"You wanted to see me, Zhivago?"

The silver-haired vamp licked his chops, patted the couch cushion beside him. "I cleared all the evidence of what you did, Gino. Come, sit."

"What did you do, Zhivago?" He closed the front door behind him, and sat next to the darker colored man on the amber couch.

"I killed all the witnesses for you." He wrapped his arms around Gino's curved waist and licked his ear. "You really should thank me for it."

Gino felt a hand slip between his legs and rub the cloth over his crotch. "How about you suck it for me, Gino?" Before he knew what to think, he was pushed back onto the couch, and his clothes were ripped from his body. He felt Zhivago's rough lips pressing hard on his own, and that probing tongue in his mouth, exploring. He decided it was best to let Zhivago has his way, and not fight back. Best to keep his freedom on the outside, even if it meant Zhivago kept him imprisoned in this house.

He felt Zhivago nip his earlobe and roll the flesh between his teeth in a sensual way; Gino wasn't amused. "If you want it, say so. Stop wasting my time."

"Demanding, aren't you? Fine then, my little Island Princess, on your knees." He released the flesh and let Gino crawl onto the floor. He grabbed the sides of Gino's face tight, forcing his lips open. He stared down, his lips curled at the sides to reveal his long daggered fangs, his eyes glazed over black-and-yellow, so that Gino was paralyzed by them. "Come now princess, don't be afraid."

"007, what is your status!"

He moaned, shaking his head. He couldn't answer; He could not find the words. He'd forgotten how to speak, and had lost His voice.

"007, what is your status!"

The voice was louder. Whoever he was, he was getting angry. Yet the voice sounded familiar to Him; like the voice of His former Labtech superior, 089. He licked His lips and sighed. He fumbled over the words; the very syllables and pronunciations baffled Him. It seemed like an eternity since He'd used them, and they seemed to have all dried up, like the saliva in His mouth.


"Functional, sir."

Had He really said those words? Those bleak, apathetic, automatic words; were they truly His?

"That is incorrect 007. You are not functioning; you are not even alive any longer. You are asleep, and you'd best get out of that sleep, lest the one you care for most dies."


"Indeed. You know what he has done to himself over you? Of course not! For you have been a-sleep. And if you had not been a-sleep, you would have known what he has done to himself! Ha! You silly, impudent child, awaken now, or else I shall beat you further into you beloved a-sleep!"

But He could not let that happen! For The Blonde Man meant so much to Him, after all! Hadn't He promised to spend His whole life with The Man?

"The wedding," He cried, lifting His back off the bed and flailing His arms at His sides. "I can't be late for the wedding! I-!"

Markov let out a long, drawn-out sigh. This morning he'd heard the news of Mr. Gambino's suicide attempt, and regretted not trying harder to stop him. What's worse is, upon examining the official report, he discovered that the pills that had been mixed with pure vodka were the OTC ones he himself had suggested to Mr. Gambino to help relieve some of the pain from his depression.

He was so deep in thought that he jumped with a start at the sound of gagging. He turned to his patient and saw his body convulsing uncontrollably. Markov pounded the red call button on the wall and shouted into the above speaker, "Request for several nurses and a dose of buccalmidazolam to room 152 in western wing! Patient is experiencing severe seizures! Hurry, damn it!"

The doctor grabbed clean rubber gloves from the nearest bin and stretched them onto his hands. When two nurses arrived a moment later, one measured the syringe and the other held Edmund's mouth open. The doctor took the syringe and, as best he could, administered the drug into Edmund's cheek. After the syringe was withdrawn, his body gradually stopped shaking. Markov let go of his breath and patted the new, worked up nurses on their backs. He offered them a cup of coffee from the lounge and they all started for the door, but stopped dead at the low hiss of a dry voice:


Slowly, very, very slowly, the doctor and his nurses turned to face the bed by the window. Their patient, pale, clammy, his lips chapped, his cheekbones sunk in farther, his hair almost white, looked at them. He sat up, his body twitching and joints cracking from lack of use. He rasped, choked, gagged; grabbed his throat and tugged at the breathing tube in it. Markov rushed to his side and pulled his hand away. "Mr. Wesley, Mr. Wesley! Relax, don't pull on that! Let the machine breathe for you for now. It's all okay, I promise!"

