Hi again!!!!! <waves madly>
I hope you enjoy this, and I would really, REALLY appreciate some feedback to Phoenix@relightmyfire.co.uk . Constructive criticism is welcomed, flamers will be fed to a bad tempered tiger I used to work with. God, she was a BITCH. It's enough to make you swear off cats, it really is...
Thanks to those who emailed me last time I really have appreciated it! More, please, MORE! :-)
Thanks to David at Nifty, without whom it would not, of course be possible
This is dedicated to the one I love. He knows who he is.
Disclaimer - I'm currently watching ducks out of my window. The males are all appear to be desperately horny, and are chasing each other around with their beaks in each others tailfeathers. This does not mean I have a flock of gay ducks outside my window. Me writing this story does not mean that we have gay boyband members on our radios. And if you have a problem with gay stuff, then you can damn well quack off!
"Hopefully I'll be getting the next few chapters out relatively soon, but I've got a shitload of work on at the moment, so please bear with me... " - I can't believe I wrote that a whole YEAR ago! ok, so I'm a lazy bastard, but then who isn't..... Strangely enough, have had most of this chapter written for all of that time, but no end to it. Will see if I can reduce the wait this time around!
Be Excellent To Each Other,
Part One: The Phoenix Wing
Magic is not an indivisible art; Wizards differ in more
than their raw power, but in their abilities too. There are eight disciplines in which a
wizard may have skill; in truth, a wizard will have abilities in all of these, thought to
a greater or lesser extent. These disciplines are: the magics of the Elements - Fire, Air,
Water, Earth and Ice; and the magics of the Self - the powers of Mind, Body and Spirit.
Through the use of these arts and their combinations will a Wizard craft the spells that
give him the title of 'Wizard'.
>From The Colours of Magic, an introductory
text often used by the Arrhan Wizards
"OK, guys, that's pretty much it for today," Kevin announced. "Just remember that tomorrow morning we've got to go through the routine that we'll be doing for MTV with N-"
"-yes, thank you AJ, and we'll be meeting up with the choreography team then."
"Who's on the team?" Brian inquired
"Well, there's Nsync's-"
"Will you shut up AJ? There's going to be Nsync's..." Kev gave AJ a hard look "...choreographer, and there's going to be a guy from MTV there too. And someone appears to have requested Fatima too." That smile was just too innocent.
"Kevin!!!" AJ whined, "tell me you didn't... oh, you did!" He pouted.
"Sorry AJ, but I thought it would just be unfair to let you and Nick loose on two poor unsuspecting souls. Fatima knows to keep you two on a short leash, and put all that energy to good use."
Nick kept quiet, taking the news stoically. Though the smile that had appeared at the prospect of fresh meat had dimmed somewhat. But he had in fact been quiet quite a bit for the past few days.
"Is there something wrong Nick? You haven't seemed quite yourself recently," Brian asked, concerned.
Nick smiled. "I want someone to play with."
"What? Come on Nick, we've played the Playstation to death and the N64 has probably been worn down to about an N43, and as for the Dreamcast... the joysticks were moving so fluidly the last time we played I swear they were melting."
"Um, Brian? I think I recognize that little look that he's got on his face. He is not thinking about THAT type of joystick."
"Um, what do you mean A... oh. I think I get it." Brian flushed uncomfortably. He'd known Nick for years but there were still some things that he found a bit difficult to handle.
Nick didn't look at anyone, but there was something decidedly... naughty about his little smile now.
Kevin looked at him closely. "Nick..."
"Frightening as it is, I know how your mind works. Leave them ALONE."
"Kevin, sometimes you are just no fun."
"You have absolutely no intention of doing what I'm telling you, do you?"
"Not really, no. Consenting adults, and all that."
"...and there's also going to be the Back-"
"Will you shut up Chris? There's also going to be the Backstreet..." Lance shot Chris a hard look "...Boys choreographer, Fatima." He grinned at his bandmates. "You do, I trust, know of her reputation?"
"How could we not?"
"Lets not talk about that, ok?"
"Ok then, you've all been warned - I would really, really recommend having a nice, early - and preferably sober - night then. That is certainly what I am intending to."
"Oh leave us alone Lancie - can't we have one last night of fun?" Joey pleaded.
"But of course you can Joe," Lance said with a smile, "just don't come crying to me tomorrow. Because I am sure she will make you cry."
"Have I told you how much I dislike you before?"
"Plenty, Joe. You just never mean it."
