After oh so long, it's finally done! I'm so sorry to keep you all waiting for this and not for the others. But this was the closest one to being done so I figured I had to finish it up.
So here it is. The final chapter to Save Me. I might change the name of the story though...not liking it anymore. If anyone has any good title ideas for this story, message me and the best one gets a virtual cookie and a hug. Lol.
Again, so sorry it took so long. School is becoming HELL. And I mean that literally. We're being threatened to get shut down so it's becoming a hassle to learn things at a quickened pace.
And on another note before I let you finish the story...thank GOD for I-phones and personal hot spots. Guess who has internet now because of it and can finally finish the work?
"There is no greater pain than that of losing someone you love..."
This phrase haunted Yuuen for quite some time and frankly, it was annoying.
In a way, he had lost someone he loved...he loved many people and he lost them to his stupidity and childlike attitude towards his life. It was unlike him to even consider the facts, much less go over them in his head just one more time. It was meaningless. It was all meaningless.
Yuuen's head weakly raised up to look at the sky. It was bright blue, white clouds soaring over head...he chuckled. It was going to be a beautiful day...
It signaled the middle of the afternoon, in turn signaled his kidnappers to return to camp for their lunch, break for 20 minutes to abuse Yuuen's body for amusement, then return to their hunt. He sighed. After many months of being raped and abused by these men, he was far too used to it to be resistant. True, he would continue to scream and panic in pain as they dry slammed him, but he gave up trying to resist.
After all, what was the point of it all? He gave up everything.
He suddenly heard the sound of their laughter and immediantly made a mental note to shut his mouth. Not that he was talking or anything; he just made a habit to not speak when they returned for whatever reason.
He saw Uka walking towards him with a smile on his face. Yuuen shut his eyes, not caring about what the man did anymore and-
A piece of meat was shoved into his mouth and while it took him by surprise, his taste buds exploded in awe...meat...it was lion meat, tangy, sweet, chewy...
Yuuen moaned at the taste, savoring it was he chewed slowly before swallowing it. It tasted even better going down his throat as he suddenly craved more. He couldn't stop himself from looking up at Uuka with a desperate stare, making the man laugh in mock satisfaction.
"Is there something that you want from me, boy?"
Yuuen blindly nodded, his head nodding up and down rapidly.
"Ahhhhh is it that meat you want? Is that it?"
Again, Yuuen nodded rapidly.
"Haha! I figured that's what you want. You want this? You want this piece of meat? This one here?"
He held it right over Yuuen's head, directly under his mouth. Said boys mouth was open, trying to get the food he longed for. But he knew the man was just humiliating him this way, but he was so hungry, he didn't care anymore. He wanted that meat, small or big.
Uuka smirked. He knew forcing the boy food he'd been denied for so long would drive him crazy with hunger. It would be more entertaining to him and the tribe. He handed the meat over to one of his tribesmen, then untied his loin cloth, walking closer to the boy and said,
"If you want special treats, I must get something in return. Now...suck me off."
He wasn't sure if it was the sudden lust for lion meat that drove him to do it. He wasn't sure if it was insanity that drove him to say it. All he knew was, he said it and now it sealed his fate for the remainder of the day.
"Yes master...I'll give you what you want."
And he dove in (as much as his restraints would allow) to nearly swallow the mans girth, sucking madly. He wanted it. He wanted it so bad.
He wanted to eat that piece of lion meat.
He sucked roughly and with purpose, moaning loudly as his mind tricked him into thinking the mans cock tasted of lion meat and it drove Yuuen crazy.
It had felt like years since he last ate lion meat and now that the taste returned to his taste buds...
His eyes snapped open when he felt Uuka's cum splash down his throat, taking him by surprise and he choked, coughing madly as the man removed himself from his mouth. Then, he chuckled and pushed the lion meat into Yuuen's mouth. He wasted no time in devouring the whole thing in a few seconds, then relaxed against the tree. He vaguely heard the men laugh and trail off down their hunting path, but when he heard silence, he relished it. He lived for the quiet time.
