Disclaimer: Captain Scarlet does not belong to me, it belongs to Gerry Anderson and Supermarionation and a whole other bunch of swell companies.
Warning: Mature theme. Slash. Not for the little kiddies.
Summary: Sequel to "Hallelujah." Paul really is part feline, but how can Adam convince him that it was all really consensual after all? Warning: Sap!
Dedicated: To Tiniago.
Author's Notes: I wrote this in my trusty recipe notebook (yep) in a Pizza Hut during a buffet lunch in which I ate a whole large Ham and Pineapple pizza and the equivalent of two cucumbers. (No, really.) So you can blame this on the over-consumption of cheese. Or the over-consumption of phallic vegetables. Your choice, cupcake.
Fare thee well, for I must leave thee,
Do not let this parting grieve thee,
And remember that the best of friends must part.
"There is a Tavern in the Town" - Folk Song - ANONYMOUS - No copyright attributed to it.
If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.
E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 'What I Believe'.
Adam asks for photos from Seymour, of the Christmas shindig the government held for the Spectrum in appreciation of their fine efforts, and takes pleasure in finding one of his more 'genuine' smiles and spends a whole weekend practicing it in the front of the mirror, practicing so long he almost forgets the face in front of him is his own. Even now, when he catches his own reflection, he can't believe it's him.
Defamiliarisation his Lit lecturer at college had told him once. Expose yourself to something so much that it doesn't seem familiar any more.
Adam hopes he can apply it to his own vindictive feelings, so he can't associate the pain he feels with himself any more.
Practicing the smile brings a perverse enjoyment to him. Firstly so he can use it to flash at Seymour as much as possible, playing up to the young man's so blatant crush on him, so bad that even the Angels giggle about it with him, and secondly to piss Paul off. Okay, maybe firstly to piss Paul off too. He has resolved to let Paul be the first to make a move, but that doesn't mean he can't help or hinder the process, depending on his mood.
And his mood is whimsical, but he pretends at work, it's Paul who's showing his emotion there and has gotten an official reprimand for it. The days Adam wakes up after not dreaming, he feels almost benevolent about it all, and they are the days he does not smile much at all and is professional and just works, hacks around a little when he's in that sort of mood, else nothing visibly different. His malevolent days, when he snipes, when he's a little too short with people, are the days when he dreams of memories and wakes up with a hard on he can't touch.
He's in one of his malevolent days when even Seymour can't really stand to be around him even though he's nothing but polite, and maybe this politeness is a bit harsh sometimes, but can blame him, really? And he's walking down the corridor to turn in a report and as he passes Colonel White's office he can't help but listen.
It's Paul talking, after all, and Adam thinks he's permanently been tuned into Paul's oral frequency. But, no, it's Captain Scarlet talking, really. There's a difference, not one too many people notice, a certain detachment in his words, the higher pitched words toned down, and it's colder, and Adam calls it his Captain Scarlet voice, he hates it.
Adam leans causally against the wall, report held with Colonel White's name frontward as if to say to passersby look I'm supposed to be here, are you? and adopting the bored expression of the waiting.
And he listens.
"-yes, I read the same medical report you did, Paul," White is saying, and Adam knows when White calls you by your given name, your Christian name, it's serious but Adam's heart is already sinking at the words medical report. "You're just going to have to deal with these - uncomfortable - side-effects. Cats have to deal with being in heat, too, you know. It's not unheard of in mammals."
Adam's heart clenches, down there by his boots. Cat again, what was up with that? And- Paul was in heat? He listens, feeling a little sick. He'd taken advantage of Paul when his friend - oh, how-so-ex-friend - couldn't help it! Oh, god, oh, god, oh, god, and his knees are so weak that leaning against the wall isn't an act any more.
"You don't understand, sir. It's already gotten- worse. Uncontrollable. I-"
But Paul is cut off too abruptly. "You can take that day a month off it you're too uncomfortable, Paul, God knows you're the biggest asset we have here. I'm not about to let you transfer from Spectrum just because you throw pheromones left right and centre"
"-sir, I'm trying to confess something awful here," Paul says, and his words sound like his heart is already broken, "I-" And the words come out so quickly, but so clearly, and Adam knows he's damned his career by them. "I assaulted someone, sir."
And there's silence, but Adam can almost see the scene in his head, in technicolour. Paul is sitting, stiff, saying nothing, but in his eyes a storm will have risen and died, and White will be confused and disappointed at the same time.
