47.Foolish Games

 A/N: Finally betad! Thank you Koira! 🙂

            Chapter 47

Joni felt his palms sweating, he sat next to his father in the courtroom and looked nervously towards the judges who were about to give their verdict. He had slept quite poorly all night, having mostly nightmares of Chris coming to get his revenge. He felt afraid, what if he had done a bad mistake taking this to court? What if they’d let Chris go? He felt sick in his stomach, he could hear the beat of his heart drumming in his ears and he felt like he would faint if he got up to his feet. 

He glanced quickly towards Chris who met his gaze and Joni swallowed at the intensity of the stare, detecting some sadness behind the coldness. Joni felt sad as well, he didn’t want to be in this place anymore than Chris did. He rather wished it all away; he would happily have lived his life free of this experience. It was painfully clear, however, that if Chris didn’t get his judgement, then he would never be free from his ex.

In the end they found Chris guilty of repetitive abuse, forced intercourse and deprivation of freedom. The fact that they had been in a relationship and lived together, seemed to make the crime less obscene and less traumatic in their eyes. They found that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict Chris of attempted murder or multiple sexual assaults either.

Joni wasn’t sure what to think as he listened to them continuing on how the defendant was lacking previous crime history and how his (the victim’s) injuries hadn’t been of a permanent kind which made the assault less offensive. They concluded that there was no proof that the accused had planned the crimes but rather performed them on a mad, jealous impulse. The result was that Chris was convicted as a first timer for two years in prison, the working permit to stay in the country would therefore expire and after serving his sentence he’d have to return back to Canada. Chris would also be required to take part in counselling to help him recover from his violent tendencies. A restraining order was set and he would not be allowed to contact Joni in any way, he was also ordered to pay 8500 euros as compensations to him including the medical expenses.

It was over. Chris’s lawyer said something to him, possibly that they could still complain about the verdict and take an appeal, Joni guessed. It felt surreal, the guards came to lead Chris away, the courtroom was starting to clear and Joni felt confused. He hadn’t really expected Chris to get more than a few years and deep down he knew that two years would most likely turn into one. His lawyer said that they would file an appeal, that the verdict wasn’t enough and Joni simply felt tired of it all. It was what it was, but it was over, at least he wanted it to be. At that moment he simply wanted Chris to get deported, wanted him as far away as possible and sure they could complain all that they wanted, but what difference would it really make?

“I just want to go home,” he said and got up. “I don’t want to deal with this anymore, it’s over.” He sighed. His father got up as well, gave an upset look towards the prosecutor, a look that said he wouldn’t accept such a low verdict the way his son seemed to.

They were driving home, Misha with him on the backseat while his dad was driving. Joni was mostly silent, answering vaguely when his dad or Misha tried to speak with him.

Was the whole thing unfair? – Of course it was. He could scream and moan about it, but all it would do was to take more of his own energy and most likely be fruitless. Joni looked up to the sky from the car window, it was dark that day, it started to rain slowly and the trees swayed in the wind.

He tried to process everything that had taken place, but both his body and mind felt the exhaustion of the past months. Joni wanted to sleep, just wanted to go to bed and prolong the inevitable thinking about the future.

They arrived at the house and Joni got out of the car, he stared at the house for a moment standing in the rain that got heavier, he didn’t care about getting wet. Misha was soon beside him, his hand on his back and with Misha and his dad Joni got inside.

“What happened?” Katja asked immediately after they got to the hall. Joni took off his shoes and wet jacket.

“He was sentenced for two years”, Joni replied with a calm voice, his face not betraying any emotions. Katja nodded slowly glancing towards her husband who seemed more or less upset. “I think I’ll go to rest for a bit now, I’m quite tired.” Joni continued and headed towards the stairs and his room.

Misha felt angry, the verdict seemed like a joke though of course they had all known to prepare themselves for something similar, still…He glanced at Joni’s father who met his gaze, both having the same thought in their mind; if justice didn’t happen through law they’d be forced to take it in their own hands. Still, at the moment, Joni’s wellbeing was more important and so Misha followed him.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” Misha asked after closing the door behind them. Joni gave him a tired smile and removed the day blanket from the bed.

“I’m fine, as fine as I can be at least. Shame I didn’t break anything or stay longer in the hospital, huh?”

“Don’t say things like that,” Misha scolded. “Nothing is more important than you getting out of it safe and alive. Still… You will file an appeal, won’t you? About the verdict?”

Joni sighed heavily, thinking of Misha’s words before shaking his head. “I don’t see the point. Read the news Misha, two years, a restraining order, compensation payments and in the end he’ll have to leave. It’s all that I could expect really.”

