The Children of Light

Chapter 2

Again, just apologising for the delay in posting new chapters due to replacing old ones with HTML conversions.

I will update everyone on the blog with what's going on and how well everything is progressing.   Pop along to http://the-children-of-light.tumblr.com and follow to keep informed.

This piece of fiction contains supernatural themes and eventually sexual interactions between consenting male adults.   Please do not read this if it is illegal where you are, or you are not of age to do so.

All characters are fictional and any similarities to known actual people are coincidental, unless otherwise specified.

Visit my blog for visual aids for the characters... http://the-children-of-light.tumblr.com.   Head on over, see what ya think, add suggestions, or what you see when thinking of the characters.   That would be interesting to see/hear.   Please, if you don't/haven't, think about making a donation to Nifty to help with maintenance.   Thanks guys!!!

Lachlan - tempus-fugit@windowslive.com or thechildrenoflight@live.com

***

`Alex, help me up please.' The old man said, reaching out to his oldest son.   Alex was up and standing next to his father in the blink of an eye.   The old man took a firm grip on his sons arm, his true strength of body evident in his grip.   He hauled himself to his feet as his son pulled the chair back and out of the way.   With his walking stick in one hand and the other holding onto his son for further support, he slowly shuffled to the door.   `Walk me to my study.' He said without further explanation.  
Supporting his father, Alex helped him to his study, almost at the opposite end of the house from the dining room.   His siblings were ordered to clear the table by their mother.  
As he helped his father into his office chair behind a large oak desk, Alex noticed several books lay open on the desk.   Some of them had minute writing sprawled across the pages; others had hand drawn pictures and diagrams.   Alex couldn't make out what any of them were.  
`What's all this?' He asked gesturing to the books trying to look closer at one of them.  
`Oh it's nothing, just some old research.' His father said closing the books and tidying them to the side of the desk.   `Have a seat son.' He finally said offering his son a seat opposite him.  
Alex sat in the seat and looked at his father, the sun shining through the windows behind him, casting him in shadow, giving his already clammy pallor a slight sick tinge.  
`Tell me boy, and it might seem odd,' his father began, clearing his throat and glancing at the door to make sure there was no-one else present.   `Did you have a bizarre dream last night?' He asked, elbows on the desk, his fingertips pressed together, resting his chin atop them, looking directly at his son.  
`Actually, I did.   It wasn't quite a nightmare, but, it was incredibly vivid.' Alex replied, returning his father's frank gaze.  
`Describe it to me.' His father said, remaining still, staring his son in the eyes.  
Alex cleared his throat and his eyes glazed over with the memory.   `Well, it was weird really.   There were these two boys, twins I think.   They were in this room, and a man had beaten up a lady, their mother perhaps? Anyway, he went to open the door and suddenly the door blast open.   The guy was staked to the wall as one of the boys came out.   He ran to his mother.   She told him to get his brother and run away.' Alex took a steadying breath, as his hands and knees began to quiver.  
`Continue.' His father said after a moment.   Alex looked at him and saw an odd hunger in his father's normally placid eyes.   In his effort to remember the dream, he looked out the window above his father's head and recounted the rest of the dream.   `Well, there was a scream from the room as the man stuck to the wall got free.   Then suddenly he was thrown down the hallway against the wall.   He fell to the ground and died.   The boy ran into the bedroom and said something to his brother.   Then 3 men came and killed the woman on the floor, and went after the two boys.   When they got in the room, the boys vanished and the men were all knocked to the floor.   And then I woke up.' Alex finished rather lamely.  
He glanced at his father and saw that he was gazing into the distance above his own head.  
`PapÓ?' He asked timidly.  
`Yes my boy?' His father responded, coming to his senses and looking at his son.  
`How did you know about the dream?' Alex asked pleadingly.  
`From whose perspective were you viewing the dream Alex?' His father asked, ignoring his son's question.  
`Um, I'm not sure.' Alex hesitated.   `Wait.   When I woke up, I felt like I was trying to grab one of the boys.   Maybe it was from the point of view of one of the men trying to catch them?'
`Interesting.' His father said lowering his arms from the desk and placing his hands palm down on the surface.   `Very interesting.'
`What's that supposed to mean?' Alex asked of his father.   A few moments of silence passed.  
`I'm sorry son.   What did you say?' Alex's father asked coming out of a stupor.  
`I said, what is that supposed to mean?' The son asked, with a small amount of frustration.  
`Ah yes.' The old man answered.   `Yes, about that.'
`PapÓ!' Alex exclaimed.  
`Yes, yes.' His father said.   `That book, over there.' He pointed to his bookcase along the side of his desk.   In the middle of it, a black covered book facing outward was hard to miss.   `Bring it to me.'
Alex stood up and retrieved the book in the blink of an eye, placing it in front of his father and standing beside him.   His father opened the cover and pointed to a name in the top left corner of the cover.  
"Nathaniel Oscar Braddock." The name read.  
`Father?' Alex asked confused.  
