This story contains graphic descriptions of activity of a sexual nature involving a man and a minor boy. The story is not true; the sexual acts described herein derive solely from imagination. It is not intended to promote illegal acts with/to/by minors, nor does it condone child abuse of any sort. If you object to the subject matter, stop reading. If your reading of this material violates laws in your place of residence or where you are currently located, stop reading. Thank you.

This story is protected by the copyright conventions of the United States.

For the most part I see my stories as fantasy, though especially with this story, I hope there are elements that ring true. For those of you expecting extended scenes of torrid sex, you may be disappointed, though you will find—I hope—sensuality and eroticism. This perhaps reflects my own journey and what I feel is important about this story. (And for those of you who do want more graphic encounters, you might visit some of my earlier tales.)



Coming to Terms

Will S

Chapter 7

We were heading further up stream to survey the second of three mountains. I had decided to head for the farthest point today. Then tomorrow would be a little easier, though perhaps longer. As we paddled along against the current, I thought about the last couple of days. The boy I had met just a few days ago was gone; a different boy, sweet and confident had taken his place. That other boy didn't smile much. This boy wore a smile most of the time, it seemed. I wondered if he was as aware of the change as I was...if he'd thought about his sexuality. Sex can be an overpowering force in a young boy, and I wondered if he'd given in to those forces...if he had had any "experiences" with anyone - either one of his friends, or even someone else. I thought about his outburst when I brought up his father. He wouldn't be the first gay to try to cover up his own orientation by attacking another. That brought me right back to the basic question: Was he gay, and did he know it?

Slowly I came to realize I had a dilemma. He was obviously comfortable with me, and growing more comfortable by the day. So, if he thought he had to put down gays the way he apparently did, how would he react when I told him I was gay. And if I didn't tell him soon, would he feel betrayed when I did tell him. Hell, I thought, he might feel that way anyway.

Trying to puzzle all this out was harder than paddling upstream. I decided if I was going to talk to him about all this, it was going to be today.

By noon, we'd gone as far as we could in the canoe. My plan was to head up to the mountain, take the measurements, and get back down before nightfall. I wasn't at my best, during our hike. There was too much rattling around in my head. I wanted to approach the discussion with Eric in a way that would open up possibilities, not shut them down. I decided - finally - to talk to him after we'd finished our work on the top.

By 4:00, we'd taken the measurements and packed up the gear.

"We've got some time, yet," I said. "Let's just take in the view for a minute."

Eric was more than willing. I pulled out a couple of cream sodas from the mini-cooler and offered him one.

"Eric, I'm curious about something."


"Well, you don't talk much about your friends."

His smile faded. "I don't really have friends."

"Really? None! A neat kid like you! I'd think you'd have lots of friends."

He darkened. "Not at my school."

"How come?"

He shrugged. Clearly he wasn't anxious to talk about this. "They're..." He looked off across the valley. "They call me names," he said reluctantly.

"Oh...right...you said that the other day when you brought over the pie." I smiled at him. "'wimp,' you said...but I had the feeling you were going to say something else."

Now he struggled. "I don't want to talk about it, okay?"

"Eric, I count you as a friend, now. It's been great these past couple of days getting to know you. But I get the feeling there's something hidden about you. Something you don't want to share, and I guess I don't understand that."

"It's...it's..." He sighed. "Just forget it. Please."

"Well, what I'm going to say probably tells you more about me, than you, but I start thinking at times like this that I'm doing something wrong. I want you to know you can trust me. Period. I'll never betray you. Whatever it is."

"It's nuthin', okay!" He was getting a little frustrated, and it showed itself as a flash anger toward me. But he seemed to regret that immediately. "It's...it's just a lot of weird shit...is all."

"Just help me to understand. Why can't you tell me?"

He stood up abruptly. He was silhouetted in the bright sun. "Just drop it!" he pleaded. The anger had returned, and I could tell he was about ready to burst into tears. He turned and stormed off toward the gear, and as he went, he muttered, "You won't want to be my friend, if I did." He stomped to the gear and grabbed a backpack.

"Eric," I said, grabbing him by the arm. I held tight, and he knew I wouldn't let go. "This is important. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have tears rolling down your cheeks." He frowned even more. What I said had hurt him, but he needed to know I wasn't going to give up.

