Castle Roland

Educating Max

by D'Artagnon


Chapter 1

Posted: N/A



This is a story about many things, but mostly it's about finding the difference between love, affection and sex. It's also about how we don't all know everything about the most sensitive and powerfully erotic sexual organ of the human body, the brain. Well that isn't exactly true either. It's more of a mental thing than a meat thing, although since the mental exists within the meat it kind of encompasses both.

More to the point, this is the story of self-discovery in a world that is at once infinitely open and available and similarly hostile and jealous. It's a place where human physical and social evolution both hit watershed moments and start the curious, frightening and wondrous process of change.

To be dead on accurate, it's the story of a young boy discovering sex, love and the boundless potential of the human mind, all at once. It's a story about love between teenagers of differing ages, and the challenges set before them by both modern civilization and ancient morality. Somewhere in the midst of all this is a lesson or two, although it is far from the author's scope to fully flesh out what that might be. I hope that this story finds some resonance in others, perhaps even in directions I had never considered myself. Writing is a part of yourself and a part of what the reader brings to the words. I hope that what you bring is as deeply rooted in what you hope, dream and believe as what I do.

Also, I should warn you, gentle reader, that this story contains images, scenes and acts of a deeply sexual nature. Some of these are from experiences in my far flung past, as a boy myself, some are drawn upon from my own wishful thinking and more memorable fantasies. Any resemblances to persons who may know me is strictly coincidental, although, like Max himself says somewhere in here, there are no coincidences.

So, gather a cup, find a comfortable spot and dig in. But keep a box of Kleenex handy. It's bound to be a bumpy ride.

Unusual notations

Words appearing in italic script are usually thoughts, whether those of the most likely character for each paragraph or as mentioned in context.

Words appearing between asterisks (*) denote telepathic communication.

Words appearing between brackets ( [ and ] ) indicates mental and emotional impressions, images and sensory impressions, as appropriate.

Max wasn't entirely sure why he left the house that night, only that he had to get out. He had no place in mind to go, knew of no friends he might see out so late at night, he didn't even have more then twelve dollars in his pocket. He just needed to be into the wind, and a biting October night in New England seemed the perfect thing. Tightly tucking his hands into the deep pockets of his jacket, Max struck out, avoiding streetlamps and house lights, looking to become a shadow, a wraith, a patch of black against the night winds.

The thing that had finally made him feel the need to leave had been a very subtle one. A change, as it were, in how he found himself looking at his young life. At the tender age of just-turned 13, Max realized that he no longer fit in. He himself hadn't changed, not in any fundamental way that he himself could detect, but things around him no longer seemed to make any sense. Staying inside, staring at the same four walls wasn't helping him figure out anything, and he knew that no matter how much he loved and trusted his parents and his older brother, nothing they would or could say would make much of a difference. Max had always been one to dig in and solve his own problems. A stubborn streak, perhaps, as his friends would no doubt attest to, but it was one of those little quirks that simply defined Max. Independent. Willful. A successful loner.

He turned up Patterson Street, the automatic part of his mind directing him to seek quiet stretches of open road where the wind would be best able to lift his hair and his eyes. The night sky was one of his favorite things to gaze at when he was troubled. Always had been. The orderly nature of the constellations, the names in ancient tongues, somehow it all made the chaotic reality of life on the ground seem more bearable. Those things above had been there before him, and would be there long after him, and in their own way, had a permanence that he could count on.

Unlike other things.

At the end of Patterson Street, he ducked south on 15th Avenue, towards the river. There was a field at the end of the street, right at the water's edge, where he had played most of his life, and a large fall of rounded boulders that served as fort, landscape for action figures, and campground on separate occasions. It was a place he came to at times when thinking was required. Most of his buddies had always called it the fort, but in his own mind it has always been gone by the name it had held dating back to the colonial era, Watching Rocks, or at times, just the Watch. From this point, one could make out the streaming lights and traffic patterns on the far side of the river. It was dark at night, partly sheltered from the wind and totally clear of the streetlamps just a few hundred feet away, and had the gentle gurgling of the river to soothe away the confusing noises spinning around in his head.

But tonight, he felt that the Watch would only help him find more confusion. Still, when you are out of options, you return to the familiar, and so Max walked on, past the barking dog halfway down 15th Avenue, past the spookily cheerful pumpkins at the brightly lit split level house on his left. The irony was, he wanted to stop and talk soothingly to the dog, pet it a little, let it sniff his hand to realize he was a friend. He wanted to stop at the split level and see if his buddy Jack wanted to play video games. And even though these desires pulsed within him, Max pushed them aside.

He reached the Watch and climbed up the stones to the depression halfway up the fall of boulders, the large flat area that was just perfectly situated so that it left an opening in the dense forest canopy, revealing the stars above. It was a moonless night, and the winds earlier in the month had done a fairly admirable job of clearing away most of the turning leaves. He found a spot on the ground, in a mixed carpet of leaves and pine straw and lay down, staring upwards into the infinite, unknowable and eternal.

The noises inside his skull died down some, as they had slowly been doing since taking the slight field trail away from 15th Avenue. He rolled his shoulders inside the jacket as his eyes sought familiar patterns in the stars. He let his eyes drift as he confronted his problem, his wonder, his curse, and the new reality it had opened to him. A reality he was frightened to find he was strangely open to.

It had happened again, and this time it had been such a total shock at how easy it had been. Max had never been big into comic books or cartoons. He always thought of himself as more of a sports guy. Soccer, hockey, swim team, baseball in the summer. These were the things he governed his life by. So when he realized, earlier this year, that he was reading minds, it not only caught him unawares, but without any frame of reference. He felt like a freak.

