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“Thanks for coming on the show again Rich.” Paul said, giving Richard’s shoulder a slight squeeze before releasing him again and walking across the room “We really love having you here.”

“No worries. It’s good to see you again when I do, you know that…” he replied, watching as Paul took off his jacket, tie and shirt, and then began to clean his make-up off in front of the mirror.

Paul frowned and a cloud passed over his face. “You’re thinking about Tim, aren’t you?” Rich asked gently. Paul looked at Richard in the mirror.

“Yeah…” he sighed “I don’t understand why he just left like that. All he did was talk to Mikey for a while, and then he left. He didn’t even say goodbye. And during the show it was like…there was nothing there for him anymore.” He sighed again and shook his head. Richard walked up behind him and put an arm around his shoulders, giving him an impromptu hug.

“I’m sure it had nothing to do with you Pauly. He probably just had something on his mind.” Paul nodded and Rich looked away, frowning “But I wouldn’t be surprised if he left just because he didn’t want to see me.”

“Richie, don’t say that…” he said softly, turning and resting his hands on Richard’s hips, looking him straight in the eye. Richard shrugged.

“Well it’s true. Ever since the band broke up it’s been like this. It’s as if he’s blaming me for it. He never talks to me; he never even rings. He used to at least call on my birthday, but now…nothing.” Richard took a deep breath and looked away again “Not that I really care, of course…” he murmured, a slight touch of bitterness coming out in his voice. Paul was surprised. He thought he was the one who had problems with Tim, but at least he still talked to him. He’d naturally presumed that Rich and Tim talked all the time.

“I’ll have a word to him about it – see what’s going on…”

“Nah, don’t bother. I don’t give a fuck.” Paul could tell that Rich didn’t want to talk about it any longer so he quickly changed the subject.

“So…are you still staying at my place?” Paul asked. Richard nodded. “Well, why don’t you go back before me. I’ve got a bit of work to do here and we both know nothing will get done if you’re there!” Richard laughed.

“Yeah sure mate, I’ll leave you to it. Have fun, eh?” Paul rolled his eyes and then smiled up at him.

“See you soon then?” he asked quietly, his eyes momentarily dropping to Richard’s chest. Richard nodded and slid his arms around Paul’s waist, stroking his bare back with one thumb as Paul looked up at him, copying his actions.

“See you soon then…” he mimicked and bent down to kiss him lightly on the lips. Paul leant into him as he began to move away and pulled him back down, kissing him ardently. Richard walked Paul backwards and pushed him up against the wall, stroking Paul’s chest and feeling his shudder of pleasure. Then suddenly he pulled away. Paul looked up, confused. “That’s all you’re getting from me this time Pauly. I’m married, remember?” Paul frowned and pouted, looking absolutely adorable, and Rich just had to have him one more time. He moved in and kissed him sensually, his tongue running along the inside of Paul’s mouth, tasting his soft lips. He was dimly aware that Paul was starting to moan, and he quickly pulled away again before they both got too carried away. He looked Paul over hungrily and licked his lips, breathing heavily. “Okay, that’s it…” he murmured huskily “No more…”

“Do you know how hard you’re making it for me not to jump you right now?” Paul asked in a joking tone, although he meant exactly what he said.

“Yep!” Richard grinned, moving towards the door “Bye Pauly!” he called as he opened the door and left, closing it behind him. Paul sighed and turned back to the mirror to continue taking off his make-up. He wondered if Richard’s little plan would blow up in his face later that night after Paul got his hands on him again. He smiled at the thought and laughed to himself. Rich could never resist him before and the look in his eyes told him that this hadn’t changed.


Paul dried his face on the towel beside the sink and sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror. He considered going home right now so he could be with Richard, but then shook his head. He had to do his work. There wasn’t much point in leaving things until the last minute. And besides, he’d be finished sooner or later anyway. Paul knew he’d be the last person to leave the studio and would have to lock up when he left, so he’d be able to concentrate on his work without interruptions in the meantime. Suddenly the door swung open with a bang as it hit the wall.

