Hi everyone! Same copyright rules apply. And there are some homoerotic scenes on some chapters, so if you don't like that kind of stuff or if you're not supposed to read that kind of stuff, then go find something else to read.
I'm sorry that there were some coding errors on Chapter 14 - A Taste of Heaven (the written code part). Hopefully, I've corrected it. Please check it out again here.
This chapter has quite a few Filipino folklore thrown in it, so there are footnotes which may help you understand some things that you may not be familiar with. Enjoy! c",)
The Third Roommate
Names and Possibilities
Bits and Pieces
The Picture on the Wall
A Taste of Heaven
THE CELLPHONE defiantly laid idly on his hand as Charlie stared somberly at it. He was willing it to ring, or at least play that stupid tune that he chose for when a text message came in. But it wasn't giving in to his wishes.
Thoughts of their night together, that wonderful kiss that they shared, continuously ran through his mind. He woke up that morning alone, but with a satisfied smile on his face. He saw the keys of Danny's car on top of his study table and a note right under it. He took the note and read it.
"I'm gonna be missing you every single second of each minute of each hour of each day. I can't wait to see you again soon. Take care," it said.
He kept that note safely tucked in his wallet. And as he drove Danny's car home, he was already missing Danny terribly.
"You still haven't heard from your special friend?" he heard his grandma say as she approached him and sat on the couch across from him.
When he got home for the break, he decided he'd spend the first week with his family and then the second week with his grandma because he knew she was sick but wouldn't tell anyone about her condition. As the days passed, he noticed that his grandma wasn't as lively and strong as she used to be. And it was almost the end of his stay with his grandma.
"What special friend?" he couldn't help but blush.
"The one you're so anxious to hear from that you haven't noticed you've spent more than an hour staring at your phone," answered his grandma.
"Oh. Uh... it's nobody special," he denied. "It's just that my roommate from school haven't texted or called yet since he left for the break and I'm just a little bit worried."
"So, why don't you call him?"
"I tried," he said with obvious frustration in his voice. "I just get routed to his voicemail. Although he did say that his parents' house is, like, in the middle of nowhere and it's pretty hard to get a signal."
"So, if he told you he probably won't be able to contact you, why are you so anxious?" probed his grandma.
"Because I miss him, dammit!" he thought, catching himself in time from saying it out loud.
His grandma was smiling knowingly at his silence.
"So, tell me about him," said his grandma after a while.
"Well, uh, he's, uhm..." he stuttered as he blushed profusely.
"You could say he's the best boyfriend a guy could ever hope for," his grandma interrupted and then burst out laughing as his face turned into several different shades of red.
"H-he's not m-my b-boyfriend," he said as he tried to compose himself.
"It's okay, Carlitos," his grandma said as she got up and sat beside him. She put her arm on his shoulders. "I think I had known that you weren't gonna be like most boys the moment I saw you right after you were born. That's why I insisted for you to be named Carlitos. You reminded me so much of someone very special a long time ago. But your father wanted a more 'American' name, so we had to compromise and settle with Charles. Actually, your mother had to cut in before we could start World War III," she chuckled a little.
Charlie couldn't bear to look at his grandma.
"D-do you think my mom and dad know?" he asked.
"Give your mother some credit. I think she knows you more than anybody else in the world. Well, except me, that is," she answered. "Your father might be a little dense, though."
"Y-you think th-they'd hate me?" he said, trying to control the tear that was about to fall.
"Carlitos, look at me," his grandma said as she lifted his chin up to face her. "Your parents could never, ever, hate you. I won't let them."
"Oh, grandma," he hugged his grandma and finally let go of his tears on her shoulder. His grandma stroked his back to comfort him.
After he calmed down, his grandma let him go and they smiled warmly at each other.
"So, tell me about this boy," his grandma insisted. "Is he good to you? Does he take care of you? Is he a good kisser?"
"Grandma!" he exclaimed as he began to blush again, thinking about his very first kiss. A sweet, passionate kiss from the boy he loved.
DANNY had been trekking the slopes of the mountains for more than an hour. He was trying to remember the same path where he and Angela walked to see the witchdoctor who helped him with his ghost problems before.
The previous day's rains didn't help at all. It made the path slippery and muddy. But he had to go on. He needed to see the witchdoctor again.
