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24 December 2012 @ 07:22 am
FIC: The longest of Nights  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: The longest of Nights
Part: 1/1
Rating: R
Configuration: /
Warnings: /
Word Count: 2.500
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Bobby, T’sule
Summary: It is Bonfire Night again and Bobby has started turning tricks for Julio Mostarda. That sounds bad enough, but things go wrong in ways even Bobby has never anticipated...
Feedback: Yes, please!


There is a spring to the longest of winters
there is a dawn to the longest of nights
and wherever in darkness I wander
my heart’s holding radiant lights.
(traditional Bonfire Night prayer)




“You are a real naughty one, aren’t you?”

Bobby’s companion reacted with a chortling laugh to this purred allegation. Not that this companion warranted any special charm on Bobby’s side, but he was in a splendid mood and felt accordingly generous.

“I am only naughty when I am around such tempting company,” his companion retorted with an asinine grin, holding up Bobby’s coat as graciously as a man of his size possibly could.

Bobby replied with a flirty laughter of his own and slipped into the offered coat. This coat was one of the reasons he was so radiant despite the occasion - it was a luxurious winter coat made from sinfully supple burgundy leather, with just the tiniest fur trim and a high collar that made it snuggly as a blanket and drop-dead gorgeous at the same time. At this time of the year, it was a priceless asset.

It was the Festival of Lights again, Bonfire Night, and this year the weather was abysmal. Sleet was falling, pushed left and right by strong gushes of wind, the temperature hovering at the ugly point between thawing and freezing.

But their next stop would only be a few houses down the road, one last drink in a posh bar after a posh dinner in Bellingham’s only top-notch restaurant. Noticing his reflection in the restaurant’s door on the way out, Bobby felt his mood improve even more. The narrow cut of his coat made him look even taller, his hair freshly styled this afternoon cascaded down his left shoulder in ruby waves. Together with the pale green scarf and the single gold earring, he looked like some kind of movie star, or maybe even a noble.

His companion held the door open for him to pass through, and Bobby nodded graciously, sneakily fondling the amazing material of his coat again. It felt so wonderful. Considering that it fit Bobby’s lean frame like a glove, he had the strong suspicion that Julio must have had it tailored for him personally.

Fuck.

Inwardly, Bobby gnashed his teeth, his splendid mood dispersing like water from a popped balloon. There, he had spoiled it. A single thought and all the beautiful lies of the past hours fled like cockroaches when the light was turned on.

Yes, the coat had been a gift of Julio Mostarda, as a token of goodwill and gratitude for Bobby helping him out of a tight spot. One of Julio’s ‘business associates’ was stranded in town over Bonfire Night, and Bobby had agreed to make the poor man feel a little less lonely. Which meant a few hours in the company of a grinning, bumbling fool with grabby paws, dinner, a blowjob and a drink or two. Nothing more, nothing less. The coat had been an advance bonus to smooth over any ‘prejudice’ Bobby might have harbored, as Julio had put it.

In short, he was turning tricks for that despicable piece of slime that fancied himself a mob boss.

Bobby felt the distinctive taste of self-loathing rise in his throat, almost spoiling the impeccable dinner he had had only minutes earlier.

But on the other hand, what was he supposed to do? In a few months, he’d be out of school, and he’d have to live of something then. His mother’s pension only covered school-age children, so he’d have to start paying rent. No more free school lunches meant he’d have to earn some kind of living, and he still hadn’t found any job besides working at the plant. With his history of low grades and high spirits, he’d be shoveling fish offal for the rest of his life.

Definitely not an option.

So when Julio once again asked him to ‘help’, Bobby had agreed reluctantly. This was a one-time-only event, he had told him. A single blow-job, nothing more. Julio had agreed, and still offered a lot of money for the trick. The coat Julio had thrown in as a bonus almost managed to convince Bobby that he was doing the right thing. Almost.

But the worst was already over, now, Bobby tried to cheer himself up. It’s merely two drinks now and then it’d all be over and forgotten. Looking down at his companion, he hoped his smile was looking genuine enough to hide how disgusted he was at the whole setup. And apparently it was, the businessman looking up from his small eyes, twinkling with honest admiration, patting Bobby’s arm in a clumsy gesture of affection.

Bobby tried to hide his disgust under a renewed smile and a flirty wink.

As soon as they could, they left the street again and slipped into the Downtown Market, an area of Bellingham’s old inner city where the narrow roads had been covered and turned into a maze of shops and bars all year round. It was quite pretty, actually, modeled after the famous rainshields of Imperial City’s downtown.

But tonight was Bonfire Night, and except for a few pubs, the place was basically deserted. Pretty much everyone was at home with their families, celebrating the longest night of the year and the foreseeable end of winter. At least, this minimized the chances that Bobby would run into some of his friends.

“If I had known that I’d end up with such wonderful company,” Bobby’s companion suddenly started, “I’d have planned a longer stay.”

