Max woke, still lying on top of Cam, their breathing syncopated so that one was inhaling as the other breathed out. The effect was similar to a water bed, so that Max basically remained in one place, with only a slight shifting and rolling of weight to show any movement at all. His skin was pliant and hot where he touched Cam's skin, their bodies melted together. Max moved his head off of Cam's shoulder and stretched out his neck. The strong, supple muscles along Cam's chest and belly rippled as the older boy also seemed to come out of torpor.
"Hiya," Max said, looking into Cam's deep brown eyes. Muddy chocolate, Max thought, looking into Cam's eyes. Deep, mysterious.
"Hiya, yourself, Glowy," Cam smiled back.
"Been there long?" Max teased.
"Oh, funny guy now, huh?"
"Been called worse," Max replied. "We stink," he observed. "A lot."
"Probably just me," Cameron said, his fingers running across the backs of Max's arms lightly. "Your sweat smells clean to me. Clean and delicious," he added, licking Max's shoulder.
"Well, we should probably get up and see about some breakfast. Or maybe lunch. What time is it?"
"Let's see," Cam said, lifting his upper body under Max slightly. The movement stimulated Max slightly, and he felt his penis rising against Cam's leg, hot and smooth. Cam craned around to find his watch and took several seconds staring at it, the post sleep haze still dulling his consciousness enough to make him second guess his eyes. "Looks like about 11 o'clock."
"Geeze, we've been asleep for hours, I guess."
"Usually works that way. Especially after all the energy we spent."
"You know what I mean. It's late."
"You got somewhere to be?" Cameron teased, laying back down.
"Not at the moment." Max suddenly got a serious look on his face. A question had been bubbling in the back of his mind, and he had to have it answered. "How many boys have you been with?"
Cameron's face looked hurt suddenly and he turned his head away from Max.
"I'm sorry. That wasn't right. You don't have to tell me. I just wondered how you knew so much about…"
"No, you need to know. I should have told you before all this, but I didn't know how to break the ice about it."
"You don't have to tell me," Max said, hastily. "I love you, no matter what happened in the past."
A silence stretched out for a few moments, until Max felt a shift in Cam's chest. Max looked over at Cam's face, trying to match his eyes, and saw Cam was crying, softly.
"I'm sorry Cam. I'm an idiot sometimes. I didn't mean to make you cry."
"I guess you're right about me being Eeyore," Cam said, a large tear pooling in the cavity of his eye and the bridge of his nose.
"It's not important."
Cam suddenly looked up and met Max's eyes with a level gaze. "Don't ever say that anything between us isn't important. Not ever again. Everything we share is important. Even if it's just quiet time," Cam said with conviction. "I don't just love the good parts of you, you know. I love everything."
"Huh?" Max asked, kind of confused and feeling angry at himself at the same time.
"I know about your temper. I've seen what your dark side might be like, and I accept that."
"My temper?" Max asked, more confused. For a brief moment, Max worried that Cameron had somehow remembered that night in Max's own bedroom, when Max had almost killed Cameron in a fit of raw uncontrolled terror and confusion. But the look on Cam's face didn't seem to match that scenario.
"Yeah. When you beat Ronald Perkins black and blue last year." Max sighed, relieved that Michael's memory wipe was still intact. If Cam ever found out about the true events of that night… Max didn't know what would happen, but he felt certain that Cam would hate him forever.
"That was different. He was picking on me all the time. Months worth. I just finally couldn't stand how he was always picking on smaller kids, stealing lunch money and all that. I goaded him into taking the first swing and then…"
"And then you broke his nose, loosened his teeth and bloodied his lips something wicked," Cam finished.
"He had it coming!" Max fired back. Cameron laughed slightly, getting Max's ire up. "What's so funny?" he demanded.
"You weren't the only one who wanted a piece of that kid. He really wasn't well liked at all."
"So, it was like you were a hero to the whole school. Even the upperclassmen hated Ronny. He was a lousy punk."
"Hero?" Max queried aloud. His mind drifted back to the pile of action figures in the basement of his house. Had he unconsciously tapped into his powers back then? It was clear that he had been no match, physically, for the older boy. Ronny had over six inches in reach, a foot in height and nearly 50 pounds on Max. It should have been a self-inflicted slaughter even attacking a kid that powerful. Max suddenly felt like the bully. He'd have to ask Michael about it, but he felt like he'd cheated, even though Ronny did deserve to be shown his place.
"Yeah, a hero. We even petitioned the principle to keep you in school when she wanted to have you suspended."
"Wow! I never knew."
"Yeah, well, I did. I knew that it took a lot of hate and a lot of guts and a lot of just plain stubborn to get you to the point where you'd do all that damage to Ronny."
"Well, he did throw the first punch. I never felt so much air rush out of my gut when he rabbit punched me in the kidney. After that, well, I just kinda went on autopilot. I barely remember it, except how much my knuckles hurt after that."
Cam grinned. "I know. But I saw the stuff in you then that most people keep covered up. The look on your face was awesome and frightening at the same time. Proud and angry and fierce."
"My dark side?"
"Yeah. So don't think I don't love you, even when you get angry."
Max nodded above Cam, his hair hanging in sweat dried clumps before his eyes, bobbing with his head motions. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I don't know your dark side yet, but I can guess about it."
"No, I don't want any secrets between us. It'll be murder enough just keeping us a secret as it is."
"Yeah, you, me, us."
"Oh, us!" Max said, light dawning in the dim recesses of his sleep fogged mind.
