Castle Roland

The Chosen

by Andrew Todd

In Progress

Chapter 5

Posted: 11 Sep 14

"Prophecy?" Damon asked. "What the hell are you talking about? Who the hell are you and what do you want?"

"Hey, Day, the boys are home, you ready for dinner?" Kai asked as he came into the waiting room. "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see a car, I figured you didn't have any patients."

"I'm not a patient, Mr. Martin," Dyson said.

"How do you know my name?" Kai asked suspiciously.

"Apparently, this kid knows a lot about us," Damon said.

"Look, I know you have no real reason to trust me, but if you give me some time to explain, I can. I've been on the move since Monday and I've barely slept or eaten in that time, but it was important that I get here to you and your sons. Please just hear me out."

Damon turned to Kai. "Where's Benji?"

"At the house."

"Can you run over to the house and send him over here? Have Alex wait there."

"Ok," Kai answered as he left the office.

"Dyson, is it?"

"Yes, sir."

"I want you to stay here for a minute. I need to talk to my son. Then I'll see what we can do for you."

Dyson nodded and paced nervously.

Damon stepped outside and watched as Benji ran across the driveway from the house.

"Hey Dad, what's up?"

"There's a boy in there who says he knows about you and Alex."

"What?!? How?!"

"I don't know, but I want you to scan him. Not read his thoughts, but if he's hiding anything or trying to lie to us it should be pretty obvious to you. Just go in, introduce yourself and shake his hand. He shouldn't know about your empathic abilities yet."

"Ok. I don't have a lot of control over it yet."

"You won't need it; if he's not being honest those feelings are going to be right at the surface."

Benji nodded and opened the door to the waiting room.

He walked up to the boy who stood in the center of the room.

"Hi, I'm Benji Abercrombie," he said as he offered his hand.

"Dyson Chambers," Dyson said as he took Benji's hand.

When Benji made contact he immediately felt a rush of emotion from Dyson. It was overwhelming. He let go of Dyson's hand like it was on fire and staggered back to the couch.

Damon grabbed him.

"Benji! Are you ok?" Damon asked as he helped Benji onto the couch.

Dyson sat beside him looking concerned.

Benji shook his head. "I'm ok; it was just a little too much." He looked at Dyson. "I'm sorry," he said. "He's being honest," he explained to his father. "He's been through a lot in the last few days; the emotions were raw and strong but very honest."

"You're an empath?" Dyson asked excitedly.

Benji nodded. "As of yesterday."

"It's happening faster than we expected," Dyson mumbled.

"What is?' Damon asked.

"Can we go somewhere that I can explain this to everyone at one time?" Dyson asked. "It's a long story."

"Let's go to the house. We can get something to eat and you can tell us what this is all about."

"Dad, can you go ahead, I need to sit for a minute."

Damon looked at Benji questioningly.

"It's all good."

"Sure. Kai and Alex are probably wearing holes in the carpets," Damon said as he left the waiting room. "Don't be long, ok?"


Benji reached over and pulled off Dyson's Oakleys. Dyson's eyes glistened with tears.

"I'm sorry about your dad," he said.

"You know?"

Benji nodded. "I saw; actually, I felt everything." He sighed. "I'm still adjusting to the new powers and I don't have much control yet. I was just trying to get a read to make sure you weren't a danger to us, but everything was too much."

"Sorry." Dyson shrugged. "It's been a long week. I'm going on adrenaline at this point."

"I can imagine." He stood up and motioned for Dyson to follow. "Let's get something to eat; I'm sure that will help some."

They walked out of the office. Benji stopped to set the building's alarm.

As they started the walk across the yard he stopped.

"One more thing, Oliver's here as well."

"Oliver?" Dyson asked. "Oliver Mills? How did you...?"

"I wasn't trying to read your thoughts, only scan for any signs of deceit or danger, but I could see my family and I could see Oliver and his family in your thoughts. You were thinking about us all a lot. I couldn't miss them."

"Oliver's here? Since when?"

