Walking in Daylight Ch. 05byDanae72©
Here is the final chapter. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about Pen and Ryan, and that the conclusion isn't a disappointment.
I want to thank you all for your comments, your encouragement has been wonderful. I hope to get lots more comments now that the story is finished, along with your votes, to let me know what you think.
Other ideas are brewing in my head, and I hope to get them written in the near future.
Penlan slammed the door to the duplex behind him, glad that Mr. and Mrs. Casher next door had left earlier in the week for a two-week trip to Europe. Other than that action, however, nobody would guess there was anything wrong from his expression. Inside, ah, inside he felt like he was shaking apart.
The past six months with Ryan were the happiest of his life. He learned to smile and laugh from happiness, rather than as an appropriate response to what happened around him. He remembered two weeks ago, as he tried to explain to Ryan how he felt. "It's as though I've been wrapped in a bubble of darkness and now I'm finally walking in daylight."
Too soon. Pen knew he had spoken too soon. He should have known better than to let his guard down. He did know better but chose to ignore that knowledge. Now that bubble was back and the darkness was deeper and more suffocating than ever before. The worst part was how familiar the darkness was; how it almost welcomed him back like a long-lost friend. 'You're back now,' it seemed to say, 'back where you belong.'
Pen pushed himself away from the door. There were things to do and he needed to get them done right away. No point in delaying the inevitable. He moved towards the bedroom, stopping only for a moment at the hall closet to grab a box. Everything he could find that belonged to Ryan he tossed into the box. There wasn't much, since Ryan never spent the night, but there were some items scattered around the apartment. Since there wasn't much in the box, Pen went ahead and put in those things Ryan gave him during their time together.
Next, Pen fetched the trash bin from the bathroom and tossed the scented candles, test kit and lube he'd bought, since his plan was to finally seduce Ryan tonight. What a fool he'd been, grinning and humming as he set things up to be 'perfect'.
Pen then found his old suitcases and packed a week's worth of clothing, his toiletries, and a couple of books. He added the emergency cash he kept in the apartment and carried the bags to the entrance. All he needed to do now was to call a cab and toss the box of Ryan's belongings out on the front step. He considered leaving a note and then decided against it. A simple 'Leave your key' scrawled on the box was good enough.
Pen decided he needed to keep himself occupied while he was away and grabbed at an envelope from the hall table where he customarily threw the mail before reading it. He remembered a letter coming from MedLabs, and knew it contained a listing of upcoming clinical trials. Ryan had asked that Pen no longer participate and Pen had given in. Even though the infection at the injection sites was a completely random event, Pen figured he could give up the extra cash to make Ryan happy. Now there was no reason not to pick one and go. He took the pamphlet only and left the rest on the table.
At last the cab arrived out front and the driver honked. Finally, Pen thought as he hurried out, unable to bear staying any longer. "Where ya headed, kid?"
"Take me to the Bank Street Hotel."
The ride to the hotel passed in silence as Pen fought against the memories of his earlier encounter with Ryan. He would not think of it now. Those thoughts would have to wait until he was alone and did not have to hide any possible reaction. Pen didn't think he would cry, after all he hadn't cried since he was a child, but he couldn't take that chance. He'd forgotten himself enough to allow laughter and that was bad enough.
They reached their destination and Pen paid the driver and walked slowly to the main entrance. His reflection was clear and he felt nothing but loathing at the sight. The short, pale blond hair now reached his shoulders, but the curls were still too noticeable. They made him look almost cute. Coupled with his small stature and delicate features, Pen saw that he looked like nothing more than a child and he abruptly turned away.
On the off chance, slim as it was, that Ryan might look for him, Pen decided that he would not stay here. He skirted the building and made his way towards another hotel a few blocks away. On the way, he stopped to purchase a few supplies he thought might come in handy. The registry showed the name Sam Pritchard, which was his middle name and his mother's maiden name. Both were on his documents, but anyone searching would overlook them.
