Authors Notes:

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. 

If you are offended by sex between adult men don’t read any further. 

If you are not of legal age don’t read any further. 

If this type of story is illegal where you live, for whatever reason, don’t read any further.

This story is copyrighted to me and cannot be reproduced without my express written consent.


If you have any comments you can send them to btaoc1963@gmail.com  I appreciate anything that anyone has to say good or bad.  If you have bad things to say please at least be polite.  I’ll try to respond to anyone who sends me an email.  I'm astounded by how nice everyone has been, and I really do feel like I've made some new pen pals.  I check my in box all the time now hoping to see new messages.  I don't care if they are about the story, I just enjoy the conversations that some of us have started up.  You guys rock!

I still consider myself to be out of practice as far as writing goes.  This is the first thing I've tried to write in nearly 25 years, so bear with the story if it's a little rough around the edges.

I am not in nor ever have been in the military, so I apologize for getting anything wrong.  The characters are all Navy Seals in the Prologue, where the story starts.

There are a few more songs that will be showing up soon.  Here's a link to one in case you want to listen to it:


Evanescence - Bring Me To Life
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

Thanks guys for all the emails and the support.  You are all great and interesting people and I've enjoyed getting to know a few of you better :-)  This chapter and the next will be dealing a lot more with the metaphysical element of the story so I hope you don't find it to weird.  There will be a slight religous element showing up because of where the story is headed.  If any of you are fans of the TV show Supernatural, this story takes a similar approach in that all religions are available to pull from and blended together as needed for purposes of the story.  My intent isn't to offend anyone or to try and push any particular belief into the story as being absolutely true or one being better than another.

I'm really sorry that it took so long to get this chapter out.  A lot of things happened in my personal life that caused the delay.  But things are getting back on track and it won't take nearly so long to get out the next Chapter.  I suspect that Chapter 10 will be out in less than two weeks.  I've had to go back and do a lot of extra revisions because of some changes I decided to make, so I'm having to do a little retro fitting in what I already had written.  Some of this has been based on your feedback and I had some ideas of my own.  I've had a lot of new ideas for additional content in the last month, so the story probably got longer before the final confrontation that will wrap things up.  If all goes well with this story I already have another idea for the same characters.  I also have some ideas for a few side stories for Lane and Bryan, who next to Ken and Brad are my personal favorites.

I don't have to much else to say except I hope you enjoy this chapter.

And now on to Chapter 9! 

 
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The Order - Chapter 9

Prologue - One Year Ago

 

          The sharp sound of a harp string plucked in the Heavens woke Taliesin out of a sound sleep.   The sound of it reverberated through all Creation, passing through distant stars and across the infinite void, and throughout the Earth for those with the ears to hear such things.  He sprang out of bed as though struck by lightning and rushed outside to look skyward; his face anxious and flushed with excitement.  It was still night; dark and cold in the southern hemisphere where he now lived.  The sky was crystal clear and the stars were bright and it was now deathly silent; all the normal nightly sounds quieted in light of what just occurred. 

          Shifting his sight and looking with his Mind’s Eye he saw the remnants of the Rift that was all but gone in the night sky.  But he was sure he heard it, and he could barely contain the joy and trepidation he felt at hearing that sound and knowing what it might mean for him.  As the Rift closed completely the last star to fade shone brightly for a brief moment over the northern hemisphere, telling him where he needed to go.

          At last!  After all these years his end was in sight; to be free again!  But only if the one who was Marked willingly accepted his role; he would have to tread carefully and prepare to ensure his  freedom.

          More excited than he had been for centuries, Taliesin rushed back into the small house to dress and make his preparations to leave.  A few moments later, with the clothes on his back and his guitar slung over his shoulder, he left the small house never intending to return.  As he walked down the path to the road, his eyes turned white and hundreds of glyphs became visible over the exterior of the small house.  They began to glow brighter and brighter, starting to smoke.  Within seconds they burst into flame and reduced the house to ashes leaving no evidence for the Enemy to find.

 

 Chapter 9

 

           It took him the better part of the last year but he finally discovered where he needed to be.  It didn’t surprise him that Aaron and Albrecht were at the heart of whatever was going on.  He wasn’t happy about that; they were more likely to cause him trouble than give him aid, but by this strange twist of fate he was once again allied with them, even if they were unaware of it.   He would have to take great care to keep his presence hidden from them, at least for the time being. 

          The Nephelem were here as well; he couldn’t see them but he could sense their presence.  Their interest in whatever was about to unfold confirmed that he was in the right place at the right time. 

          He knew he was in the right city, but Aaron must be protecting whoever Taliesin was trying to find.  But now that he was here he was confident he would find the one he was looking for.

Damn you Aaron, you always were the clever one. 

          Through his own Talents he was able to discern that Aaron was attempting to revive The Order, and today was pivotal in the success or failure of his attempt.  In his Visions, Taliesin saw many faces circling Aaron but he couldn’t identify which one it was he needed to find.  There were at least ten, but only one would have the Mark.  Unfortunately he would have to help all of them since he didn’t yet know which one he needed.  He actually kept seeing pairs of faces, which he found confusing.  It didn’t matter; if the one he needed was somehow connected to another, he would just have to eliminate whoever that might be.  He would let nothing stand in the way of his freedom and removing the shackles those wretches in The Order kept on him.

          Taliesin was sitting in a small secluded grove of trees in Grant Park near downtown Atlanta.  He had spent the last few days laying down glyphs to help mask his presence against the Enemy and the Nephelem, but once he started to interfere he knew his protections wouldn’t last long.  He would have to be wary and ready to flee quickly if necessary.

          The Enemy was desperate to stop whatever was about to happen… he saw that in his dreams.  He saw their plans and knew they would bring all their strength and hatred to stop whatever it was Aaron was about to do. 

          Ever curious, he wished he was at the center of it so he could see it firsthand, but living a few thousand years had taught him patience and caution.  He hadn’t survived all these years being stupid.

          Sitting down with his guitar in his lap, he began idly strumming chords, tuning his instrument, waiting for the day’s events to unfold.

 

 

 

          Ken and Brad were first on the schedule for the new Procedure.  They got up early and went for their normal run, but skipped their weight training for the day.  Once they got back to the house they showered together, but decided not to fool around. 

          Fuck B I’m gonna be hard all mornin.

          Ken could hear and feel Brad’s laughter as he thought, Yeah I’m with you buddy.  But if we’re supposed to fast, I think staying away from sex as well as food will give us an even clearer mind.  Don’t you?

          Hell no!  I’ll just have a clearer picture of your dick in my head.

          Aww, poor baby.  I promise to treat you extra special when we get home.  How about that?

          Ken got that little kid grin on his face and thought, Damn you fell for that one easy!

 The doctor wasn’t an early riser, so their appointment wasn’t until 9am.  Even though they weren’t supposed to eat, they stopped by Chic-fil-a on the way to the lab and picked up some breakfast for the doc.

So far the morning had been nice and sunny but as they got closer to the lab, the sky was getting darker and the clouds were building up; traces of lightning were already beginning to show and Ken, with his heightened senses, could hear and feel the distant rolling of thunder.

Looking up through the windshield, Brad said, “I thought today was supposed to be clear and sunny.  Oh well, we can use the rain.  If we aren’t too wiped out from whatever is going to happen it would have been nice to get some sun this afternoon.”

           When they pulled up to the lab, the parking lot was empty so they let themselves in and turned on the lights and waited for the doctor to arrive.  They both checked their emails while they were waiting; Ken had a few important messages from Darren about shutting down the company.  He was still looking over the attached spreadsheets with Brad hovering over his shoulder when the doctor arrived looking sleepy and a little disheveled.

           Ken smiled and asked, “Wild night last night Doc?”

           Just as the doctor was about to reply, his eyes saw the Chic-Fil-A bag.  “Ahh bless you both!  I do not know how I would survive without you.”

           Brad and Ken grinned at one another; they loved how dramatic he got over greasy fried food.

           “While I partake of this scrumptious meal you have provided, the two of you can go and get prepared.  You will need to strip completely.  I know the floor is cold, but no socks please.”

           Ken and Brad both went back to their lockers and took off their clothes.  When they got back over to the doctor’s office he was just finishing up his food.

           Brad asked, “Where do you want us doc?”

           “We will be in the gymnasium.  I have commandeered the boxing ring for the day.”

           They all went back to the gym, and when Brad turned on the lights they were surprised at all the equipment that the doctor had moved into the ring.  Ken jumped up on the ledge and stretched the cables apart to make it easier for the doctor to get in; as soon as he stepped through he immediately began turning on power switches and waking up computers.  Amidst all the other equipment, Ken and Brad both noticed a small table covered with glass beakers and various colored serums, and a large chest they had never seen before that looked very old.

           “I have prepared a special harness for each of you to wear.  They are a bit delicate so please be careful when you put them on.  You can help each other to make it easier.  There is a diagram on that table to show you how to get in and out of them.”  As he was talking he moved over and opened the chest, revealing a very intricate set of drawers and small cabinets.  He pulled out the two larger bottom drawers and set them down on one of the tables, revealing the harnesses.

           They looked to be made of various colored metals and wires.  The harnesses were designed to reach down between their legs and wrap back up across their torsos and backs and clasp across the shoulders and behind the neck.  There was a small chain connecting a circlet that went around their foreheads.  There were little clasps for additional attachments at various points on the harness.

           At first glance the harnesses looked delicate and fragile but once on they were surprisingly strong. 

           Brad laughed and said, “We look like we belong in a bad science fiction movie, doc.”

           The doctors only comment was, “Just wait.”

           He reached inside his shirt and took out what looked to be a small crystal on a very fine chain, and passed it over the front of two small intricately carved panels in the chest.  With a small pop the panels opened.

           Brad and Ken looked at each other with raised eyebrows.

           The doctor saw their look and said, “You are about to step foot on the next part of your Journey.  You have taken a few steps on this road in the last months, but after today you will be changed forever.  This is the last procedure I will put you through and it is irrevocable.  As with the previous alterations, you will continue to grow and mature in various ways for many years to come.”

           “This next step will seem the most strange.  What you will experience today is a different type of science.  You could say it is metaphysical, but only in the sense that it is beyond any conventional science you have been exposed to so far.”

           “I will warn you that there are going to be some slight physical changes, but I think you will both be pleased with the results.”

           The doctor opened another small panel revealing two rows of what looked like jewelry.  They were little ornate disks, each with a colored crystal in the center; one blue, one yellow, and one red.   Brad realized what these were right away. 

           “These will attach to the small clasps at each energy center on your bodies.  They all go in order and each will only fit in the appropriate spot.”

           Brad picked up the small oval disk with the red crystal.  “Alright Ken I’ll put yours on first and then you can do mine.” 

           Brad knelt down and attached the crystal to the clasp just below Ken’s belly button.  As soon as it securely clicked into place the crystal began to glow.  Brad let out an “Oh!”

           Ken said, “What do you mean, Oh?”  Glancing down, he saw the red glow and said, “Oh!”

           Brad chuckled at his reaction and said, “We need to wear these things to our next Christmas Party doc.”

           Brad took the yellow crystal next and fastened it to the clasp at the center of Ken’s chest.  As soon as he moved the crystal in place it started to glow as well.  Ken grinned and let out another “Oh!  Cool!”

           Brad smirked and fastened the blue crystal to the clasp on his forehead.  When he was done Ken had three glowing crystals at the energy points on his body.  Brad laughed and said, “Actually you look like you should be in a sci-fi porn movie.”

           “Yeah I kinda like this!  I see what you mean about the Christmas party.  This is awesome doc! Alright golden boy; your turn.”

           In another minute Ken was finished and Brad had the same glowing gems attached to his harness.

           “Alright I need you both to sit down on the mat in the middle of the ring, back to back with your legs crossed.  I want as much physical contact between the two of you as you can manage so press tightly together.”

           Both men did as they were told.  Brad, as always, loved the feeling of Ken’s warm hard body against his own.  Not only did it feel great but it helped him to relax.  When they were as close as they could get, the doctor picked up a few small hooks and used them to connect their harnesses together across their upper shoulders and down their sides. 

           Brad asked, “Doc would it be a problem if we held hands instead of keeping our arms down?”

           The doctor paused for a moment, thinking about Brad’s question.  “It would give us more physical contact.”

           “Try it and let me see what type of reading I get.”

           They both held their arms out and intertwined their fingers.  In this position most of their arms were touching along the back.

           The doctor went over and looked at his monitors.  “Yes that is fine, slightly better in fact.” 

           “Now I want you both to relax.  I am about to begin.  I anticipate that this process will take a little less than an hour to complete.  You will feel many things, some may be uncomfortable and some may feel very good.  It is imperative that you stay as still as possible and do not attempt to guide or manipulate any of the energy flows once they start.  I cannot stress this enough; under no circumstances try to influence anything in any way.  And no matter what you see do not move.”

          Ken said, “Doc you’re makin me nervous.  Is everything alright?”

          “I have allowed for extra protection today but the Enemy does not want this to happen.  I am sure they will try to interfere.  The building is secure and the gym even more so, but we cannot be too careful.”

B, I can tell he’s worried.

          I know.  He’s trying for our sakes not to show it but I can tell he’s uptight.  I still wish we knew more about why today is so much more important than any of the other procedures we’ve already gone through.  I trust him, and I know you do to, but I’m scared for him.  We won’t be able to help him if something goes wrong. Hopefully Albrecht is close by.  From what he said, if the Enemy interferes directly it lets him intervene, and I know he won’t want anything to happen to the doc.

