Time Stood Still

Disclaimer: This story involves love, relationship, and "adult" subject matter between teenage boys... so I guess that means your not supposed to read this if your under 18, but really if you are younger than that, I can't stop you. Just Don't Get Caught :)  If homosexuality offends you, then leave, or join the 21st century, and open up to it.

This Is FICTION... any character resembling a real life person is by coincidence, and in the rare event a character is based on someone in real life their name has been changed due to legal and personal protection.  You never know who's lurking around reading this.  So now the little spiel is over so hopefully you'll enjoy this.  Do Not Reproduce this story, and if you would like to have it on your web site, email me & get my permission. Thanks. Copyright Jaden 2002


Chapter 2
Running Out Of Time

A cold chill swept through the air.  The wind blowing swift and hard caused trees limbs to sway on a dark gloomy day.  More noticeable were the hundreds of pieces of papers flapping in the wind, fighting to hold onto the supports that held them up.  Nearly a dozen people scattered through the streets hanging more flyers, looking down alleys, in windows.. any conceivable place someone could be.

"How can no one have seen him?"  Jane Stevens questioned to no one in particular.  The four boys flanking her all looked at each other wearily, not knowing what to say.  Matt gave Jane's shoulder a squeeze, trying to reassure her that things would be all right.  The only problem is, deep down he didn't believe it himself.

"We will find him."  Jake said with determination.  He looked at Eric's mother and boyfriend trying to comfort each other.  Their eyes flanked by dark circles, disheveled in their sleep deprived states.  Jake himself didn't look much better, sleep came in short intervals for him, his mind running wild over his best friend.  Matt looked up and gave Jake a weak smile, then returned to posting flyers.  Jake studied the piece of paper in his hand.  A picture of Eric was centered on the page, smiling--happy.  In bold letters above the picture was the word MISSING, followed by the date Eric was last seen.  October was just days away.  Not a word on Eric since Jake last talked to him at the boardwalk... since that last empty phone call almost 4 weeks ago.

The police had searched the area, not finding any evidence that Eric was even still in Anaheim.  One thing that has happened that gives everyone hope, are the letters.  Even as chilling and threatening as the letters are, they confirm that Eric is alive.  Jake tried to shake the thoughts of the threats from his head and continued posting flyers in hope that someone would step forward with any kind of information.

Matt walked alongside Jordan and Riley.  He would laugh at the irony of being so close to the guy that kissed his boyfriend that fateful night, but smiles haven't come around Matt's face lately.  Instead, a permanent frown adorned his tired face.  In a way, Matt blames himself for Eric being kidnapped.  If they didn't fight then Eric wouldn't have run off...if Matt hadn't told him they were over.  Matt sighed, tears forming in his eyes as he thought about the boy he loved more than life.

"Penny for your thoughts?"  Jordan asked.

"I-If I didn't tell Eric we were through he would be okay..."  Jordan was about to speak when Riley cut in.

"And if him and I hadn't kissed then you wouldn't have had a reason to fight.  We can all play the blame game dude, but it's not going to turn back time and fix it."  Matt looked at Riley, trying to figure out what his deal was.  At times he seemed like a good guy, other times, Matt wanted to wring his neck.

"Riley's right, Matt."  Jordan spoke up.  His distaste for Riley still held true, but Kai had assured him that he has nothing to worry about.  "You can blame everyone.  None of us did anything to make sure Eric would get home safely.  No matter how grown up he thinks he is, he's still only 16.  We are going to find him."

"That's the thing.  We won't find him."  A raspy voice caused the three blonde boys to turn around.  Kai Kimbal approached, a long overcoat draped over his shoulders, his hair, now grown out, flowing just inches from his shoulders.  Kai reached into his coat and pulled out an envelope.  Matt took the envelope and opened it.

"Cops are still searching for that one special clue, playing a deadly game of guess who.  This letter goes to you, Kai... for you are the one that is smart enough to figure out how to make sure young Eric doesn't die.  Open the envelope, then say goodbye, if you want Eric alive, soon you'll fly."

Matt looked at Kai, tears flowing from his eyes.  "What envelope...there's nothing else in here."  Kai reached into his coat once more, pulled out a long envelope, and handed it to Matt.

"I'm leaving tonight."  Matt looked inside the envelope and pulled out an airline ticket.  He looked at the destination.  John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, New York.

"Why do you have to go to New York?"  Riley asked.  Jordan looked into Kai's eyes.  A fear that mirrored Jordan's own thoughts shone in Kai's blue eyes.

"To bring Blade back home."

Fear swept through my body, my hands visibly shaking as a two story Victorian home came into view.  The black Cadillac in front of us pulled into the driveway, while we parked on the side of the road.  I took a deep breath, trying to regain my composure.  A soft grip on my hand pulled my attention from my thoughts.  I looked over to the driver's side, met with a warm smile, and a reassuring look emitting from two sparkling brown eyes.  "Relax, Blade.  Be yourself.  He'll love you."  Chance has a way of changing my moods with one flash of his smile.  I smiled back at him, the butterflies in my stomach slowly starting to calm down.  I leaned over and placed a kiss on his soft lips, then opened my door.

"Wish me luck."  I said.

"You don't need it, but good luck.  I'm right out here if you need me.  I love you."  I smiled sweetly at him.

"Love you too."  I shut the car door behind me and headed towards Mrs. Dowling and another social worker who were waiting in the driveway.  I nodded at them, acknowledging I was ready, and we all headed to the front door.

"Just let us do the talking, Blade.  We are hoping that this goes smoothly, with no arguing.  Remember if the Dupris ask you questions just answer them the best you can, and be polite as possible."  Mrs. Dowling instructed.

I felt as if I was being treated like a child, but gritted my teeth and held back any snotty comments, "I'll do my best."  The other social worker, who I'm assuming is second in command under Mrs. Dowling, rang the door bell.  We waited patiently, the cold air sending slight chills through me.  I wrapped my long coat tighter around me as rustling came from behind the door.  The sound of the door being unlocked and the doorknob turning drew my gaze.

A small woman, thin and frail-looking appeared from behind the door.  She smiled at Mrs. Dowling and her partner, but gave me a cold look as she ushered us in.  Let's get this party started.

The woman who introduced herself as Kathy Dupri led us to a living area.  A couch, loveseat, television, stereo, and fireplace adorned the room.  Somehow, Mrs Dowling, her partner and I squeezed onto the small loveseat since who I'm assuming was Mr. Dupri was sprawled out on the couch.

"I'm Mrs. Dowling, this is my associate Mr. Powel and this," She said pointing to me, "Is Blade Stevens."

"Nice to meet you all."  Mrs. Dupri said, with a forced smile on her face.  Mr. Dupri on the other hand made no attempt to hide his displeasure with me as he grunted and eyed me up.

"What kind of name is Blade?  And I thought we were meeting with a man who is trying to take Cameron from us."  I looked at him, my face starting to get hot, "Or at least a male.  From the looks of that long hair I'd say Cameron's mother showed up instead."  Mrs. Dowling subtly shot me a look with her eyes, warning me to keep my cool.

I gritted my teeth, keeping my temper in check.  "I assure you, sir, I'm every bit the man you are."  I was tempted to add 'and more' at the end of my statement, but decided to heed Mrs. Dowling's warning glare.

Mr. Dupri snorted back laughter, "You'll never be the man that I am."  I thought he muttered faggot under his breath, but couldn't be sure.

"Enough of the insults, Mr. Dupri.  Let's get on with the proceedings."  Mr. Powel spoke up with authority.  "Mrs. Dupri, I believe you had a statement you wanted to make regarding Cameron's custody."

"We have a caring and loving home here.  Cameron is provided with all the toys, learning tools, living quarters and love any child could ask for."  Her voice started to quiver followed by a loud sobbing noise.  I knew better than to buy into her act.  No tears were falling from her eyes, her shivering was so obviously forced it was ridiculous.  Tyler would laugh at her terrible acting.  "It'll destroy me if we lose him."

I rolled my eyes then leaned over and whispered into Mr. Powel's ear, "Is that not the worst performance you've ever seen?"  A small smile started to form on his face, which he quickly hid.  Mrs. Dowling glared at both of us.

"Why don't we show Blade to Cameron's room.  Let them get acquainted while Mr. Powell and I explain the logistics and circumstances surrounding this case with you."  Mrs. Dowling said to the Dupris.

