Title: Finding What Awaits
Characters: Arvad/Perry; Albric
Series: Another Life
Arvad gently pulled the door closed. He stood still listening for any sound that indicated Perry had woken up. As he stood there, the soft blue light from a crystal cast a calm glow over the kitchen. Slowly he took a deep breath in and just as slowly let it out. The feelings of home and comfort filled him.
The warmth of the kitchen was interrupted as a slight breeze came through the window. When Arvad walked over to close the shutters, he saw Albric sitting some distance outside. Leaving the window open, he went out to join the older man.
“Has sleep claimed him?” Albric asked.
“Yes, his leg was bothering him a bit tonight,” Arvad answered. “And the sounds of the insects and night animals make it difficult for him to fall asleep. It’s just so different here than on Earth. There were no insects or animals left. The harsh climate sent many into extinction. That and a starving man will eat anything he can find, even an insect. Anything that did survive soon became a meal.” He studied the other man as Albric tilted his head, listening to the night creatures.
Albric was bigger than any man Arvad had ever known. Tall and round with extra flesh around his middle. He was also older than anyone Arvad had met. His grey beard still showed the red hair of his youth. His shoulders were still broad and straight. He used a cane for balance, but he enjoyed walks by the ocean’s shore. His voice was more often than not gruff, but Arvad like the lyrical way that Albric spoke.
“The sounds of the night are the lullaby that Gliese sings,” Albric replied.
Arvad listened. With Albric’s words echoing in his head, he could hear the rhythm of the night song. Sighing deeply, he knew it was time to bring up the discussion he’d been avoiding. “Perry has healed sufficiently. We will move on in the morning.”
“Move on?” Albric barked out harshly. “To where? You are weak. Too weak to go anywhere!”
Startled by the harshness of the man’s voice and words, Arvad shook his head. In sharp contrast to the feelings of contentment and home earlier, he now felt frustrated and confused. He’d spent all his life just trying to survive. He didn’t know what he was to do now. Except keep Perry safe. “I don’t know. I don’t know where we should go. I don’t know why we are even here.”
Albric grunted. “You, just like the others, are part dominant. Perry is submissive. Only those with the pull of the power exchange can survive on Gliese. The ancient texts from long ago Historians forecasted it.”
“I don’t even know what a dominant is supposed to do!” Arvad confessed.
Again, Albric grunted and then groused out, “You do what your instincts tell you. Just like you’ve always done. The power exchange is part of the star particles that make a person. You and Perry have always lived by the exchange. Only now you have a label to attach to who you are.”
Arvad thought on the older man’s words. They weren’t only lyrical, but often held a touch of the mystic. He knew that it was partly due to living such a long time, but his wisdom came too from being a Historian. Albric had explained to them that this was a village of Historians. People who saw what was, what is, and what is yet to come. He sighed again. That was another reason he and Perry should leave. They didn’t have visions or know what the future held.
“That’s another reason we should leave. Perry and I aren’t Historians,” Arvad said.
“You belong here,” Albric argued and then turned to look fully at Arvad. “The stars deemed it so. I argued against those who sought to save you. I was wrong.”
Arvad marveled again at the strength of the older man. Strength in the physical but also the emotional. A man as Albric was held strength of character. “I understand why. It must have been hard to send someone you care about into a place that was so dangerous.”
“No visions of the past had told of you or your submissive. The stars waited until Enoch was safe before they told him. I was wrong, but am pleased to have been shown wrong. You and Perry are meant to be here. With me, I believe.”
Arvad nodded. He didn’t fully understand, but the sincerity in the older man’s voice was unmistakable. “Thank you, Albric. May I ask one more favor of you?”
Albric looked warily at him, then nodded his consent.
“On Earth my purpose was to protect Perry. I have no purpose here. Will you help me find it?”
The older man turned his head to the sky. Then Albric spoke. “We reach for the stars to find out what we can be, not what we are. You will find what you can be. I would be honored to help.”
Arvad looked up and knew that the possibilities were as endless as the stars. They’d find their way here on Gliese. They’d find who they were meant to be.
The next morning, Arvad lay in bed watching the dust motes dance in the morning sunlight. He could hear Albric and Perry talking in the kitchen. Perry’s voice was light and joyful. Arvad smiled to himself. He never thought he’d hear joy and laughter in that voice, but here with the gruff Albric and the peace of this planet, Arvad was discovering parts of Perry he hadn’t known before.
Listening, Arvad finally put a word to what he was hearing-life. He was hearing life in Perry’s voice. Up to this point, they’d only existed. They were only a shell of what they could be. Now, they could live instead of just exist.
Throwing the blanket off, Arvad got out of bed. He wanted to join in with the two in the kitchen. He was ready to live, to find happiness, purpose, and all that lay before him. He dressed in the clothes that had been given to him. He wrapped the belt around him twice. With the food and clean air on Gliese, he knew that one day, he’d fill out a little more.
Once he was dressed, Arvad stepped into the kitchen.
“It’s about time, sleepy-head.” Perry’s voice was full of gentle teasing.
“Do not taunt your dom,” Albric scolded softly. “The night was not as long for him.”
Perry turned toward Arvad with worry on his face. Arvad sent him a reassuring smile. “It was a pretty night, I went out and looked at the stars.”
Albric grunted loudly and then said, “We also talked of the future for the two of you. Let’s sit down and while we fill our stomachs, we’ll discuss it with you.”
Arvad didn’t like the look of sadness on his lover’s face. He hadn’t seen that look since they’d come to Gliese. He wanted more than anything to see only happiness on Perry’s face.
“Sit down. Now.”