          You’re right.  But I tell ya B, I don’t think we’ve seen what the doc is capable of.  My guess is if it comes down to a fight, he’s gonna be like Yoda and whip some ass like we’ve never seen.

          Brad smiled at that thought and the imagery Ken’s comment brought to mind.

          “Quiet your minds please.”

          They both blushed a little hoping the doctor hadn’t overheard them.

          “No I was not eavesdropping, but I can tell when you are talking to one another by your facial expressions.”

           The doctor picked up some cotton swabs and dipping them in rubbing alcohol, wiped off the ball of each man’s right shoulder.  Then he took out a small vial with an eye dropper and placed three drops on each shoulder.  There was a slight stinging sensation as the drops immediately absorbed into their skin. 

           The doctor opened a small refrigerator and took out what looked like two Sippy cups for small children.  They were clearly labeled ‘Kenneth’ and ‘Bradford’.  He moved to Ken first and put the straw up to Ken’s mouth and said, “Drink.”  Ken was surprised at how good it tasted; almost like a strawberry milkshake.  He lowered the other cup for Brad to drink.

           “Now relax.  It will take a moment or two for your energies to start flowing.”  The doctor dimmed the lights so the room was in total darkness except for the computer equipment and the glowing gems on the harnesses.  Ken could feel the vibrations running through the building as the storm outside was building up.

          The feeling that something was wrong hit both Brad and Ken out of the blue.  The feeling was sudden and gut wrenchingly strong.  Both of them said, “Doc! Something’s up!” at the same time.

          “I understand; I feel it as well.  It is imperative that you do not move.  You must stay put and let me handle whatever comes up.  Remember; do not attempt to interfere!  Promise me, both of you!”

          Neither one of them liked it one bit, but they trusted the doc

          They both said “We promise”, but the reluctance was clear in their voices.  They didn’t want him in any danger because of them.

 

 

          Ken and Brad both were aware that something was about to happen; their instincts were screaming danger as strongly as ever.  They couldn’t see the giant robed figures standing just outside the boxing ring.  Even standing on the floor, the top rope of the ring only came to the waist of the tall figures.

          It is time. 

          We must hold.

          We will not be alone.  We must prevail.

          What the doctor has done will help but even he is unaware of what is about to descend upon us.

          They each stood on one side of the ring, their long arms outstretched so their fingertips could touch. 

          Let us begin.

They bowed their heads reverently and their deep mental voices began the age old incantation.

We stand outside Time, in a place not of Earth; joined together as One.  By all thy Holy Angels; by the powers of Light we call Thee to guard and defend these men from all perils O Most High.

The leader of the four sent his thoughts out into the Universe, his mental voice loud and clear, Four Corners, I Call Thee to me!

Looking up to the Heavens, he continued, Hail, Mighty Uriel, Archangel and Protector of the North; Angel of Death, Protector of the Nether Shores; Power of Earth, Life, Patience, and Strength. I greet you now in perfect Love and perfect Trust. Changeless power of unending change, in steadfastness and strength, I bless the elements of Earth, and call upon you to gather here with me.

As soon as he started the ritual, the darkness in the gym began to change.  The blackness of the ceiling shifted subtly, filling with stars and the vastness of the heavens.  As the name of Uriel was invoked, a ghostly figure appeared behind him, twice as tall as himself, human in shape but winged.  The being was cloaked and veiled, almost smoky, knowing that the men below could not look on his true form yet without being destroyed.

The second figure continued Hail, Mighty Raphael, Archangel and Protector of the East! Healer, Guardian of Wind and Tempest; Power of Air, Intellect, Thought, Intuition and Imagination, I greet you now in perfect Love and perfect Trust. As you carry the seeds of life across the land; as you bring the moisture of the storms to the shore; join me in all your gentle and powerful ways. I bless the elements of Air and call upon you to gather here with me.

As each Protector was invoked, he appeared behind his Summoner, standing tall and powerful.

The third figure continued, Hail Michael, Mighty Archangel and Protector of the South. Defender, Keeper of the Gates of Eden; Power of Fire, Feeling, Passion, and Determination, I greet you now, in perfect Love and perfect Trust. Flaming One; Bright Warrior, Wild courage, Lion-strength, I bless the elements of Fire, and call upon you to gather here with me.

The fourth figure continued Hail, Mighty Gabriel Archangel and Protector of the West. Herald and Voice of the Most High; Power of Water, Emotion, Love, and Intervention, I greet you now, in perfect Love and perfect Trust. Water; soft and yielding, formless and flowing. You are the blood coursing through our veins. I bless the elements of Water and call upon you to gather here with me.

The Nephelem, their deep voices resonating between their minds and out into the Universe, said Amen.

The Protectors stretched out their wings, wrapping and intertwining them around the ring, forming a shield.  A dome appeared, barely visible, covering all of them. 

In the darkness of the heavens, an ebon cloud appeared, causing the stars to wink out.  It was far away but rapidly growing as it approached.   It boiled and seethed as grotesque shapes writhed within it.  It was all the Power of the Dark, its mightiest servants, coming to destroy the Hope of the Order once and for all.

 

 

          Feeling the danger but not able to see it, Ken and Brad did their best to trust the doctor and try to relax. 

          After a few minutes they started to feel warm and flush.  The gems were glowing brighter.  Their bodies felt tight, like after a workout, and their muscles were pumped.  They were both starting to sweat slightly, causing the light from the gems to reflect brightly off their wet skin.  Something was building up inside them; they could feel it like a damn about to burst.

           Suddenly, a ribbon of brilliant, rich blue energy shot out from their foreheads looping back, Brads into Kens and Kens into Brads connecting both men and creating a circuit.  The suddenness and the power of it startled them but they stayed still.  There was no pain, just a powerful feeling of warmth and strength as their minds flowed together to become one.  Each felt the other through the energy flow, just like the previous night, but magnified a hundredfold; this time they could feel it beginning to change them.

           The swirling of the energies was causing the air to move around them and they could feel the warm air brushing across their sweaty skin. 

           After another minute a burst of bright yellow energy erupted from the gems at their chests, forming a second ribbon connecting them.  The air was moving stronger now, causing the hair on the heads and bodies to move slightly.  Their minds, hearts and souls were now completely together and even though they were prepared, the profundity and intensity of the connection still overwhelmed them.  Their souls embraced and they were once lost again in the depths of one another.  Tears were streaming down their faces, unable to contain the joy and love they were feeling by being completed in one another.

          After another moment the last gems flared and a thick red ribbon of energy erupted and looped back, joining their physical bodies.  They were now, for the moment, one being; greater by far than the sum of their individual selves.

           Where the ribbons of energy intersected, molten sparks flew and the flows turned bright white.  The light was so intense the doctor could hardly see them.  The hair on their heads and bodies was blowing like they were in a windstorm.

           Brad and Ken were both squeezing their hands tightly together.  Neither was afraid, but the stress inside them from the changes taking place was starting to make itself felt.  Their bodies, hearts, and minds felt fluid, coursing between the two of them.  When it came back into them it was changed; stronger than before; far more powerful.

          The only coherent thought either of them could form was I love you, and they kept repeating it to one another like a mantra.  Every ounce of love they shared between them went into those words, holding them together, anchoring them, while they felt their very existence was about to break apart from the stress of the changes they were undergoing.

               

 

          The black cloud was beyond measure.  The barrier protecting the boxing ring, barely visible before, flared brightly as the cloud struck, and the whole building shook with the impact.  The doctor was nearly knocked off his feet.  With the first blow, lightning and thunder cracked deafeningly through the skies of Atlanta, an echo in the physical world of what was happening across the Veil.  Relentless, the cloud struck again and again, smoky tendrils like fists beating down against the shield, attempting to shatter it and utterly destroy the men beneath.  Thunder and lightning continued to roll across the skies with every blow.  Funnel clouds appeared all over the city, causing alarm and the winds were blowing down trees and power lines.

As powerful as the forces were protecting them, the Enemy was throwing everything it had against the barrier, desperate to break through and destroy these men before the Transformation was complete.  The ghostly figures were bowed from the pressure, and the Nephelem were on bended knee, their bodies shaking with effort.  The dark cloud was relentless, its evil Will strengthening every blow, trying to find a small crack to get through and devour the minds and souls of the men below.

          Across the city, Taliesin could sense what was happening, and he knew it was time to join in this fight.  His only hope of freedom lay in letting whatever was happening finish. 

He started playing his guitar, and his eyes turned white.  He had been writing this song for hundreds of years, not realizing until this moment what its purpose was.   His fingers started to play faster and faster, and wind started to swirl around him as the final lyrics fell into place.  His voice lifted loud and clear, filling his Soul and carrying him where he needed to go to find the strength to help.  His voice, clearly heard over the wind, began to resonate across the Veil.

          The angelic figures heard the music and were heartened by it, feeling the strength and protection he sent their way.  They slowly straightened, and not only held the Enemy at bay but began to push them slowly back.  The movements of the cloud were turning frantic, and the Enemy was beginning to realize that it might not succeed.

 

 

           Ken and Brad were completely unaware of how much time had passed since the procedure started.  The energies were starting to dissipate slightly; slowing down and becoming less bright.  As the glowing colors dimmed, they pulsed in tune with their heartbeats.  Both men were breathing hard, and felt exhausted.  The lights continued to grow dimmer, pulsing in unison with their slowing heartbeats.

           They both felt a slight sting on the ball of their right shoulder.  At first it felt like a bee sting, but it started spreading until it felt like thousands of tiny needles were being pushed into their skin.  All three colors suddenly erupted from their shoulders, burning like a white hot brand.  They cried out, partially from the pain, but mostly from the unexpected suddenness of the intense sensation.  

           Movement caught their attention and looking upwards their eyes opened in surprise.  They saw figures at the edge of the darkness, just outside the glow of the energies.  They were tall and powerful, wearing long grey robes. They towered over the ring; at least twenty feet tall.   Their eyes glinted from the last reflected light of the energy coursing around the two men.  Both Ken and Brad felt power emanating from the figures, making them feel insignificant next to whatever or whoever these beings were.  Their faces were as still as stone, but the one closest nodded his head to them in recognition.

           Just as the last of the glow disappeared, both men’s eyes glazed over and they passed out, each leaning back against the other. 

 

 

          As soon as the doctor turned the lights back on he was aware that something profound had happened.  The building shook as the storm raged outside and the glyphs he had placed as protection around the ring, previously invisible, were now broken and smoking.  Something had tried to break through and nearly succeeded.  He looked around cautiously and cast his mind out trying to sense anything that might still be lingering.    What he sensed shocked and disturbed him; he heard music faintly in his mind, and he recognized the voice!  He had not had contact with Taliesin for hundreds of years, and until this moment wasn’t sure if he was even still alive.  Why was he here and what had just transpired?

          He would deal with that as time allowed; for now he rushed forward to check on Ken and Brad.

Their heartbeats seemed normal and strong.  Their body temperatures were normal for them.  From now on Brad’s temperature would also be higher than normal, the same as Ken’s.  What he saw on their shoulders both shocked and surprised him.

           “What!?  How?”  He fully expected to see a symbol on each of their shoulders; the symbol representing their Primary Avatar was supposed to manifest itself during this ritual.  What he saw were multiple symbols, with one being primary in the center surrounded by others.  Not only that, but there were six colors as part of the mosaic tattoo; three primary and three secondary.  The implications of the combination and intricacy of what he was looking at staggered him.   This was totally unexpected and he could only guess what meant.  He didn’t like surprises, and would have to move forward cautiously until he had a better understanding.

            Looking down with great love and affection on the two unconscious men, he saw the difference in their features immediately and he gave one of his rare smiles.  “Yes I think you will both be pleased.  My son’s you never cease to amaze me.  I will never get an apology, but I am beginning to think I will get the satisfaction of proving my theory right.  You are the hope of the world.  I hate the responsibility that will rest on your shoulders but I could not be more proud of you and I know that you will prove me right.”

          He gently rested his hands on their heads while he spoke and he leaned over and gently kissed each of them on their forehead.  He could barely contain the love he felt for these men and his eyes were bright. 

 

The doctor could not see the ghostly beings still present or the Nephelem, but he could feel their presence and knew that they had helped.  He glanced up and said, “Thank you for your Protection.  The world could not stand to lose them.”  In a quiet voice he added, “Or me.”

 

          With one last push, the angelic protectors shattered the Dark cloud, dissipating it.  It would reform soon enough, but for today the Enemy was held at bay.

          The ghostly beings lowered their wings and vanished; as soon as they disappeared the stars went with them, and the darkness in the gym returned to normal.

          Their voices weary, the Nephelem all breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

          We prevailed.

          Barely.

          Why did the Bard assist us?

          It matters not.  His aid made the difference.

          The Enemy will not return today.  They exhausted themselves in their attempt.  There is no need to warn the doctor of their return.

          We will stay and pay homage to each of our new Brothers.  Today they come into their true Heritage as one of us.

          They are not just one of us… they are more than we are.

          Your concerns are noted.  We will watch them as they grow and intervene as necessary. 

 

 

           The doctor let them lie in peace until their bodies determined to wake them up.  He knew Ken would wake first and after half an hour heard him stirring.  The doctor knelt down and took Ken’s head into his hands, feeling his forehead again.  “How do you feel Kenneth?”

           “Like I got hit by a truck, sir.  How long have I been out?”

           “Not long, my boy; a half hour at most.”