“It’s not enough.” Misha argued. Chris wasn’t even convicted of rape but of forced intercourse, for fuck’s sake! The thought alone made his blood boil because he knew the truth; he was seeing the result of it almost everyday! Joni glanced at him before sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Perhaps not, but… It’s been a long year, I don’t have the energy anymore and in the end, if you honestly think about it, it won’t matter if he gets one year or five, what matters is that someone helps Chris to heal. I just need it over with and…” Again he sighed. “Well, right now I just need sleep, I’ll think about the rest later.” Slowly Joni got up and walked over to Misha. “Give me two days, okay? I just need to rest and you go do your thing and when I feel rested enough I will come to you,” Joni placed his hands on Misha’s shoulders watching him carefully.

“But…” Misha tried to argue and Joni placed his finger on his lips.

“No buts. Please Misha, two days, it’s all that I’m asking, all that I need right now.” Misha watched Joni carefully, worried, not really wanting to leave him, worried about the strange calmness that he sensed in him. His arms wrapped around Joni’s waist, just holding him for a moment.

“So you feel okay now? Not… depressed, or… anything?” He couldn’t help but ask and Joni gave a tired chuckle.

“Depressed? A little, but I’ll get over it. Hey, I just need rest, that’s all. I fully plan to continue my life if that’s what you worry about.” He grinned and Misha frowned.

“Such matters shouldn’t be joked about.” He said and sighed then. “Okay, two days and then I want to see you.”

“And you will,” Joni promised and kissed Misha’s cheek. “Go now and I’ll see you on Friday.” Misha gave Joni another worried look and a brief kiss on his lips before reluctantly leaving the room.

**^^**^^**^^**^^**

Joni spent most of the following days in his room, he only got downstairs to eat or visit the bathroom but mostly he just slept. After getting the much needed rest, Joni thought about the whole ordeal and how to deal with it. He didn’t see having many options, he could either stay there and feel depressed, angry and frustrated, moping about the past and the verdict or he could take a deep breath and do his best to move on in spite of everything. The latter seemed more appealing after all. There was no washing away what had happened, but he would be strong enough to carry on regardless. Chris was in jail and he had a restraining order, Joni had to believe it was enough to keep him away. The picture issue was unfortunate, but there wasn’t much he could do except hope that the cops had every copy or that Chris would with some miracle come back to his senses.

It was Friday when Joni decided to go pick Misha up from work, knowing that his boyfriend was using public transportation now that Ivo needed the car. He hadn’t driven after the accident, but he knew that the longer he’d postpone it, the harder it would get. He didn’t tell his dad who would also have some worry fit over it and who was at work that day, but he did tell Katja, who ended up being quite supportive.

There was no hurry, he reminded himself while driving. And the feeling of being behind the wheel was somewhat liberating. For the first time in a long time, he felt like he could get back into controlling his own life. Finally he arrived in the parking lot, found an available spot to leave his car and headed towards the building where Misha worked. He smiled at the receptionist, who, from the looks of it, recognised him.

“Hey, I’m looking for Mr. Volochov. Shouldn’t he be leaving soon?” Joni asked standing by the reception table.

“He should, yes. Should I call and tell him that his boyfriend is here?” The woman grinned and Joni smiled slightly and nodded, watching her taking the receiver and making the call.

Misha was surprised to find out that Joni was there. It made him feel both happy and nervous, hopeful that it meant that the brunet was doing better. Why else would he have gotten there? Nervousness was due to knowing that some of his co-workers would never let him hear the end of it, Cecilia among them. Still, if Joni had gotten that far, the least he could do was show him around a little.

Misha walked to the reception and smiled at the sight of Joni, who grinned back at him.

“Well hi there, how did you get here?”

“By car of course, I wanted to pick you up.” Joni explained, eyeing Misha who was dressed in dress pants, and a neat button up shirt, he had an identification card hanging on his chest.

“Oh?” Misha let out a surprised sound. “Come on then, let me show you around, I still have a few things to take care of but it shouldn’t take long.”

Joni walked by his side, still grinning at him. “You look very handsome by the way.” He said and Misha smiled back at him.

“So do you,” he complimented back before leading Joni back to the office. There were lots of curious eyes following them and Misha was aware of that. He didn’t make a big deal out of being gay, didn’t say it unless asked, but it was no secret either that he was dating Joni. One magazine article had made sure of that. “You got here okay, did you?” Misha asked as they were making their way towards his desk.

“I did, thank you. It was actually kind of nice being able to drive again,” Joni answered. He noticed the looks as well, but in his past he had been used to being noticed and now he needed to get used to being looked at again.

“There’s someone I want you to meet”, Misha said and walked closer to Cecilia’s desk, who of course had noticed them arriving already. The woman grinned.

