Skip - Part 13


Skip – Part 13

He had been sitting there, waiting for me. He saw me as I opened the stairway door. His face brightened a million degrees, and he smiled up at me. My Billy smiled at me. I was stunned.

"Hello, my love. What took you so long?" he said, smiling.

I fell to my knees, exhausted, in front of him. I put my right hand on his cheek.

"You know me?"

"You're my Aaron. You're the man that I love, with every breath, with every heartbeat."

I cried so hard. He let me get it all out. After a few minutes, he took my head in his hands and kissed me full on the lips. There was applause behind Billy, across the room.

"Hi Aaron!" rang out amongst five or six people, who were Billy's support team. In front was Skip, whooping and hollering, leading the cheering.

I waved to them briefly, and then went back to kissing Billy and sobbing. They talked amongst themselves, giving Billy and me our time together. I had to be dreaming. I eventually looked up. I smiled at Billy's team.

"I can't stand up yet. My legs are too tired, because I ran. And I'm in shock. Thank you. I don't know what you did, or how, but thank God for you."

Skip walked over and knelt down beside me. He took me away from Billy for a minute.

"I've missed you, so much." He kissed me on my lips. "I'm sorry for everything . . ."

"No. Don't. We're here. It's good enough," I said, looking up at Billy. "It's way more than good enough. Please kiss me again. Am I dreaming this?"

Skip kissed me deeply. He hugged me close and kissed me again and again.

"Does that feel like a dream?" he asked.

"Yeah. Whatever you do, do NOT wake me up."

"I love you, bro, very much. We worked hard, more than you know," he said.

"You'll tell me sometime?"

"Yeah. Everything."

"When did you . . ." I started to ask Billy.

"This morning. Well, about four hours ago. I'm sorry love. I didn't mean to go away."

"It's not your fault, love, not even close. You're here. You won't go away anymore? I mean, you're healing?"

He shook his head. "No, I won't go away again. I'm fine. Because of my team. They worked unbelievably long and hard for me."

He turned in his wheelchair to face his team. "God bless you, every one of you."

"He has," said a young man in Nike warm-up pants and a polo shirt. He looked like a physical therapist I knew in New Hampshire.

"Adam, Casey, Julie, Mike, and Elena. Come and meet Aaron."

Billy turned back again to face me.

"We're so happy to meet you. We knew you were in here," Casey the therapist said, reaching around and putting his hand on Billy's heart. We just kept opening doors until he found you again."

"I owe you so much," I said.

"No. We owe you," said Elena. "We've never had success this great. Usually the family gets the patient 100% once discharged."

"Truly," said Adam. "I'm loathe to admit that, before meeting Billy, I was not very open-minded. Now I know that love, at its best, is so beautiful. You've touched my stone heart, guys, and given it something nice. Thank you."

"We don't want people to embrace our lifestyle," I said. "Just accept that people are not clones. We all love in our own way. What happened to Billy came out of hate. It's inexcusable to smash a young man's head with a lead pipe, to hurt him this badly, because someone doesn't conform to everyone else."

"I agree, Aaron," said Adam. It's nice to see the light of you three. You're remarkable. I won't just stand around next time I hear someone spew hate. We could have lost Billy. The man who attacked Billy did not just hurt him. He nearly killed him. No sane person, open-minded or not, excuses murder."

"I am open-minded," said Mike, "but even then I've learned more from these two brothers than I know up until now. When Billy said `Where's my Aaron?' a couple hours ago, I cried. Skip told us that it would be the breakthrough we needed."

"We all cried," said Julie. "It was like winning the Boston Marathon for the first time. `Billy is in love with Aaron; they need to be whole again' is Skip's mantra that moved us forward these past four weeks. We would keep at it, for as long as it took."

"You are the reason we kept working for Billy," said Casey. "Finding you told us that Billy is 90% there. We have one task left--to get him steadier on his feet, but he's going home very soon."

Billy looked up to him. "Really?"

"Yeah, bud. Soon. Two days, tops, if your bros will keep up with your walking regimen."

"Consider it a promise fulfilled," I said. Skip agreed whole-heartedly.

I reached out to shake their hands. Each drew me in and hugged me. A handshake would not cut it for them.

"I cannot imagine what you've been through," said Mike.

"A lot of tears, Mike. Too much sadness. Self-pity. Billy's dorm mates . . ."

"Not dorm mates, bro, my life blood, and yours too."

"Oh yeah, for four weeks. I really need to do something outstanding for them. Thirteen of the most human, humane, and sincerely loving guys on the planet."

"We got the group pic that you all sent to Andrew for us," said Skip. "Pure genius. Billy did know them all. But not you, yet."

"Do you have the picture here? I asked.

"Yeah," said Julie, going to her desk.

She brought it over to me. I took it from her and got down on my knee beside Billy. I started to point. He knew why. I would go back to the guys later tonight and tell them that Billy knew every one of them. They needed to hear that very badly.

"David and Matt, roommates. David is a warrior--lymphoma. Matt is `family'. Vincent and Jessie. Greg and Brian. Paul and Jake, who should be Paul and Jeremy, and Jeremy, his twin, with Kenny, instead of Jake and Kenny. I assume you did that for a reason. Jerry and Henry. Henry makes my heart skip a beat. He's `family' too. Ste, my roommie. And my heart-mate, Aaron. You were a blank."

The boys had indeed stood as pairs, except for the twins. It was a test for Billy. He nailed it. Skip had asked him if he was sure about the twins. Billy said he knew.

"He wanted to know who you were. He knew you weren't one of the roommates because you were paired with Ste, and he's Ste's roommate. So we kept working. There was a certain issue that he had to think about."

"Being sexual?" I asked.

"Yeah. How'd you know?"

"I had a lot of time to think about it. It was just a theory."

"A good one. The key one," said Billy. "The one that let you in, finally."

"Was it awful, at first?" I asked

"To know I love you? Duh."

I laughed. "Okay, I believe you."

"To know I love you means the whole world to me. Please, please believe that."

"I do believe it, for real. You are my soul." I pulled Skip close to us. "The only reason my heart beats is because of you both." I looked at Skip. We are three. "Your folks said `inconsolable' regarding dying. I would have found a way to join you, somehow."

"Don't ever," said Billy. "We're timeless. Believe that if nothing else."

"Okay. You're beautiful. As are you, my love," I said to Skip. I ran my fingers through his hair and touched his cheek. I looked at Billy's team. "THIS is love, people. It gets no better than this. You saved three of us, not just Billy."

"We, all, are happy for you. Your love is profound. I'm humbled," said Casey.

"Doctor Adam, are we done for today?" Billy asked.

"Yes, my young charge, we are. Now get out!"

"Okay bro," he said, looking up at Skip. "Home please."

Skip got behind Billy. He motioned to the other wheelchair handle grip. I stood beside him and we pushed Billy back to his room. He was just down the hall.