At first, it had scared the daylights out of him. Little snippets of thought that weren't his own began invading his head. For the first few weeks after he realized he was doing it, he came to a second realization; that long before then he had always been able to read people. He could tell which way the goalie was going to block, could predict what other people were going to say next, he could even kind of glimpse answers from teachers during class. Now it was more personal though. He was actually getting the things that people thought but never said. Things in their innermost, secret parts of themselves.

That completely freaked him. Right then and there he quit the soccer team, even though he was one of the top strikers in the league. It just didn't seem to be any effort anymore, like he was cheating somehow. He started getting lower marks in school as well, consciously handicapping himself against answers he thought came to him too easily on tests and quizzes. He couldn't even stand the company of many of his friends at times, hearing for the first time the kind of snide, cynical secret thoughts he thought only he himself had but was too timid, polite or caring to say aloud. The shock was total. For the last week he hadn't spoken with any of his friends except at school and on the phone. Face to face when he could pick up their secrets seemed too much like violating trust for Max. Some things a person thought should be sacred, personal, safe.

And most especially what he had "heard" today in gym class.

For a moment, Max closed his eyes and blocked out the stars, seeking the solace of total darkness, with only the wind in the trees and the slurring ride of river over rocks to fill his senses. And the cold.

He had been just dopily walking into the shower, thinking about whether or not to skip science next period, and the pop quiz Mrs. Shubert was rumored to be giving out. He just didn't feel like taking in an unearned A today. It was bad enough that he had been so preoccupied with other people's thoughts that he had screwed up six passes on the basketball court. His team had lost by 15 points, and he felt more than a little upset that he had contributed to that.

And then the voices in his head seemed to die down a little. They usually did in the shower, he thought to himself, since most boys didn't want anyone to think they were looking around. It seemed like the simple act of washing consumed all of a person's brain, like they were concentrating on keeping up an appearance. Worried that any misstep will be perceived negatively.

Max just enjoyed the fact that it was a moment of silence in his already scrambled head. The shower was one of those places where he felt most at ease. The cascading of water, whether hot or cold, had a restorative effect on him. It shook the excess thoughts from his mind, drowning them into a background hum, and for a moment he could relax. He, too, went into a kind of automatic mode and let his guard down, not caring about keeping up any pretense, because everyone else was too busy with their own facade to glance at his with a critical eye.

All save one.

God, he looks so good over there! The thought filtered into Max's head through whatever strange apparatus was giving him such keen perceptions into the thoughts of others. His eyes flashed open as he rinsed shampoo from his hair. He glanced around nervously, noting that there were only three others in the shower. And as he looked around, he noticed that one of the boys was looking at Max himself. Max quickly turned back to his shower head, and continued to rub shampoo from his hair. But his mind was racing.

He concentrated and stretched his strange talent out to encompass the shower. He had discovered he could focus on one spot or listen to a whole room if he tried and now he wanted to know who had thought that and to whom it was directed. He couldn't explain it at the time, but something about the tone of the intercepted thought appealed to him. Excited him, more accurately, and he was both horrified and attracted to the idea at the same time. Terror kept him from enjoying the almost carnal scrape of the thought, and Max had to consciously force his hands to continue working the shampoo lather out of his hair.

The boy to the left was thinking about ditching school for the rest of the day and playing video games. Max discounted him immediately. The kid had a one track mind and was notorious for being slow on the uptake, even if he was a great basketball player. Likewise, the boy at the back of the shower was quickly dismissed, since his mind was churning over the amount of arguments going on between his parents lately, and Max sort of pitied the kid. The word "Divorce" flittered through that boy's mind several times and Max got a glimpse of what it was like to have your family disintegrating before your eyes and being powerless against it.

Shaking his head, Max directed his focus onto the only other boy in the shower, a skinny, dark haired, dark eyed, older boy, a 10th grader named Cameron. Cameron was turned away and shutting down his shower stream, but Max was looking past his actions, into his thoughts. Instantly, Max forced himself away from the contact, his reaction so strong that he actually slipped on the slick tiles of the shower and smacked his head against the wall. Dizziness welled up around him and it was several minutes before his vision ceased swimming about.

Coach Jeffers was beside him as he came to, with several other boys standing around in towels and various states of undress. It had been embarrassing, and Max had been sent to the nurse's office for half an hour after that before he was allowed to return to his English class, in the seventh grade wing. They said that he had nothing worse than a bump to the head, but Max felt otherwise. Something about it all seemed strange and different now. He couldn't remember at first why he had fallen, but later that night, at home, he recalled the reason. He recalled the images, the thoughts, the feelings he got from Cameron.

He opened his eyes again and saw that the stars above the Watch had cycled around some. He stared up at the sky and felt a trail of moisture slip out of the corner of his eye, drawn down towards his ear by the power of the Earth itself. The images were burned into his mind. The sense of longing, desire. He reeled under the onslaught of the images.

He sat up, realizing that he had a raging erection. His young body was reacting to the images he pulled from Cameron in ways he had never anticipated. He shook his head in an attempt to clear them, but he couldn't. They were there, and he couldn't deny them.

First was an image of Max's own naked body, water coursing down it. His short brown hair turned black by the water from the school shower, green-white shampoo sliding out from the strands as Max ran his fingers through. He recognized his own body but wasn't used to seeing himself like this without the benefit of a mirror. He watched his own green eyes open with the stream of water twisting his hair into a dark mass.