“Thank God he’s finally left!” bellowed Mikey as he stomped into the room and slammed the door loudly behind him, causing Paul to flinch.

“Hi Mikey, what’re you still doing here?” he asked. Mikey was clutching a beer in his hand as he looked around the room, then his eyes focussed on Paul and he looked Paul’s topless frame up and down and frowned angrily at him.

“You slut!” he roared. Paul blinked.

“What?” he asked, dumbfounded.

“You SLUT!” he repeated “Just because Tim won’t have you anymore you go and fuck Richard, just because he’s there! You know full well that he’s married! You’re a slut Paul McDermott, a fully fledged SLUT!” Mikey’s voice was getting louder and louder and Paul began to back away slowly. He’d never seen Mikey this angry before. It was quite frightening.

“But…but…” he began.

“Shut up you little cunt! Now get down on your knees and say your prayers because you’re really pissing me off!”

“Wh-what?” Paul asked nervously. What was wrong with Mikey? He was acting really strange.

“KNEEL DOWN!” he roared, banging his bottle down onto the table.

“No!” Paul retaliated immediately.

“Fuckin’ KNEEL DOWN you fuckin’ cunt!” he yelled, pulling back his arm and slapping him hard across the face. Paul stumbled backwards and brought a hand up to his stinging cheek, then looked up at Mikey, the fear finally showing in his eyes. Mikey glared at him menacingly and finally Paul fell to his knees. He grabbed Paul’s shirt off the chair and tore two long strips off it, then grabbed Paul by the wrists and tied them together before he got a chance to fight back. Mikey stood in front of him, his nostrils flaring. “Don’t resist pixie, or I swear I’ll kill you…” he mumbled, his voice low and dangerous.

“Mikey?” Paul whimpered uncertainly as he heard the zip being pulled down and watched him free his swollen organ from its confines as he moved towards him. “Please…Mikey…” Paul begged, shuffling backwards, but Mikey continued moving towards him until he was dangling right in front of his face.

“Open your mouth monkey boy!” he ordered. Paul clamped his mouth shut and shook his head. “WHY YOU!” Mikey snarled and the next thing Paul knew, Mikey was pummeling his face over and over. He couldn’t defend himself. He tried to yell for him to stop but was kicked in the guts and winded, so the only noise he could make was a gasping sound. It felt like the punches and kicks went on forever and when they finally stopped it felt like they were still going. He was crying like a baby and his body was aching all over. “Are you going to do what Mikey tells you now Pauly boy?” he growled. Paul looked up at him with frightened eyes and shamefully nodded his head. “Good. Now open your mouth, slut!” Paul grimaced and started to cry even harder, but he obeyed Mikey’s orders – he knew he couldn’t fight it.


Paul gagged as Mikey moved deep into his mouth, thrusting into him as Mikey held his head between his hands and moved him back and forth. Tears were running down Paul’s face as Mikey’s movements became faster and more violent. His breath rasped out between his clenched teeth as he pushed himself so far down his throat that Paul could feel the vomit and bile rising up.

“Come on…come on…” Mikey started grunting under his breath. Paul kept praying that it wasn’t real, that it wasn’t really happening, but he knew it was. Why was Mikey doing this? He didn’t understand. He had to stop it. Suddenly Paul bit down hard, and Mikey stumbled backwards away from him, howling in pain as he cradled his wounded member. He turned and scowled at him, and it was only then that Paul realised his mistake. Now it would only get worse. “You bastard!” he shouted “You fucking little PRICK!” Mikey lunged at him and Paul held his bound hands up in front of himself defensively, drawing his knees up in an attempt to protect his stomach.

“Please…no…why are you doing this!?” he protested as Mikey kicked him over onto his side.

“WHY? You wanna know WHY?” he roared, kicking him hard in the ribs on each accentuated word “You KNOW why, you poof! You DESERVE it! You’re always going around fucking people’s lives and fucking them as well! Now it’s YOUR turn to be fucked!” Paul’s eyes widened as Mikey’s words sank in. He couldn’t mean…? Could he?!

