Redemption

tagIncest/TabooRedemption

Author's note:
All the characters engaging in sexual activities are eighteen years or older. References, express or tacit, to songs, films, television series or other artistic works in this submission, are made as a tribute to the original works, without intending to infringe the owner's copyright. Any other resemblance which this work of fiction bears to any actual event is purely serendipitous.
——
Redemption
[When life sodomized him and destiny refused to put out, his sister was his knight in shining armour.]
——
Chapter One
——
Withdrawn. I've been observing him for the past two months. Andy's been withdrawn.
Not that I did not expect this, given his 'condition' over the last two and a half years and so, but what he has been doing to himself recently, was somehow ringing the warning alarms in my head. And unlike Mum and Dad I wouldn't ignore it and write it off as something which was 'all in his mind'.
The dynamic of our sibling relationship was peculiar. When he was a kid, he was my baby more than Mum's. But post the inception of the rebellious teenage years, we never were the siblings joined by the proverbial hip. However, notwithstanding that, we still were best friends, and the strength of our bond would make the strongest chemically bonded molecule jealous. So, I'd always know when my brother would be genuinely in pain and when he would be irritatingly happy.
As I was thinking all this over looking at him, without paying any particular attention to him hitherto, consumed in my own thoughts, I noticed what he actually was up to. There was it again. He was looking at the knife with that face and that half smile that this knife would be, lumps formed in my throat as I thought of it, the solution to his current predicament.
That was the second time I'd seen him longingly look at that knife as if she would be the source of utmost happiness in his life. I'd already seen him look lovingly at the fan on the ceiling. I'd also once caught the expression on his face when he'd take his antidepressants; it was as if he were stopping himself from taking more than the quantity which was prescribed.
He spoke to us only if absolutely necessary. He'd be in his room all the time working (He's a tax consultant). And from what I'd seen, more than twelve hours a day and sometimes even on weekends. Though he is passionate about becoming a Chartered Accountant and an International Tax Expert, I hardly saw him spending any time with his books, despite his exams being a mere two months away. He's had no 'girlfriends', 'girl' friends or any friend for that matter either. He seemed to be wallowing in self-pity. From what I'd fathomed, he's deriving a dark comfort from some guilt cycle he created for himself.
It was then that I realized something; something in no uncertain terms and something as clear as the absolute daylight; something which I always suspected; but something which I always suppressed. He wanted his life to cease to exist.
I was finally able to put two and two together.
The result when you'd perform arithmetic operations with two "2s" with either a 'plus' or a 'multiply' in between i.e., you add up two "2s" or you multiply them, the answer always would always be '4'; don't know why this always gave me a strange satisfaction.
But never in a thousand years on God's Green Earth, would I have imagined putting two and two together would horrify me to the extent it did then.
I so wanted my realization to be fallacious.
Mum and Dad might not have known how serious the situation was turning out to be, but if nothing would have been done then, I'd have lost my brother (whom I'd already kind of lost in a technical sense) FOREVER. I wouldn't have been able to live with myself, if god forbid, that'd have happened.
——
Two weeks had since passed my dreadful realization and my fears had only compounded. I seriously felt that I had to speak with him, had to break that 'wall'; had to have him open up to his sister.
But I for a fact also knew that this process had to take place at his pace. It must be he who must let me in. If I tried forcefully barging in, though only with bona fide and purest of intentions, he won't see it that way and that would further him on the god-awful path he was already on.
One of my biggest challenges was how to approach him since he didn't want to do anything with any of us, unless it was unavoidable and absolutely necessary. He loved us. No doubt about that. But, as incoherent as it sounds, he loved us without wanting to talk with us and without wanting to do anything with any of us. Mum and Dad, I could understand were a little orthodox and unconventional accepting his depression, but me: his best friend and his doting older sister; he wouldn't even look me in the eye. Yes, we weren't all chatty and stuff growing up post puberty had kicked in, but we were still each other's best friends and I'd never felt that unease I faced then, any time before.
