The First Son - Arc Two

by Zustara Orur

A story (C) 2002 by ZUSTARA ORUR. Contact address: 2.3 Not intended for redistribution, commercial use prohibited!

English is a second language to me, so please excuse any goofs present herein regarding grammar, spelling. I try to do the best I can!

Legal mumbo-jumbo BS: this story features explicit descriptions of sexual acts between consenting young boys. The story is fictional, and only took place in my mind. If this sort of thing bothers you; you are under-age (and anybody cares about it); reading this story happens to be illegal wherever you may be right now; etc, please STOP READING. I won't get in trouble, but you might, who knows. If all is hunky-dory, feel free to continue, if that is your wish.

Also note that this is a real STORY centering around love rather than sex, those mainly interested in long descriptions of copulation and such may want to look elsewhere.

SPECIAL DEDICATION: Kevin, your sincerity is always uplifting and refreshing!

PART THREE: Reclaiming Love, The Prison, Deception.

I was beyond myself with sorrow and grief, not even able to rise up from the ground. I didn't care that people could see me lying there, curled-up, crying like a newborn, that was just about the farthest thing on my mind. Suddenly I heard the rasping sound of wide tires slowing down against asphalt, a big engine revving impatiently.

"Sebastian!", I heard my mom call out sternly. "Sebastian! Get in!"

I looked up and saw mom's shiny metallic Mercedes standing right next to me, the word "KOMPRESSOR" visible in small, shiny chrome letters on its front fender just above my head, its mighty V12 engine now humming deceptively softly on idle. She spoke to me through a rolled-down side window, and as I got up - still kind of confused - she leaned over and opened the passenger door, then started to coax my guitar case which had been lying across the passenger seat in behind the back of the seat. It barely fit even after adjusting the seat forwards as far as it would go, and I had no idea what it was doing in her car, but my mind was too numb right then so I left that thought lying forgotten down there on the street. She got the guitar stowed away so I could slip in.

"What're you doing?", I asked incredulously.

"I'm not giving up on him, my son", she said, and I didn't know if she referred to me or Raphaél, or both. "And neither should you. Come on, get that door closed and buckle up so we can get going!" I did as she told me, and I had barely managed to fasten the seatbelt when she stepped on the gas pedal, making the supercharger whine loudly as the engine spun up. The rear tires on that car are definitely wider than both my lower arm and hand put together, but they still lost their grip when mom released the clutch and I almost got slammed back in my seat. Darn it, if I hadn't been so upset and confused, I'd appreciated it a lot more! Now my heart jumped up in my throat and a small gasp came out of me.

Mom, while still worried, did find opportunity to enjoy it however. She has always liked to drive, Da sees it more like a means to an end, to get where he wants to go. Mom can drive just for the sake of it and it's usually her that sits behind the wheel when the three of us go someplace. We hit 40 in like a second and a half flat it felt like and we tore past the bike kids who were still standing in the same place as before, the whoosh of air following the car made their hair and clothes flutter briefly. I could imagine the black marks mom must have left on the street behind us, and I did manage to grin a little to myself as I was busy wiping tears off my face.

"There's some band-aids and stuff in the first aid kit in the glovebox", she told me without taking her eyes off the road. "Use the antiseptic wet napkins first, I know it'll sting but it's better that way. You don't want to get any infections." She was driving MUCH too fast I was thinking, but we soon came in view of the caravan of government vehicles and then she slowed down to a more reasonable speed. They too were slightly over the legal limit, but I guess no police in their right mind would stop THEM...

I winced softly as I cleaned my wounds. Mom patted me tenderly on my naked thigh to give me a little strength back, knowing by motherly instinct it seemed how much my wounds ached, and I guess it helped; the stinging sensations dimmed down a little by feeling her affection. I guess there was no greater display of that affection than what she was doing right then however, helping me pursue my love in an attempt to regain him.

We followed the small caravan as it snaked its way out onto the highway system as I tended my physical wounds, heading westwards. I didn't bleed that much, my left knee had a small gash in it but not enough to need stitches, the rest was just scratches in my skin, and my foot was undamaged. Whatever I'd stepped on that made me fall had not penetrated my tough hide, I guess all that barefootedness I enjoyed every summer has made the soles of my feet tough enough to stand up to most kinds of abuse.

As for my wounds on the inside... Well, they were still trickling blood, but I didn't feel that agonizing pain by following my angel, unlike when he'd been driven away from me.

It was impressive to see how the mere presence of the big, black cars made all other traffic sort of scoot aside to allow them to pass. They didn't NEED to force their way through. I would not have been surprised to find a helicopter following the caravan too, but I didn't try to look for one. I got myself taken care of, and then leaned back into the nicely sculptured leather seat.

"Do you know where they're going?", mom asked all of a sudden after we've been driving for a while.

"Yeah... Some place called Linden-something-or-other... London...whatever."

Mom pondered that for a few moments. "Aah. Lyndenburgh. That makes sense."

I jerked. "What do you mean?", I almost yelled in a shrill voice. I thought the name sounded ominous and threatening for some reason, and I could only imagine the worst of things associated with it.

She laughed softly. "Sebastian! It's not an insane asylum if that's what you think!" Another small laugh. "It's an exclusive clinic for children of the rich and famous, very highly regarded." She paused and cast me a quick glance to gauge my state of mind, then her eyes went back to the road again. She continued, speaking slowly and carefully so I would understand, despite my emotional state. "They specialize in treating certain conditions, some of which you might guess for yourself. One of my now ex-colleagues of the board told me he has a daughter who tried to do much the same that Raphaél did, only she used pills instead. She got sent to Lyndenburgh too, and I hear she's doing quite well there now. They're not into chaining people to the walls and giving them electric shock treatments, if that's what you think!" No, I guess I didn't REALLY think that, she said it as a little joke to try and lighten the mood. I didn't take the bait however.

"It's not the same thing!", I complained in a low, sullen voice. "SHE might be doing well, but he won't make it, not alone... I know it!"

Mom's right hand was on my shoulder, patting me. "I'm sorry. Yes, know too, honey. I know... That's why you've got to help him, to be there for him."

We rode on in silence, following the caravan of cars at a distance of maybe a hundred feet or so. Something like twenty minutes or so passed, we were still making our way out of the city, and then I heard a cellphone ringing. I recognized the signal, it was the same I used, but I didn't have my phone with me so that made me a bit confused. Mom started rummaging around in her jacket pocket and extracted MY phone out of it. It was ringing and blinking and buzzing, calling for my attention with almost every sense there is.

I cast one quick glance at the display to see if I recognized the number. It was one in my address book. "RFA" it said, and I knew instantly who it was! I immediately hit the green answer button and put it to my ear.

"It IS you following us, isn't it?", I heard the voice of my angel ask me happily, already knowing the answer. It was too much for me, I broke out in tears again! My angel had the ungrateful task of trying to comfort me over the phone and it was almost impossible. Mom patted me on my leg, but could not distract herself too much since she was driving the car after all. I still blubbered away into the phone, not able to say much more than how much I loved him, and how much I needed to be with him. I wasn't making much sense I guess, Raphaél was alternating between amusement over my crying, and deep concern too. Then, as I wouldn't calm down, I heard him speak to the agents. He moved the phone away a little from his mouth - but not so far as to make it impossible to hear what he was saying... "Stop the car", I heard him demand. There must have been some kind of protest or counter-argument because his voice got a lot sharper all of a sudden. "Stop the god-damn car I said! Stop right now, or you'll all regret it later! Okay?!" I heard some kind of mumbling in the background, probably asking what it might be they'd regret. It only served to stir him up further. "You'll see! It won't be pleasant, you all should be lucky if you can get new jobs as supermarket baggers after my dad finds out about it! For the last fucking time, STOP THE CAR NOW!"