“No…please Mikey…don’t!” he pleaded desperately as Mikey rolled him over onto his back.

“Why shouldn’t I?” he asked, leering down at him, before he knelt down between his legs and undid his pants, tugging them down over his hips, followed by his underpants. Mikey grabbed his wrists and held them above his head and Paul groaned in disgust as Mikey leant over him and began to bite and lick his chest. “Y’know Pauly, I’ve always had a bit of a thing for you.” He sneered down at Paul’s face, which was turned away from him, his eyes firmly shut. “OPEN YOUR EYES!” Mikey thundered, and Paul reluctantly followed his orders “I want to see your fear you little wimp!” he snarled under his breath. Paul began to whimper softly and Mikey grinned down at him as he bit Paul’s neck, hard, causing him to let out a loud yelp. “That’s right, you make as much noise as you like. You know Uncle Mikey loves to hear you scream.” Despite what he had just said, Paul couldn’t suppress a loud howl when Mikey moved down, took him into his mouth and clenched his teeth tightly together on him, grinding his teeth back and forth, drawing blood which he sucked away greedily as it seeped out of the bite marks. “Yeah that’s it, scream. Scream like the selfish little slut you are!” he scorned, his voice husky. Paul began to sob again, his body quivering with terror as Mikey rolled him over onto his stomach. He was completely defenseless.


Paul cried out loudly in pain as Mikey forced himself inside and began thrusting aggressively. The pain was so bad Paul thought he was going to die. He could feel his skin tearing and the blood running down his legs and suddenly he felt very weak and his vision blurred. He stopped struggling.

“Don’t you fuckin’ pass out on me!” Mikey growled, grabbing Paul by the hair and pulling his head back, bringing Paul back to consciousness slightly as he bit his neck again, Paul letting out a weak moan. “You trying to say something Pauly?” he asked mockingly “Nah, you’re probably enjoying this more than you’d like to admit. And so you should! You’ll never be fucked this good again, believe me!”

“Stop…” Paul whimpered feebly, but this only caused Mikey to pound into him even harder. Paul grimaced and leant his head forward into his hands, crying softly. Mikey grabbed Paul’s ass cheeks and squeezed them tightly, his fingernails sinking into the soft tender flesh. Mikey laughed heartily as the blood flowed freely, and then he began grunting and groaning loudly, flesh slapping against flesh as he rammed into Paul at a frantic pace. He blew his load with a final shout, running his nails down Paul’s sides and leaving deep scratch marks, which were already beginning to bruise as he watched. Mikey sneered at Paul’s shaking body as he drew out of him, blood and cum seeping down the back of his thighs. Paul stayed in the same position, not moving apart from the quivering of his body and the heaving of his lungs as he sobbed soundlessly.

“Look at me!” a voice snarled above his head, but he couldn’t move. Mikey kicked him over onto his side and Paul closed his eyes tightly, curling up into a foetal position. “LOOK AT ME!” Mikey roared once more, and Paul whimpered helplessly before opening his eyes. He looked up at Mikey’s naked form standing before him and gagged once more at the thought of what had just happened. He knew he’d never look at him the same way again. Mikey smiled at him and turned away. Now that Paul’s eyes were open he couldn’t close them again, and he watched him as he got dressed back into his clothes that had been carelessly discarded on the floor. He focussed on a ball of fluff lying on the carpet directly in front of his face and drifted out of reality, his mind blank. He could hear a humming sound and he slowly drifted back to realise that Mikey was talking to him.

“…tell anyone about this, or if anyone finds out what YOU did, I swear I’ll come after you and you’ll wish you weren’t alive, you hear me?” Paul looked up at him fearfully. The frightened look on his face told Mikey that they had a deal, and he opened the door and left the room. As soon as Paul heard the exit door open and slam shut he began wailing loudly, his whole body shuddering as his mind ran through the incidents over and over in a never-ending cycle. The pictures and the pain wouldn’t go away. He couldn’t escape them. He was trapped.


Paul drew in a sharp breath as he heard the door open and he began trembling once more.