Skip closed the door to Billy's room. He locked it, and then smiled at me. He gave me eyebrows.

I knelt in front of Billy. I took off his sneakers and socks. I massaged his bare feet. I kissed the top of his foot.

"That's a good start," he said, looking down at me.

I stood up and took off his sweatshirt. I knelt again and licked his chest, licked his nipples and bit them gently.


Skip started to undress. "No way, love. After four weeks, I'm taking care of you both tonight. Sit," I ordered. "Better yet, can you lift our bro onto his bed?"

He did, and then went to the other side of Billy's bed again.

I pulled down Billy's warm-up pants. He nodded. I put my hand inside his jock. He was so hard, and he was leaking pre-cum.

I withdrew my hand. He nodded that it was okay. He knew exactly what I wanted. I walked over to Skip. I laid him on the bed, beside Billy. I took his sweatshirt and t-shirt off, followed by his boots and socks. As I had done with Billy, I massaged his feet. I put them to my nose and inhaled deeply. I kissed the tops of his feet. Then I unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans. Commando, of course. And rock hard, leaking pre-cum. I licked it off his cock head. I leaned over Skip and licked Billy's pre-cum as well. Skip grabbed my crotch and squeezed my hard cock through my jeans. He unbuttoned and unzipped my jeans when I stood up again. No pre-cum from my cock. I had Ste to thank for that. He kept me grounded. It was obvious that Skip and Billy had not had sex while Billy was healing. Nor would there be sex tonight. (I just heard my readers go nuts. Sorry guys; a time and place for everything. But not in a hospital. Love, not sex, remember?).

We moved Billy to the middle of the bed. We each lay halfway on top of him and kissed him one at a time.

"Who kisses best?" I said, teasingly.

"Hmmm. I dunno. Kiss me," he said. I did, meaningfully.

"Bro, you kiss me," he said to Skip. Skip kissed him, meaningfully.

He turned to me. I kissed him again. He turned to Skip, who kissed him again.

"No contest," was all he said.

Skip and I knew what that meant. We smiled at each other. For the next twelve hours, it was all about Billy. He held us and we held him. I cried, again, but not with sadness this time.

As promised, Billy was discharged in two days, 28 days after surgery. He walked into my apartment first, looking all around. Everything seemed new to him. I stood behind him and put my arms around his stomach. I kissed his neck.

"Welcome home, love."

"I love this apartment. My memories are just pouring in."

"Good ones?"

"Oh yes. Meals, music, TV, Skip and you without me and with me, love, making love. Yeah, good memories."

He took a step forward and promptly fell on his ass.

"Oops," he said as Skip and I knelt down beside him. "The legs still need work."

We had taken a cab from MGH because it would have been too far to walk. A mile, or a bit under, was like walking twenty. I knew what it was like to be taught to walk again.

"Okay, love, we got promises to keep to your team. Give me an overview of what your PT is like."

"First heat packs, to loosen up my muscles. A deep massage for my back, mostly for blood circulation. Legs lifts, assisted and on my own. Walking around the room, which as you saw, is quite large, both assisted and on my own."


"In small amounts."

"I can't do the heat packs, not even a bathtub; I assume it was moist heat?" He nodded. "I sorta know about massages, but I would guess that Skip witnessed or participated in those?"

"Yeah. It's not too complicated," he said. "Billy?"

"Go for it, Skip."

"Let's put a couple of layers of blankets on the floor. The surface he's on should be firm."

I got blankets out of the storage drawer. We laid them out and folded them into a good padding, but not too thick. Billy lay on his stomach as he did at MGH. He shucked off his clothing.

"I wear sport shorts at the hospital because of my magnificent ass. I don't want to blind my team. You guys already know how to deal with it."

"Yeah, but we'll discuss that later. First the pain, then the pleasure," said Skip, laughing.

We both stripped down to jeans only. He kissed Billy's ass and then offered me the pleasure. I kissed Billy's ass, wanting to do much more, but behaving myself, for now. Skip then straddled his brother's ass and began massaging his back, slowly at first, then with long deep pushes with his palm, as he was taught. The massage was for fifteen minutes, twice a day. Billy did the leg lifts and stretches unassisted, and then assisted as he got tired.

Once done, we went to the back of the building and he did his usual routine with the stairs. This, I saw, was grueling. He had to do all this twice a day. His brain had forgotten how to do all of this for him.

As promised, we slowly went from physical therapy to pleasurable experiences. My version of leg lifts involved bending Billy almost in half while he was lying down and burying my tongue in his hole. Skip helped my sitting on Billy's face while holding his legs up in the air.

"Wow, PT was never like this!" he moaned, clearly enjoying our treatment program.

"What's your pleasure now, love," I asked.

"Rest. I really am tired. It's a good kind, but I'm done."

"Rest it is," I said.

Skip and I got Billy into the oversized chair. I started to open the doors to the Murphy bed.

"Here, love, you sit and hold our bro. I'll do that," Skip said.

"Do you want me to hold you?" I asked, not at all seriously.

"No," he replied, not at all seriously.

"You want to . . ." I said.

". . . fuck," he said.

"Okay okay, I get it. Geez," said Skip, hardly seriously.

Skip pulled down `Aaron's magnificent Murphy bed' while I smooched Billy. Once Skip was done farting around, Billy and I joined him on the bed. The blue jeans finally came off. The cocks were hard. The fondling commenced.

"We're going to make love to you until I have no more cum in those balls that you're playing with," Billy said to me.

"Promises, promises," I said. However, I did not doubt him for a minute.

Skip pulled me into his arms for a moment.

"And then it's my turn," he said.

"Coool. Thanks to Stephen, I don't have blue balls, but . . ."

"I'm glad he gave you a hand. Well, you know."

"I taught him about edging."

"Which is . . .?"

"You'll find out, but not today. I have two words for you, and they ain't `Merry Christmas'"


Billy raised my legs this time, ate out my pucker, and the pressed the knob of his cock against it.

"Wait," said Skip. He leaned forward and put Billy's cock in his mouth, sucking and spitting to lube it up.

"Now you may fuck our bud."

Billy entered me in one motion.

"Ohhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh," I sang out, in my best imitation of a tenor.

"Hey Mikey, he likes it!" said Billy.

"Hell no. I love it. Deeper. Harder. Longer. Lemme feel your balls. Fuck me! I want you so bad, love, sooo bad."

He gave it to me the way I begged him to. He long dicked me so nicely. I tingled from head to toe, having Billy inside me at long last. Tears flowed from my eyes. He kissed them away, telling me it was so good to be home again. He said he was so sorry for going away. The emotion was so high that he could not hold off much longer.

"Oh man, I'm so close."

"Slow down, bud. Bury your hot cock deep inside me and leave it there. I don't want you to come so soon."

