„'Cause the walls were shaking
The earth was quaking
My mind was aching
And we were making it and you
Shook me all night long
Yeah you shook me all night long“
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Gareth stepped through a throng of people, his arm curled around Marion's waist who in return had buried his hand in Gareth's back pocket. Left and right of them were cluster of people milling about the entrance of the club, smoking, drinking and mostly talking. Back inside the club it had been warm, the air smoke filled and the lights unsteady as the driving beat of the music. Outside they were greeted by a mild breeze picking up from the sea, driving away the stuffiness and fatigue.
From time to time Gareth and Marion went back to the club where they had first met, as an unspoken way of saying that they cared for each other. And because it had turned out that Marion was a very fine dancer and Gareth appreciated some good hip swiveling.
After their second meeting – in which Marion had been so desperate to see Gareth again, that he had tried to cover up some broken rips – they had met each other more frequently. Part of that was due to Gareth's remaining persistence with which he had kept calling up Marion, who of course remained hard to get in touch with, but turned out to be more than eager to meet Gareth when given the chance. Sometimes they went out for dinner, on other times they just stayed at Marion's place talking over some take away and very seldom, self cooked food.
It was on such occasions that Gareth learned more about the wry man and his rough manner. Gareth had guessed correctly, that behind the tough exterior and the deadly skills of police work, a rather charming and well spoken person had been hiding. A lot of their conversations had involved Marion's job and that he sometimes loathed to be on the Zombie Squad. Not that he actually wanted to be a 'real' cop, who had to abide by the laws and rules which Marion found stupid. To some extent, anyway. No, he loathed it because of the lack of respect he was shown by the 'real' police officers and directors. People on the Zombie Squad were seen as scum, as the last resort to turn to should everything else fail. Thus they were treated like vultures, a necessary evil to pick up the junk no one else wanted. Gareth understood how Marion felt and he assured him, that he didn't despise him for his work.
That was all Gareth ever said. And it was all Marion asked for. Despite their number of dates, love making or telephone calls, they hadn't confessed their love for each other. Granted, Gareth hadn't dated anyone since he had met Marion and he believed the same to be true for the other man, but nothing was ever spoken out loud. Gareth would be more than happy to finally tell Marion that he loved him deeply, but he sensed that the other man was afraid of spelling it out.
Sighing, Garth leaned into Marion's embrace and closed his eyes to enjoy the sensation of holding Marion close. The night was mild and the low rushing of the waves could be heard although the ocean itself was swallowed by the inky darkness of the beach. The bright and glimmering neon lights of the bars and clubs only reached as far as the promenade. Everything else further than that remained hidden. A fact that was often used by love infused couples tumbling out of the club in search for more. Just more.
"What're you sighing about?" Marion wanted to know, as he steered them towards the parked car.
Gareth could feel the answer on the tip of his tongue. 'Couples' he wanted to say but restrained himself, not wanting to pressure Marion in fear that the man might shy away. "About the beach."
A low rumble told Gareth that Marion was laughing knowingly and a smile spread on his lips.
"What's so sad about the beach that you're sighing like a depressed whale?" Marion inquired further, freeing his hand from Gareth's pocket to let it wander over the small of his back.
"Only that we're not on it, is all," Gareth hinted, a flirtatious note stealing into his voice.
Gareth turned in Marion's embraced and faced him fully, their chests touching. Getting Gareth's drift, Marion's hands settled on his hips and pulled him close. Grinning, Marion leaned in and kissed Gareth, slowly, lovingly, while his hands moved upwards in soft circles and vanished beneath the enticingly cropped shirt. Slinging his arms around Marion's neck, Gareth drew him towards the steps leading to the beach.
Kissing and laughing alike, they stumbled down the steps, cleared the few feet of illuminated promenade and vanished into the silky darkness of the night. For now, everything was just fine.
Grinning like a fool, Gareth took two steps at a time to reach the top floor flats where Marion lived. A bag bounced on a ratty strap over his shoulder. By now the way through the shabby alleyway and the run-down staircase was something that Gareth knew by heart. Leaving the cool shadows of the building behind, Gareth stopped on the terrace over looking the ocean. It was a bright day and the sky was the purest robin's egg blue and Gareth nearly burst with anticipation. The sun caressed his pale face and the city seemed to be lost in a blur of heat and glitter.
Today he and Marion had agreed to meet up and go on a weekend trip using Marion's Harley. That Marion had gotten a day off was surprising enough, but nothing could have stopped Gareth from packing his old, seedy duffle bag, when Marion had called and asked him out. Gareth had one or two ideas he would like to show Marion.
Pushing himself off of the balustrade, Gareth walked up the hallway leading to Marion's flat with a bounce in every step. Trying to keep his hands steady, Gareth knocked. Nothing happened. He checked his watch to see if he was too early, but he was right on time. It was 1 p.m., a time that Marion had set himself, surely he wouldn't still be asleep. Again, Gareth knocked with a little more vigor.
Ignoring his rising pulse Gareth called, "Marion? It's me, Gareth."
But still nothing happened. The roar of the cars passing the streets of Los Angles was only a far away murmur to Gareth who stood frozen in place, staring at the wooden door. Why wasn't Marion answering?
