tagGay MalePandora Ch. 06

Pandora Ch. 06

byCarizabeth©

Finally, Part 6! This is the final part of the story, and a lot shorter than the others, but to be fair, it was only one post on my blog, while the others were all four or five. Here comes your sweet resolution, people. Savor it This will make a lot more sense if you've read the other parts, but you should still get a kick out of it either way.

Please rate and comment and let me know what you think! I love getting your impressions and constructive feedback. Thanks so much for following this story and reading about my guys.


***

Part Six: Back In The Saddle

Nervousness, Garrett told himself firmly, was for other people. He didn't do nervous. Nervous saw him coming and transformed immediately into cockiness, because nervous just didn't fit Garrett. Especially not when he had almost nothing to be nervous about. Right? It wasn't like everything wasn't going exactly the way he wanted it to so far. No, everything was working out perfectly.

Miles had been given the gold star of approval over his health a few days after he was revived. Garrett had tried to stay on the periphery as his father got reacquainted with his younger family, with limited success. It was kind of sweet, actually, the way Miles always had to have an arm around Claudia or Renee tucked into his arms. It was kind of annoying that Garrett was drawn into the gravitational pull of his father's recovery instead of keeping his distance and making plans to leave, but he didn't fight it too hard. Miles and Garrett were friends as well as father and son, and had been for most of Garrett's life, but it had been a long time since his father had reached out to him so casually, or so often. Not since Garrett had gotten out of rehab as a teenager, still aching and confused and afraid, had Miles ruffled his hair or squeezed his shoulder or hugged him like he was now. Annoyingly, it took Wyl to explain it to Garrett.

"He's not really doing it for you," Wyl had sighed, saying it like it was the most obvious thing on the face of the planet. "He's doing it for himself. The man's been out of the loop for months, he wakes up and has to relearn his whole life, and you're a big part of that life whether you want to be or not, Gare. Miles is just reassuring himself that you're really there. Hand me that wrench."

Garrett had handed over the tool with a frown. "Did you do the same thing with Robbie?"

"What, go through a clingy phase? Yeah, but that's not all that different from how we are most of the time," Wyl replied, and Garrett could hear the grin in his voice. "Just give your dad a little more time."

"I have to head back, Wyl."

"Back to Pandora?"

"Yes." Garrett shook his head slightly. "Although I'm really not sure why I'm so eager to get there. I know I love Jonah, I know I'm in love with him, but I've got such a fucking miserable track record with relationships. One man has never been enough for me in the long run. How do I know this is going to turn out any different?"

Wyl had crawled out from under the ship and scowled irritably over at Garrett. "You know, you have got to be the most beautiful, most brilliant, most clueless dumbass I've ever met."

Garrett blinked. "Come again?"

"Look, even if you weren't totally ass-over-teakettle in love with Jonah, which I know you are by the not at all subtle way you pine for him, you're not getting one man with this relationship, Gare. You're getting two. You're getting a family."

"Ah." After that Garrett shut his mouth and just handed Wyl tools for a while.

Garrett left Paradise three days later, just before Miles was set to go back to work. "For fuck's sake, be careful," he muttered into his father's shoulder as they said their goodbyes.

"You too," Miles said as he pulled back. One hand tapped the spot right between Garrett's eyes. "No more surgeries without telling us what's going on."

Garrett flushed. "How did you know?"

"Your eyes are still a little darker than they should be," Miles replied. "I called Jezria once I noticed. You're lucky to be alive, son."

"I know." There was a moment of silence, strained in a way it hadn't been between them for a long time. They were both lucky to be alive.

"Bring your guys along the next time you visit," Miles said at last, easily changing the subject and giving them both an out. "We all want to meet them."

"I'd like that." He really would, too. He wanted to join the two disparate sides of his family together.

Garrett bid the rest of them farewell, saving a kiss for his little sister and getting Thérèse to unbend far enough to give him a one-armed embrace. Leaving them was hard, but the prospect of returning to Pandora was rapidly overshadowing any angst or sadness he was feeling.

Garrett had finally actually talked to Jonah the night before, to let him know he was coming back. The surprise on Jonah's face hurt a little bit, but Garrett supposed it was warranted.

"How much time do you reckon it'll take to get here?"

"A little over three weeks," Garrett replied. He glanced around Jonah's living room, where the vid screen was set up. "Where's Cody?"