"His family moved to LA about a month ago. We met him the first day of school, which was Monday."

"And already you're friends?"

"Already, he and I are more than friends."

Dyson looked skywards. "They do work in mysterious ways," he muttered. Looking back at Benji he said, "Well, at least that saves me a trip to London."

Benji led Dyson through the house and into the kitchen. When they entered the kitchen, all talking stopped and four sets of eyes stared at Dyson.

"Knock it off, guys. He really is here to help and he's been through a lot."

"Sorry, Dyson," Damon said. "We've just learned to be a little wary over the years."

"I understand. My dad and I were the same way."

"Well, you've met Kai. This is my other son, Alex and their friend, Oliver."

"Oliver Mills, Benji was just telling me you were here." Dyson grinned. "You were next on my list."

"I was?"

"Yes, but somehow, I'm not as surprised as I should be that you are here."

"So what's all this about? How do you know about me and Benji and Oliver?" Alex asked.

"Alex, why don't we have something to eat and give Dyson a chance to catch his breath," Kai said. "If Benji is vouching for him, then we know he's on the up and up."

"Alright," Alex said, not completely convinced, but trusting his brother.

"Dad, I'm gonna take Dyson to one of the guest rooms so he can catch a shower and change. Since this isn't his usual style." Benji grinned.

"So the skater thing…" Alex started.

"Disguise," Dyson shrugged. "I had to get out of San Francisco fast and wanted to blend in."

"I kinda like it." Alex grinned. "I'll show him the guest room, B," he said. "C'mon, Dice."

Benji grinned and shook his head. "His hormones overrule his suspicions every time."

"I can hear you, you know."

"So do I lie?"


Benji laughed out loud and the other just looked at him.


"So, you believe him?" Kai asked.

Benji nodded. "He's not hiding anything. I don't think he could have if he had wanted to. He's been through so much in the last couple of days. The emotions are so frayed…so real, I…"

"You lived it…" Damon said quietly.

"Uh, huh."

Oliver sat down next to Benji and wrapped his arm around Benji's shoulder. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm good. It was rough, but it was harder for Dyson," Benji answered as he leaned into Oliver.

"Guys, there's pizza on the counter. Go ahead and grab some and tell your brother and Dyson to get some when they come down. We'll be back down in a few minutes," Kai said as he grabbed Damon's hand and nodded towards the back of the house.

Kai led Damon to their bedroom and closed the door.

"Day, do you have any idea what's going on here?"

"You know as much as I do at this point, Kai. I guess, Dyson made an appointment to see me under a false name; when I came to get him he told me he knew about my family and Benji and Alex. Then you came in. I had Benji scan him and Benji is convinced that he's being truthful. I think Benji saw more than he is telling us."

"And what about Oliver?"

"He never mentioned Oliver, so that's got to be something that Benji saw when he scanned him. But it does make some strange sense."


"Well, if Oliver's got powers, and Dyson knows about my family, why wouldn't he know about Oliver's?"

"The question is, how does Dyson know so much?"

"I know."

Kai slumped down and the bed. "Why do I get the feeling that things just took a sharp left turn?"

Damon sat down next to his husband; he took Kai's hand in his. "We know the boys are strong and have good heads on their shoulders. Even though Alex seems to think with the little one sometimes."

Kai chuckled. "Wasn't it just a couple of days ago that he was telling us he was rethinking his 'lifestyle'?"

"I think he is," Damon replied. "But he's still Alex."

Kai nodded.

Upstairs, Alex was waiting for Dyson to come out of the shower. He had gone to his room and grabbed a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt as well as some clean underwear for him to borrow.

Alex was propped up against the headboard of the bed when Dyson came out of the bathroom with a nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist.

"I brought you some clean clothes," Alex said as his eyes traveled down Dyson's well-muscled chest and six-pack abs." It didn't look like you had too much in your backpack there."

"Thanks. I only have the clothes I picked up at a thrift shop in Oakland. I'm gonna have to do some shopping."