He did as I said. He kissed me, and then kissed Skip. He moved only often enough to stay hard. After a few minutes, he started fucking me again. In and out, long and slow, and smooth. I had abandoned hope of feeling his cock in my hole ever again. I selfishly prayed that I was wrong. My selfish prayers have been answered. When he got close again, he buried his cock deep again. He kissed Skip and me lovingly. I would guess that Skip's prayers were also being answered tonight. I looked at him. He nodded, and smiled.

"Yes, love. They are."

"This is all I ever need. My two brothers. So much to make up for, love. I'll do anything you want, anything. But for now, the only thing I want is your hot sweet load inside me."

Once again, Billy resumed fucking me, this time a little faster. He wanted to give me his load as much as I wanted him to. He still did not rush, just fucked me steadily. After a while, he kissed me and then looked into my eyes.

"Ready, love?"

"More than ready. Come in my tight ass, love. I want your hot load."

I moaned as he unloaded inside of my asshole. His cock was nice and slick. He kept pumping into me until his balls were drained. There would be some in reserve, for later. He lay on top of me as he continued to kiss me. I felt his cock slip out of my hole.

"Better?" he asked.


Skip was getting ready to enter me. He knew that Billy had dumped a good load of cum into my hole. This is the lube he loved the best. He thrust into me in one steady push, filling my hole just right.

"Oh my, Aaron, I feel like this is our first time. My cock is inside you at long last. Please forgive me for being so concen . . ."

"Sshhhh," I said, putting my fingers to his lips. "Nothing to forgive, bro. You did what you should have done, and needed to do. Do the same now, like you mean it."

"Oh, I mean it, my bro. I mean every inch of it. Are you okay?"

"Perfectly. Show me how much you love me."

"I can't do that just by fucking you. Fucking isn't love. It's the animal part of me. Later I will show you how much I love you, but not now."

I let go of a soft growl. He smiled, animal to animal. He kissed me as he slid in and out of my tight hole. I do mean tight. Every thrust was a mix of pleasure and pain, but not in equal amounts. The small amount of pain let me know that Skip's thick cock was within me. I clenched down on his cock every time he withdrew, getting easily into his rhythm. He too buried his cock deep inside me, and stopped fucking me. He would come in a while, but not until he was ready.

Billy kissed us both. His hand was wrapped very tightly around my cock. It went into his fist with every forward thrust that Skip made. He knew that I wanted to come at the same time as Skip. Mutual orgasm was the best.

Finally, Skip began fucking me in earnest. He long dicked me for a few minutes. On his last inward thrust, he released a pent-up load of cum. He threw his head back and moaned loudly, fucking me until he could fuck me no longer. He lay on top of me and kissed me forever.

I too had come. My moans were softer than his, but Billy knew I was shooting my hot load. He pushed Skip off me for a moment and ate my cum off my chest and belly. I was clean and only slightly moist by the time he cleaned me up.

We lay together and went to sleep. There was nothing else to do today. Being together again was the only thing we wanted.

"I found your cubby, by the way. Ste found me there. Paul had watched me one afternoon. He was on his way to class, but stood aside to see where I would go. I wandered around, looking for where you'd settle in to study. Paul was impressed."

"You worked very hard to keep a connection between us, even ten miles away. You are totally impressive, but I've know that for a long time."

We were having lunch the day after our sexual re-initiation. Soup and sandwiches were the order of this cool early April day. Billy was going to spend the next few days at home with his parents. He was almost ready to go back to college. He asked if I would go back to the boys at school when Skip went back to his college. Billy did not want me to stay home alone. I could not go home with him because of chemo, still. I was not even close to being done with it. In September, Andrew would bring me to treatment every two weeks, until the end of the year. Only then would I be done. Eight more months in chemo hell. But I had my brothers, any one of thirteen of them, to be there beside me for each one.

Billy went home on Sunday, for the week. Skip went back to school on Sunday afternoon. He had two papers due this week. Both were done. He was not even one day behind in his class work.

I went back at Billy's school, also for the week. I had called ahead and told the guys that I would be there around 4:00 p.m., give or take, but in time to have dinner with them. These guys always amazed me. There was not just one or two to meet me. There were thirteen. I laughed aloud when I saw them all.

"Hi Aaron. Welcome back. We're really glad you want to spend the week," said Henry. "Maybe we can convince you to stay until school ends next month."

My heart skipped a beat. Maybe two. Definitely two. God, he was one beautiful young man, male model beautiful. He is in pre-med, which told me he had no ego about his looks. He would care about others first. He hugged me.

"You won't have to convince me, love," I said, holding up my duffle.

"Really? You'll stay?" Henry asked.

"Yes, love. I'll stay. We need to talk about summer plans. And I want to share my business idea with you all. Even if you're out of state all summer, I'd like your help."

Each one hugged me in turn.

"You've just made our day, bud," said Ste. Billy's coming back in a week, and we got you for the duration. Sweet!"

It was time for dinner, so we walked to the dining hall. I was actually hungry, unlike last time. Nothing says comfort like mac and cheese, with three cheeses. I paired it with a side salad and a dinner roll. I took two cartons of milk.

"Oh boy. Lookie. Our bro has an appetite," said Ste.

"Ohhh yeahhh," I smiled. I ate happily.

"Dessert?" asked Jake.

"Yum. Cake would work. Where do we go?"

Jake rose and motioned for me to follow him. We walked over to the dessert bar. My eyes zeroed in on a triple layer chocolate cake.

"Could you share a slice with me? My boyish figure couldn't take a whole slice."

"Your boyish figure needs to get a boyish figure, love. Go for it. Jeremy and I will share some pie."

"Twist my arm," I said. "Okay okay!" I said, feigning a twisted arm.

I brought a second fork anyway. Maybe one of the guys would have a bite or three to save me a thousand calories of guilt. Jake was right, though. I still weighed in at only 115, having put on no weight in months. Matt was a good sport and saved me two bites and 90 calories at least.

When we were back in the dorm for the evening, I told the boys about the group picture.

"He knew all of us? Really?" asked Kenny.

"He paired you up as roommies and ticked off your names as I pointed. He knows David is a cancer warrior, and that Matt and Henry are family. He could tell Jake and Jeremy apart. He knew they were standing with the wrong roommates. He knew you all the day he got the picture. He knew me only four hours before I got there."

"So your theory of him needing to recall his sexuality held true," said David.

I nodded.

"How was his first night, at home," asked Matt.

"Memorable," I said, truthfully.

"Whoo hoo!" said Henry. "We knew it would be. Details! Lots and lots of details!"

"A gentleman does not kiss and tell. Neither do I."

"S'okay. I got an awesome imagination," said Henry, laughing. "I probably still won't do it justice, but it'll be fun trying. Later guys."

"Need a hand, Henry?" said Jessie, laughing.

"Nope, I got two. Rain check, though," he yelled back from down the hall.

He left the common room. A door closed remains a door closed. Dammit.

