All the Queen's Men
by N Fourbois
Oscar and Toby sat through chapel holding hands in the dim light. After the service they decided to take the scenic route through the dark back to Tippett. Before they got to it, they decided to visit the holly bush. They couldn't hear a sound coming from it, but they sensed there was someone there. Toby signalled to Oscar. They had their Maglites at the ready. On executing the pincer movement, imagine their surprise when they found only one person there to be revealed as Olly Salmon. "What do you two homos want?"
"Your body," answered Oscar, "but not tonight."
"I think if you go on being rude to us like that, Salmon," said Toby "you are going to earn yourself a smack."
"So you've cut chapel again," said Oscar.
"And been stood up," added Toby. "Now if you were polite to us and were not in denial, we could fix you up with a very good looking boyfriend. But why should we?"
"I don't need your shop soiled goods because I'm not queer like you. I'm in a decent house, not one with a load of pansies."
"Now that was not a very pleasant thing to say," replied Oscar, "especially to someone who's trying to help you."
"Okay, Salmon, have it your own way," said Toby. "We'll be in touch."
Oscar and Toby were pleased to reach the light and warmth of Tippett House. There wasn't time to get changed before Prayers. At the end they told their mentors it would be a short session because Oscar was going to skype his parents and he wanted them to meet Toby. "Don't get changed yet, Tobes. You look so handsome in your school uniform and I want the 'rents to be really impressed." Oscar and Toby went up to Alexander. Marcus, David and Chris were already there.
"Great hymn playing to night," said Toby.
"Who was playing?" said Oscar.
"Chris, of course," said David. "Couldn't you Philistines tell?"
Oscar went through his personal security barrage to get out his laptop and he and Toby went up to the library. Happily there was no one there, but then it was the library. Oscar told Toby to stay out of range of the webcam and to keep quiet. He soon got through and Mrs, followed by Mr Daintree were on the screen. "Hi, Mum, hi, Dad." Oscar's mother then took over with a host of questions, most of them rhetorical, not because they didn't require an answer, but because Oscar couldn't get a word in edgeways to answer them. Finally there was a lull in the 'conversation'. "Mum, Dad, I've got someone here I want you to meet." He beckoned Toby over and he took a seat in front of the screen.
«Hi, Toby,» said both voices.
«We've heard so much about you,» continued Mrs Daintree. Toby tried to say hallo and Oscar waited for another lull.
"We'd really like you to know that we are boyfriends now. Officially." He thought he'd better not say while they were in school that they were blood brothers. That could wait for the holidays.
«Oscar, you couldn't have chosen a nicer young man. We've already heard a lot about him from Grandma.» The conversation went on and finally ended half an hour later. After closing down Toby said
"That must have cost you a bomb." Oscar shrugged his shoulders and replied
"I doubt if it even cost fifty eurocents."
The boys split to go and see their mentors, but it was a token ten minutes because they had spent so long skyping. They just discussed what they'd done over the weekend. Then back to the dormitory. "Marcus, we might have found a partner for you."
"Yeah, partner, sex buddy."
"You mean boyfriend?"
"No, only you and he can decide that," said Oscar.
"It might take us a couple of days 'cos he's still in the closet," said Toby.
"Yeah, dying to come out, but can't find the handle."
"So he's not in this house?" said Marcus.
"No," said Oscar, "but give it till after Christmas and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a transfer."
"But he's not coming into this dorm," said Toby.
"So he's in the third form?" said Marcus. "And do I know him?"
"Yes and don't know," said Oscar.
The following morning Oscar and Toby went off to breakfast. The word on the street was that Jackman had been isolated in the san over the weekend suffering from syphilis and gonorrhoea, even been to A & E, but that he was well enough to be released back in the community in time for lessons. Our two boys were only interested because they had not found him at the usual place of custom the previous evening.
On the way back to the house they came face to with Olly Salmon who could resist everything except temptation and had to yell out "Poofters" as he walked past. Oscar instinctively grabbed Toby by the wrist, not out of any demonstration of romantic feeling towards him, but to prevent a physical manifestation of the irritation he felt rising in Toby. It was enough to allow Toby to regain control of his emotions.
"You know, Oscar, I think the time has arrived to give our Olly a smack, except I have something out of the usual in mind and I certainly don't want to be in trouble for leaving any physical marks on his body." He gave what was a hybrid of a scowl and malicious glee. "Talk to you at break, Oscar."
They met in the quad. Plenty of people around. Nothing to arouse suspicion. "Here's the plan, Oscar. You're the logistics man."
"Logistics? Isn't that Eddie Stobart?"
"Logistics. The where, when, how and the cost. You tell me how we're going to work it."
Oscar went into a coma-like silence for a few minutes. "Okay, got it. What have we got next lesson?"
"Not only are we two together, Salmon's in our set."
