He had no idea how long he was like that. But when hands touched him and a voice spoke to him, he screamed and jerked back as he tried to escape. “Pete! Pete! It's me!” He heard a familiar voice call, and his head jerked up as he found himself looking into Jake's concerned gaze.
He stilled into a quivering mass, his breathing erratic and far too fast. Jake sat down no the couch and reached out to pull him close. “There, now,” he soothed, cradling the back of Peter's head in his hand. “It's all right. Don't be scared. I'm here.”
His voice and his touch helped Peter to relax. He felt his fear flowing away already as he let Jake pull him close and cradle him up against that big, hard body. “Shh, shhh. It's okay. Everything's okay.” Jake said.
He sobbed. “I-I'm sorr-rr-yyy,” he stuttered helplessly.
“No need to be sorry, Pete. You have every reason to be scared right now. You had something terrible happen to you. I don't know anybody who wouldn't be scared after something like that.”
He rubbed his cheek against the front of Jake's t-shirt. “You wouldn't be,” he sniffled.
“Wouldn't I? If people ganged up on me and beat the shit out of me, trying to kill me, for no reason at all except for the fact that was gay...I don't know that I wouldn't be horribly shaken up too.”
Peter stilled. “You knew...that they beat me up...because I'm gay?” he said in a small voice.
“Yes. One of them said something about it when I confronted him,” Jake explained.
“And that doesn't...bother you? That I'm gay?” he asked in a small voice.
“Of course not, Pete. You have the right to be anything that you want to be,” Jake told him seriously. “And you also have the right to be left alone to live your life as you see fit. Assholes like those who beat you up should all be castrated,” he added with that savage undertone in his voice again.
Somehow hearing that made him relax even more. Jake wasn't bothered by his sexuality...he felt like crying again, through he tried hard not to. His head already throbbed from all of the crying that he'd already done. A hand patted his back. “Lean back and close your eyes,” Jake told him, helping him to move.
Peter sighed as he leaned back into the couch and did what he was told. A hand touched his forehead, then he heard movement. He felt something warm and wet covering his eyes, and realized that Jake had dampened a wash cloth and had laid it over his eyes. That felt very good. He sat still and enjoyed the warmth and wetness on his swollen, dry eyes. He listened to the sounds of Jake moving around in the kitchen, the rustling of bags and the clanking as Jake searched for and found pans and utensils that he needed to make breakfast. These sounds were joined by whistling, which made him smile weakly.
“Breakfast will be done soon, Pete,” the biker remarked after a bit. “Hope you're hungry.”
He was. Now that he'd relaxed, his stomach was making demands. Much to his embarrassment, it rumbled loudly. He heard deep laughter. “Guess you are,” Jake remarked. “Which is good. We have to fill that hollow leg, don't we?”
He reached up to remove the wash cloth, which was now cool. He blinked as he looked into the kitchen, seeing Jake scooping scrambled eggs onto two plates then following this up with buttered toast. He laid forks on both plates, then carried them into the living room. “Breakfast is served,” he said, handing one plate to Peter. “Eat up, Pete.”
He picked up the fork and began to heap scrambled eggs on top of his toast. He'd always liked to eat eggs that way. Jake sat down beside him and began to eat his own food. He took a bite, finding it all to be very good. The soft eggs were easy on his teeth, and they tasted great with the buttered toast. He made small sounds of appreciation, which made Jake shoot him a smiling sideways glance. They ate in comfortable silence, a thing which Peter had to marvel at. He'd only known Jake Hartmann for a day and a half so far, but already it felt as though the man had been in his life for a long time. Wasn't that strange? He knew he should be afraid of such a large, tattooed, and pierced man, but somehow he just couldn't bring himself to be. Maybe that was because Jake had been kindness itself toward him so far, but whatever the reason he was heartily glad that Jake was here with him.
Peter managed to take a shower by himself, being very careful with the soap. The hot water helped to soothe some of the aches, and afterward he carefully toweled himself off and got dressed in a short-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of loose sweat pants. He felt more human after that; it distressed him, being unable to take care of himself. He felt like a baby or an invalid. He smoothed his hair with a brush and went slowly out into the living room, where Jake was once again sprawled on the couch watching TV.
“Lookin’ good, Pete,” he said, giving the ‘thumb’s up’ gesture. “Can I borrow your shower now that you’re done with it?”
His mouth went dry at the image of a naked Jake in his shower, that big hard body glistening with water. He gulped. “Sure,” he croaked, trying to conceal his reaction to this request.
He didn’t quite manage, though. He saw the smile in Jake’s eyes as the biker rose to his feet. “I’ll be back in a bit. Thanks,” he scooped up the duffel bag he’d brought with him and carried it into Peter’s bedroom, shutting the door behind him.
Peter stood in his living room and tried to pull himself together. It didn’t help that a really hot hunk of man was currently taking a shower in his bathroom. He had the almost irresistible urge to sneak in there and take a peek, but he was sure he wouldn’t be stealthy enough and Jake would catch him. So he sighed and meandered into his kitchen instead, getting a drink of water. Maybe he should hold a bag of frozen veggies to his face; it might help to cool his fever. Then again, maybe not; after all, that fever was all internal and mostly sexual. And there was only one way to cure a fever like that…
He shook his head a bit, sipping at his glass of water. This wasn’t going to be easy. His attraction to Jake was only growing stronger, spurred on by the kindness and gentleness that the biker had exhibited toward him. He just had to remind himself that while Jake seemed all right with him being gay, he wasn’t gay himself. It wasn’t right to hit on a straight man, especially a straight man who was doing so much to help him and look after him. Making Jake uncomfortable in return wouldn’t be kind.
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