When we were in elementary school, I remember this one time I had scraped my knee and was in tears. He came running to me, seeing me in tears, even he broke down himself sobbing. But even in that state he hugged me tight, wiped my tears and promised me that he would never let a tear sit on my face. He honoured his promise even in our teen years.
Seeing him depressed and in perpetual agony was crushing me inside. I often found tears tracing my cheeks. When I needed him to honour his promise the most, he was conspicuously absent. My tears weren't important to me. His happiness was (and is and always will be). His smile, his happiness had (and still does) the effect of evaporating all my tears. Those tears which could be seen and even those which couldn't.
——
I was continuously trying to think of the ways to approach him. Even though things had to be carried at his pace, it was I who had to make the first move. Subtly.
He had been working with a tax consulting firm (His firm is one of the four firms which are collectively and colloquially referred as the 'Big Four') for the last four years and aspired to be a Chartered Accountant. That was a professional qualification important for him career wise since his deserved promotion was held up for the want of that qualification. By his own admission, his qualification was already two and a half years overdue. That was surprising since he is a smart student and we all expected him to ace that examination in his first attempt. I had my suspicions that this might be one of the reasons which led to his depression.
Tax wasn't my area of expertise (I'm a software engineer). But the Company I worked with did have a specialized in-house tax team and one of the other Big Four firms on board as consultants. On a few occasions, I had the opportunity to interact with our in-house tax team and our external tax consultants. So, I had my connects in that arena.
Since, Andy's a tax consultant, I planned to speak with my tax connects to have a head start in my pursuit to get my Andy back.
Since, we both were working from home, that logistically speaking, eased things for my pursuits.
Approaching our tax consultant wasn't feasible as any external query had to be routed through the Company's tax team. Even if I had approached the external consultant directly ignoring the said process, they'd, in all likelihood, would've found some way to bill even that small call. Hence, I approached one of my in-house tax colleagues, made small talk, tried to understand what's happening, what was hot in tax. Since, my talk was on a very high-level base and didn't had any specific fact / query which was to be analyzed in detail, my intentions were never suspected, and I was able to extract some useful information.
Despite my inability to comprehend what my tax colleague was saying, I did make notes while I was on the call with my tax colleague. Phrases like 'Digital Services Tax', 'Multilateral Instrument', 'Base Erosion and Profit Shifting' and 'OECD' were the broad update headers. However, the showstopper update was about some blueprints of OECD's pillar one and pillar two. I, seriously, had no clue as to what the updates were, which were flowing from the other end of my conversation. But I was glad that at least I had something to start my work with.
I decided to give the most weight to whatever that showstopper update was and immediately looked it up online. I was able to download copies of blueprints of whatever those OECD pillars were. The downloaded files were two reports running more than 200 pages each in length. I was very happy that I had something that major to begin with, and it felt like I had struck a jackpot of some kind.
I started to flip through those reports. The only thing I could make out was that they were capturing some sort of framework to address tax challenges arising from digitalization of the economy. It was a no-brainer that whatever was, that these reports proposed, would significantly impact most of the multinational corporations. And given the excitement of my tax colleague on this matter it was a safe bet that it would impact my Company as well. With this conclusion in mind, I thought I had enough ammunition to start a discussion with Andy.
——
That evening, I walked up to his room.
"Andy?", I said softly as I knocked his door.
"Yeah, come on in", he said.
"Recently blueprints of some OECD pillar one and pillar two were released. These blueprint or reports seem to excite all the tax consultants as whatever these reports are, they're going to significantly impact multinationals. I guess they'll impact the Company I work for as well. So just wanted to know what this fuss is all about?"
He did not even look at me as I sat down on his bed waiting for his reply.
"You work on core software business operations – coding and development stuff, right, so what has tax related stuff got to do with your work?" he replied rather firmly. I'd say borderline rude.
