Firebird-Part Twenty

Firebird copyright (c) 2006 TA Chase

Part Twenty-

Vlatko sat under the firebird’s tree, gazing up through the leaves to the sky. Rue had fallen asleep shortly after their shower together. Vlatko was restless and didn’t want to wait around, so he went for a walk. There were times when he hated not being able to sleep.

He was puzzled. Rue seemed to believe he’d be angry with him for seducing Stargazer and if Vlatko were a different person, he would be. But he couldn’t shake the feeling it would be like being angry at a fish for swimming. Rue did what he had to do to survive and Vlatko couldn’t argue with that. He sighed and rubbed his forehead.

He hated thinking about life and emotions. He was a hired killer for fuck’s sake. What did he care about emotions? He didn’t need feelings to do his job. It wasn’t like he and the thief were committed partners. They had great sex between them. Did he want more than sex? He stared down at his hand. His fingers trembled and he could feel a hint of weakness in the muscles. Shaking his head, he knew he didn’t have time for a relationship.

The assassins the I.U.M. created didn’t live long. Their expectations out of life weren’t much. To do their job. Have a little fun along the way. They didn’t even expect to make friends. And when the end came, they wanted to be alone.

Vlatko had known on his last job that his time was running out. That’s why he deserted and came to this planet. He wanted to find a way to reverse the damage done to him. So far he’d failed and if he didn’t figure out the formula, the I.U.M. wouldn’t need to worry about the information he had. He’d be dead.

Rue crashed through the brush and dropped to his knees in front of Vlatko. “I’m sorry.”

Vlatko frowned. “Sorry for what?”

“For what I did with Stargazer. I shouldn’t have.” Rue hung his head.

Vlatko reached out and tilted the slender man’s chin so he could see those amber eyes. “You did what you needed to do to accomplish your goal. Would it make you feel better if I told you I was angry and hurt by what you did?”

Rue shook his head and gave a little grin. “Maybe if you could do it with more conviction, I’d actually believe you.” The thief leaned forward, kissing him. “For what it’s worth, I’ve never apologized to anyone for what I do.”

“I accept your apology for what it’s worth.” Vlatko embraced Rue, pulling the man on to his lap.

Rue snuggled close and rested his head on Vlatko’s shoulder. “Why are you out here? Shouldn’t you be hard at work, typing away at your computer?”

“I needed some fresh air.” Vlatko shrugged. “I’m beginning to think it doesn’t matter how much work I do with my formulas, I won’t find an answer in the numbers.”

“What answer are you looking for? Maybe you just need a fresh perspective.”

Vlatko wondered if Rue was fishing for information to send to the I.U.M. A cramp in his arm told him it didn’t matter. He was closer to the end than he thought. “The liquid body armor is a good concept, at least on paper. But once injected into a human body, it begins to break down. Along the way, it contaminates its host and the cells collapse. The one thing the I.U.M. did to help save my life is eating me alive from the inside.”

Rue pushed back with a horrified look on his face. “That’s fucked up. What about your ability to heal? Doesn’t that counter-act the destruction of your cells?”

“Up to a certain point, it does, but after a while, the rate of destabilization overwhelms the rate of healing and it’s only a matter of time before the host is destroyed.”

Rue cradled Vlatko’s face in his hands. “But you’re the host. You’re dying. How can you sound so calm?”

“If I was calm about it, I wouldn’t have deserted. I wouldn’t be on this god-forsaken planet, doing research on something I can’t even begin to understand. There are a hundred other things I can accept, Rue, but my death isn’t one of them.” Vlatko set the thief away from him and rose to his feet.

He walked a few feet away and glared up at the firebird who was screeching from her nest. The bird never attacked him and he had to wonder if it was because the animal knew he was already dead. A pair of slender arms wrapped around his waist. Rue’s lips brushed his ear.

“I’ll save you.”

9 Responses “Firebird-Part Twenty”

  1. S. W. Vaughn says:

    Oh no!!! I had to catch up on a few chapters here… *sniffle* glad to see you aren’t going to kill Vlatko. I’d be soooo sad!

  2. T.A.Chase says:

    Hey Nicole,

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂 The chat was awesome. I had a lot of fun. I love the pics as well. 😉

    Enjoy you can tell it seems to be taking a strange little twist.

  3. T.A.Chase says:

    I think Rue’s going to have surprised himself with that line, Jenna. He doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who goes around saving other people. Guess there’s something special about Vlatko.

  4. Nicole says:

    Hi TA! the chat last night was fun 🙂
    I came over to check out Firebird. I’m going to start reading it asap.

    P.S. Love all the pics 😉

  5. Jenna Howard says:

    I love love love the last line. That’s probably the most unselfish thing Rue’s ever said!! Perfect. Mwah!

  6. T.A.Chase says:

    Everyone…thank you for your concern about Vlatko. I don’t think he’s going to die. I believe that in the end, there’s going to be a way to save him. (just have to figure it out) I don’t intend for him to die. I think he and Rue need to be together for a very long time.

  7. Yvonne says:

    TA- I am starting to choke up! Vlatko CAN’T die.

  8. Celia Kyle says:

    *gasp* Nooooo! Rue has to save him… You can’t let my yummy Vlatko die.


  9. Robin says:

    Please no, you can’t let Vlatko
    die. Rue will steal the formula and fix him. He has just has to.


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