The following contains scenes of sexual activity between males. If it is illegal for you to read this in your jurisdiction or if you feel you may be offended by doing so, please read no further. The characters portrayed in this story may engage in behaviors that would today be considered unwise and unsafe. The author does not encourage such behavior; nor does he condone the violation of any laws. Please respect yourself and your partners. Please do not copy or distribute this story without the knowledge or permission of the author.

If you would like to read other works by me, go to the Nifty Home Page and click on the FreeThinker link under Prolific Authors. All characters in the story are fictional and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This is fiction and a fantasy. It did not happen.

I would like to know what you think. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email them to:

fthinker @

Thank you so much for reading my story and for the wonderful support you have given me over the last three years. Special thanks to Bill L for his invaluable help.

Courage and Passion

by FreeThinker

Chapter Fourteen

Darkness Before Dawn


Oh, yeah. That was definitely bacon. Good bacon. Umm. Maybe he should get up. No, it was too comfortable. The bed was so soft and warm and cuddly. Cuddly? Oh yeah. Zhenya. Oh, yeah! Zhenya! Umm.

Robby opened his eyes as the smell of frying bacon grew. It was light in the room and...

Man, he was hard as a rock! And, not only that, Zhenya's hand was wrapped around his boner! And, Zhenya was sound asleep! Robby grinned, but stopped himself from chuckling. Robby had his left arm wrapped around the sweet boy beside him and Zhenya was half laying on Robby, his head resting on Robby's chest, a tiny bit of drool dripping from the boy's mouth onto Robby's left nipple. He was so beautiful, with his eyes closed, his pretty face relaxed, his blond hair so mussed and ruffled. Robby wanted to kiss him and make love to him again. Zhenya could definitely have used it because, even though he was sound asleep, his penis was rigid as it pressed against Robby's thigh.

But, that bacon sure smelled good!

Zhenya moaned in his sleep and suddenly Robby did, as well, as he felt Zhenya's hand suddenly squeeze his erection. Zhenya continued to moan and then began to squirm against Robby, pushing his hips against him and causing his little erection to rub against Robby's hip.

Robby smiled as he looked down and saw the sleeping boy undulate against him. He could feel Zhenya's breath become ragged against his chest. He closed his eyes and allowed his sweet Zhenya to enjoy his nocturnal love-making.

Suddenly Zhenya stopped. Robby looked down and saw the boy's eyes were open. Robby grinned.

"Naughty Zhenya," he whispered.

The boy looked up at Robby and blushed. Robby giggled and kissed him on the forehead. He rolled Zhenya over on his back and the smaller boy squealed quietly as Robby rolled halfway atop him and kissed him gently on the lips. Slowly his hand moved down the boy's naked body until it came to his rigid little penis. Zhenya moaned as Robby's fingers gently played with it, squeezing and stroking it, making his squirm and writhe beneath him. Robby felt Zhenya's breath against his face as he whimpered when, suddenly, the boy almost chirped. His penis pulsed a few times in Robby's fingers and he suddenly relaxed.

"Good morning, Zhenky," Robby whispered with a grin.

"Zhenky?" Zhenya demanded. "Zhenky?"

Robby giggled and gave Zhenya a peck on the nose.

"Let's go eat breakfast before your father finds us naked in bed together."

Zhenya smiled.

"This was the most wonderful night of my life, R-r-robby. I love you."

Robby smiled with joy.

"I know. I love you, too. And, it was the most wonderful night of my life, too. I love Ethan, but, I never felt anything like this with him. You are... the sweetest, most wonderful guy in the world. You understand me. It's... it's perfect."

But, before Zhenya could reply, the boy's heard Dr. Koronov's voice outside the door.

"Boys! It's time to get up! I've cooked a good American breakfast for you!"

"We're coming, Papa!" Zhenya called out. Robby quickly jumped out of the bed and, in a near panic, looked frantically about for his pajamas. Zhenya giggled and pulled them out from under the covers and threw them at him. They landed on Robby's face, but before he could panic further, Zhenya shook his head and grinned.

"Don't worry. You are safe."

Later, as the boys entered the kitchen, Dr. Koronov was preparing plates with bacon, eggs, hash browns, and biscuits.

"You see, Malinovka, I can cook good American breakfast! Just like your mother cooks!"

Robby grinned as his mouth watered.

"Actually, this is probably better than my mother cooks."

"Where are my Pop-Tarts?" Zhenya asked with a worried look as he took a chair at the kitchen table.

"Bah," his father replied. "Pop-Tarts are not traditional American breakfast. This is good food."