`My full name is Nathaniel Oscar Braddock.   It means "The Spear of God", or there abouts.' The old man said shrugging to himself.  
`And what is this book?' Alex asked pointing to the book.  
`This is my journal.   It was given to me about 20 years ago when I was inducted into a particular group.' Nathaniel said sighing sadly.  
`And what does that have to do with the dream?' Alex demanded with frustration.  
`Close the door son.   And then sit.' The old man said weakly.   `I have a lot to explain to you.'
Alex quickly closed the door and sat in the chair opposite his father, crossing his arms on the desk in front of him, focusing on his father's face.   He looked nearly 100 years old in this light.   "How old is he now?" Alex thought to himself.  
`Above the door,' Nathaniel gestured with his chin, `is a plaque, given to me the same day I received this book.' He held up the now closed journal.  
`Dei Voluntas Fiat.' His father said pointing to the front of the book, sprawled across the front in tidy cursive print were the words.  
`My Latin is rather rusty father.' Alex said with a smirk.  
`It says, "God's Will be Done" my boy.   It was the mandate, the reason, the meaning of the group I joined.' He said with passion.  
Alex's heart stopped beating, and fell to somewhere near the middle of his stomach.   Did he hear his father correctly?
`What?' Alex stammered after a few moments, his tongue suddenly very dry, and his hands shaking.  
`We are God's Army, son.   We fight in his name.' The old man answered, lowering a piercing gaze on his son.  
`And who exactly were you fighting, in his name?' Alex demanded, his fury bubbling beneath the surface.  
`Those who subverted his will.   Those who tarnished this world he created.' Nathaniel stated with a slight vehemence.  
`You're shitting me, right?' Alex said at a loss for words.   His hands shook frantically in his lap.  
`Language boy!' His father snapped.   `Don't speak to me like that.'
`So, if anyone or anything that doesn't follow your "God", you fought against them?' The son asked of his father.  
`It was our duty!' The old man said with pride.   `To be chosen and inducted was a great honour!'
Alex looked down into his lap and closed his eyes sadly.   Never had he been so disappointed.  
`What's wrong son?' Nathaniel asked with an uncharacteristic softness.  
Alex looked up to his father's face and a tear fell from his right eye.  
`I should go sir.' Alex said quietly as he stood abruptly.   As he turned to the door, his father had sprawled over the desk and seized his son by the wrist.  
`Where are you going?' His father asked, as Alex looked down at his captured wrist.  
`Let me go please, father.' Alex said softly, the word father almost a curse.  
`Where are you going?' His father asked again, more forcefully.  
`Let.   Me.   GO!' Alex shouted, wrenching his hand free of his father's grip.   `And don't you DARE talk to me again!' He bellowed as he stepped out of his father's office and slammed the door behind him.   The house reverberated with the slam.  
`Alessandro!' His mother screamed as she came running down the hall.  
`Alessandro!'
Alex was already out the front door and on the front lawn making his way across it.  
`ALESSANDRO RODOLFO BRADDOCK!' His mother screeched from the doorway.   He stopped dead in his tracks and waited for his mother to catch up, not turning around.  
`What is wrong with you?' Mrs. Braddock hollered as she caught up to her son and grabbed his hand, much like his father had moments ago.  
`Speak to me son!' She pleaded, squeezing her son's hand.   He blinked a few times then looked down to his mother.  
`Do you know what he does?' He asked his mother with a flat voice.  
`Oh.' His mother said quietly.   `Sadly, yes.' She confessed.  
`Mamma, do you know what I am?' He asked, his voice rising slightly.  
`You are my son.' She said holding his hand to her chest.   `My first, my beautiful, my darling son.' She exclaimed with pride.  
`Mamma.   What is the one thing that everyone thinks "God" hates?' He begged of his mother.  
`A sinner.' His mother proclaimed with pride.  
`And of the sinners, which is the worst to "God" and his followers?' He pleaded, holding her hand firmly in his.  
`I don't get what you mean my darling.' Mrs. Braddock questioned, searching for the answer in her sons eyes.  
`Mamma!' Alex took a deep breath and looked over her head to the front door.   His father, brother and sister were standing in the doorway looking at them.  
`Mamma, I'm gay.' He said quietly to his mother.   `Do you really think your husband, the Spear of God, is going to tolerate that?' He begged of his mother.  
Mrs. Braddock closed her eyes briefly and took a deep breath.   She looked up into her sons blue eyes and smiled.  
`I know my baby.' She hugged him around his waist.   `I know.'
`Wait.   What?' Alex said taking his mother by the shoulders in bewilderment.  
`I've always known that my son.' She said reaching up to pet his cheek.  
`Well, that's fine, I guess.   But he won't like it.' Alex said pointing to his father.  
`Let me deal with him.' Mrs. Braddock said cheerily.   `Will you come back in?'
`Ah, I don't think that's such a good idea Mamma.' Alex said meekly.  
`Okay my darling.   You go, and be safe, Sý?' His mother asked with a smile.  
`I will Mamma.' Alex said bending over and kissing his mother on the cheek.  
`Bye my son.' Mrs. Braddock said shooing her son toward the gate.  
When Alex closed the gate behind him, he looked to the front door and saw his mother flapping her hands at her husband in anger.   His brother waved goodbye to him.   He raised his hand in recognition, turned down the road, smiled to himself and walked toward a taxi stand with a lighter step.  