“Hi, Joni. I’m Cecilia.” She introduced herself making Misha roll his eyes.

“Nice to meet you, Misha has talked a lot about you,” Joni smiled.

“Nothing bad I hope”, the woman replied with slightly mischievous glint in her eyes as she glanced at Misha.

“Of course not,” Misha retorted back quickly and winked at her.

“You know Misha has your picture, I’ve seen it in his drawer,” Cecilia snickered and Joni gave a surprised look towards his boyfriend who gave kind of sour gaze to the woman.

“Well, I shouldn’t be in the drawer; I should be on your desk, right?” Joni teased and Misha sighed.

“Yes, yes, okay… You’ve met Cecilia now… I have to take care of a few documents before we can go.” Misha said and led him towards his own desk.

“It was nice meeting you Joni!” The woman called after them.

Joni sat on the edge of Misha’s desk as the blond finished up writing some documents on his computer. He looked around in the office where most were starting to clear up for the weekend and every once in a while he noticed some people gazing in their direction which made him look away. Misha also gazed at him every now and then, finding Joni’s presence somewhat distracting. Joni was smiling at him, looking as though… everything was normal. Misha didn’t believe that it was the case however.

He and Asko had carried out with their plan, Jyri knew some people from the jail where Chris would be serving his sentence and it wouldn’t take long until…

“So, you like working here?” Joni interrupted him. Misha looked up at him and nodded.

“It’s alright. I like that I’m able to use Russian as well and… most people here are nice.” Misha smiled. Joni noticed one curly haired, blond man with glasses gazing at them long, seeming like he had been about to come their way but then changed his mind and direction. “Just a moment…” Misha muttered focusing on his screen and Joni wondered how many men and women actually were interested in the blond.

“Take your time,” Joni commented calmly, reminding himself that he was still the one Misha wanted to be with, in spite of everything.

“I’ll be going now; you two enjoy your weekend!” Cecilia winked and waved at them.

“You too, Ceci!” Misha waved and Joni smiled at her before she left.

“You take your work too seriously Misha, most people have already left.” Joni commented smiling down at him.

“Yes well, unfortunately I’m a little behind my work…” Misha sighed.

“Because of me and the trial, huh?” Joni asked and Misha looked up at him and smiled.

“Chris is the problem, not you,” Misha assured, rubbing Joni’s thigh for awhile, before focusing back on typing. Joni smiled, before looking around again. The place looked weird, with all the empty cubicles, huge and … empty, it might even have been kind of scary if dark.

“I could become your sectary, or of this whole office,” Joni grinned then. “I could make coffee and run errands or become your personal assistant, how’s that?”

“People here and especially myself would have a hard time to focus, I’m afraid, with you running around here.” Misha grinned back.

“Oh, “hard”, you say?” Joni teased and the mischievous grin made Misha sigh and shake his head with a smile.

“Be careful with your mouth.” Misha smiled, was quiet for a while and then decided to ask: “Have you reconsidered an appeal?”

“No,” Joni replied looking at him and he could see slight disappointment behind the blue eyes. “If the prosecutor wants to do that, it’s up to him. I’m just… done with it, okay? So I must ask that you won’t ask about it anymore.” Misha gazed at him and gave a reluctant nod. In the end it might not matter, Chris would be beaten up just the same.

Misha finished his report and closed the computer. “Alright, I’m done, we can get going,” he said and Joni hopped down from the table. “Where would you like to go?”

“Can we go to your place?” Joni asked and sneaked the picture from Misha’s drawer, setting it on top of the desk. “There, that’s where I should be.” He grinned and Misha rolled his eyes with a smile, before leaning closer to kiss Joni’s forehead.


”Fine, and sure we can go,” Misha agreed.

“Are Jami and Ivo there?” Joni asked while they were walking through the office.

“I’m not sure,” Misha said. “Why?”

“Well… I’m kind of embarrassed,” Joni confessed. “About what I said to Jami, how I snapped like that. I mean… what must he think of me now?”

“Nah… He said he understands. Don’t be embarrassed and don’t worry, you’ll have time to talk it out with him later, I’m sure,” Misha comforted him.

When they got to Misha’s home there was no sign of Ivo or Jami. “Perhaps they went out for a drink,” Misha wondered.

“By car?” Joni wondered and Misha shrugged.

“He could be at Jami’s too, or someplace. I’m beginning to see my brother less and less. We’ve both been busy though.” Misha walked towards the kitchen. “Want something to drink? Coke? Are you staying for the night?”

Joni followed the blond, smiling idly. “I thought I’d spend the night and… I could take one beer if you have it?”