"Cameron is at a friend's house."  Mr. Dupri said quickly.

"Mr. Dupri, you and your wife were informed that we would be coming today and that Cameron was to be here.  Under no circumstances were you to send him to any relative or friend."  Mr. Powel's irritation started to show.

"It must have slipped my mind."  Mr. Dupri said with a smug grin on his face.  The tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife.  I stood up and slowly stretched.

"May I use your bathroom?"  I asked as politely as possible under the circumstances.  Mr. and Mrs. Dupri exchanged a weary look.

"Second door on the right...stay to the right!"  Mr. Dupri grumbled.  I gave him a strange look, and then headed through the kitchen and into the hallway.  Pictures hung on the walls.  I stopped to glance at one of them.  Mr. and Mrs. Dupri stood behind a boy, probably around 15 or so.  Not one of them had a smile on their face.  What a happy family.  I stopped at the second door on the right and started to turn the handle, when I heard a noise come from the room at the end of the hall.

"Be quiet!"  A voice whispered from behind the door.  I opened the bathroom door, then walked in and turned on the faucet.  I silently crept back out of the bathroom, making sure to check if the Dupris were watching out for me, then went down to the door anchoring the hallway.  I put my ear to the door and listened.  "Mom and dad said we have to be silent.  You're gonna get us in trouble."

"I have to go to the baphroom."

"Cam, come on.  Just hold it...Dad will get mad..."  Once I heard the young male voice speak Cameron's name I turned the knob and opened the door.  I stepped inside, to see the teenage boy that was in the picture sitting on a small bed facing toward me.  To his right was a small, young boy.  He looked up at me, his dark eyes questioning and on the verge of tears.  He stood up and slid off the bed.  The other boy put a hand on Cameron's shoulder, holding him back while looking at me questioningly.  "Cameron stay away from him."  The boy took a step toward me, while stepping in front of Cameron in the process.

"I'm not going to hurt you..."I inquired for a name.

"Erik."  The name hit me hard, sending pangs of hurt shooting through my heart.

"Erik.  I'm not here to hurt you or anyone.  I'm here for.."

"You're here to take Cameron.  I don't care how bad mom and dad are, you can't take Cameron from me.  He's my little brother now."  Erik had tears threatening to overflow his eyelids.  He was a good looking kid, his brown hair shaggy in style, offsetting his blue eyes.  I walked toward him, and he cautiously stepped backward, shielding Cameron from me.  I moved beside him and sat on the bed.

"Bro, I'm not doing this to hurt you.  My best friend was Cameron's biological father.  He died in a car accident over 5 months ago.. and he left a last will and testament.  It was his last request that I find Cameron and adopt him.  I just want to honor that request.. I'd never hurt Cameron.  I'd do anything in my power to keep him from ever being hurt by anyone."

Tears ran down Erik's face, "I don't have anyone else.."  The sadness in his voice cut right through me.  I tentatively put my arm around him.  He tensed up, then relaxed a little bit as he started to realize I wasn't the bad guy.  I gave him gentle squeeze on the shoulder and he flinched, jumping as if someone had burned him.  I furrowed my brow and looked at him.  His eyes met mine and the floodgates flew down.  He started bawling, then buried his face in my arms.  I lifted the back of his shirt up to see a big black and blue mark, about the size of a volleyball, stretching from the top of his shoulder to just above the middle of his back.  I grazed my fingertips over it, causing him to cry even harder--not because I was hurting him, but because I knew his secret.

I glanced over to Cameron, who sat on the bed to the left of Erik, seemingly studying me.  His dark brown eyes had a certain shine to them, one that reminded me of Joey.  His olive skin, the dark hair.. he was a miniature version of his father, with a hint of Nikki mixed in.  He moved behind Erik and looked at the bruise on his back.  His small hands traveled over it, his eyes taking in the sight.  "Yours is bigger."  My head snapped up in Cameron's direction.

"You have one too?"  I asked.  Cameron nodded.  He lifted his shirt to show a medium sized bruise on his side, then another on the small of his back.  I felt my eyes water, not just from sorrow, but anger--anger with myself, anger with the sons of bitches that did this to both of these boys.  Cameron put his hand over mine, gauging my face for a reaction.  I smiled through my emotions, letting him know that it was all right.  His eyes sparkled, a small smile crept upon his face as he held onto to my hand with one of his own, and hugged Erik with his free arm.  Suddenly, a loud commotion came from the hallway.  I heard the bathroom door open roughly and the faucet turn off.  I awaited the inevitable appearance of Mr. Dupri, and sure enough, he came storming into the bedroom.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing!?!?!  I told you to stay to the right!!!  Get your hands off my kids you faggot!"  Mr. Dupri started to rush toward me, but a hand grabbed him by the collar.  Mr. Powel came through the open doorway, restraining Mr. Dupri.

"I advise you calm yourself or not only will you be facing charges in court, but you will also be lying on the ground.  There are children present, watch your mouth."  Mr. Powel said quietly, but with authority.

"Those are my kids, not you or anyone else is going to take them from me.  Now, let go of me or I'll have you arrested."

I leaned down and whispered into Erik's ear, "Don't let him hurt you anymore."  Erik's bloodshot eyes met mine.  A mixture of fear and determination wrestled beneath the windows to his soul.  He stood up slowly and peeled his shirt off.  Mr. Dupri's eyes flared with anger.  Erik turned slowly toward me, making me audibly gasp.  His entire abdomen was covered in black and blue, like someone had kicked him a few dozen times.  Tears ran over his cheeks again as he reached over to Cameron and lifted his shirt off as well.  Cameron had one other bruise just under his collarbone, other than the two I had seen before.

"Put your shirts back on!"  Mr. Dupri yelled.  Mrs. Dowling pushed into the room and over to the boys.  She looked over their bruised then back at Mr. Dupri.

"Is this your doing?"  Mrs. Dowling asked with venom in her voice.

"I didn't touch them boys.  They just wrestle a lot.  They are boys, they are supposed to be physical."

I nudged Erik forward.  He looked at me then let the truth out.  "Dad.. I'm sorry.  I can't take it anymore."  Mr. Dupri looked like he was going to pop a blood vessel in his neck he was so angry.  Erik turned to Mrs. Dowling, "He did this to me.  And he did that to Cameron.  I tried to stop him.  I tried to take all of the beating for him, but I-I couldn't."

"He's a liar!  A damn filthy liar!  That girly faggot filled his head with that shit.  I'm gonna tear you limb from.."  I finally broke my silence.

"Mr. Dupri, you can talk all you want.  I'm not afraid of you, and I never will be.  You were right out there; I'm not the man you are.  I'm ten times the man you are.  I don't beat on defenseless kids to make myself feel macho.  There are kids in this room, so I won't rip into you like I could.  I'll just leave you with this."  I put my arm around Erik then extended my other hand toward Cameron.  He looked at me, then grasped my hand with his tiny fingers.

"Can I go to the baphroom now?"  I glared at Mr. Dupri one more time.

"Yeah, Cameron.  Then, we're going home."  I led both Erik and Cameron out of the room, coming nearly eye-to-eye with Mr. Dupri as I passed.  Mr Powel restrained him, while Mrs. Dowling called the authorities.  We passed Mrs. Dupri on the way to the front door.  "You should be ashamed of yourself.  I know you knew what was going on in this house.  Erik is you son.  How could you let anyone hurt him?  You make me sick.  Make sure his stuff and Cameron's stuff is packed.  They aren't coming back here.  Ever."  With that, the three of us walked out the door and towards Chance's car.  He stepped out of the car and gave me a questioning look.  I just shook my head at him, to tell him not now.  We all got in the car and waited for Mrs. Dowling to come out.

"Blade, I'm going to have you take Cameron to your place and have his things delivered.  We will finalize the papers within the week.  This is an open and shut case.  Erik, we will take you with us to child welfare services and decide what will happen from there."  Erik looked down dejectedly.

"Would it be possible for Erik to come with me?"  Mrs. Dowling looked at me with a knowing look.

"I suppose it would be alright until things settle down.  But Blade?"  She pulled me aside.  "If you're thinking what I think you're thinking, get it out of your head.  You are 18 years old.  You cannot handle a teenager and a young boy.  Understood?"

"Yes, ma'am.  I'm just letting my emotions get the best of me.  Thanks for everything.  I'll wait for your call."  I turned and headed back towards the car.  I looked at Erik, Cameron and Chance standing there watching me.  Blade Stevens, welcome to your life...