“Paul, I thought you…” the voice began, then a loud gasp “Oh my God, Pauly!” Richard rushed up to him and tentatively placed a hand on his shoulder. Paul moaned and lashed out at him, throwing Richard’s hand away from him and pushing himself into the corner. He crouched there, staring unseeingly at his face. There was fear in Paul’s eyes. Horrible, pure fear. “Pauly it’s me, Rich…” he murmured reassuringly “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m your friend…” he whispered softly, slowly reaching out his hand. Paul watched Richard’s hand warily as it ever so slowly inched its way towards him. He knew he should trust him, but he was so afraid. What if…what if he wanted to do what Mikey had done to him? “Pauly…I won’t hurt you…” he repeated “I love you…”

Finally Richard’s fingers came in contact with his knee and Paul flinched away, huddling even further into the corner. “I won’t hurt you…” Rich kept repeating as more of his skin came in contact with Paul’s. Paul looked into his worried eyes and finally Richard saw recognition there and he gently slid his arms around Paul’s shoulders. He suddenly let out a choked sob and clutched Rich for dear life as he began to sob uncontrollably. “It’s okay Pauly…you’re going to be alright now…” Richard told him, cradling Paul in his arms. He rocked him gently, murmuring comforting words into his ear as Paul cried into his neck. Rich could feel the dampness of Paul’s tears on his skin as he stroked his hair, kissing his cheek every now and then. After over an hour Paul finally stopped crying and was silent in Richard’s arms.

“Pauly…I’m just going to use the phone, okay?” Paul stared straight ahead at something that only he could see. Richard frowned sadly down at his friend. “I’m so sorry…” he whispered, before taking his mobile out of his pocket and dialing 000. A lady answered on the third ring and asked if she could help him. “I…I think my friend’s been raped…”


Paul was terrified, Richard could tell. Every loud noise or sudden movement would cause him to whimper and squeeze Rich so hard it hurt. When the emergency people arrived it was even worse and most of them were told to leave so as not to scare him any more. As soon as the two men started to pry him away from Richard he began wailing loudly.

“Umm…maybe I should carry him?” Rich suggested over the screams. The woman in the uniform looked reluctant, but nodded her head, and the two men let Paul go. He instantly fell into Richard’s arms once more, sobbing hysterically. The woman left and came back with a thick blanket and handed it to Richard, who told Paul step by step what he was doing as he gently wrapped the blanket around his shivering body. Once he was bundled up and warm he instantly calmed down a little and Rich felt his muscles relax slightly. “I’m going to stand up now Pauly, okay?” he asked softly. Paul didn’t respond, so Richard gripped him a little tighter, and with the help of the other two men, got up to his feet. He looked down at his friend sadly. He was so scared for him. He had seen the blood and the bruises, but he knew it wasn’t only physical damage that had been done. He just hoped Paul would be okay. He wanted to kill the person who had done this to him, and he knew if he had the chance, he wouldn’t hold back.

Richard slowly carried Paul outside and got into the back of the ambulance. He warned them not to use the siren and the two men agreed it wasn’t a good idea going by the state Paul was in. It only took a few minutes to get to the hospital and when they arrived Rich carefully carried Paul all the way inside and to a room where he would have a check-up to assess the damage. He fruitlessly attempted to pry Paul away from him and onto the bed before anyone arrived, but he simply wouldn’t let go. When he began to whimper again, Richard pulled him close and hugged him.

“It’s alright Pauly…we’re at the hospital and no-one can hurt you here. The nice people are going to help you. They’ll make the pain go away, and I’ll be right here with you.” Paul’s face was buried in his chest and his arms were wound around his neck, holding him tightly and not showing any signs of letting go. Richard sighed and began singing softly into his ear, rocking him gently, until a nurse came in. She frowned down at Paul sadly and met Richard’s worried eyes. Richard pulled back slightly and looked into Paul’s eyes. “They’re going to have to take a look at you Pauly, but you’ll have to let go of me a little…” he began, but the fear instantly returned to his eyes. Richard looked up at the nurse and mouthed that he wouldn’t be able to do it, and she nodded and began preparing a needle. Richard cringed and kissed Paul’s neck lightly as he ever so slowly brought one of Paul’s arms down from around him. He knew Paul wasn’t that fond of needles in the first place and he definitely wouldn’t be able to handle it now, so he tried to distract him. “As soon as we get home I’ll make you a nice warm cup of tea, just the way you like it…how does that sound?” Richard was sure he saw the ever so slight flicker of a smile cross his face, but then his eyes widened as he felt the movement on his arm. He started to turn his head but Rich carefully brought his hand up and stopped him, leaning in so they were cheek to cheek and Paul couldn’t see what the nurse was doing.