"All right, ALL RIGHT!", one of the new agents complained in a loud voice. I actually heard him across the phone! Then he said something else in a lower voice. Driving directions, as it turned out.

"They refuse to stop right here, but turn off at the next exit", my angel echoed to me, anticipation tingeing his voice. "There'll be a service station up ahead on your left. Stop there, alright?"

I felt like kissing the phone just to try and convey the relief I was experiencing! "You bet!", I said, trying to swallow down one last sob but failed, then repeated his instructions to mom. She flashed me a quick grin and caressed my head and neck a bit which made me feel somewhat more relaxed.

"See you soon, love!", he said warmly, and his feelings somehow managed to carry across the tinny-sounding phone connection.

My breath caught momentarily in my throat as I tried to reply. "Bye...", I then managed to say and we hung up. I leaned back into the leather seat with a big smile on my face and enjoyed the rest of the ride as much as I could, feeling sort of like I was floating on a cloud, not able to think of anything really. I just kept smiling that big smile and looked out through the windscreen up at the azure-blue sky.

Soon, yellow turn-signals started blinking on the vehicles up ahead, and mom moved to follow, down-shifting the big engine as she slowed down which made it growl pleasantly. Those Germans sure know how to build a good automobile! (And mom had a stick-shift of course, she'd told me once you don't drive an automatic, you ride in it. And she liked to DRIVE.)

I don't think anyone else I know has a mom quite like mine! If they even drove at all, it was usually just to their job or to the store. Except for Daniel's mom that is. She was the closest thing to the embodiment of the stereotypical soccer mom I've ever met! Not only was she tough as nails (if Ripley needed help with taking down some aliens, I'm sure Daniel's mom could lend her a hand!), she was a widow too and had to raise two sons by herself, using the money from her late husband's life insurance to put her children through good schools rather than raising their living standards. They had a nice house, but it wasn't luxurious in any way, shape or form. All that aside though, I still don't think she LIKES to drive, like my mom do!

The exit ramp came up quick, mom slowed down more as we made the turn, and the car responded smoothly. We gained a little on the last van, ending up almost right on its tail. In retrospect, think she did it just to tease the driver in front, or maybe to test him. It blinked quickly with its brake lights and mom backed down a little. I didn't expect the driver to keep such a sharp lookout, but maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. They were trained for all sorts of driving emergencies after all. We came out on a city street - still not completely outside Washington - and continued down it in a majestic fashion.

The car service station was clearly visible up ahead, I saw the first van turn in and enter, then the limo and the other vans too. Mom followed. The caravan stopped in a long line on the big flat asphalt area in front of the fuel pumps, mom drove up beside the limo and stopped as well. Some agents got out of the vans and spread out to survey the situation, while I hesitantly got out of the car.

One tall agent, also with a moustache just like the one of one Raphaél's new agents, but brown-gray in color (just like his hair, he was fairly old and seemed a bit wrinkled and quite stern I thought), came up to the driver-side window of mom's car and knocked on it. She rolled it down, and I heard them start talking quietly, him speaking in a harsh, raspy voice, my mom replying calmly. I didn't listen to what they were saying, I was almost in my own enclosed little world. I was terribly hesitant, the big, black car was standing there right in front of me but I didn't dare to approach it...!

I wanted to step right up to it, but when I tried something blocked me from doing so! I didn't know what stopped me, but it was as real as a brick wall. I took a small shuffling step to one side and then the other, in an attempt to find a way around that invisible barrier, my face displaying an expression of panicky fear. I didn't know what to do, and I wanted my mom to come and rescue me and help me. I turned back to her but she was still busy talking to the old agent with the moustache and didn't see my predicament! I spun back to the limo again and the barrier was still there! I couldn't do anything and tears started to fall from my eyes, I couldn't keep myself in check any longer. The strain was too great.

Just as I was about to sink down on my knees in despair, the passenger door opened a little. I could hardly see anything at that point through my teary eyes, but I heard voices arguing from within the car.

"Get your damn hands OFF me you fucking weirdo!", I heard my angel growl angrily from inside there. Then the door swung open fully and he hopped out and quickly ran up to me, his face full of worry and concern. He took me in his slim arms, I took him in mine and as soon as his warmness and closeness enveloped me I started bawling into his knitted vest thingy he was wearing. Immediately we were surrounded by I don't know how many agents, thankfully all of them standing with their backs turned towards us. "It's okay now", my angel said in between sniffles of his own. "It's okay... I'm here." He stopped to put the flower he'd given me back behind my ear. I'd held it in my hand up until then, carefully so I wouldn't hurt it.

"I'll follow you until...", I said as I tried to smile, and was interrupted by a hiccup. "Until we reach the edge of the world if I have to!", I whispered to him, then got interrupted again by a series of sobs I absolutely could not stop. I was so truly, terribly frightened of losing him, even as I held him in my grasp again I feared the thought of us being separated again for any reason. ANY reason whatsoever...!

"Love you", we repeated softly to each other over and over, crying still, but slowly starting to feel relaxed in each other's presence, enjoying the closeness, the tenderness and even the tears. In a way, it felt so good to weep in my angel's presence... I knew he felt the same too, judging from the way he loosened up in my arms and let me support him just the way I was supported by him. It was wonderful. I put my lips to the unbelievably soft skin just below and behind his ear...

"Mmmh", he sighed quietly and did the same to me. We let our lips join, and it was like giving water to a man dying of thirst. We kissed again and again, each time longer and more intense than the last while letting our arms hold one another tightly, hands squeezing and caressing softly... As we were busy doing that, I felt my mom's arms encircle us both. She held us close and brought us together even tighter, helping us bond.

I felt almost alright again. The wild fear, the panic had died down and I was again able to think clearly. "So, that makes it almost a full thirty-five minutes of separation", I managed with a little smile. My angel sniffled once, then stopped and looked at me with his big eyes, which were red and puffy now, and still full of teary fluid. I noticed he was still wearing my flower wreath...

"What-...?", he started, then his confusion turned into a giggle! I placed my lips on his even as he continued to giggle away, and it became the craziest kiss we've ever shared, and one of the most rewarding ones too! At first, he would not let me seal my lips against his at all, he turned away his head so I had to hunt his mouth with my own, and then when I finally did manage to attach myself the giggling continued; escaping through his nose instead! When he finally managed to get himself under control again, he took my head in his hands and kissed me back, properly this time, doing it very politely you could say, like a true gentleman kissing his girlfriend. He grasped me in that special way, holding one arm around my waist and lower back and the other around my upper back, across my shoulder blades. He leaned me backwards a little, supporting me with his arms, and gave me another of those gentleman's kisses. It felt truly special being kissed like that, and I even lifted one of my feet off the ground by bending the knee and let my foot point straight out behind me like I've seen girls do in old movies when kissed in such a manner. It was deeply erotic somehow, and I really could feel his love for me, the way he even worshipped me in fact... I felt that awesome responsibility I had to live up to, but it wasn't a burden. Not even a burden of love, I plain loved him and that was enough for me to be able to make him happy... I returned his affection by participating in that kiss as fully as I could, to make it as special for him as it was for me. It was an extraordinarily long kiss, and one of our best ones ever I think. When it was over and he let me straighten my back again, he looked at me, studying my face as he stroked back my longish wavy hair and tucked it in behind my ears. "Pretty boy", he whispered to me. "Love you, my pretty boy..."

"Yeah, I am your pretty boy", I returned shyly and just as quiet, feeling my face blush and my skin grow really hot. He put his lips to one of my cheeks, tenderly and affectionately, and it made me blush even worse for a short moment. It felt so good!

