bound


The night air was full of noise and laughter, color and movement as hundreds of students converged upon the gym in their swirling, dazzling outfits. They shouted and laughed as they greeted each other, jostling and calling and turning the once calm night into a riot of sensations. It was a happy time for all, a time to dance and mingle, to relax from the heavy responsibilities of school and the military, and the students lived it to the fullest.

All except for one, who, though brightly dressed, stood to the side and watched the proceedings with a pained face. He fiddled with his clothes, and kept his eyes trained down, not wanting to be here, but here none the less. And Lance sighed to see him so, rolled his eyes and excused himself from the circle of friends to make his way through the crowd to the lonely boy's side.

"Some party, huh Keith? I see you've gone stag again. You know, you really need to get out some more. Meet people. Especially girls. You don't know what you're missing out on!" Lance slapped his anti-social friend on the back, grinning and trying to get his friend to react. He missed the grunt of pain that followed his greeting, or the slight paling of Keith's face, too busy scanning the crowd. "Say, you wouldn't happen to have seen Alisan Noins, would you?"

"Yeah, she's dancing somewhere with Sven. She's his date for the night." Lance couldn't help hear the envy in Keith's voice that time and he sighed, glad that his friend was somewhat normal.

"Lucky bastard. How does he do it, Keith?"

"Why ask me?" The reply was short, almost angry.

"Well, you are his room mate. Surely you have some clue as to what he does, what his draw is to the female-types."

"Well, just think of everything that you're not, and then multiply it by ten."

"Whoa! Some one's crabby."

Keith sighed and rubbed his eyes. It wasn't fair to Lance to take his anger out on him. He wasn't the one who made it impossible to be with Sven outside their room; if anything, Keith suspected that he was one of those few members of the Alliance willing to accept homosexuality, not condemn and attempt to destroy it. Still, it hurt to see Sven dance with those girls, kiss them and charm them, dazzle them with that wonderful beauty that was, in essence, Sven. Besides, the scratches on his back hadn't healed just yet and the heat made his skin tighten painfully around them. Lately it seemed that Sven was getting rougher in their love making, almost painful.

"Sorry. Look, I'm just going to go back to my room."

