|Primary Characters:||Thomas, Pierre, Martial, Bertrand, Fatia|
|Warning:||m/m sex, some strong language|
|Description:||Pierre and Thomas fight, then Pierre bumps into Martial. Martial, as always, has an unsettling effect on Pierre. For a while, things seem to work out, but Martial is a very complicated person. Most of the students at the dorm end up getting hurt before the situation is resolved.|
Julie was so happy to have Thomas as a room mate. He was so sweet. In the evenings, he always let her have her privacy to get changed and he never moved her things or borrowed anything without asking. Not that Fatia had either. She’d just been so – stern. Thomas was so gentle and kind and always helped pick up things off the floor, but asked her first, in case she didn’t want him touching her stuff. They got along great. Every evening, they’d sit on her bed, kissing and holding each other and he never tried to make her do things, like Martial.
After a late lecture, Julie returned to her room – her and Thomas’ room now – to tell him about how her day had been. She closed her mouth in the middle of a sentence, when she realized he was on the phone. He looked – sad. There had always been a sad look on his face, she recalled now. She wanted to make him smile, to turn that look into one of contentment – later. Rather than disturbing him, she went to have a snack in the kitchen, merely waving at him. He nodded briefly, too intent on the phone call.
“I can’t belive you of all people would do this to your brother, Thomas. What could be more important than looking after Pierre? Are you so in love with this girl that you would leave your brother alone?”
“Mom, Pierre and I are grown up now. We need to live our own lives. It can’t go on forever you know. We can’t live together all our lives.”
“I thought you realized that things aren’t the same anymore. How could you, Thomas? Your father was saying only the other day -”
“I’m sorry, mom. Pierre doesn’t want me -”
“Of course he wants you there, but at least he has that nice Provencal boy helping him.”
Thomas tried to tune out his mother’s nagging voice. He was toying with the idea of telling her exactly in what way Martial was ‘helping’ Pierre, but knew that it would only make his mother yell at him more. He could almost hear her voice rattling off her admonition: ‘What’s wrong with you, Thomas? To make up such a sick, perverted lie about your brother. How can you treat him this way? After what happened, you owe him.’ And so on, ad nauseam.
“Mom, I have to go now. I need to do my homework. Say hello to dad for me, please.”
“Thomas? I’m talking to you.”
He’d never hung up on his mother in the middle of a conversation. The thought was staggering, yet somehow liberating. It was time he grew up. He was old enough to make decisions about his own life. Who said he even had to be a doctor? He’d only wanted it because it was Pierre’s dream, and it had always been the understanding that he help Pierre with whatever he wanted to do. At least since – it happened.
If Thomas had seen Pierre he might have revised his opinion of him. Ever since the incident, when he’d been drunk and stung by Thomas’ way of looking at him, he’d regretted his impulsive action. He knew he had a tendency to shoot off his mouth. Speak before his mind caught up. Whenever he rattled off some sharp remark or – even – something really wounding or painful – he always had a moment of clarity afterwards. He’d regret it, and wonder if maybe one day, he’d go too far and at last push Thomas away for good.
In a way, he wanted to keep pushing and prodding Thomas. After all, Thomas was still whole, still perfect, while he was a wreck, a pathetic weakling in a wheelchair. Thomas, the perfect brother, didn’t fall for guys. He was normal and – did all the right things. Unlike his brother, who not only hurt the one person he really loved, but had also managed to hurt himself so badly, he’d always be living with the consequences.
Deep down, though, he’d always lived in fear, that one day Thomas really would get tired of his cruel, insensitive words and selfishness. Without Thomas, he really would have to face the fact that he would never be the same again. By treating Thomas as badly as he dared, he held on to the past, the illusion of still being a whole human being. He had moments of clarity when he could see himself dispassionately, and knew that it was true. His legs didn’t work. His spine was permanently damaged and no physiotherapy or surgery in the world would ever get it right again. It was a fact.
Until he’d met Martial, he hadn’t thought he’d be able to enjoy a normal sex life, if that was the word for what he and Martial shared. It was rather odd. At night, when he had the dreams – sex dreams – they still featured girls, just like before. Despite that, he knew he was not only physically attracted to Martial, he loved him. He knew that Martial didn’t love him and there were times when he suspected that he didn’t even feel attracted to him. That was an inexplicable riddle.