"Friend's house," Jonah replied automatically, running his hand through his hair. "If I'd known you were gonna call I'd have gotten him, but..."

"Yeah, I know." Neither of them wanted to raise Cody's hopes for no reason.

"Your dad okay now?" Jonah asked quietly.

"Yes. He woke up healthy and with almost all of his memory intact. It was pretty miraculous, honestly."

"Good, good. Good."

It was the most awkward conversation Garrett had ever had with Jonah. After a few more exchanges they cut the connection, and Garrett was left feeling more unsettled than ever. Nothing had been decided, no intentions or words of affection had been exchanged. Which was stupid, Garrett reflected sourly, but not incredibly unlike him.

Getting to Paradise had been one long, hyper, hopped-up blur for Garrett, one which had worn him down to nearly nothing, but at the same time at least his mind had been occupied. He'd been filled with purpose. Returning to Pandora didn't have the same sense of excruciating urgency about it, but it was much more difficult in some ways because of that. There was nothing for Garrett to do but think about the cliff he was about to jump off, if Jonah and Cody agreed to it. Garrett was a fan of doing new things, but most of the new things he'd tried in the past had been well within his comfort zone. This was definitely not.

By the end of the trip Garrett had gotten so sick of his own whiny indecision that he could barely look at himself in a mirror. He was directed to land in the Neptune's docking bay, which he supposed made sense since his apartment was still on the ship. The first person to meet him as he disembarked was, sadly, not Jonah. It was Jezria. As happy as he was to see her, Garrett couldn't stop the disappointed frown that flashed across his face.

"Clearly I'm not who you were expecting," Jezria said dryly as she enfolded him in a motherly hug. Garrett put down his duffel bag so he could hug her back.

"You know I'm glad to see you," he told her. "Even if you did go behind my back and tell my dad about the incident in the lab."

"You can't expect me to lie to one of my oldest friends when's he's already seen through you," she protested, letting him go. "Miles is well, I take it?"

"Very well."

"And everyone else?"

"Fine, which you already know because I'm sure you've talked to them recently." He glanced around. "Do you have any idea why Jonah isn't here?"

"He had intended to be, but he was called out at the last minute to pick up one of the research teams that went inland for the day. Their shuttle broke down."

"You mean they crashed it."

"They...bumped it."

"Shit."

"You could go and pick Cody up from daycare, though," Jezria suggested with a small smile. "I know he's looking forward to seeing you."

"Really?"

"Of course, really," she said, graciously not adding anything derisive about Garrett's insecurities. "The daycare is right next to the primary school in Pandora City. Do you know how to find it? It's just five blocks south of here."

"I'm sure I can find it."

"Good. Cody can take you home with him afterwards."

Home. Right. "Okay." He hefted his bag over his shoulder again, the edge of a box inside of it digging into his mid-back. "Thanks."

"Get some rest, my dear. You have a few days to adjust before you're expected back at the lab."

"At least they didn't give away my spot," Garrett joked as he turned towards the exit.

"Of course not. You're under contract, after all. The time you were gone has been added to your end-date, by the way."

"Contracts make allowances for massively extraneous circumstances!" Garrett protested out of habit, even though staying on was exactly what he had in mind.

"Most contracts do. Not this one." She shook her head and tutted slightly. "You really should have read the entire thing before you signed it, Garrett. Now go on, have a lovely afternoon."

"Thank you," he grumbled before leaving the Neptune.

Amazingly, it wasn't raining outside. The sky was thick with blue-gray clouds, but they weren't doing more than threatening. Garrett still walked rather quickly in the direction Jezria had given him, and before long he saw the school. It was a bright building, painted in orange and yellow and red. Playground equipment dotted the lawn beside it, and next to that was a smaller building that was bustling with children. Garrett assumed that was the daycare. He looked around the playground for Cody's curling blonde hair. Cody spotted him first, and Garrett had all of three seconds to prepare himself for the child torpedo that hit him in the midsection.

"Garrett!"

It was ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, how relieved holding onto Cody made him feel. How stupidly happy he became when he lifted the child up into his arms and got a kiss on the cheek for his effort. Garrett held the boy close and laid a kiss of his own into his hair, and didn't let up until Cody started pushing impatiently at his shoulders.

