The Dawn of Tears

Chapter Ten - Experimenting


Note to Readers: Did my description of my first, not-so-innocent time surprise you, dear reader? Were you shocked, horrified, or titillated by my lurid descriptions? Have you vowed that this story, this history of your world was to racy for your blood and you weren't going to read it anymore?

Well obviously you either didn't make that vow or you changed your mind because you are reading this now. Maybe you just wanted to see my note in the hopes that I'd promise that this story would only be about sex, or that there would be no more sex described. If either of those sentences describes you, you are going to be disappointed. I'm not going to tell you about every time I've had sex in the past one hundred and twenty-eight years. Neither will I skip over those events where something important happened that impacted who I became as a man, and what choices I made in life. If I describe something to you that is sexual, it is important to me in some way, and to who I became as a person. That is why it is there, not to titillate or horrify your sensibilities.

There's a reason why people said "sex sales" in the era to which I was born.

Dad's office in the Huntsville Space Center was huge, and full of the belongings of another man. Still, I noticed a new picture sitting on his desk. It was the one that had been taken before the Thanksgiving service, one (or was it two?) days ago. I shook my head at the momentary confusion as I sat down at the side table where our lunches waited. It seemed impossible that less than twenty-four hours ago we'd been aboard a plane after just learning nuclear weapons had been used on American cities. Dad had been a newly promoted general, and now was President. I started chuckling at that.

"What's so funny, Dylan." Dad asked me with a curious expression.

"I was just thinking about how long you must have wanted the rank of General and then you had to resign the same day." I said and was relieved when he started laughing.

"At least I got to have it for a day." He said after a moment. We started eating and I noticed that Henry was smirking at me.

"Dylan, do you have a girlfriend?" He asked me in a very fake, high-strung voice and in perfect imitation of the female caller from that morning. Both of them laughed loudly when my cheeks turned a deep scarlet color.

"Oh, sorry, Dylan." Dad gasped out between laughs. "But that was a priceless moment. I think we're going to have to get a tape of that."

"No." I said firmly. "I want you to issue a Presidential Order and have all tapes of that burned."

"No can do." Dad said with a grin. "Don't want to interfere with the media too much."

"Somehow I knew you'd say that." I said. "So, how did I do really?"

"Not bad." Dad said. "You were a little wordy at times, but not bad overall. I've talked to General McFarland and both of you will get some lessons on handling television and other types of interviews and how to handle crowds and stuff like that. I just wanted people to see you as you for the first time, and I was hoping you'd show how well you thought things through, and I think that came across nicely. It also reinforced the message about working together. The way you handled the lifestyle issue was good as well. When I'm more negative in my response, if we ever get to that point, we'll be able to point back to that interview as an example of my allowing diverse thinking. Just don't change your position on me."

"Don't worry dad." I told him with a smile. "I'll be the good political son and not ruin your political maneuvering."

"Neither will I, dad." Henry said. "Dylan and I will be the darling little sons that are more liberal than their parents, shining examples of how you let people think for themselves."

"I was hoping to put this talk off for a couple of more years." Dad said in response, along with a heavy sigh, and I wondered where this was heading. It couldn't be too bad, because Henry was smiling.

"I know you've heard a little bit about something called Operation Rebuilder." Dad said, and he had my complete attention. "Tell me what you know."

"It's an idea, a project by you and some other church leaders, a plan to make changes when things got bad." I said slowly, risking a glance at Henry who was nodding supportively. "I guess you thought things might eventually collapse and wanted to be ready when that happened. Basically it's a plan to rebuild the country so that it's more centered on God."

"In a nutshell, yes." Dad said slowly. "But that is not really a complete picture. You have to understand that God doesn't want people to worship him, to follow him because someone is pointing a gun at their head. He wants people to follow him because that is what their heart tells them to do. Operation Rebuilder is about showing people how much better it is to follow him than the way they have been living for the past few decades. This is the time for the churches, and men of faith, to take the leadership of this country and to show people how much better God's way is than what we had before."

"Weren't things heading that way already?" I asked. Thinking of congressional pushes for stopping abortion, the whole same-sex marriage backlash, and similar issues.

"Not really." Dad said. "God was being forced on people through legislation and far too often when that happens it backfires. Force isn't what we are about."

"But isn't blackmail a form of force?" I asked, immediately thinking back to the blackmail of the Mayor and his son.

"Why do you ask that?" Dad asked with a worried look.

"I…I told him about Terry." Henry said softly, hanging his head slightly.

"When?" Dad asked.

"The first day we met, when he asked me to be his friend and I told him no." I answered.

"Why did you still become friends with him?" Dad asked. "Why have you so readily become a part of my family?"

"I became friends with Henry because I liked him." I answered. "He was as smart as me and I wouldn't want someone to judge me because of something I'd done like that, to help my dad no matter how sick it was. What I don't understand is why you're sitting here saying force can't be used, but you've blackmailed in the past."