The next image was one borne more out of imagination than fact, but based on Max's naked, wet form. A hand, larger and thicker than his own, with fingers long and strong, reached out and brushed his shoulder. At the touch, Max saw himself turn, at first frightened, and then, smiling. The hand moved forward, was joined by another, completing a set, and together the hands moved over Max's body. Shoulders, chest, nipples, sides, down to his navel and his tight belly, teasing at the edges of his hips, feeling the long muscles of his thighs, at first from the outside and then moving towards his center. Max saw himself, eyes closed, mouth slightly parted as if afraid to take a gulp of air and desperate for it at the same time.

Then the hands moved to Max's young cock, fully stiff now, and reaching its full length and rigidity. In this view, Max also saw another boy's body, from much the same perspective as when he looked down at his own. The other boy also had an erection, but the size difference was immense, and the other boy had a thick mass of curling hair over his genitals, unlike Max, whose body hadn't yet begun to develop through puberty.

The Hands encompassed both Max's and the other boy's cocks, bringing them together, tightly. Together, the Hands started to masturbate both cocks at once. Max dug a hand into his pants and gripped his own dick tightly as the image overcame him. He couldn't help it, but the feelings were actually lighting his own nervous system on fire. He felt every stroke, every ounce of heat, every subtle shift and muscular twinge in the other boy's body.

Suddenly the image switched, as so often happened in other people's minds. Max didn't understand the switch, but he was fully at its mercy, unable to stop either it or himself. The impression this time was of him on his back, the other boy's body above him, both still naked. But this time, the other boy still felt intense pressure on his dick (which Max himself felt) and the other boy seemed to be moving back and forth above Max. The other boy bent down several times, licking and kissing Max, the boy's breathing coming in grunting gasps. In the darkness of the Watch, Max gasped himself, feeling a strange, powerful heat building in himself.

Max's hand was unconsciously sliding his foreskin back and forth with an increasing tempo. His other hand slid over the top of his pants, and unzipped, freeing himself from the confines of his boxer-briefs. He slipped himself out and began stroking in earnest, the feelings welling up inside, deeply. He felt it coming, a tingling in his dick, and then the rush of his muscles struggling to spew forth fluids that didn't exist yet. Max grunted and whimpered wildly as he came, his young body shaking and trembling with his exertions and the power of his dry orgasm, his back bowed out. As he shuddered the last time, he relaxed, letting his butt drop back down to the ground. He released his still hard dick and let the cool winds brush against it, drawing an extra involuntary shudder from him.

When his breathing returned to normal, he carefully put his still rigid cock back in his underwear and was about to start doing up his jeans when a stray thought that wasn't his own filtered into his head.

He's beautiful when he cums.

Max sat up, his jeans still open under the pouch of his underwear, looking around frantically. He gained his knees and clumsily fumbled with the zipper, his eyes scanning. But it wasn't only his eyes he searched with. He expanded his focus outwards, searching, and was rewarded with a single thought source nearby. Up behind him on a higher ledge of the Watching Rocks. It was a place he and his friends had often utilized as a sniper spot when playing soldier. Max knew it well, and he also knew that there was only one way up to that spot, right past the camping ledge where Max himself lay. Any other access to that spot would require either wings, ropes or ninja skills.

Max stood, making his pants presentable and looked up. A face stared down at him from above, unashamed, but the shadows of the night prevented Max from seeing any features. Still, he knew exactly who it had to be, and it frightened him. Glancing up, his breath coming faster now, but out of fear rather than excitement, Max cinched his jacket tighter and moved towards the path down. He paused at the path, looking up, but the face still looked down at him from shadow. Max swallowed hard and took off for the path back to 15th Avenue.

He saw me! Max thought, his fear and embarrassment fighting each other for dominance. He jumped over the fence and sprinted back to his house, not even bothering to pay the slightest attention to the Halloween ornaments, barking dogs or even the cars that prowled the October night. He ran into the house and stopped just inside the door, slamming it and leaning against it with his back. He dropped his coat over the banister rail and ascended the stairs in rapid succession, taking them two and three at a time. Up in his room, he closed the door and collapsed on the bed. The tears flowed fairly easily and he tried to shut out the noises of other nearby minds.

Max lay there, dazed by his own confusion. The feelings and images he had lifted from Cameron were now inflicting themselves upon his own emotions, becoming personal.....awakening.......things. Things Max was totally unprepared for. And now even his secret thinking place, his lonely Watch was not only violated by the thoughts in his head, but by the presence of the original thinker. The walls were closing in.

This can't be happening, he thought. If these are Cameron's feelings then that means he's gay. But I'm not gay! Why do I feel so….so…. But, Max couldn't come up with an answer. His bizarre mind reading gift was a difficult enough thing to deal with. Now he just couldn't get his mind around the concepts that reading Cameron's mind brought. And the feelings that just reliving those impressions stirred in his own mind, his own soul. Cameron's face again appeared to Max, floating in his mind's eye, sort of smiling, sort of downcast, sort of…sad, he determined. Why are you haunting me?

A gentle rapping at the door startled Max enough that he pushed up. He wiped at the tears on his face and tried not to sniff them back too loudly.

"Yeah?" he said, faking not being interested. He turned over and sat up, knowing that he'd have to face someone sooner or later, wishing beyond hope for it to be later.

"Maxy, you alright?" his brother Michael asked.

"Yeah," Max replied, his voice on automatic.

"Can I come in?"