My mom's hands were on a shoulder of each of us, and it was calming to know she was there, helping to protect us. None of the Secret Service agents tried to stop us or even spoke to us, I don't know if our reunion was stressful to them or not and I didn't particularly care either. I like to think mom was holding them all off with her strong presence.

"Are we okay now?", he asked. It wasn't a jest, it was a serious question. He asked because he was wondering, and really wanted to know!

"Yeah, I think so, if you'll stay with me that is", I returned.

He nodded. "I think so too. You'll have to come with me though, there's no other way."

I didn't need any time to think it over. "I'll do it!", I said firmly. "I won't leave you!" I looked up at my mother, who was still standing there right next to us. "Mom? I've got to...", I started.

"Go ahead", she said warmly. "Be with your boyfriend." She smiled, and stroked me on my left cheek. I started blushing again! "There's some things you need first though..." She turned and went back to her car. After a few moments, she came back with the guitar case, a new toothbrush still in its blister pack and my cellphone, which I'd forgotten on the dashboard. She extracted my wallet from a pocket and handed that over too, and finally presented a rectangular, flat package wrapped in strong, brown paper and bound with string. Dad had written on it with an ink pen in his swirliest and fanciest handwriting. It was kind of bendy and flexible somehow, the contents wasn't very stiff I could tell.

'For Raphaél, the Love of our Love, for you to Cherish and Treasure as you like. Our gift to You."

It was my angel's turn to blush now as he accepted the gift. "Thank you!", he said just as shyly as me a couple moments earlier. "I'll open it later, if that's okay."

"Of course, I understand." My mom crouched down and gave him a hug, and a farewell kiss too. "Be good now", she said to him. "Call us for any reason, day or night. We'll be there for you." Then she hugged me too, and kissed me, and after that both me and my angel hugged her, and me and my angel both kissed her more just because we wanted to. Mom laughed. "This is going to take forever if you keep it up like that! And don't worry, we'll take the best of care of the pets too. Come on now, get going you two... I can see your escort is getting impatient."

Yes, I suppose they were. It was not an ideal location for my angel to be in (from their perspective), too open, too public I guess. Luckily, we're both so short he and I literally disappeared behind the backs of the surrounding wall of Secret Service agents, but maybe that didn't reassure them much.

Anyway, my mother started ushering us towards the limo, giving us little pats and pushes on our bums and urging us to get going. We did, as she stayed near her car. I was lugging the guitar case, it wasn't heavy, but compared to me it was fairly big! Luckily, I didn't have to go far at all. One of the agents opened the trunk and motioned for me to dump it in, but Raphaél wouldn't have any of it.

"We're not sticking it in there!", he said firmly. "We'll take it with us in the car."

The agents backed down, I was a bit surprised at how easily my angel bossed them around, but then realized it was probably a deliberate tactics on their part. Allow him to win those small, insignificant victories, as long as he went along with getting shipped off to...well, wherever he was going. At least, I was coming with him now. I looked back at my mom as Raphaél stepped inside the big vehicle. She mouthed, 'call me', and made her hand into a phone and held it up to her ear to reinforce the message. I nodded back at her, and she smiled and blew me a kiss. I smiled too, and waved.

She got into her car, the engine started with a muted growl, and she slowly drove away as I watched. I felt a short sting of pain in my chest, I'd never spent any real time away from my parents except for the odd sleep-over at a friend's or classmate's house... I was a bit nervous and uncertain, but then I felt a small, cool hand grip me lightly around my wrist, and I remembered my angel! My sweet, lovely angel, he'd be there with me...!

He gently pulled on me, and I got into the car, and then the remaining agents seated themselves too. As we pulled out onto the street again, I could see the station manager and two of his assistants stand just outside, looking with big eyes at the distinguished guests his humble establishment had attracted (even if for just a brief moment).

"Oooh! Look at you, all scratched up and everything!", my angel said, again concerned as he eyed the band-aids on my knees and elbows, as well as the roughed-up skin on my palms. "Does it hurt a lot?" His fingers was on my body, touching me carefully over the band-aids.

I smiled a little. "Not anymore", I replied lightly, and it was the truth, or as near as one could come anyway. There wasn't any pain when he was near me, or only very little, just a dull, faint throb telling my brain I'd been hurt, and asking me not to move violently.

"I hope you heal up properly! I wouldn't want that perfect skin of yours marred by any scars!", he then said with a slightly wicked grin, then slowly kissed my palms in an effort to make me feel better.

"All right, all right!", the moustache-adorned agent said all of a sudden. "Enough of that. Put on your seatbelts, we have to get going, we're late enough already." He seemed rather annoyed actually, but I'm not sure if it was because we were late, or because we were showing such close feelings to each other...

We both blushed. "Sorry", we muttered and separated ourselves, though still sharing looks and smiles. Quite a lot of them actually, in an effort to try and annoy that sourpuss of an agent. Not sure we were succeeding though, his face was like an impenetrable coat of steel right then, not showing any kind of emotion at all, not even mild irritation anymore because we'd been holding them up.

We traveled in silence, I sat right next to my angel and held his hand all the time. Sometimes we'd lean over and not quite kiss, but sort of muzzle each other, letting our hands and faces touch. We were a little shy in front of the new agents, especially me. I didn't know them at all, and had no idea what to think of them.

Anyway, after our first moment of almost-kissing, the agent without a moustache suddenly said, "That's true love, if ever I saw it!", a small smile on his face. The other one turned to him with not exactly a displeased expression, but there was still kind of a harsh glimmer in his eye.

"Agent Goodheart: shut up."

The moustache-less agent stiffened. "Yes Sir. Sorry", he replied. Neither spoke for the rest of the journey, except that agent Thoreau (the one with the moustache) told us - or rather, told Raphaél - that there would be dinner served when we arrived at the destination in case he was getting hungry. For security reasons they would not stop on the way, and did not elaborate on what reasons that might be. I hoped there would be some food for me too... However, from the way I was being studiously ignored I got the distinct impression I really wasn't supposed to be there at all. I was more or less a freeloader there in the car, so who knows, I was thinking. It could go either way really...

I hoped they saw me more as a complication rather than an annoyance. Don't know if I'm making much sense here, but that would still be better I think. If I was an annoyance, like an itch perhaps, the first instinctive reaction of the Secret Service would be to scratch; scratch me away. At the earliest possible convenience too! They were trying to protect my angel I reminded myself, but they only concentrated on his body, his physical, mortal form. They didn't seem to understand it's HIM that needed protection, and from totally different things than madcap lone gunmen and terrorists and the like...!

We continued out of the city and into the countryside. It took quite a while, and we must have passed the state border too but I didn't keep a lookout for the sign. I know we drove and drove, and suddenly there were trees at the side of the road instead of houses. That might say something about how much attention I paid for anything happening outside the car...! Raphaél was getting really sleepy, me too, but not as much as him. I think it was because of the stressful day he had experienced, and soon he kept nodding off only to wake up again when his head fell forwards or to either side. I could see it both amused him and annoyed him! However hard he tried to stay awake he still fell asleep again almost immediately, only to wake up again just as quick. First time it happened, the wreath came off his head and fell down into his lap, so he carefully gathered it up again and put it on the empty seat in front of him.

After a little while he got tired of the whole thing of getting tired and decided enough was enough. He unbuckled his seatbelt (ignoring the agents' stern admonishments to put it back on again, he just said they'd better not crash the car or else be ready to take the consequences) and laid down curled up on his side on the leather seat, his head resting in my lap. I put one of my hands on his chest to make him feel secure, and before I knew it, my angel had fallen asleep for real. He seemed so cute and peaceful when sleeping like that, so serene... I didn't mind at all he locked me in place so I couldn't move without disturbing his rest. Anyway, I am a lot more resilient than him when sleeping in a car, and I can sit quite a while without moving. I merely let my head hang down and closed my eyes.

