Jaxton pushed past the other cadets to check the board.
After seven months of training, he was sure he had passed. The only real question was, by how many points?
Johnty was already there, gaping at the vid-screen as he read his own results.
"73?" Johnty squeaked with delight, "Look Jax, 73 bloody percent!"
"Well done" Jaxton said calmly to his friend, relieved he didn't have to carry him anymore. The only reason why he had passed was the successful way they broke that bloody time loop.
There were whispers that Gerfid and Delsssit were still locked in theirs and had reached the twelve-year mark within the loop. Gods.
Jaxton keyed in his personal code by swiping the screen with his shiny VM, pleased to find he had hit 97. Johnty swore softly in Galactic Standard as he glared at the highest mark for the class.
"What can I say" Jaxton leered, "I do like winning."
"Johnty and Jaxton, please report to the Agency Master's Office" a voice demanded over the collective VMs and they looked at each other with glee.
They walked quickly to the office and took a moment to straighten themselves up and check each other for good measure. Wouldn't do to upset HER.
They walked in and bowed as she looked up from the piece of tech she was fiddling with.
"Ah, yes" she sighed, "The pretty ones."
Both men grinned and Johnty preened until Jaxton pushed him gently to remind him where they were.
He tried to look chastened, honestly, he tried.
"So. You know the High Chancellor has decided on a mate for the Regal Preverian's child" she said, watching the twin nods.
"He is of the Boeshane Royal Family" she said and ignored the intake of breath from Jaxton.
"The boy is to travel from Boeshane to the capital to be assessed for compatibility" she looked up, "I trust the two of you can babysit competently."
Johnty looked at Jaxton, who spoke, "It would be an honour to serve my Lady."
"Good, I am sending the information to your VMs, read, assimilate, prepare. You have one night's furlough, use it well. By this time date tomorrow, you will be given the coordinates for interception."
Both men bowed again, exiting the room with bubbling excitement.
"He'll be boring but we can certainly enjoy the ride darling" Johnty purred as he rubbed against his partner.
"He's from my planet" Jaxton reminded him, "A poor realm. He will be withheld and paranoid. They are right to teach him so he will definitely be a target. What the hell were the council thinking."
"They're Timelords darling, they don't care about us stupid apes" Johnty laughed, "They just saw an opportunity to mix bloodlines. Of course they know he will be targeted by the other families, to place him with one of the most powerful."
"If I didn't know better, I would say they want a bloody war!" Jaxton sighed, "Those bloody tin men they call advisors creep me out."
"Yeah, well the Timelords don't like them either. Ever notice how they don't touch them?" Johnty strapped himself into their hopper and began the preliminary check list for pre-flight.
"Yeah. The RPs will find out sooner or later that it is better to rule your own kingdom, no matter how large or small, than give power to another just to increase your fire power." Jaxton agreed.
"The Daleks are too bloody smug for me, like they know they have everyone by the balls" Johnty sighed as he flicked a switch and clapped his hands, starting the engines.
"You still never said how you go that to work" Jaxton muttered as he watched the systems come on line.
"I told you, I did it myself!" Johnty said, his nervous pulling at his ear a giveaway to subterfuge.
Jaxton decided he didn't really care, he just wanted to get to the mess hall and eat before they hit their bunks to download the file.
Something told him, tomorrow was going to be long and awkward for everyone.
Chapter 2: assignment is a go
Johnty hated the formal uniform of the Academy.
The harsh black PJ style clothes with the full length coat that made you blend into the shadows like a bloody wraith.
Jaxton did rock the coat though.
If Johnty had ever met another who liked swishing, it was this man currently swishing ahead of him as he turned into the reception room.
Johnty followed at a standard two step distance, in case of attack.
They were late.
The reception was already underway.
Jaxton frowned as he checked his VM.
No, they were five minutes early for goddess's sake!
The young prince stood to one side, twirling a piece of fabric in his delicate fingers as he spoke with the Agency Master, who looked over at them with a frown of annoyance before smiling at the prince.
The blue and silver fabric made his pale skin seem translucent.
But we're not late, damn it all to the seas of Gordel!
Jaxton surged forward, bowing deeply as he recognized the prince.
"Rise" came a soft spoke voice, the young man blinking with discomfort.
Jaxton took a chance to look directly at him and saw a slight flinch as the man looked away.
So he was as underprivileged as he thought.
As if hearing the thought, the young man rose to his full height and returned the stare, making Jaxton look away with surprise.
"These are to be my … guards?" he asked and was told affirmatively that these two were travelling with him.
"Not in those uniforms, I hope" came a sniff.
Johnty held back a bark of laughter as he mutely agreed.
Jaxton thought fast, "Of course not my Lord. We will travel in simple common clothes so as not to draw attention to our rank. We were well versed by our esteemed leader in ways to protect you. The element of surprise was decided. People will think we are part of your entourage, making us sleeping dragons."
"Ah" he turned to the Agency Master and smiled, "Of course you thought of my dislike for your uniforms. You do think of everything don't you."
"We want you to be comfortable, dear boy" she preened, glancing at Jaxton who carefully schooled his features to hide his mirth.
"We just need to know the colors you have chosen for the journey, my Lord" Jaxton said softly, "That we may wear them to show our delight."
"I wish to wear the colors of Boeshane!" The Prince said firmly and Jaxton noticed a slight bristling from the man standing to hi left.
"My Lord, do you not think it best to wear the colors of your intended?" the man purred, "I am sure …"
"That I am capable of showing my heart on my sleeve when the time comes" the Prince's voice was like a knife through butter as he cut the man down. "I will wear my intended's colors when he has placed the colors on my sleeve!"
"My lord …."
"No. You are a Timelord, I am a prince!" came a bark of anger, "I am Prince Hendrix of Boeshane! I will wear the colors of my bloody people and I will be addressed accordingly!"
Jaxton felt himself bristle on his prince's behalf and spoke before he could stop himself, "My People love our Royal Family and would consider it a slight if our colors were not worn. Surely it shows the willingness of my Heart's Keeper to join the two peoples?"
The Prince turned to look at Jaxton with surprise, "You are of Boeshane?"
"I am from the Boeshane peninsular my Heart's Keeper" Jaxton bowed.
"Ah. The face of Boe" the Prince whispered with a look of surprise.
"My Heart's Keeper" Jaxton bowed again.
"Red and gold it is!" Johnty said as he tried to pull his partner back from the attention.
"Yes" the Prince smiled and Jaxton saw the beauty in him for the first time, Boeshane blood indeed, "But you cannot call me the traditional name like that, apparently they don't like it. Your Highness or My Prince, Majesty even, since I am to rule as a pretty piece of kit for my new king."
The handler yanked on the arm of the Prince pulling him away as he quietly chastised him.
Jaxton watched the Timelord fail as Prince Hendrix simply laughed as he extracted his arm from the Galliferyan's grip.
This was going to be more interesting than he thought.
Johnty watched his partner's eyes follow the Prince and groaned.
This was going to be a shit storm!
Chapter 3: ready to set sail
Johnty liked the red and gold, running his hands over the rich fabric as he cooed softly.
Jodhpurs, the colour of the fine Boeshane sand were neatly tucked into the Time Agency issue black boots and Johnty knew he looked like he was edible.
Jaxton stormed in and Johnty lost all thought processes as he leered at his handsome partner.
"Put it away!" Jaxton growled as the jodhpurs showed Johnty's opinion.
"But … our coats are different!" Johnty frowned.
"As Boeshanian, I could request the full length coat of the royal guard" Jaxton preened, "See? It's even longer than the Agency one!"
"Well, I like my short one!" Johnty pouted.
"Of course darling, your lovely pert arse should not be hidden" Jaxton crooned, seeing the storm brewing in the juvenile pout.
"But you cover yours!" came a muttered reply.
"Only for you" Jaxton thought quick, "Wouldn't do for this award winning arse to be flashed about, it's yours after all!"
Johnty fluffed as he found comfort in the idea that only he got to see that arse each day and nodded as he let go of the argument.
"I like the pants too!" Jaxton pointed out, "Simple. No buckles or extra attachments. Our VMs can be hidden under our sleeves."
"Do you think he will really join with his intended?" Johnty asked as they walked towards the mess.
"Yeah" Jaxton sighed, "For the betterment of our people, yeah. The protection of these people will be a boon for Boeshane, real protection. A security force, maybe even an army in exchange for the union. Gray might be gone, but the raids continue. This might be all that can stop those things form pillaging our children."
"Well, I see sparks" Johnty muttered.
"Truthfully? Me too" Jaxton snorted.
The prince was standing in all his glory, the gold thread in the deep red suit was beautiful. He turned toward Jaxton and he saw for the first time that the long Ponytail of Worth was gone.
"Highness? Your hair!" Jaxton blurted with horror.
"They cut it. They were dressing me and I heard a noise, turned to find it in the hand of one of the men" the Prince snarled, "Apparently my intended did not like the traditional tail of the Boeshane people!"
Jaxton bristled angrily as the memory of his own hair loss still burned.
"It was necessary" the Timelord said calmly, "You agreed to do what was necessary."
"But a little warning might have been nice, goddamn it!" the Prince roared, then turned away as his despair showed.
He strode away to the windows and looked out over the stars the space station silently cruised amongst, oblivious to its inhabitant's dramas.
"So, who else in this band of merry men" Johnty asked.
They were soon introduced to the many handlers who all confirmed that the Prince had not chosen them, the Timelord had.
Jaxton bristled as he saw the trap his Prince had been forced into, already a caged Larra Bird.
He didn't bother memorizing their names, Johnty did that sort of thing as he did the background thing.
The prince walked back once he had composed himself and tried a weak smile, "So. How long will we be in space flight once we leave?"
"Four linear weeks, highness" Jaxton answered easily, "Time to acquaint ourselves with each other so we can form a better wall around you, also time for your lessons on their language."
"I already speak their language" the prince snorted, "That's how I got into this mess. My father sent me as an emissary to negotiate and apparently they like the vowels."
"Ah, lovely things, vowels" Jaxton purred.
"Jax" Johnty hissed, looking apologetically at the prince.
"No. That's good. If you are to be part of my inner circle, you would be familiar with my sense of humour and act accordingly" the prince nodded, "you must act more informally around me if the illusion is to work."
"Are you really in danger?" Johnty asked.
"Some don't like the union" Prince Hendrix grimaced, "At least two families have promised retribution for the slight."
"Well, we can't let that happen" Jaxton said as he looked across at Johnty.
Several people observed the way Johnty's eyes slid up and down the lithe Prince before answering.
"We will be on you like brown on a Ferdish Bean!"
One stepped forward as he tried to hide his glee.
It was all coming together.
These two bumbling idiots would do the work for him, get the Prince where he needed to be.
Revenge would be sweet.
Chapter 4: setting sail
The bonding ceremony to ensure compliance was slated to happen in the morning, before leaving space dock.
As per protocol, they spent their last night of freedom onboard, checking, hunting out nooks and crannies, developing escape protocols and hidey holes in case of attack. Then a final look at the files, sure something had been overlooked.
Their first night spent on the luxury boat and neither man slept, Johnty finding ways to distract his partner from the task ahead.
As the chime sounded, they fell from the air shower and kissed languidly before dressing for the day.
"Never done one of these" Jonty said as they walked along.
"A blood bonding ensures compliance. It makes us his family and vice versa, if we are scanned it will show" Jaxton argued, "The side effects will wear off by the time we dock!"
"I hope so," Johnty huffed, "I don't like selling a piece of me."
"Think of it as gaining a piece of me then" a soft voice said and they swung around with shock as Prince Hendrix walked behind them.
"Sorry your highness, I just … I hate feeling needy or needed" Johnty grimaced.
"I understand; it is a weakness you dislike" the prince nodded.
"Yes sir" Johnty smiled softly.
"But it is only to me, not like it will stick" the man snorted, "I will not even leave a mark. A thousand years, nobody will remember me."
"A man of your stature" Jaxton snorted, "You will be written in the stars, I'm sure."
"A nice thought" the Prince smiled softly, then he visibly tightened up and Jaxton turned to see the Timelord approaching.
"So, it is time" he said imperiously, "I only wish I could travel with you but I am needed here to finalize the agreements and it cannot be done while you are in hyperspace and out of communication."
"Thank you, I will take the time to prepare and assume the Mantel that has been thrust upon me" Prince Hendrix said calmly, pulling a face as the Timelord walked away.
"I don't like him either" Jaxton said softly, "There is no reason why he couldn't accompany you. The dead spaces are well documented and any contact between would be more than enough to swap files."
"I am glad he is not coming" the Prince muttered back, "He makes my skin crawl."
"Agreed" Johnty said as he stood close enough to smell the young prince. Goddess, he smelt like cinnamon and spring.
Jaxton stepped closer, closing the space between them so all three men were huddled together, "Time for the bonding then?"
"Yes, Jax, is it?" the Prince asked, "And John?"
"Yes" Johnty said quickly, liking the shortening of their names and noting the way Jaxton allowed it as well.
The bonding was short and sweet, each man placing their hand over an orb and declaring their unity, then a slight tingling in the palm as DNA was swapped. Prince Hendrix scratched absently at his palm as he watched Jaxton comfort Johnty, who felt light headed from the ordeal.
Jaxton took the time to whisper to Johnty, "I don't like it. Is the real reason for his refusal to come because of an attempt on the Prince's life while we are jumping?"
Johnty nodded to show he understood and mentally noted extra sweeps of the vessel without warning, just in case.
Jaxton is rarely wrong about these things; his feelings had saved their hides more than once.
The vessel was large and extravagant, showing the wealth of the Regal Preveria. The blues and silvers were quite harsh to the eyes of the Prince, who quickly motioned that his gold and red be festooned about the room he had chosen as his own.
Jaxton and Johnty enjoyed pulling the large drapes down and replacing them with silk sheets. Soon the room was more warm and accommodating as the Prince laughed softly, "That would annoy the hell out of the old Timelord!"
"Yes, probably" Jaxton agreed, "So, anything else you want to attack while we are at it?"
Prince Hendrix smiled softly at the agent, liking the familiar tone in his words. He was finally starting to feel at rest.
It was going to be a long jaunt, at least he wouldn't be alone.
As the doors closed and they prepared to uncouple from the station, Jaxton asked Prince Hendrix if he wanted to watch. To his surprise, the prince had never been on the bridge of a star ship and was excited at the thought.
He listened to the various orders called out and cooed at the screens and buttons.
"I like buttons" he whispered, so childlike that Jaxton had to resist the urge to grin.
A slight dip was felt as she fell, then corrected. SV Starlight was underway.
Prince Hendrix turned and faced the bridge, "Thank you for letting me see the work you do, I am usually cloistered away in my chambers like it might save me if we are attacked or blown up."
A few small titters sounded and he grinned, showing the rare beauty Jaxton had noticed before.
Johnty saw the expression on his partner's face and frowned.
This was going to be a long bloody voyage.
Chapter 5: first contact
The first few days were without note, everyone finding their space legs.
The Prince seemed to be slightly manic as he alternated between stalking the walkways muttering in several languages to himself and being the life and soul of the party each evening in the galley.
Jaxton recognized the signs of extreme fear and decided to talk to the young man, they were about the same age so maybe he could help him relate?
He found the prince in the sparing room, trying to practice hand to hand combat with a simpering twit who was afraid to engage.
Jaxton dropped his coat and toed off his boots as he called out to the man to stand down, then he took his place as the Prince's face lit up.
"Just so you know, I won't go easy on you" Jaxton said softly as the Prince circled him like a predator.
"Just so you know" the Prince leered back, "I won't either."
They slammed into each other and Jaxton found himself airborne as the Prince popped him over his hip.
Jaxton lay laughing as the Prince grinned down at him.
Then Jaxton tried to go for the waist and the Prince swore as he was put off centre and forced to step back.
"Next time someone tries to tackle you, don't step back, step forward and turn your hip so they hit the hip bone, it will hurt like hell. You can then slam your elbow down on their shoulders, bring up your knee into their gonads and swing them behind you" Jaxton showed him in slow motion.
The Prince tried it and confidence grew with each throw.
"Very good, now let's work on that stance" Jaxton smiled, "You should look more defenceless, simper a bit."
Jaxton laughed at the look of doom, "A misdirection, my Heart's Keeper. They will feel over confident and it will be easier to surprise them."
"Ah, of course" Prince Hendrix nodded, taking the position once more.