"Okay. See you at class tomorrow." Lance moved back into the crowd and Keith sighed in relief, before slipping out into the cool night and solitude.

~~~

The room was dark and empty, and the air whirled around Keith's pajama clad form as he lay silent in their bed, his chilled muscles aching from the strain of feigning sleep. Anger was beginning to burn deep in Keith's gut, anger at the long wait, at the cold place beside him, and the prejudice that kept them apart. He was long past worry at Sven's delayed return, having moved into a burning rage at this abandonment.

When the door way opened and the hall way's light spilled in to gleam on his slitted eyes, Keith almost sat up to yell at his errant boyfriend. But Sven's swaying form, and the way he stumbled into the room, stopped him, made him realize that his words would fall on deaf and drunken ears.

Sven carefully made his way to the bed and Keith forced himself to stay even stiller, breathe deeper until he was truly in danger of falling asleep. The cheep booze and even cheaper perfume that wafted off of Sven's reeking body assaulted his nose, made Keith want to push the other boy away, clean him until he smelled acceptable again. But he was determined to punish Sven for his lateness, and he forced himself to do nothing. This feigned sleep had always worked before, made his black-haired lover contrite and caring in the light of morning, doing all that was possible to smooth their relationship.

Which was why it was so surprising when Sven grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him up right, foul breath blown into his face, blood shot eyes cruel. "Hey Keith," he slurred, "where have you been?"

Keith flushed an angry red and pushed Sven away. "Where have I been? Where the hell have you been? I've been waiting for you right here all night."

"Bull shit. I saw you, Slut. Hanging all over Lance like that. It was shameful."

"What! What did you just call me? What the hell did you just say to me? How dare you accuse--"

"Shut the fuck up, Bitch." Sven slapped him across the face. "I know you. You're just waiting for me to turn my back so you can fuck Lance."

"Sven, you're drunk. You don't know what--"

"I know exactly what I'm saying. I've seen the two of you together. I've seen the way you two look at each other." He slapped Keith again. "So don't even think about lying to me, you slut." He leaned in close, voice low and gravely. "You're mine Keith. Mine! And nobody is taking you away from me, especially not that pencil dicked bastard Lance."

Sven grabbed Keith's head, pulled him up and kissed him with a bruising intensity, biting down hard on Keith's tender lower lip, thrusting his tongue into the warm cavern of Keith's mouth; Keith moaned, desperate to get him away, to take the taste of Alisan out of his mouth. Sven was covered in her. He tasted of her, smelled of her, and every kiss was distasteful, burning with the alcoholic residue, tasting of fermented yeast and strawberry lip gloss. Over everything, there was the foul presence of Alisan and it killed to know that Sven had been with her first, pleasured her before returning to their room. He tried to scream as Sven ripped away the meager protection that Keith's pajamas lent, exposing the other boy's pale flesh to the cold air, pushed him down onto the bed, moving his savaging mouth to the soft flesh of Keith's neck and shoulders.

"You slut. You whore. You dirty whore," Sven growled, biting at the pale skin until Keith bled, pinning him down, spreading his legs open with one knee. Sven fumbled with his pants as he continued to bite and suck at Keith's flesh, enjoying the writhing, twisting movements of the pinned boy as Keith struggled to free himself.

"Sven, stop! Please--Ahh!" Keith felt the hot tears snake down his cold flesh, as his lover slapped him again, hard enough to bruise this time. He whimpered as he felt the heat of Sven's cock press against him, not asking for permission, not prepared in anyway. He struggled harder, pushed ineffectually against the heavy chest, blunted fingernails scrabbling across the satin skin of Sven's back without gaining purchase, unable to hurt the man that was hurting him so, with the sharp bites and the cruel fingers that twisted things that shouldn't be twisted, gripped soft flesh too hard.

Sven thrust hard, ripping into Keith, groaning in pleasure as he was encased in a velvet heat, strangely excited by this forced coupling. He latched on to Keith's mouth one more time, stifling the gasping scream, sharp teeth catching the abused lip one more time, biting down until tangy blood filled both their mouth's, added a new pleasure, a new dimension of sick desire.

He thrust again and again, knowing that he hurt Keith with every invasion, the blood that wept from the torn ring that clamped around his cock, barely lubricating, too small in presence to do more than show that something was wrong. Sven groaned into Keith's mouth, one hand snaking down between their bodies to latch onto the soft length of tender flesh, stroke it, rub it between them until it was a hard pressure trapped between their bodies, an unwilling sign of pleasure.

His hand danced over the hard shaft, feather soft touches that tingled with imagined fire, long strokes that tightened and pained, hurt yet pleasured at the same time. Sven had long since perfected what techniques drove Keith over the edge, and tonight he applied them all, twisted the intense pleasure of orgasm with the horror of rape, connected them and then kept pounding into Keith, hurting the suddenly sensitive prostate, ripping the velvet lining with his savage attack. He laughed, low and cruel, as Keith shriveled, rough fingers raking through the long, black mane, the pearly strings spread across their chests with each rubbing thrust.

Keith whimpered, twisted, writhed, needing to escape from this rape, this betrayal. He struggled until, exhausted, his will gave way and he lay limp beneath the assault, mind shattering in the utter shock of it all. He made no move as Sven sped up, grunting with the effort of each penetration that sent their bodies jerking forward; he did not react as the liquid fire of Sven's orgasm was sent boiling into his bowels, painful against the thousand small tears.

Sven snorted in disgust as he pulled out, wiping his shrinking cock on the sheets, staining them the bright red of new blood. Keith began to cry softly, curling in on himself, shoulders shaking with quiet sobs. He left small circles of red on the white sheets, the blood trickling down his legs, slowly diluting as Sven's seed mixed with it, and Sven knew that the bedclothes would have to be burned to avoid discovery.

He was not so drunk as before, filled with only a mild tingling rather than swaying distortion. Still, he was consumed by that unreasoning anger that had caused him to commit this dark act, give in to his deepest fantasy. But, now that he had gone this far, he might as well continue, finish the rest of this cruel scene that had played out in his deepest soul a hundred thousand times. He could not forget the pleasure of feeling Keith's body writhe in pain beneath him, or the feeling of Keith's screams vibrating across chest to chest, hear the shaken pleading for pity, mercy, an end to the rape. It was more intoxicating than any alcohol, more addicting than any drug and Sven already needed more. He stepped off the bed and cast a disdainful look upon the sniveling form, spat upon the slowly bruising flesh in disgust.

"You're pathetic," he growled, while removing his dagger from it's sheath, holding the handle decorated with his seal over a the blue flame of a butane lighter. "Look at you, crying like a baby. I'm almost ashamed to be associated with you. But then again, what else could I have expected from a slut like you, hmm?"

Keith curled further into himself, flinching away when Sven sat down onto the bed. The Swede sighed and turned the dagger over and over, warming it until it began to glow. "Fortunately for you, I love you too much to let you continue in this downward slide, to let your morals slip so." He shook his head sadly. "I am sorry that it came down to this. If I had been thinking properly, I would have planned it all out a little better. But then again, you did deserve such punishment. You were a bad boy, Keith, leaving without telling me, flirting with Lance, making me so mad that I had to hurt you. But don't worry. Though it's going to take a lot of hard work I'm going to turn you around, make you perfect. Even if it kills us both."

"I won't let you," Keith whispered. "I'm going to report you."

"Too who? The moment you tell someone that you were fucked up the ass, you're going to be put in one of the camps; or perhaps they'll just exterminate you. Besides, who will believe that I raped you, hmm?" Sven smiled a wicked smile, teeth bared and gleaming white. "I'm the son of one of the most prominent Earth families; you are just white trash. No, no, Keith. You're better off with me. At least you'll have some pleasure." He laughed, cruel and dark, and placed the glowing pommel of his dagger near Keith's hip, enjoying the way the hair was singed, and how the boy cringed away from the glowing metal.

Sven bent in low, mouth close to Keith's ear. "First lesson. You're mine."

And Keith screamed as the dagger was pushed into his skin.

