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Author: Bitterfig
Title: An Illusion of Sanctuary
Fandom: 28 Days Later
Pairing: Major Henry West/Jim
Summary: Before his true intentions were known, Major West offered an illusion of sanctuary.
Beta Reader: Fedink
Word Count: 1133
Rating: R
Warnings: Sexual content. Very, very dubious consent.
Author’s Note: Earlier this year I wrote a Major West/Jim story called Rage Infection that involved outright rape. This story is a murkier, subtle take on this pairing.
Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Any illegal acts taking place within that fiction are NOT condoned by the author. Depictions of any questionable, illegal, or potentially illegal activity in said fiction does not mean that I condone, promote, support, participate in, or approve of said activity. I grasp the distinction between fiction and reality and trust that readers will do the same. I do not profit from the fan fiction I write, and all rights to the characters remain firmly in the hands of their creator.

An Illusion of Sanctuary

Major West hardly seemed to notice Selina or Hannah. It was Jim he singled out, seemed to regard as the highest ranking officer among the newcomers, their spokesperson, the one he would be dealing with.

If West had asked, Jim would have told him that Selina was the one in charge. As far as he was concerned he’d been tagging along after her since London but West wasn’t the type to ask questions. He simply took control.

The Major ushered Jim on a whirlwind tour of his new home, a tour that Jim would find as disturbing as it was informative. From the start there was something in the forced joviality of the soldiers that made his skin crawl, there was a level of hostility hidden beneath their banter. When he saw Mailer, the infected man chained up to die of starvation, his worst fears were confirmed. There was something seriously off with the people who had taken them in. Doing that to another human being, no matter how dangerous, was wrong, deeply twisted.

Unfortunately Jim wasn’t exactly up to framing arguments. Unexpectedly finding himself in close proximity to one of the infected had shaken him so badly he could hardly breathe. The remainder of the tour barely registered. Dazed, he went where West led.

They ended up in the room Major West used for his office. It was a surprisingly delicate and peaceful room. A small library with glass fronted bookcases that ran from floor to ceiling. It was furnished by a set of tapestry chairs, a desk of richly polished wood. A month ago they would have been both financially and aesthetically valuable. Now they were stripped of any meaning beyond function, the desk was something to write on, the chair a place to sit.

“You look pale, Jim.” West said, just the slightest edge of contempt creeping into his friendly tone. “I don’t think you were quite up to meeting Mailer.”

“I’m fine, sir,” Jim said. A polite lie in the face of the zombie apocalypse and the possible end of the human race. He wasn’t fine. There was a very strong chance he would never be fine again. “I just…I just need to catch my breath.”

The encounter with Mailer had terrified him on a primordial level, fight or flight. He was still shaking from the surge of adrenalin that had rushed his system when Mailer plunged at him. Major West didn’t seem to have noticed before. He’d swept Jim along to the bustling kitchens, apparently oblivious to how rattled he was. Yet now that they were alone again, he seemed very much concerned.

“You’re trembling, Jim.” He said. “You’re shaking like a leaf. I think you need to sit down.” Because the room was spinning, Jim didn’t bother protesting. He let West take him by the arm and guided him into a chair. “Put your head between your knees. Breathe deeply.”

West was rubbing his back in firm, reassuring strokes. The physical contact helped, it helped, it really did. It grounded him, calmed him down. Gradually his head cleared, his heart stopped pounding quite so fast, and he could breathe again. “Better now?” West asked. Jim nodded.

“What happened?” He asked. “What’s wrong with me?” He’d been in a coma not so long ago. What if his body was giving out already? If that happened there was almost no chance he’d wake up again. It scared him to think about it but what scared him even more was that he almost hoped it would happen. The rest of his life would be a struggle. It would be so much easier just to go to sleep.

West was rubbing his shoulders.

“What you’re experiencing is normal, Jim,” he said. “You’re suffering from post-traumatic stress, you and your lady friends. I can see it in your eyes, all of you. You’ve been through a war, one you were never prepared to fight. You’re not trained for conflict the way we are. It’s been too much for you but you’re safe now. You’re in my care. You need to believe that, Jim.”

He wanted to believe it. The only alternative was despair. Loneliness and hopelessness had been gnawing at him since before he’d left the hospital. Earlier it had made him reach out for Selina. Now he found himself reaching out to West.

“Major West, sir, would you hold me? Please. I just… I need someone to hold me.”

West crushed Jim to his chest. “I have you, son,” he said.

When Jim had kissed Selina he’d thought it was love. Now he realized it had been need. A need for human contact, for a sense of safety no matter how false or fleeting it might be. Maybe Selina had been right, maybe there could be no love in this new world. Only survival, only needs aching and screaming to be met.

Selina was stronger than Jim could imagine. When he’d kissed her she’d kissed him back and he knew her need was as desperate at his but she’d broken it off. She’d turned away. He wasn’t capable of doing that. When Major West started kissing him he didn’t break it off. When West began awkwardly groping him he didn’t turn away. He let himself respond to the tongue in his mouth, the hand that fumbled with his zipper.

It happened fast, too fast to think about. Jim ended up bent over the 17th century hardwood desk, his pants around his knees. Major West was on his back, grinding into him, one hand around Jim’s throat the other jerking him off. When he pushed himself against West’s cock and came in his hands it was not pleasure but a release of physical tension.

He was still face down on the desk gasping for air when West dismissed him.

“Dinner at eight, Jim.” The Major said straightening his uniform. “I’ll see you then. Go to your room, rest up.”

Back in the room Hannah was still asleep; there was no sign of Selina. Jim curled up on the unoccupied bed. The sex had burned away whatever adrenalin was left in his system leaving him bone tired. He was too exhausted to frame moral arguments but somehow he felt used. He couldn’t help wondering what kind of a man Major Henry West was.

West had said Jim was traumatized but that hadn’t stopped him from putting him in Mailer’s path or bending him over that desk. Hadn’t Jim initiated it though? Hadn’t he wanted it? He’d kissed…he’d kissed Selina.

It all blurred together. Jim let it; let the edges bleed into each other. Dinner at eight. He’d be there, because there was no alternative. To survive he needed hope like he needed food. He had to believe that what West offered was sanctuary.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
Mmmm. Wow. I love it :D
Best pairing ever!

I really loved the way at the end, Jim was trying to remember exactly what he had wanted or initiated and then just let it bleed together.

Wonderful job!
Nov. 17th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, I'm really glad you liked it.
Oct. 18th, 2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
... wow, Jim's consent to the sex really was vague, & at first I was wonderin' on what 'dubious consent' really meant; now I know.

And may I stand corrected that it was Jim who initiated the intercourse? Coz you had him repeatedly assuring himself throughout the fic that he was actually kissing Selina rather than Henry West.

And really, love this one as well. Both Henry Ford & Jim was totally in character!

Oh, you're makin me wanna watch the movie again! X3

Tahnk you for sharing!!
Oct. 18th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really pleased to get feedback on these stories-- Jim and Henry West is one of my all time favorite slash pairings.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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