This time, he didn't correct Jaxton on the title and Jaxton felt a thrill as he realized it.
They wound up on the mats, laughing and panting as they rolled together, suddenly; serious as their jodhpurs were little protection against the desire each man felt.
As if realizing, Prince Hendrix pushed himself up and rubbed his hands on his thighs as he moved towards the door.
"My Heart's Keeper" Jax called softly, "I didn't mean … I …. Well maybe I did but … if you must go to a tentacle loving prick like him then maybe you wanted to know what a real roll feels like?"
"My intended might be known for his … preferences, but it is not for me to say" Prince Hendrix bristled and Jaxton realized too late that he had chosen the wrong line.
"I am sorry; I did not intend …"
"No." the prince turned to leave, then hesitated at the door, "And stop calling me that for the love of the Goddess. He will have your hide if he learns of it!"
Jaxton winked and then his smile faded once he was alone.
He strode into the quarters and Johnty looked up with surprise as his partner descended, lust in his eyes.
Not that he was protesting, angry sex with this one was always a thrill.
Johnty was slammed against the wall and soon found himself begging and pleading as he was taken roughly, just how he liked it.
It was only afterwards, as both men lay naked and gasping that Johnty started to wonder who Jaxton had been screwing against the wall and he turned his head to ask, only to find lips ready to kiss, soothe and caress the question away.
Prince Hendrix lay on his bed and glared at the ceiling as he chastised himself for losing control.
He had to be chaste.
They would check for any debauchery.
He wondered ….
Just wondered, like ….
If there was a way around it.
Chapter 6: stumble
Johnty and Jaxton sat as the Prince stalked about the room, adjusting his bits of tat as he tried to control his anger.
"So how did he get on board?" he finally asked.
"I suspect he came on board with the crew, he was wearing one of the fleet uniforms after all" Jaxton replied with equal anger and calm.
"Was he the only one?" Prince Hendrix swung to address Johnty as if Jaxton had not spoken and Jaxton winced at the slight, turning away to hide his disappointment.
"We believe so, Highness, but we cannot be sure. All crew were so carefully chosen, yet this still happened" Johnty said, waving his hand at the body still slumped in the corner of the room.
"Must he put blood all over the bloody floor!" Prince Hendrix exploded as the pool surrounding the body seemed to grow.
Jaxton straightened as he turned to face his prince, the scalp would still oozing at his hairline and glowered as he bowed, "I apologize for my injury causing you any displeasure my Heart's Keeper, I shall go bleed elsewhere!"
Jaxton slammed from the room without dismissal and Prince Hendrix stated as he realized for the first time that his guard had been hurt during the scuffle.
"He didn't mean to sound obtuse" Johnty said softly, "He's just angry at himself for letting this one get so close to you."
"I understand" Prince Hendrix sighed softly. "I am frustrated as well."
Johnty seemed to hesitate, as if arguing with himself, then he held out his hand. In the palm was a ring.
"It's a homing beacon" he told the prince, "If you are taken, Goddess forbid, we can track you within a planet's girth!"
The ring was slid onto his finger and the prince blinked as he looked at it.
A simple little ring.
"Where did you get it?" he asked softly, trying to adjust to the weight on his hand.
"It was a family heirloom" Johnty lied, remembering the one who stood before him with clothes to die for and a voice so familiar that he felt his balls shrivel up into his belly "one day this is going to be more valuable to you than you can ever imagine. More than any reward or money you could get. It's not going to be for some time, so for once in our life, don't be a fucking idiot and get rid of this. I can't tell you why, but one day this will be more valuable to you than all the gems in the cosmos!"
The prince nodded and then walked in the direction Jaxton had taken.
He found Jaxton outside the door, slumped against the wall as he pressed a cloth to the wound.
"For the love of the Goddess, come let me look!" Prince Hendrix sighed as he reached for the cut, checking if the bleeding had stopped.
Jaxton saw the ring and looked at his partner with confusion.
Where had that come from? He had never seen it before.
As the prince rushed off to wet the cloth, Jaxton questioned Johnty.
"It's a family thing" Johnty said warily as he tugged at his ear and Jaxton frowned.
"Don't lie to me, you always do that when you lie!"
"Look, I can tell you without a doubt that it came from the hand of another of my blood, directly to my own, alright?" Johnty said, showing no sign of deceit.
"Well, Shit. OK, it's from me, to me!" Johnty slumped against the wall, "I, at some stage in the future, come back to last night of furlough and give to … well, me. Goddess, I have already told you too much."
"Yeah, you have. We don't want a bloody paradox!" Jaxton frowned.
"You're telling me!" Johnty snorted, looking towards the sound of the approaching prince.
"The agency would give a pretty credit for that!" Jaxton smiled, seeing the prince return.
The prince washed the wound and then leaned in, close enough for Jaxton to smell his spiciness as he blew softly on the cut.
The prince then looked at him and frowned, "What. Nanny always did that when I had a boo-boo."
Jaxton smiled at the childlike remark and agreed, "My Mammy did as well."
The prince nodded and then turned to leave, hesitating.
"Jax?" he asked softly, "Could we do some more practice? If one is able to get that close, another may. Next time I might not have you so close."
Jaxton nodded as he agreed and looked at Johnty as they shared the same unspoken thought.
Over my dead body.
Chapter 7: sparing
It was late and they were ensured no interruptions as Johnty reluctantly guarded the door.
First, Jaxton had to endure the Prince's cooing as he checked his head and decided he was OK to spar. Jaxton was now used to the touch from the prince, knowing he had been sheltered by loving servants, as if should be.
It was sad to think that he was raised to be sold into a polite slavery, to be the accessory for those of higher standing.
Jax hoped this sacrifice was worth it, his planet guaranteed protection from the child takers.
The thought of his only sexual experience being a forced bonding did chafe though. He was so … pretty … to be sullied like that.
There would also be the added danger of the palace guards and other members of the harem who may not like the new member of the family.
Jaxton had decided to teach Prince Hendrix how to use a blade and was surprised by the enthusiasm shown. Seems the Prince had a little blood lust in him and Jaxton enjoyed the snarls as the prince thrust and parried.
Both men were panting as they wiped sweat from their faces, gasping as they changed position for another attack.
"Well done, but you need to check your feet" Jaxton panted, "I can overbalance you if I grab your arm."
"Oh!" the prince looked down, "Of course!"
He looked back up with a grin and his blue eyes sparkled with fun as he lunged, knocking Jaxton to the floor.
"Careful!" he purred as he held Jaxton down, "Could overbalance you!"
Jaxton threw his head back and howled with laughter as he accepted the loss.
Then it happened.
Jaxton's eyes widened as the prince leaned forward and touched their noses together, their eyes locked as he leaned closer, closer and then they were kissing.
Lips against lips.
Then Prince Hendrix groaned softly as he canted his head and deepened the kiss, Jaxton's arms rising to embrace him as they pressed their bodies together.
"Really?" Johnty's voice was harsh as it cut the silence and Prince Hendrix sprung to his feet with horror as Jaxton lay blinking with surprise.
The prince fled with a blush across his face and Johnty looked down at his partner with open anger.
"Too good for us?" he leered. "Must not give in to the call of the blood?"
"Not to be sullied by the likes of us?" he hissed as he reached down to grab Jaxton by his shirt and haul him up. "Chaste?"
"What the hell were you thinking!" he yelled as he shook him, "Do you have any idea how dead you are if they smell you on him!"
Jaxton pushed him off with a huff, "If you were watching, you saw that it was he who did that, not me!"
"Yeah! Like you really fucking struggled!" Johnty snorted as he let go. "Goddess, you know I spent most of the might trying to … relieve … the bloody tension. By the suns of Lunderth, what makes you better than me!"
"Cut it out, the only reason that they might discover it is because you are broadcasting to the whole fucking boat!" Jaxton slapped at his partner's shaking hand as he reached for him and strode from the room, pausing for one more shot. "He chose to kiss me, perhaps if you had been more attentive it would have been you. We were warned of this. Could you have stopped at the kiss? Would he have left or would I be clubbing you off him by now!"
He stopped outside the door and tried to calm himself down, then saw more than one crew member peeking around the corner.
Jaxton frowned, then strode forward in search of the prince.
Might as well be hung for a Dernod as a Gerflin!
Chapter 8: Despair
Jaxton found the prince in his berth, pacing angrily.
"My Heart's Keeper" Jaxton said softly as he stepped towards him.
"Out!" Prince Hendrix roared, "Go! I want … I want … Go!"
Jaxton stepped out and laid his head against the cool metal door as he chastised himself for his stupidity.
Johnty pushed past and entered, slamming the door behind him.
Prince Hendrix spun to argue, then saw it was Johnty.
"This is a mess" he sighed as he let Johnty approach.
"It is because of the bond" Johnty soothed, "It will be explained, it is a simple case of my partner not being able to control the blood lust."
Prince Hendrix nodded as he bit his bottom lip and moved closer, "Such a mess. I don't want to … I mean, the thought of that man being my only lover is just so … I thought I would marry a sweet thing, I would cuddle her, love her…"
The prince frowned, "Or him. Lately, I've had these…these thoughts of another man's skin. Oh goddess!"
Prince Hendrix looked away and Johnty stepped in to hold him, feeling the shuddering in his arms as the prince wept silently. When the prince pulled back and kissed him, Johnty was shocked to silence.
"No reason to fight with him, please don't be jealous" Prince Hendrix said softly, "I would choose … oh gods. If only the stars shone in the other direction, you know?"
Johnty cursed his partner as he pulled the prince back into his arms, this situation and also the inescapable fact that he was not holding this man because of a blood lust, a friendship or even to annoy his partner, peeking around the door with silent rage.
No, Johnty held the young man against his shoulder as the fabric became wet and realized that he was holding this man because he wanted to.
Such a gentle spirit, reminding him of his little brother he left behind when he joined the academy. That same brother that died soon after he left from a raid and to this day, Johnty wondered if he could have saved him had he not thought of himself.
Prince Hendrix's sobs had died out and he sighed as he drew back, scrubbing at his face.
"We are all on edge" Johnty said softly, rubbing the prince's shoulder, "This is a simple case of space sickness. I apologize for my partner's lack of control."
"It is I who had a moment of madness, I fear" the prince snuffled, "I cannot sleep for the dreams. I fear my life will be forfeit the night of my wedding, for he will surely find me lacking."
"Oh no" Johnty crooned, "You were surely chosen for your beauty as well as your gentle spirit."
"Thank you" the Prince sniffed, "I am so tired and so alone. I miss my siblings. I miss my Nanny."
"What about your parents?" Johnty asked as he watched the prince walk in small circles while composing himself.
"They won't miss me" he snorted as he turned to look at him, "I am one of thirteen children, I am of one of the many children born to a harem wife. I am only born to create bonds. I was always destined to be a pawn."
"Stop it!" Johnty said without any anger in his words, "You are somebody. You are real."
"For now. The Regal Preverian's fourth husband, seventh partner. What power will I have? What chance of happiness in a harem of likeminded pawns" Prince Hendrix slumped on the sofa and smiled softly, "But listen to me, this melancholy will not save me. I must survive."
"I will make sure of it!" Johnty swore as he took a knee at the feet of his prince, "I swear!"
"Oh goddess save me!" Prince Hendrix sighed as he saw the affection in the man's face. Another lap dog would not help him now as he felt the ever decreasing circle of doom closing in.
He finally strode to the doorway and hooked Jaxton by his lapel, dragging him into the room.
"Right! Let's sort this, here and now!" he declared as he plonked the two men down on the sofa and stood before them.
Jaxton leered and Johnty blinked with surprise.
"We cannot do this!" he said slowly, "I cannot do this now! After a lifetime of being cloistered and kept chaste I cannot have feelings for you. Either of you."
Both men silently blinked.
"I must maintain my calm as I prepare for my bonding ceremony" he said, shuddering as a picture of the man he was to wed, sweating and grunting over him came to mind.
He looked at the far wall and willed himself to be calm.
Not the time to crack up.
Johnty rose and approached, making Prince Hendrix back up until he hit a side table.
"Stop it, you're scaring him!" Jaxton demanded.
"No I'm not!" Johnty narrowed his eyes as he studied the pale face of the prince, "I'm challenging him."
"Stop it" Prince Hendrix whispered softly.
"Oh my Heart's Keeper" Jaxton sighed, "You are afraid of the wrong people."
"I fear everyone, it's the only life I can live now" the Prince slumped as he realized his fate was set, "I will never be safe again."
To the horror of the two agents, Prince Hendrix burst into fresh tears as he turned to the wall, his shoulders heaving with the pain.
He was doomed.
Chapter 9: why
Jaxton and Johnty were sparing, the prince safely abed for the night.
Jaxton had a split lip to match his scalp wound and Johnty was sure he would not be able to see out of his left eye tomorrow if they didn't use their Agency medical kit when they were done.
"He's just a child" Johnty snarled as he swung, barely missing Jaxton's chin and Jaxton opened his mouth to gloat only to feel the knee in his crotch a moment later.
"Still letting that cleft get you into trouble" Johnty snorted, standing as he waited for Jaxton to motion that he was ready to continue.
"You saw a child, I kissed a man" Jaxton said as he looked at his partner.
"Johnny, how long have we known each other?" he asked softly, "Including the time loop, it's been almost a decade. Why would I lie about my feeling with you? You have seen every childish, temperamental, insane side of me. You know I am speaking truthfully."
"If those brashneds tell his intended of the affections between you, he could be forfeit!" Johnty tried to reason.
"Don't curse, you have a filthy enough mouth" Jaxton snapped, then reached for the bottle of water Johnty was offering.
"It doesn't change the fact that he has come from a loving, cloistered nursery to this sterile, cold place, heading for an even scarier one" Jaxton argued.
"So you think behaving like a bloody predator is the right way to help him?" Johnty flopped onto the mat and looked at the ceiling, soon to be joined by Jaxton.
"He kissed me. How many times do I have to say it?" Jaxton whispered, "I won't deny that I returned it."
"But why you!" Johnty asked, still confused at the turn of events.
"You are handsome, you are sexy and you are bloody fuckable" Jaxton assured him, "This wasn't about that."
"What was it then Jax!"
"I think he saw you as an equal, as a friend, a confidant. He saw a brother, a sibling and you are lying if you don't see the same!" Jaxton pointed out, "I am different."
"Well, I can't argue that" Johnty huffed softly as he started to see the truth of the situation, "So he saw a bit of him in me, the need for brotherhood. To belong."
"That is what placed you in my sights, remember?" Jaxton touched his hand against Johnty's thigh, "I found you so attractive, not just visually. I felt … you were smaller, more gentle back then before this bloody life jaded you. What did you see in me, darling?"
"You were so larger than life. Being even next to you made me feel safe, made me feel more … shit." Johnty sighed, "He sees you as a father figure, like I did. You gave me the strength to be more assertive, more daring."
"Goddess, and look at you now!" Jaxton laughed softly, "You see darling? He wants comfort from you, he wants strength from me. He wants both, needs both of us to get through this."
"So, I am jealous for the wrong reason" Johnty frowned as he looked at his partner.
"So what reason should it be" Jaxton prodded, teasingly.
"You! I need to be jealous because you are so …. You" Johnty growled, thumping his heels down, then drumming them in a tantrum as Jaxton laughed softly.
"Luckily, you are so you!" he soothed, "You know I have no patience for things you do. He plays Gerdrosh Rules. I saw the game pieces in his things being brought on board. You know I hate that game, everyone at the academy did, only that poor Silvertosh would play with you."
"Really?" Johnty sat up at the mention of his favorite board game, played on a three dimensional four tier board.
"Yeah" Jaxton laughed, once again amazed at how quickly Johnty changed gears.
"It's been ages since I've played" Johnty rubbed his hands together, "Do you think it's a two player model?"
"Well, I saw purple as well as green figurines" Jaxton smiled, glad he had remembered such a small thing that made his partner happy.
Maybe he was getting the hang of this partner thing.
Chapter 10: stormy
Johnty crowed as he saw an opening, flicking his Jade phoenix up a level as Prince Hendrix swore softly.
The prince's Purple serpent was stolen right under his nose and he knew the next move would cost him the Goddess.
"Potty mouth" Johnty leered with glee.
"I was so sure I had that level covered" Prince Hendrix laughed as he forgave him, like he always did.
"Come on Hendry, let's reset the board" Johnty said in a baby voice, "I'll even let you win … not!"
