Well, you see. I work for this really small company and the boss and his wife decided to take two weeks off, which means they closed the place so I have some extra time and I can't really go out because the painter is here.
OK, this is just a little angstfest, poor dears.
Title: First Time
Lying together, naked in their bed, two heads sharing a pillow, embracing, legs tangled under the covers after making love yet again tonight, one turned to the other.
"Who was your first?"
"My first love?"
A quiet smile. "No, I know the answer to that. The first you shared your body with, the first person you slept with."
A pause, a hesitation followed by a slight shake of the head. "It's of no importance."
"You said that we'd have no secrets. Please?" It was a teasing plea.
A kiss followed by three more. "It doesn't matter. It was a long time ago."
"Tell me if it was good, your first time, at least tell me that. Was the person kind to you, were they gentle?"
He sighed and pulled away, settling on his back, his face looking up at the ceiling. "It was--forced, against my will. I was awoken when I was six, in the middle of the night. I was small. I did try to stop what was happening, but I was too weak...I couldn't."
The silence that followed was stunned, gentle teasing replaced by horror. "...God...I...I had no idea. If I'd known I would never have..." He turned on his side, his hand coming to rest on his companion's chest in an effort to give some small measure of comfort. "Please--I'm sorry. I didn't know. I had no idea anything like that had ever happened to you." A small dismissive shake of the head was the only answer. "Was it just that one time?" "It continued four or five times a week for nine years before he found someone else."
The look in the blue eyes was one of sudden understanding. "Arthur." It was a simple, flat statement of fact. "Jesus..."
"No one knows. Well, other than a few servants. There's no point in saying anything to anyone. It's over now--done with."
"You don't believe that any more than I do. He raped you for nine years and you say it's not worth mentioning?"
"Rob...what would anyone do now? What can they do now? The JLA won't do anything, they may not like him, but they need him as the head of an allied nation. At home he's King. He is above the law. There's nothing to be done."
"But...he can't just get away with it. He used you and hurt..."
Garth rolled over onto his side, facing Dick, not touching his lover. "Why did you think that I would spend so much time with you and the others? Everyone knew that I didn't fit in there. I knew it, certainly. Don't you see? It was the only place where he couldn't get to me."
Dick moved closer, his hand resting lightly on Garths hip. The revelation and the knowledge that no one had noticed for all that time was incomprehensible. The Titans had always just though him to be shy, reserved. They'd had no idea. "I didn't know...I thought that you had other lovers and that was where you had..."
"Learned how to fuck?" He looked at Dick. "Yes. I'm very accomplished. He would tell me what to do, how long, how hard, how fast. If I didn't perform to his standards he would be--displeased."
"Look. It's over now. He leaves me alone. He hasn't touched me in years."
"Rob, why did you think that I was given the Ambassadorship? Because of my tremendous ability in diplomacy? Please. He wanted me away because the rumors were becoming an embarrassment to him."
Dick was horrified, not wanting to believe what he was hearing. "I thought that you'd had training and that you were...intended for a career with your diplomatic corps."
"I was given training so as to not humiliate the government in the international community. Any ability I have is a lucky coincidence."
"Garth, you're a good Ambassador, everyone says that and your staff..."
"They know why I was given the assignment, maybe not the details, but they know that I've been sent to the surface to get me away from him. They may like me personally and that makes things easier, but they know that if I fail and am recalled, Arthur will be displeased with them. They don't want that to happen so they give me more support than anyone could hope for."
"But the UN job is important. You wouldn't have that if you couldn't handle it."
Garth sighed in some exasperation. " I was given a choice of five different postings, based on the fact that I speak English. England, New Zealand, Australia, the United States or the UN. I chose the UN because I have friends in New York. If I didn't, I would have probably ended up in Australia." He saw the questioning look on Dick's face. "I like the beaches there."
"What else were they to do with me? I'm a prince; they couldn't shove me in a back room. I had to have some kind of decent assignment to stop the talk. Rob--what the government is trying to do right now is more important than just a couple of individuals. They're trying to establish contacts and trade with the surface before surface technology advances to where we lose our bargaining advantage."
