Reach Out For The Sunrise Ch. 12bySadieRose©
© Sadie Rose Bermingham & Bellora Quinn 2010
"Hello again, lovely people, this chapter turned out very long so forgive us for the slight delay. I know I said it would be the last but because of the length there will be a little epilogue as well. We like things to flow nicely.
By now you should all know that these stories contain shameless vampirism and boy-on-boy sexiness, but just in case you don't... there's your final warning. Hope you enjoy it.
As per usual, don't take our words without asking or crediting us as authors. We work hard on the stories and it's really very rude."
As One Door Closes....
They had left to come down to the beach around mid morning, and it was now late afternoon. Xavier supposed they should be getting back, although it was hard to convince his body he needed to move. He was so happy and contended at that moment he couldn't help radiating that feeling to his partner.
After a little while, when the fierce post-orgasmic tremors seizing his body had begun to fade to a gentle hum of sensual satisfaction, Rayne rolled languidly onto his side again so that he could look at Xavier. His fingers were still twined through the warm tendrils of Xav's hand. He thought that he had never seen a sight quite so beautiful in his life as that of his naked, breathless mate lying sprawled beside him, his hair damp and his lean, golden body glistening with sweat and semen.
"I still don't get it," he sighed with a little shake of his head that turned Xavier's luminous azure gaze abruptly back to meet his own.
"Hmm? What don't you get?" Xav asked, in a sated almost sleepy voice that matched his expression perfectly.
"Why the hell did I leave you here?" Rayne asked in a quiet, smoky tone, his pale eyes heartbreakingly clear and solemn. "I must have been out of my mind."
He drew Xavier's fingers to his cool, wet lips and kissed them almost reverently.
Xavier could have left the question as rhetorical but answered anyway.
"Because you got freaked out, and for some reason thought dumping me was the right thing to do." He managed not to sound bitter, but hints of hurt still curled stealthily around the words.
Rayne's face said that he felt that jab, and that it hurt but he ducked it carefully.
"I can't remember anything about it, except that you were angry and so was I," he said instead. "I remember that I wanted to take care of you, Xavier. But having been with you today, I wonder if you really need taking care of."
His eyes moved back to Xavier's sleepy, curious gaze and he smiled almost awkwardly. The expression left his face looking so young and so vulnerable.
Unbidden and unwanted the memory of their fight came back to Xavier. He'd been feverish and hung over and he'd woken to find Rayne packing, and known without being told that he wasn't being invited to come along. He'd been so hurt and so angry at the abruptness of it that he'd stormed out. Dominic and Aldo had been well meaning in trying to push them together to talk, but Rayne wouldn't be persuaded that he might be wrong for running away and Xavier didn't want to hear his excuses. The end of that argument was fuzzy for Xavier too, but he did remember that Rayne had wanted to hurt him, wanted to drive home his point and push him away. He'd held him down and bitten him without any of the usual sensuality he put into it and drained him to the point where he was dizzy, nauseous, and wavering out of consciousness.
After that he really didn't remember what had happened either, until he woke up three days later. Rayne had gone and all he had left was that skin-crawling, empty longing that had been every bit as painful and maddening as going cold off drugs had been.
"Maybe it's better you don't remember," Xavier said. "I'd rather just forget it too," he added, lifting his head enough to kiss Ray gently.
Rayne accepted the kiss but he looked at Xavier for a long while afterwards as if he suspected that the younger man knew more than he was saying. Ghost memories nagged at him, little fragments of things that he still could not quite link together. Everything had made much more sense since he fed from Xavier but still there were spaces in his recall that he could not fill.
He needed blood and that urge felt so natural to him that he could not even begin to believe that not everyone felt that way. Xavier had tried to bite him whilst they were making love so the impulse had to be there in everyone, surely. He could not shake the little ripple of hostility that he got from his mate whenever the subject of his departure was raised however.
Maybe he would talk to Dominic about it later.
He touched the tip of his nose gently to Xavier's and returned the kiss.
"If that's what you want," he lied easily enough.
