author: Dacia
circa: 2000
notes: This piece of fiction almost literally wrote itself. I remember carrying bits of paper about with me no matter where I went, as I had no idea when inspiration would strike. As you read it, you might wonder what the hell I was thinking, and why Lad sounds like he's developmentally challenged. *laugh* There is a method behind the madness, though, I assure you. The work itself is like a 3 part piece of poetry, with each part complimenting the other. Each sentence, or at times a group of sentences, is meant to stand on its own, even as it is connected to those around it. When I read it out in my head, which is something I do to test everything I have ever written, it's as if there is a full stop after each sentence. If it appears disjointed, it was meant to be, just as I purposefully kept the dialogue stilted and short. At times it may even seem that each sentence is related to those near it by a coincidence of proximity alone. Did my grand vision come to life? Sometimes I doubt that. If I read it in parts, I likewise doubt my sanity and my writing ability, both. If I read it as a whole, I think I must be some sort of genius, if only because the voice that was in my head, that cried to come out, did. There are a few parts which jar me no end but which I simply *can't* change because they were 'meant' to be that way. The ending is much more ambiguous and distant than I had supposed it would be, but it felt right. If you do not like this, I will not take it personally. It is rather strange...

I

I once asked Freeze what his real name was. He said he didn't know and that Freeze was as good as anything else. Better, in fact. He then told me to scoot over because I was hogging the covers and could he please get some rest because I had worn him out. This was Freeze's idea of a joke. Freeze is as much fun in bed as he is in life. If anything, he wears me out.

In the beginning I used to wonder how old Freeze was. I had a feeling that he had been around an awfully long time, but that he was still very young. Not just because he acted young, which he did to an annoying degree, but because he was so childlike in some ways, like he was still learning how he was supposed to get on.

I once asked Freeze, after our first year, why he stuck with me. I didn't need to tell him how gorgeous he was. He had plenty of others to do that for him. Truth was, any sane body with any sort of libido would have jumped at the chance to be with him. And he chose to be with me. He said he stayed with me because he thought I was awfully cute and would I please stop asking so many questions because I was taxing his brain. Then he smiled at me. Rumor is he once started a war with that smile. He has never told me if it was true or not. I can easily believe that it is. All he has to do is turn it on me and I turn to jelly.

I still remember the first time I saw Freeze. I couldn't very well forget it. No one forgets meeting the most important person in their life. And he is, no doubt about it. He told me so himself. I don't always believe everything Freeze says, but I figure he is right. Just the way it makes me feel inside when he gets possessive over me is enough to prove him right and if he is wrong I really don't want to know about it anyways.

I suppose you could say I was pretty green when I was first met Freeze. Freeze said I was so green I could've passed for a potted plant if I'd held the right pose. I told him perhaps he was exaggerating, but my laugh was aimed at myself because I know that even if I hadn't been that green, I had certainly looked it. My relationship with Freeze took care of that in no time. He remade me into his image of the perfect companion. I didn't mind. I was never sure if he knew that what he supposedly made me into was what I was already, just slicker and faster and with better hair.

I never know when Freeze is kidding. Even after all this time together he can throw me for a loop that keeps me dizzy for days. Freeze says it is because my equilibrium is off and maybe we should get it looked in to. It used to bother me that I couldn't figure him, but then I noticed that his brightest smile had become mine. No one else could lay claim to it. I don't even think he knows. And that smile is enough to forget that he is such an enigma and just get on and live. That is his motto---"Just get on and live". At least it is his motto at present. He changes them without warning, but they are always his interpretation of the universal truth and he keeps to them all.

I don't know what I had expected to find on Caelum. It wasn't exactly the place you'd find your future. It was more like the place you went to lose it. The Superiors were shocked. I guess up until that moment I'd been perfect Academy material. But then something happened and I realized that the sort of life the Academy could offer, the sort of life I'd always said I wanted, would ground me into a cadet who fit nicely into the uniform but wouldn't have borne any resemblance to me, other than my eyes. My eyes aren't mine. I was born blind. My eyes are state-of-the-art, although the fact that they can only be a silvery blue used to make me think they weren't state-of-the-art enough. So I figured that my eyes would be the same, no matter what became of me.

When I got to Crux and had just hopped a shuttle to the Academy, I hopped right off and came to Caelum instead. I still don't know why. Freeze says it was fate. At the time, I had thought it was one of the stupidest moves of my life. Worse even than the time I accidentally drove my hovercar off the Madison Dam. That little manuevre had left me with two broken legs and a scar across my chest that Freeze says gives me character. This maneuver left me smack dab in the middle of one of the raunchiest stations this side of the Hellespont. Of the two, grievous bodily injury is usually preferable.

