A Kind of Alchemy

by London Lampy

Chapter 2

...it had been raining on and off all day, short bursts of heavy showers that did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the villages for their spring festivities. The winter had been particularly long and hard that year so the coming of the warmer weather, the green shoots of the crops and the bright spring flowers were truly something to be celebrated.

By nightfall music and dancing were well under way on the green, children up long after their normal bedtimes were giddy with the excitement of the festival, while many of the adults were giddy on the contents of the barrels of cider and beer, or the bottles of fiery apple brandy that were stacked up on trestle tables around the edge of the green. Sam and Jack had liberated one of the bottles from a table when no one was looking, and had headed to the wooded area at the edge of the green to consume it.

"You think we should find Marni?" Jack asked Sam as Sam was in the middle of taking a swig from the bottle, the brandy burning its way down his throat.

"No..." He coughed. "She's dancing, she won't want to stop." While this was true Sam didn't particularly want his sister to join them either. She'd monopolise Jack, most likely sit herself on his lap which seemed to be her favourite seat of late, then eventually drag him off somewhere to kiss him, leaving Sam alone, morose and jealous.

There was little Sam wanted to do more than kiss his friend, recently it had become an all consuming obsession, but one he could talk to no one else about. He was aware that he was hardly the only person who felt like that about the tall, handsome boy. His sister aside it seemed like half the village women had their eyes on Jack, even the ones old enough to know better, but as far as Sam knew he was the only boy who felt that way.

He handed Jack the bottle, using it as and excuse to look up at him, to take him in by the light of the full moon. Jack's hair hair curled around his ears and the back of his neck in a way that Sam found very appealing, his features were strong and handsome and his hazel eyes were just the perfect colour to go with his lightly tanned skin. Sam sighed to himself, beside Jack he always felt very ordinary, despite being a few months older than his friend people still treated him like a child, while mostly Jack got treated like an adult because he looked, and frequently acted, liked one. Sam knew that he would never turn heads in the way that Jack did. He wasn't short, but he wasn't tall either, like all the boys who worked on farms he was fairly muscular, but nothing compared to Jack, and while he felt that his looks were reasonable enough, he wouldn't describe himself as handsome. As a child his hair had been white blond, but it had faded down to a kind of brownish blond now, his sister's was naturally the same but she lightened it with lemon juice that their mother bought from the village shop in little glass bottles. He'd tried doing it too once, but had been roundly scolded by his father for it, who'd said that "boys didn't do that sort of thing". Sam's eyes were a grey blue colour, they didn't sparkle the way Jack's did and he felt that they just sort of blended into his face in a nondescript way.

Sam watched as Jack took a long pull on the bottle, grimacing as he swallowed the liquid. "Remember last year, we all went up to your Dad's barn and Adrian got so drunk he fell into the dung heap outside?" Jack asked.

"Yeah." Sam laughed at the memory of the butcher's son covered in cow crap. "He stank for a week after that."

At that moment another sudden rain shower started up, the trees they were standing under offered little protection from the heavy fat droplets, and soon their hair and clothes were wet.

"Hell." Sam complained as the water splattered onto his head and ran down his neck. "Want to go up there now?"

Even though they ran all the way they were still soaked to the skin by the time they reached the barn. Once inside Sam lit the lantern that was hung on a nail by the door and using it led the way up to the hayloft.

Sam, his sister and their friends had treated the hayloft as their unofficial clubhouse since they were old enough to climb the ladder, Sam's parents tolerated this so long as they left the cows alone and didn't fall out. As it was spring the loft was now almost empty of hay, Sam hung the lantern on a roof beam and then sat himself down on one of the few piles left.

"I'm so bloody wet." He giggled, the brandy having gone straight to his head on the trip to the barn. He shook himself like a dog, sending a spray of water over an equally soaking Jack, who flopped onto the hay beside him, lying on his back and taking a swig out of the now half empty brandy bottle.

Sam lay back beside Jack, noticing how his friend's rain soaked shirt clung to him showing off the curve of his chest, and how it had come untucked from his trousers because it was a little too short for him and how at the bottom it revealed a couple of inches of flat stomach, the dip of Jack's navel and the little patch of dark hair that ran down from underneath. Sam realised with acute embarrassment that he was getting hard from looking at Jack's body so he rolled onto his front before his friend could notice the growing bulge in his trousers. Rolling onto his front had brought him closer to Jack though, and he became aware that Jack was watching him. The other boy's hazel eyes met his, and he couldn't work out if it was because he was seeing things through a haze of apple brandy, but he felt that Jack was looking at him just as hungrily as he was looking at Jack.