Alex grinned. "Well, I figured my shorts would fit you, since we seem to be about the same waist size, but my jeans would probably be high waters on you."

Dyson smiled. He dropped the towel and grabbed for the underwear that Alex had left on the bed.

Alex's mouth went dry at the brief glimpse he got of Dyson's dark black bush and large uncut dick.

Dyson quickly pulled on the shorts and t-shirt.

Alex grinned at the how short the shorts were on Dyson's tall frame.

"So, Benji just got the empathic powers a few days ago, what about you?"

"Telepathy," Alex replied. "Just happened the other day. I haven't had much practice. I can hear Benji and I can call him mainly because we're so close. I could probably call my dads if I had to, but I'm nowhere near Benji's level."

"But he's not a teke, yet."


"There's so much I need to tell you guys," Dyson sighed.

"Well, no time like the present," Alex said as he swung moved off the bed. His foot caught Dyson's backpack and knocked it to the floor. "Oops, sorry," he shrugged, as he bent down to pick it up.

When he picked it up a small automatic pistol fell to the floor.

"What the hell?!"

"Oh, shit!" Dyson exclaimed reaching for the gun.

"Why do you have a gun?"

"Protection, Alex," Dyson explained. "I don't have powers like you and Benji. There are people looking for me, so I have this and other weapons that I do know how to use."

"Don't let my dads see that," Alex warned. "They don't like guns."

Dyson popped the cartridge and released the bullet from the chamber and left the chamber open. "It's unloaded, now," he said. "I can't guarantee I won't carry it while I'm here. We're all in danger and I need to protect myself and you guys," he explained as he put the gun in a dresser drawer with his backpack.

"Danger? Are you sure you're not being just a little overdramatic?"

Dyson shook his head. "I'm probably downplaying things a bit, actually," he said as they walked out of the room and went downstairs.

They walked into the kitchen to find Benji and Oliver huddled together at the breakfast counter eating pizza and whispering.

"Where's Dad and Pop?" Alex asked grabbing a couple plates and handing one to Dyson.

"In their room," Benji replied. "They've been in there for a while."

"Hmm." Alex gave Benji a lecherous grin.

"You are such a pervert."

"Oliver, would you please hurry up and corrupt my baby brother."

"I don't want him corrupted." Oliver grinned. "I want him loveable and innocent like he is right now."

"Oh, God, I'm gonna puke," Alex laughed wrapping his arms around Benji and Oliver's neck. "You guys are just too cute."

Alex went to the counter and flipped through the pizza boxes grabbing a couple pieces. "Help yourself, Dyson," he said. "Do you want something to drink?"

"Water's fine."

Alex put his plate on the counter and went to the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of water. He placed one at the spot next to his and the other next to his plate.

Dyson sat in the stool next to him with a plate loaded with pizza.

"Sorry," he said sheepishly. "I've been eating cold burgers and chips for the past few days."

"No problem, Pop always orders too much anyways," Alex replied.

"Oliver, how much do you know about your father's family history?" Dyson asked between bites.

"Damon asked me the same question the other night," Oliver answered. "Not much. Father doesn't talk much about his family. His parents were dead before I was born and he had no brothers or sisters."

"And he doesn't know anything about your powers?"

"Until a few days ago, I didn't know they were 'powers'. I just thought I had a way with animals."

"But when you got here things changed and you got stronger?" Dyson queried. "Same with you and Benji?" he asked Alex.

All three boys nodded their agreement.

"But, your powers manifested when you were little."

"We were seven," Alex replied. "Dad and Pop freaked cuz Dad's grandfather had been sure that the powers would only pass by blood and that they would end with Dad's father."

"I think that's what everyone thought," Dyson said.

"But they were wrong," Damon said as he and Kai came into the kitchen. "Since all three of these boys are adopted there's something more isn't there?"

Dyson nodded. "We think that's the key."


"My father and I."

"Where is your father?"

"Dead. He was murdered."

Damon started to speak, but Benji stopped him.

"Dad, give him a second."

"You knew?"

