By Pink Panther

All the usual disclaimers apply.

We have reached one of the darkest and most important chapters of the entire story. It’s important in the sense that it marks ‘the beginning of the end’, the point at which the story begins to move towards a conclusion. Feedback on this chapter would be especially welcome. Please send your comments to and I’ll reply as soon as I can.


After the excitement surrounding Christmas and New Year, things had returned to normal. January passed with its usual mix of cold, dry days interspersed with wet, windy ones, soon giving way to February, the days becoming noticeably longer. The half-term break came and went, and almost before they knew it, the boys were back at school. As March began, the first signs appeared that spring was not far away.

It was a little after six in the morning when Tommy felt Frank’s big hand shaking him awake. He opened his eyes, blinking in the harsh light of the bedroom.

That’s better, Tommy boy!” Frank growled. “Time to give daddy what he needs!”

Tommy grabbed the pillow, about to move it to the middle of the bed.

Nah, get up!” Frank ordered.

Tommy complied with an air of resignation, bending over the chest of drawers to await the inevitable. Frank only had him like this on special occasions, he reflected, so what was special about today? Moments later, his boxer shorts were round his ankles, Frank’s big cock buried deep in his rectum, fucking him remorselessly. For all that he tried to fight it, Tommy’s penis became impossibly hard, throbbing with his heartbeat. Frank’s fingers closed around it, masturbating him with a milking action. The boy’s orgasm followed within seconds, his teen spunk spurting into Frank’s hand.

You love having daddy’s cock up your bum!” Frank snarled. “I don’t know why you keep pretending you don’t!”

He increased his thrusting, slamming into Tommy’s anus as hard as he could.

Now take what I’ve got for you!” he barked, his semen flooding into Tommy’s rectum. He paused for several seconds. “Well, you won’t have to pretend for much longer,” he went on in a low growl, his cock still buried in Tommy’s bum. “You’re getting too old for me. I’m goin’ to have to start thinkin’ about Daniel. He’s ten now, same age as you were when we first came here, remember? It’s about time he had daddy’s big cock up his bum!”

You leave him alone!” Tommy snapped.

Who d’you think you’re talkin’ to?” Frank sneered. “You gonna stop us, are yer?”

He pulled out sharply, making Tommy wince.

You can do what you like to me,” Tommy responded defiantly. “Just leave Daniel alone, yeah?”

Of course, you could always break him in for us,” Frank countered, “if you don’t want us doin’ it. Ain’t that right, Kev? You think about it. Just don’t take too long.”

He left the room. Kevin was lying on his bed, smirking. Tommy glared at him and headed for the bathroom. He sat on the toilet, letting Frank’s spunk run into the bowl. What was he going to do? He’d promised to tell Josh if anything like this happened, but what good would that do? If Josh raised the alarm, all hell would break loose and he’d get the blame for it.

He could try to warn Daniel, but he was sure the boy wouldn’t understand. And if Daniel told their mum what he’d said, he’d be in even worse trouble. And there was no way he could take up Frank’s suggestion. Daniel was his kid brother; he looked out for him, he always had. The idea of ‘breaking him in’ made his flesh creep. For the moment, all he could do was play for time.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Monday morning. A little over a week had passed. Nothing had happened, but the tension was building; Tommy could feel it.

So are you gonna sort out Daniel for us or not?” Frank demanded.

I’m workin’ on it,” Tommy lied.

Yeah?” Frank questioned. “Well you’d better get on with it cause I’m runnin’ out of patience!”

He stomped out of the boys’ bedroom.

Fuckin’ liar!” Kevin sneered. “You ain’t done nothin’!”

You’ll see,” Tommy bluffed.

He was at his wits’ end. He knew the score; he’d got a few more days at most. He still had no idea what he was going to do and he was running out of time.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Thursday evening, a little after seven. Tommy was due to meet Martin at eight, which meant that he’d be home by ten. Frank and Karen had gone to the pub; they never came back till after eleven. Unusually, Kevin was still at home, just dossing about. That was a worry; Daniel was at gym club but would be back in around half an hour, so Kevin and Daniel would be alone in the house for at least two hours. He strode into his and Kevin’s bedroom to collect his jacket. Kevin was lying on his bed.

You touch Daniel while I’m out,” Tommy snarled, jabbing his finger towards Kevin’s face, “and I’ll put you in fuckin’ hospital! I don’t give a shit what Frank does to me afterwards; I’ll beat you up so bad he won’t fuckin’ recognise yer!”

Kevin didn’t reply, his face completely expressionless. Tommy stormed out of the room, just hoping his threat would have the desired effect. He left the house, striding purposefully toward Newton Oaks village. At seven twenty five, he boarded the bus going the city. They had only travelled a short distance, when his mobile phone bleeped. He took it out. There was a text waiting for him. He called it up.