`Mickey, you are not going to guess what just happened?' Alex said into his phone.   He looked out the taxi window with a slight glaze to his eyes from his emotional morning.  
`What? What happened?' Came the reply.  
`I just came out to my Mamma!' Alex all but shouted down the phone.  
`O bozhe!' His friend replied.   `Really?'
`Really.   Well, I didn't have much choice really.   Meet me in my lobby in 15 minutes okay?'
`Oh alright.   See you soon.' His friend said with a little annoyance.  
`See ya soon Mickey!' Alex said dismissing the call.   He looked out the window and smiled happily to himself.  

As Alex walked into the lobby, he saw his friend sitting in a sofa near the elevators.   He wasn't exactly hard to miss, to be fair.   He had dark brown hair which was cut short, his eyes as blue as Alex's, and skin so fair, he might have been a male version of Snow White.   But as he stood up, he was huge.   He had a few inches on Alex, but was even more expansive across.   He was a tall, heavily muscled tank.   His jeans were stretched to breaking point over the massive slabs of muscle that were his quadriceps.   His plaid shirt was straining at the buttons trying to remain intact, glimpses of smooth white flesh visible in between the buttons.   His biceps bulged of their own accord, as his pectorals flexed uncontrollably.  
`Mickey!' He called out walking to his friend.  
`Alex, please do not call me that in public!' His friend said quietly as he hugged his friend.   Compared to his friend, Alex looked anorexic.  
`Oh, I do apologise, Mikhail.' Alex giggled, saluting his Russian friend.  
`Better.' Mikhail giggled, nudging his mate in the shoulder.   If it had been anyone else smaller, they might have been thrown into the next building by the gesture.  
`Let's go upstairs.' Alex said taking the few steps to the lifts and pressing the call button.   Mikhail walked over to Alex and put an arm around his shoulders.  
`Congratulations on coming out my friend.' He said in his deep and heavily accented voice.  
`Cheers Mickey.' Alex said smiling to his friend.   He shuffled around and gave him a peck on the cheek.   Mikhail blushed mildly.  
As they got into the elevator, the cables in the shaft groaned with the stress of holding the weight of the colossal Russian and his British/Italian friend who was no pipsqueak either.  
`I swear one day that cable's going to snap!' Alex laughed as he turned around to face out the doors.   With himself and Mikhail in there, there was barely much room left.   A woman came clicking over in her heals, looked in and saw the giant and with a shocked look on her face said, `I'll catch the next one.' Alex laughed loudly as he pressed the button for his level and the doors closed.  
`So, my dad dragged me into his office and showed me this weird shit, something about being "God's Army" or some such bullshit.' Alex was saying as he opened his apartment door.   `I flipped out and yelled at him and left.   Mamma came running out after me.   Even called me by my full fucking name dude.   Practically screamed it across the city.' He laughed.   `Alessandro Rodolfo Braddock.' He said mimicking his mother's voice.  
`Your mother has quite the lungs on her.' Mikhail laughed with his friend.   `I remember when I first met her.   She screamed so loud, my eardrums nearly burst.'
`Yeah, she's a feisty wee woman.' Alex smiled.   `Anyway, so she stops me, comes running out and I asked her if she knew what her husband was, and she said yeah.   Then I said, do you know what I am? I'm gay Mamma!'
`Vot did she say?' Mikhail asked, his accent suddenly becoming thicker.  
`She said, "I know baby.   I've always known.   I'm your Mamma.   Blah, blah, blah.  "' Alex said mimicking his mother again.  
`I like your Mamma.   She's got a good heart.' Mikhail said clapping his best friend on the shoulder, nearly dislocating it.  
`Yeah man.   You know, she's gonna beat my arse if you don't come over and visit with me next time.   She misses your clumsy arse.' Alex said as he caught a floor lamp that the Russian had somehow managed to knock over.  
`I'll go next time, I promise.' Mikhail said pulling the sliding doors open all the way, allowing access to the sizable balcony.   The sun was pouring down into the area, generating a lovely warm place to sit.   `I need a cigarette.'
`Mmm, me too.   Stupid taxis and their no smoking rules.' Alex said taking his cigarettes out and throwing them to his friend.   He glanced at the clock on his wall and decided, not too early for a drink.   `Glass of wine big guy?'
`Da!' The Russian responded around the two cigarettes in his mouth.  
Alex pulled a bottle out of the fridge, grabbed two wine glasses from a shelf and three quarter filled the both of them, screwed the lid back on the bottle and tucked it under his arm.   He picked up both glasses and walked out to the balcony and placed a glass in front of his friend, now seated in a large iron framed seat.  
`Spasibo.' The Russian said offering a now lit cigarette to Alex and picking up his wine glass.  
`To crazy families!' Alex laughed raising his glass.  
`Da!' Mikhail said lifting his glass and tilting it toward his friend.   Previous experience had taught Mikhail not to touch his glass to other glasses, his strength often destroying the glass in his effort.  
`Oh Mickey, you should have seen this chick in the building over there.' Alex said pointing in the direction of his morning masturbator.  
The two best friends spent the next few hours talking and joking while they ploughed their way through a further 7 bottles of wine.  