"I read it when I scanned him."

"Guys, let's go into the living room and get comfortable, I have a feeling this might take a while," Kai said.

They all filed into the living room. Benji and Oliver curled up on the love seat. Kai and Damon sat together on the couch. Alex slumped in one of the recliners and Dyson stood in front of another.

All eyes were on Dyson.

"I guess the best place to start is by asking you the same question I asked Oliver: Damon, how much do you know about your family history?"

"I know what my grandfather told me," Damon replied. "For about five hundred years or so, male members of my family were born with extra-sensory powers…telepathy, telekinesis and empathic abilities. As time wore on the powers weakened until they began to skip every other generation and we were born with only one power."

"I remember him telling us the family originated in Eastern Europe and that they didn't know where the powers came from," Kai added. "Some believed they were a gift from the gods because the family were protectors of the earth."

"Well, they got something right," Dyson muttered.

"You're saying my family history is wrong?" Damon asked.

"I'm saying that over the course of a few hundred years family histories can be distorted or changed to favor more colorful or happier times; over thousands of years things can be forgotten either by accident or intentionally."

"Thousands of years??!!" Damon exclaimed.

"Yes. That's the first thing your grandfather had wrong; whether he really thought the history was only a few centuries old or he knew more, I don't know, but the powers in your family, in all the families, go back over two thousand years."

"Wait, all the families?" Kai asked.

Dyson nodded. "Let me start at the beginning." He took a deep breath and slowly breathed out. "At one time, there were four families that held power in the most civilized regions of the world. These families, or clans depending on the regions, worship different gods, or so they believed, but they all protected the earth, its creatures and their people. As a reward for this servitude the gods blessed their sons with powers to be used to continue this service. The powers were different for each family. They're described as coming from the elements."

"The elements?" Alex asked with raised eyebrows.

Dyson nodded. "The clan that ruled what is now a large section of Eastern Europe, whose decedents would become the Abercrombies had powers that were said to come from the air."

"Hold it!" Alex again interrupted. "Our powers have nothing to do with the air."

"As I said, they were described that way, Alex," Dyson countered. "Think of it from the position of someone in the Dark Ages. They have limited vocabulary and descriptive powers. If my way of looking at things was in terms of the elements then 'air' would be a perfect way to describe someone who could talk without saying a word, move objects without touching them, sense pain and emotion, persuade and teleport."

"Persuade?!" exclaimed Benji.

"Teleport?!" exclaimed Alex.

Dyson grinned. "There were more powers in the beginning than the three that Damon's grandfather told him about. It was said that they could talk a man into doing what they wanted."

"The gift of gab," Alex whispered looking at Kai.

"Oh, shit," Kai laughed. "Alex has had that one forever."

"Explains the notches on his bedpost," Benji joked.

"Hey!" Alex protested as he heaved a throw pillow in his brother's direction. "What about the teleportation?"

"Well, Dad and I argued about this one for a while. The text made reference to 'walking through air'. It was often interpreted as flying, but my thought was that flying even at that time would be referred to as walking 'on' air not 'through' air. So best I can surmise, they had some kind of teleportation ability."

"Anything else?" Alex asked.

"Not that was mentioned."

"Dyson, not to get off track, but you keep saying 'mentioned'--mentioned where?" Damon asked. "Where are you getting this information?"

"Well, in addition to the four families there was a fifth family, or to be more specific, it was an order of brothers. They were tasked with observing the families and keeping a record. One brother was assigned to observe and record each family. They were also expected to adopt and train their successor. As time passed and the powers faded, the order died out. My father was the last of the librarians remaining. Now I am the last."

"Who did you father watch?"

"The Abercrombies," Dyson answered. "You were the only family left with measurable powers."

"So what about the other families?" Oliver asked.

"The clan that rules the British Isles--they were your forbearers, Oliver--their powers came from the earth. They could communicate with and control, to a degree, animals. It was also said that they could accelerate plant growth and tolerate plant-based poisons and toxins."

