By MonaCK and Cathy Roberts
Randi's heart was racing as she ran down the corridor to the medical center. If Dave wasn't there then she didn't know where to find him. He had always come to the suite and she had no idea where his cabin was located. But she'd wake the Captain to find out if she had to. Luka had been...desperate and scared when he had yelled for her and Maggie from the door of Carter's room. He didn't dare leave Carter alone, and, once Randi got a look at Carter's face, she understood his reluctance and she had immediately volunteered to get Dave. She had taken the time to throw on shorts and a T-shirt, but nothing else. Thankfully, the interior of the ship was carpeted so she wasn't too concerned about being barefoot as she ran to find Dave.
There it was, the medical center door -- she pushed it open and stopped in the middle of the room, wondering which of the closed doors in front of her was Dave's office. One sure way to find out if he was there, she thought. "Dave!" she yelled as she headed for the first door, her fist raised to knock on it the minute she was within reach. "Dammitt, Malucci! Are you here?"
Over. It was over. Just like that...it was over. Dave was alone -- just like he had always been alone. Like Luka said -- John deserved someone who could make him happy...and Dave couldn't make John happy. Hell. Dave couldn't even make himself happy.
And the way that John had cried...it broke Dave's heart. And yet Dave had still walked away...walked away even though it was obvious that wasn't what John wanted.
It wasn't what *Dave* wanted.
But it was what was best...wasn't it?
With a sigh he looked at the charts on his desk. It was the end of the cruise, and Dave knew that he had some work he needed to get done before they got into port, but he didn't want to do any of it.
He didn't have the heart to.
Dave had his head bent down, and was still making a lame attempt to read charts when he heard a voice. A familiar voice. Was that...Randi? Lifting his head, he turned towards the noise, his ears trying to figure out where her voice was coming from. What the hell did she want...to rub it in?
"What the fuck do you want, Randi," Dave asked, his voice louder than necessary. He rose from his chair and walked towards the door of his office. Opening it, he was only momentarily jarred as it looked as if Randi was poised to knock on his skull.
Dave's eyes were red from crying...and now with Randi standing before him he was embarrassed for it. Quickly turning away he focused his eyes across to the opposite wall of his office.
Randi had been prepared to be angry when she saw Dave. Carter hadn't deserved being hurt that way, and Randi hated the very idea that she might have been wrong about how Dave felt toward Carter. Seeing Dave's red-rimmed eyes, still puffy from crying, her anger melted. She didn't know just what had happened, but she did know that three men were hurting very badly at the moment.
"Luka sent me to get you. He said you need to bring about two clicks of Ativan with you and to move fast," Randi said, once more remembering how scared Luka had looked as he gave her those instructions. And how...detached Carter had looked, as if he hadn't heard Luka at all.
"Ativan? Randi? What happened?" Dave felt like the bottom of his stomach had dropped from under him...and forcing himself to go into doctor mode, Dave made his way over to his drug lockup. With shaky hands he unlocked the door, and got the bottle of meds. He also grabbed a couple of syringes.
Randi shook her head. "You'd know what happened better than I would, but he's not in good shape, Dave. Luka mentioned something about emotional shock?" All Randi knew was that the sooner they were back to the suite, the better things would be. God knew they couldn't deteriorate any further.
"Fuck. This is my fault, Randi," he said, sadness turning towards panic. "What...what was I thinking...what the fuck was I thinking..."
Shaking his head to bring himself back to reality, he followed Randi out of the room and back towards the suite.
Randi's hands were shaking as she tried to fit her key into the door and she felt a surge of relief when the door opened seemingly on its own before her. Then Maggie's angry gaze let Randi know that the door had had a lot of help in opening. "Where are they?" Randi asked as she squeezed her way past Maggie and the doorjamb. "Are they still in Carter's room?" Randi looked over at Maggie, worried that the woman was going to keep Dave from coming into the suite.
"Maggie? Luka was very adamant about wanting Dave in there," she reminded her lover.