The protection had been weakening for some time now. But when he got to Davao for the break, it seemed to decline faster. He could feel them looking at him again. They were starting to show themselves again. And not having Charlie around to calm him down made it harder for him to keep them at bay.
He heard a twig cracking a few feet away from his left. He looked that way and he saw some leaves moving. His heart began to hammer in his chest. He heard some voices on his right side, but when he turned to look at the direction where it was coming from, there was nothing there but trees.
He walked faster on the path. A few minutes later, he found himself on the same spot where he heard the noises.
"They're toying with me," he said to himself as he tried to calm himself down.
He closed his eyes and thought about Charlie. His beautiful smile. The most wonderful kiss they had shared that night.
He didn't really sleep at all that night. He just watched Charlie as he slowly drifted off to sleep. He held him close and gave him little kisses. He just felt so happy having kissed him finally. He felt an overwhelming love for the boy as he watched him sleep peacefully in his arms.
He almost didn't want to get up when it was time for him to go. He gave Charlie one last kiss on the lips before he got up and gathered his things. He wrote the note and placed it on Charlie's study table. He took his car keys from his pocket and placed it on top of the note.
He looked back at Charlie before he got out of the room. He wanted to remember every minute of that night forever. He wanted that night to be special for both of them, but he never expected it to end the way it did. He couldn't have hoped for anything better. It was the best night of his life.
He couldn't help but smile at the thought.
"That was very good," he heard someone say.
He opened his eyes and found an old man standing in front of him.
"Apo Gusting," he said, recognizing the old man.
"Come," Apo Gusting said. "You're drawing too much attention."
He started to walk and Danny followed him. Soon, Danny saw a small hut in the middle of a clearing. Apo Gusting entered the hut and Danny followed him inside.
"Sit," Apo Gusting said.
Danny couldn't find any chairs, so he sat on the floor. The old man sat in front of him.
"Little Daniel has grown up a lot, I see," said Apo Gusting, looking at Danny intently. "But I see he's still afraid of the same things."
Danny removed the ring that Apo Gusting gave him years ago and held it on the palm of his hand.
"The protection you gave me has weakened," he said. "They're coming after me again."
The old man looked deeply into his eyes.
"Let me tell you exactly how that ring works," said Apo Gusting. He paused for a while then smiled at Danny. "It doesn't," he said. "At least not the way you thought it works."
"When your sister brought you here, I knew exactly the kind of power you possess," explained the old man. "You were much like your grandfather."
"Y-you knew my grandfather?"
"Of course I did. Every arbularyo1 in these islands did," answered Apo Gusting. "Every supernatural creature in these islands did. He was the Great Pedro Penduko2, tamer of the creatures of the night... defender of the light."
"Pedro lived a hard life," continued Apo Gusting. "He never really had peace. There was always some spirit or creature coming after him. He was constantly afraid for his family's safety as well."
"He was so relieved when his daughter, your mother, was born without any hint or trace of any supernatural abilities. That meant she was safe, relatively speaking, from any attacks from his enemies. Still the same, he distanced himself early on so as not to attract any unwanted attention to his family."
"Your mother lived a normal life, even though she only saw your grandfather once in a while. But when you were born, your grandfather immediately felt your power. He was afraid for you... he was afraid of you."
"He tried his best to shield you from his enemies. And he died trying," the old man sighed.
"I... I've always thought he hated me," said Danny.
"He loved you more than life itself," said Apo Gusting. "And he gave up his own life to protect you."
"Like I said," continued the old man. "When your sister brought you here, I learned exactly why Pedro felt the way he did about you."
"At such a young age, your abilities had already grown tremendously. No wonder spirits were drawn to your energy. I thought, if the Great Pedro Penduko couldn't protect you, what could I do?"
"I realized that my abilities are not nearly enough to offset yours. You had to create your own protection. So I gave you the ring, making you believe that it would protect you from anything. In truth, you only channeled your energy through the ring to protect yourself."
"B-but, if that's true, why has it stopped working?" asked Danny.
"Because now you don't need the ring anymore. Something else is protecting you. And it's not coming from you; it's coming from someone else," answered Apo Gusting.
"How could that be?"
"Some playful Diwata3 were toying with you before I found you, am I right?" asked the old man.
Danny nodded. "I felt them. And when I continued walking, I found myself in the same spot where I felt them."