"So, Benji can fly and heal people and I'm Doctor Bleedin' Doolittle?!" Oliver shrugged.

Benji laughed. "It's been helpful so far."

"The family in Western Europe that controlled the area that is now Italy, their powers were fire-based. We don't have a lot of information about them. They were the first to disappear.

"The last family was based in China. Their powers were water-based. They could swim great distances and at great speeds, communicate with sea life and control water to a degree."

"How do you 'control water'?" Alex asked.

Dyson shrugged. "Those were the two families we know the least about. Their powers went first and we lost track of them. Finding them is going to be the hard part."

"Why do we need to find them?" Benji asked.

"The Prophecy," Dyson explained. "My father's 'family'--they've been called many things, but most commonly the librarians documented everything about the four families. There were diaries and scrolls, written records of all sorts going back to the very beginning. The oldest of these records is The Prophecy of The Chosen. It was said to have been handed from a messenger of the gods to the first observer to record. The Prophecy said that many years in the future when the powers had waned and the old gods had been forgotten and no longer were worshipped and the families had fallen from power, the five chosen sons of the four families would come together to regain the powers and protect the earth."

"And Benji, Oliver and I are three of 'The Chosen'?" Alex asked.

"Yes. You are the last decedents from two of the four families."

"But we're not even actual decedents," Benji argued.

Dyson grinned. "Exactly."

"Oh, my God!!" Damon exclaimed. "That actually makes sense!!"

"What makes sense?" Kais asked as everyone looked at Damon.

"Dyson said The Prophecy referred to the 'chosen' sons of the four families. Not the born sons of the four families. Some might interpret that as the gods choosing from the sons. Like choosing between Alex and Benji. But what if they were waiting for a time when each family had adopted sons? When each family had sons they had chosen. Benji, Alex and Oliver are sons of their parents in every way but the most special way is that were chosen by their parents. We chose to take them in and to love them and be their parents."

Dyson smiled and nodded. "It took me forever to convince my father of that. He kept thinking it was the former, that the gods were going to choose five sons from the families. When we saw the twins get their powers I knew I was right."

"So why five?" Oliver asked.

"I've thought a lot about that," Dyson said thoughtfully. "It all comes back to the twins, why the twins were the first ones to get their powers. I think it had to be an odd number and it had to start with twins because they needed to 'spark' each other. You had a small ember of your powers, but it wasn't until you met the twins that the spark was fanned into a flame and likewise meeting you increased their powers and revealed new ones. When we get you with the last two boys you most likely will be close to full power."

"How do we find them?" Kai asked.

"That's the problem. We have some clues to go by, but I need time and a place to do the search and some secure computers."

"What clues?" Alex asked.

Dyson grinned. "Did you guys know you all share the same birthday?"


Dyson nodded. "You were all born on August 15th sixteen years ago and you were all adopted. So that narrows the search a bit. I'm also pretty certain the families must be in the States. I wasn't sure, but Oliver being here nailed it for me. There are forces at play here that are helping and hindering us. Bringing everyone to the States is the forces that are helping us. The people who killed my father are obviously the ones who are trying to hurt us."

"What are they after?" Damon queried.

Dyson shook his head. "I'm not sure. My father's order was always secret and he and I were the last. It's not out of the realm of possibility that someone knows about the Prophecy or the families, but I don't know how or the source."

Damon thought for a moment and then looked at Dyson. "If you and your father are supposed to be watching us, why were you in San Francisco?"

"My father and his father were based in the town where you were raised. Like I said, he thought, like your grandfather, that you were the last. Even though he knew of the prophecy he started to think it wasn't true. His father died and he relocated to San Francisco. In keeping with tradition, he found me. I had been orphaned and I was living on the streets. I was about seven when he found me. It was about that time that the twins developed their powers. My father was sensitive to this. He knew that something was happening. He started searching for you and your family. When he located you and realized the truth about the twins, he started my training.

"He knew you were stable as a family and weren't going anywhere. Since he was the last of his kind, he wanted to make sure I knew everything and I could help find the rest of the Chosen.