Anger made him dizzy as he stepped back onto the sun filled terrace, the heavy sunbeams now hitting him like a sledge hammer. With an angry flick of his arm, Gareth tossed the duffle bag onto the tiles and sat down next to it. Why would Marion invite him in the first place and then stand him up?
Slowly dread began to curl its icy fingers around his heart and it stopped in realization. What if something had happened and Marion was called to work spontaneously and hadn't had the time to call Gareth? Rubbing an agitated hand through his hair, he tried to think clearly. At one point, Marion had told him, that his work was unpredictable and sometimes he had to vanish, or lay low … or else his life was on the line.
No matter how much Marion despised his work at times, he would never evade his duty. The job came first. Of course Gareth had assured Marion that he accepted his job, that he was fine with him not being around all the time. But then he had at least known about Marion's assignments. This was completely out of the blue. Steeling himself, Gareth grabbed his bag and went home. He wanted to trust Marion. Although he had never said it, Gareth just knew that Marion loved him and wouldn't do this without a reason.
The fear in his heart wound itself tighter, but Gareth managed not to care too much. He trusted Marion. Everything would be fine.
The sickening feeling of guilt and shame had worn Marion down. Like a disease it had settled itself deeply in his gut and began spreading with every day he kept away from Gareth. Kept him away from danger. For three days now the red haired man had come up the four levels of the building, knocked at the door, shouted, pleaded and sometimes even kicked the walls in anguish. Marion knew how Gareth must feel, betrayed, alone and utterly disappointed. But there was no way around it. He couldn't risk Gareth. Not him.
Marion adjusted his belt-buckle as he took the metallic stairs of the fire escape, offering a second way up to the flats on top of the building. Sweat dripped down his brow, slid under his glasses and stung his eyes. He wore his black parka despite the heavy heat that had claimed the city. Not because he was cold, because he needed to conceal his pearl-handled colt stuck in the back of his jeans and the leather holster holding another short-range gun. His recent assignment had taken a nasty turn and now a psycho-killer was once more on the loose and in search. In search of Marion Cobretti.
He took the small flight of stairs leading from the fire escape to a hallway crossing the one to his apartment. As it had turned out, he had some important files on his work desk at home and not at his office in the L.A.P.D.
Wiping the sweat of his brow and plastering his black fringe all over, Marion rounded the corner and froze.
Huddled in front of his door was Gareth. His legs were drawn up and his chin rested on his knees. The face of the red haired man was flushed and grim. Suddenly he jerked around and spied Marion. A myriad of emotions passed over the open face Marion loved so much. None of them seemed particularly happy. But there was relief in his eyes.
"Gareth," Marion choked and stopped dead in his tracks. The weight of his colt settled coldly in the small of his back.
Gareth got up in all his gangly glory and rubbed a quick hand over his face, brushing aways the last of the tears clinging to his lashes.
"Marion, I know this is because of your job," Gareth began in an understanding voice but he couldn't hide the slight reprimand in it. "But you have to explai–"
Clicking into action Marion cut him short, "You don't know anything, Gareth."
"I– What?" Gareth seemed genuinely taken aback. The relief in his eyes turning to anger.
"I said, you don't know anything! Apparently you can't even take a hint when it's shoved into your face," Marion barked and felt himself torn open with every word he uttered. He couldn't risk Gareth. He needed Gareth to stop contacting him for a while but giving him any information about this case would make him more clingy for sure. He had to keep him out the hard way.
"You call vanishing without a message a hint? Are you fucking stupid?! I don't believe you, Marion," Gareth spat and walked up to him in brusque steps, his thin shoulders trembling in rage.
"Well, you should. The past two months were nice, but now I need you to go. Leave me be," Marion grunted and shoved past Gareth in the narrow hallway.
"You serious? This is utter bullshit and you know it!" Gareth shout had taken on a desperate tone as he grabbed Marion's arm to keep him from walking off.
With practiced ease and a heart screaming in defiance, Marion whirled around, got hold of the cheap, threadbare shirt and pulled Gareth close.
"I said: Go!" He pushed the stunned man away from him and Gareth took two faltering steps backwards. His face was a mask of hurt, anger and worst of all a deep, fierce love that Marion knew so well.
Without another word, Gareth spun around and rushed to the staircase. The metallic door clanging hollowly as it fell shut behind him.
Marion pushed his glasses up his head and brushed the back of his hand over his stinging eyes. When all this was done, he would apologize and Gareth would understand. They would be fine again.
The past week had been terrible. After Marion had shut him out, had treated him like scum, Gareth had begun to drown in the horrendous streams of self-loathing, anger and sadness. That wasn't right. He believed … he willed himself to believe that everything was only part of Marion's job. A ruse and nothing more. But the words thrown at him had felt real. Had evoked real pain and Gareth didn't know what to do.
When he was at work, it was only half-heartedly so, the rest of the time he holed himself up in his small two-room apartment, shutting out the world and hopefully some of his emotions. It didn't help that the radio once in a while played 'Should've Known Better'. So every time the song came on, Gareth gave the radio a vicious kick and his hate for Richard Marx grew a little bit more.
It wasn't that Gareth couldn't function without Marion. On the contrary, Gareth had always been good all on his own. But after having met Marion so intimately, all of the past actions seemed so utterly wrong that Gareth didn't know what to believe. He refused to be played like a fiddle, so if Marion really had faked the months of love and passion, then Gareth wouldn't be so stupid as to step into the same trap twice. But if Marion actually had lied, then of course Gareth would keep up his pursue of him. But at the moment, nothing felt fine.
