He nuzzled his face back into Joshua's hair, losing himself in its silkiness. Justin had a brief stabbing in his heart as again the image of his beautiful lover, kneeling and in tears being forcibly shorn came unbidden to his mind. Unconsciously he tightened his grip, crushing Joshua in his embrace.
A soft whimper alerted Justin to what he was doing and he released the teen, propping himself up on his elbow so he could have a better look at his beloved. He was met with two bright blue eyes, still drowsy with sleep but mirroring the love that he himself was feeling.
“Hey,” he drawled. “Did I hurt you?”
Joshua smiled a lazy sleepy smile and pulled his fingers through his hair, pulling it from his face. “You could never hurt me,” he whispered confidently. He pulled back the sheets and swung his long shapely legs out of bed.
Justin caught hold of his hand. “Where are you going sugar?”
“I need to pee and throw up.” The seriousness in Joshua's voice brought a laugh to Justin's lips until he realised that Joshua was completely serious. He really did need to throw up.
Justin released his husbands hand and tumbled ungracefully out of bed in his hurry to be with him.
By the time he had untangled himself from the sheets Joshua was slumped on the bathroom floor with his arms wrapped around the porcelain heaving uncontrollably.
Justin ran a washcloth under cold water and then knelt behind his pregnant husband, pressing it on the back of his neck. “Are you always this bad?” he asked in concern.
He was answered by Joshua heaving again and slumping down further, his head resting against the toilet pan. Justin pulled back his husbands hair, holding it away from his face. “How did they cope Justin?”
“Who cope angel?” Justin asked not quite following the question.
“Men like my daddy. Caged and refused medical attention, left to wallow in their own filth and yet they survived. How did they do it Justin when I don’t think I can survive this?”
Justin pulled Joshua into his arms and kissed his damp forehead. “They survived because they had to, like you have to.” Justin lifted his husband up and carried him back to the bedroom, lowering him gently onto the bed. “Stay here angel I’ll go and get you something to make you feel better, I’m sure that either James or Trystum will be up and know what to do.”
He found James in the kitchen gazing on adoringly as Trystum nursed Caleb. “Joshua is ill,” Justin said worry marring his voice.
James opened a small pot and placed two spoon of greenish powder in a mug and topped it up with boiled water. “Have him drink this,” he said stirring the mixture thoroughly. “He will complain like a baby but it will make him feel much better.”
Justin took the offered mug and sniffed it cautiously, recoiling at the pungent smell. “Smells disgusting,”
“Tastes worse,” Trystum divulged. “They used to force us to drink it in the pens; well they didn’t fifty odd men all vomiting at the same time.”
“Joshua is convinced he is dying.”
Trystum and James chuckled. “Tell him as soon as I have fed Caleb I’ll come to him. Don’t worry Justin; Joshua is young and inexperienced, up until now he has been wrapped in cotton wool and is used to people fussing over him when he is poorly.”
“Once he drinks the brew he will feel much better,” James pointed out. “Oh by the way Justin, CK told me to tell you he would drop by later to see you.”
Justin slapped his forehead; in his excitement at seeing Joshua again he had forgotten all about Chris. “I forgot about him! Where is he, where did he stay?”
“Justin he understands. He was just as eager to be gone apparently he has a lover waiting for him just outside Madison, staying with some family members.”
“He told me he had some one,” Justin said.
“A breeder?” Trystum asked nosily.
Justin chuckled at the obsession of the older breeder with finding others of his kind. “Ben was liberated a while back. From what CK told me he had been in the camps for ten years, he’s very timid.”
“Well he said he would swing by this afternoon,” Lance interrupted. “Now take that brew to Joshua before it gets cold.”
James was right about Joshua complaining like a baby and not wanting to drink the pungent liquid but drink it he did even though he threw hateful looks at his older husband the whole time. Trystum was true to his word and called on his son, sitting on the edge of the bed and patting his hand supportively. Justin was thankful he was there because Joshua decided that he was well enough to get up and had to be reminded by his maternal father that he was on bed rest and the only reason he had been allowed up before was because of the air raid.
After an hour of watching his husband pouting Justin couldn’t stand it anymore and gathered the young man in his arms and carried him down to the drawing room, going back and collecting his quilt.
“Now sulky knickers, if you set one foot off that couch with out having a damn good reason I will put you over my knee and spank you like the spoilt little brat you are.”
Joshua folded his arms across his chest and pouted, glaring angrily at his husband.
Trystum sniggered. “Didn’t they warn you about the mood swings?”
“Or the cravings?” James added as he carried a tray into the pregnant youth resting it on his lap.
Justin gulped as he watched Joshua tuck into the strange mixture of cornflakes and dill pickles in milk with gusto. “That’s …that’s just …”
“Fantastic,” Joshua finished his sentence for him before taking a bite out of a milk dripping pickle.
“Not what I was going to say,” Justin said, fighting the urge to throw up.
“You’ll get used to it,” James confided quietly. “It’s the mint chocolate chip ice-cream in beef gravy that kills me.”
Chris Kirkpatrick arrived a little after two that afternoon. He brought with him a timid thin man with shaggy dark hair that clenched hold of his hand and cowered behind his lover Chris firmly but gently pulled the man in front of him and introduced him. “This is Benjamin Beauchamp,” he said introducing the younger man. Ben has been waiting for my discharge for months now.”
“Wow bet-cha was disappointed when he was finally given his pass huh?” Justin joked, yelping when Chris slapped him across the back of his head.
“You pay him no mind,” Trystum said kindly. He took the younger breeder by the hand. “Come into the drawing room Ben, my son Joshua is on bed rest in there and he would just fret for days if he is left out of meeting you.”
Ben looked nervously at Chris and then followed the older breeder docilely when he received an encouraging nod.
“Well he’s a sweet little thing,” Justin observed. “Jumpy though.”
“Well he spent ten years as a breeding machine and a punch bag, you’d be jumpy too.” Chris snapped defensively.
“Hey same side remember,” Justin said stepping back and holding up his hands. “Joshua was terrified of everything and he hadn’t been in a camp.”
“Yeah well … sorry.”
“Come and meet Joshua,” Justin said dismissing Chris’ attempt at an apology.
When they entered the drawing room Joshua was sitting cross legged on the couch his quilt pooled over his legs and Ben was sitting next to him Caleb in his arms. Trystum sat on Ben’s other side and was pulling faces at his baby boy.
Ben looked up beaming with joy as he held the small gurgling boy wrapped in cream silk and lace. “Look,” he gasped in his strong Tennessean accent holding the child up so his lover could see. “CK he’s so tiny. I’ve given birth to nine children and I have never held one of them. I want this … I want to hold my own baby.”
Justin whispered in Chris’ ear. “Now that’s what I call an invitation.”