A Life not Spent with You

BY : Rin-chan
Category: DarkFic > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 4305
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental - this is a work of fiction.

 TRIGGER WARNING: This story contains details of sexual assault that may be upsetting to some readers! Thank you for the reviews and reading!                  

                                                                                                                                                      *    

 Heaving a sigh, Damien stared at the shimmering open water, admiring their unobstructed view of the lake. The Ad Astra gently bobbed along the waves, the sensation bringing back memories of his childhood, summer vacations. The marina was just as he remembered - it was large, a U-shape with a grey side walk skirting around the edges. And then grass, vibrant and rich, that bordered the path, with trees and bushes everywhere. There were hedges skilfully obscuring the large parking lot from view, and more along the street further back, separating the marina from the residential houses. The mix of colours - blue, green, and grey - comforted him, the surroundings familiar. Well not everything is familiar... Glancing far to right, he could see the whole marina, and didn't recognize any other boat. I can’t believe we’re moving in here...

                                                                                                                                                     *    

 After his nerve-racking phone call and nap, him and Ivan had waited until mid-afternoon to call the Dockmaster who had received a call from his father explaining of their desire to move in. As Avery Syerson had predicted, in the matter of moving in, the process was smooth and snag-free. The only thing not included in the mooring fees and all the services, was parking. The total of one-hundred and twenty dollars a month for one parking spot was laughable in compared to what they’d expected, in moving here. Damien had always known his family were quite well off; when they’d come to the single floating dock arm with the one berth, he’d stopped. There, on the furthest berth protruding on the U-shape tip, was the 60 foot Ad Astra.   

 It was all white and wide, looked almost squat in height, compared to the width.  The metal canopied lounge deck was facing them, looking supremely bare without the deck chairs and the barbecue and towels draping over the rails. The one large black sliding door in the centre, a good five feet from the boat’s end and railings, had always struck Damien as a mouth. The two small, higher windows on each side of the door looked like eyes. The white curtains were drawn, also odd because in the summer, the only times he’d been here, they were open and inviting.  

  Damien knew that inside the door, and on the other end of the boat, there was another lounge deck, that one not canopied but with steep black ladder to go up onto the sun deck. It was huge,blindingly white, extending the whole length of the ship; the canopied part was also a part of this gleaming whiteness. On the sides of the houseboat, there were many windows, with vertical thick lines in the colours red, green, and blue. A few artistic ripples were added, curling around the boats vents, the septic circular door.     

 Standing there, in the surroundings that echoed of a time when life were much simpler, Damien had felt his heart grow heavy, made him reflect on exactly how complicated things had gotten. The happiness of living here in such a posh boat had diminished as he stood there, comparing in his mind. He had glanced over at his older lover at his side, had seen partial awe on his face as he looked over their new lodgings. It had made him smile, and with a tremor of fear in his stomach, he took Ivan’s hand in his and squeezed gently. This was the beginning of change, a fresh start and the prospect with dealing with all the problems that came after finding a new home, scared him. Ivan had looked at him, smiled and there Damien saw the same fear in his boyfriend’s face. Stepping closer, Damien wrapped an arm around him, wanting to soothe the silent questions on the older man’s face, wanting to comfort him in the way Ivan had done so many times. The blond had looped an arm around his waist after getting permission, rested his head on his shoulder as they stared at the houseboat.  

                                                                                                                                                       *    

That was Monday, today was now Wednesday, a fine day for moving. Damien once again shifted in his chair, sitting straight up was still a bit painful but he’d wanted to watch the waves, the water shifting. They were the furthest berth out and a good ten metres to their left, a large boulder wall, nearly ten feet high, acted as a shoal to limit the waves in the marina. It was far enough away that he could see the vast lake, enjoy the view. Mostly though I don’t want to be alone in there... The colour scheme of the boat exterior was white and black; inside it was cream and red and black. In the living room, the carpet was a creamy soft white, the sofas black and the coffee table red - a near copy of their apartment living room. Sitting out here under the canopied lounge deck, Damien bit the inside of his cheek lightly at being upset at such a small thing.  