At around mid-afternoon, both drunk as sin and all talked out, the friends fell asleep, draped over the sofa in Alex's lounge.   Alex was lying length ways down the sofa with his head in the Russians lap, as Mikhail was leaning against the back of the sofa, both snoring loudly.  

Alex woke with a start, sitting up from his friends lap quickly.   His head spun slightly in the haze of alcohol and it took him a few moments to focus his vision.   After a few blinks, he relaxed slightly when he realised he was in his apartment.   He noticed that the sun was a few hours from setting.   He cast a quick glance to his fallen comrade and got up to close the sliding doors to his balcony.   As he snapped the lock into place on the handle, he turned to his friend.  
`Mickey?' He called quietly.   `Mickey, wake up.' Alex walked over to his friend and sat on his lap, straddling the Russian's massive thighs, and wiggling his bottom into place over the Russians crotch.  
`Hey, big boy, wanna fuck me stupid?' He asked crudely.  
`Chto ty skazal?' The bear of a man asked.  
`Mick, I don't speak Russian buddy.   Wake up and speak English!' Alex giggled at the Russians confusion.  
`Apologies.' Mikhail said shaking his head roughly.   `What did you say?' He asked again, in English, though heavily accented.  
`I said, get up you lazy drunkard!' Alex laughed.  
`Alex? Why are you grinding your arse onto my cock? You want some of my Russian sausage, tovarishch?' The Russian giant said looking up into Alex's face, his friend grinning down at him mischievously.   Mikhail reached behind Alex and took a firm grip on both his buttocks and squeezed tenderly.  
`Get off it Mickey!' Alex said sliding backward, off his friends lap.   `You know you're like a brother to me.'
`Da! You little cock tease!' Mikhail laughed getting up.  
`Let's go out for a drink big guy!' The smaller friend said skipping to the bedroom.  
`I have no other clothes to wear.' Mikhail said hauling his enormous body from the couch and stumbling after his friend.  
`By the gods Mickey.   Did you forget you left a whole pile of clothes here, for such an occasion?' Alex said sticking his head out of the walk in wardrobe.   `Come on big guy!'
`I suppose.' The Russian said sliding into the wardrobe with his friend.  
`Here, put these on.' Alex said handing Mikhail a pile of clothes.   The Russian took the clothes and left the wardrobe.   Alex pulled a few items off the shelf and walked out to join his friend.  
`I feel like singing!' Alex said giggling to himself.  
`O bozhe!' The Russian said rolling his eyes and continuing to change his clothes.   `You know you love it!' Alex said grinning as he pulled a blood red, long sleeved shirt over his head.  
`Do me one favour da?' The Russian said pulling his shirt off.   He stepped closer to Alex and raised a hand to his friend's cheek.   Alex looked at the huge slabs of muscle across the giant's chest, the nipples soft and pink, not quite the nub he was accustomed to seeing on men, but more like a small, flat-ish cone bringing a point to the slab of muscle beneath it.   The small splattering of light brown hair poking out from between the slab of muscle that was the giant's pectoral and the top of his arm was the only body hair Alex could see.   His huge biceps flexing of their own accord as he reached out to him.   He closed his eyes slightly and inhaled through his nose, catching his friend's musky scent.  
`Let your hair out for the night.' Mikhail said gently, reaching for the pony tail at the back of his friends head and sliding the tie out.  
With his eyes half closed, Alex smiled slightly at the touch of his friend's hand, whose fingers were pulling gently through his slightly wavy, black hair.  
`You look much better with your hair out.' The Russian said looking down into his friend's eyes tenderly.  
`Thanks Mickey.' Alex said, spontaneously hugging his massive friend.   The softness of his friend's skin belied the sheer strength of the muscles beneath.   Alex breathed deeply of his friends scent, marveling at the softness and the ever present scent of his flesh, as he felt and heard Mikhail's heart beating strongly beneath his huge pectorals.  
`No worries my brother.' Mikhail said embracing his friend, squeezing him gently.   `Now, let's go get our karaoke on, yeah?' The Russian said releasing him with a smile.  