           “Is Brad alright?”

           “He is fine.  He should be with us momentarily.”

           “Doc, who or what were those beings we saw?  Was I imagining them or were they real?”

           The doctor did not react openly to his surprise at Ken’s question, but inside his stomach was turning knots.  The reason behind the tattoos was beginning to form in his mind. “I saw no one Kenneth.  What did they look like?”

           “They were huge doc.  They were at the edge of the shadows and I could barely see them, but they were looking at us and one of them nodded to us just before we passed out.”

           “That is very interesting.  I think now is not a good time to discuss them, but I promise we will speak of this again soon; after the others have gone through this.  If all goes well, I would like to get everyone together again perhaps late tomorrow, and we can discuss it then.”

           “Should we be worried doc?”

           “Actually yes, but not in the way you might think.  They are allies we have not seen in ages.  But nothing is certain yet, so put it out of your mind for the moment.  Let us get Bradford up and get you both dressed so you can get something to eat.  Do you have a headache?”

           “Yes sir.  I feel like my head is about to explode.”

           “Alright.  I can help with that in a few moments.”

           They heard Brad moan as he was coming back to consciousness.  Ken got up slowly but steadily and he looked himself over.  He felt a little different but couldn’t put his finger on what yet.  He noticed the intricate and colorful tattoo on his shoulder.  “Oh nice tat doc!”

           “Yes!  That is one of the changes I mentioned.”

           Ken knelt down in front of Brad and said “Oh my God, doc!”  The doctor just smiled and said, “You should look in a mirror my boy.”

           Brad’s eyes opened and he stared up at Ken.  It took a second for his eyes to focus and then they went wide in surprise and he had an awestruck look on his face.

           When Ken and Brad went into the Program back in the early 1990’s they were 24 and 25 years old respectively, and after the Program they effectively stopped aging.  The process they just went through caused a maturation of their Body, Mind, and Spirit, aging them somewhat. Before they were handsome young men; now they were handsome mature men. The musculature of their bodies filled out and thickened slightly and their faces were a little older and more mature; neither one of them could ever have imagined the other one being any more attractive or desirable than before, but seeing each other in this new manner was stunning.

           Brad and Ken were staring at each other, slack jawed.  Brad was the first to move, reaching out and touching Ken’s face like he thought it wasn’t real.  The touch of his hands spoke volumes about how he felt about the man in front of him.   Ken didn’t want to get hard in front of the doctor if he didn’t have too, and Brad’s touch, combined with the look on his face, was definitely affecting him that way, so he smiled and said, “Let’s get these harnesses off B.”

           Just like the end of any mission, they helped each other get out of their gear.  They put the disks back in the cabinet, and laid the harnesses out on the table for the next pair to come in.  The doctor left them alone for a few minutes while they did this, and came back with a small tray that had two glasses of what looked like red Kool-Aid.  He mixed some powder in and stirred it until it dissolved and gave each of them a glass and said, “Drink. It will help with your headaches.”

          They both said, “Thanks doc.”

          Ken no longer felt the danger he sensed before and asked, “So doc is everything alright now?  I’m not picking up on the danger anymore.  Did something happen?”

          “More, I think, than you or I will ever know Kenneth.  Many things happened today that I was not expecting.  I believe for the next few days we will all be safe, and then we will need to upgrade our security protocols.  I will explain more after everyone has recovered.”

           “Now, I must reset everything for Bryan and Lane, who should be here shortly.  You two can get dressed and relax the rest of the day.  Get something to eat; I can hear your stomachs rumbling.”

           Even though he was still naked, Ken pulled the doctor into a tight embrace and said, “Thanks doc, for being a part of our lives and for taking care of us.  We love you.”  Brad came in from the side and put his big arms around both the doc and Ken and said, “We do doc.”

           The doctor was a little choked up by the unexpected show of affection.  He put his arms around both men and squeezed tight as well.  “I cannot imagine my life without you as well my sons.  Now go and get food and rest up and I will see you tomorrow.  I will email you a time once I set the meeting.”

           “Yes sir.”

           Brad and Ken went back to their lockers and started to get dressed.  They couldn’t keep their eyes off one another.

           “B, we really need to get something to eat, but we need to hurry.  I’ve got to get you home and in bed pronto buddy.”

           “Yeah man, I’m with you.  Let’s fill up and get home a.s.a.p.”

 

          Neither man was aware of what just happened on a cosmic scale.  They would find it difficult to conceive that a few men on a small tiny planet could be so important in the grand scheme of Creation.   Actions in the Physical Realm affect the ever waging War in the Spiritual Realm, and the opposite is true as well.  This day, the cosmic scales that have been tipped in the favor of the Enemy for many years just moved backwards ever so slightly.

          Even though the Enemy did not succeed today, there would be many chances to destroy The Order and their new Warriors.  It will be years before they grow into their full potential and they will still be vulnerable and unprepared for the attacks that are yet to come.  They will need to be taught a lesson soon – perhaps one of pain and suffering; not of the Body but of the Soul.  They will pay a heavy price for the small victory they had today.

 

 

          It was a little after midmorning when Ken and Brad left the Lab.  The clouds were dissipating and the sun was once again shining; the sky a brilliant blue.  As they were pulling out of the parking lot they saw Bryan and Lane pulling in and honked their horn to say ‘hello’. 

          Ken’s stomach let out another big rumble, and Brad’s followed.  “Man whatever happened sure took it out of me,” Brad said. 

          “Yeah me too, B.  It’s only midmorning, where can we eat.  I don’t want breakfast, unless you have your heart set on it.”

          “Hey it will take a few extra minutes to get there but why don’t we hit the trough? (The trough is their code name for the Golden Corral all you can eat buffet).  They should be open by the time we get there.”

          “Oh man that sounds great, good thinkin.”

          “That’s why I’m the brain and you’re the brawn,” Brad said with a smile.

          Ken grinned and said, “Fuck you.”

          “Not til after we eat.”

 

          They pulled into the Golden Corral parking lot right at 11:00am.  Normally Ken eats enough for 2-3 people because of his increased metabolism, but today Brad matched him plate for plate.  They were both surprised and even Ken said, “Damn, B you are putting away the chow today buddy, I’m impressed!”  He laughed as he said it.

          Brad actually looked a bit sheepish as he got up for another plate of food.  Both men felt better as soon as they started eating, and the last of their headaches disappeared.

          While they were eating, sitting across from one another, they couldn’t stop staring at one another and taking in the subtle changes in their bodies and faces.  Ken kept Brad’s hand in his own and played with his fingers like he did in the car; not caring if anyone noticed.  Brad played right back and they just kept smiling at one another.

          Ken finally laughed about it and said, “Damn, B, I feel like we’re on our honeymoon buddy.  I just can’t get enough of lookin at you.  You were beyond handsome and sexy to me before but now….”

          Instead of answering with words, Brad reached out and let Ken see himself through his own eyes, mind, and heart.  Ken teared up from the intimate feelings and total confirmation of knowing that Brad felt the same way about him.  Of course they both knew it, after all that they shared and been through together, but each time their awareness of each other was reaffirmed it seemed to overwhelm them like it was the first time.  Deep down they both hoped that feeling would never stop even if they lived forever.

         Ken put his head down to hide his tears as their server came up to refill their drinks.  He started laughing quietly to himself, and when the server moved away he said, “B, you fucker.”  When Ken looked up he saw Brad’s eyes were bright from tears of his own and they both started laughing. 

For whatever reason, Brad’s subconscious chose that moment to make him realize how many people were staring at them.  Once he noticed it, it made him curious.  He and Ken were used to getting looks from men and women, but this was a little different, and he couldn’t put his finger on it. 

          Ken yawned and stretched, putting his arms above his head and tightening his whole body.  His muscles flexed, causing his t-shirt to pull tight, leaving little to the imagination of the body that was underneath.  Brad heard a plate drop and when he looked over a lady was staring at Ken, slack jawed, her hand out in front of here where she had been holding the plate.  A few other people had stopped and were staring at both of them.

           “Ken I think we need to head out bro.”         

           “But I still want to get some desert!”

           “What am I, chopped liver?”  Brad said with a sexy grin.

           “Alright buddy, I’ll grab somethin on the way out.”  Ken got an ice cream cone at the desert bar and they headed to the car.

               

          As soon as they were in the car, Brad cupped Ken’s stubble covered chin in his hand and brought his face around so he could lean forward and give him a kiss.  They both got into it and the kiss ended up lasting for nearly a minute.  Both of them were starting to breathe hard and felt their shorts starting to tent by the time they broke apart.

As they pulled back from one another they both let out a quiet, “Fuck me!” and started to laugh again.

As they were leaving the parking lot Brad said, “Ken something a little weird was going on back there.”

“Yeah we kiss better than before.  I didn’t think that was possible but shit man…”

Brad started howling with laughter.  It took him a minute to get himself under control.

Ken was smiling and had a ‘what did I say look’ on his face.

“Oh fuck man you kill me sometimes.  I wasn’t talking about us kissing I was talking about the people in the restaurant.  But I totally agree on the kissing.”

          “Oh yeah, I noticed people staring more than usual too, but that’s no big deal; especially after this morning.”

          “I think it definitely has something to do with this morning.  That lady dropped her plate because she couldn’t take her eyes off you when you stretched.”

          “So she has good taste, that’s not a crime.”  Ken grinned when he said that and flexed his bicep.

          “It’s probably some type of after effect.  I’ll ask the doc about it tomorrow.  In the meantime, where’s the warp drive on this Explorer?  We can’t get home fast enough.”

          It took them almost twenty minutes to get home because of lunch hour traffic.  The whole way home Ken held Brad’s hand and played with his fingers.

 

 

           Once home and in the house, Ken punched in his security code and heard and felt the house lock down.  Brad hung his keys inside the door.  They went back to the bedroom and pulled their wallets out and set them on the dresser and took off their watches, kicked off their shoes and took off their socks.

           Brad was still thirsty, so he called over his shoulder as he went back to the kitchen, “You want anything to drink?”

           “Yeah, I’ll take some water.” 

           Ken went back out to the couch and sat down in the corner, leaning against the cushions.  Brad grabbed two bottles of water and came over to sit beside him. 

           Ken looked at Brad and reaching over, he grabbed ahold of him saying, “Come here, B.”  He pulled Brad’s big body over like he weighed nothing.  Ken spread his legs open and pulled Brad up so that his head was against Ken’s upper chest, and he wrapped his arms around Brad in a hug and started rubbing his back.

           They lay there for a few seconds in silence before Ken said, “Fuck, B, you feel so good against me.  Man you’re nice and warm.  The doc said you would be like me now as far as that goes.  That’s hot as hell,” he said with a lazy grin at his own joke.  Brad was low enough that Ken’s cheek was resting against the top of his head.

           Brad voice was a bit muffled with his face against Ken’s chest as he said, “Shit Ken I’m so hard it hurts, but I just wanna lay here for a few minutes.”  He wrapped his arms around Ken and pulled their bodies tighter together, and with his face pressed against his lovers hard chest he breathed a huge sigh of contentment.  He could feel Ken’s heartbeat, strong and steady, and the heat from Ken’s body through his clothes.  He could feel Ken’s hard on through his shorts too.

           Ken felt so peaceful with Brad on top of him, holding him, he relaxed and let his mind drift.   He could feel Brad’s warm breath on his chest through his shirt.  Ken was running his hands gently up and down Brad’s back.  After a minute Ken heard and felt Brad’s breathing slow and realized he just fell asleep.

           With his stomach full, and the man he loved more than anything in the world wrapped in his arms, asleep like a baby, Ken let himself lay there quietly, completely content without a care in the world.  He kept running his hands gently up and down Brad’s back, until finally his hands stopped as he drifted off to sleep.

 

           While they slept their Bodies, Minds, and Spirits adjusted to the last of the changes from the Process.  The tattoos on their shoulders began to glow, and would occasionally flare up brightly, spitting bright arcs of color.  There was a pattern in the energy as it flowed between the two, intricate and complex.  It was almost as if the patterns were communicating with one another.

           Six hours later, Ken’s stomach let out a loud rumble that woke them both up.  Neither of them had moved, so Brad’s face was still pressed against Ken’s chest and the noise from his stomach was magnified.  Brad breathed deep, inhaling Ken’s scent, and squeezed their bodies tighter together, not wanting to move, but at the same time his empty stomach was intensely uncomfortable.

           Ken laughed and whispered a barely audible, “Sorry man,” and hugged Brad back.

           “I can’t believe how hungry I am,” Brad said groggily.

           “Yeah me too, B.  We should have expected this, it’s not like this is our first rodeo.”

           “Yeah but we never made it to the extracurricular activities.”

           “Is my dick the only thing you ever think about?”

           “So what’s your point?”

           “True, but we don’t want to pass out.  I want to be fully charged so we can fuck ourselves into oblivion.  The problem is do we take time to fix something here or do we run out.  I say we run out, we got some steaks in the freezer but it will take too long to thaw them and cook everything else.  What sounds good?”

           “Let’s hit up Crossroads Grille.  You mentioned steak and that the best that isn’t too far away.”

           “You always pick the best places to eat.  That sounds great.  I love those little loaves of bread they bring out.”

           Brad peeled himself off of Ken’s body, and cupping Ken’s face in both his hands he leaned forward to kiss Ken on his forehead as he got up; reluctantly he lowered his hands, loving the feel of Ken’s unshaven cheeks.