  As he waited for Bailey and Ivan to come back with a carload of their things, his mind wandered to getting therapy or counselling. Being here alone was very difficult.  Having checked out of the hotel hours ago, he couldn't help with the packing, nor bear to wait in the car outside their apartment. In hopes to getting used to being on his own, he’d turned down Bailey’s kind offer to wait at his apartment. With hourly intervals of waiting, this third and last trip was taxing his nerves and willpower.  

 Earlier an old family friend, with a new boat, walked around from the other side of the marina and had startled him badly. Damien had jumped up from his seat, shuffled a few steps back when Wayne O’Roark called out a cheery greeting and made to take the step onto the lounge deck, where the waist-high railing’s gate was open. Stammering out a hello in return, he’d briefly explained their moving in, and excused himself to go inside when it was polite. Peering out the window behind the curtain, face red with dull shame, he waited until the elderly man was gone and then quickly hopped out onto the lounge deck once more. Being inside was like stepping into a room where the air was heavier somehow, thick with memories; what was worst was the sense that he was by himself with no one to hear or help him. After that he’d been scanning the floating dock that led to the Ad Astra every couple minutes at a time.   

 I can’t keep this up always looking around being so jumpy and overreacting... Digging his hands deeper in his light jacket, Damien sighed again. What would Ivan say if I mentioned getting...help? Would he think its pathetic a waste of money talking to someone watching them nod and look at the clock...  Moodily, he admitted to himself that being so open and honest to a stranger was what bothered him the most. I have enough trouble trying to tell Ivan bits and pieces and even then I can’t manage holding myself together... At each tiny reveal of what had happened to him, Damien disgustedly realized he’d cried each time afterwards. Imagining himself crying in front of a stranger with a clipboard was mortifying, repelling. Even worse was telling his parents, the conversation and almost shocking change in his mother. How would she feel if it was more than just a break in oh god I can’t ever tell them... Hotly ashamed at himself for being so weak, he looked out at the waves, and felt tears sting his eyes.   

  Crying outbursts were becoming a common thing - yesterday he’d worried Ivan when they were watching a movie on the hotel television. He’d been enjoying the action of the two superstars when suddenly a crashing tide of strong sorrow hit him. The older man had anxiously asked what was wrong and Damien couldn’t explain, only shake his head weakly as he tried to hide his face in the older man’s chest. Ivan had held him gently, kissed his forehead. Sitting here on the dock, Damien bit back a sound as he hugged himself, wanting to feel his boyfriend’s strong arms gently cage around him, hear him murmur it was alright. In realizing he couldn't rely solely on Ivan to make himself feel better, he tried to accept the idea of getting therapy and bit back a sob.     

 The more he told himself he was going to do it, the sinking ship that was his self-image buried itself deeper in the loathing and hatred he had of himself. Worthless, powerless, and helpless, he hid his face in his hands and grimaced painfully at the burning inadequacy he felt in his whole body. Scared, worried of what Ivan would say, what his parents would say if they knew what had happened, a choked sob escaped him, then another one. Wanting to kick himself at his lack of control of his emotions, of his life, he sunk back in his chair and wept.  

                                                                                                                                                       *  

 “I’m glad your landlord was so understanding, whew, glad this is the last load, I’m starving.” Ivan quickly shifted his hands so he had a better hold on the large box he was carrying and laughed at his friend’s comment. Their landlord was very accommodating in their lack of a month’s notice and gave them their deposit back, had reassured them that the damage to the carpet was nothing worry about. The man had never met his eyes once in the exchange until the end, and it was an apologetic glance that lasted a moment. It had been a quiet sort of considering look as well that made Ivan want to lift his chin up and glare since he’d seen it many times before. It had been the glance that spoke of blaming misfortune on indecency and high-risk behaviours.   