He gave a sad smile to himself, sitting against his restraints and stared up at the sky again, not caring about the humiliation of what just happened. All he wanted was his alone time to think about all that's happened to him in the months he had been away.
And he sighed, laying his head against the tree, eyes moving towards a bush of berries that he usually saw the men gather for their drinks and medicine. They reminded him of the berries his sister in law used for healing methods.
Yuuen's eyes clouded over at the thought of eating those berries. He had heard numerous times that eating so many of those berries could kill someone. And it was quite often Yuuen thought about taking his own life. Often being at least 4 times out of his usual day.
His eyes slowly began to close, the sounds of the small breeze lulling him to sleep again.
The sound of frantic running around is what woke Yuuen up after a few hours. He heard shouting as well, which wasn't a good sign. His eyes weakly opened and was sudden greeted with Uuka tying a bag together, slinging it over his shoulder and whistled to his men to rid the rest of the camp site. Meanwhile, he ran over and untied Yuuen's bindings, retied the rope around his neck and wrists and yanked him to follow.
As much of in pain as he was, Yuuen couldn't help but feel a little confused at what had spooked his captors so bad that they packed up so quickly to leave. Were they discovered?
He prayed. Ohhhh Yuuen prayed they were discovered. Maybe he could finally be free and could finally go home after so long...if he even wanted to face his family again.
Ugh, again with thinking about his family. He had to stop doing that.
"Let's go, brat. You're moving too slow."
His feet moved on their own as he quickly ran up to Uuka and followed the men away from their camp site. His head hurt, his feet like he had been stepping on thorns for 4 years (it felt like years), his eyes hurt, his whole body was aching from all the whippings and scars and other open wounds that he was certain were infected by now.
The yank on his neck increased as the men started running. Running? Since when did they run from anything?
Nevertheless, he ran to keep up, his feet aching so much more. Any day now he would collapse under his own aching pressure.
The sound of a mountain lion from behind them caught his attention. Ahhhh that's why they were running. A lion had sneaked into the camp site.
Hours passed it seemed before they finally slowed down and all the men relaxed against trees; Yuuen couldn't hold himself up anymore. He collapsed under his feet onto his knees, exhausted. There was no way he could hold himself up anymore. He was too thin, too weak, too tired...
Uuka sighed and leaned his head back against the trunk, listening to his men take in deep breaths, panting.
"Did you see the size of that thing?"
"If we had our weapons ready, we could have easily killed and eaten that thing. Would have made such a delious feast."
"It would have if we were prepared. I don't want this to happen again. Do you hear me? If anyone hears something like that again, weapons ready. Understood?"
The men all nodded and stood up to get ready to leave again. The sun was rising and they needed to keep moving. Uuka stood and pulled his rope, but when he felt a large tug, he turned to see the boy still on his knees, trying to stand, but failing every time. He would stand, then his legs would shake uncontrollably and he would fall.
Yuuen tried once again, but failed and fell to the dirt, whimpering at the ache in his feet and legs. And when he saw Uuka standing in front of him, a dark glare on his face, the boy whimpered.
"Please...I can't go anymore...it hurts to stand..."
It was begging he was reduced to, but he couldn't help it. There was no way he could go on unless he was dead.
The man looked over the boy a few times and saw how bad of shape his legs were in, much like the rest of him. He was terribly thin, his hair was dirty and so long, long enough to cover his whole face. And for once...he took pity on the boy.
He sighed again, this time in irritation. He got to his knees in front of Yuuen and picked him up, threw him over his shoulder and carried on his way, not paying attention to the confused stares of his men. Even Yuuen was confused. This man had abused him, rape him, starved him and was now helping him...hell froze over, Yuuen was sure of it.
The group carried on for miles...eventually Yuuen passed out over Uuka's shoulder...
And when he woke up, he found himself up against a tree...not restrained. This was new. The group never left him unrestrained before. He bolted up right, regretting it instantly as his back started to ache, but ignored it as he began looking around. There was no camp site set out for them, no fire base set up. He didn't see anything except the foot prints in the moonlight.
