It had been sweet.
A toxic sweetness, one Caius couldn't help but fall into. A sort of sweetness
that could burn in one's stomach, that could crush the heart. Caius hadn't been able to resist that taste. Had he even wanted
Caius stared blindly at his canvas. Anakin, by walking with his hand on
Caius' shoulder, had helped carry the easel to the park. He was in bright sunshine, which made his paint practically shine.
But what could he draw to describe this feeling?
Caius turned to Anakin's hesitant whisper. “Yes?”
Anakin smiled. It must have been a while that he had been calling to him,
because Anakin seemed a bit... relieved. “I see now why it is good to leave an artist alone. It scares me, not knowing
if you can hear.” Anakin's voice was soft.
“If you call softly, I don't hear. And if you call loudly, you interrupt
me and I get angry,” Caius confessed. “It's a lose-lose situation either way, I suppose. I'm sorry for not answering
you. What's up?”
Anakin was lounging negligently on the grass. His head, at the moment, was
cocked to the side, a wide, almost arrogant smile on his face. “I just wanted to know if you knew what you were drawing.”
“Huh? Uh, no.” Caius didn't turn to see what it was, either.
“I don't look at it until I'm done, at least the initial stages. I tweak it once it's completed and dry. If I look at
it part-way through, I may start trying to influence the work too much, and it would lose its message.”
“Hm. You will have to explain that more fully later. I would like
to run, I think.” Anakin looked around. “This place is beautiful. It takes the sting away from the surrounding
area, the destruction of it.”
Caius looked around. The park was beautiful, though a bit populated.
A little girl, too young to even swing her legs, was being pushed gently by her mother. Three teenage kids a bit older than
he played volleyball in the sand while beside them sat a boy trying futilely to make a sand castle. His mother watched from
a bench nearby. And on the pathway that circled around a soccer field, an elderly couple walked hand-in-hand. Everything was
Caius smiled. “Yeah...”
Anakin stood with cat-like grace. “Then I will leave you for a short
while. I will always be in eyesight, of course,” he added at Caius' worried glance. “Just focus on finishing that
painting.” With that, Anakin saluted and jogged off.
Caius covered his eyes from the sun. Anakin looked so lithe in that moment,
he wished he could capture that vision...
He focused on every contour of Anakin's body, then quickly switched out
canvasses and furiously began mixing paints.
It was hours later when he came up for air. His skin felt salty and sticky
from the sweat he'd slowly accumulated out in the sun. His hands were cramped. But the work was done.
He'd done his best to feel only what he'd felt in that one instant, to see
only that small portion of Anakin's strength.
And in return there he stood, everything but his face and chest turned from
the viewer as he ran off with a lazy salute. Caius stepped back and cocked his head to the side, dissecting the work. The
colors on his arm weren't quite right, and his right elbow was a smidge too big, but those were easily fixed. The eyes. Those
were most important. The eyes and that wide, kind, arrogant grin.
Only when Caius saw their perfection did he breathe a sigh of relief.
Caius jumped. With a whirl, he turned to stare into those same, precious
eyes. With a pang, he saw a light in them he hadn't been able to capture. “U-Uhmm, how long have you been there?”
“You had begun my outline,” Anakin murmured. “I would
say about four hours ago.”
Caius turned away and looked back at the picture. Anakin's frame was still
there, but those eyes weren't as bright as they needed to be. “I'm sorry I couldn't get you right.”
Footsteps in the grass warned Caius of Anakin's approach. “I thought
you said that you couldn't draw what you saw.”
“Not well,” he admitted. “and usually I don't see anything
I want to paint.”
Anakin's body warmth centered on Caius' back. “Then thank you. For
wanting to paint me.” With graceful ease, Anakin walked over to the canvas. “It's beautiful,” he murmured.
“You say this is not good?”
Caius studied it from behind Anakin's shoulder. “Well, it's not too
bad,” he said finally.
Anakin chuckled. “You artists are always too hard on yourselves.”
