Minute by Minute Ch. 02byRosenkrantz©
Warning, this chapter contains graphic descriptions of rape and abuse. If you'd like to skip over that, scroll down to the first set of asterisks. All characters engaged in sexual relations in this story are 18+.
The house didn't look so silly now. It loomed over me, grey metal and sharp angles. The trees behind it were dark shadows with intimidating sharp limbs. Rain poured down around me. My pants were filthy; my hair was plastered to my face. My reflection in the glass door looked pathetic. A pale boy with dead eyes stared back at me. Slowly, the reflection morphed into an older visage. Yellow teeth and a stubbled chin now grimaced through the pane.
The door slammed open, smacking my face and throwing me to the ground. My jaw hurt. I reached up to hold it, but a rough hand on my arm arrested me. He stood over me, his skin so sallow he looked black and white in the moonlight. His lip was pulled back over his teeth in disgust. I watched his fist come towards me. It hit my cheek, sending dull waves of pain through my head.
It seemed to happen in slow motion. From somewhere else, somewhere not in my body, I watched his fists repeatedly crash down into my still form. I watched my bones break. I watched blood fly from my lips. I watched my eyes slowly close. Still he kept on, the rain washing my blood away. Finally he stopped and yanked me up. A cry of pain escaped my lips, but he ignored me. He dragged me into the house and up the stairs. I tried to struggle when I realized where he was taking me, but my body wouldn't obey. He threw me onto the bed.
I felt something crack inside my rib cage His hands slammed down on either side of my head. Something loud and keening was grating against my burning ears. It didn't stop until he jammed a dirty cloth into my mouth.
I guess it had been me.
A hand planted down on my back, keeping me sprawled face down while he roughly yanked my pants down my legs. I heard him spit and felt the wet globule slide down my ass. His body came down over mine, the roughness of his hair stinging my bruised skin. Then, there was pain.
Searing. Tearing. Ripping its way into my body.
Worse than my bones breaking, my mind slowly slipped away.
Darkness took pity on me, encompassing me in its faithful embrace.
The damned government on this metal planet was so slow. The warrants we had applied for were taking forever. I had gone to the section officials as soon as we had gotten back to the embassy, but there was still no word on their progress.
A sick feeling was twisting around my gut, and pacing the floor of the embassy wasn't helping. Father was back at the hotel suite, resting. I had tried to sleep, but the rain, which we so rarely had on Acaoch, kept me from managing to. Now, I waited in this glass and steel architectural contraption.
I was turning into my fifteen hundredth pace across the floor when I heard a crash. I walked towards it; investigating the noise was far better than pacing myself to death. When another crash sounded and yelling ensued, I broke into a run towards the lobby.
There, two officers were dragging a young man away from the counter and out the door. The man looked vaguely familiar. I turned towards the receptionist to ask what had happened when the man started yelling again.
"Hey! Please, I need your help. It's my brother, he's needs your help!"
An officer snarled at him and turned to me, "'S a'right mister Loemach, 'e just a lower born. I don' know how 'e got inta the division, but I'll have 'im picked up and gone in a few." He turned around and made to keep dragging the poor figure away, but the man broke free of his hold and lunged towards me.
Bedraggled and desperate, tears running down his face, he grabbed my forearms.
"Noah! My brother, Noah, you have to help him. You were at the farm earlier! Please, he needs your help."
The farm, my Noah. My boy. Something had happened. Fear wrenched my gut. When the policemen made to grab the man again, I knocked their hands away. I leaned forward and pulled the man up and growled around my fangs, "What. Happened."
He sniffled and gasped out, "I'm his brother, Sam. He didn't come home after you left. He didn't come back for dinner either, which means Ally had to make dinner, and Dad wasn't too happy about that, then he still didn't come home and Dad kept ranting about you and papers and Noah being too pretty or something and then when Noah finally came back, Dad... He hurt him. Worse than I've ever seen. I couldn't help him. I tried, and I got most of his bones healed, but I'm not strong enough! And he won't come out. He's sleeping, dead-like. Lucas said it was a coma. After he was done, dad just started drinking again, so I stole the Toyota and got out here as fast as I could. I figured you could help him. Please, you gotta!"
My breath clogged in my throat, I turned to receptionist and barely managed to tell her to ready me a vehicle. I shouldn't have left him there. I told the officers to accompany me in their own vehicles, and then left a message with my father informing him of what had happened. I dragged the young man with me down to the garage and shoved him into the hover vehicle.
We shot out into the rain and onto the freeway. The lights from the city behind us, we drove into the dark. The nav-system kept us on track, but as we left the division, light was almost completely absent.
Noah's brother rocked back and forth in his seat, tears still streaming down his face. As we got closer he started to bounce nervously, his face paling more and more. I caught snippets of phrases that he muttered, but I was too focused on getting to Noah to care about his brothers fears.
