This is a sexually explicit story (at times) involving homosexuality. By continuing to read, you affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to this story.
The following is a fictitious story with no real basis or credibility. It is solely for the enjoyment of the reader. It's all just fun. It does not imply anything about the sexual preferences or lifestyle of Justin Timberlake or any other celebrity mentioned in the story.
Sister Agatha Rose set down her bible, rubbing her tired eyes.
She'd been reading for three hours, finding no solace in the good book.
Her mind was troubled.
The news from Father Nico that morning was troublesome in itself.
She'd devoted her life to God for over forty years.
Even tragedy and pain hadn't destroyed that rock of faith that was her soul.
She pushed her wheelchair across the room, opening the door to her bedroom.
This chair had been her companion for over thirty years, a tragic accident joining the two.
She rolled gently down the hallway, the far door opening.
Father Nicolas Barosa walked into the hallway, smiling at the woman rolling towards him.
"Good afternoon, Sister Aggie. How goes God's will?"
"It goes as always, to the hearts of all of us. How are you doing Father? Has your cousin regained consciousness?"
"Yes, he's awake. But the news isn't all well. The bomb has destroyed his eyesight and injured him greatly."
The nun crossed herself, lowering her head, a silent prayer for a hurt soul.
"God gives us all great challenges. We walk through them with his love and our faith."
The priest smiled at the older sister, seeing her giving heart for a stranger.
"How are our charges?"
"They are all as they've always been. All with hearts of love, although some still remain silent." she said, opening another door, Father Nico holding it open while she rolled through.
Father Nico looked into the small room, seeing the sleeping form.
"No change, as always. It's been so long." he said.
"Yes, such a lost soul."
"How are Manuel and Tisa?" he asked, the nun smiling up at him.
"Tisa smiled this morning, I saw it as plain as day. A good sign."
Father Nico smiled.
"Manuel's faith shows greatly. He spent three hours in therapy this morning. Courage runs through him."
"He has a great task master."
The nun laughed, rolling back out of the room.
Father Nico took one more look at the person laying in the bed.
The man had lain there for a long time.
Lost on life's journey.
His path only darkness.
Father Nico had worked with Sister Aggie at this hospice for over fifteen years.
The man in the bed had been here when Nico had first walked in.
Manuel had been here for three years.
A tragic car accident robbing him of half his body.
But that young man hadn't given up, gaining his movement back slowly.
He still couldn't walk, but there was a faint hope.
Tisa was paralyzed with a rare form of polio since she'd been a child.
Now, at eighteen, she was basically completely paralyzed.
A smile from her was a small sign of hope.
Father Nico visited all the other rooms with the sister, seeing all their charges as normal.
"So much hope, but so little change." he quietly said.
The nun stopped her wheelchair, looking up at him.
"To have faith in God is to have hope. I sense something is about to happen. Small signs of hope have been showing. Joseph moved."
Father Nico looked at her with shock.
"I saw it myself. His finger moved."
Father Nico looked at a cross hanging on the wall.
"He's here. Our Messenger is here. I think we're in for a weekend of miracles." she said, taking his hand in his.
Father Nico looked into her tired blue eyes.
"God's coming to town, Nicolas. And we'll never be the same."
Michael awoke in the darkness, the blackness deep.
He felt himself not alone.
The voice of his mind softly spoke to him.
"Fear not the darkness, my friend. There is no darkness in our hearts."
"Am I awake?"
"You, to all others, appear asleep. For me and yourself, we walk together in the darkness."
"Why are you here?"
Michael felt a gaiety in his soul, a soft echo of laughter.
"We need to talk, my friend. You need awareness for the upcoming moment of truths."
"Why am I blind? What good can come of this?"
"You know in your heart the reasoning behind that, and that it is your destiny. You chose this, remember? For him."
"Is he here?"
"No, Michael. Not yet."
"Will I ever see him? I need to let him know I forgive him."
The voice was silent for a moment, then softly spoke.
"That shall free his heart, Michael. And he can then go to him."
Michael teared up at those words, a sense of happiness calming his soul.
"None of them know, not even Justin." he said softly, worried about that truth.
"Do not fear his reaction, he will see the love behind it."
"But it will hurt him so much."
"No, my child. He will have your love, regardless. And you will have his."
Michael teared up, walking forward.
"Where are we going?"
"We walk the path of life. The corridor of your mind that you've blocked off. You need to see the truth of yourself, Michael. The truth behind your destiny."
"I saw that in the Hallway of Truth."
"No, Michael. One part remained hidden from you. One part that answers the truth of who you are."
"I know who I am. Or, in a sense, who I must be."
The voice laughed, Michael surprised at that reaction.
"What's so funny about that?"
"Oh, sweet Michael. Your love and kindness know no limits. Always thinking of others. It's time to see the real you. The mirror will shine now for only you. For what was and for what must be. Look onto its surface and see thy true self."
The darkness seemed to lighten, Michael actually seeing the contours of the hallway he walked down.
At the end of the hallway, he saw in the receding darkness a black mirror hanging on the end wall.
Its blackness melded it into the wall, almost hiding it.
He walked toward it, unsure if he wanted to see himself in this mirror.
"What mirror is this?"
"This is the mirror of life. It shows a man as he must live and as he has and will live."
Michael took in a deep breath, walking right up to it.
