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18 September 2011 @ 08:21 am
FIC: The Kebab Killer, Chapter one – Perfectly ordinary People  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The Kebab Killer
Part: 1/10 (wip)
Rating: R
Configuration M/M
Warnings: violence, angst, borderline fairytale romance
Word Count: 2.300 / 25.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Sam/Yaden
Summary: Sam is a police officer in the Phoenix Empire’s capital. But when his lover is attacked by a local serial killer, they are thrown into a world of danger and intrigue, of nobles and psions. But the only thing Sam truly wants is to keep his relationship alive through all the madness…
Feedback: Yes, please!
EDIT: There's now a map of Imperial City online. Might be helpful for some parts of this story. 







Downtown Imperial City.

Nestled on a low slope between the Imperial Palace on its towering cliff and the high-rise commercial buildings in Ridge, it was the one city quarter where people actually liked to live. Narrow brownstone buildings rubbed shoulders with equally narrow concrete houses. All of them were almost as old as the city itself, all of them were covered in the same, ubiquitous sprinkling of moss that came with the constant drizzle.

Downtown was home to all the commoners that worked in the other, more relevant quarters of the Phoenix Empire's capital. It was were normal people went for a nice afternoon coffee, or a dinner with friends when they wanted to make sure no pack of teenage nobles would crash the place and insist on owning everyone.

Downtown was where the normal people lived. It was the most ordinary place in this extraordinary city so ripe with glamour and intrigue.

Little wonder, then, that Sam felt so much at home here.

He was a perfectly ordinary member of the the DC's, the Ducal Crescents, the local police force. A straight and hard working guy, and he loved his job for the plainest of reasons. Taking care of his neighbourhood made him happy.

Going on patrol on the cobblestone roads that were too steep and too narrow for most vehicles was what he had wanted to do all his life. Looking down from below the palace walls over the glazed roof tiles of Downtown, a forest of slanted angles in any shade of emerald green imaginable, he knew he was where he belonged.

He was a genuinely nice guy. And he was well aware that many of his friends considered him just a little boring as well.

Though that would probably change after tonight, Sam mused with an awkward smile. For tonight, he would ask his lover to join him as his plus one for this year’s annual police ball.

To someone outside the Ducal Crescents, that wouldn’t have been much of a thing. But among the Duke’s personal guard, that was about as good as a marriage proposal. And all this for a man he had met mere four weeks ago. Sam would never hear the end of this among his colleagues.

But the officer was very sure on this part. Hell, he would have asked this man to marry him anyway, and gladly so. And to move in together, and to raise children and have a dog and be happy ever after.

But then again, he really didn’t want to rush things.

Then again, on the other hand, that was exactly what he wanted. It just had all been too good to be true, and Sam could hardly wait to tie any knot possible to only get rid of that fear that he still might wake up one day and find that he had been dreaming all along.

Pretty much exactly four weeks ago, the old kebab shack on the Crooked Steps had reopened under new ownership. Which in itself had already been a pretty good thing.

The Crooked Steps were one of the ‘major roads’ of Downtown, and the kebab shack was perfectly situated at the end of several patrol routes. Naturally, it had always been a favourite hangout of the Ducal Crescents working in the area.

But the previous owner had left for another town after a recent wave of murders in the area. And it didn’t look good if the owner of a police hangout hadn’t much confidence in the local authorities to protect him. Commissioner Myers had been livid with anger.

So, seeing the blinds of the kebab shack going up again had put a big smile on Sam’s face. But nothing could have prepared him for what had happened when he walked in a few days later with a bunch of colleagues for a beer after work.

He had never seen himself as the romantic kind of guy. But when the new owner of the kebab shack smiled at him in greeting, Sam literally felt the earth tremble under his feet. The guy behind the counter was at least a head shorter than Sam, with a big bundle of dreadlocks on his head and the most genuine smile the officer had ever seen on a man.

Sam would never say it out loud, but it had been love at first sight, at least on his part. For the first time ever, he was convinced he had found someone as genuinely honest and caring as himself.

Yaden.

That was the kebab shack’s owner’s name, and merely thinking of him made Sam’s neck tingle.

For a few days, he had spent every spare moment at the shack, helping Yaden clean up and prepare for the next day. And then, one late night, they had kissed instead of just hugging each other for goodbye. It had happened so naturally that Sam couldn’t say what had triggered the change from friends to lovers.
But it had been clear that Yaden was equally sure about his intentions that night. They had barely made it up into Yaden’s tiny bedroom above the kitchen. Their clothes had definitely been gone before they had even reached the stairs.