"So while you were teaching the twins how to use and to hide their powers, I was being trained in martial arts, weapons, and computers. I graduated high school at thirteen and college last year. I have a computer sciences degree."

"So you're a hacker?" Alex grinned.

Dyson laughed, "I know my way around the internet."

Damon stood up and paced nervously around the room. "So whoever killed your father, you're sure they don't know where you are?"

"As sure as I can be."

"Ok, well, we need to figure out a way to keep you safe while you're here."

"I have several identities with passports, driver's licenses and bank accounts that my dad and I set up that can't be traced back to me, but all the IDs have my old pictures on them."

"What would you need to set up new ones?"

"Decent laser printer and secure computers."

"Do you know how to set up the system you need?"

Dyson nodded.

"Tomorrow morning, Alex can take you so you can get whatever you need. He can set you in one of the empty rooms in the playhouse. First thing you need to do is create a new identity, complete with school transcripts. We'll say you're Kai's nephew who's come to live with us. Tuesday, we'll enroll you in school with the boys."

"But, I've already graduated."

"I know, but it will raise too much suspicion if we have a sixteen year old living here who doesn't go to school. So for right now, it's back to school," Damon replied. "Alex, take him to the mall and get him clothes, too and whatever he might need for school."

Alex nodded.

Damon continued, "Dyson, once you have everything set up, you can put all your resources into searching for the other two boys. We just need to be careful. Make sure whatever searches you do can't be traced back to you or us." He looked at Benji, Alex and Oliver. "And you three need to be more careful than ever; you're getting stronger and there are people looking for you now."

The three boys all nodded.

"Dyson, for now, you can make yourself at home in the guestroom upstairs. Get whatever computer equipment you need tomorrow. Why don't you set up some kind of ethernet or independent server here or something?"

Dyson laughed, "Ok, I know what you mean. I can get the stuff and get the house and buildings wired and secured."

"Alex has a credit card."

Dyson shook his head. "I have the money. My dad and I had plenty stashed away in these accounts. I have no idea where most of it came from. Probably investments of some type made through the years by the Order."

"But if they want to check an ID?"

"Shit. Ok, I'll have Alex use his and then transfer the money after I get everything set up with the new accounts."

Damon nodded. "When you set up the new stuff, use Kai's last name: Martin. Dyson Martin. That will keep things simple for everyone." He looked around the room. "Ok, everyone, it's been a long day and it's getting late. I'm ready to turn in."

"Me, too," Kai said standing up and taking Damon's hand and leading him down the hall to their bedroom.

The four boys stood up.

"What's the 'playhouse'?" Dyson asked.

Alex grinned. "We'll show you tomorrow."

"We're gonna turn in," Benji said leading Oliver out of the room. "G'night."

"G'night," Alex replied.

"I'm gonna turn in too," Dyson said. "It will be nice to be able to sleep without having to worry about someone coming after me."

"I'll bet," Alex replied, following him up the stairs.

They stopped at the bedroom door. "Don't worry, you're safe here," Alex said as he opened the door.

"Thanks," Dyson said.

"You ok? Do you want me to stay?"

"You don't have to."

Alex smiled sweetly. "I know I don't have to. I'm asking if you'd like me to. You've been through the ringer this week and you've been all alone, I didn't know if you'd feel better having a friend around."

Dyson looked at Alex. A single tear ran down his cheek. "That would be great, thanks."

Alex stepped forward and wrapped his arms around the taller boy. Dyson grabbed hold of Alex like his life depended on it. All of the emotions he had been holding onto for the last five days were suddenly unleashed. He sobbed as Alex rubbed his back and held him.

Dyson leaned down and laid his head on Alex's shoulder. As his cheek brushed Alex's, Alex felt a flood of thoughts and emotions. He saw everything that Dyson had been through over the last several days; he felt the sadness and despair that Dyson had felt at losing his father, the fear, the rage, the desperation. He realized he was getting his first taste of the empathic powers. Underneath all the emotions that he was getting from Dyson, he was feeling something else, something that Dyson was feeling being here with him. Dyson felt safe.