San Francisco Airport....

Kai stood in line waiting to get confirmation that his plane ticket was valid.  He ran a hand through his thick mane, brushing a few stray hairs from his face.  The look on his face was a mixture that could confuse anyone that looked at him.  The furrowed brow, the glassy eyes, the nervous twitch... it seemed like every emotion there could be was all boiling up inside of him. 

Thoughts raced through his mind.  He and Blade lost contact over a month ago, apparently Blade's cell number has been changed.  The record company refused to give out personal information, and writing a letter was out of the question since it would probably get thrown in some mail room for keeping.  The thing troubling him most was what if he can't convince Blade to come back?  Eric could already be dead.  The kidnapper could just be luring Blade in to be his second victim.  Kai came up to the front desk and handed the clerk his ticket.  She typed a few things into the computer then looked back at him. 

"This is all valid sir, but I need to see some photo ID."  Kai looked at her strangely. 

"I already have the ticket though." 

"There are specific instructions here.  It says to verify that Kai Kimbal and only Kai Kimbal is using this ticket."  Kai shrugged, then handed her his license.  She looked it over for a moment, then handed it back to him.' 

"You're all set, sir.  Just remember to have your ID ready for your return flight, and also let your other passenger know that as well." 

"Other passenger?" 

"Yes.  It says here there are two return flight seats reserved for Kai Kimbal and Blade Stevens."  The color in Kai's face drained out.  Whoever was playing this deadly game of cat and mouse wasn't counting on losing.  Kai headed over to the seating area and took a seat.  His leg rattled nervously while awaiting the boarding call.  A voice came over the loud speaker. 

"Flight 332 to New York first class passengers may begin boarding their plane."  Kai watched as people lined up to get on the plane.  He would be next.  "Attention all passengers.  Will Kai Kimbal please come to the information desk.  Kai Kimbal, please come to the information desk."  Kai let out a deep sigh then made his way to the information desk.  A young woman looked up from her computer screen. 

"I'm Kai Kimbal."  Kai said. 

She smiled warmly at him, "There's a call for you on line 2."  She handed him the receiver, "I'll patch you through."  Kai mustered up what he could of a smile and nodded.  He heard a click, "You're connected. Go ahead and take your call." 


"Hello, Kai.  Glad to see you could make it."  Kai felt a lump form in his throat as the cold, altered voice came over the phone. 

"What do you want?" 

"What do I want?  I thought you would have figured that out by now.  What I want has long blonde hair, a nice tan and an ego the size of Africa." 

"Why?  What has he ever done to you?" 

"I didn't call for chit chat.  I called to make sure that you didn't back out.  Judging from the look on your face, I'd say you're almost as scared about bringing Blade home as I'm not about taking him out."  Kai froze.  One thought ran through his mind...He can see me.  Kai looked around the airport, looking for anyone suspicious talking on a phone.  "You won't find me Kai.  Don't waste your time looking.  I'm always one step ahead.  You never were the sharpest tool in the shed.  You didn't really think that I was going to just chance that you may not fulfill my request did you?" 

"You're sick, dude.  You need some serious help." 

"I'm sick?  No, I'm in perfect health.  Mentally and physically.  Just ask Eric, he'll tell you how healthy I really am." 

"You mother fucker.  You touch that kid and I'll kill you myself." 

"Tsk tsk tsk.  You have no room to make threats surfer boy.  You are nothing Kai.  Some spoiled rich boy who gets everything in life handed to him.  You ruin people's lives just as much as I do.  Tell me, how easy was it for you to sleep with your ex when he was your best friend's boyfriend?" 

"H-How did you.." 

"I know more than you ever will.  It was nice payback wasn't it?  I mean, once you found out that Blade and Tyler were getting hot and heavy behind your back you just had to do something to get back at them.  Was Tyler worth it?  Was his ass that good?  It must have been.  You ruined your friendship with Blade.  Joey took your place at the drop of a hat.  Once he and Blade got together you were all but phased out." 

"Fuck you." 

"Oh, but maybe that's why you broke them up.  Maybe best friends wasn't good enough for you.  Maybe Kai wanted some Blade action."  Kai could almost hear the evil grin that the kidnapper was wearing, over the phone. 

"I know what you're trying to do.." 

"What's that?  Make you see the truth?  You are so blind it's funny."  The kidnapper laughed at Kai's frustration.  Kai scanned the airport again, not seeing anything at first, but then snapped his head back in one direction.  He squinted his eyes to be sure he wasn't seeing things.  He dropped the phone, ran about 20 feet ahead of him, and ripped a cell phone from the person in front of him. 


"Uh.. who's this?"  Fuck, Kai thought. 

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?  You better give me that phone back before I whip you ass.  You don't have any backup this time."  Kai glared at the boy in front of him.  Sean sneered at him, reaching for his phone. 

"If you have anything to do with Eric's disappearance I'll put you in the hospital for good this time.  You don't scare me, Sean.  I've beaten your ass before, I won't hesitate to do it again." 

"I don't know anything about that little faggot's disappearance.  Probably ran off to join some dirty ass ramming cult."  Sean snickered. 

Kai extended the phone back towards Sean.  Sean reached for it, but Kai let it slip from his grasp, causing it to hit the hard terminal floor with a loud crack.  "Oops."  With that, Kai turned and went back to the information desk.  He picked up the phone once again. 

"Nice try, Kai.  Better luck next time." 

"Flight 332 to New York economy class passengers may now board their flight."  The voice over the loudspeaker came through again. 

"Better get moving sunshine.  I'm awaiting my early Christmas gift." 

"Maybe you'll get it.  Maybe you won't.  Maybe you'll get what's coming to you." 

"Oh, have no doubts about it, Kai.  Blade is mine.  Eric is disposable, remember that.  Don't try anything funny.  Get on the plane and bring Blade back.  If you don't maybe I'll dispose of Eric and try a different flavor.  Maybe a blonde, spiky haired, green eyed kind." 

"Don't even think about touching hi..."  *CLICK*  Kai scanned the airport one more time, then got in line for his flight.  As he entered the terminal door, someone stepped out of the shadows.  The person tucked a cell phone into their pocket and smirked. 

"Soon, Blade.  Your time is almost up.  No one can save you this time."


A stale, musty smell emitted throughout the room.  The darkness overwhelming the one dimly lit lamp resting upon an old wooden desk.  Eric Stevens hung tied to two large pillars.  His arms and legs outstretched, tied separately, leaving him in an awkward and painful 'X' like position.  He wished that he was still unconscious.  He struggled with his bounds, trying to block out the pain that was shooting through his entire body.  His eyes focused on the light, the only thing that kept him from complete darkness.  The piece of tape covering his mouth had come loose from his saliva, and Eric knew he had to get it off if there was any chance of him getting out of there. 

He pushed at it with his tongue, and tried valiantly to chomp down on it with his teeth in hopes that it would tear enough to push it off.  After 20 minutes or so of that the tape popped off one side of his mouth.  He quickly pushed with his tongue and flailed his head around wildly to get the rest off.  The piece of gray duct tape hit the ground as Eric inhaled the musty air. 

"HELP!!!!"  Eric Screamed.  "HELP!!!!!  God, somebody please help me..."  His voice carried the sound of defeat.  He put his head down and licked his lips.  The taste of blood flooded his senses, the duct tape having split open his lips.  A thump came from over at the desk.  Eric looked up to see a stray cat up on the desk.  It knocked over something.  A small object lit up on the floor--his cellphone.  A shot of energy surged through his body screaming one thing.. get to the phone. 

Eric struggled with his bounds.  He wriggled around hoping to loosen them, but to no avail.  He took a deep breathe, then with a loud grunt, he flexed outward as hard as he could.  His face turned red as his muscles tightened against the bounds. 

"AHHHHHHH!!!!!"  A scream of frustration and pain emitted from his mouth, as he gave all he had in one last push. 



