Souvenirs From Dead Worlds (boyxboy)

Sam's job is to make a record of cultures before the drones come and destroy them. He's supposed to take artefacts, not people. Kias doesn't know what's going on, but there are metal monsters flying around killing people and he doesn't want to be next, even if to live he has to give up the freedom he's only just reclaimed.

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4. Chapter 4

The Marshal, leaning back behind his heavy oak desk, managed to pack an impressive amount of disappointment into the long sigh he let out. "You know what you did is against the rules, so I see no point in chewing you out over it."

 

That the Marshal couldn't even be bothered berating him didn't give Sam great hope for any future value he might have to the man and the things he oversaw. Sam averted his attention to a scratch on the curved wooden arm of the chair he sat in on the other side of the desk, unable to meet the Marshal’s gaze.

 

"You could lose your job," the Marshal continued, "not to mention the legal ramifications of bringing someone in from off world without permission."

 

Sam's head jerked up. Shit. He hadn't even considered the legal stuff. He really did not want to end up in prison.

 

The Marshal tapped the desk with his pen. "What happens to you is not entirely up to me, as your case must go before the council. I will, however, be encouraging a reinstatement of your position and a dismissal of any criminal charges. You're young and, while your actions must never be repeated, I do not believe you have caused any great harm by taking the boy with you."

 

Sam stared at the Marshal in surprise. He hardly knew the man; he had only spoken to him privately a couple of times, and those times had been interviews in order to get his job in the first place. That the Marshal was supporting Sam after what he had done was rather unexpected. "Thank you."

 

The Marshal waved away Sam's thanks. "You will, of course, be responsible for the boy regardless of whatever else may happen.”

 

Sam nodded his head quickly. "Yes, sir."

 

"And Sam?" the Marshal said. "Don't screw this up."


 

#

 

Having Kias as a responsibility could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how Sam looked at it. It was good because they couldn't punish him too harshly when he had Kias to take care of, but it was bad because it might interfere with him going back to his job.

 

Overall, though, he was in a better mood when he headed back to the med bay to collect Kias. If he could just get a shower to wash off the itchy remnants of the decontamination fluid, Sam thought he might start to feel somewhere approaching all right again.

 

When Sam entered the med bay he was glad to see Kias asleep on the bed in the corner. He'd been worried Kias might try to find some small space to cram himself into like he had on the shuttle, but either the sedative effect of the painkillers had kicked in before he'd had the chance to hide himself or Kias had gotten over that particular inclination. Or perhaps Kias only felt the need to hide when Sam was around. Sam's stomach sunk at the thought.

 

"How did it go?" Dr Austin asked Sam in a hushed tone.

 

Sam smiled at her. She was his friend, and he was ready to forgive her. Sam hoped she would forgive him, too. "Better than I expected. The council still needs to talk it over and take a vote, but... yeah, it might not be too bad."

 

Dr Austin returned the smile as she reached out and squeezed his shoulder. "That's good. I do want things to work out for you, Sam."

 

"Sorry I was a dick. Rough day."

 

Dr Austin patted Sam’s shoulder before turning to watch Kias' sleeping form. "I can deal with your dickishness just fine, and I'll even forgive you for it. But that boy?" She glanced back at Sam. "You need to do better for him."

 

The feeling of helplessness came flooding back into Sam. "There are so many ways I'm not qualified for this."

 

"Then be his friend." Dr Austin gripped Sam's arm, looking him firmly in the eye. "Just be his friend, and do your best."

 

#

 

The feeling of someone's hand on his shoulder gently shaking him awake had Kias reflexively curling tighter into a defensive ball. Memory of where he was quickly returned, however, as the odd smell of the liquid he'd been washed with drowned his senses. Kias twisted his neck to see Sam standing behind him, leaning against the bed.

 

"Hey." Sam smiled down at Kias. "Time to get going."

