Gender: N/A Age: N/A Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my story|
Prisoner of War
Ron was working on some plans for trying to find out the real headquarters of the FC when Jill interrupted him. He looked up in irritation, as he had asked not to be disturbed. When he did, his mood changed immediately to astonishment. He thought how silly he must look with his mouth hanging open.
“Dawn?” he asked hesitantly. Her clothes were tattered, her face was dirty, and her hair was matted, but it was her. She carried Nathan protectively in her arms, but he, too, was filthy. Ron turned to Jill.
“Go get my mother and sister. Now.” Jill quickly left the room to do as she had been bidden. He stood up and approached his sister. He could feel the terror in her. “What are you doing here? Where’s Peter?”
“Peter’s dead,” she responded with no inflection in her voice.
He guided her to a chair, as it looked as if she were about to collapse. “What happened?”
“This war is what happened!” she suddenly screamed. “This war you started! What did you think, the rest of the country would be left alone?” Her eyes were wild with hysteria and panic. “They came after us! They attacked us without end! We’ve been running for months! We finally made it back to town a couple of days ago, but then they really came after us! Peter hid us as best he could, and then he led them off on a chase. He was on his way back to us, when I… he told me… in my head, he told me… that he wasn’t going to be able to make it back. I felt his scream in my head! I felt him die! Damn you, Ron!” She broke down in tears, and then Nathan, who had been quiet throughout her story, began to cry. Ron pulled the child away from her, and she collapsed into the chair, curling up into a ball and weeping uncontrollably.
Ron looked Nathan over while he had the chance, and the boy looked unhurt. He was obviously in need of a bath, and he was probably hungry. He had quieted down almost instantly when Ron had taken him, and now he sat on Ron’s lap quietly, looking around the room with interest. He was nearly three years old, yet Ron could tell that his intelligence was beyond that. Just then, his family came in the room, accompanied by Kim.
“Dawn!” cried Sandra, as she rushed to her daughter’s side. Nikki stood back, looking from Dawn to Ron and back. Finally, she walked over to Ron and picked up little Nathan, who smiled at his aunt and giggled as she bounced him in her arms.
“I’ll get him cleaned up, Ron,” Nikki said quietly. He just nodded, keeping an eye on Dawn as his mother tried to rouse her from her sobbing stupor. Kim kept her distance, unsure of what to do, or whether she should even be there. Ron gave her a slight smile and nodded his head lightly, indicating that it was okay for her to remain, so she did.
Ron waited calmly for Sandra to settle Dawn down, so that he could ask her a couple of questions. Once she’d gotten quiet, and her mother was sitting beside her, holding her and lending support, she asked the first question.
“Where’s Nathan?” There was a sense of fear and distress in her voice.
“Nikki’s giving him a bath.” When he saw that this answer was acceptable to his sister, he began his own questions. “Why didn’t Peter call us?”
“He never had a chance! We were always hiding. They were hounding us day and night. We’ve been all over the country, but I guess they were keeping us away from you somehow, because we never encountered any of the PPA troops we’d read about in the papers that we’d managed to get. The only times we were able to stop moving was when we were hiding, hoping they would go away. They never did. And Peter didn’t dare give away our position by trying to contact you. There were just too many of them!”
“Okay, okay, shhh…” he said soothingly, not wanting to set her off again. “Do you know how many people were chasing you?”
“I don’t think it was always the same bunch, but there were always at least six or seven of them… the few times I saw them, anyway. Usually, we moved when Peter told us they were getting close, so we didn’t actually see them very often. I don’t think Peter slept for more than fifteen minutes out of any given day for the last two months. Our lives have been a nightmare!” She shuddered, and stopped talking.
Ron seethed at the pain Zinaida had put his sister through. He knew they were after Nathan, but he really didn’t know why. He had assumed that Peter, who was supposed to be at least as strong as Ron himself, would have been able to protect her. That he had been wrong infuriated him. He had to set that aside, however, to deal with his sister, who was more emotionally unstable now than when she had left. There was one question, however, that finally occurred to him
“How did you get away, then? Surely they didn’t just leave after they killed Pete…”
“Some of your goons showed up and scared away their goons,” Dawn said, the anger in her voice evident. Ron just nodded impassively. He wasn’t about to try to convince his sister of the truth of what was going on.
“Are either you or Nathan hurt?”
Dawn shook her head, trying to regain her composure. “No, I don’t think so. I mean, we’ve both got little aches and pains, but that’s probably from sleeping on hard surfaces for the last three months.” Ron realized that it had been three months since he’d last heard from Peter. It had not occurred to Ron that this was a problem: he had been too involved in the war effort to understand the significance of the lack of communication. He’d lost another friend because he’d made another mistake.
“Well, that’s all I really need to know for now. Mom will help you clean up, and we’ll get you settled in.” Ron moved over to his sister and knelt before her. He took her hands in his, and she made no effort to stop him. “Sis, I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you, or Nathan. I’m sorry this all had to happen. I wish I could take this all back, and we could start again. But I can’t, and now we’ve just got to live with all the stuff I’ve fucked up.”
Dawn saw the pain in his eyes. She understood what he was trying to say, even if the words weren’t coming out as he wanted them to. She still loved her brother, and she didn’t know, anymore, why she’d left him in the first place. She leaned forward, and they embraced, both of them crying softly, but nobody said a word.
In the next several days, Dawn and Nathan settled into life in the house. Because of all the people already there, things were a little crowded, and had to be rearranged, but nobody grumbled about it. Nathan was excited to get to know all his relatives, and to wander about getting to see all the people in the facility. Dawn rarely let him out of her sight, however, and didn’t like him to toddle off too far.
She was with him in the study when Kim stopped by, looking for Ron. She paused for a moment, watching them interact, as Nathan was looking at flash cards and telling his mother what was on them. Dawn looked up abruptly.
“Who are you?” she said suspiciously.
Kim blushed slightly. “Excuse me. I am Kimberly. Everyone here calls me Kim. I was looking for Ron.”
“Well, Kimberly,” Dawn said, emphasizing the use of her full name, “He’s not here, obviously. You’re another one of them, aren’t you?” Dawn’s eyes flashed accusingly.
“Excuse me? One of whom?”
“Oh. Yes, I am a psionic. I am leading one of the units under Ron’s command.” The emotions present in her voice were not lost on Dawn.
“So, he’s ensnared you, too, huh? Geez, I thought he only fucked his family.”
Kim grew crimson at that remark. “Ron and I have not… ‘had relations’. Although I’m not… I mean… I…” Kim stopped, her statement just wouldn’t come out right. She tried another tack: “I love your brother. I wish to be with him. Does that bother you?”
