The back rooms at Guilty Pleasures were always some of the best ones that Zane had ever seen, and yes, he's seen a lot. Both in male joints and female joints; those wild sex clubs, too. Well, Narcissus in Chains was really good too, all those rooms with different themes. However, he wasn't at Narcissus in Chains, and he wouldn't be going back there any time soon, either. Not without someone with him, not without being stronger.
Zane passed a hand over his buzz-cut hair with a frown. He didn't like it this short. He knew it would grow back but what would he do until it did? Color it again? That would make him the same old Zane wouldn't it?
He looked at the basket of food and the bouquet of flowers sitting on top of it that he had brought. He hoped Nathaniel had read the letter already. He had paid for the room and had a two-hour reserve, with the request of Nathaniel's private dancing. Well, not by his real name: he had asked for Brandon, Nathaniel's stage name. Anyone who knew Zane knew that when he did something like this it was supposed to be a surprise. No-one would let it slip. He needed to get Nathaniel alone for a while: he wanted to talk to him about the letter, tell him about Raphael. Yes, he thought, Nathaniel should be told about that in person, privately.
He sat down on a chair with his back to the door to wait. It should be any minute now that his Kitten would walk in. Zane smiled a little smile. He prayed that everything would go well.
Nathaniel came off the stage riding the applause. Scooping up his hair, he shoved it over a shoulder and slipped on a robe before dumping out the cash. There was a private dance request, with quite a long block of time reserved. Hm...Jean-Claude wouldn't have booked that long a time if it had been someone new. He wondered if Officer Arnet wanted another chat, or maybe a group of Brandon's loyal fans wanted some entertainment. Either way, he was game.
He slipped out of the robe and went over to the costume racks. He'd just do the standard pull-away suit, but he wouldn't have time to do much with his hair. He considered piling it beneath a hat, but decided against it. Roping it up in layers on his head, he pinned it up in a loose mound. It would come undone pretty quickly during the dance, and since that seemed to be one of the things his audience loved, it would work for an impromptu job. He set off for the room.
Zane had forced himself to stop pacing back and forth and sit down. He had to be still: otherwise he would wear down the floor and he was sure Jean Claude wouldn't thank him for that. He slipped back to the chair. From that angle Nathaniel wouldn't see him when he came into the room, although Zane wasn't sure if that was a good thing. He stood up and sat down a few times before he settled into the chair, his face in his hands. He could do this. He really could.. Right?
Nathaniel knocked on the door. He couldn't hear anything in the room, so there wasn't a crowd. Putting on his best stage face, he prepared to step in and start.
"Come in?" Zane called from his hands, he had thought about some corny pick up line but that would give him away faster.
Opening the door with a smile, Nathaniel struck a pose in the door. "Hi, I'm Brandon and I'm your dancer for the evening," he said. The room looked empty, although he knew he had heard someone welcome him in. "Aw, you don't have to be shy," he sang. "Come on out and watch the show." He stayed in the doorway, door open. He had been in the game for far too long to just walk into a room, and being with Anita had taught him more caution. After his recent experience, he sure as hell wasn't walking into anything unknown.
Zane stood up and looked at the young man in the doorway. "Hey, Kitten, hungry?" he asked, a smirk on his face. He seemed his normal self. It was so easy to become Zaney in a moments notice. He picked up the basket, "I brought some food and I bought you an hour or so to eat." He tilted his head and smiled. It was his way of trying to make this easier, to not scare Nathaniel.
Nathaniel smiled a genuine smile, warm. "Zane!" he exclaimed. He stepped into the room and shut the door. "Why are you wasting money on this, you crazy cat?" he said good-naturedly. "I get off after the finale; we can go out then, or just come backstage, you know you're welcome here." Taking the basket out of Zane's hands, he hugged him close. The familiar prickle of otherworldly power sang along their skins.
Zane hugged Nath back, pressed him close, "Because I wanted to make sure no one would bother us. And I wanted to talk to you before someone said something to you.. I told a lot of people some things today..in a group type setting..but with you I wanted it to be one on one.. because it's you and I wanted to make sure that it was more personal then just a group thing.. and you got my letter?"
"Yeah, I got the letter, Zane. I'm proud of you, pard bro!" Nathaniel gave him another hug. "Zane, it's great that you're working on this. I know it isn't easy, but I can help. There are meetings and people you can talk to, there's support. And you know I'm there for you. You know that, right?" Nathaniel asked quietly. "I know things have been, y'know, separate, with me living with Anita, and then this whole thing with that vamp bastard, Alec..." Nathaniel stopped, realizing he was practically babbling.
