This is a work of fiction – a bit of science fiction and fantasy mixed together in fact. None of the characters, names or personalities, are based on real people. Any resemblance to a real person is entirely coincidental and not intentional. I do live in the Atlanta area and use a lot of places I’ve been in the story.
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And now on to Chapter 11!
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The Order - Chapter 11
It took him a little time but Taliesin finally found the one he was looking for. Lane Weaver was the man who bore the symbol that marked him as the Dreamer. He was the only one that could free Taliesin from the chains that still bound him to The Order.
For most of his life the power within him seemed like a Gift, but after thousands of years of carrying it inside him his soul began to tire, and over time the Gift became a burden and he was now ready to pass it on to a successor; and Lane was the one. Until that occurred Taliesin couldn’t die and find the rest he now longed for. He was so tired of being alone; he was a man and not meant to be Immortal. He had many loves throughout the ages of his life and losing each one was more painful than the last. Eventually he could not stand the pain of loss any longer, and he hardened his heart, determined never to be hurt again. At this point he wasn’t sure if he still had the capacity to love. He stopped living a long time ago; now he simply existed.
Curse them! They knew what they were asking me to do. They knew the price I would pay, and they knew I wouldn’t understand the cost. How could I?
He had not been contacted by anyone within The Order for nearly a century. He knew they were in danger of being wiped out and he had hoped that the Enemy would destroy them completely, thinking it would free him, but when he heard the chord in the heavens that night and realized that there was now someone who could free him he couldn’t risk the chance that The Orders destruction might release him; and Lane Weaver was a certainty - he would make sure of it. The fact that Lane had to willingly accept the Gift was almost inconsequential; Taliesin was a master of subtlety and used to orchestrating events to suit his desired outcome; this time would be no different. Even if it took a few more years he could be patient and wait if it meant his freedom and finding the peace he longed for. While technically Lane would have a choice, Taliesin would make sure the only choice he could make was the one he wanted.
He knew Lane would have music inside of him, and that was the knowledge Taliesin used to find him. With a little patience, and his own formidable powers, he found a place Lane frequented; a music store at Little Five Points. It was then a simple matter to read the thoughts and memories of the shop employee’s to find out what he wanted, and he started learning more and more about this man he needed to find.
He would have to be very careful… apparently Lane was always accompanied by a close friend named Bryan. He was the other face Taliesin saw tied to Lane in his visions – the pairs of ten men circling around Aaron. Bryan was blocked from his scrying attempts, as was Lane, so he must also be under Aaron and Albrecht’s protection.
He would have to do something about this Bryan to get him out of the picture, or perhaps even use him as leverage to force Lane to say yes.
There’s no way in hell I’m taking a chance you will say no Lane Weaver.
He needed a lure to get Lane’s attention. Someone young and malleable; preferably a runaway no one would miss. Having been a street urchin himself at one time, he knew where they liked to hide.
Yes that will work.
Formulating his plan, Taliesin began to set things in motion. Even with the wisdom and knowledge of two thousand years, it never dawned on Taliesin to simply approach Lane and talk with him. He was so focused and desperate for his freedom, now that it was within sight, he was blinded from that thought. With compassion long burned out of his heart, it was inconceivable that anyone would have compassion for him.
The Order - Chapter 11
The next day Rick and Loy drove down to the security office to help supervise the moving company to clear out the office furniture. Sally was already working at Simmons so Rick and Loy volunteered to go down and take care of things. They got there early and it only took a few hours to coordinate the movers and get everything packed up and on the truck. Darren got a great price for everything on an internet auction site. It didn’t hurt that the furniture was in great condition and reinforced because of how much half of the guys weighed.
Traffic was horrible on the drive back; 85 North was practically a parking lot. Loy was driving and he and Rick were talking and passing the time as they sat there in 100 plus degree weather. Without the airflow from moving the air conditioner was having a hard time keeping up with the heat.
Out of the blue Loy felt a blindingly intense pain in his legs. He let out a “FUCK!” and his body convulsed in sudden agony.
Rick, quick to react, grabbed the steering wheel so they didn’t crash, and shouted “Loy?! What’s wrong!? ”
Fortunately Loy’s feet slammed down on the brake pedal and not the accelerator when he reacted. Rick quickly moved the gearshift into Park so they wouldn’t bump into the car in front of them.
“My legs! Of fuck! It feels like my legs are broken!”
Rick could feel Loy’s pain leaking through their connection, and he was surprised Loy hadn’t passed out from the intensity. His face was almost purple and the veins in his neck were sticking out with the physical stress of trying to fight the pain that was suddenly wracking his body. His hands were pounding the armrests and his teeth were clenched tightly; his body broke out into a heavy sweat and his back was arched from the extreme pain; every muscle in his body was taught as a wire trying to fight off the immense pain.
Rick unfastened their seatbelts and pulled Loy over the console and onto his lap and then managed to switch places so he was in the driver’s seat. Loy’s eyes turned white as they rolled back into his head and he started talking but wasn’t making much sense. It was difficult to make out because he was in so much pain and his breath was coming in harsh gasps.
“Oh fuck Rick, its dark! I’m scared man… I…I... feel like I’m slipping away! Fuck! Don’t let me go! Oh God it’s so hot! It hurts! Don’t let me go!” Rick could hear the terror in Loy’s voice and his body was shaking violently in reaction to the fear and pain that was overwhelming him. His left hand reached out blindly, trying to find Rick. As soon as he felt his partner he grabbed Ricks arm and held on with desperate strength; the cords and tendons in his hand and forearm were clearly visible from the death grip he had on Ricks arm.
Rick felt Loy’s confusion, emotional trauma, and physical pain spilling over to him through their link and he had to turn it down so he could keep a level head and help his lover. Foremost was the fear of slipping away into the blackness… it was like he was dying. The feelings in Loy were overwhelming him so completely they were washing Rick’s presence away, making his panic even worse. The terror of losing his lover and the other half of his Soul was overwhelming his ability to think – his subconscious mind tried to let his training kick in but the emotions running through him were so powerful they were keeping him from thinking clearly.
It was tearing Rick up knowing that Loy was experiencing something so harsh and not be able to do anything for him. Pulling back, he all but shut down the link the two of them normally shared. He hated to do that but he was afraid of losing control.
He sent out a mental shout DOC! ALBRECHT!
Rick and Loy had made love that morning so Rick was still charged up mentally. Between that and the rush of adrenaline going through his body at what was happening he had the range to reach them. Apparently Brad and Lane heard him too because all four of them responded immediately, Rick what’s wrong!?
Loy’s having some kind of seizure! He’s in horrible pain, he’s scared shitless, and he’s not making sense! We’re stuck in traffic and I don’t know how to help him!
Rick’s frustration, fear, and concern for Loy was apparent to all of them. Rick felt them grab onto him mentally in support of what was happening as they saw everything in his memory of the last few minutes.
The doctor’s voice was calm and clear Everything will be fine Richard! Loy is Awakening, and he has bonded with something that is causing his distress; most likely whatever happened helped to trigger his Avatar. The initial surge caught him by surprise and he did not know how to block it; understandably. You must find the source that is causing this experience so we can help him. It might be harmful to Loy and whatever he has linked with to break it now so proceed carefully.
He said he felt like his legs were broken. There’s been some kind of a wreck up ahead and we’re stuck in traffic. It must have just happened because I don’t hear any sirens yet.
Lane, please link directly with Loy and monitor him. Bradford, you do the same with Richard. Albrecht and I will stay in communication with all of you.
Rick felt Brad’s strong presence enter more deeply into his mind and it helped to calm him down. Hey buddy – don’t worry we’re going to figure this out together; I’m with you and I’m not going anywhere. Now, let’s look for what’s causing this so we can help Loy.
Rick got out of the car and slammed the door in his frustration. Brad, I don’t want to leave him like this!
Lane’s with him bud. The best way to help him is to find the source of whatever he’s connected too. I’m with you all the way Ricky. Rick could feel Brad’s emotional support and concern over what was happening. He could almost feel the comfort of Brad’s hand on his shoulder squeezing him tight.
Fuck! Ok. Taking a deep breath, Rick moved forward. Once he got a little further ahead he saw an overturned tractor trailer in the distance. He immediately took off, sprinting faster than any normal human could run. He had to dodge a few opening car doors as people were starting to get out and look; there was one he couldn’t avoid and he had to jump, vaulting completely over the car. In his concern for Loy he didn’t care if anyone saw him right now.
A few seconds later he was looking on the carnage of the accident, and as soon as he saw the wreck and heard the horrible screaming everything became clear. There was a horse trailer on its side and two horses were on the pavement writhing in pain. Their lungs were heaving and their eyes were wide with fear; their bodies were flailing in pain and their legs were obviously broken in multiple places. The driver of the pickup was trapped inside the overturned truck and trying to get out to them. Rick could hear him screaming inside the truck for help.
Albrecht’s voice said, Yes. The symbols on his tattoo make sense now. Loy is linked with those poor beasts. Rick, listen carefully. You need to get Loy there as quickly as you can. He needs to have physical contact with those horses; I believe that will help stabilize him and he should have more control when that happens. Do not under any circumstances let anyone try to euthanize those beasts before Loy gets to them!
Rick sprinted back and put Loy over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry and was back at the horses in no time. He set Loy down between them and put one of his hands on each of their necks. As soon as his hands made contact Rick felt a wave of energy wash out from Loy; in his Mind’s Eye he could see it. It was a ribbon of bright white power spreading out like a massive shock wave, passing through all the cars and people, spreading out rapidly. In a matter of seconds it spread all the way around the planet. For those brief seconds, every animal on the planet was filled with an awareness of Loy’s presence and Loy with theirs.
As soon as Loy’s hands touched their necks the horses stopped rolling their eyes. They were breathing in harsh gasps from the pain but with his touch they didn’t seem as panicked.
Rick heard Loy’s voice saying, “Oh fuck, I’m so sorry. Don’t be scared. I know it hurts. I’m here.” Loy’s hands were gently stroking the huge necks, covered in frothy sweat from the heat and the pain. Loy’s eyes were still white and Rick could see his energy centers sporadically flaring. Tears were flowing down his face from the jumble of emotions that were still running through him but coming under control.
Rick smelled fuel and he glanced over to see gas leaking from the overturned semi. He let out a “Fuck!” in his frustration.
The truck is leaking gas and it’s on fire. We don’t have much time!
Brad said Get that guy out of the pickup. This might hurt man and I’m sorry but I don’t have time to be gentle. Rick felt a surge of power from Brad through his own mind. A strong mental compulsion came out of Rick, urging all the drivers and passengers in the area to get out of their cars and move away to a safer distance. It didn’t hurt so much as it felt like a tremendous pressure on his mind but he was braced for it.
As car doors opened and people started to move away, any dogs that were riding with their owners jumped out of the cars and made straight for Loy. Rick could hardly believe what he was seeing but the dogs all surrounded Loy and nuzzled against him and the horses, making encouraging whines; some were even gently licking the wounds on the horses.
Rick moved over to the pickup. The man trapped inside was beating on the glass and Rick could hear him yelling. The door to the truck was bent and jammed shut. Rick got a firm grip on the door and bracing his feet he ripped the door off the hinges. His back and shoulders flexed and he felt his t-shirt rip as he tossed the door aside like it weighed nothing. He reached his hand down inside the cab and pulled the man out. He was cut and his head was bleeding but otherwise he seemed ok.
While Rick was getting the horse’s owner out of the truck, Loy was getting more and more control back, pushing the pain, fear, and confusion back. As the fog lifted he felt Lane’s soothing mental presence in his mind.
Hey bud welcome back! You gave us a scare you shithead!
Lane! I can feel them! Not just the horses but all the animals! Fuck I can’t tell if I’m in them or they’re in me!
I know bro! It’s amazing! Listen to your heart Loy. There’s no time for training. You need to let your instincts take over and I hope for their sakes it’s not to lift up your skirt and run screaming like a little girl.
Even in the seriousness of the situation Lane made Loy smile, giving him a little clarity in the craziness he was caught up in.
Loy started probing into the horses letting his ability run its course. He could feel their broken legs, shattered in multiple places. With a thought he blocked their pain. Immediately their bodies relaxed and their breathing became less labored.
He saw in their minds that they were intelligent. They were confused by his presence but not afraid; he was shocked at the strong feeling of… fulfillment?...completion?... that came from them. He sent a wave of love and support and calm over them. He saw and heard the sound of their names from their owner in their memories; their names were Dolly and Burt. Their owner was a kind man and they both were very attached to him.
Loy I’m not sure if this will help but Bry magnifies and helps focus my ability to heal. If you can heal them you’re going to need Rick’s help. And you need to get a move on before that fuel catches fire.
Rick could hear sirens from the fire trucks moving through the emergency lane. They were moving slowly because of people who had pulled over in the emergency lane and were blocking the way.
Loy’s head whipped around when he heard a rifle being cocked, loading a bullet into the chamber. He shouted “NO!”
Dolly’s and Burt’s owner had tears in his eyes and he shouted back, “Their legs is broke! They can’t survive man! I need ta put ‘em down so they don’t suffer!”
Loy didn’t have time to argue or be gentle; he mentally punched the man and he fell over unconscious. Rick grabbed him to keep him from hitting his head on the concrete and gently lowered him down onto the ground.
“Ricky I need you buddy. I don’t know how this is going to work but I know I can’t do it by myself.”