~~~

It was the pain that woke him, a fiery white blanket that coated everything and left him weak. It was an endless pain, a boundless field that stretched before him forever and beyond that, where everything hurt, from the throbbing, pounding pain of his pulse, to the rasping, grating noise of every aching breath. His throat hurt, his lips hurt, his ass hurt--oh God how his ass hurt! It felt split in two, a gaping wound that stung and itched and still bled, adding new stains to the dirty bedclothes.

Worse, though, was the shiny, puckered scar on his hip, the red scar shaped in Sven's crest, the claim, the tag of his new 'owner'--the mark of his master. It made him feel more used, more degraded than the rape had, or the whispered words of humiliation that had been pounded into his head. This was permanent, this was truth, this was reality. This was proof that the night before hadn't been a sick dream, a nightmare grown from his own fears.

One hand snaked down to rub the painful flesh, traced the puckered seal and hot tears cascaded down bruised flesh to fall unheeded upon the once pure sheets. He wanted to scream, to wail and cry, but he feared to do so, feared to wake the warm form that clung possessively to him and breathed hot, foul and wet in his ear. He didn't want to wake Sven, give him more reason to hurt him, relive the night over again. So he lay still, barely breathing, dreading every change in breath, every shifting movement that might signal Sven's waking.

His breath stopped as the arm tightened around him, and he closed his eyes, trying to keep the tears inside. He cringed away from the contact, hoping that Sven would let him be, would just leave him in peace.