The mirror was completely black, as black as ebony.
Then it suddenly changed.
Michael stared into it, seeing his reflection appearing immediately.
He stared in awe at the face that looked back.
He raised his hand, the reflection mirroring the action.
"Who am I? Who is this I see?"
"It is you, Michael. As you are, as you should be."
He felt a hand upon his shoulder, turning and looking into two hazel eyes, filled with deep love.
"Yes, my friend. I've walked with you through all of this. Come, my friend. We need to talk."
Michael nodded, seeing a bench in the darkness, the man sitting down upon it.
Michael took one last look into the mirror, staring at the blue eyes staring back.
His own golden eyes teared as he turned, walking towards the bench, and the truth.
Michael sat up, feeling a hand go in his.
"Right here, my love. Are you okay? You were talking in your sleep."
Michael lay back down again, his head moving around.
"Voices in the darkness. A crying lion gives hope."
Justin looked at Josh, who stood on the other side of the bed.
"What are you talking about, Mico?"
"What time is it, Jus?"
Justin sat on the edge of the bed, leaning forward and kissing Michael's lips, Michael kissing back.
"It's about ten o'clock, Friday morning."
"Has it all been arranged?"
"Yes, Michael. You'll be leaving here late this afternoon. Alberto's commandeering a private ambulance. I still think you should stay here and get well. You're still recovering, Mico." Josh said, his hand going in Michael's.
Justin looked up at Josh, seeing his deep love for both of them.
"Thank you for caring, Joshy. But I must go forward. My Jus and I shall heal what we can, and I shall go forward. It is my destiny."
Justin wiped his eyes, feeling Michael's determination.
"Where are the kids, Jus?"
"Rach is on her way, Mico. They should be here shortly. Up for some breakie, my love?"
Michael nodded, Josh raising the bed up slowly, Michael in a sitting position.
Michael sighed, Justin putting a tray on a moving table in front of him.
Michael's hands went forward, knocking over a cup.
"It's okay, love. Just take it slow."
Michael nodded, his fingers finding the edge of the tray.
Justin and Josh exchanged looks, Justin helping Michael with the tray's lid.
"You have scrambled eggs, toast, Jell-o, and a few slices of fruit. Just let me help you, Mico."
"Thanks, love. I'm useless without my eyes."
"You are no such thing, Mikey! Nothing, not even this, will waver your living your life!" Josh said, handing Justin a fork.
Michael smiled, his hand squeezing Josh's.
"And where is your better half?" Michael said, Justin feeding him a fork full of eggs.
"Lance will be here shortly. He's just coming from the Villa with Rach and our three kids."
Michael leaned back, chewing the mouthful of eggs, swallowing.
"Little Noah. My brother of darkness."
Josh looked at Michael, Justin looking at him also.
"Noah is a special child, Josh. And God loves him." Michael said, quietly.
Josh smiled, sitting on the other side of Michael.
"Yes, he truly is. He's my little angel." Josh said, smiling a tearful smile.
Michael smiled, squeezing his hand again.
"Your love for him shall always be in his heart. And soon his happiness shall flood your and Lance's hearts with joy."
Justin looked at Josh.
"What are you talking of, my love?"
"I'd like some more eggs, Jus. Do I have to beg?" Michael smiled, running his hand along Justin's cheek.
Justin smiled, feeding him some more.
Josh's eyes remained on Michael, mulling his words over in his mind.
The door of the room opened; Lonnie, Rachel and Lance walked in, Josh smiling brightly.
The three little ones walked in front of them, all smiles.
"Dada! Papa!" Shauna gleefully screamed, running towards her fathers.
Justin got off the bed, sweeping up his little angel.
Darian and Noah were laughing and running towards him as well.
Justin dumped Shauna on the bed, she crawling up to Michael's face.
"Morning, Papa! You better?"
"Yes, my little angel. Papa's feeling a lot better."
Justin smiled, picking up Darian, Lance picking up Noah.
The two little boys joined their sister on the bed, all climbing on top of Michael.
All three kissed his cheeks, Michael smiling.
"And how are the three monkeys this morning?" he said, humor in his voice.
They all giggled, the people around the bed smiling.
"We happy Papa! We have big breakie!" Darian giggled, Justin smiling down at his son.
"That's wonderful. Papa's trying to have his. Will his three angels help him?"
They all opened their eyes in wonder.
"Yes, Papa. We's helps. Me feeds you." Darian said, grabbing a piece of toast off the plate.
Justin smiled, seeing that Michael was including them in his love.
The three little ones carefully fed him, Michael eating it all.
Darian helped Noah feed Michael, the little boy smiling widely.
"And how's my Noah Daniel this morning?"
"Me great, Unky Mikey. Me's with Darry, so me's happy."
Michael smiled, Shauna wiping his mouth with a napkin.
"All done, Papa! You eats it all."
Michael smiled, Justin moving the table back, the three little ones snuggling against Michael.
"Thank you my angels. Papa's full."
Justin smiled, everyone quietly sitting around them.
Noah moved upwards, kissing Michael's cheek.
"Me helps you, Unky. What you need?"
Michael smiled, kissing the little boy's cheek.
"I need only your smile and love, little Noah. This is going to be a good day."
Noah smiled, looking around as if he was sensing something.