His heart was jumping at the back of his throat as Gareth opened the metallic door leading to the roof where Marion's flat was. Gareth couldn't take his own self-loathing anymore. It was time to talk things over, no matter what the outcome would be. He wasn't some fancy girl you shoved aside when deemed fit.
Today the sun was hid by a few murky clouds that had risen from the ocean. Despite the sallow, grey light the air was humid and spoke of an upcoming storm. The air in the small, but open roofed hallway seemed oppressive, adding to Gareth's discomfort.
When he reached Marion's flat the door had already been opened. His heart raced in anticipation. Finally he had managed to catch Marion at home. Now they could talk.
Knocking softly on the wooden door, Gareth leaned in and called, "Marion?"
There was no reply so Gareth stepped into the kitchen and looked around. A weird feeling crept up his back. What if something had happened to Marion and that's why the door was open? A sudden rustling made Gareth twirl around. Behind Marion's desk stood a bulky man with cold, terrible eyes. In his hand was a photograph Gareth recognized immediately. It was a cheap photo strip taken in one of the run-down photo-booths in the shopping district of the city. Something here was utterly wrong.
Years of living on the street had made Gareth think and act quick in situations of stress. The second panic jolted through his system, he spun around and made for the door. His heart pumped heavily and his pulse became a deafening roar in his ears as he ran along the hallway, desperate to reach the staircase. Behind him heavy footsteps drew closer and closer still. Not daring to turn around, Gareth shut his eyes and pumped his legs with all of the strength he had left.
A sudden pain in his upper left thigh made him scream and gasp for air. He fell and his chin connected bruisingly with the tiled floor, his teeth clattered, tearing his lower lip.
In a frantic scramble Gareth tried to get away, to push himself off of the floor but a hand on his ankle yanked him back. Driven by instinct, he rolled onto his back and started kicking with his free foot, the pain in his thigh making him scream. But a sudden punch to his face sent stars exploding in front of his eyes and he blacked out. Nothing was fine.
Again Marion's search for Randy McAdams hadn't revealed anything and Captain Sears was becoming more agitated to get the case solved and Detective Monte was breathing down his back. Marion had arrested McAdams quite some time ago, but the evidence delivered by the police wasn't enough to keep him locked up for life. So now, ten years later there he was, back on the streets, looking for Marion, pursuing his hunger for revenge. Of course he hadn't exclusively attacked Marion in the course of his personal vendetta. He had also wasted three men resembling Marion in one way or the other. McAdams was seriously deranged and lost contact with reality.
Marion needed to cross-check his older files on McAdams with the files he had gotten from the L.A.P.D. When he turned into the hallway leading to his flat, he stopped dead in his tracks. Ahead he could see his flat door standing wide open. That was never a good sign.
His hand crept to the back of his jeans where he had tucked away his colt. He drew the weapon silently, squatted down and slid up the hallway. Half way up Marion froze as he saw blood on the ground. At one place it had pooled quite a bit, but huge smear marks had spread the liquid all over the rust colored tiles. Premonition contorted Marion's gut and he fought the urge to vomit. No, no, that couldn't be Gareth's blood.
Leaving the puddle behind, he slid into the flat, pressed his back to the wall and looked left and right. His whole apartment was a shambles. More than usual. Drawers had been ripped open, desks and tables knocked over and parts of the furniture slashed to shreds.
Running a gloved hand over his sweating face Marion relaxed and straightened, the apartment was empty. The instant he pushed his glasses back, Marion's heart dropped. Buried deep in one of the cupboards was a huge knife. Part of the blood on the blade had dripped over the cupboard door and dried. That in itself wasn't shocking, but the item it pinned down sent Marion's mind reeling with fear and anger. Burning anger.
The blade held a small black and white photo strip in place that showed Gareth and Marion inside of a photo booth. Marion remembered that day well, when Gareth had asked him out for lunch and afterwards had drawn him into one of those shabby booths.
Turning on his heels, Marion rand out of the apartment and made for his car. He needed to save Gareth. He needed him to be fine.
When Marion had told Captain Sears what had happened, he was at first met with utter confusion and reserve. What was Marion Cobretti, the big mouthed macho man telling him? That his male lover was abducted by the fugitive Randy McAdams? Surely this was some bad joke.
Finally Marion had managed to explain quite clearly that, no, this wasn't a joke and that it was serious. Captain Sears sat back in his worn leather chair and eyed Marion through the stale smoke of uncounted cigarets lingering in the dark office. The sunlight was completely drowned by the accumulating clouds, gathering for a worthwhile storm.
"You're telling me, that McAdams abducted your … lover, because of a photograph he found at you place?"
"Yes, that's what I've been telling you," Marion replied through gritted teeth. "McAdams is trying to get back at me for capturing him back in the day. Gareth must have been at my apartment and McAdams recognized him from the photo."
"If that's the case, there's just one thing we can do," Captain Sears said, Marion could feel his heart rise in hope, he needed all the police back up he could get. "We're taking you off the case."
"What?!" Marion erupted.
