Lazarus walked slowly, wondering how he was supposed to find somewhere to stay with no money. It was this problem that had held him back before. When he looked up, he realized he didn't even know which direction he was going in.
Sighing, he climbed into the tree nearest to him, pushing the thoughts of James out of his mind as he imagined James sitting opposite him with that look in his eye that always wanted more. He closed his eyes and attempted to completely clear his mind.
With his eyes closed, however, it only seemed to make his imagination worse. He could almost feel James' hands on him, the electric touch sending shivers through him. His eyes snapped open again, and he whimpered, will I ever be free of this?
He jumped out of the tree again and ran in the direction he believed the town to be. He may never have left his town before, but how hard could finding his way around a small trading town really be?
He soon discovered as he burst through the trees, the foreign town spread out before him. It was late dusk by now, and he was too close to the inn for his liking. In his experience, a brothel was never too far from an inn and sure enough, a little farther down the road, he was met by bawdy women, laughing and calling out. One walked in front of him with an over friendly smile, her painted face subtle in comparison to the other whores.
"You look like you've had a rough day," she purred, putting her hands on his waist. He froze, unsure how to handle it. He could smell the alcohol on her breath and he grimaced a little, though she didn't seem to notice. "Want me to help you unwind?" she asked, moving around behind him, sliding her hands up from his waist to his shoulders. She massaged his muscles gently, relieving knots of tension that Lazarus hadn't noticed before.
"I- I'm alright, thanks," he stuttered, "don't have no money anyways."
"Oh, that's alright, love, I'm looking for a bit of entertainment myself, if y'know what I mean," she murmured in his ear, her breath tickling him as she slipped her hands back down, straight to his groin. He swallowed uncomfortably.
"I dunno. I should really pay you, and I don't have no money," he insisted.
"This one's on the house, love," she laughed and pulled him inside, dragging him up to one of the rooms. He didn't protest, somehow convincing himself that it would help clear his mind and maybe even cure him of his attraction to men.
He staggered away from the brothel, half drunk and worn out, he couldn't care less that he had nowhere to sleep. He collapsed on the ground near the inn, curling up, with his head on his arm. He felt sick with himself. He had promised only a few short months ago that he would never let himself fall this far. And now look at me! Sleeping on the ground outside an inn, after fucking a whore!
Sleep brought him little relief; dreams of his sister and the memory of the look on her face when she walked in on him underneath James. His breathless embarrassment as he lay panting on the bed, unable to stop her running away. And then when he awoke, he was stiff and aching all over from the uncomfortable position he had slept in.
When he opened his eyes, it took him a moment to remember why he didn't recognize any of the people walking by.
"Oh, shit," he muttered, rubbing his eyes as he sat up, "shit." It felt like a mistake to be here. He couldn't sleep on the floor forever, and he didn't know what he could do to earn money. He wasn't much use for anything in particular.
"Lazarus Thorn," a commanding voice spoke somewhere above and behind him. He looked around, his dusty hand still on his eye. He looked up at a man on a horse, staring down at him with a strange look on his face.
"Master Emerson wishes me to tell you that your father has been harassing him, claiming that he is hiding you."
"So tell ‘im to fuck off then," Lazarus grunted, standing up, not bothering to brush the dirt off his clothes.
"He has been requested to leave several times. Master Emerson instructed me to find you to keep your father from making a nuisance of himself any further."
"Stop talking fancy," he spat, glaring up at the servant, "you're a servant, not the goddamn Master Emerson," he sneered, turning away. As he began to walk, the servant jumped down from the horse's back, clamping a hand on the teen's shoulder.
"Exactly; I serve Master Emerson. And I shall be serving him by returning you to your father."
"Get lost," he growled, slapping the servant's hand away. "I ain't going back to the village, so just leave it. Say you couldn't find me." He went to move away again, but was stopped once more.
"Running away doesn't solve anything," the servant said firmly, "just come back."
"It's solving everything! No one knows me; I can start again, and be who I wanna be! Lemme alone." The servant shook his head slightly and grabbed Lazarus around the waist, manhandling him up onto the horse. He kicked and shouted, but the servant was - unfortunately - used to brattish behavior, and held Lazarus there on the horse as he swung himself up, sitting with one arm clamped around Lazarus' waist firmly, the other on the reins.
The close contact between the two served only to embarrass Lazarus, the horse's motion of the run through the woodland forcing their bodies to rub together in a way that made him blush and lose his breath. He pushed the unwelcome thoughts from his head as they sped up towards the manor. As his father came into sight, the thoughts at the back of his mind needed no further pushing, evaporating with the fear that now flooded him.
He began to struggle again, attempting to turn and jump from the horse. But the servant held onto him stubbornly.
"Let go of me!" he yelled, trying to slouch far enough down to get out of his grip. It was too late, however and as they slowed to a stop, he barely had time to think about what to say before his father tore him from the horse's back.
"Stupid brat!" he growled, pulling Lazarus away from the manor as the servant looked on uncertainly, "you ripped your shirt! Ungrateful little bastard." Lazarus twisted away, managing to break free. He made to sprint away from the man, though he wasn't quick enough. He was restrained once more, dealt a heavy blow to the cheek and half hauled away from the manor. Giving in, he simply became a stubborn, limp weight in his father's hands, dragging his heels all the way back to the village.