  Oh the number of times I’ve seen it hell I’ve seen it on Frances Syerson’s face quite a few times... The swift change he’d heard in the matriarch of the Syerson family had surprised him, made him readjust his opinion of her for the first time. Halfway to the dock, Ivan gave a faint smile as he looked out over to the boat. I guess her immediate abandonment of her disdain for me and Damien’s choices when she found out he was hurt will make me rethink things regarding her... A sound, a very familiar sound, up head made his teeth clench and he quickened his pace to just short of running, careful not to jostle the box too much. Bailey had heard the crying as well, and was following his rapid pace. Finally running up their lone floating dock, Ivan saw his boyfriend there in a deck chair, weeping into his hands, half-twisting in his seat as if overcome with pain. “Dami, whats wrong? Are you hurt?” Setting the box down, he stepped onto the higher platform of the boat’s deck and got on.   

  Inwardly cursing, Damien wanted to disappear as he quickly shook his head, looked up to see Ivan kneeling in front of him. His dark blond brows were knotted together in concern, his eyes searching his surely splotchy, tear-stained face. The worry he saw in those green eyes, the softness of the older man’s gaze made him toweringly angry. “I’m n-not helpless! Stop coddling me all the tuh-time!” Standing up suddenly, too upset to notice the sharp, immediate pain as he strained his healing wounds, he noticed Bailey on the dock behind Ivan and felt embarrassment fill his face, made him feel dizzy almost. Throwing the sliding door open, he came into the living room, turned right and stepped into the kitchen, ashamed at himself. His vision had gone red for a split-second, rage sweeping through his body, made him shout at the blond. Being driven to lash out frightened him, like he couldn’t control himself. Like the rapist maybe he couldn’t control himself did he tell himself that reassure himself while he violated me?   

  Barely hearing Bailey’s faint announcement that he’d start bringing the boxes from the car, Ivan hesitated for a moment before chasing after Damien. He heard the shuddering inhale the younger made as he let it out in a choked cry. Uncommonly wanting to fidget as he slowly stepped into the kitchen, Ivan felt his heart squeeze at seeing how slight the younger looked as he stood there, his arms locked tight as he cried into his hands. Used to embracing the younger as he wept, Ivan kept a couple feet from him, not wanting to baby him as he’d been accused of. Maybe he’s been thinking too hard and getting upset...  

 “I-Ivan, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean that, I just-” Looking up at him, his flooded blue eyes cringing at him, the younger quickly darted the last few steps to him and wrapped his arms shakily around him; at the contact, Ivan followed suit, stroked his back once. His sweetheart cried into his chest, swearing a few times. The last couple of days, the slighter man had taken to cursing as he cried, displaying his obvious weariness at it. Every time Damien wept, a tiny part of him crumbled in him, knowing there was nothing he could do to make this living nightmare disappear. Breathing in his scent, Ivan smoothed his hand across his back a few times, tried to tell him without words that he was there. This trauma affected him too, Ivan smiled as he thought back on yesterday when the younger man had reached over when they had gotten ready for bed. His almost shy tugging, guiding him to rest his cheek on his chest; Ivan had hesitantly curled closer, enjoying the palm sliding along his side, the other hand running through his hair. It’d been nice to be comforted, being held that way.  

  After a minute of trying to calm down, Damien tightened his arms, not wanting Ivan to pull away, try to see his face when he finally got his question out. His heart was pounding loudly in his ears as he swallowed the growing lump in his throat. “I been t-thinking about, um...” His words died, his eyes wide as he tried to start talking again. No its so pathetic and weak I can handle this on my own what if he scoffs at the idea will I still try? The idea of going out by himself to sessions, to come back home and be silently laughed made him shake his head at the possibility. He wouldn’t he’d say I’m brave oh please don’t think I’m any less for needing help...     