Foot prints...and they didn't look fresh at all...that could only mean one thing...
Yuuen's eyes widened as he smiled...and started laughing. He was laughing and he was in shock...
They set him free...he was free...
The realization that he was free was hard for him to totally grasp. Too long had he felt the joy of not having ropes around his neck and waist. And now he was free...
But then it suddenly dawned on him...where would he go? How would he live? He was too weak to move, less alone hunt for food.
Well, the least he could do now was try. Taking in a deep breath, he grasped the bark of the tree and slowly, very slowly, began to stand up. His legs shook horribly, but after a while he stood up straight-ish and let out a shuddering sigh. Ok, step one done. While still holding a death grip on the tree, he moved his left foot out to try and walk. The moment his foot touched the dirt, it began to shake, then settle down. He continued this for a while, feeling ridiculous for teaching himself how to walk again. He eventually began walking normally and once he had perfect footing, he made his way down the trail, just walking.
That's all he could do now was walk...walk and hope...pray someone would find and help him.
-In the village-
The festive of the harvest came early this year. While it was still cold at night, the land had blessed them with bountiful crops. The women gathered around the fire, laughing and chatting away, weaving baskets for the flowers and fruits. The hunters sharpened up their spears for the mornings hunt as usual. Yuuli sat with his wife and son, bouncing Naavi on his knee, laughing at his smiling child. It was a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless. His wife set a comforting hand on his knee, knowing why he was upset. And she smiled, telling him that everything would be ok and that whatever happened, was probably meant to happen.
It didn't settle his nerves though. The thought of his brother dead for some purpose didn't set well with him. But he had to move on. Yuuen was dead...they called off the search...it was time to move on...
His eyes averted from hers and onto the tent that used to house both Yuuen and Emba. Now, it housed only one and it's only occupant had refused to come out since the dismissal of the search. Yuuli understood why. Emba had lost the only person who he willingly opened his heart to. It was no wonder he was being stubborn.
He sighed and hugged his son to his chest.
He then jumped when he saw out of the corner of his eye Emba leaving the tent and walk down to the lake, where he would usually sit and stare at the water, killing whatever he found in there. With Yuuen gone, his heart hardened even more then it did when they first met the man. He was a shell now, housing a broken heart. Yuuli felt so bad for him...
The man walked down to his usual spot and sat down, throwing rocks into the water. His eyes were a dark shade of pain. It was like this for quite a while. Nothing made him smile anymore. His own nephew couldn't make him smile...well, that's not true. The fact that little Naava was in his life made his heart jump a little. It took some of the pain away.
The water was getting calmer, meaning it was getting colder. This happened a lot at night, Emba noticed...but in the back of his mind, all he could see was a visual of Yuuen's frozen corpse in the lake, floating towards him. And he shook the thought away. He never wanted to face the reality of Yuuen's death; but since the dismissal, it was all he could think about.
He knew Yuuli went into his tent and screamed after getting the news. Yuni sobbed for hours with Salem with him, comforting him as much as he could. And Emba went into the forest, cutting and slicing everything he layed his eyes on.
It was hard to hear obviously. But they knew they had to face the fact sometime.
Letting out a shuddering breath, he threw a stick into the water, watching the ripples fade...
and hid his face in his knees, trying not to cry again. Tears would do no good in a situation like this. He had to suck it up, hard as it was and move on. He would have to learn to open his heart again, perhaps find love again, if it were possible.
Sighing, he stood to go walk back to his tent and go to sleep, wanting to put these awful few months behind him...when splashing caught his attention. And it wasn't so much the noise that caught his attention. Fish didn't make that noise, if any. That sounded like someone was drowning.
He turned to look back out at the lake and from a far distance, he could see something or something splashing about. Too far to do much of anything...Emba rubbed his head. It was starting to ache horribly. He turned again; then he heard it.
It was someone drowning. And that someone was screaming in the lake, that much he could make out. Once again, Emba turned and squinted his eyes, trying to see who was out there as he took small steps into the lake.
He took two steps in and the screaming got louder.
Another two steps in the screaming grew frantic.
