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Age Of Aquarius - Book 1

Harmonic Dissonance - Chapter 3

Jase and Mike spent Sunday sorting and boxing at the Manor. They joked and reminisced over items they found. It was well into the afternoon when Jase sat back and looked at their progress. They had retreated to the playroom and there were boxes of toys scattered about them. Jase was happy to be donating so many things for kids. It took him a moment to realize he was just happy. He watched as Mike hefted another box and Jase felt a swelling of affection for his friend. Best friend. Jase smiled and looked away hoping not to tear up again.

Mike paused and looked over at Jase. He could have sworn he'd heard him say something, but Jase was looking the other way. Mike set the box down and looked in the open closet. What he found made him smile, and he reached inside with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

Jase was knocked from his thoughts, literally, by a long yellow padded bat, which bounced off his head and thumped to the floor an arm's length away. "Hey!" He turned and glared at a laughing Mike.

"You remember these things?" Mike held up an identical bat and brandished it menacingly.

Jase smirked. "Yeah, I used to beat your fat ass into submission whenever we played pirates or knights."

Mike arched an eyebrow and settled into an imitation-fencing pose. "Would you care to back up that boast, Mr. Steward?"

Jase grabbed his sword and brandished it with theatrical emphasis. "With pleasure, Mr. Castanio!"

What started as a lighthearted brandishing of swords quickly escalated into a full out duel. Neither man would give quarter. Soon the playroom looked as if a storm had blown through. Jase was swinging wildly while leaping from a trunk when a voice demanded their attention.


Panting, Mike and Jase stopped. Roger stood at the door surveying the remains of the room. The old butler stepped past the ruined boxes and crossed to the terrace doors. With little ceremony, Roger pushed the doors open and stepped back. "Please take your excesses of energy to the yard. You are worrying some of the servants."

Jase laughed and jogged past Roger with his sword still in hand. "Give our apologies to the maids, Roger."

Roger nodded as Mike followed. "Very good, sir." He watched the young men resume their duel as soon as their feet hit grass. After closing the doors, Roger surveyed the room. "I should have known better than to send them in here."

Their battle ranged from the terrace to the woods. Jase was tiring fast and it was obvious that Mike was holding back. Asshole. Six years of martial arts training. Jase slashed and thrust but Mike skillfully turned away the attacks with more apparent ease with each passing minute. In a swift twisting maneuver, Mike disarmed Jase and swiped his blade behind his knees. With a delighted laugh, Mike brought his blade forward and sent his friend toppling to the ground. Jase stared up at the foam covered weapon that was pointed at his nose.

"Do you yield?"

Jase swung his foot, catching Mike by surprise and sending the larger man to the ground. "Never!"

The wrestling match was no real contest. Four inches in height and 30 pounds of muscle were just too great of an advantage. Jase found himself pinned in less than a minute with Mike's triumphant smile gleaming above him.


"No." Jase struggled to find leverage but Mike's body pressed more firmly against him. It took Jase a moment to realize he was trembling. He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to get a grip on himself. With his eyes closed he could feel and hear more acutely. Mike's breathing was short but it didn't sound like it was from the exercise. His own body was beginning to tingle and Jase felt himself lengthening against the firm thigh that was holding him down. Oh shit. Don't go there, Jase.

Mike watched Jase's face. Jase had closed his eyes and had stopped struggling but Mike could sense something going on inwardly. Why was he so determined to get Jase to give in? Because I want you to stop fighting me. The thought jolted Mike and he sat up. Jase's eyes snapped open at the sudden movement. Mike stood up and held his hand out. "You ok, Jase?"

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine." Jase clasped Mike's hand and hauled himself off the grass. He was still shaking a little and Jase hoped Mike didn't notice the bulge that had formed in his jeans. "You won."

Mike picked up the fallen swords and gave Jase a lopsided smile. "Not really."

Jase looked at Mike sideways as he brushed the dirt from his pants. "What do you mean?"

Mike shrugged and headed back towards the house. "I always yielded when you beat me."

Jase stared into the wine glass he had been sipping from. The rest of the day had been more subdued and it felt like another wall was up between them. This one was older, and Jase realized it wasn't just between him and Mike. "I always yielded when you beat me." Those words had replayed in Jase's head since they had left the Manor.