There's a sharp exhalation, which Adam guesses it from White. "Who," White asks, his voice tight and level and officious. "No one has reported such an-" A pause. "-act."
Adam could almost imagine Paul's self-loathing smile. "I doubt there would be, sir."
"Adam, then," White surmises, and Adam starts. "Of course, he will not be in danger of a court martial, the pheromones will surely have affected him- But you-" White exhales again. "Even with your unusual circumstances, Paul, you've had this condition for a year. You should have noticed it had gotten this- this bad-"
"I know," Paul says, and his voice is broken too. "And I hate it, I just thought, maybe- and then it was so-" His sentences fragment, spin everywhere. Paul's voice is so high-strung, and Adam can't breathe. The only way, Adam realises, is for him to go in there, say something.
"We'll have to-" White starts, but doesn't get to finish as Adam stops thinking and does, pushing his thumb onto the intercom. "I'm a little busy right now," White barks through the speaker, tinny and unnatural after the muffled version Adam has been hearing for the last minute or so.
"It's Captain Blue, sir. I have the acquisitions report you requested, sir," Adam says, trying to keep his own voice as level as possible, knowing any wavers, any cracks, would be picked up and amplified through the system.
"Oh," White says, horribly flustered which earns his door a genuine-genuine smile. "Actually, I was just about to page you, Adam. Come on in."
"Yes, sir," Adam says, palming the door open. It slides open and Adam enters as casually as he can, considering the man he was sort of oh crazy over was trying to get himself booted out of Spectrum because he was convinced he'd raped Adam and no, he hadn't, if anything it was the other way round- And Adam stops that train of thought, because it's bringing the nausea again. "Here's the report," he says, to keep the sickness at bay, handing the cardboard folder to White, pretending he doesn't know why he's there.
"Sit down," White says, and Adam briefly pictures his expression if he sat in Paul's lap. A laugh threatens, and Adam refrains, although he is struck suddenly with a hint on how to actually deal with the situation. "Adam, I realise you and Paul have a close working relationship, and a friendship out of hours, too, and that this might lead you to- retain important information, keep it from us to protect him. But Paul has admitted to something that happened a week ago. It's court martial material, and I'm sure you know what I am referring to."
Adam puts his head on one side. "Oh, that pheromone thing. Don't worry about that. I talked to the doctor about it, he said it was to be expected that Paul might get a bit rough because of that pheromone thing, but don't worry. I'm not hurt."
And White and Paul are now utterly confounded.
"Captain Blue, what-" White is back on formal terms.
Adam makes a face as if to say, oh, that wasn't it? "It's not against regulations for two officers to be involved in a relationship. And we've been keeping it low key anyway, sir. I'm sorry we got a bit frisky on base, sir, but it is because of Paul's physiology. Hazard of his job, sort of thing. If we make sure he's not working on those days, it shouldn't happen again, sir."
White is gaping slightly at him. "I had no idea- I mean-" And he shakes his head as if to clear his thoughts. "Paul appears to be under the impression that it- you didn't agree."
"Well, to be honest, I could have done with a week's rest before being mauled," Adam says with a laugh at White's expression, it's too candid a conversation topic for the poor man to take. "But yes, that's something I want to bring up. I'd like Paul to go through some kind of therapy for the trauma."
"You what-" Paul says, and Adam can feel him looking at him, but can't look quite yet.
"So you're saying you underwent some trauma," White is saying now, a serious look on his face, worried for his two favourite boys.
"Not me," Adam says. "Paul. I've noticed, especially in the past few months, a self-deprecating trait. He thinks everyone regards him as a freak, and he is insecure over the changes."
"I-" Paul snaps his mouth shut, absolutely perplexed.
"He refused therapy last time," White says. "I think I'll make it an order this time. I'll talk to the Doctor about it."
"Thanks," Adam says, smiling at White.
"And next time there's a change in your relationship, tell me. It's nice to know when there's an emotional change amongst your staff," White says, and his tone indicates he's dismissing us. "Paul, you will be also consigned to solitary for your dangerous day of the month, and Adam, you'll be working off base for that day." A mischievous smile lights on the commander's face. "And no more hanky panky in the public areas of the base, you got that?"
"Yes, sir," Adam says, with a genuine smile that he doesn't have to fake, and he remembers how good real smiles feel.