Silently walking through the gentle drizzle, Sam blushed at the memory. It really wasn’t like him to act so… passionately. But there were a lot of things different when he was around Yaden. And actually, he was very happy about his new self.

And four weeks into their relationship, Sam still hadn’t figured why it shouldn’t last. Sure, it felt too good to be real, but then again, why shouldn’t he have some exceptional luck for once? The only thing Sam knew was that he had never before been that sure about something.

Yaden was the one. The man he would marry and love and respect and support as long as he lived. And the man he would invite for this year’s police ball.

Now only a few narrow stairs away from the kebab shack, Sam felt his heart literally beat inside his throat. What if Yaden said no, or merely ‘maybe’? Or worse, what if he said yes and didn’t realize what an important event that was to Sam?

Jumpy with excitement, Sam found himself falling into his childhood’s habit of sliding down the stairs, merely slipping off the edge of each wet, algae-slicked stone slab, turning with a well-placed grip on a piece of railing or bouncing off the walls like a rubber ball.
It was a pretty damn undignified way of moving for a DC officer, but then again, it was fast, and relatively safe if you knew the place by heart. And really, Sam couldn’t have care less, not tonight.

But when he finally turned into the kebab shack’s narrow alleyway, he stopped dead in his tracks. Sam had to hold onto the nearest wall not to bowl over the throng of people that clogged up the street in front of Yaden's restaurant.
The first thing he noticed was the purple tape all over the place that he and his colleagues used to mark off a crime scene. Icy vertigo spread from Sam’s spine as dread instantly swallowed all the elation he had felt only seconds ago.

Next thing Sam knew was being surrounded by his colleagues, all of them sombre, silent and dead serious. All of them staring at him, a wall of familiar faces hiding some bitter truth.

And Sam already knew what they were so afraid to tell him.

The previous owner of the Kebab Shack hadn’t left because he had thought the area wasn’t safe any more. He had feared for his life.
In the last months, some crazy bastard had started killing people working in the small restaurants in Downtown. More than a dozen good people killed silently with an alien poison, with a blow dart from behind, and no one had a clue as to why or even the hint of a trace. Press had immediately dubbed him ‘the kebab killer’, for obvious reasons.

Sam knew he had turned a blind eye to the whole subject as soon as he started dating Yaden. But now, as two of his colleagues lifted the purple tape that barred the Kebab Shack’s door, he knew he should have paid more attention. Maybe he should have even convinced Yaden to leave.

How could he have ever believed that nothing would happen to the man he loved?

“Sam, oh my god, Sam, there you are!”

Finally, a familiar face surfaced from the surrounding sea of uniforms. Eugene, Sam’s partner, squeezed himself through the narrow corridor that led further back into the kitchen. Only a few years away from his retirement, he had less hair and more belly than the average Ducal Crescent officer. But he was honest, reliable and the best friend Sam could have wished for.

Right now, Eugene looked even more shell-shocked than Sam imagined himself to do.

“I am so sorry, Sam, so sorry.” Still struggling with the ridiculous crowd clogging up the tiny place, Eugene managed to hug Sam tightly. “This is so very, very wrong.”

For a heartbeat, Sam didn’t know what to say or do. Then, finally, the first coherent thought formed in his mind.

“Where is he? Where’s Yaden?”

Sam’s voice sounded much more composed than he had thought it possible.

“They have brought him upstairs.”

“I want to see him.”

“Of course. I’ll come with you.”

So Sam started walking. Behind the counter, through the corridor, into the kitchen. The whole space was swarming with lab guys taking prints and whatever it was they did, but at least there were less regular officers standing around here.

From the kitchen, a steep staircase led up to Yaden’s place. Just a low room under the diner’s roof, with a shower squeezed into the only corner high enough to stand in. It was tiny, crammed, clammy and on the rare occasions the sun shone on Imperial City, swelteringly hot. But for the last weeks, it had become more of a home to Sam than any place he had ever lived in.

Mercifully, there were no other officers upstairs. Only Doc Barnabas, the local medic, was standing next to the low bed. His grey coat a stark contrast to all the purple around, he was just taking off his latex gloves when Sam entered.