The anaesthetic began to take effect after only a couple of minutes and Paul lowered his head down onto Richard’s shoulder as his arms slowly loosened from around him. Rich hadn’t realised Paul had been that tense until he felt all his muscles relax, and he gently lowered Paul down onto the bed. He gingerly unwrapped the blanket from around Paul’s lethargic form and felt a lump building up in his throat as his eyes took in all the blood and bruises once more. He sat down in the chair beside the bed and gripped Paul’s hand in his own, resting his head against it as the tears began to form in his eyes.

“Maybe you’d like to leave sir?” the nurse asked calmly “This can be quite unpleasant.” Richard looked up at her and then down at Paul again. He looked so young and innocent, so abused.

“No…” he said firmly “I can’t leave him.” The nurse smiled slightly, and began to examine him. Richard moved his chair closer and leant on the edge of the bed, gently stroking Paul’s hair back from his face as he absently played with his fingers with the other hand. He watched intently what the nurse was doing to him, but he couldn’t look when she leant down behind him and put in a couple stitches. She washed and dressed the deeper scratches across his back and buttocks and dabbed antiseptic on the smaller ones. Rich was glad Paul hadn’t had to take this while he was awake as he was told some people did – he knew he wouldn’t have been able to handle it. Richard himself was having enough trouble watching and trying to restrain himself from blowing up and throwing things all over the room. He was relieved when it was over and the nurse wrapped him up in a clean blanket and allowed Rich to carry Paul to his room.

He was told that Paul would have to stay in hospital for at least a week so they could check on him and prevent any infection. He was also warned that Paul may have to go to counseling sessions, and he replied that he knew he definitely would. Finally they left him alone in the room with him. Richard sat down in the chair he had pulled up to the bed, holding Paul’s hand to his lips, occasionally kissing each of his fingers in turn. He kept almost drifting off every few minutes, and eventually he leant his head on the pillow next to Paul’s and watched his face until he finally fell asleep as well.


Richard woke up the next morning to find Paul fast asleep with one hand resting lightly on the back of his neck. He carefully lifted Paul’s arm off him and put it back down beside him, standing up and kissing his forehead lightly before leaving the room to go get a cup of coffee. When he returned ten minutes later he found the room filled with nurses surrounding the bed, talking frantically. A blood-curling screaming could be heard clearly over the raucous of people and Richard instantly put his coffee down and broke through the crowd.

“WHAT’S GOING ON!?” he yelled over the noise, and a couple of the nurses turned to him.

“He just started screaming. He became aggressive when we tried to stop him and we’re trying to restrain him so he won’t hurt anyone.”

“Get everyone out of here!” he ordered angrily. They simply looked at him. Couldn’t they see that they were scaring him? “NOW!” he commanded, even more forcefully, pushing people out of the way and away from Paul as he strode purposefully up to the bed and caught Paul’s flailing arms, holding them down at his sides. “Pauly…it’s alright…no-one’s gonna hurt you…” he reassured gently into his ear “It’s Richard…I won’t hurt you.” As soon as Paul heard the name he stopped screaming, his body fell still, and he opened his eyes. Rich smiled down at him and slowly let go of his arms. Paul instantly began crying and he wrapped his arms around Richard’s waist. “Shh honey…it’s okay…you’re alright now…I won’t leave you alone again, okay?” Rich whispered, rocking Paul gently and stroking the back of his neck. He turned his head and saw that some of the nurses were still standing around, staring at them in deep interest. He frowned and waved a hand for them to leave, which they did rather reluctantly after a particularly icy glare from Richard. Not long later Paul was asleep again and Richard gently lowered him back down onto the bed and covered his small body with the thick blankets and sat, watching him sleep.