           Brad went down the hall to the bathroom, and then went into the bedroom to get his shoes and socks.  When he went in, Ken was sitting on the bed and he had the sleeve of his t-shirt pulled up over his shoulder and he was rubbing his tattoo.

           Ken said, “Hey B feel this.”

           Brad put his hand on the tattoo and it felt really warm, almost hot.  The colors were incredibly vibrant and the detail was amazing.  It was an intricate pattern of symbols, or maybe letters but in some language they were unfamiliar with.  Brad put his hand on his own shoulder and felt the warmth through the fabric of his shirt.

           Brad said, “Interesting.  It doesn’t hurt, but it does feel a bit itchy. Does yours feel ok?”

           “Yeah it feels fine, just really warm and a little tingly.”

           “We’ll need to keep them covered during dinner, and then we can let them have all the open air they want when we get back,” Brad said with a knowing grin.

           Ken’s stomach rumbled again and he looked down at it exasperatedly and said, “Would you shut the fuck up!  I know!”

           Brad laughed and put his hand on Ken’s hard abs and said, “Alright, I can see I need to take care of my man.  Come on bud, let’s go.”

 

           Two hours later, they both had eaten two steaks each and split a third, two baked potatoes each, a salad apiece, and they split a huge brownie Sunday for desert.  The waitress was overly flirty, and kept trying to talk to them.  They weren’t rude, but made it clear they wanted to be left alone.  People stared again, most trying to be subtle, but a few were staring openly.  The manager came by their table twice to check on them and make sure everything was good.  She made a point to touch both of them on the arm or shoulder while she was talking to them, and her face was flushed the entire time.

           On the ride home, Brad said, “We definitely need to talk to the doc about this.  That could get old really quick.”

           “Naw, man it’s not that bad.  I mean look at us… after everything the doc has done to us; and you know I’m not saying this out of ego.  I do think after tonight that somethins goin on, but it’s just somethin we’ll need to learn to control.  You and I can’t keep our eyes off one another either, so why should they?”

           “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  I could do something about it if it gets to out of hand, I just don’t like to mess with people if it’s not necessary.  Maybe it’s just an aftereffect and will stop when the hunger wears off.”

           “Hey!  Did you just say I’m right?”

           “No wait…. shit!”  Brad laughed, “Ok yeah I’ll give you this one.”  Brad grinned, knowing that Ken got him in their ongoing joke.  Ken intertwined his fingers in Brad’s hand that wasn’t on the steering wheel and brought Brad’s hand up to kiss the back of his hand.

As they pulled into the garage Brad said, “OK we need to be quick.  I bet you anything we are gonna pass out again before too much time goes by after all that food.   So we need to take advantage of this short window of opportunity.”

           “Thank God, B.  I’ve been trying to get in your pants for the last eleven hours.  I have a reputation to uphold.”

          “Alright man, meet you in the bedroom in like two minutes.”

“Ok, I just need to hit the head on the way back.”

           They both took off running into the house, laughing and pulling off their shirts as they ran.

           When Ken got to the bedroom, Brad was in bed, naked, with the lights out and two candles lit, laying seductively with the sheets pulled up to his waist.  He had his arms stretched out to show off his broad chest, big lats, tight abs, and his big arms.  The stark lighting from the candles accentuated the musculature of his gorgeous tanned body.

           Ken stopped in his tracks as soon as he entered the room and said under his breath, “Fuck!”  Ken was already shirtless, and he frantically kicked off his shoes, ripped off his socks, and dropped his pants in two seconds.  His eight inch hard on slapped against his tight abs and made a loud “thwack!” when he pulled down his underwear.

           He moved over and got onto the bed on his hands and knees and crawled forward until he was hovering over Brad.  All he could say was, “B, you are one sexy mother fucker.”  Keeping eye contact with Ken, Brad reached down and started caressing Ken’s hard on and tight balls.

           Brad said, “For tonight man, I want us to have good old fashioned, raw, hot, sex.  No mind games or bonding or merging.  Just skin on skin, body on body.”  Brad was using every trick with his hands he had ever learned on how to please Ken.  He grabbed Ken’s hard on by the base and squeezed it tight making the head big and tight and he was using his fingertips on his other hand to run them all over the top part of the shaft and head, spreading around the leaking precum, and teasing him.

           Ken was practically paralyzed with pleasure.  The feeling of Brad’s hands, his lover’s hands, caressing his throbbing hard on, after eleven hours of sexual frustration, took him to the edge in seconds.  Ken leaned forward and put his hands against the wall overcome with the sensations Brad was making him feel.  “Oh fuck, B, ohhhh….”   Ken’s body was getting more and more tense.   Brad could see his arms and chest muscles tightening, driving Brad to double his efforts.  With the hand that was gripping the base of Ken’s erection, Brad pulled Ken’s body forward and took the head of his dick into his warm waiting mouth, wrapping and swirling his tongue around the head.  Sweat popped out all over Ken’s body and the orgasm he had been waiting for all day erupted from deep inside of him.  It took over his body; his back arched and he threw his arms out to his sides, stretched and taught like steel beams; his head was thrust back and his eyes were closed.  He thrust his chest out, fully flexed as Brad’s tongue milked every drop of cum out of his dick.   Brad’s hands started roaming all over Ken’s muscled body wherever he could reach, caressing him through the powerful orgasm that wracked his big frame.

          Ken’s breath was coming in harsh gasps and he felt like he had just spent hours in the gym.  Brad kept at it for a few minutes letting Ken ride out the pleasure of his orgasm until his breathing slowed. 

          Brad got his physical charge from swallowing Ken’s huge load of cum, which he wanted for the next part.  He kicked down the sheets with his feet and pulled Ken down on top of him.  Ken, spent for just a minute, lowered himself onto Brad and let himself be held.  His eyes still shut, Ken put his face down into the crook of Brad’s thick neck and shoulder, letting Brad hold him tight and use his hands to caress his body as he rode the last waves of pleasure that had briefly overcome him. 

It wasn’t long before the feeling of Brad’s throbbing hard on against his abs got Ken moving.  He lifted himself up on one arm and used the other to reach down and pull Brad’s legs up and apart.  Brad helped and put his legs over Ken’s shoulders and Ken slipped his still hard and slippery dick into his lover.  He entered slow and gentle, knowing that Brad had no prep time.  He entered easily and he felt and heard Brad exhale in pleasure.  As soon as he was in, Ken leveraged himself so that he would rub across Brad’s prostate.  Ken reached down and grabbed ahold of Brad’s leaking dick and started gently but firmly jacking his cock in tune with his thrusting.  It only took a few strokes and thrusts for Brad to lose control and explode.  His whole body trembled uncontrollably as his dick started squirting hot sticky streams of cum onto their abs and chests.  Ken pulled Brad up into a tight embrace, kissing and licking his neck as Brad continued through the rest of his orgasm.

When Brad recovered Ken stayed on top of him with his hard on still inside and they started kissing.  Neither one said a word.  The emotions they felt were too powerful to express verbally, and they had agreed to keep this as normal as possible.  They made eye contact and smiled, pressing their foreheads together, and grunted and groaned and hugged and caressed each other.  Now that they both had an orgasm and had more staying power they got down to business.  Brad started clenching and rotating his tight ass on Ken’s dick and Ken was stroking long and steady, rubbing over Brad’s prostate with every thrust.  Both their bodies were tense from clinging to one another, and they were sweating heavily from their efforts.  For nearly half an hour they both did everything they could to bring as much pleasure as possible to the other.  Finally neither one of them could hold back.  They both knew each other well enough to read the signs of impending orgasm so they both pushed hard.  They both came within seconds of one another in another mind blowing orgasm, hugging one another tight.

When their ragged breathing slowed back to normal they changed positions so that Brad once again had his head on Ken’s warm sweaty chest. 

Brad said quietly, “Ken if we’re dreaming I never want to wake up.”

“Me either B.”

They both lay quiet in each other’s arms, starting to feel sleepy again. 

Brad said lazily, “So where do you want to eat breakfast?  I’m sure we are gonna crash here any second and I’d rather decide now when we aren’t so hungry.”

“You always make better food decisions than I do, B.”

“Alright, I say we go to IHOP.”

The only response Ken gave was a rumble in his stomach which caused him to laugh, “All this talk about food has me hungry already.”

“Man we are bottomless pits.”

“You know the only bad thing about this hunger is that I can’t wake up to good morning sex with you, until we get through this.”

Brad was getting sleepier by the second and managed to quietly say as he drifted off, listening to Ken’s heartbeat, “Yeah but just imagine all the years we are gonna have together.  We can be together forever, and I like that.”  

“Me too B; me too.”

They both feel asleep again in each other’s arms.

 

 

Ken woke up first and while he was hungry, it wasn’t as painfully ravenous as it had been the two times before.  He looked at Brad’s handsome face, still deeply asleep, and he got a big devilish grin on his handsome face.   He moved slowly and carefully, thankful that Brad was a heavy sleeper and was still worn out from the changes.  He was going to get his morning sex after all!

It took him a minute to get out from under Brad, who was beginning to show signs of waking up.  Ken reached down and started playing with Brad’s soft dick.  It quickly grew into a full fledge hard on, and then Ken started gently sucking on the head and jacking his shaft.  By the time Brad woke up and realized what was going on he was just about ready to explode.

“Ohhh man, Ken.  Shit bro.  Oh yeah, oh fuck…”

Once Brad was awake and talking coherently, Ken turned things up a notch and started to deep throat Brad’s hard on, swallowing to squeeze the head when he was all the way in his throat, and swirling his tongue around the head when he was almost all the way out.  Ken could feel Brad getting harder and harder, and knew he was about to shoot, so he pulled up and just focused on the head with his mouth and jacked his shaft with nice long even strokes.  The thrusting of Brad’s hips was getting more frantic and in no time he was squirting white hot ropes of cum into Ken’s waiting mouth. 

What happened next caught them both by surprise.  Seconds after Ken swallowed the first shot of Brad’s cum, his eyes went wide.  He felt a rush like he had never experienced before, as his mind opened and expanded. 

He managed to squeak out a quiet, “Oh Fuck!”

Brad knew something just happened and was in Ken’s mind in a heartbeat.

Oh my God, B.  This is amazing!  It’s like the other night but much stronger.  Oh fuck I’m gonna like this buddy!

As soon as their minds connected Brad realized what happened, and he was thrilled and excited for Ken.  He didn’t have to say a word, because he knew Ken could feel everything he wanted to convey.  He wrapped his arms and his mind around Ken and held him close for a few seconds, while he finished recovering from his orgasm.

Ken was so turned on by getting Brad off and being in his head, as soon as Brad recovered Ken got up and straddled his waist and started to furiously jack off.  Brad said, “Hell yeah Ken, shoot on my chest.  I want to feel that hot cum hit me hard right here.”

Brad reached out with one hand and cupped Ken’s tightening balls and with his other hand he reached up and started to rub Ken’s chest and feel the muscles in his arms as he jacked himself off.  Ken’s entire body was tense, working his way up to an intense morning blast off.

Brad opened up all their centers and let the energy flow between them.  He wanted Ken to know and feel how much seeing him and touching him turned him on.

Ken was already close, and Brad’s roaming hands and mental coaching sent him right over the edge and he let out a loud, “OHHHHHH FUUUUUUCKKKK!” as he started to shoot spurt after spurt of cum onto Brad’s waiting, hot furry chest.  Ken had worked up a sweat from his effort and his tan body was nice and shiny in the morning light coming in through the window.  Ken’s body was still slightly jerking in tune with his dick, and as soon as he let go of his dick, Brad took over and continued to gently stroke him, trying to prolong his pleasure as much as possible.

After a moment, when his breathing was back to normal, Ken leaned forward and lay down on top of Brad, rubbing their chests and abs together, smearing his cum between them.  Brad reached his arms and legs around Ken and hugged him tight, letting his hands roam over Ken’s broad back.  As they were lying there, Ken’s stomach let out a loud rumble, and they laughed.  Brad loved the sensation of Ken’s body on his when he laughed; he felt like he was under a rockslide.

Finally Ken broke the silence saying, “Ok B.  We need to hop in the shower quick and head out for food buddy.”

They both got out of bed and went into the bathroom.  Ken turned on the shower to let the water get hot while they brushed their teeth. They both decided not to shave. 

When the water was hot they got in and quickly soaped each other up and washed each other’s hair.  Except for one long kiss under the water they didn’t play around even though they were both hard again from the physical contact.

Brad checked the weather on his phone and it was supposed to be a hot day so they wore shorts and t-shirts out for breakfast.

As they were leaving the house they both got an email from the doctor saying that he wanted to wait another day to get everyone together and maybe two.  There were some unexpected side effects, mainly prolonged hunger, and he said they all needed additional recovery time.  He would be in touch, but he reassured them that everyone was well, and even better than he had expected.

 


          The next day Ken and Brad were pretty much back to normal as far as their eating habits, except that Brad now seemed to need as much food as Ken.  His body was now operating on a much higher energy level and his metabolism was burning through calories faster than before. 

They made it a point to call everyone on the Team, using the conference line from the Lab.  Since they had gone first and were more or less over the anticipated side effects, they wanted to be sure everyone was ok and to let them know that the hunger seemed to last a little less than two days so not to worry.   

          The doctor sent everyone an email asking them all to come in to the Lab at noon the next day for a group follow up meeting.  By that evening the last of the hunger should be leaving the final two pairs, which were Kevin and Bill, and Patrick and Darren.