 

With Sam's help Kias climbed down off the bed and immediately found that his legs didn't quite seem to be working as they should. His head, too, still felt foggy with sleep even though the alarm of being in a strange place should have had him on high alert. He almost fell over before Sam quickly grabbed his arm and pulled him upright. After a few moments Kias managed to steady himself and Sam cautiously released his grip.

 

Sam seemed calmer now, so Kias, leaning his weight against the bed, risked asking a question. "Where are we going?"

 

"To my place. We can take nice warm showers, get something to eat, and then go to bed."

 

"Shower," Kias repeated, confused. Kias only understood a shower as being a kind of rain. He didn't bother asking, though. It was just one more thing Kias didn't understand, and his thoughts were currently about as confused and groggy as his legs were. He wondered if it was because of his injury. Maybe he was getting ill.

 

#

 

Sam was glad to find nobody in the common area of the apartment when he brought Kias in. He could answer their questions and deal with them pointing out what an idiot he was later. For now, Sam just wanted to get both of them clean, fed, and settled in for the night.

 

New problems, however, quickly became apparent.

 

It was easy enough to stick some protective plastic over Kias' bandage to keep it from getting wet, but the fact that Kias didn't even know what a shower was complicated things. That Kias was still quite groggy from the pain killers and needed Sam's help just to stay on his feet most of the time didn't help matters either.

 

Eventually, Sam gave up. "You're doing this yourself next time."

 

#

 

Kias had never seen a shower before, but once Sam explained what it was for Kias appreciated how useful such a thing could be. It could make warm water pour down from it like rain any time you wanted, without needing to start a fire to heat it first or anything. Kias didn't understand how it worked, but he was happy that at least he understood the purpose of it.

 

Another thing Kias had never seen before was a man with Sam's skin tone naked. The Northerners had skin only a little darker than Sam's, but as they rarely lived in Kias' city, only visited it, he'd never ended up working alongside one.

 

The Northerners had laws barring sex between anyone but a man and a woman, so they only rarely received Northern customers who sought to fulfil their desires discreetly. None of them had ever chosen Kias, which had probably been a good thing; they had bulky, powerful bodies, and looked like they could easily break someone if they unleashed their full strength. Sam was certainly in shape, but his body was lithe and beautiful, designed for precision and speed rather than brute force. Kias stumbled and Sam caught him and propped him back up before he could fall.

 

Belonging to Sam wouldn't be so bad, Kias thought as Sam led him under the shower's spray. Although Sam got angry sometimes, and although he'd seen Sam hit that other man before they'd gone through the strange blackness, Sam had yet to be violent towards Kias. And if Sam wanted something from him... well, at least Sam was young and good looking and clean. Kias still hated the idea of Sam doing that to him, though. He hated it because he was starting to like Sam. He wanted to like Sam.

 

"Stop staring at my dick," Sam said, and Kias realised he had been.

 

The water was neither too hot nor too cold, and it felt amazingly good against Kias' skin. The soapy washcloth Sam rubbed over his skin felt good, too, and Kias leant in against Sam more heavily than he needed to to remain upright.

 

Kias had been waiting for Sam to do something, for him to put Kias’ body to whatever use he desired, but though Sam’s hands were gentle as they washed him they never lingered. Kias knew he probably should have been doing something to make himself more pleasing to Sam, who wasn’t even hard yet, but he could barely even muster the energy to lift his arm when Sam asked him to. Kias let his tired eyes slide shut and surrendered himself to Sam’s patient manipulation as he was washed.

 

#

 

By the time he'd finished washing himself and Kias, Sam was really regretting the whole showering together thing. Whether it was the pain killers making Kias a little out of it or it was simply because he was from a very different culture, Kias was pretty terrible at keeping his eyes to himself. That, combined with Sam having to wash him and make sure he stayed on his feet, had made for a very awkward and uncomfortably intimate experience.

 

The thought of what Kias had been through, what had been done to him, had at least kept Sam from finding it at all arousing. Drugged up and possibly underage rape victims were more pitiable than sexy, no matter how fixated they were on Sam's anatomy.