Having eaten dinner, the friends found themselves seated in a bar with several other mutual friends.   They were all in very good spirits, drinks in hand, laughing, clapping, chatting or hollering amongst themselves.  
`Are you going to sing Alex?' One of the friends asked.   Alex looked to him with a smirk.   His friend was as tall as Alex, but was much skinnier.   With pale blond hair draped across his forehead, the palest of blue eyes shining out from under his brows, his long and straight nose between his drawn in cheeks, leading down to his pale pink lips, which were just a shade too thin to balance his features delicately.   He was wearing a pastel green roll neck shirt that somehow clung to his scrawny torso and arms.   He didn't look ghastly thin, or unhealthy, but, he was rather slight of body.  
`I'm already written down.' Alex said laughing loudly.   `I'm on after the next one.' He added to a round of cheers, the people sitting at their table all applauded loudly, throwing the concentration of the present singer off slightly.  
`Shhhh!' The Russian hushed them with a giggle.  
`She sucks anyway.' A woman said leaning into Alex slightly, in a faint Russian accent, after a slightly off key note from the singer.   Alex looked at her for a moment.   She had long wavy hair of a rich auburn colour, parted to the side and cascading down the sides of her face and down her back.   She had fine, delicate eyebrows, and beneath them her pale green eyes, her eyelids touched with a small amount of eye-shadow.   Her nose was short and slightly triangular and her lips were bright red, the size of her lips over exaggerated by her lipstick.   She winked at Alex.  
`She's not that bad.' The Russian said, capturing her attention.   She thought to herself, "How the hell did he hear that?" and picked up her wineglass, with a thick coating of her lipstick on the rim and took a large mouthful.  
`Give it up for Cara!' The MC said into his microphone, as he stepped onto the stage.   He held a hand out to identify the person as Cara, as she stepped off the stage, blushing slightly and waving to the cheering crowd.  
`Up next, we have the fantastic, and frankly adorable, Quinn!' The MC said holding his arm out to a lean, slender, and as the gentleman with the microphone had said, adorable young man.   The top of his head would barely have reached Alex's nose.   He had short, spiky, light blond hair.   His shoulders were averagely broad, but his waist was narrow.   Alex could probably have encircled the guy's waist with his hands.   He was wearing a very tight blue t-shirt that barely met his white jeans, sitting low on his hips, but cupping his rear end quite appealingly.   The result was obvious.   Alex could not take his eyes off his arse.  
Quinn got onto the stage and was smiling and waving to the crowd.   Although squinting slightly, it was easy to make out the hazel eyes that just seemed to sparkle in the spotlights.   His nose was relatively small and straight, his cheeks soft and slightly indented, a slight blush to them, and his lips were soft and pale pink.   When he smiled to a group of people a few tables away from Alex, his lips parted and displayed a magnificent set of large, pearl white teeth.   His skin tight shirt clung to his flatly muscled body.   His arms, though not large by comparison, were firm and laced with wiry muscles.   His chest, again, comparatively speaking, rather small and flat, was still very firm.   The boy was sheer beauty, and Alex could not take his eyes off of him.  
He stood behind the microphone stand and smiled again, nearly causing Alex's heart to skip a beat.   Quinn placed a hand on the microphone, and his backing music started.   It was a song that Alex recognised immediately, being one of his favourites.   He was slightly startled to hear the music, as it wasn't necessarily one of the artists more popular songs and he would never have thought anyone else would have known it.   He was captivated entirely.  
Quinn began singing, with Alex completely enraptured.   His voice was slightly higher pitched than most male voices, and Alex swooned slightly.   As he neared the chorus, Alex's heart rate increased slightly, in anticipation of hearing the familiar lyric sung by this beautiful young man with the voice of an angel.   Alex inhaled slightly and sung, under his breath, along with the singer.  
`I ... love... you.   Please say you love... me...too.' Alex closed his eyes slightly and lost himself to the song.   He was swaying slightly with the beat and wasn't aware of the several pairs of eyes watching him closely.  
As the song neared the climax, Alex opened his eyes and watched as the beauty on stage belted out a fantastic string of notes that closely matched the original artists recording.   He was awe struck.  
When the song came to an end, Alex was on his feet clapping and hollering.   At first, his friends thought him a lunatic, but joined him momentarily in his raucous applause.   As his friends all sat, Alex fumbled slightly as he tried to sit down while watching where the cutie with the angelic voice sat down.  
`O bozhe.' Mikhail said with a giggle.   `Doofus! You're up!' He poked Alex in the ribs.  
Alex whipped his head around to the stage and saw the MC standing on stage; hand on hip, staring in his direction.  
`You gonna come sing sweetie, or shall we go to the next?' The MC asked, tapping his foot in mock impatience.  