That remark struck something in Caius. Why was he suddenly angry? “You
know other artists?” he asked curiously.
Anakin's gaze stayed on the painting. It was starting to make Caius feel
nervous. “Yes,” he answered after a time. “One in particular.”
“Who?” Damn, but he was pissed. This person was closer to Anakin
than he could ever be – after all, this person knew the truths about Anakin.
“His name was... is... Keshen Nyaga. He's the Chief Artist of the
King's Men.” The smile on Anakin's face was soft. It made Caius' chest burn. “He and I would speak often. He,
too, was unable to appreciate his own work.”
Caius looked at his painting again. Somehow it seemed even less brilliant,
tainted as it was by a peon's hand. He wanted to rip it to shreds, to destroy it until its very existence was questioned.
He wanted it burned.
He jumped, surprised. “Yeah?”
Anakin smiled. “What were you thinking?”
Caius shrugged, uncomfortable. How could he explain that hearing about Anakin's
friend would make him so angry that he would want to destroy his own work? “Uh, just that it still needs a lot of work.”
That smile shivered just a bit. “What are you really thinking?”
Caius blushed. “What...”
Anakin moved a bit closer to him, just enough for Caius to catch a hint
of his scent. “Caius, I have been with you for a short time, it is true, but that time has been uninterrupted. I have
begun understanding you. I know when you are hurting. I can feel it.” He touched his chest, right where his heart would
be. Tell me?”
Anakin's eyes were too strong to resist. “I... I just wish I knew,
“Knew?” Anakin echoed.
Caius looked out around him; all those people he had taken notice of before
were long gone. Only he had remained this entire time. “I just wish I knew more about you.” He turned, suddenly
angry. “It's not fair for you to know everything about me and me not know anything about you!”
Anakin stared down at Caius, surprised. “I see. I must apologize,
Caius. I never thought about it.”
“I...” Caius instantly regretted his outburst. “I didn't
mean anything by it,” he mumbled. He began putting away his paintbrushes. That was another pain about coming out here
to the park – it would take forever to lug everything back, and then he would have to immediately begin clean-up. If
he didn't, his brushes could become ruined, not to mention the state of his palette. But at least Anakin had gotten the chance
to run in the sun.
“Caius, do not be foolish.” Anakin stepped beside him and discreetly
picked up Caius' palette, placing it into a special holder on the back of his easel. “If you want to know something,
I would be happy to tell you.”
“Don't...” Caius hesitated, ashamed. He'd been about to order
Anakin again. “It's no big deal.”
“Don-” He swallowed back his words and lapsed into silence.
Twice in less than a minute. Less than half a minute. He couldn't – he couldn't allow it to happen again. “Please
don't,” he whispered. He finished putting away his brushes and carefully picked up his painting, still drying on the
canvas. Anakin hesitated for a second, but then he came up and gently placed his hand on Caius' shoulder and picked up the
easel. Caius kept his eyes down as they made their way back to the house.
When finally he was finished cleaning his brushes and had placed both paintings
safely on his closet floor to dry, Caius lay down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. Anakin had already begun studying
his leisure books, poring over them until he stumbled over a word. Then he would pull out the dictionary – which Caius
had searched for one day after getting tired of constantly having to answer Anakin's questions – and studiously look
up the word's meaning. The man was so smart it almost made Caius sick.
Anakin. What exactly was he to Caius?
He turned onto his side. A friend? Maybe... he felt close to Anakin, as
if he could give out his secrets without too much worry. Was that odd, to feel so safe around him so quickly? But they shared
practically every waking moment together. Caius had to go to the bathroom as quickly as possible just to make sure Anakin
would be okay. It was ridiculous. Under that sort of restriction, there was no choice but to either get close to one another
quickly or despise one another immensely. And he knew he didn't despise Anakin.
Of its own accord his finger came up to touch his lips. He remembered Anakin's
taste. The man had kissed him again. He couldn't say it felt bad, necessarily. Just... strange. And powerful. And...
