Hi there!

I don't want to say too much here (famous last words...), but I do want to say a few things:

Firstly, this story will have a few (I hope) unexpected twists. But I'll ask you all to stick with it - I'm pretty sure everything will work out in the end... :-P

I hope you enjoy this, and I would really, REALLY appreciate some feedback to Phoenix@relightmyfire.co.uk (so I like corny email addy's... bite me :-) ).
Constructive criticism is welcomed, flamers will be dealt with by a cheap (sorry, "good value") hitman I know. :)

Finally, I would like to dedicate this to two lovely, lovely, talented people:
Gabriella Morrison, of "My Surprise Romance" fame, who has the great Sweetheart Stories website - go visit!
and Dara Lynn of the "Any Path" Trilogy.

If you haven't read either of these stories yet, then you really, really need to. Go. GO!!!!

Thanks to David at Nifty for putting up with us all. We are grateful , we really are...

Oh, and while I think about it, BIG hi to Stuart. Loves ya, my friend.

Urrggghhhh. Nearly forgot:
Disclaimer - If you read this story and think that it has any bearing on the real sexualities, views, attititudes or abilities of those mentioned, then one of us has a really bad connection to reality. And in all fairness, I don't think it's me...
I really have no idea who they do it with, and care less, as long as they're happy. Yes, that even includes Brian's marriage :)

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...

Be Excellent To Each Other,

Phoenix Rising

Part One: The Phoenix Wing

"...and there will come a time when a Darkness shall gather, and should it be allowed to grow its shadow shall fall upon all Creation. Those who shall be the Light against the Darkness shall be brought together by fate and the Watchers, bound together by friendship and love, and their numbers shall be Three and Nine. Pray that the Watchers can bear their heavy load, Guardian and Betrayer, lest all be lost..."
                                    excerpt from The Prophecies of Garlath the Seer, 4th Century B.C.


   Two pairs of eyes regarded the infant, curled against his mother. Sleeping, he was unaware of the gazes resting upon him. They stood in silence for a time, observing the soft breathing. Finally, the shorter of the two spoke. "It is him," he murmured. "The first of the Nine is born."
   The other nodded in acknowledgement.  "And so it begins."
   Again silence reigned.
   Unperturbed by destiny, the young dragon slept.

   Worlds away, two young women dreamed besides their husbands. Neither would come to know the other for many years still to come, but for this moment, their lives ran parallel.

   They both snapped bolt upright, wide awake, white as sheets. Their husbands stirred beside them. "What's wrong, love?" came the sleepy questions.

   "I had a dream."

   "Was it bad, honey?"

   The women shivered. "There... there was a man in my dream. He... he said..." - they gulped for breath, fighting back tears - "he told me to go to the doctor. He said I should take a fertility test. He said that the reason I hadn't conceived yet was because... because I can't..."

   All four people waited with great trepidation for the results of the tests. They had each other; all they lacked was a child to complete their lives.

   Each couple looked up as the door to the room they were waiting in was opened by a grave faced doctor. The women cried as they were told they were, so far as medical science could ascertain, incapable of giving birth. The men took the news stoically; but it was difficult to say whether they were holding their wives, or clinging to them.

   "I was right."

   "You were. What do you want? To torment me? You might as well not bother."

   The man sighed. "Torment you? Certainly no, that is not my intention."

   "Then what? You only remind me of the hopes i no longer have, and I would rather dream of something else."

   He raised an eyebrow. "Surely you realise by now this is no average dream?"


   A faint smile graced the man's features. "I come not to torment you, but to make you an offer."

   "The Devil! You're the Devil!"

   He looked pained. "Oh, I assure you, I am not. Your immortal soul is yours to do with as you please. I want nothing to do with it."

   "Then what?" There was a great deal of suspicion in the question, but... they so wanted children...

   His eyes were intense. "Tell me, what do you know of changelings..."

Down time

   It was times like these that Kevin really appreciated being a Backstreet Boy. The sun was shining down onto him from out of a blue sky, and the only sound he could hear was a faint buzz of traffic in the distance, serving only to remind him that a 'normal' life, though it's absence was often bemoaned, was something he was quite happy to be without. The sun and breeze gently touched his body, stirring the hairs on the backs of his arms and bronzing his uncovered chest. He drifted in that contented region between wakefulness and sleep. This is bliss, he thought, it can't get any better than this.

   "Hello Kevvy..."

   I was right. It can't. Kevin opened his eyes with a burdened sigh and looked to where the voice had come from. "Hiya Nick. What're you doing here?"

   "Well, me and Kaos thought you could do with some company," said another voice by his ear.

   Kevin lurched upright in shock, his hands clutching his chest. Shit. Double trouble. Slowly he turned around, trying to keep both of them in his sight at once. He'd recognised the tone in Nick's voice. It said: I'm bored. It said: Things need livening up. It said: You are my chosen victim

   "Go on. Say it, AJ. You know you won't you won't leave me alone until you do."

   "Kevvy!" the freak protested, "I really don't understand you sometimes! I mean, what's wrong in me expressing concern about the continuation of your good health? You're not getting any younger, and you ought to look after your heart. You don't want to have to get a new one - they don't make them like that any more."

   "Thank you AJ. It's so nice to have a brother so understanding as you. And as for looking after my heart, it'd be a lot healthier if I didn't have to put up with you two."

   If those two faces could have been a painting, it would have been entitled "A Picture of Innocence". It would also probably have been a Picasso - more than a little twisted.

