Reach Out For The Sunrise Ch. 08bySadieRose©
© SADIE ROSE BERMINGHAM & BELLORA QUINN 2010
CHAPTER EIGHT – BETWEEN DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Thank you everyone for your patience. It has been a hard month and we know what a cliff-hanger we left you with. Wait no longer. Without further ado, I give you Chapter Eight...
The usual terms and conditions apply. Do not steal our words, do not reproduce them without our permission. Do enjoy.
NAPLES - XAVIER:
Xavier lay on the edge of sleep, his body wrapped in a warm buzz of wine and the aftermath of fantastic sex. Aldo sprawled behind him, one arm and a leg draped over him. His breathing had settled into a deep, even rhythm, stirring the back of Xavier's hair lightly. The house was still and very quiet. Very faintly Xavier thought he heard the sound of waves rolling in on the shore, far below. He started to drift, a feeling of disconnection washing over him and a sudden tumble of emotions swirling into him, filling him up.
There was anger and hurt and a deep sadness... too much to hold onto. Like it needed to get out of him or he would explode. An odd sense of foreboding wound like a dark thread through the feelings and Xav tried to shake it off, tried to climb up from the hazy edge of the not-quite-asleep state, but before he got there something happened.
The fearful foreboding blossomed in him like a poisoned dart spreading its venom. Pain lanced through Xavier's chest and his eyes flew open but the room was gone, the warm balmy breeze from the open window gone, the softness of the bed and the solid body of the man sharing it with him were all gone. Xavier plunged into darkness like he had broken through a thin layer of ice and into inky black water below. He couldn't breathe, couldn't see, couldn't hear... there was nothing. Panic gripped him. He knew he wasn't dreaming; knew this feeling was very real; knew with a cold surety he was going to die as he was sucked down into black freezing nothingness.
The terror gripping him tried to crawl up his throat and he started to scream, only nothing made it past his past his lips. He silently begged his body to struggle, breathe, move, something! But he could only lie there, paralysed and helpless. Icy-cold darkness and nothingness surrounded and overwhelmed him, drowning him. This was what it was like to die then, he thought, suddenly and oddly calm. He stopped fighting, sinking deeper, letting that black cold press in on him.
If nothing else he could not give in to that hopeless feeling. He would not! He reached out, groping blindly and felt a brush of something, a familiar presence, and knew he was not alone. Not alone. The thought seemed to echo from him and through him at the same time and he grabbed onto both the thought and the presence he felt in the darkness with a strength that defied the black coldness around them...I'm here, you're not alone.
Xavier was suddenly moving, pushing up through thick tar, and then syrup, then water...he broke the surface... air rushed into his lungs as he slammed back into his body as if from a great height.
He screamed for real now, thrashing so hard he flipped off the edge of the bed.
"God!! No!" he wailed, gasping for air, shaking from head to toe. "Fuck! Fuck! Fucking Christ!"
Xavier moaned, gripping his chest as an aching pain stabbed right through him. He curled into a ball, squeezing his eyes shut and gritting his teeth and a moment later he felt Aldo's hands on him, trying to sooth him and lift him up.
The pain started to ease off, the sharp claws and teeth that had sunk into him drawing back gradually. Very slowly the world came back into focus and he heard Aldo saying his name worriedly, saw the light that had been turned on, felt Aldo's arms around him as he cradled him on the floor. He was still gasping for air, shuddering in that protective embrace. The world was real again but Xavier was utterly shattered.
PJ came into his field of vision and Xavier's hand snaked out and grabbed the older man's muscular arm, holding on to him. His eyes were like black pits in his face and tears streamed down his cheeks.
"I felt..." A fierce shudder went though him and his teeth chattered so hard that he could barely get words out. Some distant part of him realised he was in shock. He also knew then that he had been wrong. He had thought Rayne was gone, but he must have still been able to feel his presence, even after the singer had left. A very distant echo so faint that he didn't even recognise it as a connection, but he had felt the edges of that thread, their tie...Rayne was the presence he had felt in that black nothingness, Rayne was the one he felt sinking and whom he had clung to.
"Oh god... I think he's dead," Xavier breathed in a hoarse, cracked whisper.
PJ was stroking him instinctively, soothing with his hands as Aldo stumbled to his knees and lifted him back up onto the bed, still shaking the last clouds of sleep away. The Italian muttered an incoherent question in his own tongue.