Hi Tommy! Sorry, there’s been a big accident on the M-way. I’m stuck in traffic, won’t be able to make it tonight. See you next week! M.”

Tommy shoved the phone back into his pocket. Occasions like this were the reason he had it; Steve and Martin were the only two numbers he had stored, but if Martin had texted him earlier, it would have saved him the bus fare, not to mention the time. He got off at the next stop and headed for home.

It was ten to eight when he got back to the house. The light was on in his bedroom, the rest of the place seemingly in darkness. He immediately got a bad feeling. Something was wrong; he just knew it. Very quietly, he let himself in. He could hear muffled sounds coming from the floor above. He crept up the stairs, making as little noise as possible. The sounds emanating from his bedroom became louder, Daniel’s voice quite unmistakeable. He flung open the door. Daniel was lying face down on Kevin’s bed, naked from the waist down, his tee-shirt pushed up around his chest. Kevin, stark naked, was on top of him, trying to force his cock into Daniel’s anus.

I fuckin’ warned you!” Tommy snarled, grabbing Kevin’s hair and pulling him away.

Kevin twisted and lashed out, but he was too slow and hopelessly off-balance. Tommy’s fist hit him flush on the nose. There was a sickening crunch. Kevin screamed. There was blood everywhere. Suddenly, a large figure loomed up from behind Tommy’s bed, Frank, dressed only in boxer shorts, holding something. It took a moment for Tommy to realise it was a camcorder. For a second, he was completely transfixed, a rabbit caught in the headlights.

I’ll fuckin’ kill yer, you little shit!” Frank shouted, dropping the camcorder on the bed.

It broke the spell. Tommy bolted from the room, slamming the door behind him. He bounded down the stairs, Frank hot on his heels. He’d have run out of the front door, but it was too far; Frank would have caught him before he made it. He ducked into the lounge room, managing to slam the door before Frank could follow him. He dodged behind the furniture as Frank burst in, cursing and swearing.

For several seconds, Tommy twisted this way and that to keep out of the man’s reach. Then he slipped. Before he could recover, Frank hit him in the face, just below his right eye. Tommy kicked out, catching Frank across the shins, the man roaring like a wounded elephant. Once more, Tommy dodged out of the way, holding the man at bay for a little longer. Finally, Frank had him cornered, the man’s fist slamming into his ribs.

Suddenly there was an almighty crash from the front door, accompanied by a shout of “Police!” Two officers stormed into the lounge room, grabbing the cursing Frank and pinning him face down on the floor. Moments later the house was full of police, so many that Tommy couldn’t count them all. Though handcuffed, Frank was still kicking off, requiring four officers to keep him under control. They were not gentle. At last he began to calm down.

Now listen to me!” one police officer barked. “I’m arresting you for assault. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence. Do you understand?!”

Frank didn’t answer.

Right!” the police office continued. “We’re taking you upstairs so you can get some clothes on! You kick off again and we’ll spray you. Am I making myself clear?”

Frank was led out of the room and up the stairs, leaving Tommy and one policeman in the lounge room. A policewoman appeared.

There are two boys upstairs,” she announced. “One’s in the bathroom stark naked and appears to have a broken nose, and there’s a little one in the front bedroom wearing only a tee-shirt. He’s lying on the bed crying his eyes out. Judy’s with him trying to calm him down. God alone knows what’s been going on!”

She bustled out again. Tommy sat on the sofa, fighting back the tears.

How did you know?” Tommy asked.

Got a call,” the policeman said. “Caller said it sounded like a fight between the step-dad and one of the boys. We weren’t far away so we came straight here.” He paused for a moment. “You’re gonna have a right shiner there,” he added, looking at Tommy’s eye.

Tommy winced, holding his side.

Did he it you there as well?” the man asked. “So what was it all about?”

Tommy didn’t answer. Another policeman appeared.

We’ve found a camcorder in the bedroom where the little kid was,” he said quietly. “It was switched on, so I’m guessing that must have something to do with it. Haven’t touched it, of course; we’ll have to wait for the SOCO boys to get here.”

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” the first policeman asked.

Probably,” the second one said. “It certainly looks like it could be.”

The policewoman returned.

We’ve got one ambulance here,” she said, “the second one’s on its way.”

Okay young man!” the first policeman said. “Up you get! We’re taking you down the hospital, get you checked out.”

The policewoman led the way, Tommy following behind, the policeman bringing up the rear. Outside, there were police cars all over the place. Most of the neighbours were standing around, watching from a distance. The policewoman helped Tommy into the ambulance, got in with him and closed the door. The ambulance moved away. Tommy’s whole world had fallen apart.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was nearly ten o’clock before Tommy was fully checked out. He’d got a black eye and badly bruised ribs, two of them possibly cracked; the X-ray was inconclusive. They gave him some strong painkillers and pronounced him fit to leave.

Can we go home now?” he asked. “I want to see Daniel.”

