Fiction~~Husbands for Peace, Free Preview
|Husbands for Peace - Chapter 1 Free Preview|
1: Black Out
The floor was freezing, Noah thought.
He rolled over awkwardly, deliberately resting the warm half of his body on the icy tiles. The contact made his balls draw up and he shivered violently.
It was almost worse than resting on a block of ice, just cold enough to suck the heat from his skin without giving him the release numbness would provide. He shivered again, trying to force his slim body against the floor as fully as possible.
Gasping at the renewed chill, he made the mistake of opening his eyes.
The cold disappeared. For a moment he couldn’t even breathe and then a pitiful, moaning whine seeped out. The high, muffled sound echoed thinly in the pitch black and it brought back the cold, the discomfort of bound limbs, and the small part of his mind that wasn’t gibbering in fear.
Don’t lose it. Keep it together. You’re an Ashfield; we aren’t afraid of the dark!
Unfortunately, he knew very well that this Ashfield was terrified of the deep black as though it were a gang of terrorists attaching a grenade to his privates. His breathing was quick and shallow. His back twitched as though something unseen were about to latch onto him with claws and fangs. His courage seemed to be huddling in a small corner of his mind, holding a pillow over its head.
He hated the dark.
He hated being afraid of the dark even more.
Dammit, he should be over this by now, no matter what Granpa said about it. A grown man was too old for this type of idiocy!
He thought of the old man, kind eyed as his broad hands patted Noah’s shoulders after a panic attack like this, but it only made it worse. Granpa wasn’t here right now, was he? He hadn’t been able to visit in over a year. Tomorrow, he reminded himself, hoping the thought would make his pathetic, quivering ass calm the hell down. The moment Noah walked off the base tomorrow the old man would be there, shaking his hand in front of reporters and hugging him like he’d never let go as soon as they got inside the limo.
Noah just had to wait until tomorrow.
With a soft whimper, he shifted uncomfortably. The unexpected scuffle of his bare leg on the floor jolted him and wiped the pleasant thought out like a coat of black paint. If only he could see. Just a little bit of light: a candle, a flashlight, a firefly, anything! Some light…
Why wasn’t there light yet? He tried to build up a little anger and ended up with another childish whine instead. Mike should have the power up by now, dammit! This Space Corps base was older than God, yeah, but Mike was nearly a genius at getting the power turned back on with the old equipment at this point. Damn outages happened almost every week; Noah had kept track.
He’d rather ignore every, single time his body froze up on him and had him shaking like the virgin he was, but some masochistic part of himself kept tally anyway. It gave him something to focus on when he was pushing himself to run that extra hour, or take another punch so he could put the other bastard down. He couldn’t control this, but everything else…
A sniffle escaped, muffled though it was, and hearing it humiliated him all over again because he was still so damned scared he wanted to curl up and hide on someone’s lap.
It’s just the dark, he yelled at himself. Man up, Ashfield!
Searching for his inner man, Noah finally gave up and quivered. He would have given all his fortune for a little light. At this point, even that ass Vane could have come by and he’d welcome him with open arms as long as he brought some illumination with him.
Maybe later he’d be happy that he couldn’t scream for help. If no one came, no one would ever see him like this. His reputation as the toughest man on the base, despite his height and looks, would be secure.
Except if his reputation and the terror it usually inspired had done their damn jobs, he wouldn’t be in this situation. He wouldn’t be lying naked, gagged, and tied up in blackness darker than hell’s asshole. But he was. He was trapped waiting for someone to win a damn game and come down to claim their…‘prize.’
As his mind frantically reminded him how many hours one of their poker games usually took, he wanted to scream. Noah’s throat felt as though the dark were seeping in and strangling him. Dammit, he didn’t care right now if they saw the real him, as long as they came to get him! He wanted damn well out!
And then he’d worry about revenge on the dumb bastards who’d put him down here. They’d done this to him. They’d put him through this Hell. His sex-obsessed bunkmates flashed through his head, all twelve of them, and anger finally burned through his fear with a faint spark.
He could still hear them in his head.
Wanna play some strip poker, Ashfield? Last time you can win some money before you’re a free man, right?
Noah hadn’t thought the night would involve his being stripped and them playing poker! He should never have let slip that he was a virgin. If not for that, and the false rumor that he was gayer than gem-studded bike shorts, he knew they never would have offered his body up as part of the winning pot.