“Sure, that’s why I asked.” Misha said glancing at him with a smile before opening the fridge.

“What if Ivo wants to move in with Jami?” Joni asked when Misha gave him the other bottle.

“Well, it’s bound to happen sometime, I didn’t plan to live with my brother for the rest of my life,” Misha grinned. “Did you want a glass with that?”

“Nah, this is fine,” Joni said. “You have room here, all three of you could live here,” Joni said as they walked towards the living room.

“Perhaps, but sometimes it’s good to move on. Could use some change.”

“Yeah…” Joni sat down on the couch and looked at him. “I should look for a new place as well, as much as I love my family… It’s… Well, dad still treats me like a child sometimes, that’s not fun.” Joni grinned slightly and took a sip of his drink while Misha sat down next to him.

“He’s worried for you, it’s understandable,” Misha said. “And… I don’t know… Maybe it’s not good for you to live alone… You know… after Chris… and all.” Joni cocked his brow looking at the blond quietly.

“If I don’t want to continue living with my family and shouldn’t live alone… Who do you suggest I live with?” Joni grinned. “A dog? I could get a big and mean one, wouldn’t be alone then, right?” He teased, kind of sensing what Misha was thinking of.

“A dog is a lot of responsibility, you can’t ever leave him alone for too long, kind of stressful for someone living alone.” Misha said looking at him while taking a sip.

“I suppose a sensible boyfriend can be left alone for a while, even for a week or two and afterwards still find him alive and well,” Joni grinned slightly.

“That could happen.” Misha agreed watching him for a while. “Listen, as long as our living arranges stay as they are, you are welcome to spend time here or even live here if your family starts to get on your nerves, you think about that, okay?” Misha didn’t want to push Joni and perhaps getting their own apartment might be too early, but he didn’t really want Joni to live alone, not while Chris was still in the same country, it might be a silly thought but still… He preferred if Joni always had someone in the same household, he would prefer it even more if it was himself. Joni tilted his head and moved slightly closer to the blond.

The brunet brought his hand in the soft blond hair and leaned forward to brush his lips against the other’s. He looked into the blue eyes and smiled before leaning in for yet another kiss. Misha moaned, the kisses slowly turned bolder and he trembled, want and frustration mixing, so close yet so far, he wanted more and knew he couldn’t or shouldn’t, yet Joni was always tempting him.

Somehow they ended up making out on the couch, Joni beneath him, eager and responding and only after feeling Misha hardening and acting more demanding, grinding against him, the kisses slowed down on Joni’s part, some old feeling of fear and uncertainty returned seeming to freeze him and as Misha became aware he groaned and raised himself up on his heels.

Joni looked at his boyfriend feeling bad, guilty and wrong, it shouldn’t go like this, he knew it shouldn’t and he was just as frustrated. Misha had his back turned against him, taking a deep breath, hands on his hips. “Mind if I take a shower?” He asked glancing at him from over his shoulder. Joni knew the reason and though all of it made him feel weird he nodded.

“Sure,” he replied quietly.

“Won’t take long,” Misha promised before going towards the downstairs sauna and shower room. Joni bit his lip, part of him wanted to go after Misha, wanted to surprise him and undress and just… do it. The other part made him freeze and stay on his spot, because of fear and guilt. It was frustrating to be like that, he didn’t really understand the problem, partly he did and on the other hand… Why couldn’t he just go for it? When deep down he knew it was so much different with Misha. Chris thought he was a slut, the court thought he was and… all of it haunted his consciousness. He wanted to have sex with Misha, but wasn’t sure how to approach it. How could such a simple thing turn so complicated?

Misha took his time and Joni knew what he was doing. When the blond returned a towel around his waist, moistness glimmering on his skin, with a somewhat guilty expression on his face, Joni looked at him carefully, feeling sad that they couldn’t reach that normality yet. “Is everything okay?” Misha asked approaching and Joni nodded.

“I think we should go to the therapy together, soon,” the brunet said and Misha nodded walking back to the couch.

“Sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” Misha said touching Joni’s hair tenderly and the brunet shook his head slowly.

“It’s not that,” Joni assured. “I mean… I should be sorry…” He said and brought his hand to touch Misha’s moist chest. The blond took his hand and kissed his palm.

“No you shouldn’t,” Misha said and again Joni looked at him. “It’s not your fault,” Misha continued and Joni shrugged.

“It just sucks being this way…” He sighed.

“The therapy will help, I know it,” Misha said and reached to hug the younger man, deep down having even more reason to hate Chris and justify his beating.