"Me tinks so too, Unky." he said, snuggling against Darian.
Everyone exchanged glances, their eyes returning to the children snuggled against Michael.
The group quietly talked to Michael, Michael feeling all their love.
An hour later, Gregory and Alberto walked into the room.
Justin saw the tiredness on both their faces.
"Hello, Michael. How are you doing?" his grandfather said, Justin giving him his chair.
"I'm doing okay, how goes things? I sense deep tiredness in you, Poppa."
"It was a long night, Michael. We have disturbing news."
Michael nodded, laying back.
Lance, Josh, and Justin picked up the three little ones, Rachel walking them over to a couch to sit and play at, her bag of toys opening.
"What's happened, Grandfather? It's okay, tell me."
"All the council, save Alexander and Theo, have ordered the family to leave Villa Tavarro. And they have. They've walked away from your side." Alberto said, lowering his head.
Michael's hand went out, Alberto taking it, feeling the love emanating off his grandson.
"The flock have been lead to the slaughter. Evil has fooled them." Michael said, his voice calm.
"The council has denounced you as a heretic, as a fraud. And my brethren are believing it. Your being hurt has been heralded as a sign that God marks you as a fraud."
Michael nodded, squeezing his grandfather's hand.
"Even now they don't believe." Alberto said, his eyes full of tears.
"Do not worry, Poppa. I shall make them believe. And the family will be undone from the evilness that leads them. What of Victor?"
"He is being again proclaimed as the new leader. And they're now starting to refer to him as the Commander of Truth."
Justin's eyes went to Alberto, seeing the hurt there.
Michael began to laugh, his loud laughter surprising everyone.
He laughed, and laughed, finally calming down.
Paulo, Jake, Marco and Emile walked into the room.
They all smiled, having heard Michael's laughter in the hallway.
"Believe me, Poppa. Victor Falisca couldn't command a toilet, let alone our family!"
Alberto looked shocked at Michael's candidness.
"That's a harsh criticism, Michael. Albeit a fair one." Justin said, looking at his husband.
Michael smiled, sighing.
"My opinion of Victor Falisca is unchanged. The man is a monster. He chose the path he walks. God will be his judge. And the reward shall be to his disliking."
Alberto looked at Michael, staring at his frankness.
"You know what will happen to him?"
"Victor's days are numbered. And he's walking on borrowed time. Fredrick doesn't leave loose ends."
Alberto exchanged looks with Paulo, both men quietly listening to Michael.
"Do not fear Victor, Grandfather. His attack on you shall result in a very revealing moment."
Michael took Alberto's hand again.
"Tell me everything that's happened, Grandfather. I need to know everything."
Around four o'clock Doctor Chavallo walked into Michael's room.
He smiled, seeing the two kids snuggled up against him, both sleeping.
"Now, that's a touching sight." he smiled, Justin smiling at him.
"Yes, they all dozed off a little while ago." he said, rising up from his chair.
Josh and Lance were sitting on the couch, both nodding at the doctor.
Noah was asleep in Lance's lap.
"I'm awake, Josef." Michael softly said, not moving.
Doctor Chavallo smiled, going up to the bed quietly.
"Everything is finalized, Michael. Are you sure this is the best thing for you? You're still weak and deeply injured."
Michael smiled at him, Justin's hand now in his.
"Yes, Josef. It must be this way. I want to thank you for all you've done for me. But I need to leave. You know what's at stake."
The doctor nodded, looking at Justin.
"Your grandfather has organized an ambulance. It will be here within the hour. Let's get you all set up. I'm going to give you the once-over before you're moved." the doctor said, lowering the railing on the bed.
Justin and Josh gently picked up the sleeping angels, Darian snoring.
The doctor smiled, pulling the blanket off Michael's chest.
He checked out Michael's legs, Michael moving both.
He removed Michael's gown, Justin and Josh staring at his injured body.
Justin held in a sob, Josh's arm around him.
Michael's chest was dark with bruises, his hip a black shadow.
"The bruising has reduced greatly, actually. Your hip feels like it's healed. Your legs are healing nicely, almost back to normal. It's truly remarkable! So unbelievable!"
"The pain is greatly reduced, the circulation restored. I can't walk yet, but it shall happen. It must. I have a voyage to make." Michael said softly.
Justin looked at Lance, Lance remaining quiet.
The doctor smiled, helping Michael move a bit, getting more comfortable.
"Well, I've done what I can. The rest is up to you, our Messenger."
Michael smiled, taking the doctor's hand.
"Yes, it all comes down to all of us."
The doctor teared up, feeling the deep faith radiating off the man.
"I'll be coming this evening to check on you again, once you've settled into the Villa."
Michael smiled, thanking the doctor again.
"Yes, thank you Josef." Justin said, smiling, Darian still snoring in his arms.
"I could do no less for such a great man." he said, bowing.
The doctor walked out of the room, Josh and Lance watching him leave.
Justin had told both of them about Josef's family, both sharing a deep sympathy for the young man.
"He walks with his family's honor on his shoulders. Time will heal his heart." Michael softly said, Justin taking his hand.
"Did you bring me some clothes, love?"
"Yes, Mico. We brought you a sweat shirt and pants. Easier to get into."
Michael nodded, Lance quietly looking at him.
Half an hour later, Gregory and four black-suited men walked into the hospital room.