          Ken called Sally to see how things were going and asked her if she could meet with him and Brad for lunch or dinner.  She said lunch would be good so they got cleaned up and ready to meet her.  They wore khaki’s and polo’s instead of shorts and t-shirts because they wanted to take her to a nicer restaurant.

          On the drive down to the office, Brad asked Ken, “Hey how do you want to handle our change of appearance with Sally?  Do you want me to cover it up or what?”

          “No I don’t want to lie to her like that.  We can just say it’s our new workout regimen and supplements the doc has us on.  If she doesn’t buy it you can maybe give her a nudge to help her accept that idea, but only as a last resort.”

          “Ok, you’re the boss on this one.”

          When they got there, Sally was ready to go.  As soon as she saw them she stopped dead in her tracks and let out an, “Oh my!”

          Both guys gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.  Sally knew they were a couple, in fact she knew all the Team was gay, and thought it was amazing that they were all from the military and close friends.  She always flirted with them, and as most women, loved to be able to talk about other guys with them when they had the time to chit chat around the office.

          “You two look amazing!  It’s only been a few weeks but you look so different, what have you been doing with yourselves?”

          “Just new protein supplements and a new workout program from our doctor, sweetie.”

          “Well you need to bottle that and sell it.  When we go to lunch there isn’t going to be a dry vagina in the house.”

          Both Brad and Ken busted out laughing.  Sally’s sense of humor, when she was not around clients, was a bit coarse but hilarious.

          They took Sally to the Capital Grille, knowing it was one of her favorite places to eat.  Sally, being escorted by two big, handsome hunks, played it up for everything it was worth.  They guys let her have her fun and got a huge kick out of the way she flaunted herself and them.  The funny part is that she pulled it off in a classy way – she could play the part when she wanted too!

           Once they had placed their orders, she looked at both of them and asked the question, “So what’s the bad news?”

           Ken raised an eyebrow, and Brad blushed and lowered his head sheepishly.  “Look, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that something is going on with the company.  Business has been really good and then suddenly you start having me outsource all our clients?  That can only go on for so long.  I don’t know what’s going on, but it doesn’t bode well for my job.”

           Ken took a deep breath and said, “Sally, we’re shutting down the company.  We wanted to talk to you about it in person.  I can’t tell you how much you’ve meant to us and to the company.  A large part of our success is due to you.  I want you to know that we’re going to take good care of you.”

           She was getting a little teary eyed.  “I knew it was too good to last; working with the most gorgeous, hot guys in Atlanta, and being paid to do it.  Well it was fun while it lasted!  I just have one final request.”

           “What’s that?” Ken asked.

           “I want a going away party with all of you; a pool party.  A pool party on a really hot day, and you have to wear speedo’s.  We can cook out and get drunk, and ya’ll can get really sweaty and I get a kiss and a hug from each and every one of you.”

           Brad almost spit out the water he was sipping when she said that.

           “I don’t care about a severance package or anything else as long as I get that.”

           Ken tried really hard to keep a straight face but the corners of his mouth were trying very hard to crack a smile.

           “I see.  Well I’ll see if that can be arranged.  But you will get a package Sally… a severance package that is.”  Ken grinned when he said that.   Sally grinned back at him over the rim of her wine glass.

           “Well now that’s all settled, let’s eat.  I’m famished.  Oh my!  I haven’t seen you two in weeks, so you don’t know about Carlo, my new boyfriend!  Well maybe not boyfriend much longer; early indications are he might be the one!   He’s really cute.  I wish you could meet him; I’d love to hear your opinion.  I’m going to miss being able to talk to you guys!”

           “So where did you meet him?” Brad asked.

          “He works for Simmons, who I’ve been contracting most our clients out too.  He’s does personal security too.  He tries really hard, and he’s not bad, but he’s not you.”

           “Give the guy a break Sally.  You probably have him cross eyed so he can’t think straight.  What straight guy wouldn’t be with a lady as beautiful and smart as you?”

           “Now why can’t he say nice things like that?  Is that a gay thing?”

           “Manners have nothin to do with being gay.  Do you want us to have a chat with him and fire a warnin shot to clean up his act?”

           “I appreciate that but I think I can handle him on my own.  He just needs to learn how to treat me right.”

           “Do you want us to get you a job at Simmons so you can be closer to him?”

           “Now that would be scrumptious!”

           “Ok but you need to go easy on the guy.  You want to break him in, not break him.”

           “Oh don’t you worry!  Breaking in men is my specialty, present company accepted of course.”

           “You got it.  I’ve got Darren putting the paperwork together to take care of the building lease and all that.  He’ll be in touch about the time table.  In the meantime you just need to wait it out and collect a paycheck until things are finalized, and then we’ll get you on over at Simmons.”

               

 

          The next day everyone gathered at the lab shortly before noon.  As they sat around visiting with one another before the meeting all of them were amazed at the new physical maturity evident in their faces and bodies, and as they spent more time together it was obvious that there was an emotional growth that seemed to have taken place as well.

          The doctor gave them some time to visit and talk before calling them all into the conference room.  They all filed in and took a seat, settling down to hear what the doctor had to say.

          “So everyone has recovered and is now well fed and rested?  I am sorry I did not accurately predict the extent of the changes that took place.  I must admit that there were some surprises during this procedure.  I was not sure if it would be just Kenneth and Bradford since they were first, but it seems to have been the same with all of you, and I cannot tell you how excited and nervous I am at the same time.”

          “You are all so full of surprises and always manage to exceed my expectations.”  He gave them all one of his rare smiles when he said that. 

          “I know you all have questions.  This procedure was the last one planned, and you all came through it remarkably well.  At the end of the Process, when your energy channels were all open and clear, each of you saw something.  I believe what happened is that you were briefly able to see through the Veil.”

          Brad raised the question he knew everyone wanted to ask, “The Veil?”

The doctor continued, “The Veil is a curtain that separates the Physical and Spiritual Realms.  I am now sure what you saw were beings that we refer to as Nephelem.  There is little known about them, but the Old Testament claims that they are the offspring between mortals and angels or demons.  The literal translation in Hebrew means ‘Heavenly Beings’, which is most likely more accurate.  There is no definitive link with them to any particular religion; they seem to make an appearance in a number of old texts if you know how to read them, including the Old Testament in the Christian faith.  If you are familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark, one of the reasons God flooded the earth was to rid it from the influence of such beings.  The Greek translation of their name is ‘Giant’ which could also be read as ‘Titan’.  It is quite possible that some of these beings were mistaken for gods.  They are certainly powerful.”

          Everybody’s eyes were wide as they took in what he was telling them.

          “Thousands of years ago the Nephelem interacted with mankind more often, and many wars were fought as a result.  It is unclear why but a few thousand years ago they all but vanished, retreating back behind the Veil and rarely making appearances.  They now seldom appear; we know they still exist but our knowledge of them is very limited.   Occasionally in the past, some have sided with The Order, as some of their brethren have sided with the Enemy although that is even rarer.  I think I know why they revealed themselves to you and I hope it is a good sign.”

          “I originally designed the Program many centuries ago.  I have tried multiple times to do what I have done with you, and I met with limited success in my prior attempts.  But in my arrogance I over-reached myself.  The Nephelem themselves are spiritual beings, but they take physical form when they cross the Veil.  When they are here in the Physical realm they will occasionally mate with humans.  Albrecht and I took DNA samples from one such being in an attempt to combine that DNA with human DNA, to make a new breed of Warrior for The Order.  This is the transgression for which he and I are still paying the price.”

          “The Order destroyed my work and I was banished for many years.  I was brought back now because they are desperate and on the brink of destruction.  Even though my research was destroyed I still learned much from the samples I took; and I have a very good memory.”

          “When I first approached all of you and you accepted my offer to embark on this remarkable journey, I told you I would improve on your DNA.  In actuality, I patterned your genetic codes as human Nephelem hybrids.”

          As that revelation and the implications dawned on them, they all sat speechless.

          “You see, it is my belief, and Albrecht’s, that mankind has within it the potential to surpass these beings if their full potential were unlocked.  Part of the Curse that Mankind is under keeps this potential in check, and that is what our Enemy wants.  When I say that you are Nephelem, you are really more, because you are what God intended mankind to be before the Fall.  You will not have the restrictions or limitations that the Nephelem naturally have as part of their role in Creation.  You can see why my arrogance got me into trouble.”

          “Yesterday’s Process was the last key to unlocking your potential and bringing out your true Heritage as one of them and as Original men.  And since we are all sitting here, and no lightning bolts have come down from the heavens, I can only take that as a positive sign that we are doing the right thing.”

          Everyone sat in silence, stunned and not knowing what to say.  To realize that you are no longer human, but much more isn’t an easy thing to take in.  They all knew the doctor was a scientific genius, but everything he just revealed to them indicated he was working on a metaphysical level, and now they were as well. 

          Ken finally broke the silence, “Doc you said that the Process went better than expected.  What did you mean?”

          “The tattoo’s that are now on your shoulders are supposed to represent what is called an Avatar.  There are ten Avatars, five of the Body and five of the Mind, and each of you was supposed to receive a single Avatar representing an aspect, or ability that would be your defining characteristic.  These characteristics will begin to show themselves in the near future.  There will eventually be other changes but for the near future you will all be having another Awakening soon.  What has happened is that you Kenneth have all five Avatars, but with one Primary.  Each of you representing the Body in your relationship received a similar mix, and between you all you represent the five Prime Avatars of the Body.  The same thing happened with those of you representing the Mind in your relationship.  This has never happened before, and I’m not sure what it means as far as what you will be able to accomplish.  If my suspicions are correct you will be far more powerful than I ever imagined.  I believe that the Nephelem see our predicament and cannot allow The Order to perish, and they intervened bestowing these extraordinary blessings upon you.  Either that or because you are Nephelem yourselves at this point it was a natural evolution in the process.  I am still not sure.”

          “You see, throughout the history of The Order, there have been a few single members who are legendary for being blessed by the Nephelem.  Each of you received this blessing, but in an unprecedented manner.  I am sure that the leadership of The Order is aware by now of what has happened, and that they are fervently trying to understand the implications of this.”

          A voice from the back of the room said, “They are aware, Aaron, and you are, as usual, quite correct.”

          Everyone spun around to see Albrecht standing in the back of the conference room.  No one heard him enter; it was as if he suddenly appeared.

          The doctor turned white as a sheet and whispered, “Does this mean…”

          A smile stretched across Albrecht’s handsome face as he said, “Yes Aaron.  We have been proven right, and the suspension for you and I is lifted.  I have been sent here to help, and to discover what all this means.  I am to help with their training as I might.”

          All the men had smiles on their faces, knowing what this meant for the doctor.  None of them could imagine being away from their partner for decades let alone hundreds of years.

          Ken stood up and said, “Well doc, this has all been an eye opener, but in reality it doesn’t change anything.  We accepted our new rolls willingly, knowing that things would change.  I don’t think anyone here, regardless of what we now know, wants to back out.  If anything I’m more ready than ever to start training and begin doing something.  I’m tired of sitting around not making a difference.”

          All the men nodded their agreement and most made reaffirming comments.

          “Now I think we need to leave the two of you alone.  Since its Friday why don’t we all plan on meeting back here Monday morning and we can start working on our training schedules with you and Albrecht.”

          Ken’s comments gave the doctor the few seconds he needed to recover from Albrecht’s sudden appearance.  He managed to say, “Thank you Kenneth that is an excellent idea.”

          “Alright you losers, let’s meet out in the parking lot for a minute before everyone heads their separate ways. On top of everything we just learned I have something I need to talk to you about.”

 

          Everyone went outside and gathered around Ken. 

“Before we get into the bombshell the doc just dropped on all of us, Brad and I had lunch with Sally to tell her that we are shutting down the business.  She pretty much knew, or had a good idea that something was up.  She has a special request.  She wants to have a going away party with all of us; a cookout and pool party.  We can have it at our place.  Her special conditions are that it needs to be on a nice sunny hot day, we all have to wear speedos, and she gets a kiss and a hug from every one of us.”

          Everybody busted out laughing.  Ken purposefully brought up the party first to lighten the mood after hearing everything the doc just revealed to them.

          “I, for one, will honor her request.  You all can choose if you want to or not.  It’s a private back yard so I don’t see what the big deal will be.  She’s been a real treasure for us to keep the business going and it’s the least we can do for her.”

          Everyone was still laughing and shaking their heads, but they knew Sally and took it in stride.

          “I’ll let you all know what date we pick.  I still need to get with Darren about finalizing the financial part of shutting everything down and splitting up the assets and all that jazz.”

          “That’s all I needed to say.  Now, is everybody cool with what we heard in there?”

          Lane spoke up, “Dude I think it’s cool as shit.  We’re like badass Tolkien elves man, not those pussy ass D&D elves.”   There was a pause while everyone looked at Lane when he said that.

          Bryan’s deep gravelly voice broke the awkward silence as he said, “God I love my nerd.”

          Everybody busted out laughing again.  Before they left each one of them, to the man, expressed their dedication to Ken and the doctor, and The Order.

          “Alright guys everybody have a good weekend. And if any one of you feels the need to talk about this stuff, call or contact me or Brad.  After you’ve had some time to digest this some concerns might come up.  I want to give the doc and Albrecht the weekend though, so try us first if you feel the need to talk, vent, or whatever.”  They all got in their vehicles and headed out for the weekend.

 

          Brad and Ken got in their Explorer and started to head to the house.

          Brad said, “Well that was an eye opener to say the least.”

          “Yeah, B, no shit!  It isn’t every day you are told you are no longer human.”