“I’ll be damned,” the elderly medic mumbled around the stump of a cigar in his mouth. “But there’s nothing more I can do.”

Looking up at Sam, he added pointedly: “And don’t ask me, because I don’t know. Crazy alien killers using crazy alien poisons…”

Right when Sam had gathered enough courage to ask Doc Barnabas what the heck he was actually talking about, he caught a movement under the blanket on the bed. Stunned wordless, he continued staring, wondering if all this had been too much and his mind was playing tricks.

But it wasn’t his mind. Sure enough, the person under the blanket was moving. And judging by the bundle of brown dreadlocks on the pillow, it was Yaden lying there.

“HE'S NOT DEAD?!”

Sam felt like there should be something grand happening, some thunder or lightning or at least some drum-rolls. Maybe even a laugh track.
But nothing happened. Doc Barnabas merely closed his bag with a disdainful grunt.

“No, not dead.” He looked back at the bed, then towards Sam. “Though by all means, that boy ought to be dead by now.” Pushing his way through the chaos on the floor, he continued muttering. “Those alien poisons, I can’t make any sense of it. The dose should have killed a whole village, and instead, that boy here is merely unconscious. And don’t ask about side-effects, I don’t even know why he ain’t dead.”

Still too upset for words, Sam looked from the doc to Eugene, to Yaden and back.

“I’ll see the Doc out. You two will need some time on your own, now, I s’pose,” his partner swiftly quipped and disappeared down the narrow stairway, following the still-grumbling Doc Barnabas.

“Why hasn't anyone just told me..?” Sam asked, his voice trailing off in the suddenly empty room. By now, he simultaneously felt confused, elated and tired enough to keel over on the spot.

But then a low moan came from the bed, and instantly he was at his lover’s side.

“Hey, darling, shh…” Gently helping Yaden’s head onto a pillow, he smiled at the other man. “You’ll be fine in no time.”

“That’s great…” Yaden croaked, his eyes moving in and out of focus. He looked terrible, pale and exhausted, but still unbelievably good considering the fact that he should have been dead. After a moment, he managed to focus on Sam's face, and even raised a small smile. “Hello handsome... And you are who, exactly?”

Out of the pan, into the fire, Sam thought. But sure, off-world poisons could have any kind of effects on humans. And some kind of amnesia would be a small price if Yaden got to live. He could have just as well been vegetable, for all they knew. Hopefully, it was nothing but a minor, temporary memory loss.

“I am Sam” he replied after a heartbeat’s hesitation. “I am your lover.”

“Oh.” A little cautious, but still smiling, Yaden leaned his face into Sam’s hand on his pillow. “Really? You smell nice.”

The last comment had been so innocently honest, so full of pleasant surprise at his own obvious good taste that Sam broke into loud laughter. Maybe Yaden had forgotten where he was, his own name and the people around him.

But it was still Yaden. And if he had fallen once for Sam, he would easily fall again.
Especially now that Sam knew all the ways of making Yaden smile.

 
 
Current Mood: nervous
 
 
 
BerthaBlueberthablue on September 18th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
Aww, that was so sweet! I was all sad there for a minute, when I thought he was dead, and then again when he lost his memory... but it turned out quite nice :) I love the "I am your lover." ... ... "Oh. You smell nice." So cute! I hope they do fall in love again!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 18th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
And yes, they are one of the cutest couples I know. They will fall in love, though it's gonna be... complicated. Next part coming soon, and that's where the real problems are going to start coming up.
idolme922idolme922 on September 18th, 2011 03:41 pm (UTC)
Love this! I'm a sucker for romance an this is a great start. Looking forward to more! Visually wonderful, love Sam already.

:D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on September 18th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Same here, I take sappy romance over drama any of these days. And of all the adorable people we've invented for this universe, I think it is a Sam I would want most. ^^
triptyxtriptyx on October 1st, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
This is very nice! I was also very afraid Yaden was dead! I am glad he isnt but I fear it wont be easy for them, even if Sam knows how to make his pre-poison-Yaden smile! ;) :) Look forward to more!
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 1st, 2011 06:52 am (UTC)
Getting their relationship back on track will be the easy part... Remembering things in the wrong sequence will be much harder on them...
hab318princesshab318princess on October 6th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
very intriguing start... looking forward to more :D
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on October 7th, 2011 04:34 am (UTC)
Well, there are three more parts up already. :)
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!