"Everything is ready, Michael." he said, his hand going to Michael's shoulder.
"Thank you, Gregory. So am I. Let's get this moving." Michael said, laying in the bed, his clothes now changed.
"Four brethren are here to help move you." Gregory said, smiling tenderly at him.
Michael nodded, remaining still.
Gregory nodded, the men walking out of the room, returning immediately with a stretcher on wheels.
Justin and his friends stood back, the kids now awake and in their arms.
They all watched the four men tenderly move Michael slowly from the bed to the stretcher.
Michael didn't move, but Justin saw the look of pain on his face, Michael's teeth gritted together.
Within moments he was on the stretcher, the four bowing to him, Michael oblivious to the motion.
Justin thanked them, taking Michael's hand in his, Gregory taking Darian from him.
Darian looked down at his fathers.
"We go now, Papa."
Michael forced a smile to his face, Darian smiling back.
The men moved the stretcher forward, Justin walking beside Michael.
The ambulance drove through Zamora, slowly proceeding through the town.
Four black cars flanked it, filled with the Stavros guards.
The kids all drove with Lance and Josh, having left before the ambulance departed.
Justin sat in the ambulance beside Michael, looking out the window at the passing streets.
He saw people standing together watching the ambulance.
People he recognized from the Feast.
They all stood silent, no sign of respect or adulation.
No hats removed or bowing respect shown.
Justin knew that they knew who was in the ambulance.
The word easily would have spread.
He saw the result of Victor's malignant rhetoric.
Michael had lost the faith of his family.
The ambulance drove past the church, a large group standing outside.
He saw all their eyes upon their vehicle.
Michael's head moved, as if sensing something.
"We are passing the church of St. Aurelia?"
"Yes, Mico. There are a lot of people outside. The evening service must be starting."
Michael nodded, squeezing Justin's hand.
He sensed Justin's concern for those staring, glaring eyes.
Their quietness was shattered by a rock hitting the window.
Then followed by another.
The sound filled the ambulance, one small window shattering.
The ambulance halted.
Within seconds it was surrounded, a circle of black-suited men wrapping around it.
Justin looked out the window seeing the people standing on the church steps.
In some hands he saw more rocks.
Justin sensed a confrontation at hand.
He saw Gregory walking in front of his men, facing the church's congregation.
"I'll be right back, Mico." Justin said, moving to the door.
Michael's hand caught his.
"Your faith and my love shall be enough."
Justin smiled, stepping out of the ambulance.
Gregory turned, seeing Justin stepping out of the ambulance.
"Stay there, Justin. This doesn't look good."
Justin continued moving, walking up to Gregory's side.
He looked around him, seeing Michael's ambulance surrounded with the Stavros clan.
His love was protected.
He looked towards the church, seeing the Tavarro congregation still standing there.
He still saw the rocks.
He walked forward, Gregory looking concerned.
Victor walked out from the middle of the group, staring down at Justin.
"The airport is in the other direction, spawn of the devil! Take your heathen lover home!"
Justin stared at him, then looked at everyone else.
"Who threw those rocks? Who threw a rock against a brother of faith? All of you a few days ago saw the truth in my Michael's eyes! The truth of Adrian, and the faith of God! And here you stand and stare at him with hatred?? I thought the Tavarro faith and heart were strong! Your deeds today are a blemish on your ancestor's heart! In two days, my Michael shall see justice done! The next rock thrown against him shall find its way back to the thrower! Mark my words on my faith in him! Let my Michael return to his grandfather's home in peace! The pain he carries he carries for all of you!"
Victor laughed, sneering at him.
"Your Michael is a demon! Sent to destroy this family! Tell him to leave! For he shall not walk into this church! The council decrees this! He is not a Tavarro, and never will be!"
"My husband is returning to the Villa Tavarro, welcomed there by his grandfather. He is more a Tavarro than all that I see here today! There he shall recover. And then it shall be finished. Prepare for justice, sons of Adrian! The moment fast approaches!"
Justin turned, walking back towards the ambulance.
A rock was airborne in a moment, heading right for Justin's head.
Victor, himself, had thrown it.
It stopped an inch from Justin, Justin turning and looking at it as it stayed motionless in midair.
All those standing around him stared in complete shock.
He grabbed the rock out of the air, sending it back from whence it came.
It hit Victor right on the chin, the man falling to his knees, blood spouting from the gash on his chin.
All the Tavarro brethren backed away from him.
Justin stared at him, his blue eyes locked in his as he struggled to rise up.
"Michael's word is God's. Prepare for his answer."
Justin walked back to the ambulance, climbing back in.
The Stavros brethren climbed back into their cars, the procession continuing, no one stopping them.
Justin looked back out the shattered window, seeing the people all staring at him.
In their eyes now he saw fear and uncertainty.
A hand went in his, Justin looked down at Michael.
"Thank you, my love. Your courage defending me fills my heart. I shall have it with me always."
Justin leaned down kissing him tenderly.
"I'll always defend you, my love."
Michael smiled, Justin snuggling against him.
Michael sighed, Justin fluffing his pillows.
"Yes, that's perfect, Jus." he smiled, Justin kissing his cheek.
Michael lay in their bedroom, surrounded by all his family.
He sensed them all, feeling their love.
They'd all been downstairs waiting at the front door when he'd returned.