"Fine," Maggie said, as she stepped aside. "But if he makes things worse, I'll fucking strangle him myself," Maggie stated quite clearly, her arms crossed over her chest.
Dave's vision was focused only on Carter's door, and ignoring both Randi and Maggie, Dave clutched his medical bag close to him as he made his way to John's door. Shutting his eyes, he knocked on the door, and waited to see just what he was facing.
Luka had managed to calm John down enough that John was now wrapped in a blanket, and lying on his bed in an almost cationic state. The guilt that Luka felt was almost overwhelming, and as he opened the door, he eyed Dave with sadness filling his eyes.
"Thank you for coming," he simply said, as he stepped aside.
Dave wanted to cry when he saw John...and he quickly ran to his side. "Man...I'm so sorry...John...I'm so sorry...I never should have tried this...I love you...I'm *so* sorry..."
John continued to stare at the wall as he heard Dave's voice. So, he had come back. Probably decided that he hadn't quite had enough of someone insatiable. Tough.
"Go away, Dave," John said, his voice a monotone. "I don't feel like fucking right now. You should have come back ten minutes ago if that's what you wanted, I was still insatiable back then, but not right now. Even insatiable sex kittens get tired."
"No! I'm not looking to fuck...God...John, I'm so sorry...I never should have left. I never should have said what I did...I love you...I was wrong...you were right..."
Dave brought his hand up to the side of John's face -- trying to elicit *some* response from him that wasn't indifference. What the hell had he done? This was all his fault...he didn't deserve someone as wonderful as John was...but for some reason John wanted him...and instead of being grateful for it, he had thrown it all away...
Luka looked on helplessly, realizing that even Dave wasn't getting through to the man.
John vaguely became aware that he was being touched, and he didn't want that. "I said I didn't want to fuck," he angrily spat out as he jerked his head away from whoever it was that was touching him. If it was Dave, he was too late. If it was Luka, well, he was too late, too. John had offered himself to the man and been turned down.
All John wanted was for them to leave him alone -- all of them -- Luka, Randi, Maggie, even Dave. He didn't want to talk and he didn't want to fuck and he didn't want to smile and pretend everything was just fine, even if he did know how to do that. He just wanted to be alone.
"Go away. Both of you," he said, his eyes still focused on some point beyond the wall. It was better to focus on something they couldn't see, couldn't take away from him or make him leave behind. Just in case they insisted on fucking. If he could focus on some imaginary point, then John knew he could get through that without really noticing what was happening.
Sadly, Dave got up, and walked over to Luka, his eyes cast downward as he spoke. "I'm gonna give him something to help him sleep...and uh...I guess someone should stay with him in case he wakes up and is disoriented..."
Dave's voice trailed off as he looked back over towards John. *Dave* had done this to him. That was all that kept going through his head...that he had been the one to reduce John to being this upset and angry. Things had been going so well for them...and now Dave had gone and fucked it up.
"I think that person should be you," Luka finally said, after a moment's thought. "I...I don't know what happened...but...Dave...I'm truly sorry that I ever said anything to you. If I had known that this was what was going to happen..."
Luka's eyes drifted over towards John -- the broken man laying huddled on the bed. No. Luka supposed that no one could have predicted this.
John felt a small sense of relief when he felt the mattress move as Dave went away. Good, they were going to leave him alone.
Alone -- John hated being alone and yet he seemed fated to spend his life in that condition. He supposed that he either needed to get used to it or finally gather enough courage to just end things once and for all.
Hell, there was no time like the present to take matters into his own hands. He knew there was a water glass in the bathroom because he had left it in there earlier. It would shatter easily enough, he thought, and then a quick slash or two and it would all be over. If you hit the artery correctly, you'd bleed out too fast to be saved.