I was drifting close to the edge of sleep, sometimes passing it, sometimes gliding back out again. My mind was filled with confusing images from my dreamworlds and from the sparse conversations between agents Thoreau and Goodheart, and the driver and the other agent up front. I'd hear them talk about a football game for example, but as I again came closer and closer to sleep the conversation became garbled, filled with nonsense spoken by other people in strange settings. It wasn't disturbing, just very, VERY strange! I had this image of very tall people dressed in white Greek togas standing on a very long and wide staircase looking out over a large plain stretching out into the distance. Far away, there were mountains sticking up, and the sun was setting, coloring everything in shades of red and orange, including the sky which was filled with small, firm, yet fluffy-looking clouds... As I said, strange.

I woke up from a hand on my shoulder, shaking me.

"Kid... Hey, kid!" For a sleepy couple seconds I thought it was Matt speaking to me, but when I opened my eyes and managed to focus them, I saw it was Kiefer Goodheart. "We're almost there", he said to me. I looked down and saw my angel still snoozing away in my lap. Good, he'd let me do the honors of waking him up again... I gave the agent a quick smile as thanks. He didn't return it; he too had that stony agent-look down to a tee, but I could still sense he understood what I meant.

"Look", Agent Thoreau suddenly said in a quiet voice. "You probably think we're a bunch of evil henchmen out to make your life miserable, but have you ever considered how difficult you two have made our job recently? You have any idea how many threats have been made against him just since this morning when the story broke? Last count, it was up to over two hundred twenty, and that's just phone calls and emails. God knows how many letters are winging their way through the US Mail system right now! All those pictures in the papers and on TV have enticed every deranged lunatic in the country to start crawling out of the woodwork, and we have basically NO IDEA which ones of them are both capable AND actually intending to try to carry out their threats! So you think about that for a while before deciding we're not on his side!" He gave me a stern look, but there was concern there too I could see. Concern, and actually even a bit of hurt, like I'd insulted him and the rest of the Secret Service by deciding not to like them. I felt a little bad about that. Maybe they REALLY only had the best in mind for my angel? Who knows, I'm just a kid after all, I CAN'T know everything! "Now go ahead and wake him up, we really are almost there." I was just about to do just that, wake him up, but then I started thinking. If there had been 220 threats made against Raphaél, surely a great deal of those must have included me as well! Possibly my family too! Oh no! Thoreau must have realized what I was thinking. He leaned forwards and put a hand on my hand that I kept on Raphaél's shoulder while he still was sleeping. "There are four agents stationed to guard your parents' house. Don't worry, they will be protected, we'll see to that."

I felt a little more secure. Agent Thoreau seemed like a hardass on the surface, sure. But he also seemed like a fairly decent human being too, in a strange way. I'm not sure I really LIKED him (because he was still concerned more with protecting my angel's physical form like I explained earlier, and also - I think - his parents' reputation), but at least I didn't really DISLIKE him anymore either.

"Thank you...", I managed to say. I then immediately turned my attention to my angel without looking at agent Thoreau anymore, because even though I didn't dislike him, I still wanted as little to do with him as possible. I shook Raphaél lightly, but I hardly needed to. He was already waking up, only rather slowly. I stroked his cheek and neck, and he stretched and moved in a most delicious manner with his head still in my lap, still more asleep than not. I would definitely have gone hard had we both been alone, but the two stern agents (one more than the other) effectively quenched my flames of passion. I don't get bothered or embarrassed easily with Raphaél around, but this time I did. I didn't know the two agents, and they were so big and stern I thought, even though they weren't as big physically as John or Matt. And, it's true I hadn't known them either in the beginning, and they were almost as stern initially and even bigger of course, but it was different now somehow. They had brought my angel BACK to me. These agents were taking him away, so I became almost shy in their presence.

Raphaél was definitely waking up now however, and it was sooo cute! He stirred a little and slowly sat up, blinking against the sudden brightness even though the car's pretty dim due to the tinted windows. Then he yawned, and stretched again, then rubbed his eyes. First thing he did after clearing his vision and getting his bearings straight again was looking at me... He looked, and then he smiled at me, and I could feel he was happy just at seeing me, that I was there. That I hadn't been a dream while he was sleeping! His smile meant he was thanking me for being there for him, and for providing him with a pillow. Me.

I felt myself smiling back, and I saw he was awake completely now, and understood what was going on. He wasn't upset, or not enough anyway for it to be visible at least, I'd have to probe him for a bit to really find out for sure. I was, however. Now that we had reached our destination, I wasn't sure if I would be able to stay at his side or not for very long. ...Probably not, I was thinking. I guess they wanted to get rid of me as soon as possible. I tried to hide it from him, because the last thing he needed right then was for me to worry like that.

I could not be sure I was succeeding.

The train of cars had turned off the highway some time ago and were travelling along a smaller country road. At times I had glimpsed open fields, sometimes there were trees along the road. Here and there, a house dotted the landscape. Not modern structures, they were all very...traditional. We continued along the road, it must have been a couple miles, then we slowed down considerably. Not to the point of stopping completely, but it wasn't any faster than a human could have jogged alongside without too much difficulty. Then I understood why; we were passing through a set of huge iron gates! Thick stone pillars on either side held them up, and an iron arch that spanned the width of the road joined them. I saw a very tall iron fence stretch out to either side, it must have been nine or ten feet tall I think. The gates were at least as tall as well, and I shuddered a little, for some reason thinking whether the fence was meant to keep people IN or OUT... Maybe both?

At least I didn't see any guard towers or barbed wire or such! It wasn't an internment camp I reminded myself sharply, I was being silly and paranoid! My angel patted my hand and I turned my face away from the window and looked at him. He was smiling still at me, as if telling me not to worry. ME not worry...!

He gave me a quick kiss, and it did manage to calm my senses. As so often before, my mere presence acted as a soothing balm on him. Sometimes it seemed as if he'd be able to walk through anything with me at his side (although at other times he'd still get terribly upset, so it wasn't a foolproof kind of protection). Anyway, I tried to follow his example, it was just a matter of tuning out the future, the unforeseeable events that had yet to pass and live in the here and now. Raphaél could do that, I tended to worry over what was about to happen sooner or later. Maybe the years of solitary existence had taught him how to not think of such things, I'm not sure. So I tried, I wasn't entirely successful, but seeing his smiling face certainly helped... That pretty face of his that I loved so dearly.

I looked at his face and tried to keep my eyes off the car windows that showed us driving across a few low hills across huge grassy areas only occasionally decorated with lone or clumps of trees. It made him smile, that I concentrated so closely on him, and it made me happy too. The grasslands came complete with narrow footpaths, and here and there an occasional small body of water that were alive with birdlife. In the distance awaited a vast, granite-gray structure built of stone. The main building was built out of gray stone and stood some five floors tall, and it had two wings sticking out on either side as well. Its architecture was strict and pretty much devoid of frills even though it was an older building. There was some details around the windows and such, and vertical pillar-like decorations too covering the full height of the structure, but it wasn't gaudy at all. Not strict in an oppressive manner either mind you (like a jail would be for instance), but a bit like this particular architect hadn't believed in a lot of pointless surface detail (he HAD to be dead by now, the thing looked like it could have been built a hundred years ago even though it was superbly well-maintained).

Despite my efforts, I wasn't entirely able to concentrate on my angel... We didn't speak, there was no need.

It was probably at least another mile from the gates to the front of the building, and we rolled up to it in a slow and majestic fashion. Several people were there already to greet us. It reminded me of arriving at the White House that very same morning, and I wondered if Raphaél was thinking the same thing, and if he was, how that affected him.