If he was going to relive the earlier events with Ryan, and Pen knew he would if only to reinforce the truth that he only got what he deserved, Pen decided to be fortified. A tall glass of rum and coke would help him, and it could be replenished until the bottle emptied. It couldn't make things easier, but damn it, he wanted it. He kept the memories that threatened to burst at bay until the glass was empty and a new one poured, and then he closed his eyes to relive his folly...
Pen set down the last scented candle and took in his preparations. Satin sheets would be nice, but he didn't have any. Tomorrow he would go buy some. Still, the bed looked lovely with the new pillows scattered around the surface. He'd rearranged the furniture and he thought it looked wonderful. The softest, fluffiest towels he owned were in the bathroom, ready to use after a shower. Hopefully a shower shared with the man he loved.
The ringing telephone jolted him out of his pleasant fantasy. He hurried to answer and smiled in delight when it proved to be Ryan. "Hi! This is a wonderful surprise; I wasn't expecting you to call until much later."
"I called to see if you'd like to meet me for lunch in about an hour? We could go to, uh, 'Popular Eats', because I know you love their fries."
"Lunch with you would be awesome," Pen said, so happy he could burst.
If he'd been paying attention, Pen would have realized something was wrong the moment he arrived at the diner. Instead of the usual kiss, soft and lingering, he received a quick peck that landed on the corner of his mouth. Pen just blinked then mentally shrugged it off. There were a lot of people in the diner, and Ryan was technically on duty even if he was at lunch.
They talked of lots of things while they ate, all of them inconsequential. With each passing moment, Pen grew more and more nervous and uncomfortable. Something was off with Ryan's behaviour. It seemed distant, not at all like what Pen was used to when they were together. He tried to convince himself it was for the same reason as the kiss, but it became more and more difficult as time passed.
"Ryan, is there something wrong?" He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "You're acting a little strangely."
"No, there's nothing wrong, exactly. It's just, well, we've had a lot of fun these past few months, haven't we?"
It was there in the tone of Ryan's voice and in the way those golden eyes wouldn't meet Pen's eyes. Ice began to form in his chest. No. Please, no.
"I've wanted to help you see that you are a wonderful person who didn't deserve all the pain and abuse you've suffered through in the past."
God no! Shut up, just shut up right now! Pen was proud that his voice was calm and even when he spoke. They were polite words, words that were expected. "I know you've wanted to help me."
"The thing is Carlie thinks we're spending too much time together. Once I thought about it, I realized that she's right, and that isn't fair to her. Not that we can't still get together," Ryan was quick to say. "I mean, we're still friends and friends hang out together."
NO! This can't be happening to me! The ice thickened, even as Pen felt as though his heart was twisting and tearing in his chest. Carlie? If Ryan wanted a woman, there wasn't much Pen could do to change that. The small voice that had stopped soon after Ryan became a part of his life returned, mocking him. Oh come now. You know it's your own fault. You made him wait too long and he's decided it's not worth the wait. You deserve this. This is what you deserve. At least he's not hitting you and trying to force you. You're so pathetic; you didn't really think he cared, did you? You didn't think he....LOVED you, did you? Somehow, Pen found his voice, although it was strained and low.
"Of course we're friends. Don't worry about it. Just give me a call when you have time to get together and we'll make plans to, you know, hang out. I should probably let you get back to work and not take up any more of your time. I'll talk to you later. Well, whenever."
Pen sighed, staring down into his third glass of rum and coke. He didn't want to drink anymore. Although it had seemed like a good idea, there was simply no point to it. Getting roaring drunk would not change the facts. Ryan still wouldn't be in his life, except as a friend who wanted to hang out, and Pen still wouldn't be worthy.
There were still things to do. He reached into his pocket and took out the paper from MedLabs. Looking over the clinical trials available, he found that there was a level three trial available. Level three trials didn't happen very often, since they could be dangerous. Those were the trials with a high possibility of negative reactions and side effects. They also paid the most amount of money.