Rick moved over and sent his thoughts to Loy, Whatever you need you know I’m here. Tell me what you want me to do. Now that Loy was more in control, Rick went back into his lover, filling Loy with his presence and embracing the man he loved with all his heart and mind. Loy felt Rick’s immense relief now that they were back together; he felt the same.
Lane’s voice took over, I‘m guessing that this’ll work the same as how Bry and I do it. Link yourselves, and open all your energy centers and get them flowing together. Blend them into one stream and focus that energy into the wounds. Look at the flows and you’ll see the damage and know what you need to do to fix it. It’s hard to describe but once you see it you’ll know what I mean.
Albrecht’s voice chimed in If their legs are broken you will need to set the bones before healing them. Loy has their pain centers blocked. Rick, since you are stronger it would be best if you do it.
No sweat. Loy, fire us up.
Loy felt Rick’s strength, resolve, and confidence and let it flow into him as he opened their energy centers. He remembered what he saw when Lane and Bryan healed him and Tag. As Loy opened up their energy centers and brought their souls together they both fell into that powerful and intimate place where the two of them were one; for a brief moment all the chaos around them stopped as their body’s, minds, and souls blended together. The calm and peace of their love for one another washed through them bringing clarity and serenity to the situation. Their eyes filled with hot tears from the powerful intimacy they both felt.
Brad was still linked with Rick and back at the lab his face flushed from the overflow of emotion he felt between his brothers. He felt Ken come up behind him and wrap his arms around him, feeling some of what Brad was picking up. Ken didn’t say anything; he just held his lover tight against him letting him know he was there and supporting him. Brad didn’t break off his link with Rick but he started to pull back not wanting his presence to interfere with what was about to happen.
Loy and Rick both thought as one, Brad stay. We want you with us brother. Lane you too bud and Doc and Albrecht. All of you stay with us.
In their Mind’s Eye, even in the bright sunlight, the two men became bright beacons of colorful energy. Loy opened the energy centers on the horses as well, one by one. They were different than in a person but they had them. He wanted Dolly and Burt to feel what he was doing and not be afraid. Their life energy was strong and Loy and Rick felt their energy flow into and through them. Loy’s tattoo was going crazy, spitting off brilliant little arcs of color.
Loy felt an additional surge of emotion and for a brief moment it confused him. He glanced around and was shocked to see the dogs staring at him intently. He felt their love pressing into him; the raw unconditional love that dogs feel towards people; he also felt that strange feeling of completion from them; as if they have been waiting for him and now he was here.
As his Avatar was Awakening he had a brief moment of understanding; he was now connected to every creature on the planet. Just as Bryan was connected to Life and its energies, Loy was now connected to the creatures of this world. He knew if he concentrated he could feel them all; they were echoing in the back of his mind now. He could feel the freedom of the hawks in the air, and the intensity of their spirits as they killed their prey; he could feel herds of Elephants in Africa and their gentle and noble spirits; he could feel the whales and dolphins in the ocean; he felt deer being shot and killed not too far from where he was at; it went on and on through the thousands of species that covered the planet. It was beautiful and harsh and he had to push it down quickly before he got lost in it.
Shaking his head to focus himself he brought his attention back to what he and Rick needed to do.
Rick moved over to Dolly first and saw the breaks in her legs. Even though he knew her pain centers were blocked he was as gentle and he could be. His arms flexed and with minimal effort he set the bones back into place. He moved his hands gently on either side of each break and Loy let the energy flows coalesce into a bright white band and they watched amazed as the bones knitted back together. Rick and Loy were feeling the strain by the time they got to the last break on Burt. Both men were breathing hard and covered in sweat from the heat outside and the strain of having so much energy flow through them and from them. Their own energy flows were greatly diminished by the time they were done, and they were both down on their knees in exhaustion.
Fuck Lane, you and Bry make that look so easy!
Loy could feel Lane’s mental grin as he thought, Yeah none of you fuckers realize how much that shit takes out of you!
Loy’s head was lowered and he was breathing hard when he felt a huge soft nose nuzzling his face. He raised his head and opened his eyes to see Dolly’s long face rubbing against his cheek; he could feel her sweet warm breath on his face. She was encouraging him to grab ahold of her neck. He reached up, his arms shaking with fatigue and she helped to lift him up.
Loy and Rick both looked around; they were surrounded by all the dogs; they had backed off a little but they were all sitting and looking at him intently. Loy realized they had tried to help him in their own way. He sent an encouraging thought their way and all of their tails started to wag and a few of them barked. A tired grin spread over his handsome face.
Burt was nuzzling Rick in the same way and Loy burst out laughing. Burt didn’t think in words but it his thoughts were completely clear and he complained that Rick was heavy and needed to lose some weight! Loy let himself lean against Dolly’s warm furry side, opening his mind to her and Burt, marveling at how smart they really were.
Dolly felt concern for her owner, lying on the ground unconscious. Loy moved over, leaned down, and lightly slapped the man’s face to wake him up. The man started, and sat up quickly. His eyes went wide when he saw Dolly and Burt standing over him.
His expression showed his disbelief and he breathed out “How!?”
Loy was about to pass out and his voice expressed his exhaustion as he said, “Don’t ask man. Just accept it and be happy they’re still with you.” Brad thought about altering the man’s memories but decided to let him believe what he wanted.
The fire trucks were arriving and the EMT’s rushed over to where Rick, Loy, the two horses, all the dogs, and the man were standing.
The fire and rescue team had them move back to a safe distance and the EMT’s insisted on checking Loy and Rick out, along with Dolly’s and Burt’s owner.
Once the danger of fire was under control, Loy gave a mental command for all the dogs to go back to their owners knowing they would be frantic with worry. He could already hear whistles and shouts nearby. The dogs took off like bullets back to their people.
Albrecht and the doctor dropped out of the link once they knew Rick and Loy were safe. He and the doctor wanted them back at the lab as soon as they could get away from the EMT’s. Lane and Brad stayed with them both for a few more minutes and then dropped out to give them some privacy.
Kevin, Bill, Pat, and Darren all showed up about the time the EMT’s were finished examining them. The doctor didn’t want Loy or Rick driving so Bill and Kevin drove them back in their own explorer and Pat drove Rick’s Explorer and Darren followed them back in his.
Bryan and Lane ordered pizzas, knowing that Loy and Rick would be famished and need food quickly to help get their energy levels back up.
While they were waiting Ken, Brad, Lane, and Bryan were all talking about Loy’s new ability. Lane said, “Do you know how cool it’ll be to have Dr. Doolittle on our team?”
Ken laughed and said, “Don’t let Rick hear you calling Loy that! He might tear your head off… I’d go with something a little studlier… like The Beast Master.”
“Oh hell yeah, I loved that movie! I wonder if the doc’ll let Loy get a pet tiger?”
Bryan just rolled his eyes and shook his head, causing Brad and Ken to laugh.
The pizza’s arrived a few minutes after they guys showed up with Loy and Rick. As predicted Loy and Rick both devoured two large pizza’s each. Just as Rick was finishing his and wiping his mouth with a paper towel, he felt light headed. His eyes turned white and he squeaked out a, “Of fuck!” and started to collapse. Ken was a blur and caught Rick before he fell out of his chair.
Loy shouted “Ricky!”
Ken called out, “Doc! Albrecht!” even as he was moving Rick into the closest examination room to put him on one of the beds. As soon as Ken backed away, Ricks energy centers started to open up but they were sporadic, each flaring separately. His tattoo was glowing brightly and randomly.
The doc and Albrecht rushed into the room just behind Ken.
Loy had followed Ken into the room but he was still exhausted and about to pass out.
Ken said, “Here buddy grab onto me.” Ken took Loy’s arm and put it over his shoulder, and he put an arm around Loy’s waist to help support him. The rest of the guys crowded around the doorway to try and see what was happening.
“Doc what’s happening to him!? I can’t feel him anymore!”
“He is experiencing his own Awakening. Such a busy day for the two of you! I suspected it would happen soon after your own, although not quite this soon. I am sure there is nothing to fear my boy. We must let this run its course and see what the results are once it is complete.”
The doctor motioned for Ken to help Loy onto the other bed in the room.
Before the doctor said anything, Ken said, “Hey fella’s let’s clear out and give the doc and Albrecht some room.” The doctor gave Ken an appreciative nod.
Brad brought everybody but Rick into a link so that Loy would feel all of them all with him.
We’re with you buddy. He’ll get through this fine.
Once they were all together, Loy relaxed a little but he was exhausted and was fighting to stay conscious. The anxiety he felt for Rick didn’t go away but it was more bearable with the support of his brothers. Their minds held each other just like arms around each other’s shoulders. All of them felt the spot where Rick would normally be and couldn’t wait for him to be back with them.
Rick stayed on the bed for nearly three hours. With careful observation by the doctor and Albrecht, they began to recognize patterns in his energy flows. As the patterns became more ordered they also became more focused, weaving a pattern in the air around him almost like a net. They became tighter and tighter, wrapping his body in a cocoon of energy until his body was barely visible.
Lane had the foresight to order more food, knowing that Rick would be famished again, and all of them could stand to eat another meal with their hyper-metabolisms. He ordered 25 foot long subs with chips and drinks – one of the nice things about knowing his brothers so intimately and having a genetically enhanced memory is that he knew what everyone wanted and he ordered appropriately.
Half an hour later the alarm chirped indicating someone was at the door to the lab. Lane looked on the monitor and saw it was the delivery guy with the food. Just as Lane started to open the door, the web around Rick’s body exploded. His back arched like he was having a convulsion and a white pulse of energy came off of him. It wasn’t nearly as far reaching as what happened with Loy, but it did cover most of the city, dissipating as it extended further out until it faded to nothing.
The energy passed through the building and through the delivery boy. Lane felt it and saw it but figured the delivery guy wouldn’t see or feel anything with his mind closed. Lane felt a warmth deep down inside him and a sense of rightness similar to what he felt when he and Bryan were completely merged together. He shook his head slightly to focus; he wanted to pay the kid and get back to the others as quickly as possible.
All across Atlanta the Enemy felt the wave of power that came off Rick and they knew where he was. It caused them intense pain and shattered many of the glyphs they had placed around the city. Seconds later they heard their Master’s voice in their heads, One of them is Awakening! Attack now while he is defenseless! Destroy him! Crush his mind and soul!
Dozens of well-dressed men around the city stopped when they heard his voice in their minds. Putting their fingers to their temples, their eyes turned dark red and they all began to focus their hate and malice on the single source of Light that was shining brightly in their minds and the source of their pain; the Light that was alone and vulnerable.
The kid couldn’t keep his eyes off Lane. Lane was strikingly handsome and had an amazing body, and his mischievous smile disarmed most people. The kid was nervous and distracted as it was and he fumbled with the credit card. One of the best looking men he had ever seen in his life was standing in front of him and his mind was running wild. He was hoping and praying that Lane wouldn’t notice he was hard. As he was handing Lane the receipt, he said out loud, “Damn I’d love to feel you on top of me.”
Lane wasn’t sure which one of them was more surprised. The kid got a panic ridden look on his face and turned beet red in embarrassment. He said, “Oh shit mister! I... I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say that! Please don’t say anything! I could get fired!”
Lane was taken aback at how the kid just blurted that out. He was used to people thinking things like that but not saying them. The kid looked so worried Lane took a quick look in his mind and realized he hadn’t intended to say that out loud; something compelled him to tell the truth.
It wasn’t difficult to figure out that what just happened had something to do with Rick. The boy’s anxiety levels were off the charts. He was terrified that Lane was going to beat him up or he would lose his job. Lane put on his best disarming smile and made a point of looking at the kids name tag, “Greg? I’m flattered buddy but I’m taken. My boyfriend is a lot bigger than me and he doesn’t like to share, so let’s just keep that comment between you and me ok? No harm done.”
Lane didn’t want to alter the kid’s memory but he did put his own compulsion in place so he wouldn’t mention this to anyone else. He tipped the kid well, feeling sorry for what happened.
As Lane shut the door and was bringing in the boxes of food he heard Rick let out a soul crushing groan of agony. Even as he heard the sound with his ears, the emotional pain behind it struck a chord in his heart and he froze. His body went taught as a wire and his eyes turned white. In his mind and he saw a Vision of dark clouds forming over the skyline of the city. Winds started blowing and thunder was rumbling. The streets looked empty except for dozens of well-dressed men scattered all over the city. He heard their Master’s voice.
One of them is Awakening! Attack now while he is defenseless! Destroy him! Crush his mind and soul!
The well-dressed men all put their fingers to their temples and eyes went blood red. He saw Rick on the ground at the foot of each man writhing in pain and he saw the malevolent smiles of pleasure as they were killing his buddy. Lane saw a strange nimbus around Rick coming from his tattoo that was unraveling their black power, but the darkness was coming too fast and it was quickly overcoming whatever it was that was protecting Rick. The black tendrils were breaking through and beginning to dig their way into his heart, mind, and Soul, and he was writhing in pain and agony. They were destroying his mind and soul!
Rick was sitting up in bed holding his head in his hands. His breath was coming in ragged gasps and his t-shirt was soaked with sweat. His whole body was pumped; every muscle taught. He was crying, sobs wracking his huge frame; hysterical from whatever he was feeling.
Loy could hardly contain the urge to reach out and pull Rick into him and try and comfort him, but the doctor and Albrecht both expressed through the link Loy no! There is no telling what he is experiencing and you could hurt him or yourself. I know it is difficult to watch my boy but you must let this run its course.