"ARRRGGGH!.. Oww.. fuck...."  Eric howled out through tears.  One arm snapped free of the bound.. the other arm just seemed to snap.  His upper body hung by a powerless arm.  Eric grabbed the other post as quickly as possible, to take the pressure off his injured arm.  He had to think of a way to get his other arm free or even his legs, without damaging his left arm any further.  He swung his right arm over and grasped the left post.  A few moments later his other arm was free, making it easy for him to untie his legs.  In his excitement at being loose he tried to run, but ended up tumbling over, his legs being immobile for over a month.  Eric sat there trying to regain his breath.  He slowly stood to his feet.  Taking one short step at a time he approached his cell phone.  He picked it up and dialed his home number.  The phone beeped at him 3 times, with a no service message flashing on the screen.  "Fuck, come on.. don't do this to me.."  Suddenly a rattling noise came from the door.. the lock.  The kidnapper was at the door.  The door slowly started opening, so Eric threw himself up against it.  He laid his back against the bottom of the frame, hoping to keep the kidnapper out.  The door violently pushed forward at least 10 times, but Eric's weight held it shut enough.  Eric hit redial, holding the phone in various different positions trying to get a signal.  Finally, the beep confirmed the call was going through, then the door stopped moving.  Eric stayed still, not even breathing.  All was silent, as he pulled himself up, and cracked open the door a tad to look outside.  The pitch-black darkness left everything hidden outside.  The dial tone coming from his home was not a good sign.  The answering machine picked up as he closed the door. 

'You have reached the Stevens residence, we are not available at the moment, please leave a message after the beep and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.'  *BEEP* 

"Mom...."  *THWACK*  Eric felt something hit him hard in the back.  He fell against the door, but stayed standing.  He turned to face his attacker, his vision blurred making him see double.  "I-Is that all you got mother fucker?"  The attacker smiled. 

"You don't really want any of this, Eric." 

"I want the whole fucking thing.  Pussy.  Have to attack me from behind."  Eric tried to shake his vision back, but he couldn't focus.

"Then I guess we'll have to try it from the front this time."  The attacker swung an object at Eric's head, but Eric ducked and plowed into the attacker.  The phone flew from Eric's grasp.  Both he and the attacker saw it and rushed after it.  Eric dove, landing on his bad arm, but grabbing the phone in the process.  The attacker went after him, but Eric elbowed him in the face.  He quickly dialed 9...1... *THWACK*  With a sickening thud, Eric hit the ground.  The attacker walked over and took the phone from Eric's hand. 

"I told you not to fuck with me.  Now look at the floor.  It's not clean anymore."  The attacker smiled, then dropped a baseball bat to the floor.  Eric lie face down, a cut on the back of his head bleeding from the impact of the bat.  Blood ran from his mouth, cuts emerging from his face from connecting with the floor.  "I hope your brother is more of a challenge than you." The attacker dragged Eric into a back room, and threw his motionless body onto a bed.  After tying Eric's arms and legs down, the attacker strapped him to the bed then covered him in a sheet, and strapped that over him as well.  "Sleep well.  Big brother should be here soon." 

Downtown Manhattan the next day..

Our lips intertwined for what seemed like hours on end.  I stole one more kiss from Chance's sweet lips then pulled back to stare into his eyes.  A sparkle gleamed back at me, a sweet smile pursing beneath his tender lips.  I ran my hands up underneath his shirt while holding eye contact.  Our lips locked once again, and our breathing increased.  Chance grinded his hips up into me, and I met him with every thrust.  He started to lift my shirt over my head when a knock came at the door.  I just gave him a goofy grin, and rolled off of him as the door opened slightly. 

"Bwade?"  A small voice came from the doorway. 

"Come on in Cameron."  His tiny frame came from behind the door and towards the bed.  He held a stuffed bear in one hand.  He looked at me with his baby browns, with some hesitation.  I reached out my hand to his and he grasped it with a small smile on his face.  I helped him up onto the bed.  "What's up buddy?" 

"Erik says he's gonna weave me tomorrow.  How come he won't be my brother no more?"  I looked at Chance for some help, but he looked as lost as I did. 

"He'll always be your brother Cam.  He's just going to live with a new family.  He'll have a mommy and daddy that love him very much.  I'll take you to see him whenever we can." 

Tears threatened Cameron's eyes, "B-but how come he can't stay with me and you and Chance and Mark and Davey and.."  I smiled at his innocence, but could feel his pain. 

"Cameron, I'd love to have Erik stay with us, but that's really not possible.  I know you don't understand, but I won't be allowed to adopt Erik."

"S-so.. you can't be his daddy."  I nodded silently at him.  "Are you my daddy?"  I felt a strange sensation shoot through my body hearing those words.

"Your real daddy was my best friend.  I love him very much.  He asked me to be your daddy for him."

"Where is he?"  I frowned.  Chance sat up and moved closer to Cameron.

"Has anyone ever told you a story about angels, Cameron?"  Chance asked.

"Glowy.  He's my angel."

"Who's Glowy, Cameron?"  I asked.

"The man with the bright eyes...In my dreams.  He don't let anyone hurt me."

"How do you know he's an angel?"

"Cuz he told me I'm safe now.  Blade is gonna be my new daddy, and he loves me."  I looked at Cameron strangely, but shook my thoughts away.

"He's right Cameron.  Blade is going to be your daddy, and he loves you."

"Are you gonna be my daddy too?"  Cameron's question caught Chance and myself for that matter way off guard.  Our relationship has moved along quickly.  After our initial meeting just over a month ago, we went on our first date, and have been with each other almost everyday since.  We have great chemistry, and I can honestly say I'm in love for the first time since Tyler and Joey.  My life is finally looking up.

*RINGGG*  My cellphone rang, breaking me out of my thoughts.. leaving Chance to answer Cameron's question.

"We'll see little guy."  I took my call then hung up the phone.

"That was Tommy, we have to get to the promo."  Chance picked up Cameron and we headed out the door.  We passed through the living room area where Mark was sitting on the couch talking on the phone while Davey and Erik were having a go on the PS2.  "Cameron, do you want to come with me to work, or do you want to stay here with Mark, Davey and Erik?"

"I wanna go with you."

I smiled at him, "Okay, I'll get your coat.  Why don't you go say bye to those guys."  I said, motioning towards Erik, Davey and Mark.  Cameron scurried over to each one of them and gave them a big hug.  Erik held him extra long, and whispered something into his ear.  Cameron smiled and ran back over to me.  "Erik do you want to come with us?"

Davey jumped in and answered for him, "Nope, nope. He can't go.  He's my new friend and he has to stay here and play Playstation with me."

"But I thought I was your Playstation buddy?"  I teased.

"You are!!! But you're no good."  Davey stuck his tongue out at me.  I gave him a look of mock hurt.  I walked over and looked at Erik who smirked at me.  He handed me his controller and it was on.  I chose Scorpion to take on Davey's Kano.  Within a matter of seconds I ended the first round, then the second ended with a newly toasted Kano lying face down.

"I'm king of MK.  Who's no good?"  I teased him.

Davey looked at me with a look of astonishment on his face, "Wow."  I just laughed and awaited the oncoming rant.  Luckily he turned and started ranting to Erik, "DID YOU SEE THAT!?!?"  I turned to Mark, who, unsurprisingly was on the phone.

"Think you can handle these two for awhile?"

"Yeah, I think I have it covered.  I'll take them for pizza or something later.  You guys have fun.  Knock'em dead, Blade.  See ya later, Cameron, Chance."

"Tell Chris I said hi.  Later."  Chance, Cameron and I all headed out to our ride.  Within 15 minutes, we arrived at Central Park where an area had been set up for the promo signing and performance.  A decent sized crown hung around the barrier, a majority of them female.  I was surprised at the turnout, not really expecting anyone, but people passing by to stop and get a demo.  People will take anything that's free.  The driver opened my door, and I stepped out of the car, and then helped Cameron out.  I picked him up and waited for Chance to get out, then walked towards the table that had been setup for the signing.  Tommy was waiting there for me.  The crowd noticed me and started cheering.  I flashed them a smile, but in the back of my mind was thinking, they probably have no clue who I am.  I whispered that to Chance and he burst out laughing.  Tommy spotted us and ushered us over.

"We're going to have you sit here and sign for awhile, then you'll perform a song.  The sound crew is setting up, so by the time you get these demos signed we'll be ready for you."  He looked at Cameron and frowned.  "Is he going to be up here with you?"

"Is there a problem with that?"

"Well, it will bring up questions..."

"Again, I fail to see the problem.  I'm not going to hide Cameron, Tommy.  They can ask away.  I have nothing to hide."

"Blade, after all the PR work that had to be done to shoot down all the rumblings that arose from the music competition, we don't really need another media blitz to start rumors."