His six brothers of love had carried his stretcher upstairs.
He was now settled in his bed, smiling at everyone.
But Justin felt his tiredness, the move taking its toll on him.
"Let's all leave Michael now, he needs rest." Justin said softly, their family quietly walking out of the room.
Lance and Josh hugged Michael gently, Noah kissing his cheek.
Justin smiled as everyone left.
Josh and Lance walked out of the room, Alberto wiping his eyes.
"He's in such pain, you can see it on his face. How can he strive to do what he wants to do? It will hurt him even more."
"Never give up on Michael's faith in himself. He says he'll do this, I know in my heart he will." Lance said, Josh kissing his cheek.
"I'm going back to help the guys with the resting room." Josh said to Lance, Lance nodding, Vicky putting her arm around him.
"Come on, Lancy. The kids all want to go swimming. Rach has the twins ready."
Lance nodded, walking down the hallway, Alberto and Josh walking behind them.
All the men, servants and houseguests were diligently working on repairing the destruction the bomb had done to the resting room.
The fireplace by some miracle hadn't been damaged.
Josh thought that might be because of what Michael had done to it before.
Adrian's portrait was unmarked, that in itself was a miracle.
The lions stood as always, their bodies and jeweled eyes unchanged.
Josh could have sworn they weren't like that the night of the bombing.
Michael had fallen between them, the very act Justin thought had saved his life.
The two men walked downstairs, walking into the resting room.
Joey and Chris were on a scaffold, painting the ceiling.
All the damaged furniture and grand piano had been removed, tossed out.
Alberto wasn't concerned with replacing them right away, he just wanted the room repainted and stuccoed.
Paulo, Jake, Marco and Emile were stuccoing the walks, plaster on their t-shirts.
"How can I help?" Josh asked, guiding Alberto to a chair in front of the fireplace.
"Well, Josh. Grab a bucket and tackle the fireplace, it's covered in soot." Paulo smiled at him.
"Sure thing, Paulo." he smiled, seeing a bucket and a pile of rags sitting on a half-damaged end table.
He walked back through the damaged door, going to the washroom across the foyer, filling the bucket with soapy water.
Josh walked back, setting the bucket down on the stone hearth.
He spent an hour washing the stone fireplace, Alberto walking behind him drying the marble with a chamois cloth.
Above them, the face of Adrian quietly watched them toil.
The two talked and worked together, others walking around them doing their own work.
Both men then toweled the stone again, making sure it was completely dry.
Both stepped back, admiring the gleaming shine on the smooth marble.
"Right as rain." Alberto smiled, looking up at Adrian's staring face.
Josh smiled also, looking at the stone lions he'd just finished cleaning.
He looked into the blue-jeweled eyes of the lion on the right side.
Water was leaking out of both eyes.
"Missed a spot, Alberto." he smiled, wiping the two jeweled circles.
Alberto nodded, watching Josh wipe both blue stones.
He stepped back again, Lance walking into the room, Noah in his arms.
Justin walked behind him, Darian and Shauna walking beside him, their little hands in his.
"And how did our angels enjoy their swim?" Josh said, Noah smiling at his voice.
"We's have fun, Daddy." Noah grinned, Josh smiling at Lance.
"Wow, the fireplace looks great! Not a scratch!" Lance smiled.
They all looked at it, Josh's eyes falling on the blue-eyed lion again.
It's eyes were dripping water again.
"That's strange. The water's back, Alberto."
Alberto looked again at the lion, seeing the water returned.
"Water from our wetting them must have seeped in behind the stones." Alberto said, looking confused.
Josh leaned forward again, wiping them again.
Within seconds, the eyes were clear again, then the water started slowly dripping down its face again.
To everyone it looked as if the lion was crying.
Josh put his fingers up to the blue stones, wiping them with his fingers.
The instant he touched the water he felt a surge of energy flow through him.
He stepped back in shock, Justin and Lance looking at him.
"What is it, Joshy?" Justin said, Alberto also staring at him.
"I felt something." he said quietly, rubbing his fingers together, the wetness still on them.
"What did you feel?" Lance said, putting his arm around him.
Noah moved from Lance's arms, Josh taking him in his.
"It felt like a spark of electricity. Very strange."
Everyone looked at the lion again, seeing the wetness was gone.
Josh looked surprised, knowing it had been there a moment ago.
Noah, who sat in his arms, started rubbing his eyes.
"Me got someting in my eyes, Daddy." the little boy said, Lance looking at him with concern.
"There's a lot of dust in here Josh." Lance said, Josh raising Noah's little head, rubbing both of his son's eyes gently with his still moist fingers.
Noah trembled in his arms, then smiled at him.
"Better, Noah?" Josh said with love, Noah giggling.
"Yep, Daddy. It good." the little boy smiled at him, Josh staring into his brown eyes.
To Josh they seemed different.
Brighter and softer.
"You got bootaful eyes, Daddy." the boy smiled, a smile of joyous mirth.
"What did you say, Noah?" Josh said in shocking surprise.
Noah smiled, his hand on Josh's face.
"Me sees you Daddy."
Everyone stared at the little boy in shock.
Lance was beside them in a flash, Noah looking up at him.
"You gots green eyes, Papa. You both nice wooking." he smiled, Lance taking him in his arms.
