This is a sexually explicit story (at times) involving homosexuality. By continuing to read, you affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to this story.
The following is a fictitious story with no real basis or credibility. It is solely for the enjoyment of the reader. It's all just fun. It does not imply anything about the sexual preferences or lifestyle of Justin Timberlake or any other celebrity mentioned in the story.
Justin looked into his eyes when he came to their table.
The man's eyes were golden like Michael's, and the love behind them was breathtaking.
When he'd visited each table, he walked into the center of the gathering, Michael quietly waiting there for him.
He looked at Michael, Michael's eyes full of tears.
The man smiled widely, bowing to Michael.
Then he instantly vanished, as did all the wondrous things surrounding everyone.
The gathering looked around, all the wonders gone.
Michael stood where he'd stood before, his eyes full of tears.
All eyes again were upon him.
"All of you have just walked in the Circus Magica. All of you have returned to a moment from your childhood. And all of you have felt the wondrous love of the ringmaster. I believe you all know in your heart now who that loving ringmaster is."
As one, the whole gathering began to tremble and tear up.
"Adrian has walked among us. We now know he's real. We know the prophecy is real. And I am real. For I am the Messenger. And I am here to judge all of you. "
They all knelt, looking at Michael in wonder.
Michael looked around, his eyes falling on his husband.
Justin's eyes were full of tears.
For in Justin's heart, he saw the truth of what lay ahead for Michael.
He'd seen it in Adrian's eyes.
The truth of what Michael was.
Michael walked slowly around the south lawn, talking to his brethren.
Alberto walked with him as Michael met his unknown family members.
They were a variety of ages, from early twenties to late eighties.
Michael treated them all with a deep found respect, greeting each one by their given name.
That in itself gave them all looks of wonder.
Michael's gift of seeing into their souls gave him an advantage on them.
He left each with a feeling of calm friendship.
Michael also felt the ever-present evil in some, remaining quiet.
The day of judgement would call them to task.
Michael and Alberto approached the table of the council, Michael seeing Jarod and Antonio ahead of them talking to Jarod's father, his grandfather also present.
"Father, try to understand." Jarod was saying, Antonio's hand in his.
Theo Tavarro looked at his son.
"Understand? How can I understand when my own son slaps me across the face? That you show this man to me makes me so disappointed in you, Jarod! I cannot allow this to continue! He's your God damned cousin for Christ's sake!"
Antonio's eyes were upon Jarod's, seeing the deep hurt in them.
"Father, I love him. And I love you. Please be happy for me."
Theo put his hands on Jarod's shoulders, staring into his blue eyes.
"Your mother, God rest her soul, how do you think she would have felt? This would have killed her."
Jarod looked on the point of sobbing, tears running down his face.
"That's enough, Theo!" Alexander said, staring at his son.
Theo released his son, stepping back, staring at his own father.
"And you, Father? You condone this? You allow our Jarod to go against God's teachings? What he and this maverick bastard are doing is an abomination! This vile creature lured my son into his bed! Walk away from him, Jarod! If you refuse to do that, then I have no son!"
Jarod gasped, Antonio's anger erupting.
His fist flew out, it connecting with a hand that had materialized before him.
Michael stood between Theo and Antonio.
Antonio's fist had hit Michael's hand, which had appeared in front of Theo's face.
"Step back, Antonio. Violence isn't the answer." Michael said, looking at his cousin.
Antonio's anger disintegrated, staring into Michael's judging eyes.
Antonio stepped back, again standing beside Jarod.
He wrapped his arm around a still-crying Jarod.
Michael lowered his hand, Alexander and Theo looking at him with wonder.
Michael's movements had been so fast, that both men hadn't seen him until he had stepped suddenly in front of Theo.
Michael's eyes stared quietly at Theo.
"Do not hurt your son, Theo. Do not hate him for finding love. You should love him for being himself."
"How can I love him, when he goes against all I believe?" the man said, looking away from his son.
Alexander looked hurt, seeing his son and grandson so torn apart.
Michael looked at Jarod and Antonio.
"Look at your son, Theo. See the man who holds him. See their love so openly displayed. All of us see it, and all of us rejoice in its tenderness."
Jarod smiled at Michael, seeing him defending their love.
Theo wouldn't look at them.
Theo's eyes burned with an intensity.
"I rely on no words of understanding from you! You are just as much a sinner as my son! I know what goes on in your house! You and that slutty singer. Abominations in front of those two innocent children! You came from an abusive home. They shall come from a house of disgusting depravity!"
Everyone went silent, watching Michael.
They knew those words would hurt him greatly.
Justin and Josh had seen the whole display, as had many others.
Justin walked up behind Michael, their two little ones walking on each side of him, attached to both of his hands.
Michael felt their love in his soul.
Michael didn't need to turn around to see their love, his eyes remaining focused only upon Theo.
"You stand there and judge your son. You defile him, and ostracize him. Who are you to judge him and his love? Look deep into your own heart, Theo Tavarro. Judge yourself, less you be judged by others. We all carry secrets of hurt and pain. Think only of the faded rose of your past. Love isn't something you hide in a book, or bury in your soul."
The color went out of Theo's face.
Whatever Michael had been implying, it totally shocked Theo.
Michael looked between Theo and Jarod.