He placed two plates in front of the boys.

"Actually, back home in Texas," said Robby with a mischievous grin, "we'd have grits instead of potatoes. Maybe Huevos Rancheros. But, this is a good breakfast for Yankees."

"You are not Yankee?" Zhenya asked. "I thought Americans were called "Yankees."

"Well, it's complicated," Robby explained. `If you're not American, then all Americans are Yankees. But, if you are American, then only people from the North are Yankees. People from the South are never called Yankees. Call someone from Texas or Alabama a Yankee and you'll probably get the snot beat out of you."

Zhenya grinned and sang, "Yankee R-r-robby came to town, a r-r-riding on his pony, stuck a feather in his cap and called it macar-r-roni!"

Robby held his fists up with mock indignation and declared, "Them's fightin' words, son."

All three of them grinned as the boys dug into their breakfast. Dr. Koronov sat down beside his son and picked up a piece of bacon. Before biting it, however, he looked at Robby for a moment and, then, said, "Robby, you are very talented. You play the violin beautifully. I know you have had little formal training and so it is talent that is responsible. Have you ever considered studying formally?"

Robby blushed as he forked some egg.

"I... don't think my family would pay for formal training. No one really thinks my violin playing is very important. Maybe my grandparents, but they want to see me go into business when I grow up."

Dr. Koronov nodded and frowned as he bit his bacon. He thought for a moment and then said, "I think you should audition for the youth orchestra again. I think you will make it this time."

Robby shook his head bitterly.

"Gavin Dietrich's grandfather will make sure I never get accepted."

Dr. Koronov shook his head sadly.

"It is like in Soviet Union. It is all politics and who you know. It is disgusting."

He paused for a moment and then looked at his son.

"Zhenya, you must tell me why you left the orchestra. I have respected your wishes not to discuss, but you cannot waste your time anymore. You must play. You must study. Why did you leave the orchestra?"

Robby bit his lip as he looked at Zhenya, who was gazing down at his plate. Robby reached across and took his hand, in full view of Zhenya's father, and squeezed it.

"Tell him, Zhenya. You have to."

Zhenya looked plaintively up at Robby. Seeing the strength in his friend's face, he took a deep breath and nodded. He looked at his father and saw concern.

"Shtoe sluchilos, Zhenyechka? Vuii travmirovanuii? (What has happened? Are you hurt?)"

"Nyet, Papa," Zhenya said softly. He clutched his hands under the table.

"Papa, Ian did bad thing to me the night of the concert. When I spent the night..."

Dr. Koronov stood and looked down at his son with fury in his eyes.

"Shtoe on dyelal k vam? (What did he do to you)?"

Zhenya trembled. He could say nothing. He looked down as Robby put his arm around him. Robby looked up at the boy's father and said softly, "He raped him."

Dr. Koronov's face was red with rage. He trembled with fury and then turned, deliberately, toward the hallway.

"Nyet, Papa! Pozhalsta!" Zhenya cried, jumping up from the table. "He said he would tell Judge Dietrich and we would be sent back to Soviet Union! Vas boodoot posuiilat Sibiri! (You will be sent to Siberia!)"

His father stopped in the doorway and turned.

"On skazal vam shtoe?(He told you that)?"

Zhenya swallowed.


Dr. Koronov, took a deep breath.

"Ya oobyu evo. (I will kill him).

He strode down the hall and didn't stop even to put on his coat. He walked out the door.

"Nyet, Papa! Nyet!"

Zhenya ran down the hall. Robby ran after him and grabbed him at the door.

"Nyet!" the boy cried as Robby restrained him. Zhenya collapsed against Robby and cried as Robby held him.

"It'll be OK, Zhenya," he said soothingly as he led him to the living room. He guided him to the couch and they sat down, Zhenya curling into Robby as Robby wrapped himself around the smaller boy. "They can't send you back to Russia because of this. They can't. Ian raped you. He needs to go to jail. You and your father will be OK. Don't worry."

They sat together on the couch for some time, Robby holding Zhenya and comforting him, Zhenya clinging to his love, tears of fear flowing down his cheeks. After awhile, he became quiet and the only sound that could be heard in the living room was the ticking of the clock above the mantle and the occasional sniffing of Zhenya.

Eventually, they heard the rumble of Dr. Koronov's Volkswagen outside and a minute later, the front door opened. Dr. Koronov entered the foyer and walked gently to the living room. He knelt before the couch.

"Papa," Zhenya whispered fearfully. His father took him in his arms and held him as the boy dissolved, once more into tears.