We’ve got something to do first,” the policewoman said guardedly.

She led him into a small room. Two men were sitting at a table. They were accompanied by a stone-faced woman with very short hair. She was wearing jeans, boots and a leather jacket.

Sit down, please,” one of the men said, indicating the chair facing them.

I’m Detective Sergeant Shapter,” he said quietly. “This is my colleague Detective Constable Edkins and this is Ms. Robertson from Children’s Services. We’d like you to tell us what happened this evening.”

Tommy didn’t answer; he was too confused, too embarrassed. In any case, talking to ‘them’ was something kids like him didn’t do.

Tommy, you’re not in trouble here,” DS Shapter continued. “Daniel’s already told us what happened, and we’ve found a camcorder which confirms his story. We’d just like to hear it from your point of view.”

I went out to meet one of my mates,” Tommy muttered, “but he never showed up so I went home again,”

Carry on,” DS Shapter urged.

I knew as soon as I got there somethin’ was goin’ off,” Tommy continued. “I could hear noises comin’ from uptairs, so I went up as quiet as I could. When I got to my bedroom, Kevin was . . .”

Yes?” DS Shapter said. “Kevin was doing what?”

He was tryin’ to shove his dick up Daniel’s arse,” Tommy mumbled, looking down at his feet.

So what did you do?” DS Shapter asked.

I dragged him off,” Tommy said. “He tried to hit me, so I smacked him.”

Did a good job of it too,” DS Shapter commented. “You broke his nose. Don’t worry; you’re not in trouble, perfectly reasonable force in the circumstances. Looked like a perfect right hook from what we saw on the camcorder. Then what happened?”

That was when I saw Frank,” Tommy said. “He was by the window, on the far side of my bed. He’d got a camcorder. He said he was gonna kill me, so I ran downstairs. That’s where you found me.”

Yes, I see,” DS Shapter said slowly. “That all fits, but there’s one bit missing. Daniel said that when you pulled Kevin off, you shouted something like ‘I warned you’. Is that right?”

Yeah,” Tommy admitted.

Why?” the man continued. “Had you suspected that something like this was going to happen?”

Tommy remained silent.

Frank and Kevin have been doing this to you, haven’t they?” DS Shapter suggested.

Tommy felt himself turning bright red. They knew! They’d worked it out! And there was no point in denying it. They’d have him examined; the doctor would know he’d been fucked.

Yeah,” he said sadly.

So how long has that been going on?” DS Shapter asked, continuing his interrogation.

Pretty much since they moved in with us.”

So how long’s that?”

Nearly three years,”

So you’d have been how old?”


The same age as Daniel is now.”


Does your mum know what’s been going on?”


You’re sure about that?”


So you never said anything?”


Why not?”

She thinks the sun shines out of Frank’s arse. I didn’t think she’d believe me. And if I’d told someone else, she’d have blamed me for splitting her and Frank up.”

Sounds like you don’t get on too well with your mum,” the stone-faced woman interjected.

Mum’s alright,” Tommy said defensively. “She just didn’t know what Frank was like.”

What about the camcorder?” DS Shapter asked. “Is that Frank’s?”

Dunno,” Tommy said. “I don’t think so; I’ve never seen it before. Can I go home now?”

I’m sorry, Tommy,” DS Shapter said quietly. “You won’t be able to go home at the moment. Children’s Services have made an Emergency Care Order for both you and Daniel. Ms. Robertson will take you to a place of safety until we are satisfied that it’s safe for you to return home.”

Tommy was devastated; he’d never expected that. He followed the woman in a daze as she led the way to her car. He got in next to her and they were on their way. Ten minutes later they arrived at a large, impressive looking house.

I’ve got your clothes in the back,” the woman said brusquely, getting out of the car.

They collected several bags from the boot of the car and carried them inside. They were greeted by a man whom Tommy judged to be around forty.

Hello, Tommy,” he said brightly. “Welcome to Hayfield. I’m Graham, the deputy manager. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a pretty rough evening. We’ll try to make you as comfortable as we can while you’re with us.”

Is Daniel here?” Tommy asked.

Yes; he’s upstairs in his room,” Graham responded. “I’ll show you the way. He says he won’t go to sleep till he’s seen you.”

Tommy followed the man up the stairs and into a small bedroom. Daniel was lying on the bed, staring up at him. Tommy sat down next to him.

I thought they were going to kill me,” Daniel croaked. “You saved me.”

I should have stopped them before it ever got that far,” Tommy said quietly.

But you did stop them,” Daniel countered. “You must be really brave to take on Frank like that.”

I didn’t even know he was there,” Tommy admitted. “I thought he was down the pub with mum.”

He was,” Daniel said, “but then he came back on his own and he and Kev started . . . , you know, doin’ things.”

Yeah,” Tommy whispered. “But it’s over now, bruv. The coppers have got ’em locked up and they ain’t gonna be comin’ back.”

