DISCLAIMER: The following story is a fictional account of two young teenage boys who fall in love. There are references to gay sex and some graphic descriptions of sex between teenage boys, and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. Also, if you are underage or if it is illegal to read stories involving sex between minors where you live, do not do so.

This story takes place approximately a century in the future. It is pure science fiction and the author neither endorses nor decries some of the purported societal changes that will take place, particularly with respect to the use of cybernetic implants. The author is well aware of the controversies involved in some of the positions taken by the Catholic Church with respect to homosexuality, gay marriage and the gender and celibacy of the priesthood, and the mere idea that some of these positions might be reversed by the Vatican over the course of the next century should be taken as pure conjecture and nothing more. The author retains full copyright of this story.

Wishful Linking

A Love Story by Altimexis

It was a chilly October day and the wind was blowing from the northeast at 8.73 miles per hour, with occasional gusts up to 12.36 mph. The ball was near the opposing team's forty-yard line, with exactly 38.89 yards to go to goal. It was our fourth down, with only 2.71 yards to go to down and I was going to try for it. What choice did we have? With a strong headwind, we were just a little too far from our comfort zone for making a field goal. We were losing, 13 to 28, and the last thing Coach wanted to do was to turn the ball over to the opposing team with plenty of time till the end of the first half - two minutes, 37 seconds, to be exact.

All we had to do was to break through their line and gain three fucking yards. Hell, anyone could do that and I was sure with my best friend, Jake, at my side, we could easily do it. It all depended on the guys on the line to create a hole big enough for me to plow through. The plan was simple - I'd fake a handoff to Jake, tuck the ball tightly against my body and wait for my opening. Our backup plan was a pass to Frank, but my pass completion rate was not my strong suit and Coach didn't want to take a chance.

The only reason I'd made quarterback on the freshman team was my uncanny ability to sneak through in unbelievably tight situations. Of course the opposing team knew this, but with my best friend Jake on my right, and with Tony Williams on my left, they never knew who to target. Together we were an amazing triumvirate - the Three Musketeers, they called us - and no matter how focused their players were, they could never get a lock on the ball. At least two of us would get through their defensive line. With any luck, one of us would have the ball. For this play, that would be me. Once through their line, all three of us could outrun just about anyone.

I stood in position, ready to grab the ball. It was only 48.65 degrees Fahrenheit where I stood, so my hands were freezing and my ears felt cold, even with my helmet protecting me from the chilly breeze. I confidently called out our prearranged signals and Brad Sampson snapped the ball back into my waiting hands. I quickly darted to the right, turning my body just enough to keep the ball out of sight of the opposing team's watchful eyes as Jake and I passed by each other, heading in opposite directions. I moved my arms as convincingly as I could to make it look like I had handed the ball to him, even as I clutched the ball tightly to my chest and continued my run to the right.

I stood back a moment and fixed my gaze on Jake, making it look as convincing as possible that I was watching my friend advance with the ball. Suddenly, a light flashed in my field of view, indicating a place where our offensive line had opened up a hole for me. I quickly darted through the hole and started my run for the goal. At first my path was completely unobstructed and our opponents piled on top of Jake. Our fake had worked! I knew we had our first down, but I badly wanted to score a touchdown - my first of the game.

As I crossed the twenty yard line, a warning beep suddenly brought my attention to a threat from the left. A quick glance in that direction showed a guy barreling toward me at surprising speed - 8.27 miles per hour with a perfect vector to push me out of bounds. I had seconds to react.

I quickly darted to the left, in his direction, pouring on the speed and using everything I had to shift my momentum away from his intercept course. He looked big for a freshman, weighing an estimated 203.47 pounds, according to my implants, and my best bet was to take advantage of his heavier weight and the resulting higher momentum. Weighing only 143 pounds myself, I often took advantage of my lighter weight to make rapid changes in direction. My leg muscles were powerful and lightning fast.

The other player, identified as Brian Watson by my implants, tried to change direction, but his body weight betrayed him and I handily passed behind him and then resumed my relentless push toward our end zone. I felt his arms brush against my side, but sensed he lost his balance and fell before he could redirect his run to catch me. I sprinted right into the end zone for the score. Modifying our kick to compensate for the wind direction as indicated by my implants, we easily got the extra point, bringing the score to 20 to 28.

But who was Brian Watson, and why hadn't I noticed him earlier in the game? We had no data on him before, so he must have been a new addition to his team. One thing was certain - I was going to keep an eye on his position from now on. He wasn't going to get another shot at bringing me down . . . that's for sure.

A few bungled passes by the other team and we had possession again. Just as I was completing one of my perfect lateral passes to Tony, a sudden `outta-the-fuck-of-nowhere' warning signal popped up that Brian Watson had gotten between me and Tony, and was on an intercept course with the ball. It was too late to do much about it, but I was royally pissed. Turnovers are a bitch.

Racing down the field, he had a hell of a head start on me, but I was faster and could catch up with him before he reached our end zone. My role might be offense, but in football, you do what you have to do to win. The problem was that he was so much heavier than me and I could never hope to bring him down or knock him out of bounds in time.

My implants calculated my best intercept course and I poured on the speed, with fresh data appearing in my field of view, several times a second. When I got close enough, I lunged forward, reaching around his powerful legs and latching onto them. He hadn't seen me and clearly wasn't expecting it, so my play worked and he lost his balance, falling forward and losing control of the ball. I looked up in time to see the ball tumbling toward our end zone and leapt up instantly, scooping the ball into my hands before it crossed the line.

Instantly, my body shifted gear as I tucked the ball under me and started the run back toward their end zone. Turnovers are great!

My field of view was filled with data on the positions and vectors of the opposing team's players, helping me to plot a course that steered clear of most of them. I reached their twenty-six yard line before the density of opposing players became too great to out maneuver them, and I was brought down. There were only 27.38 seconds on the clock, so we opted for the field goal, which was a piece of cake from this distance. That made the score 23 to 28 in their favor, and we were back in the game!

The clock ran out shortly after the last kick-off, and the first half was over. We retreated back to the locker room and Coach began our usual half-time debriefing. With data we uploaded to him from our implants, he showed us, play by play, the mistakes we'd made and the supposed mistakes our opponents had made. There was nothing unusual about this. No one ever held back any data, and Coach never pushed us to upload anything more than we were comfortable sharing. The data privacy act of 2086 forbid him to take anything from us without our consent, and as young as we were, all of our implants had been designed from the beginning to comply with the law, such that data could only be extracted without our consent under court order.

Suddenly, Coach asked me, "Lawson, what do you think of that new fellow, Watson?" That certainly took me by surprise. Why was he asking me?