"Ya lubyoo vas, Zhenyechka. Ya lubyoo vas," he whispered to his son and soon, Zhenya's tears once again subsided. His father nudged him back to couch and, still kneeling before his son, took the boy's hand in his.

"Ian has denied everything and his father is threatening to take us to court. I have told him his son is a monster and he is a criminal for protecting him. This is what we will do. We will go to hospital. They are better here. You will be OK, but doctor must look at you. Then we go to police."

"Police?" Zhenya looked fearfully at his father.

"Do not worry, Zhenyechka. This is America. You do not fear police in America."

Robby started to say something about that, remembering Ethan's experiences with the police in Chicago, but felt it best not to. Instead, he hugged Zhenya and said, "It'll be all right, Zhenya. They'll know what to do. Judge Dietrich can't send you back to Russia. You're safe."

"Yes, my son. We will never have to go back to Soviet Union. You never have to worry. Now, let's get up and we will go to hospital."

"I want to come with you," Robby said earnestly as he stood. "Please."

"Yes, Papa. Please let Robby come with us," said Zhenya.

Dr. Koronov nodded and placed a hand on Robby's head.

"I understand. You are a good friend, Robby."


Ethan and Thad were hurrying up 18th St. toward Zhenya's house when the Koronovs' Volkswagen passed them. Ethan could see Robby in the back seat watching them as they passed. He looked as if he were about to shout and then turned his head.

"Robby's with them," Ethan said warily to Thad as they hurried up the slushy sidewalk.

"It's OK, Ethan. He'll be fine. Zhenya needs him right now, anyway."

Ethan swallowed as they crossed Richmond. Zhenya and Robby were standing beside the car as they came up the driveway.

"Zhenya! Is everything OK?"

The Russian boy nodded as Robby asked, "How did y'all find out?"

Thad snorted.

"Ian's mom called my mom and blamed me for what happened. She claimed I told some story to get her son in trouble. But, Mom knows it's a lie. She knows what Ian's like. Hell, everyone knows what Ian's like."

Dr. Koronov was standing at the front door with an angry look on his face. Zhenya was looking down at the driveway.

"Did you go to the police? Are they gonna arrest Ian?" Ethan asked.

"Bastards. Bastards," Robby muttered.

"Come in, boys," said Dr. Koronov. "We will have cocoa."

Ethan watched nervously as Zhenya walked slowly and sadly toward the porch. Robby turned as they walked and said, bitterly, "The Dietrichs."

"Oh, no," said Thad. "Old Man Dietrich's already pulling strings? Man, that didn't take long."

They entered the house and once everyone was situated in the living room, with Zhenya and Robby on the couch and Ethan and Thad in chairs, Robby explained.

"Zhenya and Dr. Koronov talked with a detective at the police station, but they said there was no evidence and that it was just Zhenya's word against Ian's. The medical evidence wasn't enough to convince them. But, as we were walking out to the street, another detective came out and told us that someone higher up had called them and that they were under pressure not to push it. Ian's related to the Dietrichs, so it has to be old Judge Dietrich, Gavin's grandfather. The bastard."

Thad shook his head.

"Judge Dietrich runs this town. You can't beat the Dietrichs."

"I wonder," said Robby. "Brooks of Sheffield might be able to do something."

Thad raised an eyebrow and Zhenya looked hopefully at Robby.

"Is Brooks of Sheffield good person? He would help us?"

Robby's eyes met those of the only person in the room who knew the identity of "Brooks of Sheffield." Ethan smiled at him.

"He's one of the best people I know," Ethan replied. "If anyone can help, Brooks can."

Robby's eyes misted as he looked at his friend.

"Thank you," he said softly.

"Hey, who is this Brooks guy?" Thad asked as he watched the interesting interplay between the two boys. Ethan smiled and Robby shrugged.

"Sometimes, when I don't have anything to do," he said, "or when I'm mad or I need to let off some steam, I write stories and Brooks of Sheffield is a character in some of them. He's like this secret agent and he's only twelve years-old. His name comes from a joke in David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. Anyway, I need to think how Brooks of Sheffield would solve the problem and I think I know one thing he might do."

Robby stood up and went to the phone. He dialed a number on the rotary phone and waited.

"Sean? Hi, this is Robby. OK. Listen, we have a problem. Can some of us come over? We need to talk with your grandfather. It's real important. Real important. OK. We're on our way."

He hung up the phone and then turned to the others.

"OK. We're all going over to Sean's. Come on."

As he started for the foyer to get his coat, Zhenya asked, "Should Papa come, too?"