The stern voice had both men quickly sitting at the table. They watched as the older man brought the morning meal to the table and sat down.
“You both are floundering. With good reason. To find yourself on a planet that is not of your own, would tax even the most hearty of men. Time is what is needed. And you have that here. Time to rest and to heal,” Albric stated.
Arvad saw hope flare on Perry’s face. Then just as quickly it died.
“But we aren’t like you. We don’t see the future or anything,” Perry said disheartened.
“You are not Historians. That is true. However, we do share a trait. We have been blessed by the universe to have a need of a power exchange. The power exchange is a part of you, yet you never had the chance to let it flow. I am a dominant, like Arvad. We could strengthen by allowing it to flow between the three of us.”
“Like in bed?” Perry squeaked.
Shaking his head, Albric quietly elaborated. “No. Not in a sexual manner. That would stay between you two. I would like to share just in the exchange.”
Arvad tensed. Could he accept what Albric was offering? Would that make him less?
“No. You would be stronger,” Albric voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Did I speak my fear out loud?” Arvad asked.
“It was written on your face for me to see,” the older dominant said and then continued, “The decision does not have to be made at this moment. More discussion will be needed as questions arise. We would learn together how we would complete each other.”
“Please, can we try?” Perry turned pleading eyes to Arvad.
He could never deny his love when those eyes turned to him. Addressing the other dominant, Arvad said, “I can not take charity. You gave us a place to heal, but I also need to contribute.”
“And I told you last night, I would help you find your purpose,” Albric chided. When Arvad dropped his challenging stare, he continued. “After we eat, I would show you how to fish.”
Pushing his chair back, Perry exclaimed excitedly, “I’m done.”
“No, you’re not.” Two dominant voices rang out in unison. They looked at each other and shared a smile of understanding.
“Eat some more, Per,” Arvad said. “And then we’ll go.”
While the men ate, Albric told them of a small shack by the shore that held nets and lobster traps. He described the small boat that was sea worthy while they cleaned their dishes.
As they walked down the path to the shore, Arvad asked, “What of Perry’s leg? One is shorter than the other. We must take care not to strain his good leg.”
“I’m fine!” Perry snapped.
Albric laid his hand on Perry’s shoulder. “Do not deny him his need to care for you.”
Seeing how the other dominant scolded and calmed Perry, Arvad thought of how much Albric had to teach them. The suggestion to live with him seemed more and more a good idea.
“Fishing won’t be overtaxing on the leg,” Albric said. “And if it is, we will find another occupation. Nothing has to be decided today. Or even tomorrow. You will find what you need. For now, let’s see what the day will bring.”
As they rounded a large boulder, the sea came into view. A sturdy wooden building was nestled between two of the boulders, protecting it from the ocean winds. The beauty of the sun rising over the clear blue water took Arvad’s breath away.
A small movement brought his attention closer to the water’s edge. There, a man knelt with his face lifted to the sunshine. As he looked closer, Arvad saw that it was one of the men who had saved them on Earth.
“Hey! Hey!” Perry called out. He waved when the other man rose and turned toward them.
“Good morning,” Misham murmured softly when he drew close.
“We did not mean to interrupt,” Albric apologized.
“I’ve cleansed my spirit, there is no need to apologize,” Misham said.
When Arvad turned confused eyes toward him, he went on to explained. “I am an empath. My spirit feels the emotions of those around me. Those who’ve been here before and who are here now. Each morning, I come to prepare for the emotions the day will bring.”
Arvad didn’t fully understand, but nodded anyway. “Albric wanted to show us his fishing supplies.”
“Come, we will gather the traps first,” Albric said.
Arvad and Misham watched as the other two men entered the small cabin.
“His heart is lighter,” Misham said softly.
Arvad looked at Misham. He didn’t quite understand all the powers at work on Gliese. He knew that Misham felt other’s emotions but didn’t know how he felt them. “He seems full of purpose,” Arvad agreed hesitantly.
“It is more than that. Albric is happy. For the first time in a long time.”
“He asked us to stay here. With him,” Arvad confessed. “But I worry how that would work. We aren’t Historians. We don’t have any special powers or anything.”
“You do. You have the power to give him life again. When Albric was a young man he loved very deeply. Two men whose ages were half a lifetime more than his. A dominant like Albric and a submissive. They lived and loved together even though the three knew that their time was limited. One harsh winter night, the stars called two of them home. Albric was left alone. His time was still here on this planet.”
Arvad turned and watched Albric talk to Perry. He was patient but firm with Perry. He’d opened up his home to them. He was opening up his life to them.
“Your heart isn’t conflicted. Why are you allowing your mind to throw a shadow over what you know to be right?” Misham asked. Then he looked ashamed. “I am sorry. I should not have said anything. But I feel your heart so full of longing.”
“No. You are right. My heart does want this. My mind is casting shadows of doubt.”
Misham looked up to the sky. “The feelings of grief and sorrow often are heavier than those of happiness. I did not want to ignore the yearning of your heart.”
Arvad turned and smiled at the young man. “And I thank you for your words. They were what I needed to hear. As long as Perry is willing as well, I think we will stay. Stay with Albric.”
“Go. Go to them and tell them,” Misham encouraged. “Knowledge and happiness await you.”
Arvad laughed in joy. He and Perry had waited too long, had gone through too much, to let a chance slip by them. Thanking Misham again, Arvad walked to the two men who were discussing lobster traps. The time had come for them to be a family.
While Arvad gave the good news that they would stay with Albric, Misham walked quietly home and whispered into the wind, “A wise decision. You will need to fortify yourself for what is to come.”