Author's note:

This chapter concludes Part II of Ian's & Rusty's story. Actually, I do have a couple more chapters written; but, upon reflection, this seems like the logical place to break. At this point, I'm not feeling inclined to write a lengthy third part (partly because I have another story idea I am anxious to explore, and partly because I get the feeling that people are tired of this story due to fewer and less enthusiastic emails these days), I am planning to re-work what I already have, and make one final post to the story in the form of an epilogue.

Thanks for reading.

Rick, a.k.a.



"Is it better to out-monster the monster, or to be quietly devoured?"

-- Frederich Neitzsche (1844-1900).



"So, Rusty...sounds like tomorrow's gonna be a big day for you...going back to school again. How do you feel about that?" Jack asked, glancing up at me casually from his notepad.

I thought about it for a moment, as I regarded him skeptically for like, the tenth time, in the short time I'd been here. He gazed impassively back at me in a completely unthreatening way...obviously trying his best to encourage me to talk freely, without overtly doing so. He knew I was a hard case, and so did I. For a second, I actually had a little sympathy for the 50-something guy sitting across from me. He really did seem like an `ok' person...his silvery blond hair, short-cropped beard, and placid blue eyes somehow gave him a very approachable demeanor. Especially his eyes, I guess.

I know he's just doing his job.

But still, part of me resisted even answering his stupid question. I mean, it was such an obvious thing to say, I almost had to laugh to myself. This was only my second session seeing Jack, and I still wasn't sure about all this `counseling' stuff. When I told Ian I had to find someone to do my court-ordered counseling sessions, he immediately insisted that I see Jack, because he'd been seeing him for years and thought he was totally the best thing ever.

But, it's just not easy for me to talk about myself. I guess I've gotten so good at ignoring my feelings over the years, that I don't even know how I feel sometimes. It takes me a while to search around in my head and figure it out.

I took a deep breath, and begged myself to have patience.

" do ya fuckin' think I feel?" I said with a forced laugh. "Anyway, I don't care what those idiots say anymore. I can just ignore ` long as they don't fuck with Ian, I can deal with it. But,'s not exactly a barrel of fun, ya know?"

"I you don't care? Hmmm. Somehow, I have a hard time believing that you don't care at least a little bit, since you've spent the last five or six years trying desperately to prevent them from finding out that you're gay. It also seems to me that I'm hearing a lot of anger in that statement, Rusty. If you don't care, then why does it make you so angry?" he wondered out loud.

Ok, you're right...I thought to myself as I glared at him. Now, I really am getting' kinda pissed here...

"Angry?" I asked him incredulously. "Why would I be angry?...Well, I...uh...I mean...Shit! How the fuck would you feel if you knew everyone would hate you if they just knew one little unknown fact about you...something that doesn't even really affect them in the slightest way...yet, something that they're more than happy to ruin your life over...Jeez, I fuckin' wonder!" I said sarcastically.

Jack paused, and looked at me thoughtfully for a moment.

"What I'm hearing, Rusty...and I don't want to put words in your mouth, so tell me if I'm wrong that you really do care what they might think of you--quite a lot, actually--and that it hurts you very deeply. And, that's ok...we all need to feel some sense of acceptance at times from other people, Rusty...we're social animals."

"Also, one of the things that you're here to work on is anger management, and I'll let you in on something one of my professors in college told me once...something I'll never forget, because it's just sooo true...and that's the idea that, although anger is a valid emotion, it's always a secondary emotion. That is to say, anger is always a reaction to another more basic feeling inside you. Most of the time that's hurt. When people hurt us, or threaten to hurt us, we usually do one of two things...either we get angry and we fight back, or we run away...physically or emotionally. Fight or flight, Rusty. It's basic human nature," he said, then paused to measure my reaction.

I just glared at him again.

"It's ok to admit that some things hurt you, Rusty. You know, everybody has feelings. It's nothing to be ashamed about--it just simply is the way it is. But, it's how you act on those feelings that really matters," he added cautiously. "We can't choose how to feel; but, we can choose how to act, or react, as the case may be."

"Of course I have feelings," I replied sharply. "But sometimes, I don't like how I feel. What if I don't want to feel that way? I hate it because I can't change; I just pretend they're not there. I don't want to let them have that kind of power over me. If I do something about them, then I feel like I'm giving in to them...letting them win."

"Well, Rusty..." he smiled to himself, "it sounds like you've got it all figured out then, don't you? But, I guess the fact that you're here means that maybe your way isn't always the healthiest way to look at it, you think?" he asked with a gentle smile.