He should have known better.

"Keith."

Leave me alone! He screamed the command in his mind, too afraid to open his mouth.

"Keith, I know you're awake." Sven reached over him, body pressing uncomfortably close, too much like last night, and Keith whimpered in fear. "Oh God, Keith, I'm sorry." He reached out and stroked Keith's face, sighing when Keith flinched away. "I--I didn't mean to hurt you so badly." He reached out again, gently placing his hand upon Keith's cheek, just barely touching the trembling boy. "I am so sorry. You know I would never hurt you for no reason. You know I love you."

Keith trembled beneath him, afraid, confused, vacillating between sickness and shame. The attack had been so sudden, so confusing...He wasn't sure what to believe anymore; the past and the happy times, or the horror of last night.

Maybe...maybe this was just a fluke. He was just drunk. That was all. He loves me. He wouldn't hurt me.

He wouldn't. Not for no reason...Not just on a whim. He isn't like that. He needs reasons.

So what did I do wrong?


~~~

Shit, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late. He's going to kill me. Keith kept his head down as he ran, hoping that nobody would see him, nobody would stop him or ask him where he had gotten the new bruise, why he walked with a limp. Hopefully, the novelty of a battered Keith was beginning to wear off; some new surprise would take his place and the long months of lying would finally be at an end. Then he would only have Sven to worry about, not the rest of the world--at least he knew that Sven loved him, was doing this for his own good. Still, he was going to be in deep shit if he didn't hurry up, didn't get there soon.

"Hey Keith!"

No, not him. Anyone but him.

"Keith, stop!"

Go away, go away, go away, go away--

"Keith!"

Keith felt himself jerked around as his pursuer grabbed onto his shirt and yanked. He shuddered, reminded too much of Sven's treatments and the punishment he would receive for being late. Still, he would have a lot of trouble shaking this one off, so it might pay to be courteous for once.

"Hello Lance," he sighed.

"Christ Keith, you didn't have to run away form me so fast. I don't have some horrible flesh-eating disease, contrary to popular belief. And I don't hump everything in sight. Just the ones with breasts."

"Look, Lance, I really don't have time for this. So let me go." Keith wrenched away from Lance and straightened his uniform. He need to look perfect, act perfect if there was any hope that he might get away with a lighter punishment.

"Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! I had an actual reason for stopping you." Lance thrust out his hands, placing them restrainingly on Keith's chest. His normally smiling face was solemn, worried. "Keith...is everything all right?"

"What? That was your reason for stopping me?" Keith thrust Lance way, a disgusted expression on his face. "I"m fine. Now go away."

"No. Keith, I'm worried about you. You may be able to lie to the rest of them, but I've known you too long to be thrown off that easily. You've been working so hard lately, I never see you anymore. You're...different now. Not so much fun to be around. It's like you, you've become some anal-retentive jerk. What happened to my friend? What happened to your smiles? Keith...Listen, I know about you and Sven. I know you two are, uh, sleeping together and--"

"And what? going to give me a lecture on the evils of homosexuality or something? Think I don't get enough of that in 'Philosophy' class?"

"No! It's cool with me. You know, whatever floats your boat and all. Just keep your eyes to yourself during gym, 'kay?" Lance paused. "Anyway, getting back on track...Keith, is Sven treating you all right? I mean, I can't help but notice you've got a whole new set of bruises."

"I just...ran into a door. Stayed up too late, and didn't see it. You know, going through a clumsy phase and all."

"Bull shit. Keith, you're aren't clumsy. It's against your genetic code, or something."

Keith sighed. "Look, Lance, I appreciate your concern, but keep your goddamned nose out of my business, okay? I'm already late and you're just making me later."

"Keith--"

"Lance, everything's fine! I'm a big boy now. I can take care of myself," Keith snapped. "How many times do I have to tell you?"

"No it's not! Keith, I'm your friend and I'm telling you this as a friend: Sven is wrong for you. I mean look at what you've become! Please, Keith, you need to leave him--before he really hurts you--"

"Shut up!" Keith grasped Lance by the throat and rammed him against the wall, eyes blazing with anger, face frozen in an angry snarl. "I've heard enough from you. Sven loves me. And I love him. And there's nothing you can say or do to change that. So fuck off and Leave. Us. Alone." Keith slammed Lance against the wall one more time, before dropping him and stalking away. Lance rubbed his throat and scrambled to his feet, eyes full of concern as he watched his friend go.

"This will only end in pain, Keith!" he shouted after the retreating form. "You're only going to get hurt! Trust me!"

Keith ignored him and kept going, never looking back.