A final two steps in...and he saw a flash of golden hair fly as it fell back into the lake.
-Back track a few moments-
Yuuen was beyond his limits of exertion. His legs were still shaking horribly, but he continued on. He had to find a tribe that could help him. His thoughts trailed to Uta's tribe...how he had helped a stranger in need...then his thoughts trailed to his home.
There was no way they remembered him by now. They had probably moved on. Emba probably had another lover by now. A woman even, one with long hair and wide hips, beautiful eyes, kissable lips...
Yuuen stopped and clutched the stones in front of him, his hand clutching his heart. The thought of Emba making love to someone else terrified him. He couldn't live with the thought...with a shuddering sigh, he continued his way. Why would it bother him if Emba had someone else? After all, Yuuen was the one that left the tribe...left his love...he didn't expect Emba to wait.
Tears ran down his cheeks as he walked. He barley noticed he was walking along the edge of a cliff. His heart was heavy and it hurt like hell.
He started to stagger back and forth, no longer able to see where he was going...until he lost his footing and slipped off the cliff. It took only a few seconds for him to realize he was falling. He left leg smashed onto a large rock as he fell; he felt it crunch out of place and when he finally screamed, he slammed into a lake full speed.
He was submerged, unable to swim up with his seemingly broken leg and could only wait until he floated to the surface. He eventually used his arms to force himself up and once he reached the surface he took a lungful of air and screamed...knowing no one would hear him. He splashed around, screaming Emba's name out of instinct, screaming for someone to help him.
He was losing breath quickly and he lost all functions in his body. He pushed himself passed his limits and was paying the price for it. He slowly began to sink into the lake. He was going to die here...he could feel his heart slowing down bit by bit.
Until he felt arms wrap around his torso and force him up into the surface, then the rest was a blur. He was being moved away from the water. Someone had saved him...
His mind registered that he was gently placed on grass and his hair was moved from his face. He could feel the cold breeze on his cheeks. But he couldn't move, couldn't open his eyes, anything. All he could do was allow whoever saved him to try and get him to respond...
And Emba would do just that. At the sight of the golden hair in the water, he gasped and darted into the lake, swimming for whoever was in there. When he finally got to them, he wrapped his arms around their chest and quickly swam back to the land, gently placing the body on the grass.
It took him a few moments to gain the courage to know who this was...he already knew who this was, but he had to be sure. He moved the hair from his face and let out a loud gasp. He was right...he was right...
He looked dreadful, worse the dreadful. He looked dead.
He was so thin, covered in bruises and scars. Emba couldn't believe his eyes. He gently reached over to touch the boys face, jumping when he felt him jerk and eyes gently fluttering open. They locked onto Emba's eyes, like he wasn't real.
But then he smiled and reached for Emba's shaking palm. He grasped it and pressed it back to his cheek, whispering,
"You...you're not...a dream...you're...r-real."
Emba lost all composure then and there. He let out a heart wrenching sob onto Yuuen's bruised chest, tears falling over his slow heart beat.
He couldn't believe this. His wish came true. His lover was alive. Alive and hear in front of him. Brutelly inured and in dire need of help, but alive no less. Pulling himself up, he took another look at his lovers beaten face and leaned over to kiss his forehead.
Tears escaped Yuuen's tired eyes and he whispered,
"What? What hurts?"
"...everything. My head, my body, my heart, it hurts...I'm so cold..."
Nodding, Emba maunuvered his arms to take Yuuen back to the tribe, but stopped when Yuuen gave a sudden cry of pain, making Emba suddenly remove his arms. Yuuen was in too much pain to be moved right now, but he needed to see his sister for his broken leg and wounds. He rubbed Yuuen's head, telling him that he'd get him a fur cloak to wrap him in, to keep him warm. But in order to do that, someone would have to watch the injured boy. There was no way Emba would leave him alone like this.
Quick thinking was the obvious choice. He turned his and screamed out Yuni's name as loud as he could. Within seconds, the chief was running to the noise and upon seeing Emba, who frantically said,
"I need your cloak! He's freezing, we have to help him!"