"How can you just accept this? How can you?"
"...I don't matter. I'm expendable. I know that. I've always known that."
"Not to me." Dick caressed his cheek and jaw, his hand coming to rest on his neck.
Garth wasn't having any easy comfort. "That's crap." Dick was shocked by the vulgarity. Garth never swore, well, almost never. "If I were to fall off the planet you would grieve and then find someone else in due course."
"How can you say that? You know what you mean to me. You know how much I love you and how important you are to me." His voice was quiet, soothing.
In a sudden movement, Garth rolled to his other side and swung his feet out of bed and onto the floor. Standing, he looked at Dick, started to say something that he bit off and left the room, going into the kitchen.
He rose, walking naked and barefoot to find his lover. He saw him standing by the sink, a glass of water next to him on the counter, the lights off, unmoving. Putting his arms around his waist from behind, he embraced the other man and felt his own hands covered and held.
"I'm sorry, forgive me for being angry with you. You didn't know. No one knows."
Dick kissed the space between his shoulder blades. "How have you lived with this? We would have helped you if we had known; you know that we would have. You were, what, twelve when you joined us? We could have stopped it then."
"That's what he told me you'd all say at the time." He turned to face Dick, his arms coming around him, resting his head on his shoulder. "I didn't know then if I could trust you. He told me that no one would believe that you or me'd laugh or think that I liked it. I didn't know enough about the surface to understand that it is a crime up here." There was the smallest ghost of a smile. "And I didn't know the English words."
"God, Garth." His arms tightened, one hand stroking the smooth back, the long muscles along his spine. Dick felt the shudders as Garth tried to draw breath and realized that he was crying. Gently kissing his forehead, continuing to stroke and hold, trying to give some of his strength he let the emotions held and hidden for years come to the surface. "Why did you want to do those things with me? It must have been so...it must have been like being with him."
Dick remembered times they had been together, even before they were a couple. There had been times, in the early years when they were still kids when Garth would flinch when anyone would put a hand on his shoulder or accidentally touch him somehow. Then when he was with Tula he seemed, well, he seemed like he had found some kind of haven. Now Dick was able to start understanding just how much she fulfilled that role for him. Her loss was greater than any of them could have imagined.
"After Tula was--gone, did..."
"Yes, it started again. By then I could refuse him, though. I found the courage to do so."
"I saw what he did to you." Garth lifted his head, looking at Dick, questioning. "I walked down to the pool to take a swim a couple of months after she...I didn't know you were there but you were floating on the surface asleep. I saw what he did." The bruises had covered most of his body. Dick hadn't done anything, hadn't asked what has caused them and hadn't offered any help. All he had done was walk out and keep his mouth shut. He hadn't told the others or Bruce or even Alfred. He had kept quiet.
Garth seemed to know what he was thinking, his expression calm. "Robbie, you didn't know. You were young, you had no idea about what had happened."
"I could have done something. Even if it was just an offer to talk, I could have tried. God, I'm so sorry I didn't."
"I wouldn't have said anything then, I'd have just lied. I got quite good at lying." That ghost smile again. "I had you believing that I wasn't in love with you all that time. I've reserves you haven't seen..."
Dick raised his hand in another caress to Garth's face. "My love..."
"It's late. We both have work in a few hours." Taking Dick's hand, he led them back to the bedroom. They settled back into their bed, holding one another.
"We can't just let this drop. He has to answer for what he did."
"I told you, there's no point. No one can or will take him to account. Either they need him or he's too powerful to accuse. Besides, now it's just his word against mine. No one would believe me, Rob. He's a King."
"But you said that there were some servants who knew. They could..."
"He'd have them killed if he thought they were a threat to him. You don't understand what he's capable of. He'll do whatever he has to." He paused then finished quietly. "Believe me. I've lived with this for almost twenty years, Rob. There's nothing to be done."
Dick looked at him for a moment in the darkness of their bedroom, kissed him gently on the mouth and, sleepless himself, held his lover as he finally drifted to sleep.