Over the days that followed, as Sys grew stronger and they got to know each other, they danced around each other, not making eye contact, jumping whenever they inadvertently touched.
“You can’t be hungry again. You say you don’t eat every day, and then you start scoffing down everything in sight that can’t run away, and some things that can.”
Sys grinned. “I’m hungry,” he said simply.
“Well, we’re out of meat.”
“Thatss okay. I’ll hunt.”
“I’m not keen on you doing that.”
“I know we’re pretty remote and there’re no people around for miles but, if you were seen… And there’s always the risk that the leak at the laboratory’ll be found. If they track you here, you’d be helpless.”
“I am never helplesss, Dee. Never.”
“You were in there.”
“No. Not even in there. When I really had to, I got free.”
“Why did you wait?”
“My mind wassn’t right.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I came I wass hurt and frightened. I sslept and when I woke I wass ththere. At firsst it wassn’t sso bad. Ththen they hurt me, but I wass… clouded and not th…thinking. When I realissed what wass happening, I knew I had to get out and I did.”
“Simple as that.”
“Not ssimple, Dee. I had to fight. I had to run with no clothess on. And then… ththen I wass ssomewhere elsss.”
“My friends at the laboratory are not exactly what they seem. They have ways of transporting people large distances very quickly. I guess you ran into one of them, without realising. It must have been accidental, though, because they usually send people much closer to the house, and they didn’t contact me to let me know you were coming. It was pure chance I found you.”
“Ththere iss no chanss. It wass meant.”
“So you say.”
“I do. But I musst hunt. I am very hungry. My sstomach hurtss.”
“Your stomach hurts? Are you okay?”
“Oh yess. Jusst hungry… I think.” He frowned, then smiled brightly. “Yess, jusst hungry.”
“Where will you hunt? What will you hunt?”
“Everywhere. Whatever I can. I will not be long. I will be back, very ssoon.”
“Wait…” But it was too late, he’d gone, slipping out of the door, so fast Dee had no chance of stopping him, if he’d wanted to. Dee watched him go.
Sys had gained condition since coming to the cabin. In fact, although Dee would never have said so, his constant hunger had led to him putting on quite a bit of weight. The clothes Dee had given him, when he’d first got out of bed, were tight now. Dee smiled. That wasn’t a bad thing. Sys had really been too slender. Now, he was the picture of health. He was sleek and sharp and strong; his eyes bright and his movements quick and smooth. Dee couldn’t take his eyes off him.
And it wasn’t just the way he looked. He was sweet and gentle, but rose to flaming passion at the slightest provocation. His anger was fast and furious, but short lived; his enthusiasm addictive and his sorrow deep and heartbreaking. He felt everything, so strongly and so deeply, that Dee couldn’t help but get caught up in it…every time. Just thinking about it, he smiled and his heart fluttered. Hurrying to the door, his eyes scanned the snow. Nothing moved; there was no blue stain on the whiteness that surrounded him.
Back and forth he paced, from the kitchen to the doors, growing more and more stressed. He was making his third coffee, when he turned to find a grinning Sys in the kitchen doorway, three dead rabbits hanging from one fist and a handful of snakes from the other. From the blood at the corner of his lips, it looked as if he’d eaten the rest.
“Ssee? Told you I would be okay. It wass eassy.”
“Are you sure you’ve got enough?”
“I ate ass much ass I could. That sshould ssee me ththrough for a few dayss.”
“The way you eat, I doubt it.”
Sys smiled, dropped the dead animals into the sink, and walked up to Dee, his hips swaying. Suddenly, Dee’s heart started to pound in his chest. Licking his lips, he opened them to protest, but the look in Sys’ eyes stopped him dead. He stood, his mouth opening and closing as Sys reached up to put his arms around his neck. Pressing his body against Dee’s, Sys trapped him against the kitchen counter, as he kissed him deeply.
“Ssh.” Not giving Dee a chance to say another word, he pressed his lips again his, and his tongue forced its way between Dee’s lips. With a sigh, Dee relaxed and let him in.