Brad and the others pulled Loy tighter against them in support, agonizing as much as Loy over what Rick was going through. Bryan moved over to the bed Loy was on and sat down beside him, putting his big arm around Loy’s shoulder and squeezing him tight.
Rick rolled off the bed and landed hard on the floor. He was in such extreme emotional pain he could hardly control his body; his throat clenched so tight he couldn’t talk. They heard his mental voice strained and almost incoherent Loy!… fuck… I need you… guys… help! They’re... killing… me!
As soon as Brad heard the pain in Rick’s voice he pulled everybody deeper so they could talk without time passing. Even the doctor and Albrecht were surprised at how easily and quickly he did it – the unconscious power Brad exhibited was a little frightening.
I’m sorry everyone; I didn’t mean to surprise you. Doc, Albrecht, what’s going on with Rick? Surely we can’t sit by and let him suffer like this? This seems like more than just his Awakening; it doesn’t feel right!
Bryan interjected, The night I went to the Tree my guide had to help me. I think Rick needs the same thing!
The doctor thought, I agree Bryan, but we do not know what is causing his distress, and if we pull him in with us we all might be caught up in it.
Loy was about to lose it; the emotional distress over seeing Rick suffering and his plea for help was almost more than he could stand.
Lane’s mind released him from the Vision and he mentally shouted, Guy’s! They’re killing him! The Enemy is doing this to him! We have to help him!
Ken felt the white fire of anger erupt inside him as soon as he heard Lane’s exclamation. His eyes flared white and his tattoo burst into color flames, arcing out and touching the tattoos of everybody else on the team. He shouted, “ENOUGH” and the words echoed out not just in their minds but across the city; a defiant shout and challenge to The Enemy.
The doctor and Albrecht dropped out of the link, ready to help if necessary, but knowing that this is what the men were created for. They didn’t want to interfere or become a distraction.
All of them instinctively knew what they needed to do; it was like they were all a part of a lock and Ken was the key. Lane reached up and out and took the first thing he heard. A bass chord exploded inside his mind and soul, filling him with a sudden burst of power. As it filled him he dispersed it into the link, filling them all. Each couple became one; uniting Body, Mind, and Soul; filling themselves with one another first and then with their brothers. Loy knew he would take the brunt the attack when he merged with Rick but he was more than willing to do whatever he needed to do to shield his lover from what was happening. The power that Lane had channeled into him was enough for him to wrap him and Rick up in a shield of his own.
He was braced for it and he only needed to hold it back for a brief second. He threw himself into and around Rick. The pain hit him hard and he cried out, but he held his ground.
Brad wove everyone else’s energy flows together into a bright pattern; he made a barrier around Rick and Loy to protect them and divert the attack to the rest of them. They all felt the pressure immediately; the malice and hate of the enemy was pressing down relentlessly against their shield, but they were prepared. Loy pulled Rick further into him and wrapped himself around his lover, a second barrier inside the larger one. Rick felt the balm of Loy’s presence wash over him and the protection of his brothers. He clung to Loy in relief, resting in the oneness of their Soul.
Rick’s voice sounded exhausted and tight with pain as he thought, Fuck guys thank you, I don’t know how much more of that I could have taken!
The power of the intimate bond of love they all shared as brothers and couples was their strength; it fed all their abilities and made them powerful. Brad felt Ken’s anger at what was happening but he also felt something else; Strength? Confidence? Courage? Will? It was difficult to define but it was filling the link and affecting all of them; focusing them and giving them an unwavering resolve against this attack.
Ken didn’t want the Enemy to go unchallenged and Brad immediately knew what he was thinking. Remembering the spiked shell of the Iktomi they encountered at the hospital, Brad took that image and shaped the barrier surrounding them all with spiked tendrils of white energy. Almost immediately the attack stopped as the minions of The Enemy all over the city cried out in pain and grabbed their heads as their own attack hit the spiked barrier. Many of them, overconfident and unprepared for any retaliation were knocked unconscious. The team felt the pressure dissipate almost immediately.
Brad kept the shield up for a few more minutes to make sure the attack had stopped, and then he dropped the link and everybody went back into their bodies. Loy jumped off the bed and physically grabbed ahold of Rick, who was still on the floor. Ken’s eyes remained white and for a few seconds he seemed somewhere else; his body was still tense and his tattoo was glowing brightly. When his eyes went back to their normal bright green he looked at Brad and smiled. Brad thought Ken never looked more handsome than in that moment and he went over and put his arms around him and hugged him tight. Ken’s arms wrapped him up and pulled him close. He whispered very quietly into Ken’s ear, “Fuck I am so hot for you right now!” He gave a little lick on Ken’s neck as he pulled away.
It took a few minutes for everyone to settle down. They were all amped up with the excess energy from Lane and their adrenaline was running high from the fight and whatever it was that Ken put into them through the link.
The doctor checked Rick over, and other than extreme fatigue and a headache he was going to be fine. He devoured two of the foot long sandwiches Lane ordered for him and promptly passed out in his chair, still sitting up. Bryan picked him up and moved him into one of the beds. Loy followed and lay down beside Rick and as soon as his head hit the pillow he was asleep.
Ken asked Albrecht and the doctor, “So what was it about Ricks Avatar that pissed off the Enemy? I don’t understand that… it didn’t happen with any of us when we had ours?”
Albrecht elaborated, “Rick’s primary Avatar is a difficult translation. At the basest level it is the word Truth but it’s far more than that. It encompasses Honesty and Purity of Being in its most primal form. Much of their power comes from lies and deceit. I believe anyone around Rick will have a difficult time lying, and patterns of deception will unravel around him. Places inside of people that have been shut away or walled off will open. It is an immensely powerful and subtle Avatar. I am sure it caused the Enemy significant discomfort when that wave passed through them.”
The doctor spoke up, “The scholars of The Order will spend a lifetime studying the complexity and effects of the Avatars you have received so far. After today I am beginning to see a pattern, but only time will tell as the rest of you experience your own Awakenings if my suspicions are correct.”
Brad was the only one who noticed the look that passed between the doctor and Albrecht. They were not linked so he didn’t get any feel for what it was, but something significant passed between them. He was curious but didn’t think too much about it, knowing the doctor would tell them whatever it was when he was more certain.
Over the next week the doctor and Albrecht worked extensively with Rick and Loy to help them discover and begin to control their new abilities. With the pool party over, and the company sold, Brad and Ken and the others had more free time and had to adjust to their new training schedules.
They got up early every morning and did their PT together. Brad did his physical examination of Ken, although it wasn’t as extensive as it used to be. Ken helped Brad through his mental exercises, and nine times out of ten they had amazing, hot sex when they finished.
They stayed merged most of the time when they were alone in the house, and practiced on increasing the distance they could maintain their energy bonds before they broke.
Albrecht was teaching all the men advanced fighting techniques, tailoring it to their new talents where applicable. The doctor continued to work with Brad and the other Mentalists on learning how to shield themselves, and psychically fight and defend themselves.
The doctor and Albrecht were sure that once all of them had their major Awakening, as a group they would all experience one more that would unlock the ‘mini-Avatars’ each of them had received with their tattoo’s. They would all then share their abilities so some extent, with whoever held the main Avatar being the most powerful.
They were now all operating on a power level so far above normal humans it was amazing. The thing that Ken was most proud of was that they were all growing as men. They were maturing and growing and learning to be more compassionate and concerned for people.
As Brad was getting stronger and fine tuning his own abilities, he began sensing the oppressive cloud that was hanging over people; not just the city but from watching and reading the news it seemed to be all over the country and much of the world. The Enemy had been in power so long that their powerbase was far and wide and there was no telling how much of the population of Atlanta, let alone the rest of the country, or the world, was under their direct influence.
The hard part, as Brad was finding out, was discerning between the Enemy’s influence and general human nature, which in many cases can be dark and ignorant. They found it no surprise that the last few decades had transformed people into semi-mindless automatons. With reality TV, the internet, movies, and entertainment, people’s minds were turning off and making the perfect breeding ground for the Enemy’s influence. He felt sad that most people were more concerned with knowing who the final contestant was on a reality show than helping friends or neighbors who were going through difficult times.
As the leaders of the Team, Ken and Brad had to keep the men focused and motivated. The more they discovered about the Enemy the more daunting their task seemed to be.
That night, after Ken and Brad got home from a long day of training, Ken noticed that Brad seemed a bit pensive. They were lightly linked, allowing Ken to pick up on his mood. Brad went into the kitchen and started poking around in the freezer for something to make for dinner, and Ken went back to their bedroom and took off his shoes and socks and shirt and got into some comfortable workout shorts.
Brad was letting the hot water warm up in the sink to thaw some fish fillets when Ken came up behind him.
Ken reached around Brad and turned off the water.
“Hey! What’re you doing? I’m starting dinner.”
“Dinner can wait a few B.” Ken put his hands on Brad’s shoulders and turned him around. Brad’s immediately saw that Ken was shirtless and his heartbeat picked up a few notches. Ken kept his hands on Brad’s heavy shoulders, lightly rubbing them, and looked straight into Brad’s crystal blue eyes.
“Talk to me, B. What’s going on in that fuckin adorable head of yours? Somethin’s botherin you and I want to know what it is. You want to tell me or show me? Your choice bud.”
Brad gave a heavy sigh and leaned into Ken and put his chin in the crook of Ken’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around Ken’s back and pressing their bodies tightly together, relishing in the warm strength of his body. Ken put his arms around Brad hugging him back. Brad took a deep breath, taking in Ken’s natural scent, taking strength from it.
Brad’s eyes teared up a little and he let himself be held by Ken, resting in the warmth and solidity of his big strong body. “I’m sorry Ken.”
“For what B?”
“I had a bit of a realization today, about how daunting our task is and how far reaching the influence of the Enemy actually is. They’ve had nearly a century to dig a foothold, and there are only ten of us in this fight, twelve including the doc and Albrecht. At this point I don’t count any others in the Order as helping as they’ve never even shown us a face or a body. It’s more than a little overwhelming. I’m looking at this massive problem with all my abilities, and it doesn’t look good. I’m not doubting you and me, never that, or the guys, but I’m afraid of the cost it’s going to take on us. I’m not sorry for that either, because it has to be paid, and it’s now our job. I’m not scared… but where the fuck do we start when practically the entire world is against us?”
Ken pulled back a little, with his hands still on Brad’s shoulders, staring at him for a few seconds, looking deep into Brad’s blue eyes. His thumbs were rubbing the ball of Brad’s big shoulders. He moved his right hand up and cupped the side and back of Brad’s thick neck giving a gentle squeeze of comfort and love.
“First of all B, I love you. And no matter what happens we’ll always be together. Even if we fail completely, which we won’t, you and I will always have each other and never forget that buddy. I understand what you’re feeling bro. It hasn’t hit me fully yet, because I’m not as smart as you. But we’ll face it all together, you and me, and the others by our side. And remember that we still don’t know all our abilities yet. The doc and Albrecht said we would still continue to grow and refine, and Pat, Darren, Kevin, and Bill haven’t Awakened yet. Let’s not get discouraged or overwhelmed just yet.”
“You ‘n me are the leaders of the team and we need to support each other. If we have moments like this it’s my job to hold you up and your job to hold me up when I need it, and try not to show it to the others. Even if they know we feel it, we should never show them. That’s part of being a strong leader. Pretend you are badass even if you don’t feel like it.”
“You are badass Ken. You are the baddest man in the entire universe.”
“We are B. I wouldn’t be shit without you. But together we’re unstoppable.”
“I believe you.” Brad pulled his head up and looked at Ken’s handsome face, inches from his own, letting himself sink into those emerald green eyes. He moved his mouth forward and started a kiss. It was a powerful kiss and he expressed every ounce of his love in the act. He fired up their energy centers and let their essence flow together as part of the kiss. He specifically didn’t make it sexual. It was purely emotional and he drew strength from it. As soon as Brad felts Ken’s presence wash over him, he felt his mood lighten and become more optimistic. He experienced the rush that Ken felt from his own presence and their eyes were wet with the intimate bond. They hugged each other tighter just holding onto each other as they kissed.
After a few minutes their mouths separated and they both had smiles on their faces. They touched foreheads and Ken said, “How about a movie after we eat? We haven’t done that in forever it seems like. I just wanna lay with you on the couch for a few hours and chill.”
“Sounds awesome. But don’t forget the wild sex after the movie.”
“Dude, how can I forget, I’ve been dripping like a sieve ever since you touched me.”
They fell back in their routine of helping each other cook and wash the dishes; they were happy and content enjoying each other’s company and just being together. There was still some leftover beer from the party so they both had a few while Brad fixed dinner. Ken kept his shirt off and Brad never got tired of admiring his amazing body. He couldn’t wait to get on the couch and cuddle up against Ken’s body while they watched the movie.
They ate dinner holding hands and rubbing their legs together under the table. They settled on a PPV movie “Wrath of the Titans”, and Brad made a big bowl of popcorn.
They lay on the couch together with Ken sitting up on the end with Brad reclining so his head was resting on Ken’s chest. Ken had his arms over Brad’s shoulders and crossed over his torso. The bowl of popcorn was in Brad’s lap for easy access.
A little more than halfway through the movie, Ken reached for the remote and hit pause, saying, “Sorry B I gotta pee really bad.” Brad got up and said, “Yeah me too. Hey, I’m still a little peckish for something sweet. You want some ice-cream?”
“Oh hell yeah, that sounds awesome.”