~~~

The party for Keith's promotion was somewhat strained--mostly because Keith didn't even want a party--but that had never stopped his friends from partying before. And so, he stood the uncomfortable center of attention, slapped on the back by friends he didn't even know that he had, surrounded by laughter and bright faces and open beers. But worst, there was Lance, who refused to leave his side, who kept giving him that one armed hug, pushing a drink he didn't want into his hand, forcing him to stay at his own celebration when all he wanted to do was flee, find some sanctuary from the confusion and the noise--and worse, the steadily darker face of Sven as he coolly watched the proceedings.

Keith swallowed hard, throat raw and sore, and tried not to think about how many things he was going to be punished for--how many different rules he had already broken, and how many reasons he had given Sven to punish him; all because he was imperfect. I'm flawed. Weak. I'm not perfect yet. I have to be perfect.

He inwardly winced when Lance latched onto his arm, breathing in deeply and trying not to look at Sven. Perhaps our assignment together on Arus will be good for me--for us. I will be perfect. Because when I'm perfect, Sven will have no reason to hit me, and I won't hurt anymore.

But I'm not there yet. I have too many faults, too many weaknesses to be perfect yet.

I will be, though. Someday, I will be...


~~~

"--You are not allowed, and that's final!" Keith glared down at Lance, patience almost at an end. His second-in-command stared back up at him, defiant, angry, arms crossed and back stiff. "I've had enough of your crap to last me for several lifetimes, and I'm not taking anymore. Effective immediately, you're grounded. The only time you're going to see the inside of a cockpit is when we're in the lions--got that? You. Are. Grounded!"

"You bastard!" Lance jumped up, eyes blazing, really angry now. "You can't do that!"

"I can and I will. You understand me, Lance? I have control here. And I will not tolerate any more of your 'whims'." Keith stared the other pilot down, utterly and completely serious, pushed past endurance. Lance slowly sat back down, face petulant and almost child-like in his bitterness.

"Sven would never do something like this," Lance grumbled.

"Yeah, well, Sven's not here now is he." Keith's voice was surprisingly calm, something that he was extraordinarily proud of. There was no hint of the guilt that soured his stomach and the longing that made his heart beat in starts. But he needed to leave now, needed to get away before he broke down. It had been so long since Sven had gone away, but it still hurt so--still left a gaping wound deep within him. "You have to deal with me now. And if I say you're grounded, you're grounded. And that's that."

Keith turned and walked away, back straight, perfect, always perfect. He had to be perfect. Anything less and he'd break.

~~~

The sun was bright and shone blindingly in Keith's eyes as he waited on the landing strip, skin chilled by the early morning air, prickling strangely. His stomach churned with a mixture of fear and anticipation, breath coming in short pants. But that didn't matter to Keith, for he could see the sparkle of the sun on the ship as it came in, knew that somewhere in the metal craft was a man, the man that he loved with all his heart, all his soul. And today, that man was returning to him.

His heart beat in strange skips as he watched the ship land, barely able to control his excitement as the entry hatch opened wide and Sven emerged, a dark shadow against the glowing sun. Joy swelled deep within Keith's breast and he struggled to maintain his calm exterior, to keep the perfect bearing that he had come out with.