"Well, um . . ."

"What's the matter, Gary . . . you got the hots for him or something?" Jake asked me, teasingly.

I sat there, dumbfounded. I hadn't realized it at the time, but there was something about Brian Watson that intrigued me. He was very tall for a fourteen-year-old, and well built with leg muscles that rippled under his skin. Although large, he carried his weight well and moved with grace. I was, in a sense, star struck.

Recognizing what Jake had just said, I quickly gathered my wits so as not to give my teammates any suspicions and said, "Well, he's certainly fast."

"That he is, son," Coach replied before putting up a picture on the video display at the front of the room. If I thought I was intrigued with Brian Watson before, I was now absolutely captivated. He was, to put it mildly, one of the most attractive boys I'd ever seen. I'd never been captivated by a boy before, but I was certainly captivated now.

He had amazing features. His shoulders were broad, his nose was narrow, a bit long, but well-proportioned compared to his face, and his eyes were large and the most beautiful shade of green I'd ever seen.  His hair was very curly and a very light shade of brown, making it almost look dark blond. His eyebrows were slightly darker and very full, accenting his eyes nicely. His mouth was broad and in this photo-upload, he had the most beautiful, broad smile with perfect, straight white teeth and well-formed dimples at the corners of his mouth.

Going through puberty, I'd felt an attraction to both girls and boys before and we'd all been taught, such attractions were perfectly normal. With the new drugs used in pregnancy today, nearly all kids being born in the future would grow up to be right handed and straight, the only exceptions being the few whose parents who felt the drugs were an affront to God's will. I was born before the new drugs were developed however, and fully ten to twenty percent of my age group would have strong attractions to persons of the same sex, and nearly half would find themselves occasionally same sex attracted throughout their lives. I was obviously at least in this half.

Not that being gay carried the stigma it used to. I was very young back when the Citizens for Moral Righteousness were still big, and their marches were something I'd never forget. There were endless columns of men, women and children dressed from head to toe in white. My father said it reminded him of the Klan rallies he'd read about in school, back when his grandparents were growing up. These people weren't hooded, however, but they did wear white hats, shirts, pants and even gloves.

Yup, the CMR was once a political force to contend with. They'd managed to get laws passed that made it illegal for gays to foster or adopt children, or to teach or to work anywhere near children. Not only couldn't they marry, even in states that had legalized gay marriage, they couldn't even pass their inheritance to a gay partner. But by the time I started school, their power was already waning and what I'd witnessed, was their last dying breath.

The change in the CMR's fortunes came from an unexpected source - the Vatican. It had taken more than twenty years, but once the cause for homosexuality had been identified, the stage was set for a major showdown in the Catholic Church. The debate ended with the election of the current pope, who issued an edict during his first days after pontification to the effect that sexual orientation was God's will. Citing scripture from Jesus himself, the Pontiff argued that the coming of Christ had completely nullified most of Leviticus and we were no longer bound by its oppressive precepts. The world was stunned, however, when he went on to say that the Church would officially sanction and recognize gay marriage.

Of course, that was just the start of the pope's revisionist reign that twice nearly resulted in his removal. Allowing women to enter the priesthood nearly got him canned the first time, but a strong push from women worldwide, coupled with the need to compensate for declining numbers of men entering the priesthood made the papal challenge a non-starter.

The second challenge happened when I was an infant. Ending the requirement for celibacy in the priesthood created a firestorm that threatened to tear the Church apart, but the pope made a compelling argument based on scripture and, again, on the need to attract more people to the priesthood. The establishment of an equitable plan for spousal benefits removed the most serious legal objections and, again, the challenges to this papal edict ultimately failed.

This was all ancient history to me, but my parents very clearly remembered the social unrest that resulted during the early days of the new papacy. Many Catholics were torn, but most eventually accepted the will of their pope and were not about to allow anything as trivial as the U.S. Constitution to stand in the way of God's law. Fights broke out on the streets between Catholics and Protestant fundamentalists. The CMR lost nearly half its membership, but what was left became a powerful and increasingly militant force, digging its heels in to maintain the status quo.

With a much more liberal outlook, the membership of the Catholic Church swelled and, together with the more liberal Protestant and Jewish denominations, not to mention those unaffiliated with a religion, they managed to bring down political candidates who did not support repeal of the Defense of Marriage Amendment. The amendment was repealed the year after I was born, and the Equal Rights Amendment, which prevented discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, was ratified the year after that. Finally, America had done what Canada and Europe had done decades earlier.

It was ironic, what the CMR failed to do through political force, they largely were able to accomplish at the hands of the scientists they despised. Once the cause of homosexuality had been identified, it was only a matter of time before drugs were developed that, administered during pregnancy, could counter the development of homosexuality in the unborn child. Although most people might have become comfortable with homosexuality as a natural occurrence, when given the choice, nearly all wanted their children to be straight.

I'd recently read about a survey conducted on couples undergoing genetic counseling prior to having their first child. More than 90% of them thought it was unethical to use genetic engineering to change their baby's appearance, to change its eye color or make it more beautiful. Nearly as many, something like 86%, thought it was wrong to try to change the kid's intelligence or athletic abilities. About half were willing to fix a minor problem that didn't need to be fixed - something like allergies or a tendency to diabetes or high blood pressure - things that could easily be cured later on. Nearly everyone was willing to use genetic engineering to fix a major defect, such as Down's syndrome, sickle cell disease, or muscular dystrophy, or defects that could cause cancer. And an astonishing 87%, given the knowledge with certainty that they were carrying a homosexual child, were willing to use drugs to ensure that their kids were born heterosexual. 87%!

If current trends continued, by the time my generation passed on, only two or three percent of the population would be gay. My generation would likely be the last to experience anything resembling a gay culture. Many predicted that the pressure to conform would eventually become so great that no parent would dare not use heterosexuality drugs during pregnancy.

"Lawson?" Coach asked, obviously irritated that I hadn't answered him when he called out my name the first time.

"Sorry, Coach, I wasn't paying attention," I admitted.

"He was too busy looking at his new boyfriend," Larry Richards said, striking much closer to the truth than I'd ever care to admit.

"What I'd asked was, what changes you thought we need to make in our strategy to counter his presence on the opposing team?" Coach reiterated.

"Well, um . . . first of all," I said, regaining my wits, "he can outrun just about all of us. He's big, so he can tackle many of us unassisted, and it'll take more than one of us to bring him down.

"I suggest that we assign two or maybe three players to keep tabs on his whereabouts at all times," I concluded.

"That's very good, Lawson," Coach said, giving me rare praise. "Henderson and Reynolds, as of now, you're assigned to keep track of Watson. Whatever you do, keep track of his whereabouts. Do whatever you have to, to keep him away from the ball, pure and simple."