Yuni looked down to see the body of his missing son, eyes open, tears falling and his breath ragged. His naked body was a mess of wounds and it was all Yuni needed to see before he screamed and ran to his sons side. Quickly, he removed his fur cloak and wrapped it around Yuuen's shaking body, scooping him up into his arms and rocking him gently, tears rolling down his cheeks. Emba, not saying a word, ran back to the tribe in inform his sister and grab her medical herbs.
Yuni couldn't believe what he was seeing. His son...his child, here he was, alive but in a great deal of pain. He cradled the boy in his arms, trying to control his tears, but he couldn't. He held on tightly, never letting go of Yuuen's trembling form. The chief gently layed a hand on Yuuen's cheek, gasping at how cold he really was. If he didn't get warmed up soon, he'd die.
The man quickly got to his feet and scooped the boy into his arms, making a mad dash towards the tribes site. In his arms, Yuuen gave a small groan, but that was it.
Yuni ran towards the fire, ignoring the stares people gave him and layed his son in front of the fire, gently moving the cloak aside and heard everyone gasp. Yuni payed no mind to them as Emba's sister came out, trying to contain her shock at seeing the young boy and got to work. She barley said a word as she looked over Yuuen's body, her gentle hands trailing over his open scars, listening to his gasps of pain. She trailed lower and lighty squeezed Yuuen's left leg. That got a reaction.
He arched his back and screamed at the sharp pain in his leg, making her jump back and wipe a few tears.
"My god, what's happened to him...his leg is horribly dislocated and his wounds are terrible. I need some rope and two tree logs to make a brace. I also need some meniro paste from my tent...Quickly! If I don't do anything now, he'll die!"
Everyone quickly realized what was happening here was no joke. Yuni ran to her tent to not only grab her supplies, but to inform his oldest son.
"Yuuli, get out here now. There's something you need to see."
Yuuli, confused, left his sleeping son and walked over to where a mob of people were crowding over. He heard his wife yell
"Step back! Give him air!"
And at that, he knew exactly was was going on, He pushed through the crowd of people and came face to face with the sight of his baby brother, wounded and near dead next to the fire. Emba was holding his hand, seemingly never letting go and rubbing his knuckles. Occasionally, he kissed the boys hand.
Yuuli was frozen in his feet, not quite sure how to take the sight in front of him. For one thing, he wasn't sure if he was dreaming or not, seeing Yuuen like this. But he also wasn't sure if his stun silence was just that of pure mortification.
He slowly walked up to the shaking body and took his other hand, rubbing the cold fingers. Yuuen turned his weak head to look at him and he smiled slightly.
The mans mouth opened, then closed again...still unsure of how to take this. But when Yuuen screamed as Yuuli's wife stretched out his leg to set it in the make shift cast, his grip tightened on his brothers hand. Nothing scared him more then this.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, she sat back and tilted her head over her work. Yuuen now had a make shift brace on his broken leg, smothered in a gel she created out of the paste to make it heal faster. She also covered his wounds with the paste and covered them with bandages. He was panting madly, trying to regain his breath. She knew he must have been so tired, that he could possibly pass out right now. Without wasting more time thinking, she got some water and mixed it with the last of the paste, making a drink that was a mild blue color. She tilted Yuuen's head up a little and told him to drink it down, and that it would help any internal injuries he might have.
Yuuen was exhausted. All he wanted to do was go to sleep and hopefully wake up in his tent and not in a cold ditch. If drinking this was the last thing he had to do, then he would do it. He felt the cup press to his lips and he drank the liquid down without a second thought. It was cooling and it soothed his throat greatly. Once the drink was finished, his head fell back against the dirt and he shut his eyes. He was getting such a large headache.
She smiled and set the cup down, looking to her husband and her father's friend.
"He'll be fine now. It seemed as though none of his injuries, thought they looked it, were enough to kill him. They were large enough to just cause him great pain. The thing that would have killed him was if they got infected, treated poorly or not at all, or even just exhaustion. But he's home now, so he'll be fine...though I am surprised...he ran away from home...was gone for so long and was pronounced dead...yet here he is, alive."