Mike watched Jase stare into his wine. He wasn't upset with Jase. He wasn't even hurt. Mike felt as if he'd come to some barrier in Jase he'd known was always there. It was more palpable and more defined than when they were younger. It was a barrier that Jase would have to open if Mike was to get in.

Why couldn't he just tell Mike the truth? Ok, maybe not all of it. But at least something. Jase swallowed the wine and set down his glass. "Mike, there's something I think you should know."

Mike set his glass down and leaned forward. Jase's hand was shaking a little and Mike took it. He squeezed Jase's hand reassuringly.

Jase looked into Mike's eyes. "I'm gay."

Mike blinked. He hadn't been sure what Jase was going to say but the relief that it wasn't something horrible shook through him like an earthquake. He began to laugh. Jase pulled his hand away, looking terribly hurt. Mike scrambled to get the hand back while trying to control his mirth. "Oh geez. I'm sorry, Jase." He gasped, trying to keep from another outburst. "I had this vision of you saying you'd been a mass murderer or something." He stood, dragging Jase up with him and pulled his friend into a hug. "God, that's such a relief."

Jase was dumbfounded. He'd been ready for the look of loathing or contempt. He hadn't expected Mike to laugh. He held on as Mike's body shook with laughter. After a few moments Jase felt the tension let go and he began to laugh as well. After a minute they let go of each other wiping away tears. "I didn't know how you'd react. You're a pretty big guy, Mike. I was worried I might get my ass beat."

Mike sobered up almost immediately. He knew Jase was just explaining why he'd kept to himself, but he couldn't stand the idea that Jase thought Mike would hurt him. "I'd never hurt you, Jase."

Jase saw the pain in Mike's expression and brought his hand up to his friend's face. "I didn't mean it that way, Mike. I'm not used to 'coming out' to friends."

Mike's eyes softened and he stepped in close. "What about 'coming on' to friends?"

Jase swallowed but he didn't take his hand from Mike's cheek. "Not used to that either."

Mike's face was only inches away and his eyes seemed deeper than usual. "That's a shame. You've probably missed some good opportunities."

Jase began to melt as Mike's hand slid to his back and pulled them gently together. "Mike..."

The moment shattered as the phone's ring filled the room with sudden urgency. Mike let go and jerked the phone off the hook. "Hello!" After a moment he held the phone out to Jase. "It's a Miranda?"

Jase took the phone. "Hey, Mira, what's up?"

"Where's Mr. Mason, Jase?" The urgency in her tone sent ice water through his veins. Mira never got excited unless something bad was happening.

"Phil? Home, I guess. We saw him at the funeral yesterday and I have a meeting with him tomorrow at 8am."

"Jase, you've got to get to him. Something's happening."

Jase gripped the phone. "What did you see!"

"I was looking at the picture of the two of you at graduation and suddenly there was a sense of evil and darkness. Jase, I think someone is going to try and kill him!"

"Ok, I'm on it!" He hung up the phone and grabbed the phonebook flipping the pages frantically. "Mason, Mason. There!" Jase called the number and waited, drumming his fingers on the book as the line rang. "Phil, come on... answer the damn phone!" After ten rings Jase hung up. He tore out the page and spun to Mike. "I need to borrow the Jeep!" Mike stared at him, stunned. "Mike please! I've got to get to Phil!"

Mike grabbed his keys. "I'll take you. You don't know the roads anyway."

Ten minutes of frantic driving had the Jeep pulling into a drive in Hearthwood. Jase was already out of the jeep and sprinting up the drive before Mike could get the engine off. As he leapt onto the porch, Jase felt the first indications of magic. He stopped, pulling the pentacle out from underneath his shirt, and closed his eyes. There was a feel of the grave about the home. Darkness had settled into the fabric of the place. Though there were lights on, Jase could sense the fog of evil choking out their essence.

Mike jogged up beside him. "What's the deal Jase, just ring the bell!"

Jase stopped him from reaching for the bell. "Its unlocked, Mike." Jase looked at his friend and realized he didn't want Mike anywhere near the place. "Stay out here, Mike. Please!"

Mike frowned. "I think someone here is forgetting who teaches self-defense classes in this team."