John rolled out of the bed, clutching the blanket tightly as he headed for the bathroom. Since Dave and Luka hadn't yet managed to leave his room, he wasn't going to flash them and give them any ideas. Not when he wasn't in the mood. He glared in their direction, angry over not being listened to. "I told you both to go. Did you think I didn't mean it?"
Dave turned around to face John as he spoke, his eyes widening as he realized that John was now up from the bed. "I'm sorry, John. I don't think you mean it. And sorry, but I'm not leaving. Not any time soon."
Dave realized that it might be too little, too late, but he had to try. He had to try to get through to him...somehow. "John...come on, buddy. Let me get you back to bed...please..."
Dave began to walk towards John, intent on getting him to lay back down so that he could inject him with the sedative. Luka was right behind Dave, wanting to help in any way that he could.
Both men felt guilty over the turn of events.
And both men wanted nothing more than to somehow make John okay again.
John backed away from the advancing men, fear starting to mingle in with his anger. "Goddammitt, I said I didn't want to fuck right now. Don't you touch me, don't you even *think* about touching me," he hissed at them. God, his back was to the wall and there was no escape. If they wanted him, he would have no choice but to let them fuck him. No choice at all. And his body, damn it all, his body would ultimately betray him, John knew that for a fact. It always betrayed him.
"I told you, John. I have no intention of fucking you right now...I promise...I'm not gonna hurt you...never again..." Dave's voice was soft...soothing, as he walked towards the man he loved more than anything in the world. And his heart broke as he realized that John was cowering in fear from him. He had done this to him -- there was no way that Dave could deny it.
Luka reached John's side, and Dave dared to take down his hand, reaching into his bag to prepare the Ativan to inject into John. Dave hated doing it to him, but he had no choice. John was out of control.
John closed his eyes as Luka neared him, praying he wouldn't touch him, silently begging God to make Luka leave him alone. And then John felt Luka's hand on his skin, touching his shoulder. It was going to happen and there was nothing John could do to stop it. Just like before. He knew he deserved it -- after all, he had willingly fucked both Dave and Luka, so it really wasn't a surprise that they'd not take no for an answer now. But he wished they would. He prayed they would.
He begged that they would. "Please? Don't do this. I'll fuck you in the morning, both of you...just not now, not like this. Please?" He opened his eyes and looked at Luka as he spoke, thinking that maybe he'd have an easier time getting Luka to change his mind. If he had Luka on his side, then Luka would stop Dave -- or so John hoped. "Please? Not now, Luka...tomorrow...I promise you both I'll fuck in the morning, but not now," he pleaded.
"John...listen to me...neither Dave nor I are going to fuck you right now...we're going to make you feel better...I promise you...you're going to feel better *very* soon..."
The fact that John was adamant...and practically begging both Luka and Dave to not touch him had not been lost on both men. Dave was brought back to earlier conversations -- conversations from long ago when John admitted to him that he had slept with his maid when he was eleven...and part of him wondered if there wasn't some other kind of sexual abuse that Dave didn't know about.
John seemed genuinely frightened by the thought of being alone with both Dave and Luka. And it was a bit ironic -- Dave and Luka both cared about John deeply.
Dave finished filling the syringe, relieved that it seemed that Luka was distracting John enough for him to give John the shot. And trying his best to keep himself out of focus, Dave moved John's blanket away from his skin, and attempted to administer the Ativan.
John shook his head. "No, Luka, it doesn't make me feel better...I've told you that before...no, not you...her..." He closed his eyes tightly as his past and present mixed within his mind. "It doesn't make me feel better. I don't like it, please?"
"What is it that you don't like? I promise you, neither Dave nor I will ever do anything that you don't like...or anything that'll hurt you..."
Luka's voice took on a gentle tone -- it was almost the same tone of voice that he used when trying to coax his daughter to talk to him so many years ago. But it was as if...John had regressed...and was suddenly a child again.
Dave was successful with injected the sedative into John's thigh. Breathing a sigh of relief that that part was done, he stood up once more, concern filling his eyes as he looked at John intently. There was something very wrong. *Very* wrong.