"The biggest difference is that the Mayor is in elected office, a leader." Dad said firmly. "I didn't expect things to end up quite like that, but I wasn't going to fail to use it when it did happen that way. Think about it as a battlefield son. What happens when you eliminate the officer corps of your enemy?"

"You decapitate them." I answered immediately. "Unit cohesion, effective control of the enemy force is destabilized and made easier to overcome. Sometimes they surrender en masse. That happened a lot in both Gulf Wars, not only by killing the enemy leadership but when they left their units or we cut off communications between their HQ and field units."

"Is the Mayor, a man on the opposite of the political debate, an enemy leader?" He asked me.

"Yes, and blackmail is much more humane that killing him." I answered.

"He's also become a willing member of Operation Rebuilder." Dad informed me. "He only had to send his son to our church. By the way, Terry's been very happy since he came there. He's made some good friends and his 'reform' hasn't been forced. I'm pretty sure him and the Betchart boy are a couple, and as long as they keep it a secret to themselves I could care less. The Mayor never, ever was told to come to my church services as part of the blackmail. He did it on his own, and we've had several heart to heart conversations over the last few years. I destroyed the tape a year ago and asked him to forgive me for using it, and he did that immediately."

"But you won't hesitate to use that method again." I stated.

"Should I?" He asked me.

"No." I agreed reluctantly. "You can't kill enemy leadership when it comes to politics. You can publicly discredit them, or convince them to change their minds through other means. Being discreet is in some ways nicer I think."

"That's right." Dad agreed with a grin. "He's still Mayor, his son was never sent to jail or publicly embarrassed. Now he's the civilian administrator of the most productive district in these times, and when normal elections start up again, that alone should be enough to propel him to Governor, especially when I give my 'old rival' an endorsement."

"So what would your answer to that question have been?" I asked him, moving off the topic for the moment.

"Weren't you listening to my speech?" He asked me with a hurt look, and Henry laughed.

"Uh, I was going to but I started talking to someone and well, we kind of missed it." I said, hanging my head.

"Who was this someone?" Dad asked sharply.

"Uh, Jimmy Connolly, the Alabama Commander's son." I said quickly. "It was the first time I've spoken with someone close to our age that wasn't Henry in a while, and well he's been kind of isolated like we have and it was so different from all the 'adult' things I usually talk about that it was distracting."

"No problem, son." Dad told me with a very wide grin. "You and Henry both need to learn to take some time out and just be young. I'm glad that you've made a friend, and children of senior military officers would make great friends for both of you. You didn't miss much really. I made a joke about you being sent to deliver a tape and just having to get yourself on television first."

"But…" I started to protest but he raised a hand to silence me.

"I know you were told to do it if you felt comfortable, and I approved." Dad said. "It was a joke between us family members and it made you sound a little more like a normal teenager. Then I answered your second caller's question."

"You did?" I asked in total surprise. "But aren't there more immediate things to worry about?"

"Making the people more confident in their leadership is not something less important than anything else." Dad said. "Besides, by answering one question now, it was likely that we could keep similar questions from popping up in the immediate future. What I said was that as an American, I was dedicated to protecting all of our citizens, regardless of sexual preference, religion, race, or any of those factors. As a Pastor, I had problems with homosexuality; but that those were my personal beliefs and that I felt they would have to answer to God, not me on that issue. I also made it clear that protecting all our people is, and always will be a high priority for me. I then said that what Americans do in the privacy of their homes is their own business, not mine and definitely not the governments. However, if they wanted to talk to me as a Pastor about their issues, I'd always be more than willing to do so in private."

"That's why there was a delay." Henry said. "Dad wanted to address it immediately and Senator Crawley and a few others were trying to convince him not to do that."

"I wonder what the reaction to that will be." I stated softly.

"Well, we watched the newscast while we waited for you to get back." Dad said with a smile. "They got the same caller back and he said that felt a lot better about things after hearing both of us and that I had his vote when I ran for election."

"Wow." I said softly.

"Senator Crawley owes me a side of beef." Dad said with a broad grin. "Anyway, the rest of my speech was about my immediate plans for dealing with the aftermath of the bombings. I informed people that other countries had also suffered nuclear attack, and that we had agreed for a cessation of hostilities while we investigated the horrible bombings of our cities. Then I said I'd be forming a temporary cabinet and we'd be meeting with all State Commanders to discuss detailed plans for accelerating the recovery of the country."

"So have you really talked to the other countries?" I asked.

"Yes, it took all night last night and until 0620 this morning to get the communications working with their leadership. Many of them lost their leadership when the late President ordered the nuclear attack." Dad said, shaking his head sadly. "I think the man came unhinged under the stress of the last couple of months. I talked with the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Russia last night. No one is going to be throwing any more bombs around and I think we'll be able to reach a conclusion to the oil question within the next week. Next Sunday I'll be flying to Iceland where we'll meet. Both sides need to withdraw some warships from the area first though. I think that little exchange woke everyone up a little bit, because they sounded quite worried. I think that they realized we still had enough nukes to blast the rest of the world into the stone age, and that they'd already expended most of theirs."