Martial still had sex with girls – or rather women. He sometimes told Pierre about it, as a sort of foreplay. Pierre had still been hoping that Martial would bring back a girl for them to share, but he never did. He also suspected that Martial had some sort of feeling for Bertrand and – most likely slept with other guys. Pierre knew all this, but he couldn’t bring himself to end the relationship with Martial.
Until he’d fallen into the relationship with Martial, he’d been all pride and sarcasm, now he had no pride at all and since Martial was the king of cutting sarcasms, Pierre had begun to shut up.
When he wasn’t with Martial, he kept thinking of Thomas. As he’d walked away, Pierre had caught sight of his face. It had been covered with blood. It was like a nightmare. In his mind, Pierre had often shut Thomas up with a punch, wiping that vulnerable, hurt look off his face. When Martial had done just that, Pierre had wanted to scream to him to leave his brother alone. He had asked him to stop, but it hadn’t been enough. What he’d unleashed on Thomas, could easily have gone even further. If Martial had – hurt Thomas seriously, it would have been Pierre’s fault. That thought kept haunting Pierre at night.
None of this made any difference though. He still loved Martial as much as ever and the thought of him still turned him on. Yet he didn’t trust him. Besides, over the weeks an uneasy conviction had been growing on Pierre. Martial wasn’t just sleeping around, he was selling sex. Pierre couldn’t be one hundred percent sure, but he didn’t think he was wrong.
As he sat waiting for Martial, studying, he kept hoping Thomas would walk in and talk to him again. They hadn’t said a word to each other since that night. When they passed each other in the corridor, they both looked away, then looked back, hoping to catch the other looking, but their eyes had never met. At uni, they now sat on opposite ends of the lecture hall. If anyone was wondering about that, no one had bothered to ask.
There was the sounds of footsteps in the corridor and Pierre looked up from his book, hoping it would be Thomas. As if Thomas would open the door to Martial’s room and look in. Pierre knew it was impossible and the person who walked in, was Martial. He frowned as if he didn’t want Pierre in his room – or as if he hardly recognized him. It occurred to Pierre that Martial might be doing drugs, but he couldn’t identify any of the symptoms which he actually knew, from his studies.
For once, he decided to confront Martial and have it out once and for all. Suddenly, he felt he could live with the consequences if Martial chose to break it off with him.
“Where have you been?”
Again, Pierre had the uneasy suspicion that Martial hardly knew him – or he didn’t care if he was here or not.
“Out? As in outside the house or – where?”
“Why? Did you need me for something?”
“I’d like to know where you are, that’s all.”
“I’ve told you before, just because we fuck doesn’t mean you own me.”
“Does anyone – own – you?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Martial – those other people you have sex with, do they ever – give you money for it?”
There. He’d said it. It wasn’t quite up to his old scathing level, but it would do.
Martial’s eyes narrowed and he actually looked as if he was about to slap Pierre’s face. That didn’t scare Pierre. If Martial wanted to hit a cripple, he could. Pierre wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of flinching.
“What’s it to you? Do you need a bit of extra cash?”
“Me? As if anyone would pay me for it.”
Maintaining his even tone of voice cost him, but he wasn’t going to let Martial know that. Pierre’s appearance was always a sore point for him.
“You’d be surprised what fantasies people are prepared to pay for. Well? Why do you ask?”
“I’d like to know, that’s all.”
“Are you trying to make me feel cheap?”
“No. Just tell me the truth, please.”
“Yes. Are you happy now? Yes, I sell my ass. Why shouldn’t I?”
Pierre felt taken aback. He’d thought he was sure, but now that he finally knew for a fact, he was astonished. The idea of someone he knew prostituting himself was – alien. It would take some getting used to.
“Doesn’t it bother you?”
He knew he sounded lame and weak, but that was the first question that came into his mind. Cheap. That’s what Martial had said. Did it make him feel cheap? Pierre couldn’t imagine that it didn’t. To accept money in return for sexual favours would be like – begging or – shining shoes or – It just wasn’t anything you’d think to do, even if you were as hot as Martial – or – perhaps not everyone felt that way.