Richard wouldn’t leave the room, not even for a second. The previous incident had given him quite a shock and he was scared of what might happen if the same thing happened again. He had to be there to protect him, and besides, he had promised Paul that he wouldn’t leave, and he wouldn’t break his word. He rang Khym to tell her what had happened and he started crying down the phone as he relayed the incidents to her. She murmured gently to him, much in the same way he had been doing to Paul, and that gave him a lot of comfort. She was even more understanding and supportive of what he was going through than he could have hoped. She knew how he felt about Paul and told him to stay as long as Paul needed him to, because he really needed a friend at a time like this. She also reminded him to tell Tim what had happened. He wouldn’t have thought of it otherwise, seeing as they hardly ever talked, but he knew his two friends were very close, and it would only make his relationship with Tim even more strained if he held this vital information from him. He rang him as soon as he’d finished his phone call with Khym.

Tim sounded slightly detached when Richard told him what happened, but he had little doubt that Tim wanted to kill the person who had done this to Paul just as much as he did. The conversation was very awkward, but at least Rich got out what he had to say. It was obvious that Tim really wanted to be there for Paul right at that moment, but he wouldn’t be able to make it to Sydney for another two weeks. Despite himself, Rich was slightly pleased with this news, because that meant he could look after Paul by himself and not have to speak to Tim for a while yet. He knew as soon as Tim arrived he would be forgotten about, so he would make the most of it while it lasted.


After the recommended one week, Paul was released from hospital. Richard had instantly offered to stay with Paul and look after him, which the doctor thought was probably a very good idea. Paul had been having counseling sessions with Dr. Romano for almost two weeks, and he had improved considerably. He was no longer so jumpy, and he wasn’t scared that everyone would hurt him as he previously had. He still required Rich to accompany him some of the time, but he didn’t need him there every minute of the day, although he still took comfort in Richard’s presence. He seemed more and more like himself every day, but there was still one problem. Since it happened he hadn’t spoken, not one single word. He wouldn’t even talk to Richard. He would only make gestures or expressions to explain what he wanted or what was wrong. Rich thought he would start talking again eventually, but now he was beginning to wonder. What if he never talked again? What if they never found out who did this to him? He’d even tried to get him to write it down, but he simply shook his head. Writing anything else down he was fine, if a bit shaky, but he wouldn’t write down the name of the person who had raped him.

What Richard didn’t know was that Paul was scared. He remembered the threatening voice clearly in his head. Paul had known he had meant it. He would kill him if he so much as said the name, even in a different context. He was so terrified that he wouldn’t speak a word for fear that it would accidentally come out.

He had asked Rich to host the show for him, which he did happily. Paul being the way he was, Richard doubted he’d ever be able to go back to how he was again. Paul’s fans caught him after the show a few times and he carefully lied to them, saying that he had a particularly bad flu and was sick in bed. He knew all the attention it would create if the truth got out. Paul already didn’t like the attention he got from being a TV celebrity, and having something like this hanging over his head and everyone knowing about it would destroy him, totally and utterly. Rich couldn’t let that happen to him.

On the 24th of July Tim arrived at the Paul’s house, his face grim as he stood in the doorway and stared at Richard, who was practically in the bed with Paul, they were so close together. They both had their arms loosely around each other as Richard talked quietly to him. They didn’t notice Tim until he cleared his throat. Richard looked up expectantly, and then his expression darkened when he saw who it was. He wasn’t going to say the first word, no way. Tim had to do it or nothing would happen. They stood staring at each other, oblivious of Paul’s presence, for five minutes, before Tim let out an exasperated sigh.

“Richard…” he said pointedly, glaring at him.