Jase wanted to argue, but he felt it happen. Something was killing Phil. He spun and threw open the door. Phil was in his office. It took only seconds for Jase to get down the hall and into the room. Mike was right behind him.

Phil was leaned back in his chair. Legal papers had tumbled upon the floor. His eyes were open but glazed, and his breath was coming in gasps. Twisting about his body was a crimson smoke that seemed to permeate his skin. The smoke fed upon the man's essence, drawing vitality from his blood. The sight turned Mike's stomach.

Jase raised his hand and evoked with all the force he could muster. "Fugo pravus mortis!" Light erupted from his palm and enveloped the room. The smoke sizzled in the light. Rising from its victim the smoke tried to flee. It only managed to ascend a few feet before Jase's will burned it to nothing.

As the light faded, Jase rushed to the old man. "Phil!" He got around the desk and put his hands on either side of Phil's face. "Come on, Phil. Say something!"

Phil's glazed eyes focused for a moment. He struggled to speak but his voice was only a whisper. "I couldn't keep my promise..." His eyes went cold as his breath floated against Jase's cheek.

Jase's eyes flooded with tears and he felt Mike pull him away. Jase collapsed to the floor, watching helplessly as Mike felt for pulses and looked into Phil's lifeless eyes. Mike put his hand on Phil's chest and began to chant something Jase couldn't understand.

Mike opened his mind and intoned the mantras of healing he had been taught. He could feel the man's life force drifting away like the smoke that had been feeding upon him moments before. He could also feel Phil trying to hold on. Mike opened himself further, drawing in the escaping essence. Phil's thoughts came to him, full of regret.

I'm sorry, Grace. I couldn't protect him. I let you down...

Mike pulled in the essence, infusing it with all the chi he could channel. As he pushed the energy back into Phil's body, he sent his own thoughts back. Not today, Phil. You aren't dead yet.

Jase looked up as Mike opened the door to Phil's bedroom. Mr. Wong was still checking Phil's pulses and shaking his head. "It is a remarkable thing he is not dead. What is it you say happened?"

Mike nodded and Jase stepped in, coming close to the bed. "It was death magic, Mr. Wong. I know it sounds crazy but I can't explain it any better than that."

To Jase's surprise, Mr. Wong just regarded him for a moment then nodded. "He will need protection for the next few days." Mr. Wong stood and looked at Mike. "You should stay here tonight. Tomorrow we will bring him to the clinic. He will be safer there."

"Mr. Wong, this is all my fault..."

Mr. Wong put up his hand. "Did you send this evil upon him?"

Jase was aghast. "No!"

"Then you are not to blame. Take only the burdens that are yours to bear. He is alive and will recover." Mr. Wong set Phil's hand down gently and picked up his bag. "I have left protections around the bed. He will sleep well into the morning and possibly into the afternoon." He put his hand on Mike's arm. "I will teach your classes tomorrow and take your appointments. Mr. Mason is your charge till we have him well again."

"Yes, sir."

Mike escorted Mr. Wong out while Jase sat beside Phil. He looked up as Mike came back in. "Thanks, Mike."

Mike smiled and pulled Jase off the bed. "How are you doing?"

Jase hugged himself and looked back at Phil. "I'm tired, scared, and pissed off."

Mike wrapped his arms around Jase and hugged him. "Well, buddy, you've got a right to be."

Jase turned and looked into Mike's eyes. He could see the questions behind them and knew he had a lot of answering to do. Right now all he wanted was to get clean and get some sleep. "Mike, can we hold off on questions till the morning?"

Mike nodded and led Jase out of the room. He closed the door quietly and walked into the guest room across the hall. Jase followed, too tired to question. Mike had started the shower and pulled off his shirt as Jase leaned against the doorframe. "God, that's a good idea. I could soak for days."

Mike came over and began to tug at the hem of Jase's shirt. "Let's get you cleaned up and into bed."

"Uhm, Mike..."

Jase looked hesitant but Mike smiled. "No funny business, I promise. We're both wiped and it'll be faster." Nodding, Jase undressed as Mike checked on the towels.

Mike pulled him into the shower and shut the door. Normally, Jase would be getting ready for some heavy action, but he was just too tired both physically and emotionally. He let Mike wash him down. Leaning against Mike's broad chest, Jase's hands softly soaped Mike's back and came to rest on his firm ass. Mike had stopped washing him and was just holding Jase gently, trembling even though the water was hot.

