by Lotos (translation by Lena)

Screech of tires of the approaching car roused him from his thoughts. A camera mounted over the entrance caught the reflection of the wave of hair, the door opened and a tall, shapely figure stopped on the threshold.

Katze thought that he had seen it not the first thousand times already, and still couldn't get used to this sight – his breath stopped like before. Like for the first time. And for the second, and the third.

But today his owner was awaited by a surprise. At this idea Katze burst out laughing.

Iason looked around – something was wrong.

Everything was wrong. Katze sitting on the sofa instead of at the monitor – it was... unusual. Katze laughing for no apparent reason – it was incorrect. Katze with clouded gaze and the lingering pungent smell of alcohol – it was... simply ridiculous.

Beautiful eyes slightly widened: "You are drunk!?!"

"Oh, yes!" Katze grinned. "I guess today will go down in history – for the first time I managed to surprise the First Consul."

Bitterness in his voice flooded the room. But the quiet voice forced it to curl up in the dark corner: "For the second." Iason sat opposite Katze. "First time you did it, when you got into Tanagura System."

Katze was silent, his gaze fixed on something behind Iason's back. The Consul was really surprised. He always considered that he knew his aide well, but it appeared his former furniture was still capable of surprises.

"Why?" in the Blondie's voice Katze heard sincere interest.

"What why? Why I am drunk?"

The silk of hair swayed in confirmation.

"And why not?"

He kept silent, gathering his spirit.

"You so much want to know why I'm drunk?" now Katze's voice was angry. "Then I'll tell to you. When I worked for you as a furniture, I considered it hell – then for the first time I found out what it means not to sleep in the night dreaming about unreal. I was afraid of the night, I waited for the nightfall with fear. Since I couldn't get rid of this burning desire physically, I found relief in the web. Light of the computer screen replaced the ice of your eyes for me: so indifferent and cold.

When you caught me... I instantly thought that everything was over, and you know what, I was glad. But you didn't release me. And all got even worse. Only then did I realize that my sleepless nights were a fairy tale comparing to what I went through after that. Earlier, no matter how bad it was, I could constantly be near you, I could see you. You didn't notice me, but to me it was all the same."

The anger subsided and Katze got overwhelmed by indifference. But Iason looked at him, his eyes never leaving him, forcing him to bare his soul. More and more.

"I love you, Iason Mink. And I don't care what you think of it. Loving you is too heavy a burden for me. I would ask you if you know – what it's like... But I know you know. Now you know.

Every casual glance that you laid on me I felt with all my body. But I learnt to live with you. I got used to the pain, to the heat in my body. I got used even to that. But... I knew you not like that. Not like you've became now – bright, burning, sweeping away all that stands on the way of your love and passion. I simply didn't know that you are capable of that.

You know, it's twisted. It hurts – to see your eyes shining at the sight of another. It's sweet – to get to know the new you. And it's terrible – to look how eagerly you head for your own downfall.

I am drunk... You know, each person has a limit of pain which they can bear. And I haven't noticed when I crossed my limit. I am tired. I can't take it anymore." Katze rose. The mist disappeared from his eyes. "I'm sorry that you had to listen to all this. Simply, you came here in the wrong time. Forget it."

Katze stood before Iason at arm's length: so close and so far. Tall, strong, but too thin for his height. The usual mask already took it's habitual place on the thin face. Katze closed himself in his shell.


"Will you stay with me?" a quiet charming voice cracked like a whip, breaking the recovering self-control. Katze twitched. He closed his eyes for an instant – he should answer looking in those so alive now eyes, he should do it while he still had power. Even if later it would come to dying.

"No," the breathed out denial, and the hand in a white glove clenched. Iason didn't even suspect that this simple word can cause him such pain. Katze, his Katze, so faithful and devoted – leaves him. Iason couldn't understand his feelings. Anger suddenly rose in him – someone dared to tell him 'no'! But it was followed by fear. Fear, that these amber eyes won't belong to him anymore, that he will no more see this silent adoration which, why hide it, excited him. Iason smiled to himself – it seemed he became too attached to his former furniture. But he couldn't let him leave. Not now, only not now. I'm sorry, Katze, but I will do it again.

Iason rose before Katze. "I need you. You cannot leave."

"You never let anyone off, do you?" a smile crossed Katze's face. "But you're wrong. I can leave and I will. It's the only way I can save what's left of me."

Katze turned away not to see those eyes, which burnt through his heart. His soul whined, and his mind was waiting for something. What? A blow, a yell? Anything, anything but what he received in answer.

Strong hands wrapped around his waist and drew him close to the hot body. Katze desperately twitched, trying to free himself. But Iason was always stronger. In all. He only tightened his embrace.

"Katze, don't leave. Please. I need you. I need you very much," a voice, persistent, turning into a whisper, poured into his consciousness with a sweet, stupefying poison, depriving of will and power to resist.

Katze, stunned by the barely audible plea in the Blondie's voice, turned in the ring of his hands. They stood close to each other. Too close. Much too close. And for the first time ever, Katze could really look in those shining blue eyes. And for the first time there was no ice – only what he had heard – entreaty and fear. And the silent 'forgive'.

Katze simply stared, unable to look away, and Iason continued. Only his voice was now full of pain which he never heard in him before: "Forgive me. I can't otherwise. I'm just a broken machine ineligible for restoration. You say you see that I head for my downfall," evil laughter grated on the ears. "And I know that. I know what I head for, and what all this will end up with. You also know that, you feel it – that too I know. The question is – when. And how. But I won't stop – I don't want to and I can't anymore. It's too late. Don't leave me now. Only not now," his whisper became barely audible. "Please. I promise that your suffering won't last long."

Katze's eyes widened when the meaning of these words sunk in. "No! Don't you dare say that!" his scream almost deafened Iason. Suddenly Katze shuddered. "What are you doing to me?"

His groan struck Iason right in the heart. But he couldn't stop anymore. The Consul answered nothing, he simply looked in the eyes of man who imperceptibly for him became the second dearest creature in his world. And in his head it pounded: 'Forgive me, kitten, forgive, forgive, forgive. I use you again'. Katze sighed convulsively, averting his eyes darkened with pain.

"Very well, you have won. Again," Katze hopelessly freed himself from too exciting embraces. "I'll do as you ask. I won't leave you. Up to the end."

Relief and pleasure that flashed on the beautiful face caused almost physical pain. Up to the end. Whatever it would be.

"But now you better leave," before Iason again stood so familiar and predictable Katze.

"I understand." And Katze was left alone.

He stood for a while, listening. When the noise of the retreating car faded, he fell to his knees. Wide shoulders began to shake, trembling in the rhythm of sobs, and the cry of the wounded heart broke the silence.

The light of one of the moons illuminated the table and the bottle sitting on it – open, but untouched. He couldn't bring himself to take even a sip.

The End




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