 Worried this was something about him, Ivan couldn’t bear the long seconds ticking by any longer and tried to pull away. Arms gripped around him tigher and again the younger shook his head. His breath was choppy when he asked his shaking question. “Its really hard, I-” Stopping sharply, Damien whimpered low in his chest and fought a heart-rendering sob. Hearing him try to keep in his sounds, Ivan stroked his back, whispered encouragement. Whenever the younger man struggled like this, he was about to divulge something important; as always, Ivan made sure to give all his attention. Nuzzling his face gently upon his crown, he murmured, “Dami, whatever it is, I’ll listen. Whats on your mind?”  

  Hearing the softness in his lovers voice, he nearly said he needed to get help. But admitting I can’t do it on my own its just giving up I’m strong aren’t I? Remembering how he stopped fighting and struggling, how he tried to picture his boyfriend as the one who was in him  instead of dealing with the reality, Damien felt his will fail. Giving into crying again, he shook his head again as if to say he couldn’t go any further. The adrenaline rushing through his body dramatically started to disappear and as Ivan merely nodded, gently tightened his embrace, Damien became aware of the throbbing pain on his backside. It felt sickening, the pain seemed to flare with every heartbeat. Gasping at the discomfort, swearing at himself as he recalled standing up far too quickly out on the lounge deck, he nearly swayed at his stupidity. It hurts so much going to the bathroom anyway and now I ripped everything oh fuck I can’t do the anything right!   

  As he heard Bailey set another box down outside at the entrance, Ivan noticed Damien’s crying becoming more desperate. A spasm ran through his slight body, then shaking that scared him. Suddenly, the younger man swayed; alarmed, Ivan held him tight to him. “Dami! Whats wrong? Are you feeling faint?” Mouth growing dry, he waited for an answer. “Luv, please, what is it?” A thousand possibilities, and his boyfriend didn’t reply. Growing irritated, frustrated at not being given an answer and thus not able to help, he shouted irritatingly. “Just spit it out for fuck’s sake! It sounds like you’re in pain, just talk, dammit!” Immediately, Damien’s body went rigid as if slapped and he stepped away, easily shoving his arms away. Regretting losing his temper, Ivan stared at him, saw the desolate expression on his face and hated himself.    

 Before the blond could sputter through his apologies - which Damien understood if their positions were reversed - he flushed with embarrassment and tried to clear his throat. “I got up t-too fast, I need to call the doctor.” From the pain, and shame as he saw the understanding fill the older man’s face, Damien looked away, wondering if Ivan was imagining bleeding tears where he’d touched, slid fingers, brought him so much pleasure. After asking the blond to leave to kitchen, give him some privacy, his mind unhelpfully pictured what it looked like. Feeling nauseous, disgusted at his thoughts, he carefully made his way to the bathroom, trying not to cry.  

 After checking the damage, he washed his hands then dug his phone out of his pocket and he dialed the hospital’s number from his contacts list. Gripping the counter’s edge tightly to offset the growing pain, he tried not to picture the bleeding wounds. At the receptionist’s greeting, he gave the doctor’s name.  

                                                                                                                                                        *  

  “Hello, this is Dr. Meramec, what can I do for you?” After a few dials, he surprisingly heard an actual man’s voice - Damien had half expected it’d ring until the voice mail came on. Nervous, even at the welcoming introduction, he felt at fault for having to call about such a humiliating thing. Blinking, trying to figure out how to begin, Damien trembled, biting back a whimper at his discomfort.  “H-hello, sorry to call without, I mean...” Trailing off, face growing hot, he winced, wanted to start over. There was a second of silence on the other line before the doctor asked gently, kindly. 

“May I ask who is calling?” Just hearing the tone made him want to cry. “

M-my name’s Damien S-Syerson, I came in on Friday...S-saturday morning...Early, um-” He stammered another apology for interrupting his day, and sucked in a sharp breath, doing his best not to burst into tears again as the doctor replied in the same tone.  

“There’s no need to apologize, Mr. Syerson. I remember you, you were so brave. I sincerely hope you are coping well. Are your injuries healing properly?”   