They’d regret it, as soon as he got out of here. He wasn’t going to wait for them to all gang up on him again. The first one he saw was going to get kicked so hard they’d be squealing louder than Denton had when Noah’d tagged his balls during the struggle. He growled, remembering how the weenie had insisted on putting him down here in the storeroom after that.
The feral sound echoed louder than his whining had and he froze. Th—they’d put him down here, he reminded himself, trying to strengthen his flagging rage. They’d dumped him here…in the storeroom…in the dark. He tried to growl again but could only pull off a half-strangled bleating. As the sound died, a strangely hollow shwup seemed to echo beneath it, and the angry spark snuffed out completely. He was suddenly, absolutely positive his gagged whine had hidden something he should have heard. Was something outside the door? Or in the room with him?! Shivering, he listened in silence until his ears ached, stopping only because panic was creeping in quicker than the icy cold of the tiled floor could soak into his skin.
There’s nothing there. Nothing there, only the room and eight boxes and two battered shelves and the forty-two ceiling tiles he’d counted nineteen times before the lights had flickered and died. Nothing’s there! He cringed at the fact that even his thoughts were whimpering now and closed his eyes. Think about something else, anything else! His granpa, Mike, his bunkmates, even Vane and his constant stalking – if it distracted him from this gut-clenching, overwhelming need to escape, he didn’t care what it was. He opened his eyes at the thought, confronted darkness so thick it should have smothered him, and his entire body reacted with another trembling case of the shakes.
Why the hell wasn’t Mike getting the lights back on?
Doing his best to hold back an infantile cry against the gag, he quickly closed his eyes again, scrunching them down tight.
Somebody please come and make all this damn well go away!
* * *
The shuffle of Jovi’s soft, knee-high boots was mimicked by Amon’s steps ghosting over the floor behind him. He didn’t think it was loud enough to be heard more than a foot away. Above them both, the lights flickered unhealthily with a dissonant hum. The slick, skin-tight fabric of his jumpsuit swished softly in time to his steps. Patting the pockets of his bulky coat, he reassured himself that he had all the items he might yet need: stunner, nightorch, knife, backup Caller, restraints.
One could never be too prepared, in Jovi’s opinion.
All were present and accounted for, and they’d completed their mission with time to spare. They could both be done with this incomprehensible planet and its recalcitrant inhabitants. It would be up to the politicians now. All he and Amon had to do was go back to the ship, find a couple of eager fellow soldiers, and celebrate.
And then he heard the sound. A delicate mewl, it trickled down the corridor in a whisper so faint he almost missed it. Even if he’d heard the whimper clearly, however, he would have wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him.
This was no place to encounter the worried keening of a shoree cub.
An immature shoree, on the completely wrong planet, in the bowels of this old base, in the middle of the night—a curious thing, but not his concern. Irrelevant, as his mother would say. He should ignore it. This was the last base they had to hit tonight, and they were already on their way back to the shuttle. Tempting the gods to satisfy his curiosity over one, insignificant sound would be foolish beyond belief, even if it happened to resemble the cry of his niece’s favorite pet.
Ignoring his mind’s superior decision-making abilities, his feet stopped and held him fast to the floor as his ears worked to hear something again. It would only take a moment to satisfy his curiosity, he thought. The risk wasn’t that great.
The reassurance rang hollow. He was well aware he was lying to himself.
Not that he couldn’t conjure up very practical reasons to investigate, reasons that would satisfy both his conscience and his partner. Something unexplained often yielded the most important information, in his experience. And anything from their planet on a military base on Earth, at this juncture, was likely something they should know about. But none of that truly held any sway over his rebellious body and its insistence on standing perfectly still in the middle of the corridor.
The sound worming its way under his skin and, disturbingly, making his cock a little hard, was purely a personal matter. He rather desperately wanted to know what had made that delicious, entrancing call. He needed to know.
And it seemed his hands agreed. They were beginning to sting badly. He could already tell the reaction was going to be stronger than normal. It was building rapidly to a heavy burn and it had only been a few seconds. Clenching his fingers tight to his palms to try and alleviate the sensation, he swore silently as the heat simply built. Before it completely overwhelmed him, he followed his gut response and turned back the way he’d come. Everything dampened down to a tolerable tingle again.