" Exactement . And what do we usually do? Group work," said Oscar answering his own question. "So the first thing we do is we make sure Salmon is in our group and we do that by making sure he is sitting between us. Now, the important thing is to give him a warning. No threats of physical violence. We just sow a seed of apprehension in his mind and leave it at that. Certainly no indication of time or place." Oscar pulled out his phone to see what the time was. "Okay, let's go. Time to start herding him where we want him to go." It happened so quickly that Olly had no time to resist and the French master was already in the classroom.
The inevitable group work came up and Olly was ushered into the remotest corner. Being savvy, the French master headed for this corner to test Oscar, Toby and Salmon first. Being savvy, the boys knew they would be left alone for the rest of the period. Toby started off. "That little display of homophobia after breakfast…"
"Before," corrected Salmon out of bravado.
"… was a step too far. It won't happen, but what we would like you to do, when you get back to your dormitory in Lee-Berners House, is to imagine that there is a horse's head in your bed. You know, you've seen it in the Godfather films with the Mafia."
"We just want you to be a good boy," said Oscar.
"We'll even help you out of the closet," said Toby.
"And if you start being pleasant to us, we'll find you a nice boyfriend to steal your cherry."
"I don't need a fucking boyfriend to steal my cherry. I've already lost it." As sod's law would have it, the room coincidentally went quiet during that last outburst and the rest of the class fell about laughing. The French master drily remarked
" En français, s'il vous plait, messieurs ." During the general mayhem Toby was caressing the inside of Salmon's thigh under the desk and Oscar squeezed his balls. With all the noise no one heard him shout out.
During lunch break Toby explained the plan which he openly declared was not his. "I learnt this on Year 8 camp at my last school. Same problem. A homophobe making a gay kid's life a misery. Not quite the same scenario, but the central idea's the same."
"Yeah, I like it," said Oscar "and it's simple."
"I'll need that thing you use to secure you laptop."
"Sure. It's only bike lock. Put it round the crossbar and round a lamp post affair."
"That's it. Just a minute, Oscar. Hey, Stevenson, over here a minute. You're in Lee-Berners, aren't you?"
"You're in Tippett, aren't you?"
"Sure. Big favour."
"You want to feel my balls?"
"No, nothing like that."
"Oh, everybody else in Tippett wants to," said Stevenson and sounded a bit disappointed.
"We're different," said Toby. He looked around in an exaggerated manner as if to see whether anyone was nearby to overhear. "Can you keep a secret?"
"Yeah." Toby then told him in a stage whisper
"We are the only two boys in the house that are not queer. Don't tell anyone, will you? In fact, they're thinking of transferring us out of Tippett next term to stop us getting molested. We're probably going to go into Lee-Berners." Stevenson looked at them seriously, taking in every word.
"So what's this favour?" Toby pulled a knitted cuddly toy out of his backpack. "You promise to keep this all a secret, don't you?" Stevenson nodded seriously. "Because we don't want him to know how we got hold of it."
"Who?" Toby looked around again in an exaggerated fashion and whispered "Do you know Oliver Salmon."
"Yeah, course I do. He's a bumchum. He ought to be over in Tippett with you lot."
"What we want you to do is secretly place this knitted horse on his pillow."
"Like in The Godfather ?"
"Got it in one."
"Great film. One of my faves."
"Make sure no one sees you and if all goes well, we promise we'll never feel your balls."
"Not unless you ask us to, that is," added Oscar.
"Put it under your blazer and make sure no one sees it."
After Stevenson had gone, Oscar said "Toby, you're evil. You'll burn in hell for this."
"I'll take the risk, but you've got to admit it's fun. Okay, we can stand down till after school. Then Phase II."
Afternoon lessons dragged and it was twilight when Oscar and Toby emerged from the teaching block. They held back until they made out a shadowy figure making for the holly bush. "Good, he's alone," whispered Toby. Our boys did their now familiar pincer movement round the bush, resulting in Oscar standing close behind Jackman and Toby in front. "Michael, we need a favour." He immediately grew suspicious. He was so despised, even among his clientele, that nobody, absolutely nobody in the pupil community, called him by his Christian name. He looked at Toby through his slitty eyes and said
"I don't owe you any favours." Without any hesitation Toby unzipped Jackman's trousers, put his hand in and grabbed his balls. "Ow, that hurts!"
"It's meant to," said Toby, squeezing a little harder. "Hey, Oscar, he's going commando."
"I always go commando," retorted Jackman. "Good for business."
"So that's why your clothes always stink," said Oscar.
"Back to business," said Toby. "When I let go of your balls, that will count as a favour from us to you and so then you will owe us a favour back." He gave Jackman's balls another squeeze as if to underline the statement. "Agreed." Jackman reluctantly said
"Yes, but let go of my bollocks first." Toby did, but kept his hand inside his trousers ready in case he reneged and gave his dick a couple of tugs for good luck.
"Now this is strictly hush hush and if anything leaks out, and I'm not talking about your todger, you know we will catch up with you. Agreed?" Jackman hesitated and Toby's hand moved towards his balls.
"No, not that! I agree. I won't let you down."