Mike skimmed his hands up to Jase's face and pulled it up. He pressed his lips lightly against Jase's and he felt the tingle again. Jase didn't resist and Mike took the kiss deeper. Jase moaned and his fingers gripped into Mike's buttocks. His own desire rising, Mike felt Jase hard against him. Mike pulled back and looked into Jase's eyes. "Sorry, I just had to know what that was like."

Jase brought his hands up and wound his fingers in Mike's dark hair. He pulled Mike down into another kiss. This one was more insistent, more needy. Their tongues dueled until they had to break for breath. Jase looked into his lover's eyes. "I yield."

Mike stroked Jase's hair as he watched him sleep. He hadn't quite kept his word after they finished the shower. They hadn't had a night of passionate sex, but it was obvious neither of them would have objected. They had simply kissed and held each other till they fell asleep. Mike had checked on Phil a couple times during the night. He had returned to Jase each time, molding himself to Jase effortlessly. It felt like they were two puzzle pieces that had finally been put in the right place.

Mike noted at how perfect Jase looked. His features were fine and as delicate as a guy could manage without being feminine. He was lean and smooth with amazingly soft skin. Mike saw a few scars and wondered how Jase had received them. He was so intent upon looking at Jase that he didn't notice Jase was watching him back.

Jase smiled as their eyes met. "Good morning." He propped himself up on an elbow. "How's Phil?"

"Asleep. His breathing is strong and regular, and his temperature is normal." Mike leaned in, wanting to renew the affection they had expressed last night, but he stopped.

Jase brought his hand up and pulled Mike the rest of the way in. He ran his tongue along the seam of Mike's lips till Mike groaned and gave way. Their tongues danced for a few moments. Jase pulled back and smiled. "Don't start getting shy on me at this point, Mister."

Mike looked down for a moment. "I guess I was having a self-conscious moment. I didn't want to push things."

Jase laughed and rolled out of bed. "Ok. I'll admit I'm not sure I want to do heavy bedroom gymnastics in Phil's house." He came around the bed and straddled a surprised Mike. "I just hope you plan to follow through sometime soon."

Mike smiled and put his hand up. "Scout's Honor."

Phil woke shortly after noon. He looked very old and worn, but he was alive. Jase was grinning ear to ear. "Thought you could sneak out on me when I wasn't looking, huh?"

Phil smiled. "You wouldn't let me go without a fight, would you?"

Jase nodded. "Well, I did the fighting but you have Mike to thank for not letting go."

Phil looked over at Mike as he came up to take Phil's pulses. "You had us pretty worried there for a while."

"I was pretty dead there for a while."

Mike shrugged. "You got better."

Phil took Jase's hand. "The board meeting is Wednesday at 10am."

Jase nodded towards the papers he had been reading while watching over Phil. "I got your notes from downstairs. Looks like you were going to recommend Mike's father to take the role of President."

Mike's head snapped to attention. "What?"

Jase smirked. "That got someone's attention." He looked back at his own notes. "I'm to take over as chairman and you want me to send out feelers for potential candidates. You listed a few head hunters to put on the case."

Phil nodded. He closed his eyes. "You find my notes about the other board members?"

"Yeah, I have my enemies list as well as some details on strengths and weaknesses." Jase smirked. "I noticed none of them have protections against being turned to frogs."

"Jase, please..."

"I know. I know. No sudden increases in the local frog population." Jase set down his pad and looked at his old friend. "Phil, you do remember what happened, don't you?"

Phil sighed. "It's a bit sketchy at the end. Yes, I remember. I don't understand it but I learned enough around your grandmother to know it was some form of magic or demon or maligned spirit."

"Those things aren't random, Phil. They have to be sent intentionally."

Phil nodded. "I know, Jase."

Jase grit his teeth in anger. He wanted to know who would cast a spell to kill a normal man. Why bother? Then his eyes went wide. "Phil, what was my father's cause of death?"

Phil's eyebrows furrowed. "Come to think of it, the coroner was a little perplexed. They checked for signs for foul play but in the end all they found was a lack of oxygen in the blood."