"But you got out of their spell. How?"
"I... I... well," Danny stuttered.
"You thought about someone dear to you, didn't you?" concluded Apo Gusting. "Someone you met recently. Someone who made you feel strong, made you do things you thought you could never do. Someone who made you face your fears. Someone you always felt safe with."
"You have the best protection there is, then," said the old man. "The ring has stopped working because you don't need it anymore. Someone else is protecting you."
"I... I feel weak without him," Danny said softly.
Apo Gusting arched his eyebrow. "So it is another boy, then?"
"Yes," answered Danny.
"Wait till Pedro finds out about this," the old man laughed excitedly.
"P-please don't tell anyone..." pleaded Danny.
"Don't be ashamed of it, boy," scolded the old man. "It must be unusual or even unaccepted in today's society, but there was a time when men like you were revered. In ancient times, before these islands were shrouded by the religions of the West, the most revered and most powerful members of the tribes were the Babaylan4. They were said to be the perfect combination of masculinity and femininity because they possess a man's body and a woman's heart. That's why Bathala5 blessed them with immeasurable powers."
"If your love for this boy is pure and he loves you with the same purity, and if my assessment of your abilities and his abilities are right, then you two are going to be the next Babaylan," concluded Apo Gusting. "Once your union is complete, you will see what I'm talking about."
"I guess I have no use for this, then," said Danny as he tried to give the ring back to Apo Gusting.
"Keep it," said the old man. "You will still find good use for it. Remember... the ring only channels energy. It doesn't contain any power on its own. But in the right hands, it could be quite powerful."
"And one more thing," continued Apo Gusting. "Do not be afraid to use your abilities. The more you deny it, the more you put yourself and your loved ones in danger."
"But the more I use it, the more they will come for me, won't they?" argued Danny. "Just like they did my grandfather."
"That's true," admitted Apo Gusting.
"Then, wouldn't it be better to just use it to hide from them?" asked Danny.
The old man sighed. "You can't hide from them forever," he replied. "A powerful creature or spirit would one day break down your protection and you will be left vulnerable. One of these days, you're going to have to learn to use your abilities to fight the evil around you in order to protect the ones you love. And you should start by accepting and claiming the powers bestowed upon you by Bathala."
THE SCENE that unfolded before him that fateful night was all that he had been seeing playing over and over and over...
Danny and Charlie sharing a passionate kiss. A powerful energy surrounding them, protecting them... and he couldn't break through to stop them.
It broke his heart over and over.
Even after Danny left, the powerful energy surrounding Charlie still remained, and he couldn't come near the sleeping boy. Until Charlie left him alone again.
He shouted and pleaded for Charlie not to leave. But Charlie couldn't hear his pleas. Nothing could break through that mysterious energy.
He knew in his heart that it shouldn't have happened that way. Charlie was supposed to be his. They were meant to be together. He still hadn't pieced it all together, but he knew that for a fact. Charlie was his as he was Charlie's.
He had to make Charlie realize it. He had to remember everything about his past. And he had to make Charlie remember who he was... who they were together.
He stood before Charlie's closet. It felt so familiar. He felt so much pain being near it. Much like the pain he felt when he saw Charlie and Danny kiss.
He gently opened it and found it empty. The writings on the wall glowed an eerie, blood red.
Memories flashed through his mind in rapid succession. So much pain... so much suffering... so much loss...
He touched the writings and it glowed almost blindingly. He felt a jolt of electricity coursing through him and flashes of sad, painful memories ran through his mind. His knees buckled... and soon he was kneeling before the closet... crying.
His mind was telling him to stop, but his heart told him he needed to endure it.
Feel the pain and see where it takes you. Charlie told him that. And he decided he would do just that.
He stepped inside the closet, sat on the floor and closed the door. The writings seemed to start floating in mid-air. He saw them moving and forming symbols that looked awfully familiar to him.
He felt so much sorrow surrounding his whole being. His eyes continued to leak with tears.
He touched the writings again and let out a terrifying wail as he felt the pain coursing through him.
"I love you... please forgive me..." he uttered. He opened his eyes and finally understood.
by Cyrus on Nifty
Just One Night
Guide to a New Life
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Thanks for reading this and please watch out for all the remaining chapters. Up next is Chapter 16 - Déjà Vu.