"Listen carefully. We don't want any foul-ups, okay?" Jackman nodded. Toby had to exert all his willpower to continue for Jackman's secret weapons were coming into play, his BO, the smell of his clothes and his halitosis. You are to fix up an assignation with Oliver Salmon." Jackman nodded. There was even a flicker of a grin on his face. "Here and after school tomorrow. If there's time, you can start getting him in a good mood. Know what I mean? When we turn up you are to bugger off. Understood? And pretty smartish at that. We're not telling you what's at stake here for us, but what's at stake for you is this. If you value your testicles, both as a source of personal pleasure and as a business asset, you will do exactly as you have been told, no more, no less." Toby took Jackman's balls gently in his hand gave them a little feel. "Mmm, nice cluster. If you can take a little advice, shave them. Your chums will like that better. Trust me." Toby tucked everything away for him, did up the zip, wiped Jackman's copious precum off his hand with his own handkerchief and said "Okay, we'll leave you to get on and ply your trade. Don't forget." Toby and Oscar disappeared into the full black of the evening.
"That was easy enough," said Oscar as they entered the light and warmth of Tippett.
"We've still got work to do," said Toby. They went upstairs to Alexander, opened the door and found Marcus doing his prep.
"Hi, Marcus," they said.
"Where are David and Chris?" asked Toby.
"Music practice, hem, hem," answered Marcus.
"Look," said Toby, "we're in the middle of preparations for Operation Get Marcus Laid. You couldn't be a good buddy and go and do your prep in the library for half an hour, could you?"
"And there was me thinking you wanted to pull off a quick blowjob."
"Off luxuries at the present. We're working," said Oscar. Marcus picked up his books and made for the door, saying
"You can give me an update at supper."
"Oh, no, we can't. Top secret. The least number of people that know, the better."
"Let's get down to work," said Toby. "First things first. He pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket and held it up to the light. "That's Jackman's precum."
"Eugh!" exclaimed Oscar. "You won't be able to use that again."
"I will, but not for the purpose it's intended for. Get your trousers off, Oscar," said Toby, taking his own down. "We're going to jerk off into the handkerchief."
"You don't expect me to do it myself, do you, Tobes?"
"This is work, not fun. Okay then, as it's you. Come here." Toby gave Oscar a peck on the cheek and got down to work. "Hmm, it didn't take you long to harden up."
"What do you expect when I'm standing next to the best giver of hand jobs in the school?"
"And how exactly do you know that?" grinned Toby.
After they both had ejaculated into the handkerchief, Toby placed it scrumpled up into a self-seal plastic sachet.
"What's that for?" asked Oscar.
"You'll see if we have to use it. If I tell you now, it will gross you out and you'll have nightmares. Five minutes and we'll be done."
Toby took a Sainsbury's plastic carrier bag and put the sachet in it. "I want a pair of your dirty socks now, Oscar. Sports socks, preferably, long ankle socks like mine. That's it," Toby said as he put both pairs into the carrier. "Bicycle lock. That's right. Oops, wristbands. I almost forgot." He put a pair of his own rainbow coloured ones into the bag. "Just one more thing to go," and he put two pairs of latex gloves into bag. "That's it, I think." Toby put the carrier into his rucksack, ready to take to school the next day.
The boys settled down to do their prep. Within five minutes the Squalor and the Busker came in with silly grins on their faces.
"Organ practice?" enquired Oscar.
"You could call it that," said David.
"Jerk off or…?"
"Mind your own business," said David, "but since you are so solicitous as to ask, mutual masturbation."
"When are you two going to progress? Have you done a blowjob yet?" asked Oscar.
"We're not into fellatio," replied David.
"Yet," contradicted Chris emphatically. "We've got to get our heads round the idea of getting spunk in our mouths and all over our faces."
"Ingesting semen," added David.
"Try these," said Oscar, delving into his desk drawer and frisbeeing a pack of Durex towards Chris.
"Yes. They're fruit flavoured."
"Are you supposed to suck condoms?" said David, bemused.
"Bugger me, David, you're supposed to be the frigging brains here," said Toby, "but how else do you think you're going to taste the fruit flavours?" David blushed at his failure to think through the implications. The door opened. It was Marcus returning.
"Hi, chaps. Sounds as if I've missed the fun… again."
"Your turn will come, Marcus," said Toby.
On the way back from breakfast on the Tuesday Oscar and Toby's path crossed Salmon's. Where were the defiance and bravado of twenty-four hours ago? His face visibly blanched when he saw Oscar and Toby. He tried to pretend they were not there, but he could not ignore their supercilious 'Good Morning, Olly'. The meeting passed without further incident.
When the bell rang for the end of school, Oscar and Toby calmly packed up their belongings. "Hey, Marcus," Toby called out just as he was leaving the room. "Are you doing anything now?"
"You know that bench that's about fifty yards away facing the holly bush?"
"What? Jackman's holly bush?"
"You're not trying to pair me up with him ?" Only a sound version could depict the contempt contained in the word him .
"Oh, no, no, no. We wouldn't do that to our worst enemy."
