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Chapter XL

Torama - posted on 4 Dec 2016 @ 2:16pm

Helios struggled against the dark, greasy tentacles pinning his limbs and stroking him in an unpleasant manner that was arousing him as much as it was terrifying him. He yelled at the dark mass to stop touching him, to stop hurting Sunkiss, writhing in agony so near and yet so far away. He had to get to Sunkiss. The tentacles slid down his pants, he yelled again in anger and frustration, feeling helpless as the tentacles probed him in a malevolent manner...

Helios cried out and sat up abruptly, his fur damp with sweat.

Calm. I here.

An arm was wrapped around his shoulders, holding him protectively, a hand rested soothingly on the right side of his face, gentle kisses fluttered against the left. His head felt heavy, his panic was forcefully suppressed by something outside of him. He welcomed it.

Safe. Protection.

He allowed himself to be laid back down and turned onto his side, squeezing his eyes shut and nestling his head against Sunkiss' shoulder, wrapping his arms around the sleek, slender body. Sunkiss cuddled him close, one arm around his head, the other hand gently combing the tangles out of his mane, xir gentle kisses now fluttering against his forehead and face.

"What time is it?" he murmured.

"Late aftermidnight," Sunkiss replied softly, resting xir muzzle on Helios' head. That meant somewhere between 3 and 5am in the slightly awkward way the shifters reported time. It was still going to be dark. Helios opened his eyes. The once-familiar shadows of his room loomed threateningly, looking like so many dark tentacles. He quickly focused on his Sunshine, his light in the darkness. Sunkiss smiled tenderly at him.

"I'm so scared he'll come back," he said wretchedly. He didn't want to be so afraid. After all his father and Throttle and Modo and Stoker had had worse things done to them when they'd been right on the front line, or so he'd heard. He should be able to get over this. Sunkiss kissed him lightly on the nose.

"The twins are up there," xe said, rolling onto its back briefly to point with its top hand towards the ceiling above his window. "You're safe."

Helios squeezed his eyes shut. That didn't always help either, his imagination helpfully conjured up remembered nightmares of black tentacles. He tensed nervously at the light touch of tail on his calf. It felt nice, but it also evoked memories he didn't want. The tail travelled up his leg. Helios squeezed his eyes shut tighter, trying to concentrate on how good it was to be back with his Sunshine. He'd been useless, blubbering mess the first night. Sunkiss had calmed him down in a similar manner. Helios didn't know how he knew that Sunkiss was suppressing the surges of panic he had. Part of him was concerned at the apparent ease of the mental manipulations. Another part was grateful for not having to endure the crippling panic attacks.

"Listen," he said, afraid to open his eyes to monitor Sunkiss' expression, "about last night..."

Shame cut him off. He felt Sunkiss nuzzling him again and felt worse. Last night he'd been inexplicably angry about what had happened and he'd taken it out on Sunkiss, being really rough with xem and afterwards curling up with his back to xem. It hadn't made him feel any better, in fact it had made him feel worse that Sunkiss had passively allowed him to do whatever he wanted, and then curled up around him afterwards.

"It's okay," Sunkiss said. "I read that your species can often become confused and act out of character after situations like what you encountered."

"Still," Helios mumbled, and stopped again, trying to find words to express himself. All he managed was a completely lame, "I'm sorry."

Sunkiss snuggled against him. He stroked his lover's back, enjoying the feel of the wonderfully soft fur beneath his fingertips.

"Slider was doing something to you too. How are you so unfazed about it?"

Sunkiss smiled gently, and Helios suddenly felt a ripple of nervousness and uncertainty that didn't belong to him. Shortly after it was smoothed over.

"I am fazed. But my Pack is keeping us safe, so there is nothing to fear." Xir certainty was contagious. Helios found himself relaxing and enjoying the pleasant warmth of being snuggled under the covers with someone he loved.

Pleasure?

Helios opened his eyes in surprise, then murmured softly as the pleasant feeling of the tip of the tail now tracing up his inner thigh was amplified and the discomfort very gently backgrounded. "How are you doing that?" he made eye contact with Sunkiss.

Sunkiss smiled. "It's a talent."

Helios arched slightly, smiling as Sunkiss' hand glided down his belly and began gently stroking his groin. "I like it." The earlier thought suddenly struck, and he reflexively grabbed Sunkiss' hand. "Can you manipulate me into doing things I don't wanna do?" he asked anxiously.

Sunkiss nosed him. "Yes, but it's very hard, very rude, and also punishable by burial. I wouldn't want to do it to anyone, and especially not to you." Spoken with deep sincerity.

Helios calmed down, relaxing his grip on Sunkiss' hand. He appreciated the honesty, and he trusted Sunkiss.

"Do you want me to?" Another burst of pleasure as Sunkiss gently massaged his crotch again. Helios twitched, confusion and guilt intensifying his discomfort, washing over the contented pleasure he wanted to feel more of.

"I do," he hated his muddled feelings, "I'm sorry. I'm just..." words escaped. Sunkiss kissed his forehead. Xe didn't need the thoughts organised enough to be spoken, xe knew.

"I read that your species can sometimes take years to recover from things like that," xe said gently. "I'm here."

"My dad had worse things happen to him in the early years of the war and he's fine," Helios grumbled, nuzzling into Sunkiss' neck. He murmured appreciatively when Sunkiss lipped the tips of his antennae.