`Sorry!' Alex called out, jumping out of his seat and upsetting the table slightly, all the glasses wobbling precariously, sloshing their respective drinks about.   `I'm coming!' `This way darling!' The MC said into the microphone as Alex walked behind his table in the wrong direction.   The audience roared with laughter.   Alex blushed profusely and saw the guy who had just sung smiling at him, with a mischievous glint in his eyes.   Alex smiled embarrassedly and made his way clumsily to the stage.  
`Like a love sick puppy.' The auburn haired female sitting next to Alex said to the Russian.  
`Here we go again!' Mikhail said under his breath.  
Alex got onto the stage as the MC introduced him and stepped off the stage.   He walked to the microphone stand and took a hold of the microphone stand at about waist height.   He leaned in slightly and cleared his throat.
`I'm sorry.   Had I known someone was singing Celine Dion before me, I'd have picked another song to sing.' Alex said to a laughing crowd.  
`It's alright darling! You're lucky we're queer!' The MC said to even more laughter.   Alex closed his eyes briefly as his backing music began.   He started singing, with his strong and comparatively deeper voice, "Goodbye's (The Saddest Word)" by his favourite vocalist.   He had chosen this song, merely as a tribute to his Mamma, for being the wonderfully loving mother that she was.  
For most of the song, Alex had his eyes closed, giving himself to the song and lyric.   As he neared the end of the song, tears were brimming in his eyes and the entire audience was utterly enthralled with his performance.   There was complete and utter silence throughout the bar.   Not a single person was moving.  
When his song came to an end, his eyes still closed, he took a deep breath, and opened his eyes.   As a tear escaped from his right eye, the crowd, who were deathly silent and held captive during his performance, erupted into applause, with cheers and hollers pressing in on the ear drums.   Alex was staggered at the reaction from the audience.   He wasn't expecting that kind of a response.  
`ALEX, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!' The MC screamed into his microphone as he came onto the stage.   He stepped up to Alex and put a hand on his shoulder.  
`FANTASTIC PERFORMANCE!' He shouted again, squeezing Alex's shoulder, as Alex blushed from the attention and smiled to the crowd, waving.  
Alex stepped off the stage and walked, with a slight stoop of embarrassment, back to his table.   Mikhail was standing with arms opened to Alex, and Alex skipped quickly to his friend.   The giant took his friend into his arms and squeezed him into a bear hug, lifting the smaller ones feet off the ground.   Alex thought he felt a vertebra or two click in protest.  
`Beautiful my friend! Absolutely beautiful!' Mikhail said, releasing his friend and kissing him on the forehead.  
`Thanks Mickey.' Alex said blushing.   He patted his friend on the shoulder and took his seat.   He looked around at his friends and they were all smiling at him.   "Wow.   Was I that good?" Alex thought to himself as he picked up his wine glass and took a very large mouthful and swallowed.  
Alex laughed and chatted with his friends as they watched a few more singers take to the stage.   Though, after Alex's performance, the crowd was somewhat more frugal with their applause.  
`Ladies and Gentlemen, we shall be taking a short break from the singing.   Please enjoy the house music, and we'll see you shortly!' The MC announced, to a raucous round of applause.  
`Another round?' Alex said standing up and waving a hand to the glasses on the table!' `Yes!' Everyone shouted with enthusiasm.   Alex heard a few "Da's" amongst the affirmative replies.  
`Back soon.' Alex said smiling to his friends.   He walked to the bar and waited in line for a few minutes to be served.   As he got to the bar, the tender gave him a wink.  
`Ahh, 3 bottles of Pinot Gris, 3 vodka and orange in tall glasses, 3 rum and coke in tall glasses and 8 Jaeger bombs please.' Alex listed to the bartender.  
`Won't be long hun.' The handsome bartender said as he started gathering and preparing the drinks.   Alex watched as he took a circular tray and began placing glasses on it.   Slightly distracted with the drinks assembling, he didn't notice someone sidling up beside him.  
`You have a fantastic voice Alex.' Came a soft and sweet voice.   Alex whipped his head around so quickly, he nearly snapped his neck in the process.  
`Thank you, Quinn, was it?' Alex said as his heart rate began climbing, looking into the light hazel eyes looking back at him.  
`Yeah, pleased to meet you.' Quinn said holding his hand out to Alex.  
`A pleasure.' Alex said, his heart thumping against his rib cage as he took Quinn's hand in his own and shook it firmly.   Although his hands were nearly as large as Alex's, Quinn's hand did feel a bit fragile.   But his skin was warm to the touch.   As Alex released Quinn's hand, he flashed him a smile.  
The bartender cleared his throat, politely trying to gain Alex's attention.   `That's $117 please babe.' He said smiling to Alex and Quinn.   Quinn had a slightly stunned look on his face when he heard how much Alex was spending on drinks.  
`Can I get you a drink Quinn?' Alex asked, looking to the cute young man.  
`Ah, yeah, why not?' He answered.   `I like wine.'