"You've guessed it, though," said Oscar. "This is the Phase III of Operation Get Marcus Laid."
"We'd like you," continued Toby "to turn up there in about twenty minutes and wear a hoodie with the hood up. If the operation is a success, we'll call you over and if it's not, we'll come over to you."
"Hey, sounds quite fun."
"We said your turn would come," added Oscar.
Indeed, they were the last to leave the classroom. They took their hoodies out of their backpacks, took off their blazers, put the hoodies on, replaced their blazers, put on their latex gloves and pulled the hoods up to cover their faces as much as possible. The weather was favourable. All day a low cloud had hung over the school making the weather dull and gloomy, keeping the temperature up and causing darkness to fall a good quarter of an hour earlier than the previous day. The cloud was rolling off the hills and across the vale making patches of fog which might last two or three minutes and then roll on. They donned their backpacks and Toby had the bright orange carrier bag dangling from one of the straps. They let their eyes get used to the gloom, then made their way towards the holly bush. Whatever people said about Jackman, and usually none of it was complimentary, he could be relied on. The two voices emanating from the tree were unmistakable, carried as they were on the eerie mist. "Are you ready, Oscar?"
"As ready as I'll ever will be."
The boys made their routine pincer movement. "Okay, Jackman," said Oscar. "We're in charge now. Off you go." Jackman gave them his sideways inscrutable glare and silently disappeared into the darkness. Salmon was so taken aback and intent on listening to the monologue between Oscar and Jackman that at first he didn't notice and by then was entirely incapable of offering any resistance as Toby slipped one pair of socks over his hands, then the wristbands, forced his arms behind his back, fed the bicycle lock through the wristbands, locked it round a sturdy bough on the holly bush and put on the second pair of socks to restrict his hand movements even further. Torch in hand, Toby stood back to inspect his handiwork.
"You mucky little sod. Get tied up and you immediately pop a boner. Says a lot about you."
"Okay, Salmon," said Oscar, "are we going to have a civilised and sensible conversation?"
"No, we're ff…" Before he could get any further there was a **glug mmph** noise as with one deft movement Toby took the soiled and still wet handkerchief from the plastic sachet and stuffed it into Salmon's mouth. Now he was ninety percent immobilised. Toby and Oscar, still keeping their hoods over their faces, came round to face him.
"I'm sorry the talking's going to have to be one way," said Toby. "Nod for yes, shake your head for no." Oscar took over.
"We have three things that need a little negotiation and clarification, and which you need to understand. Number one."
"Sorry, Oscar, but before we start, I'm just going to drop his trousers in case he's thinking of carrying on being awkward." Salmon tried to stop them, but he couldn't. "Mmm, nice tackle." He gave Salmon's package a good fondle. "Glad you're on our team."
"Toby and I are gay. We enjoy being gay and we are not going to deny it. So that is one good reason why we don't need you to keep reminding us of the fact every time you see us. It's going to stop. Okay?" Salmon tried to say something through the gag, but without success. He refused to move his head. Oscar put the question again. No response. Toby squeezed his balls. Salmon nodded. "Good boy. We knew you would see it our way. Number two: we know you're queer, Jackman knows you're queer, umpteen other boys in this school know you're queer, but most important of all, you know you're queer and that means condemning us is hypocrisy. Do you admit you're a hypocrite?" Silence at first, but as Toby let his hand hover over Salmon's groin, his head nodded in hearty agreement.
"Number three: Toby and I are not horrible people. We just like to see a little bit of justice and fairness and we don't like being taken for a ride. If people are pleasant to us, we are more than pleasant to them. Now do you give your most solemn word that from now on you are going to be civil in your dealings with us?" Without being prompted, Salmon nodded.
"I'm going to take the gag out, Salmon," said Toby. "You just have to repeat your solemn promise. Don't be silly. It's easy enough to put it back in." Toby pulled out the handkerchief. "Now."
"I solemnly promise…"
"Of my own free will."
"I solemnly promise of my own free will that in future I will always treat and speak to you, Oscar Daintree and Toby Awnott, civilly and pleasantly…"
"To the best of my ability."
"… to the best of my ability."
"Now solemn promises are always sealed with a kiss." Toby pulled Salmon's head gently towards him, covered his lips with his own and gave him a long and deep kiss. "Now that, Olly, was worth getting hard for. Your turn, Oscar." Oscar licked Olly's lips, teasing him, then imagine his surprise when Olly's tongue slid through his lips and lingered long enough for Oscar to bone up.
"Olly," said Oscar, "we are not unreasonable people. We believe in rewards as well as punishment. There is a young man who would dearly like a boyfriend and we think you are just the right person for him. We suggest, and it is only a suggestion, no pressure, that you invite him out on a date on Saturday. We are going let you have a few minutes to think over what has happened and what you intend to do in the future. Any questions?"
"Yeah, that gag tasted odd, quite nice actually. What was in it?"
"Only some left over cream Oscar's grandmother gave us to go with her scones."
"And will you pull my trousers up, please? My bits have shrivelled in the cold."