          “Well I told you that already, but as usual you were playing with my dick and didn’t listen to me.”

          Ken laughed and said, “Yeah that universal distractor you have between your legs.  It gets me every time.”

          They both felt the need for some mundane normalcy to break the heavy mood, so Brad asked, “So what are we gonna do today?  We need to hit the grocery store soon, but it doesn’t have to be today.  We need to hit the pool store soon; we need some more chemicals and a new net.  The yard is looking pretty ragged too.”

          Ken chimed in, “And it’s gonna be fuckin hot today and this weekend.  This heat wave just hit and it’s supposed to be like 102 today or some shit.”

          Brad checked the weather on his phone, and said, “Yeah and it’s supposed to be hotter tomorrow and Sunday.  Let’s get the yard done today then.  It’s gonna suck but let’s get it knocked out.”

          “Alright.”

 

          When they got home they went in to get changed to shorts and tennis shoes, sun glasses and ball caps.  It was so hot outside they went shirtless.  Brad said he would mow the grass if Ken would do the edging and trim the bushes. 

          In no time they were both sweating bullets.  Mowing the grass was slow going because the grass had gotten high and the bag filled up fast.  The hedges were worse than they realized and it took a long time to rake out the trimmings from the pine straw without messing it all up.

           After they finished and were freshly showered, Brad put together a nice lunch and started some chicken marinating for dinner.  They had been eating out an awful lot lately and they both felt they needed to get back to a healthier diet.

          After lunch they went to the pool store and then Publix for groceries.  They forgot that July 4th was coming up so Ken sent out a quick group text to Sally and the Team about getting together on the 4th for the pool party.  Everyone responded in just a few minutes and it was a go.  The Team, all being veterans of Desert Storm, even if no one else knew it, usually got together on the 4th anyways.  Ken got another basket and they got ribs, chicken, hamburger, buns, BBQ Sauce, and everything to make a ton of potato salad, potato casserole, baked beans, garlic bread, fruit salad, regular salad, and everything to make homemade strawberry ice cream.  Enough for ten men with hyper metabolisms plus one southern bell named Sally.

          Brad whistled as they were going out to the car with the groceries, “Man I’m glad the doc has us set financially!  We’d all have to make six figure salaries just to feed ourselves these days!”

 

 

That night at 3:43am Bryan woke up when Lane started thrashing around on the bed.  He was surprised because Lane was normally a heavy sleeper.  In the darkness Bryan noticed immediately that Lane’s tattoo was glowing and throwing off little sparks of color.

          The doc said if Lane was having dreams it would be best not to wake him up and to definitely not try to link with him, so Bryan just had to let this run its course.  He put a comforting hand on Lane's chest and was struck by how fast Lane's heart was beating.  Lane was twitching harder and was starting to break out into a heavy sweat.  Suddenly he lurched up in bed with a blood wrenching scream and started holding onto his leg.   Every muscle in his body was taught as a wire, and his chest was heaving.   His tattoo flared once brightly and then went still.

          Lane looked around, not knowing where he was.  His eyes were distant, like he was still somewhere else, but he seemed awake now, just disoriented.

          Bryan rarely raised his voice, but he was scared for his partner.  He grabbed Lane’s chin and forced him to look him in the eye and said loudly and sternly, “Lane!  Wake up!  It’s me.”

          Lane was always so macho, Bryan was amazed when he threw himself into Bryan’s arms and started sobbing, his body trembling.  He kept repeating, “Oh god, oh god…” over and over and his breath was still coming in gasps.

          Bryan just held him close, wrapping Lane in his big arms, and gently rubbed his back and arms, keeping Lane’s face pressed against his chest.  He kept whispering soothing words, and stroking his body, trying to calm him down. “It’s alright Lane.  You’re here with me little buddy.  You’re fine and in bed with me.”  Bryan’s deep gravelly voice was always soothing to Lane, and pressed against Bryan’s chest like he was Lane could feel and hear the sound of his voice.

          After a few minutes Lane started to calm down and he stopped trembling.  “Fuck Bry, that was horrible.  I’ll get my shit together man I’m sorry.”

          “Nothing to be sorry for you shithead.  You want to tell me what that was about?”

          Without saying a word, Lane opened his mind up and brought Bryan in so he could share with him what happened. 

 

                It was dark and raining and cold outside.  He wasn’t supposed to be here anymore and didn’t want to come back.  Life had taken a turn for the better in the last few months.  His wife took him back and they were working things out.  Now he was back in his box.  How did he get here?  He heard footsteps and froze, thinking that if he was quiet whoever it was would go away.

                “Come out, Tag.”

                He didn’t want to but he couldn’t help himself.  It was hard with his prosthetic leg, but he crawled out.  It was dark in the alley and he couldn’t make out the man’s face.  The man had someone with him, a few really big looking men.  He couldn’t make out their faces either, but they looked like they were dressed for a mission. 

                When he got out of the box the man said, “Hold him.”  The men moved forward and grabbed him, pulling off his army jacket and rolling up his sleeve.  The man forced Tag to look into his eyes.  His eyes were all white in the moonlight, and Tag felt himself being sucked into them.

                “You shouldn’t have helped them Tag.  You were bad, and now you are being punished.  I’m sending you back to the war, and this time you won’t be coming back.”

          The last thing tag felt was a needle in his arm, as his mind was taken and trapped in his own memories.

 

          Tag found himself back in Afghanistan.  He felt something was wrong, like he shouldn’t be here.  He heard someone shout his name from up ahead but there was gunfire.  He moved forward cautiously, trying to stay under cover. Where was the rest of his unit?  How did he get separated from them?

          This seemed too familiar.  Wait!  He was walking!  On both legs!  This had to be a dream!

          “Tag!  Get yer ass over here man!  It’s all clear!  Move it!”

          Tag stood up and moved out from behind the overturned burned out car he was behind, and as he stepped into the street he felt the trigger and heard the click.  He looked down at the I.E.D. that he had just stepped on.  Just as he was throwing his body back, it exploded, and he felt his leg shred and separate from the rest of his body.  He lost consciousness.

          Tag had the same dream over and over, an endless nightmare that his mind was trapped in. 

 

Bryan just held onto Lane, comforting him.  In his deep quiet voice he asked Lane, “You know who that guy is right?  He’s that homeless dude that Rick and Loy talked to when Ken was kidnapped.”

Lane nodded his head, still sniffling a bit.  “Yeah.  Fuck Bry, we need to call Ricky and Loy and tell them about this.  We have to help this guy.”

Bryan said, “Wait here” and he got up out of bed and left the room.  Lane was still feeling the powerful emotions and even some of the physical pain that Tag felt at what was done to him.  He tried to calm his mind, and breath deep.

After a few minutes he heard Bryan’s voice talking with somebody, and Bryan came back down the hall carrying a mug.  He was saying, “Yeah, we’re ready.  Give us just a minute.”

“Here,” Bryan handed Lane a mug of hot spiced tea, sweetened with honey just like Lane liked it.  It was a special concoction that Bryan made for him to help him sleep.

“Loy is going to be contacting you in just a minute so we can all talk about this.  I thought it would be easier than trying to do it over the phone.”

 

About a minute later Lane heard Loy’s voice in his head.

Lane?  It’s me and Ricky.  Are you ok?

Lane brought Bryan back into the loop.

Hey guys.  Yeah I am now.  That was some weird ass shit.  It’s pretty severe but if you want I’ll share it with you.

If you’re ok with that Lane.  It sounds like it was painful, are you sure you want to do that?

I don’t know if it will help but it can’t hurt.  Guys we need to find Tag.  They’ve done something to him and it’s because he helped us when Ken was kidnapped.

Lane shared the entire experience with them.  By the time it was over he was trembling again from reliving it.  Bryan held him tight and continued to rub his back and arms, trying to sooth him as much as possible.

Guys Tag is being forced to relive that experience over and over.  It’s going to drive him insane if we don’t get to him and find a way to stop it.

Rick and Loy were both shocked by what Lane shared.  They felt responsible and knew that they had to do whatever they could.  The problem was Tag apparently had moved back in with his wife and they had no idea what her name was or where she lived.

Rick and I will go back to where we talked to Tag first and see if we can dig anything up.  Lane you need to get some rest buddy.  You’ve already done enough.

Alright guys.  Let us know what you find.

Will do.

 

Bryan kept rubbing his hand on Lane’s back and shoulders while he finished the mug of tea.

“Any better?”

“Yeah man thanks.  I hate losing my shit like that.”

“I think you’re going to have to get used to it.  You know I’ll always be here to help.  It pisses me off the doc said I have to let you go through those dreams without waking you up.  I hate it for you.”

“I don’t think I could do it on my own Bry.  I’m going to need you more than ever if this keeps up.”

“Come here little buddy.”  Bryan always called Lane little buddy as a term of affection – they were both huge fans of Gilligan’s Island.  Bryan pulled Lane against him and threw a big arm over him pulling him tight against his big warm chest.  They both had their eyes closed so they didn’t notice the tattoo on Bryan’s shoulder flare up when he pulled Lane tight against him; the light briefly enveloped both of them before it faded.  They both fell asleep quickly and slept through the rest of the night.  In the morning they both woke completely refreshed and horny as goats and screwed like rabbits for over an hour before they got out of bed.

 

Rick and Loy got dressed and headed to downtown Atlanta, where they first met Tag.  They arrived about 5:30am so it was still dark.  What was left of the big refrigerator box Tag had been sleeping in was still there, but it had collapsed.  Rain and the summer heat had done a number on it.

After looking around, Loy said, “There’s no way to tell how long it’s been since he’s been here.  It could have been in the last few days but it doesn’t look like it.”

Rick was looking around, and with his enhanced sight he spotted a broken syringe that looked like it had been stepped on.  “Check this out!  Luckily we still have all our gear in the car.”  Loy pointed his flashlight over where Rick pointed and saw the broken syringe.  Rick went to get an evidence baggie out of the car. “Maybe the doc can tell what was in it.  We might be lucky and get a set of prints but I doubt it.”

 

 

At the edge of his hearing, Rick could tell someone was coming down the street.  As they got closer, he could tell it was a large group.  He signaled to Loy and sent his thought, There’s a large group coming down the street.  I smell trouble headed our way.

          Rick and Loy moved back into the shadows.  Loy focused and picked up the group coming towards them.  Just by listening to their surface thoughts, he knew they were hostile, and apparently looking for anyone poking around the alley at this particular spot.

          Rick, they’re here to keep people from looking for Tag.

          I see.  This is gonna be interesting.

          Be careful Rick, it’s a local street gang that’s been paid to do this.  They’re just kids, but mean and not afraid to use a gun.  We don’t want to hurt them, at least not much; enough to teach them a lesson if it comes to that.  I don’t want to turn up the juice and scare them; I don’t want any of them running.  There are too many to corral.

          Rick and Loy waited, and in less than a minute the entrance to the alley was filled with 15 young men.  It was obvious they were a gang from the way they were dressed and the way they carried themselves; full of bravado and cockiness. 

          They didn’t see Rick or Loy at first.  The leader said, “Whaddup Julio, I thought you said someone was here.”

          “They were here a minute ago.  Their ride is still sitting over there.” The guy pointed to the Explorer.

          “Well if they ain’t here, at least we get to mess with their wheels.”

          Rick said out of the darkness, “If anyone touches my car I’m going to break their arm.”

          Rick had to give them credit; they were fast on the draw.  As soon as they heard him, guns whipped out and he heard bullets going into the chambers on various size hand guns.

          “I’m giving you kids an out.  Tell us what you know about the homeless guy who used to stay here, and you get to leave peacefully.”

          “Who are you callin kids?  My bitch ass will kick your ass any day muther fucker.”

          Rick sent a thought to Loy, Man I wish I was wearing a little Kevlar just in case.

          Loy let loose a mental surge into all their minds making them believe their guns and knives were hot, too hot to hold, blistering the flesh wherever their skin was touching metal.

          It was kind of funny to watch them all jerk their hands and drop their guns and knives, yelling obscenities.

          There you go buddy.

          Shit Loy, should I get in the car and let you wrap this up?

          Loy laughed in his head and thought, No man I’ll split them with you.

          “Muther fucker I don’t know how you did that but your ass is dead!  Get ‘em!”

          Rick and Loy both moved out of the darkness and took up a defensive stance letting the gang rush them.  Rick, irritated with the whole idea of fifteen to two, didn’t hold back and hit hard.  He tensed his body and let them get in a few hits, which hurt them far more than it did him.  He broke mainly hands, and a few arms.  Loy wasn’t any gentler, and in less than a minute all of the kids were unconscious except for the leader who was on the ground and holding his arm.

          Rick knelt down over the leader and cupped his face firmly, “Ok Julio, or whatever your name is.  Tell me who hired you to keep an eye on this spot.”

          The kid tried to spit as he yelled out “Fuck you!” but Rick was ready and turned the kids face away so he spit on one of his friends.

          “Loy, why don’t you take a look?  It’ll be easier.”

          Loy moved over and made eye contact with the kid.  Just for effect, he reached down and put the tip of his index finger on the kid’s forehead.  He looked for the images that would show him what he wanted.  He found them but the memories were intentionally blurred and he couldn’t make out the faces.

          “This is interesting.  Someone is covering their tracks and tampered with his memories.  In fact, Raphael, you got ripped off.  They never gave you any money, that was a bag of blank paper and he just made you think he was giving you real money.  All your friends here are going to be pissed when they find out you let them get taken.”