He shook his head. No. No! He wasn't gay. He'd hurt Anakin because
he wasn't gay. He'd placed a scar on Anakin's heart because he'd been so pissed off about being kissed when he was so clearly
He covered his face with his hands. And he was giving himself a headache.
“Caius? Are you all right?”
“Fine,” he muttered. Or at least he would be if Anakin were
more of an asshole toward him. Any more of this kindness and he was liable to...
What was that?
He clapped his hands over his ears and winced. What the hell was that noise?
Almost like a dog whistle, yet he could hear it, high-pitched and continuous. He whimpered.
He rolled over and grabbed his pillow, stuffing it over his ears. What was
that? “Anakin,” he called, but he didn't think his voice was over a whisper, “what's that noise?”
“Noise?” Anakin echoed. Caius didn't dare look out from underneath
his pillow to see what Anakin's face was, but he thought the man sounded a little too surprised. The noise, after all, was
getting even louder.
He plugged his ears with his hands. It felt like any second now his eardrums
“Caius?” He felt Anakin's hand on his back.
“It hurts,” he whispered, then louder, “it hurts!”
“It...” Suddenly Anakin's hands were tight around Caius' shoulders,
forcing him to turn. The pillow fell to the floor. He found himself staring straight at Anakin. Why were those amethyst eyes
so dead serious? “Order me,” he said loudly.
“Wh-what?” Caius asked. Order him to what? Make the noise stop?
“Order me. Give me an order. Quickly!” he snapped when Caius
began to shake his head.
“No...” He couldn't help but think of that evening, when he'd...
“No! I'll never do that again!”
Anakin grabbed his wrists. “If I'm right, ordering me will make the
noise go away.”
Caius' heart hammered in his chest. That didn't make sense. Of course, it
didn't make sense for a man who only he could see and hear to magically appear in his room... “No,” he whispered
“Caius, order me!”
“What the hell's going on up here, faggot?” Anakin let go of
him just as his door slammed open. His father glared down at him.
“Just – a headache,” Caius murmured, hardly hearing himself
over the incessant ringing. He didn't uncover his ears.
“Well shut the hell up before you give me one, too,”
the man shouted. “Bullshit.”
“Caius, order me and the noise will go away,” Anakin said again,
not even waiting for his father to close the door as he left. As soon as the door clicked shut, he was touching Caius again,
this time cupping his face. “Just a tiny order – the smallest thing might do it. Please.”
Please? Please? Caius felt horror grow heavy in his chest. “But
“You must, or else this will only be the start of your pain!”
“I don't care,” he said. “I don't want to-”
“Caius, I am begging you, please order me!”
His chest hurt. Did he really have to hurt Anakin just to save his own worthless
self? “Then... then...” His mind blanked. He couldn't think of anything!
“Order me to get something, order me to do something! Push-ups,”
Anakin advised, “or getting a book. Or reciting the alphabet!”
“That one!” he gasped. “The alphabet – tell me the
“A,” Anakin began immediately. “B, C, D, E...”
And the sound disappeared.
Caius just lay there stupidly for a moment, wholly disbelieving. The sound
had been torturing him simply because he hadn't given Anakin an order? That made no sense; he'd been putting off giving Anakin
orders for as long as possible these past two days. He'd been doing his best to...
And then he burst into tears.
“K, L, M...”
His hands slid to cover his eyes. How could he?! How could he do this to
Anakin just to save himself from an annoying noise? Just because it had felt like his ears were going to explode, just because
he'd been afraid of pain... now Anakin was stupidly listing off the letters of the alphabet like a toddler because he'd told
the man he had to.
“S, T, U, V...”
He'd ruined Anakin just to save himself, and from something that wasn't
“I'm-” he started desperately, but Anakin caught him up, pulled
his head forward, and crushed him within his arms.
“I am sorry, Caius,” Anakin murmured into his ear. “I
am so sorry.”
“I know that was hard for you,” Anakin continued, not letting
him apologize. In his arms, Caius could only stare blankly at the wall. “I know, and I'm sorry. Are you all right?”