 After peeking his head out from the bathroom, seeing that Bailey and Ivan weren’t there, Damien gathered all his courage and started to explain. Trembling, he was as thorough as he could be in describing how he stood up, where exactly it hurt. Finally, the doctor spoke, suggesting stool softeners and a type of salve for tearing such as this. The shame of talking where he’d been brutally hurt in such a private part of him, Damien started to weep.   

 “I’m truly sorry, Damien, it’s alright to cry. The salve desensitizes the affected area, numbs it will ease the pain when you’re in the bathroom and any other time. You can get both the laxatives and topical medicine at any pharmacy.” There was a pause, “How is the rest of you feeling? Have there been any problems with your head injury?” Sniffling, gripping the phone, Damien described the constant low pain in his abdomen, the ache on the back of his head. The embarrassment started to fade the longer he talked, not hearing any trace of awkwardness in the doctor’s voice.   

 “I’m glad you’re healing everywhere else, the discomfort in your abdomen will start to fade within the week. I’ve given Mr. Marster’s a list of suggested counsellors and therapists I hope he shared with you, have you given any thought to contacting any of them?”  

 Stricken almost from the casual question, as if it were such a simple thing, Damien flushed once more. Wanting to stop talking, but still curious to what he’d say, he licked his lips. “What if I-I hadn’t? Can I work through it myself?” There was a considering silence on the other phone.    

“Well, its difficult to say. It is a very hard road, confronting and dealing with your trauma. Some people need time before they can start to rebuild and adjust to their new life, and some people can just jump right into it. It all depends on the person since no one reacts the same way. While trying to handle it on your own might seem like the best course, some people often find maladaptive measures like avoiding reminders or triggers, putting restrictions on their lives and not addressing the reasons to why it upsets them. In the long run, getting support in confronting the trauma and its effects, is recommended.”    

Hesitantly, Damien looked at himself in the bathroom’s mirror, saw his drying tears, the shadows under his eyes. He imagined next month of him and Ivan, possibly fighting, growing angry with each other. He imagined six months in the future, with sniper remarks and resentment. Then a year with him alone, having torn apart their relationship with his pride. Weak in the knees, he asked faintly, almost regretfully. “D-do you think its weaker to keeping putting if off, getting help, or weaker to accept it?”  

 “I think it takes a strong man to accept that something is out of his hands and acknowledges that he needs support. Its easy to see things negatively, but to visualize it in a positive way, I find things easier to cope with. I, myself, hate going to the dentist. I’d never go if I could, but I have a family to think of. Taking proper care of myself, making sure my oral health is maintained, I feel proud and strong. To get help will be difficult, but support from family and loved ones greatly helps the process. Mr. Marsters, no doubt, will be more than happy to help.” The doctor paused, and his voice sounded softer in the next sentence.  

 “Your life won’t ever be the same as it was before the assault, but with therapy and hard work, you can regain how you once were, you’ll only be stronger.”  

 After chatting a couple minutes longer, the doctor mostly answering his few more questions, Damien hung up. Heaving a deep sigh, he gazed at his reflection, asked himself if he were ready to deal with his assault. Taking in his fading injuries, grimacing at the newly irritated wounds else where on his body, he felt very small as he considered he wasn’t ready. Putting his phone in his pocket once more, he leaned over the sink and washed his face, dried it with a towel. Looking at himself once more, he practiced saying his words a couple times, then left the bathroom. 

                                                                                                                                                        *    

 Watching as Bailey left, Ivan tried to keep the quivering in his stomach from getting out of hand. His body physically felt ill from shouting at Damien; he remembered feeling how tense the younger man went in his arms. Shout at him what a brilliant idea lose your temper at your struggling boyfriend as he tries to cope with assault... Disappointed at himself, he turned to his left and started walking up the floating dock to their new home. It really was a nice boat, expensive and large. The last time and only time he’d been on the Ad Astra was last summer and he’d been too anxious to take in the surroundings. That one afternoon of being glared at by Frances Syerson was so painfully long... As he got to the railing at the open gate, just a few inches from the dock, he hesitated hopping on the boat, feeling undeserving. Straight ahead, past the open sliding door, he saw Damien awkwardly step into the living room, his face taut with pain and concentration. Dreading what the younger man would say to his temper, he went in.  