"He probably doesn't know about Russia." Henry said with a grin.

"Yeah, that's right, you weren't with us this morning." Dad said with a grin of his. "It was almost much worse for us. About two-thirds of the Russian ICBM's didn't make it out of the atmosphere, or even out of their silos. Satellites recorded fifty-seven failed launches. None of the warheads went off because of safeties, but they have radioactive debris scattered across half of Siberia and their far eastern provinces."

"Ouch." I stated. "No wonder they were worried you'd nuke them again."

"Yes, but I'm not going to. They've lost a lot of cities, a lot of people just like we have. Britain's King is now running that country directly for the first time in a couple hundred years. His mother and most of their government were incinerated when London went up. He's just glad he and his boys were out of town at the time. He's real earnest about laying the blame on the dead and letting history judge them."

"Sounds like a good idea." I said.

"Yes, it was." Dad said. "It fits within Operation Rebuilder as well. I wanted you both here today so we could talk about these things honestly, and to ask for your willing participation."

"What do you want us to do?" I asked.

"First, I want you to continue both your military and civilian studies." Dad said. "I've spoken with General McFarland and tutors will be arriving within the next week for you to interview. You'll also have military officers proficient in teaching military subjects tutoring you at all times. You'll receive West Point credit for everything you work on, and will eventually earn enough to 'graduate.' But, if you are willing, the General agrees with me that your duties as sons of the President far outweigh anything you might be assigned to do at a military Headquarters or with a unit."

"What do you want us to do?" Henry asked.

"One of the problems with the past President was how he tried to approach solving our current problems." Dad said. "He let each state work on things their own way and did nothing to encourage them to work together. He got so focused on one resource, oil, that he forgot other important things. He forgot how to work as part of a team, and how to get others to do that as well. We were very lucky in California. Our entire state military leadership, with the exception of only a few in Southern California and the Bay Area were members of Operation Rebuilder. We knew how to work together, and we did. You saw the results. I want an assessment of our State Guard leadership, what they need as far as resources, the conditions in their states, and of course the quality of their leadership."

"You're wanting us to go on and find this stuff out?" Henry asked in a slightly bewildered tone.

"Yes and no." Dad said. "I want you two to go, as will your mother, but it will be the staff that goes with you that will provide most of the information. There'll be several junior officers and senior enlisted known to me and to my military commanders that will be experts in the various areas. Your training will continue while you're on tour, and I'm quite confident that your own reports will be very informative as well, but we'll also be using those we assign to your groups to gather a lot of the real information we need."

"We're the flash grenade that stuns and distracts them while the troops storm the building." I said and was thrilled when he smiled and nodded.

"You're also the morale booster for the public." He said. "Only a fool wouldn't realize that you two look very handsome in uniform and that you can help boost morale tremendously among people. They'll see two clean-cut, handsome young men in dashing uniforms, smiling and telling them that things are going to get better, and they'll listen to you while all the speeches by me will leave them still doubting a little. Then when the power comes back on later, they'll remember the two of you coming and see that the promises were kept."

"If the power does come back on." Henry emphasized, and dad nodded.

"That's my part of the work." Dad said. "Don't get me wrong, the both of you will be continuing your education, civilian and military during this whole time. You'll both do exercises with Guard troops in states you visit, you'll be doing PT every day, and you'll probably be more exhausted than you've ever been before."

"Meanwhile we help maintain unit cohesion and faith in the military leadership." I added. "The troops will see us running with them, training with them in all fifty states, and they'll feel directly connected to you as their Commander-in-Chief because they worked out with your sons. Those that don't work with us directly will be jealous when they meet other units on patrol or back at base and hear all about us sweating with their rival squads."

"Never said either of you weren't bright or didn't understand leadership." Dad said with a broad smile.

"There's something else, isn't there?" I asked suddenly. Dad just laughed.

"Yes, there is." He said lightly. "We're getting a new national broadcast studio set up in Wichita. I didn't like how the last administration used government staff to control the news. While Americans might not have a long attentions span, this isn't Russia where they trust the government to tell them the truth. In fact after the last dozen Presidents, they don't trust the government to tell them the truth at all. We've talked with some staff from the old broadcast networks and they're going to run the station. We'll provide them with power, with the staff they need, and transportation for their reporters. They've agreed to keep all reporting fact based, and any editorial comments clearly delineated and identified as such. We're setting up satellite communications so they can do live remote broadcasts as well. The biggest problem is what to do about commercials. There are no private corporations to broadcast for goods, especially when there are none for sale. So, we had to come up with something else."

"Let me guess." Henry said softly. "It's something like 'The First Family in Action' isn't it?"