Jase looked at Mike. "Like there simply wasn't enough in his blood to keep him alive, but no physical cause?"

"I suppose. I really didn't question the coroner, Jase, other than to be certain they'd tested for poisons and similar signs of criminal intent."

Standing up, Jase began to pace. Mike watched him with a feeling of dread. "Jase, do you think someone might have done the same thing to your father as they tried to do to Phil?"

"I don't know. The only way I could be sure would be to check out dad's body for magical residue."

Mike groaned. "Please don't say you intend to have the body exhumed."

"Oh yeah, wouldn't that be priceless. Go to the court and ask to have my father's body exhumed so I can have it examined for signs of magical murder." Jase rolled his eyes. "I'll worry about all this later. Right now we need to get Phil over to the clinic. Once he's settled in I'll think about how I can go about checking on magical involvement in Dad's death."

Phil frowned. "I have no inclination to be hospitalized. You will need me on Wednesday."

"What I need is for you to take the time to recover in a safe place." Jase raised an eyebrow and smirked. "And exactly how is a seventy-two year old man, weakened by an attempt on his life, going to stop two able bodied twenty-two year olds from dragging his stubborn old ass down to the clinic?"

"You wouldn't dare."

Jase leaned in and smiled. "Phil, do you remember what I was doing when you located me after my grandmother's death?"

Phil frowned and his eyes went hard. "That would be hard to forget."

"After doing that, do you really think I'd have any problems roughing up an old guy for his own good?"

"You were born under an evil star, Jason Steward."

"Yeah, but you love me anyway so let's get this over with."

It was after 1am when the alarm went off. Mike groaned and reached across Jase to turn it off. He stretched and ruffled Jase's hair as he got out of bed. "Come on, Jase. This was your idea." Jase grumbled an insult and dragged himself up.

"Why am I doing this again?" Jase reached down and grabbed for his sneakers.

"Because you have this bright idea that your father was murdered by magic and you need to check it out." Mike hated this idea but he wasn't going to let Jase go digging up corpses alone.

"Oh yeah." Jase grinned at Mike as he slipped on his other shoe. "Well, look at it this way; at least we'll be awake to get to the airport by 8am."

"Sure; we'll be dirty, sweaty and exhausted. Sounds like loads of fun."

Pressing himself against Mike from behind, Jase wrapped his arms around him and hugged him tight. "Well, it will give us an excuse for another shower."

Mike chuckled. "Yeah, deja vu . We'll be too tired to do anything more than get clean."

Jase sipped his coffee as Mike drove them out towards the cemetery. He could feel Mike was thinking something as it felt like there was an itch on the left side of his brain. He caught Mike giving him sideways glances and he set the cup in the holder. "Just spit it out, Mike."

Mike nervously cleared his throat and slowed the jeep. "I've been wondering about something you said this afternoon."

"Ok, shoot."

Mike looked at Jase for a moment and exhaled. "I was wondering what you were doing when Phil found you. I mean, it had to have been something significant if you could use it as leverage."

Jase was dreading that question. He knew he had to tell Mike about his past. He knew he would have to do it before he let their attraction go any further. Why the hell do I get the doomed relationships? Looking out the window, Jase just put his past out and hoped it wouldn't blow up in his face. "I was a prostitute, Mike. After I made it to the city I couldn't find any real work. I was under aged and a run away. There's not much open on the streets for a kid who doesn't want to be found."

Mike's jaw nearly hit the seat. He'd known it had to be something harsh. He still hadn't been prepared for Jase's answer. When Jase didn't get a response he turned to Mike. "I'm sorry, Mike. It isn't exactly what you use as an introduction. 'Hi, I'm a gay, witch, whore, what do you do?'"

Mike looked straight ahead. He wanted to scream. He wanted to ask Jase if what they'd felt was all a lie. He wanted to pull Jase to him and cry. All he knew was at that moment he hated life. He felt Jase's eyes on him and he realized Jase was waiting for some sort of response. He cleared his throat. "That kind of explains why you didn't want to compare notes as to what we'd done for the past 6 years."

"I should have told you before..." Jase looked back out the window. He felt worse than dirty, he felt soiled and hated himself for getting his hopes up.