"Quiet down, Cobretti, I mean it," Sears hissed back. "If you're emotionally involved in this case, because of your lover, then we can't give you command. You're compromised."
After that Marion's memory was hazy. He knew that he had shouted at the man, explained … in one way or other and tried to make the captain see, that only he knew how to get to McAdams. Which would be easy, since McAdams wanted to get back at him, he wanted him to see what he did to Gareth, he wanted Marion to suffer.
But it had been of no avail. In the end he had been forcefully removed from the L.A.P.D., luckily still in possession of his guns. He would need that.
Back in his sleek car, Marion fought the ever rising urge to slam in a gear and race out into the traffic to find Gareth. But where should he look? It had to be something obvious, something that McAdams was sure Marion would find when he began his search. Banging his head on the steering wheel Marion cast his thoughts back to the year, when he had first met McAdams.
The night he had arrested McAdams a thunderstorm was in full effect. The sky had been black with clouds and the multitudes of lightnings had created an eery, sulphuric shine.
Marion's search had been frantic. McAdams had a hostage with him he was bound to kill. After desperate hours of combing through the city and of talking to his contact persons in the L.A. underground, Marion had found a lead. As it turned out, McAdams was drawn to junkyards, apparently because he had some drastic childhood trauma that had turned into a morbid fascination.
In the end, they caught McAdams in L.A.s biggest junkyard, where he had holed up between rusted cars and refrigerators. The hostage couldn't be saved.
Marion looked up into the foreboding sky, as the first drops of rain burst on his windshield. Dread filled his ribcage like lead and his bowles churned. What if he would come too late again? No, that wouldn't happen. McAdams wanted to make sure that Marion saw.
Having calmed down enough, Marion put in a gear and raced out on the streets. Where were the next junkyards? Was Gareth still fine?
As it had turned out, L.A.s biggest junkyard, where he had caught McAdams years before had been relocated because of some urban beautification or other. Now there were five different junkyards around L.A., all varying in sizes, all equally appealing to McAdams. There was no way around it, Marion had to dig through the underworld, find out who had been supplying McAdams with his weapons and where he had managed to find a cheap place to stay, that was willing to take in an ex-convict.
Marion's way through the steamy back alleys of L.A. was a dreary affair, by now the clouds had broken and rain began pouring down on everything. It wasn't necessarily a cold rain, but it made clothes stick to the body, oppressive as the sticky temperatures.
Everyone Marion spoke to, either didn't know McAdams or had known him, but wouldn't rely any information. In such cases Marion just inquired with a little more vehemence … At some point he succeeded, at another he got a stinging blow to the stomach. Still, he got the information he wanted. With an unsettled gut and uncomfortably sticky clothes, he drove to the named address.
Apparently McAdams had never tried to take the citizen act back up. He was far to fixated on the thought of revenge on Marion so he had taken up lodgings in a rundown warehouse.
The warehouse in question was empty, the walls stale and spattered with mould. Walking quietly over the dust covered floor, Marion found a jumble of grubby blankets and cushions, which McAdams used as a bed. Marion scrunched up his nose in disgust, as he went through the blankes and the soggy paper boxes next to them. His heart beat frantically, he needed to finde some clue which junkyard McAdams had picked.
One of the boxes with the state prison seal on it yielded an old, faded, black and white photograph. It showed a man with a protective helmet and overalls. With the back of his hand Marion pushed his sunglasses on top his head and he played with the toothpick between his lips thoughtfully. The man was apparently some worker or other from the early 60ies. Studying the blurry background closer, Marion recognized a huge billboard frame and behind that a distinctive mountain range. And then he knew. This must be the junkyard McAdams father had worked on! The billboard and the mountains gave Marion a pretty good idea where too look.
Now, Marion would make sure that everything was going to be fine.
Marion squatted behind the rusty frame of a pick-up truck while thunder rolled in the distance.
This had got to be the place where McAdams held Gareth. There was no other option.
Checking his pearl handled colt and his second gun strapped to his back, Marion went in. Before entering the junkyard Marion had ordered a police force and an ambulance. Luckily the news hadn't spread that he was suspended, so as a lieutenant he still could order in police commandos at his whim. McAdams was here for sure and Marion wouldn't take any chances. Not again.
He crept along the rusty corrugated metal walls until he reached the huge gates. The rain hit the earth so hard by now, that droplets of mud flew up and spattered his trouser legs.
Carefully he pushed the door open until the gap was just big enough for him to slip past. Inside the hall it was musty and smelled of dust and metal, the air was thick.
Slowly his eyes adjusted to the dark and at the far end of the building he could make out a barely visible gleam, casting eery shadows on the wall. That must be where McAdams was waiting for him. If it wasn't a trap. Rising from his crouch, Marion pressed against the wall and surveyed his near surroundings. To the left hand side was a rickety construction that hovered around three meters above the ground suspended by thick iron cords. It looked like some raised gangway to overlook the hall and the workers beneath.
Rushing along the wall, Marion reached the narrow ladder, leading up to the gangway. He set his booted foot carefully on the first step, in order not to make any sounds that might give him away.
At the top he was swathed in shadows, the floor beneath him nearly vanished in the gloom. Freeing the colt from its shoulder strap, he cocked the bolt and went on. Each step send tremors along the iron gridded gangway, making it sway. At the far end hinges started to squeak dimly.