Brad went into the kitchen and put together two big bowls of Mayfield Moosetracks and brought them over to the coffee table and headed back to their bedroom to take off his shirt and put on some shorts. He stopped in the bathroom on his way back to the couch. Ken’s heartbeat jumped a bit when Brad came back shirtless. When he sat down on the couch they made sure their shoulders and arms were touching while they ate their ice-cream and talked about the movie. A few minutes later, the bowls were empty and in the dishwasher and they were back on the couch, cuddled together to finish watching the movie.
Their hands started roaming a little towards the end of the movie, Ken rubbing Brad’s shoulders and Brad rubbing Ken’s thighs. Ken’s hands started moving further down across Brad’s chest and Brad’s hands kept creeping higher and higher up Ken’s leg. By the time the credits were rolling they were both hard and leaking, their shorts tented. Ken grabbed the remote and turned off the TV, and reached up to turn off the light on the end table.
The moon was nearly full and the soft light coming in through the glass doors made their skin look like silver. Brad turned over and Ken scooted down, so their bodies were together, chest to chest. They started kissing again and their hands were roaming over each other. At some point they both pulled down their shorts and managed to kick them off, so their hard ons were trapped between their stomachs and were rubbing together as they slowly ground their hips together.
Ken lifted Brad up and off him, and flipped their positions putting him back down on the couch on his back. He lifted Brad’s legs up and started running his fingers lightly across Brad’s tight hole. For the next twenty minutes he used his fingers and tongue driving Brad crazy with lust. Brad was squirming in pleasure the entire time, moaning and telling Ken how good it felt. Ken loved watching Brad’s tight muscled body squirm in pleasure at his ministrations.
By the time Ken had three fingers in, he figured Brad had enough, and he moved up into position. Brad’s eyes were shut and he was thrashing his head from side to side. His hands were crushing the pillows on the couch in pleasure. His big chest was heaving and his dick was rock hard, throbbing, and leaking.
Ken said, “Ready B?”
“Fuck Ken put it in man. I need to feel you in me now.”
Ken was dripping precum and he put his hand down and smeared it all over the head and upper shaft of his dick, stroking it a few times and then he put the head of his hard 8” dick against Brad’s ass and pressed forward.
“Ken! Oh fuck! Ohhh yeaaahhh,” Brad groaned as Ken’s shaft buried slowly and steadily up to the hilt in his tight ass. Ken closed his eyes in pleasure. Brad’s ass was so tight and hot, clenching around his dick like a hot velvet fist. Ken pulled back and started stroking in and out in a steady rhythm, aiming for Brad’s prostate with every thrust.
Even after all these years together, feeling Ken inside him and filling him, Brad never lost the intense emotional wave of love for Ken that hit him. Even before they could merge their minds and souls, they had this, the intimate merging of their bodies, and he never wanted to forget that.
Ken could tell he was hitting the right spot because Brad’s entire body would twitch slightly when he rubbed the head and shaft of his dick over Brad’s love nut. Brad opened up their lower energy center, spreading red fire across both their bodies. Ken let out a groan of pleasure when he felt the sexual energy course through their bodies. He put his hands down on Brad’s hard chest for leverage, loving the feel of Brad’s furry muscled pecs under his hands. He made sure to rub his fingertips over Brad’s sensitive nipples as he kneaded his lover’s tight chest. Brad was running his hands up and down the corded muscles of Ken’s arms and shoulders and lats as he steadily thrust himself in and out of his lover.
They were getting used to the increased pleasure from their combined energy flow, so it didn’t make them as hair triggered as it did at first. Ken was glad because he wanted to make this last a while for both of them.
Brad was literally whimpering in pleasure, his body and mind experiencing an elevated sexual level he couldn’t have dreamed of even a few months ago. Ken loved watching Brad feel so much pleasure, and wanted to make him feel this way as long as possible. He said, “God B you’re so fucking awesome. I love watching your body squirm and get all sweaty for me. I want you to shoot so bad for me buddy.”
Brad felt one of Ken’s hands move off his chest and down to his dick and start stroking him. He was already on the edge of an orgasm, and Ken’s hand squeezed his dick tight and started stroking him slow and steady pushing him even closer.
“Let it build up buddy. I want to see a mountain of cum shoot out of your dick. I love feeling your hard dick in my hand. Don’t hold back buddy let it fly.”
“Ohhhhhh Ken, oh God, oh fuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!” Brad could barely breathe; his whole body convulsed in pleasure, nearly bent in half with his legs still over Ken’s shoulders. By now Brad had his arms up and over his head, spreading his chest and lats out, giving Ken a perfect view of his amazing body. Ken was timing the strokes of his hand with his dick hitting Brad’s prostate. Brad’s abs were so tight the sweat was pooling down in between the ridges of muscle. The buildup was so slow it was agonizing. Brad kept thrusting his dick into Ken’s hand and squeezing and rotating his ass on Ken’s hard dick. Ken was straining, his body flexed and tight, focused on getting his lover off; he was dripping sweat onto Brad’s already hot muscled body. Their bodies looked like slick silvered marble in the moonlight.
Ken felt Brad’s dick go even harder and saw his balls draw up tighter as he felt the shaft start spewing. Hot cum flew out of the end of Brad’s dick, shooting over his shoulder and the arm of the couch to hit the carpet.
“Oh shit! Damn B, nice shot buddy!” Ken continued to stroke Brad’s dick, trying to milk every drop out of him. As soon as Brad started to shoot, his ass clamped down on Ken’s dick. Ken didn’t intend to shoot but seeing how far Brad shot, and knowing how intense the pleasure must have been for him to do that, he couldn’t help himself; with Brad’s ass squeezing his dick he exploded, shooting hot cum deep inside his lover.
Brad felt strength rushing into him and he squeezed that much harder, trying to crush Ken’s dick with his ass; to milk it just like Ken’s hand was milking his own dick. Ken threw back his head with a groan and continued to pump through his orgasm, not stopping, continuing to hammer Brad’s prostate.
He kept on, relentlessly pounding Brad’s ass, driving his lover to new heights of pleasure. Brad’s body was quivering nonstop and ten minutes later he was shooting another load. This time Ken was able to hold off and it took him a half hour before he got a third load out of Brad, and when Brad’s ass clenched down on his dick on the last one he didn’t hold back and he started jackhammering his dick into Brad until he came and then collapsed on top of him in a big sweaty muscled heap.
Brad clung to him, pressing Ken’s face down into the crux of his shoulder and neck, caressing his body though his orgasm. Brad kept clenching his ass muscles like a warm glove on Ken’s dick. Their chests were heaving, sucking air into their lungs.
“Fuck, B. I don’t know how you do that, but God it feels so good.”
It took a while for their breathing to slow back to normal. They both loved the feel of their sweaty skin pressed tight against each other. Brad had his arms and legs wrapped around Ken like a spider, pulling their bodies tight, and Ken had one arm around Brad’s back and with his other hand he cupped Brad’s cheek and brought their faces together so they could kiss.
They both continued to hold one another and cuddle until Ken felt Brad fall asleep. He stayed awake a while longer, loving the feel of Brad’s body against his own, and watching Brad’s handsome face as he slept. The feel of his heartbeat and his warm breath felt so comforting. He wanted to stay like this forever. The last thing he did before he drifted off to sleep was kiss Brad on the top of his head and he whispered, “I love you B, with all my heart.”
As Loy and Rick discovered more about their new Avatars, the doc and Albrecht thought it would be a good idea to take a trip. Loy’s ability with animals needed someplace where he could practice openly with many variations of fauna to choose from. The four men left Atlanta for the Bahamas, where the doctor knew of a few small islands with some natural habitat, plus he knew that dolphins and porpoises were in the area and if they were lucky possibly some whales.
With Rick, Loy, Albrecht, and the doctor out of town for a few days, Ken and Brad decided to organize a guy’s night out. They had talked about needing to spend more time with all the guys outside of the Lab and this would be the perfect opportunity. Years ago when they were all in Desert Storm they used to shoot pool for fun, so Ken asked everyone to meet at Sweetwater’s Bar and Grill in Norcross.
Lane and Bryan texted back saying they couldn’t make it that night but would take a rain check. Lane had ordered a new MacBook Pro and some sound engineering software and it just came in and he wanted to play around with it.
So it ended up being Ken, Brad, Pat, Darren, Kevin and Bill. They were having a good time, downing some beers, and taking turns on a table. They were keeping the waitress busy constantly ordering appetizers and refilling their drinks. Pat was cleaning everybody’s clock at eightball, which was a surprise because he usually sucked at pool and just played to have fun. As the night wore on he was getting better and better. Shots he normally found impossible to make he was making with ease.
The next game was a losers table and Brad and Ken were up. It was Ken’s turn to break, and the balls made a loud crack from the strength of his shot. Pat flinched at the sharp noise of the cue balls impact; the sound echoed in his ears. His vision blurred heavily for a brief second and when it came back into focus he was looking at a world of colored lines and vector arcs between everything and everybody. Information started flooding into his mind and his heart started pounding in his chest. Darren immediately picked up that something was wrong with his partner and he moved over to see what was wrong.
Pats mind was overloaded with the connections he was seeing, his brain interpreting the lines and arcs into an understanding of what they meant. He was seeing and understanding the connections between everyone and everything in the room. He saw the strong lines of love and support between Ken and Brad and Bill and Kevin, even between his beer and his stomach and nervous system. He saw the sound from the jukebox and the people dancing, and who the waitresses were serving drinks too, and who was with who and who was cheating on who, and who was lusting after who. Pat’s tattoo started spitting bright sparks of bright colors through the sleeve of his shirt.
The brokenness he saw in and between most people in the room was staggering and it hit him hard; he threw his forearm up to cover his eyes and turned away.
He let out a “Fuck!” and he started sweating and breathing heavily.
He heard Darren ask, “Bro what’s wrong?” Darren reached up to grab the arm Pat had over his eyes and as soon as they touched it was like a bolt of lightning hit Darren. Darren’s and Pat’s eyes both flashed white and Pat staggered and went down to one knee.
Darren’s face went blank and he was standing perfectly still, his hand still up where he had reached for Pat’s arm. He seemed to be staring at nothing. The lights in the pool hall started to flicker, and people began letting out exclamations of surprise as the beer they were sipping suddenly got ice cold or almost boiling hot. Darren’s tattoo started flaring underneath his shirt.
Brad sent a quick mental alert to Ken, Bill, and Kevin. Fuck guys their Avatars are kicking in! We need to get them out of here! I’ll calm down the crowd and you guys take care of Pat and Dar!
Ken knelt down and put his arm around Pat’s shoulder to steady him. “Hey big guy, can you talk to me? Tell me what’s happening!”
“Fuck, Ken, my eyes…. I can’t see normal. I see all these colors and lines… connections between everything. Fuck my brain feels like it’s about to explode!”
Kevin and Bill went over to Darren, who was still standing perfectly still and calm; his eyes completely white and his face expressionless. Bill asked him, “Dar? Buddy? Can you hear me?” Bill snapped his fingers a few times in front of Darren’s face and got no response.
Kevin let out a, “Holy shit! Look!” and pointed to the pool table. The balls were starting to float off the tabletop.
More people were shouting about hot or cold drinks, and a few were frantically taking off earrings and watches that were suddenly too hot to wear.
Ken felt a wave of power from Brad and suddenly everyone in the bar went perfectly still. Brad had his eyes closed, concentrating on holding so many minds still.
Ken sent a thought Good job B. Draw from me if you need too.
If I don’t have to hold everyone to long I should be fine. It’s easier when they’re a little drunk.
The pool balls started spinning around Darren, moving faster and faster, and little energy tendrils were starting to arc off his body to the balls. Darren’s body started to lift up off the ground; his back arching and his whole body taught. His energy centers were flaring sporadically and arcing all over the bar. For the first time ever, they noticed that when the energy tendrils coming off Darren hit something it had a physical effect. Napkins caught on fire and ashtrays were flipping over. Ken, Bill, and Kevin were looking at him in amazement trying to decide what to do when suddenly he wasn’t there anymore! As soon as he vanished the pool balls dropped with loud thunks back onto the table.
Ken, Kevin and Bill all let out a, “What the fuck!?”
Ken leaned down and grabbed Pat’s big solid shoulders and shook him slightly, “Pat! Dar disappeared! Can you feel him? Where is he?”
Pat looked unsteady; he was still overwhelmed by whatever was happening to him, but when he heard Ken say that Dar disappeared he redoubled his efforts to focus. He reached out for Dar and felt his mind through their link. That was something he could latch onto; his connection to Darren. Pat was seeing the connections between everything and everybody, so he tried to focus only on his connection to Darren. All the other lines and arcs began to fade slightly and his mind cleared a little. He knew Darren was nearby; he could see a line coming from him and going out through the walls of the building towards the parking lot.
Ken helped him to stand up. Pat managed to say “He’s close by. Outside towards the car.”
Ken helped Pat and Bill, Kevin, and Brad followed. When they got to the door Brad let everyone go. Activity returned but it wasn’t a panic; just a little confusion. He blurred the last minute or two of their memories so they wouldn’t remember the details of what happened. Their waitress had run his credit card when they opened their tab earlier so he sent a compulsion to her to close out their bill and tip herself twenty percent.
When they got outside Pat could see the connection more clearly. He nodded his thanks to Ken and he took off towards their Explorer, still a little unsteady but frantic to get to Darren.
The car was locked and Darren had the keys in his pocket. The windows were tinted making it difficult to see into the car. There were small flashes of light inside and the car was shaking slightly.
Pat mentally shouted, Darren! Can you hear me? Unlock the car man!