`Lovely.   Why don't you come to our table then?' Alex asked smiling.   Quinn glanced back to his group of friends and answered.  
`Give me a few seconds.' Quinn smiled, already heading to his friends.  
`Another wine glass and Jaeger bomb, if I could please?' Alex asked of the bartender, handing over his card to pay for the drinks.  
`Here we go guys.' Alex said placing the tray carefully on the table.   Everyone gently took their drinks from the tray, as Mikhail took a bottle of wine, filled his glass, Alex's glass and then the spare glass on the tray.   Mikhail assumed it was for the person about to join them.  
`So where is the little hottie?' He asked picking up the spare wine glass.  
`Coming.' Alex said glancing toward the gorgeous Quinn, who was already weaving his way over to him.  
`Everyone, this is Quinn.' Alex said looking to his table of friends, all smiling to the newcomer.   `Quinn, this is Svetlana, Boris, Gretchen, Michael, Chris, Verity and my bestest of buds, Mikhail.' Alex gestured to each of the people around the table as he said their names.   When he got to Mikhail, he clapped him on the shoulder with affection.  
Mikhail held out the glass of wine to Quinn as he looked to each person and smiled.   When he finally laid eyes on Mikhail, his eyes just about fell out of his head.   He was genuinely shocked by the size of the Russian and nearly fainted.  
`Ah, hi,' Quinn said in a faint voice.  
`For you?' Mikhail said nodding to the glass of wine with a smile.  
`Ah, thanks.' Quinn said meekly, taking the offered glass, still blatantly staring at the giant.   Quinn thought to himself, "This guy could pick me up with one hand, snap me in half and throw me across the room effortlessly", as he sized up the Russians huge and expansive chest and the bulging biceps.  
`Come.   Sit.' Alex said offering Quinn a seat next to his.   Quinn unsteadily sat in the seat between Alex and the woman introduced as Svetlana.   She flashed Quinn a very welcoming smile.   Alex had shuffled the 9 other glasses with a fizzing light brown liquid in them, and the 9 shot glasses with a dark liquid in them, to all the people sitting at the table.  
`Everyone ready?' Alex said picking up the shot glass in front of him.   Everyone around the table did the same, as Quinn watched.   Alex looked at him and smiled.   Quinn picked up the shot glass in front of him, unsure what to do.  
`Bottoms up!' Mikhail shouted, and everyone around the table dropped the shot glass into the larger glass with the fizzing brown liquid.   Quinn quickly copied everyone else, trying to keep up.   Everyone picked up the larger glass and brought it to their lips.   Quinn followed suit and watched as everyone drank the combined drinks quickly, until there was nothing left.   Not wanting to look foolish, Quinn downed his drink just as quickly.  
There were sighs of satisfaction, lips smacking loudly and glasses clinking as the people around the table all slammed their glasses onto the wooden table.  
`Perfect!' Svetlana said licking her lips.  
`Da!' Mikhail proclaimed with a hearty belch.  
`What was that?' Quinn croaked as he leaned into Alex's side, so no-one would overhear.  
`Jaegermeister and Red Bull.   Good for the soul.' Alex answered him with a laugh.  
As Quinn massaged his throat discretely, the people around the table engaged their neighbours in conversation.   Quinn felt slightly left out when Alex turned toward him.  
`Are you having a good night?' Alex said with a smile.   Quinn looked up to Alex's eyes and saw that his face was reflected in the pale blue eyes observing him.  
`Yeah.   It's been great!' Quinn smiled his own knee shaking smile to Alex.  
`Good!' Alex said gently clapping him on the back and leaving his hand resting there.   Quinn shivered slightly with a warm sensation from it.  
`Do you come here often?' Quinn asked of Alex.  
`Not often no.   Big guy here isn't very fond of amateur karaoke.' Alex said jabbing his thumb toward Mikhail, who was at present in animated conversation with Verity and Chris.  
`He's huge!' Quinn said, no longer able to keep his thoughts about the size of the Russian to himself.  
`He sure is!' Alex said laughing heartily at the fear that had edged its way into the young man's eyes.   `He's a big softie though!' Alex assured him.  
`I hope so.' Quinn said with slight trepidation.   Alex smiled to Quinn, and squeezed his shoulder gently.  
`ALEX?' One of the people across the table shouted.   `Why don't you and Quinn do a duet?' He asked loudly.  
Everyone around the table quickly looked to the two in question with grins on their faces.   There was a chorus of "Yeah!" and "Do it!".   Alex smiled to Quinn and asked, `Keen?'
`Sure!' Quinn said, as soon as the word had left Alex's mouth.   Alex smiled at his enthusiasm and swiveled out of his chair and stood up.   He held out a hand to Quinn and helped him to his feet, then led him, still holding his hand safely in his own, through the crowd to the MC.  
`Can we do a duet?' Alex asked when he had managed to get his attention.   `Sure thing hun!' The MC smiled with delight.   `What ya want?'
`Do you know "Beneath Your Beautiful"?' Quinn asked Alex.   Alex nodded that he knew the song.  
`You wanna sing male or female?' Alex asked of him.   The MC scribbled a few words onto his writing pad.  
`I'll sing female, if that's okay?' Quinn said blushing slightly.  