Cursing under his breath Marion hunkered down again, lowering his center of gravity, minimizing the swaying.
Suddenly voices drifted up to him from below. He couldn't make out any words, but the voice sounded deep and raspy. With his heart hammering frantically against his chest, Marion crept up again, hunched down like this, his calves reared up in cramps, but that couldn't be helped.
His pulse made his temples throb and his nerves jangle, but he needed to be focussed now. Gareth's life depended on it.
Finally he reached the end of the gangway and spied over its rim. Underneath him in the shine of two kerosene lamps was a broad and swarthy man, moving to and fro. He had wide shoulders, heavily muscled arms and a stunning size. Marion knew that McAdams was far over 7 feet tall and all of it was brawn. Marion wasn't weak himself, but that man had the advantage of height on him for sure. So Marion needed to be quicker, faster and shun direct combat at all costs.
Behind the mumbling and prowling man Marion spied a thin leg, clad in ripped and worn out jeans. Gareth!
Gripping his colt until his knuckles hurt, Marion crept closer still. McAdams seemed to be drawn in on himself, mumbling as if in trance. But then he moved enough and he could see Gareth clearly. The younger man leaned his head against the far wall, his eyes closed, his expression pained. That was a good sign, he was conscious. His hand was blood red and clutched his upper thigh which had been slashed, accounting for the blood in front of Marion's apartment.
All his desire and love cried out in Marion and he wanted nothing more than just to fly down this swaying gangway and tear McAdams apart. But that wouldn't do. With cold determination, Marion sat up straight, steadied his arm and aimed the colt at McAdam's head.
The world turned and Marion's head collided forcefully with the iron banister, knocking all sense of direction out of him. He felt himself rushing towards the ground and the whole gangway following him suit. But Marion didn't his the ground, instead he fell full force on McAdams who let out a startled shout and they both went tumbling to the ground, while behind them the gangway crushed down and bent with a horrible, earsplitting screech.
Despite the grinding pain in his brow and the numb feeling in his shoulder, Marion tried to push himself off of McAdams, but then there was already a fist connecting with his face, sending him reeling backwards.
"Cobretti!" McAdams roared and surged after him, his knife lost in their crash.
Marion stumbled upward, trying to wipe the worst of the blood out of his eye, his vision going fuzzy. But there wasn't much time, McAdams was charging.
With a swift, but ungraceful step to the side, Marion evaded the next punch only by inches. His opponent roared again and swirled around, closing in on Marion. Only for a split of a second Marion saw Gareth trying to get up and help him, but his injured leg buckled under him and kept spilling blood.
Spurned on by that, Marion threw all of his caution aways. Single combat it was. With equal fierceness he charged McAdams and lashed out with his fist, hitting the other man square in the face, crushing his nose. But McAdams was a big man, he didn't even feel the pain. Instead he gripped Marion's hand and hauled him close. The instant Marion bumped into McAdams, the other man began to grab his throat and strangle him.
"Finally," he breathed, spittle flying from his rage twisted mouth. "I'll make ya suffer, Cobretti. I'll make ya watch!"
Marion only gagged. His throat started to burn as if hot sand had been poured down in it. His vision blackened around the edges.
Feebly he pushed and shoved at McAdams, trying to land punches that would hurt, but he couldn't. Only barely he saw his pearl handled colt a few feet away. Out of reach. But then it came to him.
With a deadly calm, Marion reached around his back, his hand closing perfectly around the worn hilt of the back-up gun. Now, with trembling hands he pulled the gun forward and without letting anything on, he jabbed the gun at McAdams' stomach and shot.
The blast of the gun erupted and was multiplied by the bleak iron walls making his ears ring. For an instant, McAdam's grip on his throat tightened but then it slacked, he stumbled forward into Marion and again both men went to the ground.
Coughing Marion pushed the body of McAdams off of him, but the warm and sickening sensation of his gushing blood had already spread all over Marion's shirt.
It was the first time Marion had heard Gareth, but his voice was husky, suggesting that he had been screaming all the time.
Spurned on, Marion shot to his feet and fought the rising nausea. In a rush he ran over to the kneeling Gareth, who was still gripping his leg. In a flurry of arms and grabs, Marion had the slighter man pulled into a crushing embrace, pressing him close.
"Marion," Gareth said again, but now with a strange note in his voice.
Marion drew back to look at him in worry and was instantly slapped in the face. Stunned he sat there, holding Gareth by his thin shoulders, looking into his drawn, but enraged face.
But then a laugh bubbled up in Marion, as tears of relief streamed down his smudged and beaten face.
"Yeah … yeah, I deserve that, didn't I?" He wanted to know.
"Hell yeah you did! You stupid, senseless … moronic …" Gareth foamed but faltered as tears spilled from his eyes and he erupted into sobs.
This time more gently, Marion pulled Gareth close and buried his face in the crook of his neck, letting his own tears flow free. They had made it. In his arms Gareth trembled slightly, his hands clenching painfully into the back of Marion's shirt. Gareth was shook, Marion knew. Of course Gareth was far tougher than his slight figure let on, but being cut in the thigh, abducted by a maniac and fearing for his life was something different than street brawls or gang fights.
"I'm so sorry, Gareth. I was a fool, I didn't think it through … I– I'm sorry," Marion assured him, his voice rough.