Mike turned off the headlights as they came to Cemetery Ridge. As he brought the car to a stop, he looked over at Jase. He hated himself but his doubts wouldn't leave him alone. "Was last night just payment for services rendered?"

Jase cringed. He wanted to slap Mike for that. "If it had been, do you think I'd have been such a cheap lay as to stop with kissing?" Jase got out of the Jeep and grabbed the shovels. He didn't look at Mike as he stomped towards the gate. He didn't even bother casting a proper spell; he just looked at the lock, launched his anger and snarled. "Break!" It wasn't very elegant, but the latch snapped and the excess force of his will threw the gates open about five feet.

Mike grabbed his arm before he could start in. "God, Jase. I didn't mean it..."

Jase glared at him but Mike didn't let go. It took Jase a moment to realize Mike had tears running down his cheeks. His anger faded as quickly as it had come. "Can we talk about this later? Digging up coffins in the middle of the night is not the best place to have a heart to heart."

Mike nodded, taking the shovels from Jase and starting into the cemetery. "You certainly know where to take a guy to show him he's special."

Jase couldn't help but laugh. "Sure, never pass up some necrophilia when the opportunity rises."

Mike stopped and looked sick. "Don't tell me you've..."

"Oh Gross! No, I promise, anyone I've ever been with has been alive!" Jase took back his shovel and started in. Though, I'm not sure if demons classify as alive or what...

It took them two hours to get close to the casket. Mike leaned against his shovel and wiped his brow. "Remind me why you can't just wave your hand and cause the dirt to dig itself out?"

Pausing, Jase rubbed his hands on his jeans. Wish I had some gloves, I'm going have blisters tomorrow. He answered while hefting another shovel of dirt. "The residue may be weak. If I use strong magic around the body, I could wipe out any traces left."

"Sort of like waves on the sand?"

"Exactly." The blade struck something hard and hollow. "I think we're there." It took them only a minute to clear away enough to see the casket top.

"Will we need to open it?"

Shaking his head, Jase tossed his shovel out of the grave. "I hope not. I should be able to extend my senses deep enough to find anything from this close."

Mike climbed out and looked around. "How long?"

"Few minutes, ten tops." Jase settled down on the casket. It gave him chills thinking he was going to be lying in the same position as his father's corpse not a foot below him. With his eyes closed, Jase extended his senses. He filtered out his own aura, and then paused as he felt Mike's. Mike had a beautiful aura. It was strong and flowed with a subtle power. Jase could feel the natural healing energy that flowed through Mike; and he felt himself drawn to it. Focus, Jase. You're here to examine a corpse not metaphysically feel up your boyfriend. He tried not to let the thoughts of Mike distract him. After a few deep breaths, Jase managed to screen out Mike. He then turned his attention beneath him. He was surprised how quickly the magic became evident. If he hadn't been so guarded at the funeral home, he would have noticed it there. Pulling his awareness back into himself, Jase stood up and brushed off.

Mike looked down expectantly. "Well?" He grabbed Jase's hand and hefted him up.

"Definitely has enough residual magic in it to indicate that even if he hadn't been killed by magic, he was in the presence of some powerful shit."

"So what do we do now?"

"Get this thing covered back up. Get washed and get our bags. Then get down to the city and talk with Morg."

Mike started shoveling dirt back into the grave. "She's your teacher isn't she?"

"Morg?" Jase nodded and gripped Mike's arm. "I got what I needed, Mike. I don't care about washing away the writing now." He picked up his shovel and pulled Mike back from the grave. "Humo."

Mike watched in amazement as the soil that had taken them over two hours to dig up flowed like water back into the grave. If it wasn't so cool, I'd be totally creeped out. It took only a couple minutes for the grave to look as it had when they arrived. "That is the second freakiest thing I've ever seen."

Jase threw Mike a sideways glance. "What's the freakiest."

Mike shuddered. "The thing that nearly killed Phil last night."

Jase shook his head. "Lucky you."

Mike took Jase's shovel and began back toward the car. "The nightmares, they aren't really just dreams, are they?"

Jase didn't look at him but he nodded. "Some memories die hard."

Mike set his bag on the bed and started putting a few overnight items in. "We're just flying down for the day, Jase. Why am I taking an overnight bag?"

