Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 09:59:49 -0600 From: Jason Gordon <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: A Light in the Darkness II-5 Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction which will include t/t and m/m relationships, and probably some sex too. If it is illegal in your area to read this, or if you are not old enough to read this (you know who you are), stop here. Otherwise, please enjoy. AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is sequel to the "Things that Go Bump" and "A Light in the Darkness" stories. You should probably read those first! Sorry for the long break but I've started a new and demanding job (third job, anyway)! I am now posting my stories to a Yahoo!Group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jaygordon_1981/ as well. I'm putting them up there a little in advance so I can make final edits before submitting to Nifty, so if you are interested, you can check it out. It's closed membership to avoid spam and flames, so just let me know! Chapter 05 Spencer moped around most of Saturday morning, and took a nap around lunch time. But later in the evening, he disappeared, and Marcus and Chris knew where he'd be, so instead of looking for him, they waited until 8:30 and went down to the coffee shop. They sat as far from the band as possible, and kept an eye out for Spencer. The show started and the band began playing. They were quite good and Marcus and Chris almost forgot why they were there until Dean got up to sing one of his songs with them. On his second song, they saw his face as he caught sight of something in the audience. Following his gaze, they saw Spencer standing in the far corner near the door, transfixed. For a moment, it looked as if Dean would leave the stage, but he kept on singing. But as soon as he finished, he replaced the mike on its stand and made a bee-line for the corner where Spencer had been. The band looked surprised but picked up a number they had planned for later and no one really noticed. "Spencer!" Dean called as he stepped out onto the quiet street. The young soldier was gone, or so it seemed. "SPENCER!" Spencer stepped out of a nearby alleyway and said, "I'm sorry..." "You said that already," Dean replied. "I was going to stay away tonight... But I wanted to hear you..." "When you left, I didn't have any way of getting in touch with you," Dean responded, stepping closer, but stopping when Spencer took an involuntary step back. "What happened last night?" Spencer turned to walk away and Dean closed on him fast, catching him and putting a tentative hand on his shoulder. "Just wait a minute! What did I do wrong?" "Dean, you don't need my shit! You're better off with someone else, someone who can be what you need!" "Why don't you let me decide what I need, lieutenant?" Dean said, raising his voice. Then, he put his palm on Spencer's cheek and asked, his voice dropping to a near-whisper, "What happened last night?" "It's complicated..." "No shit, Sherlock," Dean replied. "When I was a boy, I was raped by someone I liked ... and after that, well... You're the first man to ... touch me like that since..." "Oh, Spencer," Dean said softly, stroking his cheek. "I wish you'd just told me last night..." "I couldn't ... I ... seeing that I'd hurt you... I had to get away..." Dean smiled. "You scared me, and your grip did kinda hurt, but you're really good! You didn't even leave a mark. And there wasn't any lingering pain..." "Still," Spencer said, grabbing the man's wrist ever-so-tenderly and bringing it closer to his face for examination. "I'm sorry..." "Enough! Come back inside... I'm sure your friends are wondering what happened to you, and I've got a few more songs..." "My friends?" Spencer asked. "They've been staking the place out waiting for you..." Spencer followed him inside and quickly spotted Chris and Marcus, waving at them shyly. "Hey guys! Fancy seeing you here!" "We were invited, remember?" Marcus asked, smiling. "Everything okay?" Chris asked. "Better," Spencer said, nodding. Then he sat down and they watched as Dean rejoined the band, and they performed a few more numbers. At last, Dean again stepped off the stage and joined Spencer at their table. "Well, what do you guys think?" he asked, wiping his forehead with a napkin and slumping back in his seat with a smile. "Brilliant," Spencer said, smiling. "Your songs are definitely their best," Chris added. "Thanks... Time will tell, but I think they're pretty solid songs," Dean replied. They all sat around chatting for a while, but Chris and Marcus soon excused themselves, leaving the two men alone. "So, you care to come by my place for a drink before you head home?" Dean asked, putting his hand softly on Spencer's. "That's not a ... I shouldn't ... are you sure?" Spencer asked, hesitantly, but Dean nodded confidently. "That would be nice, then," Spencer replied. The two men went back to Dean's condo and talked late into the night. *** On Sunday