"Why," he mumbled between sobs. "Why can't you just drop it?" He twisted away, so he wouldn't have to face me. I took the backpack from him, and turned him with both hands, so he had to face me. I wanted him to see the tears rolling down my cheeks as well.

"Eric," I said and pulled him to me. I hugged him tightly. "Why?" I repeated the question he just asked. "Because I can help you."

"Yeah, right."

"They call you names, you said."

"Yes," he snapped.



"But they don't stop there, do they?"

He shook his head.

"They call you other names."


"I know what that's like," I said softly.

Now he shot another look at me, and this time the anger had surged back across his face. He wiped his arm across his nose. "You know...if only...You don't have a clue." The bitter words were like acid in his throat.

"Eric," I breathed. "I think I do...faggot...queer...homo..."

He nodded and collapsed in wracking sobs.

"And it really...really...hurts."

"Yeah..." He barely breathed the word.

"'Cuz you're all alone."


"'Cuz they say you're gay. But it's really how they say it, that really hurts, isn't it? That and the looks, the whispers, the way they avoid you...it all hurts."

He nodded, and I reached up and wiped away his tears, then pulled him to me again, and held him. This time, I felt his arms wrap around my back.

"Eric," I said after a long time had passed. He lifted away from me and looked at me. "Have I changed? Am I treating you any differently? Am I going to forget about you because of what some assholes at school called you?"


"No. And I won't. Because I am your friend. You know that, don't you?"


"Nothing. Nothing you could say to me could change that. Okay?"

"But, you don't understand."

"Then help me...help me understand."

He actually shook; great shivers wracked his body as if something were trying to escape, but he was fighting it with all his strength, battling to keep it inside, so he could be safe. "I can't..." he mumbled.

"I'm sorry I got you so upset. But if you can't talk about this stuff with somebody, then it eats your insides all to bits. You get down on yourself, and you get to thinking you're no good. But, you, Eric McDaniels, are one incredible human being. You've got more talent in your little finger than any one of those fucking assholes who call you names. With a capital 'F' and a capital 'A'."

He cracked just a hint of a smile at that, and I hoped that meant the first part of this trauma was behind us. When part two would come, was up to Eric.

I shrugged, and picked up the backpack, and helped him strap it on. In two minutes, we were headed back down to the canoe. And I waited for the other shoe to drop.

It began when we were setting up the tent. I could tell Eric had something on his mind, but I wanted him to initiate the conversation. I was done with prodding, for the moment, anyway.

"How did you know?" he asked as we stretched out the tent.

"About the names?"

He nodded. "Yeah."

"Eric, name-calling is an ugly thing. And I want to be really, really clear. It's not about whether a person is gay or isn't gay, it's just that name-calling is meant to be hurtful; it's meant to assert power over another; it's meant to weaken the person on the receiving end." When I said it wasn't about being gay or straight, I could see he was about to protest - to say, I'm not gay, but I pressed on with my point, not letting him deny it.

"So it's not about who someone is," I summed up. "It's like racism, or sexism, or whatever. According to our laws, it borders on a very serious legal issue - denying someone their civil rights."

"Yeah, right," he muttered, "try telling that to them - the assholes."

"If I told 'em anything, it'd be a little more in their face, than that." I had become more intense as I talked, and Eric could easily see that. He frowned and kind of shook his head. "Boy," he said, "somebody punched your button."

I grinned. "You asked how I knew." He nodded. "You remind me a lot of when I was your age. I told you the other day that I'd been called names in school."

"Yeah, but not THOSE names."

"What makes you think so?"

"I mean, like, look at you. 'Cuz...I'm..." A wave of fear and uncertainty flashed across his face, and he pulled back from where he was heading. "I'm quiet and...don't..." He shifted uneasily. "...talk about girls...an' stuff. I've never been on a date..." He stopped and waited. I knew he knew exactly what he was doing. Like Hansel and Gretel dropping bread crumbs...he'd dropped the clues...for anyone bold enough to pick them up and say what he was afraid to say himself. I remembered doing the same thing...waiting for someone to say, "oh, so you are a fag, and then I could deny it. It was so much easier if the accusation came from the outside...that way I could keep my secret buried deep inside - hidden from everyone, including myself.