"Benji, help."

"Where are you?"

"Dyson's room."

"What's wrong?"

"I think I'm empathic too, I don't know what to do."


Seconds later, Benji and Oliver came in the door. Both were dressed only in their jockeys. Dyson was still sobbing in Alex's arms.

"What happened?"

"I offered to stay and make sure he was alright and he just broke. I think everything just caught up with him."

"What did you see?"

Alex sent the images to Benji.


Benji walked over to Alex and Dyson. He placed his hand on Dyson's arm and concentrated.

"You're ok, Dyson let me take the pain."

He pulled the hurt and the pain and the rage from Dyson and helped him focus on the feeling of safety that he was a low ember.

"Alex, hold onto him."


Alex held Dyson as he slumped over. He picked him up and gently laid him on the bed.

"I guess I need to learn how to do that," he said.

"You will," Benji replied. "We've all got a lot to practice. You gonna stay with him?"

Alex nodded.

"Ok, if you need anything, just call."


Benji and Oliver went back to Benji's room.

Benji slumped down on the bed.

"Are you ok?" Oliver asked as he sat next to Benji and put his arm over Benji's shoulder.

Benji rested his head on Oliver's shoulder. "Yeah, it's just…Alex…"

"What about Alex?"

"It's hard to explain…he and I are always connected. I can shut out just about everyone else and when we're apart like this I know he's around, but I can't hear him as loud or as strong. There's the twin thing, the brother thing and the fact that we are just that close. In there even with me concentrating on everything that was coming from Dyson…it was…"

"He has feelings for Dyson."


"And that surprises you."

"Uh huh."


"Because I don't think he's ever had feelings for anyone before. He has friends at school, but really they are acquaintances, people he hangs out with, he likes, but not people he'd go to the mat for. The only people he's ever felt that way for are me, Dad and Pop and probably you now, by proxy cuz he knows how I feel about you. All the sex and all the people he's been with has been him trying to find connections. I don't know if he even realizes that."

"How do you know?"

"The connection we have," Benji explained. "I don't have to read him; I can just feel him most of the time. I've been hoping he would find someone. I always knew I would fall in love with a man, never any doubt. When he used to come home, the thoughts about his 'exploits' would be so loud I couldn't block them and when it was a girl, it was…yuck…" He scrunched his face.

Oliver laughed.

"With Alex, it was going to be a person he connected with," Benji continued. "Someone who needed him, that's Dyson. I can see why he would be attracted to him. Dyson's cute, and he's smart and strong but right now he's also hurt and lost and needs someone."

"Maybe they'll be good for each other," Oliver suggested. "At the very least, Alex will have a new friend."

"I hope so."

Charlie stood on the ten-meter platform, his toes curled over the edge. He closed his eyes and inhaled, held it a moment and gently exhaled. He raised his arms over his head, opened his eyes and leapt.

In a matter of seconds, his body twisted and turned, spun and flipped until his body was arrow straight and he entered the water fingers first. There was barely a ripple as he entered the water. When his head broke the surface, he saw the coach standing on the side of the pool.

"Excellent, Song, excellent!!" Coach Dillon praised him. "I don't know how you do it. I've never seen anyone with the natural talent you have."

Charlie swam over the side of the pool and pulled his lithe 5'4" body out of the pool.

"My dad says my real mom must have been a mermaid." He grinned as he walked over to where he had left his towel.

"If we had a few more like you, we might be able to field a championship team this year."

"We've got some talent, coach." Charlie replied. "They just need some practice. Jace and Bryant aren't bad divers; I can work with them some and you've got some good swimmers in the freshman and sophomore classes."

"Thanks, Song. If you can get those guys to work a little harder that would definitely help us out."

"Sure, coach," Charlie answered as he wrapped his towel around his waist. "I'm gonna hit the showers and head back to my room."

"Sure, I'll catch you at practice on Monday."