"Look, I lost a tooth, see?" Cody opened his mouth and showed Garrett where the gap was in his lower jaw. "And I lost another one while you were gone, it was on the top and Daddy had to pull it out and it didn't even hurt, but it did bleed for a while and that tasted kind of nasty."

"Did you get any money from the tooth fairy?"

Cody's brow wrinkled. "What's a tooth fairy?"

"It's criminal, the things you don't know," Garrett sighed, but he was smiling. "I'll tell you when you lose your next tooth."

"Okay," Cody agreed complacently. "Hey, wanna go see our house?"

"Are you sure you don't want to stay and play for a while longer?" Garrett asked, eager to see their place but a little unsettled at the prospect as well.

"No, I was just playing with dumb Lacey, I wanna go home." He wriggled until Garrett put him down, then grabbed his hand and started pulling. Garrett made sure one of the monitors saw him leaving with Cody before he followed the child's lead.

"Why is Lacey dumb? I thought you guys were friends."

"We were, but then Lacey's dad told Lacey that you weren't really coming back to this God-forsaken place, and I asked Lacey what God was but she told me she didn't know, but she thought it was maybe a swear word, and her dad swears a lot. Then I told Lacey you were coming back but she didn't believe me, so I kicked her and then she punched me and I got a black eye but Lacey got into big trouble, so it was okay."

Garrett tried to follow all of that. "But now you're friends again?"

"Kind of, but she's still dumb." They turned down the third street on the left and Cody broke into a jog, tugging on Garrett to make him go faster. "Ours is at the end! Come on!" They ran up to the front door of a two-story house, cute and quaint with a solid stone facing and sharply-slanted roof. Cody pressed his palm against the identification pad by the door, then opened it up and dragged Garrett inside.

The short front hall let out into an open living room, with a kitchen on one side and a small dining area on the other. One wall was taken up with a big vidscreen, there were chairs and couches and a low table, and of course there were toys scattered all over the floor.

"Come see my room," Cody said, and Garrett set his bag down by the door and let himself be drawn back into their home. All the furnishings were light-colored, and the whole place was comfortably warm and smelled faintly of mint. Cody's room was the first on the right, and it looked just like it had when he'd shown it to Garrett in the video they'd sent him.

Cody went straight for his toys. "Remember I told you I got the black Space Ranger? Dallas? Remember his cool move?" Cody sat down and turned the doll on. "Here, watch."

Garrett sat down cross-legged and watched as Cody gave the commands that made the toy jump and spin and kick. He resisted the urge to pull Cody closer and dutifully took the red Space Ranger when it was handed to him. They went through the fighting gauntlet with all of the dolls, until it was finally down to two. Garrett was so involved in the game that he didn't even notice that Jonah was home before Cody jumped up and ran past Garrett to the door. "Daddy! Daddy look, Garrett is back!"

"I can see that," the voice replied, amused. Garrett turned slowly and looked up at the man hugging his son in the hallway. Jonah looked like he always did, in dark worn jeans and a loose green button-up shirt that hung off of his broad shoulders. He was always kind of lanky, but that shirt made him look almost skinny. His feet were bare on the composite floor, and Garrett was seized by the urge to do naughty things to Jonah's toes. Good thing the man was a few feet away. "Did you show him around?"

"Just to my room, 'cause I wanted to show him Dallas and we played tournament."

"We should show him the rest of the house," Jonah said, and he extended a hand toward Garrett to help him up off the floor. Garrett took it, and had a brief moment to revel in the feeling of warm fingers and a calloused palm against his own before he was upright, and close enough to Jonah that he could smell him.

"Hi."

"Hey." They were both quiet for a moment, just looking their fill. Garrett felt like he could never get enough of looking at Jonah in that moment. His warm brown eyes were wide and eager, darting all over as he kept a grip on Garrett's hand, tugging him a little closer. "Welcome back," Jonah said at last.

"It's good to be here," Garret replied, totally honest.

"Daddy, can we show him the rest of the house now?" Cody whined, bored, and Jonah started a little.

"Yeah, bucko, sure we can."

"Cool!" Cody took Garrett's other hand and he found himself dragged down the hall towards the stairs. "That's my bathroom and that's the guest room there. Daddy's room is up here." Cody led the way up the narrow stairs. "This is Daddy's bathroom," he pushed open a door on the left to reveal a large bathroom with a whirlpool tub. "It's got a door to his bedroom, see? And this is his real door," Garrett caught a glimpse of the room beyond it, mostly dark colors and an enormous bed that made him sigh, before Cody turned them again. "And this is the laundry room and this one is your room, Garrett."