"But seriously," he added, "I like to think that unanswered feelings are just like email," he said with a little grin. "No, seriously...The longer they sit in your inbox unopened, the more crammed up with junk it the point that there's no room for anything more. If you just keep cramming more stuff in there, sooner or later it will explode," he said with a knowing glance. "A better solution is to just read them all as they come in. Some you can just toss out right away because they're obviously junk. Some you can answer easily with a quick reply...and some may need a little bit of thought. The main thing is to just get rid of the junk as soon as it comes in. Only keep the good ones in permanent storage."

"Our feelings are just the same way," he continued. "If we just allow ourselves to experience them, then we can step back and ask ourselves why we feel that way. Sometimes we let silly things affect us; but once we see those feelings for what they really are, it's easy to dismiss them as inappropriate or unnecessary. Once we understand why we feel a certain way, then we can choose how to respond to it. We have no choice about what we feel sometimes, Rusty...but we can definitely choose what we do about it."

"I think that's just complete bullshit!" I said with a glare. "Sometimes there's absolutely no choice at all! You think I could choose not to be in love with another boy? You think I could choose not to be scared to death that if some people had found out my life could have been over just like that?" I said, with a snap of my fingers.

I stared at him for a second, as I gathered myself for my next barrage.

"Besides," I added, trying not to let the tears of my frustration show, "You have no fuckin' clue what it's walk around at school, and know everyone is looking at you...talking about you...making assumptions about you...for something that so totally doesn't affect them--yet, something they think it's like, totally ok to convict you as a bad person for...a pervert...A FAG!...a worthless piece of just have no idea what that feels like!" I shouted at him.

He sighed and took a deep breath. He leaned forward slightly, and looked me straight in the eyes.

"Rusty...I know how much those things have hurt you, and I'm not trying to dismiss that. But, everyone eventually has to heal from their wounds so they can move on. If someone had a severe car accident, for example, they might have to spend months in physical therapy to rehab their bodies so they could eventually get on with their lives again. We have to do the same thing with's gonna take some hard work, but you can recover from all the wounds inside your heart. This is the first just have to admit to yourself what's in there and take inventory of what you feel. I want you to think about that, and try to write a list of all the different things you feel this week in a journal or something until we talk again in a few days, ok?"

I nodded my head sullenly, because I knew I didn't really have much choice...he was now my court-ordered overseer, and if I didn't do what he asked me I could have my probation revoked, I guess. But, he just had no idea what was inside idea how much it was gonna hurt to let all those feelings out.

"What if...well, what if it just hurts too much, you know?" I sniffed. "Sometimes I just wanna forget all the bad shit, and never go back there. I know what I have now, and what I want for the future. That's all that really matters to me right now."

"Well, Rusty...I think you just answered your own question. If you really love Ian, then you owe it to him. Let's get rid of all your extra baggage right now, so you guys will never have to deal with that crap again. Let your love for Ian give you whatever strength you need to do this. If we can wipe away all those old wounds and scars, the only thing left will be the real Rusty. That would be the best present you could possibly give him. You think we can do that?" he asked.

"Ok, I'll try. God knows he deserves it," I answered with a sigh. At least I hope I can...I just wonder sometimes if I know who the real Rusty is, anymore.

"You both do," he said with a smile.


"" I said breathlessly between grunts.

"Oh god Rusty..." he whimpered.

"!" I groaned, as I ground myself into him again and again.

"Oh my god Rusty!...uuuuhhh" he whimpered.

Finally, I collapsed across his back, and lay draped on top of him...both of us hardly able to move in our post-orgasm state of exhaustion. I could feel myself sliding on the thin layer of sweat that was trapped between us, as inched forward and nibbled softly on his ear.

"Mmmmm, that was incredible, dude" I panted, still trying to catch my breath.

"I had no idea it could feel like that," he whispered in amazement. "Thank you, babe. That was an awesome birthday present."

It was an awesome way to start the day, that's for sure. I squinted my eyes to read the time on his alarm clock...shit, it was only 5:45 in the morning! When I awoke to the feeling of his hand wrapped firmly around my...well, I never felt so horny in my entire life!

From there, things escalated quickly. I guess our decision to postpone the festivities last night and just snuggle and talk was a very temporary one. Sleeping in the same bed had eventually made us both horny as hell. Now that the sexual tension was eased for the moment, we both slipped back into a sound sleep.


The sound of his alarm woke us both with a start at 7AM. I was still partially draped across his backside, as I swatted at the annoying little box sitting next to the open jar of Vaseline on his nightstand. I glanced around the room to get my bearings...mentally flipping off Aaron Carter as he stared sexily back at me...

"Wakey wakey dude..." I groaned in his ear. "Time to haul it into the shower, and get ready for all of the various and exciting Thanksgiving festivities that await us..." I added dryly.