"Well, I mean it now."
"Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I'm gonna do some stuff for FreeLance and get some shut-eye - see you in the morning, guys."
"'Night Lance," they chorused.
JC sighed comfortably as he sank into his bed. He was feeling restless, like there was something he should be doing - it was a bit like the tension that built before a concert, but somehow less focused, without direction. He always treasured these moments, though usually not when he was experiencing them. The rest of the time he was too bloody busy to think of doing anything but work; to be so relaxed he was itching for something to do was a rare occasion. And a surprisingly irritating one, he often felt.
He rolled onto one side.
After a few minutes, he rolled onto the other.
He felt too hot, and threw off the covers.
He got up and opened the window, and returned to the bed.
Deciding that the night wind was a little bit too cold on his bare chest, he got up and shut the window.
He rolled onto one side.
After a few minutes, he rolled onto the other.
Swearing under his breath, he got up and switched on the TV. His problem, he decided as the movements on the screen made shadows dance around the room, was he probably wasn't getting enough sex. Usually, he didn't have time for it on the road, and usually found sleep the most attractive proposition when at home. Still......
He grinned as he thought of the performance with the Backstreet Boys. With a bit of luck, maybe a cure could be found...
AJ flicked idly through the TV channels. He was bored. He was someone who loved to be active, running around, giving Kevin heart attacks... DOING something. He didn't like having nothing better to do than attempting to stave off sleep. Sleep seemed so pointless at times - though this was not a viewpoint he observed after a session with Fatima. He loved her to bits - she was really the only good choreographer who would put up with him - but she certainly made him pay for making her do so. He really should get some sleep.
There was a knock on the door. Glad of the excuse, he switched off the TV and answered it.
Nick stood there in a white silk dressing gown. "Evenin', AJ."
"Hiya. Wanna come in?"
"Nah, I just came and knocked on your door for the hell of it." Nick wandered over to the room's couch and slouched on it. It was an action he was practised at.
"Want a drink? Got a whole, well, nearly whole mini-bar here."
"A drink? Me? Goodness, what would Kevin say?" He smiled. "I'll have whatever you're having."
"I'm not gonna tell him. Besides, you're old enough to drink now."
Nick smile turned wry. This was one fact that seemed to have had trouble seeping into Kevin's consciousness.
"So," AJ asked, "what's got you up at this hour?"
"It's hardly that late. I was bored and not feeling sleepy so I thought I'd come over here." Nick's voice turned silky. "Maybe you and me could explore your bisexual side."
AJ came close to dropping the bourbon bottle. As it was, it knocked against the rim of the glass, causing a note to hang in the air. "M-my what?!?! You're going a bit far this tim-"
"AJ," he was cut off smoothly, "I'm blonde. I'm not stupid." The smile spread.
In one graceful movement he went from slouching to standing, and advanced on his quarry. AJ felt like a somewhat tattooed and dyed mouse watching a golden haired cat come closer. Given that smile, a golden haired Cheshire cat
Nick stopped inches way from him. "Tell me AJ, do you have a bisexual side?" he whispered.
"No, I d-"
He kissed him. AJ's eyes went wide and his jaw dropped open. Not a smart move. Well, depending on your point of view, anyway.
There was a husky vein to the whisper this time. "Tell me AJ, do you have a bisexual side?"
AJ blinked repeatedly. He appeared to be having a bit of trouble working out how his larynx worked. "Um, er, I, no-"
He knew enough to keep his mouth shut this time. But he didn't seem to offer much resistance as Nick's tongue prised his lips apart.
"Tell me AJ..."
"Look, er, Nick, I'm a free spirit, the last thing I want is, er..."
He nearly laughed at the change of direction. "What, you think I want to be tied down to your bony ass? Uh-uh. But you're bored, I'm bored..."
AJ simply stared at the man standing in front of him. And, completely against his will, his lips turned up in a smile. "We really shouldn't do this you know."
Again that seductive whisper. "Perhaps... Don't be boring, AJ..."
"You're quiet this morning, AJ," Brian commentated.
"It's nothing. I'm just tired."
"Oh? Why's that? Fatima won't put up with you being tired."
"Yeah, yeah, thanks Kev, tell me something I didn't know," AJ replied testily. He shifted on his seat.
Someone's not a morning person today, Kevin thought, what's gotten up his ass?
"Good morning, everyone!"
He's far too cheerful. What's up?
Nick noticed the expression on Kevin's face. "Do you have to be so suspicious of everything I do? Can't I just be happy for once?" he said in aggrieved tone.