Zane smiled a little. He hugged Nathaniel closer, just breathing in his smell, as he tried to come up with more of the words that he had to use, "There's more.. I didn't write to you in the letter.. and I know--Nath, just like I'm always here for you, you know you come first in everything for me..." That was true. If Nathaniel told him not to move in with Raphael he would have to figure something else to do. He would always fight to keep his kitten safe and happy. His happiness was and continued to be the most important thing to Zane, even if that meant he was putting himself second or last in everything.
Nathaniel waited, folding Zane in his arms patiently. He knew when Zane was nervous about things, just from his body language and the long time they've known each other. Nathaniel swallowed. Maybe Jason had been right about Zane and Raphael after all...
"Raphael asked me to move in with him. So that I can go to school...He wants me to go to school. Do you remember I told you about Boss-man? I don't think I ever told you who he was. I'm sorry Nathaniel, I should of told you.. Boss-man is Raphael."
Nathaniel drew in his breath in a long sigh. Zane had mentioned a 'Boss-man' before, mostly that the client had him doing household chores in addition to other attentions, much to their amusement. But that it had been Raphael was a complete surprise. Nathaniel actually agreed with Raphael: it would only be good for Zane to go to school. Nathaniel had gotten his GED on Anita's insistence during the few months after Gabriel and Raina's demise, when he was just beginning to climb out from the utter mess of an existence he had been living.
He was so scared of what was going to happen now, he almost couldn't speak. "I'm sorry kitten..I should have told, should have made sure you knew.. but I was scared if anyone knew then I couldn't talk to him, couldn't.. Fuck!" He sat down, watching the floor as if it might change color. "Fuck," he mumbled again. "I'm just sorry."
Nathaniel's eyes went soft, looking at Zane sitting in a confused puddle on the floor. He sank down in front of him, legs curled beneath him, and let his breath out slowly. He had seen Zane go through some of the most hellish things a person could go through, had Zane go through the same things with him. Zane had been there through it all, taking it all on himself. That he had found something good, someone else who really could take care of him in a way that Nathaniel never had been able to and probably never would, almost made him cry with relief. He really was happy for his brother-in-arms. It was sobering, knowing that Zane was afraid to tell him, felt compelled to hold back his good fortune, all because he feared Nathaniel's reaction. Nathaniel realized somewhat sadly that so much had changed, and how unaware he had been for most of it. "Zane..." he said quietly. He stopped, not sure of what to say or how to say it. "You love him," he went on. It wasn't a question. "And he loves you. He's good for you, Zane. Why wouldn't I want that for you?"
He looked up towards his kitten. How did he tell him, what words could tell him what he felt, deep inside? That he was weak, that he didn't want to appear weak in front of his kitten because then how would he take care of him? He looked at him carefully, as he willed his tongue to find the words. "Because it might seem like I don't love you.. That I hide this from you.. But I didn't tell anyone.. you know the rules..." Such a stupid reason, his head dropped again as he tried to clear his head. He really needed to make himself feel less like an idiot. "I do love him, I hope I love him like he wants me too, not sure I love anyone like they want me to. Kitten.. You won't leave if I go to live with Raph? Cherry and Jason.. They got so hurt.. I can't hurt you.. I can't.." What did that say for how he felt for the other two? He wasn't sure.
Nathaniel gave him a gentle smile. "Zane, how many times did you heal me up after a session with Raina?" he asked. "And who put himself in front of the Executioner, willing to take a silver bullet, for me when I got too sub to say no?" He sat back and shook his head. "Zane, you were in the game with me. We were together out there. You didn't lose me when things were the worst, and you sure as hell aren't going to lose me now that things are going great." He reached up and let his hair loose, shaking it out in an auburn cascade. Pushing it back from his face, he gave Zane a serious look. "Loving you doesn't just mean fucking you, Zane. It took me long enough to figure that out for myself, but you and me...We've always been more. You took care of me, Zane. You took care of all of us after Gabriel, and you know what? That counts. That took a lot of strength. Dammit, Zane, you are strong and capable, if you'll let yourself."
He looked into his kitten's eyes then. "You were the reason why I was so strong, Nath, you were the reason why I made sure I stayed healthy, because I had to take care of you. Because I love you so much. Then later it was the all of the pard, but you were always the main reason why I was so strong, because you saw me as strong. I had to be strong. Now.. I'm not sure what I am." *You were my strength when I was weak, you were my voice when I couldn't speak..* "I love you." He ran his fingers through the other's hair. It was getting so long, he remembered when it was barely down his back. He smiled sightly. "My little lost boy.."
Nathaniel leaned forward, rubbing his head along Zane's jaw. "You were strong for *you*, Zane; I was just lucky to be there to benefit," he replied softly. "And you're still strong, Zane. My therapist says that strength is being able to overcome your addictions, and you're willing to do that now." He rested on Zane's shoulder, smiling. "But you're still the blue fairy, even if I'm a real boy now," he teased.