He called the number and volunteered for the trial. It was scheduled to begin that night, so the preliminary interview was conducted over the phone. Only daywalkers were accepted, and he gave his class code, along with his mother's name and code. The medical databanks generally had him listed as simply a daywalker, since his nightwalker part didn't affect his system for illnesses and such. After almost twenty minutes of waiting and pacing, they accepted him into the trial and gave him an access number for the MedLab entrance. Night trials were uncommon, but not unheard of, although generally subjects spent the night. Tonight he was to go in at midnight, get three injections at twenty-minute intervals, and then he would be free to leave.
Pen needed to rest a bit before leaving for the trial in six hours, but there was one thing he absolutely had to take care first. He found the bag from the drug store and went into the bathroom. It was larger than he would have thought, considering the room itself was barely large enough for the double bed, dresser and chair. The counter alone was long enough for him to lie down on if he should want to for whatever reason.
Half an hour later, Pen looked at his reflection critically. A different person stared back at him. It was a person with deep auburn hair. The hair hung straight down to his shoulders, without even the hint of a curl or wave. Good enough. Maybe in a few days, there would be enough stubble for him to dye and make a bigger change. Later, before he left the room, he would come back and apply the little bit of make up to hide the dark circles already beginning beneath his green eyes.
Oddly enough, the lab assistant was waiting outside the MedLab entrance when Pen arrived and joined the half-dozen other participants. "My name is Sarah, and I'm Doctor Silversmith's assistant. Since this new vaccine is to be for the sole use of daywalkers, we need to rescan everyone before entering. There is enough risk for reactions and side effects as it is, we don't want additional problems because our screening was faulty."
"What kind of scan?" The large, biker-type guy asked the very question Pen wondered.
"Just a basic medi-scan. It will check to be certain of your daywalker status, just like if you go to the hospital emergency room. As I said, it is merely a precaution, since you've all been scanned before and your codes verified."
Pen hadn't been scanned before for this trial, but that didn't seem to be on the sheet the assistant had as she checked names. He breathed a sigh of relief when he passed through without trouble. For some reason, he really wanted to be included in this trial. His status as a half-breed could get him kicked out, which was the last thing he wanted.
They were escorted into one of the larger lab areas for the trial. Two dozen beds lined the walls, food and drink distributors stood at the side of the doors, and a sign showed shower rooms, one for men and one for women, at the back. The doctor waited for them, smiling and welcoming them in. When everyone was settled and quiet, he looked them all over.
"Thank you for volunteering. I want to point out one last time, for anyone who would like to leave, that this is an initial trial run of this vaccine. Although we've received approval for testing, it is classed as level three, because we just don't know what might happen in human subjects. Our animal subjects, altered to show full daywalker status, have all behaved as expected, which is very encouraging. Not one of the three tested species reacted other than how we believed they should. We will understand, however, if any of you have second thoughts and would like to withdraw from the study." He waited nearly a full minute before going on, smile larger than ever. "Excellent, and thank you again. If you'll form two lines, my assistant and I will begin with the first set of injections."
Nobody had a reaction after the first set of injections. The participants all talked together, exchanging superficial details of their lives. Pen remained quietly in the background, unwilling and unable to join in.
After the second set of injections, everybody started complaining of aches and chills. A few rushed to the bathrooms to throw up, but the majority just found a bed to drop into. Pen leaned on the wall near the door, arms crossed around his middle. He'd endured things so much more painful that he wasn't inclined to mind it too much.
After the third set of injections, the screams began. Everyone, Pen included, dropped to the ground in agony. The doctor checked them all over and wrote on his clipboard. Pen dragged himself back to his spot against the wall and panted through the pain. It felt like his entire body was on fire, so he dragged himself over to the drink dispenser. With a bottle of water in hand, he wedged himself between the two machines to prevent falling over and began to drink.
The doctor informed them that if nobody improved after another hour, they would be moved to the hospital section for treatment and excused himself. The man didn't see Pen when he stopped to speak with his assistant. "It's going perfectly. They should all be dead by morning. I don't think we need to witness the whole process right now, so let's go home and come back early to incinerate the bodies. We can then watch the recording and analyze the data. Our nightwalker patrons will pay us a lot of money if we can show them proof positive that they can dispose of their daywalker enemies so easily."