The cars stopped, engines were shut off, and somehow that gave a sense of finality to it. We were THERE. No turning back...

Agent Thoreau got out of the limo first. He stood just outside and signed for my angel to follow, which he did without a fuss, but not until after he'd put the wreath back on his head, for which I felt very grateful. It was so nice to know he placed such value on it! I came next (lugging on the guitar case and my toothbrush), Goodheart taking up the rear.

A somewhat pudgy older man came up to us, he had a gray beard and a moustache not unlike the one of that Kentucky Fried Chicken guy, but the similarities ended there. This guy was balding and had fairly large ears, like many older men seemed to have, and his hair was also gray by the way, and rather bushy eyebrows as well poised above rectangular horn-rimmed glasses. He seemed quite dry in his personality for some reason, and was dressed properly in a dark gray tweed costume with an ugly red/green checkered tie, but he didn't wear a jacket. He had a vest instead, and I saw a pocket watch chain in gold slither into a pocket of the vest. He didn't look stern, not exactly, but not cheerful either somehow. Well, I didn't know him at all, I could be mistaken of course!

He was flanked by a fairly tall, slim woman (also somewhat elderly) on one side, wearing a white, kinda puffy-looking white blouse and a pearl necklace, plus a long blue skirt. She wore her very pale-blonde hair in a bun it seemed, I could not see it, but she had to considering it was all stretched back over her skull, and I didn't think a woman of that age would have her hair in a ponytail. On the other side was another man, whom I considered to be the archetype of a shrink. He had a friendly, kind of absent-minded appearance, slightly overweight. Apart from his rounder face and despite not really looking like Robin Williams at all, he still managed to remind me of Robin Williams in that "Good Will Hunting" movie. His hair was a very dark brown, almost black (just like my angel's!), but curly, and kind of ruffled. It would not stay down at all, it stood like a halo around his face (which seemed kind of shiny, like he was sweating a little). He also carried a notepad stuck to a clipboard in one hand, and a pen in the other.

The fourth person, the one I'd seen first of all but after laying eyes on her kept refusing to acknowledge again, was Raphaél's mother. She was there too, along with what I assume to be another Secret Service agent, but he wasn't dressed in a black costume, he wore pretty standard civilian clothing. A casual jacket and well-pressed pants of a nondescript appearance. He was also of fairly normal build, maybe a bit younger than Thoreau, I'm not sure, and definitely of Latino origins; his skin a few shades darker than my summer tan, but not as deep as John.

The First Lady wore the same outfit as in the morning, plus a small shoulder bag of some shiny black fabric. Mom wasn't very keen on purses and bags and all that, she had a wallet like me and dad, and anything else she needed had to fit into her pockets or else she'd leave it at home. This limited the amount of stuff she could carry around, which was sort of her intention I think. The First Lady's purse however was not quite, but almost bulging however. It was obviously expensive, worthy of a President's wife...!

She looked at her son and nodded curtly. She saw the wreath, and I'm uncertain to her feelings towards it. It was as if she KNEW it was I who had made it and given it to him... She looked at me too, but I felt nothing in her gaze as her eyes passed over me. It was as if she kept all emotions locked up tight inside her, it felt very strange. "Ralph...", she said. "How good of you to come." I almost blanched at the insultingly cool tone of her voice. My angel didn't even twitch however.

"Yes mother", he replied humbly. I didn't even dare to take his hand under the steely gaze of the First Lady, it felt so strange. I wanted to, but for some reason I was sure she'd get angry, and I didn't want to know what she was like when angry, so I kept my hands at my sides and found myself behaving even more meekly than my angel!

The balding gray-haired man in the middle stepped forwards. "It is good that you are here! Welcome to Lyndenburgh, I am Kristof Senga, the Director of this facility." His voice was kind of soft and rounded, much like himself I thought and smiled on the inside. It was also much warmer than his face had let on when I first looked at him. "Here is Doctor Irene Reubens, who is responsible for helping me to run everything, and Doctor Joseph Heinemann, our chief psychiatrist. You'll meet more of them later. First I'd like to give you a small tour-"

"Actually", Raphaél piped up, "I am kind of tired. Could you perhaps restrict that tour to only including the route to my room?"

The director seemed kind of surprised at first, but he quickly recovered and smiled comfortingly. Raphaél's mother however did not seem as amused. "Ralph...!", she said warningly.

"Oh MOMMM! I promise to behave! But I am tired, I'll just be a nuisance if you make me go anywhere except straight to bed I know it! PLEASE?" She pondered that for a while, then seemed to decide he was right and replied with a curt nod of her head.

Kristof smiled gently. "It's all right. We can take up where we left off in the morning, it's no problem." My angel grinned at me and took my hand in his as we were being led away, up the front stairs and into the big building. I hesitated at first, but then closed my fingers around his, and then he gave me another smile.

The place was big, sure, but fairly spartan. Even on the inside. It had painted walls for the most part it seemed, and with dark slate floors, but pillars and what looked like ceiling beams and such were made of slightly rough granite. Colors were muted, bordering on subdued I was thinking. As we walked inside into the large entrance hall, Kristof talked a little about the house itself and showed some portraits of people, explaining who they were. I didn't listen, and neither did Raphaél I think. We stopped in front of a set of antique-looking lift doors in the left wall towards the back of the entrance hall, right next to the stairs leading to the upper floors. There was an identical set of doors and stairs behind us in the right wall as well. When they opened, they revealed a rather small space inside; it was only just that the balding Director, me, my angel and his mother fit inside. The First Lady put her hands on her son's shoulders and I felt him stiffen up. Fortunately, the ride was only going to be a short one. "I hope nobody minds we won't walk all the way up there. Ten years ago I would have made it easily, but now...!", the Director said as he pressed the button for the top floor and patted his belly - which was if not enormous, so at least fairly sizeable. I found myself smiling, and so did Raphaél too, and the director as well. I suddenly knew he'd said it to try to make us feel more comfortable. Maybe he wasn't quite as stiff as he'd initially led me to believe, or as I'd led myself to believe anyway...

The director's smile was small and kind of hidden, as if to tell us to keep it a secret. We knew it was pointless of course, everyone could see he did not have the build to climb stairs. But it was fun anyway to sort of pretend I guess, so we grinned back, and suddenly the lift jerked to a stop and a bell dinged somewhere behind the brass and wood paneling and the doors slid open. Kristof stepped out into a wide hallway that was as austere and discrete as the ground floor, then waited for us to follow and once we had, started off at a slow walk to the left. I was not really surprised to find the three Secret Service agents waiting for us as the lift doors opened, Raphaél's two agents, and the one guarding his mother as well. I may be imagining things, but I think that agent actually kept looking at me with a disgusted expression on his face, like he was thinking there was no way in hell he'd ever even CONSIDER eating a bullet on my behalf. I'm not sure how that made me feel, really. If it's because I'm gay that he didn't like me, I wouldn't even want him to save me. It would be too much for me to be indebted to such a person... Anyway, they were all barely breathing deeper than normal despite they had to have rushed up the stairs to make it before we arrived.

Kristof continued to talk as he walked at an almost too slow a pace, both about the building itself and about some guy dead since many years who had founded the place. Actually, it was named after him (of course!); Joseph Lyndenburgh. Apparently, he had lost a young child of his in some manner that the rotund man did not specify (but I got the impression it had been suicide), and this Joseph-guy had vowed to try to make certain that never happened again to another parent, thus sinking most of his fortune into founding the clinic. Kristof then proceeded to speak about the names of the rooms - apparently most every room had a name and a story behind the name as well. Neither me nor my angel listened very closely, but his mother showed that intent face of fascination that politicians and other people in power use when they want to appear to be paying strict attention and be very interested. My angel was lost in deep thought I could see, I hoped he wasn't brooding, because brooding would only be bad for him right then, and I wanted to speak inane words to him to make him laugh and to take his attention away from his brooding - if that was what he was doing, but of course I couldn't. People would just have been annoyed with me if I did that, so I shut my mouth and quietly hoped he wasn't brooding! The end result was I didn't listen much EITHER, simply because I was too busy worrying.