"Stinker!" Prince Hendrix growled and his eyes danced with mirth as he slapped at his friend.
"Are you two fighting again!" Jaxton said as he entered with a food tray, "Don't make me separate you again!"
Both men threw themselves back in their chairs with matching huffs, then laughed at each other.
"I know who would get the naughty chair while I to sit in the corner" Johnty muttered.
"Well, I am sure my throne will feel uncomfortable now, I shall always think of it as my Naughty Chair!" Prince Hendrix giggled.
Jaxton looked pointedly at the board game and Johnty reluctantly moved it to one side so they could eat.
"Re-match after dinner!" Prince Hendrix demanded, "I will beat you yet you cheating cur!"
"In your dreams" Johnty crowed as he pointed a finger at him.
"Keep it up, I'll bite it!" came the snarled response and Jaxton thrust a plate of food at hm.
"Bite that instead!" Jaxton demanded, "Johnty is much to sour for you!"
The prince laughed as he accepted the plate and then gave Jaxton a loving glance as he watched him pour the wine.
"Oh gods, not Fendas bread" Johnty sighed, "Every bloody night!"
"Swap!" Jaxton greed, letting Johnty take the sweet meat instead.
Jaxton liked the little sweet meat pies that burst with flavour, but knew his partner hated the bread more. Jaxton didn't mind the bread, light and salty.
Prince Hendrix watched the familiar evening ritual as Johnty complained, pretended to choose and then take the exact same thing every time.
He smiled as he made a mental note to thank the lovely chef and ask for a change, it never occurred to him that he had any power to but …. He was the prince.
Prince Hendrix snorted softly as he realized he had made his first decision, his first real royal decision.
To demand a menu change.
Jaxton noted the silence and decided to fill it, as usual.
"The sparing room is free tonight" he said as he filled Johnty's glass mindful to only do so once, this alcohol had a strange effect on his partner, making him quite rude.
"Oh, I want … I mean, if the both of you aren't busy" Prince Hendrix said softly, "I would like to see how you spar with each other. I am sure you are more energetic with each other than with me. I have never been privy to violence; I fear the thought of it."
"So you think watching some might make you better in a combat situation?" Johnty canted his head.
"If we ever find ourselves in a fight, I would like to think I didn't freeze up with fear at the sight of blood" he nodded.
"Well, blood is a real possibility once we get into it" Johnty smiled good naturedly at his prince, showing his affection.
"Good. I want to smell it, I read that it is quite metallic." The prince said, "I was so upset when Jaxton was hurt, I never thought about all the blood. To think that someone could get close enough to hurt a loyal friend like that!"
Johnty and Jaxton looked at each other as the unspoken truth was that someone got close enough to have harmed their prince hung in the air.
"Gods, this is taking forever" the prince sighed, "But I don't want it to end."
"One more week, Hendry" Johnty agreed.
"I shall abhor it!" Prince Hendrix sighed, "I shall smile and simper like a good wee bit of fluff, I was taught well, but I shall shudder on the inside!"
"If there were any other way …" Johnty said, then looked at Jaxton who gave him a warning look.
"There isn't" the prince replied without looking up from his meal and missing the looks, "This must come to pass or our people will suffer. I am not afraid."
"We shall stay as long as we can" Jaxton leaned forward to catch his hand, "My Hart's Keeper, I shall follow you until the stars burn out."
"Oh my lovely Jax" Prince Hendrix smiled, "and my dearest John. I shall hold you in the corner of my heart where the last light will shine."
The men all held hands as if praying, struggling to remain calm as the blood boiled between them and the bond thrummed.
A meteor storm was predicted as they passed through the seventh sector and their shielding would be at full capacity, meaning dimmed lighting during the event.
That night he begged them to stay and they snuck into the bedchambers and into his bed.
Seems our prince is afraid of the dark.
Like three little boys hiding from a thunder storm, they huddled under the covers as they told scary stories and cuddled with fake bravado.
For they knew, as with any thunder storm, the rain could wash everything away if they didn't hold on tightly enough.
Prince Hendrix found it ironic that a storm could scare him so, he loved the rain.
Chapter 11: arrival
They docked without any fanfare and Prince Hendrix tried not to show any distress at the cold reception.
They were placed in a quarantine area and boarded, searched vigorously and Jaxton could not hold back as Prince Hendrix was grabbed by one of the dock workers and slammed into a wall for a body search.
"Hey! Get your hands off the prince!" he roared, slamming into the man and Johnty raced to protect the shocked prince as the two men rolled about at his feet.
"ENOUGH!" a voice bellowed and everyone froze as Prince Hendrix hyperventilated in Johnty's arms.
A man in a smart uniform strode forward and looked down at the two men on the floor.
Jaxton extricated himself and stood, straightening his clothes as he visually checked the Prince.
"Are you OK?" he asked softly, ignoring the man.
"Yes" Prince Hendrix whispered, "He was going to touch me!"
"It's OK your highness, only your intended is supposed to touch you like that!" Jaxton said haughtily, finally letting his gaze move to the man.
The man was looking at the young prince as Johnty released him to let him check Jaxton for injury.
"High Prince Hendrix-Mal?" the man asked.
"Prince Hendrix swung to glare at him, "Are you sent by my husband-to-be?"
"Yes my Prince, I was not informed of your arrival until you had already docked. I sent orders for you to be unharmed during the arrival process" the man said gently.
"Arrival process? Arrival Process?" Prince Hendrix blustered, "You see my man's bloody lip? Is this normal procedure to man-handle your visitors? I demand to see my intended! If this is how I and my entourage are to be treated, I would rather know now. Rather become used to being livestock now!"
Jaxton was proud of his prince's bluff and watched as the man paled at the thought of his master's response to such an accusation or public display of displeasue.
"My prince, I assure you, my master is most pleased with the bond and will be very angry when he learns of this slight. Please do not let it tarnish your consideration of him" the man bowed.
Prince Hendrix watched Jaxton and when he nodded gently, the Prince sniffed and made a show of flapping his hands, "I am too bloody tired for all this. Jaxton, I want you to stay with me, I am too upset now. I want to go to my rooms!"
The man gaped, "But my prince, are you not disembarking?"
"My man here will check the new lodgings" Prince Hendrix flapped a hand at Johnty, "If it is not to my standards, he will let you know. When I am restored, I shall disembark but right now my heart is racing. This is too much; I am not used to such thuggery!"
Once they were back in the room, Prince Hendrix started to giggle, "Did you see his face?"
"You were very good" Jaxton agreed, "Set the tone. If you take the high ground now, show that you are not a pushover, they might think twice before doing something you might yell about."
"My heart is pounding so much" he whispered, taking Jaxton's hand and pacing it on his chest, "Do you feel it's tattoo?"
Jaxton smiled softly as he looked at his lovely prince. Of course he knew, his own beat in harmony, did it not?
"My Heart's Keeper, if your heart beats then mine beats" Jaxton whispered.
"Do you think they will let me keep you?" Prince Hendrix asked with wide eyes.
"Dearest, after that display I think they will want anyone who can 'control' you kept around" Jaxton laughed, "Especially if my partner is acting the way I think he is."
Prince Hendrix canted his head as he raised an eyebrow in such a cute way and Jaxton smiled at him lovingly.
Johnty stalked around the room, pretending to measure it and then checked the air vents.
"Well, I guess it will do." He finally huffed, "Our prince is quite delicate. He will like the scenery from this window, but I do hope you have different silks for the bed. He does not like cotton."
"Silks" the man turned to a waiting servant who bowed and scuttled off.
"I don't mean to make work for you" Johnty sighed, "The things he brought with him, they can be stripped from the ship once he agrees to leave it. I don't suppose you will let him back on it any time soon."
The man blinked, "Well..."
Johnty smiled softly, "Look man, we are both destined to kiss arses that sit on prettier seats than ours. I know this is bloody annoying and the whole fanfare thing is so outdated but this is royalty. They like to pretend they are still in the last century or so. Not in a time where we question such things. Doesn't do to question things, we might get some answers."
"Agreed" the man relaxed and smiled for the first time. "He seems gentle enough."
"He is" Johnty smiled back, "Raised on full breasts and warm laps. Poor little thing was horrified first time we explained what happens to bodily waste in space."
The man laughed as he realized this was going to be an easier babysitting job than he had thought.
Johnty laughed with him as he realized this man was an easier mark than he had hoped.
Nice arse too.
Chapter 12: first impression
Hendrix decided to show his displeasure by wearing the colours of his royal family, ignoring the tunic of his intended's colours that was draped on the end of the bed.
The quarters were luxurious and warm, Hendrix pleased to see Johnty had moved some things about so they could set up the board game.
Pulling at his cuff nervously, Hendrix motioned them forward as he tried to hold himself as erect as possible.
The room he was led to was the War Room and several men were huddled around a monitor as they argued about a small village who hadn't paid their quarterlies.
Hendrix waited patiently for them to acknowledge him.
Jaxton admired the weaponry on display as Johnty stood close to Hendrix. They then swapped so Johnty could drool quietly over the display cases.
And came to the boil.
Taking a deep breath that he let out with a shuddering sigh, Hendrix turned and started to walk towards the door he had entered through.
"Prince Hendrix?" a voice called out but Hendrix didn't stop.
He flounced down the hallways until he reached his quarters and slammed into the room, Jaxton and Johnty having to trot to keep up.
"How dare he!" Hendrix snarled, "How dare he show me up like that."
"Calm down" Jaxton said softly, "I don't think he realized how tired you are."
"Tired! Tired!" Hendrix roared, "Yes I am. I've travelled all this way, left behind everyone and everything I ever knew only to be embarrassed like that."
"Easy" Jonty crooned, holding his hands out, palms up.
"No! It's not easy" Hendrix was shaking, "I know I am unimportant. I know this is a marriage of convenience but I would have liked some pretence at a friendship at least."
Sit down, you need to calm yourself" Jax reached for his arm and froze as Hendrix's face paled.
Turning to see what he was looking at, they saw a man standing in the doorway.
"So." Hendrix snarled, "Even the lock on the door is a lie!"
"Easy" Johnty said softly.
"Prince Hendrix" the man said calmly, his royal colours a stark contrast in the red and gold room.
Hendrix drew himself up and took a shuddering breath, "Yes. I suppose you have been sent to tell me that your High Prince is busy and I will not be required to 'shine' for him today"
"Please" Jax soothed, "You are doing yourself no good getting upset."
"I know" Hendrix wilted, "I know this is my lot. I hope, you know? I still hope. I know I am foolish and should think of my people and their future, even if I have none. Sit or stand and hang by my bloody ears or whatever makes them happy so my people have a future. If I were a cow, I would gladly bow my head for slaughter."
"Stop it" Jax said sternly, "You are getting yourself upset like a child! You are not a child."
"I am not a child!" Hendrix stamped his foot, "I am bloody chattels!"
Hendrix glared at Jax then slumped, "I'm sorry. I am, aren't I. I am so tired, I hate this room and I miss my Ferdilla."
"You know they don't survive space flight" Jax sighed, "I am sorry your pet could not come to comfort you."
"No matter" Hendrix straightened his clothes and wiped his face, "I am the pet now. I must accept my place at his feet. I just didn't expect him to walk over me. I will accept it, I will endure."
Hendrix looked at his own feet and then back to the man, a lone rebel tear rolling down his face as he smiled.
"I am sorry about that, it has been a long and horrid voyage" Hendrix said with a soft sigh, "We had a horrible meteor storm and I was so afraid that I would perish, that all those souls on board would perish just because of me. I've not slept for fear of failure and now I am simply overcome. I did not intend to sound ungrateful to your royal family for their kindness in accepting me in return for the safety of my people. I am incredibly grateful and shall overcome my silly childishness. It is due to fatigue, I assure you."
"Are you finished?" the man asked and Hendrix canted his head in the way Jax liked, raising an eyebrow and transforming into a handsome creature.
"Actually, that's the problem. I had hoped for a beginning" Hendrix smiled, further showing his gentle beauty.
The man drew breath and sighed.
"Please do not think me ungrateful or unhappy, I am happy to ensure my people's future" Hendrix stepped forward, "I am just a little sod when so tired that I cannot feel my own body. I am numb with fatigue. I am just so sorrowful that I came all this way and have been so underwhelming to my suitor."
"But that is what I am trying to say" the man smiled softly, "You are not unnoticed, or underwhelming. I did not know you were even there until you took that breath and filled the room with your hurt."
Hendrix felt the blood leaving his body and pooling in his boots as he looked at who was obviously his intended.
Oh by the Goddess, what the fuck had he just done!
Chapter 13: food
The high prince insisted on ordering a feast be prepared and Hendrix watched with delight as a pretty table and chairs appeared, complete with arrangement of local flora.
He smelt a black flower and was surprised to smell his favorite food, licorice.
The high prince filed that away when Hendrix spoke of it.
The food was laid out and Hendrix sat, his hand shaking as he reached for his napkin.
They ate in silence for a while, then the high prince looked at Hendrix and smiled.
"If we are to be tied in bondage perhaps we need names?" he said softly, "I am called Jonas."
"I am Hendrix, Hendry to my friends" Hendrix smiled back.
"What was your little fluff called?" Jonas asked.
"Perit. He was blue with pink frosting and made this happy little noise when he saw me with a sweet fruit in my hand."
"I had one as a child, black with one white ear" Jonas smiled, "Such a little mischief."
As Hendrix laughed and regaled Jonas with tales of his lost pet, the high prince saw the man he was to marry. He had chosen none of his partners, being third in line meant it was his duty to do what was necessary. He did like this one, the two guards the only bit of discomfort.
They knew him so well and he looked to them for comfort.
As he smiled and engaged in the conversation, Jonas vowed that he would change that.
These two were here as long as they were necessary but when he was done, this little 'cow' would want for nothing but his touch.
After he had left, Hendrix sat playing with the stem of his wine glass.
"I am so mortified that our first interaction was with me behaving like that" Hendrix said softly.
"I am mortified that you ate that entire plate!" Johnty laughed, "I thought you were going to lick it"
"Damn! I knew I forgot something" Hendrix sighed, rolling his eyes.
Jax nodded to Johnty his thanks as Johnty easily redirected the prince towards something joyful again.
"Come on, let's play a round so settle that meal" Johnty prodded at his prince's belly, "You wee piglet."
They laughed as they prepared for a game and Jax sat back watching, listening an above all, worrying.
That had been so slickly done, even Johnty had taken a few minutes to catch on and signal him.
The prince was in more danger than they had first thought.
This one liked games too.
Chapter 14: love in the air
Over the next few days the prince was showered with gifts from flowers and trinkets to clothes.
Then he was visited again.
Jaxton and Johnty watched as he was presented with a small bird, the size of a plum and the same colour.
"These are native to this planet" Jonas told him as the bird hopped from his finger to Hendrix's.
"So small" Hendrix enthused.
"You should wait until it sings, only at dusk!" Jonas smiled and Hendrix gave a small smile that tore at Jaxton's heart.
They ate holding hands, talking of storms they had witnessed.
When the meal was concluded it was dusk and Jonas motioned for the bird. They walked through the doors to the garden and he held Hendrix from behind, his arm supporting Hendrix's at the wrist as he held the bird up to the dying sun.
The bird began to sing.
Hendrix gasped at the music swelled and other birds flew into the trees around him.
The little bird flew into the branches to join it's kin and Hendrix turned to Jonas with open affection leaning forward and gently kissing him.
Jonas threw his arms around him and rocked him as they deepened the kiss, Johnty placing an arm on Jaxton's to calm him as they were forced to watch Hendrix melt in the arms of his intended.
After Jonas had left, Hendrix sat watching the night sky with an open look of pleasure.
"My Heart's Keeper" Jaxton finally whispered.
"Did you see? The way he held me?" Hendrix turned to him and then frowned when he saw Jaxton's face.
"What is wrong?" Hendrix asked, canting his head.
"Nothing" Jaxton lied, turning on his smile.
"It is growing cold" Hendrix sighed, rising form the chair and motioning for it to be carried in.
As Jaxton carried it away, Johnty stepped forward.
"Hendry, I see you falling in love" Jonty whispered.
"No, I have fallen" Hendrix gushed, "From the moment he first touched my hand. Oh by the Goddess, all I wished for, all I thought I would never have. I do believe this bonding will work."
"And I suppose your vid-comms with your family are reflecting this?" Jaxton asked as he returned with a blanket to throw around Hendrix's shoulders.