My uniform was so spanking new, a group of spacers who wouldn't have given me the time of day or, more to the point, would have ground it down my throat, figured me for a mastermind and dragged me along with them. I didn't mind. I was actually grateful. Having a drunk, ugly, fucked up toad draped over you wasn't the best way to spend an evening, but it was certainly better than getting gang-banged on the main promenade.

I found out later that the bar we went to was ultra exclusive. It was only because on the drunk, ugly, fucked up toad and his equally drunk, ugly, fucked up mates that I got in at all. One look at me in my gleaming white and the bouncer sized me up as the evening's entertainment. Not me. That was Freeze's department. He is always the center of attention, and when he isn't is when you'd better duck.

The bar was a lot fancier that I would've thought, but then at the time my experience with bars had been limited to underage hangouts on Old Earth. According to the Superiors, all off-planet bars were little better than petri dishes. I couldn't deny the scum, but underneath was a classy establishment that had been irretrievably overrun. So the place had class, of a spacer sort. You wouldn't have expected Freeze to have chosen any other place. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Some called it luck, but I knew better. Freeze has a mind like a computer. It is his angels face that makes you forget it.

That night was a gathering of sorts. If I'd called it a convention, I'd probably have gotten killed, but that's what it was. You wouldn't think smugglers would do that kind of thing, but even scum have business tact. It was noisier in there that two full squads of my classmates. None of the noise, however, was mine, which left me free to study them at my leisure. I'd been introduced as Lad. The one question they'd asked me which I'd felt capable of answering and they heard it wrong. Somehow it stuck. I was once asked what my real name was. I smiled and said I didn't know and Lad was as good as anything else. I guess there are a few people who still know my name, but I'm not likely to run into them in the circles I keep now. Freeze says I should kill them if I do. I can't tell if he's kidding or not.

The minute Freeze came in, he was all I could look at. My present partner (I'd been passed round the table like a plate of hors'derves) said it'd be better for me if I put my eyes back in my sockets. I'm glad I didn't. Freeze says he wouldn't have bothered staying if he hadn't seen my eyes piercing out of the smoke. He says they'd burned like opals, his favourite stone. He'd set his sights on stealing them. At least that's what he says. Sometimes I think he knew I'd be there and that he'd come to find me. I told him this once. He didn't deny it.

Freeze can start a fight with a flick of a finger. Maybe that's why I never saw it coming. He walked in and suddenly people were falling like flies. Anyone foolish enough to take on Freeze was soon put in his place and was most likely to stay there. Freeze doesn't look like he can take care of himself. The thought of this makes me laugh. I've never known anyone so lethal. Freeze says I should stop laughing when people call him out. He says it ruins the effect.

One minute I was sitting surrounded by live bodies, the next I was totally alone. The arm that had been slung over my shoulder was still there, minus its owner. Freeze says he'll never forgive himself for getting blood on my spotless uniform. Those sorts of stains don't come out. He doesn't like me to be in white, anyways. He says it makes me look good enough to eat and doesn't like the competition. He must know that I don't have eyes for anyone else but him, but he tends to get jealous rather easily. It saves people's lives when I don't wear white. When I do, the smart ones find themselves someplace else.

I don't remember what went through my mind when I saw him smiling down at me. Whatever it was I had been, whatever it is the Superiors had attempted to make me into, was burned away by the light in his eyes. He'd stretched out his hand to me and said, "Coming?". I took his hand like I'd known him my whole life. But then, I had. My life began the first time I heard his voice. Freeze said I was being melodramatic after I told him this. On nights when he's feeling really good, he tells this story to anyone who will listen. So maybe I wasn't so melodramatic after all.

Freeze is the sort of person who can stop traffic. There is no way I can put down in words what he looks like. Freeze says that's just as well, since no one has a true description of him. Suffice it to say that he's the most beautiful person, male or female, you're ever likely to meet. Freeze laughs at me when I try to compare him to other things. But once I said his hair was the colour of quicksilver and he didn't laugh, so I guess I can say that's true.

It is easy enough to describe myself. Freeze says I look like the poster boy for goodness and, even though I don't always agree with him, I find this description better than any other I've heard. He says I'm the only person he's ever found who could be seen with him and not be dubbed a charity case. I used to think he was flattering me, but now I know he wasn't. Freeze always speaks the truth, in one way or another. You just have to find it.