“Do what you like,” Dawn spat back. “I can’t stop you, anyway. Nobody can stop you people. If I tell you not to be with my brother, you’ll just force me to accept it, anyway. Not that I care if you’re with him or not.”
“Actually, Dawn,” Kim tried, “I don’t have the abilities to control people that your brother does. I am only a third-order adept… what I guess your brother would call a psion-14. I’m strong, but not nearly as powerful as your brother.”
“Fine,” Dawn harrumphed, “But, as you can see, he’s not here. So, why don’t you leave me and my child alone, so we can get back to his studies. He’s all I’ve got left, and I’d like him to grow up knowing what the world is all about.”
Without another word, Kim left the room, and Dawn returned to Nathan’s cards, watching over him as he correctly identified the animals there. Too bad there’s no way to show him what a psionic looks like. Then he could stay away from them.
Ron was in the planning room when Kimberly caught up with him. Once again, he looked up in irritation at being interrupted, only to change his demeanor upon seeing who it was.
“What can I do for you, Kim?” he asked.
“Well, I wanted to give you today’s readiness report… but there is another issue I think we need to discuss. However… Ron, this may appear to be speaking out of turn. It is not my place to tell you what to do on personal matters…” She let the sentence die.
Ron looked at her curiously for a moment, then said, “Hey, everyone else tells me what to do, you might as well throw your hat into the ring. What’s up?”
“Ron, you need to do something about your sister, Dawn. She has… a… very unhealthy attitude toward you, and psionics in general. She still blames you, and all of us, for this whole mess. I fear that she is not entirely stable. And how she might raise Nathan…”
“You let me worry about Nathan. As to Dawn… well, she was here the first time the Russians attacked. She didn’t deal with it well. I guess the last three months have been rough on her, and… well, just give her some time. She should come around.”
“Perhaps if you gave her a little… ‘encouragement’?” Kimberly asked, suggesting a little bit of mind-alteration. She did not expect the heated response this generated.
“Absolutely not! I can’t… no, I won’t, do that to her. I’m sorry I ever messed with her in the first place! If I could ever undo what I’ve done to her, or my mom, I would, in a heartbeat! You know,” he said, calming somewhat, “They’re the only two family members I ever messed with, except for my… uh… ‘slaves’.” Ron still didn’t understand why he was embarrassed about that in front of Kim. “Nikki, Tammy, Linda… they all came to me. I mean, I’m sure I unconsciously did something to them… but there’s nothing I can do about that sort of thing. I undid my programming on Nancy when she left: I hear she’s found a nice man and settled down… as much as one can settle down in a war zone. No, I will not mess around inside my sister’s head. God, how I wish this whole thing had never begun in the first place!” Ron slumped back into his chair.
Kimberly instinctively reached for him, placing her hand on top of his without any conscious thought. “Ron, you’ve done the best you could. Most guys – I’ve seen it happen – they go a little berserk when they realize they have the power. You… have shown remarkable restraint. And, with a few exceptions, everyone you have been with is a happy person.”
Ron’s eyes thanked her for her words, though he said nothing. She reluctantly removed her hand and straightened. “I think the readiness report can wait. I’ll be in my room if you need me.” Before he could say anything, she turned on her heel and strode out of the room. I wonder if he’s ever confided that to anyone else.
Ron had finished his duties for the day, having sent off a few more recon teams and worked out a new idea for defense. He was mentally tired, but his body was restless, having been stuck indoors all day long without any ability to move around or loosen up. Now he was walking through the house, trying to make sure everything was buttoned up for the night. He had guards posted, of course, but he always felt the need to make one final check of things for himself before he settled into his room and tried to sleep.
Sleep was something that was hard in coming for Ron lately. The war was going badly, he was losing a lot of psionics, and he didn’t even want to think about the number of normals already dead. He wondered if there would be anyone alive to appreciate their victory, assuming they won this war.
He paused outside the door to each bedroom in the family’s part of the house, checking mentally to see that everyone was settled. He paid special attention to Dawn’s room, but he felt that both she and Nathan were sound asleep and resting comfortably. He worried about what Kim had said, that Dawn was not recovering as he had hoped she might. But he wasn’t about to go rummaging through her mind again. He’d done enough of that to her already.
He worked his way along the hall, noting that Linda and Kim were still talking quietly in their room. He did not listen in, but moved down the hall. He stopped when he came to his mother’s room, for her door was open.
He looked in, and saw her reading a book by her bedside lamp. She was lying on the bed in a robe that stopped above her knees, for her swollen belly took up much of the fabric. When she realized he was there, she looked up and smiled.
“Hi, baby. I’ve been waiting for you. Can we talk for a minute?”
Ron stepped into the room, instinctively knowing to close the door. He moved over to the bed as his mother slid over slightly, making room for him to sit down.
“What’s up, Mom?”
“Ron, Linda was talking to Kim earlier. You know how us girls are, we don’t keep secrets. She said you were unhappy with the things that you’ve done to us.”
Ron had not expected that conversation to have repercussions. He should have known better. He had not asked Kim not to mention it, and he knew that the girls in the house discussed everything that went on. It didn’t surprise or annoy him that Kim had felt the need to talk to someone about it; he just wished that he’d been expecting it.
“Mom… I should never have started this whole thing. I mean, messing with you and Dawn, then fiddling with Jessica, Kumiko… look how many people I’ve hurt over my own selfishness.” He bowed his head, thinking of all that had happened in the last few years.
His mother sat quietly for a few moments, then said, “I notice you didn’t mention Nikki…”
He looked up, his face reddening in embarrassment. “Uh… well, that’s because I never… um… ‘messed’ with Nikki in that way. I never told you how that started… and I’m not supposed to tell you, even though it hardly matters anymore.”
His mother nodded, understanding that he’d made a promise, and he wouldn’t break that promise, especially not one to his little sister. She studied him for a moment. “And Linda? Nancy? Tammy?”
“Well, Linda… I didn’t have to change. Nancy’s not here anymore, so I don’t think about her a lot… and Tammy… well, I never really did much to Tammy that she didn’t want done anyway.” He smiled, remembering back to Tammy’s nervous admission that she was interested in his sister. He had later delved into her mind and found that she had, in fact, harbored those feelings for his sister, but would not have acted on them without his prompting. All in all, he felt this was one of his more worthy uses of power. “To tell you the truth, Mom, I’m not very proud of myself. I’ve done an awful lot of things I shouldn’t have done.”
Sandra understood her son this evening. He was having feelings of regret because he knew that things he’d done had turned out badly for others. But some things hadn’t, and she needed to set him straight on those.
