Disclaimer: I honestly have no idea where this one came from. But, I figure this will have to get people to do _something_. Um, warning for a really odd writing stlye, and some heavy, somwhat depressing material. This one scared me.
It wasn't that he didn't receive downtime as well; quite the opposite, in fact, for his leave passes were never used and became quite a bargaining tool when he wanted something done. No, the reason that he was always left alone, why he stayed behind to brood, was because he never truly understood this concept. He had never understood why his squad members felt the urge to leave the star cruiser, to seek pleasure in the towns and cities that they protected; never understood why they wanted to dance and drink, to listen to music and seek nightly companionship in the arms of a stranger.
For Keith had never known anything other than war. He had never known any music save the call of the charge, had only known the deadly, weaving dance of battle. The only drink that he craved was sweet battle-lust, the only companionship that of comrades-in-arms. The pleasures of peace eluded him, baffled him. The feelings of war comforted him.
He knew that these feelings were wrong, were unusual even among his own war torn people. But in his sixteen years of life, battle was everything to Keith. This was why he avoided the towns, why he avoided the peaceful and laboring citizens. Joy, calm, elation--these emotions frightened him, when felt anywhere but on the front. And he was afraid of himself, afraid of what he might do to regain the serenity of war.
And so it was no surprise to his old comrades that when downtime rolled around again, Keith disappeared into the bowels of the cruiser. He wanted no part of the joking, the underlying thrum of heady desire that ran through his friends playful banter. It seemed too much like war to him, too much like the tense thrill, the tight camaraderie fostered by battle.
But, there was only so much that one could do on a cruiser, and Keith had experienced enough recreation time to have explored every possible form of recreation that the ship had to offer. No, Keith needed a new occupation, a new means of occupying the three days that his friends had for leave. And that was how he found himself in the nearly empty brig, poking through the cells.
"Keith, my boy, you've officially flipped. What in the world are you doing down here, when you could be out with your friends?" Keith mused aloud, as he prowled down the rows of holding cells, eyes straining to pierce the gloom that pervaded this unused part of the ship. His voice echoed off the metal walls that amplified even the slightest whisper. "Why can't I just enjoy peace like the others?"
"Because peace is all too fleeting," a soft, unseen voice replied, low and husky, rough with disuse.
Keith jumped at the voice, fear sending cold shivers through his body. "Who said that?"
"No need to fear, little soldier. It is only I, Lance of Kent; the sole prisoner of this miserable construction." Lance's voice was bitter, angry and resentful. Keith's mouth ran dry, and he backed up a few steps at the rage in Lance's voice. "Please, do not leave. Keith? Is that your name, little soldier? A lovely name. A beautiful name. Surely, it is the name of a beautiful person, a person who would not leave his fellow man down here in the dark. Oh, Keith, I am so lonely down here. So very, very alone."
Keith shuddered at the voice, afraid of what it made him feel. The empty cells suddenly seemed menacing, the air took on a dark cold.
Keith turned and fled back into the lighted world of the upper decks.
The next day, however, Keith was back in the brig--better prepared with a hand-light, but still wary. He made his way down into the gloom, pale beam trained ahead of him, cutting through the dark. Instead of comforting him, though, the thin shaft served only to intensify the dark around him, made him feel even more like the world was closing around him.
"Lance?" Keith mouthed the name, voice too dry to do more. He licked his lips, nervousness almost destroying the curiosity that had plagued him all of yesterday. He tried again, "Lance?"
"Who is it? Who calls for me?"
"It...it's me. Keith. From yesterday? Do you remember?"
"Oh, Keith. Lovely Keith, beautiful Keith, kind, wonderful Keith. You have come back. You've come back to visit poor, lonely me. Come, Keith. Come, let me see the face of this wonderful person, this person who has relieved my lonely, lonely days."
"W-where are you?" Keith stuttered, shivers of something that wasn't fear, running through his skin.
"Over here, pretty Keith. Over here, in the back, in the back where the dark is at its greatest. Over here, lovely Keith. Over here."
The low, whispery voice drew Keith onward, entranced him completely, and he moved forward with a single-minded desire to see the owner of that bewitching, beautiful voice that haunted his dreams. The pale light seemed to be absorbed by the dark around him as he moved further and further away from the door.
"Yes, yes, come this way Keith. This way, this way. Here, here, here." The whispering voice led him on, until he was surrounded by the dark. Then he was suddenly at the end of the cells, in front of the source of the voice. "Let me see. Let me see who you are, what you are." Cloth rustled, and chains rattled as the voice moved closer and closer to where Keith stood.
Keith held his breath, suddenly afraid--though of what he couldn't say. Perhaps...perhaps he feared rejection by this strange, imprisoned man. He stood there, still and breathless, waiting in agonizing silence for his strange companion to finish his inspection.