Darren’s mental voice was barely audible, Pat? Fuck man, what’s going on? I feel awful. So tired….
Dar can you unlock the door? If you can’t I’m going to break the window!
Darren’s voice was getting fainter, Wait… oh fuck it hurts! The locks clicked open and then Darren’s mind went quiet.
Pat jerked the car door open and Darren was laid out in the back seat unconscious. Pat reached in and picked his lover up like he didn’t weigh anything and pulled him against his chest listening for a heartbeat. Darren was breathing but his heartbeat was erratic and he was cold and clammy and his body was trembling.
Ken said, “We need to get him to the lab. Bill you and Kevin take them with you and me and Brad will follow. Brad should be able to reach the doc and Albrecht so we can get some guidance.”
“You bet. Kev let’s go.” Pat got back in the car and they laid Darren down with his head in Pat’s lap.
Ken drove so Brad could concentrate. Brad, still linked with Ken, sent his mind out to make contact with the doctor. He hadn’t tried to reach anyone that far away before but he was confident it wouldn’t be a problem.
Doc?! Can you hear me?
Bradford? Has something happened?
Yes, sir. Pat and Darren are Awakening. Pat’s a little shaky and Darren is unconscious. Sir, it was like a poltergeist! We were playing pool, and he was levitating the pool balls and his feet left the ground and he teleported out into the parking lot!
My goodness! There is no precedent for such a physically oriented ability! How remarkable! If he was affecting objects the energy drain must have been incredible and he is most likely exhausted. I suspect he will be fine once his body and mind are adjusted. I prepared some syringes in preparation of any further Awakenings while Albrecht and I are gone. When you get him to the lab go to the refrigerator in my office and you will see them. Have William give him 100 cc’s of the blue vial and it should help. How is Patrick?
Sir, he was overwhelmed with whatever he was seeing. He said he saw colors and lines connecting everybody and everything around him. It seemed painful but I’m not sure if it was emotional, mental, or physical.
Remarkable! This is making more and more sense based on Albrecht’s efforts to translate the symbols. Have William give him an injection as well. I will return tonight and Albrecht can stay with Richard and Loy a few more days. We are making so many amazing discoveries! You will be most impressed when you find out what your brothers are able to do.
Ken and Brad picked up on the doctor’s excitement through the link, even as far away as he was.
We can’t wait to hear about it doc! Give Albrecht our best, and Loy and Rick. We miss you guys!
I will see you both tomorrow when I get back in town. I will be listening for your call in case anything else develops with Darren and Patrick. I am sure they will be fine with some rest and food, but we cannot take to many precautions.
Thanks doc! We’ll see you tomorrow.
Brad contacted Bill, Kevin, and Pat and told them what the doc had said. Everyone felt better that the doc would be back tomorrow. When they got to the lab, Pat carried Darren in and Bill gave both of them a shot and insisted that they spend the night in the lab instead of trying to go home.
Ken and Brad went out to get everybody some food and Pat felt much better after he ate. He ended up eating twice as much as normal. Pat kept looking around, and was occasionally frowning or opening his eyes in surprise.
Brad asked him, “Pat do you mind if I take a look at what you’re seeing?”
“Not at all man but be careful. I’m getting a grip on this but if your brain isn’t wired for it I’m not sure how safe it will be.”
“I’ll be careful and keep a lite touch.”
Pat felt Brad’s mental touch, very gentle and soothing.
Brad let out a, “Holy shit Pat!” under his breath. The world exploded into lines and arcs and ropes of energy, connecting everything. It was more than just visual; it was the understanding beneath the connection that was overwhelming. Brad pulled back quickly to keep from getting lost, but he realized the significance of what Pat was seeing. Brad was a wizard at math and physics and he had a good idea of the significance of the information Pat was experiencing.
Brad smiled at Pat and said, “Bro that is utterly amazing! I can’t wait for the doc to get here and help figure out the ins and outs of this”
Pat saw the connection between him and Brad and the sincerity and pride that Brad felt on his behalf. It made him feel good and better about the night.
“Yeah, thanks Brad. You know, on top of the visual part of this, seeing all those normals in the bar and how superficial their relationships are and how broken most of them are inside… it was painful. Just like when we first started linking, but all over again. Except this isn’t just hearing it and feeling it… it’s understanding the brokenness… in most cases they know right from wrong and they choose wrong because it’s either easier or out of some selfish gain even if it means someone else getting hurt. It’s crazy and really sad.”
“It’s hard Pat. Ken and I have found ourselves spending more and more time by ourselves or with you guys because it can be so difficult to be around crowds of people. It’s hard to imagine that we were the same not too long ago. But on the flip side, it makes it easier to care more about them. They need our help, and it’s not arrogant on our part to say that. Your ability will help tremendously when we get on track and start looking at the bigger picture.”
Pat leaned back on the bed and closed his eyes, rubbing his forehead.
Brad asked him, “Is your head still hurting?”
“Yeah it’s pounding.”
“Dar is probably going to sleep through the night. Do you want me to help you get some sleep? I promise we’ll wake you up if anything happens or if he wakes up before you.”
“Yeah bro if you could. I’ve never had a headache like this. It’s almost making me sick.”
“Ok, why don’t you get over in the same bed with Dar. You’ll be more comfortable that way.”
Pat got up and got into bed with Darren and pulled their bodies close together. He wrapped his big arms around his lover, spooning their bodies together.
Brad moved over to the side of the bed and put his hands gently on Pats head. Just like he did with Ken, Brad rubbed Pat’s temples and caressed his forehead, and he sent Pat’s mind down into quiet, restful sleep, calming his racing thoughts. Brad felt the tension flowing out of Pat as his breathing became slow and steady. Brad shifted his sight and he could see the sporadic flares in the blue energy of Pat’s mind that was causing his headache. He was afraid of tampering in case Pat’s energy centers were still adjusting so he gave a soft compulsion to stay in a deep restful sleep, deep enough to not feel the pain.
Ken came in to check on them, saw what Brad was doing, and smiled. He walked over behind Brad and put his hands on his shoulders, pulling Brad back against him. He whispered in his ear, “Nice B. He needed that.”
Brad took a deep breath and relaxed against Ken. He was a little tired from tonight’s activity but he found as he got more used to exerting himself mentally it took less of a toll on him and his recovery time was faster. He felt like he was getting stronger.
Ken pulled away and nodded his head for Brad to follow. Brad followed Ken into the kitchen area, where Bill and Kevin were sitting at one of the tables, and Bill was shuffling a deck of cards. Bill had on a Braves baseball cap backwards and the stump of a cigar in his mouth. Brad knew what that meant and he looked over at Ken, who said with a big grin on his face, “It’s not late and we need to pass some time. We thought a good game of strip poker would keep us busy for a while.”
Brad laughed and said, “You perverts! Count me in!”
Bill said, “No mental shit! All links are down except for monitoring Dar and Pat!”
Brad winked and smiled and just said, “I don’t need to be able to read your sissy ass mind to beat you at poker bud.”
Bill rubbed his hands together in a greedy fashion and said, “The gauntlet is thrown down! Prepare to feel the breeze on those tiny peanuts you call balls buddy.”
Kevin and Ken laughed and joined in the banter.
After a good two hours of laughing and joking around and almost total nudity, Ken was the winner. Kevin got knocked out first, then Brad, then Bill. Ken was down to just his socks by the time he won, and all of them were sporting semi hard ons.
By the time they were finished and Ken won the game it was getting late. Ken told Kevin and Bill with a smile and a wink that they could go have fun and get some sleep. Naked and hand in hand the two big studs went to one of the rooms with a bed and shut the door.
Brad, still naked, was making some coffee. Ken eyed his naked body, especially his hot smoking bubble butt. Brad could feel Ken watching him through their link. The corner of his mouth rose in a smirk and he started clenching his gluts together. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Ken standing there openly staring and grinned.
Brad went over and picked up his clothes from the back of the couch and started to put his shorts on when Ken sent a thought, No man not yet…
You horn dog.
Hey I’m not the only one sporting some wood!
Well with the sexiest man on the planet sitting in in the same room with me butt naked what do you expect?
So it’s my fault?
So then I suppose the chivalrous thing to do is to fix the problem.
Oh yeah! I like it when you’re chivalrous.
Well grab a dishtowel and get over on the couch stud!
Ken felt Brad reach out to check on Kevin and Bill, and Pat and Darren. Pat and Darren were sleeping soundly, and Kevin and Bill were… oh man! Brad’s dick went from mostly hard to diamond hard from the sexual energy Kevin and Bill were generating. Brad let Ken in on that loop gently, as he didn’t want to intrude or spy on their friend’s privacy. As soon as he knew they were occupied and not going to come out and surprise them he shut down that part of the link.
Oh shit! That was hot! Are we that hot when we make out?
Hotter. We’re like the core of the sun.
Brad moved over onto the couch and got into the corner, sitting up with his arms over his head, stretching out and making his entire body available to Ken.
Ken, if possible, got even harder looking at Brad’s amazing physique. Brad looked down at his chest and mentally said, I think it’s almost time for a trim, what do you think?
I think you’re fucking perfect B. But if you want to trim up a little I’ll be glad to help you out. Fuck B, you are one handsome studly muther fucker.
Ken came over and got on his hands and knees on the couch, hovering over Brad, close enough so they could feel the heat from each other’s bodies. Ken had a lustful gleam in his eyes and thought, Keep your arms up man.
He leaned forward and started kissing and nibbling Brad’s neck. Brad put his head back and sighed in pleasure. Ken worked his way across Brad’s shoulder and started licking his armpit, sending butterflies deep into Brad’s stomach, lighting up the fire in the pit of his belly. He loved having his armpits eaten out and loved eating out Ken’s, especially after a good workout.
Brad brought his other arm down and put his hand on the back of Ken’s head, gently pushing and guiding him. After a few minutes Ken moved lower to Brad’s chest, working his way over his broad tight pecs and his nipples and then eventually back up to his other armpit. Brad was moaning in pleasure the entire time.
Fuck Ken that feels so good man. Your tongue is amazing.
Brad’s dick was throbbing and he was breathing heavy and starting to sweat. Precum was oozing from the head of his dick and dripping down his throbbing shaft.
Ken spent a good twenty minutes working over Brad’s armpits and chest. By the time he was through Brad was delirious with lust. He pulled away and looked at Brad’s face; his eyes were shut tight and his head was thrown back in pleasure, his mouth open. Ken took his big hands and started slowly rubbing Brad’s sweaty muscles giving him a little time to cool down.
After a minute he started kissing and sucking Brad’s nipples again and then working down over his abs, until he finally took the head of Brad’s dick into his hot mouth. He kept just the head in, swirling his tongue around it, trying to give his lover as much pleasure as he could. Brad was whimpering in pleasure and whispering under his breath, “Oh fuck Ken, don’t stop man.”
Ken took the lower part of Brad’s shaft in one hand and with a firm grip started jacking him slowly, keeping the head in his mouth and focusing his tongue on the top few inches. Ken’s other hand went down and started playing with Brad’s balls, which were tight and pulled up against his body, ready to shoot.
Oh fuck yeah B. I love the feel of your hard dick throbbing in my mouth buddy. You’re so hard; hard for me. I love it when you get all sweaty for me B. It’s hot as hell and it turns me on.
Ken’s mental coaching pushed Brad over the edge, and all the muscles in his body tightened and stood out. His abs contracted, showing an amazing eight pack definition. Brad put his hands on either side of Ken’s face and held him still and he started mini thrusting his dick against Ken’s waiting, swirling tongue.
“Ohhhhh Fuuuck” Brad moaned, as he started firing ropes of hot white cum into Ken’s waiting mouth. Ken closed his mouth and took Brad’s load and as soon as he swallowed, he felt his mind open and expand. They were already linked but it made their bond that much stronger and tighter, and their pleasure from being together that much more intense. Brad was still in the throes of his orgasm when Ken went over the edge. Getting Brad off turned him on so much he lost control and he grabbed his dick, and started madly stroking himself off, shooting his cum over Brad’s tight sweaty abs.
Ken let out his own, “Fuucccccccckkkkkkkkkkkk, B, I’m cumming too bro!” Ken threw his head back in pleasure, sweat pouring off his body, his muscles standing out in perfection as his body tightened with the pleasure of his own orgasm.
It took a few minutes for them both to come back down from where their orgasms took them. Linked as they were, their minds and souls flowing in unison, they were completely together and wanted to stay lost in each other. The intimate feeling of contentment and belonging was so fulfilling the thought of pulling apart was painful.
The physical sensation of the air conditioner blowing over their sweaty bodies and their hands roaming over each other finally brought them back to themselves. Their energies slowly unwound and little by little they separated back into their own bodies but they couldn’t bring themselves to pull their minds and hearts back yet.
Ken looked down at his cum on Brad’s sexy abs and smiled.
Brad grinned and tightened his abs so the cum would pool in the ridges of muscle. Ken leaned down and scooped up as much of his own cum off Brad’s stomach as he could with his tongue and then leaned forward and started kissing Brad, sharing his cum with both of them.
Brad felt the extra charge as soon as they started kissing and his body absorbed Ken’s seed.
Brad smiled and thought, Who needs a towel?
Ken grinned and laid his body down on top of his lover, and they wrapped their arms and legs around each other, pulling each other as close as they could possibly get, and kissed and cuddled for what seemed like hours.
When they finally broke apart they got up to clean off themselves and get dressed. They sprayed the couch down with Febreeze and the general area with some air freshener because the couch and surrounding area smelled like sex. They took a quick shower together to wash off the sweat and cum that they hadn’t licked up.