 Looking up at the shuffling sounds he heard ahead of him, Damien saw the blond step into the living room, his face reproachful. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, I feel terrible for shouting.” Shaking his head at the apology, Damien tiredly waved him closer, opened an arm; he kept his other hand on the sofa, leaning on it partially as his pain still radiated throughout his lower body. The older man came towards him, tentatively touched his arm, his face still crestfallen. With his free arm, Damien looped it around his waist, leaning forwards and brought him close, tucking his face neatly under his collarbone. The blond’s arms locked around him, squeezed him lightly - Damien could almost feel the older man’s relief.   

 “How is the pain? Did you really reopen the tears?” Not as bothered by the question as he thought he would, perhaps it was the honest concern, Damien nodded. Quietly, his hand leaving the couch and coming around to finish their embrace, he explained what the doctor suggested for his injury. His heart starting to pound again, feeling the same crushing shame he’d felt in the kitchen as he tried to ask Ivan his thoughts on therapy. Trembling, he tried to get his words out, the ones he practiced in the mirror. His inability to speak made his eyes well with tears once more, his tear ducts on constant overtime. The blond tried to get out of his hug, but Damien didn’t let him, held onto him tightly as he tried, willed himself to get his plea for help out of the way.  

 “Ivan, I...W-what would you think if I-” The slighter man trailed off, his voice breaking. Hating to hear how nervous Damien was in his question, sounded as though he were afraid of his reaction, Ivan waited. “Said I n-needed h-help like counselling or-” The arms around him gripped him with surprising strength, as if it were the hardest thing to say. “I feel so stupid for considering it, like I’m less of a m-man or something. I just...” Feeling winded at his courage, Ivan held him just as tight for one brief moment before loosening his hold. Oh darling...  

  Again, Ivan tried to withdraw from their embrace; too tired to protest, Damien let himself be looked at. He was overly tired of a lot of things and it wasn’t even a week since the world turned upside down. Standing there, with Ivan still not saying anything to his suggestion, he looked down at the floor with his eyes full of tears. Being utterly humiliated and defeated had not only traumatized him, it also robbed of his masculinity - trying not to sob again, Damien hated that he’d taken this view on such a trivial thing. Never thought I’d count needing help to be pathetic... It was only going to see someone to help him with his trauma, but in his mind he’d twisted it so darkly and negatively, he longed to take back the last minute and his words. Ivan lightly held his shoulders, shook him gently to make him look up. After a long moment Damien looked up and saw pride shining in those green eyes.   

  “If you said you needed help, I’d tell you how courageous you are. I’d also tell you how proud I am of you.” Smiling, Ivan squeezed his shoulders just a little, “Whatever you need to help you recover, I’m all for it, sweetheart.” The enormity of this big step, to seek out a stranger to share such personal and private matters, made his head spin. And he still suggested it first... Ivan had been wondering if and when to bring up the suggestion of therapy, getting support. In his researching, the percentage of males reporting rape was very low, and even more so for males seeking therapy. The stigma of a man being able to protect and take care of himself was no doubt a factor, but the humiliation and shame of being so badly hurt probably contributed to the lack of coming forward. Slowly, giving him time to protest, Ivan lightly touched the younger’s cheek. “I can’t believe how strong you are, Dami, I love you so much.”    

 Wincing at the relief of not being ridiculed - although he seriously didn’t think Ivan would do such a thing - Damien smiled quickly, made a couple tears trail down his face. Nodding, he twined his arms around the older man and held him tight. “I love you, b-but you’ll have to drag me to the first couple of sessions I think...” The hands running down his back paused, and Ivan asked in a surprised tone if he would be at the sessions with him. Considering it, imagining having to describe in detail what happened, with Ivan, Damien muttered a maybe. They shared a quiet laugh before lapsing into a silence, arms around each other.       

                                                                                                                                                        *  

 



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