STANDARD WARNING: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is pure coincidence. Do not read this story if you are offended by man-to-man romance or sex. Do not read if you are underage according to the laws in the country, state/province, county, city/town/village or township where you live. There is sex between males. You have been warned!

Copyright 2000 by archer. Permission is granted to Nifty Archives, ASSGM, and gaywritings, to post one copy. No part may be copied, reproduced, republished, or reposted on another website without written permission from the author.

Paternal Instincts

By Archer

Chapter 24

"You’re late," Matt told the boy when he entered the house.

Brian was too scared to argue. Tim was the closest adult to him, so he hugged Tim. "I love you, Tim," Brian said to his chest.

Tim felt the boy trembling and perspiring profusely. He took Brian’s head gently in his hands, and looked into his face. Tim noticed the bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils. Something was up. Tim raised an eyebrow.

"We ate dinner already. There’s leftovers in the kitchen."

"Well, I’d better get on the road," Tim said. Brian suddenly noticed he was ravenous. He headed for the food in the kitchen. Tim caught Matt’s glance and jerked his head toward the bedroom.

Matt followed Tim there. Once inside the room, he enveloped Tim, and kissed him passionately.

"Something’s wrong with Brian," Tim said when their lips parted.

"Like what?"

"He’s been doing something. Drinking, maybe smoking."

"How can you tell?"

"Look at his eyes."

Matt decided he would.

"Are you going to talk to him?"

"Of course."

"Do you need me to stay and help out?"

"No, thanks, hon, I’ll be fine. You are going to hit some major traffic unless you get going."

On the way out, Tim kissed Brian on the forehead as the boy dove into a huge plate of food.

When he was finished, Brian put the plate in the dishwasher, and went to take a shower. Matt stretched out on the couch and watched some TV.

Brian hoped to wash the afternoon’s events from his memory. He also brushed his teeth well, to wash the remaining taste out of his mouth.

Without a word, he sat on the couch next to Matt to watch TV. Matt like to watch the Monday night comedy lineup on CBS and Brain made no attempt to change the channel. He snuggled next to Matt, and Matt put his arms around him.

In private to Tim, Matt called him the Affection Sponge. He soaked up all the affection both men could give him and still came back for more. He only did this in private, or around people he knew he could trust such as Bill, Leah or Marty. In public, however, he seldom touched Matt or Tim. In this way, he was a typical young teenager.

Tonight, however, he seemed unusually quite and uncommonly needy of affection. Matt suspected something was wrong, even if Tim hadn’t said anything.

"Are you OK?"

Without thinking, Brian looked Matt in the eyes. Matt could see nothing there. The food and shower had helped to bring the boy back to earth.

No, I’m not OK. Today I smoked pot for the first time and got groped by a boy two years older than I am.

"Yeah, I’m just tired."

You sure you’re OK?"

"Yes, Dad."

"Just checking. That’s my job, you know."

"I think I’m going to bed now." He kissed Matt on the forehead.

"Good night, son."

Matt stayed up longer to watch Northern Exposure and the news. The weather forecast hot and humid conditions through Wednesday night, when there was a chance of thunderstorms. He turned off the TV, and went to bed, wondering what was bothering Brian.

Any parent or person who works with children in any kind of residential setting will understand this fact: Parents can always hear their children crying in the night. Perhaps human beings are born with the ability to hear the cries. Maybe it comes from our need to protect our young in order to survive. In the mists of time the ability to suddenly awaken was planted in the brain where it remains to this day.

Matt heard Brian crying that night.

Matt hurried to the other bedroom, where Brian was still thrashing about, mumbling something about Scott.

"Sshh-h-h! It’s OK, hon." Matt knelt at the side of the bed and enveloped the boy. He was sweaty and warm. The tears made his face sticky. He placed one arm under his knees and the other under his shoulders and lifted the boy off the bed. Brian’s feet hung loosely as Matt carried him to the other bedroom. He dampened a washcloth with cool water and wiped his face as he continued to murmur soothingly to Brian.

"Can you tell me about what happened?"