`All good with me.' Alex said, smiling at Quinn's blush.   `Is that alright?' He then asked of the MC.  
`Absolutely babes.   You'll be up first when we start up in ten minutes.'
Quinn, whose hand was still firmly grasped in Alex's, leaned into him and said, `I need a cigarette.   Wanna join me?'
`Oh god yes!' Alex said.   His lips splitting ear to ear as his teeth shone in his biggest smile so far.   Quinn's heart fluttered slightly.   Alex lead him carefully back through the crowd to the table, took Quinn's wine glass and handed it to him.   Quinn took it with his free hand and thanked Alex.   Alex took his cigarettes from the middle of the table and held them up to the group.   A few people nodded and made to stand up, including the giant Russian.   Quinn shuddered slightly as he watched the muscles of the giants arms bulge obscenely.   Alex saw the shade of fear in Quinn's face, squeezed his hand gently and taking his own wine glass from the table, led the comparatively smaller young man through the crowd, to the exit at the rear of the building for smokers.  
`Damn it's cold out here.' Alex said as he lit a smoke, after putting his glass on the table.  
`It is rather.' Mikhail said following suit.  
`I should have brought my jacket.' Quinn said rubbing his hands over his forearms, trying to warm himself.  
`Come here.' Mikhail said, gently taking the smaller man's hand and pulling him into himself and spinning him around on the spot.   The Russian then wrapped his hulking body around Quinn and gently squeezed his arms around him.   Quinn smiled slightly, seeing Alex's own smile.  
`He's like a personal hot water cylinder.' Alex joked.   `You just make sure you give him back when he's warm!' Alex said looking about a foot above Quinn's head and grinning.  
`He's too small for me!' Mikhail said, his deep voice rattling through Quinn's small frame.   `I might break him accidentally.'
Everyone laughed at this joke, and Quinn, though concerned for his physical well-being, felt comfortable and welcomed with these people.  
`So what song will you be singing?' One of the others asked.  
`It's a surprise.' Alex said, taking a draw on his cigarette.   He looked to Quinn and winked.   Quinn smiled in response.  
`Here, he's warm now.' Mikhail said, releasing Quinn and pushing him very gently toward Alex.   Quinn turned slightly to look at the Russian and smiled his thanks.  
`Better?' The Russian said taking a drag on his cigarette.  
`Much, thank you.' Quinn said, putting his cigarette to his lips.   As he took a draw, Alex's arm had slid behind him, his hand resting on his hip, and he was pulled gently into the side of the tall, muscled, and dark haired, handsome man.   Quinn melted in his embrace.  
Conversation was easy outside, Mikhail speaking with both Quinn and the other gentleman who came out with them, while Alex spoke with Svetlana.   As everyone finished their cigarettes, they heard the MC taking the stage again, trying to gather everyone's attention.   Alex looked to Quinn with surprise at how quickly the 10 minutes had passed.   Mikhail took both Alex and Quinn's wine glasses, and his own, and jabbed his jaw to the door.   `Quick!' He said.  
Alex held out his hand to Quinn, who put his hand in it, and was gently tugged back into the bar, making a bee-line for the stage.  
`Ladies.   Gentlemen.   We're in for a real treat now.   Please welcome back to the stage, Alex and Quinn!' The crowd exploded with applause and cheers.   As Alex and Quinn stepped up onto the stage, they smiled and waved to everyone.   Quinn watched the Russian practically plough his way through the crowd, back to the table, with the others following in his wake.  
The backing music began and Alex took the microphone from the stand he was standing in front of, as Quinn did the same with his.  
As Alex began singing the first verse, Quinn simply stood, transfixed by the smooth baritone of his singing partners voice.   He loved the sound of Alex's voice.   The deep timbre sent shivers across his fair skin.   He was hypnotised listening to Alex singing, and if it wasn't for the fact that Alex had gently nudged him on the arm, Quinn would have missed his cue.  
As Quinn started singing, Alex watched with hungry eyes.   He listened to the handsome young man sing with his soft alto voice, easily extending his range to hit those wonderful high notes that Emeli Sande was well known for.   The boy had the voice of an angel, and while he was singing, he took on the appearance of one.  
The crowd was captivated from the start.   All eyes were on the two handsome men on stage, singing a rather beautiful song.   When they began singing together, the crowd lost their mind and were screaming and clapping loudly.  
As the song came to an end, all the bar patrons were on their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs, thunderous applause shaking the walls.  
Alex took Quinn's hand in his own, faced the crowd and the two of them took a bow.   `MAGICAL!' The MC said stepping onto the stage.   `ALEX AND QUINN!' He shouted to the crowd, to further screams and applause.  
Alex led Quinn back to the table where they were hugged simultaneously by the giant Russian.   They both sat down on their stools, still holding hands.   Alex picked up his glass with his free hand, as did Quinn.   They clicked their glasses together and took a well-deserved drink.  

***