Garrett looked over at Jonah. "My room?"

Jonah blushed and raised a hand like he wanted to run it through his hair before he remembered it was pulled back. "Yeah. Your room."

"It's empty now 'cause you haven't put your stuff in it yet," Cody announced, looking around the good-sized room like he was imagining it filled. "But there's lots of space for all your clothes and stuff, 'cause it's not like you need your own bed." He let go of Garrett's hand. "So that's the rest of the house. Daddy, I'm hungry."

"Go on downstairs, bucko, I'll be there in a minute to make dinner," Jonah promised him in a kind of strangled tone.

"'kay, Daddy." Cody left and the two men just looked at each other for a moment.

"That wasn't how I intended on askin' you to move in," Jonah confessed.

"You really want me to move in with you two?"

"Yeah," Jonah said, but Garrett could hear the edge of resignation in his voice. "If you want to, of course. I know your contract's just for a couple more years, but even just a couple more years with you has gotta be better than missin' you when you're on the same damn planet as us." He moved a little closer, his other hand coming up to stroke down Garrett's arm. "I want whatever I can get of you, Garrett. Missed you like crazy while you were gone, and I'm so damn grateful you're back. You have no idea."

"I think I have some idea," Garrett replied, strangely breathless. "And I was thinking of extending once this contract is over."

Jonah's hands tightened on him for a moment. "Really?"

"Yes."

"How long were you thinkin' of?"

"How long do you want me here?" Garrett countered. A second later he was completely wrapped up by Jonah, and it was the most amazing feeling he'd ever experienced. He tightened his own arms around Jonah and absorbed the relief and joy he felt coming off the other man.

"As long as you're livin'," Jonah told him, his voice a little rough. "I want you here all the time, Garrett, fuck, you have to know that."

"Because you love me?" Garrett asked, sure he was right but still a little tentative saying it out loud.

Jonah chuckled. "Yeah, and because you love me. Us. Right?"

"I'm insane for you," Garrett sighed. "Obviously I love you."

A second later they were kissing and Garrett was thrilled because really, that had gone a lot better than it could have and he was grateful the talking was finally behind them. Also, he was holding his lover for the first time in months, months of taking care of himself and having to make do with the memory of Jonah, and now he was here and real and warm and Garrett got hard so fast that it almost hurt. He ground forward against Jonah and relished the low moan that escaped from his lover's mouth, and the desperate way he leaned into the touch, gripping Garrett's hips hard enough to bruise as he jerked him closer.

"Daddy, I'm hungry!"

"Oh, hell," Jonah groaned, tearing his mouth away from Garrett's. "We've gotta wait. Can't do this the way I want to while he's still up."

One of the many joys of parenthood. Garrett's hyperactive libido railed against being shut away, but he ignored it and nodded, putting a little space between himself and Jonah. "Right."

"Even though all I wanna do is throw you down on our bed and have my way with you."

"Oh, you son of a bitch," Garrett muttered as he gritted his teeth while Jonah grinned.

"Dad, I'm hungry!"

"I'm coming!" Jonah yelled back. He took a few deep breaths and looked at Garrett, then said, "Take a couple minutes, darlin', you look like you need it." Judging from the erection tenting his pants, Garrett agreed.

"You're going to pay for this," he warned.

"I sure as fuck hope so," Jonah said, his voice little more than a growl. Abruptly he turned and left, leaving Garrett alone in his empty room trying to will away a hard-on that just didn't want to quit.

"Bastard."

Ten minutes later Garrett joined the guys downstairs. Jonah had made mac and cheese thanks to Cody insisting it was a celebration and so they needed special food. Jonah raised one eyebrow as Garrett sank into a seat at the table.

"Took you a while, darlin'."

"I was just looking around a little," Garrett replied breezily. "Getting a handle on the layout, investigating our bedroom a bit. Opening a few drawers."

Jonah's blush spread across his cheeks and down his neck. "Yeah?"

"Yes. I think I can work with what you've got."

"Garrett, eat," Cody interrupted, pushing the dish toward him. "Before it gets cold."

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byCarizabeth© 33 comments/ 20305 views/ 36 favorites

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