one man’s Trash is another man’s Treasure
one man’s Pain is another man’s Pleasure
one man’s Labor is another man’s Leisure
one man’s Retribution is another man’s Restitution
He nodded. Then he took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and crossed the room to Jonathan Randall. He took the frozen figure by one arm and turned him gently toward the door.
“Come, man,” he said quietly. “I’ll see ye safe to your quarters.”
The crooked door creaked to as he left, assisting Jack Randall to the place where he would spend his wedding night, alone.
From Dragonfly in Amber, page 862
Jamie crooked his arm carefully around Randall’s, which dangled limply at his side like his brother’s pallid limbs. Only his fingertips—trembling and still outstretched toward the room behind them—showed signs of life.
Jamie led the pair down the hall slowly and deliberately, keeping his eyes focused straight ahead. Meanwhile, Randall staggered along queerly, too stiff for a drunk man, but too sloppy for a sober one.
Each time Randall’s arm jostled against Jaime’s, the Highlander would inhale sharply; but each time he would swallow, breathe out, and walk on. He concentrated on the creak of the floorboards beneath their feet and the cadence of his own long strides coupled with Randall’s irregular shuffles.
Increasingly, Jamie was supporting Randall’s dead weight on his shoulder. He recalled from that night at Wentworth just how heavy the small man could be, his full mass pressing down onto—and into—Jamie’s body.
Suppressing the thoughts, Jamie asked softly, “Where to, man?”
Randall flicked a shaking hand toward a room a few doors down without a sound or glance up from his feet. The remaining distance seemed to stretch before them. Finally, they reached the door, and Jamie had to practically carry Randall through the threshold; how ironic, he thought, for the new groom.
As soon as they were within the quarters, Randall crumpled, knees buckling beneath him. Jamie caught him before he fell completely, heaving him up and resting him on his chest. He dragged him to the austere bed in the corner—reminiscent of the cot that they shared in the prison cell—and sat them both down. And for what felt like hours, Jack Randall hung off Jamie and sobbed.
Jamie could not help but think of Wentworth, near the end, when Randall had also broken down in hysteria: the stickiness of their naked bodies; the tangle of their hair; the digging of Randall’s bones into his flesh; the weight of two men’s flaccid cocks resting on his inner thigh.
Now as they had then, Randall’s arms embraced Jamie, clutching his scarred back. Likewise, Jamie again reluctantly hugged the Captain and began to pat his back steadily. Randall’s heavy sobs and erratic heartbeat gradually calmed to match the rhythm of Jamie’s hand.
“I love you, I love you… Tell me that you love me,” Jamie recalled Randall’s desperate, incoherent petitions for him—or, for his own brother! They echoed again in his ear, and he was unsure whether he were just remembering them, or if Randall were repeating them now. The next words he heard, however, were new—and significantly more disturbing, if such a thing were possible:
“Have me,” Randall whispered, cold lips barely brushing across Jamie’s ear. Jamie recoiled immediately, jumping off the bed and knocking Randall to the floor. His muscles tensed in preparation to flee, but he stood paralyzed, Randall kneeling at his feet.
Randall lifted his head and looked up at Jamie; he smiled a weak, half-mad smile and repeated, “Have me, Fraser. Have me as I had you.” His voice was husky and his reddened eyes still welled with tears.
Jamie merely stood there, frozen, and stared down at the man who had broken him, now broken himself; he felt himself torn between loathing and pity. His hand clutched his dirk, but he could not bring himself to lift his arm.
Some time passed, but eventually Randall wiped his eyes on his sleeve. He sniffed, lifted himself to one knee, and stood up. He then took a step towards Jamie and placed on hand on the Scot’s shoulder. “Well… Jamie?” It was not quite a plea, but not quite a taunt.
Jamie’s jaw clenched and his nostrils flared, “I warn ye, Randall.”
But Randall only stepped closer and stretched to whisper in Jamie’s ear again: “You could do it easily, you know? You have recovered your strength. No threat of life or limb looms, save the upcoming battle where we shall all soon meet our fate. I am at your mercy.”
He continued to goad, “Do you not long to equalize our union? To reclaim your manhood? To take your revenge in the most satisfying way—”
“Fer god’s sake man!” Jamie interjected, instinctively shoving Randall back. “Would ye quit yer blether? Let me think!”
Thought would tell him to yell, to run, to fight. As he understood it, Miss Hawkins already carried Frank’s ancestor. Now that she officially bore the Randall name, there was no need for this man to live. Jamie could finally kill him with no ill effect; what was stopping him?