"We'll let your new boyfriend do that for you. Let him see what he's getting for his money, as it were. Just remember. You're out of the closet now," said Toby. "You've been outed by Oscar and Toby. Enjoy."
With that Oscar and Toby merged with the misty darkness. They made their way across to the bench. Marcus was sitting there patiently as bidden. When he saw them, his face dropped. "It didn't work, then?"
"No, quite the opposite," answered Toby. "This last bit is the only part that didn't go quite to plan. What are you doing this weekend?"
"Not a lot."
"Good," said Oscar "because if we've done our job properly, you're going to be dated, but it's got to come from him, don't forget, not you."
"I think he's had enough meditation time," said Toby. "Here's the key to the bicycle lock, Marcus. Can you rescue as much of our kit as possible, but if nothing else, bring back the lock and key. Ready? Oh, I warn you. He's got a kiss like a Dyson."
They took Marcus across to the holly bush and presented him to Olly. "Our job's done," said Toby. "See you back at the house." Oscar and Toby walked off and at that moment a scrap of cloud drifted across the school grounds and stalled, entirely enveloping the holly bush and little else. Oscar took out his phone.
"A quarter past five."
"Where did that hour go?" said Toby.
"Hey, Tobes. I think we deserve a reward too." Oscar took hold of his hand – they still had the rubber gloves on – and drew him over towards the now vacant bench, where they indulged in a long and arousing snog.
"I don't care about the rest, but we are sleeping together tonight."
"I'll be glad when we're in the fourth form and we get our own studies," replied Oscar.
They looked up and saw a couple walking along the path with their arms round each other. As soon as Oscar and Toby moved, they broke the shadows and silhouettes. Immediately the single shape separated into two. Oscar and Toby pulled their hoods even deeper over their faces and bent over studying their shoes. As the two shapes neared the bench, they called out "Hi, Toby, hi, Oscar," took hold of one another's hands and went merrily on their way towards Tippett."
"Hey, David and Chris," came the reply and Oscar and Toby pulled back their hoods.
"We'd better get back and do our prep," said Toby.
"Give it a minute," said Oscar. "I want to get rid of this stiffie first."
"I can do that quite easily for you."
"I'm sure you can… temporarily, but not out here. We'll save it for later."
After five minutes they walked, or in Oscar's case hobbled, back to Tippett. They were overtaken by a briskly walking Mr Forrester returning from a staff meeting. "Hallo, Oscar and Toby. Late back this evening."
"Yes, sir," said Toby. "We've been doing our community service."
"Hurry along, boys. You don't want to spend the whole evening doing prep now, do you?"
They let their housemaster get ahead, stopped, looked at one another and burst out in a fit of the giggles.
When they arrived up in Alexander, Chris and David were already doing their prep. Oscar and Toby went through the door, stopped, gave Chris and David a knowing look, the couples turned their heads and looked at their other halves, gave them a knowing look, turned back with the same knowing look and all four burst out in a fit of the giggles. The door opened and in came Marcus. "Hi, guys. Looks as if I've missed all of the fun again."
"Not all of the fun," emphasised Toby.
"Come on. Tell us about it," said Oscar.
"We're dying to know," added Toby.
"Know what?" said David. His and Chris's curiosity had been aroused.
"Not a lot to say really. He's invited me out to the cinema on Saturday and said it's his treat. That's it."
"WHO?" screamed David and Chris.
"Olly Salmon, of course," replied Marcus. "I thought everybody knew."
"But isn't he heterosexual?" asked David in innocence.
"I'll tell you Saturday night," answered Marcus with a salacious grin. "You lot aren't going to the cinema, are you?"
"Well, you know. First date and all that. We want a bit of privacy."
"No, we'll be doing some organ practice for the chapel service," said Chris.
"And you'll be blowing his horn, David?"
"Marcus, you can be rather coarse at times," sniffed David "and it's called fellatio."
"Ooooh," went Oscar and Toby.
"That's why you never know what's going on," said Marcus. "You've always got your heads stuck in each other's groins."
"Only since we discovered fruit flavoured condoms," grinned Chris.
"Family secrets, Christopher," warned David. Oscar and Toby were keeping their counsel. There was a full moon Saturday night Sunday morning and they would have their own business to attend to. Also, with their dorm mates otherwise engaged and most of the House out, they could enjoy a little rest and recreation in Alexander.
For once there had been some excitement during the week. Oscar and Toby made sure they returned to Tippett from breakfast in Marcus's company. Predictably they met Olly walking to breakfast from Lee-Berners. "Hi, guys," Olly called out with unwonted congeniality.
"I'll catch you two up," said Marcus. "Still on for Saturday, Olly?"
"Sure. Looking forward to it."
"See ya in the maths lesson. Got a bit a prep to finish off before school." A stranger might have thought that they were shaking hands as they parted, but it was more than that. They wanted to repeat the snog they had had behind the holly bush the previous evening, but that would have to wait until Saturday. The holly bush had been returned to its customary occupant.
