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Reply to LucyPosted to the Rareslash mailing list May 9, 2001
Title: "The Hunt"
Fandom: The Forsaken.
Status: New, complete.
Archive: Yes to CKoS.
E-mail address for feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Other website: http://members.tripod.ca/~angelspace/Lucy.html
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Sean's hunt is about to yield results.
Warnings: Not beta'd. Set just before and immediately after the end of the movie, so it pretty much spoils the whole thing. And, yes, I admit it - I'm a whore. I wrote this just because I got a really nice piece of feedback on my first "Forsaken" story last night. :) Plus, Kerr Smith and Brendan Fehr? Woo-hoo! Bring on that sequel, baby.
Sean slid into a well-worn vinyl seat in a front booth of the diner, too used by now to sitting right by the windows, where he could see anyone who passed by. Nobody had even acknowledged his entrance, despite the fact that it was well past the midday rush hour and there were only two - no, three other people in the place; a pot-bellied, hairnet-wearing cook was scraping down the grill, a middle-aged waitress smoked a cigarette by the cash register, and a lone patron sat at the counter.
After a moment, the waitress crushed out her butt and pulled a pencil and a pad out of her apron, approaching Sean's booth with a half-full coffee pot. He didn't even bother to look at the menu; these places were always the same, and the food, no matter what he ordered, always tasted of slightly stale grease.
"What can I get you, sweetie?" she asked him, turning over the cup on the saucer in front of him on the table and pouring a steaming cup of coffee.
"I've have the special," he said, not knowing what it was and not particularly caring, either. It would be cheap, and food was food.
He shook his head.
She nodded, pocketing her pad, and called back to the cook, "Cowboy on a raft, Bernie - hold the tears."
Bernie - that was the cook's name, Sean guessed - grunted an affirmative back at her without turning his head.
"You want somethin' to drink with that?"
He shook his head. "Coffee's fine." He took a tentative sip, then dumped four teaspoonfuls of sugar into the scalding liquid. Diner coffee only ever seemed to come in one strength - super-premium.
She chuckled, still lingering at his table. "You're not from around here."
Sean shook his head again, checking the urge to either sigh or laugh. For three months he'd been travelling around the country, by back roads in ever-widening circles, it felt like, and he'd heard all the lines that were thrown at the "stranger in a strange land" - from pick-up lines given by teen-aged princesses desperate to get away from wherever they were, to thinly veiled threats from various types of good-old-boys. He'd pegged the type of waitress that - he peered at her faded name badge - that "Marge" was, as soon as he walked in the door; the motherly concern line should be coming along anytime. "Nah," he said, trying to sound non-committal and non-threatening at the same time. "Just passing through."
"Oh yeah?" she asked, in a voice tinged with genuine interest.
The only problem was, her type was always genuinely interested in what he was up to, and no matter how many times he'd repeated his story over the past few months, it had never managed to get him any closer to his ultimate goal. "Yeah," he said, and did sigh, this time. He picked up his cup and sipped it again, turning his head away from her to look through the dusty window.
Nodding to herself, she took the hint and retreated back to the counter. He almost felt bad for brushing her off - this 'town' consisted of nothing more than a gas station, a small store, and this diner, surrounded by a few dozen scattered farms. It was why people were always so eager to hear him tell the story of his life - or, at least, his life as it was defined by the past few months. They were always convinced that his life had to be more interesting than theirs.
If they only knew.
He half-listened to the two of them - Marge and Lenny, the customer at the counter - harmlessly speculate over him, still staring out the window. The car was holding up, that was good; he hadn't expected much of it - had been surprised that it was actually still running when he came upon its abandoned hulk out in the desert. At the time, he asked himself why he went back there, instead of heading for California or Miami as soon as the hospital cut him loose, but he knew, even then, that his destination would not be home or his sister's wedding, which he'd already missed. She'd been pissed when he called, but understood and even sympathized when she heard about the 'car accident' that landed him in the hospital. Hell, she'd even offered to fly out and take care of him while he recuperated, but he turned her down, telling her to go on her honeymoon and have a good time.