Brian was too upset to lie. He spilled the whole story, including his drug usage. The part about Barry appearing out of nowhere chilled Matt to the bone. Brian didn’t understand the full implication of what might have happened, but Matt did.

I knew that little shit Scott was trouble. I just knew it. If he weren’t 15, I’d beat the shit out of him. And his fat father, too. But none of this did he demonstrate to Brian. Brian had been a follower in this case, and it was important that he learn a lesson. If ever there was a ‘teachable moment,’ this was it. He also wanted to point out to Brian that a person’s looks aren’t always a good measure of their character.

"I’m very angry with you about the pot. You are not going to use drugs. If you do, I’ll ship you back to St. Luke’s so fast your head will spin." Brian pulled away from Matt and moved to the opposite side of the bed. Matt thought, well, at least he didn’t leave. Matt knew that Brian was basically a good kid, and a certain amount of experimentation was to be expected during adolescence, but Matt wanted to make sure it remained experimentation, and didn’t progress to a habit. Matt was torn. Brian had been honest with him to confess about the drug use, and Matt didn’t want to do anything change that level of honesty. Matt wanted Brian to feel like he could talk to him about anything. Besides, he couldn’t even ground him yet.

Matt changed his tone. "All right. You get a freebie this time."

"Besides, I hurled."

Matt snickered. "You did?"


"Maybe you did learn your lesson." Brian rolled on his back, and his right side touched Matt’s chest. Matt rested his hand flat on Brian’s smooth chest. "I would never send you back to St. Luke’s. I said that out of anger, and I’m sorry."

"I know," he answered quietly. He was quiet for a long moment. The headlights of several passing cars shone through the window. "How do you find someone? I mean, how did you and Tim get together?"

Matt chuckled. "It was all Tim. We would have never gotten together if it hadn’t been for him." Brian propped himself up on one elbow. He wanted to hear the story. "I was with Andy for seven years. I moved back to Chicago about three years ago. I stayed with Marty for about two years until I bought the town house. Tim’s father was the general contractor. That’s how we met. We had sex when before the place was finished."

"OOOO? You did the big nasty! Who started it?"

"Tim did. It was when he was installing the shower downstairs. That was the first time." Matt smiled at the memory. "He was the one who wanted a relationship. I didn’t." Matt could have sworn that he told the story before. But Matt really enjoyed telling the story. It was like all family fiction – stories that were passed on from adults to children. Sometimes, the stories were humorous or involved scandal but they were all instructive. Matt knew that Brian was learning more about him and Tim as individuals, as well as learning about how gay men can develop a connection.

"I love that story." When Brian said that, it confirmed Matt’s suspicion that he had heard the story before. "So you think I’ll ever find someone?"

Matt hugged him. "Of course you will. You’re a great kid, and you’re very good-looking. But be careful of using your looks. People like Scott use their looks to get what they want. It sounds like you were used today. Scott was using you for his own needs. And he had something going on with Barry."

"They were going to take pictures of me, weren’t they?"

"I think so, Brian." Matt was silent for a moment. "Be more careful, Brian. I worry about you. That’s my job as a parent."

"How can I do that? I mean, Scott looked like a great guy. We had so much fun in the lake yesterday. I thought I could trust him."

"Don’t judge people by their looks, for one. Sometimes the best looking people have no morals or character, and the ones who are....umm, plain....have the best personalities. I’ll bet you know someone like that right now."

"Yeah, I do." Brian was thinking of Mike.

"Do you know him from St. Luke’s?"

"Yeah." Brian started to get weepy again.

"What? What’s wrong? Tell me."

"He said he loved me just before I got on the bus."

"Do you love him?"


"How do you feel about him?"

"I like him a lot but...."

"You don’t love him," Matt completed the sentence for him.

"Yeah," Brian agreed. "I don’t want to hurt his feelings."

Matt pulled the boy closer. He pressed his chest against his back and tightened his arms around his torso. "It’s confusing, I know. This time in your life, you are figuring out what love is, and how relationships work. I remember what it was like. You want a boyfriend so bad, but you don’t have the slightest idea of how to get one, and if you did, how to make it work."

"That’s it," Brian agreed. Matt always understood him.

