A Persian Boy
(Project Enhanced Encyclopedic Knowledge - PEEK)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, or the show they rode in on. I wrote this for fun, and no profit is made from it.
Archive: Starwinder's, You Want Fries With That?, EBOS and The All-Ezra FanFic Archive --- all others, please ask.
Summary: Time travel in the 22nd century introduces Chris to an Ezra of the past.
Warnings: slash of a VERY young Ezra - he's 18; references to eunuchs, body mutilation, slavery, rape…
Author's Note: You'll have to suspend disbelief and simply accept the author's rampant trampling of history, biology, science in general - in other words, consider this science fiction without much fact
Completed: 19 January 2003
Feedback: email@example.com welcomes comments
Ezra sank down amidst the thick embroidered pillows, the gold encrusted tassels itched and he tried to ignore the irritation to his skin. He had pilfered this latest scroll from beneath the mage's very hand as the man lay sleeping. Now all he wanted was the time to read it and absorb this latest stolen wisdom. Absently, he rubbed his hip where his low slung trousers clung so sheerly. The silk was raw and nearly translucent, leaving little to the imagination of any who might see one of the king's eunuchs.
Golden slippers crossed at the ankles, Ezra nestled back in his pile of pillows and smiled as he picked out the written words with secret ease. None knew he could read. It wasn't why he existed. He existed solely to please his master, which he did exceedingly well. The sultan had received Ezra as a gift from lands to the east, from the owner of a caravan who sought a new route to the start of the silk road. Ezra had been only six back then. The caravan moved on, had not returned. The child, so beautiful with reddish brown locks and pale clear green eyes, had been added to the harem with not even a ripple of sound. And when the child, who learned only how to serve from those therein, reached an uncertain age of thirteen, near to flowering, he was carefully cut, to prevent his beauty from ever changing, ever spoiling with an unneeded manhood. In an unusual tactic, the traveling surgeon cut only the small tubes from his growing sac to his penis, leaving the organs intact. Ezra was prized as a eunuch-entire.
Quick mind never revealed, despite a pampered, indulgent, yet imprisoning and demanding life, Ezra, now eighteen, had learned how best to survive and flourish as well as circumstances of his altered life allowed. His small size and porcelain looks, despite his advancing age, kept him among the sultan's favored choices. The head wife, Maude, was jealous of the boy who was more often in her husband's bed than she herself was allowed. She set her household spies upon him to watch for the smallest slip, but so far he had eluded entrapment and survived. Though, sometimes, he wondered why he bothered. He had learned to be a gifted lover in the bed of his master, but love was not really a function of that act, only his master's desires were. His own did not exist. Not there. Not ever.
A whisper of sound had Ezra raising his head carefully, only to discover Nemih creeping up upon him. The kitten was enamored of the boy, seeking him out for petting and cuddling. If its soft tan fur darkening to sleek brown points and its bright blue eyes made it an attractive creature, its yowling kept if from the sultan's side. Now, though, Nemih was silent, head poked forward as she crouched down and nudged her friend. A smooth, small hand came free of the bothersome paper and stroked her knowingly. A low purr, nearly a growl, erupted in her chest, so faint that only Ezra could hear it.
"Hush, little Nemih, I want to read. Rest beside me." Ezra's hand drew the kitten up beside him, to lie within the cup of his ribs and arm as he raised the scroll again. Time passed and shadows gathered. He had nearly finished, enthralled with the mind of the scientist from Arabia who had scribed this theorem. A new tiny growl from his kitten companion alerted him to the danger just in time to roll away from a large snatching hand.
"Give me that, boy!" One of Maude's guards was lunging now across the toss of pillows, missing again as Ezra wriggled away and to his feet.
"I have nothing to give you, Sarkis!" Ezra backed, his corded slippers making rough noises as he scraped them on the marble floor.
"That manuscript! It is from the king's library. Were you looking for pretty pictures, pretty boy?" The sneer in the heavy man's voice was derisive.
Biting back his instant reply, Ezra bowed his head and let his shoulders slump. He lifted the scroll and offered it with an extended arm, eyes down. "There were no pictures though I looked for them, Sarkis."
The big eunuch laughed, his belly heaving. "Boy, you are so pathetic! Now, go, go back to your room and wait there with Bagoas. He at least knows his place. My lady Maude may wish to speak with you later."