The truth was, he didn't think he could look her in the eye and lie to her - they'd always been closer than most siblings, and she'd know. It was a hell of a lot easier to lie over the phone, though he thought she knew a bit of it, even then. He stumbled over his words and promised to call her soon, knowing that was a lie, too.
After that came 'fessing up to his temporary employer about the destroyed Mercedes - and that was easier over the phone, too, although he had to make up even bigger lies - and promise everything up to and including third- and fourth-born children to get his ass out of that one. He wasn't really anxious to head back home, not when it had suddenly turned into something called a 'jurisdiction.'
All of that added up to good enough reason for him to keep pretending to himself - that he was on the road because he was curious, because he couldn't go home, because he didn't really want to. It was all about him, not Nick. It was just a cross-country journey, an opportunity to see the land of his birth - not a chase.
Not a hunt.
That self-delusion ended by the second week, when he'd met her - Tawnie, blond and sleek and completely his type, a hippie-chick throwback with a great smile and a stash she was more than willing to share with a stranger - and more, besides. It was a shock to both of them when he got her oh-so-willingly into bed and couldn't make himself do anything, not even with her, except talk about Nick. It all spilled out of him, the whole freakin' story, as he paced the motel room, with her sitting on the bed, bare-breasted and cross-legged, rolling a joint and listening to him with genuine, if slightly stoned, compassion. She nodded sagely when he was done, and pulled him back into the bed - to sleep, just to sleep.
The next morning she introduced him to her occasional-boyfriend, a six-foot-two brick wall named Pete who regarded Sean with undisguised hostility until Tawnie pressed herself into his side and spilled all about how Sean was a wreck, out wandering the roads looking for his 'boyfriend,' Nick. Under the circumstances - and with Pete staring at him as if trying to decide where to bury the body and how shallow to make the grave - Sean didn't feel the need to correct her somewhat unique take on the situation.
Of course, under the circumstances, and with the weight of last night's too-recent sexual failure under his belt, he really didn't think he could. Adding Megan into the mix - and factoring in Nick, too - he wasn't sure he ever would, again.
Turned out that Pete was an amateur sketch artist as well as a future Mr. Universe, and it was Tawnie who convinced him to make Sean a drawing of Nick, since he didn't have any photos to show. Once the sexual tension dissolved - between Sean and Tawnie, anyway - Pete was more than happy to oblige, and came up with a more-than-fair likeness of Nick, from Sean's description.
The only thing he couldn't get right was the eyes, and so, after a few hours of increasing frustration, Sean just had him draw in a pair of Nick's ever-present sunglasses, and then took the drawing and himself gratefully out of town.
He dug into his knapsack and pulled the paper out, now worn smooth and supple like a piece of linen, almost, and heavily creased from multiple foldings and re-foldings. It was smudged and dusty, but it was Nick's face - except for the eyes - and Sean smoothed it out on the free side of the table as Marge brought him his Western on toast. Somehow, having the companionship of his friend's face with him while he ate made him feel less alone.
"Friend of yours?" she asked, after she put down the hot plate and a half-full bottle of ketchup.
He nodded, already chewing the hot food. He splashed a little of the ketchup and smeared it over the omelet. "Yeah. Been looking for him for a couple months."
"He in some kind of trouble? He done something to you?"
"Nah," he demurred. "It's not like that. He's just a - friend." Tawnie's 'boyfriend' echoed in his mind, unbidden.
"Well, I reckon you should be able to catch up with him inside an hour," she said. "Considerin' you're driving and he's on foot - 'less someone picked him up, of course - "
"What? What? Where?" He breathed in egg and toast and ketchup, and swallowed too much coffee, too fast, trying to make it all go down smoothly past the lump in his throat. Lenny came over to thump him on the back, while Marge brought him a glass of ice water.
"Take it easy," she said, handing over the sweating glass. "Drink this, and then breathe."
Sean did as he was told, took a large swig and then a deep breath. "When was he here?" he said, when he could speak without pain-induced tears coming into his eyes.
Marge frowned, and looked at Lenny. "What do you think, Len? He left 'bout an hour ago, right?"
"'Bout that," Lenny agreed, nodding. "Right at the end of the dinner rush."
"What direction was he headed in?"