"Ohhhh...'kay" he mumbled back to me.

Groggily, he turned himself around to face me, and winced a little bit in pain. He blinked a few times, and then got a puzzled look on his face.

"That wasn't a dream, was it? We really did...uh, you know...`it'...last night, didn't we?" he asked shyly.

"Ya..." I sighed to myself. "It was sooo incredible, dude. But you must be a little sore down there, judging by the face you just made. You ok?" I asked with concern.

"Ya...I'll survive. If it was half as good as I think I remember, it was worth it..." he sighed, closing his eyes for a moment.

I reached out and stroked my finger over his soft, peach-fuzz cheeks (I just love doing that!).

His eyes popped open again.

" know...well, I wasn't really planning on us going `that far' so soon, so I wasn't exactly prepared...and we were darn horny in the heat of the moment...but, you, you didn't have any protection, did you?" he asked, blushing deeply.

" I'm sorry dude...but, I...I promise you won't get pregnant...I swear!" I said with a half-smile.

His serious expression quickly brought me back to the reality of the moment.

"I've never really asked you, but like...I've always just assumed...I mean, you're not exactly a virgin, are you?" he asked quietly.

" But dude! I've never really been with someone like this before...someone I cared about! I mean, ok, ya...I've had sex with two different girls before...but, that was like, a really long time ago...last year even...and it wasn't because I wanted to exactly...we were both drunk, and she just kinda jumped on me...and well, it reacted the way you might expect it would...and, I just didn't care enough to fight it at the time..." I gushed apologetically. "I dunno. It was a long time ago, and I didn't even really like it. Last night was sooo awesome, dude..." I sighed. "But, I don't think you need to worry...I'm sure I don't have any diseases or anything!"

"But, you will be going in to the free clinic for a full STD screening next week, right?" he asked. "RIGHT?"

"Ya..." I replied sheepishly. "Ok dude...if it's important to you, I'll do it. I mean, I hope you don't think I would go anywhere near you if I even thought I had a head cold, let alone some sexually transmitted disease!" I begged.

"No, Rusty...I know that. And, it's just as much my fault that things went a little too far last night," he sighed.

"Dude...if it makes you feel any better, last night was the first time for me first time really making love. I mean, I've been able to shoot, ya know?...since I was twelve. But last night gave the word `orgasm' a whole new meaning to me. Shit, I came so hard I thought my dick was gonna explode, dude!" I said with a blush. "That was all you..."

I leaned in and kissed him on the nose.

"God, it felt sooooo good to be inside you...I never want to, you know, put it anywhere else for the rest of my life. I'm hooked, dude. You're the best fuck I could ever hope for..." I whispered in his ear with a giggle.

"Rusty! Jeeeez..." he said, with a shocked look on his face.

"I'm sorry...but it's true, Ian! Last night was the first time I ever know...satisfied?...gratified?...good about myself?...after I had sex. It was just too intense...I think it's gonna take me a while to recover from that one until I'm like...uh...ready again, ya know? At least for another ten minutes or so..." I added with a sly grin, as I shifted my weight subtly to let him know that the monster was awake again.

" are like a walking hard-on, or something! As sore as my butt feels right now, I think you better make other plans for a while dude," he said as his hand found its way around my shaft. "Maybe we should continue this in the shower..." he said with an impish smile.

We both reluctantly pulled ourselves out of bed.

"Whoa..." he said out loud to himself as we walked into the bathroom to start the shower, "I guess I'm not a virgin anymore, am I?"

"No," I said wryly, "but don't let that make you think you don't need lots more practice to get it just right..."

He just turned and gave me one of those strange looks he does, when he isn't sure whether he should be mad at me, or just laughing his ass off.


We both came downstairs and into the kitchen, hand in hand. I can't say for sure, but I think we both had that after sex `glow thing' happening. Ian's mom already had Thanksgiving preparations well under way, and the whole house was full of those holiday smells...roasting turkey...pumpkin pie...sweet potatoes.

We sat down together at the breakfast table to have a little cereal or something to hold us until the big meal. Ian's dad was already sitting at the table, reading the newspaper and drinking coffee...just like you might imagine. As Ian sat down, I saw him wince slightly to himself. A wave of panic washed over his face as he glanced worriedly at both his parents. Fortunately, nobody but me had seen it. I gave him another apologetic look.