"Got it in one, kiddo." Dad said with another laugh. "This was actually Senator Crawley's idea. There's going to be taped segments, about a minute and a half in length of all of us doing different things. You guys working out with troops, talking with senior officers, meeting the general public, stuff like that. If you say anything particularly catchy, they'll probably air it, and if you fall asleep from exhaustion they'll catch that too. One thing though, if it gets to be too much and you need private time, all you have to do is tell them and they will have orders to back off. Also, you'll be coming back home once every couple of weeks. That will be our 'family time' where we spend some time together. I don't think I could stand to have you two that far away for longer than that."

"I'll do it." I said softly and wasn't surprised that Henry spoke up at the same time.

"When do we start?" Henry asked.

"Let's see, today's only Friday isn't it?" Dad said, and I realized he felt as out of whack about the days of the week as I did. "You'll start on Monday. We'll be assembling your personal staff over the next couple of days. We'll have several civilian tutors for you two to interview, and I want you to make sure that whoever you pick you can get along with, but won't let you walk all over them. You don't want 'yes men' working with you. They only make things worse, not better. Make sure your instructors are smart people and will challenge you intellectually. When it comes to military staff, you don't have any choice except your security detail. Corporal Walters has been promoted to Sergeant and has requested to be in charge of your detail, Henry. Sergeant Connors has asked to be on your detail, Dylan. If you guys approve of them, they'll select more people and I want you to interview them. If you feel they'll do a good job, they're on the team. You'll have to do that this weekend. General McFarland will have your military tutors and staff selected by Monday morning. We'll start with something local first."

"What do we do between now and then?" Henry asked.

"You'll both be asked to perform minor errand duties probably." Dad said with a grin that I knew referred at least to Henry's little surprise morning trip to the studio tomorrow. "As for the rest, I suggest you continue morning PT, and maybe Sergeant Connors can arrange a little trip to the nearest firing range. Other than that, I suggest spending time with each other and Mom. I'll be busy most of the days and nights, but we'll have at least one family meal together, and of course church on Sunday. I'm meeting with the local ministers, pastors, priests, and rabbis here in an hour."

"Is this now the capitol?" Henry asked, and I was suddenly curious as well.

"Temporarily." Dad said. "We've got the best access to space tracking from here if there's another launch. It'll give us time to get on the plane that's sitting at the airport if there's another attack. You both should know that if something like that does happen, helicopters will be within ten minutes of you at all times to whisk you to the airport."

"Okay, that makes sense." Henry said and I relaxed as well. I suddenly realized that we had more to worry about than just a crazy sniper trying to kill us.

"Anything else? I'm due for a meeting that started two minutes ago." Dad asked and we both shook our heads. He gave us a hug before leaving. We spent the rest of the day working out by running around the outside of the hotel. I noticed there were three tanks, four Bradleys, and nearly four squads of soldiers around the hotel perimeter as we ran and realized that this would be representative of the rest of our lives. I also wondered when the Secret Service, or what was left of it, would try to take over our security. The thought of depending on non-soldiers to protect us was quite unsettling.

When we came back into the hotel room, sweaty from our exercising, we found Mom waiting with the two seamstresses from yesterday. We were given ten minutes for showers each before we were attacked by the women. By the time dinner arrived from room service, the women had worn us out with different pieces of clothing and constant measuring, altering, and pin pricks. Dad was still working so it was just mom and us for dinner.

"What was that all about?" Henry asked as we began eating after the prayer.

"You both have to have decent wardrobes." Mom told us. "Everyone's going to be watching you all the time now, and the camera crews will be following you around as well. You need to look sharp, present an image that says things are getting better, and no matter what you might think, dressing well is part of that."

"But we'll just wear our uniforms." I said softly. "I mean, sure tailoring them so they fit us better will probably help, but why were they going through all those civilian clothes and testing which colors work best? It's not like we'll be wearing them."

"Yes you will." Mom said. "The military image is a good thing to project, but if that's all people saw, they'll start to think that dad's making a military dictatorship. When you're at lessons, when you're meeting with Guard officers and troops, you will wear your uniforms. But when you're meeting with kids your own age, church shelters and places like that, or when you're relaxing before going to bed, you'll wear civilian clothes. Whoever they assign for your public relations handling will guide you on when to wear what. Your civilian clothes will be nice jeans or slacks, collared shirts, stuff like that. If you go to something formal that would require a suit, you'll wear your dress uniforms."

"I take it this isn't something optional?" Henry said quietly. "I really do prefer uniforms."

"Think of them as all being uniforms." Mom said softly with a slight smile. "It's not like you'll be choosing what to where."

"Oddly, that does seem to help." Henry joked, lightening the moment.