Zane nods, "I have to, Nath.. or I might do something stupid.." Then the cat smirked as he heard the old name, "Does that mean my job is done?" He didn't mean for it to sound so sad. "Your therapist.. is he--she good?" Maybe he should go see someone? He turned his head down as he thought of things that might scare someone like a therapist.
Nathaniel looked up at Zane with amethyst eyes. "She's the best," he answered. "I'll introduce you to her." He slid back and with a spin that spilled his hair around him like a living thing, he crawled back and around in a cat strut. "You still have some time on the clock, you know. Wanna dance?" He pulled himself up as if on invisible wires and offered his hand.
Zane took Nathaniel's hand and smiled. "Yes, let's dance, I love to watch you dance.." It was true, it didn't even have to be sexual, he just loved watching his kitten dance. Perhaps because the music always seemed to move inside of him. As if he was a part of it.
Nathaniel responded with a smile that spread warmth over his entire face, and he pulled back to start the music. It was loud and intense, and Nathaniel drew Zane into his movements, the beat pounding over them in a primal rhythm.
Zane watched for a moment then set into the beat with Nath, his body moved with the music, through the only person Zane could ever really dance with was Nathaniel, perhaps it was because he knew Nath's body so well,he knew how to move with it.
Nathaniel wove himself into Zane's movements, drawing him in to the dance. It wasn't a performance, it was a dance, free and loose, without any posing or staging. Nathaniel danced for the joy of it in these moments, totally lost in the music and the physical awareness of his own body.
There was music racing through him, but it was his kitten's movements that really moved him, that he followed, the music was the back ground in his world. There was nothing but Nathaniel, the smell of him, the feel of him. He runs his hands down the other's back, partaking in the sheer joy of the dance. It was oh, so soon that he, himself, lost himself, lost all those worries that he came in with. Lost the fear that was blocking his heart. Now? No, there was only dancing and boy did he enjoy the dance.
Nathaniel wove around Zane, just moving. He tossed his head back, grinning at him. "Come on, alley cat," he sang out, "Let's strut!" Within moments he had changed the music, to something loud and pounding rhythmic. He slid back to Zane and let all pretense drop. The music simply took him, his energy radiating through the room.
“Move it kitten,” he said as the beat changed. He laughed out loud, care free. There was nothing in the world but this room and this music. He knew that their time was not limitless but he could always wait until he was done with all of his work and Zane could drive him home, yes, he could do that. He pulled Nath close, blushing a kiss on his skin, not his lips just the a little bit to the right of them. It wasn't meant to be sexual, it was just another touch. Another part of the dance.
Nathaniel rubbed up against Zane's jaw, bumping softly under his chin playfully. In a lot of ways he was a kitten in human form, but there was nothing weak in his movements now. They were were-cats, leopards, and so much of their communication was physical, unspoken in touch, gesture, movement. Nathaniel had enough control not to turn, but his beast was just below the surface, an obvious presence, enjoying the play.
His cat purred once it sensed Nath's and that purr came from his lips, as he he rubbed himself along the other feline's body. Marking him with his smell, so that all others would know that Nathaniel was protected, or more then that Nathaniel was his pard-brother, his friend and in Zane's mind his in so many ways. But the real untruth was that Nath didn't belong to Zane, Zane belonged to Nathaniel. He didn't even know this, he was hardly aware that this could be. Oh and as the music sang in his ears, whispered and screamed in him, he pulled it a long in that purr to play with the energy between Nathaniel and he.
Nathaniel slid to the floor, rolling and making small little sounds. He flipped to his feet, wrapping a leg around the pole on the short platform behind him. He fell back, grabbing it with one hand and swinging around it before shimmying up it for all the world like a cat climbing a tree. He swung around, head thrown back, long streamers of auburn hair fluttering loose from the quick tie-up he had done. The music reached a crescendo, and he gave a full-throated yowl.
He found himself on the floor with his Pard brother moving on it as their beasts might, through in the end he was kneeling there watching Nath as the music died around them. He reached over into the basket that had the food and fished out a bottle of water, he held it out to him, he panted amazed how much this was almost better then sex.
Nathaniel slid down beside Zane, accepting the bottle with a smile. It had been a while since he had really just let go like that. It seemed fitting. A weight he wasn't aware that he had been carrying seemed to fall away now that he and Zane had talked. He didn't feel the need to say anything.
Zane pressed a kiss to the top of Nathaniel's head, the smell of him filled Zane's nose. But it wasn't bad, it was right. All things were now set right, there shouldn't be any other problems. He smiled and put his arms around him. The music was gone. No, that wasn't right: there was a new music. It was the sound of their heartbeats. Somehow it seemed a perfect way to end their dance, alone in the quiet with only the beats of their hearts.