"A father's love is given unconditionally, as is the love of true soulmates. Neither should compete against the other. Look into your hearts, all of you. And you'll know this to be true."
Michael walked up to Jarod, kissing his wet cheek.
"Time is a measure of love, Jarod. Give your father time to see your love for Antonio. I know in my heart he will." Michael said.
He then turned back, looking at Jarod's father.
"Time runs short for you, Tavarro son. The day of choice is almost upon you. Your father and your grandson love you. Don't deny them your true self."
Michael felt a tug at his leg, looking down.
Darian smiled up at him.
Michael smiled, picking up the small child.
Darian kissed his cheek, Michael smiling.
"Me wants more cake, Papa!"
Michael laughed, kissing his son.
"Then cake you shall have, Darry."
Darian smiled, Justin smiling as well beside them.
Michael turned back to Theo, his eyes staring quietly at him.
Theo saw a great calmness and strength in those golden eyes, focusing again on Michael's calm voice.
"Remember the days of your son's youth. He's still the same small boy. He'll always be that child in your heart."
Theo lowered his eyes, turning and walking away.
Michael stared after him, Jarod and Antonio looking at him.
"Thank you, Michael. For trying to show him our love. But I don't think it will help." Jarod said, wiping his eyes.
Antonio put his arm around his lover, showing him his love.
Michael looked into Jarod's blue eyes.
"The father that you loved all your life is still the same man, Jarod. He'll be that man once again. I have no fear or doubt of that. Love conquers all."
Michael smiled a smile of deep affection, walking over towards the dessert tables.
Justin looked after him.
Shauna smiled, standing beside her father, her little hand in his.
"Papa right." she said, Justin bending and picking her up.
"Always my angel." Justin said, kissing her cheek.
"Excuse us, guys." Justin smiled, walking towards Michael and Darian.
Jarod stared after Michael, a silent thought in his mind.
Could Michael be correct?
Could his loving father love him again?
Jarod hoped with all his heart that that loving man would return to him.
The father of his youth.
The man of happiness, who brought so much joy to his heart, long before the weight of his family responsibilities changed him.
Antonio kissed his cheek, Alexander's hand going to his shoulder.
"Michael is an amazing man, Jarod. I see a lot of truth in his eyes. I believe he knows more than he says. He truly is a man of God's love."
Jarod smiled at his grandfather, kissing his cheek.
"I have faith in Michael's words, Grandfather."
Michael sat again at Alberto's table, Darian in his lap.
Darian was enjoying a large piece of chocolate cake, his fingers embedded in it.
Justin sat beside them, Shauna in his lap, eating a snow cone.
"Dis delishus, Dada." Shauna grinned, gulping down the icy dessert.
Justin smiled, wiping her face.
Darian's fingers of chocolate popped into his mouth, sucking the chocolate off.
"Who needs forks, right little man?" Michael smiled, Darian smiling at him.
"Those were moving words you said to Jarod and Theo, Mico."
Michael looked at Justin, his husband's blue eyes of love staring back.
Josh and Lance sat across from them, Noah in Josh's lap, Alberto and Doris sitting on Michael's right side.
"I meant them all, Jus. Theo needs to show his son his love again. Until he sees that, that family will not be whole."
Alberto nodded his head, looking towards his brother sitting at the council's table.
"Alex's family has been in turmoil since Margarita's death. Jarod's mother was the heart of that family. Alex loved her like a daughter. Theo loved her as his soul. Jarod lost his father's love when his mother died. Jarod was twelve when it happened. Theo hasn't been the same since."
Michael looked towards Jarod, who sat beside Antonio and Marco at the next table.
"I sensed that deep in his soul. A lost rose will show him the way."
They all looked at Michael, seeing his calm and relaxed manner.
Michael stood up, Darian going to Rachel who'd just walked up to the table.
Lonnie stood behind her.
"I'm going to change the little ones, Michael. The dancing will start soon, they need to be out of these dress clothes. Children need to have fun." she said, Michael smiling.
"Our angels need to fly." Justin grinned, Shauna going into Lonnie's arms.
"We get fun clothes? Me wants to dance with Dada and Papa!!" Shauna said, Michael and Justin both smiling at her.
The couple walked towards the house, Justin and Michael smiling after them.
"Sit and relax with our friends, Jus. I'm going to meet the rest of my brethren. Come, Poppa. Walk with me."
Alberto smiled, getting up again, kissing Doris goodbye.
"Back soon, my angel."
"I'll be here, sweetie."
Justin smirked, Josh and Lance smiling.
The two Tavarro men walked back towards the tables on their left side.
Justin smiled, talking to Doris, Josh and Lance, while his eyes looked elsewhere.
His eyes were constantly drawn to Michael.
Michael stood quietly surrounded by his new family, answering their questions with a calm smile upon his face.
Justin could see the awed wonder in their eyes, all their faces turned towards Michael.
Justin knew that what they'd just seen here this evening had affected all of their hearts, Justin's also.
It was like a vision of childlike wonder.
Michael had returned them all to their childhoods, all of them lost in that innocent wonder.
But Justin saw some that didn't seem affected by what they'd seen.
He saw them quietly talking, standing alone.
He sensed their still unbelieving doubts.
Justin knew that these few were tainted by Fredrick's evil.
Justin watched them closely, his protective nature coming out.