We whipped into the driveway, the police sirens loud behind us. Three figures spilled out of the front door, a man and two girls. The man looked desolate, the girls strained and worried. The littlest one grabbed my hand and led me through the doorway.
I saw their father asleep on the tattered couch, a bottle of alcohol drooping in his hand.
I ducked my head and followed the girl up the stairs. She stopped and stared up at me for a moment, then shoved a door open with her tiny hand. My eyes adjusting to the light, I stepped carefully inside the musty room. Dust permeated the air and covered every surface. On the bed, a small mound covered in blankets breathed slowly. I stumbled to his bedside, dropping to my knees.
His face was even more gaunt than this morning, new bruises on his cheekbone standing out in relief. I pulled the blankets back, and couldn't stifle a pained moan. Almost every inch of his skin was mottled purple and blue. I didn't know what his brother had meant by healing him, but he obviously didn't have any medical experience. Many of his bones were set wrong, knots of bone pushing at the skin. I continued my inspection, running my fingers softly over Noah's side. I reached his thighs, and was suddenly happy that he was in a coma.
Happy that he did not have to live through this pain, happy that he would not see me kill his father.
There was semen on his legs.
Semen and blood. The fear that he had looked at me with this morning flashed through my mind.
With a roar, I catapulted myself downstairs. I kept roaring as I flexed my knuckle claws out. I launched myself towards the still sleeping abuser and swung my hand down. I had barely managed to sink my claws into his chest when he came screaming awake and arms locked around my torso, dragging me away. My mind faintly registered that I was still roaring, and the faces around me were fearful. Noah's own fear tortured me again, and I clamped my jaw shut.
I leapt for the stairs, taking them three at a time. I gathered Noah, still wrapped in blankets, into my arms. His head lolled backwards, exposing his thin neck. Slowly, carefully, I made my way down the stairs. On the bottom floor, his father was being handcuffed and yanked outside into the rain. He was screaming at me, spittle flying everywhere, but I couldn't hear a word he said. I could see the policeman's lips moving as he read the older man his rights, then shoved his head down and forward into the still bright and flashing vehicle.
My ears were ringing. Noah was limp in my arms, and he needed help. I carefully laid him in my backseat, and jumped in. Still in a haze, I started the vehicle and sped towards the hospital.
I sat in the sterile white waiting room, hands clasped tightly. Father was beside me, quiet and unmoving. Two of Noah's siblings sat across the room, the eldest male and the younger female. The girl was crying silently into her brother's shoulder, his arm folded comfortingly around hers. His face looked like what mine felt; strained, worried, and regretful.
For me, the regret was for leaving Noah on the damned farm. I should have claimed him as mine as soon as I had seen him. Now knowing the reason for the fear on his beautiful face, I doubt that he would have resisted. I could have taken him away from here. Just snatched him up and carried him away over my shoulder, as my instincts demanded. It would have been primitive, yes, but the result would have been much preferred.
As for the brother, I would think that the regret was for not stopping this. Not putting a halt to Noah's pain long ago. Even I had been able to tell that not all of his wounds were from this night. He had multiple burn scars around his ankles and wrists, and a plethora of others all over his body.
My heart ached for this boy I had just met, but had caused such an impact upon me. I had wanted him with an explosive lust, and still did, but now I didn't just want to take him. Something about him called out to me. Part of me wanted to rebel against the new feeling, but my protective instincts were in full gear and demanded that I get proper retribution for his pain. No matter what happened, I would not walk away from him now.
Across the room, Noah's siblings suddenly shot to their feet. I followed them and glanced towards the emergency room doors as they opened. A doctor walked through, looking grim.
He paused between us; "You are all here for Noah Drummond Lower-Born?" When we nodded, he continued. "Well, I don't know how it happened but many of his broken bones are already set. Unfortunately, most of them are done incorrectly. In order for me to amend this, we would need to re-break them and allow them to set properly. This would cause him immense pain. I would suggest, if at all possible, taking him to a facility with more advanced equipment."
When he said this, he turned to my father and me, nodding his head imperceptibly.
"Apart from that, he is not brain-dead, and he's breathing on his own. His body's just taken too much trauma, and he'll wake up at his own pace. He does need more care than we can give, though. I highly suggest looking into other facilities. In the meantime, ask the receptionist for his room number and you may go visit him. It is essential for coma patients to have outside stimulation, especially from the people they love." With that, he smiled softly down at the girl and turned back through the doors.
Love. The concept was foreign to me, and felt thick on my tongue. My father did not love my mother, nor had I loved any of my previous partners. But somehow, being included into the group that Noah might care for made me... Wistful. I shook my head at the feeling, and concentrated on the humans who were looking at me apprehensively.
The male spoke first, "We can't afford to take Noah to a different facility. We can't even afford this one." His fists clenched on the girls shoulders, and he stared at the ground as he spoke. "I don't know why you came tonight, but we're all extremely thankful. If you can, I would ask you to please, please take him away from here."
