Walking in Space [open]

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Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:11 am

Rueben hated nighttime at Highgrove. It was quiet and dark, and without fail he would be left alone with himself, with all the things that he didn't want to face. He supposed it was better than laying awake every night and waiting for Aunt Carol to crawl under his sheets like the snake-- erm, saintly woman that she was, but it didn't take much to be better than that. He could still feel her hands on his skin, and the memory burned; everything was red ember hot, uncomfortable and cloying and sweaty. It made him want to jump out of his skin thinking about it, so he closed his eyes and tried to conjure noise, voices, tried to do that astral projection thing -- how were you supposed to do it again? Visualize exiting your body. Separate your consciousness from your brain. Someone had explained it to him once while they were both high as kites, and he had tried to do it right then and there. Even succeeded for a minute, maybe, but that was probably the drugs and not his mind floating away from his body. He closed his eyes and blew out a breath, envisioning a little prick of light floating out of his body and toward the ceiling. He visualized it gliding through the roof, out into the still, cold night, bobbing over the trees, through the atmosphere, flying through star-specked space, to Venus. Cracked and red and feverish, Venus brought back the ugly memories, and he zipped back into himself. Dammit. Should have gone to Pluto instead.

Rueben sat up and looked around, blinking in the dark, trying to adjust his eyes to it fully. Everyone else in the room appeared to be asleep, but at least one person had to be awake -- someone had to be awake to at least talk to him. He felt strangely fragile and scared, the way you feel when you're awake in a great, dark house in the middle of the night and everyone else is sleeping. Which, actually, he was. Emotions, thin and bubbling, flitted about under his skin; rage, sadness, fear, and finally, excitement. This didn't have to be a bad night; in fact, it would be easy to turn it around. It was quiet, it was dark, there were warm willing bodies all around him torturing him with their shallow breath. He could hear it in the silence, in the gloom, almost echoing in his head. Now if only he could get one of them to pay attention to him, to his needs, without looking too desperate...

Quietly, he slunk out of bed and sat cross-legged in the middle of the floor, in full view of all of the bunks. Closing his eyes and holding his hands out to either side, his fingers making circles, he began to hum rather loudly. If anyone asked, he was trying to astral project himself out of Highgrove. That would actually be half of the truth, or enough of the truth to go on. Maybe someone would feel like astral projecting with him, which was what he was hoping for. If this wasn't enough to wake someone up, well, maybe Rueben would just climb in bed with one of his roommates and have it done with. No games like the one he was playing right now, just straight honesty. I want someone beside me and I want it now, I want human contact and I want it now, I want to dive into someone and not have to be myself anymore. I want to fly out of my body, and you can help me do that for a minute. Come on. Anybody.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:56 pm

For the most part, Milton experienced no trouble sleeping. There was the occasional nightmare, but those were often the same, revolving around his feelings of attachment and the abandonment that always followed. Whenever he woke up drenched in sweat, gasping for air, pulse throbbing in his chest and throat, he listened to the sounds of the night around him, and the soft sighs of his roommates' breaths, until they lured him back into slumber. He knew not to get used to being in one place for too long, which had lended him the fine art of being able to fall asleep almost anywhere. When it was really nice outside, sometimes he even liked to nap in the grass, enveloped in the warmth of a sun that made him feel more loved than any living person ever had. That hadn't happened at Highgrove yet, winter still clutching the landscape in her icy talons, but he looked forward to the day he could sneak outside with a book and snooze under a tree until chore time.

Milton was having a nice dream for once, but damned if he could remember what it was about by the time he was jerked out of it. He was falling, floating, and then he was unceremoniously dumped back in his body, eyes snapping open, ears straining to locate the source of the low, steady drone that seemed to emanate from the floor and penetrate the shadowed spaces in each corner of the modest room he called home. At first, it startled him to see how close the ceiling was to his face, but then he recalled that he'd agreed to switch bunks with Cecil, at least until the other boy was off the medications that kept him from feeling the pain of his shattered hand and clouded his days in a viscous, syrupy haze of apathy. Cecil had been worried that he'd fall out of bed, and if that happened, he didn't need to add another injury to his current count by taking a tumble from the top bunk. He was safer on the bottom one for now, and Milton liked knowing that he was helping out by letting him rest there. It didn't matter to him where he slept as long as he didn't have to be too far from his friend, who was making his days at Highgrove much more enjoyable than they would have been otherwise. Also, though he wouldn't admit it aloud, he liked the idea of Cecil sleeping in his bed, even if he couldn't be there too. Would the sheets smell like him afterward? Milton felt comforted to know that he'd be leaving something of himself behind, if only a faded imprint of where his head had lain on the pillow. Maybe he'd even find a strand of his hair, fine and inky black, to tuck away and treasure when things got bad.

The humming noise wasn't abating; if anything, it was getting stronger, and Milton, curious to see what it was, turned on his side and scooted to the edge of the bed, fingertips curling over the frame, to squint into the communal space between all four bunks. A dark, glossy head of hair caught his eye, and at first he thought it might be Cecil sitting there, but that was until he noticed the flawless, unbandaged hands and knew it must be Rueben instead. Milton wondered if he should say something. Part of him was content to lie there and silently watch the other boy, who was devastatingly handsome in a movie star way he admired more than envied. There was a new blemish fighting to break free of the skin of his left temple, tender to the touch, and he was willing to bet Rueben never had to deal with pesky things like pimples. He was always put-together, not a hair out of place, and Milton couldn't tell whether he wanted to be him or just be close to him. Maybe it was a little bit of both. Rueben's personality didn't particularly impress him, but at least he wasn't as intimidating as Harry. Boys like Rueben were fairly straightforward to Milton; all they wanted was attention, and that was easy to give. Recalling that little tidbit, it occurred to the brunet that what his roommate wanted wasn't to be left alone, it was for someone to see him there, and that made his mind up as to how he should proceed. He might as well find some sort of way to appease the boy before he woke any others, because who knew how angry they'd be if that happened. A fight was the last thing he wanted to deal with at this hour.