He waited with anxious anticipation, almost forgetting to breathe as Sven walked toward him--toward all of them, really, but it was nicer to think that Sven was heading straight for him, striding just to him, smiling just for him. He couldn't wait, wanted to run to the tall Swede, fling himself into Sven's strong arms and smother him with kisses.

No. Wait. Wait for him. Don't blow your cover now. Not when you're both so close.

Then Sven was among them, greeted with huge hugs and much joyful banter, heavy hands pounding him on the back, grinning faces surrounding him as he laughed and hugged and pounded back. Then, suddenly, they were face to face, Sven grinning like a maniac and Keith...Keith not quite so perfect as he had tried to be, seeing all of his faults suddenly in stark illumination, and cringing on the inside, but so very very happy that Sven was finally back, and reaching out wide to give him a not-quite-so innocent hug, expecting a command to be whispered in his ear, expecting to be told where they were to meet, to greet properly and hating and waiting and...nothing. It was just a hug, just a greeting between two old friends and nothing more.

Confused, Keith stepped back, watched as Sven slung an arm around Lance's shoulder, fondly ruffled Pidge's hair and addressed them all with a broad grin on his face. "I have great news, everyone."

You're back? You're here to stay again, you're going to be just one door away again? You've come back to me? Oh please say that you have Sven. Please! I need you. I miss you.

"I'm getting married to Romelle!"

What!

Sven was covered in another wave of hugs and pounding congratulations, shouts and shaking hands, laughter and joy. And Keith watched it all, stunned, shocked, feeling like someone had just kneed him in the balls. No. This can't be happening. This can't!

"Keith, what do you think?" Sven's flushed face was turned to him, almost anxious in asking for approval from his ex-lover.

"I think that's--" Horrible! Terrible! What about me? Why don't you want me anymore? What did I do wrong this time? Why have you abandoned me? Don't go! Don't leave me! Please, don't! I want you back, Sven, want to lie beside you again. I'll do anything! Anything! Just don't...don't marry her. Please. "--wonderful!"

"Great! Because I want you to be my best man. Say you will, Keith?"