"You can see us, Noah??!!!" Lance said, his eyes filling with tears, Josh beginning to sob.
"Yes, Papa. Me sees you."
Justin and Alberto looked on in shock, both then moving toward them.
Noah looked around then down at his two little friends.
"Me sees you Darry!!" he grinned, Darian screaming with glee.
Lance knelt down, Darian and Shauna taking Noah's hands.
"You sees us Noah! We wuvs you." Shauna said giggling.
"Me sees you Shauny and Darry! Me sees everyting!" the little boy smiled, Darian kissing his cheek, Shauna hugging him.
Josh sank to his knees, hugging his lover against him along with his child.
"How in God's name is this possible? It's a miracle!" he sobbed, Justin's arm going to his shoulder.
Justin looked towards the lions.
"The water! It had to be the water! You had it on your fingers when you rubbed Noah's eyes, Joshy!" Justin said, suddenly realizing it.
Josh looked at his hands, seeing the wetness had dissipated, but still remained on his finger tips.
"The water of the Blue Lion." Alberto said softly, looking up at the portrait of Adrian.
Justin stared at the older man, Josh standing up.
"The water healed Noah, everyone!" Josh said in a loud trembling voice.
Everyone else in the room looked towards them, rushing up to them.
Chris and Paulo looked in shock, having heard Josh's words.
"Noah's healed, Josh?" Paulo said, looking at the little boy still in Lance's arms.
"Yes, Paulo! My son can see! It's a miracle!" Josh was smiling, tears of joy running down his cheeks.
Paulo and Chris, as well as Joey and the others, all hugged him, all looking at the little boy smiling with the other two kids.
Josh walked over to the lion, seeing its face now clear and dry.
"The water's gone. There is no more." Josh said, looking down at his wet fingers.
He looked towards Justin, raising his fingers.
"This is all there is left. Is it enough for Michael?"
Justin stared at his friend in shock.
In the excitement he had forgotten.
Justin suddenly realized a hope in his heart.
"Don't wipe your hands, Josh. Let's hope there's enough for Michael."
Josh grinned, Justin picking up the kids, Lance standing with Noah in his arms, everyone following them out of the room.
Michael lay in his bed, his torso elevated.
Vicky was sitting beside him, quietly rubbing his arm.
"You sleeping, Mikey?"
Michael moved, Vicky seeing his face change a bit.
Then she saw tears falling on his cheeks from under his bandaged eyes.
"Thank you, Adrian." he softly said, Vicky looking at him with concern.
The door of the room opened wide, Justin and Josh rushing in, followed by Lance and all of their friends.
"Michael, something wonderful has happened!" Justin said, sitting on the bed, Darian and Shauna climbing out of his arms and crawling up to their father's sides.
Michael smiled, sitting up a bit, his little ones hugging him.
"Yes, I know Jus. Where's Noah?"
Everyone looked surprised, Vicky looking puzzled, standing now.
Chris leaned in to her, his arm going around her, whispering into her ear.
"What?? You've got to be kidding!" she said in shock, looking at the little boy in Lance's arms.
Noah smiled at her, staring right at her.
Lance sat the boy down on the bed, Noah climbing up onto Michael's chest.
Darian and Shauna smiled at him, Noah smiling widely.
"Hi, Unky Mike! Me sees you!"
Michael smiled, the little boy kissing his lips.
He felt the joy and happiness coming from the little boy.
"That's wonderful Noah Daniel! I'm so happy for you! God's given you a joyful gift. Cherish it and all that you see."
"Me do's, Unky. Me sees my family. Me wuvs dem." he smiled, looking up at Lance and Josh, both men in tears.
"We all love you, Noah." Michael said, kissing his cheek.
Vicky picked the boy up, Noah smiling at her.
"Hi, Noah. I'm Vicky." she smiled, kissing his cheek.
"I know." he smiled, wanting her to put him back down on the bed with Darian and Shauna.
Vicky smiled, setting him down with the other two.
Josh and Justin looked at each other, Justin taking Michael's hand in his.
"Water ran out of the lion's eyes, Mico. Josh touched it and then he touched Noah's eyes. Noah can see now. The water was some kind of miraculous curative. But it's vanished as quickly as it came. The only remaining bits are on Joshy's fingers. We want to use it on you."
Michael's head turned a bit, as if he was looking at Josh.
"That water shall do me no good, Jus. It wasn't meant for me."
"Of course it will work on you, my love. It worked on Noah Daniel. He can see, Mico! He can see!"
"Yep, me cans Unky! Pease wit us helps you!" Noah said, his hand going to Michael's face.
Michael rubbed the little boy's shoulder, smiling at him.
"Alright Noah, for you we can try."
Noah smiled widely, Lance picking him up.
Vicky picked up Shauna, Chris picking up Darian.
Zach sat down on the bed on the opposite side of Justin.
"Let me remove your bandage, Mikey. Then we'll see what Josh can do."
"Alright, Zacky. But whatever happens, don't be alarmed. I'll come back."
Everyone looked at Michael, not sure of what he meant.
"The kids don't need to see this, Jus. Or my eyes."
Justin nodded, Lonnie and Rachel quietly taking them out of the room.
Once they left, everyone's eyes were focused on the bed.
Zach quietly removed the bandage, unwrapping the gauze.