"Yes, sir," Paul adds, looking bewildered and pissed as hell at Adam, but he manages to keep it under control as White officially dismisses them until they'd walked up two of the main corridors, silently walking parallel paths. Paul grabs Adam by the sleeves, yanking Adam around to face him. "What the hell were you doing in there?" Paul demands.
Adam just shrugs, as if Paul doesn't have him in a death grip, as if there was nothing wrong with what he did. "Trying to get it into your thick skull that you're not a freak."
"I raped you!" Paul hisses in Adam's ear. "You had no control over the matter, don't you understand? For all we know, the pheromones could be in your system-"
"Were they in my system before you were a Mysteron?" Adam demands, refusing to back down despite Paul's flinch at the word. "Because I sure as hell wanted to jump you then."
Paul is wordless.
"And I'll go through whatever tests you want me to, just to get it through your thick skull, which hasn't at all changed, I may add, that I love you," Adam continues, looking triumphant.
"But-" Paul starts.
"All right," Adam acquiesces, "doctors now it is."
And Paul doesn't protest.
It's the next day, and Paul is sat nervously on the end of Adam's couch, landside, and it staring at the paper like he can't believe it.
"You're not infected," Paul says. "You're not infected."
"See," Adam says, triumphant. "I told you so."
"But it doesn't make sense," Paul says. "I thought, maybe, my heat lasted more than a day, but the doctors say it doesn't, it's only on the day of a new moon. Something about solar powered sex drive."
"Huh?" And Adam is confused. "What are you saying?"
Paul hunches up slightly, looking so small that Adam just wants to sweep him into a hug, and drop kisses on him, and make it all better. "I hoped I could just explain it away with chemicals, but I-" And he looks at Adam slowly. "I thought I could explain away what I- I felt for you- as friendship. And what happened as-" Paul's forcing out the words the best he can, but they're stilted and awkward. "-as hormones. But else, it won't make sense. Because if I'm not infected by the hormones now, how come I still want you?"
And Paul is not on the end of the couch any more, he's knelt on the floor, looking miserable, looking up at Adam as if scared of rejection. "I don't fucking believe you," Adam says in disgust. Paul's eyes widen, as if he's scared he's made a huge mistake, and Adam yanks him back. "I'm in love with you, you moron."
"But that- that's not possible-" Paul says, shaking his head in disbelief.
Adam feels like laughing, but doesn't, as Paul is fragile enough as it is. "It may be impossible, but it's true. And I'm sorry if you don't, but-"
Adam doesn't get to finish what he's saying, as Paul's mouth is eager on his, and Paul's hands are on his knees, and a dizziness take him away. It takes Adam a while to notice that Paul is muttering between each feverish kiss. "Love you," he's saying, which just makes Adam pull him up onto his legs, and a rhythm starts so gently, love not hormones, "love you so much, and- want to be yours- want you- thought I was going crazy, saw your face every night-"
Then there's clothes on the floor, and permission is given.
"We just did it on my couch," Adam says, after it's all over, and Paul is laughing into his naked chest. "First the roof, then your bed on base, and now my couch."
"It's 'cause you're an easy date," Paul jokes, and they both sigh as he leaves Adam and they settle upright on the couch, Adam curled a little around Paul. Adam looks down at their naked feet, knocking together, and he curls his left foot around Paul's right.
"Ain't that the truth," Adam quips, the words coming back to him of that day, and he smiles. A real smile. A cat-cream-chicken-carcass smile. And he trails his hand down, and takes Paul in his hand, and teases his flesh gently. "Want to try it in a real, proper, Earth bed, Martian man?"
Paul chokes, but laughs anyway. "Don't think I can walk," he gasps.
"Not in your condition," Adam agrees. "Want me to take matters into hand?"
And Paul has no time to say yes or no, when Adam goes ahead anyway.
"I love you," Paul says when he's finished, "and it has nothing to do with that hand job or the mind blowing sex."
"Ah, I'm so reassured," Adam jokes. "Can you walk now?"
"Now?" Paul looks scandalized. "You've got to be oh- oh stop that- No, don't stop, I mean-"
"I love you too," Adam says, abruptly, sincerely. "And you walk away again like a scared coward, and I'm going to whip your indestructible British ass over and over again."
Paul is twinkling, not just his eyes, but all of him. "You promise?"
Adam laughs, nods, and twinkles right on back at him.
The falling out of faithful friends, renewing is of love.
Richard Edwardes, 'Amantium Irae'.