The avatar of injured innocence sighed sadly. And possibly a little bit over melodramatically, too, Kevin noticed with the eye of a true connoisseur.
Nick pouted. Well, for all of 15 seconds. Then he bounced off to the breakfast trolley humming to himself. AJ scowled even more, staring at nothing.
"Lover's tiff?" Kevin queried of AJ in an amused tone. The response he got was not quite what he expected. Instead of flipping him the bird, AJ gaped, eyes growing wide. He snapped his mouth shut, and went alternately red and white by turns. He jumped up. He sat down. He glared at Kevin, then spoiled it by yawning. Then he flounced out of the room, muttering under his breath.
Brian and Kevin stared at each other, then looked at Nick's back. He was still piling his plate with assorted fatty foods, but... on occasion, his shoulders twitched, as if he was trying to stop himself laughing. "Care to tell us what that was about, Nicky?" Brian asked.
"Its nothing!" Nick practically squeaked. He grabbed a glass of orange juice and sat in a chair. His lips were writhing in an effort not to laugh, and quickly hid it behind the pretence of drinking. Brian and Kevin just looked at each other again, and shrugged. Ok, so it was going to be on of those days.
Without meaning it, Howie kept looking at Nick during the limo drive to rehearsal. He was very good at reading people usually, often seeing things that they wanted to keep hidden. He often saw things that people managed to hide from themselves, but... Nick was different. Sometimes he was as transparent as glass, but others it was damn impossible - if he's had said the sky had turned vomit yellow then only looking out of the window would have shown him Nick was lying. Now was one of those times. And then there was AJ. He would have been pretty easy to read.... if he wasn't nuts. Howie smiled fondly to himself. AJ's unpredictability was his best feature, he thought privately. His eyes drifted to his best friend. He usually agreed with Kevin's adult attitude to things, it was important to do things right... but Kevin needed keeping on his toes, he'd grow far too complacent otherwise. AJ certainly would never let that happen. He chuckled to himself, looking back to his blonde brother.
Nick was looking at him, staring directly in the eyes, and smiling faintly. Howie raised an eyebrow questioningly, but Nick just smiled and shrugged. Howie could do nothing else but smile in response, even if he did think that Nick used that smile to get himself out of far too many things. It was a fond thought though.
"HELLO my pretties!" said an evil voice. By definition, Satan HAS to have an evil voice, AJ thought.
Kevin didn't seem particularly fazed. "Hi Fatima, you're looking lovely today," he said with a charming smile.
She laughed. "Nice try, Mr Body Beautiful!"
"Kiss ass," AJ and Nick hissed from either side of him.
"AJ!!!!!!!!!!!!" a cheerful duet sang out, as Chris and Joey jumped on him. The rest of Nsync followed in, with all round hello's for everyone. Fatima was introduced to Nsync, and their choreographer Darren to the BSB.
Fatima smiled at their enthusiasm. And purgatory began.
"My Lord, I know it sounds far fetched, but..." Aaron broke off.
The Patriarch silently looked at him over steepled fingers, eyes narrowed. Then he sighed.
"Unfortunately, it is the fact that you can't justify it to yourself so much that makes me believe it is true. I am quite well versed in prophetic tradition, and the way it affects people - one of my ancestors, as you know, understood enough prophesy to know that one of the Nine would come from his descendants. This of course was something that we have by necessity had to keep quiet - who knows who would have wished to marry into the family otherwise? And hence we have your daughter." The Patriarch smiled fondly at his son-in-law. "I've looked at the passage that gave him this insight, and I know you have - but although it seems to fit, a bit of a stretch of the imagination. The whole reason that we keep the ancient scrolls is because a fragment of prophesy resides there, and it might just catch someone's mind."
He looked down at the book on his desk, reading the antiquated writing quietly to himself.
Of those upon whom all relies, nine shall be found
In a circle of lies, brightness and sound
The world at their feet, yet the world shall they serve.
"He was a good prophet, in many ways, if slightly obsessed with getting a rhyme," he mused aloud, "less obscure than many."
The Patriarch remained silent for a time. He finally met Aaron's eyes. "What must be, will be. We have no choice in the matter."
Um, comments anyone? I know there's not much real meat to it yet (no, I am NOT implying that AJ has a small... <snicker> ), but stories do take a while to develop, don't you think?
All in good time! Hope to get the next one out in less than a year..... encouragement does help!