He looked up, staring straight at me. His face was still pained, but there was a new hope in his eyes. I wondered if it was for Noah, or for himself.
"Get him off the planet if you can. Noah needs to never have to see this place ever again. He's taken the brunt of all our pain for years, and we haven't given him hardly anything in return. But I can do this. Take him, please. I know you're the people that he's always talked about. He's obsessed with your culture, your language, your everything. Take him home with you and show him something beautiful."
His words made my heart race. I imagined showing Noah my homeland, all the creatures and our people, who were so different from his own. I wondered how much he knew about us and what he might expect. I thought of coming home to him every day.
My throat tight, I turned to my father briefly. He stared hard at me for a moment, then touched his knuckles to mine. A smile of relief flashed across my face, and he returned it with a small grin. Turning to the humans, I asked, "What are your names?"
The girl answered quickly, bouncing slightly on her toes, "I'm Chloe. This is Lucas, he's my older brother. Noah's my brother too. You look like the pictures he draws. I'm glad that you're taking him. Dad won't ever be able to hurt him again." Water filled her eyes and she looked down at her hands, twisting them nervously into the folds of her shirt.
I kneeled down before her and took her small fingers into my own. "I won't let anyone hurt Noah ever again. I promise by the blood of Kahl. Now, why don't we go see him? I bet he'd love to hear your voice."
She nodded and smiled brightly at me before running off for the elevator. I felt Fathers hand on my shoulder, squeezing briefly as he turned to go.
I stood and faced Lucas. He still looked wary, but relief was now the dominant expression on his face. He smiled at me and reached out his hand. This time, I took it.
"Thank you," he said.
I replied, "I meant everything I said to your sister. I will do everything in my power to keep him safe and happy."
He took his hand back and sighed softly. "What if he doesn't accept you? I know that this is more than just a platonic deal for you. He might never get over what our father put him through. What will you do then? You guys just saw each other this morning, and so much has happened. He doesn't even know that you were the one who saved him. He doesn't know your name, even. What happens when he wakes up, scared and alone on some alien planet? Tell me that you won't throw him aside."
I understood his concerns, but our race did not swear by the blood of Kahl in jest. Noah was my responsibility now; I would not abandon him for any reason. "It would not matter to me if he chose not to become my mate. I would still protect him. I will be his friend, if that is what he desires. No matter what though, I promise I will keep him safe. That is what's most important to me."
He smiled widely and gestured to the elevator door, "Shall we go then?"
Everything was golden. It was just like when Sam healed me. Maybe he had finally taken pity on me and snatched up my soul. Part of me was sad that I would never see the beautiful alien again; just seeing him had yanked at something inside me. I had felt alive for the first time in nearly ten years when he looked at me.
It was like my heart had lifted up, briefly dragging itself out of the gunk it was drowning in, just so that it could catch a glimpse of him.
It was stupid of me, to look at him like that. I was just a human, male at that. And scrawny. Disgusting compared to him. It didn't matter anyways, I guess. No sense in whining about it. Now I was here, comfortable in my golden ocean. No more pain, humiliation, or worrying.
For the first time in my life, I could just relax.
Noah was deathly pale. His eyes were swollen shut; his skin so deeply bruised it no longer looked human. But even through all the injuries and pain he must be in, there was a faint smile on his face.
I hoped that soon he would be smiling at me, eyes bright with happiness as he discovered my home. But first, there was much to be done. I had already contacted a friend on Oalas, the most technologically advanced planet in our entire galaxy. Isir had been more than willing to help, and was already corresponding with the medical center here to gather Noah's reports and prepare a room for him in the Ceri'Ooana.
My father had left soon after checking in on Noah, traveling back to Acaoch to bring news of the deal and of Noah to Kirahl. Kirahl would decide how to proceed, and how to receive Noah. I tried not to think too hard about the implications of that.
He could decide any way he wanted. It was very possible that he would want to keep Noah in his own courts, far away from me. It was also possible that he would force Noah and me to fast immediately, so that Noah would become my complete responsibility. I had no idea how Noah would react to the latter, and if he didn't wake up soon, he might not have any choice in the matter.
Taking Noah to Oalas would buy us a few weeks at least, as Noah healed. I wanted him to wake up while there, so that could see the wonders of the shining water planet. The people of Oalas were amphibious, but the vast majority of them lived deep under the waves. They were a spectacular race.
Before they had even been discovered by any other species, they had built a whole network of buildings and tunnels under the water. They spanned nearly the whole planet, surrounded by water and creatures ranging from silly to terrifying.
I couldn't wait to sit Noah down on one of the Cross-Trams and watch his face as he looked out into the endless ocean.
We would be moving him tomorrow, taking one of the fancy medical bay ships that they used for the rich people transporting over to Oalas. The trip would take several days, but the hospital assured me that the personnel on board were well equipped to handle coma patients.
I sincerely hoped so. If Noah was subjected to any more pain, accidental or not, my claws would be soon due for a cleaning.