“Ron, honey, I know you think that you messed me up, that somehow I’ve become a… oh, I don’t know what you may think to call me. But sweetheart, I’m happy the way I am. You know, back when you told me what you did, I tried to figure out if I really cared that I’m not who I used to be. Then I realized that the old me was stressed out, frazzled, tense, and miserable most of the time. Since you’ve been taking care of things… well, there have been a few bad moments, but for the most part, I live a peaceful and quiet life. I’m a lot happier now. Your father’s gone, so I don’t have to worry about that abuse, and you’re here to protect us from everything else. And, best of all, you’ve given me another child: a small life to care for. Ron, maybe… I don’t know, but maybe all of what you’ve done wasn’t all bad. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing about our new relationship.” She reached out, and pulled him into her arms. He went willingly, seeking the comfort that she offered.
He felt her hands run across his back, massaging the knots of tension she felt there. Her fingers danced across his skin, trying to soothe the tired muscles. She kissed him softly on the cheek, until he turned his face to her and their lips met, pressing lightly to each other. Her hands worked up to his shoulders, and then she pushed him away, gently.
As he looked at her quizzically, she turned her body and pressed him firmly but slowly back onto the bed. “Now,” she whispered, “I’m going to show you just how happy I am with the arrangement.” Her hands slid across his chest, moving to the zipper of his uniform jumpsuit. Slowly she pulled it down, revealing his chest beneath. Her free hand slipped inside, running over his muscular chest, lightly teasing his nipples.
Finally, the zipper completed its journey, and his mother then pushed the jumpsuit apart, forcing it off his shoulders. Ron had no choice but to help her, sitting up slightly to get the garment off his arms. She continued pulling on it, forcing it down his hips. She left it bunched at his feet, not wanting to bother with the damnable boots he wore these days. She slid back up his legs, her breasts and enlarged stomach sliding seductively along his skin, nightie or not. She pulled gingerly at his briefs, and he lifted his hips as she drew them off. They joined his pants at his ankles, and then she sat up on her knees, and removed her nightgown. She paused for a moment when she saw his eyes roaming her form. Even in her extremely pregnant state, she knew he found her arousing. That was evident by his growing erection.
To take care of that issue, Sandra bent back down and gently took his engorged member into her small hand. She moved her fingers softly along its length, and lightly kissed the very tip. She felt it twitch in her hand, and smiled. She let her tongue slip out of her mouth and roll over the entire head of his dick before retreating back behind her lips. She looked up momentarily to see that Ron had closed his eyes, his breathing heavy. She knew he was not asleep, as much as he might look it.
She returned her attention to his shaft, slipping the head between her lips, and sliding it into her warm mouth. She slipped down some distance, and then pulled her mouth completely off his prick. She felt his upper body move, and knew he was curious as to what she was doing. Again, her head dipped, and his cock slid between her lips, but again, she pulled all the way off. He was watching with interest now.
Sandra continued this treatment for some time, but then she sat up, once again giving Ron a full view of her distended belly and swollen breasts. Seeing the look on his face, she said, “I just wanted you hard. I know you’re tired. Let me do the work tonight.”
As his head lay back on the pillow, she shuffled forward on her knees until her pussy was resting on his rigid dick. She took his dick in hand as she lifted herself upward, and she placed his head at the entrance to her cunt. She let her ass drop, slowly, down to his hips, impaling herself fully on his cock. She mewled in pleasure, and he sighed with the feeling of it.
Sandra ground her pubes in small circles, keeping full contact between her clit and his body. She leaned forward slightly, resting her weight onto her arms, and looking into Ron’s eyes. She saw the love he felt for her there. His hands moved to caress her abdomen, where their child was growing. The child moved slightly, and they both felt it immediately. Ron’s hands massaged that skin, tracing light circles with his fingertips that sent shivers down Sandra’s spine. Finally, his hands moved to her breasts, which had grown to an impressive size with her pregnant state. Knowing that she was very tender in these areas, Ron kept his touch light and soft. It was still enough to highly arouse his mother, who was moaning with his touch, and grinding herself harder into his crotch.
Suddenly, Sandra couldn’t take any more of this, and she began moving on his prick. Her swollen body moved slowly, but passionately, against his as he continued to massage her tits. Her cunt slipped along his entire length with each stroke, nearly pulling off him more than once.
Ron’s excitement was high now. He began thrusting back into her, and his hands moved still tenderly, but making more contact now. When he sensed her legs were beginning to cramp from their current position, he immediately lifted them both into the air and assumed the responsibility of motion.
Sandra had not been treated to this sexual pleasure in a while, and she sunk back into the sensation of floating, as if being nuzzled by a cloud. She was tilted onto her back, and Ron was almost standing, though some feet above the floor. He took hold of her hips, and began sliding into her, keeping the pace she had begun. His extension reached across her breasts, sliding around, over and between them. She moaned when she felt the sensation.
Ron pumped into his mother more rapidly now, their noises filling the room. As she was approaching her orgasm, he spun her around, so she was now face-down, and he was pounding her from behind. He had barely missed a beat when he did this, and it thrilled his mother to feel the spinning sensation in her pussy. He reached down and fondled her breasts again, letting his extension stray down to toy with her clit.
Sandra finally screamed out her orgasm, writhing amidst her son’s embraces. Her pussy rippled along her son’s dick throughout her orgasm, and he kept slamming into her, fucking her for all she was worth. It prolonged her orgasm, and she thrashed her head about with the pleasure.
Finally, her climax eased, and Ron slowed his pace somewhat, but he did not stop. He pulled her up to him, his chest pressed against her back, his dick still mostly buried within her velvet glove of flesh.
“I love you, Mom,” Ron whispered in her ear.
“I love you, too, honey,” his mother responded breathlessly. “But I thought I was supposed to be doing the work?”
Ron chuckled lightly. “I can’t let a pregnant woman do all the work. You raised me better than that.”
Still feeling his erect member in her cunt, she smiled wickedly and said, “I seem to still have you raised, sweetheart.” She pulsed her muscles against his shaft. “How shall we deal with this problem?” Before he could answer, she had lifted herself off his cock, and spun herself around. She had long ago learned how to move within his extension, so that she could actively participate in these sessions. She slid herself down… or was she sliding him up? She didn’t bother to find out. Once her mouth was level with his dick, she slid it between her waiting lips.
This time, she did not tease him. Her tongue and lips worked in conjunction, sliding over the flesh of his cock. She sucked him all the way into her mouth, and then slid back up his shaft, letting her tongue make contact throughout. Her pace quickened, sending shivers throughout Ron’s body. She allowed her teeth to make very light contact with his skin, and he grunted at the new sensation. Her mouth was pistoning along his length now.
