Diell Breaker (ManxMan)

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Chapter One 

Lieutenant Alexei Petrov opened the door to his apartment and nearly dropped the two bags of food he was carrying. A young man was coming out of the bedroom, half naked. His bare chest gleamed with a fine coating of sweat or possibly he had just showered, his fine blond hair was damp and tendrils clung to the sides of his face as if he had been working out. A pair of black drawstring pants hung low on his narrow hips. They were made of black shimmersilk which would have cost someone about a week's wages, in fact to be precise they had cost him, Petrov exactly a week's wages, a sum he had been only too happy to spend on his lover a couple of months ago. 

What was Rhys doing here? His shift at the All Stars wasn't due to finish for another couple of hours which was why he had come around now to prepare a surprise meal for them both, to celebrate the news he had just received from Patrol headquarters. 

A strong emotion, Petrov couldn't tell if it was excitement or fear, flashed briefly across the other man's face before he came towards him, his face lifted for a kiss.  

"Alexei! Believe it or not I was just thinking of you!" he said, a provocative smile lighting up his face, curling his beautiful lips. 

Petrov found his fingers tightening like vices on the shopping bags. The surprise he had felt morphed instantly into jealous suspicion as he remembered previous conversations which had started that way. "I'm so sorry Alexei, I can't meet you for dinner. Believe it or not my boss wants me to work late again!"  

"Alexei, don't look at me like that," a gentle chiding shake, hands on his shoulders. "Believe it or not I just ran into him on the street! We used to be lovers a year ago. We had a bit of a chat and I was kissing him goodbye, for old time's sake." 

You might have to hit him over the head with it a few times but eventually he'd realised 'believe it or not' was Rhys-speak for 'get ready, I'm going to lie to your face'. He put the bags down carefully, his stomach already churning with a mixture of pain and anger, except this time he rather thought the anger was uppermost. 

He brushed passed him without a word and went straight into the bedroom, the sheets were still warm. He felt sick with this further betrayal, that Rhys had brought his latest lover to their own home, their own bed. He turned to Rhys hovering in the doorway obviously undecided whether to keep lying or to brazen it out. "Why?" Petrov asked him, keeping his voice as steady as he could. 

"It doesn't mean anything Alexei," Rhys had evidently decided on defiance. He leant against the doorway, his arms folded across his chest.  

"If it doesn't mean anything to you, then why do it?" he protested hotly. "You know it means something to me." 

"I get lonely, if you were here all the time I wouldn't need anyone else." 

Great. So now it was his fault Rhys was unfaithful.  

He knew there was no point but he couldn't help defending himself. "I'm a space patrol Lieutenant for god's sake! You knew I'd often be away for work when you moved in, you told me it wouldn't be a problem for you." He gave a pained laugh. "And I can see why! It's not a problem because you never intended to restrict yourself to just me, did you?" 

Rhys changed tactics, coming towards him, too-easy tears filling his beautiful blue eyes. "I'm sorry Alexei, I love you, only you. I was weak for a moment, I admit, he kept after me and I gave in but it didn't mean anything. Please forgive me!" 

Petrov stepped back, fighting down the urge to give him one more chance, deliberately fanning his anger with the thought that they had been in his bed only moments before he came home. Rhys must have pushed his lover out the door as soon as he heard Alexei enter the building. 

It was just too much. It was going to hurt but, like pulling off a bandage, best to do it fast. "I can't do this anymore Rhys." Petrov pulled a backpack out of the storage unit and began to pack his clothes and personal items, quickly and efficiently. 

"What do you mean?" For the first time he thought Rhys sounded genuinely worried. "Alexei stop that! Listen to me, I said I was sorry!" 

"I know you did, but it's hardly the first time is it? I can't do this anymore," he repeated. "I've had enough." He hauled the backpack over his shoulder, casting a final look around the room. He had all he wanted, Rhys could do what he liked with the rather generic furniture. "The rent's paid to the end of the month. After that it's up to you whether you stay or go." 

"Alexei please, come to bed, let me make it up to you!" Rhys grabbed his arm, pulling him to a halt. Unable to believe he was really leaving. 

"I can't Rhys. I know exactly what would happen, we'll make up and everything will be wonderful again for awhile until ... the next time. I can't ... I won't put myself through that again." Petrov was holding hard to his resolve, pushing the pain and that stupid tendril of hope back down tight somewhere inside of him. 

"You'll be back! You can't just walk away from me!" Rhys was getting angry himself now. 

Petrov looked at him measuringly one last time. "Yes. I can." 

He walked out of the apartment and down the stairs. He had to see Captain Cartwright immediately, tell him he no longer wanted that transfer to Capella Station. That transfer he had been so happy about only hours before.

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