Keeping his voice to a loud whisper, he called down to Rueben, hair tumbling into his eyes and obscuring his face where it draped over the rail of the bed. "Why are you meditating in the middle of the night? Is it a religious thing or something?" Rueben didn't strike him as the religious type, but it was hard to tell just by looking at a person.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:40 am

"Why are you meditating in the middle of the night? Is it a religious thing or something?

This meditation thing was totally all it was cracked up to be. He'd never really tried to do it before because Aunt Carol had thought that it was 'hippie bullshit', but clearing his mind was exactly the sort of thing that he needed to do, even if trying to shoot himself to the moon wasn't working. Maybe the voice that issued suddenly from the night stopped Rueben from reaching spiritual enlightenment or something, because he was starting to feel like the stars were on the verge of telling him their secrets and whisking him off into the eternal cosmos. Actually, that feeling was more accurately described as the sensation that he was going to fall asleep in the middle of the floor, but that wasn't poetic at all. At any rate, he would rather have another person to be with than his empty mind or a star any day, so it was a welcome intrusion. Rueben smiled, his eyes still closed. He went on humming for a few seconds as if the interruption had seriously fucked up the flow of his chi or something, and then opened his eyes and turned toward the source of the whisper. In the darkness, he could make out two eyes peering at him from the top of bunk one; a face gradually came with it as his eyes readjusted. It was Milton, the sweet kid who usually slept on the bottom bunk. He and Cecil must have have switched for some reason. Rueben was glad that it was him; he was cute and nice, not at all belligerent, perfect company for this awful, raw night.

"I'm not meditating. I'm practicing astral projection," he replied softly, swiping a hand through his hair then leaning back on his hands and sticking his striped pajama pants clad legs out in front of him. "It's what I do when I can't sleep; sorry if I woke you up." He actually wasn't sorry in any capacity, but it never hurt to apologize. It always got you in someone's good graces. He nodded and grinned at Milton, and then asked, "Want to try? I'll come up there if you want. It's a pretty great trip if you can do it." He expected the boy to be at least a little irritated after being woken up in the middle of the night by Rueben's relentless humming, but he also expected the smile and the apology to disarm him. That combination seemed to have that effect on most people. He wondered how his proposition would be reacted to; would the other boy want to try to fling himself into space too, or was he content to stay on Earth? Were any of the kids at Highgrove content on Earth?

No-one is happy here. No-one is happy anywhere, as far as I can tell. There's no reason why I shouldn't enjoy myself for one moment, one hour, one day, any amount of time I can steal away from misery. This case hasn't worked anywhere else so far, and it definitely hasn't worked here, but I'm still pitching it. That's me. The eternal optimist.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:10 pm

Milton didn't know much about meditation, astral projection, chakras, crystals, or anything that fell under the "New Age" header these days, but he remembered that Emily, his first foster mother, had been vaguely into it. One time, when he couldn't sleep at night, he'd slouched downstairs to look for her and found her hunched over the small, stripped-pine kitchen table with a velvet cloth and a pack of tarot cards spread out, a cup of cooling tea sitting by her elbow, eyebrows knitted together in fierce concentration. He had tried to ask her about the cards, but she'd gathered them up too quickly for him to get a good look, as if it was a dirty secret she didn't want anyone to know about. His search for the mysterious deck had been relentless after that, wanting to know what they meant, but he'd never been able to find them, and since she worked from home, he didn't get much of a chance to poke around without being caught and questioned. Internet searches at school didn't prove too helpful either; he was too young to know exactly what he was looking for, and there were so many different kinds of decks to choose from. Most of the websites he'd wanted to look at were blocked as well, so he'd forgotten about it over the years, but now the memory rose up as fresh as if it had happened yesterday, and he wondered if it was in any way connected to this thing Rueben was talking about.

"Astral projection?" His curiosity and lack of knowledge was genuine, made clear by the look of abject confusion on his face as he peered down at the other boy. "What's that?" He shrugged when Rueben apologized. "It's okay. You didn't wake me up. I woke up and then I heard you. I could go back to sleep if I tried, but I wanted to see what you were doing." Levering himself up into a sitting position, Milton crossed his legs Indian-style, careful not to hit his head on the ceiling as he pulled the blanket up and around his shoulders. "Sure, you can come up. I'd like to hear more about it." He wanted to ask Rueben why he was having trouble sleeping, if that was a normal thing for him, but didn't want to be intrusive. Some people didn't like it when you asked too many questions. Harry had made that clear to him in the last group therapy they'd been in together, and he didn't want to irritate Rueben as well. He needed the friends too much to put them off by being nosy.

Rubbing at the corners of his eyes, still watery and crusty from sleep, Milton almost changed his mind. He was half-tempted to tell Rueben to have fun and burrow back under the covers, but it had been a pretty restless night so far, and he didn't want to be wrenched out of another pleasant dream. If he was going to stay up, why not try and learn something new? Rueben's eyes spoke of a wealth of worldly knowledge Milton couldn't grasp, and he'd be lying to both himself and the other boy if he said he wasn't interested. Real, hands-on experience would do him some good, he decided, even if he ended up failing terribly at this astral projection thing. Besides, if he couldn't do that, maybe Rueben could teach him something else. He looked like the kind of boy who knew about a lot of things, or maybe it was just a feeling that he got. Either way, it had been awhile since Milton had done anything fun outside of classes, and he was eager for any distraction. He'd enjoyed participating in the school plays back in Petersfield, even if it had been done at the urging of one esteemed individual or another. Milton had had a big crush on one of the theatre boys there, and when he'd offhandedly mentioned to Milton that he should try out, he'd taken the advice to heart, thinking that it meant more than it did. He didn't mind that nothing ever came out of the exchange or his distant admiration of the other boy, because when things at home and school weren't going so well, he could at least immerse himself in a different kind of drama, all the more alluring to him because it wasn't real. He could step out of that world anytime, but reality was much less forgiving.