This was something that puzzled Oscar, Toby and Marcus. The whole school knew Jackman, the whole school knew of his propensities and activities and centre of operations. Oscar had to wait until he was in the Upper Sixth and Jackman had left Queen's, and with creditable public examination results at that, before he found out the whole story. It was an essential part of the ethos of the place for his notoriety had reached the arch-magisterial realms and Himself had decreed the policy: every school has its underground. How much better is it to let it flourish candidly and thus be controlled? And any society, particularly one consisting of boys approaching and passing though puberty with all the ramifications of hormones running rampant, needs a safety valve. Did the Headmaster know about the IC in Tippett House? Were there other such factions in the school?
Wednesday to Friday were slow days with little light entertainment to relieve the burden of school work. One thing Oscar had already noticed on transferring from his maintained middle school to his independent senior school was that the work was more demanding and stretching him. The pressure was compounded by competition with his four dormitory mates who were no slouches and the competition spurred him on to greater things. He gradually grew aware that the classes he attended were set by ability whereas there were all sorts in his class at middle school and they always seemed to work at the speed of the slowest. The prep school system that the Squalor and the Busker had been brought up in had prepared them better for the academic rigour of Queen's.
Another stroke of fortune, good or bad according to one's point of view, served to boost Oscar's self-esteem. During rugby training the A XV fly half twisted his ankle so seriously that Matron put him off-games with the result that Oscar was promoted to play for the A team that following Saturday. Of course the rugby staff were not to know this, but this was a half back pair created in heaven for after two months of being together, Oscar and Toby were developing that husband and husband gift of knowing what the other was thinking, although they had not reached the stage of finishing each other's sentences off – yet. So with a last minute drop goal set up by Toby in the home game that Saturday morning, not only did Oscar secure a win for the School, but his place in the last match of the season the following week, whether the regular fly half had recovered sufficiently or not.
Any action can have unintended consequences. Not only did Olly fill the gap in the B XV, made by Oscar's promotion, which put him in a better frame of mind, but also Oscar could for the first time use the pavilion changing rooms and reap the benefit of meeting an entirely new set of boys under the showers. Unfortunately he did put up a black – or was it a pinkie? – when he popped a boner to cries of 'typical Tippett House boy', but Toby came to the rescue by doing the same and because of his reputation, that soon drew the attention away from Oscar, but not before his impromptu stiffie had achieved his full integration into the A team.
After team lunch and the departure of the visiting sides Oscar and Toby changed out of their school uniforms. "Hey, Tobes, which do you think shows off my package best, jeans, sweats or moleskins?"
"Then sweats it is." They walked into town just to be together and for a change of scenery. They spent a little time boywatching in the main square before shopping and taking in a drink at Burger Star. They were back at Tippett by three o'clock. Since no one else was around, they lay on Oscar's bed with every intention of having fun time, but were woken by the bell for Saturday high tea.
After their meal they again had the dormitory to themselves, but they wanted to catch up with prep. Only after that did they changed into tank tops and shorts and get down to some serious smooching (and an eventual orgasm each) before their companions returned from their nefarious, no various, no, right the first time, nefarious activities. After Prayers they could not wait to get back up to Alexander to discover how Marcus's date with Olly had gone.
"Come on," said Chris. "Tell us."
"You owe us," said Toby "since we set it up for you."
"Okay, lads, calm down. I'll tell you, but before I do, you've got to let me feel your balls."
"You drive a hard bargain," said David, "but all right. Me first," and he pulled down his zip.
"You're quick. Isn't Chris giving you enough?"
"More than you've been getting before tonight," he countered. "And warm your fingers before you do that to me again." He warmed his hands on the radiator before starting the rounds again, ending with Toby who was still in his shorts, and lingering under the watchful gaze of Oscar in case he went too far.
"Okay, listen in, guys. You've got to remember this is a first date with a lot of getting to know one another. The first thing is that you don't have to possess the gift of gaydar to know that he is gay. Not that he tried to deny it. In fact, it's been worrying him since he had his first wank, which was at his old school and done by another boy. He had a conscience about enjoying it. He probably wouldn't admit it in front of you two, Oscar and Toby, but he is actually very grateful to you for making him face up to the fact, his demons, as he called them. You were right. He was in denial. He's pleased that now he doesn't have to use Jackman any more. He said when he was feeling horny, he needed him and once he'd come off, he felt dirty and disgusted with himself until the next time he felt horny. Then he wanted to blame everybody but himself and when he saw Oscar and Toby being so successful in their relationship, he just projected his guilt on them."
"He's quite right, you know," said David, with people not quite clear whether 'he' was Marcus or Olly. "There was a boy just like that at my last school, except he projected his guilt onto one of the masters. I read all about projection when I was trying to sort myself out before coming out to my parents. Oh, and the master was actually gay, by the way. He retired at the same time I left and once retired he moved away from the school, went public and is living with a companion from university days."
"Bet that caused a panic and a scandal," said Oscar.