"Yes, Sarkis." Ezra bowed obsequiously, eyes never raising as he tried to slip passed the mountain of a man.
A sharp cuff to his ear had his head ringing and he ran lightly from the room, holding Nemih tightly to his chest. The kitten mewed softly, never seeming to yowl when with the boy. He slowed as several curtains and archways hid the big eunuch from sight and sound.
"Oh, Nemih, I despair sometimes." Ezra sank down on his haunches and brought the small exquisite face up to his, blue eyes meeting green. A tiny pink tongue came out and licked his nose. He grinned and pulled the kitten close for a gentle hug.
"Shit! Where the hell are we anyway?" Buck's voice was sharp with worry as he looked toward Chris.
The research leader raised a hand to caution silence. "Vin wanted to see Alexander the Great, remember?" he asked patiently, voice low.
Wilmington shifted slightly and slung a look of outrage on Tanner who hunkered down behind them, eyes bright with curiosity. "Damn, Tanner, this don't look like Greek soldiers to me."
"Darius." Josiah murmured, voice filled with satisfaction and curiosity. "This is Darius' palace."
"Alright," Buck said with mock patience, "Granted I'm just an engineer, but give me a little credit. That's the Persian king he defeats, right?"
"Yeah." Vin breathed out and peered over Wilmington's shoulder, taking in the throng of petitioners lying on their bellies in the throne room, heads toward where the great king sat on a well-cushioned throne, ostrich plumes and fans of peacocks' tails waved gently over him, the wavers dusky Moroccan slaves. "We're in the throne room."
"Buck, enough." Larabee edged forward, studying the place from where the four men had materialized in the shadows of an arch. "No urgency. Likely 'Sander isn't too close yet. Maybe we are." He stepped back, arm swung wide, to press the rest back as well, as a militant looking fellow preened and strolled along their wall, wide scimitar slung casually from a widely belted waist.
Josiah pressed a hand on Vin's shoulder. "Should we try again? Vary the coordinates a bit?"
But the historian was already shaking his head. "No, Alexander will be here soon. Darius ignored him as much as possible, even making his palace tent with marble flooring." Vin snorted. "He must have figured his generals could do the job without his help, long as he just showed up."
Josiah's soft chuckle was enough reply. The encoder was just as fascinated as Tanner by history's strange stages and acts. A philosopher through instinct and study, Josiah had come to code as a way to rearranging languages and finding roots. He was interested in the Sanskrit and Greek and how here they might collide. He had seconded Tanner's recommendation when they'd had the conference back at Larabee's retreat in the Cascades. The very thought of finding out more about the confluence of two great civilizations and their languages had made the big man shiver with excitement.
Chris Larabee cocked an eyebrow at Buck, his best friend and the best microcomputer engineer in the business. Saw the man grin wisely back at him. Between Buck and JD Dunne, his assistant, they'd created his vision for a controlled time travel probe to use for observing history without interference. Nathan Jackson, their medical expert and resident biochemist, had added the necessary dimensions to the creation so that his exploratory team could use the probe, ride its waves, and record history. The project, known as Project Enhanced Encyclopedic Knowledge, or PEEK, was approved at the highest levels of world government. The team members were observers only. To interfere was to jeopardize history, the lives of countless others and this no one would risk.
At least, Larabee'd never considered risking it until that moment, when he turned back to look at the king and met two wide emerald eyes. With a grunt of sheer stunned surprise, Chris realized that he had been staring into those beautiful big eyes for nearly an entire minute before coming to his senses. They had been seen! But, he turned his head to the side, nothing had changed. The throne room activities continued, unabated by any concern for uninvited guests. In fact, his own men seemed oblivious to his momentary connection to one of their subjects.
He looked back, and the eyes were there. Waiting for his. He took a deep breath and widened his scope, taking in the smallish face, smooth and lovely, just enough of bone to shape a male face. A boy!
Chris' hazel eyes traveled down, seeing the slender, compact form that curled bonelessly, artfully, upon a huge woven pillow at the sultan's feet. A second, duskier brown-eyed boy lay beside him, one light milky cinnamon arm wrapped with seeming affection around the sultan's far leg. Chris, though, only had eyes for the green-eyed boy. Wide, blouson-style pants covered the boy from hip to ankle, sheer billowing tannish brown silk, that nearly rivaled the boy's own exposed flesh for gleam. Golden embroidered slippers with toe curls covered small feet. A kitten, tan and brown, rested beside the youth. A golden cord encircled the slender neck of the man-child and led to one of the arms of the sultan's throne chair. Knotted there carelessly. Darius leaned down and ruffled a hand possessively through the chestnut colored curls, pulling the lad's head back against one plump knee. The boy went easily, eyes never leaving Larabee's.
"-Chris?" Somehow, Larabee had a feeling that the voice in his ear was not on its first attempt to get his attention. Larabee turned reluctantly to face Vin Tanner who was staring at him in concern. "You alright, buddy?"
"Yeah." The team leader rolled his shoulders and shook his head slightly before nodding to Buck Wilmington, "Go ahead and redirect us to the Greek camp."
As the buzz of the transmission and outfocus transportation occurred, Chris overheard Vin mutter to Josiah, "I thought Darius had only one eunuch boy, the one Alexander took - Bagoas?"
Straining for the reply, he heard Josiah answer, "True, but history hides as much as it reveals, so perhaps the other died in the battle."
And then they were infocus again, under bright sunny skies and Greek soldiers huddled around a campfire just beyond the edge of the rocks that they found themselves hidden amongst. And Chris Larabee's thoughts went back to the little Persian boy who might soon die in battle.
"Show me, Ezra!" Bagoas teased gently with a finger, trailing it down Ezra's thin leg. Great brown almond eyes looked up from black fringes of lash, a melting smile upon dark rose lips.
The older boy sighed and pulled back his pantaloons fold to expose his genitals. "Oh, may I touch?" Bagoas, a full castrata, was fascinated by Ezra's still intact organs. Both knew that the cut had been made, a raw white scar lay across the sac just below the penis. The rare eunuch retained so much of his former masculine self, making Ezra a rare prize indeed - and a fascination for his friend. Delicate little strokes feathered over the surface of Ezra's small sac, then traced the line of his scar, ending with a gentle tug at his hanging member, short and wrinkled, asleep. "I sometimes feel as if mine, too, are still there."
The soft comment was not lost on Ezra who sighed and dropped the fabric which lofted down again over his groin. He pulled his friend close in the circle of his arms and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "Aside from peeing, they are useless, only in the way when our king wishes to play."
A giggle was his only answer. Free to think on other things, Ezra's thoughts returned to the glowing eyes that had caught his own that day in the throne room. A strange color, they were neither blue, nor green, nor brown, but some amber-toned mix of all the colors. Like the iridescent opals that had been gifted to his king. His opal-eyed man had been far in the shadows, just a shape, tall and dark. He closed his eyes and imagined meeting that man. Perhaps he would be loaned to the man? A temporary gift from his king. Not that Darius would ever part for long from his green-eyed boy. Ezra relaxed back down on the bed of pillows, down-soft, and held his friend, stroking one arm mindlessly as sleep crept in with dreams of opal-eyed men with careful hands.
Nathan leaned over JD's shoulder, watching the vid-screen as they observed their team on site at the Greek camp. "Something seems off." Jackson scratched his chin, narrowing his gaze to Larabee who seemed a bit lost. "What's wrong with Chris?"
JD shrugged. "Seems ok to me. None of the others seem bothered, might be just thinking about their observations."
Nathan tapped one of the gages. "Recorders seem functioning fully."
"Yeah, getting some great stuff. Hope they managed to see Alexander before the battle." JD Dunne was rapidly typing in commands sequences to keep the Visitation going. These 'visits' as the boys called them, were the bread and butter of the team's existence. So far the archives had expanded so much that he'd had to put on three new mega-servers to allow academics access and still the system strained to those demanding more connection time. The doors that had opened with the reality vistas of history, small though the PEEKs had been so far, were thrilling the jaded world of their twenty-second century. He and Nathan would guarantee that this visit only further Enhanced their product.
The soldiers were stirring, gathering their armament and weapons, horses pranced amongst them as leaders plowed through the ranks of the foot soldiers. There, a black horse so large and blunt headed as to appear almost monstrous, with a golden haired young man astride him. Armor gleaming in the sunlight, an aura of command about him, the man had others clinging to his stirrups as he held his charger in tight rein.
"That's him!" Buck hissed.
"Yep, it's him alright," Vin nodded, staring with open admiration at the noble Alexander of Macedon. "That's a whole lot of history wrapped up in one man there."
Josiah half-leaned over the slender historian, smiling dreamily as his pale blue eyes tracked the prince's progress.
It was Larabee's silence that finally caught the attention of the other three. "Chris?" Buck's hesitant question redirected everyone's attention.
Larabee swallowed and nodded toward where the Greek leader now proceeded beyond their view, his hoards following in orderly chaos, with tromping feet, dust rising in layers of cloud. "Time to go back to check on Darius?" He kicked himself mentally for the hopeful sound to his voice.
No one commented beyond a soft agreement from Tanner. Wilmington redirected their focal equipment and minutes later they were emerging from the transportation buzz and infocus again. This time in Darius bedroom that was more a second throne room - great hall - than sleeping quarters, though here the great man reclined amidst a mound of pillows and cushions, several veiled women seated behind a pierced screen and the two beautiful boys lounging near the sultan's feet.
A tall man, apparently chamberlain, stood patiently as two harried looking soldiers in royal garb strode restlessly in front of the king, arms gesticulating widely. One was speaking, the other nodding vigorous agreement. "You must, o Darius, you must come out and lead the men! Only your presence can give them courage in the face of Alexander's soldiers. These Greeks are a fierce looking lot, not refined nor polished at all! Your eminence, in full glory, will easily outshine them. Allow us to prevail!"
The team listened avidly, their uni-lang-translators working through earplugs.
The king looked rather uncomfortable before plucking another grape to suck in through his wet red lips. "Ariobarzanes will see to this."
"Sire, only you can grace our troops with the necessary will."
With a discontented sigh, the reclining monarch sat up. "Very well, I shall appear before your men at noon. I hope that will satisfy you, my generals?"
Both men looked unhappy but bowed, clearly dismissed. They backed out of the room, through a nearby archway of hangings.
Darius pouted, then snapped his fingers. "Bagoas, attend me. Ezra tell Maude to ready my wives for travel." Turning to the chamberlain, he added, "Kalan, prepare the household, we will depart this field of conflict as soon as I have done my duty to my faithful troops."
Watching with interest the Focal team saw the brown-eyed boy slide up into the king's arms, as the green eyed one rose gracefully to his feet and padded from the room, likewise the chamberlain retreated.
"Ezra. His name is Ezra." Chris smiled to himself, setting off alarm bells in the eyes of Buck and Vin while Josiah, lost in the moment still peered through the distant screening trying to catch sight of the females in hiding.
Vin tapped Buck's shoulder. "Let's get out of here. Seen all we need to." Wilmington nodded and twisted one of the dials on his mini focal board, the size of a century earlier's palmpilot. Things went back to their comfortable gray blur, outfocus.
Nathan sat down heavily in the cafeteria, his cup of herbal tea sloshing slightly. Across from him, Josiah and JD both looked hollow-eyed with worry and exhaustion. Never had they attempted before what Chris Larabee had done today. Take a person out of time. Bring that person forward. It went against all their carefully constructed rules and precepts. It rocked their world and threatened the entire project.
"No one must know." Tanner sat down abruptly beside Jackson, dropping a beer bottle to the table top in disgust. "Buck and I couldn't talk him out of it. He wants to keep the boy. Says the kid would have died anyway."
"History may change -" Josiah paused, then shrugged, continuing, "Or already has and we simply didn't notice. After all, Vin, Bogoas is the only eunuch of Darius' that is recorded in history. Captured and made lover of Alexander after the battle was won by the Greeks." His low, rumbling voice made the pronouncements seem heavier, more worthy.
Vin shook his head slowly, "Maybe." He looked back over his shoulder as Buck appeared at the door. "Buck?"
"Nothing I could do. Little one is sleeping off the shock. Seems okay. Chris is hovering over him like a dog in heat." Wilmington plunked himself down at the table and stole Tanner's beer bottle for a suck. Wiping his mouth and offering the bottle back, then shrugging when Vin waved it away, he added, "Haven't seen Chris this way since Sarah."
The others all looked down, remembering the sweet lady who'd been their team leader's wife. She and their son Adam had been the center of Larabee's life. Gone now in a freak solar flare accident, they'd left a solemn, stoic man in their wake.
"So do we just leave this?" JD sat forward and locked his hands together, meeting the eyes of his team mates again.
"We wait it out. The old dog will weary of his toy, then we may get a way to return Ezra to his own time." Buck sounded much less certain than his words.
"Not sure we can do that," Sanchez said regretfully. "His personal time has been interrupted. Even if we could put him back with precision, we can't alter his memories. That could do more to damage history than his disappearance."
Buck suddenly snorted and half-chuckled. "The way his eyes got so big and round, when we re-focused here in the ob-deck room! Man, that little guy was ready to faint!"
"Not that little," Nathan chided. "From what I could tell, the short time Chris let me look him over, he's about eighteen to twenty years old, nearly JD's age."
"Hey, I'm twenty-five!" The youngest among them objected, raising smiles on the others' faces.
Nathan laid his hands flat on the table pressing down. "He looks younger because he was cut."
"Cut? Shit, he's a eunuch! We all know that." Buck swallowed more beer and leaned back. "Looks like Chris wants him for himself now."
"He's almost entire, Buck." At the man's cross-eyed look, Jackson sighed. "Very unusual, back then they usually just cut everything off." Every man in the room winced. Jackson nodded. "But, whoever 'adjusted' Ezra, only cut some of his tubes."
"He could be fixed? That what you're saying, Nate?" Vin's voice was husky, thoughtful.
"Maybe. I'd have to do a much more detailed examination, run some tests, but - yes, maybe." The others all exhaled together, not quite whistling. "Developmentally, he's matured without the testosterone needed to make a full man, so I don't know what might change, if anything, if he was re-altered."
"You mean he grew up sexless, not masculine?" Buck stroked his mustache unconsciously as he pondered this. The boy was pretty, no doubt about it, in a very unusual way. Not womanly, not manly. Sweet was the best Buck could come up with. Seemed a shame that those green eyes were so full of fear at the moment. He shook off the thought, looking over at Nathan for his answer.
"Essentially, yeah. No sign of facial hair or body hair, just his scalp growth. Overall skeletal development is muted, musculature reduced though he is well-formed. Just small for his age. Looks like he could pass for a fourteen-year old, but he's older, I'm sure."
Josiah stood. "Right now, I suggest we work on nullifying the records of Ezra's existence in the past, if any got recorded by the focal equipment. Then put a gray shift on the circumstances of his appearance here." Gray shift was the term the men used for the space of time that was without focus on a visit, between out and infocus, it was a foggy time of existence on a temporal transit plane, nothing to see, hear, or sense, except the beats of their own hearts.
Ezra's heart was beating so hard and fast that he thought it must surely burst from his chest. Wide-eyed, he stared up at the man who had invaded his daydreams. The opal-eyed man. Chris. Knowing his name was only part of the powerful magic that the tiny jewel in his ear allowed. Whilst this Chris and the other men spoke in a strange, unmusical tongue, the sounds harsh and clattering against one ear drum, in the other, where Chris had placed the tiny jewel, their words were comprehensible if flat, the usual lyric qualities of his language strangely muted.
The man, Chris, had appeared from nowhere, standing tall in front of Ezra as the boy left the Harem chambers. Had touched his shoulder gently, then cupped his chin and lifted the boy's face to look in to his. That's when Chris had shown him the tiny jewel, it pulsed red in the lamplight. With a calm face, the man had somehow reassured Ezra even as he tipped the jewel into the boy's ear. Then the man had spoken. And mysteriously, Ezra had both understood and been confused. "Ezra. My name is Chris. I've come to save you, come with me."
They had hurried from the passageway, back among the maze of curtained corridors, into a cul-de-sac where others waited, also tall men, one with facial hair like Mongols favored. The others had been upset, angry. With Chris. One, very tall, had tried to put his hands on Ezra's shoulders and been angrily pushed back by Chris. Chris had encircled Ezra's shoulders himself and spoken so rapidly that even the ear-jewel had not been able to help Ezra understand the words. But then the Mongol did something and everything went gray. When again Ezra could see, he was in a place so strange that he froze in fear. And Chris had simply picked him up, carried him to this less threatening room where a Moor had touched and looked upon him, then left him with Chris.
The quiet man, Chris, for he was quiet, speaking few words now that they were alone, had put Ezra on a narrow pallet. Then sat on a simple chair at his bedside, lifting one of Ezra's hands and holding it between his own. Ezra studied the man as his beating, racing heart slowed to more normal rhythms.
Chris swallowed hard as he sat there, the full impact of what he'd just done finally hitting him as large green eyes stayed locked on his face. One smallish hand rested between his, warm and smooth, delicately curled. Gradually a smoky look began to enter the youth's eyes and Chris felt himself begin to heat in response. Shit, the kid thinks I want him. Chris shook himself mentally. Hell, yes, I want him. But not like Darius, not even like Alexander might have if he'd seen him. I need Ezra to want me. Chris hunched over, almost in pain with his desire. If I take what he'd offer now, I'll never have Ezra, only the thing he was trained, created to be. Gently releasing the boy's hand, with nearly trembling hand of his own, Chris reached out to stroke the smooth cheek. So beautiful. Ezra's eyes half closed and he leaned into the touch, shoulders shifting sensually. SHIT! Chris raggedly drew breath and pulled back his hand to rest it on one knee. Confused green eyes opened again.
"Chris?" The strange accent sounded almost southern in its cant, though he knew it was the Persian's tongue he was hearing.
"Ezra, you rest. We'll talk when you have slept." Chris rose and lifted a coverlet, drawing it up on the boy's form as the Persian lay back down, green eyes slowly closing.
"Alright. Alright." Larabee's face was grim and nearly sullen as he ducked his head. Seated in the central chair of their meeting ringtable, the lead time explorer waited as the others each cast their aspersions on his head. Kidnapping a past-human was unconscionable. And he *knew* this. Only, he also knew he would not, no, could not let Ezra die. And the boy would have died if left there with Darius, in the path of Alexander's advancing army. History said only the other young eunuch was rescued by Alexander. Finally as the voices of the others subsided, he lifted his head again and spoke slowly. "I know it was wrong. But, it was right too. I feel a connection to Ezra. I FEEL it. I can't explain it, only that it's there. I couldn't let him die and he would have if we'd left him there."
"Then he should have died." Josiah spoke regretfully, but with great practicality, or so he thought.
"NO!" JD jumped up and strode away from the circle, then back and stood leaning over his chair. "No one should have to die, not like he'd have had to in that battle." The youngest team member shoved back his dark hair with two hands and looked around at his friends. "I talked with him. He's really smart. He is." He said this last to Jackson who'd raised his eyebrows in disbelief. "He can't help it if all he was ever taught to do was to -" Frustrated and embarrassed, JD didn't finish, dropping back into his chair and swinging it from side to side as he slouched low and looked rebelliously back at the others.
Buck reached out to touch Chris Larabee's arm, gripping it tightly. "Chris, it's done now. Don't see anyway to fix it back the way it was. Question now is, what do we do with Ezra?"
"Maybe, question should be, what does Ezra want to do?" Vin's scratchy voice was dry with quiet anger. He blamed himself in part, for wanting to see Alexander, Darius, that moment in history. Now, his best friend had freaked and stolen a boy, the lover of a king, from over two thousand years ago.
"He doesn't know this time. His body isn't prepared for it either." Nathan spoke regretfully.
"What do you mean?" Chris hadn't acknowledged the others, listened but not responded. This, though, worried him.
Looking up and across at Larabee, Jackson's warm brown eyes glowed with sadness and knowledge. "Chris, the boy was raised in another time, his body has no resistance to our generations of germs, viruses, or illnesses. There's no way he can survive once he's exposed to our world." Jackson hung his head. "It may already be too late."
Chris' eyes got round and scared and then he was half-sliding across the table to grab Nate's collar and drag the man toward him up onto the table itself. "What do you mean 'too late'?"
Jackson put his large dark hands on over Larabee's pale wrists and clamped down, eyes locked with Chris' hazel ones. Although the rest of the men had stood, no one touched the protagonists yet. "Chris! His body has never had to develop antibodies for modern germs! Think!"
With at thunk that made everyone wince, Chris dropped his head to the table top and released Jackson. Voice muffled by his extended arms, he asked, "Is there anything you can do to protect him, Nathan?"
"Short of making him into a modern-day bubble boy?" Nathan sat back, scratching at his chin. "Maybe. I suppose I could put together a chemical cocktail of antibodies, maybe a blood transfusion to siphon in some of them." His eyes took on a distant gleam as the scientist came to the fore.
"Think you better get started then," Vin said, looking with compassion at his collapsed friend, then back up at Jackson. "If he doesn't have much time, then you don't either."
Rising, Nathan nodded and asked, "Josiah? Would you be willing to help me?"
Sanchez stood with a nod.
"Nate? Maybe me and JD can give you hand?" Buck stood as well. His computer skills and those of his apprentice might make the difference. With a grateful wave of Nate's hand, Wilmington and Dunne followed the doctor and Sanchez from the room.
"Um, Cowboy?" Vin's light tenor nearly echoed in the now mostly deserted room.
"Whyn't you go sit with Ezra? He probably shouldn't be left alone too long."
Chris sat back and then rose to his feet, looking gratefully at Tanner. "Thanks Vin." He paused. "Do you have a problem with us?"
Larabee blushed but kept eye contact. "With Ezra and me. I aim to make him my partner."
Vin Tanner sighed and shook his head. "Chris, just make sure it's what Ezra wants too. This isn't the golden age of Persia anymore. No matter what his history, he's got rights in our century."
"I know." Chris' eyes slid half-shut as he looked down. "And I want him, Vin, so bad that it hurts, physically hurts. Never felt this way before, not even about Sarah. And I barely know him. Damn, I really don't know him at all. I want him to want me. Want me because he chooses to, not because he was trained up to perform."
Vin rubbed the back of his neck and eyed his friend with sympathy. "Then I think it's time you two got to know each other. I figure that old Nate will come through, man has more talent in one toe than any doctor I ever met. So Ezra's likely to be permanent. Go on. Go to him."
Larabee turned away without another word. He was ready to be with Ezra again. He needed to be there.
Wake up, come on. Chris sat and silently urged the boy, no, young man, to wake. He didn't want to force him out of sleep, not yet. Almost as though he was heard, sleepy green eyes opened and warmed at the sight of him.
He likes me! Larabee sat up a bit straighter and smiled.
"Chris?" The velvet tone was music to the Midwesterner's ears.
Silently, the youth nodded. Then he touched his ear, where the uni-lang translator was and then reached out to touch Larabee's lips. "You speak and I understand with this jewel."
Chris nodded. "Yes. Only, it's not really a jewel, it's a machine."
"What is a machine please?" The word had not translated.
Chris leaned forward and rested his forearms on his knees. Time for the lessons to start.
"Holy cow!" JD stared at the screen over Ezra's shoulder. "That's fantastic, Ez!" He clapped an encouraging hand on the younger man's shoulder.
Ezra glowed up at him. "I'm just following the programmed instruction, JD."
"I know, I know, but Ez, you didn't even speak English two months ago, and now you're reading and writing it too!" JD grinned and slapped the near shoulder again in encouragement. "You're really smart."
A sudden cloud overtook the younger man's face. "Not too smart, do you think? Not too smart for Chris?"
JD smiled sympathetically. "Nope, Chris is plenty smart, maybe not the same as you, but he's smart and mean and a born leader."
JD watched as Ezra's lips silently repeated his comments. He wanted to hug the little guy but he didn't. They were all trying very hard to make Ezra feel the differences, understand the changed expectations of Ezra's new life in the 22nd century. The knowledge that they slowly revealed to Ezra was enough to drive many a man insane, but this was Ezra. What they didn't know was how strong and clever and self-educated he already was when he joined them. Their layers of history, discovery and creation since his time, these were only additions to a core of understanding that already encompassed five languages, all now ancient, and several scripts, all now vanished. The young man was a hidden scholar who grasped the new language of modern English with no trouble, and who quickly understood the concept of time as they presented it. The string theory had brought him from the past to the now. He brought himself into this now and adjusted with an astounding ease.
What troubled the team was that their leader had walked away after Ezra's initial lessons, withdrawn. He seldom approached their newest team member, for that's what Ezra had become. Chris kept his distance and barely spoke to the youth.
And Ezra, who'd bonded with the hazel-eyed man at initial contact, was hurt and lonesome. He missed something he'd never yet had. So the rest of the team would share stories about Chris when he wasn't around, answer the flurry of questions that the younger man seemed to be overflowing with - all concerning their leader. It was clear to everyone that Ezra pined for Chris Larabee. And they already knew how desperately Chris wanted Ezra. No one, though, had figured out how to help the two breach the wall that Larabee had constructed in remorse and hope. Hope that someday Ezra would truly want to be with him.
Ezra truly wanted to be with Chris. He'd fallen deeply in love with the older man but simply didn't seem able to get Larabee to recognize this. He'd tried all the wiles of the harem, but the blond had simply pushed him away and either left or started some lesson on language. Ezra had tried talking about it only to be silenced with gentle fingers to his lips and a whispered, "You don't really know, you can't, not yet."
So, Ezra pined.
"It's a simple operation, really." Nathan Jackson waited. Without Larabee's concurrence, he wouldn't even mention it to Ezra. He wasn't sure why he needed Chris' approval, just knew that he felt that's what he had to get.
"You think he'll be a fully functional male after that?"
"Can't see why not." Nathan folded his hands on the table where they sat in private conference. "Of course, his development, growth-wise is pretty far along already. Not likely to ever be really hirsute or bulky looking. But, he'd get urges, be able to have an orgasm, feel that part of himself."
The open despair in Larabee's voice made Jackson cringe, but he slowly nodded. Spoke carefully. "Maybe. That's as much mental and emotional as it is physical."
"Well, I have to ask Ezra first. But if he agrees, I will." Jackson stood up and looked down at Chris' blank face. "Won't really change who he is, you know."
"We'll see." Heartbreaking, Chris Larabee put his head down on the table as he thought about the man who'd stolen it, and who might now never look at him again. Not that way, anyhow.
Chris quietly walked into the lab where Ezra was working, assisting Sanchez and Jackson on some behavioral experiments with small white mice. It had been three weeks since the operation and Ezra's recovery. So far, he'd shown no new interest in the opposite sex, but Chris was pessimistic. His green-eyed siren was sure to flee soon. They'd started a bank account for the young man some time ago and he now had the funds to go out and seek a life of his own. Buck had even created a modern and well 'documented' persona for Ezra, giving him the last name 'Standish' - a name straight out of the vid-phone book.
So, now Ezra 'Standish', PEEK team member, was free to leave for other places, complete with great references if he should want to go. Please don't go. Chris sat down on a high stool in the back, near the door and simply watched.
He's here. He's finally come! Ezra exulted, his hands actually trembling slightly as he adjusted the collar on the tiny rodent in his hands. Delicately, he released the creature to its bin and closed the cabinets. With a deep breath, he forced himself to smooth out his expression and turned to face Chris Larabee.
Nothing had changed, not for him. This was the man who'd rescued him from slavery and from the harem of Darius. This was the man he had loved at first sight. Who loved him, he thought. Saying nothing, he stared at Larabee from across the lab counters.
"Just thought I'd stop in." Chris listened to himself. The vague cold words were reprehensible. Just go, leave now, before I make a fool of myself.
"I'm glad you did." Ezra swallowed hard and walked staunchly around the counters and up to the stool where Larabee perched. Not stopping, the Persian boy moved up between the man's legs and leaned against the hot, hard body. "Stay." He laid his head down on Chris' chest, hearing the loud, rapid heartbeats and smiling as two long arms came to rest tentatively around his shoulders. Without artifice, he snuggled closer, slipping his own arms around the other man's waist. "Stay with me."
"Ezra? Are you sure?" The hesitant plea was tender.
"Oh, yes, Chris." He still pronounced his love's name as first he'd spoken it, the first word they'd exchanged. The arms around him tightened. "I love you Chris."
"Oh, god! Ezra! I've loved you from the first!" Chris slipped off the stool to stand clutching the shorter man to him. "I wanted you then, I want you now. I broke all kinds of laws to make this moment. I was so scared I'd broken you as well."
"No, never. I'm very strong." The smile in Ezra's voice brought a matching one to Larabee's face.
Chris kissed the top of the head of chestnut curls. "Ah, Ezra, I know that, know that now."
"Chris?" Green eyes looked up in joy and desire. "Let's find a private place to make sure that you really know how strong I am. How much I love you."
"Lead and I'll follow, Ezra." Chris brought his hands up to cup the smooth, young face and smile down into it. Alexander might have been ruler of the known world once, might have had a beautiful Persian boy. But, he, Christopher Larabee, had gotten the best one. Had his own, oh, so special, Persian boy. "Always."
|Project Enhanced Encyclopedic Knowledge - PEEK Index||On to: Alexandria Revisited|
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