"You damn well should be," Gareth sobbed but the anger in his voice had gone, making him sound tired.
Alarm, shot through Marion and he set back in a rush.
"Your leg," Marion exclaimed and grabbed the limb in question.
Gareth winced. "I think it's, ngh, it's fine."
The knife had severed the jeans cleanly, the cut beneath was shallow but long and had emitted a steady flow of, thick deep red blood that had abated by now. Here and there it had already begun to crust or congeal and only when Gareth moved, another trickle opened up but stilled immediately after.
"Alright, that's good, that's fine," Marion murmured, the adrenaline coursing heavily through his body and the shock was still taking its toll on him.
Forcing himself to calm down, he looked into Gareth's eyes. They were slightly troubled but for the most part the startling blue gleamed with his fierce love. Marion couldn't help himself and bent forward and kissed him. At first the kiss was rushed, desperate and hungry, all of their fear of losing each other made them reckless and rough. But finally their bodies registered that the trial was over, that they were save, that it was all done now. The desperateness died away and left them spent but happy, lapping at each other's lips, licking away the salty tears and the coppery blood clinging to their lips. Marion pushed his tongue past Gareth's lips and pressed him close. Gareth moaned in pleasure and leaned into the touch.
Then out of nowhere sirens split the silence and the huge double door burst open and a stream of heavily armed police men flooded in, spread out and got into position.
Still cradling Gareth in his arms, Marion sat up a little straighter and shouted, "All clear! The suspect is dead. Stand down!"
At that the man straightened, pushed up their visors and surveyed the strange scene before them: Cobra, hugging some tattered and gangly punk boy as if his life depended on it. At last someone showed some sense and ushered the paramedic in, closely followed by captain Sears and detective Monte. Apparently they had heard of Marion's order to get the police force down here. And instead of stopping them, they went with them to see the shambles, should Cobretti fuck it up.
But as soon as Captain Sears spied McAdams lifeless body on the floor, blood leaking out, his face got grimmer, but there was a pleased gleam in his eye. "So, you disobeyed my command and got that bastard after all?"
Marion hardly noticed Sears, as he fought with the paramedic who wrestled Gareth out of his arms with professional indifference and determination. Giving up, Marion watched as Gareth was prodded and turned this way and that way, to asses his health.
"Yeah well," Marion said and got up and dramatically brushed at the crusted blood on his shirt, making a disdainful sound. "I was right, wasn't I? So all's fine."
"Oh no Cobretti!" Monte spat. "You're not getting away so easily this time! You've disobeyed a direct order by captain Sears and wasted a might-be innocent man, just to save your punk ass boyfriend!"
Marion only vaguely heard Gareth's insult flung at Monte, because he was far to busy burying his fist in that asshole's face.
Monty reeled backwards but Marion grabbed the lapels of his rain-soaked coat and pulled him close.
"Another. Word. Like. That," Marion breathed. "And it'll be your last." With a final shove he send Monte staggering backward. Turning to Sears he asked, "We done here?"
Sears scoffed, "You are done here. I have to clean up after your mess, Cobretti." With that he collected Monte and walked over to the waiting police men and shouted them into action to secure the crime scene.
Finally he could turn his attention back to Gareth, who wasn't there anymore. Whirling around in panic he suddenly spotted the red haired man on a stretcher, where he was secured by the paramedics. Quickly, Marion walked over to join him.
"Marion," Gareth sounded relieved to have him back again, although a strange note had filtered into his voice
"I'm here. We're getting you into the hospital and then we'll drive home. I promise," Marion told him firmly, running a hand over the other man's cheek.
Suddenly he was jostled to the side and the paramedics began to push the stretcher toward the waiting ambulance.
"Hey," Marion called and jogged after them. In their cold professionalism they didn't even notice him.
"Marion!" Gareth called out and twisted on the stretcher to look at him.
"Hey! Which hospital are you taking him to?" Marion wanted to know and grabbed one of the paramedics.
The paramedic only spared him a condescending stare before replying, "Are you relation?"
Marion saw Gareth's face getting more frantic by the minute. He wouldn't leave him again.
"I'm not," Marion admitted. "But I'm his boyfriend."
"Then we can't tell you."
"Listen, buddy," Marion pressed out between gritted teeth. "I just killed a man to save his life, right? I'm not going to leave him now. To which – as I think I have asked before – hospital – as I'm sure that's where you're going to – are you bringing him?"
For some seconds the paramedic looked from Marion to the body of McAdams and back at him. A slow, fearful nod. "Saint Clair's."
Marion grunted in understanding, stepped up to Gareth and got hold of his hand once more. The blue eyes were full of confusion at being pushed, probed and shoved all over the place. To sooth him, Marion ran a careful hand over the exposed neck, stroking the short hair.
"I'll follow the ambulance, alright? I'll be with you in the hospital," Marion assured him.
"Yeah," Gareth agreed and only reluctantly let go of Marion's hand as the paramedics carefully pushed him towards the ambulance.
They had made it, Marion thought. Now they would be fine.