It was a kiss like nothing Dee had ever experienced before. Sys’ body, pressed against his, was hard and strong and lithe. His tongue was… doing things that no human tongue has ever been capable of. His hands, buried in Dee’s hair, were strong fingered and demanding, pulling his head in towards his lips. The sharp fangs grazed his lip. Hell. Even his smell, of sandalwood and musk, drove him crazy.
Dee whimpered, and let his hands rove over Sys’ body. It was beautiful in every way. No, no he mustn’t do this. His body was beginning to react in a predictable way, and it would soon be very clear to Sys just exactly how he was feeling, and how out of control he was. He mustn’t; not without telling…
“Sys… Sys wait. There’s something I have to…”
Before he could say another word, Sys pulled away and, with a gasp, bent double, with his arm across his stomach.
“Sys? Are you okay?”
Sys didn’t answer, only groaned and hugged himself harder.
“Sys, I knew all this eating wasn’t good for you. You’re getting fat. No wonder you’ve upset your stomach.”
“No,” Sys gasped. “No, I… I’m okay. I’m okay jusst…”
Still gasping, Sys fended Dee off with his hand and tried to straighten, only to bend double again, with a moan.
“Sys, what can I do for you? What can I do to help?”
“Noththing. Jusst… jusst give me air. Give me room.”
Reluctantly, Dee stepped back and watched Sys, like a hawk, as he slowly straightened and took some deep breaths. Eventually, pushing away from the counter, he stood erect and smiled at Dee.
“I have crampss ssometimess. It’ss not a big thing.”
“It looked like a big thing.”
“No. I’m okay.”
“Look, I think it would be a good time for us to start looking at where you want to go from here.”
“G…go? You want me to go? Why? What have I done? If… if you don’t want to kisss me, Dee, I won’t…”
“It’s not that, Sys, but you can’t stay here forever.”
“There’s nothing here, Sys, nothing at all. I have a house in the middle of nowhere. In this weather, I can’t even drive to town for provisions. We’ll be eating out of tins soon.”
“I don’t care. What elsss would I want?”
“There’re a lot of options.”
“Living in a town or sssity? With other humans? Who iss going to accept me, Dee? Who would not ssend me back to ththe laboratory, or anothther like it? Where out ththere is ssafe for me?”
“There are places, Sys; places where there are others, not quite like you but… alien to earth. And there is access, trade with other planets. There are more than a dozen planets you could relocate to and live openly.”
“I… don’t… want…”
“Think about it, Sys. At the moment you feel safe here and that’s the dominant emotion. Trust me, it’ll wear off you and you’ll feel…”
“Ssstop telling me how I feel. You have no idea how I feel. I feel what I feel; and you do not. I… feel ssafe, yess. I have alwayss felt ssafe with you. But it doessn’t mean ththat I wouldn’t feel ssafe anywhere elsss and I know ththat. I want to sstay here, becuasss I want to sstay here, not because I don’t ththink there isss anywhere elsss.”
“Sys, you don’t know what you’re saying. This is all you know and…”
“Thiss iss NOT all I know. I have lived free for ththirty years. I have sseen enough of life to know when it iss good and when it iss bad. Thiss iss good, Dee. You are good. Pleasss ssee that I…”
“You’re thirty years old? You look good for your age.” Dee was trying to lighten the mood but Sys glared at him.
“That iss not… it’sss not…”
Suddenly, his eyes widened and, with an arm across his stomach, he ran towards the bathroom. The door slammed shut behind him. Dee dared not follow, but he could hear him throwing up. He felt guilty. Was Sys really that upset because of him? He realised he didn’t know very much about Sys at all. Not only did he not know him as a person, but he knew very little about how his species, how his body worked. Was he ill, or stressed? Had he eaten too much meat, or was something terribly wrong with him?
Shaking his head, he turned away and started making dinner.
Sys stayed in the bathroom for almost an hour. When he came out, he headed for his room, his head down, not looking at Dee. Dee wanted to say so many things, but there was a shell of silence around Sys that he didn’t feel he could break.
Instead, he let him go to bed and, when he’d eaten his dinner, he went to bed himself.
Dee woke in the middle of the night with a start. He heard someone move in the doorway of his room and a soft voice whispered. “Dee. Dee, are you awake?”