"Better safe than sorry. If something happens to delay our return it'd be best to have a change of clothes and toiletries." Jase had pulled out his change of clothes and was about to pull off his shirt. He looked over at Mike. "Do you want to take your shower first?"

Mike froze. He realized they hadn't resolved their discussion from before the cemetery. He looked up at Jase. "I," he swallowed and looked down, "I'm pretty dirty. I could use some help with my back." Mike looked back up. "If you don't mind."

Jase almost had to sit. He had been so sure Mike wouldn't be interested after he knew what Jase was that it came as a complete surprise. "I'll get the water started."

Mike entered the bathroom as Jase was putting out a third towel. He brought his hands to Jase's hips and nestled against him as Jase stood. Mike sighed as Jase let his head fall back against his shoulder. "I'm sorry about before, Jase. I reacted badly."

Jase turned around and held Mike's face. "It's not something you're prepared for Mike. No one gives you etiquette lessons on how to respond to learning your best friend is a whore." Jase waited a moment, and then tilted his head, hoping Mike would take the invitation.

Mike's lips brushed Jase's tenderly, almost reverently. "You're my best friend, Jase. I'd accept you even if you were a mass murderer."

Jase hugged him tight basking in Mike's strength. He let go and nodded at the shower. "We're wasting water."

Mike smirked. "God, forbid." He grabbed Jase's hand and pulled Jase with him.

This time the shower was more playful. Areas were washed two and three times more than was necessary. Jase looked into Mike's eyes as he raised the ante. His hand wrapped about Mike and he began to stroke him slowly. Mike whimpered as Jase rubbed his thumb over the crown of his throbbing cock.

"Jase," Mike's voice was choked. "I've never done this before."

Jase paused. Mike had closed his eyes and was trembling. When his eyes opened, Jase saw the desire mingled with fear that was behind them. He had been a lot of men's firsts. This time, however, it was important to Jase that it be special. "With a guy or at all?"

"At all." Mike was embarrassed by his inexperience. I must seem like such a bumbler to you.

Jase pulled Mike into another kiss and turned off the water. "We can go as fast or as slow as you need, Mike. Believe it or not, I'm humbled that I'm you're first."

Mike didn't answer. He grabbed the towels and began drying off. Jase followed suit but grabbed Mike's hand before he got out. "Do you want to stop?"

"No," Mike croaked. He was scared and worried, but he wanted this too much to back down.

Jase led Mike to the bed and pulled him onto it. After another deep kiss, Jase rolled Mike onto his back and lay full upon him. Mike wasn't the most muscular, or the most well endowed or even the most attractive of Jase's numerous partners. Mike was the most important. Jase lowered himself to Mike's lips and kissed him again. He then brought his lips to Mike's throat and began to trail kisses from his jaw to his right nipple. Mike arched his back as Jase's teeth latched onto his nipple while he was teasing and pinching the other with his fingers.

Jase expertly strummed Mike's desire as he explored every inch of his lover's skin. He was delighted as he felt Mike's muscles tensing as he kissed past Mike's hips and continued down his legs. Jase kissed and licked his way up Mike's trembling thighs till he had reached his goal. Mike's cock was beautiful. Neither too large nor too small, Jase had to resist the impulse to take Mike in his mouth. Jase closed his eyes and ran his cheek up the hard shaft, knowing his day's growth would be an intense sensation. Mike whimpered and clutched at the sheets.

Jase smiled. He had always enjoyed the thrill of taking a man where he'd never been, but this topped them all. Jase could feel the tension he was building in his lover, almost as if he were building himself. With a mischievous glint in his eye, Jase began lathing Mike's cock with his tongue, purposefully avoiding taking him in his mouth. How many licks does it take? Jase's tongue tortured Mike for what felt like hours. Mike's body trembled and arched but he kept his hands fisted in the sheets. His legs spread instinctively as Jase's fingers caressed beneath his balls and stroked slowly lower.

"Jase... please..." Mike was gasping in his need. He'd been on edge forever, and needed anything to make him trip.

Mike's rosebud trembled as Jase's fingertip brushed it in rhythm with the movements of his tongue. Each stroke was like an electric charge that shot up Mike's spine and set his brain on fire. Panting, Mike's body was glistening with sweat and he had ruined the sheets with his clawing and gripping.