"Your dad is not fine," Sunkiss' voice was still quiet and gentle. "None of them are 'fine'. The smooth energy on the outside tries to hide the confusion deeper in." Sunkiss pulled back and looked into Helios' eyes. "Did you understand?"

Helios smiled. "I think so."

"Your parents love you. Your dad doesn't know how to display it. He tries."

Helios snickered. "I guess." If Sunkiss had been a normal Martian, Helios would have fondled an erogenous zone. However he had long since discovered that anywhere on a shifter is an erogenous zone if one touched with intent, and he did this now, tracing a line from Sunkiss' shoulder to hip. Sunkiss squirmed a little, exuding waves of delight and some arousal that increased Helios' own feelings of contentment and happiness, and turned him on in a good way. "Where are you finding the time to read all this stuff anyway?"

"I read while you sleep."

"Don't you ever sleep?"

"No."

Helios pulled back sharply, studying Sunkiss intently. He had been joking. Sunkiss chuckled at his expression, radiating amusement and causing Helios to smile. Sunkiss had picked up laughing recently, and Windsong was learning. It was cute.

"Do you want to sleep more?"

There was a skittering noise, abruptly followed by the serrated sound of claws clambering up sheets, and Helios gasped sharply as 2kg of fast moving chocolate and cream seal point kitten landed squarely on his testicles. "Oh Twix, that ain't cool," he managed. Sunkiss sat up, extending a tentacle and hooking the large kitten onto xir lap. The kitten mewled. Sunkis looked down at it, looking mildly reproachful and mostly amused. Twix plonked himself on Sunkiss' lap and started purring. Sunkiss stroked it absently, monitoring Helios with concern.

"It doesn't understand why you react like that. Are you okay?"

"I'll be fine," Helios choked. He took a deep breath and sat up to find Cadbury also on the bed, thankfully without having gone over his nuts, mewing at him, and patted him on the head. "We may as well get up now, I guess. We got shit to do."

"As you wish."

Helios dramatically threw back the covers, inadvertently burying the miffed Cadbury under the sheets. The lump of kitten scrambled under the sheets, mewling irritably. Sunkiss quickly leaned over and pulled the sheets back. Cadbury shook and glared at Helios, the fur on his head all puffed up from the tussle with the sheets.

"Sorry kitten." Helios patted Cadbury on his fuzzy little head. "Do you ever do anything you wish?" Helios called back over his shoulder as he picked up his pants from the night before. He looked questioningly at Sunkiss. Sunkiss smiled as xe slid gracefully out from under the sheets, pants and boots morphing on just as it touched the floor.

"At least once every sun cycle," xe responded with a cheeky smile. Helios laughed. The shadows receded before the first rays gliding in through his window, and didn't seem so scary anymore.

-= o =-

The structural engineer, the site supervisor, two builders and two apprentices were already on site when Stoker walked into the great room, glancing up as he came in through the internal door. So, too, was King Vincent Van Wham I, holding himself somewhat stiffly with his arms folded. The giant alien and the usually silent twins were standing with the builders. The site supervisor and the structural engineer were in animated discussion. The aliens were listening attentively without moving, the builders and apprentices were nodding along, though the apprentices seemed to be somewhat confused.

"Hey bro," Vinnie said, turning and shooting a smile at him. Stoker grinned. It was nice to be back on good terms with his old friend again.

"Hey punk," he returned, coming to stand by Vinnie.

"Where's the kid?" Vinnie inquired.

"I dropped her off with Doc."

Vinnie nodded. Abraxas made an inquiry they didn't quite catch in a soft, polite tone. The builder and structural engineer did a bit more wild gesticulating up towards the scaffolding. The words "pulleys" and "counterweights" were tossed around a lot.

Abraxas walked over to one of the two long I-beams that was going to replace the damaged ones along the centre of the roof. Beside them were a pile of support beams. "These I-beams go up there?" he pointed to where the existing badly damaged I-beams were held up by their makeshift supports, waiting for the replacements.

"Yeah," the structural engineer explained patiently. "They're pretty heavy, which is where the pulley systems come in. What we'll do is..."

Abraxas walked over to the I-beams, stepped over them so he was facing the scaffolding, and hefted one up. The builders nodded and made amazed and appreciative noises at the ease in which the giant lifted the heavy beam. Unnoticed by them but observed by Vinnie and Stoker, the twins scampered up the scaffolding and into the rafters, extending tentacles to anchor themselves between scaffolding and supports.

Abraxas sighted them, then tossed the beam up to them.

The builders yelled in shock and tumbled back, incorrectly anticipating getting crushed by the I-beam. The large piece of steel sailed blithely up towards the roof. It was barely reaching the apex of its arc when it was grabbed on each end by the twins.

Abraxas looked expectantly at the mice for a moment. His eyes frowned, followed a moment later by the rest of his face. "Wrong?" he asked.

"Uh," the site supervisor sputtered.

Stoker and Vinnie realised their jaws were dangling and closed them.

"No...no that's good." The site supervisor suddenly bounched a little in excitement, causing Abraxas to smile. "That's fucking brilliant! Holy shit! We're gonna be able to get the repair works done in no time with you helping!"

"Heavy," Nightshade called down from the roof.

There was a bit of chaos from the builders, and the structural engineer, builders and trainees dashed up the scaffolding to help the shifters position the I-beam.

Stoker and Vinnie looked at each other.

"Throttle reckons they're pretty good on raids too," Stoker managed eventually.

"Looks like they could come in handy after all," Vinnie admitted with his familiar broad, carefree grin.