She gently moved some of his hair away from his face and she kissed his cheek.
"He's strong...and he has such will power to live...Emba, put him to bed. I think all he wants now is to sleep."
Her brother nodded and turned to look at Yuuli and Yuni, who couldn't take their eyes off of the boy. Emba didn't move him yet. He wanted to see if his family wanted a few moments with him.
He cleared his throat.
"Chief...would you...like a moment?"
His voice startled Yuni from his thoughts and he shook his head to gain his bearings. He wanted to...oh how he wanted to just hold his son to his form and never let go. But he was deathly tired, he could see that now. Yuuen's eyes were barley open at all and his breathing was raged. He knew his son needed sleep and rest and he needed it now. He shook his head again.
"No, Emba. Get him into bed. We'll have our moments with him when he's ready and strong enough to handle it."
Emba nodded and gently, oh so gently, took his love in his arms and carried him to their tent. The minute he stepped into the tent, the cold, dark emptiness that had surrounded it had suddenly been changed back into the warm and peaceful home he knew from before. He gently put Yuuen on their bedding and he gasped when he felt the comforting fur touch his back, his muscles gave way to the relaxation that had befallen him.
He curdled himself in the bedding and felt Emba set the blanket over his body; He smiled and whispered,
Emba smiled...for the first time in a long time, he smiled. He got to his knees and rubbed the boys face, kissing his cheek and told him to sleep. He stood to leave, but was stopped when he felt a hand grab his ankle, keeping him from moving.
"Wait...Emba...I'm so sorry..."
His head perked. Those words meant many things right now. It meant an explanation for why the hell Yuuen put his family through all this misery.
He turned his lightly slightly and let out a loud sigh.
"Yuuen, it's alright. You're home, that's all that matters. Go to sleep."
The man sighed again. As much as he wanted a full explanation as to why Yuuen left them so suddenly, he also wanted the boy strong enough to handle the stress of telling him. He noticed Yuuen wouldn't let go of his ankle, so he figured now was a good a time as any.
He turned quickly, sat down in front of him and gave him a stern glare.
"Alright. Answer me this. Why did you do it? Why did you run from us?"
He saw the boy's eyes close a little and he let out a small whimpering sigh before trying to sit up. Emba tried to stop him, but Yuuen stopped him first, then sat up and set his hands in his lap. It was quiet for a little bit as Yuuen tried to think of a way to explain this. Only, there was one problem.
He could barley remember why he ran away in the first place. It seemed like so long ago that he couldn't remember it in strong detail. So, he did what he could. He mustered what he could remember.
"Emba...I-I'm not saying I don't remember...but I can't remember fully of why I did what I did...the only thing I remember is being sick and feeling like a burden. Honest...that's all I remember."
"Wait a minute...you mean the reason you ran away...was because you felt like a burden because you were sick?"
Yuuen's head gave a gentle nod...and his head was snapped to the side as he felt Emba's palm smack him across the face. He had expected that. But he didn't expect Emba to immediantly crush him into such a tight hug. He felt the mans breath in his hair and he gave a soft gasp as Emba's hand wandered up his wounded back. He felt him kiss the side of his neck and whisper,
"You idiot...you spoiled...brat...idiot...how could you ever think yourself a burden to us? To me? Yuuen, you of all people should know by now that nothing you do is a burden to me. I love you. Nothing will change that."
"B-but...you didn't...find anyone else when I was gone?"
"Heh, no. I spent my whole time worrying about you...no one could ever change my hearts desire for you. Don't you remember? I promised that from this world to the next, my soul was yours."
Yuuen couldn't believe his ears. How long was he even gone for?
"You waited this long...for me?"
"I'd do it again if I was forced to."
There was no way to comprehend the amount of air Yuuen let out in his sobbing breath as he wrapped his arms around the love he foolishly left behind. He gripped the back of his neck, sobbing greatly.