evening, Chase, William, Alex, and their uncles arrived home from the beach, happy and with refreshed tans. The boys carried their bags upstairs, before flopping down in front of the television. Before too long, the phone rang. "Hello?" William said. "Hey," Matt replied. "What are you guys doing?" "Just got home from the beach, watching some TV... What about you?" "Just hanging out with Daniel. You guys want to go see a movie?" Matt asked. "I already called Edward and Carl and they are going..." "Sure," William said. "We'll meet you at your place?" "Alright... See you in a bit," Matt answered, before hanging up. William went to ask his uncles if they could watch Alex, who was presently napping, before dragging Chase back out. "We're going with Matt and the guys to a movie..." "The guys, huh?" Chase asked with a smile. "Carl and Edward ... and Daniel," William answered, adding the last in a low tone. "It's okay," Chase said, laughing. "I'm coming around..." "Good," William said with a smile. In a few minutes they arrived at Matt's house and picked up the two boys. "Carl and Edward are going to meet us at the mall food court," Matt said as he slipped into the back seat. Daniel, as usual, tended to be quiet, while Matt chattered constantly, asking them about the beach and telling them about his weekend. When they got to the mall, they all got their food and were soon joined by Carl and Edward. It was immediately clear to all that the presence of the two openly gay couples made Daniel a little uncomfortable, but to the boy's credit, he stuck it out and didn't say anything about it. They watched a rated R movie, despite Daniel's protests that he wasn't allowed. Matt grabbed him by the arm and dragged him inside good-naturedly. Throughout the movie, Matt watched the boy cover his eyes when a woman took her shirt off and cringe at a curse word, but Daniel was clearly enjoying the movie otherwise. When it was over, Daniel cautioned Matt not to say anything about the movie in front of his parents. "Don't worry, dude! I won't tell on you, not even by accident." Daniel nodded and sighed with relief, which would have made everyone laugh if it wasn't so sincere. Everyone sort of felt sorry for him. Afterwards, they all hung out together at Matt's house until Daniel had to head home. He gave himself just enough time to get home before curfew however. When he was gone, Carl said, "So tomorrow we're heading out to my family's cabin with Marcus and Chris for a week of training..." "Is that what they're calling it these days?" Matt asked with a snort. "Get your mind out of the gutter," Carl laughed. "But there'll be enough time for that too," Edward smiled, making Matt really laugh as Carl blushed. "So you're going to learn some of that Druid hocus pocus?" Matt teased. "I suppose," Carl said with a shrug. "I don't really know what to expect." "It'll be awesome," Chase reassured him with a smile. "What are you going to do all week, Edward? The training will be pretty intense..." "I'm taking my computer and some books, and I plan on making myself available for some pretty intense cuddling," he winked, raising the pink back to Carl's cheeks. "EWWW!" Matt laughed. "Get your mind out of the gutter... You never seem to mind a good cuddle, boyo," Edward retorted with another wink, making even Matt blush a little. Matt shrugged and said, "What EVER!" Edward sat down on the bed next to him and wrapped an arm around Matt and said, "Now don't be like that, Matty," making the boy blush even brighter and all his friends laugh. Matt let the boy's hand rest on his waist and made no move to get away, however. Once he composed himself, he smirked and said, "Why don't you join us, Chase, and the three of us'll show these two `superstuds' how it's done?" Chase laughed and started to get up, but William grabbed his wrist and said, "In your twisted dreams, `straight-boy'," pulling Chase down into his lap. Matt smiled and said, "I guess I'll just have to get by with this one then..." Carl raised his eyebrows and said, "If you're really ready to come over, maybe you'd like a REAL man to break you in?" Matt's eyes widened and Carl laughed. "I didn't think so, so just remember that's MY boyfriend you're talking about," he added with a wink. "And on that note, we've got some last minute packing to do," Edward said, giving Matt a quick peck on the cheek and grabbing Carl's hand. "Have fun, guys," Chase said. "We'd better go too..." He gave Matt a hug and added, "Why don't you come over some time and spend the night? It's easier with you know who..." "You just want me to change diapers and look pretty," Matt said. "Hell, yeah we do," William teased. "See yah later!" When Chase and William arrived home, Xavier was holding a sleeping Alex and leaning on Aiden. "Hey, guys. Sorry, I didn't expect to be so late..." "It's really okay," Xavier said. "We don't mind. We've really enjoyed having you boys and Alex around..." Aiden nodded and after looking to Xavier for confirmation, he