When we took back to the field, our new strategy paid off handsomely. Henderson was our largest player, and Reynolds was probably our fastest. Together they managed to box Watson in, largely preventing him from getting through our line, or getting near our key players. Overall, our team was a lot better than the competition, so we easily jumped ahead by the end of the third quarter.

It didn't take the other team long to realize what we were doing and to try to counter Henderson and Reynolds, but their other players were no match for ours and we ended up winning the game, 44 to 35.

As I headed off the field in the direction of the locker room, I felt a presence approach me from behind. The reality was, my sensors picked up his shadow, and identified him from his physical size. I turned around to face Watson, just as he reached me.

"Great game, Lawson," he said as he extended his hand. "That was a great strategy you devised to keep me hemmed in during the second half."

"How did you know it was me that devised the strategy?" I countered as I shook his hand."

"Wasn't it?" he asked.

"Well, yeah, but how did you know?"

"Just a hunch," he said as a broad grin overtook his face.

I couldn't help but smile back as I realized we were still shaking hands. I tried to pull away, but he wouldn't let me. "Would you mind if I linked with you?" he asked.

Peering into his green eyes, I could feel myself getting lost in them. Barely audible, I replied, "Sure."

`There, now we have more privacy,' he projected his thoughts to me. `Did you know you're very cute.'

I couldn't believe it. Being gay didn't carry much of a stigma any more, but it was still a bit risky to proposition someone you didn't know was gay - not because of any physical danger, but because of the awkwardness it could create if you were wrong, particularly for teenagers.

`How . . . how did you know I was gay?" I asked him.

`Gaydar,' he replied in thought.


`It's a program I downloaded from gaysoftware.com,' he thought back to me. `The name comes from a mythical sense gays are supposed to have for detecting other gays. Of course there's no such thing, but this software is pretty good. It picks up subtle things . . . things like how long someone's eyes linger on a boy or a girl, for example. When it concludes there is a 98% probability someone is gay, it alerts me. I had you pegged by halftime.'

`Not even I knew I was gay until halftime. I realized it when I couldn't keep my eyes off of you,' I admitted. `So you really think I'm cute?' I asked.

`Majorly cute. I noticed it even before Gaydar picked you up. In fact, I could hardly keep my eyes off of you either. When Gaydar alerted me that you were gay, I . . . well, that's why I had to approach you. You're beautiful, but I bet you don't even know it, do you? I bet you think you're ordinary looking . . . I just get that sense about you.'

`You're the one who's beautiful,' I countered. `Look at you . . . you're only fourteen and yet you look like a sixteen-year-old. You have the most amazing green eyes and the cutest dimples when you smile.'

`You mean I'm a freak,' he said, `but hey, if you like the way I look and I like the way you look, and we both like football, how can we lose?'

`Gary . . . is that what you'd like me to call you?'

`Yeah, Gary's fine,' I answered, `and should I call you Brian?'

`Brian, or Bri are fine,' he thought. `So would you like to go out with me?' he asked.

I couldn't believe it. This hunk of a boy was actually asking me to go out with him. I almost stood there, dumbfounded, but smiling, before I answered. `Yeah, I'd love to go out with you.'

`Why don't you come back home with me. We could shoot some hoops or something.'

`That'd be great,' I replied. `I'll ask my parents after I get changed.'

When I finally got to the locker room, the other guys made catcalls and whistles. "Gary's in lu-uv . . . Gary's in lu-uv," Larry Richards chanted as the rest of the guys laughed.

My face turned red as a beet. What could I say? Even though they couldn't read my thoughts without my permission, they'd probably seen what had happened just outside the locker room.

"I think it's sweet," Jake said. Leave it to my best friend to try to help me out. "I always figured Gary'd be the first of us to get a girlfriend, but what the hey, a boyfriend's the same thing."

"He's not my boyfriend . . ." I countered. "At least not yet."

"Woo hoo," Larry said.

After getting dressed, I excused myself and made my way to meet up with my parents, who had no problem with me visiting a friend after the game. However, they were a bit surprised that the friend I wanted to visit was on the opposing team, and wanted to know how he became my friend. I couldn't help but blush.

"What is it, honey?" my mom asked me.

"He likes him," my brat of a little brother chimed in.

"Is it true?" my dad asked.

I turned even redder still if that was possible. Finally, I let out a feeble, "Yeah."

"Just remember our talk," Dad admonished.

"Yeah, Dad, I know," I said. "I'll be careful, and I'll wait until I know it's right." Gees, why do parents feel they have to stick their noses into our non-existent sex lives?

After saying goodbye to my parents, I met up with Brian and he introduced me to his folks. They seemed nice enough and tried to engage me in conversation on the way to their house.

They had a nice home in a more remote section of town, on a heavily wooded lot. The car pulled up in front of their house and we all got out, and the car proceeded to park itself in their garage. Before the garage door could close itself, Brian ran under the partially open door, causing it to stop dead in its tracks.

"Brian, you know you shouldn't do that," his father shouted out. "You could break the thing, OK?"

"Yeah, Dad, I know," Brian said. I'm sorry, sometimes I just get lazy."

"Sometimes?" his mom chimed in and even Brian laughed.

"Come on, Gary, let's go shoot some hoops," Brian said as his parents went inside.

We were each wearing sweatshirts over T-shirts and shorts, and we quickly stripped the sweatshirts off. Even in the cool autumn weather, we knew we would soon work up a sweat.

We started out with a simple game of horse, but it soon degenerated into a free-for-all as we played off of each other, not even really keeping track of the score. Before long, we'd even stripped off our T-shirts as we exerted ourselves.

Each bit of physical contact sent shivers up my spine and I couldn't help but admire the sight of Brian's muscles rippling under his skin. We were surprisingly evenly matched - what I lacked in physical size, I made up in agility, and what he lacked in agility, he made up in physical size.

After a couple hours of horsing around, at least pretending to play basketball, we had pretty well exhausted ourselves and decided to call it quits for the day. Brian put the ball away and we headed inside, barely stopping to say hello to his parents as we headed up to his room.

He had a typical teenage boy's room, with clothes strewn all over the floor. It wasn't unlike mine. Neither of us had bothered to put our shirts back on, and he simply dropped his T-shirt and his sweatshirt on the floor. I did likewise.

Brian kicked off his sneakers and for reasons I wasn't sure of, he toed off his socks as well. I did the same for reasons I didn't quite understand - I guess I was just trying to fit in with him.

Brian had a small refrigerator right in his room. How cool was that? He reached in and grabbed us each a Coke. We each chugged them down, then let out a satisfying belch, laughing at ourselves in the process.

