It is the arrogance that draws him. The arrogance of the young and gifted. The arrogance of one who knows absolutely that he is doing the right thing. Even if he isn't.
Partridge had been that arrogant once. Had taken cold satisfaction in his mastery of the gun kata, his ability to avoid the rebel's bullets and take their lives with a grim efficiency.
But that had been before he had started questioning, before he had stopped taking his intervals, before he had joined the Underground.
Now, his own arrogance is gone; in its place is emotion, bright and beguiling, magnificent and messy. Sometimes he thinks he will die of the feelings that sing in his blood, that surge to his fingertips, his toes, his cock, sweeping him to heights and depths that the drug had never allowed.
Preston does not feel. He allows no emotion in his life. He takes the prozium unquestioningly, accepting that all is done for the greater good. Even if it kills his wife and leaves his children motherless. And yet, to Partridge, he burns. Burns with arrogance, with life, with beauty unacknowledged.
Partridge suspects that if Preston were ever to cease his interval, he would burn with an intensity that would consume Partridge as surely as the furnaces consume sense offenders. He longs for those flames, longs to feel the heat of Preston's passion. He yearns to shed his cleric's robes and abandon himself to Preston's arms, to revel in the feeling of flesh on flesh. He hungers to drive himself into Preston's body, to thrust until swells of pleasure overwhelm them both. Wants to hear sounds of desire tear from Preston's throat and know that he was the cause.
He knows none of this can be. Knows that eventually--soon, in fact--Preston will discover his crimes. Will hunt him down in the Nether, arrest him, interrogate him. Burn him. He doesn't hide from this knowledge; he cherishes it. He will be killed by the man he loves.
But until then, he will hope, but not for himself. Partridge is doomed, cannot help but be doomed. But he holds hope that Preston may yet be saved, may yet live as a human being and not an automaton.
And for the now, the right now, he will take bitter pleasure in Prestonís arrogance and wonder only what might have been between them, in a different time and place.
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