added, "It's actually got us thinking..." "Really!" Chase very nearly squealed. "That's great!" "You guys will make great parents," William said, agreeing. "What are you thinking about?" "No concrete plans yet," Aiden added calmly. "Just a plan to plan..." "Well, that's great," Chase added again. "We'll have babies coming out the wazoo!" *** The man sat down next to his window and put the binoculars down. "Do you really think it's him?" the woman asked grimly. "It's one of them... It's still all rumors, what happened in the winter and spring, but the action was centered on this group of boys..." "Is it true," she asked, "that one of them actually went inside the Holy of Holies?" "That's what Q said... He overheard Samuel whispering about it at a meeting of the Kabbalists just a month ago..." "How could they keep this a secret?" she asked amazement in her voice. "You know the Abominations... They are powerful and have very closed circles... The wizards are always the weak link because they're so human..." "What are we going to do when we identify the one, Philip?" the woman asked. "We've always know it would come to this, Constance," he said darkly. "We'll do what must be done to serve God..." Then the man reached for his gun and cleaning kit, watching the window down the street with intensity. "Have you identified all the boys who met tonight?" "Yes," she said, and listed their names. "Well, until we have a better picture, it could be almost any one of them," he said. "Do we have people on all of them?" "We should have by tomorrow," she replied. "Good... Call him and report in..." She dialed the number, a throw-away cell phone that was replaced every few days, held by a most secretive man. "Yes?" he answered the call. "Abraxos, it's Constance... I have a status report." "Go ahead," he said simply and impatiently. "Tonight, the boy's local friends gathered, and we've identified the ones who showed up..." "Where did they meet?" he asked. "At the boy Matt's house," she answered. "Daniel Simmons, of course..." "Yes, he and Matt seem quite close," the man said. "And then Chase Abernathy and William Jennings, Edward Boyle and Carl MacKenna..." "Hmmm," the man said thoughtfully at the last. "What is it, sir?" she asked. "Nothing that concerns you," he said. "Nothing that concerns you at all... Expect orders soon. And Constance?" "Yes, sir?" she said, appropriately humbled. "Good work..." As he hung up, her heart soared at the praise from her master. *** Monday morning came early for Marcus, as he packed up some gear out in the barracks for the boys' training. He was already well worn out by the time Lt. Spencer emerged from his room. "Bright and early this morning, eh?" Spencer asked. "I've got to have everything I'll need for a week of training," Marcus sighed over his shoulder. "You're going to be okay this week? You could come with us if you like..." "Thanks," Spencer smiled. "But that would be ... awkward. I'd feel a bit of a fifth wheel..." "This week is about training," Marcus retorted. "And there'll be no extracurricular snogging, I suppose? Presuming your little wood nymph doesn't just assault you in some eerie hollow." Marcus grunted and rolled his eyes at the man. "Besides, I'm having dinner with Dean some night this week." At that Marcus turned and smiled and clapped the man on the shoulder. "Well, if anything goes, well, abnormally, you can always go to James, or Sebastian." "Thank you, Marcus, but I'll be fine." "Yes, well," Marcus began. "Just talk to someone if you have any troubles." "I promise," Spencer said with a smile. "Now let me go shower!" Marcus dropped his hand away and Spencer sauntered off to the barracks shower with a freedom in his step Marcus couldn't help but notice. Shortly, Marcus made his way up to the house and let himself inside. James was sitting in the living room reading and looked up with a smile. "Everything almost ready for your trip?" "Almost... When are the guys getting here?" Marcus asked. "Sebastian left an hour ago to bring them back here," James said. "Good... Is Chris up?" Marcus asked. "In the shower... You could go surprised him!" Marcus rolled his eyes. "Not you, too, now!" "I just don't know what you're waiting for. Chris is young but he knows what he wants. He's serious. He's loyal. What do you want?" James asked with a smile. "Right now," Marcus said levelly, "I want to ask you to look in on Spencer this week. We've been friendly lately, and I think he'll get lonely." "Funny," James began and paused. "Chris said the same thing earlier..." Marcus shook his head and headed upstairs to Chris's room, where he found the boy packing his bag, a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. He stood and watched for a moment before knocking gently on the door-frame. Chris looked up at him with no hint of shame and smiled. "I'm almost ready! I just need to pack my toiletries and put some clothes on... Unless you'd prefer I...." "Get dressed, you imp!" Marcus shouted lovingly