"Well, I didn't ask for the cover up did I?  It was the record company who wasn't ready to have mine, or anyone else from our groups sexuality out in the open.  Cameron is nothing to be ashamed of.  He's staying here with me.  I'm done arguing."  I took a seat at the table, hiding my obvious anger with Tommy.  Cameron looked at me questioningly.  There was only one chair at the table.  I looked to Chance who was already off looking for an extra seat.  I smiled at Cameron, then held out my arms to him.  He smiled and hopped into my lap.  The security that was brought in opened the gate and had the crowd form a line.  Tommy put a stack of demos in front of me with a black marker.  The first girl stepped up, giggles and all.

"Wow.  You're cute."  She giggled.

I smiled, "Thanks.  So are you."  Her face flushed red.  "Who should I make this out to?"

"Cathy."  I signed the demo CD and handed it to her.  "Can I get a hug?"  I stood up and gave her a short hug.  She squealed in delight, then ran off to wait for my performance.  The next person stepped up, and surprisingly enough it was a guy.

"Hey."  He said shyly.

"Hey there.  How's it going?"  I grinned at his shyness.

"All right."

"Hehe, man of few words eh?  Who should I make this out to?"

"Um, could you make it out to Elijah please?"  I nodded, then signed the CD.  I handed it to him, and thanked him for coming.  He seemed to hesitate, then spoke up again, "Don't freak out or anything, but uh, do you think I can get a hug too?"  I was a little taken aback by his sudden bravery, but smirked then stood up and gave him a hug.  Cameron got antsy and jumped in.

"I want a hug too, daddy."  I froze when he called me daddy.  It was the first time he actually called me that.  Elijah looked at me then at Cameron.

"He's your son?"

I looked at Cameron, who was waiting patiently for his hug.  I wrapped my arms around him and lifted him up, hugging him tightly.  "Yeah.  This is my son."

"He's adorable.  Hey, um...thanks."

"For what?"

"For being real.  I um...was at your competition thing out in California.  You and the other boy.. I saw the love there.  It's nice to have someone like you who's not afraid of you are.  I hope you and him make it." A pain shot through me.  This is the first time I've really been confronted about Tyler since leaving Anaheim.

"Yeah.. well.. I'm not ashamed of who I am.  That's all been brushed under the rug so to speak though.  Why don't you give me your number dude.  I'll hook you up with some tickets if I ever make it to my first big concert."

He scribbled down his number and handed it to me, "Thanks, Blade."  I smiled at him as he walked away.  Two screaming girls came running up next.  This is gonna be a long day...

After another hour of signing, the crowd seemed to get restless.  There was still a line, not that long, but a line none the less to get a signed demo.  I looked around for Tommy, but didn't see him anywhere.

"Looking for someone?"  A voice asked.  I turned my head and saw a strikingly handsome guy a couple of feet to the side of me.

"Yeah.. my agent.  You are?"

"I'm Colin.  I work for the record company.  Tommy's around here somewhere.  What did you need?"  I looked him over before answering his question.  Average height, tan, brown hair, semi shaggy style, and very blue eyes.  Something about him seemed very familiar.  "Hello?"

"Sorry.. do I know you from somewhere?"

"I don't think we've met before."

"Weird.  I wanted to do my performance now, then finish off the rest of the autographs.  Cut off the line though.  I don't want to be here all day."

"Can do.  Why don't you go over and make sure your guitar is tuned to your liking and I'll take.."  He motioned to Cameron.

"Cameron.  There's no need to take him anywhere."

"Whoa, down man."

"Sorry.  I brought someone with me,"  I scanned the crowd for Chance.  I spotted him and waved him over.  He walked over to where we were standing and nodded at Colin.  "Take Cameron for me?"

"Sure.  Good luck."  He looked like he wanted to kiss me, but held back.  I gave him a knowing look, and he just shrugged.  "Come on Cam, let's go watch daddy from over there."  Colin gave me a strange look, then headed over to the sound crew.  I just shrugged it off and went to get ready to perform.

I through my guitar strap over my shoulder, tuned it to my liking, then gave the band behind me the signal that I was ready.  The music cued up and I started my performance.

This time I'm done with always screwing up
I'm sick of one direction down
I'm a broken picture frame
My whole world's twisted inside out
Streaming voices like a hurricane
It's telling me to wake up
Get out of bed
Put your feet on the floor
There's fresh air out the door

The back up singers cued in for the chorus.

And I've been acting so pathetic
Knocking around like a ball on a string
It's taking time for me to get it
I'm ready and willing to do anything to make it up to you

My arms are hurting so bad from being so empty
My heart weighs like a ton cause it feels so heavy
I'm standing here all alone
Wishing that I could've known
You just can't walk away
From the damage

Last time I'm playing with a broken string
It don't matter no one's listening
Cause losing you has made me see
I've gotta change
Gotta blame it
All on me

And I've been acting so pathetic
Knocking around like a ball on a string
It's taking time for me to get it
I'm ready and willing to do anything to make it up to you (oh)

I walked closer to the crowd, playing them up.  I glanced at Chance who smiled at me.  Cameron stared transfixed as well.

My arms are hurting so bad from being so empty (so empty)
My heart weighs like a ton cause it feels so heavy (heavy yeah)
I'm standing here all alone
Wishing that I could've known
That you just can't walk away
From the damage (damage)

My eyes may as well be blind if I just can't see you(if I can't see you)
My hands may as well be tied cause they just can't touch you (touch you)

Before the smoke can really clear away
From fires I started yesterday
I know I've gotta find a way
Somehow I've gotta find a way to wake up
From the damage

I wailed my guitar solo heading into the final verses.

My arms are hurting so bad from being so empty
My heart weighs like a ton cause it feels so heavy
I'm standing here all alone
Wishing that I could've known
You just can't walk away
From the damage

My eyes may as well be blind if I just can't see you
My hands may as well be tied cause they just can't touch you
I'm standing here all alone
Wishing that I could've known
You just can't walk away
From the Damage

I'm standing here all alone
Wishing that I could've known
You just can't walk away
From the damage

The song ended and the crowd roared with cheers.  I was surprised at the amount of cheering and noticed that a lot more people had gathered to catch the performance.  "Thank you.  I'll be here a little bit longer, after that, have a goodnight New York."  I set my guitar down, and went back to the table to finish off the autographs.

After about 20 more signings I was beat.  I ran my hands through my hair and closed my eyes.  "Let's close up shop."  I said to Tommy who had reemerged from the crowd.  He nodded and went to inform the crowd that we were done for the night.  I continued to rest my eyes when I heard something hit the table with a faint smacking sound.  I opened my eyes to see a demo.. but not mine.

"Have time for one more?"  My head shot up and I almost lept over the table to greet the guy in front of me.  I wrapped my arms around him tightly.  "Easy, Jewels."  I had to snicker.

"Kai, what are you doing here?  I missed you so much, bro."  I hugged him again.

"Hehe, I missed you too.  But umm, Blade.. air please."  I let go of him and backed off a bit.  I took in the sight of him.  He still was that hot surfer dude from Cali, but his appearance was a bit different.

"You trying to steal my look?"  I teased, pointing at his grown out hair.

"Nah, wouldn't want to make you look bad."  Kai grinned.  "Man, it's good to see you, Blade.  You look good."

"Don't I always?"  He punched me in the arm.

"Okay, I'll admit it.. you're still a sexy bitch."

"You always did want me."  I teased.  He laughed, but it seemed forced.  "Something wrong, Kai?"

He frowned and was about to speak, when Chance came over with Cameron.  "Ready to go?"  He looked at Kai, "Oh shit, I'm sorry.  Didn't mean to interrupt."

"No worries, bro."  Kai said and extended his hand, "Kai Kimbal, and you are?"

"Chance Sterling.  Nice to meet you."

"Same here.  And who's this?"  Kai said, kneeling down to Cameron's eye level.  Cameron held onto my leg and half hid behind me.

"This shy boy,"  I nudged Cameron playfully, "Is Cameron Sebastian Marling."  Kai's eyes met mine.  "Come on Cameron, he doesn't bite."  Cameron slowly stepped out from behind me.

"Daddddddy.."  He whined, embarrassed by my teasing.  I could see Kai's face light up like a Christmas tree when he heard Cameron call me daddy.

"I'm an uncle!!!!"  Kai yelled out.  Chance and I both started laughing.  Kai never was the shy type.  He hugged Cameron and started to tickle him.  Cameron burst into giggles as Kai's fingertips made him squirm.

