Sins of the Father
"Lieutenant, just stop it. Stop it! You didn't give a shit about my father, and you give a womprat's ass for me! Stop trying to play nice, just stop it!!" Kell Tainer, the son of a former squadmate of Wes Janson's, was wracked with sobs.
Janson watched the big, well-built man fall against the wall and curl up into a fetal position, covering his face with his big, roughened hands. Tainer was the squadron's back-up mechanic, and had been helping putting the ship back together after a recent battle. Janson had stopped when he spotted him to offer encouragement and thanks. But before he could get halfway through his very genuine compliment, Tainer had broken down and was now a shaking ball on the floor of the quiet corridor.
Janson had been forced to kill Kell's father nearly a decade before - half of Kell's lifetime ago. Kell had applied to join the squadron before realizing that the man he considered his father's murderer was the second-in-command and executive officer, behind the legendary Wedge Antilles.
Tainer continued to sob, "It's torture. Why are you waiting? Why don't you burn me down, too, you monster!"
Tainer leapt at Janson and knocked him over, pinning him to the deck. Janson, though shorter, was no less strong, and a fierce wrestler. However, he did not have the hand-to-hand combat training Tainer had received, and the bigger man managed to get one knee hooked over the Lieutenant's spine. So this is how I end up dying, thought Wes, not in combat, but the wraith nightmare from my past catches up to me. He was startled at how calm he felt, I guess its time to pay.
But the survivalist in Janson wouldn't let him not protest, "Kell! Get off me! You're wrong, dammit! I cared for your father! Even loved him! And he loved me! Do you hear me, Kell? He LOVED ME!"
Kell growled as he pressed Janson's head onto the tile flooring, "Shut up! He hated you! I hate you! You murdered him!" He had lost control and was starting to beat Janson's head into the deck.
Janson let him vent his anger. The rhythmic banging of his head was predictable and focused Kell's anger. Kell was distracted enough that Janson was easily able to use the tempo to pull himself quickly up to his knees, knocking over Kell with his elbow and shoulder in the process. Kell's intense, ice-blue eyes were still glowering at him as he fell onto his back. Before he could scramble up, Janson was on him, sitting on his chest, kness on the man's triceps, hands on his wrists, out of harm's way.
He let Kell struggle and flail uselessly. Janson grimaced, trying to swallow his emotions, He looks so much like his dear father.
Finally, Kell was exhausted, his energy expended, and he lay unresisting on the deck. His eyes were closed. He imagined his career was dead. They'd drum him out, not even with the capacity to get a transfer back to demolitions and commandos. The dishonorable discharge would torpedo any other civilian career he might have planned, too. Tears started to moisten his eyes. All because he couldn't control his fear and anger at the man who was sitting on his chest right now.
Janson leaned down, then started to whisper. Kell didn't want to hear anything he had to say, but Janson's lips were right in his ear, and he was going nowhere.
"I will say this only once, so listen to me Kell. I knew your father. Knew him. Do you understand?"
So what? thought Kell, Are you going to tell me what a great man he was, Lieutenant?
Janson whispered again, "I was young. He was older. He volunteered to fight with the Tierfon Yellow Aces because he wasn't a ... family man. He told me had to get away, gracefully. Wasn't that right, Kell? Your mother's reaction to the "dishonor" of being shot down - it wasn't because of being killed as a coward, was it? It was the dishonor inherent in their relationship? Your mother knew, and your older sisters knew. Think about it. Set honesty to 'on,' Kell."
Kell's eyes shot open. That's what Tyria, his lover, had said to him when he made passes at her, back when the squadron was being formed. Had Jason ... and Tyria ...? That bastard! His gut started burning again with hate for his superior officer.
Janson saw Kell's look, and shook his head, "You're not listening. This is not about me and Tyria. This is about me ... and your father."
Kell's eyes widened further as realization set in. Janson... and his father? Lovers? No! That wasn't possible! Kell managed to griound out a tight reply, "He hated you! You murdered him!"
Janson looked sad and bleak. He eased up on Kell's arms, and settled for sitting on the big man's stomach. Janson leaned down, placing his head on Kell's head, and his arms around Kell's shoulders. His eyes bore into the younger man's, "I had to. The whole squadron would have died if I hadn't. Me and Jek were sent to pursue him, because they knew I would do anything to save him if I could. But I swore an oath to the Alliance, to put it's needs above my own, and I lost the first ... great love of my life. My first kill ...