Charlie walked into the locker room. He went to his locker and opened it. He unwrapped his towel and slipped off his Speedo. He walked over to the showers and quickly washed the chlorine off his body and out of his hair. He dried off and dressed quickly and walked back to his dorm. As he came down the hall towards his room, he saw the Headmaster standing in front of his door with a boy he didn't recognize. The boy was about 6', muscular, with dirty-blond hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a school uniform.

"Mr. Song."

"Headmaster," Charlie replied.

"Charles Song, I wanted to introduce you to your new roommate. This is Kristofer Di Santo."

Charlie offered his hand. "Charlie."

"Kris," Kris replied shaking Charlie's hand.

Kris looked the smaller Asian boy over. He was slim, but not skinny, with shiny black hair that hung to his ears and almost over his black eyes. He seemed like a nice enough kid; hopefully he could help Kris stay out of trouble. If he got kicked out of another school, his dad would kill him.

"Well, I'll leave you in Mr. Song's capable hands, Mr. Di Santo," the Headmaster said as he walked away.

"Thank you, Sir," Kris replied.

Charlie unlocked the door and held it open for Kris.

"Your bed's the one over there," he said pointing to the right. "Your desk, dresser and there's half the closet for you, too."


"Do you have your schedule yet?"

"Right here." He handed it to Charlie.

Charlie skimmed it and handed it back grinning. "Thought so."


"Headmaster likes his little games," Charlie laughed. "We have all the same classes."

"How is that a game?"

"He thinks I'm a 'good influence'," Charlie answered making air quotes. "So obviously you had some sort of trouble before you got here and he thinks I'm going to keep an eye on you."

"You're a narc?" Kris asked suspiciously.

"No, I said he thinks I'm a good influence; he's been doing this to me for the last couple of semesters, putting the 'hard cases' in my room. I don't know if he's trying to get me killed or trying to see if I can set them straight," Charlie said shaking his head. "So, how did you end up here?"

Kris sat down on the bed and looked nervously around the room.

"It's ok," Charlie said as he sat next to him. "I'm not a snitch and I know what it's like to be the new guy. I know there's a reason you're here two weeks into the semester."

"I got kicked out of my old school," Kris sighed. "There was a fire in a classroom and the teacher blamed me."

"Did you do it?"

"No…at least I don't think so."

"You don't think so?"

"There was this teacher--she was a real bitch, always riding me. I cut up some in class, but she hated my ass more than I deserved. The first weekend after classes started my roommate went home for the weekend. There was a fire started in the teacher's office and it spread to the classroom next door, both rooms were gutted. They found a melted button from a student's blazer outside the teacher's office. I was missing a button on my blazer."

"Kids are missing buttons all the time."

"I know, but since I had no one in the room to give me an alibi and the teacher and I had a history everything got dumped on me, even without proof; they wanted to expel me. The thing is, that night, I had a dream that I set the office on fire, but I never left the dorm, I swear it."


Kris nodded. "So my dad came and got me and had me transferred here with a warning. If I fuck up here, he'll disown me."

Charlie smiled at him and patted his handed reassuringly. "We'll just have to make sure you don't then."

Kris felt an almost cool calming feeling coming from Charlie's touch. He smiled tentatively at his new roommate; maybe this new school wouldn't be as bad as his last one.

"You'll like it here, it's pretty laid-back and most of the guys are pretty cool," Charlie explained.

Kris nodded.

There was a knock at the door.

Kris started.

"Don't worry," Charlie laughed. "If that's who I think it is, you're in good hands.

"Come in."

Two older boys entered the room. The first was taller with light brown hair and soft brown eyes. He wore round wire-rim glasses that reminded Kris of an older Harry Potter. His companion was a few inches shorter and had short strawberry-blond hair and light green eyes.

Charlie and Kris stood up.

"You must be Kristofer," the taller boy said. "I'm Dylan Summers, the Resident Assistant and this is my boyfriend, Jesse Osterman. Welcome to the Lancaster Academy."

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