"Oh, so beautiful. So beautiful. Never have I seen anyone so beautiful."
The chains rattled again, coming closer, then stopped. Keith let out a sigh, feeling oddly pleased to have been judged worthy by this prisoner.
"Can...can I see you?" Keith whispered.
"Yes, yes. Look on me. Look on me, but do not be afraid. I have been down here a long, long time. Forgotten I am. Forgotten by all. When will they set me free?" The voice was bitter, and Keith found himself longing to help, to comfort the speaker. As he raised the hand-light to bathe Lance in it's pale glow, he gasped. The man--no, the youth who couldn't have been older than himself--that stood before him was exquisite. Beautiful dark, with pouting lips and an angular, yet mobile face, he took Keith's breath away. Clad only in an old pair of Alliance-issued pants, too little for the harsh chill of the brig, Keith could see every contour of the other's body, every line and shadowed dip. Though he was very pale and thin, with long, long hair, it all added too this boy's beauty. He had a sharp face, and wide, brown eyes that squinted in the sudden invasion of Keith's hand-light. His delicate, aristocratic features were all that more prominent because of his emaciated body; the pale skin stretched tightly over small, thin bones. His small, delicate wrists were red and sore from where the archaic metal shackles had rubbed them raw.
"Yes, yes, put the light away. Do not look at me, oh beautiful one. I am ugly, ugly. Too long have I spent down here, too long in this hell." The wasted arms came up to cover Lance's face, the long hair falling in a shower as he bowed his head and sank down to the cold floor of his cell.
"No. You....you're amazing. Why are you down here? What did you do?"
"Me? I did nothing. Nothing! And that is why I am here. Because I did nothing when the Alliance soldiers freed my world. I did nothing when they routed the invaders, the slavers. So, they think I sympathize with them. Too important to be kept on my world, but not important enough to be remembered."
"How...how long have you been here?"
Lance shrugged his frail shoulders. "Don't know. Don't know. Been down here long. Long enough to forget what the sun looks like. Long enough to forget the earth and stars. Long enough to forget what it feels like to be warm and loved."
"Which planet are you from?"
"Hanzo. Hanzo, beautiful, lovely, war ravaged Hanzo." A crystalline tear edged its way out of Lance's eye, down his check and onto the metal floor.
"But...but the Hanzo restoration has been over for nearly five years! You...you mean to tell me you’ve been down here that long?"
"Perhaps. Perhaps. I don't remember anymore. I don't remember. It's been so long. I've been so alone. Sometimes I think that I am back on Hanzo. I think that I am with my parents, with my sisters and friends. Sometimes I think that I can see the sun, feel it on my arms, smell the new plowed earth. Then I wake here, wake here to darkness and more darkness until I can't tell whether I'm awake or asleep, dead or alive."
"That...that's horrible!" Keith put down the hand-light, and sat on the cold floor, as close to the bars and the miserable prisoner as he could get. "Do you want me to...stay here? To keep you company?"
A thin, wasted hand darted between the bars to snatch his own, brilliant eyes, intensely bright from the emotions that swelled within the starved form, grabbed his gaze, holding it with their beauty. "Yes! Yes! Please, please. Stay here with me. Stay here and keep away the dark, the madness."
Keith gasped slightly at the electric thrill that ran through his body with the touch of the white, satin smooth skin. There was a frightening euphoria in that touch, which ghostly echoed that same thrill that ran through him during battle. Keith looked up, looked into those bewitching, beautiful brown eyes that seemed to dance and weave, call to him, call for him, desire him; looked up and didn't look away again.
It was well into the next "day" on the carrier by the time Keith left the brig, drained, dazed, and pale, trembling ever so slightly from exhaustion and hunger. His legs were weak from loss of circulation, and tingled painfully as he stumbled his way back up to the main decks. How long he had been down there, he didn't know. Nor did he know what he had done down in the darkness below. All that Keith knew now was that he wanted rest, he wanted to sleep and perhaps dream of the mysterious, pale, wondrous stranger trapped beneath him. But, though the image of Lance, the soft skin still thrilled his body, a small voice cried out in caution, demanded that he stay away from the brig, away from whatever it was that had drained him so.
Still, as he collapsed on his cot, sapped of every measure of energy, all that he could think about was those brown eyes. Those brown eyes that bore into his mind.
He would not have rested so lightly if he had known what the owner of those brown eyes was thinking. Down in the brig, Lance too lay on a cot, but sleep was nowhere in his mind. Instead, he marveled at the warm energy that coursed through him; energy he had stolen from Keith as the young soldier sat entranced. Lance's thin lips curled back in a cruel smile as he thought of this energy, thought of the beauty of his newest captive, the lust and want that filled him, aroused him, and made him want to posses Keith in every way he could. Thought and sent those thoughts winging through the ship to whisper, worm and burrow their way into Keith's slumbering mind; to draw the young soldier further and further into a deadly web, further and further into his own demise.