"You were dreaming," PJ told him steadily, a small frown creasing his brow even so. "It was just a nightmare, Xavier. Everything is okay."
Xavier took another shuddering breath, although it didn't seem to be calming him at all. "I wasn't dreaming! I wasn't asleep!" He struggled to sit up and wiped an irritated hand over his cheeks. His mind was rapidly turning things over, trying to make sense of what just happened, but he didn't know if he'd be able to put it into words. Not in any way they were going to believe. He shook his head repeatedly like a small dog trying to get water out of its ears.
"Something's happened." His voice was still shaking but sounded a little less hysterical. "Something bad just happened. I know it sounds nuts but... I could feel it."
He bit his bottom lip and hoped against hope PJ would believe him and not think he was just having some kind of night terrors. "You k-know how we had some kind of connection? I mean like, how even if he wasn't around I could tell if he was okay, or pissed off, or being hurt? When he left I thought it was gone, or mostly gone. I couldn't tell anymore what he was feeling. But, just now... just now I did feel something. Like he was more afraid than he'd ever been... just for a second, and then it felt like..." Xavier rubbed at his chest unconsciously, like there was a gaping hole there he couldn't see or soothe. "It felt like something went right through me. Like I was drowning in freezing blackness. I could hear him thinking. He was thinking, this was what it was like to die."
He knew he sounded disjointed, and he couldn't help it. The tears wouldn't stop either, though he tried hard to gulp them back. He felt as if they should all be mourning, only everyone else just didn't know it yet.
"Sshhhhh..." PJ slid his arms more supportively around the younger man, not holding him back this time but letting him know by physical contact that he was there and he would try to help. He cast a glance at Aldo over the top of Xavier's head and the Italian shrugged helplessly.
"Was he okay earlier in the evening?" he asked softly.
"He was fine," Aldo replied in a quiet voice. "A little bit quiet but not... disturbed."
PJ pulled a face and shook his head. "Can you try and get Dom on the phone for me? Maybe he will shed some light on this."
Dominic! Yes! Xav thought exultantly. If the old sorcerer was with Rayne he would know what had happened. He was suddenly on edge again, could hardly wait until Aldo found his cell phone and made the call. He didn't care that it was the middle of the night and Dom might not even know where Rayne was anyway. He snatched the cell out of Aldo's hand almost as soon as he said hello.
"Dom? Is Rayne with you? What the hell happened? It felt like I just got ripped apart. Is he okay?" Xavier babbled into the phone between hitching sobs, not even hearing what Dominic was saying. PJ took the phone away from him and Xavier dissolved into disconsolate tears again.
"Sorry," PJ was murmuring, over and over. "Yeah, I know. Yeah it is late. I'm sorry about that." Then he tilted his head and made an affirmative noise. "He did? That's... not unexpected. I didn't know he was still cutting himself but I guess it's hard to tell now."
He put his hand over the body of his slender mobile.
"Dom isn't sure where he was headed, but he felt something as well. It woke him up. He has a couple of bites off of Rayne too, you know?" He pulled a speculative face and turned back to the phone. "Dominic, do you think you could track him from the bites?"
Xavier was already shaking his head. He knew Dominic wouldn't be able to find Rayne, not like that. He might be able to locate him some other way, but Xavier's tie was stronger and he couldn't have found him. That didn't stop the seed from being planted though. Maybe if he was closer to him he might be able to find Rayne. If Rayne really was dead, it wouldn't matter, but if (and that was an awfully slender if in Xavier's mind) it was something else, Rayne might need help.
He could tell that Dominic was explaining to PJ how he couldn't do it.
"Ask him where he last saw Rayne." Xavier said. "I'll go see if I can trace him."
Paddy was already quizzing Lord Warren about Rayne's last known whereabouts. At last he said; "If you're gong to come out to Paris don't waste money on a hotel. My partner has a suite of rooms at the Hotel du Petit Moulin on rue de Poitou. I'll give you his number and let him know that you're on your way."
When he finally hung up, Xavier was practically tugging at his arm like a child, curious to know what had been said.