Max debated for a second telling him no, but there was no one else who he could turn to. No one else he could trust. It was a difficult enough thing to ask his brother to accept that Max could read minds. But all of this other stuff, the images, the emotions, the........strange desires. It was too much to ask for, but he had to tell someone, before he exploded.

Max walked to the door and unlocked it, stepping back and laying back down on the bed, unable to face his brother.

Michael walked in, five years older and a senior in high school. He was the prototypical student athlete. Tall, well-muscled on a compact frame, brown hair cut short and neat, eyes a flashing green, his baby freckles just now shimmering away into an even, tanned complexion. He pulled up Max's computer chair and sat down, reversing the chair to straddle the seat, his arms and chin resting across the back of the chair.

"Hey Maxy," Michael said, calling up a little used family nickname for him. "Something bothering you, little brother?"

"Mike?" Max started, licking his lips as he considered the next words he would speak. "Has anything really strange ever happened to you, something you can't really explain?"

"Sure, lots of times," Mike answered after a pause. Michael wasn't one of those people who could simply make an answer to any given question without considering it. Especially when it was something where his opinion or advice was asked. "Is that why you are so upset, because something you can't understand happened?"

"Yeah," Max answered.

"Something you can't talk to Mom or Dad about, right?"

"Yeah," Max said, sniffing.

"Did someone hurt you?" Michael asked after a long silence. Max heard the chair roll a few steps closer to the bed, could feel his brother's presence. Somehow the years between them seemed to vanish in that moment. Max remembered his parents comparing pictures of Michael at thirteen with Max's school picture, amazed at the strong family resemblance. Where it not for the intervention of time itself, the two of them could be twins. At least physically.

"Not really. I dunno," Max said and he rolled over on the bed. "It's kinda hard to understand. Lately things have been really....."

"Weird?" Michael finished.

"Yeah," Max said, his face tightening into a confused grimace. "Not just weird, but weird weird."

"Like how weird?" Michael said. Max got the distinct impression that Michael was listening for a specific answer, but wasn't going to put words into Max's mouth. He knows, Max realized_. He knows and he's been waiting for me to say something about it._ Fear crept into Max's mind. A fear of rejection, that his older brother would never understand, think he was evil or diseased or….or just wrong.

"I dunno. Wicked weird. Um...." Max began, but before he could form a reply he tried something. He focused on his brother and tried to see what it was that Michael was thinking.

And he hit a brick wall! Max blinked and sat back, almost as if shoved by a hand he couldn't see. A small trickle of blood seeped out of Max's left nostril. Michael quickly stood up and grabbed a tissue, bringing it to Max.

"I thought as much," Michael said. "I had a feeling your mind was becoming active, Maxy, but I didn't want to frighten you." Max felt awe wash over his senses, his mouth dropping open.

"But how......I mean, normally it's all I can do to keep from hearing them. How come I can't hear you?"

"Something I had to learn to do. It takes a while, but once you have it you have it for life and can keep it on or turn it off whenever you want."

"But," Max began searching for words as Michael frog squatted beside the bed, helping check the flow of blood from Max's nose. "But why didn't you tell me about this? Do Mom and Dad know?"

"No they don't know, and I think I'd rather keep it that way, little brother. Some secrets should be kept. Including this one between us." Max nodded as Michael moved the tissue away, now soaked with little pink spots from Max's blood. "As for why I didn't tell you, would you have believed me?"

"I guess not," Max admitted. "But why, I mean, how are we doing it?"

"I don't know. Probably neither of us will ever know. The fact is that we can, and that alone is what we should worry about now."

Again Max nodded, this time far more solemnly. "I'm scared, Mike."

"I know, Maxy, I know. But don't worry, big brother will take good care of you. I have learned things since it first happened to me. I can teach you how to control this gift we share."

"Okay," Max said, and he leapt forward into Michaels arms, hugging tightly. "Thanks."

"Hey, what are big brothers for?" Michael replied, stroking Max's back. "But I am sensing something else is causing you even more confusion. You've known about your telepathy for a while now."

"Is that what this is called?" Max asked.

"Don't change the subject. What's got you so upset? Does it have anything to do with that Cameron kid coming over tonight?"


"Yeah, he's in tenth grade I think. He said you had some kinda nasty spill in the shower at school and he wanted to see if you were okay." Michael's eyes locked with Max's and Max found himself remembering the images, the fall, his recent experience at the Watch and then his running home in mixed fear and confusion. "It is about him isn't it?"

"Did you just read my mind?" Max asked, angrily, backing out of his brother's embrace. He felt strangely violated.

"No Max, I wouldn't do that to you," Michael replied with a slightly hurt expression. "Actually, I can't do that to you without you knowing it or at least being able to block me. Telepaths can naturally block scans from each other, depending on their experience and power." He suddenly smiled, brushing a hand against his little brother's face gently. "Besides, I can see it in your expression. Something about this Cameron kid has you really shittin' kittens."

Max suddenly felt very embarrassed at having accused his brother of invading his privacy, something that bothered Max himself about how casually he himself seemed to be able to do so with less gifted minds. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean......"

"I understand, Maxy. Probably more than you can know right now, I understand. So," Michael said, standing and walking back to the computer chair, "what has this Cameron guy done or said to upset you?"

"Um, it's hard to explain.....I could show you, if you could read my mind."

"That we can do. Let me show you something." Michael closed his eyes and suddenly Max felt a flood of images wash over him. One was like a home movie of Max himself as a baby in the tub. Another was a point of perspective from inside a baseball player's head as he smacks a homerun over the outfield bleachers. Yet another was of a puppy in a mall pet store licking Max's own face as a child of about 7 years.