“You old charmer. There must be a whole bunch of pretty boys in the capital, desperately waiting for you.”

“Forget them, they’re just whores. You’re different.”

Bobby felt his fake smile waver at this back-handed compliment. What was he supposed to say to that? Did that guy really expect him to be grateful?

“Thank you,” Bobby whispered, his forced cheer making his voice sound husky. “You are very kind.”

His companion eyed him pensively for a moment. Then his grip on Bobby’s arm changed from gently supportive to firmly grabbing within a single heartbeat, his eyes turning hard and hungry.

“You know, this evening doesn’t have to be over already, know what I mean?” he suggested, the sudden leer in his voice leaving no doubt about his intentions. “We could spend at least some more time together.”

“I am sorry,” Bobby said, alarmed. “But as pleasant as this evening has been, you’ve already had all the ‘time’ you paid for.”

His face frozen in a hard, calculating expression, the john pulled Bobby into a dark shop entrance.

“I know what I’ve paid for, and I don’t want anything for free.” His voice had become a low snarl, and the threat was not lost on Bobby. “What I get, I pay, and neither of us has to tell that little weasel you’re working for.”

As much as Bobby liked the thought of cutting Julio out of his share, this was going in the wrong direction entirely. The john pushed him against the wall with his considerable weight, holding Bobby’s arm with one hand, his other trying to sneak inside his coat and under his pullover.

“This is not a help-yourself-arrangement,” Bobby stated coldly. “You’ve got all I am willing to give, and that’s it.”

“You arrogant little shit,” the john hissed, his grip on Bobby’s arm growing painfully tight. “You may be pretty, but that’s over as soon as my boot hits your face a few times. You really want that?”

“You want the Mostardas on your ass? They look out for their own...”

“As if that little weasel Julio could get his hands on family property,” the john spat. “We both know you’re just one of his little expendable side projects, so don’t you get haughty on me, little shit!”

That remark filled Bobby with a cold wave of dread. He hadn’t really thought he’d be part of the family business with this one arrangement, but so far he had been nicely able to ignore the potential danger he was in. This was definitely going all the wrong way.

“Oi!” a deep male voice suddenly called out in the street in front of them. “Everything alright, there?”

Both Bobby and his john looked around, more surprised than anything as neither of them had heard anyone approaching. There was a group of Youh’Kai standing, wet and hunched, wearing heavy boots and cheap leather jackets. The speaker was an olive-green-skinned Youh’Kai, his open jacket showing a bare chest, muscled and wet with rain.

“T’sule, is that you?”

The Youh’Kai grunted something affirmative. “You okay, Bobby?”

“I’m fine,” he replied instantly. The last thing he needed now was a bunch of volatile Youh’Kai messing up the situation even more than it already was. “It’s okay, just leave us be.”

“We’re merely negotiating business,” his john added, cold as a cod. “Get lost.”

For a moment, the Youh’Kai seemed to be happy with that. But then a skinny Youh’Kai girl slipped next to T’sule, her voice shy yet still loud enough to be overheard.

“They’re lying,” she said, nervously fingering a narrow braid of her bright pink hair. “He wants to rape him.”

She underlined her words by pointing her outstretched index finger accusingly at the john, who blanched with silent anger.

“Alien vermin!” he hissed through his teeth, letting go of Bobby and taking a threatening step towards the Youh’Kai. “This is none of your fucking business!”

Faster than a human eye could see, T’sule was right in front of him and slapped him square across the face with a resounding slap.

“He’s one of us,” he stated firmly. “Who are you?”

The john had staggered back from the surprising impact, but caught himself almost instantly. With a motion that spoke of way too much practice, he suddenly pulled a gun from out of his jacket, the small blaster gleaming dull black in the low light.

“Get lost, alien scum, or I’ll splatter your slimy entrails all over -”

Once again, T’sule moved faster than a human eye could follow. He had been standing right in front of the john, but then slid to the right of him so fast he seemed like a horizontal blur and dropped into a vicious high kick that hit the john right in the side of his head. The man slammed to the ground like a felled tree and remained motionless, the unused blaster still in his hand.

“Fucking sqet.” T’sule commented into the resulting silence.

Still standing in the doorway, Bobby let go of a breath he hadn’t even noticed he was holding.

“Bobby, are you alright?”

“Is he dead?” Bobby didn’t even dare to think of the consequences.

“No idea. Do we care?” T’sule seemed positively nonplussed. “What were you doing out here with that loser anyway? Aren’t you supposed to light electric candles with your family tonight?”

The snide remark got him a few snickers from his friends, but his care for Bobby seemed genuine.

“No family left.” Bobby replied flatly, still trying to figure out what to do now. Julio would have his hide if he learned that his ‘associate’ was attacked by some of Bobby’s friends.