They wouldn't be allowed near his Mico.
Alberto and Michael were pulled away by a couple of members of the council.
Josh and Lance excused themselves, wanting to take Noah inside for a bit.
Doris smiled at them, getting up herself, smiling at Justin.
"Sorry to abandon you, Justin. Alberto's waving his hand at me. I think he wants me to meet some people."
"Go right ahead, Doris. I'm fine right here."
She smiled, walking towards Alberto.
Justin relaxed, looking around.
After a few moments, Emile walked up to the table, Justin smiling up at him.
"A day of wonder. I still can't believe what I saw."
Justin smiled, putting his hand on Emile's shoulder when he sat down.
"The wonders of Mico's giving soul. It truly was miraculous."
Emile saw Justin looking over towards the silent people.
"But still they have doubts. How can that be?" Emile quietly asked, Justin looking at him.
"Because they are refusing to believe what their eyes have shown them. Their hearts are hardened by the evilness that surrounds this family. My Mico's destiny is to make them see, and destroy those doubts."
Emile leaned over, kissing Justin's cheek.
Justin looked surprised.
"I see in your eyes the deep love you have for him, Jus. Can I tell you something?"
Justin nodded, smiling at his friend.
"I have a secret in my heart, Justin. I hope you can forgive me for it."
Justin squeezed Emile's shoulder, Emile looking into his blue eyes.
"I was in love with you, Justin."
Justin looked totally shocked, removing his hand from Emile's shoulder.
"Yes, Justin. When we filmed Alpha Dogs I fell head over heels in love with you. You are so beautiful, so breathtakingly beautiful. And you were so kind and nice to me. I felt so close to you. You made me feel so loved. I drove my uncle Ryan to your home that first day I met Michael because I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to see you again."
Justin was about to say something to him, Emile putting his finger to his lips.
"I knew as soon as I saw Michael how much he loved you. I saw it in his eyes. And I saw your love returned when I saw you looking at him. That tore deeply at my heart. I was hurt."
"It never was your fault, my friend. It was my crush, not yours. I hated Michael so much at that moment. So much for his taking you away from me. But then I looked into myself and saw that it wasn't meant to be. You had never returned my love, it was one?sided. All you were and all you'll ever be is a good friend. And then Michael introduced me to Marco. In his blue eyes, I've found all that I've ever hoped to have. I love him, Justin. With all my heart and soul. And then two other visions of beauty walked into our lives. Our sweet Paulo and Jake. You can't imagine the love they give me, all three of them."
Justin smiled, staring into Emile's blue eyes.
"I wanted to tell you the truth, Justin. I wanted our friendship to be honest. I don't have those feelings for you now, Justin. I have three souls of love."
"I'm happy for you, Emile. And thank you for being honest with me. I wish you'd told me then. I believe in my heart we could have had something special."
Emile smiled widely, kissing Justin on the cheek again.
"Thanks for saying that, Justin. But we both know that we never would have connected. I believe your heart and soul have always been destined for Michael. I could never have changed that."
Justin smiled, seeing that Emile saw the truth.
"Today, watching Michael, seeing the deepness of his love for everyone made me decide to tell you the truth. I see the greatness of his love, and what he's trying to do here. That made me want to confess that, Jus. My heart now feels cleansed. And hopefully our friendship won't change."
Justin smiled, hugging his friend tightly.
"Never, my friend. You'll always have my friendship."
Marco was watching the two from the next table.
Marco smiled, getting up and walking over to the two men.
"Trying to steal my man, Timberlake!" Marco smirked, Emile's arm going around him when he sat down beside him.
"Fat chance of that, Marco. He's totally smitten." Justin smiled, Emile smiling back at him.
Marco smiled, kissing Emile with deep love.
Emile broke the kiss, smiling at his lover.
"So you finally told him?"
Emile smiled, looking into Marco's blue eyes.
"Yes, Blue. Justin knows now."
Marco looked at Justin, staring into his blue eyes.
Justin smiled back, leaning over and kissing Marco's cheek.
"He's all yours, Marco. I think you may be the luckiest guy in the world."
Emile teared up, Marco getting up and hugging Justin.
The two parted, smiling at each other.
"Mico is my everything, Marco. Emile is yours. The two of you have Jake and Paulo also. Four parts of the same soul. Michael and I have Josh and Lance. All of us have more love that we've ever dreamed of. I know in my heart that Michael loves all of us. We are truly eight brothers of love."
Both men teared up, a soft voice breaking the silence.
"Am I interrupting?"
Justin smiled, turning and kissing Michael's cheek.
"No, my love. Just talking about love."
Michael smiled, leaning forward and kissing Justin on the lips.
"On that note of happiness, let's go for a walk, Jus. I need a moment of quietness."
Justin smiled, getting out of his seat, taking Michael's hand.
"Excuse us, brothers." Michael said, both tables nodding happily at him.
The two newlyweds walked past the tables, walking out the west entrance.
Justin quietly watched Michael as he stood in front of the platform.
Their hands were still entwined together, that closeness connecting them.
Four men stood at the corners of the platform, quietly guarding its possessions.
"Therein lies the truth, Jus. The truth of Adrian's devotion."
Justin looked at the marble square sitting on the stone altar on the platform.
"What lays at its heart, Mico? You know don't you?"