Xav knew Rayne was not satisfied with that, but he let it go as Rayne seemed willing to do the same. His fingers trailed down Rayne's chest and abdomen, over the tracery of scars there. "Do you remember now, what happened?" he asked softly. "Who did this?"
The little vampire glanced down at the markings across his torso and belly incuriously as if it was inconceivable that they would not be there.
"I was taken," he said casually, as if it did not matter any more than having his wallet snatched. "He was a fuckin' animal!"
A small, feral grin split his face briefly then waned when he saw Xavier's expression did not mirror his own.
A small frown appeared between Xavier's brows. At times he could be dense, but other times things just fell into place like a line of dominos pushed over. Rayne had said that when he was in Paris he had thought he wanted to die, and Dominic and Mikka had known exactly where to go looking for him.
"You looked for someone to hurt you," Xav said, not in an accusatory tone, it was just a statement. He knew it was true, and where most people might have asked why he had gone looking for it, Xav did not have to. It really did feel like they were two sides of a coin sometimes. Xavier knew too well how it felt when you hurt so much inside that you wanted to find a way to punish the pain away. It seemed Rayne had found someone to do that for him, but apparently they took it a little farther than he had planned. The small, puzzled frown on Xavier's face hardened into anger.
"You went to a pro and they did this to you?" Xav breathed in soft outrage as his hand touched the fading scars. "Fuckin' idiots!"
He snorted and shook his head. He knew people back home who were heavily into BDSM and there were definite rules within that particular sub culture. Xav was well versed in them, and not just as an innocent bystander. Whoever Rayne had gone to had fucked up big time.
"Ssshhhhh," Rayne exhaled, letting his fingers trace the smooth contours of Xavier's face tenderly. "It doesn't matter. I gave him... what d'you call it? A clean slate? Carte blanche? And this..." he looked down at the scars again almost dismissively. "This is nothing. It's not what took my memory. If he hadn't been such a pro maybe it would have killed me. But the scars will fade. Don't be angry, sweetheart."
He leaned in to kiss Xav's lips again, soft and placatory.
It was hard to resist that kiss, but he did, causing Rayne to back up a second and look down at him again. Xavier was willing to let a lot of things slip and just forgive and forget, but he held onto this a bit more stubbornly, probably because it was much easier to be angry on Rayne's behalf rather than rage directly at his lover.
"Wait a second. You just told him... what? That he could do whatever he wanted? No limits? You didn't even give him a safe word? And instead of questioning your mental health he decided to slice you to ribbons. That's just fuckin'..." He made a disgusted sound, unable to come up with a suitable description of what he thought of someone that would do that.
"Xav, I asked for it..."
"I don't care." Xavier cut him off firmly, sitting up and looking at Rayne very directly. "If someone came up to you on the street and said 'hey, I'm just tired of it all, be a pal and slit my throat for me.' would you do it? No! You don't do something like that because the person's either nuts or just in a bad place and will probably get over it with help. You don't just do whatever the hell you want to them and call it ok because they asked for it."
He stopped for a second but his temper had the better of him right then. Those dominos were still toppling and he was remembering how it had felt when he'd woken up, screaming and sliding into shock, knowing that something inhumanly terrible had happened to Rayne.
"You put yourself in someone else's hands and he took advantage of you not giving him any boundaries, and then after he got his kicks he just wandered off and let some crazy get a hold of you while you couldn't do anything about it. That's not a pro, that's not even a responsible amateur, that's a total fuckwit by any definition and I'd really like to tell the asshole so."
"Xavier, I can't speak for the guy that..." Rayne caught his breath and it was clear even without words that he still could not talk about the moment when he knew he would die. It was just too hard. But he kept on stroking Xavier's face with that same tenderness. "The scars... these scars on my body, they are... a rite of passage, if you like. They will fade. If any mortal had made them with a knife they'd be gone already. The... the creature that did this to me was not human, and he knew what I was. He knew that this would not kill me. And when I woke and I saw these marks it would give me something to think about. He couldn't have known that another man would come back and do what he did to me out of total spite, Xavier. Henning's not human but that doesn't make him a god."
