The tale of Kit’s Demerits comes from the same stable as ‘Destiny Calling.’ It was written in response to several reader requests asking for a story focusing on Jon and Kit’s relationship.
Warning: it contains possible minor spoilers and is probably best read as a companion piece to ‘Destiny Calling’ rather than before it or as a stand-alone story.
In 'Destiny Calling' Colin and Sam's budding relationship suffers a heavy blow on an evening out to celebrate Jon’s birthday. Sam leaves the table to use the restaurant facilities. Someone claiming to be his nephew takes the opportunity to confront Colin. He tells him that Sam is only using him as a meal ticket until something better comes along.
Colin is shocked and upset by the encounter and leaves the restaurant to get some air. Sam subsequently disappears, which seems to lend credence to the story.
Sam’s disappearance from the restaurant provides the starting point of the tale of ‘Kit’s Demerits.’ Jon and Kit have returned home after breaking the news to Colin that Sam has apparently done a runner rather than answer the accusations made by his nephew.
Jon disapproves of Kit's response to their friend Colin's misfortune.
Kit's behaviour becomes increasingly confrontational, leading Jon to suspect he's concealing something
“You’re up early, love, for a Sunday.” Jon, still bleary eyed from sleep that had come late, wandered out into the back garden where Kit was putting food and fresh water out for Fred and Ginger, the guinea pigs he was fostering until they could be found a permanent home. It was a warm morning and he was attired only in a pair of baggy blue sleep shorts to preserve his modesty lest a neighbour looked over the wall. The pleasure Jon felt at the sight of his attractive mate was dispelled the moment he opened his mouth.
“So, not a hanging offence is it, not last time I looked anyway.” Kit picked Ginger up, stroking her. He knew the remark was tantamount to producing a challenge gauntlet, which was fine as long as he didn’t actually throw it down. Jon’s response to the sour retort was much as he expected.
“I don’t care for your tone, young man. I advise you moderate it.”
“Sorry. I’ve got a headache coming on.”
“And don’t misuse a real condition as a trite excuse.” Jon jerked his thumb towards the kitchen.
“Put the creature down and come inside for breakfast.”
“Guinea pigs are sensitive I’ll have you know.” Kit gave his other half a less than sublime look. “Ginger has feelings. She doesn’t like being dismissed as a creature, and I do have a headache coming on. I should know, it’s my head, I reside in it.” The gauntlet hit the floor with a thud and was immediately picked up. The rules of engagement were deployed, swords drawn.
Jon made the first thrust. “In that case.” He took the guinea pig from Kit’s hands and set her back down in the run with her mate. “You’d better take a couple of your migraine pills and get yourself back to bed before it fully develops.”
Kit parried, “it’s not too bad. I can cope without pills. I don’t need to go back to bed thanks.”
Jon’s sword arm remained steady. “Have you or have you not got a headache coming on?”
Kit flushed a dull red, the colour derived from a blend of guilt at telling an untruth and annoyance at being challenged on it. He chewed on his lip for a second and then retreated, shaking his head. He’d never been good at fencing, especially not against a master like Jon.
“I didn’t think so. You’ve earned another demerit for lying.” Taking Kit’s arm Jon escorted him back into the house, closing the kitchen door behind them. He swatted his bottom. “Park that on a chair before I decide to wallop it.”
“I don’t see why you had to give me another demerit, it isn’t fair.” Kit pulled a chair from beneath the table and flopped down on it.
“You told me you had a headache coming on when you don’t. I don’t see anything unfair in giving you a demerit for lying, and a pointless, childish lie at that.”
“You make it sound like I committed perjury in the High Court instead of telling a harmless fib in the back garden.”
“A fib is a lie by any other name and unacceptable in my book.” Jon closed the subject and moved on. “Do you fancy a cooked breakfast or cereal and toast?”
Kit’s unwise duelling instinct reasserted itself. “I’m fine. I’ve had breakfast already.”
Jon glanced around the kitchen and then raised his eyebrows, “really, what did you have?”
“Odd,” the eyebrows rose higher, “as I recall we ran out of those on Thursday. They’re on the shopping list to buy today.”
“I meant cornflakes.” Kit folded his arms conscious he was flying a little too close to the sun, but unable to stop himself. It was like he’d woken up with a bloody death wish.
“Where’s the bowl?”
“Washed up and put away.”
“Why didn’t you wash up those cups from yesterday at the same time?”
Resisting an urge to make a remark about the Spanish Inquisition having a vacancy for an interrogator, Kit settled for, “I didn’t notice them.”
“You haven’t eaten breakfast, but you’re going to or else your fake headache will become a reality, and you can mark another demerit.”
“Another one?” Kit’s eyes opened wide with angry dismay. “Why?” He rashly repeated the question and underlined it by thumping a fist on top of the table. “WHY for fuck’s sake?”
Grasping the offending hand Jon used it to haul the rest of Kit off the chair. Sitting down on the vacated seat he pulled him onto his lap wrapping his arms around his waist to anchor him. “What’s wrong?”
“You giving me another demerit.”
“Leaving aside the demerit what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I’m fine.”
“Yet another lie. If you were fine you wouldn’t have chewed off my head the moment you set eyes on me this morning or raised your voice to me or thumped the table in such a yobbish manner. Tell me what you’re feeling, don’t act it out and leave me to draw my own conclusions about what’s motivating the action. It only ends in grief.” He rubbed his hand along Kit’s thigh. “What’s behind the shitty attitude? Is it to do with last night and what happened at the restaurant, or is something brewing at work to cause you anxiety?”
“What happened at the restaurant was nothing to do with me, Jon.”
Jon looked nonplussed. “I don’t believe such an accusation crossed my mind let alone my lips. Why on earth would I blame you for what happened with Sam’s nephew, unless he was an actor you hired to say what he did.”
Kit scowled. “Well I didn’t, though I might have if I’d thought of it. It was pure luck us running into him.” He paused and then added, “I didn’t deserve the demerit you gave me last night. When was it decided me being happy is a cause for penalty? I don’t remember that discussion. I must have been out at the shops.”
Jon gazed steadily at Kit. “You earned the demerit for stamping and slamming like a bad tempered teenager after I questioned your deplorable attitude to Colin’s misfortune. Are you telling me the cause of your temper this morning is because you resent being given a demerit last night?”
“I’m not going to be a hypocrite and pretend I’m sorry about Sam leaving, because I’m not. He made our lives a fucking misery. It’s his fault I’ve accumulated so many demerits this month.”
“The demerits you received are down to you, Christian. You know the system and the behaviours that bring consequences. You have to take responsibility for them yourself. No one is asking you to pretend anything. All I ask is that you appreciate what a blow this is to Colin, instead of just feeling pleased on your own account. I’m not impressed with your attitude toward him or me.”
Kit found himself back on his feet, but only long enough for his shorts to be tugged down prior to being pulled back onto Jon’s knee, or rather over it. He hissed as Jon’s palm contacted his bare backside.
“I’ve been lecturing and advising Colin on how to deal with his badly behaved brat when all the time I have an ungracious and badly behaved brat of my own in need of correction. Fortunately I have no qualms about dealing with brattish behaviour.”
copyright Fabian Black 2012