"Yes, Jus. I know what lays at the heart of it. I know all of it. But apart from all this joining of families, there's something else going on here. I've sensed a presence in the background. Who it is I don't know."
"It isn't Fredrick is it?" Justin said, looking around.
"No, Jus. Fredrick is the evil entrenched in these families. He cannot come onto this land. The goodness that I have wrapped around this home will not allow him to. Someone else is here. I feel their hidden presence. But I do believe it's not evil. It–or they–are here for another reason."
Justin looked around, seeing only family walking the grounds.
"You never cease to amaze me, beautiful. You have your mind on all things."
Michael smiled his Justin smile, the two men walking around the platform.
Michael stopped when he'd passed the Stone, looking up at the wooden cross standing behind it.
"Time waits for no one, Jus. My time is at hand."
Justin put his arm around Michael, looking into his golden eyes.
"I don't like the sound of that."
Michael pulled him close.
"We both know what's at stake here, my love. What I have to do. The result of all that will be as it must be. I knew that going in. It didn't change anything for me. For I knew that your love–your unending love–would be there to keep me going. And it has. And it always will. We love each other completely, Jus. That shall never end or change. Our love is forever."
Justin teared up, Michael kissing him tenderly.
"Let's walk back. The Stavros' are coming."
They walked back to the Feast.
Michael stood in silence, his brethren behind him.
Justin watched the contingency of Michael's Greek heritage walking through the front gates.
He and Michael stood on the south lawn, in front of the Tavarro clan.
Alberto, Alexander and the council of Odisa stood behind them.
Over two hundred and fifty men walked through the front gates of Villa Tavarro, Gregory Stavros leading them.
Kevin, Barlow and Philip, with Samuel between them, walked behind Gregory.
Every single man was wearing a totally black suit.
Each had a golden cross around their neck.
It was as if a flood of Michael's were walking towards Justin.
"Michael, they're wearing your colors." Justin quietly said, Michael staring at his cousin and Greek brethren.
The Tavarro clan behind them were all standing now, looking with wonder at the approaching group.
Gregory and all the men walked with their heads held erect, walking with great resolve and pride.
Michael stood quietly waiting for his mother's family to come to him.
"Step back a bit please, love." Michael said quietly, smiling his Justin smile at Justin.
Justin smiled back, stepping back and standing beside Alberto and Alexander.
Michael stood alone in front of them.
The group walked until they were about twenty feet away from Michael.
Gregory stopped, raising his hand.
The whole contingency of Stavros brethren halted, standing quietly, their hands folded in front of them.
Over two hundred and fifty golden crosses gleamed, the late setting sun shining on their chests.
Michael stood alone, standing between his two families.
Gregory bowed deeply, his brown eyes staring into Michael's golden ones.
Gregory looked at the daunting crowd behind Michael, seeing the magnitude of the Tavarro family.
"My name is Gregory Stavros. I am the true blood descendant of Aurelia Petronilla, faithful friend and devoted mother of the soul of the Tavarro faith. I stand here as a servant to the Warrior and Messenger of God. I also stand here as the leader of the Stavros Dynasty. We, like yourselves, have been on a quest, a devoted journey to find our faith. A few short months ago, our Warrior made himself known. The one foretold to lead us to our faith. Today, he revealed himself to all of you as the Messenger of God. To us he is the Warrior of God. Sent to do battle against the evilness of the world. To you he was foretold to be the deliverer of the truth. We, your lost brethren of faith, now offer our lives in the search for that truth."
The whole group of black clothed men sank to their knees, Gregory the only one standing.
He walked forward, standing in front of Michael.
"You are the son of Diana Stavros, lost child of our last Lord of Devotion. You are also the son of Ramon Tavarro, lost child of the Patriarch of the Tavarro Dynasty. Both sides of the prophecies have come to pass. You have the faith of Aurelia, and the courage and heart of Adrian. The joining force of our families is you, Michael Augustus Tavarro-Timberlake."
The Tavarro clan looked on in quiet awe, the magnitude of this dawning realization not lost on any of them.
Gregory went to one knee, bowing before his cousin.
"We are the Honor Guard of the Warrior. We stand with you, beside you and for you. We give our lives to your protection. You told us that no weapons would you allow at the final moments. We will then defend you with our own lives, our bodies and our souls. They are our weapons of faith. We are the Devoted. We now realize the depth of that Devotion. We are Devoted to only you, Warrior Messenger."
Michael looked down at all the kneeling brethren of his Greek heritage.
"Arise Guard of Truth. I take your protection with love and faith."
The group arose, all standing as before.
Michael looked at Samuel, seeing the proud gleam of faithful happiness in his eyes.
"So young a guard to give his life for me." Michael said, staring into his eyes.
Samuel felt the deep love coming from those golden eyes.
Michael smiled, then turned, looking at his Tavarro brethren.
"See before you the deepness of their faith. Their faith in me. I did not ask for this, for this symbol of might and devotion. They give this to me of their own choice. Never have I felt more prouder of my divided heritage. My Greek blood is strong and proud, as is my Spanish heart. I ask not for you to give such a devotion to me. You shall give your devotion to only one. And He shall seek that soon."
Michael looked at both sides of his family.