Dr. Koronov suddenly appeared with a tray full of cups of cocoa as Robby shook his head. But, the boys quickly drank their cocoa before leaving for Sean's.

When they arrived, Sean's grandfather offered cocoa, which they all politely declined. They gathered around the dining room table, Matt beside Sean, Ethan beside Thad, Robby beside Zhenya, and Mr. Lindquist at the head.

"Well, we look like a meeting of the Board of Directors," he said with a smile. "Shall I call the meeting to order?"

The boy's all chuckled.

"Mr. Lindquist," Robby started. "We have a problem and y'all have a problem and I think the root of the problems is the same: Judge Dietrich."

The man frowned and looked directly at Robby.

"Granddad," Sean interrupted. "I think I know what Robby's going to ask and I think I should tell you that you can trust him. He understands. He and Ethan are... boyfriends, just like Matt and me."

Matt took Sean's hand and smiled at Robby.

"Well," Robby said, blushing with uncertainty, "actually, Ethan and I probably aren't boyfriends anymore." Ethan looked down at the table as Matt bit his lip uncertainly and Sean's eyes grew wide.

"But, Ethan's my best friend. Actually, Zhenya and I are boyfriends now."

Ethan nodded as if his thoughts had been confirmed.

"And," Ethan interjected. "Thad and I are boyfriends now."

"What's going on here?" Sean demanded. "Man, nobody tells me anything."

Everyone smiled as Ethan and Thad took hands and Zhenya blushed.

"Well," said Robby, his face burning red, "I guess it took awhile for everyone to figure everything out."

He turned to Ethan.

"So, you and Thad are...?"

Ethan nodded.

"I love you, Robby. But, I... I messed up and, well you and Zhenya belong together and Thad's... well, Thad's a really cool guy and... I guess we're gonna give it a try and see what happens."

Ethan squeezed Thad's hand and the older boy hugged him and smiled. Robby smiled, too, and a look of understanding passed between Ethan and him. Sean's grandfather gazed at the boys and shook his head in amazement.

"It is incredible to me to see boys who can show love this way now. It is beautiful."

"Well, Granddad, actually, we can't show anything or say anything outside because we'd still get killed. We trust you."

His grandfather placed a hand over Sean's and nodded with understanding.

"Well," said Robby, "this is kinda what we wanted to talk about. I know this might be kinda hard for you and we don't want to embarrass you, Mr. Lindquist, but, we're looking for something that we might be able to use to get Judge Dietrich or, at least, to make sure that he doesn't hurt you all when you try to get Matt or Zhenya tries to get justice or if I ever try to get in the Youth Symphony again. I know that something happened between you and Judge Dietrich years ago and we were wondering maybe if there's something you know that might help us."

Sean squeezed his grandfather's hand. The man took a deep breath.

"Yes. Yes. And, after all these years, perhaps it is time. Yes."


Andy stood in the middle of the barren front yard as the movers' cart slowly lumbered away, the two decrepit looking horses showing more enthusiasm leaving than they had bringing the Lindquists' furniture. It was a scorchingly hot August afternoon and he was taking a break before he helped his father and mother begin unpacking their crates. He surveyed the family's new home, their own house! No longer did they have to rent a flat across the railroad tracks. They owned their own house. His grandparents in the old country would have been so proud.

All of the new houses along Sycamore Street looked so grand. Their yards all seemed to be dirt, though, with only a few young, skinny trees struggling to survive the drought of 1913. A horse-drawn street car rumbled past on 18th St., stopping in front of the beautiful new school, Ralph Waldo Emerson Primary School, which was the home for all students on the south side of Sheffield from the first grade to the eighth. The street car hesitated a moment as a boy stepped off before slowly rumbling toward the west. Andy watched him as he wiped sweat of his brow and replace his cap. He was barefoot and his short pants looked dirty, but there was a grace and dignity about the boy that Andy found quite nice.

The boy waved.

"Hiya!" he called out as he walked past in the street.

"Hiya," Andy replied. He couldn't help but smile as the boy's own smile was so wide and genuine.

"You new?"

Andy nodded as the boy marched across the dirt and held out a hand.

"Well, put her there. Christian Birnholm."

Andy took his hand, unaccustomed to anyone who could draw him out of his natural shyness.

"Andy Lindquist."

"You still gotchur accent," Christian said with his hands perched on his hips.

"Mama and Papa immigrated a year before I was born."

"Not me. One hundred percent American!" Christian declared proudly. "We moved out of Swedetown when I was four."

Andy was embarrassed, suddenly, by his accent.

"Perhaps you can help me speak more American."

"Sure! Glad to! Your dad work at the steel mill like the others in Swedetown?"