Ron could take only so much pleasure, and then he let loose. His cum burst forth from his balls, and spilled into his mother’s mouth. She kept sucking him, swallowing as rapidly as possible. Her lips worked him over until she’d collected every last drop and ushered it down her throat. Her tongue slid over his length, cleaning as it went, until her mouth slipped off his dick. She let her tongue slide over any missed areas, and then kissed his shaft tenderly.
Ron moved them both slowly over to the bed. His extension removed his boots and clothing before he settled them both down onto the bed, where they lay quietly, his mother’s back pressed against him, his arm draped over her. They slept in that position, and for the first time in a long time, Ron had a dreamless night’s sleep.
Ron was rudely awakened the next morning by a hand roughly shaking his shoulder. He was very tempted to blast whoever it was across the room with his extension, but figured he should find out who it was first. He opened his eyes.
Cindy stared back at him with some trepidation, for she knew he didn’t like to be roused from a sound sleep. She also knew he had not had such a sleep in a long time, and liked waking him even less for the knowledge.
“I’m sorry to wake you, Master, but Lars said it was urgent.” Lars would not dare come in here himself. Not into a room where one of Ron’s girls might not be properly attired. Ron mumbled something about getting up, and Cindy quickly departed.
As Ron got out of bed, he looked again at his mother, her sleeping form lying peacefully, her chest moving with her breaths. Ron dressed himself silently; a task made easier by the use of kinetic power. He left the room without so much as a kiss, lest he disturb her sleep. He knew she needed it as much, if not more, than he did.
He stalked the hallways of his home, moving toward the den, where he knew Lars would be waiting. He found Kim and Karen waiting with him.
“This had better be good,” was all Ron said to them.
“We received a message, about twenty minutes ago, that the President wishes to see you as soon as possible,” Lars said simply.
“The bastard wants me to fly all the way to D.C.? Why?”
“Actually, sir,” Karen threw in quickly, “Shelly tells me he’s in Irving, Texas today. Some kind of campaign thing.”
“Hmph,” Ron muttered. “Well, at least it’s not all that far from here, Kim, you want to tag along on this one? It’ll at least get us out of the house.” Kim had been kept on a short leash by Susan, who feared that she was not yet fully healed.
“Sure!” she said, a little too enthusiastically. For some reason, the only person who didn’t catch the implication was Ron.
“Okay. We’ll leave in… oh, a half hour, I guess. I need to eat something if we’re going to fly down there.”
“You sure that’s wise, Ron?” Lars asked.
“I’ve been cooped up in this damned house too long. The last mission I went on was that damned failed raid, and that was three weeks ago! I need to get out and move around. And, Susan’s caution be damned, if we don’t get Kim back into the action soon, she’s going to get as rusty as I am!”
No one dared argue with those points, both because Ron’s anger was showing again, and because he happened to be right. He left the room to go find his breakfast. As soon as he left, Kim couldn’t bring herself to look at either of the other people in the room. She kept her eyes averted as she, too, departed. Is his concern merely for my military capability, or does he really care? Dammit, I still can’t tell!
The flight down to Irving was completely uneventful. Ron and Kim were able to survey the damage that had been done to this part of the country along their trip route, and they noted with despair that only the smallest towns in this area were untouched. Most cities had some kind of damage, and the bigger cities were completely wiped out.
Belarev watched the two psionics fly away from the headquarters building. He was several blocks from the facility, hidden inside a house. He and his men had worked hard at positioning themselves in the city without being discovered. However, with the amount of psionic energies concentrated in this area, they realized it was unlikely that they would be recognized before they took action. He sent a swift message to Sakov, his partner.
Ron and Kim landed a hundred yards away from the parked Secret Service vehicles, visible from a considerable distance as they were the only vehicles that looked as though they’d been washed in the last six months. Ron and Kim approached, basically ignoring the Secret Service detail, walking right to the President. They were both somewhat curious as to the surprised expression on his face.
Ron came to full, rigid attention. “General Chaffey, reporting as ordered, sir!” Ron barked in his best grown-up voice.
Sakov’s message blared in Belarev’s mind.
The Filitov Council’s forces emerged from the local buildings surrounding the PPA base, and converged. Four hundred troops commenced an assault on a base with no more than one hundred fighting troops. All the rest were either on patrol or in battle elsewhere. The Filitov Council had made sure that many small skirmishes were going on at this time, to keep the PPA numbers small.
The first shot was fired by Belarev himself. He took out the guards at the front gate before they even had a chance to shout a warning.
It would not have mattered.
The President looked at him in curiosity for a moment, and then said, “I didn’t send for you.”
“What?” Ron queried in confusion.
“I didn’t send for you. I don’t have any need to speak with you at this time… unless you have new information for me. And I figure if you did, you’d have given it to me already. No, General, I have no reason to distract you from your work.”
“Then what… We received a message saying you wanted to speak to me ASAP… Who would…” Ron looked at Kim, and Kim looked back, and both of them said at the same time:
“Jesus fucking Christ!” Ron swore. “We’ve got to get going. Um, sorry, Mr. President, for the disturbance. I believe I am needed elsewhere.”
Without another word, or even waiting for a reply, both he and Kim took to the sky, moving at their maximum velocity for home. Now that they were focused on it, they could feel the attack happening already. Both of them tried to push even harder, but there was only so much speed even a psionic could attain. It would take them an hour to get home.
And that hour turned out to be twenty minutes too long. Ron and Kim arrived home – or at what was left of home – long after the Filitov soldiers had left. The buildings were smoking ruins. Ron trudged into the debris, fearing the worst.
He found the family where they should be, at the back of the house in a small, protected room. It had not been protected well enough. The walls and ceiling were gone, only stubs of the wooden studs inside the walls remained. He looked around in shock, hoping to see all the important faces in his life. Some were not present, and he dared not dwell on what that meant.
His immediate attention, however, was drawn to a prone body lying on the ground. Susan was kneeling over the body, hiding from Ron the piece of information he so desperately needed, and so horribly dreaded. As she stood and turned to him, her body continued to block the identity of this person. Susan shook her head sadly, and moved off. Ron quickly knelt to see…
It was Megan. Her breathing was labored, and her eyes were closed. He took her hand gently, and brushed her singed hair out of her face. Her eyes slowly opened, and they struggled to focus on his face.
“Mas…ter…” she uttered quietly. “I’m…sor…ry.”
Ron was weeping openly, the tears blurring his vision as he tried to speak, tried to say something, anything, to the girl before him. His throat was constricted, and his words would not come.