"Maybe we should take showers," I said, noticing that we both smelled pretty ripe.

"Maybe later," he said just before he pounced on me, laying me flat on his bed as he kissed me full on the mouth. I kissed him back. He rolled us over so he was under me and I reached around his neck as he reached his arms around my back. God, this felt great.

Brian then initiated a link between us and I obligingly accepted the link. If what I'd felt was great before, my mind was blown away by what I was feeling now. Suddenly, I could feel everything he was feeling. I could sense the tingling in his lips from my contact, just as I'm sure he could sense mine. I could sense what he felt as my tongue made contact with his. I could feel his dick expanding and the wonderful sensations he felt in his dick as he felt it rub against my pelvis.

I moved so that our dicks lined up perfectly and I began to thrust a bit, causing friction between the two. The sensations I felt in my dick, coupled with what he was simultaneously feeling in his, were almost too much for me. As much as I could hear my father's words in my mind, and as much as I realized we should probably slow down, I didn't want to. At that point, I couldn't if I'd tried.

I sped up in my thrusts as I felt Brian bucking under me, meeting my motions, thrust for thrust as our tongues danced their dance with each other. I could feel Brian building to his climax as I felt my own impending climax rising in perfect harmony. Suddenly, I could feel his juices spurting forth into his shorts as my own spunk erupted out of my own dick. Our mutual orgasms danced inside both of our heads, multiplying the effect a thousand fold.

I'd jacked off all the time and was used to the sensations that came with jacking off, but that was nothing compared to what had just happened between us. I could only imagine what a 69 or what fucking would feel like.

`My GOD, Gary, that was unbelievable,' Brian thought to me.

`Unbelievable doesn't come close to describing it,' I thought in reply, `but we'd better get cleaned up,' I thought as I giggled and leapt up off of him.

I quickly dropped my shorts before any more of my spunk seeped through to them. My underwear was a mess, however.

`I don't think anything I have'll fit you,' Brian thought to me.

`Guess I'll have to go commando, then,' I thought back to him.

I figured that we'd go shower, but when I caught site of Brian's naked form . . . it was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. He had the most beautiful uncircumcised penis I'd ever seen. Of course I expected it to be uncircumcised - only Jews and Muslims were circumcised these days - not that there was anything wrong with that.

Just as I was staring at Brian's dick, I noticed that he was staring at mine also. `May I touch it, Gary?'

`Sure thing, Bri, as long as I can touch yours.'

Brian reached out and gently grabbed hold of my dick, which rapidly sprang back to life. I reached for his rapidly lengthening member and gently fondled his balls. We were still linked, so I could feel everything he was feeling. As I touched him, I could immediately tell what made him feel good - it was really amazing.

`Let's lie back down,' Brian suggested.

`Yeah,' was all I could think back to him.

We lay opposite each other, each of us with our faces to the other's crotch. I marveled at the sight of my new plaything as I tentatively stuck my tongue out and licked at Brian's still-slick cock. It was a bit slimy, but I liked the texture and the taste, and I especially liked the feeling I got through our link of what he felt when my tongue made contact. The combination of this with the sensations I felt from his tongue lapping at my cock drove me to yet higher heights.

I concentrated my tongue on the tender spot on the underside of his dick, just below the crown and marveled at the feelings he felt. Mere minutes after wondering what it would feel like to be engaged in a 69, we were lying down on Brian's bed and doing just that. At fourteen, it doesn't take long to recharge from sex, and we were more than ready to go at it again.

Through my link, I felt Brian stick one of his fingers into his mouth and suck on it, and I wondered why he did that, but only for a moment. In the next instant, not only did he go down on me, but he grazed my ring teasingly and then gently pushed his finger inside. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this could feel so good. Of course, I had to reciprocate, and when I did, I was rewarded with the most wonderful sensations coursing back through our link.

We both learned how to give perfect head as we felt what the other person felt, applying just the right amount of suction, using our tongues to provide maximum stimulation, relaxing our throats to engulf each other's crowns and simultaneously stroking each other's prostates with just the right amount of pressure. We also knew when the other was about to cum, so we could back off just enough to heighten their pleasure, maintaining their bliss until we both decided we were ready to explode down each other's throats.

Our second orgasm of the afternoon was so powerful, it overwhelmed the link Brian and I had established and we had to drop it in the final stages or risk burning out our implants. I'd heard of such things, but never come close to experiencing them. I could picture trying to explain that to my parents . . . "Yeah, Mom, Dad, Brian and me were having sex in his bedroom when we had such a powerful orgasm that it blew our circuits and fried our implants." Yeah, that would go over real good . . . NOT!

So after coming down from our sexual high, we reestablished our link and cuddled for a while. We shared our thoughts, literally, about things we liked . . . the music we enjoyed, our favorite teams, games, videos and so on. It turned out we had a lot in common. I really liked this boy. Maybe even loved him a little. More than a little.

As it was getting late, we finally took that shower we'd talked about after shooting hoops. He had a bathroom to himself, so we took a shower together, which of course led to more fooling around, but at least we did manage to get each other clean in the process.

I ended up staying for dinner with Brian's mother, his older sister, his stepfather and his little half-brother. It was obvious that everyone knew what we'd been up to, and we took a lot of ribbing from his brother, who embarrassed the hell out of us, but it was all in fun.

Over the coming weeks, football and school still took up most of my time. I could only imagine what it must have been like in my parents', or especially in my grandparents', day when you actually had to read your assignments, rather than simply downloading what you needed. However, in some ways, I often felt it was worse today, 'cause you couldn't fake your homework. No, the teachers would know if the work you uploaded was anything but your original thinking, so you damn well had to learn the material, understand it and be able to utilize it, or at least know how to access it for future use.

With so much of my time already spoken for, my time with Brian was fleeting but, boy, did we take advantage of what little time we had together. By the time we hung up our helmets, there wasn't one square millimeter of his body I didn't know intimately. More importantly, by then I knew I loved Brian more than life itself and, thanks to our ability to link with each other, I knew he felt the same way about me. It really sucked big time that we went to different schools, but with the football season over, we'd finally be able to spend our weekends together!

Yeah, we did spend our weekends hanging out together, going to the virtual entertainment theater with our friends, then going for a bite to eat at the food mall and playing some games at one of the mega-arcades afterwards. We shared everything with each other, maintaining physical contact as we held hands, and mental contact through our shared link. We knew each other's hopes and dreams. It was almost as if we were one person, yet we still cherished each other's individuality, too.

