Castle Roland

The Chosen

by Andrew Todd

In Progress

Chapter 7

Published: 25 Sep 14

The Chosen


Andrew Todd

Benji and Oliver had been riding the trail through the hills surrounding the Kennet property for over an hour. It was the first time they had taken Jester out of the confines of the arena and Oliver was pleased with the young stallion's behavior.

"He's doing so well." Oliver grinned and he patted the horse's neck.

Benji nodded. "I can't believe that's the same horse that Dale had delivered two weeks ago. I thought for sure he'd be a pasture ornament. He's yours now, that's for sure."

"I'm glad; he's a great horse and having this gives us something normal and sane in the middle of this insanity that seems to be starting."

"I think that's part of the reason I spend so much time here," Benji replied. "When I was younger, it was hard to control my powers and block out all the voices. Here it was easy. There weren't a lot of people. There was quiet and solitude. As I got better control, I still craved the peace."

"I can definitely understand that."

They rode on for a few more minutes until Oliver brought Jester to a stop.

"Benji, hold up a minute," he called. "I think Jester's picked up a stone."

Benji turned Arya back to where Oliver had stopped and was dismounting Jester. He hopped off Arya. Benji took Jester's reins and held both horses while Oliver took a hoof pick from his saddle bag and went to check Jester's hooves.

When he picked up the stallion's right rear hoof he saw the offending stone wedged in the horse's tender frog.

"I'll have that out of there in a just a second, old son," he said gently as he popped the stone out with the pick. He lightly ran his fingers over the sole of the hoof to make sure there were no tender spots, then he let the horse's foot down and patted his rump. "There you go. All better."

Oliver walked back to where Benji was holding both horses. He took Jester's reins from Benji and led Jester a few yards away so Benji could mount. Jester started nuzzling at his back and shoulders as if thanking him for taking care of him. Oliver turned to stroke the horse's neck and the young horse in his excitement swung his head around and knocked Oliver face first into some bushes.

Benji laughed as Oliver rolled over so he was sitting in the bushes on the side of the trail.

"I guess he really does love you," Benji snickered.

"He doesn't know his own strength, either," Oliver groaned as Jester hovered over him and sniffed at his face. "I'm ok, Jester," he assured the horse.

Benji hopped down from Arya and had a stricken look on his face as he recognized the plants that Oliver was sitting in.

"Oliver, you need to get out of there now," he instructed. "He knocked you into a whole bunch of poison ivy. Shit, your face, arms and hands are gonna be covered."

"Fuck!!" Oliver hollered as he jumped up and away from the bushes.

Benji rushed over to check on the extent of the damage. "Lemme see, I have some lotion in my sa…" He shook his head as he looked at Oliver's hands, arms and face. "Oliver, there's not a mark on you."

"What?" Oliver looked at his skin; it was its usual pale, unblemished hue. "Maybe it wasn't poison ivy."

Benji walked over to the plants and leaned over to examine them. "Poison ivy, definitely. I've tangled with enough of it to know."

"Then why don't I have a rash? I should be covered."

"Plant-based toxins." Benji muttered.


"Dyson said that one of your powers was supposed to be a tolerance of plant-based toxins. Maybe you're immune to natural poisons or plant-based poisons, like poison ivy."

"I guess I was just focused on the 'talks to animals' stuff," Oliver said. "I'll have to talk to him to see if there was anything more specific about my family and their powers. It seems that you and Alex affect humans and my powers affect flora and fauna. I wonder how the others and the fire and water powers are going to work."


Dyson did a double take as he watched a diminutive man come striding across the salon.

"Hey, Z!" Alex replied as the man hugged him tight.

Z was in his early twenties, about 5' 2" with bleached-blond hair that had been spiked, several of the spikes having been dyed bright blue or blood red. He wore black skinny jeans, red high tops and a purple smock.

Alex extracted himself from Z's grip and turned to Dyson. "Dyson, this is Z. Z, this is my buddy, Dyson."

Dyson started to say something when Z shrieked.

"Good heavens, child!! What the fuck happened to your hair?!"

Alex laughed, "That's why I brought him to you. Dice had a nasty run-in with a bottle of bleach."

"I'll say," Z snickered. He took Dyson by the hand and led him to the back of the salon. He pushed the taller boy into a chair and then walked around running his fingers through Dyson's hair. "Shit, Alex! Did you do this to this poor boy?"