"Yeah, me too," said Jake. "Imagination is a wonderful thing. I'm going to go see if I have one," he said, smiling wickedly.

"How about two for the price of one, bro?" said Jeremy, just as wickedly.

Then they were gone. Oh, to be a fly on that bedroom's wall. Kenny was doing homework, highly amused, since his room was now a den of iniquity for horny twin brothers. And a penny for his thoughts as well.

By mid-afternoon, imaginations were apparently satisfied from the three boys. We got rude and crude, but guys do that, too. After dinner, they all settled in for homework. I finally finished an excellent Dean Koontz novel. Stephen King was up next.

I woke between 5:00 and 5:15 each morning. I took a shower, usually alone. Sometimes David was in the shower by 5:30. I had grown up on a dairy farm and the early hour was routine. I never got it out of my system. The guys started stirring around 6:30 each morning, depending on class schedule. The latest anyone became alive again was 7:30. On the opposite end of the day, I was one of the first to bed, usually by 10:00. Ste went comatose by 11:00. By 1:00, the common room was like a ghost town.

We ate as many meals together as we could. I resumed Billy's place in the library each day for the two hours that all the guys were in classes at the same time. Anyone who wanted to hold me while he and I read could do so. All he had to do is sit down with me. At times, we sat together on someone's bed. The guys loved to touch and be touched, to hold on to me and often to each other.

"Would you guys do this if I hadn't come along?" I asked one evening.

"I'd like to think I would eventually," said David, "but I don't think so, at least not close like you taught us. You added a heart to our little fraternity, bro. We, if I can speak for us, owe you a lot."

"You saved me, guys. I may have started it, but you let me. Ste told me that you don't assume that all of us will be living 24 hours from now."

"David's right, too," said Matt. "We do owe you."

"Nope. Henry, Matt, and then Billy started this by being brave enough to come out to you all. The heart started pumping the minute Henry said you'd like him or not. You chose to like him."

"Nope. To love him," said David. Even if Matt and Billy hadn't spoken up, we'd still love Henry. No guts, no glory. In our case, not guts, no love. You still got bigger balls than us thirteen. You survived being widowed at 29, rehab for two years beyond that, and your terrible battle with cancer."

"As did you, love, remember that. And without any of us to help you."

"That made it suck all the more, bros. You only know I'm a three-year survivor. What you don't know is that it took almost four years to get rid of it all. With some or all of you, I would have done a lot better."

"I believe that. I almost died last year, but Skip and Billy kept pulling me back. I didn't necessarily want to come back. Missing out on our friendship, here with you all, would have been worse than dying."

"Awww, Aaron, that's nice. We do love you. You should know, every day if necessary," said Paul.

We still missed Billy, even though he was fine. He would be back on Sunday.

On Wednesday night, I told the guys that David had asked to go to Mass General with me for my chemo. But I was antsy. We discussed it in the common room, with all the guys there. They sided with David.

"Are you sure about this?" I asked him. He had done chemo; I was concerned about unpleasant history.

"Been there/done that. I want to be with you, regardless of how I feel about it. It bothers me a lot less than it does you, love. It'll be okay."

"You should stay at your place, Aaron," Ste said. "Not because we don't want you here, but if you cut the travel time, you can rest and heal. You do like your apartment, right?"

"I do. Andrew and his wife found it for me. It does make sense not to come back out here tomorrow night. I feel better about not puking all over your bathroom anyway."

"Since I'm a witness, you did not puke `all over our bathroom'. I know it was close, but your effort to make the john was herculean," said Vincent. "Paul and I had no trouble taking care of you in there. I do agree about the travel time and distance, though. We know David will take good care of you."

David made sure his homework for Friday was done that evening. He wanted to give me his full attention tomorrow. When we arrived at Andrew's office, I introduced David to the team. I told them that David was a three-year survivor, so he wanted to help a fellow warrior. As he did with Paul two weeks ago, he talked to David about what he was doing. He got my IV hooked up and then he handed the blanket to David.

"This is step one of taking care of our friend, David. He'll get cold soon. Should I stay nearby, or would you rather be alone?"

"Your choice, Andrew," said David. "You have a pager, if necessary?"

"Yeah. Here's my number," Andrew said, handing David his business card. "I won't be far, but a bit of fresh air would feel nice. My team is here if you need anything. Do you want soda or coffee?"

We both shook our heads. "We're okay, Andrew," I said. "Thank you, as always."

Andrew kissed me on my forehead. He patted David's shoulder, and then left.

"And you, love, should take a nap. It always helped me get through my treatment. I'm not going anywhere."

As Paul had done, he moved his chair closer to me and then put his feet up on the low table. He took my hand, kissed it, and put it in his two hands. I went to sleep easily.

Andrew was removing my IV when I woke up. "Let's hope that the anti-emetic works for you, love. It should make the nausea bearable."

He handed me a glass of water and two Tylenol, for the impending headache.

David and I started walking back to my apartment.

"If you're not sick tonight, do you still want to stay at your place? We could go back to campus if you'd rather."

"Yeah, my place would still be better," I said. "This is the first time the anti-emetic is part of my chemo, so there are no guarantees. But are you still sure about . . ."

"I'm sure. Chemo was okay, so now we get through the night."

"Okay. Let's stop for something to eat around the corner. Jillian will take care of us. She gives me a free meal on chemo day. She says it's her small way of caring for me too. I call it very generous. You can order anything you want."

He nodded. We walked into Jillian's place. The soup of the day was broccoli cheese, my favorite. David asked Jillian to make it two. He also ordered a chicken salad sandwich, cut in two.

"Get some rest, Aaron. I'll pray for you tonight, dear heart. Come back soon, okay?"

"Thanks Jillian. You bet I will."

A few minutes later, David and I arrived at my apartment. I took his jacket and hung it up in the small closet. I went to the kitchen to get bowls for our soup. It was hot and steamy when I took the lids off the containers.

"We can eat at the coffee table. Do you want music or maybe the news on TV?"

"How about a light comedy. Seinfeld or Frasier would do."

I turned on the TV and flipped around until I found a Seinfeld repeat. Close enough, for both of us. We sat together on the floor, eating soup. We decided the chicken salad sandwich would be round two if I survived round one. I told him to take his half or three-quarters if he wanted it sooner.

"Nope. Later, if you can handle it. I won't eat more than you. It's not very fair, is it now."

"It's fair if you're hungry, love."

"I'm not. Jillian has been very generous with the soup, and it's awesome."

We ate while talking and watching TV. He made sure I ate my share. When we were done eating, he took out bowls and glasses to the sink, rinsed them out, and put them in the dishwasher. He brought back half of a half sandwich for each of us.

"No . . ."

"Eat. It's only a quarter of a sandwich. My dad would do the same for me, and it was nice that he cared. I care, so eat."

"Thank you, bro. You care just right."

"I love you, Aaron. It's my only reason."