"Wow!" Max breathed out. "That was from you?"

*Unless you know of any other telepaths who have seen you naked in the tub,* Michael sent, smiling.

"How do I do that?" Max asked greedily, his eyes lighting up.

"Which part?"

"All of it!"

"It's really quite simple," Michael said, chuckling. "Picture the memory, sound or image you want to send then imagine speaking it, without using your voice."

Max concentrated on a familiar memory, of their mother's face and tried to send it.

"Ah, Mom. Good choice," Michael replied.

"I did it?" Max asked, stunned

"Yes you did."


"Jeze, not so loud, little brother. It's just like talking, you can use too much force sometimes and it feels like you are shouting. It also works like talking in that it only goes so far. The farthest I've been able to reach is about 15 miles, but I haven't really tried more than that."

"Fifteen miles?! Who did you send to?"

"Remember Becky?" Max nodded, remembering the pretty blonde girl who had been his brother's first serious girlfriend. They dated most of Michael's sophomore and junior year before her family moved one town over. Becky and Michael had been very close, and Max remembered giggling thinking about the two of them "doing it."

"Well, Becky knew about it. She was one of the very few people I ever told."

"Oh," Max replied. "I guess that makes sense, since you guys did just about everything together."

"Yeah." Something in Michael's eyes shifted, weakened. Max felt an urge to just put his hand on his brother's shoulder, to comfort Michael for something. There was something about the way Mike talked about Becky that saddened Max. Something he sympathized with although he neither understood it nor would ever ask. Once again, his own need for privacy made him respect that same need in others.

"But look," Michael said, looking up again, "we can work on your range and other skills later. Right now, something is bugging you about this Cameron guy and it had you running home in tears. I'd like to know why. Cause if he's hurt you, I wanna know exactly how hard I have to pound him."

"It's not like that," Max said, looking back to the floor. "Something did happen in school today, and I slipped in the shower and cracked my head on the wall. But what happened was I kinda read Cameron......and I think he knows I did."

"Really?" Michael asked, his eyebrows shooting up. "What did you read from him?"

"It's kinda personal," Max said, tilting his head to the side. "and it made me feel......Idunno, weird, all over."

"Max, you know that I won't ever hurt you or ridicule you, especially now that I understand that all this time your natural sensitivity to other people was not only who you are but part of this gift you and I have. And if it comes from someone else and affects you, that only proves that you aren't some kind of freak or monster, but human in all the ways that count. Understand?"

"A little," Max replied, beetling his brows.

"I am your brother. Nothing anyone ever does or says will ever change that." Max nodded, and swallowed hard, but he held back the tears. This day had been enough of an emotional rollercoaster and here he was about to go over the plunge one more time.

Max looked over at Michael and closed his eyes, focusing on the images he had received from Cameron, then the replay of what those images had done to him first in the showers at school, then at Watching Rocks. Max slowly opened his eyes, one hand going guiltily to his crotch to cover his suddenly pointy pants.

Michael's eyes were defocused, as if reviewing the images. Michael blinked a few times as Max watched him, then looked over, his expression one of recovery from surprise.

"Oh my," Michael said at length. He looked down at his little brother and reached out a hand to squeeze his shoulder. "Well, that is quite a bit of stuff there, huh?"


"I want to think about this before I talk to you about it, okay. I'm not mad at you, I just think that I need to figure out the best way to explain it to you." Michael got a sudden sharpening of the eyes and then sighed loudly. "You haven't done anything like that before, like what Cameron was thinking?"

"No, I never even thought about doing.....well doing that with another boy."

Michael nodded slowly. "Okay. What do you think about it now? About the fact that Cameron seems to want to do those things with you?"

Max felt his face flush in embarrassment and shock. "Mike, I never even thought about doing that with a girl yet, and now all I got is some guy in my head making me feel hot all the time, and like I need to do stuff in the know"

Michael moved his hand to his brother's neck, "I know, I know. We'll talk more about this later, but right now you are about to have a visitor."

"This late? Who?" Max asked, perplexed. A sharp double rap at the door seemed to answer, followed by Mom's quick voice…

"Max, there's a friend of yours here. Would you like to talk to him?"

*I'll be in my room if you need me, Max,* Michael thought with a brief bit of pressure to Max's shoulder.

"Okay, Mom, I'll be right there." Max replied, but he leaned forward and hugged his big brother fiercely. *It's him isn't it?*

Michael slowly pulled back from the embrace and nodded. He stood up and left the room, leaving Max a scant few seconds to compose himself and wipe quickly at his eyes. As Michael left, Cameron came in.

"Hullo," Cameron said, looking like he was more than a little uncomfortable. He exchanged greetings with Michael and let Max's mom close the door as he turned back to face Max. "'re you doin'?"

"Okay," Max answered, realizing the physical presence of the older boy. Cameron was 8 inches taller than Max's 5 foot tall body, and had nearly fifty pounds more than Max's slight 100 pound frame. Images of Cameron's body pressed against his own brought both a sense of trepidation and excitement to Max. Fear mixing with uncertainty and an indescribable skin hunger.

"We were kinda worried about you in gym today. You kinda broke through some tiles with your head."

Max's hand shot to the bump on the top of his head where he had made such an impact with the wall. "I guess it looked a lot worse than it felt," Max said. He smiled sheepishly and offered Cameron the chair.

Cameron sat down, looking around the room. "Nice place you got here."