“Tim…” he snapped back. Paul poked Richard, who turned his head to look at him. Paul reached up and gently stroked his hair, his eyes seeming to be saying ‘It’s okay…sort this out…don’t make it worse’. Richard smiled at him and sighed, looking back to Tim. “Come in.” Paul smiled and bounced slightly, patting the other side of the bed and gesturing for Tim to sit there. Tim eyed Rich suspiciously before walking in and sitting where Paul indicated. Tim leant in and kissed his cheek, unaware of Paul’s instinctive flinch. Paul shook himself slightly and then looked at his two friends, who were still glaring at each other across the bed. He clicked his fingers, drawing their eyes back to him, then he took their hands in his and brought them together. They instantly snatched their hands back away from each other and Paul shook his head, looking at them with his sad puppy-dog eyes. They both looked at him and sighed. They never could resist that look. They looked at each other, trying to read the others eyes, and Paul waved his hands impatiently before they reluctantly reached in and shook hands. Paul grinned and hugged them both tightly. He was so relieved that was cleared up. He didn’t realise that it had only been a false truce made for his sake.

“I’d like to see Paul alone…” Tim said quietly, choosing his words carefully. Richard stared at him for a little longer than was needed and then nodded, giving Paul a quick hug before leaving the room.


Richard frowned back into the room as he saw Tim take his hand. It had already started again. He pulled the door closed so there was only a centimetre of space between the door and the frame. He wrenched his eyes away from them and began walking down the hall. He grumbled under his breath and ran a hand through his hair. He couldn’t believe Paul kept taking Tim back over and over, no matter how much he hurt him each time he went back to his wife. They’d spend one night together and then Paul would think they were together again. He didn’t realise Tim was just using him, and then when Tim left him he’d come running to Richard blaming himself for pushing him away, and frankly Rich was sick of it. It had gone on for long enough. He wouldn’t let Tim hurt Paul any longer.

Richard wandered around the house for almost 45 minutes, slowly sipping his now cold coffee he had made for himself after he left the room. Finally he arrived back at the room and cautiously glanced through the opening, frowning as he realised they were kissing. Richard began fuming, storming back into the kitchen and emptying the remains of his coffee into the sink and then leaving the cup there. He returned to the hall once more and his eyes quickly returned to the crack and he looked inside. He was about to look away again but then he froze. It didn’t look like Paul was enjoying it at all. Finally the kiss ended and Tim stepped back. Richard moved so he could see Tim’s face. He was talking, his face serious. Richard could only hear some of the words.

“…do this to me…mine…keep going away…everyone you know…bastard…Mikey…drugged…told him…saw you…kissing his wife…insanely jealous…went along with the plan…did it…good man. Now…cause trouble…letting it out…dangerous…can’t be trusted anymore. I have to do it…no choice…you should be careful…you’ll see soon…breath a word…you too…” Richard frowned at the small pieces of the speech he had picked up. What was he talking about? It sounded awfully suspicious. Rich moved to look at Paul’s face. His mouth was open slightly and his eyes were wide in what looked like horror. What had just happened? It sounded as though Tim was threatening Paul, but no, that couldn’t be right. He loved Paul. He must’ve been imagining it. He had to have been. He stepped aside quickly as Tim moved towards the door. He leant against the wall and shoved one hand in his pocket only seconds before the door swung open and Tim stepped out. He looked surprised.

“How long have you been there?” he asked accusingly. Richard shrugged, scowling at him. Tim returned the glare. If he’d done anything to Paul…

“What do you think you’re doing?” Richard snapped suddenly.

“What? Nothing! What the fuck are you on about this time Richard?” Tim asked sarcastically.

“Stop using Paul for your own pleasure. He deserves much better than you. You take what you want and then leave him time and time again. He’s just too blind to see what you’re doing. You don’t deserve him Tim, so fuck off out of his life!” Rich snarled, baring his teeth as he clenched his fists at his sides and walked slowly towards him.

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about Richard! Take a look at yourself! You’re the one using him for sex, not me!” A strange look flickered across his face and he looked away momentarily before frowning back up at him. “Fuck you Richard! I don’t give a fuck what you think!” he growled and stomped off out of the house. Richard glared after him and walked up and down slowly until he had calmed down a bit. He sighed deeply and then opened the door, meeting Paul’s gaze as he closed the door behind him. He studied him carefully, trying to see what he was feeling, but Paul looked away quickly. Richard sat down on the bed beside him and Paul instinctively put his arm around Richard’s waist and cuddled into his side.