"Dolt!" Cameron mocked, smiling.
"Well, I'm still new to this."
"But I'm not," Cam said, his smile turning ironic. His brown eyes closed for a painful second and Max wanted to just hold him close, tell him to forget it. "I'm gonna tell you something I've never told anyone about, not ever. And it won't be easy on me, so just let me tell it without interrupting me, okay?"
Cam took a shuddering breath and let his gaze dance about the roof of the tent, past Max's shoulder. His hands went slack to his side and his face shifted into that of someone reliving a painful memory.
"I was about your age. Kinda scrawny, still had a tummy. I hadn't gotten into sports so much then. You know, asthma. I had a friend who was kinda close to me. We were both computer nerds, and were always indoors all the time. Like I said, asthma. I'm not gonna say his name because he doesn't go to our school anymore. He's moved to Wellsley, last I heard.
"Anyways, we were really close. We got to be jerk off buddies. Had to happen, if you think about it. We were both trying to figure it out and, well, it wasn't like we had anyone else back then. Just each other. Well, he decided to try something new. I was game, I mean it was all in fun back then. No emotion to it, just games with our bodies. Well, we were getting into it, you know. Doing each others dicks. And it was fantastic, you know. We kept going past the point where it's normally too sensitive to keep touching." Cam let out a shuddering sigh.
"Then his older brother came in, with his cell phone camera."
"Shhh! I'm not finished."
"He made us do things, Max. He said he'd show the vid to our parents unless we did the things he said to. It was painful at first. He was so big and he wasn't gentle."
"He… raped you?!" Max said, flabbergasted. Cam nodded silently.
"It was painful and degrading and there was nothing I could do about it. He was rough with us, too."
"He raped both of you?" Max couldn't imagine having Michael treat him as this unnamed friend's brother had done to Cameron. It was like telling Max that his parents were just fattening him up for next Easter's main course.
"And despite the pain, despite all the hurt and the blood and the humiliation, I actually liked some of it, Max. I came from it." A tear slipped out of Cam's eye, followed by more building at the curve of his cheek. "It was awful and awesome at the same time. He held that video over my head for a year, until he went away to college. He made me, us, do things… that whole time."
Max put his arms under Cam's head and sat him up, hugging his head tightly. Cam's arms flowed up around Max, holding on like a drowning boy holding on to a buoy at sea, lost in current of old, bad memories and emotions. Max felt his anger rising as well as his need to just hold Cam and stroke the pain away. His fingers slipped through the sweat-clumps of Cam's hair, shushing him.
"So because of that you know to be gentle with me?"
"Because of that I'll never do anything to hurt you. I couldn't, Maxy. I'd sooner die than be like… like…"
"I'm sorry I made you remember that," Max said, his own tears blending with Cam's. "And you're right, it isn't not important. It's part of who you are. It's part of your dark side, Eeyore, and I love you for being strong enough to never hurt me."
Several minutes passed while they simply sat together, holding each other, while Cam recovered. Max could feel his lover's strength return, both as a physical thing and inside, somehow bolstered for having shared his deepest shame and his direst secret.
But Max himself felt suddenly even lower than he had before. Cam had just shared a deep, nasty truth from his own past, a part of his wounded soul. And now Max could never share his own deep truth, the truth about his mental powers, with the person he loved most in the world. It was a shame that Max felt down to the depths of his core. He couldn't endanger Cam with it, even though he felt like sharing it, letting it go, letting it bridge them instead of separate them more.
"Hey!" Cam whispered into Max's ear.
"Hey, I love you," Cam replied, crossing his legs under Max.
"Yeah, I know. I love you too, Eeyore," Max said, kissing Cameron's eyes. "Even if you are a little sad and shaggy at times," he smiled. "And if you smell like a hockey team locker room at second intermission right now," he teased.
"I like it when you call me Eeyore. It feels right, now. I'll have to get a good nickname for you."
"You don't have to."
"I want to, Maxy. You are everything to me. I want to claim you with a personal name like you claimed me."
"Did I claim you that way?"
"You don't know? You were there, right?" Cam teased.
"Well, I'm not sure. You just seem so down all the time. And you're the kind that might like staying down in the dumps for a while. Like it feels good to be gloomy sometimes. Like Eeyore. It feels right."
"Yeah, well, you'll be the only one who ever calls me Eeyore. That's just for you."
"Just for you, you mean," Max said, smiling again.
"Just for us."
"I think we need some air. It's getting stuffy in here," Max said, and he stood up off of Cameron's lap, letting the last edge of the sleeping bag slip off them both into a pile. His skin stuck to Cam's as he stood, slowly peeling off of each other like Velcro, attached by heat and sweat.
"Yeah, I guess we need a break for a moment. How's your back end?"
"Feels strange. Kinda loose, stretched."
Max turned around and let Cameron examine him. "Well?"
"Well, it is stretched, but there's no blood. I don't think I ripped you. Does it hurt inside?"
"Actually," Max said, turning back to face Cam, "inside feels like jello. Kinda shaky, kinda firm, kinda sore all at once." His smile flashed, full teeth this time, not just his lopsided smirk. "Kinda good. No, kinda awesome."
"You're welcome," Cam smiled back. "Want to hit the river, let the stink wash away?"
"I thought my sweat smelled clean," Max returned, grinning slyly.
"Well, you've got my stink on you now," Cameron said. "I guess I've been rubbing off on you."
Max giggled silently, blushing. "Yeah, washing up sounds good."