"Z, you know me better than that. This happened before we met; as soon as I saw I it I knew you were the only one who could fix it."

Z rolled his eyes. "How much time do you boys have?" he sighed. "This is gonna take a while." He looked dramatically to the sky. "And a miracle."

"We have a couple of hours before we need to meet Benji for lunch."

"How is my little Benji-Baby?"

"He's good. He's got himself a boyfriend."

Dyson jumped when Z shrieked yet again.

"Finally!!" Z clapped. "Is he cute?"

"He's a really nice guy. You'll like him."

"Tell Benji I want to meet him, soon."

"I will."

"Ok, now let me get started on this." He turned back to Dyson. "Oy, this is not gonna be fun," he whined dramatically, rolling his eyes.

"I'm gonna leave him to you, Z," Alex said. "I need to go run some errands."

"Alright, Hot Stuff."

Alex grinned at the nervous-looking Dyson sitting in the chair. He laid his hand on Dyson's.

"Relax, you're in great hands."

Dyson smiled apprehensively and nodded at Alex.

Alex left the salon and set off on his own errand.

He walked down to the AT&T store. It was busy as usual and he waited quite a while to be helped. Finally, he was able to get a salesman to assist him. He added Dyson to the family's phone plan and purchased a new iPhone for him.

He spent almost an hour in the store. He knew that Z wouldn't be done yet and he didn't want to sit around the salon waiting. He decided to walk down to the food court.

He stopped at Starbucks and ordered a vanilla-bean frappaccino and a cinnamon-chip scone and then went out and sat at a table. He watched the people milling around.

As he enjoyed his snack, he practiced blocking out the ambient noise that was created by so many people being around him.

Benji had told him for years how hard it was to stop the chatter. Alex knew he had to concentrate to hear a specific thought, but with this many people around, many of them almost 'shouting,' the din in his head was deafening. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his breathing and focused on his own thoughts like he had seen Dad tell Benji to do. Eventually, it started to work. He was able to block out all the extraneous noise.

He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. He concentrated on individual people trying to see if he could pick up just a passing or stray thought. He didn't want to invade their privacy, but he needed to see how much control he had.

After a half hour of 'hearing' teen-age girls curse out their mothers, teen-age boys thinking about the myriad of inappropriate things they wanted to do to every girl that passed them and lots of parents silently counting to one hundred in an effort to not physically assault their child, he thought he had practiced enough.

He cleaned up the table, threw his trash away and walked back to the salon.

On the way back, he made one more purchase to help out Dyson.

When he walked into the salon, there were a few patrons waiting around, but he didn't see Z or Dyson. He walked over to the reception desk.

"Hey, Liv, is Z done yet?" he asked the girl behind the desk.

"I think so," she replied. "You can go on back." She gestured towards the black curtains that hid a back room that Alex knew Z used for special clients.

He walked behind the curtain.


"Over here, Sweets."

Alex found Z cleaning up his station.

Alex looked around. "Where's Dyson?" he asked.

Z turned around and smiled. "He's in the bathroom loving on himself."

Just then Dyson stepped out of the small bathroom. Alex held his breath when he saw Dyson standing there. Z had cut and shaped Dyson's hair so that it was short on the sides and longer on the top; he had then gelled it so that it stood up about an inch and a half. Z had dyed it a light brown with a few highlights.

"Wow," he whispered. "You look great."

Dyson blushed. "Z did a pretty good job."

"Pretty good?" Alex scoffed. "You look awesome. No one would ever know that wasn't your natural hair color."

"I should say not," Z interjected. "Dear boy, your own mother wouldn't know that wasn't natural. Now, Alex, I think you need to take this boy and get him some clothes that fit. It's very distracting to have his junk peeking out while I'm working."

Alex laughed as Dyson blushed a deeper crimson.

"Z, you're being mean."

"Not at all, Sweetie," the little man grinned. "I said it was distracting, I didn't say it wasn't nice to look at."

Alex grabbed Dyson's hand.

"C'mon, before you faint," he laughed as he pulled Dyson from the room. "Thanks, Z."

"Anytime, Babe."

Alex led Dyson from the store and still holding his hand walked towards the nearest restroom. The room was empty when they entered. Alex grabbed Dyson and kissed him hard. He felt Dyson grow hard and grind against his side.

"What was that for?" Dyson sighed when they broke the kiss.