So why do we have to be here?” Daniel asked plaintively.

Dunno, bruv,” Tommy said sadly. “Coppers need to find out what was goin’ on and that. Don’t worry; we’ll be back home soon. So go to sleep now, yeah?”

Yeah,” Daniel agreed, managing a weak smile. “Thanks, Tommy; I’ll always remember what you did.”

Tommy followed Graham to a large room with four beds. Boys were already asleep in one of them.

You’ll be in here,” Graham whispered. “Try not to wake anyone now; we’ll introduce you in the morning. Okay, I’m going to leave you to it.”

Tommy began to undress. He was anything but happy. The events of the evening had been down to him. Daniel had almost been raped because he’d bottled out of telling anyone, and now they were both in a kids’ home. It was shit, the whole lot of it.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Tommy got out of bed, his ribs and face throbbing with pain. The boy in the next bed opened an eye.

Who are you?” he asked.

Tommy,” Tommy said.

I’m Jon, short for Jonathan,” the other boy said. “So what you doin’ here?”

Caught my step-brother tryin’ to fuck my kid brother’s arse,” Tommy said baldly, “so I broke the fucker’s nose.”

Is that how you got the black eye?” Jon asked.

Nah,” Tommy said. “His dad was there filmin’ it, the dirty bastard. He tried to beat me up. Where’s the bathroom? I’m bustin’ for a piss.”

Turn right out the door,” Jon instructed. “Down the far end, on the left.”

Tommy wandered along the corridor. After a much needed pee, he took two more painkillers and returned to his bedroom. By this time, all his room-mates were awake.

We’ve gotta get up,” Jon said. “Gotta go to school. You goin’ to school?”

Nah,” Tommy said. “Doctor said I’d have to stay off for a few days. Got hit down here as well,” he added, indicating his ribs. “It fuckin’ hurts, man!”

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Where’s Tommy? Josh asked, meeting Gary near the school gate.

I don’t think he’s comin’ today,” Gary said. “Last night about eight o’clock, it all kicked off down their street. There was cop cars and ambulances, sirens blarin’; it was bad, man! Anyway, when I got to his corner this morning he wasn’t there, so I went to the house. His mum came to the door and said he and Daniel have been put in a kids’ home; wouldn’t tell me what happened. She gave me the address though.”

That’s bad!” Josh whispered. “If he doesn’t show up, we’ll go round after school, yeah?”

I can’t, man” Gary complained. “The old lady’d kill me!”

Well give me the address,” Josh ordered. “I’ll go.”

He was seriously worried. It had to be something to do with Frank and Kevin, but what? If things had got that bad, why hadn’t Tommy said anything? Something must have happened out of the blue, he reasoned. He kept his thoughts to himself, concerned that Gary might start asking awkward questions. That was the last thing he needed.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

For the rest of the day, Josh struggled to concentrate. At lunchtime, he went to the library, printing out a map that showed the location of the children’s home. He’d have to take a bus, but it wasn’t far, situated between Newton Oaks and Marchdale. The afternoon dragged even worse than the morning; the end of school couldn’t come quickly enough. Finally he hurried out of the school gates and into the village.

After a short bus ride, he found himself walking along Cedars Road. He quickly located Hayfield, walking up the drive and ringing the bell. A young woman answered.

Hi,” Josh said confidently. “My name’s Josh Banham. I’m a friend of Tommy Shaw; we’re in class together at Newton Valley High School. I believe he’s staying here. Could I see him please?”

Come in,” the woman said, looking bored. “I’ll see if he’s around.”

She ushered Josh into the recreation room. Two boys of about twelve were playing pool, arguing and swearing at each other. Several more kids were watching ‘MI High’ on children’s television. They seemed pretty fractious too. After a couple of minutes Tommy appeared.

Good to see you, man!” he greeted, smiling warmly. “Come upstairs; it’s like a zoo in here!”

Josh followed Tommy upstairs to his bedroom, sitting next to him on his bed.

So what happened,” he asked quietly.

Over the next few minutes, Tommy recounted the events of the previous evening.

The thing is,” he added, “I knew it was comin’. Frank had told me I was getting’ too old and he was gonna move on to Daniel.”

Tommy!” Josh protested. “Why didn’t you tell me? You promised!”

I fuckin’ bottled it,” Tommy mumbled. “I thought it would make things worse. Well, it might have for me, but if I hadn’t come home early last night, Daniel would have got raped.”

They sat in silence for what seemed like ages.

Well it’s not all bad,” Josh said at last. “If you’d told me, I’d have told mum. It would have got Frank locked up, but you’d never have been able to prove he was going to do what he said. Now your mum knows what he’s really like.”

Yeah, I guess,” Tommy conceded. “I just wish Daniel hadn’t had to go through it all; he was scared shitless. And now we’re both stuck here. And the social worker we’ve got’s a right cow. She was round this mornin’; asked all sorts of stupid questions, like she was tryin’ to catch us out. I hate it, man!”