 

Sam dried Kias and gave him a set of pyjamas to wear, the pants of which stayed up only because they had a string to tie them. He settled Kias in on his bed, told him to stay, and then went down to the kitchen to find something for them to eat.

 

Sam remembered when he'd first come to this world, when he'd been alone and confused and so scared. He remembered how the strange foods he hadn't recognised had made him even more upset. He'd wanted his mother's cooking. Sam had responded with anger, which didn't seem to be how Kias dealt with things, but he thought Kias might find the situation just a little bit less upsetting if the food was at least somewhat familiar.

 

Sam wasn't sure what kind of grain had been used as a base for most of the meals he'd eaten while in Kias' city, and he didn't think they had any of the same vegetables besides carrots. Sam ultimately settled on rice with carrot, broccoli, and beef. The beef wasn't actually real beef because land was too precious to waste on raising cattle, but it tasted the same so he doubted Kias would be able to tell the difference.

 

The meal wasn't exactly like whatever Kias might have been used to, but Sam hoped it would be close enough that it wouldn't bother him too much. Otherwise, perhaps he would be hungry enough not to care. He'd had no complaints about the nutrition bar, and those tasted pretty terrible.

 

#

 

Kias should have felt frightened when Sam had left him alone again, but he hadn’t been able to quite muster the energy for anything beyond mild concern. The clothes he'd been given were soft and comfortable, if a bit too big, and the material they were made of was weaved finer than any Kias had ever seen. He had tried to stay awake, to stay alert in the strange surroundings, but when he’d felt sleep tugging at his mind he had been too exhausted to resist it.

 

Kias was stirred from sleep by the feeling of the bed dipping behind himself and had to fight the urge not to grumble and shrug off the hand that reached out to gently shake his shoulder. He'd learnt well to be pliant and yielding when he was awake and alert, but his deeper instincts were still that of a free man and he had no interest in sharing in anyone’s affections just then.

 

"Kias," a heavily accented voice whispered, drawing Kias further out of sleep. As Kias opened his eyes and took in the strange room, his memories slowly fell back into place. Oh. He twisted his head around to blink up at Sam.

 

Sam reached out a hand towards Kias' face, then stilled for a moment before letting it fall back down to the bed instead. "I brought you dinner."

 

'Dinner' wasn't like anything Kias had ever been allowed to eat. His mother had raised him alone and had been too poor to afford things like meat or fresh vegetables, and then she'd died and Kias had been on the streets, alone, with nothing to eat but what he could beg or steal. After he was taken off the streets he had received regular meals, but they'd been small and basic to save money and keep his body from developing too much masculinity to be appealing to their customers.

 

Kias looked at Sam with wide eyes, then back at the bowl he was being offered. There was so much of it. Kias didn't know if he could eat that much, but he planned to enjoy trying. "Thank you," Kias mumbled as he took the bowl Sam offered him.

 

#

 

When Kias had gone to sleep Sam had been beside him, but when he awoke he was alone. A niggling anxiety began to build in his gut. The door was cracked open, and Kias could smell food cooking. Maybe Sam was getting more food? Kias hoped so. There were no windows in here so he had no frame of reference for how long he'd been asleep, but he was hungry again despite the very large meal he'd had before they'd gone to bed, so Kias guessed it must have been quite a while.

 

Kias looked around the room, taking in details he'd been too exhausted to notice the night before. Many of the items in the room confused Kias, but at least some things were recognisable. A shelf and the books that were on it were things Kias understood, and the bed he was sitting on and its blankets and pillows were all things he was familiar with. There were some other pieces of furniture, such as a desk and table, that were similar to those Kias had seen on his own world. The rest, though...

 

There was a black boxy thing standing up on the desk with dark glass covering the side facing Kias, and another black boxy thing on the desk in front of it. Kias recognised the thing sitting in front of the desk as a chair, but the bottom half was strangely shaped and ended in wheels instead of legs. On the wall in front of the bed was a large sheet of black glass very much like the black glass on the boxy thing on the desk.