"I love you, too, bro. Here's to we warriors," I said, tipping my sandwich section to his.

He smiled at me and we ate. It did taste good; I had to admit. I hoped that this was a one-way trip for my dinner. When we were done eating, he brought me into his arms.

"Come here, love, let's sit in the big boy chair," I said.

I swiveled the TV so we could watch it as we sat together. The chair was the width of three-fourths of a loveseat. Those who sat it in usually sat side by side. David wanted to sit back and have me sit between his legs so he could hold me around my chest with both his arms. The ottoman allowed me to do that comfortably, stretching my legs out. He kissed my neck, then turned my head to him gently and kissed my forehead.

"Your fever is picking up," he said.

"Yeah. Andrew can't do anything about that, not yet anyway. Not from lack of trying."


"Minor. He gave me more Tylenol for bedtime.


"I expected it, but so far it's okay. I really don't want to make you hold my head tonight. That's above and beyond."

"You'd hold mine. I will hold yours, any time. My dad held mine, every time. Then he would carry me to bed. He said he thought my cancer was the fault of his genes. He owed me."

"Skip's folks said the same thing. There was also cancer on his dad's side of the family. It's why the folks accept that Skip and Billy are intimate. Without Billy, they are sure they would have lost their son. Billy would have been lost a few weeks ago without Skip. It's easy not to condemn unconventional love. Their love, and now mine in the mix, overrules the sex."

"It must be spectacular to be in love with Billy and Skip. Either one of them by themselves would be beautiful enough."

"I'm terrified I'm going to wake up some day and find I was dreaming it all."

"Well, I'm real. No dream here."

"You are the dream, David. Look at us."

"I'm looking. I love holding you."

He proved it by holding me tighter, and he kissed my neck again. I was holding his arms, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to hug him tight. And it was not just because he was a fellow warrior. I told him so. Then I sat beside him, turning to face him, turning him to face me. I looked at him, sadly.

"Why so sad?" he said.

"It must have been awful for you to have cancer. You have no brother to take care of you."

"It must be as bad for you to have cancer. Worse, because you almost died. Barely survived is more like it."

"I had Skip and Billy, two of the best reasons to come back from all that. Now I have thirteen more brothers to love me and make sure I live. I have no doubts any more. The cancer dies. I live, happily ever after."

"I want you to live. I want to be part of the life you've brought all us brothers into. If you died, we would be . . ."

". . . inconsolable," I finished for him.

"You've heard that before. Sorry, I guess it's not very original. But it's true."

"It's a word that, strangely enough, I like. There's great feeling in it. But I wouldn't want anyone to feel that way, especially about me. There's nothing special here."

"There is everything in the world special about you. Look how close you have made the thirteen of us, in addition to what you've done for Skip and Billy, in addition to how you too have been accepted by their parents."

"I want only to be a good man. I don't want to stand out from others."

"You do."

"No, please don't."

"It's not me. It's you. Can I . . ."

He looked at me, into me, and through me. He saw all my good and some of my not-so-hidden faults. He wanted to love me anyway.

I pulled him to me and kissed him deeply.

He pulled back after a minute. He looked at me.

"Aaron. I don't deserve a kiss like that. I'm not . . . special."

"I'm sorry, love. It was too much. I . . ."

"No. Not at all. I want it, but I haven't earned it. Not like your boys. I can't take anything away from them, Aaron. It wouldn't be right."

"You couldn't take anything away from them, my bro. We have talked about it. We know other people are going to come into our lives, if only for a while. If it's love first and foremost, we said that we will let kisses, and more, happen."

"I want it to happen, but don't let me in so easily."

"Can if I want to. You sound like me, not sure of yourself. You're not a god or a superhero, except to me, but you are an angel. The guys know that I hold you a little bit nearer my heart than I hold them, but I hold them nonetheless. You remind me of a younger me. I do want to love you, and make love to you, David. Sincerely."

Tears welled up in his eyes. He touched my heart with his hand, literally, but also just by being David.

"What would Skip say? What about Billy?"

"Billy, especially, would say that if I want to love a man, I should. Skip would say that love isn't a neat little package that you carry. You live it; you embrace it, and thank God for the capacity to love at all. The future . . ."

" . . . isn't where my life is," he replied.

"It's in the moments I'm in," we said together.

"So this is your moment, David. When there are other moments, we'll use them as we want to. I want to love you, bro. I'd like to make you one more special brother. May I? Please?"

He nodded. He kissed me deeply and hugged me.

I slipped my hands under his shirt and t-shirt, and took them off. I kissed his lips again, then his neck. I went down and kissed his smooth chest (we warriors tended to lose our body hair during treatments, except for our pubes). I licked his nipples and then bit both of them lightly. I got on my knees and took off his boots and socks. I sat down for a few minutes and massaged his feet. As with Billy and Skip, I kissed the tops of his feet. That's as far as my foot fetish went. But it was darn good anyway.

I looked up at him. He smiled. It was not a smile of total acceptance, yet. He was afraid that I would wake him from his own dream.

"It's not a dream, bud. Welcome to my heart."

He smiled, and then choked up. I kissed him again to show I am sincere.

I unbuttoned and unzipped his blue jeans. I pulled them off from the bottom of his pants legs. He wore boxer briefs, bright white Jockeys, with a very prominent hardness inside. I leaned forward and kissed his stomach. I pulled back the waist of his briefs and licked the head of his cock. It was warm and sweet tasting. I saw pre-cum start to appear. I licked it up. He touched my hand.

"Careful, love, I'm like a hair trigger. If I blow, it'll be over."

"That only means that you can last longer for the next round. Skip and I have a record of four orgasms in a day. Billy had five."

"Whoa. Okay, but remember that if I'm missing from school tomorrow, tongues are gonna wag."

"Well, in speculation only. I don't know if the guys will think we're making love. First they'll think that I'm sick from chemo."

"Okay. They certainly aren't going to care. If Henry and Matt are getting some from their boyfriends, and Jake and Jeremy beat off together, who would think twice about me."

"Me, for one. From today on, love, I will think about you every day, no matter where we are. Actually, I started thinking about you daily from the day we met. So you know, I *never* say anything I don't believe."

I reached up and pulled his boxer briefs off. His cock slapped against his belly. Whoa, it was big. He was easily nine inches long, and just the right thickness. `Just the right thickness' means that he would not tear up my ass later. I have said that Henry is male model beautiful, but David is right up there. His body showed scars that I guessed were from a few surgeries or one larger surgery over several locations.

I looked up at him. "I'm sorry for these," I said, touching them lovingly. "Why do we have to suffer?"

"To make us better, or more human, or to show us to love sincerely," he said, with little thought.

"Beautiful and brainy too, huh?" I said.

He blushed. Modesty was nice to see on him. I know I could never love an arrogant man.