Why his damn hands thought burning him like that was going to help him function was a mystery. Not that they’d ever made sense, but usually the tingling stayed to a reasonable level. He needed to be able to think or he couldn’t do what they were urging, after all.
Still listening intently, shaking his hands out, he forgot to warn Amon. The man came around the corner in a fluid glide and almost ran into him. There was a nearly silent hiss of surprise before Amon caught himself, his face so close that his breath pushed at the pulse in Jovi’s throat. Jovi shoved him back casually, keeping his hand relaxed to let the man know not to worry.
A childhood’s worth of sneaking cold treats from his father’s cook served them both in good stead on a mission like this.
Amon shifted to the side automatically so he could keep an eye on the dim corridor behind Jovi. It was a strange sensation, in a way, being able to stand so openly rather than keeping hidden. Not what he was used to at all from the Hall’s practice sessions, but these humans were practically night blind. Dimming the power in the immediate area was all they’d needed to keep from being spotted by the weak Terran eyes.
Although that advantage didn’t preclude a certain amount of caution. If the alarm was raised too soon, they could be in real trouble. They had to have at least enough time to get back to the entry point or they couldn’t use the Caller to transport back to the shuttle.
Running for their lives and trying to find an actual physical exit from the base was something they’d both prefer to avoid.
Jovi stood perfectly still, trusting Amon to keep watch as he tried to figure out what he’d heard. Where had it been from? It wasn’t in the hallway, so where was it? His eyes saw a weak, still-illuminated keypad against the wall down the corridor and he considered it. Possible, he decided.
Amon finally ventured a word.
“Care to tell me why we’re poised on the corner like Grunge Dancers?” he whispered as he glanced over.
“Heard something. I would swear it sounded like a shoree.” Jovi kept his voice just as quiet. Hand signals might have been more appropriate, but trying to interpret barely familiar signs was a distraction they didn’t need. He and Amon had abandoned them at the first base.
Although that might have had something to do with Amon’s signals devolving into creative, obscene gestures every few minutes. One would never know the irreverent Jeneran had been seasoned in the Hall of Servants with Jovi.
Jovi realized he’d been standing for a number of minutes without moving as Amon finally stirred. Watching as the man looked up and down both ends of the corridor in an exaggerated fashion before raising a disbelieving eyebrow, Jovi felt his mouth quirk. He tried to look stern, then promptly gave up as Amon took the opportunity to waggle both eyebrows in a sinuous line. Merely a parody of one of the signals they were supposed to have memorized during their laughably brief training, it still managed to seem sexual.
“Are you certain you weren’t hearing one of those rats instead?” Amon finally asked after his eyebrows calmed. “Disgusting things seem to be everywhere on this planet.”
“You know that based on your night’s worth of experience in a handful of bases, eh?” Jovi asked, and Amon raised a finger to acknowledge the point. “And you out of anyone should know that I can recognize the sound of a shoree when I hear it.”
“I don’t hear anything.”
“Nor do I, any more.” They stood there for another few minutes.
“You know I love listening for fluffy, pink herbivores more than anything, but do you suppose we could leave now?” The barest hint of impatience twisted Amon’s voice. Their timetable hadn’t been extremely tight for this last, rather quaint, base, but it wasn’t loose either.
Jovi didn’t say anything. His hands still tingled from his palms to his fingertips and he knew he wasn’t going to leave until he found out what it meant, even if he had to make Amon go without him. Damned hands could be as pushy as a blood-scented scat sometimes.
“I believe we need to cut your meditation time short, Jovi my friend.” Amon said after another few minutes passed in silence. “I don’t want us to be stuck here when –”
Hearing a small thud and another muffled whimper, they both turned their heads quickly to look back at the door behind Amon.
“All right. You win. That does sound exactly like a shoree.” Amon poked him in the shoulder. “And now that we’ve both heard it, time to go.”
Jovi took a step around him as he ignored the gesture and began creeping back towards the door.
Amon grabbed his arm. “Jovi, our appointment with the ship is really one I’d like to keep.”
With a sigh, Amon relaxed his grip and followed. The doorway was a dark rectangle along the wall, easy to see even without the flickering keypad next to it. A little technological magic with some funneled power and Amon’s code snake and he had the door unlocked. He eased it open a crack and listened intently. The room’s power was completely off, leaving it blacker than even Jeneran eyes could compensate for. It smelled of dust and disuse.