"My parents are relieved for me, it seems the treaty signing is not going well. Many delays that are making my brother question if it is worth it" Hendrix nodded, "My assurances are helping them along. Father says it will be signed before my bonding."
"I am happy for you then" Johnty said softly, pretending to adjust the blanket as he took the chance to stroke his lovely prince's face.
Jaxton nodded, unable to voice the same sentiment as he picked up the discarded Jacket the high prince had thrown on the ground.
He turned the blue and silver fabric over in his hands as he fumed.
How was he going to get him out of this when he didn't see the danger?
He spoke to Johnty out it that night in their quarters.
Johnty sighed as he listened to the anger in his partner's voice.
"Darling, we cannot treat him like a child when he is to be a man" Johnty scolded, "Come here and let me take your mind off it."
"I don't want sex, I want him to be safe" Jaxton grumped, falling into Johnty's arms and bed anyway.
Johnty kissed him, rubbing his hands along his sides as he soothed him.
"I don't trust him" Jaxton muttered, "I don't know what to think."
"I know darling" Johnty crooned, kissing him again, pulling him onto a familiar position as their naked bodies squirmed. "But do you not think it is your love guiding your thoughts?"
"Oh gods" Jaxton gasped, "What can we do?"
"We can only try to keep him safe, oh my love" Johnty sighed as he reached down between them and Jaxton's head fell back as he sighed.
"It's going to be alright beloved" Johnty whispered, increasing the pace, "We'll keep him safe."
"We will protect him until the last breath in our bodies," Johnty vowed, "I will never leave him, I will spill the last drop of blood in my body for him! If it takes the end of my days, I will always be loyal."
"As will I" Jack groaned, canting his hips and giving in to Johnty's administrations.
They both hoped it wouldn't come to that.
Chapter 15: frosting on top
Hendrix was excited when Jonas visited with a box the size of a hat.
Hendrix didn't really care for crowns but did like a nice hat.
Jonas placed the box down and leaned in for a gentle kiss, then hummed as he settled in a chair to watch Hendrix finish his needlework.
"What are you doing my sweetness?"
"Jaxton and Johnty were sparring and Johnty got too excited, tearing Jaxton's shirt. I am simply repairing the torn seam" Hendry smiled sweetly, "My mother believed it prudent to know simple things that help with comfort. Wouldn't do to be on a royal trip and tear your sleeve, not having a replacement one. Being able to fix the damage can save both time and nerves."
"I never thought about it" Jonas frowned as he let his head fall back, "I never considered the possibility of not having staff to do it."
"Anything can change, my darling" Hendrix said as he finished the final stich and bit the thread, "You must be ready."
Jonas smiled, "Speaking of ready, there is something in the box for you."
"Really?" Hendrix clasped his hands, then stalked over to let his long, delicate fingers waggle over the lid. "Sweeties? Oh, pastry perhaps my beloved?"
"Do not shake it" Jonas warned with laughter.
Hendrix lifted the lid and gasped.
A tiny Pyra sat in a bed of lettuce, looking up at him with little yellow eyes blinking, sunk in the deep burgundy red fur with white frosting.
"Oh my love!" Hendrix enthused, turning to Jonas and clasping his face between his hands, then kissing him passionately.
Jonas sat with his eyes wide, touching his fingers to his lips.
He hadn't expected that level of joy.
This one was such a little teddy bear.
Hendrix was scooping the little creature into his hands, crooning as a wee nose twitched at him.
"Oh my dearest love, you have given me so much, now a wee baby to love" Hendrix looked over at him with open adoration, "I could never ask for a better mate. You fill my heart so much, it may burst through my chest, you wonderful man, you!"
The baby was placed back with its meal as another kiss was required to show his happiness and Jonas groaned softly as the sweet scent of Hendrix's pleasure filled the air.
"You will be my undoing Sweets" Jonas gasped once he was released.
"You, will always be mine, my handsome beloved!" Hendrix declared, watching as a little mouth chomped down on the greenery.
"Have you a name for him?" Jonas asked, smiling as he genuinely enjoyed the childlike glee on Hendrix's face.
"Frosty!" Hendrix finally said, "Because his fur is like cake frosting!"
Jonas laughed at the simple choice and nodded, "Trust you to bring it back to food. Frosty it is then, my sweet little gumdrop!"
"Oh my love" Hendrix rushed into his arms, snuggling as he pressed his lips to Jonas's neck.
Jonas closed his eyes as lust washed over him and he cleared his throat as Jaxton entered, followed by a talking Johnty.
"…but then she said, 'why not get your own'. Of course I had already …" Johnty stopped talking.
"Look! A baby!" Hendrix rushed from Jonas's embrace to lift the box and present the Pyra to his friends.
Jonas felt a stab of jealousy, slighted so easily, and huffed softly.
Hendrix turned back to him and back into his arms, hugging him with as much of himself as he could, humming happily.
Jonas forgave him.
Chapter 16: no more fluff
The Pyra was a hit with everyone and Jonas was not surprised to see it sitting by Hendrix's chair as he read aloud from a book.
He settled to listen to the soft voice of his intended and smiled, enjoying the rise and fall of the soft timbre.
"My darling" the voice said, "I have missed you. I have waited all day for you and am not complete without you in my sight."
Jonas opened his eyes to find the book had been lowered and those sky blue eyes were boring into him as Hendrix smiled.
"I didn't want to intrude on your reading" Jonas smiled back.
"Oh my love, there is nothing I would rather do than look at you." Hendrix gushed, "I cannot wait until our bodies lay together and I watch you in repose."
Jonas smiled softly, tiring of the sugary syrup required and sighed.
"Tired?" Hendrix rose, moving behind the chair and to Jonas's delight, he began to massage his poor shoulders.
Jonas allowed it for a while then reached up, grabbing a hand and pulling him onto his lap with a kiss.
"Oh Jonas, you flirt!" Hendrix laughed softly, allowing another kiss, then he flew from his lap as Jaxton entered.
Jaxton noted the high colour on Hendrix's cheeks, as well and Jonas's frown, before his face smoothed over.
"Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. The wee fluff's food" Jaxton placed the food on the table and Jonas felt another flare of anger.
Interrupted for the bloody Pyra? One pet caring for another?
"I'll leave you to it" Jaxton smiled and turned to leave.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" Jonas said calmly and Jaxton turned back with surprise.
"Bow!" Jonas demanded.
Hendrix felt the blood leave his face as he grew numb at the tone he had just heard and Jaxton looked at him for a moment, then bowed deeply to the High Prince.
"Of course Your highness" Jaxton purred.
"Don't forget it next time!" he barked, motioned Jaxton away and Hendrix frowned.
"Jax" he said softly and Jaxton hesitated, then turned to look at his beloved.
"Please, could you tell Johnty I enjoyed the book he chose" Hendrix smiled and Jaxton opened his mouth to respond.
"I believe I dismissed you already" Jonas said as he rose from the chair, "Why are you still here?"
"Jonas! Don't be rude. Jaxton is mine and I have not yet finished talking with him!" Hendrix laughed, "No need to be a grouch."
Hendrix stepped over and patted him arm, "You are tired my love."
"Stop calling me my Highness as well" Jonas snarled, "I am your future king! You will call me majesty!"
"Begging your pardon, but I am not of your realm. I am of his" Jaxton explained, "he is my Lord. You are Your highness. I bow to the intended of my Lord, but you will not be my king."
"Get out" Jonas demanded of Jaxton, who backed out of the room with growing concern.
Jaxton stood looking at the door for a few moments, then fled to find Johnty.
This was not good.
Back in the room, Hendrix was unaware of the brewing storm, laughing as the Pyra spat out a cherry pip.
"I do not know why you needle him so, Jaxton bristles like a many pronged Fergerlat around you. I have told him I will always be his Lordship; you are both little boys arguing about the level of your juice. I love you both!" Hendrix laughed softly as he collected the pip in his careful way.
"Who the bloody hell do you think you are!" he roared, "I am giving up my time with my second wife to be here today and you fawn over that fucking thing, you even fawn over your simpering guard. What about me. I could be fucking her right now instead of this gentle petting crap! When we are bonded, you can be sure things will be different!"
Hendrix finally felt the changing weather and stepped back with shock.
Jonas sneered, "Cariad. Sweetie. Darling. Beloved. God, I am so sick of your sticky sweetness. What the hell is it with you! You fucking act like a child. I can tell you this!"
Jonas strode forward and grabbed Hendrix by his collar dragging him into his face.
"When you are mine, I will not share my precious time with a bloody animal, be it furry or grinning in your family's colours!"
Hendrix grabbed at Jonas's hand with a yelp, crying out as he felt the fabric bite into his neck.
"Jonas! You are hurting me!" he cried out, fear spreading through his bones.
As if hearing the words, the wee bird had stopped singing in the rafters and the Pyra had stopped eating, turning it's little head to regard the men.
"Hurting you?" Jonas sneered, "Really?"
He reached for the book on the table, intending to strike Hendrix with it and the Pyra was lightning fast, rushing forward and sinking its teeth into his thumb.
Jonas screamed and released Hendrix as he raised his hand and tried to shake off the Pyra.
Hendrix could only watch with horror as the hand that had previously tortured his collar grabbed the book and brought it down on the fluff.
Chapter 17: the horror
Hendrix screamed with horror as his little pet was slammed into the table and fell to his knees with grief.
A little paw was reaching into the air as the fluff convulsed through its death throes, a high pitched squeal of pain emanating, only to be cut off as the book came down on its skull.
Hendrix was in shock, numbed to inaction as the book swung once more, this time at his own face.
"See what you force me to do!" Jonas screamed, his face contorted with rage, "See what you made me do!"
Hendrix is laying on the floor.
He is looking at the ceiling?
He is looking up at his intended as he looms over him, the book still swinging back and forth in his hand as blood drips from the spine.
Hendrix tries to focus.
A sound like the surf hitting rocks is in his ears, muffling the world around him as though underwater.
The floor is getting dirty and Hendrix wonders what will bring the blood off the carpet.
"You stupid, simpering …"
Whatever was about to be said is lost as he is torn from Hendrix's view and he blinks as sound returns and the roar in his ears recedes.
Jaxton is touching his face, stroking the bruised cheek and Hendrix struggles to sit up, looking around with confusion.
The poor wee fluff is laying on the floor and he knows with sickening certainty that it dragged itself off the table with the last of its strength, trying to get to him as it died.
It died alone, without his arms to comfort it.
Something in Hendrix stirs, then snaps.
He is on his feet, moving towards the two men who struggle on the floor.
"Get your fucking hands of my Johnty!" he snarls as he kicks out, taking a morbid satisfaction in the grunt of pain as his boot connects with the fucker's head.
Johnty is released from the choker hold and rolls away, coughing and trying to gain air.
Jaxton is dragging the fucker to his feet as Hendrix now focuses on Johnty, kneeling to comfort his lovely friend, crooning even as his own face feels like it is on fire.
He doesn't see the boot coming for his head as Jaxton and Jonas struggle.
He is on the floor again, this time aware of all sound in the room as Johnty cries out with horror and Jaxton's roar of rage is like that of a wild beast.
Crashing, yelling and the sound of flesh hitting flesh as the men battle.
Jaxton fights for him.
His Captain battles.
He lets his head roll to the side and sees his beloved Jaxton with his hands around the fucker's neck, snarling face to face, nose to nose as he chokes him out.
"Jax" he croaks.
Jaxton releases the fucker, letting him fall to the floor in a heap and he storms over to gather the prince in his arms, sobbing now as the adrenalin begins to wane.
Johnty staggers from the room, intent on getting help only to return minutes later with a pale face and shaking hands.
"We have to go" he whispers to Jaxton.
"I think his cheek bone is broken, the bastard!" Jaxon sobs as he tenderly examines Hendrix's face.
Hendrix is looking at the dead Pyra, the poor wee fluff.
"Jax!" Johnty is frantic and Jaxton frowns, "Jax! Remember the ring, what I told you about how I got it? I just saw … you know who … again. We must go. He is going to … if I could cut his throat I would but we can't. We have to run sweets."
"My little baby" Hendrix finally speaks, his words choking him.
Jaxton wakes from his daze and nods, lifting the prince in his arms as if he were a small child, a gentle kiss on the cheek as they head down the side corridor unseen.
The room is a slaughter house.
A high prince who is staggering about with confusion and an open head wound and no Hendrix.
The first on the scene are confused and send for the royal guards.
John arrives with them and stands back with a face like thunder, then he calmly asks where the prince is and what did the High Prince do.
Confused, concussed, the High Prince can only repeat that he drove him to it.
John squats and examines the large chunk of table that was broken off during the struggle, deftly scooping the dead fluff into his pocket unseen.
John turns to one of the guards and quietly whispers, "He's killed him, hasn't he. Bastard has killed my prince and hidden the body. Look at all this blood!"
The guard looks at him with horror, then growing agreement.
By the evening the whole palace knew of the hidden murder, all sworn to secrecy.
What did their High Prince do!
Nobody noticed the clothes John wore, the haircut or a katana hanging at his hip.
Nobody saw the way he held out his hand and whistled the little bird down from the rafters, slipping it into his red tunic before …. Blinking away.
Jaxton was asleep, Hendrix weeping silently as he caressed Jaxton's hair.
The scalp wound had stopped bleeding, thank the goddess and Jaxton did have a hard head.
He had hit the coffee table hard, anyone else would have probably died but Jax was not just anyone. His ribs would heal and the swollen bottom lip looked quite kissable actually.
Johnty often wondered if he was bloody indestructible.
Not like their poor prince.
He took a moment to step out of sight and swallow his grief for the failures he had witnessed and say a prayer to the gods and goddess for his beloved prince's life.
He opened his eyes and looked into his own.
John silently held out his hand and Johnty saw the tiny bird, reaching his own.
John pulled his back when they almost touched, "Careful, don't create a paradox."
The little bird hopped to the other finger.
"You arrived in time to save the bird, but not the fluff he loved so much" Johnty sighed.
"Had to be that way, you know I'm already messing with shit just being here with you ... me … you know" John sighed at his younger self. "I'm just glad I got to you in time to get Jaxton and save …. Our Teddy Bear."
"How do I fix this?" Johnty asked with open desperation, missing the way John almost said another name, before substituting it for 'our Teddy Bear'.
"All I can tell you is what I already heard from … me at this point in the game" John said with a heavy heart, "You can't. That's my job now."
"Really?" Johnty snorted, "Of all the people in the cosmos, do you think I would ever trust myself? You forget, I know who you really are."
"That's just the point" John smiled, "What you will learn in time, is that you knew bloody nothing!"
Johnty frowned at his future self as John Hart stepped back and touched his VM.
Johnty noted the age difference in the strap.
He was going to live, at least.
Turning to look on the direction of his partner and beloved prince he hoped they will survive too.
He had been too afraid to ask.
Chapter 18: hidey hole
Jaxton and Johnty used every trick they could.
Burned every credit.
Even this far, it was not far enough and the fear of discovery hung over them like a terminal illness.
Hendrix's cheekbone had been broken, as were three ribs. They healed in the next few weeks as he sat when told, ate when told, slept when told.
Like a robot.
He was a large, unhappy child.
Only the little bird brought him out of his shell, as it bobbed its tiny head and sang softly to him.
It was a little backwater planet that those hunting them down would search eventually, but hopefully by then they would be unrecognizable and unable to be distinguished from the other inhabitants by the time that happened.
Jaxton had the local dialect down pat and Johnty was close, slipping up in the odd word or vowel.
Hendrix was passed as mute.
It was hot, a dry planet that reminded Jaxton of home.
He hoped it was comfortable to his prince, he didn't complain.
Johnty was away at work, a little enforcement lark that paid with food. Black market of course and the other two waited in the dark flat for his return.
Jaxton sighed as he checked the time, Johnty was probably going to be about another hour.
"Come on darling" he said softly, catching the flash of annoyance on the prince's face.
"Shit, sorry. You don't like endearments, I'm tired. I forgot, My Heart's Keeper" Jaxton sighed, angry at himself.
He ushered Hendrix into the dingy bathroom and started to undress him. Hendrix let him, as pliable as a rag doll.
Once naked, he stood impassively as Jaxton sponged him down. Water was a luxury so it was only once a week that they bathed properly. Hendrix didn't sweat much, had to move about for that.
It was while Jaxton was smoothing Hendrix's hair back from his face that there was finally eye contact.