He felt his heart hammering in his chest, he couldn't quite believe he was about to do this but there was never going to be a better moment than now. "Jack." He started. "When you..." He almost lost his nerve, but he took a deep breath and carried on. "When you kiss Marni, how do you do it?"

"How do I do it?" Jack scrunched up his face into a puzzled looking frown.

"Yeah, I mean, do you do it like this." He gathered all his courage together, propped himself up on his elbows and gave Jack a quick kiss on the mouth.

The other boy's eyes went very wide with surprise, but he didn't move away or protest, so Sam kept going. "Or do you do it like this." He kissed Jack again, this time much slower, but he kept his mouth closed.

Sam pulled back to look at Jack once more, and the surprise in his friend's eyes had gone, to be replaced by what even Sam could read as desire.

"No." Jack replied, his voice suddenly sounding very husky. "It's more like this." Sam felt himself being pulled toward Jack until he was lying half on top of him, then Jack kissed him hard, his tongue snaking into Sam's mouth, and Sam quickly repayed him in kind.

The kiss lasted for a very long time, long enough for Sam to forget all about his sister and the festival and even that fact that he was in his father's hayloft, long enough so that all he was aware of was him and Jack and their bodies pressed together and their mouths on one another. When it finally did end Sam was lying fully on top of Jack, and he was very aware of Jack's erection pressing into him.

"Gods Sam." Jack breathed into his ear. "Sometimes I think about doing stuff like this with you, but I didn't think...I didn't know if you'd want to."

Hearing him say that made Sam regret not finding an opportunity to kiss Jack sooner. "I do want to." He replied. "A lot, but you can't tell anyone because we're not suppose to do it, if my Dad found out he'd kill me."

"I won't tell." Jack said. "I promise."

Sam knew that he could hold his friend to his word, but he wasn't sure that Jack truly understood the seriousness of the matter. Jack's guardian Nanny was viewed by most of the villagers as being far too soft on her adopted brood, for Jack a sever punishment would mean extra chores, especially of the sort all the children hated such as mucking out the goats or cleaning the outhouse. Sam may have been exaggerating when he said that his father would kill him, but it wasn't so far from the truth, his punishments were almost always physical and painful.

"Do you want to do more?" Sam asked him, moving on top of Jack to rub himself against him.

"More?" Jack echoed, responding to Sam's movements with his own.

"Yeah...we could take our clothes off and...you know...touch each other." Sam found himself blushing as he said this, hoping that Jack wouldn't think he was being too forward.

Over the past year Sam had gained a reasonable amount of sexual experience thanks to one of his father's dairy hands, a married man some twelve years older than Sam, who'd first slipped his hands inside the boy's underwear when Sam was just fourteen. Sam didn't feel at all confident suggesting to Jack that they tried doing some of the things he'd done with the dairy hand, even though he enjoyed being penetrated he was quite certain that he shouldn't, and that there was something very wrong with him for liking it. He didn't want to risk never being able to do this again with Jack because he had disgusted his friend, but he felt that using their hands on one another was probably all right.

"That sounds good." Jack responded after a pause.

Trying to peel their wet clothes off wasn't easy, and they both got a fit of the drunken giggles when Jack's trousers got stuck half way down his legs and Sam had to help him pull them off from the bottom, but once they were both completely naked the giggles stopped and the atmosphere between them altered. They lay down next to one another again, Sam was very aware of his friend's eyes wandering over his body, while he himself was fascinated by the size of Jack's erection. He'd always know that Jack was larger than him, or the rest of the village boys, there but he'd never seen him like that before.

"Your cock is huge!" Sam blurted out, then blushed again.

"Um...yeah." Jack agreed. "But it kind of goes with the rest of me."

Sam put out a hand and tentatively touched it, the skin on his friend's shaft felt smooth, almost velvety under his fingertips and as he moved them along its length ho could feel that Jack was rock hard underneath.