I got up, opened the cabinet, and pulled down the Murphy bed. I lay down on it, waiting for only a moment. David got up from the oversized chair and walked over to me. He took off my boots and socks. He had liked the foot massage I gave him, so he figured I would as well. He rubbed my feet in two strong yet delicate hands. He licked from my toes up to my ankles. When he saw that I was quite satisfied, he got up on his knees and pulled me to a sitting position. He took off my shirt and t-shirt as one, as I had done to him.

I lay back down. He put one knee between my legs and one on my left. He leaned in and kissed me warmly.

"Do I kiss, uh, okay?"

"More than okay, love. I love how you kiss me. Don't stop."

He kissed me more, putting one arm across my shoulders. He tweaked my nipples with his thumb and forefinger. I moaned.

"Sorry," he said.

"That was an `mmmmmm', meaning I like it. It wasn't pain."

"Oh. Cool."

I loved his innocence. I was glad I was taking his virginity tonight, not just sexually, though that was part of it, of course. But I was also going to show him confidence. Whomever he loved eventually, for his lifetime, might even thank me. Okay, not so much. However, David would know.

"You wanna take my jeans off?" I asked him.

"Yeah," he said, still a bit shy.

"It doesn't have to go any further than this, love. If you want me to hold you . . ."

"No, Aaron. I just want to enjoy you. I like what I see, a lot. I know it gets better, but I don't want to rush."

"Here, then, lay beside me for a few more minutes. You can . . ."

"Touch you, feel you. Make love, not just fuck."

"Yes. Like I said, this is your moment, love. You tell me what you want, and when."

He touched my chest, rubbing my nipples between two fingers. He bent down and licked them. He took a chance and bit them gently. Another moan from me. He did it again, and so did I. He went down my chest to my stomach, licking me like a cupcake. He put his left hand on my bulge. I was very hard. He continued to lick my stomach as he unbuttoned my jeans. He stuck his tongue under my jeans waist. I could hear him inhaling my scent. He was blushing again as he looked up at me. I nodded and smiled.

He unzipped my jeans. I put my hand quickly over my cock so he would not catch the zipper down there.

"Oh! Commando, huh?"

"Yeah. Only when I wear jeans."

"You know I'm going to pop a boner when I see you on campus, don't you?"

"Sometimes I like my friends hard. It's good for my ego, if I'm the one who did that to them."

He got off the bed and took my jeans off from the bottom of the legs. He straddled my hips, laying his cock on top of mine.

"Careful, love, that huge cock could crush mine," I said, smiling.

"Funny, but I do wonder if you will let me be inside you. It is kinda big, huh? The guys sorta look at me in the shower."

"Yeah, it's kinda big. And I don't blame them for staring. I'm staring. But I know I can take it, because I know you'll do okay by me."

"I will, love. Uh, what do we do first?"

"Well, I'd like that in my mouth. Want to try mine, too?"

He nodded. "Okay, lay that way, and then bring your cock up even with my mouth. This is called sixty-nine. Do you see why?"

"Yeah. Like a six and a nine, how they fit together."

I nodded. I took David's cock into my mouth about half way, adjusted my mouth, and then took a bit more. I've never deep-throated though. Maybe I'd learn, so I can show Skip and Billy something new. Opportunity knocks.

David was a bit more tentative with mine. I wrapped my fist around the lower half of my cock so it would not look intimidating. It did not though, except to a first timer. David licked my head and the shaft, getting a sense of it. I let him explore instead of constantly asking if he was okay. I had to trust that he would tell me if this was too much. After a couple of minutes, he put half of my cock into his mouth. He did what came naturally. He moaned, which made my dick vibrate a little. I smiled with his cock in my mouth, and moaned as well. He felt what I felt. I did not have to tell him `no teeth'. He sucked my cock just right. I took my fist away from the other half of my cock. He went down further, a bit at a time. He made a vacuum with his mouth as he slowly pulled off. I did it to him. Then I licked his ball sac. He did the same to mine.

I look one ball into my mouth. He sucked one of my balls into his mouth, rolling it around, imitating me. He released it and then sucked the other one. I did the same to him. I licked the underside sensitive spot, just beneath his balls. He licked mine, too. I went back on his cock, not pushing him further toward my hole. He licked further down anyway. I felt his tongue brush my pucker. He did it again. Then once more. He went back onto my cock. So I licked his tight virgin pucker as well, exactly like he had done mine.

"Wow, that felt so nice!" he said.

"For me too, so I wanted you to feel it. Sometimes guys don't like to lick ass."

"I knew you would be clean. I didn't give it much thought. It was just the right thing to do."

"You're doing great, David. More sucking? Or do you want to . . ."

He answered by smiling and going back down on me. He licked and sucked me, making me moan. I was trying to be careful with him, since he had warned me he was a hair trigger. Not that he really was, but I wanted this to be good for him. I put the flat part of the tip of my finger against his hole and moved it around a bit. I took his cock out of my mouth, licked my finger, and then did the same as before, just a bit of moisture to make it feel better.

In a moment, I felt him tentatively probing my hole. He wanted me to feel what he felt. He was incredibly sweet. I was chipping, slowly, away his innocence. I would make sure he had enough intact though. He put his finger up to the first bend into my hole. I did the same to him. He went in to the knuckle. I did as well. I very gently pressed his joy buzzer.

Oops. I had to start swallowing with a vengeance. He shot his load into my mouth. I silently counted six shots, thick, creamy, salty sweet like mine. I did not miss a drop, though.

I lay on my back and laughed aloud.

"I'm sorry, love. I guess I did one thing too much. That was your prostate gland that I buzzed."

"It felt so incredible. I didn't mean to come in your mouth though. Sorry."

"I happen to love cum. When I jack off, I swallow my own. Getting rid of the evidence, sorta."

"Really, what's it taste like?"

"Do you really want to find out? I'll pull out of your mouth when I'm ready to shoot, though. You can lick it off my belly. I'd rather not shoot into your mouth until we get further along."

"Okay. Yeah, I want to taste you."

He went back down on my cock. He put his finger into my ass again and explored a bit. He found my joy buzzer readily. He ran his finger across it a few times. I pulled out of his mouth and shot the first ribbon up onto my chest. The second and third shots went down only a bit. Four, five, and six landed on my stomach.

He leaned down to my body and licked each puddle of cum into his mouth. He swallowed, looking at me, so I'd see him enjoying me.

"Geez, Aaron, horny much? I usually shoot four at best."

"Here's news then, love. You gave me six and a bit more in my mouth."

"What? Wow."

"Do you want to rest a bit, or are you ready to enter me?"

"I want to be inside you badly. Should we use a condom," he asked, shyly.

"Your choice. I do have some."

"I dunno. You're my first time . . ." he said, blushing.

I waited.

"No. No condom. I know that you've only ever been with Kate, Skip and Billy. I'm a virgin, love. As weird as that sounds."

"That's not weird. No one should have sex unless it's time. Will this just be sex, between you and me?"

