Wants and Needs

by Adele


Kyle adjusted the pillow against the headboard and then leaned back against it. Seconds after he had settled himself, the phone on the bedside table rang, right on schedule. Kyle picked up the receiver, "Hey."

Derek's deep, quiet voice was clear in Kyle's ear, just as if he were sitting next to Kyle instead of across the country. "How are you doing?"

"Fine," Kyle replied. It was getting harder and harder each night to tell that lie, but he still said it without hesitation, and Kyle was confident there was no indication in his voice that the casual response was anything other than automatic. "How are you?"

"Good, actually," Derek said, "I was able to re-arrange some things and put some things off until the next trip, so I'll be coming home quite a bit sooner than I expected."

"Really? That's great!" The happiness in Kyle's voice was heavily tinged with relief, but he no longer cared. "When?"

"I'm catching a flight tomorrow. It's scheduled to land at 5:15 p.m. I think."

"I'll pick you up at the airport."

"Don't be ridiculous. You know planes are always late. Except when they're early. I'll take a cab."

Kyle and Derek talked for a few more minutes, but they ended their call sooner than usual so Derek could pack. Kyle bounced off the bed and went into the living room where his younger brother, Simon, was lounging on the sofa.

"How's Derek doing?" Simon asked without looking up from his book.

"Good. He's coming home tomorrow!"

Now Simon did look up. "That is good news," he said sincerely.

"Yeah. He - " Kyle stopped and frowned at Simon. "You don't sound very surprised," Kyle observed. Simon hadn't sounded surprised at all. He had sounded relieved, in fact. "Did you already know about this?"

"No . . ."

"Have you talked to Derek? Did you call him?"

"Yeah. I did."

"When?" Kyle's voice was even, but he was obviously furious.

"Yesterday," Simon admitted.

"What did you tell him?"

Simon was getting tired of being grilled. "I told him he needed to come home because you were falling to pieces!" Simon snapped.

Kyle punched him. Kyle's fist slammed into the side of Simon's face knocking him against the back of the sofa. Simon grunted and put his hand to the corner of his mouth. He looked at the dots of blood on the tips of his fingers and then glared at Kyle. Simon snarled sarcastically, "My mistake. Obviously you are in complete control of yourself."

"My state of mind is none of your business."

"How can you say that? I'm your brother. I live with you."

"So you called Derek? That was way out of line, Simon."

"Whatever." Simon stood up and headed for the door, grabbing his jacket off the hook on his way.

"Where are you going?" Kyle demanded.

Simon didn't even bother to reply. He slammed the door behind him leaving Kyle standing in the middle of the room cursing to himself. With some difficulty, Kyle reined himself in and stopped cursing. I should call Derek back, Kyle thought, tell him Simon was wrong and he doesn't need to come home. But, he's already got the ticket, Kyle rationalized, and even if I don't need him to come home, I do want him to. Feeling like a complete loser, Kyle went into his bedroom to change into workout clothes. As he had three of the last four evenings, he would go to the gym and exercise as long as it took to achieve the mental oblivion that came with physical exhaustion for him. Just one more night, he reminded himself, just one more night.

***

Simon added the last few ingredients to the pot of chili on the stove. Chili was a good meal for when someone was getting home from a trip, because it could simmer for twenty minutes or two hours and taste equally good. Besides, Derek liked it. Random music played quietly from the computer. Really random: iTunes was shuffling through Simon's entire library and he had eclectic tastes. It was not unheard of for Metallica to be followed by a Bach concerto and then The Beatles' "Hey, Jude" in their kitchen. Kyle was pacing restlessly around the room while Simon cooked. Yet another song with no discernable melody by a group Kyle had never heard of started up and Kyle scowled. Simon ignored him. There was no way he was cooking to a soundtrack of endless Kansas and Styx songs and that was all there was to it.

Abruptly, Kyle turned toward the stove and thrust his hand out past Simon's ear. Simon visibly flinched before realizing Kyle was just snagging a saltine from the open package on the counter. There was an awkward pause and then Kyle muttered, "I'm sorry."

Simon sighed. "I know," he said.

A door slammed somewhere in the building and it was Kyle's turn to flinch. Kyle flushed, but Simon took no pleasure in his discomfort. Simon didn't say anything, just looked unhappy and went back to the chili. He had just started to stir when they both heard the sound of a key turning in the lock. Kyle hung back while Simon went to the door to greet Derek unabashedly. Derek walked into the room carrying his duffle and looking tired and a little rumpled. He dropped the bag on the floor just inside the door and pushed the door shut behind him, re-locking it automatically. Then he gave Simon a quick, warm hug. "Hey, Kid," he said.

Simon said, "Welcome home." He stepped back out of the hug, but Derek caught him by the shoulder before he could get very far. Derek gently ran a finger over the bruise on Simon's cheek, looked as if he were going to say something, and then changed his mind. He released Simon and turned to Kyle. Kyle didn't move and Derek raised his eyebrows questioningly. Kyle said, "I'm glad you're back," but still did not take a step forward.

"Me too," Derek replied, his expression serious and searching. Abruptly, Derek made an impatient sound and crossed the room to Kyle in three long, quick strides. Derek hugged Kyle hard and, after only the slightest pause, Kyle hugged him back. They stayed clenched together for quite some time. A couple times Kyle made a small move as if to end the hug, but Derek just squeezed him tighter. Simon kept himself completely absorbed with stirring the chili. Eventually, Derek shifted back a little still holding Kyle firmly in place. He spoke to Simon in a businesslike fashion without taking his eyes off Kyle, "Thanks for making dinner. Will it ruin it if I take a shower first?"

"Not at all," Simon assured him.

"Great." An almost imperceptible change in tone somehow indicated that Derek had switched to speaking to Kyle when he ordered, "Bring me a beer back to the bedroom in ten minutes."