Shifting on the small bed to make room for Rueben, Milton waited for him to come up, making sure there was plenty of blanket left over to share if he got cold.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:21 pm

Rueben scaled the ladder on the side of the bunk as gracefully as possible, climbing into the bed with little more than a creak. Sneaking around people's bedrooms was somewhat of a specialty of his. Hopefully the rest of his roommates stayed asleep, unless they wanted to join in the astral projection lesson too. Extra pupils wouldn't be so bad, but the other inhabitants of the room seemed to be sleeping soundly. Just as well; he didn't really feel like dealing with more than one person right now. On an optimistic note, he was already halfway to his intended destination for the night; even if he just slept here, in the other boy's bunk, then it would be better than just laying awake alone all night trying to avoid his own troubling thoughts. Of course, he wouldn't be exactly content with that outcome. It would be far better if Milton was willing to learn a little more from Rueben than just how to successfully fling his spirit into space.

"Astral projection is like an out of body experience," he began, crossing his legs and leaning ever so slightly toward the curious boy. "You just close your eyes, breathe deeply and concentrate on breaking free of your body, lifting your spirit free. Then you can go wherever you want, hypothetically. Explore the universe. But don't expect to get it the first time...it takes a lot of practice and concentration. And it doesn't hurt to be high. That's how I learned, to be honest with you. But you can try now...there's got to be a first time for everything. I'll help you." He demonstrated those last words with minute but expressive hand gestures and facial expressions as per his usual dramatic affectation. This night was a production; in fact, every waking moment was a production. Even if he only marginally recognized it and didn't know for what audience he was acting, he kept doing it. It was second nature now; no, it was his first nature, his only nature. Rueben had become his disorder.

He didn't know what was going to happen next, but he guessed it wasn't going to involve any actual astral projection, as Rueben couldn't even do it successfully himself, let alone teach someone else to do it. What he hoped was that Milton would close his eyes and concentrate as instructed so that Rueben could help him to "relax" in a different way than he was probably expecting. Or maybe he was expecting it; he didn't know anything about the other boy aside from his name and the fact that he had a mostly agreeable disposition. And that was what he wanted. He didn't need backstory, to know what the other person was thinking or how they were feeling, aside from what they were thinking and how they were feeling about him. That was really the only thing that mattered. If that was twisted, then he was twisted. If that was cold, then he was cold. But it was the way things had always worked for Rueben, or at least for as long as he could remember, and this system of thought had never failed him before. It was everything else that had failed him.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:42 am

An out-of-body experience? Milton blinked. That was a natural thing? Having spent most of his life naive and sheltered - and he supposed he still was - Milton had always assumed things like that only happened under the influence of drugs, which he'd never touched. His friends weren't into that stuff and he'd never had the chance to find out whether or not he was. They'd been good kids, studious, more likely to be in bed by 9 p.m. than out partying like the stoners and budding alcoholics of their school. He suspected that James dabbled here and there, but he'd never really talked about it with Milton. He smoked cigarettes, and Milton thought he saw a joint tucked into his pack of Pall Malls once, but he hadn't asked. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what James got up to when he wasn't around. They made such good friends because they didn't ask too much of one another, didn't pry, and Milton had been okay with that arrangement up until now...mostly, anyway. James and Milton had been best friends since they were 10, but the latter always had an inkling that they weren't quite as close as they could be. He didn't know why he got that feeling. Maybe it was because he knew that James deliberately hid stuff from him, and also that he didn't return his feelings. Milton would have been thrilled to be more than best friends with occasional benefits, but James wasn't interested in him that way. He'd asked once, and the mortification he'd suffered upon receiving the unfavorable answer had shamed him enough that he'd never worked up the courage to ask again. Since he wasn't in Petersfield anymore, he supposed it was better that way.

"...And it doesn't hurt to be high."

Well, that answered that question then. "To be honest with you, I thought it was a drug thing until now. You know, something that only happened if you were stoned or something. I've never been, of course. I don't mean that drugs are stupid when I say that, only that I've never done them - never had the chance to - so I wouldn't know." Milton shrugged. He spent so much time quietly keeping to himself that when someone gave him a chance to speak, his mouth ran like a river over a broken levee. He hoped Rueben didn't mind. Milton wouldn't take offense if he told him to shut up; he was used to that kind of treatment. His father had always preferred his only child to be seen and not heard, so Milton had learned from a young age that when someone told you to stop talking, you heeded them, or you wouldn't like the consequences. One good thing Milton could say about his father was that he'd never hit him. When he didn't yield to his drunken demands, he was denied dinner, sent to his room, verbally bashed, some mortifying combination of all three, or forced to endure whatever creative punishment the man could make up on the spot, which was usually something like going down to the corner shop in subzero weather to fetch him a measly packet of crisps or polishing the toilet with his own toothbrush. Abuse was never good no matter what form or shape it decided to take, but he felt lucky - blessed, even - that his own hadn't been worse, and that Mr. Wenceslaus had lacked the ambition to beat him.