One thing we did learn to do was link with each other over the Internet. It wasn't easy and the connection often dissolved, right in the middle of our orgasms, leaving us both with mammoth headaches. Even when everything worked, the communication lag sometimes caused us to get out of sync - boy, did that feel weird. I remember one time, though, when everything worked just right. We were both naked and in our rooms and I could feel Brian's hand on his cock, and he could feel my hand on mine. We were both stroking and reveling in the feelings we were giving ourselves, and the feelings we were receiving through our link. It was just awesome. When we both shot at the same time, it was incredible. While nothing could replace the feelings of physical contact with my boyfriend, this was the next best thing.

The sex we shared together was particularly special, and a reflection of our love for each other. Our parents still had their hang-ups about letting us spend the night together, but they agreed that it was better to let us have sex at home rather than sneaking around, since we were going to have sex no matter what. By the end of November, Brian and I were relieved our parents finally dropped their objections and we were able to spend Friday and Saturday nights sleeping over at one house or the other on a regular basis.

Our first sleepover was the weekend just before Brian's fifteenth birthday, and I was spending it at his house. We had a big party on Saturday, with all of our friends and went to the Al Gore Virtual Space Center on a simulated mission to Jupiter. Afterwards, it was just the two of us. Slowly and seductively, we undressed each other as our hands roamed all over each others' bodies, touching and exploring as they had so many times before. I loved the feel of Brian's skin, and the feeling I got when I felt myself touching him through my link to his brain. It was awesome.

`Why don't we brush our teeth,' Brian communicated to me, `and then we'll have the whole night to continue this.' I eagerly agreed.

When we returned from the bathroom, we lay on Brian's bed and our mouths came together in a passionate kiss, our tongues dancing alongside each other as feelings I couldn't even begin to describe passed across our link between the two of us. In our sex and our passion and through our love, we were as one, and our feelings truly bankrupted the English language.

`Are you ready for some sleep?' I suggested to Brian as we lay together in each other's arms, having somewhat recovered from our fourth, or was it our fifth bout of lovemaking?

Barely able to open his eyes to look up at me with his head on my chest, he returned my thoughts through our still-active link and said, `Yeah, sleep . . . sleep's good. Gary, you wore me out . . .' And then he smiled as he closed his eyes. I smiled back at him, even though he couldn't see me, but I hoped he was still conscious enough to sense the sentiment through our link.

I closed my eyes as overwhelming fatigue started to overtake me as well, content that I was in the arms of the boy I loved, and secure that I could still sense his thoughts as we drifted to sleep. . . .

"ALL RIGHT GIRLS, LISTEN UP!" I heard a man shouting as my vision slowly came into focus. "We all know how important this game is! We win it . . . we go on to the state championship! If we lose . . . there are NO second chances! We are NOT gonna lose this game to a buncha faggots, you got that?"

My eyes opened wide as it took my brain a second to process a word I'd seldom heard, it took me a moment to even remember what it meant, but when it did, I was shocked. No one would ever say something like that in this day and age.

Then I was stunned. I couldn't feel my link to Brian any more, and my link to the Internet was gone. In fact, I wasn't picking up any data from my implants at all. The only things I saw were what I saw with my own eyes, and the only things I heard were what I heard with my own ears. Was I even in this day and age? My day and age? This was weird.

I looked around at my surroundings and realized I was in a locker room, which was no surprise, given the pep speech I'd just heard, but what was I doing here? Was this a dream? I remembered drifting off to sleep in Brian's arms and a smile came to my face, but this all seemed so real.

"Watchu smiling at, Richards?" the coach asked, and when no one answered and when one of my teammates elbowed me in the ribs, I realized he was referring to me. Richards?

"Nothing, Sir," I answered in a voice that was far too deep for me. What the fuck was going on? As I looked around, I realized that my teammates were all a lot older than me - they had to be at least seventeen. This was varsity football. What the hell was I doing on varsity?

"All right, let's go!" the coach shouted at us and we all started to file out of the locker room. As we did, I caught my reflection in the mirror and got the shock of my life. I was black! I wasn't even me! I must have stopped dead in my tracks, as someone ran into me from behind. I turned around to see a light-skinned African-American boy who was maybe sixteen. He had beautiful green eyes and for some reason, I started to bone up.

"What's gotten into you, Chris? You've kind of been out of it all afternoon." The boy asked me.

"I don't know?" I replied. "Must be somethin' I ate."

"Well get over it," he said. "This game's important." Then he shocked the hell out of me by leaning up close to me and saying, "and if you're feeling better later, maybe you can come over to my house tonight for a little nookie," as he slapped me on the butt. Whoa!

If this was a dream, what the hell was I doing dreaming about someone other than Brian? Why was I someone other than me? Why weren't my implants functioning and why did everything seem so real.

"Hey," I said to the kid before we split up as we entered the field, "I know this is gonna sound real weird, but what day is today?"

"It's Sunday, you dufus."

"I know it's Sunday. Just humor me and give me the date. The complete date, OK?"

"What, like you're from another planet or something?" he asked. "Chris, I don't know what's gotten into you, but here goes. Today is Sunday, October 25, 2008, OK? There, you feel better now?"

2008! Holy fuck! People didn't even have implants back then. You needed one of those ancient computers back then to connect to the Internet. People had TV's back then, and watched movies on giant screens rather than in virtual immersion through their implants. On the other hand, football was a real game back then. There were no implants to tell you where all the other players were and how far you had to run to make a first down. It was a game of strategy, and strength, and athletic prowess rather than technology, and I was about to play it along with someone who was obviously my gay lover, but whose name I didn't even know.

At first, I didn't know if this was the home field or not, but when the crowd cheered when the opposing team came out, I quickly realized we were in enemy territory. Thankfully, we won the coin toss, and elected to receive, so we'd have initial possession of the ball. The opposing team kicked the ball into the air and the crowd cheered wildly as the ball sailed through the air.

At first I felt completely disoriented by the complete lack of data I'd expected to receive from my implants regarding the ball's trajectory, but if this truly was 2008, I didn't have any implants and would have to wing it. Watching the ball arch it's way gracefully through the sky, I realized it was coming right at me. I couldn't be as sure as I would have liked, particularly with a body that was bigger than I was used to, but I was pretty sure and I positioned my arms for the catch. The ball sailed right into my waiting arms and I tucked it protectively inside and began to run.

Again, I felt somewhat lost without the data from my implants, but my twenty-second century training perhaps gave me an advantage unique in the twenty-first century game I was playing. I was used to playing a game in which I knew that every player on the field was instantly aware of my every move - a game in which my only weapon was my agility - my ability to throw the opposing players off-guard. Here there was so much more room for me to maneuver before the opposing players became aware of my moves - it was almost a joke. The other team might as well have been standing still for all the good it was doing them. By the time they caught up to me, I was already in their end zone and we had our first touchdown.