We soon moved out of the main building and into one of the adjoining wings - which were much larger than you'd think than from just looking at the front of the building - then stopped in front of yet another door, slightly decorated with beveled edges and such (but not too much just like everything else). The director produced a key-ring and quickly identified one particular key he needed and stuck it in the lock and turned. He got the right one on the first try, despite them all looking identical from my quick glance...

The room inside was a bit spartan. Not extremely so, but notably spartan. Walls were a muted green in color, not hospital green, but a more appealing minty-ish green. Still pale though, as if too saturated a color would over-excite the occupant... There was a door to the right, which was open and showed a bed and a corner of a nightstand, and a door to the left which obviously lead to the bathroom. The room we came into had two black leather chairs with rounded backs that stretched forwards and became armrests, standing on short, stubby legs made of some kind of dark wood. They seemed fairly comfortable, each positioned next to one door on either side of the room. There was a desk straight ahead (which was equipped with a matching swivel chair), also made of some similar dark wood. It was kind of old-looking I thought, and had rounded corners, and three drawers under the flat top surface. It seemed to belong there, like it had been standing right at that very spot since the building had been erected and furnished... It was pushed right up to the wall with its twin windows that were looking out across a wide, green field. The room was obviously located at the back side of the building, because we could not see the road we'd arrived along that lead up to the main entrance. Instead there was a fairly large pond some distance away, much larger than any of the other ones we'd seen before; this one was almost like a small lake and you could probably have a nice swim in it too, except I could not see any swimmers in it. I could see some red wooden buildings off to the right however, buildings that looked like stables perhaps, I'm not sure. Two paintings adorned the walls of the room, they were both boring green landscapes with blue skies and grass and trees and stuff, just like what one could see right outside the windows, and were hanging above the armchairs. Floor seemed to be some kind of dark stone, just like the corridor outside, but with a thick Arabian rug on top, while the ceiling was a simple white in color. It wasn't chalk white, but a warmer, creamy white, and from it hung a milk-colored glass bubble on a brass rod. There was a desk lamp there too to provide some extra illumination during dark evenings, but that was it really.

"This is the Sarah-Anne Winthrope room", the director said. "You'll note this is the first room I've mentioned so far that actually has a first AND a last name, and it is indeed the ONLY room too. That's because the girl this room is named after - although she's an old, old woman now - was the first female resident of Lyndenburgh. Up until that point, we had only had boys living here. It was long before my time though, or else I'd been the best-looking 120-year-old man on the planet...!" The First Lady allowed herself a polite smile at the small jest (which he'd probably told a large number of times already to other people), but it went right by both me and my angel, and largely unseen at that.

We went into the adjoining bedroom and found a bunch of wardrobes built into the inner wall opposite the windows, that made the room a bit smaller than the first, their doors made out of the same dark wood as the furniture (which included the bed frame by the way - and it was quite narrow. If we'd been full-grown it would not have fit both of us, and it was a very tight fit even as it was!). There was indeed a nightstand on one side, and another chair on the other side of the bed just like the ones in the first room, the stand equipped with an old mechanical alarm clock. Plus, another two windows of course like I said, this time with thick curtains that could block out the light, instead of the flimsy, pale ones in the adjoining room. There was also a bedlamp mounted on the wall, also made of brass, and the lamp itself mounted on a flexible arm. Bedsheets and covers were in a dark green color, pillows white.

"Ralph...!", his mother said and sounded serious, but not hostile or really even stern. "There's some things I need to discuss with Mr. Senga before I leave, I trust you will behave yourself?" She looked at him levelly, and I knew it was a command, not a question. "And by the way, visiting days here at Lyndenburgh are Saturdays only, and although I think they will make an exception this once, your...friend...will have to go back home tomorrow. Do you understand?" '...And not a peep out of you saying otherwise, I won't tolerate it!', was her unspoken words.

"Yes mother." His voice was level, bordering on resigned I thought.

She nodded just as firmly. "Good. Now we'll give you some privacy, and remember what I said. I'll be back in not too long." '...So don't you even THINK of getting up to any kind of mischief!'

She turned without waiting for a reply - which wasn't forthcoming anyway - and left, along with her own agent escort and the director. Goodheart and Thoreau had stayed in the first room in order to not crowd us too bad (the place wasn't very big and not really designed to handle five grown-ups and two young teen children), and they waited until the others had exited. "We'll step outside too, give you some space, alright?", Thoreau said. This time my angel acknowledged briefly, just a nod. The agents did step outside into the corridor, and promptly too, and then I heard the door close behind them as well. We were alone.

I sat down in the chair next to the bed, on the edge of the seat since I was feeling a bit nervous and out-of-place. It was such an alien place to me, I could not feel any happiness or warmth there, despite the director's actually almost cheery disposition. I'm sure I was overreacting, but the fact I hadn't met ANY other people at all, not staff nor unsettled me. Where WERE they all, locked away down in the basement strapped to stainless steel tables, doctors in white clothes doing god knows what to their bodies? No. Of course not, I'm being silly again, silly to the point of scaring myself even! They don't do such things anymore, even a kid like me should know that!

It was still hard to calm down though, and I sat there on the edge of the seat feeling tense. I was thinking that I hadn't even bothered to try and take off my shoes, something I always do at the first possible opportunity when coming indoors, only to realize I wasn't even wearing any! That's how distracted - distraught even - I was! My angel had woken up from his reveries for a moment, he was busy examining the room, opening wardrobes and drawers. Everything was empty for the most part, and had that smell of empty too. Stale, abandoned... Funny, no matter what an empty container's made of, you can always feel that smell of empty from it when opening it! There was a whole lot of empty in the Sarah-Anne Winthrope room. Maybe nobody had lived there in all the decades that followed since that girl had been there...

Raphael proceeded on to the bathroom, looking it over. It was white, clad in glazed tiles with a floor made of small mosaic squares, gray in color. The toilet, tub and sink were all white too for the most part, the faucets shiny metal but old in appearance. The bar used for large towels, and the hooks for small ones were all shiny metal too. Only thing that broke the pattern was the seat and knob on the flushing lever on the toilet: they seemed to be made of bakelite, black this time. Above the sink was a bathroom cabinet with a mirror, and just below it, a shelf of frosted glass.

"Hey, look! Here's some of those stupid hotel soaps!", he reported, his voice sounding hollow when speaking from inside the sterile environment of the bathroom. He held up one for me to see, it was small and wrapped in shiny, semi-transparent waxed paper, but had no logo printed on it. Maybe that would have been too much they thought? "Hmmm. I wonder...", my angel then said and started to pull out length after length of toilet paper. He then tossed the bundle in the bowl without tearing it off and flushed. There was a tremendous gurgling sound from the old contraption and the toilet roll started spinning wildly as more paper was drawn down into the bowels of the building by the fierce flow of water. Raphaél started giggling uncontrollably at the sight. "I wonder if I can make it overflow?", he then said and started to pull out even more paper when the miniature Niagara falls had subsided. The toilet reservoir was refilling with a loud hissing noise that seemed to echo and get amplified inside the stark walls of the bathroom...

"No, stop it!", I said and got out of the chair and rushed over towards him. "You're scaring me! This isn't you, Raphaél, stop please!" I clamped my hands around his wrists even though he actually HAD stopped, just to make sure he wouldn't continue. "The last thing we need right now is you making a mess, and making your mother even madder at us. Okay? Promise me!"