They decided to
let Kevin and Bill sleep through the night and stay up themselves in case Pat
and Darren woke up and needed anything.
Getting back on the couch, they each took an end and faced one another,
with their legs intertwined, and talked the rest of the night. Their conversation covered a wide range of
topics, from hypothesizing on the ramifications and combinations of the
abilities that they knew about, and wondering what abilities Kevin and Bill
would have. They wondered how their
rolls in all this would play out, and about The Order, and the doc and
Albrecht, and the Nephelem.
Ken heard movement coming from both rooms before Brad did. He nodded to Brad to indicate the guys were getting up and Brad got up to start a fresh pot of coffee.
A few minutes later a bleary eyed Pat and Darren came lumbering out of their room, their clothes wrinkled from sleeping in them. Kevin and Bill came out in shorts and nothing else, both with bed head, their nearly naked bodies looking extremely hot and sexy.
Brad and Ken both said, “Good morning ladies!” All of them gave a sleepy “Mornin” in reply.
Brad went over to Darren first and said, “How’re you feeling Dar? Do you have any residual headache or odd sensations?”
“I feel fine except my stomach is eating through my spine from hunger.”
Brad looked over at Pat with a raised eyebrow. Pat responded, “I feel fine too. I’m hungry but not as hungry as Dar. I think what he did took more out of him.”
Ken said, “Based on what the doc said that makes sense. I think Bill and Kev get elected to run out and get breakfast for all of us. What do you all think?” Laughing, Brad, Pat, and Darren agreed, so Bill and Kevin quickly got dressed and headed out.
When the four of them were alone, Brad asked, “So guys, what do you remember about last night?”
Darren looked at Pat with a grin and said, “You first bro. My shit didn’t start ‘til I touched your sorry ass.”
Pat glared at Darren in mock anger and said, “Well… now that I’ve had some time to think about it I think it really started a few hours before we got to the bar. It’s hard to describe how I was feeling but it’s like I was better in tune with my surroundings. When we got to the bar and started playing pool, and I started making all those shots I normally miss, it felt right. It was like I instinctively knew where to hit the balls and how hard. It was all building up, and when Ken broke the rack on the next game it was like a light switch went off and I started seeing all these connections. It was overwhelming and it’s still hard to describe. It’s not just the visual, but the amount of information that goes with it that gets me. It’s like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. I’ve never been much of a book worm or a techie but the flood of information was a rush.”
“It’s probably easier to show you. Everybody link with me but don’t go to deep, I’m not sure how much overflow there might be.”
Pat focused on the desktop PC at one of the workstations in the lab. Their vision flooded with colorful lines and arcs as all of the intricacy of the circuit boards and components and the connection and interaction between them became visible to them and their minds filled with the knowledge of how everything fit together. Pat looked at Ken and Brad and he saw the energy flows and emotional bonds between them. He could see how much they loved one another. He saw the muscle and bone density inside Ken’s big frame and knew exactly how much he could lift and how much stress it would take to break a bone or tear down muscle tissue in a workout. He saw Brad’s intellectual capacity and the strength of his mind and heart.
Ken and Brad both said, “Holy shit man,” at the same time.
Pat shifted his sight and everything blurred and then came back to normal, but they could still feel everything in his awareness below the surface. For Pat it was a part of him now and a part of his being.
“I’m not saying I could build a computer but I damn sure understand how that one works, and I bet I could fix it if it’s broken. I can tell you how much stress my weight puts on the floor. I can look at Dar and I can see all his new abilities and I know what he can do, and you guys too.”
Ken laughed and said, “My God, Pat, that’s amazing. It’s going to take me a little time to get my head around it but I can only imagine the possibilities of how useful that is going to be to us and our cause.”
Brad turned the attention back on Darren saying, “So Dar, show off for us bro.”
Darren looked a little apprehensive and embarrassed and said, “Well… umm… it’s not that easy guys; at least not yet.”
Pat went over and got behind him and said, “Here bro, look at your ability through mine. It’s amazing buddy… you’re amazing. Y’all are gonna shit your pants when you see what he can do.” Pat put his hands on Darren’s shoulders and pulled him back against his big chest. Darren leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
With the physical contact between them Pat was able to pull Darren into himself. He embraced Darren with his mind, heart, and Soul just as his arms were wrapped around his big strong body. He was confident but gentle, knowing this was new to his best friend and lover. He started looking at Darren’s ability with him, to give him the understanding he needed to get control of it.
Pat was coaching him, “Take your time Dar. Follow the connections and don’t go on to the next one until you’re clear on what the one you are focused on can do.” Brad felt Darren create a construct of the lab and take himself and Pat into it to give them more time. Ken and Brad were silent, giving them time to learn from each other and grow into their abilities.
Ken said mentally, I can’t believe how powerful some of us are getting B.
Yeah I know. From the doc’s reaction about Dar teleporting he’s never seen or heard of such a physical manifestation of an Avatar before. All our abilities so far have been psychically or emotionally based, but what Dar did is in a different ball park.
Darren opened his eyes and grinned and said, “Pat you rock bud. This isn’t as hard as I thought now that I know what’s what.”
“Just be careful if you try that with me or Ken or one of us. It’s going to take the wind out of your sails and I’m not sure how long it’ll take you to recover.”
Brad and Ken realized they came in on the tail end of a conversation Pat and Darren were having as Darren brought them out of his construct.
“Ok let’s start with something small and let me work up from there.” Darren looked over at one of the lab stools and it rolled over to his feet and then back to where it started. Then he lifted it off the floor and let it hover for a few seconds and then gently set it back down.
Ken and Brad both had grins on their faces and their eyes were wide as they said, “Whoah!”
“I’m just getting warmed up guys.”
Suddenly all sorts of little objects from the desks around the lab started to appear in the air in front of Darren. He had a collection of pens, paper weights, staplers, and paper clips swirling around in front of him. Darren’s body blinked and he appeared on the other side of the floating objects. He sent all the objects back to their original places.
“I hope I got everything back where it belongs.”
A wadded up piece of paper appeared in his outstretched hand from one of the trash cans. Darren’s handsome brow furrowed in concentration and the paper caught on fire. He moved his hand out from under the burning paper and it hovered in the air, but before it started dropping ashes it appeared in the sink over in the kitchen and the faucet turned on to douse the flame.
“I can cool things too. I’m sure I could freeze water but it might take a little time.”
“The last thing is the most complicated and I need Pat’s help with. I know the doc has us set financially but if we ever get into trouble with money I can bail us out. Check this out.”
Darren went over to the wall where the doc had a periodic table of the elements. “I’m going to do something small. I’m really hungry and I’m getting a headache, so I don’t want to do much more until I get some food in me.”
Ken just shook his head and said, “My god Darren, you two are amazing! The implications of what you’re doing are off the charts.”
Darren picked up a glass stirring rod from one of the lab benches. He went back into the doc’s storeroom and rummaged around for a minute and he came back out with a high end gold plated HDMI video cable. He double checked the ends to make sure it was one he needed. “Ok Pat I’m gonna need to tap into you so I can see how both of these are put together.”
Pat pulled Darren back against him and Darren opened up their energy centers one at a time. The nimbus that appeared around them radiated the love they had for one another and it flowed out into Brad and Ken, who instinctively reached for one another. Similar to healing, Pat focused their three energy centers into one bright white ribbon. He controlled the energy flow and channeled it into the glass rod while looking at the gold connectors on the video cable. He was using Pat’s ability to understand of the atomic structure of the glass rod and the gold connectors. After about thirty seconds Pat let the energy flow diminish. Darren was shaking and a little unsteady on his feet, but he had a huge smile on his face and held up a now 24 karat solid gold stirring rod.
Pat looked drained as well, but he was beaming with pride at what Darren just did, like he had no part in it himself.
Ken didn’t know what else to do but grab each one of them in a big hug and say, “Oh my God guys, I’m so proud of you two I’m about to burst. I don’t know what else to say except you are bad-ass!”
Brad followed suit, smiling with pride at his friends. “You rock guys! Now we need to get Bill and Kev back here with food before you two pass out. Sit down before you fall down fella’s.”
Brad went over to the kitchen and came back with two bottles of Gator-Ade. “This isn’t food but it will get some carbs back into your systems until they get back.”
Ken asked, “So Pat what were you saying before about Darren doing something with you or me?”
Darren answered, “I can teleport people to, but it takes a lot out of me. With your extra body mass, or Pat’s, I could probably do it but I’d most likely pass out. But in an emergency or maybe with Lane backing me up, it would be doable.”
About ten minutes later Kevin and Bill got back with a couple of bags full of Chic-Fil-A biscuits with cheese, hash rounds, and four gallons of sweet iced tea. As soon as they walked in the door and Darren saw the bags he teleported them into his own hands and tossed one to Pat, which they both tore into with fervor. The look on Bill’s and Kevin’s faces was priceless, and Brad and Ken laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes.
Pat and Darren both started feeling better in a matter of minutes with food getting into their bodies and the last vestiges of their headaches disappeared.
The doctor arrived about an hour later, looking very tired, but he was thrilled to see Pat and Darren up and feeling good. He gave them both a quick exam and insisted on a demonstration of both their abilities. After they both showed him the basics, he got out a piece of solder and asked Darren to see if he could heat it enough to liquefy the tip.
“Sure doc that’ll be a cinch. This stuff is soft.” In less than two seconds the end of the solder started to smoke and a little melted ball formed at the tip. The doctor was as giddy as a schoolgirl and literally danced a little jig. Everyone was stunned in amazement; they had never seen him so happy over so small a thing.
Pat saw what was going on and with a big grin he looked at Darren and said, “Well buddy it looks like we’re going to have our work cut out for us. It’s time for some upgrades doc.”
Even Brad looked confused, who was usually quick to figure out the gist of most situations. He said, “Enlighten us guys? What’s the big deal about Dar being able to melt solder?”
The doctor took a deep breath to calm himself and said, “Bradford, for many years now I have had the knowledge but not the means to build new equipment for the lab. To stay ahead of the normal world is a must for us to be successful. With Patrick and Darren’s help, I can build all new computer systems that will be light years ahead of what we have now.”
Brad and Ken both realized the importance of what the doc just said, and they both felt that, as a group, they were taking one more step to restoring The Order and being able to take the fight to their Enemy.
Pat and Darren left for home to take it easy the rest of the day and recover.
Kevin and Bill took advantage of being at the lab earlier than usual and decided to knock out their workouts for the day. Ken and Brad joined them and they all ran five miles on the treadmills together and then started their physical weight regimens. Once they finished their weight training Kevin and Ken got in the ring to spar while Bill and Brad practiced their mental disciplines. Brad quickly realized that Bill was distracted and not into the exercises. Normally he would just push Bill harder to get his mind back in the exercise but today his intuition told him that would be the wrong move.
Bill what’s the matter man? You’re not in the game today bud.
Bill closed his eyes and hung his head, Man I don’t know… I guess I’m finally feeling a bit left behind. I know I shouldn’t feel that way Brad but with what everyone else can do now, the pressure’s on to get some badass ability… and soon. What if I get something stupid like changing the color of my piss?
They both laughed a bit at that. Bill, why do you think you won’t get something just as amazing as everybody else?
I don’t know. I’m really trying hard not to feel like the last kid picked for the team though. I love you guys and I know none of you feel that way, but for some reason I do. I’m not usually one to go the self-pity route so I’m not sure where this is coming from. But it’s there and I’m trying to deal with it. And I don’t want to drag Kevin down with me.
As soon as Bill mentioned Kevin, Brad knew what his issue was.
When was the last time you and Kevin merged completely?
At first every minute of every day, but we haven’t gone deep in a couple of days.
And why is that?
Well…. Fuck. He hesitated. He knew there was no lying in mind to mind contact, so if he spoke it would be admitting the truth. After a short silence between them he hung his head and thought Because I’m afraid.
Brad reached out and pulled Bill deeper inside of him giving him the equivalent of a mental hug. There was some resistance at first; he felt Bill’s embarrassment over how he was feeling and he didn’t want Brad seeing him this way any more than he did Kevin. Brad was gentle but persistent and he pulled Bill in deeper so he could see that his concern was needless.
Bill there’s no need to feel the way you do buddy. I totally understand it, because I felt that way myself not too long ago.
You did? No way!
Brad thought Come here bud, and he merged the two of them completely.
Ken and I had a similar conversation just last week. I was feeling overwhelmed and had a moment of weakness and he confronted me about it. The gist of our conversation is that we’re here to support each other. If one of us is feeling down, we have to lean on our partner for support and vice versa. What you need to do is to go home with Kevin, share all this with him and realize that he couldn’t care one iota about you getting another ability. He loves you as you are right now bud and nothing will ever change that. And don’t feel stupid or weak because you feel this way now. All of us at one time or another in the last few months has felt the same way. And at some point in the future when Kevin is down you’ll be there for him. In the battle we’re in things are going to get tough and if we’re going to make it we have to learn to lean on one another when we need too.
Bill saw the conversation, and relived it with Brad, and he knew that Brad was right. He felt better but he still needed to make things right with Kevin and their relationship.
Thanks for the pep talk Brad. I mean that. Brad saw Bill’s eyes were a little red and raw from facing his emotions, and from being so intimate with his friend. Brad, his own eyes red and watery, reached over and squeezed his shoulder in comfort and said, “What I prescribe is for you and Kevin to go home right now and hash this out and then have hot sex for the rest of the day.”