"Not really. He was popular for being a good teacher and never a threat to the pupils. He hadn't done anything against the law. All people knew was that he stayed with a 'friend' during the holidays and occasional weekends. Oh, and the headmaster was a bachelor."
"So, Marcus, what actually made Olly change his mind?" said Toby.
"When you confronted him behind the holly bush, but do you know what really spooked him?"
"The knitted horse on his pillow. That softened him up. By that I mean put the shits up him and he was relieved to get it all over and done with. And he is thinking of asking to be transferred to Tippett next term." There was silence and everybody looked at everybody else.
"But you never told us what you did," said Chris with a tone of frustration.
"Let's just say that we had our first lesson in what David would call heavy petting and that we are meeting tomorrow because he knows a place which is very private and where we won't be disturbed."
"Let's get to bed," said David. "It's been quite a day for all of us."
"Oh, yes?" said Oscar and Toby in unison, raising an eyebrow.
"I've got a problem," said Marcus. "I've had a fantastic evening out on my first proper date and now I've got to get through tonight and early tomorrow morning without having a wank."
"Tough one," said Toby, climbing into his bed and drawing the curtain. "Good night."
When Chris put the light out, the full moon still half lit the dormitory.
At 1.40 am Toby's watch beeped. He quickly switched it off before it disturbed any of the others. He gave Oscar a shake, but he was awake already. They momentarily stared round the dormitory. David and Chris were fast asleep in each other's arms in Chris's bed. Marcus must have been dreaming for he was muttering. "Olly, that tickles… Olly, don't do that. I'll wet myself…" Oscar and Toby grinned at each other. Toby put on his pink jockstrap. Oscar stripped and put on his, the one Toby had given him. They put on their dressing gowns and slipped out of the dorm. Along with them were shadowy figures in the nightlights and moonlight silently making their way towards the basement. Once everybody was behind the Photography Club door it was locked and the red light switched on.
Nik came up to Oscar and Toby. "Dom asked me to brief you with Toby, Oscar. Listen carefully. We have two events. In the first you will formally exchange your white robes of innocence for the black robes of consummation. The second part is the payment of tithes. You know what a tithe is, don't you?"
"It's paying a tenth of your income to the church in olden days," said Toby.
"That's right," said Nik. Oscar was having difficulty paying attention for even in the red light of the anteroom he could see enough of Nik to make him bone up. He was glad he was wearing a jock.
"But we haven't got any money on us," said Toby.
"It doesn't matter because we pay by giving our seed. We use that word instead of spunk because it helps to explain the symbolism. I'll explain it as we go along. As the most junior members you will be the last to give. Get your white gowns and black balaclavas on. Slippers of course, but completely naked underneath."
When everyone was ready, the inner door was closed and locked. The opening was performed by reciting the Vow of Allegiance which every member of the IC had taken. "It's a stringent reminder of the obligation every member is under," explained Nik. There was very little to see in the light of three candles, especially when all but two were dressed in black.
Oscar and Toby were taken to stand in front of the Eldest of the Elders. He spoke. "Comrades and Brothers Toby and Oscar, when you enter the Inner Conclave, you can only do so if you are reborn and enter as infants into this world. To symbolise infancy, you must be shaven." Oscar and Toby looked at each other wide eyed. Oscar had invested a fortune in cultivating his blond locks, but the power of the occasion made him unable to move from the spot or protest. Immediately their white gowns were removed from them and electric razors shaved the pubic hair from both of them. Their instant relief rendered them that much more compliant when the Eldest of the Elders spoke, saying "Now be prepared to bear the mark of the Inner Conclave." The aides quickly prepared the now bald pubic area and applied with pressure for about thirty seconds a piece of paper. A mirror was held in front of them and they saw tattooed to their lower abdomens about three inches square the school emblem, the Queen's crown in blue. They were told to put their arms behind them and black gowns were slipped over their shoulders. "Welcome as Comrades and Brothers of the Inner Conclave." The Eldest of the Elders shook their hands and this was followed by all the other Comrades and Brothers in descending order of seniority. How they maintained that order with everyone hooded in black balaclavas remained one of the secrets of the IC.
The meeting moved into the next stage. The Eldest of the Elders spoke, giving the following explanation. "Comrades and Brothers, I shall describe what we are about to do, not only for the benefit of our newly welcomed members, but also as a re-affirmation and reminder for our established Comrades and Brothers.
"In any hierarchy due obeisance is paid to the ruler. What could be more intimate and personal than offering our own seed? In producing and offering this seed, we are not just giving a unique and intimate part of ourselves, but we symbolically pass on our genes, the very essence of ourselves. In doing so, we remind ourselves that we are bound together by our homosexuality, our chaste homosexuality, which we accept and bear with pride. You will see my deputy pay his tithe in the ultimate manner, namely by natural insemination. It will be a symbolic act shared on behalf of you all, and he will be the only one, for we are mindful of your personal relationships and have no desire to break our chastity between loved ones and so the rest of will deposit your tithe in the silver bowl."