He waited, perhaps for me to give voice to the obvious, or perhaps he wanted me to say, "Well, maybe you're a late bloomer...you've got plenty of time." That was what my aunts tried out on me a few times. Instead, I put the focus back on him: "And you're thinking you may never go on a date with a girl."

He dropped his head at that shameful truth and nodded.

"You like art instead of sports."

He nodded again.

"And you hate gym, because...well...it's awkward for you."

He nodded, and a frown pulled down at the corners of his mouth. I knew why it was awkward, and so did he. Around all those studs, your hormones raging, wanting to sneak a peek. All guys, gay or straight, check each other out in a locker room, but unless they've had a lot of practice, and have a lot of will power, a young gay guy is in danger of being caught looking with just a little too much intensity. Eric wasn't about to say that, not yet, anyway, but I hoped he might be thinking about it.

"What I'm trying to say," Eric resumed, "is that you're a real guy. I know you don't like the word, but you're macho. You are. You'd fit right in with those guys at school." Suddenly Eric realized what he had said, and a flash of horror spread across his face. "I mean, in the way you look...the stuff you do. You're strong and rugged. A real...man." I smiled at his description, and now his voice became softer: "But not the other stuff...not the way they act...not mean. You're not like them."

"It's okay, Eric, I know exactly what you're saying, but, remember I told you I didn't always look like this." I locked him into my gaze. "When I was your age, they did call me exactly those names: faggot...queer. 'They' shouldn't let gay-boys in the locker room," they'd tell me." I shook my head. "And that's where it all started - in the locker room."

"I can't believe..." He was frozen with uncertainty. His face drained of color. "No-o-o..." he breathed. He looked around as if he didn't know where to focus his eyes.

"Eric. I remember feeling so, so bad. Horrible. Like I was all alone in the world. Like no one could possibly understand. I..." Suddenly a wave of memory flooded over me. It took me by surprise, and I wasn't prepared for it, and my eyes filled up, but I needed him to understand - needed him to know I understood. I felt his soft hand on my shoulder. I turned to face him head-on. As if choreographed, we reached out for each other. He pressed his head against my chest. I took a breath and continued. "...I got so I hated myself. When I was 17, I didn't think I could take it anymore. I even tried to commit suicide."

I looked over at Eric and he stared at me and shook with fear and sorrow. "Not you..." he whispered, and tears welled up in his eyes. What a sight we must have made: two guys in breech-clouts, huddled over a flattened tent, weeping like a couple of babies. There was a look of resignation in his eyes, defeat in his stance; it was as if he was saying if I had struggled in that way, what chance did he have?

"So what did you do?" There was a desperate tone to these words.

"You mean how did I try to do it?"

"No...about afterward."

"A counselor at school finally got me some help - someone I could talk to, and even though there were some tough times, my mom and dad never stopped loving me. It took a long time, but I finally came to terms with who I was, and eventually, I began to like myself again."

He nodded, trying to understand, at least some of what I was saying. But I could see he still hadn't quite connected all the dots.

"Well," I said when the silence was growing too heavy, "think we ought to finish this job?" We stepped apart, and I gestured to the tent. Wiping away my tears, I flashed one of those silly, shit-eating grins.

"I guess." He seemed relieved and ready for a change, but I knew we weren't done yet.

The sun was setting and the dishes had been washed and packed away. We were both gazing at the campfire, listening to it crackle, watching the embers glow red and shoot into the air, and die.

"It must have been really hard for you..." he began.

"The name-calling an' everything?"

He nodded. "I mean, you know...since you weren't gay. You know...it was so unfair..."

Here it comes, I thought. Now this is where the rubber hits the road, or maybe where the shit hits the fan. I hoped not, but if he felt betrayed when I told him, I'd understand his anger.

"You got that right, Eric...At least part of it..." I looked at him for a long time. "It was hard." I waited, and in the dim light, watched the wheels turning. "You don't seem to like gay people very much yourself."

"What do you mean?" I heard a little defensiveness in his tone.

"Well, you don't have a lot of good things to say about your father."

"He really screwed up. He's never done anything for me or my mom. Never!"

"Well, he did one thing."

"Yeah, what?"

"He made love to your mother, and the result was you," I said softly. "I think that's pretty incredible."