In the hospital they made short work out of Gareth's trouser leg and had it cut off, to spare them the hustle of having to undress him. They cleaned the wound, found that it despite being shallow needed some stitches and wrapped it up in white gauze. To be on the safe side, they gave Gareth a tetanus shot too. Through all this Marion hovered at Gareth's side like a shadow. Granted, he wasn't as subtle or unnoticeable as a shadow, he looked more like a mother-hen fussing over her chick, but he didn't care.
Back in the car neither of them said a word. All the excitement and exhaustion had worn them out and realization that everything was over now had settled in slowly.
Still, Marion reached out his hand once in a while and brushed careful fingers over Gareth's left thigh and the bandages.
He'd never keep anything from Gareth anymore.
When they finally reached Marion's street, he parked opposite the alleyway and hoisted Gareth out of the car, since he shouldn't be using his leg too much, so the stitches wouldn't come apart. Cradling him in his arms, Marion pressed his face into Gareth's long hair, breathing in his smell. Gareth in return buried his face in the crook of Marion's neck.
Only a light rain fell from the dark sky. The storm had passed and very slowly the clouds were parted by the cool ocean breeze, revealing a deep, velvety blue sky
In his apartment, Marion carried Gareth directly into the bedroom, so he could rest. When he passed the threshold he chuckled and commented, "Like a married couple, eh?"
But Gareth didn't reply. His face was still firmly pressed against Marion and a slight tremor had begun to shake his body.
Worriedly, Marion sat Gareth down onto the bed and drew him into a hug.
"I'm sorry Gareth that this has happened to you. I swear, I'll never be so stupid again. From now on I'll tell you everything and we can work it out," Marion promised and rubbed a tender hand over Gareth's back and up into his hair. The shivering didn't stop and Marion drew back. "You really need to sleep now, we can–"
But that was as far as he got, before hands shot forward, grabbed him by the shoulders and yanked him down into a kiss.
Utterly taken by surprise, Marion's eyes flew wide and he saw Gareth's expression. It wasn't fright or exhaustion that had shaken the other man's slim body, it had been lust. Pure and simple.
Fingers dug down deep and painfully into Marion's shoulders and they both fell into the messy sheets. Unable to resist, Marion let himself be swept away by Gareth's passion. Their lips crushed together with bruising force, opening the cut on Gareth's lips once more. Gareth pressed his tongue past Marion's lips without any further ado. Marion could only moan and submit as Gareth's tongue roamed his mouth.
Finally getting his grips together, Marion placed his hands left and right of Gareth's waist and lifted some of his weight of the injured man.
"Gareth, hm … you're– you're hurt, ah …" Marion huffed against the kisses.
"Don't mind," Gareth mumbled and deepened the kiss, making it taste of iron.
As Marion leaned more fully against Gareth, he could already feel the warm, hard telltale bulge, pressing against his own crotch. Gareth was serious.
And then he didn't care anymore. Today he had nearly lost Gareth because of his own foolishness. That would never happened again. He loved Gareth. He belonged to Gareth and now it was high time he showed that.
Now his own passion kicked in and dimmed all of the pain in his face, his shoulder and mangled face. Heedlessly, he ground his hips against Gareth's and extracted the most excited groan from the other man. Frantically, Gareth's hands ran over Marion's body, pulling and pushing the dirty fabric out of their way with heated determination. A swift hand pulled Marion's shirt free of his jeans and over his head, while the other worked on his button and zipper.
Lowering himself some more, Marion pressed against Gareth's rough hand that began massaging his growing erection through his boxers, driving him insane.
Only supported by one arm, Marion let his free hand roam over Gareth's shivering body that cried out in need and lust, while he rhythmically began to thrust into Gareth's fist. He only haphazardly brushed his hand underneath the cropped shirt and over stiffened nipples. Then in one fierce upward yank Marion had freed Gareth of the short, but still annoying piece of clothing.
Gareth hissed as his hands were pulled away from Marion. His eyes were consumed by lust as he grabbed Marion again and drew him back down, kissing, biting, licking at his lips.
Soon the air in the small bedroom was warm and stuffy. The storm had made the air outside hot and humid and Marion hadn't closed the huge windows. Now their bodies were drenched in sweat and their hands glid more easily over the exposed, wet and blushed skin.
Sliding his hand along Gareth's side, Marion felt each rib rising and falling with accelerated breaths as his hand sunk lower and lower. Gripping Gareth's hipbone with unrestrained force, he pressed him down into the mattress and ground into him. Moaning, Gareth bucked and drew his legs up in reflex.
Gareth's hand had slid between them again and ultimately yanked Marion's boxers and pants down to his knees, which now where firmly placed between Gareth's legs, making him rise his hips. Easing himself out of Gareth's feverish touch, Marion set to work on Gareth's already tattered pants and pulled them down to his knees, careful not to rip at the bandages around his thigh. Now Gareth lay nearly naked on his back, his legs spread out as far as the jeans admitted and his face flushed an enticing red. Sweat glistened all over his pale body and his red hair looked like a fiery halo.
"Oh god," Marion panted, sweat rolling down his flat stomach and over his hip bone. "I love you, Gareth. I love you."
"Show it," Gareth growled, his erection eagerly twitching on his belly.
Giving in to the growing pressure between his own legs and the heady passion that swirled through his body, Marion bent forward and grabbed Gareth's legs behind the knees and pulled them up. In the same instant he pressed them forward against Gareth's chest, resulting in raising the hips so that he could enter him with ease.