Ken and Kevin had paused to catch their breath and from across the gym their exceptional hearing picked up Brad’s last statement.
Kevin hollered over, “What’s this about hot sex for the rest of the day? Count me in!”
Ken and Kevin jumped down and came over, both sweaty from their sparring and looking incredibly hot and sexy. Seeing Ken’s body pumped and sweaty, and smelling him as soon as he moved over beside Brad caused him to start getting hard.
Kevin saw Bill’s eyes were a bit red and said, “What’s up Bill?” He sat down and put one of his big arms over Bill’s shoulder and pulled his lover tight against him.
“Kev, I have something I need to talk to you about. Let’s head home.”
Brad nodded his head towards Ken, indicating they should head back to the lockers.
As Brad and Ken were leaving, Bill mentally said to Brad, Thanks again Brad.
No problem brother. You know I love you and I’m glad I could help. Always remember I’m here if you need me and you’ll be there for me one day when I need it. We all will.
Ken waited until they were driving home to ask Brad what happened with Bill.
“He’s feeling the pressure of not having his main ability yet, and it’s affecting his self-confidence, and he’s worried about dragging Kev down with him. Not only is he worried about not having his ability yet, he’s worried that it might suck compared to what everyone else can do.”
“Fuck, B, I’m sure he doesn’t have anything to worry about. I agree it’ll be hard to top Pat and Darren, but this isn’t about who’s ability is better. It’s about filling a need in the group, which he and Kev already do. Anything up and above that is gravy as far as I’m concerned.”
“Never fear, Mr. Leader. He and I had a good chat and I think he’s going to be just fine.”
“I’m sure you said the right thing; you always know what to say.”
Brad laughed and said, “I wish I felt like I did. I just try to ask questions and listen to the issues behind the issues and hope I can figure it out. Everybody has their own shit, but we’re all in the same boat really, so even though it’s personal for everybody, it’s not unique.”
“See there you go again, soundin all smart. That makes me hard.”
“Is there anything that doesn’t make you hard?”
“Yeah a few but don’t you dare look because they are gross and nasty and I want you in the mood when we get home.” Brad reached his hand over and rubbed Ken’s crotch and sure enough he was half hard already, and with Brad’s touch completely hard within seconds.
Brad smiled and said, “I can’t wait. I was already worked up watching you and Kev spar.”
While Ken and Brad made it home, fixed lunch, and then made out like rabbits for a few hours, Kevin and Bill went home as well. The drive home was quiet, with Kevin giving Bill as much space as he needed before bringing up whatever was bothering him. He just made small talk until they pulled into their driveway and got into the house.
Kevin asked him, “Do you want to shower with me first or do you want to eat?”
“Let’s eat first, because once I’m naked with you in the shower food will be the last thing on my mind.”
They started fixing lunch and Bill was still quiet and subdued. Once they sat down, Kevin could see him building himself up to talk about whatever was going on. They had only taken a few bites from their sandwiches when Bill finally broke the silence.
“Kev, I’m sorry man and I need to share something with you. I’m not feeling very good about myself right now, and I’ve been dodging you in my head for the past few days because I didn’t want to pull you down with me.”
Kevin stood up and moved over behind Bill and pulled him out of his chair and into a hug. “Bill, what the hell man? Why didn’t you say something sooner?”
With the physical contact Kevin forced the merge, only meeting minimal resistance as Bill was still hesitant to show his weakness to his partner.
Their minds and souls wrapped together and Kevin’s strong presence flooded into Bill and he felt what Bill was feeling and the pain he was in. Kevin felt hot tears falling on his big shoulder and Bill’s arms squeezed him tighter.
Kevin just held him for a minute in his arms, and rubbing his back in comfort. In the first few seconds of their merge he saw what Bill was keeping from him and how he felt. Bill saw that Brad was right, and that Kevin didn’t give a rat’s ass about his ability showing up or not, or what it might be. The unconditional love Kevin had for him filled him up and he accepted it and let it heal the hurt he had inflicted on himself the last few days.
Bill opened their energy centers and took the link to a deeper level, realizing he should have done this to start with and there wouldn’t have been a problem.
Kevin’s mental voice was smiling as he thought, Yeah dumbass. We’re here for each other. Never, EVER, do this to yourself or to me again, and I promise right now never to do it to you. As soon as either one of us feels something like this coming on we need to do what we are doin right now and use it as a shield to stay strong.
Bill’s cheek was resting on Kevin’s strong shoulder, and the feel of his hard warm body, coupled with the emotional and mental comfort his soul was receiving drove Bill’s dick to a state of iron hardness. Kevin could feel it through Bill’s shorts and he reached down and started caressing his hard on, running his fingers up and down its length.
Bill pulled back and gave Kevin a long passionate kiss. When they broke apart they looked into each other’s eyes and Bill said, “I love you Kev.”
Kevin said, “I love you too Bill, more than anything or anyone in the world.”
Bill sighed as his stomach rumbled, and he said, “Ok let’s finish lunch so we can go take care of business. Screw the shower. We’ll only have to take one after we get all hot and sweaty anyways.”
“Now that’s the Bill I know and love. I like you’re thinkin.”
Bill and Kevin finished eating and went back to their bedroom. Bill opened up their energy centers and instead of having frantic, wild sex, they had a two hour bout of hot passionate love making. Afterwards they both lay together, the sweat cooling on their bodies, holding each other in their minds and hearts, their energy centers completely intertwined and fully immersed in one another.
If Pat could see them through his newly awakened Avatar, he would see the bundle of energy inside them both starting to pulse and spread through their bodies.
Later that afternoon, after they finally dragged themselves out of bed to start doing some chores around the house, the security alarm chirped a few seconds before the doorbell rang. Kevin was in the garage and heard Bill holler out from the kitchen, “I’ll get it!”
Bill looked on the security monitor in the kitchen and saw a Fed Ex delivery guy holding a box. He opened the door and was stunned at how handsome the man was. Bill was a tall guy at 6’4”, and just like all the other team very muscular, but the guy in front of him was just as tall and far thicker. He definitely looked like he used some type of steroids; Bill doubted he could get both of his hands around the guy’s neck! He was sweating a little in the heat and he was wearing sunglasses so Bill couldn’t see his eyes. The FedEx shirt was stretched around his arms and tight across his massive chest.
Bill was momentarily distracted by the sight of the man in front of him holding the box. He cleared his throat and said, “Are you Bill Brennan?”
“Yeah that’s me.”
“I’ll need your signature please, sir.”
Bill took the tablet, signed his name and handed it back, and the guy held out the box, which looked to be roughly a square foot. It only weighed a few pounds.
“Sir, there are some special delivery instructions for this package because of the insurance value. If you could please open it and inspect the contents and make sure it’s acceptable. If anything is broken or if you wish to refuse the package I can take it back now with the original packing material.”
“Uhh... sure man give me a second. Do you want to step in for a minute? It’s too hot to just stand out in the heat.”
“Thank you sir, I’d appreciate that.”
Bill moved in and set the down on the coffee table in the den and went to get a box cutter from the kitchen. When he cut the tape and opened the box, at first glance it seemed to be filled with Styrofoam peanuts. Not knowing what was in it and knowing it was something valuable; he gingerly put his hand down into the packing material and felt around. He found something smooth and hard and wrapped his hand around it.
As soon as his hand wrapped around it, Bill’s mind and body exploded in pain. The shock and the sensation was so quick and overpowering he didn’t have time to cry out. He fell to the floor, with the object, what looked to be a human skull, still gripped in his hand. The FedEx guy smiled and took off his glasses.
Kevin staggered as the pain hit him through their link, and then the link severed immediately; Bill’s presence completely vanished from his mind.
“Bill!” Kevin ran through the garage and into the kitchen looking around. He saw a big muscular delivery guy crouched down over Bill’s body, with his hand around Bill’s throat. Bill’s was on the floor in the living room and his body was convulsing. Blood was running from his nose, ears, and eyes.
“What the fuck did you do to him!? Get your hands off him now!”
“Just a little present from my employers. If you step any closer I’ll break his neck.”
Kevin knew this guy was strong and fast, based on what happened when Rick fought the muscle goons downtown. Since his mind was energized and open after their love making earlier in the afternoon, Kevin tried to send a mental shout for help.
Brad!? Lane!? Doc!? 911!
Something felt wrong. With his connection to Bill not working, Kevin’s own mind seemed to have shut off.
He instinctively knew that something wasn’t right. His own abilities were not dependent on Bill, so something else had to be blocking them.
Another big guy came through the front door and looked around. He smiled when he saw Bill on the floor bleeding. “I see Brennan fell for it. These charms the boss gave us worked great; he didn’t sense anything wrong. Maybe you guys aren’t as tough as the boss thinks.”
He looked down at Bill’s convulsing body and said, “Sweet dreams there shithead.”
The man reached behind his back and pulled out a gun and pointed it at Kevin. It had a silencer on it. “This should make the boss happy. Two of the The Order out of our hair for good. So much for you golden boys.” He pulled the trigger.
As soon as Kevin saw the gun he knew he had to do something or he and Bill wouldn’t stand a chance. He hoped the adrenaline rush he felt out of fear for Bill would be enough. He launched himself towards the guy who was on the floor with his hand around Bill’s neck. They guy was overconfident and took his eyes off Kevin; a mistake that caused him his life. He heard the gun go off and felt the impact as his shoulder exploded in pain. With his body mass the bullet didn’t change his trajectory in the slightest and he felt the man’s neck snap as his huge forearm nearly decapitated the man, knocking him clear of Bill before he could react.
Ignoring the pain, Kevin hit the floor, rolling his body up and he leapt back into a spinning back kick. He felt his foot connect with the man’s thick neck, shattering the bones, but the gun went off again. Kevin felt the bullet enter his spine and his whole body went numb. His body dropped like a 450lb rock onto the floor of the den.
He fell to the floor close to Bill, and was able to see him but his limbs wouldn’t obey his commands. He was paralyzed and couldn’t move. He couldn’t make a sound; he could only stare at Bill’s body, still convulsing on the floor, bleeding through his nose, eyes, and ears. He could see Bill’s tattoo flaring to life, glowing and spitting off bright tendrils of energy. Kevin assumed his own tattoo was doing the same, but he couldn’t feel it.
Oh fuck! God, let Bill be okay! Brad! Lane! Doc! Albrecht! We need you!
Kevin was desperately shouting in his head but he knew his mind was somehow still closed off. Tears of fear and desperation were falling from his cheeks onto the carpet as he slowly lost consciousness. He couldn’t see the blood from his own wound’s seeping into the carpet.
It was nearly three hours later when his tattoo stopped glowing.
About seven o’clock that evening Brad and Ken were just finishing dinner. Brad wanted to make sure that Bill and Kevin had worked things out and that everything was ok. Bill had let things go a little far; Brad didn’t want to be a mother hen, but he figured checking in wouldn’t hurt.
Brad got no response, which he found odd. He texted Bill and Kevin and asked them to call him or Ken as soon as they saw the message. After another fifteen minutes Brad said to Ken, “Ken I’m getting a little worried about Kev and Bill. Bill’s not answering in his head or by txt. I’m getting a bad feeling about this.”
Ken knew to take any feelings Brad had seriously. His intuition was strong and usually accurate. “Let’s run over to their place and make sure everything is ok.”
On the drive over Brad was feeling more and more anxious and knew that something was wrong. His anxiety levels were almost overwhelming and he was trembling slightly. Ken texted out an 811 to everybody, which meant possible emergency in progress, everybody on immediate standby and be alert. Ken made Brad pull over so he could drive.
Right away Lane, Darren, and the doctor were in Brad’s head asking what was wrong. They picked up on Brad’s anxiety immediately. Ken pushed himself into the link.
Guys we aren’t sure what’s going on but something seems wrong. Brad’s almost coming out of his skin with a bad vibe. We’re almost to their house. Dar can you teleport to the lab?
Yeah the doc helped me to memorize a spot and we’re keeping it safe and clear for me to jump to for emergencies.
Alright get there and bring up the security feed into Kevin and Bill’s house. Can you get there via a camera image?
I’ve not tried that but I don’t see why not.
Alright buddy; get there and be ready. Pat, get to the lab as quickly as you can and be extra careful while you’re on your own. If the Enemy is behind this there’s no telling what else they have planned.
As Ken pulled up into the driveway he noticed a FedEx truck pulled up on the street in front of the house. The lights were off and all was quiet.
Ken and Brad made their way quickly and carefully to the front door. It was unlocked and slightly ajar.
Brad started reaching for Kevin or Bill again as soon as they pulled in the driveway. He could sense both of them but their presence was weak and barely discernible.
Ken I can feel them but it’s like they’re really far away, but they’re definitely there. I don’t pick up anyone else in the house, but if someone’s there they might be able to mask themselves from me.
Ken thought Let’s keep the chatter in our heads until we’re in the house. Stay at the door B.
It was getting dark outside but there was enough light still coming through the door that when Ken pushed the door open quietly he could see Bill’s body lying in a big pool of blood. He could see Kevin a few feet from him and neither one was moving.
He mentally exclaimed, Fuck! Ken felt white fire rise up inside of him; terror at what he was seeing, seething anger at whoever did this to his brothers, and fear at what condition he was about to find them in. Brad said he could sense them so they had to still be alive, but for low much longer? How long had they been lying here like this, alone and bleeding?