He shook it head. "No, not even close."

"Then I want you inside me." I kissed him again to show that I am sincere.

I lay on my back. I started to lift my legs, to show him the way. I pulled lube out of the bedside drawer. I uncapped it and poured some on his cock.

"Oooh, cold," he said, giggling.

I massaged it into his cock to warm it up. He moaned. I kept it up, with little danger of him firing off again so soon. Then I guided him between my legs and put my ankles up on his shoulders. He pointed his cock at my tight pucker. He pressed the head inside of me. He stopped to see how I felt about it. I nodded. He went in about half way. He looked at me again. I nodded, smiling.

"Nice, my love. Very nice. More please."

He gave me more, and then finally all of it. I felt his balls against my ass cheeks. He put his hands beside my head. He kept his cock inside, giving me time to adjust.

"How can it all fit? Your ass is very tight. Does it hurt, at all."

"Hurts so good, love. Go a little easy though."

"If I hurt you . . ."

"You couldn't. I just don't want you to come too quickly. If you feel like you're going to shoot, stop moving. Breathe and take your time. I really want you to enjoy this."

"I could shoot now and be completely fulfilled, Aaron. But you wouldn't be. So, nice and slow?"

"Yeah. If you push all the way in, then pull out except for your cock head, that's called long dicking. Get it, Mr. Long Dick?"

"Duh. By the way, I love you, bud. Very much."

"I love you too, David. I hope equally. You're so beautiful."

He smiled. He pulled most of the way out of my hole, pushed all the way in slowly, and did it all over again. He kept up that pace the whole time. He kissed me as he fucked me. I moaned each time he was fully inside me. He picked up his rhythm a little bit, smoothly penetrating my tight ass. He had decided that he wanted to come. He asked for permission.

"Yes love, shoot when you're ready. Your cum inside of me is going to be so awesome. I can take part of you wherever I go. Yeah. Oh, it feels so good."

He gave me the full length of his cock a few more times, and then pushed all the way in. He unloaded inside of my hole, filling me up. He bucked his hips and grunted, throwing his head back. To him it felt like he came forever. To me, our love has been consummated.

He left his cock in me as he lay on me, kissing me deeply. I clenched down so he'd leave his cock there for as long as possible. I wrapped my ankles around his back.

"Good?" he asked.

"Outstanding. How was your first time?"

"Not done yet. You'll do that to me? You'll, uh, fuck me?"


"What? Oh man!"

"No, I won't fuck you. I'll make love to you, the way you made sweet love to me."

"I'm still getting used to your humor, Aaron. I thought . . ."

"Oh, no way, love. I want you to feel exactly the way you make me feel; if you want to take your cock out of my ass."

"Yes and no. It feels so good. I'm still hard, which amazes me. But I do want you inside of me, too."

"I'm going to lay right here. You'll sit on my cock, taking only as much as you want to. I'm about 7 ½ inches, not quite as thick as you. When you sit down, push out a bit, and then take a deep breath. Go slow."

"You won't hurt me. I want you to enter me just like I entered you, on my back. I trust you."

I nodded. "Okay, love. No, I won't hurt you."

He lay down in my place. I leaned in to kiss him, distracting him while I lubed up my cock and his hole. I ate him out first, just to make him moan. He did. He wriggled his hole tighter against my tongue. I put my hands on his cheeks, spread them a bit, and continued to eat him out. He whimpered. I stopped, so he would not come again so soon.


He nodded. "Yeah. More than ready."

I put just the head of my cock in him. I watched his face. No pain, or maybe he was good at hiding it. He nodded. I went in about half way.

"Mmmmmm. More please."

I went in half again. He nodded. I put the rest of my cock inside him.

"So this is what Skip feels? And Billy, too?"


"No wonder they love you so much. I've never felt anything even close to this."

There were tears in my eyes. Once again, I was inside a beautiful boy, like my Billy, like my Skip. They would be happy for me. Aaron needs love to survive, like we all do, but more so to beat the cancer. The reason has to be good. It is, truly.

I withdrew my cock to my head. I would show him long dicking, from his point of view now. I got into my slow and smooth rhythm, pushing my hard cock all the way inside him, pulling out, sliding in again.

"Pain?" I asked.

"No. Just your love for me. It's sooo nice. Make it last, okay?"

And I did. When I got too close, I buried my cock fully inside his ass. I kissed him and stayed there for a few minutes, moving only enough to keep hard. Hell, I'd be hard for days if I stayed right there. I began again. He wrapped his ankles around my back and pushed into me when I entered him, then clenched down, like Billy does, when I withdrew.

"Mmmm, so good," I said.

"For me, too, Aaron. Oh man, for me too. But I want to come."

I took hold of his hard cock and stroked it for him. I wrapped my fist around it tightly, sliding my hand up and down, paying special attention to his sensitive head. When he was about to come, I bent down and took his cock in my mouth. He shot his load, a bit less creamy than before, but just as good, into my mouth.

I re-entered his tight pucker and continued to long dick him. When I got too close, I bent down to kiss him again, pushing my cock all the way inside, shooting my cum inside his tight ass. I too threw my head back when I came, the feeling wracking me from head to toe. I kept myself from fucking him hard. It was about his pleasure, without pain, so I went easy. Then I lay on top of him. He wrapped both arms around me. He smiled his beautiful smile at me, letting me know I had done just right.

"Sleep now, love," he said to me. You earned your rest. I love you, Aaron, so very much."

"Thank you, my bud. I do love you too. I'm glad we could be together, like this. You okay?"

"I'm loved by you. How much better could I be?"

I held David all night, sleeping so soundly that I did not realize until morning that I had not been sick, at all, all night.

When we woke in the morning, we lay for a while, kissing each other awake. It was 5:30 a.m. David's first class was at 10:00.

"Do you think this is why the guys told us we should stay here? Do you think they knew we should be closer?"

"I don't know, love. If I thought about it enough, I would say yes. They do know we got the cancer between us. I won't say anything to them, except for Billy and Skip. The boys will be happy for me. They worry too much about me. Who you share it with is up to you."

"I might share with Matt, since he's my roommate. We don't have secrets between us."

We showered and dressed, grabbed coffee and a muffin at Jillian's, and walked to the T at Park Street.

I grabbed the Stephen King novel from my room. Most of the boys were already off to class.

"Morning, Aaron. How are you feeling this morning?" Paul asked.

"Andrew put an anti-emetic in my chemo, so I'm not nearly as sick as usual. Sadly, I just puked up my morning muffin, but my stomach will settle down in a while. I guess it's soup for lunch."

"What can I do for you?"

"A hug would just about do it," I said, opening up my arms.

He came to me and let me hug him, and hugged me back. He gave me a kiss on my forehead, which I returned. We put our foreheads together for a couple of minutes. God bless my boys.