Milton didn't know if he'd do drugs if given the opportunity. It depended on who was offering, and how disappointed they'd be if he declined. Either way, he didn't want to think about it right now. He was supposed to be trying to astral project. Astrally project? Project astrally? How did one phrase such a thing? Rather than get caught up in the details, Milton listened to Rueben and nodded dutifully, smiling gratefully when the other boy said he'd help him. "So do you have a lot of experience with this then? It sounds really cool." Rueben was quite the character; there wasn't much Milton would put past him at this point. He was certainly a delight to watch, every gesture flamboyant and theatrical, as if he was playing to an audience of thousands rather than just one. Tilting his head, Milton realized that Rueben reminded him of some of the kids he'd worked with in drama; they got so into their characters that it was hard for them to slip back into their own skin afterwards. Rueben, however, wasn't playing a character. This was who he was. Resolving to think about it later, Milton closed his eyes, verdant forest and rich brown undergrowth momentarily concealed by the thick, girlish fringe of his eyelashes. Resting his hands loosely in his lap, palms turned toward the ceiling, he straightened his spine and focused on his breathing, letting the sound of it blot out the rest of the world as it left his lungs in a soft sigh and rushed back in like a boomerang returning to its owner's hand. If he was doing something wrong, hopefully Rueben would tell him. Until then, he was beginning to think that there really might be something to this. Even if he didn't end up projecting, the mere act of sitting still and being present with his body and breath was infinitely peaceful. He was glad he knew it now, because he might need to revisit it sometime.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:23 pm

"Drugs help, but they aren't everything. They crack the door open so you can step through, but you don't have to be high to do it. They definitely make things more interesting, though. When we get out of here, maybe we can go out and you can sample some of what the world has to offer in the way of illegal substances," Rueben said, smiling devilishly. He cursed the fact that they were locked in this damn place for the millionth time; he'd introduced more than one impressionable teen to the world of drugs, and would have gladly taken Milton out and showed him what a good time was. But Highgrove and its vigilant staff made that impossible, made anything that could be even remotely enjoyable impossible. It was starting to get old. He was ready to get out of here and head off on his own direction, experience some new things, go to some different places. He was hoping to be completely his own man by 1970. The more realistic thought that he'd probably just end up back in London in Aunt Carol's flat was just depressing, so he avoided it. Rueben Westwood, man of the world sounded much more inspiring.

"Yeah. Plenty of experience," Rueben murmured in reply to his query, not quite sure what he himself was even referring to anymore. He knew that he was being asked, but he wasn't certain of the exact meaning of his own answer. Plenty of experience with astral projection, with drugs, with sex? All three? He was just a worldly guy, wasn't he? Rueben experienced a moment of powerful self-loathing that lingered with a depressing sourness in his chest. Nevertheless, he continued, "Don't be afraid; nothing bad will happen. Just relax." For a moment, he wondered if something bad could happen. If you could wander out of your body and be unable to return. Would it be like dying, or worse? Would your body keep breathing while you drifted about in the ether, not exactly living but not dead either? Getting lost in space was at once a frightening and an exhilarating thought, but he pushed it out of his mind. There were more pressing matters to attend to at present.

Rueben pondered the boy before him for a moment; in the half-light, he looked like a statue of an angel praying. He'd never done much praying himself, but he imagined that was what it looked like if one were able and inclined to. Aunt Carol had taken him to church every Sunday, but she was never praying during the services. He could tell because she was eyeing him instead, and that wasn't any prayer that any goodhearted god wanted anything to do with. Among the frilly, elderly churchgoing women and fidgety children, beside his predatory aunt, Rueben had never been able to find a single word that even resembled prayer. One side of his mouth quirked upwards as he raked his eyes over the semi-religious figure before him. There was a new religion seizing hold of his world, and more widely, over the entire world, and darkened rooms were its church. Tangled sheets and sweaty bodies were its offerings. This was the only religion he knew, and the only one he could follow anymore. Scooting so that he faced the boy directly, their knees touching slightly, Rueben first ran his fingertips up and down Milton's open hands, intoning,

"Let go. Explore the universe." Swirling his fingertips in spirals around the other boy's palms, Rueben leaned in to kiss the skin just in front of his ear, whispering,

"There is no future and no past, just infinite space all around you, just you and I in that infinite space. Relax." He was trying to go for an enigmatic, mystical feel, and maybe he was succeeding. He couldn't tell; for some reason, he was having a hard time believing his own words this time. But it wasn't going to stop him. By the time this was over, he would buy into his own bullshit again, and everything would be right. The physical approval of one more conquest would make everything right.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:41 pm

The blanket around his shoulders slipped to the mattress with a soft whisper of fleece against cotton, but Milton didn't notice. Body heat coalesced in the space between them now, eliminating the need for added garments. His skin felt flushed and tingled faintly, he noticed, and was that a normal thing when trying to accomplish such a feat as astral projection, or was it just because Rueben's fingers were softly stroking the skin of his palms? Milton was trying not to let it distract him from his efforts, but it felt nice. Really nice. No one had ever done that before, and it was amazing to him that he'd never known what a sensitive spot it was. His breath sighed through his nostrils, and without thinking he hummed a low sound of pleasure trapped halfway between a whimper and a groan when it touched his lips. When Rueben's mouth found the delicate flesh in front of his ear, he was frozen in place... and completely unsure of what to do, how to react. Was this part of the process, or was Rueben just using it as an excuse to get close to him? If it was the latter, should he be offended? If anything, Milton found it flattering. It wasn't often he was the one getting attention. He was used to pursuing others in his own unusual way: being near and available when he thought they might need him, offering hugs and kisses to help them feel better -- or anything else it was within his realm of skill to do, really. He'd picked up a lot by hiding and observing in his shuffles from home to home, but he never presumed to act with someone he barely knew, and Rueben was relatively unknown to him still. But should it matter when he was so lonely, so bereft of human connection? The lines between what Milton considered wrong and right were blurring rapidly, growing confused, but it kind of made sense when he didn't know much about anything anymore.

Ultimately, he wanted to do something to reciprocate but wasn't sure what, and maybe Rueben didn't want him to move just yet. Maybe they were still trying to do what they'd said at the beginning, though he was becoming ever more suspicious that that was no longer the case. "Let go. Explore the universe." He wanted to... oh, did he want to, but the universe and its mysteries were eluding his grasp, and he was no more out of his body now than he'd been five minutes ago, when he hadn't been trying. "I don't know if I can," he murmured, his brow dipping in frustration. "I'm relaxed, but I don't think I can leave my body. I'm too... too aware of it." His eyelids parted drowsily then, the look behind them dreamy and almost drugged, only half-focused as he searched for Rueben's face in the darkness.