When Freeze had asked me my name, I'd told him it was Lad. I honestly didn't remember at the time. Eventually I did remember, but I never told Freeze. I knew he wouldn't want to know. Freeze liked my name. And so did I. It was unnerving to be so comfortable as someone who hadn't existed more than a few minutes ago. It made me feel giddy. I smiled at him. "I'm Freeze," he'd said. It was then that I fell in love with him. Freeze doesn't like to use the word 'love'. He says it's never had a place in his life, that he'd never loved anybody and never would. You would think I'd be hurt by this, but I know how Freeze clings to me when he sleeps, like he'd rather die than let go of me. So even if he won't say it, I know he loves me. I knew it the moment he told me his name. I've never told him this. He likes to think of himself as unconquered.

Freeze had his own ship. I thought this was very impressive. On Earth I hadn't owned anything. Even my eyes weren't mine. He owns them now. Freeze says I shouldn't say things like that, that I'm a free man. I nod my head and smile, but I know. I belong to him. He knows it, too, but he doesn't talk about it. He watches me with that smile that's mine---he doesn't even know he's doing it. I've sold myself for a smile. Not a bad way to go.

Freeze hadn't lived that long without knowing not to push his luck. We hightailed it off Caelum so quickly I didn't know what most of it looked like until much later. You wouldn't think any sort of death, no matter how violent, would be any big deal on Caelum, and you'd be right. But by the time we'd left the bar, Freeze and I and the bartender were just about the only ones standing. Things like that aren't good for business. I never quite understand why he hasn't been banned from spaceports altogether. Maybe it's his beautiful face that keeps him in everyone's good graces. There's no denying that where Freeze is, there is action. That seems to be enough for people to want him around. I guess I can understand. I know perfectly well what a horror Freeze can be, but I'd never be without him. You'd have to kill me first.

The first thing he'd done after he'd set the autopilot was take my uniform off. He said it was because he couldn't stand the sight of blood. This was before I knew about his sense of humour. The feel of his hands on my body was like nothing I'd ever felt. I still can't do it justice. Of course, I hadn't known much about sex then. I had only been 16. Now that I've had more experience, I know that Freeze is something special. I've only slept with a handful of other people. Freeze let me do it. He never said it hurt him, but I saw it in his smile. I haven't been with anyone else since. It wasn't much to give up. Freeze says my body is an exquisite violin that only he knows how to play. He must be right. When I come, I swear I can hear music.

Freeze once told me that I'm his good luck charm. I can't see it. He has always led a charmed life. There's still alot I don't know about him, but I know at least this much is true. There's nothing that he couldn't have if he really wanted it. The fact that he thinks his life is better with me than without me makes me feel bubbly inside. Freeze can always tell when I'm happy. He says that when I'm happy my eyes glow. I have no way to know if he can really do this, but when I get bubbly inside he'll stop whatever it is he's doing and take me to bed. He says he can feel the bubbles under my skin. I once joked that he was addicted to me. The look in his eyes told me I was probably right.

Life with Freeze is never boring. The second night after he'd conjured me out of thin air, he took me with him to a gallery opening and had introduced me to scads of people. I know now that these people are big business, the bucks behind the wheels on which the galaxy revolves. But I hadn't known this then. Freeze says it was better that way. He says I charmed their socks off. I can't say that I didn't. Even after all I've been through, I haven't lost that look of innocence. Freeze says I should call my innocent looks one of my most important assets. I can't really say I've ever used them consciously, but Freeze says I'm an artist with them and, since he knows more about this sort of thing, I believe him.

When we'd left the party, it had been plus two necklaces, seven bracelets, 13 rings and a pair of diamond earrings. He hadn't planned on taking anything. I said they must have just slipped into his pockets and he agreed. He put the diamond earrings on me. I wear them whenever we go to an opening. Freeze says he isn't sentimental, but whenever he sees them on me he can't help but kiss me. Sometimes I think it's a wonder we ever get out of bed.

I've never seen Freeze the way that everyone else does. I took this for granted. From the first moment he spoke to me, he was my everything. Whatever soul it is I have, I have from him. To others, he is many things, but only what he wants them to see. I didn't know that what I saw in him was something only I could see until I'd watched them watching him. It was only then I realized they had no clue what they were dealing with. Freeze says it's a good thing I love him or I could destroy him. I try not to think about this too hard. It makes my head hurt.

The Academy had come after me, of course. It seems I was a valuable commodity. Or maybe they just wanted my eyes back. Whatever the reason, Freeze wasn't about to give me up. This was before I knew what effect I had on him. I'd thought he would consider me more trouble than I was worth. Freeze had laughed and said I was worth it, whatever the price. The Academy had sent ten of its finest to bring me back. Freeze had killed them all.