**^^**^^**^^**

Chris had never really imagined ending up in jail, in a real jail with other inmates who were eyeing him. To Chris, the stares he got seemed suspicious more than anything else and he glared back with the implied statement that they should all just stay the fuck away from him. He hadn’t cared for forming new friendships with his co-workers and he cared even less to make some here. After all, these were all criminals, who knew what they were convicted for, Chris couldn’t see himself being anything like them. He was treated unfairly and it was all Joni’s and his new boyfriend’s fault that he had ended up here. What a way to spend his 28th birthday, locked up in that doomed place!

Someone might have said, however, that jail time was to be described as too easy in Finland. Everything was controlled, yes, but you still had a roof over your head, better food than many elderly people or children at school ate, you could go to work on the jail premises, you had the opportunity to go to the gym, you could even watch a certain amount of TV! Still, Chris saw little joy in it, his every move was watched, he couldn’t get out, and everything was limited. If he wanted to use the freaking phone, there was a jailor right next to him listening to his every word and Chris wanted more privacy than that!

Not that he had many important calls to make really. He was still pissed at Adam and his other friends in Canada or his family didn’t seem very keen on keeping contact either. He mostly talked with his lawyer who still thought they could lessen his sentence and perhaps even lessen the payments by complaining. Chris had agreed to it, it seemed all so unfair and he didn’t want to pay a god damn cent to that slut who had deceived him. He didn’t believe one second that Joni hadn’t been intimate with that blond Ruskie. Of course he had! The accusations of being raped were ridiculous as well. He had rights, damnit… His mood shifted with the firsts days of being captive in jail, partly wanting to forget about Joni, the other part wishing ill for him and his new man, and the third unwilling to let go.

The anger dwelled inside of him and Chris mostly kept silent. He did his thing, contemplated quietly to himself and tried to separate himself from the others. They were staring at him, he was aware, of course he was, and tried his best to ignore them. On the fourth day, some idiot decided to sit opposite him at lunch, they were all idiots in Chris’ eyes.

“You’re from Canada, right?” The stranger tried to start the conversation and Chris finally glared at him from under his brows, moving his food around his plate with his fork. The man was quite normal looking, with light brown hair and green eyes, something around his own age, Chris guessed, and without his beard and the smirk plus their surroundings, he might have seemed nice enough to chat with. But only chat with, there was no physical attraction, Chris preferred his men more like… well, more like Joni; younger and lither than himself.

“Yes…” He replier shortly and focused back on his food.

“You know, a friend would be a good thing to have here, don’t isolate yourself, other men are beginning to talk,” the man advised and when Chris kept silent he sighed. “I’m Aki, by the way.” Again Chris looked at him, still silent for awhile.

“Chris,” he finally replied.

“And I know what you did Chris.” When the Canadian gave him a weird questioning look, Aki grinned. “Don’t worry, I’m a friend, I understand. But be careful, some others know as well, yet they are not quite as understanding as I am. Well, I got to go, but if you want to talk, seek me out.” The man winked and left leaving Chris wondering about their short conversation.

It didn’t take long however. Chris had been in jail less than a week when it happened. He was strolling around in the yard, minding his own business, when someone called out.

“Hey faggot!” It was plain English, of course he knew it was aimed at him, but Chris  refused to look at the man who had called. “What? You heard me faggot, didn’t you?” From the corner of his eye Chris could see the tattooed man approaching with his goons. Chris remained silent and changed direction, knowing it was best to try and avoid any drama. “Am I too ugly for you, huh? Or too old perhaps?” The man sneered and the others laughed a bit. Chris rolled his eyes.

“I have no interest in idle conversation with you or your friends,” Chris replied glancing at the man who indeed wasn’t much to look at. He was fit, yes, but too many tattoos and a scarred face, someone who couldn’t have been handsome to begin with and then ruined his appearance even more, somewhere over 30 Chris guessed.

“Conversation, who said anything about conversation, faggot?” The man asked with an amused tone and the four men he had with him spread so that they managed to block Chris’ way out. He knew they wanted a fight, it wasn’t the first time he had been in such a situation, but now he was unarmed and outnumbered.  Was he scared? Yes, but he wouldn’t have admitted it out loud. “You like pretty boys, do you?” The man asked and approached. Other inmates in the distance cast curious looks in their direction while the ones close, those who surrounded him, eyed him with disgust.

“What do you want?” Chris asked with a bored tone.

“Not so tough alone, are you?” The man asked. “You liked raping that model, huh? You sick asshole,” the man spat at his feet and Chris glared him. “Liked beating him?”

“Why don’t you all just go and mind your own fucking business.” Chris snorted attempting to move past the man who shoved him back roughly and before he could react, another threw his fist against his side.