"Hehehe... you're my uncle?"  Cameron questioned.

"Yeah, Cam.  That's your Uncle Kai."  Kai beamed as he ruffled Cameron's hair.  Cameron smiled, then ran to Chance.   He held his arms out waiting for Chance to pick him up.

"I'll be over by the car."  Chance started to lean in for a kiss, but caught himself at the last minute.  He laughed nervously.  He blushed and went towards the awaiting limo.  A mischievous grin spread across Kai's face.


"Shut up, Kai."  I said through a smile.

"Oh come on!  You afraid you can't match my witty comments anymore?"

"You?  Witty? Hahaha."  I received a smack to the back of the head for that.

"So, he's your...?"

"Boyfriend."  I smiled thinking of Chance.

"That's great, dude.  He's cute and you seem like you're really happy."  I nodded at him, "I'm really sorry that I'm going to have to take that happiness away from you."  I gave him a strange look.

"What do you mean?"

"Blade, I wish I could say I was here to visit.  I'm afraid it's a lot more serious than that.  It's about Eric."

"What about him?  How serious?"

"Life and death kind of serious."

"Where is he, I need to talk to him.."  I pulled out my cell, but Kai stopped me.

"Blade, Eric's been missing for over a month."

"No, someone would have called me..."  He put his arm around me to keep me focused.

"Blade... listen to me.  None of us have been able to get a hold of you.  Your cell number doesn't work, the company won't put anyone through.  The phone is always busy at Mark's..."

"I changed my cell number last month... after the threats."  Kai looked down at the ground.  "No.. please tell me it's not him..."  Kai reached into his coat and handed me a letter.

"I was told to come for you.  To save your brother's life.  I'm sorry, Blade... but you have to come back with me.  If you don't.."

"When is the flight?"  I asked, my voice in monotone.

"Two hours."

"I'll call Mark and have him get my stuff packed."  I pulled my cell back out and was about to dial, when it started ringing.  "Hello?"

"Miss me?"  The sinister voice came through the receiver.


"Stop right there.  I didn't call to for a reunion.  I'll save that for when you get back.  I have someone who wants to speak with you."  I heard yelling, then the sound of the phone being shuffled around.

"H-Help me..."

"Eric!  Eric listen to me, you have to tell me where you are..."

"Sorry, time's up.  Nice try though.  Try again next time.  I bet you're wondering who wants to get to you badly enough that they would kill.  Do you believe I'd kill your brother.. hero?"

"You touch him and I'll kill you.  Do you believe that you psycho?!?"

"Oh, I'm counting on that side of Blade to show up.  I don't want the sad, sympathetic, pussified version.  I have to tell you though, I would have thought you would teach your brother how to fight.  I was really disappointed in him today.  Impressive that he somehow escaped from his bounds, but you should've seen him hit the ground when that baseball bat connected with his head.  You bring all you've got."

I cringed, "Don't worry.  If you want a fight, you'll get it.  You better kill me because that's the only way you'll walk away alive.  For every cut, for every bruise on Eric's body, you'll get ten more.  I'm going to hurt you, you mother fucker, count on that."  I had to keep my emotions in check, and not show any weakness to this asshole.

"You always did try to be the tough guy.  I know everything about you, Blade.  I know your weaknesses.  Why do you think I took Eric of all people?  Sure, you probably would've come to aid your friends, but Eric?  We both know there's a special brotherly love going on there.  Maybe I shoudl try what you already have?"

"Don't touch him!  You want me, you got me.  I'm on my way."

"That's what I wanted to hear.  I'll see you later, Blade.  You'll get a call when your flight lands.  You will follow my instructions if you want to see your brother alive, again.  So, make sure you give your son a kiss goodbye.  He'll be losing his new daddy soon."  *CLICK*

I looked at Kai, who gave me a worried look back.  "Let's go."  Kai and I walked over to the car where Chance and Cameron were sitting.  I leaned inside, "Chance, can you step outside for a minute.  Uncle Kai is going to sit with you, Cameron."  Chance stepped out of the car and Kai got in.  I closed the door behind them and pulled Chance around the back of the car.

"What's up, baby?"

"Chance.. remember I told you that you'd be crazy to get involved with me because of all my problems?"  He nodded.  "I love you, b-but I'm going to give you the option of backing out."  I looked away from him, not being able to look him in the eye.

"W-Why are you saying this?  I love you, Blade.  You make me feel like I'm the most special person in the world.  I haven't felt like this since Jamie.."

"I know.  Chance.. My brother is being held hostage."

"What?  Is he okay?  Held hostage in exchange for what?"  I swallowed hard.  "Blade, in exchange for what?"  He said more seriously this time.

"Me.  My brother's life for mine."

"Blade, no..."  Tears came from Chance's eyes.  I put my arms around him, kissing the top of his head.

"I have to, babe.  He's my brother.  I love him, and he's not going to die.  Not now.  Not because of me."

"I don't want to lose you.  Blade, I can't bury another boyfriend."

"I'm going to do my best to keep that from happening.  But Chance?"  His tear-streaked face looked at mine, "This could be it, I think I'm in love.  It's love this time.  It just seems to fit, I think I'm in love.  This love is mine.
I can see you with me when I'm older.  All my lonely nights are finally over.  You took the weight of the world off my shoulders.  When you kiss me.  I know you miss me--and when you're with me.  The world just goes away.  The way you hold me.  The way you show me, that you adore me--oh, when you kiss me."  I finished singing to him, hoping to soothe him, then brought my lips to his.

"I love you so much."  Chance sobbed.  I just hugged him tighter to me, tears dripping from my own eyes.

"I won't disappoint you."

"I'm coming with you."


"It's not a request.  I'm coming with you, Blade."  I sighed to myself.

"I can't leave Cameron here."

"He can come to.  You can show me California like you promised."

"You're not going to back down are you?"  He shook his head.  "Kai and I leave in less than 2 hours.  You and Cameron can catch a later flight.  If anything happens to me..."  Chance put a finger to my lips, then replaced it with his own lips.  He took my hand and led me to the car door.  I took that as a signal that he didn't want me to talk about the possibility of me not coming out of this whole ordeal.  We got in the car and Cameron immediately jumped into my arms.

"Uncle Kai said that we're gonna go on an airplane."  Kai looked at me with a forced smile.

"I overheard.  I called and reserved two tickets for them on the flight after ours."  I mouthed the words thank you to him, and leaned into Chance.  Cameron wrapped his little arms around me and laid his head on my chest.  Life really came into perspective at that very moment.  I love Chance.  I love Cameron.  I love my friends.  I love my family.  They are all my family.  Chance, Cameron, Eric, Mom, Kai, Jordan, Matt, Mark, Davey, Erik, Chris.. even Tyler.   The time has come.  No more running.

5 hours later.. The Stevens Residence...

"How could I miss that call?!?"  Mrs. Stevens exclaimed.  She was angry at herself for not being home when Eric called.  "He sounded so scared..."

"Don't beat yourself up, Jane.  No one could have expected that Eric would get to his phone."  Mrs. Pierce tried to calm her friend.  They exchanged phone calls right after Blade left, and found that each of them have a lot in common.  They have been friends since.  "The boys are out looking again.  They'll find him."

"I hope so.  I don't know what I'll do if I lose Eric."  The phone rang and Mrs. Stevens sprang to her feet.  She picked up the receiver, "Hello?  Eric?"

"Eric's indisposed at the moment."  The disguised voice caused a wave of fear to go through her body.

"W-Who is this?  Where is my son?"  Mrs. Stevens scribbled something on a piece of paper and held it up for Tyler's mother to see.  Mrs. Pierce nodded and got up from the table.  She ran into the other room to retrieve the police officer who was staying at the house incase of a situation like this.

"They can't trace the call, Mrs. Stevens.  If they do, they'll only be led on a wild goose chase."  Mrs. Stevens started to sob.

"Why are you doing this to my son?"

"That's the thing.. Mom.  Can I call you mom?  Eric is an innocent victim here.  An insurance policy so to speak.  I don't want your son.. well.. not this one."


"Listen carefully.  In a few short hours, you will be saddened to know that you only have one son left."

"Don't hurt him!  Please, what do you want?"

"Eric will be returned.  Blade on the other hand, won't be getting off so easily."

"What are you talking about?!?  Blade is 3000 miles away.."