They stood looking into each other's eyes for a while, then Jaxton smiled softly, "Hello Hendry, my prince."
Jaxton blinked, "My Lord?"
"No." Hendry repeated softly.
"Why not?" Jaxton asked, desperately hoping for more words.
"I am nobody" Hendrix whispered, "I am nothing. Nothing but a simple fool."
"You are mine" Jaxton said forcefully, "You are my Heart's Keeper and I love you."
Hendrix seemed to consider this, then looked down at his naked body.
Jaxton sighed, "Because my heart made that decision for me long ago."
"Jax?" Hendrix frowned and focused more, becoming alert, "Where are we?"
"Somewhere they've not looked" Jaxton assured him, "We are somewhere they won't think of."
Jaxton cursed as he pulled the prince to the bedding and they cuddled in the blankets.
Jaxton was almost asleep when he felt the warm breath on his neck and also felt the body pressed against him.
"Please, stop …" Jaxton swallowed, then turned to tell Hendrix to stop rubbing against him, but their lips brushed against each other and that was that.
He tried to be gentle, he knew his hands shook as he took him in hand and Hendrix's soft, breathy moan as Jaxton tugged at him, releasing him was his own forced release.
Jaxton struggled to breathe as Hendrix shuddered against him.
The only pleasure seemed to be this, both agents hesitant for Jaxton to touch him like this when he had been so chaste but it was, at first, the only time he stopped weeping.
Now it seemed commonplace, a comfort thing like sucking his thumb. Even though Jaxton ached to do more, to love him more, this was all he could do by way of comfort.
Jaxton and Johnty then fucking in the shower once the prince was asleep.
"You have got to be kidding!" Johnty snarled from the doorway, "You are not hand-fucking him while I bust my balls out there!"
Hendrix stalled out and burst into tears, rolling into a ball as Jaxton glared at Johnty.
"Shit, I didn't mean it like that" Johnty sighed, dropping to his knees on the bedding, "I'm just tired. Please don't cry Hendry."
Hendrix snuffled and looked up at him with woeful eyes.
"Come on, you know I can't resist that look" Johnty smiled, laying down and spooning with his prince.
He glared at Jaxton as the three men snuggled in the bedding.
They were not safe at all.
Johnty knew that, after all he knew himself.
He was going to fuck this up somehow and he was terrified.
Hendrix wept silently and Jaxton crooned as he kissed the lovely, tear stained face.
Johnty frowned as he come to a conclusion …
Unless Jaxton fucked up first!
Chapter 19: running
It had been a close thing, they had almost been discovered and they now huddled in the old space freighter as Hendrix slept.
They had been cold but Jaxton had rifled throughthe luggage compartment they were hiding in and found clothes, bedding and most importantly to Hendrix, food.
He has also found credits or creditable items which were pilfered in silence, lest Hendrix realize they were stealing.
Jaxton felt someone behind him and tensed, then recognized the scent of Johnty.
"He's asleep" he whispered as he held out his hands for Jaxton's goodies, allowing him to keep looking for more.
"He's too frail" Jaxton muttered, "We need to build him up. He's so bloody thin. No condition left."
"He can't defend himself" Johnty agreed, "I've been thinking about that. We need to find a safe port and restart training."
"John?" Jaxton straightened up an eyeballed his partner, "I love him. I know you don't like it but I do."
"As do I but I don't …." Johnty waved his hand about then shrugged, "What I should say is, why doesn't he want that from me!"
"I've told you, you are his brother figure." Jaxton sighed, "He sees you as his strength. I am his comfort. I've not done more, Gods I would if I thought … when they find us we will die. You know that, I know that …."
"No. I saw me, remember?" Johnty hissed, "I was much older and I felt … there was no grief, only sorrow borne of the moment."
"But you don't know" Jaxton slumped, "Whatever they do to us, we must protect him. If he is still chaste, Gods I would … Gods. I am not going to impugn his chastity. We need a time limit."
"A time limit. If, after a certain time we are not discovered, then I will give in to his need for more and let him rut with me" Jaxton said calmly.
"You can't be serious" Johnty sneered.
"John, he can't be chaste his whole life, not with that heart. He craves. You know he does. A time limit. After which, I will let him find his manhood" Jaxton demanded.
"A year!" John huffed.
"What? It has been six months … you say a whole year yet!" Jaxton gaped.
Johnty relented, "Total. Six more months."
Jaxton relaxed, "OK, agreed. If, in six months we are still free, I will give him my heart."
"Like you haven't already" Johnty smiled, pulling Jaxton to the next boxes.
"Look who's talking" Jaxton huffed.
"I'm worried about the wee bird" John turned to watch it hopping around Hendrix's head.
"Yeah, it might give us away, but it is the one thing that makes him smile" Jaxton said as he dove into a stack of books, looking for something the prince might read.
Johnty huffed under his breath, knowing there was something else that made Hendrix smile, or someone.
As if to prove his point, Hendrix moaned softly and Jaxton's head shot up, out of the boxes and he struggled out to go to his prince.
In the throes of a nightmare, Hendrix cried out again, "No! Not my Johnty!"
Johnty felt better, he also felt a bit of a bastard for doubting his place in his heart as well.
Jaxton settled back in the bedding and Johnty joined him, setting his VM alarm so they could jump when they reached space-dock and avoid the unloaders.
Wouldn't do to get caught napping.
The little bird canted its head and examined the sleeping trio, then hopped onto a nearby crate to groom itself.
The creature within growled softly as it shifted and the claws that came out were swift.
The little bird's death was swift, at least.
The trio slept on aware of the storm about to dump on them.
Chapter 20: cubs
They managed to get him off the freighter as they muffled his screams with their hands.
The port was familiar and they headed for a friendly face as Hendrix sobbed and gasped in Jaxton's arms.
Mervillat looked up as they entered, his eyes narrowing as he recognized the agents.
"I paid my whack!" he said in a guttural growl.
"Merv, not now!" Jaxton snarled, pulling Hendrix around so he could see his face.
Hendrix was still weeping, at least the howling had stopped and the little feather in his hand was clasped to his chest as he looked at the giant bear.
"Shit!" Merv said with horror as he recognized the prince and he moved quickly, pulling open the door behind him and ushering them through.
His mate looked up with surprise as their cub slept in the cradle by her feet and he motioned for her to take the desk.
Hendrix moved to sit in her chair, cooing at the little bear cub with renewed interest.
"Thank fuck for that" Johnty huffed, "I thought he would never stop crying."
"How old is she?" Hendrix whispered as he looked at a small paw.
"Two" Merv said with pride, "Just found how to transform"
"Hmmmm, I can't" Hendrix sighed, "Something my mother despaired of. Too much of my father's blood in me I guess."
Johnty looked at Jaxton with confusion.
"Hendry's mother is Teddykin." Jaxton said and Johnty gaped.
"You are kidding, no wonder he likes the bed so much, he's not nesting, he's trying to hibernate!" Johnty laughed softly, then yelped when a paw slapped the back of his head.
"We don't do that" Merv frowned, "We sleep a lot in winter, but more like … eight hours sleep a day."
"I didn't mean any insult" Johnty muttered as Jaxton grinned.
"She is perfect, what adorable coloring" Hendrix crooned and Merv swelled with pleasure.
"So, not dead then" he finally said, nodding at the prince.
"Not here, either!" Johnty said, sliding the larger bag of goodies across the table.
The bear hummed as he sorted through the tat and cooed here and there.
"We need, we all need somewhere to hide, to lick our wounds. He needs food, comfort and rebuilding" Jaxton sat, watching the prince stroke the baby's furry face.
"He likes cubs" Merv said softly.
"Not finished being one himself" Jaxton sighed.
"There is some place, you've never heard of it. I won it in a card game of a mad fella who wore a stick of celery on his collar. Doctor something" he frowned as he tried to remember, "Dressed in white."
"A little backwater planet, not even on the maps yet" the bear smiled as he leaned back, "Sol 3."
"Sol 3?" Jaxton screwed up his face, "The name does not thrill me much."
"The locals call it Earth."
"I like that more" Jaxton nodded, "I like that name. OK, what do we do when we get there?"
"A house, like a little cave for him to hide in, no people anywhere near." The bear promised, "Exclusive. They will never find you there. I liked it but she didn't. Just gathering dust, nobody likes the name, I guess."
"How do we get there and what do we do for food and stuff." Johnty asked.
"Well, I can start selling this stuff" he waved his paw, "You will have to bring more now and then, use the credits before jumping home."
The two men had a silent conversation as they stared at each other, both knowing each time they had to pilfer and forage they were putting up flags but knew there was no other way.
Chapter 21: Destination acheived
They had travelled for almost two months to reach the safe house.
Couldn't risk jumping with Hendry being so frail, needed the time for him to get comfortable with the idea of a possible final destination.
They had tried to be patient, but by the time they finally got there, everyone was on edge. Hendry was behaving like a three-year-old, demanding his cuddly with pout in full bloom and the old pillowslip he insisted on clutching was quickly thrust into his hands.
He had picked it up while they were fleeing the palace, the last piece of red silk from his state rooms. Now, his only possession.
It was dark, the house seeming to loom over them in the darkness as they struggled from the transporter.
Manny had been true to his word, with the place well stocked with food and provisions. Fully furnished and homey.
Manny had won it in a game and been happy to off load it, warning them that it hadn't been inhabited for a couple of years but still well kept.
He assured them that this little planet hadn't even mastered space flight yet, let alone space exploration. Nobody knew about it, nobody cared.
Even the shadow proclamation ignored this place, it wasn't on the maps.
Hendry was exhausted and their first act was to make a nest in the front room, then sleep.
A large mattress was pulled into the room and bedding piled onto it. Johnty was angry and slamming things down as Jaxton calmly accepted the items, then moved them into some order.
Hendry watched, then threw himself into the bedding, making Jaxton pull back with annoyance.
Hendry refused to let them cuddle, choosing to lay on the edge of the mattress with his back to them, still sulking at being woken, only to be dragged from the ship to this … wherever this is.
He had seethed for some time, listening to the other two cuddling and comforting each other. He sucked the corner of the pillowcase, chewing thoughtfully. He imagined they wanted sex, would have coupled if he was not there.
In the way.
He knew he was being unreasonable;that this was all his fault after all.
He loved his guards.
No, his brothers.
No. His loves.
He lay thinking about that, holding on to the thought that they loved him.
Hendry woke to the dawn chorus and he slid from the bedding, running outside to look up at the trees behind the house.
The forest behind the house seemed to go forever, thick and lush. It was obviously virgin forest, untouched.
It was glorious.
It was also full of birdlife that was waking.
He was joyous.
He could pick at least four different birds within eyesight, some low enough for him so see their feathers as they preened.
The birds welcomed the sun and Hendry felt a calm come over him.
Then he turned to look at the house.
A white, two story colonial style building with white boards and a huge veranda that wrapped around it forming an upper deck as well as a covered veranda. It was wide enough to resemble an extra room's length on each side and Hendry immediately saw the promise of a summer snooze area.
Crisp green accents and the lattice work looked like fine lace.
Hendry loved it.
It looked like something from the pictures he had seen in his mother's books of fairy tale lands.
Then he heard a sound, so familiar that he couldn't hold back a soft sob.
Turning his back to the trees to look in the same direction the house faced, he saw the sea.
Hendry was running, he didn't know he had the strength but somehow he found it and he tumbled down the walkway to the beach, falling to his knees as he reached out.
He spread his fingers in the sand, letting himself slide forward until he was laying in it.
He was weeping openly as he let his head fall, his face falling onto the pale sand and he lay watching the surf.
It wasn't home, not a Boeshane beach but it was closer than he thought he might ever get.
Hendry felt at peace.
Chapter 22: Graceful
Jaxton woke to find himself alone in the nest.
He wandered outside and found Johnty on the front lawn, laughing softly as Hendry threw a clod of dirt at him.
Hendry then went back to admiring the roses in the gardens.
The gardens were well established and lush. The flowers were in bloom and it was obvious that Hendry was pleased with the place.
Johnty looked up and saw Jaxton.
"Jax! Look, aren't they pretty? They smell too!" Hendry called out with glee, waving his hands at the plants.
"Yes my Heart's Keeper" Jaxton watched Johnty as he brushed the dirt off and began his stretching exercises.
"Wanna Spar?" Jaxton called out, walking down the steps and taking a deep breath.
"The air is so clean!" Hendry said to no one in particular and he skipped to another plant, "Look! These are purple!"
"Well, Manny wasn't lying." Jaxton grinned as he looked around, "This is a little slice of paradise."
"Oh Jax!" Hendry enthused, rushing to him and throwing his arms around him.
They were kissing, Jaxton's hands sliding and grasping as Hendry groaned and felt himself going limp. Jaxton held him tighter, crushing their bodies together as they clung to each other.
Johnty looked at them with a soft huff rolling his eyes.
Hendry then did something he hadn't done before.
He reached down to Jaxton's crotch, cupping the hard-on and squeezing.
Jaxton grunted with surprise, thrusting automatically and Hendry grinned.
"What are you doing?" Jaxton groaned, his head falling back as Hendry bit at his neck and exuded a musky smell that left Jaxton boneless.
Johnty stood watching with disbelief as Jaxton came, messily and loudly in his Heart's Keeper's embrace.
Hendry left him sink to the ground panting and overcome.
"I … I didn't mean to … well, maybe I did … I … we're safe, right? If we're safe, we can be together!" Hendry reasoned as he knelt by the panting man.
"So, you wish do mate with him?" Johnty asked as calmly as he could.
"Yes" Hendry sighed, "Johnty, I love you as well, but not … not like that. My kind mate for life, only to one. You know that. Jax … I think ... no…I know it was always him. From the first day I met you both, Jax was the one I wanted to fill me, you the one I wanted to cover me."
"So … He is your Mate and I am your brother?" Johnty tried to understand.
"You protect me; you make me safe. He makes me warm and happy. I need you. I need you both to be … to be me" Hendry shrugged.
"I see" Johnty smiled, "So, it is not a competition because we have different roles."
"Yes. You hold me, I hold him. You see? We fit. The three of us. Although he is the only sexual partner you are my only … my only brother." Hendry sighed softly, embracing the agent.
Johnty hugged him back, letting go of any want or desire.
This was his little brother, of course it was.
He looked over at Jaxton who was plucking at his trousers with a grimace and grinned.
Jaxton caught it and grinned back.
"Oh look!" Hendry gasped and they turned to look out to sea, in the direction Hendry was pointing.
"What is it?" Johnty asked, trying to peer at the moving blob.
"A ship?" Jaxton asked, then squinted more.
"A creature!" Hendry enthused, clasping his hands as he rushed closer.
Jaxton flipped open his VM and started reading.
"Dolphin. A water dwelling mammal" he said, "Oh, highly intelligent sentient creatures."
"So graceful" Hendry sighed.
The two men watched him and agreed.
Chapter 23: first contact
Johnty worried about security, it was his job after all.
He watched Hendry settle and flourish.
Jaxton threw himself into pleasing their prince, from indulging in tea parties to gentle sparing on the lawn.
Johnty threw himself into security.
His first decision was to find a safe place.
The house was large and he knew there would be some good places to hide, he also knew they were easily found.
He used the next trip into the local village to buy lumbar and Jaxton found him in the attic.
"Johnty? What are you doing?" Jaxton asked softly, watching as another nail was banged in.
"A false wall" Johnty explained, "If they find us, it will be a safe room for Hendry to hide in."
Jaxton nodded his agreement and went to find his Heart's Keeper.
Hendry was where he always was this time of day.
In the water.
Jaxton froze as he noted it was deeper than normal, Hendry was past his waist and he started to run as a swell came.
Hendry jumped, enjoying the water crashing against him and he laughed, then squealed as strong arms dragged him back.
"Jax! No fair, it's not time yet!" Hendry struggled on his arms.
"You scared the brown stuff out of me!" Jaxton growled as he pulled him back to shore, "You're not too big to go over my knee you know!"
Hendry finally managed to wriggle free and landed with a wet plop in the shallows, gaping up at Jaxton with outrage.
"What!" Jaxton challenged, "I could ya know!"
"I'd like to see you try!" Hendry snorted and was rewarded with a playful slap to his rump.
Hendry kicked out and Jaxton lost his footing, falling onto the wet sand with a grunt.
Hendry was on him, wrestling and giggling as they rolled in the sand, lips on lips and tongues exploring as Hendry growled that there were too many clothes on Jaxton.