When he awoke, barely rested, barely alive, Keith returned into the black emptiness of the brig; and the white man who waited patiently, quietly, cruelly for him.
He learned quickly, that there was more that one could do through the wide spaced metal bars than he had though.
As the months passed, Keith grew ever weaker, ever paler and exhausted, dark circles suddenly ringing his shadowed eyes. He began to make mistakes, to show up late for drills, for meals, for role call and slipped off as soon as he could disappearing for long stretches at a time, returning even more drained than when he left. His commanding officer grew angry. His friends grew worried.
They began to watch him closely, badgering him for the reason behind his sudden personality change. All of their concerns, however, he waved away with an irritable remark, a harsh gesture. The short-tempered anger with which he treated those around him, alienated him, drove away those who cared. And the mystery behind his weakness deepened, worsened until rumors and speculation flooded the entire cruiser.
Until one day, when Sven, one of his oldest friends, followed him down into the brig, followed him down to his secret rendezvous. What Sven saw shocked him, frightened him, sickened him. The obscenity of the act, of Keith's willing submission to this harsh, cold stranger, made Sven feel dirty, used though he was only an observer. To see his friend willingly, almost insistently, give up his energy, his body, to the sick devices of the unknown prisoner, was more than Sven could take. He fled the brig quickly, rushing back into the light, trembling with the fear that filled him. Almost immediately, Sven went to the commanding officer, described what he had seen, what was happening to Keith.
The next day, Keith was placed under house arrest and plans were made for the termination of Lance of Kent.
Cages and prisons had never been able to stop Keith when he set his mind on escaping, and the reality of the execution of the man he loved, spurred him to new heights of stealth. It was time for him to commit the final act of his downward spiral: it was time to renounce his loyalty to the Alliance. So, as he crept the familiar path to his love's jail cell, he carried two sets of keys--one to unlock Lance's cell, the other to power the fighter craft that would be used to spirit them away.
"Lance? Lance we need to get out of here. They're going to kill you tomorrow." Keith pulled the cell door open, grabbed Lance's hand, urging him upward and out of the brig. The two dashed down the carrier's corridors, pausing only to incapacitate what few guards happened to cross their path.
But, where Keith's thoughts were filled with panic, concentrated on escaping, fleeing with Lance as far from the Alliance as possible, Lance's thoughts were calmer, colder.
*It's time to end this charade.*
Keith keyed in code to open the flight deck's doors and slipped through, pulling Lance along. Row upon row of space crafts lined the dimly lit bay, and Keith peered through the gloom, nervously searching for the craft that matched the ignition key. He was sorry to have stolen it from Sven, but some things were more important than friendship--no matter who that friend was.
"There." Keith sighed in relief as he spotted craft. He looked for Lance, who had slipped away while he searched. "Lance?"
"Right here," Lance's voice whispered, hot breath tickling the back of Keith's neck. Keith shuddered in pleasure, then grabbed his lover's hand and pulled him toward their escape vehicle.
"Come on. We have to hurry."
"Wait." Lance stopped and pulled Keith toward him, capturing his mouth, forcing his lips open. Keith pulled back in surprise, but Lance held him close, enticing his tongue into the damp cavern of his mouth, sucking on it pulling on it. The wet dampness aroused Keith, made him mold against Lance and moan out his need.
He barely felt the long, jagged pole that drove through his back. Until the pain hit, anyway; the pain that crippled, cut through him, drove him to his knees, made him scream in muffled agony.
Keith tried to pull away, to pull the metal spear from his body, to stop the agony that crept through him, but Lance would not let him. Instead, Lance pulled his body closer, biting down on Keith's tongue, greedily drinking the blood that gushed up from his lover's throat, reveling in the confused pain that clouded Keith's glistening black eyes.
Lance pulled away, finally, releasing Keith only when the struggling stopped. The blood on his lips contrasted sharply with his alabaster skin, and he grinned coldly at Keith's crumpled, pitiful form. He licked at the blood around his mouth and bent down to wipe the last few drops from Keith's trembling lips.
"Because you've outlived your usefulness to me," he replied to the silent question that formed in Keith's eyes. "You were a good fuck, though."
Keith lay there, unable to move, Lance's mad laughter as he strolled to the fighter craft echoing in his ears. A dark blackness was clouding his eyes, the same blackness that he had found in the brig, the same blackness as that which cloaked him when he gave himself to Lance. And as his heart gave one last lurch, as his body became numb and the blackness took him over, he could think of but one thing.
The beautiful, bewitching, killing brown eyes.