There was a flurry of sound from inside and their stunners were instantly out and aimed. He and Amon both stared, tense as something thumped and scrabbled deeper in the darkness. When nothing charged them after a few moments, Amon turned to watch the hallway instead.
Heart racing, Jovi calmed himself as he noticed the sound wasn’t advancing. Stationary but frantic, it sounded as though something were trying to escape a trap. Had the humans somehow managed to capture a shoree from one of the Jeneran ships at some time? He hadn’t thought any had been boarded.
Or did they have an animal equivalent of their own?
He’d find out soon enough. He didn’t have a choice; his hands were growing hotter the longer he waited. Taking a steadying breath, Jovi was about to step inside when Amon put a hand on his arm again to whisper into his ear.
“It’s damn dark in there, my friend. Be a shame to trip over something with claws and fangs just when we’re about to leave.” Amon’s face was far grimmer than the light tone to his voice. His eyes continued to scan the hallway. “The last base we dallied at, we were so close to being captured I’m surprised my hair didn’t die and fall off.”
He flicked his heavy mass of green, knee-length hair as though illustrating what a tragedy that would be and got Jovi to smile slightly again. He smiled back as he continued.
“While I admit to a certain level of curiosity over your sound, I’d rather not tempt the gods to denude my head again on our last space port of the night.”
Jovi considered it for only a second. The likelihood that something might go wrong was growing higher the longer they were on base. And the sound clearly wasn’t something vital. This entire side trek was an unnecessary risk.
But he couldn’t ignore his hands or his gut. The need to see what was making the sound had grown to a gnawing ache since the small, muffled whimper had first fluttered against his ears. His hands were on fire. He had to find out what was in this room.
“My hands burn, Amon,” he finally whispered fiercely. Amon’s fingers rubbed against his arm in a consoling gesture as he drew them away. Amon was one of the few who knew how his need manifested. More a quirk than a gift, it was nothing like the ability to read the paths of the future that Seers possessed. But they’d both learned to pay attention when it manifested.
He had to go in, even if neither of them knew why.
Already crouching down to watch the corridor better, Amon offered one last whispered bit of advice as Jovi took his first step into the dark.
“There’s only fifteen minutes left before the perimeter patrol finds the ship. Don’t flirt with it too long, eh?”
Jovi grabbed his crotch with his free hand obscenely, aiming it at Amon and getting a low chuckle in response. He grunted as his body objected to the pause and urged him forward with a particularly vicious, manual hot flash. His green braid swayed against his calves as he shivered over the nearly sexual pain. He hadn’t felt the need to act this strongly in almost a decade.
Shifting to the side as he entered to avoid being outlined against the dim light from the hallway, he moved as softly as he could manage. Something scuffled in the dark again. An uncoordinated thumping against some piece of furniture combined with a soft keening, the sound made his head swell with sympathy. And his cock as well, which he could only attribute to being too long denied the opportunity to indulge it in what it really enjoyed. Otherwise it had suddenly developed an interest in bestiality, and he knew he wasn’t that desperate yet.
Another loud thud brought his mind back to the creature in the room with him. The thing had to be trapped, he thought again. That much noise, with no movement in any direction? Trapped or trying to get into a food store of some kind.
It was to be hoped that this part of the planet didn’t have any deadly scavengers or this could be ugly.
Amon guessed what his next request would be and closed the door before he could even ask. Visible light disappeared, but at least now he could turn on his own nightorch without fear of it being seen by someone walking down the hallway. There was a muffled wail as the light went out. He aimed his stunner and torch at the heartrending noise and flicked the light on.
His hands quieted the instant he could see what he was facing. The burn faded to a pleasant glow. He barely noticed; he was too concerned with trying to breathe. It was a young human male, naked and bound, lying on his side. The body was small, but the nicely developed muscles along his slim frame were instantly recognizable as adult.
The boy was tied up.
He was delicate and petite and beautiful and absolutely perfect.
And he was tied up.
Jovi’s cock used the opportunity to shove rational thought into a small, locked box. He managed one heaving gulp of air and stared at the squinting face. He blinked rapidly, tempted to rub his eyes. It was a mirage, or a trap. A being that fulfilled every fantasy he’d ever concocted, and a few he’d never even realized he’d had, was not physically possible. Gods be praised, but no one had ever warned him that humans could look like this.
The rest of the story at yaoifix