Jaxton knew this was more than play, his prince was trying to dominate him again and soon … soon he would succeed.
It was getting harder to resist those whimpers of need.
But he mated for life.
This reason alone, held Jaxton back from allowing them to mate.
What sort of mate would he be?
As if to answer his thoughts, Hendry pushed away, rising to his hands and knees as he glared at him.
"If I am unsuitable just bloody say!" Hendry snarled, "If you only want to couple with Johnty fine!"
He struggled to rise as Jaxton reached for him, then both men looked up with horror at the incoming sound.
A bi-plane flew overhead, low and slow, making Hendry wail with fear as he clutched at Jaxton.
They ran for the house and Johnty was waiting, dry towels and a look of doom.
As Hendry ran inside, Johnty took a moment to look at Jaxton.
"So it's happened" Jaxton sighed, "He's been seen."
"Yeah, sounds like they are getting nosy" Johnty said sadly, "They are mapping the coastlines, I guess. This means we can expect more."
"We have to be careful now" Johnty said softly, "We have to stay hidden."
"Agreed" Jaxton nodded, "Next visit to the village will have to be for a large haul. We can sit it out, can't last long, right?"
"I don't know. It's like they are looking for something, they passed quite low" Johnty said softly.
"No, no, not us. It was the water way" Hendry answered from behind them, "It headed up the river like it was checking the waterways."
"Agreed" Johnty finally said, "But this was a good lesson. We are too comfortable, I don't care if it's ten years, we will still need to be more vigilant. What if the next one spots us? Makes a note somewhere that ends up in records? They'll have us."
"Agreed" Jaxton growled, pulling a shaken prince into his arms.
A permanent record would alert the Time Agency in a nanosecond.
They would all be dead.
Chapter 24: hello Ianto
Hendry was bored, more mischievous than first thought and given to impulsive behaviour.
This led to a room being decorated with fresh blooms everywhere, only to smell of dead plants when they died.
Two days of airing to fix the stench.
This also led to Hendry wondering if he could just wear his underpants for the day and getting so horribly sunburnt that the two men caring for him wept as well for their stupidity.
Unfortunately, it also led to this.
They had no idea that he had followed them into the village and they were now forced to watch as the local women transferred their usual gushing for them to him instead.
He had dressed simply and now stood with an open smile as one of the women fanned herself eagerly, overcome by the soft lilting voice.
Gods, he was mangling the language.
Johnty thought fast and told them he was from Austria; thankful he had taken the time to read about other populated parts of the planet.
This made them coo even more.
Hendry complimented their lovely long dresses and gushed over more than one parasol. Demanding one if his own as he whispered to them how horribly burnt he had been. They all tittered behind their fans as they eyeballed the pretty creature in their midst.
Jaxton was so furious he tried not to speak, knowing Hendry would hear his anger.
The noise of an engine had everyone turning.
"It's an automobile" one of the women told him, "Here we are, turn if the century and already we have combustible engines propelling us around."
"Stiff and nonsense!" another sniffed, "How can you control one, a horse at least obeys the rein!"
Hendry watched the large box on wheels roll past and controlled his urge to laugh.
They were obviously on a young planet.
Jaxton finally managed to hook his hand and yanked him clear of his entourage.
"What, by the five hells are you doing!" Jaxton hissed.
"You didn't ask me for a list. You always ask me for a list, even if you ignore it!" came out through an incredible pout.
Whatever was about to be said was lost in a loud scream and Hendry looked up in time to see a small child in the street with a horse and cart bearing down, spooked by the automobile.
He didn't think.
He ran, scooping up the child and slamming against the shoulder of a horse, then bouncing off to the side.
He cuddled the small child and checked him for injury as the mother rushed over.
"Ianto! You little fool, your father will whip yer hide for this!" she said in a broad accent.
"Oh! You talk so pretty" Hendry blurted and she blushed.
"I'm from up the valley, Sir. Me English is not so good, me Welsh too thick to be understood around these parts so I am trying to do better" She explained as the child, who was now on his feet and brushing at his clothes, had his head crushed to her bosom.
"Well I think your English is lovely, so musical" Hendry informed her, "Worth the effort of saving your cub just to hear your lovely voice!"
"Thank you so much Sir, by the blessed virgin, thank you" she gushed.
"He is a fine looking boy" Hendry was at a loss for what to say as the two men across the road struggled, trying to get through the small crowd with open horror.
"This is my Ifan!" the woman patted his head.
"I thought you called him something else!" Hendry frowned, "Sounded pretty."
She laughed softly, "Ifan is a family name, first born of each generation is called that. To tell father from son, the young one is often called Ianto."
"Ianto" Hendry grinned. "That's the name. Pretty. So lovely to meet you both."
"Yes. We are so grateful" she reached for his hand, "Thank you, sir."
Hendry watched them leave, then turned to the men.
"Did you see those pretty blue eyes!" he gushed, "Not as pretty as yours, Jax, but such a soft blue. Almost a grey. I didn't know eyes cold be so stormy!"
Jaxton smiled and huffed, pulling Hendry to him, relieved that they were able to leave, "You have storms in your eyes sometimes."
"I do?" Hendry asked with surprise.
"Yes, you are very scary and masterful when storming!" Johnty joined in, loading the cart as their horses waited patiently for the homebound slog.
"Jax?" Hendry whispered as they settled in the back of the cart.
"Yes my dearest?"
"I really do want one of those parasol thingiees!"
Chapter 25: water time
Hendry was undressed once they were safely home and searched for any injury.
He protested the manhandling, even as he yelped from his bruised shoulder being extended.
"Nothing serious, that could have really hurt you my Heart's Keeper" Jaxton admonished, his hands shaking as he stroked the skin along the back.
"That tickles Cariad" Hendry giggled.
"They use that word here too" Johnty said, recognizing it, "Did you hear the mother call her child that as we walked away? Cariad? It came from this place."
"Really?" Hendy asked with surprise.
"Not that unbelievable" Jaxton told him as he adjusted his own clothing, "Galactic Standard is a bastardization of the common dialects, a lot of Sol 3 might end up peppered in there."
"How far back are we?" Hendry asked Johnty, "It seems to be quite early in this planet's evolution."
"The year 1900." Johnty said after he checked his VM, as if he hadn't checked already.
"Bullshit!" Hendry exploded, "They would never …. Oh. They would never look this far back. Oh."
Hendry looked at his two loves and grinned, "You are so clever, aren't you!"
"That's why it took so long to get here" Jaxton laughed, "We were jumping back."
"Oh, it's dusk already!" Hendry gasped, seeing the long shadows on the floor.
"Oh. So now you remember the dusk 'til dawn rule!" Johnty growled, "Shame you forgot it when you gallivanted about the village!"
"You left without my bloody list!" Hendry started to bristle again and Jaxton saw a meltdown approaching.
"A full moon tonight, Hendry my love. I think I see a fin or two" Jaxton said calmly, stepping back as the half-naked prince shot past him with glee while he called out to the dolphins to wait for him.
"I can't believe he did that. In broad blood daylight" Johnty hissed.
"Nobody has come, we are safe" Jaxton soothed, "Just … from now on we always go alone, one stays here with him. I think it best."
"Agreed" Johnty relaxed. "No running about, out in the open during daylight hours and one of us stays with him."
"Speaking of which, I hear splashing. The bugger is already in the surf" Jaxton laughed as he started after him
Johnty watched them frolic and then went back to the attic. Enough light to work as he tried to complete the hidden room.
He was still not sure if there would be backlash from the day.
He wanted to be ready.
Hendry had totally disrobed, not wanting to wait to find his swimming gear and was naked in the water.
After a moment's thought, Jaxton joined him, similarly clad … or unclad.
Hendry didn't notice at first, too busy stroking the snouts of the dolphins as they gathered around him, as entranced with him as he was with them.
When he finally turned to Jaxton and found that those strong arms lifting him were accompanied by an extra appendage beneath the water, he acted instantly.
Jaxton was attacked, no other way to put it.
He doesn't know how he came to move from the surf to the sandy beach, only that one minute he was capturing his love, then he was on his back while a tongue licked, lips kissed and suckled while he cried out with the wonder of it all.
"Gods you taste as good as you smell" Hendry growled, a deep throaty sound that went straight to Jaxton's groin and he gasped as those lips found his beloved's arousal.
Lips now kissed the tip and a tongue punished with its licking as Jaxton cried out again, bucking his hips as Hendry sucked him off.
The all-over kiss of two bodies as Hendry plastered himself on top of his beloved, allowing their erections to be cushioned in hot wanton flesh.
Then Hendry has surged up and Jaxton's eyes flew open as he was entered, filled with the angry manhood of his prince.
"Cariad" a husky voice whispered want and need ignited a hunger Jaxton had never known as he rolled to control his love.
Now on top, Jaxton rode Hendry, grinding their hips in a long, slow ride of delight as he loomed over Hendry, who had lost his senses, babbling beneath him.
The surf rolled around them as their own passionate tide overtook them.
Both men cried as they came, filling, consuming, conquering and releasing.
They lay in the water, debouched and content.
The faint echoes of hammer blows ringing out from the house.
Chapter 26: Jax yelling
Hendry was unsure when they first came, only that they knew their way around his little forest as well as he did and their giggles also told him that they were enjoying the game.
"I know you are there!" Hendry laughed softly, "I am not angry, you are allowed to play in my trees."
A little face peeked out from behind a tree and he recognized the boy.
"This is my little sister, Gwyneth" he said, pulling a toddler out from behind the tree, her long hair dragging down the ribbons within.
"Look at that bird's nest young lady" Hendry tutted his tongue, "Come here. MY little sisters never let their ribbons droop like that!"
She giggled, but toddled over obediently and stood while he fixed her dark curls into some semblance of order.
"You are really good at that!" Ianto said with his soft lilting voice sending Hendry into raptures.
"Oh, I do love you voice" he enthused, the children grinning as he hugged them.
"Mam said we is not allowed here no more, cos you own it now!" little Gwyneth told him, "But we always play here."
"And you always shall" Hendry assured them, "I don't usually come this far but the bunny I was following was so fast. Don't worry, I won't tell."
The children took off with giggles and flying curls, leaving Hendry holding a lost ribbon.
He ached for his sisters, his family long since lost.
He looked at the red ribbon and wondered if he would ever …
He laughed bitterly at himself for notions of fancy. He would have no children for his own to play with, his sister's chocolate curls would never be repeated around his own child's face.
Hendry went to leave and saw something in the leaves, gasping as he saw a small doll.
He brushed the little doll's dress down and looked into the fine china face.
He placed her on a stump so Gwyneth could find her when she realized she had forgotten her baby and started for home, the ribbon still in his fist.
He found the two men arguing, their arms wind milling as they roared at each other.
"What are you dong?" he asked as he stepped from the tree line.
"Where the hell have you been, I've looked everywhere!" Jaxton roared, forcing Hendry to step back with surprise.
"In the trees. You know I play in there with the rabbits." Hendry pouted, "It's not out in the open. You said I could!"
"Well you never said you were going. Woke to an empty bed and panicked, how dare you …."
"How dare I?" Hendry repeated slowly, his eyes flashing with anger. "How fucking dare you! You may have forgotten yourself but I have not. I am still your prince!"
"At the moment you are our ward, a spoilt little child with no …"
Johnty face palmed as Jaxton's anger overflowed and Hendry took the only action that seemed to work for him in the face of open mutiny.
Jaxton was too busy raging to notice and Johnty's soft curse as he started after his prince was lost. It wasn't until Jaxton turned to face them that he found he had been ranting at thin air.
Hendry ran through the orchards and into the hay field beyond, falling to his belly and rolling into a ball as he sobbed.
Johnty looked desperately and then remembered his training, stopping and holding his breath as he listened.
Eventually he heard the sobbing and made his way to the forlorn prince, rocking in the long grass.
"Hey, he didn't mean that. You scared us, that's all" Johnty soothed, "He loves you so much, it hurts him to think of anything happening to you."
"So he hurts me as well?" Hendry asked.
"He hurts himself." Johnty shrugged.
"I hate this." Hendry flopped back in the grass, "This is a death. This existence, this isn't living. Just … I am a bird, snatched from one cage to another."
"Oh my love" Johnty sighed, pulling the prince into a hug.
"He doesn't even love me, I know this. But I needed to bond, I needed a mate and it cannot be you" Hendry sniffled, "You are my brother. I cannot have you hate me, belittle me and make me feel inferior. I need you to be my loyal friend, even when he forgets."
Johnty closed his eyes as the words stung.
So this is why he chose Jaxton as his mate.
His eventual trampled feelings more acceptable from Jaxton, who was always going to fuck it up one way or another.
Johnty thought about it and it all made sense.
He liked it.
His prince loved him enough to not want to risk losing him to hormones and sexual confusion.
Johnty held him tighter.
Jaxton's voice calling as he searched for them, desperate with fear.
Johnty decided to let him sweat a wee while longer.
Chapter 27: memories
Eventually, Johnty led his sniffling prince home and Jaxton rushed at them, anger and relief evident.
"Don't!" Johnty snarled, "Don't hurt him anymore!"
"Hurt him!" Jaxton blustered, "I love him, god damn it all to the three suns of Dervix"
"It's OK" Hendry said softly, "You do not need to pretend. I know you do not. How could you, I am pathetic!"
Jaxton's mouth snapped shut as he looked at Hendry with surprise.
"I'm tired." Hendry said ina small voice, "I shall sleep for a while. Don't' bother coming to lay with me. You don't have to pretend to like that either"
He slouched off and Johnty placed his hand on his hips, waiting for the explosion.
"What …" Jaxton waved his hand at Hendry's retreating back, "What the fuck was that?"
"He thinks you don't love him" Johnty said and watched with satisfaction as the words stung.
Jaxton turned to go after his mate and Johnty grabbed his arm, "He is delicate. You are leaving big bruises all over his heart. He has bonded to you, thinking you will betray him. Loving you so much that he was willing to accept your eventual betrayal. Do you understand?"
Jaxton sighed as he went after his beloved prince, ready to crawl over broken glass.
He found Hendry in the nest, laying in a little ball, sucking on the corner of that bloody pillow case.
"I get angry when I'm scared" Jaxton said softly, sitting on the edge of the nest, "I act like my father. All full of importance and the weight of the world when really, I just want someone to hold me and tell me that I don't always have to be the one in charge."
Hendry peeked at him, showing his tear stained cheeks and Jaxton groaned softly.
"But who is in charge?" Hendry whispered.
"All of us, none of us?" Jaxton shrugged, "Sometimes you will need to listen, Johnty and I sound like we are being bossy but we know things you don't. Things that could hurt you and the time spent trying to explain could be the time needed to be safe."
"You don't trust me to think for myself then!" the pout informed him as the pillowcase came up again.
My Heart's Keeper" Jaxton slumped, "I do trust you. I don't trust those who might scheme to take you from me. Don't you see?"
Jaxton lay in the nest, pulling the wriggle monster into his arms, "I fear others hurting you, my beloved."
Hendry considered this.
"But in the trees, those in the trees would never harm me" he said.
Jaxton shrugged, "I don't know."
"There are things in the trees, I only want to play" Hendry sighed, "But I will not. Not if it upsets you. I will not play anymore."
Now Jaxton felt a first class heel.
"No, I want you to play" he whispered, "Please, just never speak to strangers, don't even let them see you."
Hendry nodded, grinning to himself as those he already knew were no longer strangers. He was glad, he didn't want to give up his new friendship with Ianto and little Gwyneth. Or the other creatures of the woods.
Johnty found them like that, curled up asleep.
He wandered out to the front veranda and looked over the sea as he contemplated their life.
He missed his old life.
His girl he had to leave behind.
They had met in the academy and it was Jaxton's first display of jealousy that made Johnty see that he felt something for her, that they were more than just bedmates. The first real argument between the partners.
He wondered what her first assignment had been, probably not as interesting as his.
He had hoped that Clarista and he might have had more time.
Her dark wavy hair, her full face and wicked tongue.
A real woman, curvy and full of power. The one and only woman to have knocked him clean off his feet with one blow.
God, she had a fist on her.
A gob too.
He thought of her fondly now, wondering if she would like this little patch of heaven he had carved out with his partner and prince.
It doesn't do to linger on the past, Johnty knew that and he took a deep breath, then expelled it, letting out her memory.
She probably didn't even remember him.
After all, her last comment had been to go to hell. Angry that he wanted to spend his last night with Jaxton, not her.