"Maybe.  Or maybe he's on his way to save little brother.  I'm sorry for your loss.  Have a nice day."  *Click*


The Boardwalk....

"This is pointless.  We aren't going to find him."  Riley's drive to find Eric had all but subsided.  Crunch time had arrived, and not a single clue had come up.

"We aren't giving up."  Tyler said.  He felt responsible for Eric's disappearance.  "The cops can sit around and twiddle their thumbs, but we aren't stopping until we find something."

"How bout we go find a room?"  Riley said suggestively.  Tyler looked at him incredulously.

"Are you serious?  This isn't a joke, Riley.  You may be hot, but I'm no whore.  You want a room, get it with Rosey Palm and Mr. Dildo, cuz you aren't getting it from me.

"Playing hard to get, I like that."  Riley gave Tyler a cheeky grin.

Tyler rolled his eyes, "I question Kai's taste in friends sometimes."

"I'll grow on you."

"Yeah.  Like mold on bread."

"Hehe.  Come on, just one kiss."  Riley moved closer to Tyler.

"If I do will you knock it off?"  Tyler questioned.

"I promise."  Riley leaned in and waited for Tyler to do the same.  Tyler sighed, then leaned in quickly and pecked Riley on the lips.  "Hey!  Come on that's not a kiss."

"And you're no Romeo.  What's your point?"

"A real kiss.  Come on."  Riley smiled widely, his dimples giving him that boyish quality.  Tyler sighed and brought his lips to Riley's once again.  Riley brought his hand around the back of Tyler's head and made sure that it was a real kiss this time.

"Ahem."  Tyler opened his eyes and saw Jordan and Matt standing there.  Tyler pushed away from Riley's grasp.

"Finally.  One of you guys take him."

"Looks like you had him just fine."  Jordan said.  Tyler shot him a look.

"So, no luck for you guys either?"  Matt asked.  Tyler and Riley just shook their heads.  "Can I ask you guys a question?"  They all shook their heads.

"Do you.. do you guys think he's alive?"  Matt's voice quivered at the thought of his boyfriend being gone forever.

"I don't."  Tyler said.  Matt just looked at him, his eyes starting to water.  "I know he is.  Eric is like his brother.. he won't be beaten."  Matt gave him a weak smile.  Jordan suddenly thought of something.

"Umm.. just a question, but where the hell is Jake?"

Where was Jake?  Jake walked along an empty side street, hoping for some trace of his best friend.  He knew that Kai had gone to get Eric's brother, but that wasn't going to stop him from trying to keep this whole ordeal from going any further.  A permanent knot had formed in his stomach, the fact that he was helpless in this situation was really tearing him apart.  He walked along the deserted street, not a soul in sight.  The abandoned shops looked run down.. almost like a ghost town.  Darkness was setting in, and the search would be over for the night.  Jake's phone rang and he answered it.


"Hey Jake, it's Matt.  Where are you bro?"

"I'm on West, but I'll be off soon.  There's nothing here.  Where are you?"

"We are over in parking lot 7.  Do you want us to come and get you?"

"Nah.  I'll meet you in a little bit.  Talk to you later, Matt.  Let me know if you hear anything."

Matt said goodbye and hung up.  A thought came to Jake's mind as he hit the off button on his cell.  Eric's cell.  It had already been tried before, but he figured it can't hurt to try again.  He dialed the number, expecting the answering service, but almost dropped the phone when he heard dial tone.

"Come on, please pick up."  Jake said to himself.  He continued walking, then froze.  He heard ringing.  Ringing in sync with the dial tone.  He looked around quickly and didn't see anything.  He continued forward keeping his eyes pealed as the ringing got louder.  He stopped dead in his tracks as someone rounded the corner of an alleyway.  They were dressed all in black, with a black hat and hood covering their face.  The person looked up, just noticing Jake, then looked at the phone in his hand, and the phone in Jake's.  Whoever it was took off running back down the alley.  Jake hauled ass after the person.

The track experience he had, paid off well as he gained ground on the kidnapper.  The only thing was, this guy wasn't some run of the mill, out of shape bum.  He was fast and kept a decent distance between the two of them.  As the kidnapper rounded the corner out of the alleyway, he stumbled over some debris.  Jake took advantage and came within a few feet of him.  The kidnapper could sense Jake closing in, and took a quick turn into a very small alley.  There was barely enough room to fit a person, but somehow both the kidnapper and Jake were in it.  The kidnapper caught his foot on something and stumbled, giving Jake the opening he needed.  He dove and caught the kidnapper's ankle, causing him to tumble to the ground.  "Where is he?!?!"  Jake screamed.  The kidnapper kicked at Jake with his free foot, causing his grip to loosen.  The kidnapper pulled something out of his pocket.  Jake grabbed the other leg and started to pull himself forward to restrain the kidnapper further, when something sprayed into his eyes.  "Ahhhhhh!!!  You fucking prick!!!"  The kidnapper kicked free, and stood up as Jake struggled to get the burning sensation out of his eyes.

"Sorry, Jake.  Lights out."  The voice was disguised even in person.  The kidnapper gave a well placed kick, hard and fast to Jakes ribs.  The air flew from his lungs, causing him to gasp.   The world started to fade, but he fought it.  He listened for the kidnapper's footsteps to leave, before giving any sign that he was still conscious.  He couldn't see, his eyes blinded from what had to be mace.  He felt around for his phone, but it was no where to be found.  Great.  He slowly pulled himself up, and started on the long journey ahead.

Limo, 10 minutes from Anaheim...

I waited nervously as we approached my former home.  The phone call never came at the airport, so I'm getting nervous that something has happened to Eric already.  Kai laid on the seat beside me.  He fell asleep awhile back and I didn't feel like keeping him up with my worries.  I jumped when my phone finally rang.  "Talk."

"No sweet hellos?  So cold, Blade.  You are close now.  Tell your driver to drop you off at the boardwalk.  You'll get another call when you arrive.  No cops, or it's bye-bye to little brother."  *CLICK*  I put the phone inside my coat pocket and waited what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes until we came to the boardwalk.  I told the driver to stop.  I shook Kai slightly, causing him to stir.

"Are we home?"  He asked groggily.

"Almost.   I'm getting out here, Kai.  You are the only one who knows where I am.  He called.  This is it.  If I don't come back from this, I want you to know that I love you.  You mean so much to me, bro.  I'm sorry that I didn't show it all the time.  Tell everyone else the same."  I leaned over and pecked Kai on the lips, then stepped out of the car.

"Blade."  I peered back in, "I love you too.  You are and always will be my best friend.  I'll get help.  I know.. keep it discreet.  Take care of yourself, I want to see you standing in front of me next time we meet."  I smiled at him, and shut the door.

A chill hit me, the wind howling as it blew through my hair.  I started walking down the boardwalk, when I spotted someone standing in a group off to the right.  Marcus.  I walked cautiously, but quickly towards him.  A group of girls flocked around him.  I came up behind him and spun him around.  He looked startled, if not shocked to see me.

"Oh look girls, the bitch is back."  The girls giggled, but seemed to be eating me alive with their eyes as well.

"Yeah, I am.  Nice to see you Marcus, how's it going?"  With that I punched him right in the nose.  "How's that for a bitch?  Where's my brother?!?"

Marcus held his nose, blood dripping from it, "You fucking bitch.  I don't know where the hell your brother is."

"You expect me to believe..."  My phone started ringing. I answered it, but kept my eye on Marcus.  "Hello?"

"Causing trouble already I see.  West Street, 2 minutes.  The clock is ticking."  Fuck. I turned away, but Marcus grabbed my arm.

"Marcus, I suggest you remove your hand from my arm if you'd like to use it again."

"Yeah, that's it.  Run, pussy."  I shrugged his arm off, and took off sprinting as fast as I could to get to West Street.

The darkness overwhelmed my eyes as I approached the street.  A single streetlight stood next to a dark alley about 20 feet away.  I stopped and awaited for my next instructions.  I held my breathe, hoping to hear something that would tip me off ahead of time, but there was nothing but the still of the night to be heard.  The phone rang again and I picked it up, not even bothering to greet the voice this time.

"I see you, Blade.  Can you see me?  Make a left, find your destiny in the alley."  Great.  Riddles again.