I got Henry to stay up late that night as we talked about the situation we were now in, and how we'd handle not being around each other all the time. We'd become so much of steady presence in each other's life that we both were apprehensive about the time we'd be spending apart. That's when we came to the conclusion that we'd bug dad until he gave in and figured out some way for us to talk on a regular basis. We even worked up an angle that it would look good on television to show us talking to our brother each and every night, keeping up the family closeness.

Poor guy, he didn't go to his own room and fall asleep until one in the morning. I had set my alarm a little early so I could go into the bathroom and watch his reaction to being woken up early. As I expected, he was very grumpy, and obviously not thinking to well. I went back to sleep for another hour myself, still giggling a little.

I did get up in time to eat breakfast with mom before she disappeared. She was working on something as 'First Lady' and was very busy. Sergeant Connors came in after she left and while I finished breakfast discussed my security detail. He already had a list of twelve soldiers he wanted me to consider, and I was happy to see that Jimmy's Sammy was on the list.

Henry's interview was hilarious. He was obviously very tired and Dan seemed in a bad mood, so they traded a few barbs back and forth before Henry woke up enough to be less cranky.

"I'm sorry, Dan." Henry said after a particularly vicious verbal cut about reporters being picked for looks instead of brains. "I'm a little cranky this morning and it's all Dylan's fault. No one told me they'd be getting me up early to deliver a tape here and do an interview. Dylan must have known because he kept me up until after one in the morning talking about nothing. I think it's his idea of a joke to keep me from getting enough sleep and being cranky on TV so he'd look better."

"Sounds like you two are really competitive." Dan said with a knowing smile and Henry nodded.

"We also love playing jokes on each other." Henry said with a sly grin. "He even told the make-up lady that I got nervous before going on stage and that patting my head helped calm me down. I owe her an apology too after I nearly bit her hand off."

"Sounds like you're a tad grumpy when you don't get enough sleep." Dan said with a smirk that was very broad.

"What teenager in this world isn't?" Henry said before letting out a sigh. "Still, I really shouldn't complain. Right now I've got it a lot better than most other teenagers out there, and we've got a lot of work to do until either Dylan or I can complain about early wake up calls, long nights, and not enough sleep. This isn't a time for anyone to be slouching off, Dylan or I least of all. When dad accepted the office of President, it wasn't just him doing it, it was all of us as a family promising to do whatever we can to help get this country back on its feet. Dad may be the President, and the person actually with the authority of that office, but we are his family and we will all do everything we can to help him do his job."

"Is it true that he asked each of you for your support before he accepted?" Dan asked Henry quietly and Henry's face lit up.

"Yes, absolutely, one hundred percent, that was a true statement." Henry stated in a firm, steady voice. "As the father, he leads our family, and is the ultimate decision maker just like in his duties as an officer, and now as President. But that doesn't mean he's a dictator in public or at home. Even on regular, every day decisions, he listens to us and takes our advice. When it comes to the really big decisions, like accepting this job, he wants us to be fully involved. If any of us had said no, and given him a good reason, if it was just that we couldn't handle fulfilling our duty to support him in that job, he would have declined it when it was offered. That doesn't mean he's a pushover at any disagreement either. If it's my turn to take out the trash, he'll tell me to take it out. If don't do it, I'll get punished unless I had a valid reason, and then I'll have to take it out as soon as I can. If I had told him I didn't want him to be President, and the reason was because I didn't want some person calling in here and asking me if I had a girlfriend, he'd have taken the job anyway. If I told him it was because I thought I couldn't do what was needed to support him in that job, or fulfill the commitment we were making as a family to the American people, he'd have given it full consideration and if I was right, he'd have turned the job down."

"What do you mean when you say 'fulfill the commitment as a family'?" Dan asked him earnestly and Henry leaned forward just a bit, looking at Dan like he was giving him Henry's full attention and like he'd forgotten the camera was there. "The job of President doesn't really say anything about the family of the President having to do anything."

"Just yesterday, both Dylan and our Dad talked about how everyone is needed to do their best to get this country back on its feet." Henry said in a voice that was filled with a passion that looked really good. The camera zoomed in on his face as he spoke, and his eyes even looked slightly wet, adding an element that made even my heart thump just a little harder. "What kind of an example would our family set if we sat on our bums in a luxurious hotel suite, eating rich food whenever we wanted and enjoying the heated rooms while millions of Americans scrounged for even one can of food and huddled around each other for warmth and burned their furniture to keep alive? What kind of leadership is that in these times? Frankly if I saw my President and his family doing that I'd get mad and tell him where to stick whatever he was saying. If I tried to do that, ad would make my life a living hell until I woke up and realized my mistake. When James Jacobs took the Oath of Office, this country got not only him, but his family, promising to help. No one is quite sure yet exactly what we'll be doing, but when dad tells us to move out, we'll be ready and we'll be working for the American people."

"Well, thank you for your time, young man." Dan said in a fond tone, and I turned the television off. My brother had done damn good. I couldn't wait for him to get back so I could chat with him about the whole thing.