He didn’t have any clue what had happened at the house, but he was certain it wasn’t her fault. He took some joy in seeing the expression on her face clear, if only momentarily.
“I… love… you… Ron.” It was the very first, and last, time she would ever call him by his real name. Her eyes faded, and closed, and her breathing stopped. There was nothing more anyone could do for her, except weep, and this Ron did.
“Linda was hurt, but not badly. She twisted her ankle when Megan pushed her down. Had Megan not acted, it would have been Linda’s life.” Karen was relaying the report as professionally as she could, but Ron could still feel the grief, the anger, and the hurt that poured off of her. He also felt her shame, as unwarranted as it was, at having failed her leader. He nodded for her to go on.
“Cindy was very severely injured. She’s under Susan’s care now, and we’re not sure if she’s going to survive. Jill suffered only minor injuries, but she was instrumental in keeping the civilians calm and coordinated. Your mother is fine, as are both babies… Linda may be going into labor sometime later today… and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if your mother followed her. It would be a little premature for Sandra, but not dangerously so. Tammy is distraught, but unhurt. Nathan ran and hid when the attack happened, we just found him a few minutes ago, and he doesn’t appear to have been injured.”
Ron knew she had been giving the “good” news first, which meant that the bad news was… something he didn’t want to hear. But he had to.
“Okay, out with it,” he ordered.
Karen opened her mouth, and then closed it again. She tried once more, and failed. Finally she managed, “There are some… MIAs.”
Ron’s blood ran colder than arctic ice. His eyes narrowed, and burned. He said merely, “Who?” It was not a question so much as an order.
“Dawn… and… Nikki.” Karen feared Ron’s wrath, she expected to see his rage. What she had not expected was to see… nothing. She could discern no emotion at all in Ron’s countenance. His body went completely slack, though he remained standing. It was as if something inside of him had turned off, and Karen wondered just what she had witnessed. But he did not give her time to ask; he left the room without another word, his movements stiff, almost mechanical.
Ron wandered about, not seeing or hearing anything that happened around him. He found himself down with the civilians, in the shelter. Jill had done a marvelous job to get everyone collected into the safe area. It was not her fault that some had not had a chance to get here, but she was taking it hard anyway. Ron was too deeply into shock to be of any comfort to her, and his words of praise were hollow at best. He moved off, amid the people, still not really focusing on what was happening around him.
Now, it is a foolish person indeed who comes after a psionic twice. But grief makes for foolish actions. The man who had complained during the relocation of Tammy charged at Ron, gripping him by the shoulders. Ron was so out of it that he made no immediate move.
“My niece is dead! This place was supposed to be safe! How can you call yourself a leachhkkkk-“ the man’s voice was choked off by Ron’s hand encircling his throat. Ron’s fingers squeezed tighter, and he used his extension to lift the man off the ground, but still by the throat. The man’s face turned a very unhealthy purple color.
Ron spoke, and the voice was one from the grave. “You lost a niece? Today, I have already lost one dear lady, and I face losing another. I have a lady injured, and pregnant. And I have two missing sisters. Would you care to compare our grief, comrade?” The use of the normally-Soviet term shook the man almost as much as the rest of the speech had. He understood the implicit threat: challenge the authority here, and you would be left to the Russians, unprotected and alone. The man shook his head, but Ron’s fingers tightened their grip. The man was about to pass out from lack of oxygen.
Suddenly, Kim was beside Ron, her hand on his arm. She had witnessed the entire event, and the sudden break from shock to rage scared her. She knew that, at this very moment, Ron was not sane.
“Ron, don’t do this. I know, I know you are upset, and hurt, and angry, but this man is not your target! I know you long to hurt someone, but you will regret what this will do to you! Please! You don’t really want to do this.”
Somehow, Kim’s words penetrated the dense fog of anger clouding Ron’s judgment. It was as if someone had turned on a bright lamp, and the fog dissipated, fearing the light of reason. Ron took one more look at the man in his grasp, and tossed him to the floor. The man landed a good ten feet from where Ron stood. Ron’s words were nearly a whisper. “Don’t come near me ever again.” The man nodded vigorously as he backed away, still on the floor.
Ron turned to Kim. She expected him to either chastise her or thank her for stopping him, but though his rage was gone, Kim feared that his sanity had not yet returned, for the look in his eyes was one only of anguish. He didn’t speak to her, and she feared for the thoughts that were running through his head. Feared not for herself, but for Ron, because it was clear that he was losing control of himself.
Ron walked past her, out of the room, and she hurried to follow him. He reached the ground level of the house, and walked past his family, who stared, dumbstruck, as Ron moved almost robotically, not even acknowledging their presence. Kim stood with them as they all stared in disbelief as he walked out the front door and down the walk, eventually disappearing around a corner. He had uttered not a word, but they all knew instinctively not to follow. Their real concern was that they didn’t know when – or if – he would be back.
Ron wandered aimlessly, without concern or consideration for where he placed his steps. His mind continued to keep him safe, but no thoughts or line of reasoning came into his consciousness. He stared ahead, unthinking and barely aware of his surroundings. He walked for the rest of the day, and well into the night. At some point, he stopped, and sat down against a tree. Whether he slept, or simply was unaware of the passage of time, he couldn’t tell.
Ron’s departure threw both the family, and the PPA, into chaos. Lars had a long argument with Lt. Saunders about whether or not to inform the President about Ron’s departure, which resulted in Lars threatening her with mental manipulation, and her confining herself to her own quarters. Kim was utterly inconsolable, for she felt that she was somehow responsible for Ron’s departure. Though even Lars told her that this had been a long time coming, she didn’t believe it in her heart.
“Sandy, how could I have done that? How could I have yelled at him at a time like this?”
Jill had related the event to the rest of the family with remarkable clarity, and so Sandra was perfectly aware of the event about which Kim was speaking. “Kim, you didn’t yell at him. You prevented him from killing someone. That’s not why he left, anyway.”
“Then why? We need him!”
“I don’t think even he knows why he walked away, Kim. I think the strain of being in command, on top of all of his other responsibilities, finally was too much for him.” Sandra was working mightily at controlling her own emotions, for her son was out there, and out there was where people were dying, and he shouldn’t be there alone, and someone should have stopped him from leaving, but they all knew better than to do that, and why didn’t she say something before he left, and…
Both women wept in each other’s arms.
The next day for Ron was very much like the end of the first. He arose at some point after dawn, feeling neither rested nor fatigued. He felt… nothing. His body moved on, his eyes kept him out of trouble, but his thoughts were empty. He had not dreamed the previous night, and even now his mind would allow only a single thought, and that only rarely, before it would once again slip back into utter silence and despair. He walked on, now into the countryside. He had no idea where he was going, or even why. He only knew that he was walking. One foot forward, then the other. Arms swung as pendulums, eyes traced back and forth to watch for trouble. The sun moved, and Ron walked. He stopped once, for water, but he ate nothing. And on he walked.