“I am now,” Dee moaned, sitting up. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m sscared, Dee. I don’t want to be… I won’t try to kisss you but pleassse, pleassse can I jusst hold you? Will you hold me?”
“What’s wrong? What are you scared of?”
“Pleassse, Dee.” He could hear tears in Sys’ voice, and was alarmed.
Throwing aside the bedclothes, he held out his arms. Sys, pushed himself away from the door frame but, before he reached the bed, fell to his knees, with a cry.
“Oh my God, Sys, you are ill. What can I do?”
He threw himself onto his knees and Sys leaned against his side. “I’m ssscared, Dee. It’ss all wrong… all wrong.”
“What’s all wrong?”
“I…” He was stopped by another spasm of pain and doubled over, whimpering. “Dee… Dee help me, help me pleassse.”
“I can’t help you, Sys, if you won’t tell me what’s wrong. Fuck, you’re burning up. Are you sick again? Let me help you into bed.”
“Dee, pleassse, pleassse…”
“Can you stand?” Sys rocked back and forth, sobbing and holding himself, gripping Dee’s hand as if his life depended on it. “Please, Sys, tell me what’s wrong.”
Sys raised huge, bright eyes to Dee. His lips quivered and he suddenly looked very young. “I…I’m pregnant, Dee and I ththink the young isss coming and it’ss all wrong. It’ss all wrong.”
“What?!” Dee stared at Sys, who was still rocking, his face raised to Dee’s. “You’re what?”
“I’m bearing young, Dee. But… but it’sss too early, and… and I’m not… not ready. My body isssn’t… I can’t… I’m ssso ssscared, Dee. Help me pleassse.”
“Why didn’t you… Oh fuck, who cares? We can talk about that later. Come on. Let’s get you up on the bed.”
Dee hauled Sys to his feet and helped him over to the bed. As soon as he lay down, he curled on his side and stared to whimper. It made sense now - the overeating; the swollen belly. He should have seen it. Sys was so slender, apart from that. But he’d never thought… not for a minute. Why would he? Sys was a man. He was a man… wasn’t he?
“Sys,” he said, pulling the heavy hair away from his face. “I need to know what’s supposed to happen. I need to know what’s going wrong. Tell me what normally happens. You’re a man… I don’t have any experience of… this. I don’t know how it… works.”
“I don’t… Don’t you have young? Don’t you know?”
“In this place, Sys, and many others, it’s the female who bears the young. Their anatomy is different. They have a womb, a place inside where the baby grows, and a vagina, a… a stretchy tube that the baby comes out of. What… where… um… where does the baby come from?”
“It…it…it’ss an… an egg. We have… eggss and… and they… Oh hell, Dee, the ssshell. The ssshell will be… will be too sssoft. It won’t… won’t get…get hard and…”
“Ssh.” Tenderly, Dee, stroked the hair off his hot face. He eased Sys onto his back and Sys writhed, his limbs sprawled across the bed. Dee saw, with horrified fascination that Sys’ belly was even more swollen, and it looked as if something was moving inside. He shivered. What the hell?
“Where does it come out, Sys? I can’t see where it’s supposed to come out.”
“It… it’ss ssuppossed to open… ssuppossed to get bigger and… and open. It’ss not getting bigger, Dee.”
“What’s supposed to get bigger?” Dee scanned Sys’ writhing body, looking for anywhere there could be an opening big enough to eject a child. There seemed to be only one answer.
Spreading Sys’ legs wide, he examined his ass and balls. His anus looked normal, tight. His balls were swollen but what did that mean? Carefully, Dee ran his hands over Sys’ genitals and he moaned with pain.
“It’s not opening, Dee,” he moaned, and then screamed as agonizing pain ripped through his abdomen. “Oh God, Oh God, it’ss going to rip me open. It’ss going to burssst me.”
“Shit, Sys. Are you trying to tell me that your cock opens up to let a baby out?”
“Yesss, Yesss. Dee, Dee help me. I’m going to die, Dee. Don’t let me die. Pleasse, pleasse don’t let me die.”