Jase could have continued for hours but he wanted Mike to release. He needed to know he could take Mike where he'd never been before. He felt Mike pressing back against his finger as his heels dug into the mattress. Jase breached Mike's ring and rasped his tongue around Mike's crown. Mike cried out, his hips thrusting up at the invasion, and his abs going nearly concave as his body tried to pull in on itself. The first release hit his chin, and the subsequent tremors sent his cum to his chest and abs.

Jase continued to lovingly lap Mike's twitching member as he waited for his lover's body to calm. He tasted his way up Mike's heaving chest, savoring his flavor. With glazed eyes, Mike stared in amazement as Jase pulled himself over his body.

"What... What do you call that?"

Jase bent down and kissed Mike deeply before flashing him a delighted smile. "I would like to think of that as 'scientific inquiry'." The confused look on Mike's face had Jase laughing. "I wanted to know how many licks it takes to get to the chewy center."

Mike wrapped his arms around Jase and laughed, rolling them to the side. He brought his hand up to stroke Jase' cheek. "So, Professor, what have you discovered?"

Jase's brow furrowed. "Come to think of it, I forgot to count!" Pushing Mike onto his back, Jase wrapped his hand around Mike's spent, but by no means deflated manhood. Mike groaned as Jase's hand quickly brought him back to steely hardness. The feeling of Jase's thighs on either side of his hips had Mike trembling. "So, Mr. Boy Scout, how prepared are you?"

Mike's eyes flew open as Jase slid back, letting Mike nestle between his cheeks. "Uh... drawer, nightstand?"

Mike's hands ran up Jase's sides as Jase reached for the nightstand. He arched up to kiss Jase's smooth chest. "You are so beautiful..."

Jase sat back, triumphantly holding the foil packet in his fingers. "Look who's talking." He slid down Mike's thighs as he tore open the foil and positioned the condom on the head of Mike's pulsing cock. Jase wrapped his lips over the condom, making sure to keep his teeth away from the protective sheath, and dove downward.

"Oh god, Jase..."

Jase bobbed down a bit further with each breath till his nose nestled at Mike's pelvis. Jase pulled back up, panting with lust, and positioned himself. He had no trouble taking Mike in. He needed this. In three to four thrusts, he felt Mike's hips firmly against his balls. Mike's cock brushed against his button, and Jase bit his lip to keep from tripping. He gripped Mike's pecs and whimpered.

Mikes hands grabbed Jase's hips. It looked as if he were hurting Jase and as incredible as it felt, he couldn't bear it. "Jase, god if it hurts..."

Jase shook his head. "Nooo... it doesn't hurt... this is anything but pain." He pulled himself up and then slammed back down, feeling the shocks of pleasure as Mike's head hit him again. He'd been with so many men he had lost count, but Mike fit him perfectly. Jase was trembling as he rose again. "Mike... you're going to have to take over soon..." Jase's legs only supported him for another three strokes before he had to roll them over, keeping Mike planted within him the whole time.

Jase wrapped his arms around Mike's back and arched up to him. "Fuck me, Mike. Please, fuck me."

Mike didn't need any more encouragement. His brain had stopped functioning by the third time Jase had seated himself. Mike's thrusts started slow and deep. As Jase's cries rose, Mike's thrusting increased speed, and he pushed himself onto elbows for leverage. Though he'd cum not ten minutes before, Mike found himself building. He wanted Jase to trip with him. He needed Jase to know how much he had wanted this.

Jase was completely lost in the heat of the moment. Mike hit his prostate with every stroke, and the feel of Mike's hair scraping against his body and cock was driving Jase mad. The connection was recycling in on itself. Jase felt Mike in him but he also felt himself around Mike. It was almost more than his brain could process. Then he heard the words neither of them had admitted out loud. I love you, Jase. God, I love you... That declaration was all it took, and Jase's last reserve collapsed. He clawed at Mike, crying out Mike's name as his orgasm consumed him.

Mike only managed a couple thrusts more before following Jase into ecstasy. He collapsed, covering Jase's body with his own. As he came back to reality, he felt Jase crying underneath him. Mike pulled up and watched the tears streaming down his face. "Jase..." Jase's hands came up and cupped Mikes face. His eyes burned bright as he opened up to Mike, I love you too.