"I, uh, kinda came over earlier to see how you were, but your mom said you had gone out. I asked if she knew where and your dad said you usually go out to Watching Rocks when you look depressed like that. He was kinda worried about you."

"Yeah, I guess," Max replied, his fear of what Cameron might say next forcing him to avert his eyes. His embarrassment was mixing with other things, things that had his blood boiling. Max tried to control his face, but was sure that something was showing through. He felt, vulnerable, exposed ........threatened. His face felt hot and tight, and his breathing became shallow, barely lifting his chest.

"And then when I got there, well, I kinda saw.....I mean, I was there when...."

"I saw you." Max countered, his anger rising suddenly, even as his voice became a Darth Vader growl. "I didn't know you were there at first."

"Yeah, I guess you didn't. I just wanted to say that......"

But Max cut him off. "Say what? That you were spying on me? That you look at me when we are in the shower? That you have dreams about doing.....things with me?"

Cameron sat stunned, his mouth hanging open. "How do you know...?"

But again, Max didn't let Cameron finish. Feeling kind of angry and scared and violated all at the same time, Max returned the images he had received from Cameron, hard and fast. Cameron nearly fell out of the chair, his eyes going wide with shock.

"I found out," Max said, his voice devoid of emotion. "And now that I know what you dream about, I want to know if you came over here to force me to do those things!"

Cameron shook his head in disbelief. "I...I would never.....ever have done anything to you......I only ...."

"Spied on me? Followed me to my secret place? Made me feel like I couldn't contain myself?! All of the above!?! Which one fits best?!"

Cameron stood up, his eyes moistening. His own thoughts had betrayed him and now he felt totally rejected, hurt and worst of all, like he had done evil things that he had only imagined. And still this boy had more power over him than he had at first thought. "I should go," Cameron said, looking for a way out.

Max stood and took a step forward, his eyes flying with angry tears of his own. "You never touched me but you took away my choice!" Cameron tried to take a step away, and fell over, his fear and sadness seeming to feed something in Max, who stalked forward, suddenly his eyes cold as those of any predator. "He's beautiful when he cums. Do you remember thinking that? As you watched me?"

Cameron found his voice at last "I…I only wanted to talk to you, I had no idea you went there to do that."

"Liar!" Max shrieked and he suddenly rose into the air, his eyes ablaze with energies beyond his own comprehension. "You made me feel things that aren't me!"

Cameron was by now too terrified for words. He tried crawling backwards on the floor, but Max's floating form moved swiftly over him. There was no escape.

Max's face was wild, glowing, contorted with a thousand intense emotions and all of them coursing through his mind at once, a chorus of confusion that sought animal release. Flight or fight. He wasn't even conscious of himself anymore. It all seemed like some sort of primal fury released through him, that Max was just a channel through which his own frightening feelings were passing. And in that state, he just let the fury ride him, take control.

"Have a taste of your own medicine!" Max cried and stabbed a hand forwards, right at Cameron's head. A beam of gray force shook Cameron to his core, and his eyelids fluttered as rapid, hard muscular contractions shot through his body.

The bedroom door burst open and Michael was there, his own eyes flashing with power. "Maxy, no!" Michael called, and snaked an arm around his little brother's waist, snagging him out of the air, breaking the contact with Cameron. For his part, Cameron obliged gravity and fell unconscious to the floor.

Michael bore Max down onto the bed and held him fast with his arms. "Get control, Maxy. Focus on my voice and get control of it. Tame the Beast. Make it your own again. Leash it. Put it back in the cage."

Michael's slow words and gentle tone slowly brought Max back out of his enraged, energized state. The nimbus of energy dissipated and Max's eyes returned to normal. Suddenly realizing what he had been about to do, Max cried openly, his arms going around Michael's neck in a tight bear hug.

"Easy, Maxy. It's okay, it's alright. Big Brother is here"

"I...I was gonna kill him, wasn't I?"

"You very nearly did, Max. And over what?" Michael asked, stroking Max's hair. "Someone who loved you, wanted to share that love with you? Sure it's not a normal sort of love, or even a normal expression of it, Maxy, but in the end that's what he feels for you. Granted, it's okay to be scared of things you don't understand, but that doesn't mean you get violent about it."

"It was more than that, Mike," Max admitted, burying his face against his brother's shoulder more. *I wanted to try those things....part of me anyways...I really did.....still do....with him....I just got so angry that........that......*

*Easy, shhhh, easy,* was all Michael replied.

"Why'd I do that?"

"Fear makes people do weird things, Maxy. Some people it makes do wondrous things, miraculous and Herculean things. Some people it makes do terrible things that they regret for eternity." A subtle hitch in Michael's voice caught Max's attention, like two strings on a guitar vibrating in sympathetic harmony, separate notes that give the same feeling. "Luckily, we can still make this right."

*We can?*

*Well, I can, at any rate. The question is, are you going to hurt him again, or are you going to do something else?*

"I didn't mean to hurt him," Max pleaded.

"And I'm sure he didn't mean to let you know what was in his head. That is a risk we have to take. Telepathy has great potential to harm others, as you can now see. You must use this gift cautiously." Michael leaned Max back and wiped away a few tears. "You think about how you'd rather have this conversation with him end. I'll go see what can be done for poor Cameron." Max nodded and lay back, covering his eyes with his forearms like before at the Watch.