"That I couldn't tell you," Marge said, shaking her head.
"Said he was headed east," Lenny said, then shrugged at her questioning glance. "I happened to overhear him."
"Right," she said, giving him a skeptical look. "That would mean you'd need to go out on forty-nine, honey."
Sean was already gathering together his things, stuffing the sketch back into the pocket of the knapsack that he'd retrieved it from. "What do I owe you?"
"Hold on - you haven't even finished your meal."
"I can't," Sean said. "It was great, but - I have to go find him."
She nodded, and wrote up his check. He glanced at it and pulled money out of several pockets, spilling it onto the table in his haste. "Thanks," he said, halfway out the door.
"Your change - "
"Keep it," he called over his shoulder, as the door swung shut behind him.
He'd only driven twenty minutes out of town when he saw the familiar back - but he made himself peel his fingers off the steering wheel and slow down, then stop. There had been other times he'd seen other familiar backs, walking down roads that were just like this one, and none of them had also had a familiar front, so he carefully put the car in reverse and eased it back to where the hitchhiker stood, wary and stoic.
It was Nick.
He didn't know what he said, or what Nick said - as a matter of fact, he didn't hear word one of what Nick said for the next sixty miles. That was how long it took him to drive to the next town with a motel in it, pull in, get out, and get a room.
Nick was still in the car when he came out with the room key and tossed it over.
"We stopping already?"
"It's getting late," Sean shrugged. "Gotta sleep sometime."
Nick just nodded, and turned his head to look out the window.
They were both silent as Sean pulled the car up in front of the door. Room number six loomed ahead. Sean stared at the side of Nick's head for about three minutes before he turned the car off.
"This is it."
Nick nodded, grabbed his bag out of the back seat, and got out of the car. Sean followed him into the room when he opened the door.
The motel room was - a motel room. Like every other diner Sean had been in in the last three months, every other motel room had been exactly the same. It amazed him to think that there were architects who went to school for years, and then designed backwater hells like this for the rest of their lives. He dropped his bag beside the bed and went over to try to coax some heat out of the radiator.
Nick was standing by the door. He'd grown increasingly more muted and subdued in the time it had taken to drive here from the pick-up site, and he was not looking at Sean at all, who was using the radiator as an excuse not to meet Nick's eyes directly. Nick didn't put his bag down.
Finally, Nick said, "Look, why are you here?"
Sean just looked at him.
"I appreciate all this - I appreciate the ride, and I know you think somehow that you owe me something - "
"I don't think that," Sean said.
"Okay." Nick seemed a little taken aback by his bluntness. "That's good. You don't. I mean, if it wasn't for me - "
"I probably wouldn't have been infected in the first place," Sean finished for him.
Nick looked away, pursing his lips. "Yeah." He dropped his bag down to the floor, finally, ripped it open, and took out his bag of meds, popping a half-handful into his mouth and chasing them with a healthy swallow from his water bottle. He tossed the bag onto the plain round table by the door and shrugged out of his jacket.
"It's cold in here," Sean said.
"Yeah? Feels fine to me."
Sean crossed the room and put a hand on Nick's forehead. He was too warm for this area at this time of year, and his skin was flushed and damp, his eyes too bright.
Nick backed away from that touch, and side-stepped Sean neatly, striding over to the far side of the room, so the bed was in between them. "I appreciate you picking me up - "
"You said that already."
"Yeah." Nick frowned, and crossed his arms over his chest. "I just don't know why you're here."
Nick shook his head.
"I think you do." Sean ripped open the bag of meds, took out a single time-release pill, and swallowed it, chasing it down with water from the already-open bottle - feeling Nick's eyes boring holes into him all the while.
"What the fuck did you do?" Nick asked.
"Nothing," Sean said. "Yet." He reached over and chain-locked the door, then took off his jacket. "Think maybe it's getting a little warmer in here, after all."
It was Nick's turn to shiver. He turned his back on Sean. "I don't know about that."
"I do." Nick jumped when he realized that Sean was suddenly right behind him. "I've been in every dive, every dump, every flea-bitten motel room and every greasy-spoon diner between here and Timbuktu, looking for you."