When Billy arrived back at school, there was much to do. His dorm mates had all answered his call to help. He was only a week behind in his classes when he set foot in the classroom again. On his first night back, he was walking back from a late meeting with his instructor.

"Well, lookie here, boys. It's Billy the fag boy."

Billy reached into his pocket and pressed a button. Across campus, a message was received by Ste's pager.

"Shit, Billy's down! Anyone?" he said, yelling from his doorway.

Henry and Jerry came out of their room. Vincent appeared from his room, David from his, and Kenny was just coming in the entrance. I was in the library as usual.

"Guys, Kenny, Billy's down. I got a page."

Kenny turned on his heels and started for the hallway door. They took off down the stairs on a dead run.

"Where is he?"

"On the way back from a meeting. Let's work toward Devlin."

The six ran down paths and across the lawns, dodging around other students.

"Let's break up into twos," said David. We'll cover more ground."

Ste and Kenny went in one direction. David and Vincent went left. Henry and Jerry went right. It took a few minutes to find which path Billy had come on. David and Vincent saw Billy first, with three other guys crowding him. David yelled `Hey!'

The boys backed a bit away from Billy.

"Problem here, guys?"

"Yeah. We got us a fag on campus. No room for fags here."

"Oh, really. This guy is a fag? Hmmm. How do you know?" asked David.

"I overheard his boyfriend in the library, talking to someone about Billy here. He was pining away for poor Billy."

"Wow. Imagine that," continued David, stalling. Billy knew what he was doing, so he stayed put. Billy decided to look appropriately nervous.

"What are you planning on doing about him?" asked Henry.

"Oh, I think we should mess with him. Maybe teach him that we don't want any of his kind around here. How about we rough him up a little?"

The boy pulled something out of his pocket. He flipped up one of the knife blades from a Swiss Army knife.

"I could cut him. That would teach him, right? You boys want in on the fun?" he leered.

Ste and Kenny came around the bush. The six boys moved between Billy and the other three. Kenny reached forward quickly and took the knife from the cocky bastard.

"We're not going to do that here," Ste said. "Billy's my roommate, for one thing. For another, he's healing from brain surgery, because someone nearly killed him with a lead pipe in Cambridge six weeks ago. These other five are Billy's dorm mates, and friends. Billy is not a fag. There is no room for labels around here. He's in love with the guy you saw in the library, but you're taking your stupidity too far. Does anyone recognize these guys? Ste asked his buddies.

"Yup. Sam B (name withheld) and Kirk S. I don't know who this guy is," said Kenny.

"Alex M. Sadly, a classmate," said Vincent.

"Well, Alex, Sam, Kirk, think about this. If anything happens to young Billy here, today, tomorrow, or ever, we're coming hunting for you. All thirteen of Billy's mates, plus Aaron. You do not want to mess with Aaron."

"He's next on our list. We'll kick his fag ass off campus."

"You could try. He broke a guy's nose with his fist. Next, he sent him to prison for eight years."

"Sam, shut your trap," Kirk said nervously.

The six boys continued to crowd around the three, menacing and sincere. Billy stayed back. Funny how guys can sweat in 30-degree temperatures.

"And, for your consideration, I'm gay, too," said Henry. "There's a small movement on this campus that is going to take attitudes like yours and make them meaningless. Like Kirk said, shut your trap. Go home, boys."

Kenny and Vincent stood aside.

"Oh, and I'm reporting you to the Dean of Student Affairs," said David.

"What? Fuck you! We didn't hurt him!"

"Really? `Let's rough him up'. That's harassment. Then you draw a knife. That's assault," said Henry.

"Emotional distress, for another," said Jerry. "Not for Billy, because he's used to your shit. Mine."

"And mine," said David. "For wanting to hurt a boy who means the world to me."

"Same here," said Vincent, Ste, and Kenny.

"You're screwed," said Henry. "Maybe you should pack your bags. Seven against three—you should get expelled."

"My dad would kill me. You . . ."

"You should have thought about that before you pulled a knife. Maybe your father will put it through you heart, ending your pathetic life quickly," said Henry.

"Or," said Billy, holding his hand up. "I could pretend this never happened. I need to sleep on that. Have a good night, boys. See you around."

The three headed up the path, looking back. The seven boys walked behind them, well back, but making them aware that they were all there. They eventually went in two directions.

"I bet they gotta change their undies," said Billy.

"I'd have to, until you said what you did. Do you mean it, that you'd forget about it?"

"Dunno. I'll sleep on it."

"You're a better man than I, bud. I wouldn't cut them a break. My heart went into my throat when you paged me," said Ste.

Billy just shrugged. "Alex is in one of my classes, too. He's a follower. I suspect Sam is the leader, but I'll ask around."

"Come on bro. My heartbeat is finally beating normally," said Ste.

Billy did find out that Sam was a troublemaker. He approached Alex one afternoon.

"So, you didn't turn us in," said Alex.

"No," is all Billy said. He waited.

"I'm sorry. I've distanced myself from Sam. I don't care that you're gay. We just wanted to be cool."


"Beat up, or get beat up. Life in the inner city."

"That's your excuse?"

"Yeah," Alex said, lowering his head.

"It's lame. I had fucking major brain surgery! I had seizures, you asshole. If you three had roughed me up, like you thought was `cool', you would have put me in a coma, again, or killed me."

"I said I'm sorry!"

"Fuck sorry!! It's not good enough! Damn. I'm going to ask you to do something for me."

Billy told him what he wanted. It was unconditional.

"You have two hours to think about it, and then you come and find me in the library."

"I don't need two hours. I'll go you one better. I'll go talk to Kirk. We'll see you at the library in two hours."

"So what did you ask Alex to do," I asked Billy.

I found out he is an education major. I told him he had to do community service with gay teens that needed someone to talk to. He and Kirk, his roommate, agreed to go with me into the city. They left Sam in the dust.

"Are they still working with the teens?"

"Of course. It wasn't a bad thing for them to do, and it wasn't a bad thing to offer them. One is a future teacher. One is a future psychologist. Would you want such hate to follow them through adulthood? I would have turned them in to the Dean otherwise."

"What becomes of Sam? Is he recruiting?"

"Doubtful. Alex and Kirk took away his inner circle. He's either going to straighten up, or he's going to be alone, at least on campus."

"Sad, really," I said.

"No. He did it to himself. I don't pity him. It could have ended very badly for me that night."

"I know. But . . ."

"Aaron's perfect world doesn't exist yet. There are people like us, my dorm mates, converts, so to speak, like Alex. He brought Kirk with him. I can't grieve for one."

"I can," I said.

"You care too much."

"No such thing, love. A lost soul is a troubled soul. It's not right."

Billy put his arms around me and hugged me tight. He kissed me on my forehead.

"Thank you, Aaron, for caring the way you do. You're my hero, today and forever."

"Help me deserve to be a `hero' love. That's the only way I'll be a good man."

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