"Have patience, kiddo. I know you don’t think you will ever get what you want, but you will. Hopefully, you look back at this time and laugh. Or at least smile." Matt glanced at the clock. "God! It’s 3:30! We’ve been talking for almost two hours. We’d better get some sleep."

"Thanks, Matt. I mean, Dad. I won’t smoke weed again, I promise. Thanks for talking to me. I feel much better."

"You’re welcome, son." Matt was thinking about how he was going to help Brian resolve his issues with Mike when Brian asked another question.

"We don’t have to go to the beach tomorrow, do we?"

"No, we don’t, although it would be a perfect day to go. It’s going to be hot again tomorrow. Are you scared we’ll see Scott and Fatman?"

Brian laughed. "Yeah."

"Well, don’t be. I’ll be there if they try to start anything. Besides, you didn’t do anything wrong, except for smoking. They’re the ones who should be worried." Matt’s voice was serious. "I love you no matter what, Brian. I want you to know that. No matter what you do, no matter whom you love. And thanks for being so honest with me."

Matt rolled over and started to fall asleep.


"Yeah?" Matt said in a groggy voice.

"I love you."


The next morning dawned hot, just as the forecast had predicted. When Matt first glanced at the clock, it was already 9 AM. He got out of bed and shuffled to the kitchen. He started some coffee brewing and rummaged around the kitchen for something to eat. He considered eggs but didn’t want to go to the trouble. Maybe he could get some donuts or muffins, and pick up a Tribune as well. He considered letting Brian sleep but then thought it would be better to tell him that he was going.

Matt shook his shoulder. "I’m going to pick up a newspaper."

"Can I go?"

"I’ll be right back."


Matt sighed. "Hurry up and put some clothes on."

Brian did so in record time and appeared in record time wearing a dirty T-shirt and shorts that looked like he slept in them. At least in one aspect, Matt thought, he’s a typical boy.

Tuesday was going to be an unusual day in that there would be three Dad Sightings. Dad Sightings were comments by strangers to the effect that Matt and Brian were father and son even though they didn’t look anything alike. The people who made the comments were probably responding to the fact that they sent out a certain vibration when they were together. Even though they seldom touched each other in public, complete strangers responded to the closeness that they exuded. The Dad Sightings amused them both at first, now they had become commonplace.

The first Dad Sighting took place in the bakery that morning. The owner was a husky woman with a heavy German accent. Matt chose two bran muffins.

"And what would your son like?" She asked Brian.

"May I have two chocolate donuts?"

"Growing boy like you needs three. I’ll throw the third in free."

"Thank you ma’am."

The owner turned her attention to Matt. "I like to see a boy with manners. You and your wife must be proud."

Matt smiled ironically. "I’m a single father."

"Oh! I’m sorry. Such a good-looking man, you’ll have no problem finding another wife."

Matt actually blushed. Brian smiled and looked like he was going to burst out laughing.

"Come back to visit before you leave," she waved after they paid for their items.

They spent the rest of the morning reading the newspaper and eating their baked goods.

That afternoon they did go to the beach, and didn’t see Scott or Barry. They spent much of the time in the water since it was so hot. They wrestled with the raft, and they dunked each other. They eventually ended up floating on the raft lying across the raft on their stomachs. They kicked their legs to see how fast they could propel the raft.

The second Dad Sighting came when they stopped for an ice cream cone. The boy working behind the counter asked Brian what flavor his dad wanted.

The last Dad Sighting came when they went to see a movie in Michigan City, Indiana. The choice of movie was between Jurassic Park and Sleepless in Seattle. Brian chose Jurassic Park. But he debated a long time over the choice. The fact that he was willing to see a romantic comedy such as Sleepless in Seattle indicated to Matt that maybe he wasn’t a typical boy after all.

With a wink and a sly smile the woman in the ticket booth at the theater asked "Your son is twelve or under, isn’t he?"

"Ummm…. Of course."

They both enjoyed the movie, although Matt found it a bit gory and gross in spots. All during the movie, he draped an arm around Brian’s shoulders and he rested a hand on Matt’s thigh.