Gods, but she had thighs that could crush a man's head and a mouth that could whip you meaner than a laser-whip.
Johnty took one last look at the waves, then went inside.
Leaving her soft laughter at the door.
Chapter 28: Heart of the Family
Time seems to pass more quickly when you are happy and it seemed that way with this little family.
Hendry spent most afternoons in the forest, at least when the weather allowed and Ianto was a firm little friend.
Hide and seek a favourite, he was quite the little trickster.
The orchards had come into their own with an abundance of fruit and Hendry had loved it so much that the stomach ache from too many plums occurred more than once before he would believe his Jaxton that they were to blame.
The days were getting shorter, the storms meaner and Hendry felt the beginnings of cabin fever.
Jaxton watched and wondered how they would survive winter.
He heard in the village that snow might come early and he was in two minds, excited to see the weather he had never experienced before and fear that Hendry would not take the cold so well.
Hendry did like rain though.
A soft drizzle currently watered the gardens and Hendry had wandered out amongst before the dusk set in, his coat collar flicked up as he stopped to smell the roses, the last of the blooms nodding their heads as they gave in to the coming winter.
An earth game called chess had been discovered in the village store, the rules argued over and read many times as they all learned to play. Jaxton didn't have the patience, although the card games were a hit.
Johnty and Hendry were taken with chess, although both declared it a poor substitute for their 3D game they had left behind.
Most evenings now consisted of a game or two as Jaxton quietly carved wood into little creatures for the growing hoard Hendry loved. Maybe a card game after supper by candlelight.
The carved rabbits were a favourite but the odd dolphin had brought coos of delight as well.
The horse he was currently trying to carve was proving difficult and he might have abandoned it except for the look of glee when Hendry had peeked.
The current chess game was nearing its end as Hendry crowed.
Johnty declared it a mercy game, having let him win because of the rain and Hendry laughed prettily.
Jaxton rose and banked the fire, watching the flames lick at the wood and the hot coals glow around the edges.
He looked up and found his beloved Heart's Keeper watching him with a look of pure love.
It took his breath away.
Johnty packed up the game and rose to do the dishes, having grown used to fussing around the kitchen last thing at night as he sorted things into the order Hendry liked.
Silly, I know.
Johnty liked pleasing his prince and something as simple as a clean kitchen brought kisses and praise.
He knew he was the wife, but hey … the wife is the heart of the family. Right?
Funny how things work. Jaxton called Hendry his Heart's Keeper and Hendry called Johnty the heart of them.
Hendry had pointed this out one night and Johnty had argued that he was nobody's wife!
He had almost had one of his own before deployment and laughter had ensued as he stood with his hands on his hips, his frilly apron still on.
Well, he was baking!
He declared them both to be ungrateful children, then stomped off.
When he had called out that the cupcakes were ready the giggles were muffled, lest he take back the offer.
Later, they snuggled in the nest with Hendry in the middle, whimpering at the cold and forcing Jaxton out of the covers to stoke the fire for him.
Johnty stroked the long hair of his beloved, almost past his shoulders and revelled in the re-growing tail.
Jaxton watched and whispered again of his affection for his family, reminding Jonty that he was loved and needed to keep them safe, warm and alive.
"My Heart's Keeper, are you warm?" Jaxton murmured as he pulled the spare quilt over them and Hendry mumbled as he snuggled in Johnty's arms.
"Come back to bed Beloved" Johnty whispered, "He is almost asleep and your cold feet will annoy him again."
"Hush, my lovely heart beat" Hendry hissed, "Don't pick on my Jax. Cold feet, warm heart. The two of you are prefect to keep me comfortable."
Johnty smiled as he kissed his prince's face, the keeper of his heart as well.
He thought idly of food as he started to drift off, Hendry enjoyed those tarts he had made for supper. Maybe tomorrow he will pick some more plums and try a large one.
Johnty nodded off to sleep as he held tightly to his prince.
The apron over the chair winking at him in the firelight.
Maybe he was the wife.
But he was a good wife.
After all, he was the heart of the family.
Was he not?
Chapter 29: bugger
Jaxton loaded the last of the parcels into the cart and took a last look about to see if he had missed anything.
The first snows were due that night, the air felt so crisp and incredibly bright.
He had found something in one of the stores and hoped it would be a change to the tea Johnty loved.
It was called coffee and he had liked the smell, almost like chocolate.
Hendry had a rare taste, he hoped he would like this drink.
He was just getting onto the cart when he heard someone calling out ot him.
He looked down to find the young boy Hendry had saved, grinning up at him with glee.
"Hello there, young sir" Jaxton said politely as he climbed back down.
"So glad we caught you!" his mother smiled, striding forward.
"Ma'am" he smiled, enjoying the colour coming onto her face.
"This is for Hendry; can you give it to him for me? The snow is coming so I can't leave it for him by the stump like normal." The innocent child smiled.
Jaxton was careful to keep his own smile in place as he silently seethed.
So this is why Hendry was sneaking out to play.
He had a playmate.
Jaxton realized it had gone quiet and he took a deep breath before speaking, "Just thinking how long this winter might be, Hendry will pout like a three-year-old when he finds himself tapped indoors."
She laughed and slapped at him, "Poor boy."
He bid them good day and climbed back up, throwing the newspaper behind him in a box, ignoring the urge to throw it back at the child who was quite unaware of the hornet's nest he had just stirred up.
All the way back to the house, Jaxton seethed and went over the different things he wanted to say, shout, roar, hurl.
He knew any and all choices would hurt Hendry, upset Johnty and ultimately make him feel like a heel.
In the end he settled for calm.
He would be calm.
The lanterns were hung by the gates, showing Hendry's concern for his return and as the horse drawn cart drew to a halt, Hendry was climbing up to embrace him.
"Oh Cariad, I missed you!" he enthused, kissing Jaxton passionately as he pulled at his clothes, "So, what did you bring me?"
Jaxton laughed, forgiving him as he felt hands feeling in his pockets for hidden treasures.
The chocolate bar found, Hendry sat back with glee and hummed softly as he peeled back a corner and bit into it.
"Oi!" Johnty yelled up at them, "I'm freezing my balls off and they are far too spectacular to die this way!"
Jaxton laughed and helped Hendry down, then reached back for a box to pass down.
Soon the cart was unloaded and the night was well and truly settled in. They started to unpack the boxes in the kitchen.
"Listen" Hendry whispered, touching their arms.
Both men turned to him and canted their heads.
"I don't hear anything my little rabbit" Johnty said softly and Hendry grinned.
"Exactly. Not a thing!" he enthused, "Oh gods, the snow is here! Ianto said that the snow is a silent visitor and …."
Hendry stopped speaking as he watched Jaxton frown.
"Ianto. That young boy has been in the woods, playing with you" Jaxton said as he tried to remember his promise to be calm, "You have been talking with him."
"Yes" Hendry smiled, "Listen!"
"Mae fyhofrenfadynllawnllyswennod" he said in Welsh and both men stared at him, "It means … it means ….'My hovercraft is full of eels'!"
"They don't even know what one is." Hendry was laughing as he slapped at his thigh, "Oh and … 'Dwiddimyndeall' means 'I don't understand'!"
"He's teaching me Welsh, so I can hide better" Hendry smiled as he hugged his beloved, "You see Jax? I sound like them now!"
Jaxton sighed as he accepted the hug, secretly thinking it had sounded lovely.
Johnty smiled and then looked down at the newspaper he had picked up from the box.
He flicked through it as Hendry tried a few more phrases and learned just how much his lover liked those vowels. They kissed as Johnty shook his head and resumed reading.
The middle page was a roundup of the year's news.
Johnty felt the world around him fall away as he stared at a grainy photograph of Hendry holding Ianto in his arms as he spoke to the mother.
The caption said "Hero"
Johnty said a different word altogether.
They were now recorded.
Johnty looked up with horror as he realized they were now history.
Chapter 30: does it matter?
Johnty offered a rare treat, a bath.
"Bubbles?" Hendry asked with wide eyes that melted any heart.
"Yes, now go get your things while I boil the water" Johnty said, letting the prince kiss him lovingly before running, off clapping his hands with glee.
"You hate the workings of a bath" Jaxton smiled, "He is so excited. Let me help."
"I would rather you take a look at the middle page of the newspaper over there" Johnty said as he lifted the large cauldron over the fireplace.
Jaxton frowned as he wandered over and lifted the newspaper, flicking through it.
He had to.
Hendry crept in and peeked at the water.
"Putting it in now sweetest one, just needed the first lot in to warm the tub" Johnty said as he tipped the bottle of expensive bubble bath in.
Then came a second cauldron which half-filled the bath and created the bubbles as Hendry hooted and started to struggle with his clothes.
"Cariad, help me!" he whined as he looked over at Jaxton.
Jaxton looked up with the newspaper in his hand slowly crumpling.
"Cariad! Bubbles for goodness sake, help me!" Hendry huffed as he tried to take off a sock while standing up.
Jaxton dropped the paper and rushed to catch him as he toppled and soon had a naked prince kissing and stroking his face as they waited for the final cauldron.
"What is wrong? Want to come in with me? I will share, I know I don't like to but I would share with you … always my love" Hendry said solemnly. "Did you get a chill?"
"It's OK my Heart's Keeper, I'm just tired and looking forward to a cuddle with you smelling so sweet" Jaxton whispered.
"Not before you have a bath as well!" Hendry sniffed, "If not with me, then after. Yes?"
Hendry climbed in, hooting at the hot water and then sighing decadently.
Jaxton motioned to Johnty and they walked outside calling that they were fetching more wood.
"We are right proper jammed!" Johnty snarled once they were outside.
"What a mess" Jaxton agreed, "I thought we were home free!"
"Well, we are not!" Johnty spat.
"We need to start the drills" Jaxton sighed.
"Agreed. He needs to get used to the idea of running for the safe room" Johnty picked up some wood, knowing their prince would be paying attention.
"That's your job" Jaxton ordered, "You get him to that room, you guard him. I will stay back and create misdirection."
"Gods, do you think they will come?" Johnty stopped walking and looked at Jaxton in the strange light.
"Hope for the best …"
"Plan for the worst, I know" Johnty sighed, "what … what is this?"
Jaxton put out a hand and watched as a tiny piece of white fluff landed on his skin, then … melted.
"This? This is snow?"
"Frozen rain, snow." Jaxton huffed, looking around as the fluff started to pile up.
"Thin ice" Johnty muttered to himself.
"Yeah" Jaxton agreed, seeing the irony.
They re-entered the house and found the bathtub vacated and a naked prince standing in the middle of the room, bubbles still running down his lean legs as he studied the newspaper.
He looked up as they entered, shaking the newspaper at them, "You thought I would not notice?"
"We were just saying, it is probably nothing" Jaxton lied, "We will start the drills and prepare but it happened way back, they would have come already, right?"
Hendry looked at the picture for a few more heartbeats, then threw it down.
"Until this publication, they didn't have a bloody date!" he spat.
"But here we stand!" Johnty soothed, "Look. No bogeys."
Hendry bit his bottom lip as he looked at his lovely men.
Their lies were sweet and he accepted them.
For he knew as well as they did, it was all going to be for naught.
He had learnt one thing in his short time in this verse.
His heart mattered not to the gods.
Chapter 31: training
"Still too slow" Jaxton panted as the sound of the large bolt slid home.
Hendry huffed and straightened up, still rubbing his shin where it had connected with the door frame.
"Why must we do it in the dark!" he wailed, "I can't bloody see!"
The bolt slid back and Johnty opened the wall, allowing light in from his lantern, "Because they will probably come when we are asleep."
"It has been three months since the stupid picture" Hendry pushed past, angry at himself and the worlds in general.
"We have been pushing him" Johnty muttered to Jaxton and they watched as Hendry pushed the wall shut and moved the hidden bolt that looked like a clothes hook.
"I still do not see why one of you must stay outside" Hendry began the same argument they always seemed to end the exercise with.
"Misdirection, one of us leads them away while you sit quiet as a little mouse" Jaxton said as he tried to draw Hendry into his arms, "This way one of us stays with you and one can escape."
"So I can escape and one of you is forfeit, you mean" Hendry snorted, "Chess is not supposed to be your game!"
Jaxton laughed softly as he kissed the pert little nose.
"I do not want to lose anyone" Hendry shuddered, "I would rather throw myself on the flames than see either of you burnt."
"Hush" Jaxton said softly, drawing out the next kiss.
"Misdirection" Hendry sighed, letting his head fall back as he gave in anyway.
Johnty went through the scenarios in his head, knowing they had to do another outside attack soon.
Hendry hated those.
The coffee grinder was in use, Hendry's scowl as he turned the handle was enough to sour cream.
A cup might calm him, something might.
He missed little Ianto with his wonderful folk stories.
He was fascinated with the stories of the fairy folk.
And dragons, oh the dragons.
The snow also seemed to make the other creatures go away and even the birds were quiet.
Hendry knew he would see him again in the spring but winter seemed like such a long time.
Ianto had said he could have one of the puppies when his dog whelped, he would miss it now. As he sat and sipped his bitter black, he thought about the little puppy and what he might name it.
"You are drinking that before bed?" Johnty sighed as he noted the cup of black coffee.
"It's mine!" Hendry pouted, still annoyed at the late hour for an exercise in futility.
"Look, we can go to bed and try to sleep, or we can do an outside drill while the snow is still holding off" Johnty said as he pulled out a chair and straddled it.
Hendry groaned and threw himself back in his own chair at the thought of romping around in the dark.
"Why are you punishing me?" he wailed, "Why must you force me into these acts of lunacy. Why do we not have a weapon that will just make them go away?"
"Hendry, if they are Time Agents then any weapons will be useless, at least anything we can create in this period" Jaxton said calmly, having heard this argument several times already.
"Bloody hells!" Hendry snarled, emptying the dregs of his cup in the sink.
"Bed?" Jaxton said softly, holding out his hand.
"My shin still smarts" Hendry sniffed like a spoilt child and Johnty let his head drop onto his hands.
"Come on my Heart's Keeper" Jaxton lifted him from the chair and carried him as you would a small child "My poor warrior"
Hendry sniffled and decided he liked this.
The nest was soon warm and snuggly, three little snuggle bugs safely inside.
Johnty reached across Hendry and took Jaxton's hand, squeezing softly.
"Tomorrow, we'll do it in the light" Jaxton whispered, "a few times before a night-time jaunt."
"Time is ticking away Jax" Johnty sighed.
"So is my patience" came a growl from their chests and they grinned at each other over the tuft of hair.
"You will be so good at it, we'll only have to do it a few times" Johnty said and Hendry's face appeared as he studied the face of his Heart.
"I'm serious!" Johnty assured him.
A hum as the head disappeared again and Johnty was pleased to feel lips against his chest as Hendry kissed him over his heart, then settled with his face against him to listen to the heart he claimed.
Jaxton settled to spoon his lover and the three of them drifted.
Johnty was on first shift and he lay awake most of the night, then woke Jaxton in the early hours to swap.
Jaxton had agreed, it was for the best.
To stay on watch.
They would probably come in the night.
Chapter 32: hunted
Hendry was gasping for breath as he leaned against a tree, the sound of the woodland creatures stilled in the shock of the invasion.
Hendry could hear them coming, they were so close and he knew he would be a sitting Gorsnell out here, pushing himself off and starting to run again.
The snow left a trail and he cursed as he wondered how he might get around it, looking for an answer in the surrounding area.
He grabbed a broken tree branch and stared to sweep, covering his tracks and his footprints soon disappeared.
He grinned as he suddenly disappeared from all tracking.
He hunkered down behind a briar bush and listened as they argued, trying to agree in a direction to go.
They still hadn't twigged to the branch.
Pardon the pun.
Hendry chanced a peek and saw the back of one, hands on hips and showing open annoyance at the new game strategy.
Gods, he was tired.
He wondered if he could whine a bath out of Johnty tonight, he knew for sure he would get a bollocking when the state of his clothing was discovered.
He had torn a sleeve on a branch, the briar patch not helping and he had felt the bite of the thorns more than once against his delicate skin.
He watched as they moved off and he carefully moved into their tracks, placing his feet in their prints with glee.
They will be so annoyed when they realize this tactic.
He decided not to tell them, this could be useful next time they decide to show him up with their hunting prowess.
He could see them, arguing again as they examined their own footprints, not realizing that they had moved into a large circle.