His body, for one. It was becoming painfully obvious that he was hardening, and the folds of his kilt were doing little to hide that fact from Randall; the man’s next words proved as much:
“For one who claims revulsion, you rise readily enough,” he scathed, smirking.
Damn cock! Damn Randall! What was it about this man that roused him so?
“I will kill you,” Jamie said with as much resolve as he could muster, hoping that vocalizing his intentions might enable him to carry them out.
“Then do so. Do you think that I give a damn? I am at my lowest point. I have just lost that which gave my life the little meaning that it had. Kill me because I have nothing left to live for.”
“But,” Randall continued, “do not kill me because you believe it will cure yourself of me. You will never be free of me. I will haunt you from the grave—and you, me. We are bound together, body and soul, by blood.”
Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone.
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, ‘til our Life shall be Done.
He was right; the twisted bastard was right! Killing Black Jack would not rid himself of this—whatever this was. Neither would killing himself, as he had learned those many months ago in the abbey. Death was not the answer. Then what was?
Jamie had once said to Claire: I am your master and you’re mine. It seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own. He had already nearly lost his soul to Randall; Randall had mastered him. Perhaps if he robbed Randall of his soul in return…
Christ! He was actually considering it. If Claire were here, she would likely kill him herself—and rightly so! She had rescued him from the brink of death and fought tooth and nail to restore his soul. Would he gamble her vast efforts for his revenge?
And what a sweet revenge it would be: Black Jack Randall, screaming in pain, begging for mercy; Black Jack Randall, buggered, bloodied, and left for dead; Black Jack Randall, suffering alone with no one to tend him; Black Jack Randall, as broken as Jamie had been—the thought of it was intoxicating.
But, was it worth damning himself in the process? Was it worth sacrificing his love for Claire?
Still, Claire more than anyone knew that he must confront this beast head-on. She had gone to extremes to save him. Another extreme might be the only way to resolve this problem.
Jamie glanced at Randall, who waited at the foot of the bed wearing a polite smile. It was likely what the bastard wanted. He was a sly man and knew exactly how to provoke him. But if he and Claire were to be free from him once and for all, Jamie had to master him.
So, Jamie turned. He felt Randall’s eyes searing his back as he walked toward the door. He grabbed the handle, asking himself one last time if he were sure. Finally, he pulled it closed and turned back to face Randall, whose smile had widened to bear his sharp teeth.
“Dinna speak,” Jamie commanded. “We’ll be doin’ this my way, no’ yers. Turn ‘round. Against the wall.”
Randall obeyed without hesitation, turning and walking toward the wall across from the door. Jamie followed close behind him.
“Yer breeks, undo them.”
Randall did so and pulled them down around his knees without request. The tail of his shirt covered the upper portion of his buttocks but revealed their lower curve. Jamie remembered the last time that he had seen the man’s naked arse, the firm muscles washed in firelight.
Jamie stood still for a moment, unsure how to proceed. At last he reached forward and tentatively touched Randall’s arse, brushing across the cheeks then tracing the valley between them. His fingers found the puckered flesh around Randall’s hole, and one pressed inside shallowly before being pushed back out by the tightness.
“Perhaps some oil?” Randall suggested.
“Oh no,” Jamie responded, remembering the floral stench of Wentworth. “I’ll be takin’ ye dry.”
Randall looked over his shoulder at Jamie, chuckling, “You know, Fraser, you’re more like me than you know.”
“You deserve no less,” Jamie replied, wearing an expression somewhere between a grin and a grimace.
“Then what are you waiting for?” Randall teased.
“Ye t’ stop talkin’,” Jamie said. In reality, he was nervous. He had certainly never buggered anyone before; Randall’s brutal use of him served as his only model.
“You’ve lain with women—more than a few times, I suspect. But there is nothing like this: to take another man and conquer him from the inside out.”
“Ye want me to conquer ye? Well, then I shall do so.” Jamie pulled his rigid cock from beneath his kilt and positioned himself at Randall’s entrance. And, forgetting all else, he pressed his full weight forward all at once and forced himself inside.
Randall screamed. Jamie recalled the tearing pain that he had experienced the first time—and every time after—that Randall had penetrated him. Stubbornly, he had tried to stay silent. But Randall had ordered him to scream, and it was as though those words had shattered his will. Now hearing Randall’s piercing cries brought him a satisfaction and closure that he never could have imagined.
Jamie stood still for some time, as Randall’s screams faded to moans. His cock was strangled by the tightness. It was warm—burning almost—and dry, and oh so tight; far tighter than Claire ever—No! He would not think of her. He could not. He was not here for love, or for pleasure; he was here to break a man.