He remembered other nights like this, or nearly so. They'd had the same atmosphere, midnight rendezvous and breathy whispers as Milton tried not to get caught awake at such a late hour. Samuel and Stephen didn't have bunk beds, but that hadn't stopped Milton from crawling under the sheets with them, usually one at a time, and exchanging heated, exploratory caresses under the cover of thick, velvet darkness. Milton was eager to please, and he'd wanted to make them feel good, so he'd done a lot of practicing on the twins in the two years he'd spent with the Richmonds. He'd known then that it would come in handy later. It wasn't unusual for him to think back on those nights with fondness, usually when he was lying alone in bed and staring at the bottom of Cecil's bunk. Perhaps he shouldn't have done those things, but he'd liked it and, more importantly, he missed it. His desperation to be close to someone again made it seem a wonder that he'd managed to restrain himself from jumping the first person who looked at him sideways. Then again, he was watched more closely here than he'd been anywhere else. It wasn't as easy as it should have been, otherwise he might have already tried with someone. Also, Highgrove was full of people he wasn't sure he could trust not to kill him in his sleep, which made the business all the more tricky. He didn't want to get attached to someone - in any shape, way, or form - who was going to try and hurt him later. He'd been hurt enough already.

Milton watched Rueben's face carefully, his eyes glittering like precious jewels set in alabaster stone. "Should I try again?" He whispered. "Maybe tonight's not the night for it." He shrugged languidly and dusted a pretend speck of lint off of the other boy's knee where it touched his.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:37 pm

"It's okay. Sometimes it's hard to focus your mind all the way. You can try again later, if you want. By yourself, or I can help again," Rueben said, smiling encouragingly. "Sometimes you're too present in your body to leave it. Sometimes trying to leave it makes you even more aware of it. Maybe I'm just not a very good teacher." He shrugged, meeting Milton's gaze with a playful, amused ease. The only reason he was able to admit it was because he hadn't been trying; usually, it was nearly impossible to admit his failures out loud, unless it was an attempt to get someone to disagree with him. This had been almost too easy so far. Further encouraged by the look on the other boy's face and the contact with his knee, Rueben reached out to brush Milton's lower lip with his thumb, asking softly,

"Hey...would you mind if I kissed you?" There was no use in being subtle, being dreamy anymore. The universe had already spoken, and it had said 'go for it'. He thought that he had the other boy sufficently entranced, but it never hurt to ask. Sometimes you just did things, and sometimes you asked first. Rueben was good at finding the line, reading a person's body, their face, deciding which road to take. Being a charming little fuck was his only talent -- he suppressed the new surge of self-loathing that came with this thought, accompanied by the strange hollow feeling that had been haunting him on and off recently. Time seemed to be spinning itself in circles, repeating itself, making Rueben its slave. He'd given up counting conquests a long time ago. In the endless loop of his actions, his life, it somehow had ceased to matter. A lot of things had.

He thought about adding something about how attractive he found the other boy, but thought that that might have been overkill just then. He'd already said enough with his body language. Milton was extremely attractive, aesthetically appealing, and Rueben appreciated that, but that didn't really matter in the long run; he would be lying if he cited that as his primary motivation. This was more about him than it was ever about the other person, more about attaining affection than giving it. The beauty factor never hurt, though. Leaning forward until their foreheads were almost touching, he continued,

"I mean, you can say no; I wouldn't be offended. But..." The implied 'why would you want to?' hung in the air for a moment before he continued to speak, shrugging his shoulders slightly. "I'll just go back to my bed if you want me to." His eyes flicked in the direction of his bunk, which he hoped not to have to revisit tonight. But in an encounter like this, it was important to offer the person an out. Rueben didn't like to feel like he was pressuring anyone into anything; he wasn't a rapist, he was a lover. There was nothing nice about being with someone who would rather not, not that he hadn't been there before, seen both sides of that unpleasant coin. There was a certain risk you took when you went out to get high in London; eventually, either you would take advantage of someone or someone would take advantage of you. Trying once again to shove aside these unsavory recollections, he smiled his most winning smile and waited for whatever response that the other boy would make.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:47 am

"You're not a bad teacher," Milton protested softly, smiling. There was something about Rueben that put him at ease, made him feel comfortable, in a one-on-one setting like this. Never before had it occurred to him that Rueben could be such pleasant company. Whenever he saw the other boy, he was usually strutting down the corridor like it was a catwalk, tossing his hair back, flashing charming smiles to everyone like he was handing out pamphlets, and not paying the least bit of attention to Milton unless their paths happened to cross and he showed up on his radar. He wasn't one to complain though. It was just odd how there seemed to be two different faces to him: daytime Rueben and nighttime Rueben. So far, he liked nighttime Rueben better, though there was arguably nothing wrong with the daytime version. He just wasn't as...accessible then. Too many people watching, perhaps. Too many distractions. Milton could relate to that, even if he dealt with it in a different way, keeping to himself when things got overwhelming and the external stimuli of everyday living was too much to bear.

As Rueben's thumb brushed Milton's lower lip, he could barely believe what he was hearing. This radiant creature wanted to kiss him? Granted, Milton was the only one around (and awake) at the moment, but he still considered it a great compliment to his person. It didn't occur to him that Rueben probably did this with most people he met, and even if it had, he couldn't have drudged up the motivation to care. All he knew was that he was lonely and in need of connection, and the boy sitting across from him was more than willing to provide it. Milton's self-esteem wasn't lacking insomuch as he thought himself unpleasant to look at, but he honestly didn't consider his physical appearance that much, so it came as a nice surprise to think that Rueben found him appealing enough to want to kiss. When he looked in the mirror he typically saw a pale boy who went unnoticed by the populace at large, and he was okay with that most days. He'd never wanted to be the most brilliant or popular kid at school; he just wanted someone to see him, to care for him as he cared for them. He didn't know if it would come to that with Rueben, but he wasn't the one asking anything, so he expected nothing.