I have never killed anyone. Which is odd seeing as it is what I was trained to do. Freeze says it's part of my charm. Freeze does enough killing for two. He has no sense of compassion for his fellow man, but he never kills unless he has to. This is not a fault or a grace. It is just how he is. With Freeze, that's usually all the explanation you're likely to find. I've noticed that this explanation is not enough for most people. But it is enough for me. I have never needed anything from Freeze but his presence. Freeze says I am too possessive, but I've noticed that he won't let me out of his sight. This is not a fault or a grace. It is just how he is.

Freeze has many enemies. He is proud of this. He says he wants everyone he meets to love him or fear him or hate him. Freeze himself does not love or fear or hate anyone but me. He loves me because I can see him for what he is. He fears me because he needs me. And he hates me because he knows that if ever I leave him he will lose the will to live. Freeze has not told me this, but I know it to be true. I can read it in his eyes.

I have only seen Freeze angry once. When it became obvious that I was not one of his disposable boy toys, one of his enemies tried to have me killed. The wound I got from the assassin's knife didn't leave a scar, although he came close to completing his job. Freeze hired the best physicians money could buy and still I almost died. Freeze sat by my side every second until the danger had passed. He said I looked at him with tears in my eyes and asked me later why I had cried. I told him I had cried because I thought I was dying and I did not want him to hate me. Freeze did not know I knew how he felt about me. Perhaps he did not know himself. I have not spoken of it since and neither has he. But something big had happened.

Freeze tracked down the man who hired the assassin and killed him. He killed his wife and his daughter. He killed his servants. He blew up his house and his ship. When he was done, there was nothing to show that the man had ever existed except a pile of rubble. No one has tried to kill me again. They must have known that if ever they succeeded, Freeze would self-destruct and take half the galaxy with him. Freeze is a very dangerous man. He told me so himself. And I believe him.

It doesn't seem odd to me that Freeze should love me and, although he does not use the words, I know he does. This is not vanity on my part. It is only that I cannot conceive of him not loving me. Freeze does not find it odd, either. He says that he knew he'd find me someday. It was only a matter of time. I once asked him if I'd kept to his schedule. He says I was two days late, but he doesn't hold it against me.

When I was first with Freeze, I was nobody. The superiors had tried to make me a carbon copy and, at least in some respects, they'd succeeded. That was their goal and, later, the Academy's. Cadets were interchangeable. Like computer parts. Freeze says I was never nobody. That first night he saw me, he said, he'd never seen anyone more somebody. He said I stopped him dead in his tracks. This makes me smile. Even after all this time, it makes me happy to know how I get to him. Part of this is pride. I am proud to have succeeded where so many others had failed. If it was the only thing I had done right in my life, it would have been enough.

It is Freeze who has made me what I am today. At first, I had thought I would end up like him, but I was wrong. Freeze says one of him is enough and that there was never enough me. I even work on my own now, when the mood strikes me. Freeze lets me handle the quiet jobs. When Freeze takes a job, things tend to get noisy.

When people say I'm as good as he is, I know they do not know him very well. Nobody's better than Freeze. But second to him, I am the best. This is not vanity on my part. Freeze says it always pays to tell the truth since, no matter how long you do, people never expect it. When Freeze tells me this, I believe him. I know what I can do and I do it well. Now I agree with Freeze. I am somebody.

I like to watch Freeze. No one moves like he does, Sometimes I think he could do anything with his body. Sometimes I have to touch him to make sure he's real. Freeze says this is very sweet and could I please move my hands lower. I do not always do what Freeze tells me, but when he tells me this I do not have a choice. Freeze has a body like hard velvet. Someone once said he walked like a jaguar. I have never seen a jaguar, but from what I know, this seems an apt description. Freeze says I remind him of a tomcat. I have not asked him what he meant.

I once asked Freeze what he had been like before me. Freeze asked me where I had got my misinformation from and said that he hadn't been anything. I don't know why I ask Freeze these things. Freeze says I have a need to be acknowledged for every time he gives me one of his ambiguous replies he feels a need to touch me. I tell him he is overestimating himself, but then I shiver as his fingers trace the planes of my face and I know he is right.

Whatever I can say about Freeze, I can also say about myself. Sometimes when I see our reflection in a mirror or window or a pool of rose water, I can hardly tell us apart, although we look nothing alike. I don't know what it is about us that makes me say this. Freeze says I overanalyze and that I should just get on and live. He has kept this motto longer than the others. It fits him. Living is what he does best. Sometimes I let myself think how much I need him and my heart skips a beat. Freeze will look at me with his burning eyes and I know, then, that his heart has skipped a beat, too.

[ ii ]