"You look so hot," Alex grinned. "I wanted to do that as soon as you came out of the bathroom at the salon."

Dyson looked around nervously. "Well, can we wait till we get home?"

Alex laughed. "Sure." He dug around one of his bags and pulled out a small plastic case. "Here, I got you something. Actually, I got you a phone too, but these go with your new look."

Dyson took the small case and gave Alex a puzzled look.

"Contacts?" he asked when he had opened the case.

Alex nodded. "Put them on."

"I don't wear contacts," Dyson protested.

"Just put them on," Alex instructed.

Dyson did as he was ordered. They were uncomfortable at first, but he adjusted to the lenses.

Alex turned Dyson towards the mirror. "Now look."

Dyson looked in the mirror. Staring back at him was a tall brown-haired, blue-eyed stranger.

"Colored lenses."

"Yup, I saw them in one of the store windows and I thought they'd be great," Alex explained. "Not only does it change your eye color, but the blue is so brilliant, that it's something people will notice and remember. So between the new 'do and your eyes, you definitely don't look like those pictures on your old IDs."

Dyson nodded. "Thanks."

"No problem." Alex flashed his smile. "But, we've got to run, if we're gonna meet Benji and Oliver."

Charlie pulled his Camry into the mall parking lot. He had spent the morning giving Kris a quick tour of the school grounds, knowing that Dylan would provide a more thorough one tomorrow. He then suggested they take a drive to Berlin, the nearest town to the school.

Charlie spent the twenty minute drive filling in Kris about their various teachers and other 'vital' information about school.

"Is your dad going to let you keep your car at school?" Charlie asked as they exited the car.

"I don't have a car yet," Kris replied. "I haven't gotten my license. I spend so much time in school that I haven't had a chance to take Driver's Ed or get the practice."

"They offer Driver's Ed at school," Charlie offered. "So you can get the classes and driving time in and I'm sure Jesse or Dylan would come along if you need practice time."

"It's something to think about," Kris answered. "I just don't know how much I'd use it. My dad probably won't even get me a car while I'm in school."

"Well, as long as we're roommates, you have a way to get off campus," Charlie offered. "At least until winter hits and we're all stranded for a few months."

"Is it that bad?"

"Oh, yeah," Charlie sighed. "Last year, the first snow fell before Halloween and we got over fifteen feet before it was all over. I think we saw the last of it around mid-April."


Charlie laughed. "Yup. Really sucks if you don't ski."

"Which I don't."

"Me, neither."

"They must have an indoor arena for riding then."

Charlie nodded. "Uh huh; they got some big donors when they decided to field a team and they have a huge indoor arena and the barns are state of the art. At least that's what Jesse says."

"So besides swimming, what do you do at school?"

"This time of year, swimming is my only vice," Charlie replied. "I'm at the pool or I'm in class. The only reason I have any time this weekend is because so many of the kids head home for a holiday weekend. What about you?"

"Well, like I said, I used to ride some, played some soccer--nothing much lately though."

"You should talk to Jesse," Charlie suggested. "Not a lot of guys take advantage of riding for their PE credits so most of the lessons are one-on-one. I'm sure he'd hook you up; maybe once you get back in the saddle you could get on the team."

"I don't know about the team part; it's been a while since I've ridden, but it would be nice to get back into it. I love the solitude."

Charlie reached over and gently placed his hand on the small of Kris' back. Kris seemed so sad and lost to him. Charlie was shaken from his thoughts by a warm tingle in his fingers. He was feeling a heat coming from Kris. He just wrote it off as a combination of Kris being nervous and him being attracted to his new roommate.

Kris could barely feel Charlie's light touch on his back, but again he felt as if a cool wave was flowing into him. He shivered slightly.

"Are you cold?" Charlie asked moving his hand.

"No, must have just felt a chill for a second," Kris replied. "So are we here for anything special?"

"I want to stop at the sporting goods store to check on Speedos and I'll show you Michael's; that's the store that keeps our uniforms in stock," Charlie answered. "Do you wanna grab lunch first?"


"Cool, there's a 99 right inside. Have you ever tried them?"

"I've never even heard of them."

"I think they're a New England based chain," Charlie explained. "Very casual, great food."

"Sounds good."

Since it was mid-afternoon, the restaurant was very quiet. The boys were shown to a booth.

"What do you like?" Kris asked as he looked over the menu.