“Why should it?”
“Why do you do it?”
“I didn’t think you were stupid. You don’t look stupid, with that superior smile on your face. How else would I make enough to get through university? Tell me that. Where would I get the money? We don’t all have well-to-do daddies to support us.”
“Doesn’t it bother you?”
“Is there an echo in here? You already asked that. In case you didn’t hear me the first time, I’ll clarify. No, it doesn’t bother me. It’s great. I get to have sex and I get money. Even you should be able to figure that out.”
“I wish you’d asked me.”
“Asked you what? If you wanted to tag along? Ok. I know this guy who would like to watch me do a guy in a wheelchair. He’ll pay us five hundred quid for it. How about it?”
Pierre blushed vividly, feeling less and less in control of the conversation. He didn’t know if Martial was telling the truth or merely mocking him, but it didn’t make a difference. Both options were equally disturbing.
“I mean if you need money. I’d have helped you.”
“You? You would have paid for my room and textbooks and the rest of it? Why? So you could be the only one to fuck me? You want to own me?”
“I love you. I want to help.”
Martial looked as if he was about to make another stinging retort, but thought better of it and shut up. After a while, his mood changed and he kissed Pierre.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get all worked up. It’s just that people like you – with your money and your families and your houses and well ordered backgrounds – you don’t know anything.”
“I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just that – I worry about you.”
Martial regarded Pierre curiously for a while, then kissed him again, almost apologetically.
“You know, you shouldn’t be with me. I don’t deserve you. We’re just too – incompatible.”
Pierre suddenly felt cold. Martial was dumping him. Breaking off the relationship – if he even considered it a relationship. It was hard to tell with Martial.
“No. That’s ok. I don’t mind. Don’t -”
Martial sat down on the bed beside him and held his face between his hands, tilting it upwards slightly. He kissed him once again, this time more intensely. Pierre suddenly wanted to pull free. He recognized this as a typical tactic of Martial’s. Distracting him with sex, so he’d stop asking awkward questions or demand more of him than he was prepared to give. Ignoring his misgivings, Pierre pulled back slightly.
“What’s wrong? I’m not infected with anything. It’s ok.”
“That’s not it. It’s just that – you’re shutting me out. Offering sex, so I won’t get close to you.”
A restless look appeared on Martial’s face.
“You sound like a girl. If you do that, it won’t be fun anymore.”
“Maybe I don’t want it to be just ‘fun’. Maybe I want more.”
Martial’s eyes bored into Pierre, almost making him break eye contact, but he persevered. This was important. He had to say it, or he’d never feel comfortable about the – whatever it was they had.
“I’m sorry, Pierre. There’s isn’t anything more. This is what I have to give.”
“No. I know there has to be more.”
This seemed to make Martial uncomfortable. He moved away, ending up on the edge of the bed, looking as if he was about to take flight.
“Ok. Maybe you’re right. Has it ever occurred to you that I might want to keep something for myself? It isn’t all for sale, you know.”
“I’m not buying. Didn’t you hear me before? I love you. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“Yeah. It means you risk getting hurt. I don’t want to be the one to hurt you.”
Again, Martial looked uneasy and he began to fidget nervously. He couldn’t think of a reply and he wouldn’t meet Pierre’s gaze.
“It’s none of your business.”
For once, Pierre felt as if he was the one in control, and that seemed to bother Martial. Pierre had a feeling he was getting close to the heart of the matter. If only Martial wouldn’t break free and run off.
Martial got up and stood wavering between his wish to run and something else, which held him transfixed. In the end, he seemed to come to a decision. His face settled into an expression of determination.
“There’s nothing to tell.”
Pierre let out the breath he’d held in for so long. He’d failed. Martial wasn’t going to let him in, after all.
“Yes, there is. It’s ok, though. I can wait.”
Martial’s eyes shied away from Pierre’s gaze and he didn’t say anything more. After a while, he left the room, making Pierre think he’d gone out again, but some twenty minutes later he returned, his hair wet and a towel wrapped around him. He still didn’t say a word, but lay down beside Pierre and – Pierre felt some satisfaction at this – he didn’t tell Pierre to go back to his room.