He got back to the hotel in time for lunch, and we chatted about the interview for a bit. He seemed a little nervous while we ate, and I knew he was thinking about something. We were alone in the suite, mom was still busy, and so I decided to ask him.

"What's wrong bro?" I asked as gently as I could.

"I met your pal, Jimmy." He said in a worried tone, and my stomach almost emptied itself.

"So?" I asked as coolly as I could.

"He did nothing but talk about what a great guy you are." Henry said. "He was like a little puppy talking about you. I almost felt sorry for him. It's really obvious he's lonely and doesn't get to meet people close to his own age a lot. It made me think of how lucky we've been to have each other around, and I'm worried about what it's going to be like while we're traveling."

"Yeah, me too." I said quickly, hiding my relief. The secret seemed to be safe. "I think we'll be okay though. We'll see each other every two weeks, and I know we'll find some way to talk more often.

"Yep." Henry said softly, smiling slightly. When I took a long drink of my ice tea, he continued speaking in a very teasing tone. "So is Jimmy a good kisser?"

The ice tea I'd been drinking spluttered across the room, the glass slipped from hand, falling into my lap and spreading its contents all over my fatigue pants, and more tea came out of my nose as I started coughing from the bit that had gone down the wrong pipe. My evil, evil brother actually fell out of his chair laughing. I sat there for a moment, still coughing, wet, humiliated, and soaked, and completely stumped as to what to do or say next.

"How…" I finally gasped as the coughing subsided and he got back into his chair, still laughing, and grinning like a cat.

"I had no idea from him." Henry said quickly. "I mean I thought it was a little odd that he was so hung up on you, but then I realized he was a little immature and starved for affection, and I know how nice you are. Besides, after I listened to him for a while, he started pestering me with questions about you. I happened to hear him with his mother when I was leaving and he was talking about us both the same way, so I thought he was just affection starved. But then, when I mentioned meeting him a few minutes ago, you got a worried expression on your face for a split second. Then you got all relieved when I explained about it and I remembered something I noticed when I met Jimmy."

"What was that?" I asked. "He kept on rubbing his chin and caressing his chin when he talked about you, and his eyes got a little dreamy, and I remembered the look on your face when you mentioned meeting him yesterday. For a split second you got all dreamy. So, now that I figured it out, tell me all about what happened."

"You…you're not upset?" I asked.

"No." Henry said. "You can't help he's so excitable, and really I don't think anyone else will pick up on that, and from the way he was going on about you, I think he'll cut off his tongue before hurting you. No one who doesn't know you as well as I do would pick on the little hints, and most definitely not dad or mom. He's the son of General, so I think he's a good pick for your first. He is your first isn't he?"

"Yeah." I said in a slightly dreamy tone. "My first kiss at least. But, I mean…"

"Look, Dylan, keep it private and no one will ever care." Henry said. "Just know that you can talk to me about anything, okay?"

"Yeah, okay." I said softly.

"So, I want details." Henry demanded.

"Why?" I asked. "I thought you weren't really attracted to guys."

"I'm not," Henry said with a mischievous grin. "That doesn't mean I don't want to hear about my bro's first time, especially since I plan to tell him every single little detail when I meet a nice, naughty girl near our age."

"Oh, we just kissed." I said. "We kissed, he came in his pants, and I got to twirl him around my finger."

"He came in his pants from kissing?" Henry gasped. "Man you must be a good kisser."

"Don't go there." I warned him. "I'd rather have my brother than another Jimmy."

"You think you kiss that good, do you?" Henry asked, and I couldn't help myself. That feeling I'd experienced with Jimmy came back, and I needed to feel that control, that power again. I stood up, grabbed Henry by the arm and pulled him into my bedroom.

"What's this for?" Henry asked in a surprised tone.

"In case mom or dad comes back unexpectedly or Connors pokes his head in." I said. "Now, don't blame me if this messes us up, you asked for this."

"I didn't ask for…" Henry started to say, but my lips touching his cut him off. I noticed immediately that something was different this time though. For a moment, Henry melted into my kiss, and I had to hold him upright as my tongue battled his inside his mouth. I growled again, and a moan sounded deep in his throat and his legs started to collapse, but the moan changed into almost a growl itself. His tongue battle mine until he was pushing inside my mouth, and my entire body startled to tingle, and now it was he holding me up while my legs started collapse. He growled softly, and a moan escaped me, and I felt my feelings for him deepen even more. But still, something in me caused my tongue to push his back until they wrestled and teased each other in the space where our mouths met. The tingling sensation returned, as did the sense of power that I'd felt with Jimmy. This time both of us growled at the same time and our legs collapsed again. We fell to the floor, side by side and moved so that our hips were thrusting against each other, and we could feel the hardness of each other through the thick fatigue pants. The tingling grew, and this time we both moaned as our bodies started thrusting against each other. A feeling of pure ecstasy flowed through me suddenly and I lost track of everything as my head spun.