He swallowed in the face of Xavier's bristling anger that refused to subside. "I hoped that if anyone would understand me, then that person would be you."
For a moment it seemed that Xavier wasn't going to let go of this rage, he drew a breath and his lips parted to flash something back, but then he blew out again slowly and pulled Rayne close, leaning in until their foreheads touched. He blinked once.
"Yeah, I understand why you needed it," he said softly. Rayne was right, he understood perfectly. "Sometimes the guilt or the anger or the hurt just gets to be too much and you have to do something to let it out and feel clean again. I know what that feels like. It's just... that kind of extreme is... hard for me to think about."
He didn't want to think about anyone hurting Rayne that much. Instead he wrapped his arms back around him and buried his face at the side of his throat, just breathing him in for a few moments. When he lifted his head again a little smile was on his lips and some of the sparkle had come back into his eyes.
"You missed me," he said with a little grin.
Rayne's cheek was soft and cool against his own. He turned his face slowly so that they rubbed against one another, noses and lips brushing softly, not quite kissing but deeply intimate. The change of mood was like the steady incoming tide, soothing and cooling his anxieties.
"I dreamed about you a lot," Rayne whispered. "You were in my head so much. I could feel you, even hundreds of miles away."
He did not add that he also knew, somehow, that this could be a dangerous thing. There were other shadows, other memories and not all of them were so sweet as his time with Xavier. He did not want to think about them, so he shut them out.
It was on the tip of Xavier's tongue to utter those three little words, they were right there in his throat, but he swallowed them down again because he was still afraid of how Rayne would react. Instead he kissed him, long and slow and deep, his hands creeping up to cup his face and slide into his hair, fingers caressing along his scalp.
When their lips parted again Xavier searched Rayne's eyes, grown dark and luminous again. There was easiness between them now though, alongside the sexual intensity that couldn't be denied. Smiling, Xavier pulled Rayne up by his hands.
"Come on, let's go take a dip in the sea again before we have to head back," he coaxed.
They both moved towards the water in unison, picking up their pace over the hot sand until they were almost running, and tumbled naked and laughing into the surf to cool off and wash some of the stickiness away. They stayed in the sea for a while, swimming and floating and just fooling around. By the time they got out the sun was sinking on the horizon and the close contact and relaxed atmosphere had them both thinking about another tumble across the blanket. But they'd already stayed down here all day and Xavier at least was getting hungry. With the mutual agreement that they could always slip off to bed early, they packed up their things and headed back up toward the villa.
As they walked hand in hand, back up the cliff path to the house, the difference in both of them was immediately apparent. The cloud of worried tension and unspoken hurt had lifted from Xavier and his easy smile was more like it used to be. Rayne seemed more sure of himself and far less confused then when they had left for the beach several hours before.
In fact Rayne was happy. He could not remember the last time he had felt so very much at ease. With the clouds of his enforced ignorance had come a kind of gentle acceptance of the pleasures to be found in this life. He still worried a little over the darker flashes of memory that wound through his thoughts but he shut them out. Today had been so beautiful, so intensely satisfying. Perhaps now he could even let the darkness slip into the past. Perhaps, finally it would let him be.
PJ was sitting by the pool reading a magazine when Ray and Xavier walked back up the steps from the beach, their fingers still loosely entwined. He glanced up, then smiled to see the looks of simple pleasure on both their young faces.
"Someone's had a good day," he chuckled.
Xavier's little smile broke into a grin.
"I helped Rayne remember some things," he said airily.
"Is that so?" Paddy chuckled warmly. "Must have been some pretty good things, judging by the blissed-out look on his face."
"Wasn't bad," Rayne conceded, almost sounding like his old, cocky self again as he stood poised by the edge of the pool, one hand on his hip, the other running slowly up and down Xavier's bared back.
Xavier rolled his eyes but he kissed Rayne's cheek. "I'm gonna go get something to eat."
He'd wrapped a towel around his waist before they'd walked up, but two sets of eyes still watched his lean supple body move with fluid grace across the patio before disappearing inside.