"Of course. Anything for my oldest friend." Keith smiled, strained and painful as he watched all of his dreams shatter into nothing.

~~~

The first chance he got, Lance cornered Sven, demanding that they have a little 'chat'. He led his friend into the rec room, turning on Sven the moment the door closed, eyes angry, voice low and filled with disgust.

"You slime. You scum bucket! What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Getting married to the woman I love," Sven replied calmly. "Do you have a problem with that?"

"Yes I have a problem with that," Lance mimicked, voice filled with disgust. "His name is Keith. Ring a bell?"

"What about Keith?"

"What about him--He loves you, you idiot! Sven, you're asking him to pretty much give you away to someone else! Christ, he's been pining for you ever since you got injured. He's become hell to live with, even more anal than he was when you were here, trying to be 'perfect' just for you. He's practically killing himself for you and you ask him to be your fucking best man? Are you really that stupid or are you just extremely sick."

"Look, Lance, what I had with Keith--it was just a fling. Experimentation. Living life on the edge in some way. He knows that. Besides, you heard what he said out there. He's perfectly okay with being my best man, being part of my wedding."

"Oh he was lying through his teeth and you know it. What you just did to him--You've hurt him more than any of the beatings you gave to him."

"What beatings?" Sven smiled innocently, though inside he felt his soul go cold. "You mean those bruises? Can I help it if he keeps running into things in the dark?"

"Like your fist? Or your belt?" Lance asked snidely.

Sven sighed. "Lance, Lance, Lance. I've never hurt Keith. You can ask him yourself! Now listen, I'm getting married to Romelle and nothing you can say will change that."

Lance narrowed his eyes and glared at Sven, knowing that Keith would protect the man even if it cost him everything. "Fine. But if I even so much as smell a rumor that Romelle has some interesting new bruises, I will kill you. It may be too late for Keith--he's already too far under your spell for help--but I won't let you hurt anyone else. Do you understand me?" Lance looked Sven up and down, a disgusted expression on his face. "You are a monster. You don't deserve love from anyone let alone Keith." He turned on his heel and stalked out of the room.

"Oh, you have nothing to worry about Lance." Sven chuckled, low and dark, and shook his head. "I wouldn't even contemplate hurting Romelle. No, she's far too delicate, too beautiful to withstand a beating. Besides, I love her too much."

Now Keith, Sven shivered in remember pleasure. Keith, my beautiful one. He looks better bruised, more beautiful when he's in pain, when he is bowing, arrogance beaten down. Oh, I wish I could fuck him again, feel him writhe beneath me, hear him scream just one more time. But no. I should be good.

But oh how good it feels to control him, to be the one in power. That's really the big difference between Keith and Romelle. She must be controlled subtlely--she's too powerful, too delicate for me to hurt so. I must win her over with sweet words and loving gestures, until she willing gives herself to me. It's more fun that way.

Keith...Keith needed to be controlled through fear, through pain. He needed to be taught his place by being beaten into it. It was fun forcing him into submission, forcing him to bow to my every whim,
beg me to fuck him. Oh it was fun to play head games with him. Ahh, my beautiful slut, how much would you love me now if you knew my thoughts?

But he's used up now. There's nothing left to break. Ahh well, just as well. I never really planned to lose my heart to anyone, but at least it was a Princess.
Sven smiled, soft and sweet, mind shifting from the pleasure of subjugating Keith to the pleasure of merely existing with his princess. He could barely wait for their wedding day, and he needed to be with her now, needed to breathe in her purity to counter his dark desires. He strode out in search of Romelle, missing the dark shadowed that followed him out, head bowed and shoulders shaking with a silent sob.

~~~

Arus sure is beautiful... Keith giggled as he looked up at the stars, the burn of alcohol warming him wonderfully. His head flopped to one side, black hair spreading out in a fan against the emerald grass, eyes straying back to the hill beyond which the revelries of Sven's wedding feast were still going on; he could hear the hum of conversation and the music of the band clearly in the night air. So this is what being drunk feels like. I think I like it.

He turned his gaze back up to the skies, the beautiful, dark skies, contemplating the millions of stars scattered through out the emptiness of space, the hundreds of thousands of lives that played themselves out on distant planets he had never visited--never would either. Once, maybe, he could have gone to them but not now. Not anymore.

One hand snaked down to rub at the puckered scar on his hip, a reflexive gesture that he hadn't had to do in almost two years. It no longer frightened him, thrilled him as much as it once did; but maybe that was because of the alcohol running through his veins.

Well, I shouldn't stall anymore, or I may lose my resolve. Perfect time to do this, really. They won't miss me for a few more hours and by then I'll be gone.

He picked up the dagger, contemplating the silver blade in the moonlight, entranced by the way it the moon's pale light danced off of it's reflective surface. He took off his nice, black jacket, unbuttoned the white dress shirt, rolled up his sleeves until they were past his elbows and bared the pale skin of his arm to the dark sky.

The knife was sharp and he felt no pain as he sliced down, hitting the vein one, two, three, four, five times, hot flesh splitting open like a rotten flower, steaming ever-so-slightly in the night air, dark blood oozing slowly from the bright line. Carefully, he took the knife in the other hand, cut the other arm until they both spilled his precious fluid out onto the greedy ground which sucked it up hungrily. Keith dropped the dagger and lay back down, giggled again, imagining their reactions when they found him, blood covering his expensive tuxedo. It was a good thing he had bought it--blood was a bitch to get out of cloth.

He sighed and closed his suddenly tired eyes, let himself sink into deep unconsciousness.

He was free.

He was finally...free.