I sure hope he doesn't feel like I took advantage of him, or anything. It wasn't like I raped him...fuck! He was beggin' for it last night so loud, I had to do something to keep him quiet. God, it was so awesome! I realized to myself right away last night that I was actually making love for the first time. What I had done before was just...well, it was no comparison. Both the girls I had been with before had thought I was some kind of super stud because it, like, took me forever before I could finally get off when I was screwin' them. But in reality, I was relieved I could keep it up at all. In the end, I just didn't find it all that stimulating. But last night...god! I thought I was gonna explode before I even got inside him. It kinda surprised me that it felt so much better than a woman...because, know...that spot on a guy isn't really designed for that purpose, the way women are. I wonder if the 90% of the guys in the world that are supposed to be straight have any idea that screwin' another guy could be way better!

Well, fuck em' (no pun intended). I'm not tellin'!

After breakfast, his mom suggested we take a walk or something (i.e., she wanted us to get the heck out of her way!) so, we headed out the door. As we hit the sidewalk and turned left towards the park, Ian slipped his hand into mine. A wave of panic flashed through my mind, and I think my face showed it. I immediately glanced at him, and noticed his shy smile...and I watched as it slowly turned into a look of hurt and disappointment.

I admit it. I freaked a little. I'm sure he could see it in my eyes. I mean, my heart skipped a few beats, but I never let go of his hand! It just felt...I dunno...too exposed. I've been getting more comfortable with being together in public like this, and we're basically pretty well outed at school, but situations like this still cause that brief, but terror-filled panic in the pit of my stomach. At least I caught myself in time...not long ago I would have yanked my hand back from his out of reflex. Now, the only reflex I couldn't control was the one on the inside. Somehow, that hurt even more.

I sighed to myself, as I squeezed his hand tightly to prevent him from pulling away.

"Sorry, dude. I'm really hard...but sometimes I still have that little moment of panic. All I need to do is look in your eyes, and I'm fine, ok?"

"Ian...dude...please! Just look at me," I begged.

Slowly, his head turned back to me, and those big, soft, pale-blue eyes met mine from behind a few long wisps of his hair, which was falling across his face as usual. After a few seconds of eye contact, he gave me a little smile.

"I know you're trying, Rusty. It still hurts a little bit, but I understand. I know you love me. I just wish..." he sighed.

"I know...I know, dude. Me too," I said softly.

We entered the park, and our aimless wandering took us close to the skate park. But, before we got too close, I grabbed his elbow, and pulled him over to a picnic table.

"Sit with me a second, ok?" I asked.

He nodded briefly and sat down beside me.

"This is the spot, remember?" I asked, giving him a questioning glance.

The look of confusion in his eyes told me he wasn't quite following my thinking yet.

"This is the place...the same bench where I found you that day...and...and I sat here watching you while you were sleeping...and I...I think that's when I really fell in love with you," I sighed.

He gave another quick glance around, and when his gaze returned back to mine I could see a couple tears welling in his eyes. I wanted so much to lean over and kiss him...but some part of me just put the brakes on again. Nope. Not yet, I sighed to myself.

I stared off into space, and we both sat there in silence for a while. After a few minutes, I realized I was staring at the skate park. There were only a couple of kids skating on this holiday morning, and it normally would have seemed like such a perfect time to go and cut loose on my board...nobody to get in my way. But, as I sat there in silence, I realized that it just didn't feel right any more.

For the first time in my life, I felt a little uneasy at the thought of being around the other skate punks. I'm sure they must know by now. I think Tim will still hang with me, but somehow I don't expect the other dudes will accept it that easily.

"What's wrong, Rusty?" he asked me quietly, putting his arm around my waist. "Wish you had your board with you right about now?"

I sighed, and hung my head down in frustration.

"No, dude...kinda like the opposite. I'm not sure if those guys will even let me hang anymore. I mean, I'm sure they must all know about us by now...and I'm not sure I wanna find out just how they feel about it. Besides, I don't have the mojo anymore...I just can't seem to find that feeling of intensity...maybe even anger...that used to drive me to be the best skater out there. It seems so pointless now."

"I'm sorry Rusty...I thought you loved to skate...?" he said with confusion in his voice. "You mean, you didn't do it before just because you liked to? It wasn't fun?" he asked in amazement.

"Honestly, dude...I don't really know any more," I sighed. "Part of it was just my desperate attempt to build this tough persona around myself...for my own protection. And another part of it was driven by the anger I still felt about what happened to Billy...about not being able to really just be myself. Dude, you just have no idea how much anger I used to carry around inside me..."

I paused for a second, thinking to myself how to tell him what I needed to say without fucking things up between us.

"Ian...dude, I have to tell ya something...but, I don't want you to get pissed with me, or get your feelings hurt or something like that...and, I'm not real great at stuff like this, so just give me a chance, here, ok?" I asked.