Before Charlie could answer the waitress came up to the table.

"Hey, guys, my name is Sherri, I'll be your server," she said cheerily. "Can I get you something to drink?"

"Coke, please," Charlie replied.

"I'll have the same, thanks," Kris said.

"Do you need a minute to look over the menu or do you know what you'd like?"

"Can we start with an appetizer combo?" Charlie asked. "We probably need a minute to decide on lunch."

"Sure, hon. I'll just go put this order in," Sherri said as she walked away.

"So, everything here is good," Charlie explained. "I'm gonna have the steak tips. I don't like the peppers and onions, so I just have them plain. The combo platter has potato skins; golden wings--like buffalo wings, but not as hot; and mozzarella sticks. Their burgers are really good. Get whatever strikes your fancy. It's my treat."

Kris shook his head. "No, I can pay."

Charlie laughed. "We go to a private boarding school, I have no doubt that you can pay, it's not about that. This is your welcome to New Hampshire lunch. I went through three roommates last year, all of them headaches, and I get the feeling that you and I are going to fit together so much better than any of those guys."

"Me, too," Kris replied as he smiled shyly.

"'Bout time you two got here," Alex chastised Benji and Oliver as they were shown to the table.

"Cool hair, Dyson," Benji said as he sat down, ignoring his brother.


"Did Z do that?"

"He did," Dyson replied. "He said to say 'Hi'."

"He's a character," Benji grinned. "He's sweet, but he loves Alex."

Alex smirked. "That's cuz you won't let him cut that mop of yours."

"I let him give me a trim, but he wants to cut it all off."

"Don't let him do that," Oliver protested. "I love your long hair."

Benji leaned across the table and looked closely at Dyson. "Dice, what happened to your eyes?"

Dyson smiled. "Alex got me some colored contacts."

Alex nodded. "I figured with the new hair color and cut and the change in eye color it would be harder for whoever was looking for him to find him."

"New clothes will help too," Oliver offered. "If you fit in more with the other kids at school, then it won't raise any suspicions."

"That's next on the agenda," Alex said. "So what did you guys do this morning?"

"Actually, it was an eventful morning," Benji replied. He then told the others about Jewel's colic and Oliver's encounter with the poison ivy.

"So you really are immune to plant-based toxins and poisons?" Dyson asked Oliver.

"It would appear so," Oliver replied. "Though, I'm not sure how one tests that theory."

"There are certain plants whose effects wouldn't be fatal," Dyson offered. "But you'd still risk getting sick."

"But with Alex and me watching him, we could help if something went wrong," Benji suggested.

"That might be what this is all about," Dyson said.

"Come again?" Alex asked.

"The Prophecy has been around since the powers were first bestowed on the families," Dyson explained. "Thousands of years ago, when the powers were first given, none of the families knew of the others. The world was a place where everyone thought they were the only ones on it. The only people who knew about the four families were my father's order, the librarians, the recorders.

"We never knew why some of the powers died out faster than the others. Was it because they were harder to use, they took a stronger toll on the user, they couldn't be handled or they weren't of much use? But there had to be a reason that the prophecy called for the powers to be brought back when the five chosen sons came together. That's something we could never figure out. Another 'why'.

"But it's starting to click now. Benji and Alex started things by being twins and sparking each other's powers. Then you met Oliver and he went from an 'intuition' to gaining his powers and you two became stronger. Now, we're seeing how you can use your powers together. That might be a key part to it. Bringing the five together, because they knew that alone you couldn't survive, or at least the powers couldn't." Dyson thought for a moment. "That might be why Oliver ended up here in the first place. Think about it: your powers are very similar, only Alex and Benji's work on people and Oliver's works on animals and plants, so it makes sense to put Oliver with you to work together."

"So you think that when we find the other two they'll be together?" Benji asked.

"It wouldn't surprise me," Dyson answered. "Water and Fire are considered opposites, but those were the first two sets of powers to die out. Maybe together they temper each other or something. We won't know for sure until we find them."

"So if Benji and Oliver are supposed to be together and the Fire and Water guys are supposed to be together, what about me?" Alex asked.

Dyson smiled. "This is all guesswork, Alex. We could be off base or there could be other plans for you. We just don't know. It's all destined to happen, but none of us have been let in on the master plan."

"So you're saying we have no choice."

