realize it's already four?"
"It is?" he asked, raising his head to look out the window. "Gods, I totally lost track of time."
I pulled off his shoes and tossed them aside, then tugged on the hem of his pantlegs. He raised his hips and eased them off. "Now turn over," I said. He complied, rolling over onto his stomach and presenting his gorgeous butt to me.
I threw off my own clothing, a simple kimono, and climbed onto bed, settling myself over his butt. I reached down and touched his back with the fingerpads of one hand, slowly easing down onto his shoulders. With the other I grabbed a small bottle of oil and dropped some onto his back. Then I began rubbing.
He sighed softly as I massaged the tension out of him, trying to get him to relax, ease down. His body was wired stiff with frustration; I'd seen this in him before, usually when he has some brilliant inspiration of code and can't get it out of his head until he's either so exhausted he can't stand or has gotten it down onto paper or into memory somewhere. The trouble is that somewhere while writing the ideas down he reaches the point where he's too tired to be coherent, yet not tired enough for the idea to let him rest. P'nyssa and I usually end up trying to shorten that time in between with some exercise.
He shifted slightly. "Something wrong?" I asked as my hands caressed his back in long, slow strokes.
"I'm getting a hard-on," he said, laughing slightly.
"There, see? You know the difference between love and war."
"Shhhh.... I know." The image of his hard cock hovered in my mind, and the idea that he was getting erect started to give me an erection of my own. I eased down off his buttocks and onto his thighs, dripping oil onto his cheeks to make rubbing them easier. He moaned a little louder. He loves having his ass played with, even the cheeks, suggestively.
I stroked down his thighs, working my along his body, admiring the tone of his skin and the feel of his soft flesh under my hands. Ken isn't the athlete I've sometimes pretended to be, but he does run around with the children and hike up and down the hills in the Rocho-ened range. That, at least, keeps him healthy. That, and regular exercise in bed, at any rate.
He tightened up a little when I reached his feet, but he's insecure about his feet because they're so ticklish, and they're such a perfect torture spot for me to exploit. But not this time; I tried to relax him, not make it worse. "Feel good?"
"Feel better, at any rate," he allowed.
I slid up beside him and kissed him on his cheek. "I was worried about you. Am worried?"
"I know," he replied. "I felt... so bad. I can't help thinking about it."
"Ken," I said, touching his face with my hand, "It'll probably haunt you for years to come. But you can't help that. What you have to do is realize that that... that was war. The rules are different in war."
"There are no rules in war."
"You say eleni, I say elani, but they both mean 'star,'" I said, switching into Anglic for the final word. "I just... Hey!" His hand had reached out and grabbed my penis. "I'm supposed to be relaxing you."
"Aaden," he said softly, "Would you fuck me?"
I wasn't all that surprised by the request; if I was going to give Ken a massage, it would have to be all over his body, and now he wanted me to finish it by rubbing him down from inside. I slid over on top of him again, stroking my cock back to full hardness as I knelt over his thighs. With the massage oil I greased my shaft and dripped more into the cleft of his ass.
"Ready?" I asked.
"Mm-hmm," he replied. I aimed downwards, watching with anticipation as the head of my cock touched his oiled ass. It slid down between his cheeks and found his well-worn asshole. I pressed inwards and he accepted me instantly. I felt the tight ring of his asshole grip around my cock and I felt his guts give way as I penetrated him to the hilt.
Ken has a habitually tight asshole. By that, I mean that he's in the habit of exercising it regularly while he sits at his desk. If he's working, when he stops to take a sip of coffee you can see him moving ever so slightly, doing his Kegels. He developed that into a habit just for me, he says, but I doubt it; Ken knew he liked getting fucked and fisted for at least a few centuries before we met, and I bet he's been making sure his asshole would be tight for every man that came his way since he figured it out.
My hips pressed down to his buttocks. I'm told, but I really wouldn't know, that a woman's vagina holds the penis for the length of the shaft. In men, it's only the opening that really strokes the cock; the rest is noticeable, but not enough friction to get me off. I could feel Ken's ring tightening around the base of my cock, gripping me.
I pushed up with my arms, looking down to watch my cock sliding in and out between his cheeks as I slowly made love to him. His eyes were closed, and small tears were dripping down his nose onto the bed. His hands gripped his pillow tightly, his knuckles slightly whiter. I felt his body shuddering underneath mine as with each downstroke my cock slid over his prostate.
"Oh, Aaden, I needed this, I needed this so much," he gasped as I slowly pumped in and out of him, again and again.
"I'm here to give you what you need, Ken," I replied as I stroked within him. I felt him push his hips up to meet my downthrusts, but I never went any faster or any harder. I wanted this to last, to exhaust him, to put him out cold. One nice thing about oil, it lasts a lot longer than that water-soluble stuff that Ken and I usually use. I didn't need to add more during this long and slow act of love.
He gasped and twisted at the sheets as I rhythmically stroked his wonderfully tight ass. I felt my cock start to throb and my head start to go light, sure signs that climax was oncoming. My testicles started to rise up in their sac and I knew I was going to come in very short order.
But Ken surprised me. Suddenly he let out a loud gasp and his whole body shook. I felt his asshole clench and tremor as he came, and the sounds coming from his mouth thrilled me so much I gave him just three more strokes before erupting in pleasure myself, letting go deep inside his asshole.
He was laughing as I slid out of him. I rolled over onto my side on the bed. "Don't look at me like that," he said, reaching out and pulling me into his arms. "You were just what the doctor ordered." He paused. "Come to think of it, did Nyss put you up to this?"
"We talked. We decided it was best if I handled this alone. It's a male thing, you know."
He laughed and hugged me tightly, and I felt much better. But I was still concerned with his feelings much more than my own. "How do you feel?" I asked.
He shook his head to clear his hair out of the way. "Good," he admitted. "Good and... exhausted."
"That's what I brought you to bed for in the first place." I reached to the bedside and pulled up one of the towels we always leave there for just such an occasion. "Now, clean yourself off and get under the covers. I'll be right back." I rose from the bed and went into the bathroom to wash myself.
When I returned, he had gotten into bed like I had asked. I leaned over and kissed his cheek softly, then crawled into bed beside him. He had curled up into a fetal position, and I curled up beside him, holding him. "Thanks, Aaden. For being the best friend and lover I could ever ask for." He paused for a second, then amended, "For a male."
I kissed his shoulder. "Goodnight, Ken."