Hendry was pleased to see it was prior to his joining the prints as well, so there was only the two sets of footprints, wandering along.
They surmised that he had an accomplice.
Someone was helping him.
Hendry bristled and only just managed to hold back on voicing his annoyance at their assumption what he was too thick to have thought of something on his own.
Bugger them too.
He started for home, deciding he had done enough today.
Their voices finally called out to him, having given in.
He had won.
He hesitated, wondering if he would forgive them or not.
He sighed and sat on the stump, waiting until they appeared with eyes wide and whispering to each other.
"No fair, you cheated!" Ianto burst out with his hands on his hips.
"Did not!" Hendry said with glee.
"How did you do it then!" Gwyneth demanded and Hendry winked.
"He's not gonna say, the Twypsn!" Ianto huffed and Hendry narrowed his eyes as he tried to remember what that word meant.
In the distance, Jaxton's voice echoed across the snow and he slumped, as did his little friends.
Hendry kissed each child and waved to them as they sludged off through the snow drifts and then headed back to the house.
Jaxton was standing on the veranda and smiled as he saw his beloved Heart's Keeper racing towards him, having mastered the snow.
"Jax! I'm so cold!" he enthused, throwing himself into his arms.
"You beast!" Jaxton growled, kissing his rosy cheeks and then indulging in a bit of mouth to mouth on the front steps.
"When you two are done" Johnty said from the doorway, "Perhaps our Heart's Keeper can tell us what happened to his sleeve?"
"A briar patch!" Hendry groaned, raising it so they could see his torn skin as well, "Look, it bit me!"
All admonishments flew out the window when the men saw the blood and both rushed to comfort their lovely prince.
Hendy smiled to himself as his upper clothes were removed and all his bumps and scratches were examined.
"Hendry, what on earth were you doing?" Jaxton muttered.
"What on earth" Hendry repeated slowly.
"It's a saying around here, like 'Hell's Bells!' is" Jaxton said as he kissed the savaged wrist.
"I love you" Hendry sighed softly, as he reached for Jaxton's cheek, "My lovely captain."
"Captain?" Jaxton looked up with interest.
"A captain is the one in charge of a plane or boat" Hendry said with glee, "I know this is what you are. Our captain of our journey, Johnty is my lovely spare Heart, just in case mine is lost and my job is to keep you both in the depths of my very soul!"
Jaxton decided that deserved a kiss, then stood as he declared it a bath night.
Johnty leaned over, extracting a kiss as well.
He then went to pull out the tub for his lovely prince.
Hendry grinned to himself.
His stolen time with the children long forgotten.
Chapter 33: I know we agreeed but ...
The snow was low on the ground but it was a nice day, the area he had found sheltered from the wind had the sun shining down, creating a nice warm spot.
Hendry sighed as he heard a bark from Jaxton, signaling another bloody drill.
He dragged himself up from the sofa he had been sleeping on and frowned as he stumbled for the stairs.
The old quit was twined around his feet and he kicked at it angrily, all this bloody work for nothing. It had been several months and no … Grrrrrrr.
It was late afternoon and Hendry was in nesting mode, annoyed that cleaning day had stripped the nest.
Johnty promised they would all dry by nightfall and now a bloody drill.
He was sick of these bloody tings, they never let him choose a random time for one. Oh no, don't let Hendry have a little bit of control over their lives.
He was moving down the hallway muttering to himself as he wondered if Johnty was in the kitchen or outside with Jaxton.
Gods, don't let it be an outside one.
Hendry was sick of hiding in the cold snow, seeping into his trousers and making him grump for the rest of the day.
A rumble had him hesitate.
Ianto started to move faster as the incoming storm startled him, then he wondered as the noise was more like … grinding.
Jaxton called out again, this time anger and fear was evident as Johnty appeared in front of him, grabbing him and pulling him towards the attic and their safe room.
The noise was done, Jaxton's yelling more insistent as he tried to distract whatever or whoever was in their front yard.
Then Jaxton screamed.
Oh gods, they were hurting him.
Johnty was fighting with Hendry now, pulling him bodily up the steps with his hand over his mouth as he tried to break free.
Jaxton's scream was high pitched and Hendry snarled as he struggled more. Another voice as someone called out, sounding angry and authorative.
Jaxton's next scream was a high pitched shriek.
They were hurting him.
Johnty had them to the room and Hendry went limp, as if accepting Jaxton was a lost cause.
Both men were sobbing as they clung to each other, the low moans still drifting on the breeze.
Jaxton was in horrible pain, whoever it was, they knew they could hear.
Johnty made his first mistake.
He stepped into the room and turned, his hand out for his prince only to find the wall slamming shut.
"No!" he screamed as he heard the bolt engaging from the outside and he slammed against the wall, cursing the sound control that dulled his yelling.
"NO, Hendry!" Johnty wailed, listening as things were dragged across the floor, hiding the room and Johnty from those downstairs.
Jack's wail was now fading, as was his strength and Johnty closed his eyes as he started to mourn for his partner.
He knew they would not survive this.
His VM had pinged and he turned it off with horror, going completely silent.
Now he knew they were in more desperate danger than first thought and he threw himself against the door as he screamed too.
Hendry was waiting as well, listening as he tried to work out how many there were, the ring on his finger twisting nervously in this fingers.
He would find him, right?
Hendry knew this was going to break his heart, all of their hearts but he couldn't leave Jaxton to suffer alone.
Hendry pulled himself up and took a deep breath.
He then moved towards the visitors, and his doom.
Chapter 34: arrivals and departures
Hendry peeked around the pulled curtain in the front room and saw his beloved on his knees in the snow, the red bloom around him like a strange shadow.
Hendry watched with horror as a man dressed in black raised his arm and brought the sonic-whip down on Jaxton's torso, flesh and fabric tearing as it cut into his skin and a piece of blue fabric fluttered in the wind like a feather.
A man was struggling with another similarly black clad man.
A strange blue box stood in the garden and Hendry noted absently that it was crushing his roses.
The man broke free and threw himself on Jaxton, causing a new cry of pain.
The whip wielder stopped, looking to his partner for help.
"Doctor, please. You must let us carry out the …."
"Barbarians!" the man bustled, his pepper salt hair flying about as he stood, brushing off his black coat.
Jaxton pitched forward into the snow and lay prone, spent and gasping for air.
Hendry watched as the one with the whip stepped forward and grabbed Jaxton by his hair, lifting his head.
"Come out now, and we will let him live!" the man demanded, a blade shining in the sunlight.
The man called the Doctor roared with anger, fighting against the one holding him, "Jaxton Boeshane! By the great mountains of Gallifrey, Jaxton. Just tell them!"
Hendry looked around for something to use, they had a whip and a blade.
He reached for the broom and stood, shaking as he stepped onto the veranda.
"Ah, finally. By the gods man, get down here and let us take you home" the whip holder dropped it with relief on his face, "Come my Lord, you intended is beside himself."
Hendry canted his head and frowned, "Jonas can rot in the seven hells!"
"My lord?" the one who held the Doctor, let him go and stepped towards Hendry, "Are you aware of who you are?"
"I know exactly who I am." Hendry snarled, "Do you?"
The other one had skirted around and came at him, Hendry seeing the movement and he swung the broom.
The man yelped as it connected, his arm receiving a solid crack.
"Release my Jax, you bloody mongrels!" Hendry roared, the Welsh vowels flying along with the curse words he had learned from the children and he flew off the veranda, intending to beat the man who had hurt his love.
He never saw the stunner, falling in a heap as Jaxton cried out and tried to crawl to him, reaching out to stoke and soothe him through his convulsions.
"Deceived" the Doctor muttered, "I am deceived. This is not a rescue at all. This is a taking."
"This is the intended bride of our master, he will do his duty for his crown and planet!" a man snarled as he picked up the limp rag doll and Jaxton cried again, falling back as he watched the man blink away with the VM on his arm.
"My beloved" Jaxton sobbed, still crawling for the scarf that had fallen from Hendry's neck.
The Doctor was horrified as he looked closely at the man who lay broken at his feet.
Johnty watched from his vantage point, screaming, raging and throwing himself at the walls, leaving smeared blood trails as his body broke to match his heart.
The second man picked up Jaxton and nodded to the Doctor as he reached for his VM, then hesitated as a sonic screwdriver hummed in his face.
"I do not know what you are doing here, I do not understand the reason for this trickery but you will release this man right now!" the Doctor snarled.
"Take it up with his Majesty, High King Jonas" the man snorted, blinking away.
"High king … High King my shiny white arse!" the Doctor huffed, looking around with dismay.
Not only had he just been used in a terrible deception, he now knew he was standing amongst those missing memories his friend had lamented one night after too much hyper vodka.
He looked up and canted his head as he examined the house, wondering if there were clues to what was happening inside.
He wearily started up the front steps as he went over the lies he had been told.
Prince Hendry was clearly not captive, held against his will.
He now was.
The Doctor walked through the house and found the hidden wall easily, the relentless pounding explained as he swung the wall back to find Johnty sitting on the floor bashing his bloodied head back against the wall, tears streaming down as he mourned his loves.
As the Doctor knelt and met his eye, Johnty began to speak.
Chapter 35: players, take your positions
Hendry woke to the feeling of a body against him and he moved to tell Jaxton that the covers were off again only to pause as it all came flooding back to him.
He opened his eyes and looked into the face of Jaxton, broken and bloodied.
Time has no meaning when there is only grief and Hendry didn't care anyway. He stroked what skin was not damaged, kissing those lips he loved so much, begging for one more smile.
Several times he checked his heartbeat, convinced he had died on him, only to weep with relief as that strong heart he kept in the palm of his hand beat on.
When the door finally opened and rough hands tried to separate him from his beloved, Hendry finally screamed.
His elbow was an accurate weapon, as was his forehead.
The headbutt, sending one back with his own howl as his nose spurted blood.
Hendry snarled, roared and begged as his fingers started to slip with the blood on skin.
Jaxton was dragged from the room by his feet and Hendry raged.
"Seems the High King has changed his mind" someone sighed from the doorway as Hendry struggled with the three guards holding him down, "Doesn't want damaged goods."
"Must be some sort of mind control" one panted, his cheek sporting a rather impressive bite mark.
"We can't kill him, he is of royal blood" someone said behind them, Hendry not caring as his fingers found a crotch and a new yodel filled the room and Hendry grinned manically.
"Well he's too damaged to go back to his people, look what they've bloody done to him!" a woman blustered.
"These were your agents! You were supposed to control them, not fuck the sharp featured one!" came a sharp reply.
"My personal relationship with Johnty Gernax has nothing to do with this!" she blustered, her eyes flashing with anger.
"Yeah? Well, you are the one I see, you are the one to fix this shit!" came the reply.
"I have a child, I cannot …"
"The child is not our concern. Your bastard is your problem!" the man with the clipboard finally spoke, "We will wipe him and replace him somewhere the other two can never find him! You, you can clean up your own mess, Clarista."
"Pity" someone sighed, "He is pretty."
Hendry exploded, forcing his feet under himself and thrusting two off, the third yelping as his arm bent at an angle not conductive to its movement.
The snap was loud, as was the scream of pain.
Hendry's laugh was soft but blood curdling.
"Wipe, replace!" the clip board nodded, "She goes with to make sure it sticks!"
"Now, wait a goddamned minute!" the Agency Master bristled as she saw where this was going and cursed her mate for leaving her in this mess.
The grinding of the Tardis made them all groan and the Doctor was calmly talking as he exited the box, "There you are. I am not used to this trickery … what are you doing?"
With the arrival of the Tardis, one had quickly slapped the mind wipe patch on Hendry's neck and he convulsed as he lost himself to the void.
"My heart, my heart. Where … no … please … my heart. Johnty, my heart …. Keep … keep …. My heart …. Johnty …. My love …. Cariad …no …. No ….. Captain …..No ….." Hendry babbled as he writhed at their feet.
"NO!" the Doctor cried, realizing he was too late.
He stormed next door to where Jax lay and slapped off the patch on his neck, knowing he was two years too late.
Knowing he could not see him now, could not threaten the timelines, the Doctor retreated with anger, finding them crowded around Hendry.
"What do we do for a name?" one asked.
Clipboard examined his notes.
"A local name? Find what is a common name for the region you dump him in. Use that. Also, we need to find a last name. As is their custom, name him after where he belongs. Make sure High King Jonas is represented in that. So he will be forever marked as his."
They looked up as the Doctor strode past, entering the Tardis and trying to console the one waiting within, his fingers tearing at his face as he heard his beloved's babbling.
"I am sorry Johnty. I can do no more." The Doctor said with sorrow, "he is gone. This, this was on the ground."
The ring was in the palm of his hand and Johnty sobbed as he plucked it and slid it onto his own hand.
He would keep it; he would need it one day.
His only comfort was the knowledge that he visited himself several times.
So he had a plan, somewhere in the future, he had a pan.
Somewhere in the future, he found them. Had to have, to give this to himself all that time ago. Now knowing it was his beloved's. He gave it to himself knowing it would find its way back. Enough to do your head in, that.
"You heard where they are taking him?" he asked the Doctor, trying to remain calm.
"Back to the planet you were on, but another time. They wouldn't say" the Doctor said sadly.
"Don't worry about him. I know where he is headed, I'll find him. Believe it or not, I already did. You do what you must." The Doctor sighed softly.
"Where? Where is Jax? You know?" Johnty begged.
"I can drop you there, but go no further" the Doctor sighed as it all made sense to him. Gods he hated knowing everything.
This was going to get ugly.
Johnty squared his shoulders and glared at the Doctor, "Take me to Jax."
"Jack" the Doctor corrected. "His name is Jack Harkness now, Johnty."
"And so I will be John." Johnty said with a sneer, "John Hart."
Chapter 36: names are just labels ... right?
John looked at Jack with an open sneer, "Captain John Hart, note the sarcasm!"
All this time, all this time he was enjoying life, dancing around the bloody place with his own little bunch of merry men …OK merry men and women, but you know what I mean.
He looked at the gap toothed one, her tits welcoming, but the little Asian one was so sweet.
The snarling little toad did nothing for him but then … then he saw the suit.
John stared and felt his blood boil as he thought of all the ways he would kill Jack for this.
They stood at the elevator, one inside, the other out. John held the gun, stunned as he pushed his forehead against the barrel and growled softly.
The diamond. He needed the diamond.
The only thing that could combine with the diamond in the ring, making it a memory restorer.
He was tricked.
John looked down at Jack as he lay in the grave, those eyes looking back and he remembered his promise to his lovely Heart's Keeper. With a sigh, the ring slid from his finger and he flicked it in, almost feeling the breath of his love on his neck.
John wept as he walked through the house, the ruins of his life.
He found the space Hendry used to curl up in for little cat naps and folded himself into the space.
He closed his eyes and tried to remember his smell.
The sound of his teddy bear breathing in the dark.
Something glittered and he smiled to himself as he pulled Hendry's little broach from the bedding, clipped to the corner of his pillowslip.
The last thing from his home, his people.
The little pin.
He looked closer at the cluster of precious stones and started to laugh.
A row of bodies.
Covered in red blankets.
A space where Jack had been, racing off to do his last act of betrayal.
The bodies were being moved, one by one to the morgue below.
The hand that fell from the gurney was manicured, delicate and cold as the technician lifted it carefully back under the blanket to lay by the trouser leg of its owner.
They shuffled off for the next, leaving the gurney in the cool room.
John stepped from the shadows, his hands shaking as they folded back the blanket and he looked on the face of Ianto Jones.
He left without detection, looking back at that hand one more time as it lay so still on the gurney.
So he had failed again.
Time ticked, another body was moved in, and then the door closed with a soft click.
Soon the corpse was just one of many.
The clipboard with the name 'Ianto Boedine Jones" slid from the corpse to the floor with a clatter.
It was followed by the blanket.
A hand grasped at the edge of the gurney, the ring glinting in the harsh light, as did the little pin on his tie.
Chapter 37: SPOILER
"You …" John struggled to find the words.
"I am sorry. You are sorry. My Jack … Jax …. Shit." Hendry rubbed at his temples, "Shit. Jack. I don't .. gods. All that time I was … he didn't know me either. Why? What happened, my lovely?"
"I did my part for Queen and Country" Ianto said cryptically to himself as he stared out the window at the forest formerly known as the orchard.
Now you know the truth … or at least some of it … the next instalment starting …
Home is Where the Heart is … Hearts Keeper Part 2 …. Take a look