||[Oct. 3rd, 2007|10:49 pm]
The Jarod and Kyle Refuge
Title: Picnic By the Bedside|
Rating: PG-13/R for inferred sexual and incestuous references, and one sad attempt at the actual craft.
Disclaimer: I own all four seasons of the Pretender (and both movies!), but sadly none of the characters.
Author Note’s: Does link loosely to my current AU series (A Place to Start, Gathering Blue, and Random Connection.) Is set prior to the GB but after APTS, however previous read-throughs of those is not needed for this piece. Think of this as prologue-ish interlude before I manage to finish GB's massive sequel.
They didn't bother with separate beds. On the night Jarod pulled into the motel parking lot alongside the highway, the clerk gave them keys to a room with two twin beds. Kyle claimed the one farthest from the window. He insisted on placing two of his knives - the sharpest, he commented - underneath the pillows, while a third he set on the nearby nightstand.
"You hungry?" Jarod asked. He sat awkwardly on the edge of Kyle's bed, hands in his lap, eyeing the younger man carefully. His feet were planted shoulder-width apart, and he leaned over his knees just slightly; his shoulders were tense, and his fingers dug too hard into his palms.
"No." Kyle didn't bother with a shrug. He stood by the window, daring to peek out, a fourth knife in his hand, poised and ready.
"How many of those things do you have?" Kyle turned slightly, and looked at him blankly. "Knives," Jarod answered the unasked question, nodding towards the object.
"Oh." Kyle returned his gaze to the window, and whatever he was convinced was outside it. "Six with me."
Jarod nodded, and stood, stretching his arms over his shoulders. Kyle turned again, watching him, expression still blank. "I'm going to take a shower." He nodded towards the television. "Why don't you have a seat? The guy said we have free tv."
At least Kyle shrugged. Jarod sighed. "Just close the blinds when you're done."
He waited eleven beats behind the bathroom door, counting the numbers slowly in his head. Finally at the eleventh, he heard Kyle move away from the window, and the bed creak under his weight, and the stretched silence before the television crackled to life. He let out a relieved breath he hadn't realized he had been holding, and turned the water on to scalding.
He could still hear the television when he turned the water off. He listened to it - a comforting presence on the other side of the door - as he toweled himself dry. He finger-combed his hair, and pulled on a pair of karate pants left from the short spell he had taught martial arts. They wore low on his waist. The shirt he pulled on was orange, and long sleeved.
"Kyle." He left the bathroom light on. "Your turn."
Kyle nodded non-committedly, but he stood. He had slid to the floor, Jarod had noted, and while the knife was still in his hand, his grip was looser. He hesitated a beat in the doorway, his body a line of heat and warmth, of lean muscle coiled and tightly-wound into panic, and that musky scent of gun oil and darkroom chemicals that only seemed to belong to him. "I might be hungry."
Jarod smiled. "I'll find something."
He left the television on muted while he listened to the shower through the wall. They had stopped at the store on the way, and he had spent as much time watching Kyle as he had selecting what few groceries they would need. He made peanut butter and banana sandwiches, managing to brown both sides of the bread using the old-fashioned wall heater. He poured the lemonade into coffee mugs, and quartered the apples.
When Kyle emerged from the bathroom wearing only boxers and a ratty tee shirt, Jarod had the food spread across a spare blanket he had found in one of the dresser drawers.
"What is this?" Kyle blinked.
"A picnic. You said you'd never been to one. I thought I'd give you your first. It's supposed to be outside, but I thought you'd prefer indoors."
"Yes." Still he hadn't moved forward.
"Food's actually tasty, Kyle."
"Oh," he nodded, stepping forward and squatting next to the blanket. "Did you fry these?"
"Browned them, on the heater."
"Oh." He stared at the sandwich half he had in his hand before taking a bite. He chewed slowly before swallowing, a surprised expression momentarily lighting his face. "These are good."
"I'm glad." Jarod smiled, relaxing.
He cleaned up in silence when they finished eating, rolling up the blanket for the laundry, and rinsing the glasses in the bathroom sink. Kyle was by the window again.
He sighed, and briefly closed his eyes. "No one's out there, Kyle."
Jarod sighed again, but he opened his eyes, and moved quietly around the beds, and came to stand next to the younger man. "No, they're not."
"We can't see them, but they're out there, Jarod. They won't stop searching for us."
"Would we know what to do if they did?"
Kyle's eyes were unusually bright. Cautiously, Jarod reached a hand to brush across Kyle's cheeks. "You're safe here, little brother. I promise. You're safe."
He wrapped Kyle in a hug, and Kyle relaxed, and wrapped his arms around Jarod tightly, with hands fisting in the back of Jarod's shirt. "You're safe," Jarod kept murmuring in his hair, lips brushing the skin at his temple.
Kyle kissed him first. He tasted salty, earthy, vaguely metallic. It was only a second hesitation when Kyle stepped back, uncertainty written over every inch of his face and body, before Jarod blinked, and hand yanking at the collar of Kyle's tee, did he pull the younger man closer again, and they kissed. When Jarod's tongue pleaded entrance, Kyle granted it, and when his hand accidentally - purposely - brushed lower, Jarod groaned into Kyle's mouth.
It wasn’t their first time, but still their movements were awkward: hands removed clothing desperately; kisses punctuated both lips and bare skin, and all the while, Kyle’s hand moved in rhythm when finally Jarod came in his hand.
Kyle’s smile was rare. “Maybe I should be protecting you.”
“Maybe,” Jarod agreed.
He kissed Kyle again, lingeringly.
They didn’t bother with separate beds, hadn’t for as long as they had known one another. Still as Kyle attempted to toast – and burn – the bread on the heater in the morning, and gathered up his knives, Jarod messed the second bed.
“I never did ask where we were going,” Kyle said, more statement than question, once they had checked-out and on the road again. He had lit a cigarette, and blew a trail of smoke through the passenger window.
“Boston,” Jarod answered. “I have a friend there, he's a rabbi, I hope he may be able to help us.”
“Oh.” Another trail of smoke. “We have other leads.”
“There’s always other leads.”
The sociopath nodded. “We'll have to book the tickets through Logan. I'm thinking to Warsaw. Best to stay in larger areas at first, also easier for transportation. Do you think train maybe?" He took a drag on the cigarette, looking Jarod in the eyes.
"You may have to leave your knives home." Jarod's grin was teasing.
"Hardly, I'll find a way. So.” Kyle turned to flick the cigarette out the window, and he sneaked another glance at Jarod over the emergency brake. “Thank you, for the picnic, I mean. I…”
“No need, Kyle.” He returned the smile, briefly squeezing Kyle's knee. “Never any need. We’re together right now, that’s all that matters.”
“Together, and we’re still not sure how – or why – we’re together,” but even he smiled.