Kyle was taken off guard, but he responded, "OK."

Derek released Kyle, picked up his bag and headed to the bedroom. Kyle let out a long, slow breath and collapsed into a chair at the kitchen table to sit fiddling aimlessly with the edge of a placemat. When he heard the shower turn off, he opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of Busch and popped the cap off with a church-key stuck to the side of the refrigerator by a magnet. He replaced the bottle-opener and walked down the hall with the beer.

The door to the bedroom was closed. Kyle knocked once and then went on into the room. Derek, looking much refreshed, was on the bed leaning against the headboard, unconsciously duplicating Kyle's position from the night before. He was shirtless and wearing a pair of loose cotton pants. His hair was still damp. Kyle handed Derek the beer. Derek took a swig and then gestured with his other hand to the space next to him on the bed. "Sit with me for a bit," he commanded.

Kyle crawled up on the bed and copied Derek's pose. Kyle's right hip and thigh were touching Derek's left, but not pressing into him. Derek put his left hand on the back of Kyle's neck and rubbed gently, while continuing to drink his beer. They sat in silence. Kyle closed his eyes and relaxed letting Derek's touch and closeness convince him Derek really was home.

Derek finished his beer and set the empty bottle on the table next to the phone. He asked quietly, "Did you put that bruise on Simon's face?"

"Yes," Kyle admitted without opening his eyes.

"Why?"

Kyle shrugged. "No reason."

Immediately, Derek's left hand tightened into a vise on the back on Kyle's neck and his right hand slapped Kyle's face. The blow was just from his arm muscle, it didn't have the full swing of his shoulder behind it, but it stung just the same. Kyle's eyes flew open, surprised and a little scared.

"Try again," Derek ordered, cold and angry.

"I was mad at him for calling you and telling you I needed you to come home," Kyle said quickly.

"If you had told me yourself, he wouldn't have had to," Derek commented. With a sigh, Derek got up from the bed and went to the chair where he had put his traveling clothes. He picked up the belt hanging over the chair back.

"You're going to beat me for hitting my brother?" Kyle queried with false bravado. "You do see the irony of that, right?"

Derek looked at him. "I'm not going to beat you for hitting your brother. What you do with - or to - Simon is none of my concern. I'm going to beat you because you need me to."

Kyle jumped up from the bed and burst out, "I don't -" He stopped himself just in time. Another lie would only get him slapped again, even one as obvious and trivial as that. Kyle changed one word to make the statement true. "I don't want you to beat me," he said sadly.

"I know," Derek replied sympathetically. After a moment he put the belt down on the bed. Derek walked up to Kyle and gave him a long, lingering kiss. He moved away so slowly Kyle couldn't identify the exact moment their lips parted. Carefully, Derek began to unbutton the buttons on Kyle's shirt. He worked his way down Kyle's front until he got to the waistband of Kyle's jeans. At that point Derek paused to tug Kyle's shirttail out before proceeding to undo the rest of the buttons. When the shirt hung open, Derek slid it off Kyle's shoulders on both sides, his thumbs and palms brushing across Kyle's skin, warm and slightly rough. Derek changed his grip to the outside of the shirt and guided the sleeves down Kyle's arms and completely off before turning to hang the shirt over the back of the chair with Derek's own clothes.

Derek continued to undress Kyle as tenderly as if they were about to make love. Kyle could feel Derek's breath on his bare stomach as Derek unfastened the button of Kyle's jeans and lowered the zipper. Kyle's cock started to rise automatically, despite the protests and warnings his brain was silently yelling, when Derek ran his thumbs around the inside of the waistband and then slid the jeans down over Kyle's ass. Derek pushed the jeans further down and then cupped a hand around the back of Kyle's left knee and lifted, raising Kyle's foot off the floor. At this point Kyle finally did something to assist the process: he put a hand on Derek's shoulder to keep his balance while Derek worked the leg of the jeans over Kyle's heel and off. Derek released Kyle's knee and then repeated the whole process on the other side. The jeans were folded over twice and placed on the seat of the chair.

Kyle's cock was almost fully erect now and Derek had to stretch the waistband of Kyle's briefs out away from his body to let his dick escape before removing the underpants. Kyle found his body's response excruciatingly embarrassing, as well as really, really stupid. When Kyle was naked, Derek laid his hand flat on Kyle's chest and pushed him backward slowly and steadily until his thighs bumped into the edge of the bed. Derek put his other hand on top of Kyle's shoulder and pushed Kyle into sitting, then lying on his back, on the bed. Using both hands under Kyle's arms, Derek pulled Kyle up on the bed so his legs were not dangling. Finally, Derek rolled Kyle over onto his stomach. During this whole time, neither man said a single word.

Derek retrieved his belt from the foot of the bed, put the buckle in his right hand, then wrapped a loop around the hand and held it. He positioned himself carefully at the side of the bed while Kyle watched. Derek broke the silence to direct Kyle to turn his head the other way.

"Why?" Kyle asked.

"Because I told you to." Kyle waited, but no further explanation was offered. Uneasily, he did as instructed.

Kyle was so focused on Derek he did get a small warning before being struck, in the form of the brush of clothing and movement of air when Derek moved. Of course, no amount of time or warning could have allowed him to prepare for the pain of that first blow. He gasped and every muscle tensed. His body had finally gotten the message that this was not going to be a good time. Derek continued, each blow following quickly after the previous one, precisely targeted and brutally hard. Kyle's eyes filled with tears. He pressed his clenched fist against his mouth in a futile attempt to keep from screaming.

Out in the kitchen, Simon turned down the heat under the chili. Then he took Kyle's place at the table to fiddle with a placemat and pretend he could not hear his brother cry.


~ Adele

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