"Two thousand years ago, our ancestors united under one banner of faith. It stands behind the Stone of Vengeance. The cross of our faith. The symbol of our Lord's sacrifice and his unending love. Adrian and Aurelia met here at this house that Adrian himself built. Their faith and love is in all of your souls. Their legacy stands before me. The two sides of my family. Stavros and Tavarros. I ask now for all of you to join me in a silent prayer of hope. Hope for a future of happiness and faith. In a few days the greatness of that faith shall astound you."
Michael lowered his head, all the Stavros following as well as a large part of the Tavarro clan.
But some just stared at what was before them, not believing it.
Justin sighed, lowering his head.
They remained bowed in silence for a few minutes, until Michael lifted his head.
Michael turned around, smiling.
"If my grandfather and great-uncle will allow me, I would like to offer our welcome to the lost Stavros Dynasty."
Alberto and Alexander both smiled, nodding.
"The Tavarro family welcomes the Devoted sons of Stavros. Come forth children of Aurelia, and meet the clan of Adrian."
Gregory smiled, walking towards Michael, Michael taking his hand tightly.
Samuel was pulled into a hug by Michael, the young man beaming with joy.
Barlow and Julius were greeted by Alberto and Alexander, the council reluctantly meeting them.
The black-clothed men ventured forth, gradually filtering throughout the Tavarro clan.
Michael and Justin stood back, Michael quiet as usual.
Alberto and Alexander were quietly watching him, seeing before them Michael's hand of guidance.
The two clans were finally together.
Maybe the values and beliefs were different, but the cause was the same:
To win against the threatening evil.
And Michael was the guiding force.
Michael stood away from the throng, his golden eyes scanning everyone.
The tables had been cleared, a larger area expanded to make room for the festival part of this day.
A platform was carried in, an area for the band to play.
Michael remained quiet, scanning the crowd.
For an hour he'd watched their attitudes towards each other.
What his eyes glanced upon made his soul stir.
The Stavros inclusion on this day wasn't going over well.
They were standing alone in groups, having already introduced themselves to their new brethren, respectful but subdued greetings exchanged.
People were talking, some boasting, some voices increasing in volume.
The Stavros didn't like the haughtiness of the Tavarro clan.
Michael saw the separating of the two clans, their newness to each other filled with caution.
He sighed, Alberto and Gregory walking up to him.
"The families are reluctant in their openness to each other." Gregory said, looking with concern into Michael's golden eyes.
"Change always comes with doubt." Michael said, both men picking up on his quietness.
"Is everything alright, Michael?"
Michael looked upwards, then softly said something to himself, Gregory just barely hearing.
"Protect me father. For I now know."
Michael turned and looked at the two men.
"Watch and see the troublesome influence of his evil. It is time for the garden to grow."
Alberto looked towards the Council, seeing their leering gazes towards a group of black-suited Stavros men standing beside them.
Theo Tavarro had returned, standing in the center of the Council of Odisa.
He eyes glared towards Michael and Alberto.
He walked towards them, the council reluctantly following.
"You have brought shame upon the land of Tavarro, Michael! You have desecrated the purity of this Day of Redemption. A foreign body has infiltrated the heart of our family. These people do not belong here! This is a meeting of the faithful! A day of faith! You have desecrated Adrian's soul!"
Alberto looked troubled, staring at Gregory's changed face.
In that face anger was showing.
"We are part of all of this. We are the children of Aurelia. The Tavarro clan's faith existed only because of her seeking out Adrian!"
Michael remained still, watching all of them and their increasing anger.
"You are nothing to us! No blood relations or brotherhood of faith! Adrian's faith is the greatest because it was given by God! These men must leave now!" Theo said, staring at Gregory.
The congregation of black-suited Stavros began to walk forward, joining as one, a troop of forceful presence.
They moved with lightning speed, surrounding the council, and Michael.
The council looked around, seeing themselves surrounded by staring, muscular Greek men.
"Is this your doing, Michael? Bullying us into submission? Showing this force of evil?" Theo said, a touch of nervousness in his voice.
That last sentence hardened the glare in Gregory's eyes.
Justin and his family and friends stood at their table, seeing the confrontation before them.
They also saw the moving of the Tavarro clan.
The clan was quietly surrounding the Stavros', outnumbering them greatly.
Theo saw it happening also, smiling.
"Two hundred men against the might of the Tavarro Dynasty. You are a fool to show your desires so early, Michael."
Justin was staring at Michael, seeing him in the center of the storm.
He also saw the calm, determined, golden eyes of his husband.
Everyone around him was beginning to shout, angry words filling the silent night.
Accusations of hate, treachery, calls of messenger of evil, directed at Michael and the Stavros clan.
The Stavros were steeling themselves for the onslaught of the Tavarros.
Michael sighed, closing his eyes in the center of his families.
The two congregations as one stopped in silent shock.
The loud voice had come from above all of them.
Standing in the center of the circle of his warring family, Michael Tavarro then screamed.
The sound filled the air and night all around them.
People stepped back, the circle widening.
Michael sank to his knees, his hands on his chest.
The sob of complete anguish that erupted from Michael sank into their very souls.
Justin had seen the moment of pain hitting Michael, a tear falling down his cheek.
Lance and Josh stared in horror, moving forward towards their hurting friend.
"Stop! This must happen!" Justin said, staring into his friends' turned, terrified eyes.