          Loy dug deeper to find out more about the kid. 

          Loy shook his head sadly, “Look Raph, you are well on your way down a bad path.  You are close to a point of no return buddy.  I could force you to turn around, but we’ve learned recently that is not the way to go about making true change.  I’m going to show you a few options and then you get to make a choice.  Either way you get to walk away from here, and consider yourself lucky that you only have a broken arm.”

          Loy took Raph back to his childhood and showed him where he made all his bad decisions, and where he made good ones.  Loy showed him the path that led him to where he is, and how it affected his family.  Loy tried to impress upon him that if he keeps going down the current road he will end up dead or in jail and the consequences to his family.

          Be a man, Raph and stop playing at being a man.  Grow up and get over yourself.  I’ll be here if you need help, if you can get over your ego and admit you don’t have all the answers.  If you need to get ahold of me or my friend Rick, just think back to this morning and you will know how to reach us.

          Rick was keeping an eye out to make sure no one got up, while Loy did his thing with the kid.  He heard a car pull up and stop at the entrance to the alley, and four men got out.  One was dressed in what looked like a very expensive tailored suit.  The other three looked like hired muscle; they were in trench coats and glasses even though it was dark out and already warm.

          The man in the suit glanced down at Loy and Raph, and then looked up to Rick and said, “I thought I felt someone tampering with my young charge.  I can’t have that.”  He nodded to his companions, who moved forward. “I think you will find these fellows a little more difficult than the children.”

          Rick moved forward and planted himself between Loy and the goons.  He sent a mental shout to Loy, hoping he would hear through whatever he was doing with the kid.

          Loy!  Head’s up man, we have more company!

         Almost finished here.

        The three goons stripped off their trench coats, revealing massive, muscular bodies; totally ripped.  All three reminded Rick of Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator.  He expected their eyes to glow red.   Ricks intuition was telling him there was more to these guys than he could see. 

         The three men moved impossibly fast for normal humans, and they were on Rick before he could react.  He didn’t expect them to be that fast and they caught him off guard.  Two grabbed his arms and held him and one of them hit him in the stomach hard, doubling him over.  He tensed his abs just in time to keep the wind from getting knocked out of him.  The one hitting him landed two solid punches to his jaw, dazing him and then he broke off and started to move towards Loy.

            Rick shook his head, his vision clearing.  He was still being held by two of them, and the third one was almost on top of Loy who was bending over the now unconscious Raph.

            Rick yelled “Loy! Move!”

            Loy threw himself back and rolled to his feet just as the man was swinging his arms to grab ahold of him.  Loy saw that Rick was being held by two of the goons and his face was bloody.

            Loy immediately merged with Rick and went deep so the time differential would allow them to talk.

 

            Rick!  Fuck man are you ok?

            Yeah, bro it’s not that serious, not yet anyways.  These guys are fucking fast and very strong.  Not as strong as I am but I didn’t expect them to be as fast or as strong as they are.  I’m about ready to kick some major ass here.  You need to stay out of reach or that guy will tear you a new one.

            I’ll see if I can keep him occupied while you take care of those two.

            Be careful man, I’m serious!  Don’t let him get his hands on you!

 

            The conversation between them took a thousandth of a second in the real world.

            Loy reached out for the mind of the one who was coming towards him.  His mind felt… slippery, and Loy couldn’t find his way in.  Loy didn’t expect that and the guy was practically on top of him. 

            In desperation, Loy focused hard and fast, and he felt his tattoo flare up, his eyes turned white and he sent a big mental spear of energy to try and break through the shell that seemed to be protecting the man’s mind.  The thug stopped and staggered back a few feet.  Loy felt he had partially broken through, a crack just big enough to make contact, and he quickly pulled the man into a construct of the alley with just the two of them.

            Rick, seeing that Loy was having some success with his opponent said, “You guys are pissin me off.  I know who you’re with, and if you think you’re gonna stop us from helping our friend you have another thing coming.”

             Rick used the strength of the men holding him to jump and flip over them, escaping their grip.  They weren’t as strong as he was and they didn’t have his muscle and bone density.  Rick, like most of the team, was a martial artist, and he excelled at close combat, especially at dirty infighting.  Lighting quick, he used his elbows and knees and struck the two men, sending them both reeling back a few feet.  Other than some grunts they didn’t exhibit any sign of being hurt.

            Rick said, “I think I’m gonna enjoy this.  It’s been to long since I’ve had a good fight.”  Rick cracked his knuckles loudly. 

            It’s rare that Rick or Ken or any of the Team representing the Body got to use their abilities without restraint.  Rick had to admit it felt good not to hold back.  Neither man laid a hand on him again.  He landed fists, elbows, knees, and even head-butts, knocking the two massive men back repeatedly, but they still kept coming.

            Rick wasn’t concerned that he and Loy wouldn’t win this fight; he was starting to get concerned that he couldn’t do it without seriously hurting or even killing his opponents.  He wasn’t sure what had been done to them, or if they were even acting of their volition.  If they were puppets they didn’t deserve to be hurt or killed.

            Rick decided his only option was to try and knock them out.  He sprinted past them, vaulting off the brick wall of the alley, and wrapped his big arms around the neck of the first man into a strong choke hold.  Using the height and leverage and his momentum, Rick threw his legs up and got a scissor lock on the neck of the other man with his legs.  He used the weight of his 400+ lb. frame to throw himself backwards and drop the two men onto the ground underneath him, trying to knock the wind out of them.  As they landed with Rick on top of them they each let out a grunt and Rick tightened his legs and arms around their necks, blocking the flow of oxygen.

            Both of them were grabbing at his arms and legs, trying to break his grip.  He was being careful not to break their necks; as strong as they were it was a fine line between choking them and killing them.  After thirty seconds, their movements started looking a little more frantic and they were flailing their fists, trying to hit Rick anywhere and everywhere they could, but he let his body absorb the blows.  It hurt but not too bad.  Rick was sweating with the effort and breathing hard, but he didn’t let go until a good twenty seconds after they both stopped moving.

            In the meantime, Loy still had the other man trapped in his construct; trying to dig through the deeper barrier that was still protecting or controlling the man’s mind.  It was a huge strain, but Loy was able to hold him still while he slowly chipped away at the wall. 

Fuck Brad makes this look so easy.

Somewhere close by, Loy heard someone screaming; it sounded like it was on the other side of the alley wall.  As he chipped away at the barrier the screaming was getting louder.  Loy didn’t know if it was a trick, so he was alert and ready but continued to attack the mental barrier.

          Suddenly he broke through, and the man fell to his knees holding his head, murmuring, “Oh god, oh god, oh god” over and over as he rocked back and forth.

          Loy stopped holding him but still kept his distance just to be safe.

          The man took off his glasses and his eyes were bloodshot from crying, and his voice was raspy from the yelling.  He saw Loy and scrambled back in fear, pushing himself into the trash that lined the alley wall.  He was on top of the big box that Tag used to sleep in.

           “NO!  Get away, man!  Leave me alone!”

           Loy tried to sound reassuring, “Hey man, I’m not going to hurt you.  It was you that who was trying to tear my head off remember?”

           “Oh God I’m sorry!  I couldn’t help myself!  I could see everything I was doing but I wasn’t in control!  You have to believe me!”

           With the barrier down Loy looked deeper and saw the man was telling the truth.  He has been under the control of the Enemy for nearly three years, being used as a puppet.  Loy saw everything about the man.  Much of what had been done to him was a blur and would take more time to filter out, if the information was even still accessible.  Loy was sick to his stomach when he saw the things this man had had been forced to do.

           “It’s time to get you out of here, Henry.”

           

            Loy took them both out of his construct and back to the real world.  He saw Rick getting up off the ground brushing himself off.  He was bloody and sweaty but he looked ok.  In fact Loy thought he looked extra hot, which Rick picked up on and he grinned at his boyfriend.

            The well-dressed man was still observing them and he didn’t look pleased. “Hmmm… so you managed to break my hold over Henry?  Pity… he was such an excellent toy.  You wouldn’t believe the things he’s done on our behalf the last few years.”

            Henry was shaking and he jerked back when he heard the man’s voice, “I know that voice!  He’s one of the ones who did this to me!”

            Loy quickly said, “It’s alright Henry.  Stick close to me and I’ll keep you safe.”

            “You might be able to protect Henry, but you can’t protect them all.”  The well-dressed man put his index finger to his temple and his eyes turned white and the two unconscious men on the ground started to convulse.

            “You can keep Henry.   I will get great pleasure in thinking about his misery as he reflects on everything that he’s done.”  The man quickly got back into the car and it took off down the street.

            Loy looked over at Rick and said, “We need to get him back to the doc.  Henry this is Rick, he and I work together and he’s going to help keep you safe.”

            Rick decided to make an anonymous 911 call to report the bodies.  All the gang members were still unconscious.  It would look incriminating but there wasn’t anything he could do about that.  They were innocent and some good police word would prove it so he let it go.

                                                                                    

           When they got Henry into the car, he was shaking and crying and starting to go off the deep end so Loy made him go to sleep.

            Rick texted the doctor with a 711 message that they needed to talk to him right away.  It was 6:30am.

            Loy looked back at Henry, now sleeping in the back seat.  “Man you have no idea what they made him do the last few years.  I sure hope the doc can help him.  I could make him forget but I’m still not sure that’s the right thing to do.”

            “Yeah the doc will know how best to proceed bud.  Don’t worry about it.”

            Rick was starting to stiffen up some from the beating he took.  He lifted his shirt up and his ribs were turning black and blue, and he knew he was going to have a black eye.

            Loy looked over when Rick lifted his shirt and said, “Oh shit bro!  Fuck are you ok?”

            “Yeah man I’m fine.  I told you they hit hard.  It’s a good thing I heal fast.”

            “You were a stud today Rick.  I’m proud of you and of us.  I feel like we took a first step.  But we still need to figure out how to find and help Tag.  I hope Henry can help us.”

 


            Rick’s phone rang a few minutes later and a very sleepy sounding doctor was on the phone.  Rick and Loy filled him in on what happened and told them about Henry.  The doctor said he would meet them at the lab. 

            Only because Ricks hearing was so good did he pick up on the background noise on the phone call.  When the call disconnected Rick had a huge smile on his handsome face.  Loy noticed and said, “Dude what’re you smiling about?”

            “I heard a little background noise on the phone call.  The doc wasn’t alone.”

            “Good for him!  He’s been alone way to long.  I hope he and Albrecht made out like medieval rabbits.”

 

 

            Albrecht and the doctor were waiting for them when they got to the lab.  As soon as the doctor saw Rick his face became a mask of concern, and he exclaimed “Richard!  You did not tell me you were bleeding!”

            “Doc it’s nothing!  I’ve been hurt worse than this playing football with the guys.”

            Because Rick’s ribs were sore, Loy insisted on carrying Henry into lab.  Rick thought Loy was treating him like a baby but gave in to prevent an argument, his frustration apparent through their link.

            Sorry Rick, but you need to take it easy man.  Chill out and relax buddy, and let me help.

            Loy got Henry into one of the beds, and was breathing hard from the effort.  Henry was a big guy, weighing at least a good 240lbs of solid muscle.  Albrecht followed Loy into the examining room to administer to Henry.

            When Rick pulled off his shirt, the doctor let out another “Oh my!  Richard this could be serious!”  His upper body was covered with welts and deep bruising.  The doctor gingerly started exploring Rick’s tender bruised ribs, chest, and legs.

            “Yeah they were pretty strong doc.  I had to take a pounding while they were choking out.  I didn’t have much of a choice.  The only other way would have been too seriously hurt them and I didn’t want to do that.”  Rick’s voice lowered and he said, “And that jerk killed them anyways.”

          Loy picked up on what Rick said through their link and he realized why Rick was so on edge.  He felt guilty for not saving those men.  From the other room, Loy wrapped Rick up in a tight mental hug and thought, There’s nothing you or I could have done man.  Let that part go. 

            “That is not your fault Richard.  We will have a conversation about what happened, once we know more from looking at the young man you brought in.  It seems as though our adversaries have done some genetic and mental tampering of their own.  I am not surprised… but they are only smart enough to copy not to create.  I believe that they wish to make a copy of you and they are the result!”

 

Loy came in to check on Rick after he got Henry on the bed for Albrecht to examine him.  When Rick’s shirt was completely off Loy saw the extent of the welts and bruising that was setting in it really upset him.

Fuck Ricky, I thought you said you were fine!

Loy it’s no big deal man, really.  Yes it hurts but it’s what I’m built for.  I’ll be back to normal in no time.

Loy put his hand on Rick’s bare shoulder and squeezed tight thinking, We were lucky bro.  As strong and as fast as those guys were things could have gone seriously wrong.  You were awesome, but I still don’t like seeing you hurt. 

Rick got a devilish grin on his face and thought, Well how about when we get home we play doctor and you can examine me to your heart’s content?  I think I have another bruise that the doctor hasn’t found yet.

I forgot how horny you get after a good fight.  At least that tells me you really aren’t hurt that bad.  And you got it.  Tonight I’m gonna take extra good care of you.

         Even though Rick insisted that he was fine, the doctor was adamant that he stay in the lab for another few hours.

         The doctor asked Loy, “My boy would you mind calling Bryan and Lane and asking them to come to the lab?  In fact call everyone and have them come in.”