As Sam was stroking Jack, Jack did the same back to him, his hands exploring every part of him, from his root all the way up to the small trail of liquid leaking from the tip. "I've never touched anyone else's before." Jack said, closing his hand around Sam's length and stroking him. "It feels...amazing, you're so hard."

"So are you." Sam replied, mimicking Jack's action, but he couldn't quite make his fingers meet around the other boy's girth.

"Sometimes when I do this to myself I think about you." Jack confessed. "I kind of like to imagine you're doing it to me, but this time you really are."

Sam moved himself as close to Jack as he could, throwing one leg over the larger boy's and turning his head to kiss him on the jaw. His arm was on top of Jack's and he tried to follow Jack's movements with his own so that they synchronised with one another. He could feel the tension rapidly growing between his legs, and he guessed that Jack was feeling much the same because his hand sped up.

"You getting close?" Jack asked, his voice breathless.

"Uh huh." Was all Sam could manage in reply before his whole world narrowed down the sensation of Jack's rubbing hand and he bucked his hips, shooting come over his friend's hand as his own hand was getting equally covered. His spasms of pleasure seemed to last longer than he'd ever know before, and when the final one died away he was left panting, his heart beating against his ribs.

"Oh gods." He heard Jack saying. "That was fucking wonderful."

"Mmm." He agreed, closing his eyes and inhaling the mixed scents of hay and sex. As he lay still he could hear what sounded like Jack licking something, he opened his eyes and looked curiously at his friend, and was completely taken aback to see that indeed Jack was licking something, he was licking his hand clean of Sam's spunk. It occurred to Sam that maybe Jack wouldn't be too shocked if he suggested that they tried something beyond mutual masturbation...

A sudden clanking sound brought Sam back to reality, the train was swaying as it rounded a bend and Skipper's empty beans and sausage tin that the man had thrown into the corner earlier had rolled across the carriage and hit the opposite wall. He heard the filthy man laugh his wheezing laugh again. "That give ya a fright didn't it lad? What was you daydreaming about, some pretty little milky skinned country girl you left back home?"

"No." Sam rubbed his face with both hands, wishing that he could live in his memories forever. "I wasn't thinking about anything."

"I don't believe that for a second, you was thinking about something mucky, that's for sure, you had that 'spression on your face. I can always tell when folk are thinking about mucky stuff, and you know what lad? They does it way more than they'd have you believe, all of them, even those that would have you believe that theys too respectable and above all that."

Neither of them spoke again after that, and despite the cold and the pain from his cut and bruised back Sam found himself falling asleep propped up against the carriage wall. He spent the night dozing then jerking back awake again, his tangled dreams full of his father's wrath and his own guilt over the theft of his mother's prized brooch, until he finally noticed that there was an orangey pink light filtering through the cracks in the walls that signalled a new day had arrived. Soon the train began to slow, and along with Skipper's snores he could hear other trains rumbling on tracks alongside them.

"I think we're there." He said out loud, causing the dirty man to wake with a start.

Skipper pressed his eye to one of the cracks. "That we are lad, once the train stops you'll need to hop out good and sharpish, don't want to get caught by the guards see, or they'll most likely turn you over to the cops."

A few minutes later the train came to a halt with a clank and a wheeze of steam, Skipper slid the door open, grabbed his pack and jumped out, Sam followed him and they made their way along the platform and onto the station concourse.

"What you doing lad?" Skipper asked as they exited onto the street together.

"Um...I don't know." He replied, utterly overwhelmed by the city.

"You can't come with me boy, I got my own business to attend to, and anyways, I thought you wanted to visit with your orphan friend."

"I do." He said quietly. In his whole life Sam had never seen more than a couple of hundred people together in one place, now he was seeing hundreds of people streaming past him every few seconds, and not just humans, but visk too, he'd only set eyes on one of the lizard people once before, but here were dozens of them walking along the pavement in long, brightly coloured robes. In the road there were even more people riding in horse carts and smart carriages and on bicycles and in something that looked a bit like a small train that ran on tracks in the street and was attached to sparking wires overhead.

"Orphanage is in that direction." Skipper pointed away into the distance with one dirt encrusted finger. "Give them nuns my regards." Sam heard Skipper laugh his wheezy laugh one last time before he disappeared into the crowds, leaving him entirely alone in the strange city.

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