Justin put his hands on both of their shoulders, seeing Lance's love and concern for Michael.
"He told me this would happen. We must let it play out."
Lance stopped moving, his eyes filled with tears.
They all stared at Michael.
"Father! Why? Why now, so close to it, do they doubt??!!" Michael screamed, his body rocking back and forth.
Gregory and Alberto stood in horror, seeing the look of total pain on Michael's face.
Michael was still on his knees, his hands raised to the heavens.
Everyone saw the burned crosses on Michael's upturned palms.
"Give me all that they shall suffer. Let me take in the pain of their doubt, let me feel the pain of their lost souls!!"
The night air rumbled with distant thunder,
They all stared in shock, at what now was happening.
A faint, glowing light had materialized above every man and woman in the garden.
The glowing symbol of their doubts
Each glow was reddish in color with flecks of blackness in it.
Some were brighter than others, some smaller.
Different degrees of doubt and fear.
And each of those glowing lights was shaped like a cross.
Michael screamed again, the glowing crosses moving towards the center of the gathering.
Over two thousand of those lights, small in size but shocking to see nonetheless.
They each were about a foot high, glowing red in the darkening sky.
They surrounded Michael, circling around him.
Michael struggled to his feet, his whole body trembling.
The crowd had backed up, trembling with fear of what they sensed those glowing red lights were.
The evilness of their family.
The evil doubts that clouded their souls.
The taint of their destinies.
And somehow Michael had drawn out those doubts, those fears.
Michael's eyes were full of tears, everyone seeing his struggling, trembling hands raise.
The gleaming golden rings he wore shone brightly.
Those two hands went to the cross hanging from his chest.
The instant Michael touched it, he was enveloped in white light.
The air around them filled with a heated rush, pushing everyone back.
And then the sound of malevolent anger cut through the night, the red crosses rushing inward to Michael.
Michael's glowing whiteness was enveloped in the redness.
The congregation screamed as one, staring in horror at what lay before them.
Michael's white heart of love was doing battle with the red heart of evil.
Michael was consumed by the evil, his pure heart of goodness lost to their eyes.
They all stared in stunned silence, seeing only one large red light of evil in the center of them.
Alberto and Gregory were crying, seeing the evil before them.
Justin broke from Lance and Josh's arms, rushing to the circle.
They all rushed through the crowd, standing now on the circle's edge.
Suddenly, the garden erupted in a flash of white brilliance.
It came from the center.
It came from Michael.
The redness then disintegrated into the white light.
And the white light of love stood now alone.
Its brilliance almost blinding.
And the warmth of the love emanating off that light fell on all the faces of the Tavarros and Stavros'.
And then it disappeared.
Standing in the center of them all again was Michael.
He stood unchanged, his black suit untouched, his golden cross laying on his chest.
His eyes glowed a soft white, then changed to blue, then hazel, and then back to their original golden hue.
Michael lifted both of his hands, everyone seeing glowing white crosses now on both palms.
Michael's golden eyes looked upon all the surrounding faces, his body turning in the circle so all could see them.
"I stand before you as a vessel of love. I took the doubts out of all of your hearts. You know of what I speak as truth. The pain of those doubts I took upon myself. For I do love all of you. You are my family. I shall fight for my family always. Two parts of my soul stand before me. Two loving families. You shall be as one in my eyes. It is time to join together for what lays ahead. Your doubts have been cast off, the pain of your hearts subdued. Tonight, we join together. In a short time forever."
Everyone in the circle surrounding him felt a warmth flood their minds and souls.
An accepting warmth of love.
They'd felt it the instant the white light had ignited.
The warmth of love.
Theo Tavarro stood in utter shock, feeling the warmth that had flooded his heart.
His mind was trying to sense what it was.
It had been so long since he'd felt it.
He looked over towards his son Jarod, seeing him wrapped in the arms of Antonio.
Theo saw the love the two men shared, seeing before him what he couldn't see before.
Theo felt in his pocket pulling out a small book.
It was an old torn bible.
He'd walked home earlier after fleeing Michael's accusations.
He'd sought out the book, needing to find it still there.
He held it in his hand, looking towards the center of the circle.
Michael's golden eyes were staring at him.
Michael's eyes of loving warmth and compassion.
Theo wiped his tearing eyes, walking towards his son, everyone watching their council elder.
Alexander followed him, not sure what was going on.
The other council members followed Alexander.
The congregation followed their every move.
Jarod looked up, seeing his father standing before him.
"Jarod, my son. Forgive me."
Jarod looked totally surprised, his grandfather and Antonio looking on with equally surprised faces.
"My heart has held a sorrow for many years. The sorrow of the loss of your mother. She was half of my soul, Jarod. She was my life. You and she were my life. When God took her from me, I saw it as an atonement for my somehow not being the man I should be. And so I sealed my love for her away, blocking it from my mind. Devoting my life to appeasing that vengeful God. To atone for my sins. I didn't realize that I was shutting you out as well. I was sacrificing everything for the cause of my family, through my work for their good. I didn't realize that I should have been loving my family instead. I should have been loving my Margarita's memory. And most of all, I should have been loving my son. Her angel, Jarod."
Jarod was in tears, as was his father.
Theo raised the bible laying in his hand, opening it.
Inside the book was a pressed flower.
A red rose.