He launched himself into the room and rolled up to a ready and crouched position in case anyone was waiting to try and ambush them. He saw the two dead men, one of them nearly decapitated and the other one with a broken neck. He flipped on the light switch and literally groaned in horror at what he saw.
Bill was lying face up, his face covered in dried blood. His eyes were open wide and his face a mask of fear and terror.
Kevin was lying next to him with two obvious bullet wounds and he wasn’t moving.
Oh my God! B! Doc!
Brad rushed in and everyone was looking through his eyes via the link.
Ken forced himself to stay calm.
B! Check on Bill! Ken knelt down and felt for a pulse on Kevin’s neck. It was there but faint. His body was ice cold.
Brad said, He’s breathing, but it’s shallow and his pulse is weak. He’s lost a lot of blood.
Doc, Kevin’s pulse is so weak I can barely feel it, but he’s still with us. I’m afraid to move him with the bullet wound in his lower back. His body is ice cold.
Brad said, Doc, Bill is holding something in his hand. It looks like a human skull.
Do not touch it! It might be the cause of what happened to William! Get it away from him. Brad tried to nudge it out of Bill’s grasp with his shoe but Bill’s grip was too strong. He got a couple of dishtowels from the kitchen and used them to pry Bill’s fingers loose. He wrapped up the skull and put it in the box on the coffee table. As soon as Brad got the skull out of Bill’s hand his eyes closed and his face went slack.
The doc said Darren this will be hard but you must try to get them both back to the lab immediately. You can jaunt them without the need to move them physically, which might cause Kevin’s spine more damage.
Alright doc. Bill first, he won’t be that hard.
Ken felt a slight change in the air pressure in the house as it was displaced by Darren’s body appearing in the kitchen. Even though Darren saw his friends through the link, it hit him harder when he saw them in person. Just like Ken, he felt a combination of fear and anger but put a cap on it so he could focus on doing what needed to be done.
The doc’s voice continued, Bradford, Darren must see where he is to go. I need him to get William and Kevin into the lab into beds I have prepared. You will need to be his eyes through me. It will work better through you with your strength.
Ok Doc. Darren let me know when you’re ready.
Darren knelt down and put his hands on Bill’s chest. Darren said, Show me Brad. Brad sent him a crystal clear image of the waiting bed in the lab the doctor was standing beside.
Incoming doc! Bill’s body vanished and appeared in the bed in the lab.
Excellent Darren! Well done! I know that Kevin will be much more difficult. Gather your strength and let me know when you are ready. Bradford you and Kenneth will need to take care of Darren and get him back to the lab. Patrick can help him recover when they are both back together. Lane and Bryan I need you at the lab as quickly as you can get here.
Already on our way doc.
Darren was breathing hard from teleporting Bill and he had a slight headache. He went into the kitchen and grabbed a sports drink from the fridge and gulped it down.
Knowing time was of the essence Darren only gave himself another minute to rest.
Doc let me know when you’re ready on your end.
I am ready. Be careful Darren. Bradford be ready to help him if he needs aid.
Darren put his hands on Kevin’s chest and he concentrated. Nothing happened at first. Darren started breathing harder and harder and sweat started pouring down his face. Darren’s face turned purple and the veins in his neck were sticking out and his whole body was shaking from the strain. He literally let out a scream of effort and Kevin’s body vanished. Darren’s eyes had a vacant look to them for a second and then he said, “Fuck me!” and he passed out. He had a trickle of blood coming from of his nose.
The doctor felt Darren drop out of the link and he quickly asked, Bradford is he alright?
Yeah doc he passed out. He has a slight nose bleed. That strain was incredible… I doubt he’ll want to try that again anytime soon.
As much as they wanted to rush back to the lab to be with their friends, Brad and Ken had to stay and cover up what happened. Ken got the two bodies into the Fed Ex van and Brad scanned the neighbors to make sure none of them saw anything or remembered anything out of the ordinary.
Ken drove the van to a deserted area of downtown Atlanta and left it there. Brad followed and picked him up and then they headed back to the lab. Darren was passed out in the backseat. Brad kept the box with the skull in it in the back so it was as far away as it could be from any of them.
They would take care of cleaning up the house later when they knew that Bill and Kevin would be all right. They reactivated the alarm system as they left and set it for remote alert so Brad or Ken would be notified by text on their phones if the alarm went off.
When they finally got back to the lab Bill was cleaned up and unconscious in a bed, hooked up to the doc’s equipment. He was in a coma and physically non-responsive to any stimulus. His mind was closed off and unreachable.
Kevin was on the operating table and the doc was having trouble disengaging the bullet that was lodged in one of his vertebrae. Kevin’s body was so weak the doc couldn’t risk doing more serious harm to get the bullet out. He had Kevin stabilized for the moment but would have to make some kind of decision soon as to how to proceed. Lane and Bryan had already healed the wound in his shoulder but the doctor recommended not trying to replenish his energy yet as his body would try to start healing itself; and with the bullet still in place that could be a disaster.
Pat took Darren from Ken as soon as he walked in the door of the Lab. With a concerned look on his handsome face, Pat laid Darren down on one of the beds and bent over him, holding his face in his hands. With the physical contact, Pat was able to force a link and he opened up their energy centers and let Darren’s mind and body absorb whatever he needed to replenish himself.
After a minute Darren opened his eyes to see Pat’s handsome face, pale and exhausted, hovering over his own. Darren realized what Pat had done and pulled him down into a kiss, hugging him tight. “Thanks man but you should’ve just let me sleep that off. You look like shit now. Handsome shit, but shit nonetheless.”
Pat chuckled under his breath and said, “Thanks man, but you know I couldn’t let you lay there like that when I could do something about it. And I think the doc needs you again. You’re the hero of the hour buddy.”
Darren was still a bit unsteady on his feet but with Pat’s support he went out to where the doc was working on Kevin.
“Doc, Pat tells me you need me?”
“Darren I have already asked so much of you today. I do not feel right asking more, but you are Kevin’s best chance at the moment. I cannot remove the bullet without causing severe neural damage to his spine. He is too weak at the moment and it might be more than his body can take and we might lose him if I try. Lane and Bryan cannot heal him until the bullet is removed.”
Lane piped up, “Doc I can charge Dar up as good as new, and Bry and I will still have plenty of juice left for Kevin.”
“Before we start, doc, let me look with Pat so I know what needs to be done.”
Darren and Pat were already deeply linked, and as Pat looked at the wound he saw how the bullet was lodged and what was happening. The bullet was stuck and it would cause major additional trauma if the doc tried to carve it out. Kevin’s body was so weakened from the two bullet wounds and the loss of blood the additional damage could kill him. Once the bullet was removed there would be massive hemorrhaging and blood loss, so he needed to hold that back to give Lane and Bryan time to heal him.
“Ok guys, this isn’t going to be difficult, but the timing has to be spot on. Doc you can coordinate us?”
“Yes. Lane let me know when you and Bryan are ready and we will begin.”
Lane had already been working out the music in his mind. He knew what he wanted and reached for it, letting it carry he and Bryan up. The already powerful aura they shared grew brighter and brighter as their energy level amped up.
Lane and Bryan were glowing like a small sun, brightly enough that everyone had to shift their site back to normal so they could see what was going on. Lane held out his arms and pointed towards Pat and Darren, and bright bands of energy flowed into them, restoring their depleted flows.
Lane thought, Ok Doc; on your mark.
Brad and Ken were part of the link; watching and monitoring everything. They were quiet, not wanting to cause any distractions but ready to help in any way they could. Ken was proud of them all and how smooth and efficient everyone was working together. They were a team and acting like one and it felt right.
The bullet vanished and appeared in Darren’s hand. A tiny trickle of blood appeared and then stopped as Darren held the flow back with his mind.
Bryan squeezed Lane’s shoulders in support as he let loose massive ribbons of white energy into the wound in Kevin’s spine. The bone rapidly filled in, and the damaged skin, nerves, and muscle tissue knitted back together, whole in a matter of minutes. Kevin was in an induced coma so he didn’t regain consciousness. His big body was covered in a light sheen of sweat from the healing process, and he looked physically whole and healthy.
The doctor looked relieved and he gave one of his uncharacteristic smiles, “Well done everybody! I am proud of all of you!”
Bryan and Lane let the energy go. They were both getting used to the higher level of energy coursing through them and it didn’t exhaust them as much as it did at first. Lane was a little tired but not drained.
“And now we must see to William.”
Two days before, the Master of the Enemy saw his potential downfall. He had been watching The Order and the creation of these new Warriors but up until know he wasn’t overly concerned. Even though his attempt to kill them before their final Transformation failed, he was confident in his own safety and survival and that he would be able to find a way to destroy them. He was surprised that those in Higher Authority allowed such an atrocity to be created – they were such shallow minded purists. He wished that the High Hosts had done his job for him and destroyed them but instead wiping them out of existence they had direct contact, perhaps even given them aid.
Now, one of those abominations was about to Awaken with an Avatar that could be the key to destroying him. The Master’s secret lay in his identity, which no one, even in the highest ranks of the Enemy, knew. With the understanding and awareness of who he was there was a chance, however miniscule, that they could devise a way to destroy him. That could not be allowed to happen.
Even though he was bound in Time, with effort he could send his awareness both forward and back in temporal space. He knew what Avatar William Brennan was about to receive and what it meant. He knew what all their Avatars meant, and was even beginning to see a Pattern emerging – one that did not bode well for the Him and his minions. All he needed to do was to remove one piece of that Pattern and it would unravel and fail.
He called one of his more trusted servants to enter the Vault and retrieve an Artifact. It was the skull of one of his finest generals, who had ruled in his name in Europe centuries ago. For a mortal he was a most vile and cruel man, and he served the Master well in spreading Darkness and Chaos during his life. He was primarily responsible for bringing about the Dark Ages in mankind’s history before he was finally killed by a hero of The Order.
Yes… if William Brennan held the skull in his hands at the time of his Awakening it should destroy him. And if it didn’t it would leave him so broken that the Pattern will still fail and the Master’s identity will remain unknown.
As soon as Bill wrapped his hand around the skull his mind was overwhelmed. His Avatar was Awakening and it reacted to the skull just the way the Master predicted. Images of pain and torture started flooding into his consciousness. The sheer evil of the person who committed these acts, and the glee he felt in doing so, all became a part of Bill, as if he was the person who committed the acts. He knew everything about the man from his birth to death and everything in between.
Bill’s heart and soul were being torn apart, shredded by the barrage of evil that was embedded within the skull. He wasn’t just observing; it was as if he were committing the acts himself. The skull belonged to Zherneboh Mstislav who was a General of the Enemy in the Old World before he was killed by a hero of the Order. His skull was kept by the Enemy as a Relic of great evil, representing centuries of their domination over the world.
The work Brad and the doctor had been doing with Bill and the others saved his life. As his mind was being overrun, subconsciously he shored up a defense. While he still had some strength left, he retreated into his own mind and walled his consciousness off, so deep inside himself he wasn’t sure if he could ever find his way out. The images were so powerful they followed him and were pressing against the barrier he put up.
It was like he was sitting inside a small glass room at the bottom of the ocean and the lifetime of brutal, barbaric acts were visible through the walls bearing down with crushing weight against him, trying to break through. He could feel his body absorbing the knowledge and experiences, and Bill knew that if he ever got out of his own prison he would probably be insane.
So far down inside himself, with his perception of time different from being so deep, while Bill’s body lay on the floor for the few hours before he and Kevin were found by Ken and Brad, he spent the equivalent of years trapped in his own mind, holding the soul of one of the most evil men who ever walked the planet at bay.
Unable to feel or communicate with Kevin, or reach Brad or the doctor, he felt lost and trapped. They had no way of knowing what he did. The part of himself that was now Nephelem saved his sanity… he was Immortal and his brain now had the capacity to span years. A normal human would have gone insane by now but Bill was able to survive without losing himself. He knew that half of his Soul belonged to Kevin and he carried it within him. He kept the energy center of his Soul open and flowing, knowing that part of it was Kevin. He focused on it and embraced it and let it wrap around him.
He had all the time in the world to think, trapped in his own prison. He longed to feel Kevin’s arms around him and the strength of his soul intertwined with his own. He had his memories and they were vivid, and he spent a lot of time immersing himself in them, but he realized when he did that it just prolonged his perception of time. He knew the doc and Albrecht and his brothers would find his body but it would take time for them to get him back to the lab and figure things out. He wasn’t sure what they could do – he knew his chances were bad no matter what.
He realized that somehow the Enemy knew what his Avatar would be and they sent that skull as a trap. He didn’t understand how they could have known that or why his intuition didn’t warn him, or Kevin’s, about the danger. He supposed in a way he should be flattered that they would make such an effort to get rid of him. The anger he felt helped to keep him going, when he got tired of his memories.
I guess I should be more careful in what I wish for. If I was only able to change the color of my piss somehow I don’t think they would have thought me worth the effort.
He wondered what Avatar Kevin had. If their Awakenings were close together surely by now Kevin had received his. He hoped like hell Kevin was ok – he had no way of knowing, but he had to believe Kevin would have kicked the ass of that delivery guy and called the doc for help.
For Bill, another year went by while Darren helped get the bullet out of Kevin’s spine and Lane and Bryan healed him. Every time he began to lose hope he went back to the talk he and Brad had about leaning on his friends for help. They wouldn’t let him down. Kevin wouldn’t let him down. He had to keep believing that. He kept repeating that to himself.
Another year passed…
Ok that’s it for Chapter 11… I hope you enjoyed it! I need to figure out how to get Bill out of this pickle.....
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