Well you hang in there,” Josh said firmly. “Frank and Kevin have gone; that’s the main thing. I know it’s hard, but we will get through this, you and me, yeah?”

Thanks Josh,” Tommy said, quietly. “You’re the best!”

They made their way downstairs and into the lounge area. Daniel was in the group watching television.

Daniel, this is Josh, a friend from school,” Tommy said. “He’s come to see we’re alright.”

Hi Josh!” Daniel said brightly, before turning back to the television.

Josh and Tommy wandered out into the hallway.

I’m a bit busy tomorrow,” Josh said, “but I’ll come round Sunday morning, about eleven o’clock if that’s alright.”

Course it’s alright,” Tommy said, squeezing Josh’s hand.

You and me, yeah?” Josh said, smiling up at him.

Yeah, you and me,” Tommy confirmed, smiling back.

Okay,” Josh said, smiling. “I’d better go.”

He strode back to the village and took the bus towards home. Something very important had just happened. He was Tommy’s and Tommy was his. Boyfriends; it was a big step. He’d have to tell Ryan and Zac. Ryan would be totally cool about it; Zac probably wouldn’t, but it couldn’t be helped. He was Tommy’s and nothing was going to change it.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Saturday lunchtime. Terry was just fixing himself a sandwich when the doorbell rang. He wandered out to the front door. Peewee was standing there.

I wasn’t expecting you today,” Terry said, ushering him into the house.

I needed to see you,” Peewee said. “Have you heard about Frank and Kevin?”

No, what about them?” Terry asked apprehensively.

They’ve been nabbed,” Peewee said casually.

What?” Terry demanded.

Kevin and Tommy never came to school yesterday, and some kids from down their end were goin’ on about everythin’ kickin’ off the night before, yeah?” Peewee explained. “So when I got home I asked mum. She told me Tommy and Daniel have been put in a kids’ home. It’s not far, so this mornin’ I went to see ‘em, yeah?”

And?” Terry insisted.

He sat grim faced as Peewee recounted what Tommy had told him.

I knew I shouldn’t have lent Frank the camcorder!” Terry snarled.

Why?” Peewee queried. “If Frank was just filmin’ what they were doin’, that’s nothin’ to do with you, is it?”

No,” Terry conceded, “but there was other stuff on there. Remember the party we went to over Christmas. I made a couple of ten minute vids. Not you or Kev, some of the other boys, you know, going at it.”

Still the coppers can’t trace it back to you, can they?” Peewee said. “Frank and Kev won’t say nothin’, so we’re still okay, yeah?”

Yeah, course we are,” Terry said reassuringly.

In reality, he was seriously worried. The police would want to know where the camcorder came from and who the boys were in the vids he’d made. He knew Frank wouldn’t say anything, but he wasn’t at all sure that he could rely on Kevin. If what Peewee had told him was correct, Kevin was in a great deal of trouble. The police would put the pressure on him, and sooner or later the boy would crack.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Tommy, you’ve got a visitor!” the manager’s voice called.

Tommy looked at his watch; it was quarter to ten, Josh had said he’d be there about eleven, so who was it? He wandered downstairs. Gary was waiting in the hallway.

I didn’t know you were comin’,” Tommy said, grinning.

Dad brought me over,” Gary said, smiling back.

Tommy led the way to his bedroom.

So how’s it goin’?” Gary asked.

Shit,” Tommy said, frowning. “The kids here are all knob-heads, and I won’t be able to play football till my ribs are better. That could take weeks.”

Tommy,” Gary said, looking uncomfortable, “There’s all these rumours goin’ round about . . . you know. Is it true?”

Depends what you’ve heard.” Tommy said.

That Frank and Kevin were . . . you know . . .” Gary said, visibly squirming.

Fuckin’ my arse? Yes, they were.”

Fuck, man!” Gary exploded. “Why didn’t you say somethin’!”

Mum thought Frank was Mr. Wonderful. If I’d told her, she wouldn’t have believed me; she’s even admitted it. I thought about tellin’ Mr. Russell, but mum’d have blamed me for splitting her and Frank up, and I’d have got labelled as a grass. So I kept my mouth shut.”

So are you gay?” Gary enquired.

Yeah,” Tommy said. “Well, I think I am.”

So did Frank and Kevin turn you gay?” Gary persisted.

I don’t fuckin’ know!” Tommy shot back. “Maybe I’d have been gay anyway. What difference does it make?”

Sorry,” Gary said quietly. “That came out wrong. I just never thought you would be. So are you and Josh, you know, boyfriends?”

Yeah,” Tommy said, grinning. “We’ve never actually said it, but we are. And you and me are still mates, yeah?”