After several minutes of attempting to do just that, Edmund laid back, and let his lungs expand without his own effort. And within the hour the tube was removed and his throat was sewn up. Markov sat in the chair by his bed afterward, hands folded in his lap. "Mr. Wesley, there's something I must tell you." He waited a moment or two, and when Edmund didn't reply, he continued, "Mr. Gambino…well, he…attempted suicide two days ago." He felt a hand grab his wrist and squeeze, tight. He sighed and whispered, "It's okay sir, he's alive. Perhaps I can arrange for you to see him later."

Edmund sighed, and sat up, lowering his feet unto the floor. He wobbled onto them and let go of Markov's arm, limping out and bracing whatever he could on the way. Markov follow suite, slowly easing behind in case he fell. At the same time, he directed him cross the hospital to the room where his lover resided. He lowered himself into the chair, and ran his hand over Johnny's shoulder. He was sleeping soundly, his wrists bandaged and a blood drip in his arm. Edmund leaned over and kissed him square on the lips. His eyes flew open and he jolted into a sitting position, bumping heads with Edmund along the way and nearly knocking him out.

Johnny touched his lips and growled, "No one kisses me except my-" he looked down at Edmund on the floor and gasped. "Oh my God…" he sighed, "It must be true then; I am dead." He reached down with his IV-sans arm and touched Edmund's cheek. "How else could you be here, Edmund?"

"You aren't dead, Johnny," Edmund rasped, standing and kissing his lover again. "You're just sickly and weak." He coughed, "as am I." He pushed Johnny onto his back on the bed and stroked his hair.

"What's happened to you Edmund? You're so pale."

"And you aren't? Where do you get off, trying to kill yourself? You couldn't have held on another week?"

"I-I didn't think you were going to ever wake up."

"I'm awake now…aren't" he groaned heavily, and his eyelids sunk over his eyes "…I?" Slowly he leaned forward, as if seasick, and rested his head on Johnny's chest, falling asleep almost instantly.

He felt so hollow. As Gino sat upward on the couch, only in his dark lavender underwear, he felt empty. Zhivago was rubbing his shoulder and kissing him, whispering how much he loved him, how much he needed him, and it made Gino sick. "May I leave now? You got what you wanted, so may I please go?"

"Not just yet," Zhivago planted another kiss on his forehead and stood, leaving the room. In a moment he returned, rather gingerly, with a box. Gino recognized it as the kind that clothes were put in when they were bought at fancy department or costume stores. Zhivago set the box on his lap. "Open it," he squealed, putting a hand on Gino's thigh. "I think you'll like it."

Pushing a loose bang from his eyes, Gino lifted the lid from the box and removed the white tissue paper. He sat silently, looking down in that box. "Is this some kind of a joke?"

"No, no, Gino! Put it on, it will look wonderful on you!" Zhivago grabbed the ruffled sleeves of the article, and lifted it before his face. The dress was a deep wine color, with a white corset. There were also a pair of puffed bloomers and fancy silk stockings in the box. "Try them on," Zhivago hissed, his voice becoming greedy and lustful again. Gino sat, motionless, apathetic. How the hell was he supposed to react? "Should I be thankful, Zhivago?"

"You should, considering the money I spent to make you that dress."

"So you could make me look like a slut? Zhivago, I'm sick of this!" He threw the dress to the floor and stood, stomping it into the dirty wood. "I hate you!"

"Gino you don't know how much I care-"

"I'm sick of your lies! I'm sick of this blackmail, and most of all," he shoved a finger in Zhivago's face, "I'm sick and tired of you!" Zhivago grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him close. "Look into my eyes, I dare you." He let Gino go, who immediately reached for his clothes, only to be pinned against the wall. "I will never let you go," sneered Zhivago. "You are mine! Don't you dare think you can escape the truth!"

He forced him back onto the couch, pouncing. Then, without thinking, Gino grabbed the glass ashtray off the arm and whacked it over Zhivago's head.