and closed the door behind him as he stepped into the hall. When Chris opened it, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he whispered, "You didn't have to wait outside!" Marcus turned and snaked his arms around the boy's waist. "Yes, I did," he whispered, his warm breath tickling Chris's ear and making him shiver. "Chris, just give me some time, okay?" "Alright... But I'm ready WHENEVER you are," Chris smiled up at him. "Grab your bag, then! I'll go out and get my stuff so we can be ready to go when Sebastian brings back Carl and Edward..." "Alright!" Chris replied, watching the man walk away with open appreciation for his body. `Let it never be said I didn't give him all the signs,' Chris thought to himself and laughed. Within about five minutes, Sebastian arrived with the boys in tow, each carrying a fairly heavy duffle-bag, packed as instructed. Marcus returned with his bags. "We're all set, then?" he asked with a smile. "It would seem so," Sebastian replied. "You're sure you have all you need? You can handle this on your own?" "Yes, sir, I believe so! I won't take any chances, you can be sure of that," Marcus replied. "I am," Sebastian said. "Very well. Gentlemen, you travel the next leg of your journey together. Have a wonderful week!" "Thank you, Sebastian," Carl said with a big smile and Sebastian nodded. Sebastian and Marcus had already prepared the portal to the cabin, so the young soldier waved for the boys to follow him the basement and got their `mission' underway. "God willing," Sebastian said with a wry look at James, "this will go better than Avery's attempt at training William..." James snorted and smacked him on the arm. "Let it go, Sebastian," he said with a laugh. Sebastian nodded and walked downstairs. "I'll be in the office until it's time for Avery and William. Will you be joining today?" "Maybe," James responded, drawing a searching look from his partner. "I'm going to make some time to talk with Spencer this afternoon, so, I don't know." Sebastian nodded, winked, and disappeared. *** Carl unlocked the cabin and let everyone inside. "Kitchen's right there, den's through here... There are three bedrooms. Edward and I will take the one at the far end of the hall, it's the one I always sleep in. My parents normally stay in the one down there, so if you want to stay in the other one, that's probably for the best," he said, raising his eyebrows as he saw Chris smirk and Marcus blush. "Or ... Marcus you can," he began, but Edward grabbed him by the arm to shut him up. "That'll be just fine," Chris said with a smile. Marcus followed the boy into the room with his bags with a funny look. "What do you think that's all about?" Carl whispered. "I think they don't sleep together," Edward said. "Well, why didn't you let me tell Marcus he could sleep in my parents' room?" Carl asked. "Because Chris wants to sleep with him," Edward smiled, and Carl shook his head. "We shouldn't interfere," Carl cautioned. "We aren't interfering... How they arrange themselves behind that door is none of our business!" Carl shook his head and put his bags down in his room, and Edward was a few steps behind him. He snaked his arms around Carl's muscular torso, slipping one hand under the boy's shirt. "Mmmm," Carl sighed as the boy's soft hand moved across his taught skin. "I love you," Edward whispered into his powerful back. Carl turned and lifted the boy so they were face-to-face. "I love you too," he replied in a deep voice tinged with Irish brogue. Edward could feel the boy's hardness pressing into him as he kissed him, but he knew Carl wouldn't press the issue. He trusted the boy completely, and held on for dear life. A few minutes later, Carl sat him carefully on the bed. "I've got to go to the bathroom," he laughed and excused himself. A few minutes later the boy returned looking much relieved and relaxed. Meanwhile, Marcus stood looking at the queen bed in the room he seemed destined to share with Chris. "Well, I suppose you're pleased with this turn of events?" Marcus asked. "I'm not complaining," Chris said, looking satisfied. "Well, I guess we'll make do, but don't get any ideas. We can share this bed without," he was saying when Chris interrupted. "Whatever! You know what I want! You let me know when you're ready!" With that, he stormed out of the room and down to the den, plopping down on a couch. Marcus shook his head and thought to himself, `WHAT AM I DOING HERE?' Looking in the mirror, he saw an unhappy face. "What are you doing? There's a boy who adores you, who wants to be with you, and you keep turning him away!" `He's too young,' his inner voice answered him. "Bull! He knows! You're just afraid!" `Afraid he'll change his mind... He's just a boy. Afraid he'll want to experience the world later... Afraid you'll be left alone again...' To that, he had no reply, and he brought his fist down on the dresser hard, causing pain to shoot up his arm to his elbow. In a moment, he heard fast footfalls. "What's