“Sucks, man.” For a moment, T’sule seemed lost in thought, then he added with a broad smile: “What about you come with your tribe instead?”

“What?”

“Your tribe,” T’sule replied with a pointy-toothed grin, gesturing at himself and his friends. “Who the fuck cares about genetics? You drink gorr with the best of us, that’s all we need to know.”

His friends seemed to share his generous invitation, judging by their amused and eager expressions.

“You should really come,” the girl with the pink tresses said. “T’sule’s band’s got an open recital tonight.”

“You’ve got a band?”

T’sule nodded, his face lighting up with something halfway between pride and embarrassment. “The Singing Bloodclods. Youh’Kai hard rock. We’re really bad.”

“Oh that’s not true,” the girl objected. “The singer is really bad, and the name is complete bullshit. But T’sule is pretty awesome.”

Somehow, Bobby found himself struggling with the image of his Youh’Kai friend playing in a band. It was such an inappropriately human concept that he found himself grinning despite everything. “So, if you don’t sing - what do you do? Play the guitar?”

“Drums.”

To illustrate his point, T’sule started banging on imaginary drums in the air around him, his motions speeding up more and more until he resembled a blurred, many-armed, green skinned deity in wet biker leathers. He finished his airdrum solo abruptly by raising his fists over his head, head hanging down, panting and laughing at the same time. Perfect rockstar mannerisms if there ever were any.

“Alright, that’s a show I want to see. Count me in.” Now laughing himself, Bobby shook his head, carefully stepping over the body of his john. “What about him?”

“Unconscious.” The girl remarked lightly. “He’ll recover soon enough.”

“How can you be sure about that?”

She smiled, tipping her forehead between her eyes. “Empath.”

“Oh.” Sometimes, it was all too easy to forget that all Youh’Kai had some supernatural talent of sorts. “Of course.”

Her smile turned enigmatic, and she cocked her head, adding: “You had some kind of obligation to that asshole.”

“I... “ Bobby took a deep breath. If there was one thing he had learned about the Youh’Kai, it was that they valued blunt honesty. “I was paid to keep him company tonight, you know, close company. Kinda messed that one up, now.”

“Wasn’t your fault,” T’sule replied with a shrug, seamlessly ignoring the fact that Bobby had just told them he was a part-time hustler. “There was some aliens that attacked you. Completely unprovoked.”

“Totally unprovoked,” the girl agreed. “You know how these aliens are. Vicious.”

“Crazy,” another Youh’Kai added.

“Filthy,” yet another one. “Stinking.” “Lazy.” “Beetle-eaters.” “Murderous.” “Conniving.” “Did we have vicious already?”

The chorus of insults was so perfectly well-trained and so smoothly presented that Bobby had to laugh out loud.

“And of course,” T’sule continued jovially while putting his arm around Bobby’s shoulder and gently leading him away, “you ran for your life. No one can blame you that your short friend here couldn’t keep up the pace.”

“Of course,” Bobby confirmed, slowly understanding where this was leading and liking it very much.

“See, nothing of this was your fault,” T’sule went on. “Unfortunately, you can’t give any details on your attackers. You know how these aliens are, they all look the same.”

This time, Bobby heard a snarling laugh from behind. Turning around, he found the whole gang only a few steps behind them, a dozen pointy-toothed grins in dark faces, moving soundlessly like predators. Bobby suddenly realized he had never felt safer in his whole life.

“You’re not doing this the first time, are you?” Bobby asked, grinning.

But T’sule only shrugged noncommittally. “Say, do you make any kind of music, perhaps?”

“Me? No, god forbid. That’s something for guys with a talent.” Laughing, Bobby added: “But I am a pretty mean dancer.”

“Really?” T’sule seemed genuinely intrigued. “Then I look forward to see you dance tonight.”

“I might be needing a pole for that, though...”

The joke seemed to be entirely lost on T’sule.

He looked puzzled for a moment, but then smoothly replied: “No idea what you’d be needing a pole for, but we’ll get you one. That’s gonna be interesting.”

“Oh, you bet it will.”

This was looking to become the longest night indeed.

 
 
 
idolme922idolme922 on December 24th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
I love this! You are one of my favorite writers, visual, emotion-filled in all the right ways, visceral... I see what you write and that's the best part for me.

Bobby is another interesting character, and I love the Youk'Kai who are always good for very interesting interactions! Thanks for another slice of Bobby's life.

Best, and Merry Christmas to you and Beryll! Hugs...
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on December 25th, 2012 08:27 am (UTC)
:D Thank you so much! Such a nice compliment sure makes a wonderful gift on Christmas morning. *HUGS*

Next of Bobby's adventures will be in about seven weeks, where we finally learn a) what happened to Wayne and b) where these stories fit into the larger plot of this universe. :D

Thanks so much again, and a wonderful Christmas and a happy and inspired New Year to you and your loved ones, too!