"Max?" he felt a gentle hand waking him from a light sleep. His tears had dried and he woke up blinking at the strong light in his room. Michael was there, with Cameron, who stared down at his own feet from the doorway. Max rubbed his eyes and glanced guiltily from Cameron to Michael. "Your friend Cameron just got here, Max," Michael said as if explaining to a sick or hurt child in a hospital before giving over devastating news.

Max nodded and sat up. "Just arrived?" he asked, getting a nod from Michael.

"I'll be just down the hall if you need me. Remember to rest like the doctor told you, no more silly stunts like going for a walk alone, okay?"

Max nodded grimly and added *Thanks, Mike,* telepathically.

Michael "Cam, see you later. Be easy on him." Max sensed a double meaning and almost smiled. As Michael left the room, quietly closing the door, Max looked over at Cameron.

Cameron spoke first "Hullo.'re you doing?"

"Better. Guess my hard head caused some damage to the locker room wall, huh?" Max offered, grinning mischievously.

"A few tiles did come down," Cameron admitted, returning the smile. "Your brother says that you went to the doctor after school. Are you hurt bad?"

"Not as bad as it could have been," Max answered, guiltily biting his lip. "And I kinda snuck out earlier."

"Yeah, I stopped by before and your mom was worried. I thought I saw you heading down by the Watching Rocks, but there's no light down there, so I looked at Carpenter's Park instead. I came back this way on my way home when I didn't see you down there."


"Well, yeah. A lot of us were kinda worried about you, you know. It's not every day the JV soccer team's star striker gets cold cocked by a stationary wall." His grin was both genuine and infectious. Max smiled back, widely.

"Yeah, I guess it did kinda reach out and bite me, didn't it? But, I didn't know that the upper classmen worried about junior high sports."

"Well, we have traditions to uphold, you know. Like kicking St.Barnard's Academy's ass, it's a moral imperative." They both laughed a little at the joke, and Max felt tempted to touch into Cameron's mind, just to peek. He looked and found a genuine sense of relief that Max was okay and a total lack of all memories of what happened at the Watch and the attack.

And something else. Max tapped a little deeper, feeling his telepathic strength start to wane, and thought he touched something that made his heart flutter, his pulse race, his face run flushed. Cameron had genuine affection for Max, even though they had never talked until now. Not only genuine affection and desire, but respect and love. Although a love that was stretched over distance. At that realization his mental strength gave out and he started tearing up.

Cameron noticed the change and stood up. "I should go. You need to save your strength and I am keeping you from rest."

"Cameron?" Max called out, looking over as the older boy collected his coat and headed for the bedroom door. Cameron stopped and looked back.


"Thanks for coming to check up on me. I...I've been a lousy friend to a lot of people lately. I guess I should be lucky that you want to be my friend after all I've done."

"No sweat," Cameron replied. "And call me Cam. Cameron sounds like we go to St. Barnard's or something." They both giggled at that, with Cam sticking his nose up into the air like the snobs at the rival school were widely rumored to do.

"Okay Cam. And you can call me Maxy, but only you."

"Deal. I'll see you in school tomorrow?"

"Yeah, but I might skip the shower for a few days, no matter how funky I smell." They laughed again at the joke and Cameron left the room, said his goodbyes and went home.

Moments later, Michael knocked and entered.

"That work out better?" Michael asked.

"He doesn't remember any of it?" Max asked, looking at his brother quizzically.

"I figured it would be better this way. I didn't alter any of his permanent memories, but I did make him forget about seeing you at the Watch and about you trying to turn his brain to tapioca pudding. His personality and his feelings are unchanged. Which brings up another problem," Michael said, sighing. "What are you going to do about him, now that you know how he really feels about you?"

Max glanced down and then back to meet his brother's steady gaze. "I honestly don't know, Mike. This is all so new to me. I've never felt like this before. I've never felt anything like what I picked up from him. There is a part of me that.....that wants to do those things. Wants to feel those things."

Michael nodded solemnly. "I thought you would. I only want you to be happy, little brother, but you need to know now that there are many people who won't approve of such a relationship, especially at your age."


"And I have another caution for you. You are a full-mode telepath, like me, and it seems you have some telekinetic power as well. Otherwise you'd not be able to lift yourself off the ground like that. Be careful of how intense your emotions get. Once out of control, they might trigger all kinds of hidden powers, or you might accidentally lash out like you did tonight."

Max nodded and a sudden thought occurred to them "Did Mom and Dad........?"

But Michael shook his head. "They weren't even here. They went over to Aunt Sarah's for a few minutes. They only got back now."

Max sighed but looked over at Michael suddenly, realizing that his brother was fixing him with a heavy stare. "There's more isn't there?"

"Two things," Michael responded. "First, I don't make it a habit to erase memories, even to cover up things for my little brother. You shouldn't either, it is messy and can lead to madness for the telepath and the victim. Do you understand me?"

Max swallowed hard and nodded. Michael was dead serious about this and wanted to make damned sure that Max knew it.

"Secondly," Michael continued, "Telepaths have to be careful during sex, if that is what you and Cam are aimed for. During most of my sexual experiences, I link with the other person. This makes it better for me, but they often don't understand the doubling of sensation for themselves. Be careful of how much you share and how much the other person is able to accept."

"You mean it gets better than ...." *this?* Max asked, sending over his memory of his last orgasm.

Michael breathed in suddenly and then smiled. "Well, looks like I won't have to teach too much for you to learn how to nerve bomb someone," Michael said, grinning. "And yes, much, much better."

"Oh man!" Max mouthed. "Now if only I can keep all these other voices out of my head, I'll be fine."