Andy shook his head and proudly replied, "No. He works at the Merchants Bank!"

Christian whistled.

"Well, that's swell. Well, gotta do my chores. I'll see ya!"

Andy smiled and waved as the confident, almost, cocky, boy turned with a wave and strode diagonally across the yard toward a grand looking house across the street and down the block a bit. There was something about the thick, blond curls that tumbled out from under the cap and the way his loose, white shirt was unbuttoned halfway down and seemed to just barely rest on his torso that Andy found rather appealing. It made him feel funny, but he found it quite nice to watch Christian walking away from him, especially the way his bottom seemed like two pillows in his short pants and seemed to wave back and forth with his walk.

Yes, Andy wanted to see him again.

As Andy and Christian lay along the banks of Lake Windermere, a cool, early spring breeze blew across them and caused a shiver to course its way through Andy's body. He snuggled a bit closer to Christian as the older boy wrapped his arm a little tighter around him. Several crocus had popped up to their right through the last of the winter snow and as Andy looked beyond them at the empty fields around the lake, he sighed.

"I love this place. This is the most beautiful place in the world."

"Yeah, it's keen," Christian replied. "Too bad Gavin's dad is gonna build houses here."

"What?" Andy demanded, sitting up in outrage. "Mr. Dietrich's building houses here?"

"Yeah," Christian replied. "I thought you knew. He just bought all this land from that tightwad Scotchman, Montgomery."

"That's terrible," Andy said with genuine distress. "This is so beautiful."

"Well, he's gonna keep the lake and donate that to the city for a park. I heard my dad talking about it with Pastor the other day. Yeah, and the Catholics are buying that corner down there from him and they're gonna build a new hospital."

Andy looked around the lake and shook his head.

"Houses and hospitals and parks. Well, I guess Sheffield is growing and they need the new houses, but why couldn't they build them over by the river. This is too pretty."

Christian smiled at the younger boy and brushed some of the straight blond hair out of his eyes.

"You're too pretty."

Andy blushed and looked away.

"Boys aren't pretty," he said softly and without conviction.

"Sometimes they are," Christian replied, his fingers lingering on Andy's smooth, soft cheek. "Sometimes, they're beautiful, more beautiful than any girl could be."

"Don't talk like that," Andy said, once again without conviction and uncomfortably aware of a stiffness in his trousers.

"Why not?" Christian whispered as his mouth moved close to Andy's face. "There's no one around. It's just you and me. I think you're the prettiest boy I've ever seen, Andy."

The younger boy slowly turned his face back toward Christian. He felt breathless. Christian's arm around him, his body next to his, felt so right, so perfect. He gazed up at the beautiful face, the bright, laughing blue eyes, the thick blond curls around his head. Yes, Andy was in love.

"I think about you all the time, Andy," Christian whispered. "I'll tell you a secret, too. Sometimes, at night, when I'm in bed, I do you-know-what and... I think about you."

Andy swallowed and barely whispered, "Yes. Me, too."

Christian slowly smiled as his eyes seemed to show the joy in the older boy's heart. He held Andy's face softly in his hand and bent down the final inch to kiss the boy's sweet lips.

"I love you, Andy."

"I love you, Christian."

The boys were once again sitting along the banks of Lake Windermere, but now it was a hot summer night in August. Christian had set up a tent and they were sitting outside it. Andy had just poured water on their fire. Christian was sitting on a sleeping bag on the ground outside the tent. He lay down and patted a spot next to him.

"Come here, beautiful Andy," he said softly. The younger boy smiled in the moonlight and crawled across the ground until he was beside his hero. Christian wrapped an arm around him and they gazed up at the sky.

"The Milky Way is so beautiful tonight," Andy whispered.

"Yeah, even with a full moon, it still looks amazing."

They lay on the sleeping bag, gazing at the clear, perfect sky, Christian's arm around the younger Andy, the boy's head resting on his hero's arm, comfortable in the strength of the older boy to protect and love him.

"The sky looks so peaceful. It's hard to believe that a war just started in Europe," said Andy softly. "I hope we don't get involved."

"We won't," said Christian. "It'll be over by Christmas. Besides, why would America get in the war? It's across the ocean."

They silently watched the sky until Andy whispered, "Why are they fighting?"

Christian thought for a moment.

"Well, a Serbian shot the Archduke of Austria, so Austria declared war on Serbia. And, Russia had a treaty with Serbia, so they declared war on Germany. And, France had a treaty with Russia so they declared war on Germany and Germany invaded Belgium and Belgium had a treaty with England and England declared war on Germany."