“Not before you have been taught a lesson, asshole!” Another blow in his stomach, his face, Chris tasted blood and tried to scream, conveniently the guards were nowhere to be seen or most likely they just ignored what was going on. Another blow and he heard the sickening crunch that his nose made as it broke. Two were holding him in place, one kept an eye out and the leader with his friend was hitting him. Chris coughed blood, the pain was mind numbing and he distantly heard people shouting, strange sounds, he had never really cared to learn Finnish properly, only words here and there. The words sounded so much different when Joni spoke them, so much softer and kinder, now they were harsh, cruel and ugly. From the corner of his eye he could see Aki in the distance worried and shouting something, he could see the guards running towards them and shouting, aiming their guns at the ones surrounding him.. “A word of advice – stay the fuck away from Lehto, got it? Or I swear this isn’t over.” It was the last thing Chris heard from the man until the guards came to break the scene up and he found himself coughing and gasping on the ground. He heard the stranger talking, growled in pain and cursed as some guards tried to help him. He could see the leader of the gang being roughly taken away and he didn’t seem the least bit sorry; hell, the man was grinning and some inmates were even applauding him! – The fucking nerve of them!

“Stay still, we need to get you to the hospital wing,” one of the guards said, Chris hardly listened, he was angry and in pain, great pain. “Stay the fuck away from Lehto, got it? Or I swear this isn’t over.”  The words rang in his ear and made him convinced that it was either the doing of Joni or his new boyfriend or even Joni’s father. In his pain the anger grew, this was something he would never forget and it was him who had been wronged; that he was certain of. He would show them; oh he would show the whole fucking group of them! – That he swore to himself.

**^^**^^**

Joni sat at his desk and read, glasses on his face, a sheet of paper next to the book and a marker in his hand. He had decided to focus, he wasn’t sure yet what the future would bring but one thing he was certain of: small steps lead to greater ones and having goals helped. At that moment he had one great goal, moving on with his life after the stumble with Chris, and two smaller goals, finish High School and continue the therapy having Misha with him on those sessions thus achieving normality with him. Well, perhaps “normal” was too much to ask at that moment, but to achieve a proper relationship with Misha. He didn’t have to take many courses in High school anymore and the final exams he had originally planned to take part in that fall would be delayed till spring. So, he would be two years later than his former class mates, but it didn’t matter, he just needed to finish for himself.

It was four in the afternoon when his cell phone rang. Joni smiled slightly when he saw it was his cousin. “Hi there Suvi,” he greeted her.

“Hi, I just heard some news that I know will cheer you up!” The woman said sounding very much excited.

“Hmm… you gave birth to the wonder child?” Joni guessed with a grin. “Don’t worry, I will perform my godfather duties, we’ll be there this weekend.” He promised. Suvi had postponed the christening since she really wanted Joni to be the child’s godfather and thought she should wait until Chris was sentenced.

“No, it’s not that. I just had to tell you, Chris has been beaten up in jail!” Suvi grinned taking huge satisfaction in the fact, satisfaction she had been forced to keep moderate when her husband had told her. Adam didn’t seem happy about it at all and was quite anxious to meet his friend to see he was alright. “Quite badly too, I heard! He’s still in jail hospital and apparently his nose won’t be the same again!” She snickered evilly and Joni had to swallow. In all honesty, he wasn’t sure what to think. “Come on! Say something, you are happy aren’t you? The asshole got what he deserved! If only he’d been raped as well!” Suvi perhaps didn’t have the best choice of words; they mostly made Joni only feel uncomfortable. “Joni?”

“How bad is it? When did it happen?” Joni was finally able to ask, trying to sound as calm as he possibly could. Perhaps it really had been too much to hope not to hear from Chris ever again? Some things could never be erased.

“Yesterday…” Suvi replied with a frown having not expected such an unenthusiastic response. “He’s in the hospital, will be for some days or so I heard.”

“And w-who did it?”

“Some men, other inmates, there was more than one… Apparently they didn’t like what Chris had done… Look, the important thing is that that asshole got a small taste of his own medicine and you should be happy about it!”

“Yeah… Of course,” Joni replied somewhat meekly, not wanting his cousin to hear his true worries and doubts. Suddenly things he hadn’t paid much attention to before were starting to make sense. How his dad and Misha had behaved and then Jyri’s visit… Deep down Joni started to feel anger and frustration. “Thanks for telling me, really. I’ll see you this weekend though, okay? We’ll talk more then.”

“Sure, alright…” Suvi replied feeling somewhat confused. They said their goodbyes and Joni ended the call with a slightly trembling hand. It wasn’t that he felt sorry for Chris, but nor did he think the beating solved anything, quite the opposite in fact. Why did this have to happen now? After hearing the news it felt difficult to control his emotions, he tried his best to calm down, his siblings were at home and Misha would arrive after work to have dinner with them. He needed some certainty to his doubts before he would start throwing a fit.