Theo lifted it out gently, staring at its lost beauty.
"Your mother wore this flower in her hair the day we were married. She sealed it away in this bible as a symbol of our love and faith together. I hid this from myself for many years. Michael mentioned it today."
Theo turned, staring at Michael, who still stood alone.
"You are right, Michael. Love isn't something that can be hidden away in a book, or buried and forgotten in your soul. It has to live. It has to be always shown. I love you, Jarod. I love you and I love Antonio. Since you were small children I saw the love you both shared for each other, and I now see it's blossomed into something more. It's bloomed into true love."
Antonio smiled at Theo, Theo smiling back at him.
"Forgive a foolish man for burying his love away. I promise now it shall always be in my heart, and it shall always be here for all of you."
Jarod pulled his father to him, hugging him tightly, his grandfather and his lover both in tears as well.
A quiet voice filled the touching scene, all eyes turning to Michael.
"Theo Tavarro is right. Love must be shown, in all ways, at all times. Today, your souls have been cleansed from your doubts and your fears. All of you now are one. One family of love. In a few days, that loving family shall become a family of loving faith. Your love has bloomed today, as have the flowers of life."
Michael's hand pointed to the south garden.
Everyone turned around, looking on in amazement.
Every bouquet on every table was now twice its original size.
Flowers blossomed everywhere, on the garden pathways, on the hedges and all over the south lawn.
"God's love blossoms in many ways. Tonight, let's celebrate the blossoming of our new family."
Everyone smiled and looked at each other, small groups of people walking together towards the south gardens.
Alberto and Gregory stared in wonder as they saw Tavarros inviting Stavros to join their groups.
Michael's moment of loving sacrifice had produced the desired effect.
The two families were melding together.
It wasn't a complete unity, but it was an encouraging start.
Justin walked up to Michael, staring at him.
Michael looked at him, Justin pulling him against him.
"Are you alright, Mico? I felt that pain, I know you kept a lot of it from me."
"I can hardly stand, Jus. I need to rest."
Justin realized now why Michael hadn't moved.
He was exhausted.
Justin nodded, motioning towards Lance and Josh.
The two men were by his side, helping Justin guide Michael towards the house.
In the resting room, the group relaxed, all eyes upon Michael.
He was resting beside Justin, his head on Justin's chest.
Their friends were with him, as were the kids and the immediate families.
Theo Tavarro stood against the wall, Jarod by his side.
"Thank you, Michael. For showing me my heart again."
Michael smiled, getting up quietly.
"To have you back with us, to have your love, fills us all with joy."
Theo smiled through his tearing eyes.
"I have been a fool, Michael. I let Victor Falisca infiltrate our family's center. I now see what I didn't see before. The greed and power that man longs for. Is there any way to stop him?"
Michael sighed, Justin watching him.
Everyone picked up on Michael's tiredness.
He put his hand on Theo's shoulder.
"Victor Falisca will never get what he wants. All he'll get is what he deserves. Let's leave it at that."
Alberto and Father Nico walked up to Michael, smiling.
"Tonight, the hearts of the Tavarros and Stavros are calm and joyous. Time is slipping away. In a few days they shall be whole."
"You have shown us such wonders of faith and love today, my grandson. I sense the next few days will be wondrous."
Michael's eyes teared, briefly looking at Justin.
"No, Poppa. The next few days will be filled with uncertainty and concern. For I shall fall."
Everyone looked shocked, staring at him.
"What are you talking about?" Chris said, sitting beside Vicky and Joey.
The clock on the mantlepiece began to chime, the hour reading nine.
Michael's face changed to shock, tensing.
In Michael's mind everything clicked into place.
Michael closed his eyes, searching outward, trying to sense it.
Michael looked around the room, sensing what he'd almost missed.
He heard it, he heard it and he felt it.
The ticking in his mind, the voice in his head screaming.
Everyone stared in shock at the outburst of that terrifying voice coming from Michael.
Michael didn't waste a moment.
"Everyone out of here right now! There's a bomb in this room!!!!"
The clock chimed for the fourth time.
Everyone looked shocked, Justin, Josh and Lance picking up the children, bolting for the doors.
Father Nico grabbed Alberto, heading for the doors.
Everyone moved with lightning speed, making for the doors.
They'd all heard the terror and distress in Michael's voice.
Lonnie and Randall the last to leave, pulling Michael with them.
The clock chimed for the sixth time.
Alberto stumbled over a small table, crashing to the floor.
Father Nico stumbled, Chris grabbing him, his momentum pulling both men onward.
Alberto lay alone on the room's floor.
The clock chimed for the seventh time.
Michael pulled out of Lonnie's grasp, rushing to his fallen grandfather.
Everyone was through the door, heading across the foyer.
Lonnie and Randall stopped at the doorway, seeing Michael picking up his grandfather.
He picked the man up with one hand, Alberto shocked at the strength in his grandson.
The clock chimed for the eighth time.
Michael sensed he'd run out of time.
He threw his hands out, his grandfather propelled at Lonnie and Randall.
Alberto slammed into the two men, all three thrown through the open double doors.
Michael only had a moment to look at the grand piano sitting in the corner.
He pulled the double doors shut with his gift.
The clock chimed nine.
The room exploded in a flash of light, Michael thrown backwards, the full force of the bomb hitting him.