"I think there are higher powers at work here that set things in motion long before any of us were born," Dyson replied. "I don't know how much control any of us have over this. The fact that you were all born on the same day, that you're all here, it's all pre-ordained."

"What about you?" Benji asked.

Dyson shrugged. "That's the question. Given the forces at work, I would almost think that I'm supposed to be here. I don't know about what happened to my father, if that was part of the plan or if there are darker forces at play here."

"Do you think your father's death was coincidence or was it related to this?" Oliver asked.

"I'm positive it has something to do with the prophecy," Dyson answered. "Father rarely went out, didn't work, mainly stayed at home and focused on the prophecy and working with me to interpret the writings that had been left behind. He wasn't ostentatious, so there wouldn't be a reason to target him for money and the man that I took out getting out of the house was not a burglar."

"Took out?" Alex asked.

"Yeah, I found my father's body and I wasn't sure if the house was empty, so I snuck up to my room to get my stuff from the safe."

"You had a safe in your room?" Alex interrupted.

Dyson nodded. "Would you look in a sixteen-year-old's room for the safe?"

"Good point."

"As I was trying to slip down the back stairs a man came out of my father's bedroom. He was dressed in a very expensive business suit. He looked more like banker than a robber. I caught him off guard and knocked him out and then ran like hell. I'm sure he wasn't alone, but I didn't see anyone else," Dyson explained. "When father's murder finally hit the papers a few days later, they were looking for me."

"Wouldn't they be anyways?" Benji asked.

"Father and I lived a very solitary existence," Dyson replied. "I had some acquaintances from school, but no close friends and no one ever came to the house. We had a cleaning lady that came in once a week. She had just come that morning, so the only way anyone would have found father would have been if I or the killers had reported it. I didn't, just for that reason. I figured if they did report it, it would be their way of trying to flush me out."

"Then it's just as well that Alex got your hair fixed and your lenses," Oliver said. "It would appear that you're safer that way."

"Speaking of safe, I guess I should tell you guys, since Alex knows and I told your dads this morning," Dyson started, "I'm armed."

"Armed?" Benji asked.

"I have a gun, that I am trained to use and licensed to carry, although since I am changing my name I'll have to fix the license as well. I also have some knives in my bag."


"Simple reason? I don't have powers like you guys do. You and Alex have powers that can be used offensively or defensively, Oliver's really can't. I'm sure we'll find uses for them we haven't thought of yet, but for now, part of my job is to protect you until we can get the five together."

"What'll you do in school?" Oliver asked. "You can't carry a gun or knives in a California school…at least not without ending up in hot water."

"I know," Dyson responded. "I've been thinking about it. I need to get a car, but until I do, I can probably lock them in Benji's truck during the day."

Benji shook his head violently. "Nope. You can't have them on school property at all. They need to stay at home."

"In that case, I'll just have to rely on my fists and my brains; I survived the streets when I was a kid that way, so I'm sure I can do it now." Dyson looked between Benji and Alex. "You two are able to call each other telepathically, right?"

"It used to be pretty one-sided, but not anymore," Alex grinned.

"Then we're covered."

"How?" Benji asked.

"Alex told me you and Oliver have all the same classes and I'm going to make sure that Alex and I have the same thing, that way there will always be two of us and you two are always linked."

"How can you be sure you'll get the same classes as Alex?" Oliver asked.

Dyson rolled his eyes. "Once I have the computers set up, it will be child's play to create fake transcripts for me and to make them match Alex's curriculum and if that doesn't work, I'll have 'Uncle' Kai call the school and insist I need the emotional support of my 'cousin' Alex."

Benji and Oliver laughed and Alex pouted.

"If we're cousins, I can't do this," Alex said as he leaned in and kissed Dyson deeply.

Dyson's cheeks reddened as he sat back in his seat. "Ok, we're distant cousins," he sighed.

Charlie lay in bed enjoying the peace and quiet. He loved holiday weekends. Normally, all ten rooms on the floor would be occupied and even with curfew enforced the noise on a Saturday night would prevent him from getting any rest before six a.m. practice on Sunday. Of course, now that most of the floor was away for the weekend, there was no practice tomorrow. But he knew that he could head over to the pool while Kris was having his orientation with Dylan and get some laps in.

He looked over at Kris. The big blond lay on his side with his back to Charlie. He had kicked off all his blankets. Charlie's eyes fixated on the muscles in Kris' back. His white skin almost glowed in the light of the full moon coming in from the window.