wrong?" Chris asked, worry in his voice. He saw Marcus holding his hand and quickly took it in his own. He could see it was hurt, not badly, but he lifted it to his lips and kissed it. "I'm sorry," Chris whispered. "It's my fault," Marcus said, turning his face away. "I put too much pressure on you," Chris said, shaking his head. Marcus sat down on the end of the bed and let Chris slide in beside him, still holding his injured hand. "I'm just afraid you're not ready for this and that I'll get left alone... I'm not ready for that again," he added softly. "Again?" Chris asked. Marcus nodded. "When I was a little older than you, there was this boy in military school... You know, among wizards, such things aren't as taboo, so it wasn't a big secret. We were together for a long time. He was my first. I was in love and ready for a life together." "What happened?" Chris asked softly. "He graduated the year before I did. I was waiting, and I thought he was too. But I called him one night, and a woman answered. His new girlfriend. He never even told me. He sent me a letter a month later explaining everything. We were just boys when we got together. What did we know? We needed to explore... All that..." "And you think ... one day I'll `grow up' and," Chris trailed off as Marcus looked away with a little tear in his eye. "I'm afraid, yes," Marcus allowed. "I'm not like him," Chris said, "but there's nothing I can say to make your fears go away. YOU have to believe it to make that happen," the boy said wisely. "Chris, you are SOOO young," Marcus said, plaintive. "And in your observation, will age make me more faithful?" Chris asked. Marcus laughed. "No..." "When we're ready, we'll be ready," Chris whispered. "But you've got me, I swear it... I left Steve because I didn't know if he'd ever be ready for what I wanted, and I'll wait for you for the same reason – I know you've been waiting for what I want." Marcus wrapped his arm around the boy and said, "I need to prepare for your first lesson. Why don't you and the boys go grab a snack and get ready?" "Sure," Chris smiled and went to get the others. He knocked on Carl's door and, hearing no answer, opened the door, finding the two boys laying on top of the covers kissing. Chris blushed fiercely and knocked harder on the doorframe. The boys separated quickly and looked over at him. "Sorry guys, but I did knock! Marcus is working on our first lesson and thought we'd best have a bite to eat." The boys nodded. Edward winked and asked in a lower voice, "And how are things down at the love shack?" "Better," Chris said with another mighty blush. "So, you guys aren't, you know?" Edward asked with an awkward smile. Chris shook his head, before adding slyly, "I wish!" "He is cute," Edward said, causing Carl to poke him in the side and exclaim, "HEY!" "Deny it!" Edward demanded with a laugh. "Well, he's not exactly my type, but he isn't hard on the eyes," Carl allowed. "Oh, and what is your type," Edward asked with a sly smile. "Well," the big boy said thoughtfully, "Chris is pretty cute..." Now it was Edward's turn to poke him in the side. Carl put a hand on the boy's cheek and laughed, as if he had forgotten Chris's presence. "I like my men sleek and slim, with light skin and dark hair, with gorgeous green eyes and soft voices." "That's awfully specific, isn't it?" Edward asked, giggling. "It is, isn't it?" Carl asked playfully. Chris coughed awkwardly to remind them he was there, and said, "Sooooo, food?" Both boys jumped up and followed him to the kitchen, only to realize there was no food in the refrigerator. "Marcus, no food!" Chris called. The man came out of the bedroom smiling, wearing a pair of camouflage cargo pants and a moss green, form-fitting t-shirt. "Sorry, guys," he said. He opened the refrigerator and whispered a few words and opened a small bag he had in his hands. Suddenly the refrigerator was full. "Wow!" the boys exclaimed. "Oh, that?" Marcus asked. "For convenience's sake, I shrunk our food for travel..." "Very cool," Chris said. All the teens made sandwiches, while Marcus just grabbed a banana and sat with them. "Our first lesson will begin after you're finished. Edward, you're welcome to join us, or to stay here and read or relax or whatever," Marcus said. "What are you guys doing?" Edward asked. "That," Marcus began with a smile, "is secret until it happens!" "You're no fun," Edward said. "I'm coming. But I'm bringing my book!" "Excellent compromise," Marcus smiled. "Gentlemen, change into something comfortable but not too baggy." The boys hurried to put their plates away in the dishwasher and change into jeans and t-shirts. Edward didn't bother, but grabbed the mystery novel he was reading and accompanied them. They walked out onto the driveway leading up to the cabin, which was grated and covered with packed gravel. Marcus took out three candles and sat them far apart on the gravel. "We will begin our training and testing with one of the wizard's most basic skills – generating