 

When Kias got up and examined some of the smaller objects on the desk and shelf, he found more and more that he didn’t understand what things were or what they were for. He picked up a small, roughly rectangular object with bumps on one side, and when he accidentally pressed one of the bumps it beeped at him.

 

Kias promptly dropped it, then stared with worried eyes at where it had fallen onto the ground. He wasn’t sure whether to be more scared about whether he’d damaged it, or about why it had made a noise when he’d touched it. It clearly wasn’t alive. Kias cautiously picked it up, careful not to touch any of the bumps, and found it was undamaged. Relieved, he put it back where he’d found it and vowed to keep his hands off of Sam’s things from then on.

 

Kias was beginning to get anxious. Well, more anxious than the new low level anxiety that he’d carried with him since arriving on Sam’s world. It had been a while since Kias had woken up, and Sam still hadn’t returned. He was alone and he didn't know the rules or what he was supposed to be doing or not doing and where was Sam? Was he downstairs? Did he expect Kias to go down and join him when he woke up?

 

Kias approached the door quietly and peeked out.

 

He could hear talking, so there were definitely people down there, but when Kias crept over to the bannister and peered over the edge he discovered that the voices were coming from an open doorway to a room out of his line of vision. As Sam wasn't in the room with Kias and he wasn't in the adjoining washroom, Kias concluded Sam must be downstairs with the other people. Kias hesitated, but fear of missing out on another of the delicious meals he'd had last night ultimately convinced him to head downstairs towards the voices.

 

Once downstairs, Kias approached the doorway on quiet feet and snuck a look around the corner into the room with the voices. The various objects in the room, large and small, baffled Kias, but as people were cooking in there it was immediately obvious that the room was a kitchen. It took only a moment for Kias to realise that no, Sam was not there. A lot of other people were, though, and they were all strangers to Kias.

 

Kias backed away quickly and headed back to the stairs, hoping he hadn't been spotted, but when he glanced behind him he saw that a man had followed him out. The man was large and broad shouldered, and when he greeted Kias in an unknown language his voice was deep and gravelly. He was smiling at Kias, but it was somehow terrifying. Kias ran.

 

A fear of strangers, especially strange men, was something Kias had learnt as a child, but the last couple of years had thoroughly instilled it. He now knew not only many of the things men could do to someone like him, but also that there would always be something new they could do that Kias hadn't even thought of yet.

 

If Sam had instructed Kias to entertain the man who was pursuing him up the stairs, Kias wouldn't have resisted. Sam owned him and Kias knew defying the instructions of someone who owned him would only make things worse. But Sam wasn't there, and Sam hadn't told Kias anyone else was allowed to touch him, so Kias preferred to err on the side of not getting fucked by this rather large man.

 

Kias hoped he wouldn't be followed into Sam's room, that the man would respect Sam's privacy more than he seemed to respect Sam's property, but he found himself disappointed. The man paused just inside the doorway and smiled at Kias again, saying more words Kias didn't understand. When the man took another step towards him, Kias lashed out like a cornered animal.

 

The man shouted and fell to the ground, and Kias dashed into the washroom while the man was still disabled. It took Kias a few moments to remember how to lock the door as Sam had shown him the night before after he'd explained to Kias how to use the toilet, but once it clicked into place Kias felt much safer. Outside he could hear the sound of people thumping up the stairs as they came to investigate the noise.

 

People knocked on the door, rattled the knob, and tried to speak to Kias. Kias didn't understand what they were saying. Kias just wanted Sam. He stayed, curled in the corner of the shower stall, and waited.

 

#

 

When Sam returned from speaking to Dr Austin, he found Otis sitting in the common area in one of the armchairs, legs spread and a bag of frozen vegetables held to his crotch.

 

"You know," said Otis, "when you told me to 'watch out for' the kid you'd rescued, this is not what I thought you meant."

 

Sam let out a long sigh. Just when he thought things were settling down. "What did you do?"

 

"Nothing!" Otis lifted his frozen vegetables, gesturing wildly with them. "He came downstairs, and then he went back upstairs so I went to see if he was all right because he looked a little freaked out. And then he kicked me in the nuts."