"Of course you can," he breathed, and his heart fluttered against his ribs like the wings of a caged bird beating against the bars that kept it from being free. "I'd like that...very much. It's...it's been a long time since... Please don't go." A part of him knew that he shouldn't be doing this; he could get in trouble if they were caught. Another part didn't care and was more than willing to accept the consequences of his transgression, and that was assuming they were caught together anyway. If someone came in they could just flatten themselves against the mattress and hope for the best.

As if the words themselves weren't enough, Milton's fingers splayed against Rueben's leg just above his knee, tentatively plucking at the fabric of his pajama bottoms to assure himself that all of this was real and he wasn't dreaming. If it was a dream, he hoped he wasn't bound to wake up anytime soon. Wasn't that the way it usually worked with good dreams? One moment you were in the arms of your unrequited crush and the next you were lying in bed, alone in the dark with your body in turmoil, which you then had to try and hide as you headed to the showers to prepare for the day ahead. Totally unfair. But Rueben felt real enough, and the heat of his flesh through the thin cotton was so inviting it was almost sinful. His other hand came up to slide behind Rueben's neck, fingers twining in the short hairs that he found there. Mouth open in anticipation, Milton tilted his head back, waiting for those promised lips to descend upon his. Surely he wouldn't back out now. He would be so terribly disappointed if that happened. He needed this. Briefly, the thought flickered through his mind that it was Cecil, the boy asleep in the bed below them, that he'd rather be kissing, but beggars couldn't be choosers, and Rueben Westwood was nothing to sniff at.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:12 pm

Rueben hadn't expected Milton to be quite so receptive to his advances, but it was a pleasant surprise, more than pleasant, in fact. All other emotions fled, all his careful planning and building up went crashing to the ground in a heap. His night was back on track; it was like nothing bad had ever happened. This was the improv moment, perhaps his favorite moment in any encounter of even a vaguely sexual nature. The moment when he'd reeled the person in, when he no longer had to hold himself back and smile and cajole and be cute and appealing. When he no longer had to be himself, to listen to himself, when he could concentrate on melting into the other person and making himself a part of them. When he could take what he actually wanted -- their body heat, every inch of their skin; could make sure they remembered him, liked him, took away a portion of his anguish. He couldn't care less about getting in trouble, about guilt or about propriety, about anything anymore than each point of contact he shared with the other boy. That was all that mattered now, and it was likely all that would matter until sleep or daylight took priority.

Rueben smiled his trademark devil's grin and ran his tongue over his lips in what was almost an absent way, thinking, observing what willing piece of flesh was before him, holding onto him, wanting him. Bracing his hands on the insides of Milton's thighs, massaging lightly, Rueben leaned in and closed his mouth around the other boy's. He worked his way in slowly, first soft and gentle and then growing steadily more ferocious. The taste and texture of the lips against his intoxicating, as kisses usually were. Everyone was different. No two people had the same lips, the same hands, the same reactions or facial expressions or kinks. He'd learned this through experience; every single kiss he'd ever had had been different, every person he'd ever spent a night with had left their own unique imprint on his memory. He thought that even if this promiscuity was abnormal, people should try it anyway just to see what everyone around them tasted like. What was so weird about that? Too many people suppressed their curiosity, and that was a crime. People should be frowning at those who were with too few people instead of those who were with too many, in Rueben's humble opinion.

After a while, a few days, a week, it would be like this never had happened. Despite any desire Rueben had to create a lasting bond with anyone, it was futile, impossible. For him, securing affection was a flash flood deal, a lightening moment that ended just as it begun. There was no sustaining it or holding onto it; best enjoy it while it lasted. That undoubtedly made him selfish, narcissistic and more than a little cruel, but there was no helping it. He required stimulation, love, a tender touch, but whenever he tried to prolong that touch, everything fell apart. The knowledge that there were other people around, other people who were all just as willing and warm as the next, was overwhelming. He wasn't built for monogamy, and so far he was just fine with that. The fact that this meant about as much to him emotionally as washing dishing didn't seem strange; it just seemed practical, a mutual favor done out of mutual desire. Was there supposed to be something else to it?
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:34 pm

Boys like Rueben were never going to find Milton unreceptive to their advances, unless he declined out of some noble sense of loyalty to another person. The brief thought occurred to him that he shouldn't be doing this in Cecil's bed, especially not when he liked the other boy so much, but they were only friends, so in the end Milton didn't feel as beholden to him as he would have if things had been different. Sure, there was a part of him that certainly wanted to be devoted to him in that way, but things weren't like that, not yet, so why not try to have some fun in the meantime? Besides, as far as he knew, all he and Cecil would ever be was friends, so it wouldn't do to get his hopes up too high and hold out for something that had a snowball's chance in hell of happening. His other roommate liked him well enough, he could tell, but did he like him enough to kiss him the same way Rueben was? Milton just didn't know, and that uncertainty was enough to drive him into the arms of anyone else willing to give him the affection he craved. What was it that Smiths song had said? I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does. Yes, that was exactly it. For Milton, truer words had never been spoken.