"I'll just seal the room and meet you back in your office around eight tomorrow morning. Which code should I use? Just the regular one?" Pen wasn't unduly worried about himself, he hadn't been afraid of death for a long time, but he didn't want the others to die. It scared him somewhat that the pretty lab assistant was just as bubbly as before.
"No, use 'E X T 4 9 7 2 4'. I've had it approved, but it isn't known yet and will be safer. See you tomorrow."
I have to see if I can help them, Pen told himself once the lab was sealed. With the code to open the door, all he needed to do was call for help if the phones were working. Slowly he walked forward, one careful step at a time. If he collapsed now, he wouldn't be able to help anyone.
He only took the time to examine the person nearest to him, a pretty young woman. Her skin was almost too hot to touch and her body looked somewhat caved in. She was panting, but her chest barely moved. Pen's eyes saw a few chests not moving at all as he started moving towards the phone on the desk.
"You've reached the emergency line of the Federal Daywalker Protection Agency. How may I help you?"
It took a moment before Pen was able to speak, and he hoped he would be able to give all the necessary information before it became too much for him. "I was involved in a clinical trial at MedLabs, Room 3. We're all dying. I overheard the doctor say that this was something prepared for nightwalkers to get rid of daywalkers. The code to unseal this room is E X T 4 9 7 2 4. Please hurry. The doctor's name is Silversmith and his assistant is Sarah."
"I will send a team out to your location immediately. Stay on the line with me until help gets there."
Pen cried out as the burning sensation increased. He dropped the phone with only one thought in his mind. The only thing that would help was if he reached the showers and covered himself with cold water. Vaguely he thought to tell the person on the other end of the line where he was going, but didn't think he had the strength. It seemed to take forever to reach the showers, and another to lift his arm up to the faucets. At last, he felt a little relief from the water, but it didn't touch the fire inside for very long.
In the end, all he could do was scream until his voice left him for good.
Ryan returned to his office after his lunch with Pen and dropped his head in his hands. He ran through the conversation again and felt like he would throw up. The door to his office opened and he looked up to see Carlie come in, and though he wanted to yell at her to leave him alone, he kept his mouth closed.
"How did it go?" Her voice was low and tentative.
"Terrible. I almost couldn't go through with it. You should have seen the way the happiness just vanished from his eyes, but he didn't show any other reaction. I had to do it, didn't I?"
It all started with the phone call early that morning. Ryan woke up from a pleasant dream, where he and Pen were kissing and taking their clothes off. In this dream, it was certain that they would end up in bed, and Pen would ask Ryan to make love to him. Ryan wanted that so much in reality, but was determined to wait until Pen was ready.
He got out of bed and got his clothes ready for the day. Pen had invited him for dinner that evening, and he wanted his clothes to be appropriate for that. Unless, he mused, he brought a change of clothes along, even if it was just a shirt. For fifteen minutes, Ryan went over his options, finally deciding on taking along some jeans and his favourite black silk shirt.
Under the stream of hot water, Ryan washed up before reaching for his hard cock. He continued his dream, removing Pen's clothes until he was naked. They would kiss some more, rubbing their bodies together with increasing ardour. Naked, Pen went beyond beautiful. His body was toned, not muscular, the skin only faintly touched by a golden-tint. Carefully, Ryan would stand and take Pen's hand to lead him to the bedroom. It made him feel very strong and powerful to hold the small hand, to know that the delicate man trusted him.
Ryan groaned as he sped up his strokes, his other hand reaching down to cup his balls and stroke at the skin just behind. Warmth pooled at the base of his spine as the sensations increased with the images in his mind. It wasn't his hand stroking his rigid length to completion, but Pen's hand, making him look so big because of its small size. Ryan clearly imagined Pen looking up and saying, "Please, Ryan. Please fuck me."
Those words, even though they weren't real, pushed him over the brink. His orgasm had him trembling and leaning against the wall until his breathing was back under control. It didn't really matter to him that Pen wasn't ready for too much intimacy, but he dreamed about it, and hoped it would come sooner rather than later. His love wasn't dependent on sex alone. Love. He loved Penlan Taylor.