**^^**

Misha had heard the news from Joni’s dad and couldn’t help but feel satisfied. Perhaps this was what would finally make the asshole understand? Misha wanted nothing more than Chris to stay clear of them, of Joni, his property. He got to Joni’s parents house, finding his boyfriend in his room in front of his books and grinned.

“Hi there,” he said walking closer and kissing Joni’s cheek. “This is still such an odd sight, to see you studying and working, my busy little bee…” Joni rolled his eyes before looking up at Misha, who indeed seemed much too cheerful to be innocent.

“Stop that”, he almost snapped and shook Misha’s hand away. “I’m not a baby and there’s no need to address me as such,” he sighed and Misha frowned before sitting on the edge of his bed.

“Someone is on their period again, right?” Misha teased with a grin and Joni glared at him angrily just about to say something back at him before he heard his stepmother calling: “Dinner is ready!”

Without saying anything Joni got up and walked towards the door. “Come on, you’re not moping at me, are you?” Misha let out a disbelieving chuckle and Joni merely glanced at him.

“Dinner is ready and I’m hungry.” He replied and continued his way downstairs. Misha sighed and followed.

At the dinner table Joni observed his family and Misha quietly. His dad seemed cheerful and chatty, from time to time he exchanged certain looks with Misha and Joni knew. He knew from how they behaved, he knew from earlier and they were idiots if they imagined that he was still clueless. Joni remained silent and the constant frown on his face made Misha worry, the blond stole glances of him and Joni pretended to be oblivious. He had no interest in joining the conversation, he was just plain angry and if it hadn’t been for the children present he would have let them all hear it.

“I’m going for a walk,” he said finally leaving half of his food on the plate untouched. Joni got up and his bad mood was naturally noticed.

“Now?” His father asked.

“You haven’t finished eating yet,” Misha added and Joni rolled his eyes.

“No shit Sherlock?” He asked and headed to the door.

“Daddy, why is Joni in a bad mood?” Sini asked confused while Misha stood up.

“I’ll go,” he said and followed Joni to the hall. “You can’t go alone,” he sighed feeling somewhat puzzled, he had thought that Joni was doing better.

“And why the hell couldn’t I?” Joni snapped. “I’m a freaking grown up! I need a walk!” He added, took his jacket and left outside. Misha hurried to put on his own shoes and took his jacket before following.

“Joni! Just wait for one god damn minute!” Misha called after him. Joni didn’t stop, just headed out the gate and towards the forest roads. “Joni? Don’t be so fucking immature! What’s wrong? Tell me?” Misha hurried to the brunet’s side and Joni simply shook his head.

“Go away, I need to calm down!” Joni snapped feeling tears burning in his eyes and hated to feel like a mental wreck. He heard the sand moving beneath his hurried steps; the wind was blowing, the cold making him feel shivers all over, and almost wishing he had a scarf to protect his neck. But none of it mattered really, everything was going wrong, he knew it, he felt it…

Misha persistently followed a few steps behind his boyfriend until they reached the forest. Joni felt Misha there, felt him near and didn’t know whether he was annoyed at him, or the world, or Chris, or those who had beaten his ex up. “I know about Chris, okay?” Joni said tightly before stopping on his tracks. It was grey that day as well, no other people at the moment, a moment of peace, a moment with just him and Misha.

“About him being beaten up?” Misha asked calmly and Joni turned to the blond, his arms folded in front of him, giving a slight nod.

“Yes.”

“He deserved it and more, you know that,” Misha reasoned coming closer.

“I know you and dad are behind it and Jyri. You all thought that I’m so bloody stupid that I wouldn’t know? That I wouldn’t guess?”

“It’s not like that,” Misha denied standing in front of him, hesitantly reaching out to touch him, but Joni shuddered, looked around and took a step back.

“What the fuck were you thinking, huh?!” He asked when still seeing no one.

“About you! About how his sentence wasn’t enough! He fucking needs to stay away from you, for good! We did what we did because of you!” Misha responded tightly.

“Oh don’t you dare making this about me! I was doing my best to move on!” Joni suddenly felt tears in his eyes. “And you and dad…” His voice was starting to break and Joni did his best to calm down. “Don’t you think that Chris won’t know? That he won’t guess?!”

Misha frowned. Wouldn’t it be better if Chris did? That he knew they weren’t just talking shit but that they meant it; that he should stay away from Joni. “It’s… If he knows, it’s for the best.”