"I didn't ask you to - "
"No, you didn't," Sean said, cutting him off. "You didn't ask, and you didn't tell. You just dragged me in to the middle of all this, and then you dumped it all on me, when it was too late. And then you blew me off when you didn't need me anymore. Well, what about what I need, huh?" He snaked a hand around Nick's waist, and slid it into the front of his pants.
Nick jumped, and swatted him away - or tried to, anyway. "You don't know what you're doing, Sean."
"Yeah? You gonna show me, then? You going to explain it to me?" He shoved Nick, pushing him down on his back on the bed. "You are full of shit, you know that?"
"Oh, yeah?" There was a faint grin on Nick's face.
"Yeah." Sean straddled him, easily pinning his wrists to the mattress. "You think you get to decide all of this, and you don't." He lowered himself slowly onto the supine and still unstruggling Nick.
"Don't," Nick said, turning his head to the side to miss Sean's mouth, which landed sloppily on his cheek. "It's not safe."
"Fucking life isn't safe," Sean countered.
"That may be true, but you know what they say about two wrongs."
"Full of shit," Sean said, again, and this time he caught Nick's mouth before he could squirm away. The kiss was deep and hot and he put the entire weight of his body into it, and into keeping Nick in place underneath him.
Nick didn't give him any resistance at all, despite his words to the contrary. Sean didn't know if it was because he knew the fight was futile, because he wanted it, too, or because he didn't have the strength left to fight - or some combination of all of the above.
He sucked a bruise into Nick's neck.
"Don't," Nick said, without putting any heat into the word.
"Give me a good reason."
"Why did you come?" Nick asked, again.
Sean shook his head. "Don't pretend - "
"No," Nick said. "Why did you come now? Why couldn't you wait? I'm on the right trail this time, and just a little while longer, a couple weeks, maybe, and I'd've found him - got my cure - "
"And what happens if you never get it?"
And there it was - all of Nick's fear laid bare in those few words. The devastation - the terror - in his eyes made Sean wish he could take back those words. Almost.
"You'll get it," he said. "But I've already waited long enough." He kissed Nick's mouth again and then let his wrists go, and stood up, off the bed. Nick just watched as he started to strip, his arms still pressed into the mattress beside his head even though Sean was no longer forcing him down.
Sean tossed his shirt onto the floor, unbuckled his belt, dropped his pants and stepped out of them. In socks and boxers, he clambered back onto the bed - on his side, this time, beside the now upward-staring Nick. He propped his head on a hand and watched.
"I'm gonna die," Nick said, conversationally.
"We all are."
Nick turned his head. "I meant, soon."
Sean shrugged. "Maybe," he said, reaching out to stroke a nipple through the cloth of Nick's shirt. "Maybe not."
"Best offer I've had in months."
That made Nick laugh - startled, sputtered, but genuinely laugh. Hearing that laugh was the first time Sean allowed himself to relax in what felt like months, too.
He sat up, cross-legged, and started to undo the fastenings on Nick's clothes, this time without any physical or verbal protest. He was completely passive, and Sean managed to undo everything he could and spread it wide open without having him move at all.
Sean crawled over to the other side of the bed and found his bag, pulling out condoms and lube and dropping them on the bedside table. He shucked the last of his clothing and lay down on top of Nick, who was still half-in, half-out of his clothes.
Nick was shivering, shaking, hot and cold all over, and Sean knew for certain it didn't have a damn thing to do with the virus. When he kissed Nick again, he felt him struggle to release his arms from his shirt, and then wrap them around Sean's back, turning them over on the bed so that he was now on top.
"Changed your mind?" Sean asked.
"No," Nick lied - or, maybe, his body just didn't listen.
They wrestled on the bed, playing for dominance. Sean had never fucked before - not like this, never achieving something so primal and so necessary, that it could actually be called fucking. Everything else was just sex. It was like the first time - and not just because it was Nick and he'd never touched Nick before, or because he was a guy and he'd never touched a guy before. None of that mattered - the past and the future were both just gone, but Nick was here and he was here and they were fucking, and that's all that he wanted.