fire. Magick is the manipulation of natural forces and elements through ritual and other psychic means. Every tradition has its ways, and we will be working with very generic formulae that can be adapted to your own way..." "Don't we need, I don't know, wands or something?" Carl asked. "That would make this easier, and the effect more powerful, but they are unnecessary. They are tools you use to focus your power. Later on we'll work on that. But first, we need to learn to channel the power at all," Marcus said. "Now, you first, Carl," he said, summoning the big boy to his side. Marcus modeled for him the stance he needed, and once he was ready, Marcus instructed, "Concentrate on the wick. In your mind, see the fire rising up out of it, consuming it. Take your time, and just hold the image in your mind, intensifying it as you are able..." Marcus held his pose for a few minutes and began to visibly strain. But suddenly the candle began to smoke. Edward called out, "You're doing it, Carl! It's smoking!" At the sound of the boy's voice, Carl's eyes snapped open, and the candle burst into a vigorous flame that immediately went out. "What was that, Marcus?" Marcus put a hand on his shoulder and said, "You did it! You conjured fire. Not long enough to actually set the wick on fire, but intense nonetheless. A very good first go!" Marcus held back his thought about the jolt of energy the boy suddenly unleashed. "Chris? You watched. Do you need any help?" Chris smiled and shook his head. Raising his hand and extending two fingers, he did as he had heard instructed and immediately a hot fire shot up from the candle. "NO WAY!" Carl shouted. "How did you do it so easily?" Chris smiled. "I've seen William and Chase do this so much, I basically knew what to do... Sorry!" "He's like a real wizard already," Carl sort of pouted. Marcus laughed and shook his head. "Would you like to see what a real wizard can do?" he asked with a laugh. When the boy shook his head, Marcus snapped his fingers and a pillar of controlled fire they all felt on their faces consumed the entire candle almost instantaneously. "Oh," Carl said, somewhat in awe. Chris laughed, and added, "You should see what they can do with a wand or a staff!" "This is what we're here for, guys! We're going to learn skills and test your native abilities, see what we need to do to train you up!" Marcus said, pulling out a few extra candles and handing them to the boys. "Now get to work, practice! Carl, work on control, and speed. Chris, I'd like you to try generating a more powerful flame." The boys sat their candles up and stood a few shoulders apart, working on their technique. Gradually, each boy was improving, and Marcus gave them pointers. Occasionally, Edward would look up smiling and watch Carl's handsome face contort with concentration. After an hour, both Chris and Carl were exhausted, and Marcus called their activity to a halt. "Alright guys, time for a late lunch and some relaxation. We'll have another lesson after dinner..." As they walked back to the house, Carl said, "You know, I wouldn't be this tired after a two-hour basketball practice!" "Where do you think all that energy was coming from?" Marcus asked with a laugh. "You're newbies, so you are channeling a lot of your own energy into the spells as a catalyst. As you develop, you'll be able to do more with less energy, reaching out into nature and drawing residual energy into your spells. But for now, you'll need to eat healthy meals and get plenty of rest, because you are pouring out energy. Think of what you just did as, say, running around the gym like five hundred times!" "Oh," Carl said, sounding surprised. Indeed, after they all had salads with chicken for lunch, both Chris and Carl felt like taking a nap. Edward joined Carl, lying down by him to read while the boy slept. Marcus had the evening to prepare for, so Chris went to bed alone. Marcus walked out into the woods to gather what he needed for the next activity. *** James knocked on the door and called, "Spencer?" "I'm in the gym," the young soldier called. James found him in a pair of trim shorts doing sit-ups, his chest glistening with sweat. Spencer wasn't as muscular as Marcus, but was every bit as defined, and his current pose showed his every asset. "Looking good," James grinned as the man finished his set and stood up, wiping himself dry. He was surprised when the man blushed. "So, listen, are you going to be alright out her by yourself? Why don't you stay in the house while the guys are gone?" "Marcus talked to you, huh?" Spencer said, turning away and adjusting the weights on one of the machines. "He did. But he didn't tell me what was going on, just that he was worried about you being out here all by yourself for the week," James answered. Spencer smiled over his shoulder. "Don't worry about me. I'm feeling a lot better!" James sat down on a nearby weight bench and said, "I've missed talking to you... We haven't really had any time to hang out