"I don't like it when you touch me...there...you know...my privates. It doesn't make me feel better, even when it swells up because you touch it. I know it's my fault you have to touch me," John earnestly said. "I don't mean to come on to you, I'm just insatiable, like you said. But I don't like it." Tears began to stream down his cheeks. "I don't want to be your sex kitten anymore. Please? Leave me alone? I'll be good if you'll leave me alone."
Dave looked over to Luka, and then back to John. "C'mon, buddy. Why dontcha come lay down. I promise. We're not gonna touch you anymore...but only if you come lay down...please...John..."
Dave's eyes met Luka's, and Luka looked back him in confusion. It was obvious to Dave that Luka knew nothing about the incidents that John and Dave had talked about all those months ago, and how Dave suspected that John was sexually abused as a child. Now, looking at the broken man in front of him, he realized that it was no longer a suspicion. It was the truth.
Truth be told, Dave would easily live without ever having sex with John again if he had to -- he loved the man that much.
And Dave felt awful that it had been his...withdrawal that had caused John to get this way.
John quickly looked from Luka to Dave, hopeful despite feeling tired. "You promise? You really promise? You won't change your mind this time?"
This time? What exactly what John talking about?
"I promise," Dave said, leading him towards the bed. "I promise that neither of us is gonna hurt you...not ever again...you're safe...I promise..."
Hopefully, the Ativan would kick in soon...and poor John would just go to sleep. At least, that's what Dave was hoping. Because John was just in *so* much pain.
And it was far too much pain for Dave to even begin to take away.
John stopped at the side of the bed. As tired as he was, he couldn't forget the most important thing. "My pajamas," he softly said. "I need my pajamas. I'll get in trouble if I get in bed naked and I don't want to get them angry with me again." John looked at Dave, tears once more in his eyes as he realized he didn't recognize this place as his bedroom. "I don't know where they are. This isn't my room," he said, slightly pouting. How could he obey the rules if he couldn't find his pajamas? John had been told that if he kept acting up and causing trouble then his parents wouldn't have any choice but to send him away to boarding school. And he didn't want to go away, even though that meant not being touched, but Jenny told him that at boarding schools, it was the men who touched and made things swell, and John didn't want to be touched by them.
Dave quickly shook his head. "No...no John...this isn't your room...this is the cruise ship...and you're going to be going home tomorrow. And...uh...I'll get you your pajamas, but you're not gonna get in trouble for gettin' into bed naked."
Dave nodded towards Luka, who quickly got out a pair of pajamas for John. Luka handed them to Dave, who in turn, handed them to John. "I don't wanna do anything that's gonna make you uncomfortable," he said, his voice soft. "I'll help you into these if you want me to...but not if it makes you uncomfortable..."
Imagine that -- Dave's touch not feeling good to John. Dave never thought he'd see the day.
John blinked sleepily at the pajamas Dave had handed him. They weren't his. He had 'Star Wars' pajamas, a present from Bobby. But they'd have to do, even though John suddenly wasn't sure how to put them on, and he was too tired to try to figure it out. He held the pajamas toward Dave. "Please?"
Dave brought his gaze up to meet Luka's as John handed him back the pajamas, and then he slowly nodded. "Yeah...I can do that for you..."
At least John was trusting Dave enough to touch him now. But it was so weird. Dave hadn't realized just how far gone John really was...but it was obvious that there were some major problems there. Guilt marred him once more, and he vowed to spend as long as necessary at John's side...to make sure the man was okay, of course.
Luka was standing towards the back of the room, obviously looking hesitant to leave at that moment.
"Luka...I've got this," Dave finally said, turning to face Luka fully. "Please...I need to try to fix this...I'll call you if I need you..."
Luka shut his eyes, and then finally nodded. Hesitating for only a moment longer, he left the room, shutting the door quietly behind him.
After Dave watched Luka leave, he turned his attention back to John. "Okay. You let me know right away if I'm doing *anything* that makes you feel uncomfortable...okay?"