He sighed and looked down, clearly ashamed. "Yes, you're right... Sorry." He tore off the bundle of paper and tossed it all in the wastebasket next to the sink, thus disarming his 'toilet-bomb' before it had a chance to go off. "I guess I wasn't thinking."

I found myself hugging him close, overwhelmed with worry and concern. "Come with me. Unless you really need to go, that is?" I hadn't meant it as a joke, but suddenly my angel grinned back at me.

"No, I don't need to GO!", he said with a huge smile. "You really ARE a kid, you know that?"

Now I grinned too, and he took me out of there, letting me hold an arm around his waist. We walked back to the bedroom, I sat down for real this time while he placed himself on that narrow bed. His shoes were gone, I never noticed when he took them off...

"Why don't we look at your present instead? I'm at least as curious as you are!", I said to him in an effort to bring his currently much too high-strung mind onto something else, something harmless.

He nodded. He'd placed the package on the desk, so he got out of the bed and hurried out into the first room, then came back again. He sat down on the edge of the bed again, as close to me as he could get and re-read the nice calligraphy letters my father had written on the outside, then started to undo the strings holding it all together.

It was his sketchbook...

My angel opened it on the first page, and the first thing that greeted him was a black-and-white portrait of my face and some of my neck too. It covered the entire page and was so amazingly accurate despite being drawn using nothing but simple pencil strokes. I had no idea when he'd made it, I certainly hadn't modeled for him! The bottom of the page explained it all, where Da had written, "My son age thirteen, from memory. July 7th", in his very characteristic scrawl. On the picture I was smiling just a little...

Next page showed me lounging in the sofa back home leaning casually against one of the armrests, my shirt had slid halfway up my torso. I had my headphones on, listening to my portable CD player while reading a book. Had to be one of the Harry Potters, I had (re)read them all just after moving into our new house... Next picture, me in the garden, all naked now lying on the lawn on my stomach, lapping sun. Next pic, me sitting next to the pool wearing a bathrobe, open at the front (and again naked underneath), my thighs pressed together, feet sticking out to the left. I'm holding a coke bottle in one hand as I'm looking off to one side, laughing at something (I can't remember what). Next picture, me one morning at the breakfast table, looking woozy and with hair all damp and messed-up after my morning shower. Da's drawn the kitchen and most of the table in a very rudimentary form, only fleshing out the parts closest to me with details.

There was picture after picture. He must have sketched me all through summer without me ever noticing it... They all had a small explanatory note and a date. Almost every day a new picture, some showing me with clothes, some without. My angel sighed with happiness at each new picture, and on the last page he'd drawn us both at night in the garden. Our pool seamlessly transforming into the open ocean, the tiled poolside into a beach. The moon glittered in the water as we were sitting down together, holding each other tight, tight as we kissed... It was dated the previous day, and the title was simply, "Joined".

My angel looked at me when we'd finished going through the sketchbook, and suddenly I saw tears in his eyes. "Thank you", he whispered to me. "Thank you so much! This is the best present I've ever..." He sniffled, and then I had to hold him so he wouldn't become too deeply affected.

"You're welcome", I whispered back, and continued to hold him for a little while. He put his head in against my neck, and I felt his tears on my skin, and that somehow made me love him even more all of a sudden. It took a little while for him to recover (and I had to hide away the sketchbook too), but soon my angel was back in control of himself again. He leaned back on the bed and rolled over to the side with the nightstand and started to fiddle with the old alarm clock, maybe intending to wind it up or something like that when he made a discovery.

"Look! There's even a little pamphlet here...", Raphael said and picked something up from the nightstand. "'Located in a rural setting of the state of Virginia, Lyndenburgh offers a unique combination of serene tranquility and quick access to...' et cetera et cetera. Isn't this ridiculous? It's like they DO think it's some kind of fucking hotel!"

"No swearing!", I admonished him much like a parent would, and he blushed a little.

"Sorry again!", he said sheepishly, then grinned a little. Was he taking it seriously? Not enough, in my opinion!

"This is no joke, Raphaél! What ARE we going to do?! You heard your mother, she's going to force me away TOMORROW! Will you make it? I can only come see you once a week you know, and only for a few hours at that..."

He became quiet all of a sudden, thinking hard. "I couldn't say", he replied slowly, and I understood. He'd last a few months. Maybe a little longer, but not much, slowly withering away. He'd brighten up whenever I'd come to see him, but it would only serve to burn what little of his life-candle that remained even faster. And after that...

...I don't want to think of that now. I sat down on the bed too. "Will you hold me?", I said to him, and took off my top just in case he needed some extra motivation. My angel complied, he scooted over to my side and put his arms around me, but was doing it in kind of a distracted manner, not really participating even though I was holding him too and caressing him just the way he likes it the best. That way that can make him go all soft and supple to the touch of my hands (except for one particular part of his anatomy!), but this time I got no reaction at all! Was he STILL brooding? I tensed up out of fear.

That finally made him wake up. "What's wrong?", he said and I heard genuine worry in his voice. HE was concerned about ME!

"I... I don't know! You were so distant!"

He blushed a little and smiled a small, guilty smile at me. "Sorry, for the third time!" He hugged me hard to show he was there for me now, not just in body, but in spirit as well, and kissed me quick on a cheek too. "I was just thinking of a way to get out of this whole mess. I started back in the hallway and now I think I got it all figured out. Maybe. If you'll help me..." He looked at me with uncertainty in his large brown eyes. Those eyes that I love above all else!

I stole a kiss off his mouth simply because I love him so much (and because he looked so pretty when guilty), but then frowned at him, thinking of what this plan of his might involve. "It doesn't rely on verbal threats directed at your parents or any kind of sharp implements does it?", I said sternly.

A laugh came in return. "No. NO! Sebastian, don't be silly! Of course not, this is a GOOD plan, I know it. Or I hope so anyway... But you didn't approve the last time I suggested something like this so I don't know if I'm allowed to try again."

Aaah. Yes... Maybe! "Tell me more", I commanded him, and he obeyed.

"Mother's still talking to the administration, setting everything up. She wants me to be here a long time, I know it. Six months minimum, a year or more if she can get away with it. If it was all up to her, I think she'd keep me hidden away here until I'm all grown up and by then my brain would be so mushy I'd WANT to stay... Stay forever." He sighed, seemingly well aware we both know he'd never last that long. He HAD to know that! "So that can't happen. I must get away from this place! When she leaves, she'll do it by the back exit, I'm sure. That's the preferred way, less obvious. You will go too, and that will please her. You might even pretend to be annoyed with me for not fighting her, but it's not necessary for the plan to succeed." I nodded in agreement, not to the annoyed part because I can't even pretend to be angry with him, but at least I wasn't worried anymore as he continued to explain...

We made the necessary preparations (including one call from my cellphone), which didn't take us long. Raphaél's stuff hadn't arrived yet, so there was nothing to pack (just the guitar case and my toothbrush, which I'd stashed away inside the case by then so I wouldn't misplace it), then there was nothing else for us to do other than cuddle on the bed. In fact, there's nothing I rather do these days than cuddle with my angel, so it's not as if I was bored or anything, far from it! Anyway, we were busy pleasing each other in small and simple yet effective ways (we were still fully dressed mind you), when there was a loud knock on the door, then the handle turned without bothering to wait for any reaction from us. We jumped out of surprise of course and instinctively let go of each other. It was just a reflex reaction (I'm not afraid to be seen kissing my angel of course! It's just that strange place, it made us both a bit jittery I guess, and we didn't want to risk his mother to see us like that either), but fortunately, Raphaél had locked the door without me noticing it. ...Which actually WAS possible as it turned out, I didn't think he would have that luxury but I suppose all the staff had keys anyway just like Kristof, so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised. After all, you wouldn't want just anyone to be able to sneak into your place while you were out, or worse, while sleeping...