"Let me show you how to do that," Michael said. He sat on the edge of Max's bed and closed his eyes. Max closed his eyes as well and in a flash, they were both concentrating, helping Max build his own mental shield, one mental brick at a time.

That night, as Max slept, Michael lay awake, scanning with his mind. His body rested peacefully, doing as much sleep as was possible with his senses wide screaming open. But his mind was floating on the collective mental pulse of the planet, gliding through the spirits and dreams of the sleepy little New England town. He felt a growing unrest and knew that time was running short. Something bad was going to happen, and soon.

Michael wasn't always certain exactly what was coming, but so far his danger sense hadn't been far wrong. It had alerted him to numerous situations in the past and kept him alive. His secret life had honed his instincts into something more than just a precognitive flash of awareness but something far less than seeing events. All he knew was that something was happening and his little brother would soon be hip deep in it.

The truth of his brother's awakening psychic powers along with his latent sex drive was a disturbing shock to Michael. His own powers had developed a little later in life than for Max, long after his experimental phase. He and his best friend George had been jerk-off buddies years ago, but that was before Michael could read minds. Now, Max was experiencing both sexual curiosity and mind reading at the same time.

I only hope that I have the chance to train him before things go nuclear, Michael thought, as his astral form zipped through the streets of his home town. If what I fear is coming happens, then his happiness with Cameron will be very short lived.

Another astral spirit moved up next to Michael and he stopped to talk. It was a friend Michael new well, a fellow telepath from southern New Jersey, Ben Carrington.

*Evening, Ben,* Michael thought in greeting. *You're a long way up the coast tonight.*

*And with bad news, my young friend,* Ben replied. Ben was an older telepath, in his late fifties, but his astral form looked as healthy and young as Michael's. *That thing we've been watching for is happening.*

*Not again. Not after what happened last year,* Michael said, remembering the loss of three fellow telepaths the previous December. Other Gifted psychics had been predicting that they would all be unmasked soon, and that evil was stalking them even now. Across the planet, telepaths had been banding together for mutual protection over the last ten years. Most of them knew each other in that intimate way only another telepath can understand.

*Afraid so. Dominique has vanished. Her coven haven't heard from her in weeks. They fear the worst.*

*Not good,* Michael thought, remembering the sweet natured elder telepath from Paris he had met a few years ago. He had no doubt that if her coven had no contact from her, then she was more than likely gone. *Well I have something to report as well. My brother has Awakened.*

Ben considered the words carefully. *This is a very dangerous time, Mike. If they come for him because he is untrained and can be tracked more easily, then we all are in danger.*

*He'd be in more danger at this point than the rest of us. I can not let him come to harm, Ben. He needs training.*

*Then I suggest you train him. It's risky enough me traveling this far. Once or twice a month I could risk it, but, eh…*

*I know, I know. It would give away too much.*

*You were my best student ever, Mike,* Ben said, placing a hand on Michael's astral shoulder. *Remember how I taught you and you will do fine teaching him.*

*There's a snag in that. He's just turned 13.*


*So, he's discovered his powers just as he's experimenting with sex… and he is planning on experimenting with another boy.*

*Well, it's not like we all didn't do something like that at one time or another,* Ben said, smiling. *It's still amazing to me how many of us telepaths actually don't see gender as a problem when choosing mates. It's like our minds just choose to see around the flesh even as it seeks to wallow in the pleasures of the flesh.*

*It's serious, though, Ben. He's not just fooling around. I think he's infatuated. Possibly even in love.*

*That,* the older man said, rubbing his chin, *complicates matters. You believe that your brother is as strong as you?*

*Stronger, potentially. He's already got unconscious access to the body focus, basic telepathy and scanning and some other telekinetic power I've never seen before. Something combining a telepathic assault with a TK blast. He used it in an emotional state and he was floating when he used it. I was barely able to block the strike and bring back the kid he hurt with it.*

*Disturbing,* Ben said, his eyes going slightly vacant. *His dreams are strong though. I can't breach his mindwall.*

*Ben, I may have to drop out of the coven for a while. I need to focus on training him. I know that leaves you guys a little weaker, but….*

*But this is your little brother. We are all blood to someone, Mike. I understand. The others will too. And when you and Max are ready, we will welcome you back.*

*Thanks, Ben. It really means a lot to me.*

*Just take good care of little Maxy. I have an awful feeling that things are about to get very complicated in his life. Discovering homosexuality, love and telepathic powers at the same time, while he's so young, this is going to make him very vulnerable. If I were you, I'd take steps.*

*I understand,* Michael nodded grimly.

*How are you holding up, especially after those two came for you last week?*

*I'm fine. Some trouble sleeping, you know, bad dreams, night panics, cold sweats.*

*Taking a life is never easy, even in defense of home and family. Hell, son, even if it's just defending yourself taking a life isn't a simple matter.*

*It's something I'm dealing with,* Michael replied. *Wish I didn't have to, though.*

*We all do,* Ben intoned sagely. *Well, I better get back. I have a long shift at the factory tomorrow. Keep me updated as to how things go up here, okay?*

*You betcha, Ben,* Michael smiled. Then they both reached out and touched palms, briefly, sending a pulse of energy between their astral skins, the astral version of a hug, and Ben vanished back to New Jersey.

Michael swept through the sky for a while, wandering at random, until he found himself looking down on Becky's dreams. He missed her terribly, the one normal person he had told about his powers. Now she was lost to him, forever, by their mutual decision. He quickly levitated back into the sky and turned the 20 or so miles back to his own home. Once back in his own body, he wept silently, and fell to sleep.

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