"Man, Chris, I've never seen you move like that," one of the players on our team said to me.

"That was one hell of a run, Chris," the coach said after that.

I was just glad I wasn't the one kicking the field goal, as I'd have no idea how to aim my kick without the data from my sensors and implants to guide me. The guy who did the kicking for our team knew what he was doing, however, and the ball sailed right between the goalposts.

Now it was our turn to kick the ball to the opposing team and, without the benefit of my implants and the data they fed me, I was glad I didn't play defense. My agility on the field was virtually useless for defense, and an opposing player could have done a dance with the ball right in front of me and I still wouldn't have seen it - I was that dependent on my implants. Thank God the defensive line knew what they were doing!

Once we were seated comfortably on the bench, the boy who made me the offer of some `nookie' told the coach, "I need to go take a leak."

Coach looked at me and said, "Richards, you'd better go with Stuart and make sure no one tries to ambush him like what happened to Gifford last year at Attucks."

"Sure thing, Coach," I replied as I got up off the bench and headed to the locker room behind Stuart, wondering if Stuart was his first name or his last name.

As soon as we were through the door, he pulled me around the corner, looked around to make sure no one was in sight, and then pressed his lips to mine. I might not have implants, but I didn't need any to tell how excited he was as our tongues intertwined and our cocks ground into each other. From what I could tell, he had a pretty big one, too.

Pulling away from him ever so briefly, I said, "If we keep this up much longer, it's gonna be pretty hard to explain the large wet stain on the front of my jock."

"Same here," Stuart replied, "But I don't fuckin' care," and then he went back to ravishing my mouth with his. This went on for a while longer until he did pull away and said, "I guess we should get back out there, much as I'd like to stay in here and make out with you, Chris. Lord knows it's hard sneaking around behind our parents' backs."

I thought about that - how different things would have been for a couple of high school football players in 2008, from the way they were a century later. We took a few moments to wash our faces, which were all sweaty and flushed, and then headed back out onto the field.

"We were getting ready to send a search and rescue team in for you," Coach joked when we got back.

During the time we were away, the opposing team had gained forty yards, but then were bogged down on our own thirty-yard line. It was third down and ten, and they'd decided to go for the field goal. Without my sensors, I would've had a hard time of it, but they easily made it, and it was time to take to the field again. The score was 7 to 3, our favor.

This time a kid I didn't know caught the kick-off and ran for about thirty yards before he was brought down. I was apparently the quarterback - a role I should have felt comfortable in - but I had no idea how to relate to this team, and I certainly wasn't all that comfortable winging it - not that I had a choice. In the end, it didn't really matter. The plan was for me to fake to Stuart and then wait until a kid named Kragen was open and pass to him. I faked to Stuart all right, but when I saw my opening, it was way too good to pass up. It was as if all the other players were standing still. I easily outmaneuvered everyone and was inside their end zone before anyone on the opposing team knew what had happened. This was way too easy.

By half time, the score was 28 to 10, our favor.

While the opposing team's band bored the spectators with their halftime show, our coach gave us a rundown in the locker room.

"Chris, you're doing great out there, but what's gotten into you? Not to complain, and it's great to see you run like that and all, but you need to be more of a team player. We'll never survive the state championship if you hog the ball like that."

I'd never felt so humiliated in my life. Coach was right, but without my implants, I felt totally isolated from the rest of the team. I didn't know how to play without my data, but I couldn't tell him that. What was I gonna say, that I was from the future, and didn't know how to play twenty-first century football? Yeah, that would be good for a trip to the loony bin.

"I don't know what's gotten into me, Coach," I replied. "I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. I'll pass the ball more, but if I see an opening, I'm still gonna take it."

"That's all I'm asking. Now that said, we may want to rethink our lineup. You can run like no player I've ever seen before. Your talents are almost wasted as a quarterback. You'd do better as a running back. We could gain a lot more yardage with you out front, ahead of the ball. I just wish we'd discovered this earlier in the season. The middle of a game is not the time to make the switch, however. We'll try it out at practice, in time for the championship. In the meantime, keep on doing what you're doing, but if you can, hand the ball off at least a little bit, OK?"

"Sure thing, Coach," I replied."

"Then let's get out there and show those fairies how football is played!"

There it was again - a reference I had to think about for a minute - something we would never have said in the twenty-second century. Before we headed out to the field, Stuart grabbed my arm and said, "Come on, I think I saw a spot behind the bleachers that's pretty well hidden."

I followed him down a narrow passageway into a dark area where only a little sunlight filtered through from above. No sooner were we there than my boyfriend of this time period grabbed me around the waist and had me in a passionate lip-lock in no time. It felt particularly exciting because we could see the feet of the people who were sitting on the bleachers above us - anyone who wanted to could have looked in on us if they'd known we were there, but no one knew.

But then . . . someone was there with us.

It was one of the players from the opposing team, a white boy whose name I didn't know.

"I wondered what you two were up to, sneaking back here," he said. "I knew your team was nothin' but a buncha faggots, and now I know it for sure."

Stuart and I literally sprung apart, but there was no denying what we'd been doing. How could we? Even with our jocks and cups in place, our uniforms were obviously tented.

"Stuart and Reynolds, right?" The boy asked, but before we could even respond, he disappeared back from where he came. We were screwed!

"What are we gonna do?" Stuart asked, his whole body trembling.

Summoning up all the courage I had, and perhaps with the advantage of the knowledge I had of the better future to come, yet tempered by knowledge of the rough times still ahead, I swallowed and replied, "We better go tell Coach."

Stuart nodded his head, and we headed back out to the field, where we found the coach standing by our bench.

"Coach," I said, "Stuart and I need to talk to you privately."

"No time for that, Richards. Whatever you have to say, you're going to have to say it now, or wait until after the game."

"It can't wait, sir," Stuart added. He then turned to me and said, "The other guys are gonna find out anyway." He turned back to Coach and said, "One of the players on the other team found Richards and I behind the bleachers. We were kissing."

"WHAT?" one of the players on our team practically shouted. "YOU MEAN YOU GUYS ARE FAGGOTS?"

Coach motioned for everyone to gather around, and he spoke to all of us at once. "Guys, I've known Richards and Stuart are boyfriends since last year, but they're both helluva good football players and that's all that matters in my book. They're not the first gay players I've had on my team and they certainly won't be the last. In fact, they're not the only ones, even now, and don't you dare ask who else on the team is gay . . . it's none of your business.