The first offering made by the Deputy to the Eldest of the Elders was over in ten minutes. It should not be forgotten that outside the Inner Conclave they were an item. After that the remaining Comrades and Brothers gathered round the bowl and, having made their deposits, they withdrew into the dark. Oscar and Toby could not help wondering how many handkerchiefs the final amount would soak and they grinned at one another. The meeting was closed, the balaclavas removed and the bodies disappeared wraith-like into the moonlit night as silently as they had gathered.
In the anteroom Oscar whispered loudly "Toby, I need you so badly. It will be our last chance before we break up." Dom and Nik caught up with their 'mentorees' at that moment.
"Boys, if it helps," said Dom "Nik and me have been invited to make up a threesome tomorrow. My room's free from two, if you want to use it again."
"Don't you mind?" said Oscar.
"Nah, it will only go on for another two terms and then you'll have your own studies and I hope you will offer the same service to your own 'mentorees'.
"I bet you didn't expect anything like that," said Nik.
"Mmm, not really," answered Toby.
"I think I rather like the shaved look," said Oscar. "And I certainly like you shaved, Tobes. Makes your tackle look even bigger."
"But what are we going tell the others when they notice?"
"Just say you got fed up having your teeth flossed every time you sucked cock," said Dom.
"But what about the crown tattoo?" asked Oscar.
"Shouldn't worry," said Nik. "It'll have worn off by the time you come back next term."
"And avoid ultraviolet light," added Dom. "You can see it in here, but it'll be invisible in the dorm and the changing room."
"Unless you're thinking of doing nude disco dancing," said Nik.
"Discos," said Toby. "We haven't done that yet."
"I'd cool it, if I were you," said Dom. You won't find a gay disco for under eighteens and in any other disco you'll have to make sure you're safe."
"And that's not easy." said Nik.
"Anyway," said Dom, "just remember. Nothing happened to you in the IC that didn't happened to the Headmaster."
"Wot?" exclaimed Oscar and Toby independently.
"Didn't you know?" said Dom with an air of innocence?"
"Well, the Headmaster is an old boy of the school," said Dom.
"Didn't know that."
"And a founder member of the IC when he was a boarder here," said Nik. "Of course, Tippett House didn't exist in those days."
"So he's gay as well?" said Toby.
"Well, it is a qualification for membership of the IC," said Dom.
"And why do you think us gayboys get such an easy ride at Queen's?" said Nik.
"You know," said Oscar, "you'd think our mentors would have told us all this by now."
"Need to know," mumbled Dom.
"And there's a couple of our Comrades and Brothers with him on the HMC," said Nik.
"So gradually ex-IC members are taking over society as we know it."
"As if…" retorted Dom. "And it's IC members. There's no such being as an ex-IC member and the Head knows that very well.
"As a founder he helped draw up the rules." said Nik.
"Come on, lads. It's coming up to five o'clock. You don't want your dorm mates to report you missing. See you two tomorrow… or today, rather, and don't forget to bring your towels."
"Have you tried rimming each other yet?" enquired Nik.
"Ask me tomorrow, Toby, and I'll tell you about it at mentoring time."
With the Sunday began the last week of the Michaelmas term. Oscar and Toby slept in late. Chris and David had a lot to prepare for the carol service in the evening. Packing needed doing. Oscar had been told to keep his to the minimum and he would be kitted out with the necessary clothes when he got to Canada. Vancouver itself was warm compared with the rest of Canada, but he would need winter clothing if the family went up into the mountains. In the afternoon Oscar and Toby made slow passionate love knowing it would be for the last time that year. Marcus had gone off to Olly's secret hideaway. After the carol service the Headmaster and the Chaplain wished every boy a Happy Christmas. The Head stopped Toby and Oscar to praise them for their rugby, noting that they made a very good pair. Anyone hearing this would have assumed he meant pair of half backs, but with what they now knew of the Head's past, they sensed a double meaning and although unable to prove it, they were not wrong. After Chapel the House Christmas parties took place. In Tippett groups got together to lay on a cabaret, and because it was the gay house, an impromptu disco was put on and even though it lasted less than twenty minutes, it introduced Oscar and Toby to the joys of the slow last dance. There was no time left for mentoring and so Toby had to keep his question till the following term, but by then he found out the answer anyway.
Lessons that week were just annoying little interruptions to the Christmas routine. The school play was on. David and Chris were involved in the music for that and the end of term service.
Finally at midday the end of term service was over and the boys streamed out of chapel to travel to the ends of the kingdom, if not of the Earth. To the last Oscar and Toby stuck together. They said goodbye and Happy Christmas to their Housemaster and Mrs Forrester, to their mentors, but their dorm mates were yet to come back to the house. They made their way with their luggage to the visitors' car park and Toby was pleased to be able to introduce Oscar to his parents. During this Gramps turned up and became part of the introductions. After intimate hugs Toby finally climbed into his parents' car and the Awnotts drove off. Oscar got into the car with Gramps and as they drove through the school gates, he broke down in floods of tears.
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