Kris was clad only in a pair of black bikini briefs.

Charlie had been happy when they got ready to turn in and Kris had no qualms about stripping down. Of course, there was the obvious reason, that he enjoyed the show. For someone who claimed they played no sports, Kris was in amazing shape. His full pecs, bulging biceps and washboards abs made Charlie dizzy. Charlie's eyes hungrily traced the thin trail of light blond hair that went from Kris' navel and stopped at the top of his briefs. He swallowed hard when he saw the size of the bulge in Kris' briefs.

Charlie was also happy that he had a roommate with no hang-ups about dressing and his body. His last roommate, Alistair, had been so uptight that he would not even change his socks if Charlie was in the room. He would go across the hall to the bathroom and lock himself in a stall to change clothes. He insisted on wearing flannel pajamas and had tried to convince Charlie that it was 'proper' for him to do the same. Since he spent half his time in a Speedo, Charlie didn't see a need to sleep in anything more than briefs. If he had a private room and didn't have to worry about middle of the night fire drills, he'd prefer to sleep in the nude.

Luckily, he'd only had to put up with Alistair for the two weeks of the semester, when only the student athletes and select volunteers returned early. Charlie spoke to Dylan and he was able to find Alistair a roommate who was also on the debate team, leaving Charlie with a private room until Kris arrived.

Charlie didn't know what it was, but something about Kris felt right to him. It went beyond the simple physical attraction he felt for him. He was sixteen and gay, he felt a physical attraction for ninety percent of the guys on the swim team and probably a good portion of those in his classes as well. No, it was far more than that. He was determined to just be a good friend to Kris and help him adjust. He seemed to need a friend in the worst way. He knew that there was no chance that this blond god was gay, but he was a really great guy and someone he could get along with for the next three years.


Charlie turned and looked towards Kris' bed.

"Kris," he whispered. "Are you ok?"

"Daddy, please stop."

Kris was flailing on the bed.

Charlie jumped out of his bed and ran over to Kris'.

Kris' hair was plastered to his head and face, his whole body drenched in sweat.

Charlie sat on the edge of the bed and clicked on the bedside lamp.

"Kris," he said gently, laying a hand on Kris' arm. "Shit, you're burning up."

Kris continued to mumble and moan in his sleep.

"Kris, wake up," Charlie said as he gripped Kris' bicep and shook him.

"NO!! DON'T TOUCH ME!!" Kris screamed as his eyes opened wide.

There was a loud pop as the bulb in the bedside lamp shattered.

"Kris! It's me, Charlie, you're having a bad dream. You're ok."

Kris' eyes focused. "What? Charlie? Huh?"

"Shh, you're ok," Charlie said gently. "You were having a bad dream and when I tried to wake you, you freaked a little." He looked at the lamp. "I guess we had a power surge too, cuz your light bulb blew up. Are you ok?"

Kris sat up. "I think so. I don't remember what I was dreaming."

"You mentioned your father."

Kris shook his head. "I don't know," he mumbled unconvincingly.

"Well, it's over now," Charlie said patting Kris' hand gently. "Are you sure you feel ok? You were sweating bullets and you felt like you had a fever."

"I feel ok now."

Charlie leaned in and put the back of his hand against Kris' forehead. It was still damp from sweat but it did feel much cooler to the touch.

"Maybe it was just the exertion of the dream," he said. "Oh, shit."


"There's broken glass on the floor from the light bulb. There's not enough light to see it all and I've got nothing on my feet. I could probably make the light switch by the door or we could pound on the wall. Dylan and Jesse are probably still up."

"No, just stay here with me," Kris suggested.

"Are you sure?"

Kris smiled. "I'm sure; besides, you can't take up much room."

"And here come the 'runt' jokes."

Kris pulled Charlie down so he was lying next to him. "There will be no 'runt' jokes while I'm around. I'll kick some ass," he said seriously.

Charlie smiled. He tried to maneuver himself so that he was as close to the edge of the bed as possible, but Kris wrapped his arm around him and pulled the smaller boy closer.

"Uh, Kris."


"You do remember me telling you I was gay, right?"

Kris turned so that he was facing Charlie. He gazed into Charlie's black eyes and leaned forward and gently kissed his lips.

"Me, too."

Charlie sighed and rested his head on Kris' firm chest and the two fell into a blissful sleep.

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