It hurt me a little. But then again that's how he usually spoke with us when he did. And I knew deep down his intention was not to belittle me or hurt me. He just did not want anyone around, and just wanted to be alone and by himself. Under these circumstances one tends to push people away. That's why I decided not to take his words and the underlying tone at face value.
"These reports obviously intend to address the tax challenges arising from digitalization of economy," I continued, "And if you want a business case then here's one. My Company's into software business. Taxation of software business is growing complex and more complex with every passing year. So even tax guys need to have basic knowledge about specifics of each business.
"To do whatever tax planning, tax avoidance or tax evasion they want, our in-house tax team and our external tax consultants catch up with us and get that business specific understanding. Since whatever this pillar one / two stuff is, I guess it'd be big deal to us, and the tax guys will come knocking our doors again. If I'm a little aware about this then my job to address their issues would become easy.
"And that's not it. I'm also kind of curious about this stuff as to how will the ever evolving digital / cloud / online business model be taxed? It'd do no harm in just being updated on this arena. Not like in a super detailed manner but mostly on a high-level basis or a birds eye view."
That seemed to pacify him, and he made that eye contact. (God his intoxicating eyes inebriate me… I can drown in them…)
For the next one hour we had a great discussion on this whole OECD pillar thing. He gave me a brief history on the developments, insights into the concept and highlighted the complexities involved therein. He was explaining the intricacies of the concept to me with such consummate ease and in such lucid terms that even a lay man could appreciate the maze this OECD pillar maze.
Suddenly, then, a light bulb was set off in my brain. OECD pillar stuff helped me initiate talks with him and somehow this OECD pillar stuff would help me go further to get close with him.
"Andy", I said, "You ever think about writing a paper on this pillar stuff in any of the tax journals?"
"Yeah, Sil, I did", He said my name after weeks, months probably, and he continued, "But I don't think I have it in me to write a paper in those journals. I feel like I'm not good enough."
Was he opening up to me? If that was the case, I was definitely surprised. Good surprised. Anyway, that wasn't relevant. I knew he had it in him. Of what little discussion we had, I knew he could comprehend complex topics and make them easy to decipher. And I guess he could put it down on the paper pretty well too.
"Well I understand that you are the best judge and the best manager of your own issues, but notwithstanding your thought process, based on what we spoke today, if you write up a paper, Andy believe me, it will be 'the bomb'."
"Well how can you, an engineer, be so sure about me writing papers on those topics which are out of your domain of expertise and that too only after a little while of deliberation?", was his question.
"Engineers write papers, tax guys write papers. Though our papers are as different as camphor and common salt, but both our papers are written in English. Both our papers need to be in proper flow so that even a lay man with basic relevant technical knowledge can comprehend them and appreciate them. Your reasoning may be correct or maybe not, but I will still stand on my word and will go on and say, if you write that paper it will be 'the bomb'."
Anyways as soon as I had finished, I noticed his eyes go moist and the expression on his face suggested that my words had a positive impact. Just as a teardrop started dripping down his cheek, he started approaching me. He came close and gave me a side hug and a warm smile. Low key I was disappointed that he did not fully embrace me.
"Thanks, Sil… Thank you so much." He said as he withdrew from the hug. He also gently tugged at my collar bone and went back with a satisfied face to dive into his laptop, but not before giving me another one of his warm smiles.
I patted his back and went into my room. Speaking in cricketing terms first powerplay of my pursuit with Andy was a resounding success.
I was high on dopamine / serotonin / oxytocin when I flopped down on my bed. I was enjoying the feeling of being positively overwhelmed. I knew I was supposed to compose myself then and not get carried away, but I had made inroads in an impenetrable emotional wall, so a little exception ought to be acceptable.
Never, anytime, during the twenty-five years of my life, had I experienced a peaceful sleep as I did that night.