For the next few days, the PPA headquarters was busy with re-establishing order. Much had been lost in the attack, but not very many people. There hadn’t been a large number of soldiers at the HQ, and the civilians had not been easy targets, thanks to the shelter Ron had constructed. Lars was running himself ragged, trying to put things back together without his leader. He would never have admitted to anyone just how much he needed Ron at this moment, but Karen knew anyway.
Lars had immediately given two orders after taking charge: Follow Ron mentally, and keep an “eye” on the President. They didn’t need another misdirection like the one that had caused this mess. But Ron had proven impossible to track. The trackers never gained contact with him, which was strange, for they had always been able to know instantly where their leader was at all times. No one understood what that meant, and few dared to speculate.
On and on Ron wandered, passing farms and houses. He had wandered through two villages in the first week, but spoke to no one. The look on his face did not encourage people to greet him, but they did give him food. It was the only application he made of his Ability, and he wasn’t conscious of doing it. His mind was keeping him alive. For what purpose, he didn’t bother to guess. Perhaps it wished to punish him further for his follies.
His mind was once again regaining the capacity for thought, but it was a dark, abysmal pit that arose, his thoughts emerging from the deepest, inkiest recesses of his psyche, goading him forward, pushing him onward. Toward what, he did not know.
A week after Ron disappeared, the PPA soldiers regrouped into larger units, and left the headquarters compound. Each unit was independently led, and Lars would remain with the small planning team to try to coordinate their efforts on a nationwide scale. The units moved off, out of the city and into the countryside. The PPA was now in hiding.
Kim, along with a few other select officers, were left to guard the civilians and Ron’s family at the remains of the house. They all spent some time trying to clean things up, until they realized that was impossible, and the family moved down into the shelter with the others. By now, Cindy had also passed away, beyond Susan’s ability to heal her. Linda had given birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl with bright blue eyes and the cutest little nose. They had managed to hold back Sandra’s labor, for it would be better for the child to be born in a couple more weeks.
Kim was working “topside”, as they had started calling the above-ground area of their home, trying to salvage anything that might have been of use. It was now two weeks since Ron had left. She was sorting through what had once been a storage room, when she felt a wisp of something brush by her leg. She ignored it, and continued searching.
When she stood back up and turned around, she nearly dropped what she was carrying. Sitting before her was the large – she had never seemed so large – white cougar. Kim swallowed twice to get her heart started again.
“Jessica! You startled me!” Kim went to walk around her, but the cat blocked her way. She stepped in the other direction, but the mountain lion was obstinate, and would not let her pass.
“What is it, Jessica?” Kim found this unusual, because she, like the rest of the family, was still not aware of who the cougar really was. The cat looked over its shoulder, and Kim glanced that way as well. She saw nothing, but she quickly realized that they were looking in the exact direction that Ron had left.
Kim’s blood ran cold. She knew that animals were capable of sensing things that people could not. She depended on this as a Hunter for the ShadowDragon, often when she was trying to find someone in a forest, she would pay attention to the animal sounds, to forewarn her of other human presence. If this mountain lion was trying to tell her about Ron, then something bad had probably happened.
“Ron? Is it Ron?” she asked the cat, not really expecting an answer. The animal sat down again, and did a credible impression of nodding its head in the affirmative. “You want me to go with you.” Not a question, but again the cat answered yes. “Okay. Let me tell the others I’m leaving.”
The cat followed her down into the shelter, and Kim found the family. “Sandy, I’m going after Ron.”
Linda, who was nursing her new daughter, said, “Are you crazy? You’ll never find him!”
“Kim,” Sandra started, “We don’t want to lose you, too.”
“I have to go, Sandy. Jessica thinks something is wrong. I know this sounds crazy, but I think she can lead me to him.”
Sandra was quiet for a moment. Although she didn’t know the truth, she knew that the cat and Ron had a special bond of some kind, and it was certainly possible that the cougar could find him. “Be careful, Kim. Bring him back to us.”
The three of them hugged, and then Jessica led Kim out of the shelter. Kim knew that Jessica could travel faster than Kim could walk, so she decided to fly instead. As Kim lifted off, Jessica began moving at an easy lope, moving along the same path Ron had two weeks previous. As they left, Jill watched them go, and wished them luck.
Bring him back to us, Kimberly. Please.
Hidden inside a forested area several hundred miles away, Lars and the command staff of the PPA were struggling to hold together what was left of their forces. Though they still had thousands of troops, they were now divided into many smaller units, and were more easily defeated.
Lars, who was faced with command of what he felt to be a sinking ship, was bowing under the strain. He was not ready for this level of command, and he felt that he was letting the soldiers down.
“Sir, we have reports in from some of our field units,” said a junior officer, acting as a communicator.
Lars almost sighed audibly, but caught himself. “Very well, let’s have it.”
“Three companies were engaged yesterday, Baker, Tango, and Zulu. Baker Company held up pretty well, but Tango and Zulu lost with heavy casualties. Zulu Company is RTB as a non-functional unit, sir.”
“Damn. Anything else?”
“Uh… yes, sir. There is a report here from the MASH unit that Colonel Chandler has gone missing, sir.”
“WHAT?” Lars bellowed. The young lieutenant cringed, but carried on with his report.
“There was an attack on the MASH unit directly last night. Right after the battle, Colonel Chandler could not be found. A search has not turned up her body, either. Sir, she either deserted, or she was captured.”
“Fuck me,” the General said to himself. “Very well. I will send Colonel Pritchart over to fill in until we figure out what happened to Susan. Is there anything further?”
“No, sir, that’s all… oh, one other thing.” Lars’ eyes darkened, but the officer carried on quickly. “Apparently Kimberly has left HQ in search of Ron. She is in the company of the white cat.” The officer did not understand why the General’s eyes widened at that comment.
“Shit! Why the fuck didn’t I think of that?” Lars, of course, was aware of who Jessica was, but had agreed not to tell the family. That Jessica would easily be able to locate Ron was something so simple as to be overlooked. He cursed himself for the oversight. “Very well. She went alone?”
“I hope she’s careful. Dismissed, lieutenant.”
The officer came to attention and saluted before departing.
Good luck, Kimmie. And be careful.
Lars needn’t have worried: Kimberly was very cautious in her journey. She avoided all human contact, for she had brought food and water with her. She stayed in the wooded areas where possible, and she stayed off roads. Of course, her path was mainly dictated by the puma, but Jessica understood intuitively the need for secrecy.