   "Me? Don't bring me into this Kev. What have I do..." Nick trailed off. There was only so much bare-faced cheek even HE was capable of.

   "Don't get me started."

   "Oh but Kevin, you know I like to get you... started..." the tell blonde replied with a smirk.

   "Would you object to getting your mind out of my underwear?"

   "Well, I know there's not much room in there Kev, but-"

   "Yes, yes, thank you." Kevin found himself recalling the time he'd found out out Nick was gay. Soon after they had all first met Brian had asked Nick if he had a girlfriend back home. Nick had just wrinkled his nose and said "Girls? Yuck!". The older members of the band had just laughed, expecting hormones to start doing some serious damage to that attitude soon.

   In all fairness, it hadn't quite worked out that way.

   Nearly a year later, Kevin had found Nick "having a little fun", as he'd called it. Neither Nick or his little friend had been exactly undressed, but both had been more than a little, ahem, out of breath. He hadn't been that amused to be quizzed by Kevin about the incident either.

   "What do you mean what was I doing? It looked perfectly obvious from where I was."

   "Excuse me? I told you ages ago, girls ain't my thing!"

   "You have no room to talk, Kevin. I've heard those sounds coming from your room, and they are way too high-pitched to be you watching the porno channel, too varied to be one person and, I might add, do seem to indicate that somebody is getting seriously stretched."

   It had occurred to a red-faced Kevin that Nick might not actually be a natural blonde.

   Shit. There was one thing you did NOT do around these two, and that was zone out. They needed continuous watching. Unfortunately, this did not occur to Kevin until he was already airborne and close to being waterborne. He'd been unconsciously backing away from the two of them, and they were aware of it. And had been been herding him towards the pool.

   Kevin screamed. (I'm sorry, he may be as butch as you're gonna get from a boy-band, but he screamed . And loudly, too.) The water shouldn't be that cold. And then AJ screamed too. No honour among thieves, it seems.

   "I'm gonna KILL you, Blondie!!!!!" AJ hauled himself, dripping, out of the pool and ran towards his younger band-member, who waited with a towel in much the same way as a matador. Nick made a quick side-step, gracefully waving the towel as, with a practised movement, he rolled it. There was a sharp sound as the towel introduced itself to AJ's backside. He skidded to a stop clutching his right cheek, and slowly turned around to give Nick an evil stare. Which was completely ignored.

   Nick grinned. Two-to-one odds were much more fun anyway.

   "They want us'n the Backseat Boys to perform on the stage together at the MTV Awards?"


   "Why'd they want that, Scoop? Wouldn't it be a better idea to spread us out a bit more?"

   "I don't know. I know that I wouldn't do it if I were them. Not to point fingers, but it really isn't a good idea to let certain elements of this group mix with certain elements of theirs."

  Four pairs of eyes were rolled, only one of which being in sympathy with his view. "You STILL haven't forgiven us for that, have you?"


   "It wasn't like we meant to buy permanent spray paint. AJ was sure it came out after a coupla washes."

   "My point exactly. You actually listened to AJ?"

   "You got us back for it though."

   "Justin, that's not the point." A faint smile did seem to play around his mouth though.

   "And besides, fluorescent pink is just SO your colour"

   "Don't go there, Joe. Just don't go there. Do you have anything to add, Christopher?"

   "Hey! What did I do to get called 'Christopher'?"

   "Nothing. Please try to keep it that way."

   "Oh, shrink down!"

   "I beg your pardon?"

   "Well I can hardly tell you to 'grow up', can I?"

   Lance sighed. "Can we at least try to be sensible for five minutes?"

   There was a beep as Joey set his stopwatch. The southern blonde was confronted with one amused and three good-as-gold boy-scout faces.

   Lance massaged his temples. He had a feeling that it was going to be one of those days

   Despite the fact that he was in the middle of the Sahara Desert, Aaron didn't feel too hot - to the contrary, he felt only pleasantly warm. Halibi was highly unlike its surroundings. Built around a natural oasis, the home of the Wizards of Arrha was completely hidden from outsiders, both wanderers in the desert and people actively searching for it. Ancient spell-walls prevented anyone from finding it, let alone entering, without the help of one there already. Spells of similar antiquity kept the environment pleasant; the dreadful heat of the sun rarely penetrated to an uncomfortable extent, and sandstorms were never a concern to those within the warding.

   Aaron was in the Library. In the Prophesy section, to be exact - one of the most difficult areas to enter; near impossible to break into. The books residing there were just too precious - and too dangerous - for them not to be so guarded. A number of texts barely even deserved that name - little more than fragments of parchment or papyrus. Copies and innumerable disputed translations existed, but these were originals; an essence of the prophet's gift still clung to the almost illegible writing.

   He had dedicated a large part of his life to attempting to understand the prophesies which appeared to be converging. Slowly, slowly, a piece from here would piece together with a fragment from there. Slowly, carefully, Aaron began to arrive at a picture of what was to come.

   What he felt now was unlike anything he had experienced before. Like lightning from a cloudless sky, inspiration struck. Suddenly pieces formed a picture in his mind. He found himself running from the Library, out towards the home of the Patriarch, the Lord of Halibi and greatest among the Arrhan Wizards.

   Ten! He thought to himself. TEN!

   Only two more still to find...


Um, well, how was it people? I would really, really appreciate some feedback here! Hopefully I'll get the next part out soon, but until then, thanks for reading!