Caius felt his head move to the right, then the left. His hands clutched
Anakin tightly, grabbing his clothes. “No, I... I shouldn't have...”
He felt Anakin's lips press warmly against his forehead. “No, it was
for the best that you did. The sound is gone now, right?”
That wasn't the point. That wasn't the point! “I'm sorry,” he
sobbed, wishing that he could somehow pull Anakin even closer, even though they were practically glued together already. “I'm
“Don't,” Anakin whispered. “I am not sorry. You
“I ordered you!” His eyes shut tight, he buried his face into
Anakin's chest and curled his legs up. If he could crawl into Anakin's warmth, he would. “I ordered you... I hurt you...
“I was not hurt,” Anakin stated.
“I... I had you say the alphabet like a little kid, just because...”
“It hurt you, right?” Anakin once again pressed his lips to
Caius' skin, but this time he lingered. “Then I am not sorry you ordered me.”
“For myself,” Caius whispered again. Anakin's warmth was so
soothing... he felt safe. “I won't do it again, I promise.”
Anakin sighed. “I believe things will not be so easy. The sound will
probably return if you do not order me often.”
Caius took a deep breath. “I won't.” He would make sure
He frowned then. He was definitely warm, definitely comfortable. His death
grip on Anakin loosened. At least he hadn't harmed Anakin in any way; at least the only degradation Anakin had suffered was
through pride. He wouldn't be able to bear it if he'd hurt the man again. If he had caused that again...
Anakin's arms unraveled from around him, and he propped himself up on his
elbows. Their eyes linked. “I must apologize again,” Anakin breathed. “It seems I cannot help myself. Not
with you so close...”
Anakin's lips dipped down for a kiss.
Caius froze for a second as their lips connected - no! Wrong! - before
feeling a jolt so shockingly strong it arched his back off the bed. He moaned into Anakin's mouth. His hands, still loosely
clutching Anakin's back, tightened once again. He felt... he felt himself straining against his jeans.
Anakin released his lips and pushed back a bit. Those violet eyes pierced
his own. “Caius.”
“Ah!” Caius jerked again, confused. Why was his body reacting
like this? He wasn't... but this definitely felt like it had to be... “Anakin,” he gasped, “what...?”
The lips whispered over his face. “Caius,” he said again, then
once more, “Caius.” Anakin captured his lips again, forced them to open, and slid his tongue inside. The jolting
sensation increased tenfold, crashing through him, a white-hot blaze. He gasped again. Bucked. It hurt. It hurt, and
yet if the fire didn't get stronger and burst, he just might die.
Anakin's hands traveled down his face, down to his chest, rubbed over his
shirt, causing a friction against his nipples, perked and sensitive. He moaned, then again, louder, as those hands continued
down, playing with his stomach, until they were pushing his shirt up...
He wasn't gay; he didn't want this...! He felt his back arch, assisting
Anakin in pulling up his shirt. He thought for a moment Anakin would pull it off completely, but he just left it there on
his collarbone and left his chest and stomach wide open. His chest shuddered up and down with each unsteady breath. He blushed.
He knew he was pale, thin, too young to be attractive...
What? Why did he care? He wasn't...!
“Ah!” Anakin released his lips to slide lower, down to his chest.
His tongue shot out and licked his nipple. “Ahh! Anakin!” His fingers clenched in Anakin's dark hair, his body
bucked up without his consent. The fire was spreading in flashes...
One of Anakin's hands lowered even more, sweeping down from his torso and
cupping his erection within his pants. He jerked the most wildly yet, almost screaming. The heat that flew through him left
him so hot he feared he'd been burned. “Ah – ah – Anakin...”
Suddenly he was splashed with cold as Anakin abandoned him. He saw Anakin's
body jump off the bed, his hand grasping the bedcovers and throwing them, left unmade, over his head. No sooner had the covers
settled under his chin than his door opened. He turned his eyes, still wide with shock and... and desire... to see his father
scowling down at him from the doorway.
“What the hell are you doing, you fag?!”