Rune’s revelation was met with deafening silence, broken by cruel laughter from his… husband.
“That’s right, plaything. But don’t worry; I’m not the jealous kind. Skip off upstairs and get dressed. Don’t let the door slam on your way out.”
“Rune?” Luke stared at Rune, who avoided his eyes.
“You heard me, pretty boy – make yourself scarce. Rune. Come here.”
Rune hesitated, shooting Luke a look of pure fear. Then, dropping his eyes, he walked towards the boy, who was grinning evilly. At soon as he was within reach, the boy reached out, grabbed his wrist and yanked him into his arms. Rune yelped, but his arms went around the purple headed demon. It seemed to Luke that it was an automatic gesture, with little affection in it.
“I’m not going to say it again. Get out of my house. My husband and I have business to attend to.” The slight stress on the word ‘business’ made it very clear what he had in mind. Did he imagine it, or did Luke see Rune wince?
“Rio, please…” Rune whispered, so softly Luke barely heard him.
Rio, buried his hand in Rune’s beautiful hair and yanked his head back. “Ssh,” he murmured, bending to capture Rune’s mouth.
“I’ll leave,” Luke said, in a dangerous voice that surprised the hell out of him, “if and when Rune asks me to.”
Rio’s head snapped up and his eyes flared. Luke didn’t miss the fact that his fist tightened in Rune’s hair, making his whole body tense. “The hell you will. This is my house and, if I tell you to leave, you’ll get the hell out of it.”
“It’s Rune’s house, too.” Luke was shaking. He wasn’t a fighter, never been in a fight in his life, but he’d promised to take care of Rune and that strange protectiveness flared again, tearing through his guts and making him feel strong enough to take on the world. If he had to fight for Rune, then so be it.
Rio laughed and slid his hand around Rune’s slender frame, caressing his back and buttocks through the flimsy material of the silk robe, riding up the silk and following it down to slide a finger between his buttocks. Rune’s muscles twitched and he buried his face in Rio’s shoulder. More, Luke thought, to muffle any sound, than because he was turned on by the actions.
“Do you really think sweet little Rune gives a damn about you? He’s probably told you how lonely he is, how desperate for love; given you plenty of sob stories but the truth is, they’re all a load of bollocks. I travel a lot, and I’m not naïve enough to think my baby boy would take a vow of celibacy while I’m gone. Trust me, there’ve been many before you, and he’s fed them all the same lines. But don’t think for one minute he meant any of them. Whatever, he’s said and done – the boy is MINE.”
Luke felt as if someone had punched him in the stomach. It made sense. It all made sense, but…
“I don’t believe you.” He said it calmly and evenly, even though he had to fight hard to keep his emotions in check. Rune raised his head, turning towards Luke, as far as he could. Rio tightened his grip and Rune’s face twitched. He was hurting him. The bastard was hurting him. Anger flooded him.
Rio laughed out loud. “If I had a penny for every time I heard someone say that… He’s a great little actor… should be on the stage. Oh, wait – that’s right: he is.”
Rune jerked as Rio’s balled fist ground into his back. To Luke it looked like a practiced move, as if he knew exactly what to do to give Rune pain.
“I don’t care what you say. I care what Rune says. Rune, do you want me to leave?”
Rune’s face twisted and his whole body jerked. Although Luke hadn’t seen what Rio’d done that time, he knew he’d done something and that it hurt. Rune’s eyes flicked rapidly between Luke to Rio. Then, he closed his eyes, bit his lip and whispered, “No.”
“What?” Rio growled, glaring at Rune as if he’d grown another head.
“You heard him. He doesn’t want me to leave, so I’m not going anywhere.”
Rio’s eyes flashed and he snarled. “Don’t be a fool, little flower. Ask your boyfriend to leave. Now.” His last work was punctuated by a little yelp from Rune, and Luke saw red.
“Let go of him, you bastard. I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t like it. Let go of him.”
“Or what?” Rio snapped.
“Or what? What will you do if I don’t?” Grabbing Rune’s hair again, he dragged his head back as far as it would go and bent to bury his face in the crook of his neck. Rune moaned loudly.
“No, Rio. No, please… please let me go.”
Rio’s head came up. “What? What did you say?”
“Let me go, please. I… I don’t want this anymore. I don’t…” At first his voice was tiny but, seeming to gain strength, he straightened his shoulders and tried to pull his hair out of Rio’s grip. “I don’t want you to hurt me anymore.”
“Hurt you? Baby, you haven’t felt hurt yet, trust me. As soon as you’re little friend has…”
He broke off as Rune began to struggle. When he brought his knee up sharply between Rio’s legs, Rio gave a cry and flung him away, like a rag doll. Rune stumbled, trying to catch his footing, failed and went crashing to the floor, his head catching the corner of the table as he fell. His body hit the ground with a thud and lay still.