I took a left and cautiously walked down the alley way.  I barrel was lit in the middle, fire emitting over the rim.  I kept walking then heard footsteps.  I looked behind me, but didn't see anyone.  No one was around, at least not to my vision.  I came within 10 ft of the barrel when I heard a clanging noise.  My head whipped in the direction, but it was too late.  Someone jumped off the lowest part of a fire escape and took me to the ground.  I struggled with my attacker, rolling around on the ground.  The attacker got a punch to the side of my head, luckily I turned enough not to get the full impact.  I rolled my legs up and monkey flipped the attacker over, and rolled back so I was on top of him.  I pinned his arms down and head butted him hard.  He moaned in pain.  I punched him in the jaw and heard a crack.  He screamed in pain.  I got off of him and pulled him to his feet.  A black hood and mask covered his face.  I ripped them off, and saw someone I had completely forgotten about.

"Trevor."  He mumbled the best he could as he spoke.  His jaw had been broken a second time, courtesy of me.

"You're not going to win, Blade."

"I already have.  Tell me where my brother is."

"He's right under your nose."  Someone else stepped from the shadows.  "Did you really think it would be that easy, Blade?  I mean, come on.  Trevor is no slouch, but the last time you two went at it, you destroyed him.  He was just a piece of a much larger puzzle."

"You talk to much.  You wanted me, now come and get me."

"In due time."

"I want to see Eric."

"Eric, your hero is here to see you."  The person turned his head to the right and another masked person emerged.. pulling Eric along.  Blood was caked on his head, a gash on his mouth, and he was barely conscious.  "A deal's a deal.  Let him go."  The one holding Eric up, let go and Eric fell in a heap to the ground.  "Well, I held up my end of the bargain.  I let him go.  You would think he would get out of here, now wouldn't you?"  A sinister grin could be seen through the mask.

"So, you're the brains of this operation?  Or are you just another diversion?"

"This is the real deal.  Enough talking.  Time to have some fun.  I'm going to make you look like an amateur."  My eyes narrowed and my face steamed with anger.  One name echoed through my mind...Sean.  The two men closed in, when a commotion came from behind me.  Marcus came walking down the alley.

"What the hell..."  Marcus stopped next to me.  I cautiously took a step away from him.  He looked down at Eric, then at the masked men.  "Holy shit.  The kidnappers?"  I nodded.  "Well what are we waiting for?  Lets get them mother fuckers."  I didn't hear Trevor stand up behind me.  Marcus lunged and tackled him hard to the ground.  "Ya don't learn do you Keiko?"  I took that as a good enough sign.  We slowly walked towards the masked men.  I came within a foot of the one who had been talking the most.

"Ready, Marcus?"  No one answered.  "Marcus?"  I turned my head and a fist connected hard with my face.  I fell to the ground, catching myself with my arms so my face wouldn't hit the cement.  I pulled myself up, and came eye to eye with Marcus, who had a sickening grin on his face.

"Surprised?  I guess Tyler would be proud of my acting skills."  He swung at me again, but I ducked, only to be hit from behind by the other attacker, closest to the barrel.  I fell again, but wouldn't stay down.  I wiped my lip, blood smearing across my hand.

"So this is how it's going to go down, huh?  3 on 1?  You mother fuckers better kill me.  Cuz that's the only way I'm not going to  get back up and take each of you out."

"Count on it."  The silent one spoke.  He reached up and removed his mask.

"Gary???"  I questioned, another curveball thrown my way.  "You look genuinely shocked, Blade.  Did you think I wouldn't get you back for breaking me and your mother up?  You dirty fag.  You deserve what you get."  I dove past Marcus and made a beeline right for Gary.  I plowed into him, driving him into a wall.  He was caught off guard by my boost of energy.  I kneed him hard in the abdomen, and when he fell to his knees I brought my leg up and smashed him in the face with the same leg.  He fell against the wall, his body laying limply and unconscious.  I got blindsided again by the lone masked man.  He drove me right into the same wall Gary had hit.  The air rushed from my body.  The attacker kicked me in the stomach, leaving me gasping even worse.  I heard a commotion off to the side and turned my head to see someone tangling with Marcus.  He was built, with spiked dark hair.  Marcus hit him with something, causing him to stagger back.  Marcus lunged at him, going for a tackle, but the other boy lunged back and met him head on.  Their heads smacked together, and they both fell in a heap.  They laid motionless, leaving me and the one attacker.

"Looks like this is it, Blade.  I may have fibbed a little about our deal."  He kicked me hard in the ribs, causing me to flip over onto my back.  He walked over to Eric and picked him up.  Eric's eyes fluttered open.  I tried to pull myself up, but my ribs were aching too much, and the air just wouldn't fill my lungs.  "Should I kill him first?  Or you?"  He dragged Eric closer to me.  His foot swung back and came down, kicking me in the side of the head.  My head smacked the concrete leaving me severely disoriented.  The kidnapper grabbed me by the hair, pulling my face close to his.  He let go of Eric for a moment, then reached up and pulled the mask off his head revealing someone I thought was once a friend.  Scott.  My eyes watered, the feeling of betrayal hit me full force.  Even though we had our differences, I would have never thought Scott would do this.  "What's the matter?  You are going to cry now?  Why?  Did you cry when you took my life away?  Did you cry for me when I lost all of my friends because of you?  Guess what, Blade.  It's too fucking late!!"  He pulled out a gleaming object.. a silver pistol.  He held it up in the air for me to see.  "Nice, huh?  So.. your choice.. big bro or little bro first."  He let go of my hair then grabbed Eric again.  He held Eric up, and I saw tears flow down my brother's cheeks.  Scott leaned over and licked from the bottom of Eric's face to his temple.  "I love the taste of fear.  Maybe I'll have a little fun with Eric here before I off him.  I mean, you had your shot with him, I might as well give him one last wild ride."  Scott grinned, "Make your choice, Blade."  A psychotic look was in Scott's eyes.  It scared the hell out of me.  I forced myself to stand up, with the help of the wall.

C-Come.. get me..."  I stammered.  Scott smiled widely and dropped Eric to the ground.  He came towards me.  I took a swing at him, but I was already beaten.  He avoided my fist easily, then reeled back and whacked me in the face with the butt of the pistol, causing blood to fly from my mouth.  I fell to the ground in a heap, the world fading in and out of my vision.  He picked me up and held the gun to my temple.

"For once in your life, you lose.  Scott wins.  You took my life and now I'm taking it back."  The calmness in his voice was the scariest part of his words.  I closed my eyes and prepared to have my life taken from me.  I prayed in my mind for Eric, for everyone I care about.  I struggled a bit, then heard Scott cock the gun.  "Shhh.. don't struggle.  This won't hurt a bit.."  I could feel the pressure in his arm as he started to squeeze the trigger.  A clanging sound came again from the fire escape.  My eyes opened and saw someone jump straight for Scott.  Scott let go of me, but the person had already gotten to him.  I heard a scuffle, then gunshots.  I feared the worst for the person that was trying to aid me.  I heard some rustling and then a loud scream. "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!"  The sound of Scott's voice was muffled and soon stopped altogether.

Silence took over the alley.  I heard footsteps coming toward me and then arms wrap around me as I was pulled to my feet.  The person turned me to face him.  My vision was blurry, but there seemed to be a faint glow coming from the person's eyes.  My eyes focused and I came face to face with my saviour, but he quickly turned away before I could make out who it was.  I stumbled toward him, trying to shake myself out of the daze I was in.  My hand touched his shoulder and I felt a shock.  The boy in front of me sighed.

"When darkness falls, I'll be here."  The boy reached behind himself, then took my arm and placed it over my heart.  "Your eyes, stare at me in the dark.  And I hope, those eyes don't steal my freedom.  Goodbye is never forever. "

The words rang through my ears, but my mind wouldn't comprehend what I was hearing.  I grabbed for his arm, but he moved away.  I started to follow the best I could, but I stumbled from my injuries.  I regained my composure, but by then the boy had seemingly vanished into thin air.  Sirens sounded in the background as I limped over to Eric.  I fell to my knees and cradled my brother in my arms.  I removed the bounds and gag from him, his eyes lit with recognition.


"It's me, Eric.  I'm so sorry.  God, I'm so sorry."  I hugged him and we cried in each other's arms.

"I-is it over?"

"It's over."

"Don't leave me..."

"Don't worry.  Big brother's back.  I love you Eric.  And I'm here to stay."  I looked out into the darkness one last time, and whispered, "Thank you.  Goodbye."