"We don't have any treaties with anyone, do we?"

"No. But, if we did, I'd join the Army and kill a thousand to make sure you're safe."

Andy snuggled closer to Christian.

"Don't you think war is a sin?"

"Maybe. If you start it. But, if someone attacks you, you have to fight back."

"But, the Lord said to turn the other cheek."

Christian thought for a moment.

"But, if you're protecting your family, you can't turn the other cheek. Would Jesus want you to stand by and let the enemy kill your mother and sister?"

Andy thought for a moment.

"I have to ask Pastor. I still think war is a sin, but maybe sometimes you have to. I'm just glad you won't have to."

Christian smiled as he looked down at the boy beside him.

"I love you, Andy. I'd gladly go to war to protect you. And, tonight, I'm gonna show you how much I love you."

"How?" Andy asked with a breathless thrill.

"Like this," Christian replied as his mouth came down to Andy's. He kissed the boy, gently at first, but with greater urgency as the seconds passed and his hands roamed over the younger boy's body. Soon, the thirteen year-old was crying and whimpering with love and joy as the fourteen year-old did, indeed, demonstrate his love and devotion. And, when both had exhausted themselves, they lay naked in each others arms, their hearts and souls united.

"I'll never love anyone like I love you, Andy."

Andy curled into Christian and closed his eyes, knowing that his life would always be joy and beauty and that Christian would always be there.

"So, Andy," Gavin Dietrich asked as the two boys boarded the new electric street car in front of Sheffield High School, "where's Christian?"

Andy didn't like the hint of a sneer in Gavin's voice. In fact, there was very little Andy liked about Gavin, the snobby, pretentious son of the town's richest man, Judge Thornton Dietrich. It was unusual for Andy to dislike anyone. It was a sin to do so. He tried to love everyone as he loved himself, but it was sure hard to do with Gavin.

"He's at football practice. You know that," he said as they took a bench in the middle and the street car began rattling down the street toward the state capitol.

"Oh, that's right. The big football hero."

Andy frowned. He didn't like the way Gavin had spoken those words. Andy didn't believe in fighting, but if Gavin was going to say something hateful about his Christian, he'd punch him in the nose!

Gavin leaned over to Andy's ear.

"So, listen Andy, do you and Christian, umm, do things?"

Andy pulled back in revulsion.

"What are you talking about?"

"Shhh!" Gavin warned looking about at the other passengers on the street car. "You know what I mean."

Andy looked at Gavin fearfully.

"I don't know what you're talking about. Leave me alone."

Gavin smirked.

"Well, take a look at this."

He pulled a folded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to Andy, who carefully opened it with trembling hands. His heart sank as he saw the date, October 21, 1915, his birthday, and recognized the script as unmistakably Christian's perfect handwriting.

"To my dearest Andy on the event of his fifteenth birthday."

It was a poem Christian had written about the beauty of Andy's eyes and soul, about the purity of his smile and heart, and the strength of his character and mind. It ended with the words, "From your Christian, who loves you with all his heart and soul and mind." It was similar to the poem Christian had given him on his birthday and he realized this must have been an early draft.

"Where did you find this?" he asked softly. Gavin grinned in triumph.

"It was in a library book I checked out at school today. Leaves of Grass. I think Christian was copying something from Whitman for his poem to you and forgot that he left it in the book. Look, Andy, I can write poetry, too, and I don't have to copy it from others. I wrote a poem for you. Here."

Gavin handed another piece of paper to Andy with an uncharacteristically soft and earnest look on his face. Andy looked at it uncertainly and read. When he was finished, he folded it and frowned.

"You shouldn't write things like this, Gavin. It's crude and... rude and... it's just not right."

Gavin sneered.

"Just because I'm honest about what I want to do with you and I don't dress it up in flowery language like Christian does."

He stood and walked to the door as the street car stopped in front of the state capitol and the new mansions to the south. Just as he was about to step down, he looked at Andy and in front of everyone on the street car, he called out, "I always get what I want, Andy."

"It's not right. President Wilson lied to the country."

Andy was sitting on the floor of the living room before the fireplace with that day's copy of the Sheffield Evening Advertiser spread out before him. Across the top of the paper were the bold words, "War with Germany!" under which, in smaller letters, was written, "Congress Passes Declaration After Wilson Speech Last Night."

"He didn't lie to the country," said Christian sitting next to him and setting up a chess board.

"I'm afraid Andy's right, Christian," said Andy's father, who sat in a chair beside the boys smoking a pipe and reading the afternoon mail.