"Now up till now, they've been discreet in their relationship, which is the one thing I insist on. When it comes to sports, the world isn't kind to gay athletes. Now that you've unfortunately been outed, you're going to have to be extra careful in watching each other's backs. I'm sure the other team will do everything they can to make the game about Stuart and Richard's sexuality, when it should all be about football and nothing else. It's up to all of you to keep the game focused on football. Period. If you see anything happen in the way of a fight, don't hesitate to get the referees involved.

"And finally, I will not tolerate anyone on our team giving either Stuart or Richards a hard time because of their sexual orientation. Is that clear?" When no one said anything, he repeated himself, "I said, is that clear?"

"Yes, sir!" everyone shouted out in unison. Somehow, I didn't sense that everyone was all that enthusiastic about it though, even without the benefit of my implants.

We took back to the field and what had been a piece of cake was anything but, when it came to evading being tackled. Now it seemed that every player was focused on bringing me down and even my superior agility wasn't enough to make up for having every defensive player wanting to turn me into a pile of broken bones. The best I could do was to hand the ball off as quickly as possible to anyone but Stuart. The one consolation was that with everyone gunning for Stuart and me, that left everyone else wide open, and we still managed to gain yardage quickly, even if I wasn't the one doing it.

Not that I got to see anything, as I was constantly at the bottom of a heap of six or seven players. I wasn't just getting tackled, either. I was getting hit, and punched and kicked - all of it illegal, but done in such a way as to make it nearly impossible to prove. Mercifully, we scored a touchdown fairly quickly and it was time for the defensive team to take to the field.

Just as Stuart and I were getting ready to sit on the bench, Coach said, "Don't get too comfortable, boys, I've decided to make a substitution, and I'm putting you on defense this round."

"What?" I asked, incredulous at the thought. Was he trying to get us killed?

"Now I know what you're thinking, but hear me out. I know you're having a tough time out there, but the best way for you two to prove yourselves is to take a beating under pressure and come right back at them again. Trust me on this. By staying in the game for both offense and defense, you'll be showing them that you're not a couple of pansies who can't take the abuse they're dishing out. You'll be showing them and the rest of the world how much better you are than they are."

I could understand what Coach was saying, but I wasn't so sure we wouldn't die trying. Stuart and I headed back out onto the field and lined up in unfamiliar positions, determined to take whatever the other team's offense had to dish out while we did our best to keep them from scoring. Little did we know how that would turn out.

We kicked to the home team, they ran toward our defensive line, Stuart and me included. We brought them down, and we now had to face off against them. Before the ball was even in play, the kid across from me was already on top of me, pinning me to the ground. That of course resulted in a penalty on the play, but the message was delivered to me, loud and clear. The next time, rather than letting myself be pinned, I blocked briefly, then got out of the way as I sensed more than saw the fake that took place behind him. On pure instinct, I ran to my right, where another kid from the opposing team seemed to be wide open, by himself, just as the football came sailing by.

I leapt into the air and caught the ball! Holy shit! How did that happen? I did it without even the benefit of my implants. I immediately took off toward our end zone, before anyone else seemed to know what was happening. Score!

Coach kept me on defense, so I still had to line up against that same asshole who'd thrown the penalty a few plays before. Just as the ball went into play, he hit me hard in the stomach, knocking me to the ground, then he kicked my nuts, right in my cup, and then he kicked me in the side, then he kicked me in the head so hard, my helmet went flying, and then I felt the kick to my unprotected head once again with his football cleats and my world went completely black. . . .

The next thing I knew, I could hear a faint beep - beep - beep sound. I was very groggy and had no idea where I was. I couldn't talk . . . in fact, I had some sort of tube down my throat and I started to gag on it. As I did, I felt a reassuring hand on my own, and a voice . . . it was Stuart.

"Don't try to talk, babe. You're in Intensive Care." Slowly, his face came into focus, and I could see the look of worry on his face. I was in so much pain. I hurt everywhere, and when I actually moaned, Stuart called out, "Nurse, I think my boyfriend needs something for pain."

"My boyfriend!" He actually said it aloud. I was so proud of him for that. In 2008, particularly for an African American kid to say that . . .

As the nurse injected the painkiller into my IV and everything faded to gray, I again wondered why I was still in the twenty-first century. If this was a dream, why was everything so real, and why did I feel so much pain?

`Hi gorgeous,' Brian thought to me as I opened my eyes. The dream had been so real, it almost felt unnatural to be assimilating data through my implants again, and I had to stop and think about my shared link with Brian.

`Brian, I had the most amazing dream last night . . .'

`I know, I had it, too,' he interrupted. `We were linked throughout the night . . . we shared that dream. It was pretty intense, huh?'

`Intense doesn't even begin to describe it,' I replied."

`Let me check something,' he said as I felt him initiate a search on the Internet. `Here we go,' he said as he pulled up the Wikipedia entry on a gay bashing that occurred a century ago, and we both sifted through the information. I was stunned.

Christopher Richards and Lyle Stuart were two African American high school students back in 2008. They were both just sixteen years old when Chris was savagely attacked during the second half of the state varsity football playoffs. He suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated spleen, a severe brain injury, and a broken neck. It took thirteen operations to patch him up, but even still, he never regained the ability to walk, and although he finished high school, he was never able to go on to college. In spite of all of that, his boyfriend never left his side, and they remained life-long partners for more than thirty years, until a urinary infection took his life in 2043.

When asked to comment at the time of his death, Lyle Stuart had this to say about the life of his partner: "Chris was one of the sweetest, kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was a superb athlete and a top student before the attack, and even after the attack, the wonderful qualities that made me fall in love with him still shone through. Many people wondered why I still stuck with him when he couldn't walk, could barely talk and couldn't even engage in what most would consider normal sexual activities. Those people didn't know my Chris. What we had together in each day was more precious than most people have together in an entire lifetime. We were soul mates. He will truly be missed."

Brian and I continued to scan through the material on Stuart and Richards, but the comments made by Stuart upon the death of his partner continued to haunt us and we couldn't help but end up crying.

`All those people who came before us who gave so much so that gay culture could flourish, and for what?' I asked. `Now that it's safe to be gay, we're all just going to fade away into oblivion. The whole culture's going to die out with our generation.'

Brian got a strange look in his eyes - a look of determination - and then he said, `Maybe it doesn't have to.'

`What do you mean?' I asked in thought.

`Someday, we're going to have kids, right?'

`Well, yeah, if we're still together . . .' and then I looked at his face, and the look of determination, and the look of absolute love I saw in his eyes, and I knew right then and there with certainty that he was right. I knew it just as certainly as I'd felt it in my dream, the way Chris knew he'd be with Lyle Stuart the rest of his life. And in my link to Brian, I told him so.