Yeah, course we are,” Gary confirmed, smiling. “Kevin was attacking Daniel, with Frank backing him up, and you stopped them. You’re fuckin’ sound, man; that’s what I think!”

Thanks Gaz!” Tommy said warmly.

They slapped hands, wandered downstairs and out through the front door. Gary’s dad was standing near their car.

How are you, Tommy?” he asked.

Okay, thanks,” Tommy said, putting on as brave a face as he could.

If there’s anything we can do to help, all you have to do is ask,” the man said quietly. “And I want you to know that once this is sorted out, you’ll be welcome at our house anytime.”

Thanks!” Tommy said, hardly able to get the word out.

He was completely taken aback. He’d never been allowed in Gary’s house, and certainly hadn’t expected that privilege now. He’d always got on well with Gary’s dad; it was the boy’s mother that had been the problem. But in his hour of need, the man was standing up for him; that was important. Maybe, just maybe, things would work out okay after all.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was Monday afternoon. As Tommy had not returned to school, Josh went to see him.

So how’s it going?” he asked, as he and Tommy flopped down on Tommy’s bed.

A bit better,” Tommy said, “should be back at school in a couple of days. I can’t wait to get home, man; most of the kids here are fuckin’ idiots, specially the girls, fightin’ and arguin’ the whole time.”

So what’s been happening?” Josh enquired.

Me and Daniel had to go to the the kids’ centre in Marchdale,” Tommy said, “had to do a taped interview. The doctor was there. He examined us . . . , you know.”

Yeukkk!” Josh said, pulling a face.

It was a bit,” Tommy admitted, “but I guess they had to do it, yeah?”

Yeah, I guess,” Josh said gloomily.

Am I missing much at school?” Tommy asked.

I’ve brought the maths and geography we were given today,” Josh said, opening his bag. “Let me show you. You can bring it in when you come back.”

Thanks, man!” Tommy said, smiling.

Ten minutes later, Josh was on his way home. He was still worried, but there wasn’t much he could do. He’d just have to hang in there, exactly as he’d told Tommy to do.

By ten to six he’d just finished his piano practice. He was about to go upstairs when his mum appeared. She was wearing her serious face.

I need a word with you, young man!” she said sharply.

Josh knew full well what this meant. Kate didn’t speak to him like that very often, but when she did it always spelt trouble. She closed the music room door and sat in the armchair, Josh sitting on the piano stool, facing her.

I guess you’ve heard about Tommy?” she opened.

Yes,” Josh admitted.

And did you know what was going on there?” she demanded. “What his step-father and step-brother were doing to him?”

Josh turned bright red. He wanted to deny it, but he knew it was useless.

Yeah,” he whispered.

So why didn’t you tell me?” Kate snapped. “I could have out a stop to it in five minutes!”

Tommy didn’t want me to,” Josh explained. “He thought it’d make things worse. Sorry.”

Boys!” Kate sighed with a note of exasperation. “You’re twelve years old! You can’t take on the world!”

Sorry mum,” Josh mumbled.

Now I have to ask you this,” Kate said sternly. “Have you and Tommy been having sex?”

Josh blushed bright red. There was no point in lying; his mum would tie him in knots.

Yes,” Josh admitted, looking down at his feet.

Did Tommy make you do that?” Kate queried

No way!” Josh protested. “I wanted to! Tommy’s gay, the same as me.”

So how long’s it been going on?” Kate asked.

A year or so,” Josh said casually.

So did he, er, seduce you?” Kate probed.

Not really,” Josh said. “Like I said, I wanted to do it. Tommy wasn’t even my first.”

Josh!” Kate exclaimed. “So who was it then?”

Remember when we stayed at that villa near Florence?” Josh asked.

So it was Romano?” Kate questioned.

Yeah,” Josh conceded. “He was the first boy I went with, but he didn’t seduce me either; it was as much my idea as it was his.”

Josh!” Kate repeated, barely able to believe what he’d just told her. “You were only just eleven! Whatever on earth gave you the idea?”

My dick kept getting hard for no reason, especially when I was changing at the swimming pool,” Josh said. “I didn’t understand it, so I started looking up stuff on the internet.”

But there are parental controls on your computer!” Kate countered.

You let me set up my new computer myself,” Josh explained. “so I’m the Administrator. Parental Controls don’t work on the Administrator account.”

I’m very disappointed,” Kate said sadly, shaking her head. “I thought you were more sensible than that.”

I needed to know,” Josh said, “and it was no use asking dad; he never talks to me about anything.”

Kate winced; Josh had hit that particular nail right on the head.

Well I’m going to deal with your computer right now,” she declared. “What’s your password?

joshtiger96,” he said resentfully.

Wait here,” she instructed.

Ten minutes later she was back.

I am now the Administrator,” she said firmly. “I’ve created an account for you called Josh, same password as before. I’ve moved the My Documents file from the Administrator account into yours. Is there anything else you need?”