"Go back to bed," PJ told him. "We cannot do much tonight. Lord Warren does not believe that he returned to England. There has been no sign of him at his home in Manchester and his London flat is empty. He is not answering his calls. Dominic thinks that either he remained in Paris or he has gone elsewhere. Hopefully it is the former and not the latter. Mikka, my partner, lives in Paris and he knows the city well. Dominic also knows, as do I, that if Rayne is harming himself again, he may seek out those who can help him to experience pain. Paris is a good a place for such clubs, as is Amsterdam. My gut tells me that he is still in Paris, and if he is, Mikka will find him."
Xavier just sat there looking a bit stunned. Go back to bed? Right. Like he could do that! He wanted to start packing and leave now. "But..."
"Xav, trust me on this. There is no point to you running off when Mikka's already there and knows where to look first. If Rayne can be found Mikkal will probably find him before you even get there."
Now Xavier's features lost a tiny bit of the shellshocked look and determination started to set in. "But..."
"Besides, didn't you tell Marco you would be ready this morning? In..." PJ looked at the clock. "...two hours."
"PJ, he could be dead!" Xavier reminded him.
"And he could not be." PJ returned, both soft and stern in the same breath. "And if he is, you haring off not knowing where you're even going won't help a bit. Marco wants you bad right now, but he's a pro, he won't wait. If you screw him over he won't care what you look like, what potential you have, or who your friends are. Don't blow this opportunity, Xavier. You may not think so but there are more than just a few people that would actually kill to be in your shoes right now."
"I...I can't." Xavier said, irritated at the quaver in his own voice. It was so unlike him to even say those words, but he couldn't help it. A hard life had toughened him but in a lot of ways he was still very young. He couldn't even think about carrying on now as if nothing had happened.
"Well, then you can't." PJ said quietly.
The way he said it made Xavier feel about six years old and he resented the other man for making him feel that way, but for once he had enough respect to keep his mouth shut. Over the next couple of hours PJ and Aldo both kept him company, tried to sooth him, get him to start thinking reasonably. Neither man pushed him though, they were simply there, and understanding, and in the end Xavier took a shower, packed some clothes, and got in the car that Marco sent for him. Though he did not leave without a promise extracted from PJ that he would call straight away if he heard anything at all from Paris.
PARIS - MIKKAL
It was a little after 4am in Paris when the sound of the telephone ringing dragged Mikkal Saarinen slowly out of a deep and dreamless slumber. Disentangling himself from the warm arms looped bonelessly around his chest, he rolled over, stifling a yawn and pushing the disarrayed mess of his long white-blond hair out of his eyes as he groped for his mobile on the bedside cabinet. The ringtone told him before he answered who his midnight caller was.
"Patrick," he exhaled wearily. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"
"It's about twenty past four in Vico, I would imagine that it's around the same in Paris," the familiar, husky voice murmured on the other end of the line. "Aren't you up yet, babe? You're always telling me what long days you work."
"And so I need my beauty sleep," he groaned, rolling onto his back and closing his eyes. His young bedmate curled around him again mumbling incoherently as he settled down with his head on Mikka's broad chest.
"You've never needed that," PJ McNamara told him fondly. "Who can I hear warming your bed tonight? Bryen?"
"Bry's filming that gang-fuck scene with Leo, Jayd and Corinth this afternoon. He's resting up. It's Trent," Mikka said with a little smile. "His girlfriend threw him out again. What do you want, Patrick? Not that it is ever anything less than a pleasure to hear your voice. You did not ring me before five in the morning because you were worried that I was lonely."
"True," PJ admitted frankly. "I need you to check something out for me, ASAP."
"And it couldn't wait until a civilised hour, huh?" Mikka rubbed his eyes with the fingers and thumb of his free hand.
"I need you to find Rayne for me," PJ told him, cutting to the business abruptly. "He's missing and I think he's probably in Paris."
"Can't you ring him instead?" Mikka tried not to yawn but it got the better of him.
"I tried that already. His cell is switched off."
"Very sensible," Mikka nodded. "He's probably getting laid then. Try him again later. You know what he is like, Patrick."
"Yeah, I know," Paddy admitted sheepishly. "And I know what you think, he's giving me the run around as usual."
"Exactly, so leave it. He will come back when he's ready." Mikka groaned softly as Trent's soft lips got to work on his nipples and the hot, twenty three year old model slid a hand between his legs, tenderly caressing his heavy, clean shaven balls and pumping the Finnish porn director's long, thick cock until he began to get fully erect. The boy was a natural bottom, his girlfriend topped him regularly with a strap-on, according to Trent. At least she did when she wasn't busting his ass metaphorically for some misdemeanour or another.