The pair traveled on for several days. It was monotonous, and somewhat tiring, at least to Kimberly. The cat never seemed to get tired, although she did curl up next to Kim at night when they slept. Kim wondered if this wasn’t more to protect her than to give the cat rest. I hope we find Ron soon.
She was, in fact, closer to him than she could guess. Only a mile away, but he would walk throughout this night. His mind was functioning again, but it focused on the blackness of the world around him. Whole cities were destroyed; the countryside was laid bare; people were dying in the millions; the United States was being devastated.
And it’s all your fault, slick. You should have been able to stop it.
And his sisters were missing.
This is where his thought patterns formed into something as far beyond despair as ecstasy is beyond contentment. His wonderful sisters were now in the hands of the enemy. Were this a movie, very bad things would be happening to them. He didn’t want to contemplate what the truth of the matter might be. Instead, he walked on, running from something that had already raced before him, and come back to walk alongside of him, keeping him company in the way of such things. It had been nearly three weeks, and he was weak, and his gait faltered now and again as he stumbled over a root or stone. He barely noticed as his body automatically corrected, and he walked on.
Upon waking, Kimberly had to remember where she was, and why her pillow was furry and breathing. Once she regained that bit of information in her head, she stretched out. Jessica immediately moved away from her, and sat down, waiting for her to finish her morning rituals.
Having taken care of the activities that are rather unpleasant when in the woods, Kim sat down to eat her breakfast, such as it was. She was running low on food. She once more offered some to the cat, who declined even to sniff at it. Kim had never seen Jessica eat. She ate her meal in silence, and then stood up. Jessica moved off immediately, and Kim had to struggle a little to catch up with her. It was difficult to fly in the forest, what with low-hanging limbs and all the leaves and twigs and bushes.
The pair traveled, in three hours, the entire distance that had taken Ron ten to traverse. Jessica stopped abruptly, and Kim floated back to the ground, still not seeing Ron anywhere. The cat motioned, with her head, through a set of bushes. Kim moved quietly through them, and saw Ron standing, looking over the valley before him.
Ron thought the scene before him was familiar, and when he recognized it, a shiver ran down his spine. The morning fog, the green valley that rolled gently away from the ridge where he stood, the lack of sound, it reminded him too strongly of Kumiko’s dream world. Though the bright sunlight beat on his back, his heart was engulfed in blackness. He fell to his knees, no longer able to walk. Staring off into the distance, he hoped for… what? As he had not eaten in the last four or five days, and hadn’t bothered drinking anything in over a day, it seemed as if he were hoping for death. But would death bring a conclusion to his struggle? No. For he had been told that all of his… followers… would be with him in the After Realms, and so he would have to face them sooner or later anyway.
He felt, more than saw, a presence beside him. He felt that presence kneel. Without seeing, he knew that something was being pressed to his lips, and he took it in, chewed it, and swallowed, without a single thought. If someone were poisoning him, would it really matter?
Kimberly choked back her own tears at seeing his condition. She had packed a special high-energy, high-nutrient meal for him, that she had not touched on her journey. Now, she fed it to him as quickly as he would take it in. His body was eager for the nourishment, and his mouth worked without conscious intervention. It was a fairly large meal, and she was astonished to see just how quickly his body recovered. She could actually see a difference in him before she had even finished feeding him. She then gave him something to drink, which would replenish his fluids, and some other nutrients.
After she was finished giving him food and drink, she sat beside him for a while, hoping he would speak. He didn’t. He didn’t even acknowledge her presence. He simply sat there on the ground, his legs stretched out before him, his hands resting on his legs, his eyes unfocused and unseeing while his mind tormented itself over she knew not what.
It took the greatest amount of courage she had ever mustered, but she reached out and took his hand in hers. His hand was cold, in the winter weather, but the touch itself still held warmth.
she said to him. That was all it took. The dam broke, and a heart-wrenching wail echoed across the valley below. Kim pulled him to her, hugging him tightly as he sobbed uncontrollably in her grasp. His body was shaking mightily, as if it were trying to tear itself apart. Kim held on throughout it all. Ron cried for nearly an hour, wearing himself out, and finally collapsing, exhausted, and she laid him in the grass to sleep. Jessica reappeared from wherever she had been, and lay down next to him. Kim moved off to collect some more food. They would both need it when he awoke.
Ron awoke around midday. Kim was sitting against a tree, watching over him. Jessica had once again disappeared into the forest. It was odd that the cat did not seem to want to be around Ron just now. Ron looked up at Kimberly, and attempted a smile. It was bleak, it was an utter failure, but it was the grandest smile she had ever seen, compared to the blankness on his face when she’d arrived.
He struggled to sit up, and she rushed over to help him. She stayed close to him for a while, and when she tried to move away, he wouldn’t let go of her hand.
Ron didn’t ask why she couldn’t. At that point, conversation stopped again. He struggled to his feet with her help, and they walked down into the valley. They didn’t say a word to each other, they merely walked, holding hands, down into the remains of a small village. The houses looked to be intact, so they didn’t know why this town had been abandoned. For hours, they wandered from yard to yard, from store to store, looking for clues as to why the people left. As night fell, they were walking down a row of houses.
The first house they tried fit this criteria, and they went in. The power still worked, which they found odd, but for the time being, they set it aside. By unspoken consensus, they each found a bathroom and cleaned up a little, and then met in the kitchen. Ron slumped into a chair while Kim looked in the cupboards. She checked the stove, which worked, and so she cooked up a meal of chicken, rice, some beans, carrots, and some soda from the fridge. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was fairly nutritious, and they both needed the energy.
The meal passed in silence. The two of them said little. Ron kept quiet because his thoughts were far too dark to share. Kim remained silent because she was still afraid to share her thoughts with him. She knew that she must, at some point, tell him, but was now the time?
After dinner, they cleaned up their mess, just in case someone was coming back, they didn’t want to be seen as slobs. Then they walked through the house together, still holding hands. She wondered if Ron just wanted a lifeline to what he would consider the “normal” world, but she wasn’t about to object.
After they had visited every room, they found themselves in the master bedroom. This was the only room with a mess. Dresser drawers were open, and clothes were tossed on the floor. It was apparent that whoever had lived here had left in a hurry, taking only some essentials with them.
Ron sat down on the bed, while Kimberly wandered around the room, taking it in. She could feel his eyes on her as she moved. She turned to face him, to see what he would do. His eyes met hers, and stayed there. She moved to him, standing before him, not sure what was happening.