since I got back." "Yeah, I guess a lot has been going on for both of us," Spencer said as he sat down. James watched silently as the man did a quick set on the chest press. "I miss feeling the strain of working out," James mused. "On the bright side, you are going to be muscular and beautiful forever," Spencer laughed. James was given pause by that comment but said, "And I get to spend forever with the man I love. Small sacrifices," James smiled. "Come up to the house and stay? Hang out? Come on!" "I'll think about it," Spencer said. As James stood to leave, Spencer called, "James?" When James turned to him, he lost his courage, and shook his head. "Nothing, it can wait." James gave him a funny look and went out to the house and downstairs. Instead of joining what was probably a very tense training session, he let himself into Sebastian's office and grabbed his violin to practice. It had been a while, but he was soon where he had left off – one of the many perks of his vampiric nature. He sort of zoned out while he was playing, and he was startled by Sebastian's silent arrival. "Don't let me interrupt," Sebastian said softly. James jumped a little and put the instrument in its place. "I've been playing a long time," James said. "How did your talk with Spencer go?" Sebastian asked. "I invited him to stay in the house while the others are gone. He's acting weird, I hope he comes up..." "Weird?" Sebastian asked, offhandedly. "Well, first, he called me beautiful," James said with a `can you believe it' tone. "Then, he seemed like he wanted to talk to me, but he lost his nerve." "James," Sebastian said, sitting down and looking at his hands. "There is a lot you don't know about Spencer..." James looked at him and said, "Should you be telling me this?" "No," Sebastian began, but James cut him off. "Then don't! Let him be the one to decide," James said. "When he does talk to you, I just want you to be prepared for where it's going to go. I don't want you to get hurt," Sebastian said. "What could he," James began to ask but fell abruptly silent. "Oh..." "James, I," Sebastian began, but the big boy walked out of the room and upstairs. *** Carl and Edward were sitting on the couch laughing, while Chris put together a pot of chili on the stove, when Marcus returned. "Everything ready? Chris asked with a look. "We just have to wait for sundown," Marcus smiled. "Thanks for making dinner!" "No problem," Chris smiled back at the man, and his smile widened when he felt Marcus's arms snake around his waist in an affectionate gesture. Chris leaned back into Marcus' firm body and sighed a little. They all ate quietly that night, each lost in peculiar thoughts. But by the time they finished, the sun was setting, and Marcus pushed back from the table. "Alright, it's time..." Silently they all got up to follow him. Outside, they found three cauldrons, three stacks of wood, and three sheets of paper upon which were laid out some `ingredients.' "Tonight," Marcus said, "We'll try our hand at making a simple potion. Potions rely primarily not on your magickal ability but on your ability to concentrate and follow direction. If you follow instructions carefully, your potion will work. If not, the consequences are ... mildly unpredictable... So I should warn you, you will each be drinking the potion you make." Carl and Chris looked at each other nervously, while Edward smirked. "What's so funny, Edward?" Marcus asked. "The third cauldron is yours." At that the boy blanched. "But I, I don't have any," he began, but Marcus cut him off. "You don't need magick for this, just knowledge!" Each of the three boys approached a set of equipment, and Marcus instructed, "Now light your fires and place your cauldron on top." When Edward looked at him questioningly, Marcus smiled and glanced at the boy's pile of wood, which ignited in a second. Edward shook his head and grabbed the cauldron, placing it over the fire. Two hours later, after carefully measuring ingredients, combining and recombining, boiling and timing, the three potions were ready, and Marcus instructed each of them to take a spoon and drink one teaspoon each from their own cauldron. Chris went first, and within seconds, his skin turned bright red. "What the hell?" he exclaimed. Marcus laughed. "Too much bark, to little eye of newt!" With a grimace, Carl downed his potion, and his form shimmered in the light of the fires. "Almost! In your case, the proportion is right, but not enough of each ingredient, or too much water..." "What is this stuff supposed to do?" Edward asked, staring into the boiling cauldron. "Try yours and find out," Marcus smiled. The boy looked unsure, but drank down a spoonful of the stuff, and in a moment he was gone from sight. "Holy shit!" Carl exclaimed. "You did it!" "Did what?" the boy asked, before looking down at his hands to realize he couldn't see himself. He was invisible. "How long?" Marcus smiled. "A couple of hours tops. Well done! Looks like you'll be able to assist