He landed on the stone hearth, between the stone lions, debris falling on top of him.
Both double doors exploded outwards, everyone covered against the fair side of the foyer.
They all stared in horror, knowing Michael was still in that room.
Justin was the first up, rushing across the wide, marble-floored foyer.
The doors were on fire, Justin making his way through the debris.
All the men followed him, staring around at the destruction.
Justin spotted Michael's leg, sticking out from under the top of the grand piano.
"Mico!" he gasped, rushing to him.
Josh and Paulo were by his side, helping him move the wooden debris.
Theo and Antonio gave help, the four lifting the wooden form.
Michael lay unmoving, his face covered in charred ashes.
Fire burned from his clothing, Josh and Theo stomping it out.
They all saw blood on his chest and legs.
Justin was in tears, leaning down, his hand on Michael's forehead.
"Mico? Please, Mico! Open your eyes!"
They saw the burns on Michael's face, concentrated around his eyes.
He must have been standing right in front of the bomb.
Michael didn't move.
Justin closed his eyes, feeling for his love.
Justin sat between Josh and Lance, both men holding him.
All three sat together on a couch.
Alberto stood against the wall, Nico and Antonio on both sides of him.
They'd been sitting in the hospital waiting room for over three hours, the clock on the wall showing one thirty.
"He saved me! Like his father did! My Michael sacrificed his life for me as did my Ramon!" Alberto said, his eyes full of tears.
Justin stood up, walking to the elder man, pulling him against him.
"He loves all of us. He saved all of us tonight."
Josh felt Justin's feelings, sensing a calmness about Justin.
"You knew, didn't you, Jus?"
Justin turned, looking at his friends.
"Yes, Josh. Michael and I both knew. We didn't know how or where, but we knew that Fredrick would make one last attempt to win this. You all heard Michael telling you that he would suffer again for us. That is what this is. And I know my Mico shall survive this. He'll have pain but he'll survive. His love isn't leaving us. I know in my heart it's not."
Justin's mother walked up to him, kissing her son's cheek.
"I believe you, Jus. We all know Michael's still with us."
Justin nodded, hugging his mother tightly.
Justin sobbed against his mother's chest.
"But why did he have to have more pain? His love can't bear all this pain."
His father put his arm around him, the two guiding him back to his couch.
Josh and Lance stood up, the three Timberlakes sitting down.
"Who did this, Justin? Who tried to kill us? Victor?" Theo said.
Justin looked up at him, and around at everyone.
"There is a traitor in our midst. Someone inside the house planted that bomb. Fredrick has enslaved another soul. One of us is possessed by Fredrick, that person not knowing it. The same mind hold he had on Marco and Paul he now uses on this person. Michael knows who it is, of that I'm certain. But he didn't stop him. For this had to happen. It's tied into this destiny. Michael told me that himself."
Father Nico and Antonio lowered their heads, remembering Michael's confession in the car.
Chris shook his head, sitting on another couch with a tearful Vicky and Kelly.
Joey stood beside his wife.
"He knew he'd have to sacrifice himself to save all of us? That's so hard to believe. And yet it's not. Michael would sacrifice himself for one or all of us. His love knows no end."
Vicky smiled, hugging her fiancee.
She saw his deep love for Michael.
"I just hope he's alright." Chris said, tears in his eyes, Vicky rubbing his back.
As if to answer that lingering hope, a doctor came walking into the room.
"Hello everyone. My name is Doctor Josef Chavallo. I'm the doctor in charge of Mr. Tavarro. I assume all of you are his family?"
Justin stood up, looking at the doctor.
"I am his husband, and life partner. This is his grandfather." Justin said, Alberto nodding.
"Your excellency. I didn't realize who this man was." the doctor said, bowing to Alberto.
"That's alright, Josef. What is Michael's condition?"
The doctor's face changed.
"He's received traumatic injuries. Both legs are shattered, as is his hip. All his ribs were broken. He felt the full force of that blast. He has twenty five percent burn damage on his face, chest and legs. These injures are not life-threatening, thanks to his being protected by falling between two stone walls. At least that's what was mentioned a short while ago by the police."
"He fell between two stone lions. They must have sheltered him from the blast." Father Nico said.
"The guarding lions of Adrian." Theo said, bowing his head.
Justin stared at the doctor, sensing there was something else.
"Will Michael be alright?" Justin said.
"He will heal from these injuries, but it will take a long time. The pain will be intense, his legs are shattered, most of their bones broken. But that's not the greatest injury. There is something else you need to know."
Justin felt the doctor's reluctance to tell him.
But he also felt the doctor's compassion and caring.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this."
Justin steeled himself, ready for the worst.
"Please tell me. What's wrong with my Mico?"
The doctor looked into Justin's tearing blue eyes.
"Michael is blind."
End of Chapter 169
And so Michael's courage has shown itself again.
His sacrifice for those he loved so obvious.
What will happen now?
Are the final moments out of Michael's hands now?
How can Michael do anything more if he's so destroyed?
What will Justin do?
I hope this chapter moved some of you with its deep showing of faith and love.
I wanted it to be magical and a bit awe-inspiring.
I hope I've achieved that.
Your comments would be greatly appreciated.
Critics and naysayers welcomed also.
I'm only as good as my harshest critics.
Keep the faith, Angel.