"Last autumn," Andy continued, "everyone hated war and everyone was a pacifist and President Wilson beat Charles Evans Hughes because he kept us out of war. Now everyone wants war. I don't understand why everything's so different now than it was last autumn."

"Well, the Huns are sinking our ships," Andy replied.

"But, we're sending supplies to England and France. If we weren't doing that, the Germans wouldn't sink our ships."

Christian frowned.

"So, what's going on Andy? Are you for the Huns? They're eating babies in Belgium! They rape nuns! Don't you read the papers?"

"Christian," said Andy's father with a stern voice, "watch your language. Andy's mother is in the kitchen."

Christian blushed.

"Sorry, Mr. Lindquist. But, it's true. The papers are full of stories about how barbaric the Huns are."

"Don't believe everything you read in the papers," the gentleman replied.

"Well, I'm gonna enlist as soon as I can."

Andy looked up with alarm.

"Christian! You can't! What about your soul? You could be killed. This war is a sin!"

Christian smiled at the boy.

"Oh, Andy. You're so good. You're such a dreamer. You're so good that you just can't see the world the way it is."

"Maybe I don't want to."

Andy was sitting in his room after working at the drug store. He looked out the window at the yellow street light on the corner. A hot breeze blew in the window. Crickets and cicadas were chirping in the young trees that lined the street. Andy gazed across the street at the Birnholms' house and the window of Christian's bedroom. It was dark. Over the years, it had always been a comfort to Andy that when they couldn't be together, he could look out his bedroom window and see the light in Christian's window or see Christian sitting in the window doing his homework. For months now, however, Andy had been alone, his beloved Christian had signed up for the Army. First he was at boot camp in Alabama and now he was in France. A thousand times a day, Andy fell to his knees and prayed that God would watch and protect Christian and bring him home to him. A thousand times a day, his heart broke as he longed to feel Christian's arms around him, to feel Christian's lips on his, to breathe Christian's breath, to feel Christian inside him.

He held the photograph of Christian in his new uniform. He looked so dashing, so brave, so handsome. How often had Andy gone to sleep clutching that photograph, kissing it, sending his love to Christian over the thousands of miles from the northern United States to the northeast of France.

In his other hand was the latest letter from Christian. He received a letter almost every day from his love. Christian never wrote of the hardships he had read of in the papers. He was always cheerful and optimistic and writing of how the thought of Andy sustained him during the lonely nights in the trenches or when they were under attack by the Germans.

At his feet was another letter, though this one was not from France. It had been handed to him in outside the drug store as he was preparing for work.

"Dear Beutiful Andy, I love you more than the sun loves the moon. Why wont you let me show you what a real man can do to you? Christian's in France and I'm in Sheffield. I can make you feel so much better. I know how to make you fel good. I love you, Your Real Man, Gavin.'

Andy was revolted by the letter. Not only was Gavin illiterate and ignorant of the true beauties of life, he was a sodomite; and, Andy had said that to him.

"I don't want you, Gavin. Don't you understand? You can never know what Christian and I have. You're just a sodomite and a pervert!"

"And, what the Hell do you think what you're doing is?" Gavin had demanded.

Andy pursed his lips in frustration.

"Well, what we have is beautiful. All you want is to... to commit sodomy. You're sick!"

Gavin had looked at him with cold eyes and said ominously, "One of these days, you're going to say that one time too often."

He had then turned and walked deliberately away.

Andy stood in his room as he looked at the two letters. He placed them both in shoe boxes under his bed, one for his letters from Christian, his treasure, and one for the letters from Gavin, because some day, he didn't know when, perhaps in ten years, maybe twenty, possibly even thirty or forty or fifty, he would need those letters to show the world just what kind of person Gavin Dietrich really was.

A movement out the window caught Andy's attention. It was a Western Union boy on a bicycle. At this hour of the evening, that could only mean bad news. He saw him ride up 18th St. and turn onto Sycamore. His heart froze.

"Keep on riding," he whispered to himself. "Keep on riding."

But, the bicycle turned into the driveway at the Birnholms'.

Andy sank to his knees before the window as he watched the uniformed boy approach the front door of the Birnholm house.

"No. Please, God. No. No. Please," he whispered.

He saw a light come on in the foyer and the front door open. Christian's father stood in the door. He saw him hold the telegram and he saw him read it. And, he saw him sink to his knees.

"No!" Andy cried. "No!"

He stood and ran from the room. His father emerged from his parents' bedroom.

"Andy! Son! What is it?"

"Christian!" he screamed as he ran down the stairs.