Xav found the kitchen empty and picked up a pear out of the bowl of fruit on the counter top. He leaned one hip against the edge and looked out the window contemplatively while he took a bite and chewed. Blissed-out, yeah, that pretty much summed up his mood, he thought with a smile.
He heard the unshod footsteps on the tiles behind him as he was munching but did not turn until he felt a deft set of fingers grab his towel then flick it lightly across his bared ass.
"You are a fantastic colour," Aldo teased. "You been out there tanning your sexy behind all the day? I don't see any lines."
"Hey!" Xavier protested, but it didn't have much effect because he couldn't completely rid himself of the silly grin on his face. He groped for the towel but his friend teasingly held it just out of reach. Aldo was right about the sun of course, his skin still radiated heat from all he had soaked up. His fair skin didn't get the dark bronze of Aldo's Mediterranean hide, but turned a deeper golden colour the more sun he got, and right now he was definitely glowing sunkissed gold from head to toe.
"Come on, Aldo." Xav laughed as he reached for the towel again.
The handsome Italian finally relented and gave it back to him. Xav wrapped it low on his hips again.
"Rayne's a little better," he related casually. "I think he's remembering more now."
"And that's what you want, is it?" Aldo moved a shade closer so that his unclad body was able to rub gently on Xavier's as he leaned his hands on the counter to either side of the blond, boxing him in playfully. "For him to remember, and everything to go back to what it was?"
The look in his dark eyes was a challenge, but an easy smile still pulled at his lips.
Xavier held his eyes for a moment, and then he looked away, turning his head slightly to one side and unknowingly drawing attention to the renewed dimples on the slim line of his neck that clearly showed a recent feed. He didn't know how to answer Aldo. It was...complicated. Some of the happy light faded from him though, like watching a cloud cross over the sun.
"He needed to remember who he is, Aldo," Xav said quietly. "At least that. It wouldn't be right to keep it from him." He swallowed but brought his eyes back up to meet the older man's solemn, sceptical stare again. "He says he came back because he wanted to; because he wanted to be with me. But how am I supposed to know if that's real, or just something he was confused about unless he remembers everything properly?"
For a moment Aldo bristled but then his expression softened and his hands came up to gently cup Xavier's face, bringing the younger man's blue eyes back to meet his own. He wanted Xavier to see that he was not angry, just concerned. And not only about Xav, which the younger man understood with a little rush of shock and relief. He was not sure if it was the bites and the renewed contact with Rayne that let him read Aldo so well, or just that something was happening to him.
He was changing, that was for sure. His experience with the young vampire, Nicolas had told him as much. Nicholas had seen something in him right away that marked him out as more than just food.
"You're still in love with him, aren't you?" Xavier whispered, feeling the little ripples of worry start up in his chest again. "That's why you were so angry."
"Is it that obvious?" Aldo asked with a wan smile.
Xav gave his head a tiny shake. "Maybe not to everyone," he said in that same soft voice, feeling awkward and unsure now.
What did you say to someone that loves the same man you do? Should he ask what Aldo wanted? He wasn't sure he was ready to know. What if what Aldo wanted was for Xavier to get out of his way? He couldn't do that. He wouldn't do that! Almost anything else he would do for him, because Aldo really had been good to him and Xav did care about him, but not that.
Xavier felt the sting of tears in his eyes again, he just seemed to have no control over his emotions today. He couldn't help it, he could feel the hurt in the older man, although Aldo was much better at hiding it than he was.
Aldo's hands slid down past Xav's shoulders and strong arms moved around him at once, pulling him close.
"Hey, no tears," he warned mock sternly. "Not over me. The idea of you coming here was to chill out and have a good time, remember? That still stands. Yeah, I love him, okay? Always have done. Even if he is an idiot! Even if he doesn't have any idea what's best for him. And I know you look at him and you see the awesome little guy I saw all those years ago when we first met, and the dark angel PJ sees every time he looks at Rayne. You see past the barriers, si?"
He kissed the sun-warmed thatch of blond curls affectionately.