Gareth let out a yell as Marion pushed into him without any preamble. But after the first hesitant thrusts, the sweat gathering between their legs created enough sweet suction, that Marion moved fluidly in an out, each grinding move sent Gareth shivering and moaning.
Marion's whole body was electrified, as Gareth clenched around him, grabbed the pillows for support and met him half way each move. Heat crushed through his veins and sweat dripped into his eyes, obscuring his vision. But he didn't need it. Beneath him he felt Gareth, warm, alive and giving. His smell, his sound and his feel had spread through his entire being, Marion never wanted to lose him again.
Grabbing Gareth's thighs quite near his hips for support, Marion captured the other man's calves between his body and arm, keeping him in place as he rocked against him in a steady rhythm.
But it didn't take long. The heat weighted down on them, their touches too frantic as to evoke slow spreading arousal. No, desire drove them over the edge and Gareth came with a ragged gasp as Marion rode him through the orgasm and came shortly aftewards.
For some time they just laid there, Marion pinning Gareth beneath him and burying his face in the crook of his neck. Feeble arms wrapped themselves around Marion and he felt Gareth's legs trembling with the afterglow of his orgasm.
Very slowly, Marion pushed himself into a sitting position and looked down into Gareth's blushed but relaxed face.
"I love you Gareth, I do. I have been a fool for not telling you earlier," Marion whispered, his hand brushing lightly over Gareth's sticky chest.
A small tear escaped Gareth's eye as he replied grinning, "I know that you're kinda slow, but I love you still."
Laughing, Marion wiped his own tears from his face and then brushed a hand over Gareth's left thigh. "The stitches opened."
"It was worth it."
Marion kept tracing his hands over Gareth's body a little longer, drawing little sighs and moans out of him while winding in pleasure.
After a while Marion carefully withdrew from Gareth and laid down next to him, pulling him into a tight embrace. Gareth snuggled close and entwined like that they listened to each other's breath becoming more and more evened out, after the initial exhaustion washed away. Over them, visible through the glass paned roof, the stars shone in the deep dark, while the bright lights from the flickering neon signs along the street danced on the walls.
Then Gareth pushed himself up with one arm and looked Marion straight in the eye. His blue eyes were feverish and fierce with love, pinning him in place. "You'll never shut me out like that again?" He asked.
Marion brushed a tender hand along Gareth's cheek. "Not ever again. I swear."
Satisfied, Gareth crawled over Marion, straddling him while he captured his lips in a soft kiss. Marion sighed into the touch and ran his tongue over Gareth's lips, tasting salt and blood on them. Slowly, Marion felt Gareth's hips grind against him. It was a deliberate, enticing rhythm that blended in with his kisses and caresses that he placed all over Marion's face and chest.
Winding under Gareth's administrations, Marion could feel himself getting hard again. He grabbed Gareth's thigh for purchase, as the other man sat up and rolled his hips against him more fervently, his hands stroking Marion's clammy chest.
"Gareth … you sure …" Marion breathed uneasily, as he got more and more wound up. His erection, trapped beneath Gareth's hip, was submitted to an arousing friction with each thrust back and forth.
"You bet," Gareth hummed and bent down for a kiss, raising his hips and releasing Marion from the painfully sweet pressure.
Heady from his own lust, Marion grabbed Gareth's hips, brought him into position and pushed him down gently.
Gareth arched his back and moaned deeply, as Marion entered him a second time. He grabbed Marion's wrists to keep his hands in place, while he settle on a passionate and languid rhythm, as he sat up and glid down again.
Unable to control himself, Marion bucked his hips, picking up the slow pattern of Gareth's hips and they moved in unison.
Stars exploded in front of his eyes as he pushed deeper and lost himself in the other man. His hands shook with every move and his breath became more and more hitched with his climax drawing near. On top of him Gareth had closed his eyes, his expression focussed, but blissful, tiny pants escaped his slightly opened lips.
A wave of pleasure crashed over him and washed the words from his mouth. Marion yelled something incoherently as Gareth pushed himself down on him with such force and a tight, hot feeling, that Marion couldn't hold on any longer. His fingers dug into Gareth's thighs and pressed him as close as he could, while Gareth leaned back in a moan, finding just the right angle and came himself with a drawn out sigh, his legs shivering.
Spent and with a slightly bleeding cut, Gareth leaned down and Marion hugged him, completely exhausted himself.
Gradually, as the world and his senses came back to him, Marion rubbed a hand over Gareth's neck, once in a while vanishing in the long, red hair, now clammy with sweat.
"I ... I don't know why I was afraid of letting you in," Marion mumbled against Gareth's temple.
"Well, it's kinda hard when you think you have to carry the responsibility for two people," Gareth offered, not sounding angry any more. There was only a slight hint of reproach in his voice, but also a smile. "I can damn well take care of myself."
Marion sighed. "Yeah, I knew you could. I mean ... I finally got it into my stubborn head that you can. If I'd given you more credit and not shut you out ... all of this wouldn't've happened."
"Some people only learn the hard way," Gareth chuckled and placed a tender kiss on Marion's cheek. "You know I love you still."
"I love you too and I will never, ever deny that again."
Marion kissed Gareth deeply and finally he knew, he felt, that everything was fine.
~ FIN ~