"I'm not so sure," PJ responded, sounding equally preoccupied. "Mikka, I told you about his boyfriend, Xavier, yeah?"
"The dancer?" Mikkal Saarinen confirmed. "Yeah, I think you mentioned him more than a couple of times, honey. Blond. Hot. Nice, ripped little bod... I think was some of what you said."
PJ ignored the sarcasm. "Rayne got pretty intimate with him, Mikka. They had this spooky bond thing going on. I don't know how to explain it, but it was like, sometimes they just knew what the other was up to, you get me?" he sighed, sounding awkward now. Patrick McNamara could cope with any physical weirdness you wanted to throw at him but get spooky on his ass and it made his teeth itch.
"Yeah, I get you." Mikka stroked a hand through Trent's soft, rust-brown hair, gently pushing his head south. If he was going to be wide awake before it got light at the very least he could enjoy it!
"Xav literally fell out of bed screaming about an hour ago. He thinks Wylde's dead," PJ told him in a neutral tone. "He told me that he thought he felt Rayne die."
"He knows that's not possible, right?" Mikka queried warily. "Rayne Wylde is... well... you know what he is, right? He can't... I mean, he's already..."
He did not want to say the words out loud, not with Trent listening keenly, even though he was doing a good job of pretending that he wasn't. A very good job. Mikka bit his lips to crush a little moan of ecstasy as, down beneath the pearly satin-covered duvet, the younger man started to suck hard on his rigid, drooling cock.
"I don't know, Mikka," PJ admitted. "That doesn't mean that he can't be destroyed. I saw his kind killed in Frisco last month and it wasn't pretty."
"Why would some want to do that to him though?" Mikka was having trouble staying focussed as Trent nodded lower on him. He gripped the boy's loose, dark hair and began to thrust rhythmically in his mouth. "I mean... he's not dangerous, as such. Is he?"
"He's a vampire," PJ said impassively. "Who knows what he's capable of, huh? All I know is he walked out on Xav after a pretty bad row and he got on a train to Paris. I don't know what happened to him after that. Until this morning I didn't actually care. But Xavier does, and I care about him. He's been through enough shit already without this."
Mikka thought that, right now, he didn't actually care either. Trent was really getting down on his boner, giving him a good throat job and it was going to be touch and go whether he could hold on until Patrick hung up. He wondered idly if his lover was bedding this Xavier kid. It had been a long time since PJ had taken a lover outside of their normal circle of existing Positive friends. He was certainly hung up on the boy. Almost as hung up as he'd been over Rayne Wylde some twenty odd years ago.
"What do you want me to do?" he asked almost breathlessly.
PJ paused for a moment and Mikka could hear him breathing quietly on the other end of the line. Then he slyly asked; "Is he fucking you? While you talk to me?"
"Not yet," Mikka answered frankly. Though if you'd get off the fucking phone...! he thought with increasing desperation.
He heard his mate laugh incredulously and could almost see the expression on his face. In moments like this he remembered why it was that he loved Patrick McNamara so much. They had been through the mill together and although they had a fairly open relationship these days, he would never care for anyone quite as much. Patrick had been his first love and his best.
"Tell me what you want me to do, honey?" he asked again, more tenderly now.
PJ's smile carried in his voice as he gave his lover instructions to check out the BDSM and fetish clubs and ask if anyone fitting Rayne's description had been seen there.
"Mikka, I don't want you to get hurt. If he's... if something has killed him, don't get in too deep on your own. Promise me?" he urged.
"I promise," Mikka crooned, biting his lip again as Trent edged him up slowly and skilfully. For a supposedly straight boy, he gave amazing head. It was a pity such a gorgeous young man was already HIV Positive, but Mikka was grateful as well. He had taken Trent under his wing and was grooming the young model as a potential star of the movies they were making out here with other Positive actors. He was already very popular. "I'll ring you and let you know if I hear any word of him."
"Oh..." PJ added, almost as an afterthought. "By the way, you won't be entirely on your own. A friend of mine is coming over there to help you look. You couldn't be an angel and put him up whilst he's in Paris, could you? His name's Dominic, he's a real sweetheart. I gave him the address and your number. I think he's coming in on the early train."