His cheeks reddened some, and after the initial flush of thinking of his parents having sex, he focused again on his pain. "I wish he never bothered. It's just screwed up everybody's life."

"Eric, I know for a fact, that your mom loves you very, very much. Do you know how proud she is of you? Can you imagine how she'd feel if you suddenly weren't here?" I shook my head in sorrow, feeling a pain I thought I'd buried long ago. "So...you feel like your life is way fucked up," I sighed and shifted my gaze to the fire. "O-o-h-h, Eric...maybe you feel that way now, but I hope soon, things can be better for you. There are lots of people who'd love to be your friend...someone who just maybe wants to be with you in some kind of special way." He chewed on that for a while; his brain was going a mile a minute. I could see him trying to figure out exactly what I was meaning.

"No...girl would want me." One more bread-crumb he'd tossed out there - bait to see if I'd pick it up. He blushed, as if he'd been caught in a lie.

"Maybe so. You've said that before, so maybe that feels like some sort of major roadblock that's going to stop your life. But, trust me, Eric, you'll get around that. I know I sound like some old' fart, but you're only thirteen. It may not feel like it, but you've got lots of time yet. Part of growing up - changing like you are - is discovering who you are. Nobody wakes up one morning, looks in the mirror, and says, 'Oh, right, now I know who I am.' It's sort of like a jig saw puzzle. You fit a piece in here or maybe there, or maybe put it aside for a while 'cuz nuthin' seems to fit. But then...a little at a time, it all sort of comes together. For me, it didn't really happen until I was in college."

He seemed to consider that. What a great kid he was. Most kids would have said that's just a bunch of bullshit, but he was willing to think about things.

"Eric, I have no idea about your father, but could it be he got the same treatment from people that I got - that you're getting? Maybe he was able to handle it better, or maybe he tried to repress what he was feeling inside. You know what that means?"

"Cover it up."

"Exactly. Maybe he buried who he was so much that he actually thought he was something he wasn't. I suspect he really did love your mother in one way..."

Eric snorted. "It's just that he loved...men...more."

"Eric." He looked up at me. "We can't help who we are. Not your father, not me, not you. No matter how hard we try to hide it, or change it, or deny it, we are who we are. I am who I am - I am what I am. That's what talking to someone helped me understand. It's kind'a like your wet dream. You couldn't do anything about that; you can't do anything about who you are. Maybe your dad thought he could...but he couldn't - not in the end. Yeah, he loved other guys. But he couldn't help it." I glanced over at him, and added softly, "I think you understand that."

Now tears welled up in his eyes. He pulled his legs up to his chest, wrapped his arms around his knees, and buried his head.

I sat unmoving for a moment, thinking about what would happen now. The next few minutes would be crucial. I didn't want to blow it, and it'd be so easy to fuck up.

When some time had passed I moved over to him and crouched down. I put my arm around his shoulder and held him.

"I don't want to be like him." He choked out the words.

"What do>

"I just want to be normal."

"You want to be like the other kids."

He nodded.

"But you're not..." I could feel him shudder under my grasp. "...and that feels so bad...so twisted..."

"Why," he wept.

"I don't know, Eric. I used to ask that myself, but there's no answer. It's just the way we are."

"Yeah, that's easy for you to say. If I could only be like you."

I released him from my grasp and came around in front of him, and lifted his head.

"Eric," I began, "I'm going to tell you something that usually I think is no one's business."

He looked up - curious, wondering.

"You said it must have been hard for me because I wasn't gay."

In the dim glow of the campfire, his uncertainty seemed to grow.

"And like I said, it was hard..." The dying embers of the fire cracked and sprayed tiny red-hot flares showering over the darkness before us. "But..." I continued, "...not because I wasn't gay."

The words hung in the chill air. As they sunk in, a look of fear spread across his face. "Wh...what?" he breathed. I could feel all the emotion suddenly cresting like a wave.

"I am gay, Eric."

"N...n...o...o...o. No...no...no!" He sprang up and took off down to the water. In the dim moonlight, I could see him silhouetted there, heaving like he'd just run the marathon.

I moved down to him. As a test, I put my hand on his shoulder. He pulled away. "Get away from me!" he growled, tears streaming down his face.

It hurt, but I understood. "I didn't say you were..." I paused, then added gently, "I said I was." If I thought the irony might bring a hint of a smile, I was wrong.