“You’re not going to die, Sys. I won’t let you. Have you seen anyone give birth before?”
The pain appeared to have passed and Sys was a little calmer. “The egg iss ssoft. The sshell hardenss when it iss out. Oh, no, Dee. It’ss too ssoon. The sshell…”
“Let’s worry about that when it’s out, Sys. How, exactly, does it happen?” Sys took a breath.
“The… the ballss move… move asside and the egg… the egg falls into the ssac. Then… then the… the tube opens and… and the egg comess… out.”
Carefully, Dee ran his hands over the swollen ball sac and realised, with surprise that it was empty. Pressing upwards with his fingers he felt something large and rounded. Shit.
“Sys… Sys I think I can feel the egg. It’s coming down and it feels quite hard. I think it’s going to be alright.”
“No… no… no… Too… too ssooon. I can’t… I can’t…” Sys convulsed and screamed, the sound torn from his throat, as the muscles in his abdomen contracted strongly. He screamed and screamed and screamed and Dee, scared out of his wits, did his best to sooth him. Over and over again, Sys screamed and then relaxed, sobbing and begging Dee to save his live. And then the contractions came and he screamed again.
Dee was horrified and terrified but, at the same time, totally fascinated as he felt the egg gradually squeeze itself into the sac. Wow. This was happening. This was really happening. This beautiful, strange, miraculous boy was going to give birth. If it didn’t kill him first.
Sys shuddered and gasped, panting. Dee put his hand on his abdomen, which was now flat and felt… empty.
“Sys, so far it seems to be doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The egg is down where it’s supposed to be. What happens next?”
Sys didn’t answer. He was limp, gasping for breath, exhausted. Dee crawled up the bed and stroked his face.
“I think it’s almost over, Sys. It seems like it is. It’ll be over soon. I’m here.”
Sys grabbed his hand and squeezed, his eyes glazed as he stared up. “It’ss not opening, Dee. I can tell. I can feel it. It’ss not opening.”
“What’s stopping it? Do you know?”
“It’sss not time.”
“Your egg seems to think differently. Doesn’t the fact that the egg is there cause it to open?”
Sys shook his head. “There are chemicalss releassed when… when… before. When there iss enough, it makess…makess it open. There’ss nothing… nothing… It’ss not going to… not going to.”
“What will happen if it doesn’t?”
“I don’t know. I’m sso sscared, Dee. I don’t know what’ss going to happen.”
Dee knelt on the bed and stroked Sys’ hair as he dozed. What else could he do? He’d felt around down there and he couldn’t see what he could do to get the egg out of Sys’ body.
And then, suddenly, Sys’ body convulsed and he came awake, screaming. This time, the pain was so bad there were no words in the screaming, just terrible, agonising sounds. Quickly, Dee slid back between his legs and saw with horror that the skin across, what was now the egg sac was stretched tight and the root of Sys’ cock was bulging. Ah hell… hell… the egg was going to spilt him open. It was going rip his cock off and it would kill him.
“No, no, no…” Dee moaned and Sys, writhed, shuddered and screamed. The writhing, however, was getting weaker. Sys was exhausted and, soon, he wouldn’t be able to fight anymore. He was going to pass out and then the egg would… what?
Okay, only one thing he could do. Tearing off his pyjamas, Dee knelt over Sys, his abdomen pressed against Sys’. “Sssh,” he whispered, kissing Sys gently. It’s alright, it’s going to be alright.”
Dee’s hair, unbound, wrapped around Sys’ shoulders and neck. Sys, in his delirium, was sure that it had a life of its own, that it was gripping him hard and holding him still. And then he felt… he felt… he was sure he felt something touching the tip of his cock, sliding inside him. Something soft and yielding that seemed to grow. And then there was another one, and another. The tips of whatever they were probed deep inside him and began to… Ah God they were forcing him open; they were stretching the channel, wrapping around the egg and. Ah God.
The last thing that Sys remembered was a horrifying, unbearable pain, ripping though his body from the root of his cock to his throat. It flew out of his mouth in the most heartbreaking screams he’d ever heard. And then, thankfully, blissfully, his world went black.