Kell was rigid with shock at hearing Janson's confession, convinced the Lieutenant was lying, was mocking him, readying him for the next blow. But Janson became more mournful as he continued talking, "Your mother told me to stay away from all of you, and I've complied. I didn't know the new name she had chosen, or that you'd run off to Sluis Van. But the gods are just, and they delivered you to Wraith Squadron. To punish me."
Tears had formed on Janson's eye, and were flowing softly onto Kell.
In that moment, Kell looked up and suddenly saw Janson as his father might have seen him. The young man he was years before - talented, energetic, a true warrior. A beautiful, almost violent youth, too lucky to die, too good for death. A man capable of killing, and of great love. And this man was crying over ... Kell's father?
His hands moving without thought, Kell reached up to rub Janson's back, and Janson slid off of Kell's stomach, beside him, against the bulwark. The two men embraced, comforting each other in the memory of the man they both missed, who had meant so much to each of them.
Janson sighed, looking into Kell's face, which had softened as he came to understand. Janson reached over and traced the man's face with his fingers, "You inherited everything from Kissek. I've had to try not to yell out every time I see you. One moment, I feel the gods have blessed me, then I realize it's not Kissek ..."
Kell's hand was behind the Lieutenant's head, and he quickly pulled the other man's lips to his, and kissed him fiercely. I'm doing this to shut him up, thought Kell. But his body knew better. Soon, both men were rolling over each other, touching, grabbing, kissing. Both breathed hard, with an intense passion neither could deny. Kell stood up quickly, and grabbed Janson into a firefighter's carry and ran down the corridor. Janson, for his part, was overcome, and decided to accept whatever fate Kell bestowed upon him. There would be no resistance from him.
They reached Kell's quarters, which he shared with Runt Ekwesh, the humanoid Thaakwash. Runt was inexplicably away, and the bunks were empty. Janson later learned that Runt was bunking with Shalla Nelprin, the squad's Imperial ops and hand-to-hand combat specialist. He wondered what that was about.
But right now, he had no concerns. Kell dumped him hard enough onto the first bunk to make Janson dizzy, and started stripping the Lieutenant. In a daze, Janson did not resist, but he caught his breath when Kell peeled off his mechanic's coveralls, to reveal he wore nothing beneath. Janson was wrong - Kell was not exactly like his father.
Kell threw himself atop Janson, pinning down his body, tonguing his mouth, rubbing himself on the man's perfectly-honed body. He put his lips right in Janson's ear, and murmurred fiercely, "You shot my father. And now I'm going to shoot you."
* * * * *** * * * *
Long after Janson had left for his own quarters, Kell found himself replaying over and over in his mind what he had done earlier that night. Long ago, it had been one of his fantasies to rape Janson and to kill him in the name of his father. It was the most degrading thing he could think of as a suffering young boy.
Though the two men would continue to work and fight side-by-side, there would be no further bunching of muscles when they met in the hallways, or clumsy attempts to avoid one another. And though there was never a repetition of the actions of that night, Kell knew now that Janson was no monster, and his father actually had been guilty of failing the squad that fateful day. Janson was satisfied that Kissek's son at last knew the truth from his own point of view, and he had been - at long last - been able to confess the nature of his first love affair. The truth bound the men, and set them free of their demons. Their shared secrets calmed their relationship, filling it with an inexplicable respect for one another.
Wedge Antilles, commander of Wraith Squadron, noticed the change immediately, and asked Janson what was going on. He'd been thrown a noncommittal answer about Kell and him finally getting comfortable with each other. This confused Wedge; knowing the secret that kept both men apart, it didn't seem likely. And it wasn't like Wes to be hiding anything from Wedge - unless he was deliberately trying to annoy him. This was completely possible, of course.
Wedge also knew that Wes was flirting very openly with Tyria, Kell's lover, and even observed Janson standing behind her, sensuously massaging her neck and shoulders with Kell in complete view of the incident. To his surprise, Kell just smirked, and Tyria just smiled, closed her eyes, and leaned into Janson - none of the expected bulging veins or eyes and clenching teeth or fists. Things must have changed way past "comfortable" for such a thing to be happening.
Wedge sat in his office contemplating these things. He sighed, massaged his eyesockets in an attempt to dispel his confusion, and felt older and more tired. Let good situations remain that way, Antilles. I'm sure I really don't want to know ...
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