Out the front door and across the yard, up the street and to the front door of the Birnholms' he ran. Christian's parents were sitting on the floor in the foyer as the Western Union boy slowly, sadly pedaled off. Andy cried, "No!" as he ran to Christian's parents. He collapsed next to them and the three clung to each other as they cried.

"Anders Lindquist, you have been charged with violating the state's statutes prohibiting public opposition to the draft and the war."

Judge Thornton Dietrich sat behind his high and grand bench looking down imperiously at the slender young man before him. Andy did not tremble. He showed no fear. His parents sat in the audience watching, clutching their hands and watching with trepidation.

"Evidence has also been presented that you were, perhaps, led to this traitorous behavior because of a mental disorder caused by the nefarious influence of an older male, a sodomite, who influenced you in unfortunate and perverted ways."

Andy's eyes grew wide with shock and outrage.

"Christian wasn't a sodomite! He was a good and..."

"Silence! Or, I shall hold you in contempt."

Andy's attorney placed a cautionary hand on the eighteen year-old's shoulder. Andy angrily shook it off and looked him in the eye. The attorney whispered, "I know, Andy. I know. But, please..."

Andy sighed with resignation, closed him eyes, and bit his lip in frustration. With another sigh, he opened his eyes and looked up at Judge Dietrich.

"As I was saying," the Judge continued with a smug smile, "I do not believe this is your fault and that you need to be cured of the mental disorder that was inflicted upon you by this pervert. Therefore, instead of sentencing you to prison, I order that you be admitted to the Sheffield State Asylum until it is determined that you have been cured of this deviant behavior."

He banged his gavel and declared, "Court adjourned," before standing and, his robes sweeping behind him, strode from the room.

Andy looked at his attorney in horror as two guards roughly grabbed him and began pulling him away. In terror, he looked at his horrified parents. He struggled, but the guards simply became rougher.

"Papa!" he cried, "Mama! I love you!"

But, the last thing he saw as the guards dragged him from the courtroom was the smug smile in the back of the room of Gavin Dietrich, the judge's son.


Sean's grandfather rested his elbows on the table before him and raised his hands to his face. He rubbed his eyes and then spread the fingers of his hands wide, resting each hand's fingers against the other before his face. Thad's eyes were moist as were Sean's and Zhenya's. Matt's face was red with rage, as were Robby and Ethan's.

"They put you in the loony bin because you were gay?" Matt roared.

"They can do that?" Robby asked in awe.

Sean reached over and placed a hand on his grandfather's arm and squeezed. His grandfather nodded.

"Homosexuality was considered a mental illness back then. Even though it is 1969 and we like to think we are more enlightened now, the American Psychiatric Association still considers homosexuality a mental disorder. That may change someday, but..."

He held his hands out helplessly.

"How long were you in the asylum?" Robby asked.

"Six years. Six years during which I was raped and molested and humiliated and beaten. Six years."

Sean clutched his grandfather and the two held each other as the boy cried with pain and rage.

"Didn't anyone do anything?" Robby demanded.

"There was one psychiatrist there who knew there was nothing wrong with me and who fought to have me released. It was not until after Judge Dietrich died that he finally succeeded."

"What was his name?" Robby asked.

"Oh, dear," Mr. Lindquist replied. "It's been so long. He was a young man, not much older than me. He came the last year I was there. Dr... Martin? Marsden! Dr. Marsden."

"We have to find him," said Robby.

"Oh, Robby. Son, he won't remember me after half a century. And, how do you know he's still alive? I'm sixty-nine and he was at least four or five years older than me when he arrived there."

"We'll find out," Robby said. "Do you still have the letters Gavin Senior wrote you?"

Mr. Lindquist nodded.

"Good. Can I read them?"


Robby rested his hands on the table and looked around at everyone.

"I think that if we can find enough stuff on Gavin Dietrich Senior and his dad, even though his dad has been dead for years, even if it isn't illegal, he may still want it quiet. Maybe we can get him fired as a judge or make him decide to retire. I'm gonna go look for this Dr. Marsden."

Robby looked at Mr. Lindquist.

"We're gonna get justice for you and for all the people his family's hurt over the years, Mr. Lindquist. Ian's going to jail. Matt's gonna get to live with you and Sean. And, everyone else whose been hurt is gonna be taken care of."

Robby stood and looking at his firm jaw, Zhenya knew Robby would do what he said. So did the others.

And, so ends Chapter 14. Stayed tuned for the exciting, action-packed conclusion of Courage and Passion. Thank you so much for reading my story and for the encouragement you have given me. You will never know how grateful I am for everything my readers have done for me. Thank you.

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