“Not now Jovie, papa is poorly.”
“Kiss.” the little boy pouted his lips expectantly.
JC pursed his lips and allowed his oldest son to show his affection. His heart broke as the vision of Ebony materialised in his mind. He clung to Jovian making the little boy squeal in protest as the air was knocked out of his lungs.
Since the death of their daughter Justin seemed always to be in his mind, never leaving him alone for one minute. JC begrudged his presence. He didn’t blame Justin but somehow he couldn’t get it out of his mind that the tall alien contributed to Ebony’s death.
“Play, papa. Now.”
“”Not now Jovie.”
He sent out a silent call to the feline nanny, begging her to come fetch his son. Anemone sleeked her way into the room, purring loudly as she scooped up the pretty baby. Jovian yelped and struggled, reaching his chubby little hands out to his daddy, howling pathetically.
JC closed off his mind and shut down his emotions. He should be dead not her, he failed her, and he couldn’t protect her. In the back of his mind he could hear his quadruplet’s fretting. He still couldn’t bring himself to name them. Frightened to get too close, terrified that he would lose them too. Justin had tried to talk to him, persuade him to pick names for the four small boys but his pleas had fallen on deaf ears. Jovian’s tiny protests at being parted from JC echoed in his ears. Guilt picked at him, he should be spending time with his sons but he couldn’t bear to even look at them. Especially the youngest he was Ebony’s twin, same nose, same mouth, same hair. A piercing feline scream reverberated through the ship shaking JC from his delusion. He leaped to his feet charging into the nursery. The cat was sitting on the floor licking her paw and Jovian was hiding behind a chair glowering at her as she hissed and spat angrily.
“What is going on here?” JC demanded as he rushed to scoop up his baby boy, checking him for bites or scratches.
“Heeee Bitttt meeee.” The nurse mewed. “ I wassss trying tooo settle himmm and heee bittt meeee .”
JC looked at his child disapprovingly. “Jovian why did you do that, that’s naughty?” Justin came running through the door his face flushed. “I heard; are the children alright what happened?” He looked at the nurse still sitting on the ground petting her injured paw.
“Jovian bit her.”
JC sighed. “He bit her. It’s my fault he wanted to play and I sent him away.” Justin took the pouting little boy from his lover’s arms and gave him back to anemone. She glared at the child who glared back with equal venom.
“Jovian, You will be a good boy. Be good for anemone or you will be punished.”
“Want papa.” he stuck his little lip out and kicked out. “WANT PAPA, WANT PAPA.” He began to scream hysterically, throwing his little body back and forth as hard as he could. “WANT PAPA.” His tantrum increased. He held his breath going ridged in the cat’s arms. Panic gripped both her and Justin. They had no idea how to deal with the little boy who was now turning blue. JC grabbed the child; he turned him over and smacked him hard on his bottom, startling his son into breathing again. Jovian looked at his papa with wide blue eyes, tears brimming along his lower lashes. JC hugged the child to him crying as his deeply buried emotions burst forth.
Justin recovered from the shock of Jovian’s tantrum gathered them both into his arms. “It’s alright Josh. Please my love don’t cry.”
“I failed you Justin, I let you down, I let Ebony down, why didn’t I call for help sooner Justin … I’m stupid so stupid…. I killed her … I killed her.” The slender brunette pushed Jovian into his daddy’s arms and ran from the room. Closing his mind. He didn’t want to be followed; he didn’t want to be found. He fell through the open doorway, squeezing himself behind a work consul. He hugged his knees to him and broke down completely.
Chris wrapped his arms round the pale blond alien doctor and nibbled naughtily at the sensitive flesh at the side of his neck. “Stop it Christopher, I’m working here.”
“Mmmm but you taste so sweet. Come and play. I’ll let you experiment on me.”
Lance chuckled and turned into his lover’s arms, nuzzling his nose into the warm musky neck. “What again? You are getting brave.”
Chris grinned “yeah well us humans are dead brave and very, very horny.”
“Yep I can support that theory. Oh that reminds me I perfected that gel you wanted.”
Chris raised his eyebrow. “Really! You wanna try it out?”
Lance slapped him on the shoulder you are insatiable you know that?”
“And horny.” Chris added.
He leaned in to capture the blonde’s lips.
“Lance have you seen Josh?” Justin burst into the medical centre panic and worry engraved on his face.
Chris grabbed at the tall almost hairless mans arms shaking him. “What’s wrong with Jace?”
“He .. He started talking funny, saying that he killed Ebony. I can’t find him Lance, I searched and searched. He’s gone. His mind has gone.”
“He can’t be far. We’re on a space ship. He has got to be somewhere.” Chris said being the voice of reason. “We’ll split up. Check every room. If he has closed his mind he don’t want to be found. Check under beds, in closets. I know JC. He can get himself into places you would never believe. Remind me to tell you about the time I found him asleep on a luggage rack when we were taking the train to Canada.” The stocky brunette placed a quick peck on Lances lips and rushed out of the medical room intent on finding his friend before anyone else.
He walked through the stainless steel corridors. Stopping and opening every room, searching everywhere even the tiny spaces behind desks and chairs. “Where would you go JC? Where would you hide?” A light suddenly went on in his brain and he took off towards the cold storage room.
The room was dark when he entered. “Lights” the room was illuminated. Chris cringed at the unanimated human forms stored nude in the transparent tubes, knowing that he himself had been kept there just a few months ago. A quick scan of the room led him to believe that his friend wasn’t there. Only he knew better. He sat down at the workstation and tapped idly on the keyboard. He was in no hurry, he could hear the laboured breathing of the slender man.
He waited and waited.
“Jaycee, I know you are behind there.”
“Go away.” the words were forceful but whispered.
“No, nah ha, can’t do it jacy. You going to come out or do I have to drag ya out?”
JC extracted himself carefully from the tight space he had sequestered himself into. “How did you find me?”
“Chris took a slender hand in his. “I know you Jace you’d run for familiar surroundings. They’re human it stands to reason you’d come here.”
Silence surrounded the pair as Chris stroked JC’s hand tenderly with his thumb.
“Did you think it out? Over analyse it like you normally do?”
“I let her die Chris.”
“No JC you didn’t. Lance told me. She wasn’t developed properly. Even if you had been delivered earlier she would still have died. It was just one of those things.”
The slim man stared at his hands, concentrating on entwining his fingers, knowing that his friend was right. “I can’t stop thinking about her Chris.”
“I know sweetie. But you got five little boys back there that need their papa. And four of them need names, Justin refuses to give them any he wants you to do it. He said you need to do it for them and for you.”
He linked his arm through JC’s leading him firmly out of the storage room and back to the nursery and the four tiny brothers.
Chris called silently to Lance to bring Justin telling him JC was ready to name his son’s. The tall blue eyed alien gathered his lover into his arms as he entered the room. Rubbing his nose against JC’s. “You frightened me.”
He led JC to the four cribs. The brunette looked down at the small boy, the oldest, he smiled Lance was right he was the image of his father except for the tight dark blond curls that covered his head. “Jaden.” Justin smiled approvingly and moved him to the next crib. The small blue-eyed boy looked up gurgling happily. JC smiled as the babe blew a big bubble and giggled waving his chubby hands and legs in time to music only he could hear. “Jaren.” The third boy he named Jared. On reaching Ebony’s twin he reached down and lifted the baby boy to his chest. He hugged his son taking in his scent.
“What are you going to call him Josh?”