“Is something wrong?” Richard asked gently, taking his hand and playing with his fingers. Paul shook his head and looked up at him with teary eyes, sending him a forced smile. He looked scared, but why? “Pauly…did Tim do something to you?” Rich asked worriedly and Paul looked up at him quickly and shook his head, touching Richard’s lips with one finger to silence him, then he picked up the texta and board off the bench and wrote down “He had to go”. Richard nodded as Paul wiped the board clean and put it back in its place. Rich sighed in relief as Paul pulled him down onto the bed and curled up beside him, his arm around Richard’s chest and his head on his shoulder as Rich cradled him in his arms. He closed his eyes and stroked Paul’s back gently. At least he had just been imagining things earlier. Nothing out of the ordinary had been going on at all. Paul just missed Tim, that’s why he was crying. That had to be it.


Richard woke up suddenly to the sound of his mobile phone ringing. He must’ve just drifted off. He looked down at Paul as he pulled the shrilling object out of his pocket and answered it – he was still fast asleep, oblivious to the noise.

“Hello?” Rich asked.

“Richard, I have some bad news.” It was Ted Robinson. His voice sounded strained.

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s no easy way to tell you this…” he began slowly “Ah…Mikey’s dead…we think he was poisoned.” Richard was speechless. He couldn’t believe it. Mikey? Mikey Robins? Dead? He couldn’t even imagine it, but now it was true. “I just thought you should know…” Ted continued after a short silence “I don’t think I’ll be able handle telling Paul…” he said slowly. Richard took the hint.

“Uh…yeah, don’t worry about Paul. I’ll tell him.” Richard felt a lump growing in his throat as he thought about Mikey, everyone’s best mate. “Listen, thanks Ted, for telling me. It was really good of you.”

“Sure Rich. I’m sorry mate.”

“Thanks. Bye.” Richard hung up and took a deep wavering breath. He brought a hand up to his face and rubbed it as though trying to rub the pain away. Paul poked him and looked at him concernedly, his eyes asking ‘What’s wrong?’ Rich sighed and looked at Paul sadly. “Mikey’s dead.” Paul’s eyes widened and he looked down at his hands quickly. He frowned slightly as though wondering how it happened. “They think someone poisoned him.” Paul couldn’t believe it. He’d really done it. It was true…it was all true. He screwed up his face, clenching his fists tightly at his sides, and then suddenly he let out a choked sob and literally fell onto Richard, tears pouring down his cheeks. He wailed incoherently and punched the pillow violently with his fist. Richard squeezed him tighter, rubbing his back comfortingly until his burst of anger and sadness died down a bit.

Finally Paul looked up at Richard with teary eyes. He smiled grimly and brought up a hand to gently cradle the side of his face. He was saying he was sorry. Rich nodded and did the same to him, returning the gesture, and Paul kissed his unshaven cheek before nuzzling his face down into his neck. Paul wanted to tell him, but it was so hard. What if no one believed him? Richard sighed and closed his eyes once more, each in their own little worlds as they mourned the loss of their friend.

A week later Richard was going through his routine check as he was preparing breakfast. Paul was sitting at the kitchen table, thoughtfully sipping tea from a mug with his star sign traits on it.

“Paul, are you okay today?” He shrugged. Rich frowned. Usually he nodded. “Do you have something you want to say?” He shrugged again. Richard was intrigued. He took a guess. “Pauly…” he said carefully, moving to sit in the chair beside him and putting his arm around him “Are you ready to tell me?” Paul looked up at him and gulped, then looked away, giving a slight nod. He held him for a few minutes before continuing. “Who was it who did this to you Pauly?” he asked ever so gently. He pushed the board across the table towards him and Paul shook his head, pushing it away again. “Who was it?” Rich repeated slowly. Paul looked up at him.


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