Granted, Milton knew things were Rueben weren't bound to go any further than this. It was just a feeling he got, an intuitive understanding that Rueben did this kind of thing all the time. Milton wasn't the first and he wouldn't be the last. Lucky for him then that he didn't expect to be loved by this peculiar young man, at least not in an emotional sense. Physical intimacy was one of love's many manifestations - at least Milton thought so - but there were so many of them, and so many variations on them, that it was easy to get confused. He'd made enough of his own mistakes in the past to know when to be cautious... or so he thought. Unbeknownst to Milton, the reality was that no matter what he thought, it could all be undone at the end of the day if the object of his affections willed it so. No matter how much he wanted this, if Cecil woke up and told him to stop, he would. The seeds of dependence had been planted the first day they'd met, and Milton was already in too deep to do anything about it. The only way he could be convinced to stop thinking of the other boy as a potential lover was if Cecil demanded it of him, and then he'd just find someone else to latch onto, requiring the kind of stability only a ruling influence could give.

Those thoughts all fled him as Rueben kissed him, hands straying up his thighs. Milton gasped a little into the other boy's mouth, but folded into the embrace with ease, his stomach flip-flopping, pulse desperately aflutter. Rueben was good at this, drawing upon years of experience, but just how many years Milton was blissfully ignorant of. Would it have made a difference if he had known that Rueben wasn't among the breathing, bleeding living? It would have freaked him out, to be sure, but lips were lips and hands were hands all the same, and the ones that were on him now were impressively, delightfully skilled in ways he'd only ever dreamed of. He got the sense that he was kissing someone much older than he appeared to be, but squashed the impulse to question why, melting under the possessive heat of his mouth. Milton opened like a flower at Rueben's every provocation, the hand behind his neck sliding down and the one on his knee venturing up to rest against his chest as he explored the unfamiliar taste of his mouth, meeting his passion with an equal measure of his own. In a scenario like this, Milton was hardly the meek boy everyone had come to know him as, and he reveled in the opportunity to be anything but himself and whatever his roommate wanted him to be.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Alexander Lance on Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:25 am

Alex wasn't really a fan of the night shift, but he wasn't exactly going to complain about it. His security team here wasn't exactly big enough to avoid the duty, even if he did spend most of it drinking tea and playing around on ebay on his phone. Sooner or later he was going to end up buying another car or two to go with his precious Interceptor, the one thing he'd kept in storage when he'd headed off to Dubai. It was in need of some work, the engine wasn't running at all well, down a cylinder and making one hell of a racket, but that was work for the daytime, and not the middle of winter. Once it started to warm up a bit he might even let himself buy that Caterham he'd been eyeing up for years, what better way to christen a new flat than buy building a kit car in it? This time, he might not even spill hydraulic fluid and oil all over everything. Maybe.

Sighing, he stopped looking at other people's abandoned projects on ebay, he was eyeing up an old mk 2 Escort, with some hare brained idea to run in a local amateur rally league (if he could even find one) or at least a classic touring car race. What could possibly go wrong with that? He had work to do though, no sense in spending too long dwelling on plans for toys and games. Setting his empty hug on the counter in the warden's station, and putting the kettle on, he stepped out into the darkness, torch in hand. Time to check on the bedrooms, he supposed. The kids had been surprisingly well behaved so far, though anyone could tell that wasn't going to last long. Still, at least he wasn't getting shot at here, and dumping a few unruly teenagers into padded cells for the night beat the hell out of the other options.

Dorms one and two in the boy's wing checked out okay, no sign of any shenanigans just yet, but as he cracked open door number three, it seemed he'd have to deal with his first pair of troublemakers. Bonus points if he could do it without waking the rest of the hallway, let alone the room. The two boys seemed rather...preoccupied as he entered, torch in hand, though he kept the light turned off for the moment. Casually, he walked up to the bed, turning it on once he'd got over to them. "Evening, gents." he said, keeping his voice low, just in case the other occupants of the room slept like hibernating bears. "Care to tell me what you think you're doing?" he added. "Break it up, now, and get back to your own bunk, or it's seclusion for both of you." he continued, his tone turning very stern, very quickly. He meant it too, if they were stupid enough to do this in their own dorm, not even pretending to be subtle, he saw no reason not to. As it was, he'd be suggesting a dorm change, as if the shrinks would listen.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Rueben Westwood on Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:04 am

This was, metaphorically speaking, of course, what Rueben lived for. This was his element, where he felt most comfortable. Some people could play instruments, some were good at sports, but he was good at touching people in all the right ways. How helpful a talent this was to have was unclear, but he could hardly stop doing it now, hardly stop looking for this like a heat-seeking missile. It was hard to rid yourself of the thought, the compulsion after it had taken root: this is the way, the only way, that I can get whatever I want. It would be near impossible ever to relinquish this escape, this incredible closeness to another person, the thrill of attaining every iota of their attention. Nothing could replace it. The hands that rested on Milton's thighs slid up to his hips; he was ready to seal this deal, but suddenly...the door creaked open. Rueben pulled away from the other boy and swore under his breath. Fucking security on their damned night checks, probably. Leave it to the staff to ruin this night like they ruined everything else. And talking his way out of this one was going to be harder than it had been with Dr. Zvarich in the attic -- these circumstances were significantly more extenuating, harder to explain away.

"And I was having so much fun, too," he whispered as the intruder crossed the room. "Don't worry. I'll take care of this."

A light clicked on in his face, harsh and white and totally ruining the mood that they had created in the top of bunk one. It made it even worse that the person on the other end of the torch was a man; men were significantly harder to finesse than their softer female counterparts. Telling a man that he looked ravishing was probably just going to get you kicked down to seclusion doubly fast. Nevertheless, Rueben switched off the unique charm he had used on Milton to get up here in the first place, and turned on the more wholesome charm he reserved for angry adults shining torches into his face in the middle of the night. The transition was almost seamless, ruined only by his slightly heavy breathing and his no doubt flushed appearance. He blinked in the light and smiled a small, guilty smile.