"Oh Emba...I'm so sorry...I shouldn't have left you. I shouldn't have left home. It was horrible out there. All I could manage was getting myself in more trouble. The other hunters were right. I can't do anything without messing up."
"Messing up? Yuuen, listen to what you just said. And think about what you just did. You spent over 6 months away from home. And here we thought you were dead but you came back to us, alive. That seems to me like you managed just fine. Yes, you came back in horrible condition, but you survived. That alone is a great accomplishment. I'm not saying you should ever do this again, however. Because if you did, I would hunt you down, drag you back to the tribe and restrain you in here. Understand?"
Yuuen nodded, very tired, but awake enough to understand what he was saying. And Emba gave a shuddering sigh of content, tilting his head up and lightly kissed his lips. Yuuen inhaled his gasp.
Oh yes...after 6 months, Emba's lips were like fresh fruit to him. He wrapped his weak arms around his neck and buried his hands into his lovers hair, trying so hard to deepen the kiss. Emba noticed that Yuuen was becoming anxious, he always did over a kiss like this. But this wasn't the time for that. Yuuen didn't need anything like that right now. He needed rest.
He gently pushed away and looked into his lovers eyes, bloodshot as they were and he smiled. He kissed Yuuen's head, saying
"Go to sleep. We'll have time to catch up later. I'll be right here though, if you need me. I won't leave your side anymore."
The boy nodded again and slowly layed back on the bedding, curdling into the blankets. The feel of the warm fur on his freezing skin, his head no longer aching on solid ground, and the feel of Emba's large hand running through his hair was enough to lull him back to what was long overdue: Peaceful slumber.
It was the sound of women chattering that woke Yuuen up that next morning. And his head wasn't sore as it usually was. The only pain he felt was deep in his left leg, which was still in a brace. Slowly, he sat up and rubbed his head, running his fingers through his hair, which was slightly tangled. And he looked around, seeing that was in a tent...from the looks of the weaponry, he'd say it was his own tent that he was sitting in. When did he set foot back into his own tent?
Then it hit him. It hit him so suddenly.
He remembered falling off a cliff and into the cold lake, that he was drowning. But then someone saved him. Emba saved him...Yuuen wrapped his arms around his body, eyes wide with the realization that the love he left behind saved his life once again. He couldn't believe it. He just couldn't believe it.
Tears sprung in his eyes and he smiled, wiping them away. If Emba saved his life, then that meant he had brought him back to the tribe. So this wasn't a dream. Yuuen was truly home.
Movement outside the tent sturred him from his thoughts and he turned to see his brother walking in with a bowl of hot food in his hand, a cup of water in the other. They locked eyes for a moment. It was quiet before he walked over to Yuuen, got to his knees and set the items gently on the ground. Then, he threw his arms around Yuuen's form, hugging him tightly, tears falling over his cheeks. It took the boy a moment to register that Yuuli was crying on his shoulder, but he wrapped his arms around his older brother, comforting him. He knew it was hard to grasp that seeing Yuuen alive was a real thing.
"Oh Yuuen...oh god, why?"
"Why did you run away? Why did you put us through all that hell? We thought you were dead!"
The same question Emba asked him came up with the same result...
"I...can't remember why. I don't remember a lot of these last few months, honestly. I was sick, that I remember though. Brother, please don't be angry. But even if I could remember why I did what I did, I don't think even I could understand it myself."
"Yuuen, you put us through a lot looking for you. I cried myself to sleep numerous times at the thought of my baby brother dead. I can't go through that again. Whatever pushed you to do it, please...don't do it again."
Yuuen put his hand on his brothers shoulder and gave him a gentle smile, a smile that said 'I would never hurt my family like this ever again.' And Yuuli smiled back, hugging him to his chest again.
"I'm so happy you're safe. You have no idea how happy I am that you're home."
"I'm happy too, brother.,,,,I'm happy too..."
Time took its toll as Yuuli helped Yuuen out of the tent and into the sunshine, the smiling faces of the tribe as they hugged him, kissed his face and welcomed him home. Yuuen was stunned to see that no one was angry at him for running away, but he could very well see why. Yuni and Salem walked out of their tent and within seconds, Yuuen was in his fathers arms, lips on his head and an ear full of 'If you ever do this again, you will see what happens when you make your father angry' so to speak kind of lecture. And Yuuen laughed, even knowing his father was serious.