He nodded to me softly, and the look of love and caring in his eyes gave me a little encouragement.

"After talking to Jack and, it's really been making me think about things...and, well...I realize that sometimes lately, I just feel like I don't really know who I am anymore. I've been somebody else for so long, that I just have this nagging doubt in my, is that how I really feel? Or is it just what I've always told myself I should feel...?" I wondered out loud to myself.

"But that doesn't apply to you, dude! That's just about the only feeling I have right now that I can trust! But, stuff like skating...I just don't know. I guess I'm asking you to give me some time...and a little space when I ask for I can figure this shit out, ya know?"

He just gave me a sincere, tear filled look, and buried his head against my neck as he wrapped his arms around me.

"Thanks, dude," I said softly, as I kissed his hair.


Everyone was seated around the table, drooling over the Thanksgiving dinner spread out before us.

"Ok, looks like everyone is settled in," Ian's dad said as he tapped his fork against his glass, creating that familiar and all-too-annoying ringing sound. "Rusty...Clara (my mom's name), we have two simple traditions in our house at Thanksgiving: first, we have a short prayer, and then we go around the table asking everyone to briefly tell us something that they're thankful about today. I'll begin with the prayer..."

I gave a panicked look at Ian, who sat next to me. He shrugged, and gave me a little "Oops, sorry I forgot to warn you about that!" kind of shrug.

"God, bless this food to our bodies, and us to thy service. Amen."


(Well, he did say a short prayer...)

Ian's mom went first in the telling of what she was thankful for. Instantly, my mind tuned out, as I frantically thought to myself just what I could say...but, I don't really think well under pressure...I just react. The longer I sat there, there more the sense of total panic set in...shit! What was I gonna say?....I knew what I should say, but could I find the guts to do it?

I was brought back to attention when Ian squeezed my hand firmly, gave me a cute little smile, and stood up to speak. Apparently I had already missed his mother's statement, and his dad's. Now it was his turn.

He walked around behind me, and put his hands on my shoulders.

"Um...well," he began, "I...uh...I'm not really very good at this kinda stuff, but I really need to say something," he said, taking a deep breath.

I couldn't see his face behind me, but I could practically feel him turning a little bit red.

"I just...uh...I mean, I have so much to be thankful about, I don't even know where to begin. In the last few months, so many things have happened to me--some good and some bad, I guess...and still, sometimes I feel like the luckiest guy in the world," he said, giving my shoulders a squeeze with his hands. I could feel the love in his eyes beaming down on me. "I'm really thankful to have so many understanding and open-minded adults in my life. My parents, of course...who gave me a home and a family, and who didn't complain lately when I've been learning more about my birth family and absorbing those things into my life...for Jack, who keeps me from going crazy dealing with the rest of the world...for Mr. B, for working his mysterious brand of magic that he does on people..." he said, his voice growing thicker with emotion as he went on.

I nodded knowingly at his last statement, then I heard him hesitate for a second, sniffing back a tear. I could feel my heart swelling inside my chest. I was so proud of him right now...

"And for you, Mrs. Thompson...for having such an incredible son...for taking care of him, and guiding him safely through some terrible times...and...well...of course..."

I saw my mom smile gratefully. Then, I felt him take one hand off my shoulder, and I turned to see him wiping away the tears from his face. I quickly looked back down at my hands, in an effort to hide the tears growing in my own eyes.

"For Rusty...who gave me a new life...who showed me what it was like to feel accepted and appreciated as a person..."

I shut my eyes as tightly as I could, determined not to let myself cry.

"Who showed me what it was like to have so much face up to some terrible things that happened to him, and to beat survive them..."


"Who could see a whole other person inside me that nobody else had ever seen before..."



"Who just filled this gaping hole inside my heart...inside my soul...who makes me feel sooo complete with him in my life..."

Dammit no! I struggled desperately in silence, as I felt the first tear run down past my nose.

"Who showed me for the first time in my life what it felt like to be totally loved by someone...and what it felt like to be totally in love...More than anything, Rusty...I'm thankful just for having you in my life. I love you more than I can even say..." he finished, breaking into tears.

I totally lost it. Not only was I crying my heart out, I was totally speechless. Ian wrapped himself around me tightly from behind, and buried his face in my neck like he usually does. I waved my left hand at my mom, who was sitting next to me...hoping she would just skip me and say something.

"It's ok don't need to say anything," she told me softly, "You've said all you need to say already."

I squeezed Ian's arms to my chest tightly, and sobbed some more.

"I'm thankful for a lot of things..." my mom began, "but mostly, I'm thankful that God has seen fit to give these two wonderful boys to each other, and to give them a chance for a lifetime together."