"I want to go home," he snuffed.

"Eric," I said a gently as I could, "I think you know we can't do that tonight. But we will in the morning if that's what you want. I feel like I've betrayed you. I didn't mean to, but somehow I'm not who you thought I was. I guess I should have told you, right up front. I didn't, and I'm sorry. Not because I'm gay. I like being who I am...but because I hurt you, and that's the last thing in the world I wanted to do. I'm not sure exactly what's going on with you, but I am sorry, Eric."

"Why? 'Cuz you want to fuck me?" he snapped.

"Eric." I wasn't prepared for that venom, but I suppose I should have known. He'd been denying who he was all his life, and he wasn't about to stop now, and the best defense, they say, is a strong offense. I felt beaten as if a surging wave of pain had just crashed down over us, burying us under tons of unbearable fear and hate. Spent, I felt as if I no longer had control over my body, and I collapsed onto the sand. The noise of the stream was soft, and in any other circumstance would have been soothing. The insects sang, oblivious to our mutual pain.

I spoke without looking at him. "You make how we - how I am - sound dirty and wicked. I'd never do that, Eric. Never."

"You're gay..."

He spat out the words, and they burned with hurt and loathing.

"Yes, Eric, I am. But that doesn't mean I go around raping every guy I come in contact with." I sighed a long painful sigh as if I could purge myself of the hurt that filled the air. "Eric, there's so much I want to say...to try to make you understand."

"I don't want to understand, I just want to live like everyone else. I want to be normal."

"Eric, you're answering a question I'm not asking. As far as I'm concerned, you are normal. Whatever that means. Straight or gay...That's none of my business, but when I see an awesome human being who's hurting so bad...well...that I am going to make my business. Eric, I don't care about the other stuff. All I want is for you to be okay - with whoever you are. When I looked up the other day and saw you standing there, I saw a boy who didn't look all that happy. I want for you, what I want for myself - for anyone I care about. Whoever you are, I want you to be happy."

Silent sobs wracked his body. I wanted so bad to reach out and pull him to me, but I knew I couldn't.

"You want to be normal," I continued. "I know that. I understand that. I feel that. That's what I wanted more than anything when I was thirteen. Even as a little kid, that's all I ever wanted." I picked up a stone and threw it far out into the water and waited for the splash. It seemed to take forever. "But I knew I was different. I wasn't interested in girls - not, you know, in that way. But if some hot looking' guy came along, my cock would snap to attention. I couldn't help it; I'd get all tingly, an' nervous, and worry about what to say, how to act. Most of all I worried someone might notice...and then someone did. And then the name calling started. And in my case, I knew they were right. Name calling isn't just making some kind of observation, like 'Oh, you're gay, aren't you? That's cool.' No, it isn't, but I think you already know that. It's like a red-hot branding iron marking you for life. It's an accusation. It's like you're on trial for your life...and they're the judge and jury."

"Yeah," Eric mumbled bitterly, "...and the sentence is death."

"Yeah...it is...that's what it felt like...I thought I was going to die. And then I was hoping I would die." I listened to the currents trickle over the rocks. "It took me a while, Eric, but eventually I understood that I am normal. For me, being gay is normal. I could have tried to be something else, the way your father did, trying to be straight, but for me, it could never be normal."

"You knew when you were thirteen?"

I nodded. "People know when they know. It's different for everyone, I guess. For me? I guess I really knew it before that...except I really didn't know what 'it' was. Ten-year-olds can't always sort all that stuff out. And why should they have to?" I stood up now, and he turned to me. "Sometimes Indians don't talk about being a member of this tribe or that tribe; instead they just say, 'I'm a human being.' They're saying that that's the really important thing. 'I am a human being.' And here's what I want to say to you: Straight...gay... whatever, Eric McDaniels is a human being - one awesome human being. You deserve to be happy. No one has the right to take that away from you." I turned back to watch the stream reflecting the few last dim embers of the fire. I could tell Eric was thinking. After a moment, I turned and headed for the tent. "I'm sorry; I betrayed our friendship, Eric...so sorry." Tears flooded down my eyes. I snuffed once. "I'll get my sleeping bag, and sleep out here. You can have the tent." I walked off.