"Sorry," Rueben began, searching his brain for the stern, unpleasant man's name. Officer, officer, officer something...a medieval weapon...flail, broadsword...Lance! "Officer Lance. Milton had a bad dream, and I was just comforting him." He only glanced at the other boy in periphery, to give him a 'go with it' look; God only knew what type of liar he was. Maybe he'd be one of the deer in the headlights kids, like Beth, or maybe he'd been born spouting falsehoods. Either way, Rueben was used to doing all the lying, and he had yet to meet someone who was better at it than he was. So he kept the train of untruths going, scooting a little farther away from the other inhabitant of the bunk, distancing himself from the crime little by little.

"I was just about to go back to bed when you came in," he lied, edging toward the ladder. "Very thorough job you're doing, incidentally." Getting caught bothered Rueben very little; he actually didn't mind it sometimes. Tonight, he would have preferred to have been left alone with his willing roommate, but there were other times when getting caught was almost as amusing at the actual rendez-vous. It just meant more eyes watching him, more people taking notice, one more human being that would remember him. And that, not anything else, no matter how things appeared, was what it was all about. He casually climbed down from the bunk, giving both the guard and the boy in the bunk a smile and a murmured goodnight over his shoulder as he returned to his own little corner of the room. Rueben had tasted blood in the water, and now there was no security guard or random midnight check that could keep him away from bunk one in times of dire need. It was nice knowing there was something solid to turn to, a real person. Just knowing it guaranteed that he would sleep better...tomorrow night. The rest of this night was going to be long and sleepless.
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Milton Wenceslaus on Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:46 pm

Like the night the twins' father came in to check on them, the night that would seal his fate and get him kicked out of his second foster home, Milton didn't hear the door creak open until it was too late to hide. Rueben was quick to reassure him that he'd handle the situation, which meant that he'd probably lie about it. With the ease with which Rueben got into the good graces of others, he was no doubt experienced at telling them what they wanted to hear. Was there anything he wasn't good at? Milton was breathless when the kiss ended, and unspeakably glad that the other boy was willing to step up to the plate on this one. He'd always been terrible at explaining himself. Whatever he said, the words always seemed to come out wrong, loose and jumbled and lacking the conviction he felt deep down. He was bad at lying, really, but if he could make himself believe that the falsehood was true, he could back it up sufficiently. Of course it had been a bad dream, and since Rueben was the only one awake, he'd offered to help Milton calm down and get back to sleep. That was all.

The light from the torch momentarily blinded him, and he blinked rapidly to clear his eyes and stop them from stinging. The tears were very real, even if they were only on account of the glare and not brought about by fear or regret. Admittedly, he was a little nervous that the security guard was going to follow through on his threats, but if he looked sorry enough, hopefully he'd take pity on him and keep him from spending the rest of the night in seclusion. Milton hadn't been there yet and didn't particularly want to know what it was like. He'd heard enough to paint a vivid mental image of it, enough to know that it wasn't a place he wanted to be. "I'm sorry, Officer," he lamented, pulling the blanket over his lap in an attempt to conceal the fervid state his body was in. God damn it all to hell. Sleep was going to be evasive for the rest of the night no matter what happened. "It's like Rueben said." Looking appropriately remorseful, Milton added to the effect by sniffling pathetically and wiping at damp eyes with the backs of his fingers. "I was having a bad dream, and he was nice enough to want to help, but we should have known better. It won't happen again, I swear."

The last part was true, at least. Milton didn't intend for it to happen again, not at this very moment. He wasn't thinking that far ahead because he didn't typically plan for encounters like this in advance. All he knew was that he'd done something wrong and been caught, and that it couldn't happen again if he wanted to keep himself from becoming a target for the staff. He sincerely didn't want to lose what he had at Highgrove, even if it wasn't much. For one, he liked his dorm and roommates and considered it more of a home than any of the other places he'd ever been. There were people here who cared about him, who weren't going to give up on him the first time he made a mistake. Even if he didn't always agree with their methods, he knew that they acted the way they did because they wanted to help. They had to, otherwise why bother? He often forgot that these people were being paid for it, and hardly ever considered personal agendas or malicious motives, because it wasn't as if he had any of his own. He just wanted somewhere to belong. It was a basic human desire he was sure everyone had or could somehow relate to. Naivete, thy name is Milton.

Wide-eyed, Milton watched Rueben return to his bunk, offering a distracted little wave when he said goodnight. "Sorry again," he murmured, peeking at Officer Lance through an inky sheaf of hair. "I'll go back to sleep."
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Re: Walking in Space [open]

Post  Alexander Lance on Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:48 pm

Alex wasn't entirely surprised by the response he got from the two boys, and while he knew he should probably haul them both off to seclusion right now, he refrained. They'd get off with a warning and some notes, this time, assuming they didn't do anything really, really stupid. "Don't insult my intelligence." he replied to Reuben, stepping to the side to clear the ladder for the boy. If he was getting down, and actually meant it, they could get this all wrapped up and Alex could get back to shopping around in short order. That wasn't a bad result really, even if it did involve letting the two off. Still, first offences and all that, the psychiatric staff could decide on the actual punishments for them. The other boy was, rather predictably, backing the lie up, and it wasn't as though the guard had any actual proof they were up to anything else. What else could he do?

"If I catch you two at it again, you'll be in seclusion so fast you won't know what hit you." he said as Reuben made it back to his own bunk. Keeping the more...colourful metaphors under control wasn't always easy, but he'd managed it this time. "You do that." he added, nodding to Milton, before turning and starting back towards the doors. "This will be dealt with properly in the morning. Go to sleep, and stay out of trouble. Both of you." he said once he was at the door, flicking the torch between them, before stepping out into the hallway. This was why he needed more staff, better equipment and a much larger budget, though he was never going to get any of those. Anyone could see that. Closing the door behind him, he walked away, intending to return in a few minutes, just to be on the safe side. Horny teenagers were impossible to control.

Making his way back to the nurses station, he dug out the requisite paperwork, and while the tea was brewing, one for him, one for the nurse, he just got on with it. hardly the most exciting part of the job, but at least it was peaceful, and at least there was tea.
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