Her hands, almost of their own accord, moved out to touch his face. They moved slowly along his cheeks, and along the line of his chin. His hands came up to rest lightly on top of hers, and then she turned her hands outward, and their fingers interlaced, their hands palm-to-palm. The intensity of the energy now flowing between them was almost overwhelming. Ron stood, slowly, bringing his eyes up to meet hers. There were mere inches between their bodies, but their hands and eyes had already connected. It was at this point that something deep within Ron emerged. It was something he had tried to bury, for it had hurt him time and again. He didn’t want it there, but right now, at this moment, he needed for it to engulf him, to restore to him the strength to carry on. And he was aware that it had been released by this very precious woman before him.
He wasn’t sure whether he leaned in, or Kim did, but however it happened, their lips met. Mental sparks flew as they shared their first kiss. Each mind reeled with the invading thoughts of the other. Kim was astonished to first see only blackness, but soon found that the wall crumbled quickly, and she was emerged in his essence, his very presence of being.
Ron was awash in Kim’s love for him. She hid nothing in this embrace. It was as if he had fallen into a warm, buoyant ocean that enveloped him and carried him along. His doubts and worries, his cares and fears were drawn away from him; he was immersed in a wonderful, caring sea of emotion.
As their minds enmeshed, their kissing grew more passionate. Kim’s tongue snaked its way into Ron’s mouth, caressing his tongue and teeth. Their bodies had moved together, and they could feel the contact. Kim’s breasts pressed firmly into Ron’s chest, and the physical part of his mind marveled at just how good that felt. Kim could feel Ron’s dick pressing into her, already fully erect.
Their minds continued to flow, back and forth, until the currents became one. Ron’s strong emotions flowed into Kim’s warmth and caring, and the two emerged as something both greater than, and wholly different from, either feeling. Both felt light as a cloud as their minds journeyed together, exploring each other’s consciousness, as their bodies responded to their interaction.
Ron lifted them off the floor, and both struggled to remove their own clothing. It proved impossible to do this without breaking contact, and so clothing was torn from bodies until they were both completely disrobed. Now, Ron felt her tits poking into him. They were hot and firm, and they called for his mouth’s attention almost as much as her lips did.
Kim was fully aware of Ron’s erection, now resting against her abdomen and throbbing, wanting to be inside somewhere warm and wet. She was well beyond warm, and her juices were seeping down her leg. She broke their kiss only long enough to say, “Take me, Ron!” before her lips engulfed his once more.
It was no simple task to maneuver his lower body without moving his upper body, but Ron played a few kinetic tricks, and soon his cock was resting at the entrance to Kim’s pussy. Her lips parted as he pressed into her, and she moaned into his mouth as she felt the head of his dick slip inside of her. He slid into her steadily, and she never felt any pain as his shaft finally filled her, taking her virginity at last. They paused momentarily, as the physical sensations added to the mental glory, and the colors and patterns of their thoughts became more vivid, more vibrant.
Their bodies moved as one, Ron thrusting into her, and Kim pushing back to force him further inside. She finally threw her legs around his waist, making access much easier. The further body contact only heightened their awareness of each other. Soon they were rutting together, not as animals, but as a single animal, performing a single task. Their minds and their bodies had become one: even their extensions had merged to hold and move them. They began to turn in the air as they continued their coupling. Soon, they were turning fast enough to be a blur, but neither of them even noticed.
As they approached their climax, they broke their kiss as each cried out in ecstasy, joy and exhilaration. Ron bent down and, with the help of his extension, took one of her nipples into his mouth, wrapping his tongue around it and licking it aggressively. Kimberly screamed in pleasure. She used her extension to fondle his balls, and he groaned in delight.
As their bodies moved, their minds merged until neither could tell where one started and the other ended. They were, at that moment, a single being, feeling all the joy and pain, the hates and loves, the doubts and hopes of the other as if they were their own. The colors and patterns of these thoughts grew so brilliant that it was almost painful just to absorb the thought.
Finally, in an ultimate explosion of dazzling mental color, and with a visible spark of light, the pair came in a loud, mind-wrenching orgasm that, had they not been able to hold their extensions, would have flung them to opposite corners of the room. The sheer power of their joining was more than either of them could take, and each passed out in the other’s arms, and fell unceremoniously to the bed, which was, luckily, beneath them.
The two slept for nearly a day and a half. Their exhaustion, both physical and emotional, was so great that when they did awaken, neither was sure if it had actually occurred. It would have been easy to imagine it as a dream, if they were not laying in bed together, naked, with the remnants of their clothes lying on the floor.
Ron arose first, looking for and finding clothes that, with a little mental help, fit him well enough. Kimberly did likewise, grabbing a sundress from the closet that needed no alteration. They didn’t speak until each had taken care of their physical needs, and had stepped outside to take in the morning.
In an empty village.
That thought hammered home to Ron, and his face darkened again.
“You shouldn’t, you know.” It was the first time either had actually spoken since Kim had found him.
“Love me. Everyone who does gets hurt. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Is it really that simple? He’s been keeping his distance because he is scared? “Well, it’s not something I went looking for. I fought it tooth and nail, and now that it’s beaten me, I’m not going to try to fight it off again. So, whether I should or not, I love you, Ron.”
“Yes. I can understand that, I guess. Very hard to keep fighting something as vicious as love.”
“Oh, well. I guess we’ll just have to admit it, then.”
“That we’re in love, and that neither of us can do anything about it.”
Her heart skipped a beat or four when he said that. It was the first time he’d admitted, even obliquely, that he had similar feelings. She’d felt as much during their… but until he consciously said it, it was somehow unreal.
“I don’t want to lose you like this ever again. If you go running off, next time, take me with you.”
He looked at her, and for the first time in weeks, he smiled. “Okay, Sweetheart. Whatever you say.” He leaned in and kissed her, while his hand rested gently on her ass. She loved every microsecond of it.
When he broke the kiss, he had a curious expression on his face. “By the way, there is something that’s been bugging me since… well, since I’ve actually been able to think rather than mope. Just how in the world did you find me?”
Jessica took that moment to stride around the corner of the house. Neither of them had known she was in the area. Kimberly just pointed. “She found you. I just followed.”
“Fuck me!” Ron said, both in astonishment at the immediate thought that occurred to him, and frustration that it hadn’t occurred to him three weeks ago.
“I believe I already did that, didn’t I? Would you like me to do it again?” Kim responded seductively.
Ron looked at her, and in that moment realized that he had never loved someone so much as he did her at that moment. It was the kind of response he would have given. “Not right now… maybe later.” ‘Maybe’ my ass… “I know how we can find the girls… but we need our own clothing before we go searching. Let’s get home.”
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