He removed it, removing two gauze pads that covered both eyes.
Everyone gasped, seeing the burn marks surrounding both eyes.
Both eyelids appeared to be almost black with scarred tissue.
Justin sobbed, Michael squeezing his hand.
"It's alright, Jus. It's alright." Michael said quietly.
Zach was in tears, as were all the people surrounding them.
"That bad, Zacky?" Michael said, reaching his hand upwards, Zach stopping him.
"The tissue is still sensitive, don't touch them Michael."
Michael's hand lowered, sensing Zach's caring.
Zach looked at Justin, then at Josh.
Zach stood up again, Josh sitting down in his place.
He took a deep breath, looking at Michael.
"I'm going to gently touch both of your eyes, Michael. I'll try to be gentle."
"Alright, Josh. Be careful. And believe me, with all my heart, it's not your fault."
Josh looked at Justin, Justin nodding.
Josh looked at his fingers, seeing the water was almost gone.
He raised them, gently moving them to Michael's face.
He moved forward, his fingers lightly touching Michael's scarred eyes.
What happened next happened in an instant.
Michael screamed, his eyes immediately glowing red.
Josh was propelled backwards, flung against the wall with a hard thud.
He crashed to the floor, Michael still screaming.
Justin, Paulo and Zach were on Michael in a moment, his body convulsing and shaking.
All their eyes were filled with terror, having no idea what was going on.
Michael gasped, his voice loud and terrified.
"Take it off!!! It burns my heart!! I'm flying down the path!!"
Chris, standing beside the bed, grabbed a pitcher of water that lay there, dumping its contents in Michael's face.
The glowing red disappeared immediately, Michael's damaged eyes returned.
Michael gasped, then collapsed against the pillows.
His body went limp, Justin holding him in his arms.
"Mico? Are you alright? Talk to me!"
Justin sensed Michael's feelings, feeling him lapsing into unconsciousness.
"Come back, Mico! Stay with me!"
Lance and Joey were helping Josh up, Josh staggering to the bed, looking at Michael.
"What have I done? Oh God, what have I done?"
Justin looked up at Josh.
"He's unconscious. But I felt him slipping away from me. He's somewhere else. I don't know where he's gone."
Justin looked down at Michael, sensing nothing coming from Michael.
And that terrified him.
Michael looked around the room he was in.
It was luminous with shadows, only one lamp burning on one wall.
He didn't know this room.
It felt old and very confining.
He saw a man sitting on a marble altar in the center of the room, not five feet from him, rubbing his hands together as if to keep warm.
"Hello?" Michael said, the man not moving.
Michael spoke again louder, the man still not registering his presence.
The man lifted his head, Michael staring into Adrian's golden eyes.
Adrian stood up, looking down at the marble altar he'd been sitting on.
"I have done as thou asked, Lord. The room is ready. Shall this be my tomb?"
No answer came to him, Adrian kneeling at the altar again.
"Thank you for saving him, Lord. The water of your love has given my son back to me. I have my Raphael to love as always. Thank you for not letting the shadow of the Dracarians destroy his heart."
Michael stood in quiet silence, listening to Adrian praying to God.
A part of the wall ahead of him moved, a door appearing in the wall.
Michael could see torches behind the wall, and the darkness of the night outside.
He also thought he saw a pool of water.
Two people walked through the doorway.
One was a woman of exceptional beauty, the other a young man of about seventeen.
Adrian looked up, smiling.
He stood again, the woman hugging him tenderly.
"Sophia, my love!" Adrian smiled, then looked at the boy.
"You are well, Raphael?"
"Yes father. The pain has passed."
Adrian eyes were full of tears, hugging his young son.
"Thank God! God be praised!"
Sophia looked around the room, then at her husband.
"You have finished?"
"Yes, my love. The room is completed. I still do not know its purpose only its name. I sense it may be my tomb."
Sophia's arm went around him.
"This cannot be that. The Room of Life cannot be full of death."
Adrian kissed her gently, walking to the altar again.
It stood about three feet off the ground, about seven feet long and three feet wide.
To Michael, it did appear to be a tomb.
Adrian leaned down, kissing its marble surface.
"He is coming. I sense him here. And I sense his love."
The two others looked around the room, Sophia taking Adrian's hand.
Adrian took his son's, all three smiling.
They stood for a moment in silence.
Then Adrian smiled.
"Another time perhaps. Come my loved ones. We have to join their love."
Sophia teared up, looking down at the altar.
"It has been a long time since they were together. Artanga shall sleep forever beside her now."
Adrian nodded, looking at his son.
"Forgive him father for acting out in vengeance. I knew not what I was against."
Adrian's hand went on his son's shoulder.
"All is forgiven, my child. Your being here with us is all that matters."
His son smiled, his mother guiding him to the now opened doorway.
Adrian turned back, staring at the sheet of white marble laying before him.
"Until the day of redemption, lost one." he softly said, bending down, laying something on the marble slab.
He turned, walking quietly through the doorway and out of the stone room.
The door closed, the room sealed tight.
Michael felt it might be for an eternity.
Michael saw the lamp slowly dimming, knowing the air was leaving the airtight room.
He walked around the slab of marble, standing where Adrian stood.
He lowered himself, picking up what Adrian had lain down.
It was a gold chain, with a blue onyx stone hanging from it.