 

Sam groaned. He really should have assigned someone else to keep an eye out for Kias, preferably one of the girls, but Sam had wanted to speak to Dr Austin about Kias before she started work for the day and Otis had been the only one awake when Sam had left. "Here's a tip: next time he runs away from you, don't chase him."

 

"I think I'll just never go near the little bastard again, thanks," Otis called out to Sam as Sam walked away, heading towards the stairs.

 

#

 

Things had been quiet for a while when Kias heard Sam's bedroom door open and shut, followed by a tap on the washroom door and Sam's tentative voice. "Can I come in?"

 

Kias got up and opened the door immediately.

 

"I hear you kicked a guy in the balls,” Sam said casually. He didn't look angry, but he was watching Kias with a careful, assessing gaze.

 

Kias glanced away anxiously. "I didn't know if you were okay with him, so..."

 

Sam leant against the doorway. "I'm okay with him. I told him to come see you if you woke up, actually... He's a little angry about the ball kicking."

 

Kias winced and rubbed a hand over his face. "I'm sorry, Sam."

 

Not that he was sorry in the sense that he felt any guilt about what he’d done, but he was sorry in the sense that he regretted his actions. Getting on Sam’s bad side was the last thing Kias wanted to do.

 

Though Sam was still showing no signs of anger Kias now knew he had done something wrong and because of that he felt trapped inside the small room. Sam's body blocked the doorway completely. He wished Sam had just told him, warned him to expect a visit from the man and to do as the man wished. Now even if Sam wasn't angry with Kias the man would be, and things would likely be much worse.

 

Sam dismissed Kias' apology with a careless shrug. "For future reference, though, you should know that I'm okay with everyone who lives here. We're all friends and stuff, so..." Sam smiled and patted Kias on the shoulder before heading back into the bedroom. Kias gaped in horror at his back.

 

Kias had found it unusual that Sam had taken him but then shown no interest in him whenever he was naked. Sam wasn't interested in him, but it seemed he knew others who were and was rather a good sharer. Kias would have nicer food here and nicer clothes, but it was beginning to look like not much had changed in Kias' life besides his surroundings.

 

#

 

Sam was secretly quite pleased with Kias for kicking Otis in the testicles. Not because Otis particularly deserved it, but because Sam was glad that Kias both knew how and was willing to defend himself. Not that he should ever have need to, but it was definitely an improvement over curling up in a ball and hiding whenever he was afraid.

 

Less pleasing, however, was that Kias didn't look like he was getting over the event in a hurry. It was hard to tell, as Sam hadn't know him very long and during that time he'd been constantly anxious, but the way he stuck close to Sam, eyes darting around nervously when they went downstairs, told Sam his worries were still lingering. He'd had to take Kias back to their room and return for their food alone when Kias had spotted Otis. He'd gone stiff and pale and his breathing had sped up. The food seemed to calm him down again, though. Kias had a very healthy appetite.

 

Kias didn't like to be left alone, either, though he didn't say so. It was so plain on his face when Sam had said he had to go out for a little while that Sam had ended up taking Kias with him. In truth Sam would have preferred a little time to himself, but right then Kias' needs were more important.

 

"We're going to need a bigger place," Sam told the administrator in charge of housing assignment.

 

The administrator eyed Sam critically, peering at him over her purely aesthetic eyewear. No doubt she'd heard a lot of things about what people 'needed' in their housing. "What are you looking for?"

 

"Two bedrooms, preferably two bathrooms, and preferably the place to ourselves." Sam tipped his head in Kias' direction, smiling. "He tends to kick strangers in the junk."

 

"Right." The administrator looked rather unimpressed as she typed things into her computer and skimmed through pages of information. "I can get you one large room with basic kitchen appliances and an attached bathroom. Otherwise, you'll be looking at a lot of junk kicking."

 

Sam frowned. He hadn't expected all of his requests to be met, but he had hoped to at least have his own room. "Make sure there are two beds."

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