“No it fucking isn’t! You idiots!” Joni screamed in frustration. “I was the one to live with him! I was the one to take all that fucking bullshit from him! And just guess who he’s going to blame now?! It’s me! … God…” Joni shook his head and turned from Misha, he felt headache approaching and he walked few steps forward.

“He has a restraining order and after jail he will return to Canada,” Misha tried to reason. He followed his boyfriend wanting to believe that what was done was done for the best. “He wouldn’t dare to try anything, I know that.”

“Oh you do, do you?” Joni asked tiredly and snorted before turning. “And you don’t think you’ll get caught either?”

“Why would we?” Misha asked though deep down, he had worried about it. Joni shook his shoulders and sighed. He didn’t want to deal with all of this anymore, yet he was forced to do so.

“You seem to forget that Chris still has the pictures of me, somewhere, I’m certain of that. So congratulations, you, dad and Jyri only ensured my future as some freaking porn star!” He waved his hand feeling frustrated and suddenly indifferent. He felt tired. Joni walked past Misha deciding to return home. “I’m so moving to fucking Sweden…” He muttered to himself.

Misha frowned and followed him. “And Sweden is supposed to help how?” He asked slightly annoyed over Joni’s overly dramatic behaviour.

“Hell I don’t know! I just want to go away!” Joni snapped and continued his way home. “At least they give longer sentences to criminals, don’t they?” Joni actually wasn’t sure; he simply thought that he remembered reading somewhere that they did.

“Well, why don’t you just go to freaking USA then?” Misha responded sourly.

“Perhaps I will!” Joni retorted back and for a while they continued walking silently, Joni ahead and Misha a few steps behind him. The blond felt annoyed about the whole situation, of Chris, of Joni’s moodiness, of the possibility that Joni would be right and Chris wouldn’t let go after all. Joni could argue and be mean to him, he could be annoyed at him, but still the love was stronger.

Joni glanced at Misha from over his shoulder and saw the frown on the Russian’s face, but still he was following silently. Joni looked back ahead and continued with slightly slower steps wondering how ridiculous they must have looked walking like this, like two ducklings in line. The thought was strangely amusing and he fought to keep a straight face. “I think I’d rather move to Sweden though…” He commented without looking at his boyfriend. “I can always refresh my Swedish skills and I don’t think I like America much… They have glowing vampires for goodness’ sake,” he tried to joke. “And soon they’ll have Chris on the same continent too.”

“What would you do in Sweden then?” Misha asked and Joni shrugged.

“Model, maybe find myself a Swedish guy, a doctor whose name might be Björn or Klaus and he’d be blond and in winters he’d wear cardigans.”

“Oh? So where would I be?” Misha asked with a sour tone of voice and Joni shrugged.

“I don’t know if my Swedish man would be willing to share,” he replied.

“Well I wouldn’t!” Misha let him know. “Joni-“ He started, but was soon interrupted by the younger man who turned to him.

“You should know that I was only joking,” Joni said tilting his head. “Right now I am mad at you and dad, you fucked up, basically.” He sighed lowering his voice after checking that no one was around to hear. “It’s not right and it won’t make me happy that Chris was beaten up, I fail to see what it would solve. And you both, you and dad need to realise that I am a grown up, I don’t need you protecting me and doing stupid things behind my back, okay?” Misha took few steps closer to him, with a serious expression.

“We were just worried… The verdict he got wasn’t enough, it wasn’t right, not after what he did.”

“Perhaps, but it is what it is. He’s a sick man Misha, beating him up won’t make him realise it.”  When Misha tried to touch him, Joni shook his head and took a step back. “Not now, let’s just go home.” He said before turning to walk back slightly calmer but still worried deep down. Misha now walked beside him eyeing him worriedly and Joni felt it.

“You’re an ass Misha”, Joni said the closer they got. “But I’m not going to take a Swedish guy, or any new guy for that matter, it’s much too exhausting to deal with someone new, to train them, you know?” He joked. He looked up and touched briefly the blond’s arm. “I probably won’t be moving to Sweden either, so you are pretty much stuck with me.”

“Good, because I want you to be stuck with me,” Misha said. “And please, stop worrying. I’m sure that Chris understood now.” Again Joni glanced at him, realising how little Misha wanted to be wrong. Deep down Joni hoped that he could feel as confident about it, but he doubted that luck could be on his side when it had been avoiding him for so long already.

“I hope you are right,” he replied then with a sigh.

“I am,” Misha smiled with confidence and opened the front door for him. He had to be right, the alternative was much too depressing to even consider.

TBC.

A/N: Please review , either on shout box or the questbook where the review link leads to, thank you 🙂

         Web published: August 1st, 2011.

            My Secret Shore

© KOLGRIM

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