The next thing I new, we were both panting softly, arms and legs entwined on the floor and we stared at each other for a long time. The warm stickiness in my pants was becoming uncomfortably cool before I regained control of my breathing. I searched his face for signs of the adoration I'd seen from Jimmy, or the disgust I feared to see, but instead I saw he was thinking, analyzing, what had happened.

"That was nothing like Terry." He said softly before the silence became unbearable. "I, after, when I did it with Terry, I felt so powerful, and he had this look of total adoration on his face. It was weird. I'm attracted to women mostly, but doing it with another guy doesn't freak me out. It's just not what I really want. I've been afraid though that anyone I ever did it with would become as clingy as Terry. But, this, this is nothing like what I expected."

"Jimmy." I said slowly. "It was like I had total control of him as soon as my lips touched his. I knew he'd do anything I wanted."

"He's obsessed with you like Terry was with me." Henry said. "Terry would do anything I said, and I knew he wanted to do it again, but he never complained when I told him it would never happen again. He just said he'd do whatever he could to be around me. But, you, for a moment I felt like that towards you, but then something in me resisted it. I still love you, like a brother. I don't know if we'll ever do this again, but I'm glad we at least got it out of the way. I feel closer to you now, like there's nothing between us."

"Me too." I said carefully. "You know, I wonder if there's something…special about us. Would we have this affect on anyone we kiss like Jimmy or Terry? Or was it just them. Or do we have some special magic power or something?"

"Magic?" Henry let out a bark of laughter. "I wouldn't say magic, but maybe it's some chemical, pheromone type thing, or maybe mental like our intelligence. We need to figure out a way to test this though. You never know, it might be useful to us in the future."

"I know one way." I said softly. "Let's get Jimmy over here and test what he will and won't do. Mom and dad are supposed to be busy most of the weekend. There's an extra room in the suite. We can tell dad you met him and thought he was a good guy and that we'd like to spend some time with our new friend, be as regular kids as we can be for the next few days."

"Good idea." Henry said with a nod. "Let's take a shower and then send a message through Walters."

"Okay, we'll use your guard this time." I said with a grin. He kicked my foot gently, smiled and stood up. I stood up as well. "Does this mean I'm no longer a virgin?"

"Depends on how you look at it." Henry said with smirk. "I just wish I had been the first."

"Jimmy was my first kiss, but I didn't cum with him." I said and Henry smiled even more.

"Then I am your first." He gloated and I punched his arm as we moved into the bathroom.

As I discovered in that shower, there was nothing sexual between Henry and I ever again after that. Whatever the desire, the need, I'd felt towards him at the lunch table had been, it was gone by the time we undressed and showered together. However, the uncomfortable feeling I'd had around him in the shower, or similar type of situations no longer existed either. We even washed each other's backs, and while it felt good, comfortable, and familiar, it evoked no sexual desire at all. It was something that would occupy my thoughts for a while to come whenever I had a few quiet moments.

After we changed into our sweats, Henry had gone to the door to tell the guard on duty that he wanted to see Sergeant Walters. Walters showed up a minute later and told Henry he'd pass the message along. There was a radio in the guard's room that allowed him to contact the base and pass messages along. Walters also told us he'd have some people ready for our run with us. Connors wanted us to interview their security detail people after dinner.

We went running for about an hour and when we returned back to the suite I was surprised to see Jimmy sitting there. This time he was dressed in regular jeans and a blue polo shirt and Walters was in the room, standing by the door, but facing inside where he could keep on eye on our visitor. Jimmy's face brightened when he saw me.

"Hey Dylan!" Jimmy said excitedly as we entered. "Uh, hi Henry. I was at the Command Center with dad when we received word that you'd invited me to spend the weekend with you. Dad said I could so here I am!"

"Heya Jimmy." I said. "I'm glad you could stay. Why don't you wait in my room? It's that one there."

"Sure thing, Dylan." Jimmy said with a smile and walked quickly to the room I'd pointed towards. I turned back to the newly promoted Walters and smiled.

"I don't think the rule about not being alone applies to our friends, especially those that are the kids of high-ranking officers." I said in a friendly tone.

"No, they don't, sir." Walters said with a smile. "It's just that no one is to be alone inside your suite while you aren't here. I'll be back in the squad room. I think the hotel has some video games, and maybe board games. Do you want me to get them?"

"Sure." I said quickly. It would be a good idea to have them around, even if we never touched them.

"Just set them on the counter." Henry said. "We'll probably be watching the news broadcast for a bit and talking, getting to know each other."

"No problem, sirs." Walters said before leaving. Henry and I exchanged a long look after he'd left, and I developed a plan on how we would go about testing our theory about our 'kissing power'.