No,” Josh said sullenly.

There isn’t anything on the computer that shouldn’t be there, is there?” Kate demanded.

No,” Josh repeated.

I’m surprised that your body started developing so early,” Kate said, frowning. “It’s not as if you’re big for your age.”

Well, dad’s not very big and neither are you,” Josh parried, “so maybe I’m just not going to be very big. I can already . . . , you know . . . cum.”

You mean ejaculate?” Kate questioned.

Yeah,” Josh confirmed.

I’d no idea,” Kate admitted, “or I’d have got your dad to have a chat with you.”

Haven’t you noticed the way my voice is changing?” Josh asked.

Kate shook her head. The world of eleven and twelve year old boys had been a closed book. The signs had been there, but she’d completely missed them.

Josh, you’re twelve years old,” she stated. “That’s far too young to be having sex. It’s got to stop right now. D’you understand?”

I thought you liked me being friends with Tommy,” Josh countered.

I have no problem with you being friends with Tommy,” Kate shot back. “I just don’t want you having sex with him!”

Josh was crestfallen. He wiped away a tear.

You’ve spent a lot of time helping Tommy, haven’t you?” Kate asked gently.

Josh nodded.

And that’s very important to you, isn’t it?” she continued.

Yes,” Josh croaked, hardly able to get the word out.

Well there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to do that,” Kate said. “I’m pleased that you’re willing to give your time to help someone less fortunate than yourself. But you’re not to have sex, d’you understand?”

Yes,” Josh said reluctantly.

And don’t try doing it behind my back,” Kate warned. “If you do, I’ll have to stop you seeing each other altogether. Is that clear?”

Josh couldn’t think of anything to say. Everything had been going so well and suddenly it had all landed in a heap.

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

Chris,” Kate said quietly, “we need to talk. It’s about Josh.”

Over the next few minutes, she outlined the situation.

Well, I can’t say Josh being homosexual comes as a big surprise,” Chris said airily. “I’ve thought for ages that he might be.”

You might have let me in on the secret,” Kate said acidly. “I grew up in a houseful of girls, remember? So don’t you think Josh is too young to know if he’s gay or not?”

You can’t generalise,” Chris said. “For most boys it probably would be, but in Josh’s case I don’t think it is.”

Well, him being gay or not isn’t really the issue,” Kate went on, changing tack. “He’s definitely too young to be having sex.”

So what are you saying?” Chris asked. “That this boy Tommy made Josh have sex with him? I thought you told me what a pleasant young man he was?”

No,” Kate conceded, “I did think that to begin with, but Josh insists that he didn’t. He tells me that Tommy wasn’t even his first. D’you remember the boy Romano, you know, when we stayed in the villa near Florence?”

That figures,” Chris said thoughtfully. “I could see those two being drawn to each other.”

Josh was barely eleven!” Kate protested. “I had no idea he’d even started puberty! He told me this afternoon he could already ejaculate. I couldn’t believe it!”

Sounds about like me,” Chris said. “I hit puberty very young.”

So why didn’t you have a chat with him?” Kate demanded

I know I should have done,” Chris said, looking uncomfortable, “but it’s difficult. Josh and I have so little in common. When he was younger I tried to get him interested in ball games and other stuff boys do, but he just wasn’t. I gave up in the end. I’m sorry; I should have paid him more attention.”

But surely you weren’t having sex when you were Josh’s age,” Kate said.

Well, it depends what you mean,” Chris said, “I only messed about, admittedly, but by the time I was twelve I was very keen to find out how it all worked, you know. Let’s just say that I knew a couple of boys who had similar interests.”

Well, you certainly never told me that before!” Kate remarked.

No reason to,” Chris said casually. “It was no big deal; it’s a phase that lots of boys go through. I graduated onto girls soon enough. I’ve turned out alright, haven’t I?”

But you’re suggesting that Josh isn’t going to graduate onto girls, as you put it,” Kate countered.

No,” Chris agreed, “I don’t think he is. But that’s not something we can do much about. One of the boys I mentioned was gay. We played cricket and tennis together for years. We messed about quite a bit when we were twelve, thirteenish. Once I got interested in girls he moved on, of course. I don’t know the details, but I know he spent a lot of time with a boy a couple of years older than us. Well he’s done more than okay. He’s a successful architect, living with his partner who’s a web-designer.”

Well, I’ve told Josh that he’s not to have sex with Tommy any more, and I expect you to back me up.”

I don’t think that’s very practical,” Chris complained. “There are all sorts of places they can do it if they really want to.”

I’ve warned Josh that if he tries doing it behind my back I’ll stop him seeing Tommy altogether,” Kate shot back.

And how would you propose to do that?” Chris questioned. “From what you’ve told me, they’re together at school just about all the time.”

We could always send him to a private school,” Kate said.