Sean gagged the first time he tasted the condom, and silently resolved to try and find something flavoured, next time, but soon got beyond his distaste and focused instead on what the sheath contained - the burning, throbbing length of Nick's cock, the head of which was moving in and out of his mouth. He stopped before his jaw began to ache, and wished, not for the first time in the past few months, that he wasn't a fucking virgin in all of this.
He'd considered, a couple of times, just picking someone up - some guy along the roadside who gave him the once-over and didn't repel him with it, or who didn't look as though he'd try something kinky or beat the shit out of him. He didn't want anyone serious, just someone to get him beyond this stage, mind you - so he'd be able to do this with Nick without all the pain that would inevitably come.
But, no pain, no gain.
Nick hadn't done anything at all since Sean took him in his mouth, but when he reached for the lube, Nick grabbed his wrist.
"What?" Sean asked, frustrated in more ways than one.
"Just trying to talk some sense into you one last time, before it's too late."
"It's already too fucking late," Sean said, grabbing Nick by the length of his cock.
That proved to be the final straw - Sean found himself pushed over on his back, Nick hard between his up-thrust thighs, a hot finger messy with lube prodding inside him. He didn't even have to try to relax, because he was so surprised by the sudden invasion, but the second finger took longer to push comfortably in, and the third longer still. Finally, Nick positioned himself and lowered his body, tongue piercing Sean's mouth as his cock pushed into his body.
He could only groan, the sound garbled by Nick's tongue in his mouth, his fingers digging into the soft skin on Nick's back. It hurt - fuck, it burned, but he wanted it so desperately that he hooked one leg around Nick's waist, drawing him further in.
He was frustrated again when Nick stopped moving, and stopped kissing him, pushing himself up on his arms over top of Sean's body. Sean's eyes widened fractionally when he realized that Nick had stopped because he was all the way inside him. He stilled, too, his harsh, sucking breaths the only sound in the room, all outside noises muted, a little rattling hum from the suddenly kicked-in radiator startling them both. He wanted to laugh, but he caught the unsheltered heat in Nick's eyes and it burned the sound right out of his throat.
Sean's hands gripped Nick's forearms hard, and Nick started to move. It still burned, but differently now, and Sean shifted his hips, seeking - what, he wasn't sure of; a different angle, a different feeling, more. Nick's cock was like the rest of him - it didn't look like much at first sight, but it felt fucking enormous inside him, uncomfortable and utterly welcome at the same time. Finally, he moved and something hit, triggering an explosion of pure fire inside Sean's body. He groaned again, and Nick smiled, and shifted himself and hit that magic spot again - and then they were fucking and kissing and it all felt so good Sean thought he'd just spontaneously combust, wind up a pile of ash on the faded motel-room sheets.
Nick came spouting similar moans, fisting Sean's cock in his hand. Sean was just lucid enough to be impressed by the fact that Nick never stopped jerking him off, even when he was caught in the throes of his own orgasm - and then he fell into the white-hot heat of his own climax, ass muscles clenching the softening cock inside him.
The room was dark when Sean opened his eyes again. Nick emerged from the bathroom, still nude, rubbing his hands on a towel. He sat down on the edge of the bed, and Sean turned over on his side to face him, fingers tracing over a mole on Nick's pale thigh.
"I should get a paper," Nick said.
"I've got some in the car. Gotta keep up with the news of the day."
"Aren't you hungry?" There was no irony in that question, no suggestion of meaning other than just exactly what he'd said.
Sean shook his head, fingers still moving, fascinated by how soft Nick's skin was. "Not now. I ate, like, two, two-and-a-half hours ago."
Nick picked up his pants, and stood up to slide into them. "I'm starving."
"Go ahead." Sean rolled over on his back. "I'm gonna sleep, I think."
"You want me to bring you anything?"
Nick moved across the room, dressing as he did so. He put on his shoes without socks, and dug some more of the drugs out of his bag, popping them unconsciously, like they were nothing more than a handful of M-n-Ms.
"Be right back," was all he said before he exited the room, and Sean was left watching him, eyes playing over the bag of his stuff tossed carelessly by the door, the plastic bag of meds on the table. He closed his eyes and fell asleep knowing that, for him at least, the hunt was finally over.
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