And with a sigh, he began to put John's pajamas on him, hoping that he'd be able to do that without John being too upset. It was obvious to Dave that John was not in his right mind.
If John had been more alert, then he might have spoken up when Dave helped him step into the pajama bottoms. But he was so busy yawning that he didn't really pay any attention to it. John was more than ready for bed by the time Dave had finished buttoning the top.
"Thank you," John politely said as he crawled onto the bed, reaching for his covers, which seemed to be haphazardly tossed about. He looked up at Dave, his eyelids almost too heavy to stay open. "May I ask for one more thing?" Dave had been nice so far, and John was willing to risk asking for one more favor.
"Anything," Dave said sincerely, as he looked back down to John. Dave was afraid to touch him...afraid of sending John even further into his own world that he seemed to have found himself in.
"Would you leave one of the lights on?" He felt like a baby, feeling afraid of the dark, but since Bobby had died, the dark had seemed like a very cold and scary place. And the dark...hid things that people did. The light was much, much better. "Please?"
Dave thought for a moment, and then nodded. "Yeah...yeah I can do that for you..."
He hesitated for a moment, and then walked over to the side of John's bed, carefully tucking the blanket around John in a very fatherly-like fashion. He looked down to him, and then bent his head down to kiss John tenderly on the forehead. "I love you," he muttered, smoothing down John's hair on his head.
Dave's eyes swept over the room, and he then walked over to a chair that was nestled in the corner. He sat down in it, hands crossed over his chest as he watched and waited for John to fall asleep.
John tried to keep his eyes open so he could keep an eye on Dave. It *did* seem as if the man was going to keep his promise, although John wasn't too sure he liked the fact Dave was staying in the room, even if he was in the corner. It soon became too much effort to stay awake, and John finally let his eyes close against the room and the light and Dave, and he fell into a dreamless sleep, the first such sleep he had had for a very long time.
Finally...John was asleep. Dave was *far* from being able to sleep...the light in the room inhibiting his ability to close his eyes for very long, coupled with the fact that he was *so* worried about John. Again, his thoughts drifted back to when John had told him about the maid...and about how she had been the first person he had ever slept with...at age eleven. And how defensive he was that it had been normal...but some of the things John had said even then had made Dave suspicious.
And tonight's revelations had only confirmed his worst suspicions...and fears. John had *definitely* been abused, and Dave breaking up with him had only brought back those memories for John.
And Dave felt very guilty for setting him into this kind of mental state.
Finally Dave began to nod off, unable to keep his eyes open for even a moment longer. But his ears remained finely tuned to any sounds of John coming from the bed.
Randi sighed as she looked once more at the closed door of John's bedroom. It was unnerving, knowing that something was going on and not being able to do anything to help. She hated feeling helpless, it went against her nature. Randi had survived living half of the time on the streets because her mother didn't give a flying fuck what she did, and living out there had ultimately put Randi in prison -- and she had survived that, too. Handled it very well. But this...this made her feel helpless, just like when Carter and Lucy had been stabbed. They had been people she knew and she wanted to help them, but there wasn't anything she could do.
It didn't help matters any that Maggie was being just as silent as she paced the room, looking ready to kill at a moment's notice. Randi wanted to defend Dave to Maggie, to point out to her that he had been just as torn apart by whatever it was that had happened as Carter had been, but Randi didn't particularly like the idea of feeling Maggie's claws right then, and if she was reading her lover's mood correctly, that's exactly what would happen if she as much as said one kind word about Dave Malucci.
They both took notice when the door opened and Luka stepped through, still looking worried and upset. "How's he doing?" Randi asked, needing to know that Carter was all right. The cruise had made them closer, and she was discovering that she liked the idea of being his friend. Dave and Luka's, too, she thought. It had been nice to get to know all of them better. But knowing them better also meant that she cared even more about what was happening to them -- to them all.