Kate, that is a complete over-reaction,” Chris said firmly. “I’m not sure we could do it in any case. Business is really tight at the moment, as you know. I’ll still get my salary, of course, but last year I made almost ten thousand in dividends and bonuses. I’ll get far less than that this year. And what would it achieve? You’ve told me endlessly about how well Josh has been doing at the High School. Do you really want to risk that?”

I don’t know,” Kate admitted sadly. “I just don’t want him getting hurt. I’m worried that Josh and Tommy might have gone a great deal further than just ‘messing about’, as you call it. I told you what was happening to Tommy.”

Now that would be a concern,” Chris said, suddenly sounding more serious. “Leave it with me; I’ll have a word. And don’t worry; we’ll get it sorted out, okay?”

Yes, okay,” Kate sighed. “I guess it’s all we can do at the moment. So when will you talk to him?”

A bit later on,” Chris said. “I’ll give him chance to get his homework done first.”

0 o 0 o 0 o 0

It was a little after eight thirty when Josh heard a tap on his bedroom door.

Yes?” he called.

Is it okay if I come in?” Chris asked, poking his head around.

Yeah, course,” Josh said casually.

Have you finished your homework?” Chris enquired.

Yes,” Josh confirmed. “I was just looking up a few things on the computer.”

Great,” Chris said, seating himself on the bed. “I just want to have a chat. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble with me.”

Josh turned to face him. Chats with his dad were so infrequent he really didn’t know what to expect.

First of all, I want to apologise,” Chris said candidly. “It seems that you’ve gone through puberty very young, just as I did. I should have made sure you were prepared and helped you get through it, but one way or another it got pushed to one side. So I’m sorry about that. Your granddad was there for me and I should have been there for you. The truth is I haven’t involved myself nearly enough in what you’re doing. It’s not I don’t care about you, but there was always so much other stuff happening. All I can say is that I am going to do better, okay?”

Yeah,” Josh said quietly, quite embarrassed to hear his dad speak to him like that.

It’s okay,” Chris reassured him. “I’ve found over the years that if you’ve screwed up, the best thing to do is put your hands up and admit it; learn the lessons and move on.” He paused for a moment. “That brings me to the second point. You were left very much to your own devices, and as we’d allowed you to set up your own computer, you were exposed to things you really shouldn’t have been exposed to. Now that’s our fault too, not yours, so don’t think I’m blaming you for the way things developed.”

Josh nodded, still not wholly sure where this was going.

However,” Chris continued, “your mum is very concerned that you’re far too young to be having sex. I did point out to her that lots of boys experiment sexually when they reach puberty. It’s certainly something I did, along with a couple of other boys that I knew. It’s no big deal. Your being gay is not the issue either; I expected that to be honest. One of the boys I messed about with turned out to be gay. We remained friends and I’m still in touch with him now.”

Josh didn’t know what to think; it was too much to take in all at once.

What your mum and I are really concerned about,” Chris went on, “is that because of the stuff you’ve been exposed to, you and Tommy might have gone much further than just messing about. Am I right?”

Yes,” Josh squeaked, barely able to speak.

Can you tell me how far exactly?” Chris asked gently. “And please be honest with me; you are not in trouble. We just need to know.”

All the way, pretty much,” Josh admitted, almost through gritted teeth.

So you’ve had anal sex,” Chris queried. “So do you do that to each other or what?”

No,” Josh said. “Tommy does it to me.”

So you enjoy that?” Chris asked.

Yeah,” Josh confirmed. He wanted to add “nothing feels as good as that does,” but decided not to.

What about oral?” Chris asked.

You mean sucking?” Josh asked, beginning to feel slightly less uncomfortable. “We do that to each other. We like kissing too.”

That’s pretty much what I expected,” Chris said softly. “And I have to tell you that your mum’s right; you are too young to be doing those things. You could get hurt. Now you know what you’re mum said; you and Tommy are not to have sex. That stands, for the moment at least. This is a difficult situation, and we’re going to have to think very carefully before we decide what we’re going to do. Please understand that we don’t want to make you unhappy; we just want to do what’s best for you. Now is that clear?”

Yes,” Josh said, nodding.

Good,” Chris said, smiling. “Now one thing that you might like to do is to invite Tommy to come over here for the afternoon, say a week on Saturday. If he’s still in the children’s home, I’m sure he’d welcome the chance to get out of the place for a bit. How does that sound?”

Yeah, okay,” Josh agreed. “Is that so you can see if you like him?”

In a way,” Chris said, “but please don’t say anything to Tommy. We’ve invited him to come over; end of story. I’m not making any promises, let’s just see how it goes. Is that okay?”

Yeah,” Josh said, smiling. “Thanks!”

Chris headed back downstairs. Josh flopped down on the bed, his brain in a whirl. His dad talking to him like that had been so unexpected he scarcely knew what to make of it. But at least there was some light at the end of the tunnel; only a tiny chink, but it was better than nothing.