"Heya Dylan." Jimmy said as soon as we entered my room. He'd been sitting on my bed, looking around the room curiously, but his face brightened considerably when I entered the room. Henry stayed just inside the doorway after he'd shut it, and I walked towards Jimmy with a steady pace. I could feel that tingling sensation again, and that sense of power flowing through me as I got closer to Jimmy. He looked up at me as I stood in front of him with a look of surprise on his face as I bent in to kiss him. He moaned slightly and looked at me in confusion when I pulled away.

"But…but…we're not alone." Jimmy gasped softly.

"Henry's my brother. It's okay for him to know." I said softly. "But he guessed from the way you were acting so excited. Try to be calmer, and act like you would with any other friend when you're around me, okay?"

"Okay Dylan." He said with a soft sigh and a dreamy look on his face.

"It's okay to be excited about me, but you have be less obvious when you're talking about me, okay?" I asked and he nodded quickly.

"Please don't be mad." He said softly. "I promise, I'll be so good that no one will ever know."

"That's all that matters, Jimmy." I said, running a hand over his cheekbone. He shivered, and I felt that power building again. My sweat pants were definitely tented, and I saw him staring at my crotch hungrily. "I need to take a shower. So does Henry."

"What do you want me to do?" He asked with a look of desire on his face. I leaned forward, kissing him again and this time my tongue entered his mouth. He moaned again and I could feel something wrapping him up, something flowing from me into him, and it felt weird, but pleasurable at the same time. Yes, there was something there, and it was much more noticeable now, after Henry and I had kissed. With Henry it had been a two-way street, a meeting of equals, but Jimmy wasn't an equal, and I knew somehow instinctively that he was something inferior to what Henry and I were. A small part of my brain wondered if most people were like Jimmy.

"Get undressed." I said softly, stepping back and he stood up eagerly, nearly ripping his shirt off, kicking his tennis shoes into a corner, pulling off his jeans and then ripping his socks off. When he was done, he stood nude before me, panting slightly. He was hard, and I noticed that he was just a little small than me, and since Henry was bigger than me, he was the smallest in the room.

Did penis size have anything to do with this? Silly thought that, but we'd have to find a way to test it on women. Henry'd probably do that.

"Jimmy, you want to help me with my boots?" Henry asked from the doorway and Jimmy looked at him confused for a moment. Then he looked at me as if asking for direction.

"Uh, what do you want me to do Dylan?" Jimmy asked in a small voice, as if afraid.

"I want you to give my brother a kiss." I said, moving on to the next test. Jimmy swallowed but moved over to Henry who was looking at him analytically. He bent into the kiss and it lasted for almost a minute before he pulled away. Jimmy instantly turned back to me as if seeking my approval.

"Our shower should be started for us." Henry said softly.

"Jimmy, start up the shower." I said softly. "We like it almost hot enough to burn, but no hotter. I think I saw some new soap and shampoo in boxes on the counter. Open them up as well and shut the doors so it gets nice and steamy."

"Okay Dylan." Jimmy said, smiling as he went into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. A moment later the shower was running.

"That was weird." Henry said. "I felt that tingling sensation, the feeling of being in control and power when you told him to kiss me, but when we did kiss, it was weird. I could feel something flowing from me into him, but it seemed to stop. I almost felt like I was seeing you inside of him, and everything just went dead. When I did it with Terry, there was like no real attraction to him until we kissed, and then I wanted him bad. I started to feel that happening with Jimmy, but then I guess 'it', whatever 'it' is, recognized your hold on him and cancelled everything out."

"We're definitely going to have to explore this." I said. "You know, it's like he'd do anything I wanted him to do for me. I'm tempted to see how far it would go, but that could be dangerous."

"From the fact that he went to kiss me right after you told him to, I think we can safely assume he'll do anything, including jumping off the roof for you." Henry said. "If I thought you'd actually do that, I'd be kicking your ass, but I know you won't, unless it's necessary."

"No, I won't." I agreed. "So what now?"

"You've got a horny kid in there that will do whatever you tell him to do and you need a shower. You do the math." Henry teased me gently.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

"Make sure no one bothers you." Henry said with a grin. "No need to thank me because when I find a girl to test this on, you're going to have to cover for me."

"Just don't get a 'public' girlfriend, please." I begged him. "I don't want to have one unless I have to."

"Don't worry, they'll just be female friends." Henry said with a very greedy look. We both laughed before he went into the main room. When I entered the bathroom, Jimmy was standing there next to the bathtub/shower, looking very cute as he toyed with still erect penis. He smiled shyly at me when I entered and shut the door behind me.

"Is it just you?" He asked in a voice that was hopeful.

"Yeah, Henry just wanted to make sure you were okay for me." I told him and he smiled.

"So I take it from you being here I passed?" Jimmy's voice was very excited now.

"Yes, you did." This time he smiled even more broadly.

"So, What can I do for you?" He asked, me and I felt that tingling sensation growing again.

"Let's start with you undressing me." I growled and he practically ran towards me, tugging at my sweatshirt.



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