There was a brief pause after the door had refused to open, then there was a more gentle knock, and a low voice from the other side. It was the First Lady like expected.

"Ralph...?", it said. Not really hesitantly, but not harshly either. "May I come in please?" Her tone of voice was somewhere between requesting, and telling him to open the door.

He sighed and slowly got out of the bed (but not without first giving me a long, wet kiss on my mouth which I enjoyed tremendously, and a nice grab at my butt too!), and then made his way out into the adjoining room and unlocked the door. I was quick to put on my shirt again and hurried to adjust my quite excited dick in my shorts so it would not be visible I had a glorious hard-on. Then, as the door was opening, I hurried off the bed and sat down in the nearby chair again, but I don't think I was quite fast enough, the First Lady must have seen me sit down really-really quick, and we had messed up the bed spread too which of course made it plain to her we'd been making out. She didn't say anything beyond giving me a disapproving look though. ...Actually, I'm not sure she did, it might just be my imagination. Or maybe I'm imagining that I imagined, and that she REALLY WAS giving me a disapproving look? Heck, I'm too confused on the subject, and she was much too experienced in casting glances. She could manipulate me any way she wanted to, I realized...! Bully me, scare me, intimidate me, all with nothing but a look! I sat there and blushed, feeling stupid and ashamed, and it wasn't pleasant at all. Especially since the last thing I want is to feel ashamed for showing my love TO my love, and that made me angry at myself, but I couldn't help it, which made my anger an impotent rage which only served to make me blush even harder...

I sat there as they discussed more things, mostly rules concerning him, neither fortunately not concerning themselves with me at all. It allowed me to bring myself under control again. Well, 'discussed' really isn't the right word. SHE did most of the talking, and he accepted it more or less without question. Sure he argued a little, but only on things that mainly lacked any kind of relevance whatsoever. It was what she expected, her son was a difficult child, and he had to be handled firmly in some ways and softly in others, that was what she believed. Granting him some small freedoms to ensure he complied with her greater goals was a small price to pay. The negotiations did not take long, and soon she had promised to have his computer setup delivered, along with a number of other bigger or smaller items, like his Playstation 2 console for example. It wasn't Lyndenburgh's policy to allow such things - their program depended not on isolationism, but on the deliberate elimination of most of the 'irrelevant' focuses we surround ourselves with these days, to allow the patient to focus on more immediate concerns. But my angel successfully argued having his computer would make him able to focus MORE clearly instead. He even wanted internet access, but there the First Lady drew a firm line. No internet, at least not initially. If he behaved, they MIGHT consider it in the future though (but I expected she'd NEVER agree; she only hinted at some room of negotiation on the subject to keep him complacent).

Raphaél did not want Misha however (his mother had even asked if he'd like to have the disgusting little rodent - not calling it that of course but it was plain enough what she thought of the animal), but my angel declined. Not because he didn't love the stupid little furball - he did - but because he was concerned too many changes of environment would put an undue strain on the poor thing. It would be better if he stayed with me, my angel said, and his mother nodded approvingly. The fish tank had to stay where it was anyway for practical reasons - there was simply no room to fit it anywhere, and he was satisfied with that too.

So as the negotiations ended, I prepared to leave. Well, it wasn't much of a preparation anyway, I got on my feet again and grabbed the guitar case. My cab was waiting at the front of the building, and my angel followed me down to the ground floor again (still wearing the flower wreath of course), along with the agents. Thoreau went with us in the lift while Goodheart and Hector Matiz (the First Lady's bodyguard; she called him Hector, the other agents addressed him as 'agent Matiz' of course), took the stairs. They were again quicker than us, and not even a hair laid the wrong way when we saw them as we came out of the lift!

The First Lady stopped at the back of the entrance hall. There was a set of tall, double doors there with a lattice holding panes of glass set into them that led on into a short corridor with a short flight of stairs down straight out to the back exit - which was another set of doors much like those at the front, except smaller. She took hold of my angel on his shoulders and told him to be good. My mother would have at least given me a kiss on my forehead if we had said goodbye like that, but she did nothing other than grasp his shoulders, and he was still wearing his shirt and vest, so it was nowhere near an intimate touch either... I expected that she and special agent Matiz would go out the back door and drive back to Washington immediately, but she didn't. She watched us walk through the hall to the front door where we said our farewells, and I could not help starting to cry once more despite knowing I would see him again. My angel held me and tried to comfort me, he knew my tears were real, too genuine in fact, but it didn't help. I couldn't stop and I climbed into the cab still feeling a lingering sensation of his soft lips on mine, his smooth hands touching my face, and I was still weeping. He waved goodbye at me, and that was it.

Raphaél went inside the big building again, flanked by the two agents. Not HIS agents, because these were merely guards, not the true friends John and Matt had become. He'd told me he'd tell the agents that he wanted to take a small stroll outside in the park at the rear of the building just by himself. He thought they would agree if it was for only five minutes or so. After all, the clinic was a sheltered place, and it wasn't as if he could run away on nothing but his own two feet. It was at least a mile or more to the outer fence after all, and he'd never make it there on foot in time. In fact, Raphaél wasn't sure he could run a mile period, he had never tried! So he thought he could make a pretty strong case...

It was just barely I could order the cab driver to drive around to the other side. I was hoping, praying... Pleasepleaseplease! Make it work. Make it work...!

The cab came to a stop on the gravel surface in front of the rear exit. I could still see the tracks from the armored limo that had carried away the First Lady stretch out ahead of me, and then the rear passenger side door opened and my angel slithered inside real quick.

"Gogogo!", he whispered. "They're there right inside in the big hall, if they saw me sneak in here we'll never make it!"

I smiled and returned his kiss that he'd given to me when we first parted only minutes earlier, despite his - and my - wish to get going IMMEDIATELY! I had to do it! "My angel...", I whispered. "I love you, now and forever!"

It was like the great escape from Alcatraz... We breathed a sigh of relief as the cab emerged onto the highway back towards the city again. The first step of our long and dangerous journey had begun, and we could not be certain we'd reach the end. The journey that would take us to the great city of San Francisco...!


Author's Notes: I know it's been a fairly long wait this time (not that I know if anyone's really waiting or not!), but alas, here it is. Part of the reason it has taken me this much time is because I've been writing on a few other stories as well (one published already; The Kiss of Life, the others might be at some point in the future, or might not). I've also been typing away on a future part of this one. Yes, I'm not done yet, there will be more. So, positive side of the delay is, the wait for that next part - if indeed anyone's waiting that is - will be shorter this time 'round, since part of my job is already done.

I've been lucky to get to know a small number of girls who are reading my stories. Not many - it's in the low single-digit numbers, but even so, it's a great source of enjoyment for me talking to you (you know who you are, hugs to you!). I'm asking, not demanding of course, that if you are a girl and have not yet written me, would you please do so? Just to tell me you're you, you don't have to start a conversation or anything if you don't want to, I'd just like to know you exist, that's all. Also, even more fascinating would be if there's any straight guys out there reading this... Would you please also get in touch with me? PLEASE? :-) I know there's a few of you lurking under the surface, tee hee!

I hope you enjoyed yourselves reading this. It was sometimes difficult to write, but I'm pretty satisfied with the end result. Your views and opinions are always greatly valued, you'll find my email address at the top. But if you ever consider adding me to your address book, please make sure you're running a virus killer on your system because I'm getting a wee bit tired of all the Klez (and similar) mails that I keep getting. They're not dangerous to me, but they are annoying. Thank you! (And here endeth this week's safe computing habits lesson. :-))


Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead