Monday, April 2, 2012

Free at Last Ch.02

Thanks to my editor, who is to lazy to look at his literotica user name for me.

I don't know, claim to know, or imagine that I know anything about hospital procedures so don't send me mail saying that 'they would never do that blah blah blah.' because honestly I don't really care. It's a gay romance story on Literotica, odds are most people aren't going for accuracy here :) Enjoy the story. 


Nikolai woke up and felt a tight feeling in his arms. He looked down to see his arms bandaged, the feel of stitches pressed against his skin beneath. He sighed and tried to move his hands again. The same result occurred and Nikolai sighed. He was beginning to think he would never get the use of his hands back.

"Hi, Nikolai." He heard from the doorway. He turned and looked to see the ever so beautiful Clark standing at the door.

"To what do I owe the pleasure of having a fine young man such as yourself at my door?" Nikolai rolled his eyes, he was feeling bitter today. Clark seemed to flinch but didn't seem to hurt by Nikolai's remark.

"You went through surgery the other day, I just wanted to stop by to see how you were doing." Clark shrugged. Nikolai stared him down, eyes slightly squinted.

"Why?" He asked. Clark seemed taken aback by this and searched for an answer. He glanced away from Nikolai out the window.

"Well... I consider us friends." Clark said. Nikolai raised an eyebrow and thought about Clark's answer. He eventually just shrugged.

"Where's Ana?" Nikolai asked. Clark seemed to flinch, but looked at Nikolai with a warm smile.

"She's not feeling too well today." Clark said. His forced smile couldn't hide the shadow in his eyes that showed the pain he was going through.

"She'll be fine." Nikolai said. Clark suddenly burst into laughter.

"What?" Nikolai asked.

"That's the first truly nice thing you've ever said around me." Clark smiled, he walked inside and sat on the chair near Nikolai's bed.

"So, I didn't know you spoke Russian." Clark said.

"My name is Russian. I thought it would be cool to at least speak the language." He shrugged.

"I never learned how to speak a foreign language. I bet it's cool." Clark chuckled. Nikolai shrugged again.

"Do they hurt?" Clark asked, Nikolai saw he was looking at his arms. He turned his arms so they were palm down.

"Don't make me go all Geico on you." Nikolai said.


"Come on, you've seen the commercials." Nikolai said. When Clark stared at him blankly he sighed.

"You know, can you really save 15% on your car insurance by switching to Geico? And then the guy says something stupid followed by a literal clip of what he just said. Like do woodchuck's chuck wood, and is shows the woodchucks throwing wood into a lake. Or does the buck stop here and the buck just stops walking right behind him. Or does it take two to tango and it shows three people trying to tango and it just looks awkward. Or... what?" During his whole speech Clark was slowly laughing more and more until he couldn't contain himself anymore.

"You couldn't have just said yes?" Clark laughed. Nikolai looked down and a smile slowly spread across his face until he joined in with Clark. He was really laughing for the first time in a long time.


"Can you tell me what happened?" Henstridge asked.

"Why, it doesn't matter." Nikolai said.

"Yes it does." Henstridge pushed.

"Does it? Does it matter if it was one guy or two guys or a girl, or a fucking Popsicle stick! Does it matter what happened? Just that it did..." Nikolai snapped.

"Yes, it does." Henstridge repeated. Nikolai sighed and rubbed his forehead. 

"Why?" He ground his teeth as the word left his lips in a hiss.

"Because, if you cant even talk about what happened to you..." 

"I cant do this, can someone get me out of here please? Hello?!" Nikolai shouted. A nurse came in and began wheeling him out of the room.

"I'll see you tomorrow." Henstridge called out. Even down the hallway she could hear Nikolai groan. She chuckled to herself as she got ready for her next patient.


"Hi, Nikky!" Ana sat down on his bed. He sighed.

"Hello, Ana." He grumbled, though she seemed un-phased by his grouchiness.

"Hi, Nikky." Clark came bouncing into the room exactly like Ana had, sitting on Nikolai's bed. Nikolai rolled his eyes and glared at Clark, who just giggled.

"What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be working or something?" Nikolai asked.

"I took the day off, it's Ana's birthday tomorrow." Clark smiled.

"Happy Birthday, Midget!" Nikolai smiled down at the young girl. 

"She wanted to come see you." Clark had an apologetic look on his face. Nikolai nodded that it was okay and turned to Ana.

"I wanted you to come out for my birthday with us." Nikolai raised his eyebrows and looked at Clark, who rubbed his neck while looking at his shoes.

"Don't you want to spend the day with your dad? Just the two of you?" Nikolai asked.

"No! I want you to come." Ana played with his hand.

"I don't think I can, Ana." 

"Why not?" The small girl questioned.

"I'm not allowed to leave." Nikolai shrugged.

"But its only for a day..." 

"I still don't think I can leave, Ana. I'm sorry." Nikolai apologized.

"But it's my birthday..." Ana was almost crying now. Nikolai felt his heart ache for something other then his own pain for once.

"Ana I'm sure Nikolai has other-"

"I'll see what I can do, Midget." Nikolai said. Clark looked up at him and they shared a glance before they turned back to Ana who was singing happily.


"I need to leave tomorrow." Nikolai told Henstridge. She looked up from her clipboard and stared at him for a long moment.

"Why?" She asked. Nikolai fidgeted.

"'s Ana's birthday..." Nikolai muttered.

"Let me get this straight..." Henstridge had a smile on her face. "You want to leave the hospital... WHILE you're on suicide watch, to go to a little girl's birthday party." Henstridge nodded her head, pointing her pen directly at Nikolai.

"She has cancer. Are you going to deny a little girl with cancer her one and only gay depressed Russian? That's just cruel." Nikolai said.

"Doesn't she have another one that can come to her birthday?" Henstridge joked.

"I'm the one and only." Nikolai said.

"I'll see what I can do." Henstridge said, making a note on her clipboard.

"Wait what? You're seriously considering this?" Nikolai expected a flat no.

"Yes, I think it's good that you're caring about something. It shows that there's still something left alive in there." Henstridge nodded her head at Nikolai's chest.

"Don't get all shrinky on me. We were having a nice moment." Nikolai glared at her.

"I'm sorry." She laughed.

"No! It's to late, it's ruined." Nikolai shrugged. "Oh orderly!" He called in a high voice. The orderly came in and began wheeling him out.

"Wait, you're really going to leave before we even start talking about anything?" Henstridge asked.

"Ta ta!" Nikolai waived over his shoulder, raising his nose up into the air in as regal a manner as he could.

"Hold on just a second!" Henstridge chased after the orderly. She followed them down the hallway, trying to keep pace with the orderlies long steps.

"If I get you permission to leave tomorrow, I want two things in return." Henstridge said.

"And what's that?" Nikolai continued looking forward.

"I want you to promise you will come back." 


"And I want you to stay for a full two hour session." 

"Hmm..." Nikolai thought about this.

"That's it?" He asked.

"That's it." Henstridge nodded.


"Really?" Henstridge stopped walking.

"Really really." Nikolai called out as he was pushed into his room.


"How did you do it?" The nurse asked.

"Do what?" Nikolai blinked innocently.

"How did you get the 'okay' to leave for the day?" She asked, buttoning his shirt for him.

"I have the best-est shrink in the world! Which isn't really saying much. That's like saying you have the best hermit crab in the world. No one cares." He shrugged. The nurse tried not to giggle but couldn't stop herself.

"You know, if you put as much energy into getting better as you do into being an asshole, you would be out of here by now." The nurse said.

"But being an asshole is so much more fun." Nikolai smiled. The nurse bent down to tie his shoes and when she was done, checked his bandages one more time. 

"Now, no putting stress on your arms. Not even lifting up a drink, not that you would be able to. If you start feeling dizzy or lightheaded then come back. And if-"

"I know 'Mom'. If any of the other boys pick on me I'll find an adult. And don't get into the van with any strange men, look both ways before crossing the street, and never eat yellow snow." Nikolai looked at the nurse seriously who scowled in return and straightened his jacket.

"You need to be back by eight." The nurse said.

"Yeah yeah yeah." Nikolai rolled his shoulders, enjoying the freedom. He took a few more practice steps around the room and was doing well when Clark walked in.

"We just wanted to say goodbye before we head... Hey look at you go!" Clark smiled.

"Nikky!" Ana hugged his legs, nearly knocking Nikolai over.

"Happy Birthday, Midget." Nikolai smiled.

"Glad you could come." Clark smiled.

"Me too." Nikolai looked away to hide the blush on his cheeks and saw the nurse smiling while she folded his hospital gown.

"What?!" He snapped.

"Oh, nothing." She rolled her eyes and walked out of the room. "Have fun." She called out.


"Oh my god! This is beautiful!" Nikolai shouted.

"It's just pizza." Clark laughed. Nikolai grew serious and looked at him with intense eyes.

"Have you ever had hospital food, Clark? Ask Ana. Ana, is this not the best food you've ever tasted?"

"Mhm." Ana nodded her head with a mouthful of pizza.

"We gotta get you two out of that place more often." Clark laughed.

"Quiet you! You don't know our own personal hell." Nikolai said with much remorse, holding Ana to his chest who was giggling.

"Why don't you go play, hon?" Clark pointed to the play area.

"M'kay." Ana said and ran off to play with the other children who inhabited the ball pit.

"So I see you're getting use of your hands back." Clark pointed to Nikolai's right arm.

"Yeah. Just the right one, but it's better then nothing." Nikolai laughed.

"So spill." Clark smiled, putting down the piece of cardboard pizza.


"How did you get your shrink to let you out for the day?" Clark asked. Nikolai blushed.

"I had to promise her I would come back." Nikolai laughed.


"And what?"

"She doesn't get anything out of that, there has to be more." Clark smiled. Nikolai sighed.

"I promised her a full two hour session." 

"Oh you mean you're going to stay the whole time?" Clark laughed.

"Yes." Nikolai groaned.

"Come on it cant be that bad, she's just trying to help you."

"You don't know her. She's just so..." Nikolai searched for the word. "Perky." He growled.

"Misery loves company, right?" Clark smiled as he sipped his soda.

"I guess." Nikolai shrugged.

"No one wants to be alone. Especially when they're miserable." Clark said seriously. The two men shared a look and Nikolai felt his heart surge. The sensation was strange to him. He forced the feelings down and took a sip of his soda through a straw.

"So, I start physical therapy tomorrow." Nikolai said.

"Nice, are you excited?" Clark smiled.

"Nervous. It's not supposed to be fun." Nikolai grimaced.

"Yeah, back in high school I jacked up my leg really bad in a motorcycle accident. I had to do physical therapy for awhile. Definitely not something to laugh at."

"I didn't know you rode a motorcycle." Nikolai laughed.

"I used to, until my accident." Clark shrugged.

"Did you like it?" 

"I loved it. But after the crash..." Clark shrugged again.

"You cant let something like that ruin something that you love to do." 

"I don't know. It just never happened again. I had Ana a few years after that and I hung up the leather and never looked back I guess." 

"It's a shame. I bet you look hot in leather." Nikolai enjoyed the blush that crossed Clark's cheeks.

"So what about you. Besides her being perky, how is the therapy working?" Clark asked.

"I don't know. I don't think so." 

"Are they putting you on any meds for the depression?" Clark asked. Nikolai looked up and smiled.

"Not very shy are you?" 

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

"No, it's fine. Most people don't like talking about it. They get all awkward and fidgety." Nikolai shrugged. " They have me on a whole cocktail of meds."


"I guess they're working. I feel.... I don't know..." Nikolai shrugged.

"Give it awhile. You've only been at the hospital for a month right? It's got to take longer for them to work, right?" Clark said.

"Yeah, I guess." 

"Why did you do it?" Clark asked frankly.

"That's going too far." Nikolai answered honestly.

"I'm sorry." There was an awkward silence for a moment before Nikolai spoke.

"Let's just sum it up to boyfriend troubles." Nikolai sighed.

"I see. Relationships are tough. But..." He paused and looked at Nikolai. "You cant let something like that ruin something you love to do." He smiled.

"What is it ruining that I love so much?" Nikolai smirked.

"Living." Clark said. Nikolai had no reply for that. The silence that came this time was not one of awkwardness but of thought.

"How do you know I love living?" 

"I can see it in your eyes. It's just hidden now. But some other time, you loved life. You loved the beauty of it. The sounds, sights, smells. You loved people. I can almsot see it in your eyes. But you can find it again. I'm sure." Clark said.

"How do you do that?" Nikolai asked.

"Do what?"

"See me." Nikolai said.

"I just do." Clark said.

"Nikky!" Ana called out.

"Have fun, Midget?" Nikolai smiled.

"Yeah. Can we go home now?" Ana asked. 

"Sure, we got presents." Clark smiled.


Nikolai looked around the clean home and could easily picture Clark and Ana living there. 

"Presents presents presents!" Ana bounced around the room.

"Okay okay okay." Clark laughed and tried to walk around the excited little girl.

"Present number one!" Nikolai said as Clark handed Ana her first present. 

They spent the next hour eating cake and opening presents until Ana couldn't handle anymore birthday fun.

"Thanks for coming." Clark said, as he helped Nikolai slip on his jacket.

"It was fun." Nikolai smiled.

"Maybe you don't need so much company if you're not to miserable." Clark smiled against Nikolai's ear.

"A little girl and a studly guy should do it." He nodded. Clark chuckled against his ear and Nikolai felt a shiver go up his spine.

'What am I doing?' He thought to himself. Nikolai and Clark spent the next hour drinking beer and talking about their lives until Clark looked at the clock.

"It's time I take you two back to the hospital." Clark scooped up Ana and began walking outside to his truck. He let Nikolai get in first and put Ana onto his lap.

"So do you really think the full therapy session is going to be that bad?" Clark asked once they were on the road.

"Yes." Nikolai grumbled.

"Come on, Nikolai." Clark smiled. Nikolai felt his heart speed up when Clark said his name. It sounded the way melted chocolate tasted.

"If you were a kind man you would drive me far far away from here." Nikolai pouted.

"I guess I'm kind of cruel for wanting you to get better then." Clark didn't take his eyes off the road.

"Just a little." 

"It won't be so bad. Just open up, it will make things better for both of you."

"Make things better in the way that it'll be worse." Nikolai nodded.

"Do you want to be miserable all of your life?" Clark glanced at him. Nikolai looked uncomfortable. He paused before answering.

"No." He said quietly.

"Then open up." Clark said as he got out of the car. He scooped Ana up and waited for Nikolai to climb out before closing the door.


"This is going to suck." Nikolai stared at Henstridge.

"It doesn't have to." She smiled.

"Why did I agree to this?" Nikolai frowned, looking down at his lap.

"Because you do have a heart, and you care about Ana." Henstridge said.

"False." Nikolai frowned. Henstridge chuckled.

"A full two hour session doesn't mean an hour and fifty-nine minutes of awkward silence and a minute of you being wheeled out of the room." Henstridge said after a moment of silence.

"Okay fine. Go ahead."


"Do your shrinky thingy." Nikolai waved a limp hand.

"It takes more then one person to do my 'shrinky thingy'." Henstridge smiled.

"Okay, what do I have to do." 

"Open up." Henstridge gestured. Clarks voice popped into his head.

'Then open up.' 

"Well I cant open up if we don't have a topic to open up to." Nikolai snapped.

"How about the rape?" Henstridge got serious.

"Ugh, could we start with something less awful?" Nikolai whined.

"How about your ex?" 

"Okay." Nikolai sighed.

"So basically, he broke up with you because you were raped?" Henstridge asked.


"Care to elaborate?" Henstridge urged him on.

"I was a virgin when we met. He was my first." Nikolai said quietly.

"Was he?"

"No." Nikolai laughed. "He had been with a ton of guys. After he left I realized he was their first too." 

"So he had a thing for virgin guys?" 

"I guess. When I was.... after I was attacked the guy just left me on the street. I managed to get home and he was there. I told him what happened, I asked him to help me..." Nikolai felt tears coming to his eyes.

"What happened next, Nikolai?"

"He wouldn't touch me. He was trying to pretend he was okay, but he wouldn't even help me up off the floor. I asked him for help... and he just stared at me like I was disgusting." Nikolai couldn't stop the tears from falling this time and he felt the warm liquid trail down his face.

"Because you had been with someone else, he didn't love you anymore." Henstridge said.

"I don't know if he ever loved me..."Nikolai sighed. "I was an idiot." 

"No, Nikolai. You weren't an idiot. Everyone is looking for love and you thought you had found it. He let you down when you needed him most." Henstridge said.

"I don't need a man to make me happy. I was stupid to rely on him so much." Nikolai said.

"You're not stupid for needing someone. We all need someone at some time in our life."

"Yeah? And who do you need?" 

"This isn't about me."

"Come on tell me." 

"I'm married, my husband is a wonderful man. But we're getting off topic." Henstridge said. Nikolai nodded his head.

"Who can I rely on now, then?" He asked.

"You have Ana now, and you have Clark. And I'm always here when you need me." Henstridge said.

"Great, the only people I have in the world is a dying little girl, my shrink, and a drop dead sexy man who would never want someone who's damaged goods." Nikolai spat.

"Just because your ex was an asshole doesn't mean that every guy who you're interested in is." Henstridge said.

"We met in the hospital. The hospital that his sick daughter is at and I'm in here for trying to kill myself." Nikolai said like Henstridge was an idiot.

"That doesn't mean you cant be loved."

"Who would want to love me? I cant even use my fucking hands!" Nikolai nodded down at his arms.

"That can be fixed. You have physical therapy after this." Henstridge smiled. Nikolai groaned.

"Why do you hate me so?" He pretended to cry.

"We're yet again getting off subject."

"It's too late, we can't go back. You let me wander and now I'm done opening up." Nikolai spat.

"Truthfully, it was more then I hoped for." Henstridge laughed.

"CAREFUL!" Nikolai shouted. "I thought I saw a sliver of personality. Dear God, you need to watch yourself now."

"Okay, we're done here." Henstridge shut the notebook she had been keeping notes in, trying to hide a smile.

"Aw but we were just having fun, Henstridge!" 

"Don't call me that."

"I told you that first day, it's too late. You have been named!"

"Well I don't like that name, change it."

"Haven't you ever read the Bible Henstridge? 'She who is named by her suicide patient shall keep thy name until the end of days." Nikolai said.

"I'm fairly certain the Bible NEVER said that." Henstridge got up, and began pushing his wheelchair out the door.

"You need to double check that." Nikolai said.

"I'll get on that."

"Wait, where are we going?" Nikolai asked when they turned away from his room.

"I told you, you have Physical therapy." Henstridge said.

"Yeah, you said after our session. Which was supposed to last TWO HOURS which really only lasted FORTY FIVE MINUTES. So I should have an hour and fifteen minutes to hide." Nikolai said.

"You should know that I know you better then that." Nikolai thought about what that meant and sighed, frowning.

"You knew I wouldn't make it a whole session." He growled.


"God damn it." Nikolai growled.

"You ended it early. You could have kept going and missed your therapy."

"I changed my mind lets go back. I want to talk about shit." 


"Emotional, heavy, important, shit. Henstridge please!" Nikolai begged.


"I need you, I think I'm having a breakdown! I see that bottle of pills over there and all I want to do is swallow them all like pez candy! Help me!" Nikolai grabbed her shirt as best as he could. Henstridge tried to hide her smile as she pushed open the door the the physical therapy room.

"If you really cared about me, Henstridge, you would know I'm in a very fragile state..."

"Uh huh." Henstridge wheeled him up to a table with a large looking man. "Have fun."

"Wait, Henstridge, HENSTRIDGE! Don't leave me here!" He locked eyes with the large man before turning in his wheelchair and reaching for a retreating Henstridge with limp hands.

"I'm Jackson," The large man said. "You're not going to have fun." He smiled, showing a row of gleaming white teeth.

" me..." He whimpered to himself.


"Ugh." Nikolai grunted as the orderly covered him in the thin hospital sheets.

"Rough day?" Clark laughed as he leaned on the door frame.

"Shhhh." Nikolai held up a weak arm. "Your voice is making my arms hurt." He let his arm fall down to the bed.

"You had your two hour session with the shrink today, right?" Clark asked. Nikolai nodded weakly.

"Yup, and she tricked me." Nikolai said.

"How?" Clark sat down in a chair.

"She scheduled my physical therapy session for halfway through our own."

"Ah, so if you weaseled out of it-"

"I charm my way out, there's no weaseling being done." Nikolai gave a weak hand a wave.

"Right." Clark chuckled. "So if you 'charmed' your way out of it, you got to go to physical therapy." Clark laughed.


"How was it?"

"Have you ever sliced through all your nerves and tendons with a razor blade?" Nikolai asked.


"It hurts. But you know what hurts fifteen times more?"


"When a large man named Jackson tries to play the recently repaired tendons like a violin. Using a hot piece of metal as the bow." 

"I doubt he did that." Clark smiled.

"No but it felt like it." Nikolai whimpered. Clark laughed. And squeezed his shoulder.


"Hi, Nikky!" Ana jumped onto his bed.

"Anna-Banana, I think Nikky is a little tired today." Clark smiled sympathetically when Nikolai only squeezed his eyes shut harder.


"He worked really hard yesterday." Clark laughed. Nikolai opened an eye, he took in a deep breath and fought with his sore muscles to raise his arm. Once the arm was fully raised he struggled to leave only one finger up directed right at Clark.

"See look, it's already paying off!" Clark smiled.

"What's that mean?" Ana looked up at Nikolai's raised finger.

"It means Nikolai is really grumpy and we will come back tomorrow." Clark laughed and began nudging Ana out the door.

"Alright, time for your physical therapy." The nurse came in. Clark could hear Nikolai groan from the hallway.

"No..." He drew the word out in a long high whine.

"Yes." The nurse mimicked his whine.

"I just had my first day yesterday, don't I get a break?" Clark tried to hide his chuckle.

"Okay, fine. One day, and then it's back to work." 

"Come on, Ana-Banana. How about I read you a book?" Clark scooped Ana up into his arms and began walking away. Ana let Monty dangle from her arms as she watched the door way of Nikolai's room fade back.


"Watch this." Nikolai said. He began picking up the stray paper clips from the table and placing them in the small box. 

"Damn, you're getting good!" Clark smiled. Nikolai smiled back and continued to put the paper clips in the box. He missed a few but got the majority into the container. It had been over a month since the day after his first day of physical therapy. 

"How is your other arm doing?" Clark pointed at his left arm.

"Not as well, but it's improving." Nikolai attempted to use his other arm. It was a great deal better than it had been before, but not anywhere near his good arm.

"Got moved off of suicide watch, been staying full therapy sessions, improving in arm mobility. Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you getting better?" Clark smiled.

"What? No." Nikolai waived a hand dismissively. 

"Oh yes you are!" Clark laughed.

"False." Nikolai dumped the paperclips out and began putting them back into the container.

"True." Clark gave a smirk when Nikolai looked up at him. After a week or two of Nikolai using the single word sentence to dismiss something, Clark had finally come up with an answer to use every time Nikolai said the word.

"So, what are your plans for tonight?" Nikolai asked.

"Oh you know, the usual. Ben and Jerry's Fish Food Ice cream, and a House marathon." Clark smiled.

"You need a man." Nikolai paused what he was doing with the paperclips to look at Clark. Clark sighed and pushed out his bottom lip in a pout.

"I know." Clark whined. Nikolai chuckled and got back to his work.

"Why are you still doing that?" Clark laughed.

"I promised Jackson that if I did this for an hour a day for each hand then I could miss a day of therapy every now and then." Nikolai chuckled mischievously.


"Charmer." Nikolai pointed out. Clark ruffled his hair and Nikolai cursed at him.


"There are children in this hospital, Nikolai." Clark said in a hushed voice.

"Speaking of which, where is the Midget?" Nikolai glanced around at the floor dramatically.

"She had treatment today." Clark's face lost the smile it had only a few seconds ago.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"It's fine, we're open with each other right? You talk to me about everything." Clark said. Nikolai shrugged.

"What there's something you haven't told me?" Clark said surprised.

"Well, you know.... why I did it." Nikolai shrugged.

"Oh... Well I don't care about that." Clark said.

"You don't?"

"No, we talk about everything else. That one little thing is only-"

"The reason we met." Nikolai interrupted.

"Okay, but it doesn't matter to me. It was a dark time in your life and as far as I'm concerned, the fact that you're getting over it is enough for me. If you ever want to tell me, that's fine. But if not then that's fine too." Clark said. Nikolai smiled and dropped the last paperclip into the container before putting it aside.

"Well, thank you for that." Nikolai said.

"Why are you like this with me?" Clark asked suddenly.


"You're such a.... well you're just.... I mean with other people you..."

"Are an asshole?" Nikolai laughed. Clark blushed and nodded silently.

"I don't know, you're different." Nikolai said.

"You don't spare me the sarcasm though." Clark laughed.

"Now what kind of fair God would I be if I didn't treat you the same as all of my other loyal subjects?" 

"King or God?" Clark laughed.

"C, all of the above?" Nikolai cocked his head to the side.

"How about D, handsome new boyfriend?" Clark asked. Nikolai stopped chuckling.

"Is this your way of asking me out?"

"Yes." Clark said seriously. Nikolai looked down at his hands with a frown.

"It's okay to say no. I'm a big boy I can take it." Clark said.

"It's not that." Nikolai said.

"Then its a yes?" Clark beamed.


"So its a no?"

"No, its not a no!" Nikolai sighed.

"Then its a yes?"

"I don't know!"

"Wait what?" Clark looked confused. Nikolai sighed.

"I don't know, can I think about it?"

"Of course, you don't have to answer now." Clark said. He grabbed his jacket. "I'll leave you alone for awhile to think about it. There's no pressure. If you say no... I'd like to still be friends." 

"I'd like that too. But that's not saying I'm going to say no... I just want some time to think. Okay?"

"Okay, I'll talk to you tomorrow?" 

"Yeah." Nikolai gave him a warm smile and Clark returned it before walking out the door.


"Clark asked me out." Nikolai picked at the leather couch.

"On a date?"

"No, he wanted me to see this really cool cloud outside. Yes out on a fucking date." Nikolai snapped.

"Okay, okay." Henstridge put her hands up defensively. Silence passed between them before Henstridge spoke. "What did you say?"

"I said I wanted to think about it."


"What the fuck do you mean why?"

"Why do you have to think about it, what's the problem?" She asked, waiving her pen as she spoke.

"Have you not been listening the last two months or so?" Nikolai growled.

"I have. But we've been over this. Has Clark done anything to make you think he isn't a nice guy?" 

"No." Nikolai said quietly.

"Has he ever hurt you? Physically or mentally?"


"Do you like his daughter?"


"Do you want a boyfriend?" 

Nikolai stayed silent.


"I... I want to be happy." Nikolai said quietly.

"What makes you happy?"

"I don't know." Nikolai said, throwing his arms up in frustration.

"Does being with Clark make you happy?"


"Does being alone make you happy?"

"In a way."

"In what way?" Henstridge was scribbling things down as they talked.

"I want to feel independent. I don't want to have to rely on someone." Nikolai said.

"Nikolai we talked about this, everyone needs-"

"Everyone needs someone some time. I know. But I don't want to HAVE to rely on someone. Clark is there if I need him. But I want to know that I can stand on my own two feet first." Nikolai said.

"You don't think you can?"

"I don't know yet."

"Ultimately it's a decision you have to make, Nikolai." 

"I know." 


"Not to pressure you... But we've been sitting here for fifteen minutes making small talk." Clark blushed.

"I know." 



"This isn't good is it?" Clark frowned. Nikolai bit his lip.

"It's not that I don't want to, Clark."

"Then what is it?" Clark asked, confused.

"I just need...." Nikolai tried to find the words. "I need to learn to stand on my own two feet. Or at least make sure that I'm capable of it. I'm interested, trust me... But I need to make sure that I'm not going to rely on a man to keep me steady. Do you understand?" Nikolai asked. Clark nodded. He looked disappointed, but understanding.

"I know what you mean. And I respect you for that. It shows that you're really making an effort to get your life back on track." Clark said.

"Thank you. I'm glad you understand." Nikolai smiled.

"But we're still friends, right?" Clark asked.

"Of course. And friends help friends, right?" Nikolai bit his lip.

"Right..." Clark said cautiously.

"I get out of here in a few weeks." Nikolai started.

"That's amazing! Congratulations! I'm so happy for you." Clark hugged Nikolai. He felt Nikolai give him his strongest hug back and when he pulled away Nikolai finished speaking.

"And my landlord refuses to let me back into the building because I caused a ton of property damage what with the blood and what not." Nikolai winced.

"Uh huh..." Clark was cautious again.

"I've looked for a new place, but none are close enough to the hospital, or they're too small, or too expensive, or-"

"What are you getting at here, Nikolai?" Clark asked. Nikolai tried to keep himself for melting when Clark said his name. Of course he failed miserably.

"I need a place to stay. It would only be temporarily. You live close enough to the hospital and I promise I'll find a new place as soon as I can and it's fine if you want to say no and-"

"Nikolai, Nikolai. Calm down." Clark laughed.

"I just don't want you to think that I'm trying to mooch of you I just-"

"Nikolai." Clark laughed harder.

"What?" Nikolai shouted.

"It's fine, I would love to have you stay with me." Clark said, with a smile.

"Oh." Nikolai said simply.

"Oh." Clark laughed.

"It wont be for very long I promise I'll get out of your way." Nikolai said.

"It's okay." Clark smiled.

"Okay." Nikolai repeated.

"Okay." Clark smiled back. Clark got caught up in Nikolai's eyes and before he knew it their lips had met. He was about to pull back when Nikolai returned the kiss.

"I'm sorry." He said once he separated.

"We just talked about this." Nikolai smiled slowly.

"I know. We suck." Clark chuckled.

"We? You started it." Nikolai poked him in the chest.

"You weren't trying to stop." Clark poked back.

"Okay, maybe I didn't but I shouldn't have to. You shouldn't have started it." Nikolai raised his nose. Clark rolled his eyes and ruffled Nikolai's hair who only cursed at him and tried to bite his hand as he pulled away.

"No one told me you bite!" Clark said, pulling his hand back just in time.

"It's only nibbles." Nikolai pouted.

"I could look forward to that." Clark raised an eyebrow.

"Me too." Nikolai smiled. "But later! Stop dragging me back into your love trance of death." Nikolai frowned.

"Is that what I'm doing?" Clark chuckled.

"Weasel." Nikolai turned his head away from Clark.

"Charmer." Clark smiled.

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