         An hour later Bryan and Lane showed up.  They were shocked when they saw Rick, lying in bed his torso and legs covered in bruises and welts, and with a big black eye.  Bryan got a huge frown on his handsome face; he didn’t like friends getting hurt.  Lane whistled and said, “Damn boy, who in the world did this to you?  And how?”

         The doctor spoke up, “We will have a short debriefing when everyone gets here.  I think it is important for everyone to know what happened this morning and the events leading up to it.”

         Rick was the center of everyone’s attention as the guys came in, which completely embarrassed him.  Everyone expressed their concern and anger over what happened to him.  They were surprised that anyone could do this to one of them; it was an eye opener and it dawned on them that they weren’t quite as invincible as they all thought.  The reality of one of their own getting hurt was a slap in the face that the war they just stepped into was real and on their front doorstep.

         Once everyone was present, the doctor said loudly, “Attention everyone!  Please find a quiet place and be still.”

         Most of the guys went into the conference room to sit.  In a few seconds they all heard the doctor’s voice in their minds.

         Thank you all for coming so quickly.  It has been quite a morning for some of you already.  I want everyone to know what happened and what is going on. Lane, I know this will be uncomfortable but will you please share your dream with everyone?

          Sure doc.  Get ready guys, this is a little ugly.  I’ll try to keep the emotional overspill to a minimum.

          Lane opened his mind and shared the dream he had of Tag and what he was going through.

          The pain, fear, and anxiety that Lane shared hit them all hard, and instinctively they all went deeper into their hearts to support Lane and what he experienced.  It dawned on them that Lane’s Talent had a downside that none of them had thought about, and they threw their love and support behind their brother.  Lane felt their concern and his eyes got bright from the emotions running wild though his mind.  Bryan had him wrapped up so tight in his arms he was having trouble breathing, and he leaned back against his lover in comfort, not embarrassed at all to be so open in front of his brothers.

           Now Loy and Richard, share the events of this morning.

           Everyone was silent after Rick and Loy shared their fight.  A few sent thoughts of, “badass guys” or “good job studs”.

           I did not know that the Enemy had created servants like these.  I am glad there were only three and that Richard was not seriously hurt, or Loy.  This was an unknown, and we will all be more aware moving forward.  Albrecht is still learning what we can from the young man in the other room, but it seems he was kidnapped and coerced into servitude.  It might not be the same with all of their servants we meet of this type.  I commend Richards’s bravery and forethought in not wanting to injure his adversaries, even at the personal cost to himself. 

           I wanted you all to see Richard’s injuries and what was done to him, not to embarrass him by any means, but to impress upon you what our enemy is capable of.   Now, I want to show you something else that we are capable of.  Lane and Bryan please join me with Richard and Loy and the rest of you give us a few minutes to prepare.  I will call you all shortly.

           Bryan and Lane looked curious, wondering what was up.  They went back into the room and Rick got back into bed, lying on top of the sheets in just his shorts.  The doctor came in followed by Albrecht and shut the door.

           Albrecht said, “Our friend is sleeping peacefully for now.  What was done to him is atrocious.”

           The doctor continued, “Bryan and Lane, Albrecht and I have been working on translating the possible meanings of the complex Avatars that everyone received in the last Process.  The two of you have a unique combination that shows a powerful trend towards life and healing.  Even though everyone shares all the abilities to some degree, each of you shows an indication of excelling in specific areas.

           “Lane along with this you have a strong affinity for creativity, as we see in your talent for drawing and music.  I think this is no coincidence.  Do you have your iPod with you?”

           Lane nodded, “Yes sir.”

           “I am guessing, but when you listen to certain music, that there are certain songs that affect your mood more than others.  Some, I imagine, are very uplifting.  Am I correct?”

           “Yes sir, I suppose that’s a good way to put it.”

           “I want you to pick one of those songs and listen to it while joined with Bryan.  I would like the two of you to be deeply and totally merged with all your energy centers intertwined.   I know how intense and personal that is, and I am sorry for asking you to do this so suddenly.”

           Lane seemed a bit sheepish but went through his playlist until he found a song that the doctor described.  He could listen to this song over and over and never get tired of it.

           “Put on your ear buds so the music is more intense.  Now as you listen, put yourself into the music, and let your mind and soul go wherever it takes you.  I wish to see what happens when you do this.”

            Bryan moved over behind him and put his big hands on Lane’s shoulders, pulling him back against his body.  They both closed their eyes and plunged into the depths of one another’s Mind, Body, and Soul.  Immediately their faces relaxed and their expressions became peaceful and serene.  The powerful love began to emanate from them so strongly that Brad and some of the others felt it in the conference room.  The ribbons of energy, blue, yellow, and red, were arcing and flowing between them.

 Lane hit play and waited for the music to begin.  As the first notes sounded Lane let the music envelope him.  Even though their eyes were closed they felt their eyes turn white.  Lane started breathing deep and steady and his skin got goose bumps.   The intensity of the music was taking over, causing his heart and soul to expand outside himself.  About halfway through the song, it was obvious that their tattoos were flaring brightly underneath their shirts, and the ribbons of energy were getting so bright the doctor, Albrecht, Rick, and Loy could hardly look at them. 

Loy and Rick were wide eyed but silent taking this all in.

Bryan was amazed by his partner, and the way the music could make his soul sing. 

I love you Lane.  I wish everyone could see this part of you the way I do.

I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for you Bry.  You’re the one who makes my soul sing.  The music is just a means to an end.  I wouldn’t be able to fly like this without you.

Bryan wasn’t aware that it was his presence that magnified Lane’s experience, and his love that opened Lane up to feel the way he did.  Together they were so much more than either of them was alone.  Their faces were wet with tears from the emotional intensity and intimacy they were sharing.

The doctor and Albrecht looked at the two men, observing their auras and how powerful they were becoming.   Even with normal vision there was a slight glow about the two men.

As the song ended the glow softened into a slow steady pulse, gradually fading.   Their eyes turned back to normal.  Bryan had a pleased and happy look on his face and moved his hands off Lane’s shoulders and pulled him into a bear hug from behind.  He patted Lane’s hard chest with his hands in affection.

The doctor gave them a minute to come back to themselves and then he asked them, “How did that feel?”

“That was intense doc.   It’s difficult to put into words.  It definitely lifts me up outside myself, but I’m not sure where I go when that happens.  It’s definitely feels like a place.”

The doctor looked at Albrecht with a gleam in his eye.  “I think you were correct.”

“What just happened I have not seen before.  All of you now operate on a much higher level of energy than the average person.  This would not work, or at least not so well, outside of a controlled environment such as this, but you just elevated that energy to an extraordinary level.”

“I know you discovered how to heal weeks ago.  What I want you to do is to start your song again, and while you are in this other place, I want you to use Bryan as a lens and use the energy as a source to heal Richard.”

“Loy has the ability to heal as well, as do all of you to some degree, but I think you and Bryan will be exceptional at it, and doing it this way will not drain your own energy as much, or the energy of the one being healed, which normal healing would do.  You might feel slightly tired afterwards but it should pass shortly and I imagine it will not be significant.”

Lane looked at Bryan, who smiled confidently and said, “Let’s do this Lane.  Let’s heal our friend.”

The doctor looked at Loy and said, “Loy I want you to be in the link on this so you can see the healing process and how it works.  Everyone needs to learn this but for this time I want to keep it limited to those of us in the room.”

Lane looked back and Bryan and said, “Are you ready Bry?”

Bryan nodded.

Lane looked over and Rick and Loy and said, “Guys?”

Rick smiled and said, “I’m just going to sit back and enjoy.  If this was more private I’d ask for a happy ending.”

Lane laughed and said, “You wish buddy!”

Lane leaned back against Bryan, who wrapped his big arms around Lane again to steady and support him.   Bryan’s handsome face had an almost serene look.  Lane pressed play and the song started again.

A few seconds into the song their eyes turned white again.

Loy murmured a “Holy shit, guys!” Now that he was merged with them he could sense the power that Lane and Bryan were dealing with.

Lane lifted his arms and had his hands outstretched towards Rick.  Rick’s entire body relaxed and his eyes closed.  He was still conscious but Lane caused his body to relax so completely he could barely move.   One by one, Rick’s energy centers activated.  Everyone who was linked could see the brilliant colors emitting from each center, and their energies flowing over and through Rick’s body. 

As Lane looked at Rick’s energy flows, the damage to his body became more apparent.  It was almost like reading a map, and he could see the damage in the flows, and knew what he needed to do to correct them and heal the damage.  Bryan was there with him the entire time, adding his own perspective and understanding.  He had a strong natural instinct for how Rick’s body should be when it is whole and healthy.

Once he saw what needed to be done Lane tapped into the energy through Bryan, and a brilliant white arc of power shot out of his hands covering Rick’s body.

For anyone not in the link, Lane, Bryan, and Rick all had a slight glow about them.  Their tattoos were glowing brightly and sending off little flares of color.  Warm air was swirling around Lane and Bryan blowing their hair.  Ricks wounds were visibly disappearing; the welts and bruising vanishing.   By the end of the song, Rick was completely healed.  Lane had a huge grin on his face, as did Bryan and Loy and Rick. 

Rick felt the energies coming from Lane as he directed them throughout his body.  It felt warm and comfortable.  He also felt Bryan’s solid strength and marveled at his friend’s new ability.

When the process was over he felt like Loy had just spent hours giving him a deep tissue massage and a happy ending.  His body felt warm and he was sweating slightly.

Lane opened his eyes and he looked down at Rick’s magnificent body lying on the bed, now completely healed and looking in perfect health. 

Bryan sent a thought only to Lane through their link – Look what we did little buddy.  You’re so amazing!  I can’t wait to get you home alone!

Lane could feel Bryan’s erection pressing against his backside as he was leaning back against his lover.  Bryan felt Lane start to slump and he quickly wrapped his arms around him to hold him up.

Bryan said “Doc!” as he picked up Lane in his arms like a child.

“Do not be alarmed.  It is a momentary aftereffect as his body adjusts back to a normal energy level.  The amount of energy that passed between the two of you was phenomenal.   Your physiology keeps you from feeling the effects as intensely as Lane.  I suspect the more he does this the less it will happen.”

Lane looked sheepish and said, “It’s ok Bry you can put me down big guy.”  Bryan reluctantly set him down but kept an arm around him, holding Lane protectively against his side anyways.  Lane took advantage and kept his arm around Bryan as well.

Loy was smiling down at Rick, “Damn bro you look as good as new!”

Rick was still so relaxed he almost slurred his words, “Man I feel incredible.  I don’t want to move yet.”  Loy leaned down and kissed Rick on the forehead, “It’s good to have you back to normal.”

The doctor said, “Well I think this has been a productive morning!  We have all learned a great deal and taken another step in the right direction.”  The doctor patted Rick’s leg as he moved to open the door and head back to his office. “It is good to see you fully recovered my boy.”

“Thanks doc.”

 

As soon as the doctor opened the door the guys started rushing in to see what happened.  The room wasn’t large and soon it was packed shoulder to shoulder.  Everyone was amazed as soon as they saw Rick’s mostly naked body healed of all the welts and bruises.

Ken looked over at Bryan and Lane and said, “Good job guys!  We’re all proud of you!”  He gave them a fist bump and everyone else followed suit.  Everybody reached out to pat Rick on the shoulder, arm, or leg, whatever part of his body they could reach, and give him a brotherly squeeze or pat of comfort and support. 

Rick tried to sit up and said, “Well I guess I need to get some clothes on.”

Almost as one everyone else said, “No you don’t!” or “No way man.”

Everybody, including Rick, busted out laughing.

 

 

          Everybody had just cleared out of the room and Rick was getting dressed when Loy’s phone rang.  He didn’t recognize the number, and normally wouldn’t answer, but he felt a tingling in his gut.

          He accepted the call and said, “Hello?”

“Hello?  Is this Mr. Barton?”  It was a woman’s voice and she sounded upset.

          “Speaking, ma’am.  What can I do for you?”

          “I’m so sorry to bother you, Mr. Barton but I didn’t know who else to call."  Her sniffles broke out into full fledge tears.

          "Ma'am what's wrong?"

          "It's Tag.  He talked about you and your friend, and how nice you were to him.  I found your number on our dresser."

          "Are you Tag's wife?"

          "Yes, I'm Olive.  Olive Keenan."

          “Olive, where is Tag?”

He's in the hospital, and he's in a bad way.  I don't know what could have happened.  He was doing so good."  Her voice cracked as she started crying again, unable to help herself.

          What hospital are you at?

          Grady.  He's in room 584.

          Olive, you just hang tight.  I'll be down there as soon as I can.  I should be there within the hour.

          Thank you Mr. Barton.

          Call me Loy, Olive.  And don't you worry, we'll figure out what's up when I get down there.

               

          Rick was listening to all this with a look of concern on his face. 

          That was Tag's wife, Olive.  He's in the hospital and it sounds like he's in bad shape.

          “Fuck!  Those bastards.  We need to get down there.  Doc!  Ken!  Conference room please!  Pronto!”

 

 

          Everyone quickly gathered back into the conference room.  Ken asked, “What’s up Rick?”

          “Loy just got a phone call from Tag’s wife; he’s down at Grady and not in good shape.  I don’t know any details yet but we need to get down there fast.”

          Ken said, “Ok but we’re all going this time.  It’s partly my fault they went after him and I feel somewhat responsible.  Besides I want to keep everyone together on this – if any more of those goons show up I want us to be prepared and I don’t want any innocent people at the hospital hurt.”

 

 

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Ok that’s it for Chapter 9… I hope you enjoyed it! 

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