Luka sadly shook his head, and made his way over to the couch. Now that he was no longer in the same room with John, the need for Luka to pretend that he was okay with quickly retreating.
"He's...he's regressing...he's acting like he's a small child...and...very much like...like both Dave and I were trying to hurt him. I...I think Dave realizes that he made a mistake...but John's reaction...it isn't normal. John didn't act angry...John acted frightened...like we...we were going to...to rape him..."
Luka crossed his arms over his chest, absent-mindedly rubbing his arms with his hands as he spoke to the girls.
Maggie was even silenced by this revelation, and she stopped pacing the room to look at Luka as he spoke. "Rape him? I might not like Dave...and I might think that for a while Dave was only in it for the sex, but even *I* don't think he's capable of rape."
"Or you," Randi added. "Why in the world would he think that about the two of you?" She asked as she moved so that she was sitting cross-legged on the couch beside Luka. Randi didn't like the sound of what Luka was saying, it hinted too much of things she had heard her street friends talking about when she was younger -- about never being safe, no matter where you were or who was around, because someone would always decide they wanted a piece of you. Randi had always thought they were exaggerating, but working in the ER had shown her that, while it wasn't as bad as they had made it out to be, it was still bad at times to be a kid or a teen on the street, or with parents who either didn't give a damn about you or else 'cared' entirely too much.
Luka shook his head. "I...I do not know," he said sincerely as he swept a hand over his eyes wearily. "I....you saw how he was when Dave left...yes...he was very upset...but it isn't a normal reaction. I...I'll talk to Dave about it later...but I honestly think that John might have been abused as a child...he was saying things like he was going to get in trouble for going to bed without clothing on...and he was upset that he wasn't in his own room."
With a sigh, he looked over to Randi. "I know that I have already lost him...Dave...Dave is the person who he belongs with, but Dave...even Dave couldn't get through to him..."
"Jesus!" Randi muttered. If Carter wouldn't even listen to Dave, then he really was fucked up. "I don't understand...why do you think he was abused? I mean, I know lots of anal people who won't sleep naked, why would that mean he was abused?"
"I...I do know that John had sex with someone when he was only 11 years old...someone who was quite a bit older than him...and...the signs that he was exhibiting...being afraid of his 'private parts' swelling, as he said...blaming himself...saying that he didn't like to be touched like that...Randi...it's all classic signs of abuse..."
Luka sighed. He realized that he might have been saying too much, but at this point...was there really *anything* he would be able to hide from Randi? They had all been through so much together.
Randi closed her eyes against the sudden feeling of nausea that swept over her. "Oh, God. And we...shit..." She lost the battle and hit the floor running as she headed to the bathroom, making it barely in time. The things she had done to Carter -- had wanted him to do to her -- feeling jealous that he had gone down on Maggie and made her feel so good -- it all sickened Randi. It had been wrong, so very, very wrong. It seemed to Randi that perhaps all of them had been responsible for Carter's melt down, and she wondered if he'd ever find a way to forgive them for that.
Luka watched as Randi left the room, as did Maggie. Maggie's eyes filled with worry for her lover, but she did focus her attention back on Luka figuring that Randi would want her privacy -- at least for a little while.
"So...you're sayin'...that some perverted guy laid his hands on Carter when Carter was only eight? What kinda sick..."
"No, Maggie," Luka said, interrupting her gently. "It was a woman...his maid...she was 25...and John was only eleven...I think that John might feel some guilt over it...but of course I am not exactly qualified to make these kinds of assessments..."
Luka sighed deeply, running his hands over his eyes. "Hopefully Dave will be able to get through to him...God knows I can't..."
Maggie sat awkwardly for a moment, and then slowly rose out of her chair. Walking over to the man who she now called friend, she wrapped her arms around him, pulling Luka into her embrace. Maggie felt awful about everything. And though she was concerned for Carter, she was also concerned for Luka. Luka just seemed so...lost.
To be continued