Salem set his hand on the boys shoulder and welcomed him home, hugging him tightly. Yuuen smiled. Home...he missed it here. He could've lied to himself for years if he could. He missed his home.
The day went on as it usually would, all while Yuuen was being tended to by his sister in law and her friends. He felt a little smothered, but he didn't say a word as she worked on his wounds, changing the bandages and applied more of that paste to them.
Supper rolled around and Yuuen felt as though he hadn't eaten in eons. The smell of the roasting lion and bear, fish and fruits, it made his mouth water. It was then he realized that he had been starved for a while with those poachers. He ate with his brother and his little nephew, noting how he hadn't seen Emba all day today. He was probably angry at him and was letting off some steam. Yuuen would handle that. After all, it's what he was expecting.
The moon was high when everyone went into their tents for the night as some of the hunters were up for watch. Yuuen sat on the bedding and rubbed his shoulder, feeling a rough scar there that would probably never fade away. He would have plenty of them, he knew that much.
His eyes turned to see Emba walk in, smiling at him and just that smile sent shivers up Yuuens spine. While he was unsure that any kind of sexual acts were on the table because of Yuuen's experiences and pains, it still gave him the chills when Emba smiled that way. The man walked over to him and gave him a gentle kiss to his aching neck and whispered,
"I love you...so very much."
"I love you too, Emba. And I'm still so sorry for what I did."
"Don't worry about it. It's done and gone now. Let's focus on the here and now."
Emba reached into his bag and pulled out a flower, a flower that Yuuen quickly recognized. It was the very same flower Emba gave him the day of their personal vows, when the two tribes became one. The ones that only grew once a year and were hard to find.
Emba reached over and lightly tied it around Yuuen's right ankle. He kissed under his ear and said,
"I'm giving you the time you need to recover. While I can see the outer injuries, I'm fairly sure you've suffered others. Yuuen, did anyone...hurt you while you were away?"
Yuuen averted his eyes and blushed. It was all that Emba needed to see. His fists tightened in rage. This was one of the things he was afraid of. He always had haunting thoughts of anyone forcing themselves onto Yuuen and hurting him in some way like this.
His lovers soft hand touching his made him jump and look into those soft eyes. Yuuen smiled, as if saying 'Don't worry. I'll heal in time.' Emba smiled back, taking his hand and kissing his scarred knuckles. Eventually, he was dragged onto the bedding and chuckled as Yuuen pulled him in for a kiss.
Life was perfect again...
Yuuen did heal over time. His wounds cleared up, leaving only a few scars and his left leg mended in only 6 weeks. Once he was walking again, he opted to go out with the hunters. This shocked his father and Salem greatly. Yuuen quickly explained that he taught himself a way to finally hunt without fail. Curious, they allowed him to go.
They were right to let him go. The hunters came back with more meat then they usually came up with. And Yuuen appeared behind them, wrists drenched in blood and a bow and some arrows attached to his back. He gave the tribe a smirk of triumph. Yeah, archery, as Uta called it, was defiantly his strong point.
If anything, Yuuen found that his surprising coming home was a good thing. He didn't feel like a burden anymore. He could finally hunt with the others and never feel like a failure again. Emba was so impressed and so proud of him, that night of the hunting, they made strong, hard, passionate love in their tent. Yuuen was never a quiet lover to begin with, so this added the fuel to the fire.
And he had to admit. If he had never ran away from home, he wouldn't be feeling this confidante in himself. Maybe it was a good idea to get away from home for a while, regardless of how it turned out the first time. Maybe he could leave again, learn a little more by himself, get more knowledge and learn new ways to hunt, to scavenge, to weave, to collect, anything.
The groan beside him, being Emba in his sleep, made Yuuen smile as he curdled close to him.
Or he could just stay home and learn here too with others. Yeah, that works too.