This time the roles were reversed. Edmund reawakened with Johnny at his side, IV still in arm, and a tired, worried look about him. But they weren't alone; two men—one in a deep brown trench coat, the other a jacket-less suit—were sitting closest to the door. The jacket-less of the pair, miniscule compared to his hulking friend, nodded at Edmund, as if in some mutual approval. He buried his hand in one of the many pockets of his companion's coat, and took out a pen and notepad. "Hello sir. My name is Douglas Morrison, from the Durem Bureau of Assault and Murder Investigations —DBAMI— and I was wondering if you were up to answering some questions."

With a faint assent of the head, Edmund took the pad and paper, seeing as his voice did not wish to work. Morrison scooted his chair next to Johnny, who was reluctant to let go of his lover's hand. "By the way," Morrison said, gesturing with his hand at his companion, "the big lug over there is my partner, Cassidy Jones." Cassidy gave a grunt, to make sure no one mistook him for a wall, and then grew silent again.

"Now then, Mr. Wesley," said Morrison, clearing his throat. "I want you to know, in advance, that I'm only here to do my job. I won't hold anything against you—not your job, not your past, not your bisexuality, none of that. So, with that said, you don't need to worry about what I'll think just tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

"My first question: Where were you October 24th, 2009?"

Edmund scribbled on his notepad, "On the shore of the Isle de Gambino; I was taking the long way home after work."

"Home, Mr. Wesley? Your registry info says your residence is in Durem."

"I mean my other home. With Johnny. He gets lonely at night, you see, so I sleep over there."

"Yes, of course. Why did you decide to take the long way that evening?"

"I had a long day, and I thought I should clear my head before I head home to him. He has depression, and I don't need to worry him any more."

"Did anything happen around that time to make anyone want to kill or assault you?"

"Assault, you say? Was I raped?"

"No, not that any forensic tests can show. There was no sign of sexual trauma on you."

"Good, I like to save my body for my love. As for any unusual incidents, no. Nothing more than the usual pissy threats about my unfair prices. All of which are reported immediately. I'm sure you have them on file."

"I do. Anyway, do you remember encountering anyone that day about late teens, early twenties, with long blonde hair?"

"I see so many people fitting that description every day, detective; I could not pick one out from another."

"Oh, yes. Well then, Mr. Gambino, would you know anything of the incident."

"I'm sorry," Johnny shook his head, "but all I know is I'm glad to have my Edmund back. I wish I could be of better use but I have no clue."

"Of course, Mr. Gambino, it's alright. Now just a few mo-." A heavy vibrating in his pocket stopped Morrison mid-sentence. Out came his cell phone, which was answered and pressed to his ear. "Yes, it's me. Yes, yes. No, no. Wait, what? What! Oh gods, yes, yes, we'll be there as soon as possible!" He hung up his phone, shoved it in his pocket. "I'm terribly sorry; we'll have to finish this later. Thank you for your time, sirs. Cassidy, hurry up, we got a massacre going down in Aekea! They need all the help they can get!"

The blur of blood and of shrieks were muffled by his need to escape. He didn't care how many bodies he left in his wake while he escaped. His shoes splashed in blood puddles, his eyes clouded over watching his hands tear apart limbs. He tried to sob, to apologize, but his throat was clogged, filled like a tapeworm's haven.

Zhivago's blood had flown onto his body, and had triggered something inside of him, sending him to a paroxysm. It was like the fire in his stomach which had before risen and conquered at the sight of his fathers performing sodomy. Was it denial that made him rage so? Denial that he, too, may have wanted to be held and sodomized and treasured by a man? Was this violence an opposition to his usually meek and tender self?

When he stopped, pressed against a chip shop's wall, his torso, legs, arms, hands, face, neck, hips were splayed and sprayed crimson. He heard heavy footsteps, angry shouts, and sensed some sort of presence around him. Alert, but in no need to protect himself, Gino surrendered to this enemy, slipping to his hands, knees, at their feet. He felt cold metal bracelets click-click-click onto his wrists, and he was stood, sat in a car, as a man babbled away.

"…To remain silent…in a court of law…an attorney…you cannot…one will be…for you…These rights?"

"Yes, sir."