Slowly, Jamie stared to move in and out. Each time Randall breathed, his arse clenched around him. The friction was agonizing. Perhaps Randall had proposed the oil for Jamie’s sake as much as for his own. But there was no turning back now.
As they became engrossed in the act, Jamie prayed like hell that Mary was still sobbing loudly enough down the hall so as to drown out the racket that they were generating. He was making every effort to hold in his voice, only allowing an occasional grunt to slip out.
But Randall had lost all abandon, moaning and panting without any regard for anyone or anything. His sounds now indicated not pain but pleasure, and the indiscriminate noises started to take shape: “Jamie. Jamie.”
The more Randall sighed his name, the angrier Jamie became; he directed his fury to his hips, thrusting violently into him. His chest pounded against Randall’s back, and their knees knocked against the hard wall. It only made Randall moan all the more loudly.
In the frenzy, Jamie grabbed Randall by the neck and closed his large hands around it, squeezing and shaking him. “Shut up! Shut up, ye bloody bastard! Ye are mine, ye hear! Mine! No’ the other way ’round!” He heard Randall gagging and choking, and the sounds brought him another flood of pleasure.
Jamie released his hands and brought them back to Randall’s hips. Then he ducked down and sank his teeth into the man’s exposed neck with tremendous force. He tasted the sharp tang of blood and suckled a few seconds before lifting his mouth.
“Yes, yes!” Randall shouted. “I am yours!”
Jamie felt his gut start to quiver with the imminence of his release. Embroiled in a mad brew of rage and lust, he thrust with all the energy that remained in him. Suddenly, Randall issued a guttural cry, and Jamie felt his arse contract rhythmically around his cock, just as Claire’s quim did when she found her pleasure in him.
And at the knowledge of Randall succumbing to him, Jamie came himself; the dregs of Randall’s orgasm literally squeezed the seed out of him, and with it, Jamie could only hope, every last drop of the poison.
A few final, frantic thrusts as he rode out his release, and Jamie pulled out just as forcefully as he had entered. He staggered back and slumped down on the edge of the bed. Meanwhile, Randall had half collapsed again, supporting himself against the wall that he still faced.
Awareness flooded Jamie’s senses: his shirt and kilt were soaked with sweat; the air carried the same heady scents as Wentworth, diluted once again by Randall’s characteristic perfume. As Jamie wiped his cock on the thin, scratchy quilt lining the bed, he glanced over at his own spunk, tinted pink with blood, dripping down Randall’s legs onto his breeches around his ankles—the man had once promised him as much.
After some moments, Randall gathered himself and pulled up his breeches; Jamie saw him wince when they reached his arse. His hair hung loose, like it had that night. As he collected and smoothed it, Jamie saw the bruises around his neck already forming.
It was only when Randall turned to face Jamie that his eyes revealed the full truth: in them was no anger, no dark intentions; no longer was it as if the devil were boring into your soul. Instead, they were soft, glistening with tears again, gazing far off into the distance. Randall was no longer the monster that would haunt his nightmares. He was just a man—and a broken man at that.
Randall walked over to Jamie, who still sat on the edge of the bed. He placed a hand on his shoulder, leaned down, and kissed him on the temple. He spoke quietly, “Thank you, Fraser.”
Jamie answered, “No, thank ye, Randall.” And for all the hell that the man had put him through, he meant it.
Randall extended a hand and Jamie took it, shaking it firmly—still aware in the back of his mind of his stiff ring finger. No, all that Randall had done to him would never be forgotten. Perhaps not even forgiven. But the debt that Randall had owed him was now paid.
Jamie looked at Randall one last time before he stood and headed for the door. He heard him sit down on the bed and wondered offhandedly if he would still manage to consummate his marriage.
Ah marriage. Ah, Claire! A wave of guilt washed over him. How would he ever tell her about this? He felt anxious for a moment until he remembered what he had said to her on their own wedding night: There are things that I canna tell you, at least not yet. And I'll ask nothing of ye that ye canna give me. But what I would ask of ye—when you do tell me something, let it be the truth. And I'll promise ye the same. We have nothing now between us, save—respect, perhaps. And I think that respect has maybe room for secrets, but not for lies. Do ye agree?
If, when he returned to her, he were unable to tell her what had passed, she wouldn’t press. And if ever he were able to tell her, she wouldn’t judge. With everything that they had experienced these past three years, he knew that she would respect what he did. And above all else, that—she—was what mattered.