Michael turned it over, looking at it quietly.
He opened the clasp, putting the chain around his neck.
It lay against his own golden cross.
Michael looked down at the marble monolith laying before him.
He read the etched words that Adrian himself had just finished carving.
A tear fell down his cheek, Michael's eyes closing.
Justin sat beside Michael's bed, worry covering his face.
Doctor Chavallo had come and gone, telling them that Michael was in some kind of self-imposed sleep.
He and Zach had conferred, both agreeing to that diagnosis.
No attempt they made had resulted in Michael waking up.
Michael would only wake when he was ready to do that.
They'd bandaged his eyes again, the two orbs covered again.
Justin's fingers rubbed Michael's hand, his mind searching out for him.
He'd gradually felt his Mico's soul, it seeming a thousand miles away.
But the feeling had gradually been getting stronger.
Justin thought that meant he was returning.
Justin looked up, Lance staring at him from the other side of the bed.
"He's coming back, I sense him more now. It's getting stronger."
"Yes, I feel it too." Lance said quietly.
The two sat alone in the quiet room, the others having breakfast downstairs.
It had been a long night.
Justin squeezed Michael's hand, looking at both of them.
The both were adorned with the rings of their love.
The silver faith ring that matched Justin's.
The dual rings of Peter.
The gold engagement ring which had turned out to be a gift given to Peter by Aurelia.
And the wooden ring of faith, given to Peter by Jesus.
Those two rings were joined together, resting on Michael's stumped finger.
The finger that had been severed in half by Fredrick when Michael was trapped in Sarcosa.
The land of Lost Souls.
Justin sighed, remembering all the two of them had endured, and all the pain that Michael had weathered.
Justin knew that Michael had endured all that pain for him.
To be here with him, to be loved by him.
And Justin did love Michael.
With all his heart and soul.
Justin looked up into Lance's green eyes.
Lance was pointing at Michael.
Justin turned, looking at him.
Around Michael's neck hung a new gold chain.
Justin immediately recognized the stone that hung from it, it laying against the golden cross already hanging around Michael's neck.
"Where did that come from? It wasn't there a second ago!" Lance said, looking at it.
"It came from the Room of Life." Michael said, his lips moving.
Justin ran his hand across Michael's chest, looking at his face.
"Michael, you're back! Are you alright?"
"Yes, Jus. I am alright. What time is it?"
"It's almost nine o'clock in the morning, Mico." Lance said, Michael turning his head.
"Good morning, Guardian. You've been here all night guarding me?"
Lance smiled, taking Michael's hand.
"Would I do no less?" he said softly, Michael smiling.
Lance smiled, wiping his eyes.
"What happened, Michael? Why did you pass out?" Justin said, Michael feeling his worry.
"I'm okay, Jus. Don't worry, I am back."
"Where did you go, my love? I couldn't sense you at all. And your screaming before you passed out terrified all of us." Justin said, kissing his lips.
Michael kissed back, his arms embracing Justin.
"I believe I went back in time, Jus. To meet and see a loving soul."
Justin and Lance exchanged looks, Michael smiling.
"Where is everyone, Jus?"
"They're all downstairs having breakfast."
"That sounds like a plan. Do you have a pair of dark sunglasses, Lancy?"
Lance looked at Justin.
"Josh has a couple of pairs, Mikey. Why?"
"Could you bring me a pair? I'm removing these bandages, and I want to cover my eyes."
Lance looked at Justin, Justin nodding.
Lance quietly left, Justin watching Michael remove the bandages wrapped around his head.
He pulled them off, Justin remaining quiet.
Michael removed them all, then the gauze pads over his eyes.
Justin looked in surprise seeing his eyelids no longer so black.
They now looked only bruised.
"Can you get me a change of clothes, love? I want to be presentable. Something black."
Justin nodded, not sure what was going on.
He got up, walking over to their closet.
He pulled out a black silk shirt and a pair of black dockers.
He turned to go back to the bed, stopping in shock.
The clothes fell out of his hands.
Michael was standing up, his body fully erect.
He wore only boxers, Justin seeing his chest and legs unscarred.
Justin was beside him in a flash, Michael smiling.
"My legs have become seaworthy. I can walk again."
Justin teared up, wrapping his arms around his husband.
"Oh, Michael! I'm so happy!"
"I'm still blind, Justin. But I can walk and I can talk. Where are my clothes, Jus?"
Justin reluctantly released him, walking over and picking up the clothes, then returning to Michael to help him get dressed.
Lance walked back into the room, just after Michael was fully dressed.
He stopped in his tracks, staring at a standing Michael.
"Oh my God!" he stuttered, Michael smiling at him.
"You have the glasses, my friend?"
Lance looked at Justin, seeing his face covered in tears.
He walked up to Michael, putting the pair of sunglasses into his hand.
Michael smiled, putting them on.
Lance stared at his bruised eyes, watching them disappear behind the dark shades.
"Let's go to breakfast, I'm famished." Michael smiled, taking Justin's arm in his.
"Lead the way, Timby. I have a story to tell all of you."
End of Chapter 171
And so Michael has healed.
Why can't he heal his eyesight?
What was written on the stone altar?
Where is the Room of Life and what is its meaning?
Many questions that only Michael can answer.
Up next, a story of faith.
And the beginning of the final truth.