They both were tired from all the fun and activity during the day, and Brian went bed when they got back from Michigan City. Matt took the opportunity to call Tim after he went to bed. Matt told him about Brian’s adventure with Scott.

"Did you punish him?"

"What can I do?" Matt asked. "I can’t ground him. I did put the fear of God into him. He told me he puked."

"He barfed?"

"Yup. The big Technicolor yawn."

Tim laughed. "All right! That’ll teach him."

"The kid and his sleazeball father live in Park Forest. We have to make sure they stay away from him."


"When Brian was leaving, Barry was walking up with a camera."

"He was going to take pictures of Brian?"

"Get this. I think he is using his son as a decoy to get boys to strip. Scott smokes pot with the kid. The kid loses control because of the pot and because he’s so good-looking. Scott convinces the kid to strip and Barry ducks in and gets the pictures. The only thing that saved him was his intuition. He sensed something was wrong and got away."

"Good for him."

Matt agreed. "He’s not a typical kid. He’s extraordinary. That’s why I didn’t get too upset with him. Plus, he confessed the whole thing to me. I want to make sure he keeps talking to me." Matt twisted the phone cord around his finger. "I miss you."

"I miss you, too. Only a day and a half and I’ll be there. I’ll leave right after work on Thursday. I’m all packed and ready to go."

"I’m looking forward to it. Are you still working in Frankfort?"


"Who’s cooking for you?"

"Fast food."


"You can cook me a big dinner when I get there. I’m requesting spaghetti."

"Right," Matt answered sarcastically.

"I love you."

"I love you, too,"

Wednesday brought even more heat. Most people complained louder than normal because the entire summer had been a mild one. They were unaccustomed to the heat. Matt decided to take Brian to Lighthouse Place in Michigan City. It was an outlet mall and Matt planned on buying Brian some school clothes. If Brian was going to insist on name brands, at least he could get them at a discount.

While Matt hated shopping, he actually enjoyed shopping with Brian. Brian sorted through the piles of clothes, with some unknown fashion picture in his mind. Plus, he looked good in just about everything. He bought Brian two pairs of jeans, but resisted the super-baggy styles. Matt disliked them and told Brian the only gangsters and thugs wore them. The only other requirement Matt made was that Brian try on a pair of khakis and two button-down shirts. Matt insisted on these because they were comfortable and dressier than jeans. He could wear them to church, for example, or to a more formal occasion. In one sense, Matt hated to enforce his fashion sense on Brian, but his own mother had done it to him, and besides, if he didn’t do it, no one else would. Brian complied with Matt’s wishes without too much argument because he wanted to please Matt, and because Matt was spending a lot of money on him.

On the trip back to New Buffalo, Brian asked Matt, "Can I get a tattoo?"

"No. Absolutely not."

"Why? Scott has one."

"Scott’s a good person to copy," Matt said sarcastically. "No tattoo, Brian. Not until you’re eighteen." Being a parent did have its uncomfortable chores and setting limits was one of them.

Brian pouted for a short time, then tried a different approach. "Can I get my ear pierced?"

"Yes. But let’s wait a bit, until you come to live with me. When you go back to St. Luke’s, they’ll make you take it out, and it might grow over." Matt was referring to the fact that St. Luke’s had banned all earrings.

By this time, it was about four in the afternoon. Actually, it was three. New Buffalo was in the Eastern Time zone, whereas the Chicago area was in Central. The clock in the Saturn read 2:55 but their growling stomachs told them it was closer to dinnertime.

"I was going to grill tonight, but I think it’s going to rain," Matt said. The clouds in the west were becoming dark and ominous. The hot, humid air lay thick like a wet blanket. It was perfect for a thunderstorm.

Brian glanced back through the rear window. "It’s getting really dark. Look how black those clouds are."

Matt creased his forehead and stepped on the gas. A concern for Tim’s safety raced through his mind, but he knew Tim was sensible enough to take shelter, if needed.

Hello! If you've read this far, I'd like your feedback! This includes all you lurkers out there! I admit, I was one, too! But, geez, and empty mailbox every night! How about a line? I'd appreciate it. Don't forget to check out my website listed below. I post the chapters there one week earlier than here on Nifty. As always, thanks for reading.


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