Carl after all! Well, get some rest, you'll have a long day tomorrow..." Chris waited outside as Marcus made no move to go inside. "I have to dispose of these potions," he explained with an apologetic smile. Chris nodded, and Marcus added, "I'll be in in a little bit." Chris headed inside and the guys looked up at him from the couch. "I think I'm going to head for bed," he said without enthusiasm. "He must be frustrated," Edward said when Chris was out of earshot. Carl just grunted to indicate he didn't want to talk about it. "It's sort of weird talking to you while you're invisible, by the way..." In his room, Chris stripped down to a pair of silk, royal blue boxers, and put his clothes away, before climbing beneath the sheets, enjoying the feeling of the cool linen on his bare skin. Then, thinking better of it, he pointed at the two candles on the dresser, and both lit immediately, causing a smile to spread on his lips. Twenty minutes later, Chris heard the door open quietly. With his back to the door, Marcus must have assumed he was asleep. The man slipped off his shirt and pants, and pulled on a pair of linen shorts before climbing into bed. He sighed as his body relaxed and Chris rolled over and scooted into him, placing his head on the man's broad chest. With his other hand, he silently stroked the man's abdomen. "That tickles," Marcus whispered. "I'm sorry," Chris said with a smile. "No you aren't," Marcus answered with a wry smile. "No, I'm not!" Chris answered. "You have such a beautiful body!" "Chris," Marcus began, but silenced himself. After a long time, he said, "This is nice, but ... you promised me some time." "I know," Chris replied. "And I'll be good, if you'll just cut me a little slack! A little making out never killed anybody!" "I suppose not," Marcus said with a creeping smile, and before he knew it a lithe, smooth leg was slipping across him. Chris lay on top of the man so that their cocks were rubbing together through their underwear. Marcus closed his eyes and sighed as he felt the boy's soft, moist lips on his neck and working their way up to his ear, before the boy sucked the lobe gently between them. Chris whispered, "It's even bigger than I thought," with a little giggle as he felt the man harden beneath him. "You're no little boy yourself," Marcus responded with a laugh. "Told you so!" "You aren't helping your case, Chris," the man retorted. "I COULD help my case, if you'd let me," the boy giggled and nipped lightly at the man's ear. He gasped sharply as he felt the man's big hand on the back of his head, pulling him into the most heated, forceful kiss Chris had ever enjoyed. Marcus's other arm wrapped around Chris's slight frame, muscles rippling, and he flipped the boy over. Chris was in heaven as the heavy muscular form pressed down on him, and Marcus's mouth explored his chest and neck. For his part, the man was spurred on by the feeling of Chris's fingers grabbing at his back and ass. At last, however, the man felt like they were losing control of the situation and pulled back. "Let's cool off," he whispered to the boy who fell limp with disappointment between him. Chris scooted over to his side of the bed and fished his hard member out of his boxers and began to stroke himself. "What are you doing?" Marcus asked, eyes wide and unable to move from the boy's smooth form as he worked himself intently. "What does it look like I'm doing? I've got to sleep!" He smiled at the dreamy look on Marcus's face, as the man was clearly unable to tear his eyes away. "Why don't you take care of yourself? If we can't do anything, there's nothing says we can't watch each other!" Never tearing his eyes away from the boy, Marcus nodded and pulled down his shorts and tossed them into the floor, before opening the fly of his boxers and fishing out a sizeable cock and beginning to stroke it. Now Chris's attention was completely focused on his partner. He was so excited, he quickly reached his climax, cleaning himself off with his shorts and sliding over next to Marcus, so their legs touched. He felt the man's firm, hairy leg press back into him as the man arched his back. Chris leaned in and kissed the man, at which point, Marcus ejaculated up his chest, the second spurt hitting Chris on the cheek. Without a thought, the boy wiped his cheek with a finger and stuck it in his mouth, while Marcus watched with interest. "Mmmm," the boy said, arching his eyebrows, and Marcus pulled him in for another passionate kiss, extremely excited to taste his own semen in the boy's mouth. Then, Chris cleaned the man with his own shorts and tossed them away, curling up into Marcus's hard body completely nude. Marcus tucked himself into his boxers and put his arm around Chris, who was already nodding off, and put out the lights. He had to throw back the covers because of their shared warmth, leaving only the sheets to cover them. Marcus watched the boy's chest rise and fall until he drifted into a deep and peaceful sleep of his own.