——
Chapter Two
——
Previously when he'd be around any of us: me, Mum or Dad, we could clearly sense some kind of barrier, a dense uncomfortable emotional wall between us. Like there was a dense black cloud surrounding him which just didn't feel right when he'd be around us. But that antagonistic aura of his was steadily diluting. All that unease, we felt, was evaporating. We all could feel that change in our bones.
Gradually, he was trying to open-up to us, subtly, so that the transition from uncongenial clammed up state to normalcy felt natural. His depression hadn't subsided, but he was warming up to us, nonetheless. He started having breakfasts, brunches, lunches, and dinners with us. He'd take our advices while making decisions on personal finance matters. These were couple of the many small behavioural changes we were observing. These changes did not happen in a day or two. They were spread over a period of weeks.
I could also sense a shift in our sibling dynamic specifically in addition to him opening-up to the family. He had started giving me these warm smiles coupled with loving glances. He'd hold our eye contact a fraction of second longer. Sometimes he'd give me goo-goo eyes. That was maybe his way to convey his affection to me. Did my confidence boost mean that much to him that he would be affectionate towards me? Seeing his smiles and looks, my guess was yes.
The affection, care and love housed in my heart and soul for Andy was deepening beautifully and religiously.
A principal amount can be accreted either at a rate of interest which is not compounded, or a rate which is compounded annually, or a rate compounded quarterly, or a rate compounded monthly, or a rate compounded daily, or a rate compounded continuously. Continuous compounding is the mathematical limit that compound interest can reach.
I couldn't quantify the rate of accretion of my feelings for Andy, but whatever that rate might be, it would definitely give the rate continuously compounded a run for its money.
All I wanted for was Andy to be happy. And I'd do everything within my power and even would go beyond my powers to see him happy. When feelings become so pure, your heart doesn't give two fucks about societal proprieties; it just does what a heart is supposed to do.
——
After that first visit, in the succeeding weeks, my visits to Andy's room and surprisingly, his visits to mine were getting very frequent. Even a distance of around twenty odd feet between our rooms was unbearable. We just wanted each other's company and it seemed we could just not get enough of it. At the rate we progressed, we eventually ended up working together in his room every day. The only time we weren't with each other would be when one of us had a work call to attend and when we'd have to sleep. Even on weekends when neither of us were working we'd somehow end up spending the day together in his room.
Our physical closeness was increasing at a rate commensurate with our emotional closeness. We were enjoying being with each other. Working from home becoming a new normal turned out to be blessing in disguise for us.
With the increase in closeness, regular display of physical affection between us which was dormant for more than a decade until then, became normal as well. We were just finding some excuse or the other to touch each other.
When he'd find a court decision for a client query or when I'd find a solution to some bug or in general when we would fix an issue at work, we'd tug at the other's shoulder and pat the back; when it'd be time for lunch or dinner one of us would loop the other's arms in a bid to get the other's ass off to the dining room. Snaking an arm around each other's shoulder, gently punching the other's arm and other mild subtle touching was just amalgamating in our behaviour around each other. Platonic kisses still evaded us. But these things tend to figure themselves out at their own pace.
Sometimes, when he thought I wasn't observing I saw Andy checking my tits; checking my ass; checking me out in general. His reactions were cute, and it seemed he was genuinely enamoured. Was I angry? Nuh uh. I was enjoying the attention. Sometimes when I'd feel bold enough, I'd give him a subtle show and enjoy getting him all hot and red. When I'd be in bed, I couldn't help but think inappropriately about him while touching myself.
I was enjoying whatever was unfolding between us and whatever was unwinding in me. But I was craving for more.
Of course, these cravings and the pleasure I'd subject my body to as a consequence thereof, all came with the accompanying guilt. My heart didn't give two fucks about the societal proprieties but strangely I did just a little bit, thus the guilt. But strangely again I was not feeling guilty enough to stop craving or stop pleasuring altogether.
——
His condition was steadily improving, but Andy didn't stop being depressed. I could sense his pain and agony. Maybe it was because his Chartered Accountancy exams were less than a month away and he wasn't doing that great in the academic arena?

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