`So just as the drugs can be used to make sure kids are born straight, they can also be used to do the reverse. We can make sure our kids are born gay.' Brian said with conviction.

`Wouldn't that be tough on our kids?' I asked.

`Not if every gay parent did the same thing,' Brian answered, `and besides, if we don't do it, who will?

`Gary, look at what Chris Richards went through so we can be together today in safety. So that we can have a thriving gay culture today. Our culture is unique. It's special. It's worth saving. This isn't just a game. We have an obligation to save it.'

`But we alone aren't enough,' I said.

`But you won't be alone,' a voice came to us in our heads. `I'm sorry to intrude, but like you, I realized that something precious was about to disappear. My name is Lyle Stuart, and my days are near an end. Before I leave this earth, I wanted to be sure that my lover's legacy meant something . . . that his sacrifice wasn't in vain.

`I know this must be a shock to you, but there are people like us everywhere, including at the highest levels of the government and in government intelligence . . . people willing to risk their careers for a just cause . . . people willing to go to prison if necessary . . . people with access to the universal keys to unlock your implants, and with knowledge of the technology to access them remotely. If you tell anyone this, I will have to deny it. If you ask me to, I'll leave you alone and never contact you again, but I hope you'll listen to what I have to say . . .

`My friends and I have been searching for young gay couples . . . lovers who are obviously soul mates the way that Chris and I were, lovers who have formed links that resonate with the purest kind of love. Gary and Brian, you two are such a couple. You're among the chosen . . . the ones who will spearhead the movement . . . if you're willing.'

I reached for Brian's hand and took it firmly in my own as I communicated back to Lyle Stuart, `Of course we're willing. We can never repay you and Chris for what you have given us, but we can do our part to make sure our culture doesn't die. We can raise a houseful of boys, and girls, too, who are out and proud. Oh, and thank you. Thank you for sharing a very poignant memory with us . . . a memory Brian and I will never forget.'

`So what do we need to do?' my lover asked.

`The most important thing is to get married when you're ready, and stay faithful to one another. I sense that this will not be a problem for the two of you.'

Grabbing me around the waist and drawing me tightly to him, Brian answered, `Not in the least.'

`You will join an organization . . . you can start right now. It's called Citizens for the Preservation of Gay Culture, and among its many goals should be the promotion of and support for gay parents raising gay youth. There's an associated foundation, the Christopher P. Richards Foundation, which will provide funds to couples who need assistance to make up for the loss of tax breaks should they choose to have more than the prescribed two children per couple. I know it's a lot to ask, but if a fourth of all gay couples would have ten children or more, we could at least maintain our numbers.'

"TEN CHILDREN" I shouted aloud.

`What's wrong with ten children?' my lover communicated back to me. `I think it could be cool to have a large family, maybe even more than ten. We could have our own little football team. I know it could be a handful, but after a while, the older kids would help out with the chores around the house and help take care of the younger kids. With the love you and I share, we'd have more than enough love to go around for all of them, and they'd be gay kids. Every last one of them would be gay.'

`Gee, I hope they don't end up pairing off with each other,' I worried.

`While a little experimentation is to be expected in any household, gay or straight,' Lyle Stuart communicated back to us, `incest isn't a good idea when it comes to having children, and we certainly want your children to go on to have gay children of their own, and that's where we come in. The CPGC will provide venues for the children of its members to meet, helping to foster future generations of gay youth. We want gay culture to ultimately become self perpetuating.'

`But won't you run the risk of isolating gay culture from the rest of society?' I asked.

`We'll take that risk for now to save gay culture . . . otherwise, there will be nothing to save,' he answered. `It's our sincere hope that future generations of parents will eventually get over their obsession with choosing the destiny of their children, and be satisfied with letting chance determine their sons' and daughters' orientations. When that happens, we'll no longer be necessary.'

`One final question I have, Lyle, before you leave us,' I asked. `Did that football game really go down like that? I mean Chris seemed to run like a bat out of Hell!'

We felt more than heard Lyle chuckle inside our heads. `It's rare that I find such outstanding football players with whom to link in this scenario. Most couples we find don't even play football and it's often a struggle just to get them to run in the right direction as we download the dream sequence into their implants. When I chose you two, I could have never imagined the unique triple threat I would be creating. By combining Chris' superior instincts with your agility and Brian's speed, I effectively invented a player like none that ever lived before.

`Each time we play the dream sequence, the experience is unique. Every couple brings to the dream their own emotions. The only thing predetermined is the outcome. Each couple has to be free to make their own choices as a part of the dream. That is the only way to make it seem real.'

`Thank you, Lyle,' my lover said. `We will never forget the glimpse into your past that you showed us, nor will our children, nor will our grandchildren.'

`I'm counting on that,' Lyle said, and then he was gone.

I sat next to my beautiful husband on the back deck. He looked every bit as handsome to me at 58 as he did when I'd first set eyes on him at fourteen. We were holding hands, and our minds were linked through our implants as they had been continuously for nearly all of the past four decades of our lives. In front of us, our adult and teenage children, as well as some of our grandchildren were playing a pick-up game of football in the chilly autumn air as falling leaves swirled all around us. I was tempted to join in the fun, but at our age, Brian and I both knew we were no match for the `kids' as we thought of them all, even though our oldest was approaching forty and had a teenage son of his own.

Just then, I noticed a kid on the field who wasn't one of our clan. `Who's that?' I asked my husband, pointing to the teenage boy I didn't recognize. True, we had thirteen children and eighteen grandchildren, but I was pretty sure I knew them all. I wasn't that old, yet.

`I have no idea,' Brian answered. `When there's a break in the action, we'll have to find out.'

Later in the afternoon, we caught sight of the boy with Paul, our oldest son's, son. We invited them over to chat - something I'm sure both boys were thrilled to do - chat with a couple of old men.

"Hey granddads," Paul said. "I'd like you to meet my boyfriend, Sam," he continued as Sam extended his hand, first to Brian and then to me. "My grandfathers met when they were our age, Sam. They were fourteen, just like us. They met during a football game, just like we did, and they were on opposing teams, too. They've been together 44 years . . . can you believe it?"

Suddenly, I felt it, and I knew Brian felt it, too. There was no mistaking what we had felt. It must have been the same thing Lyle Stuart had felt emanating from us. It must have been how he found us. Paul and Sam were linked, and their link was resonating. They were soul mates . . . gay soul mates.

"Wouldn't it be cool if we're together that long, and maybe longer?" Paul said happily.

Before I could open my mouth, Brian said, "You will be, boys. Of that, I have no doubt, but let me tell you about a couple of boys who played football way back in 2008. . . ."

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing and Trab in proofreading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Codey's World for hosting them.