by Bensiamin

Chapter 3

Lennon busied himself in the house for a while, then wandered into the library. There were indeed a lot of books on all the subjects that Bran had listed. He slowly moved around looking at them by category, noticing that many were older books that were like manuals, then quite a few more contemporary ones on magic and sorcery. There were sections with books on the tarot and other occult elements. On the wall between that bookshelf and the next one over was a beautifully worked pentacle, the entire center and background of which was filled with wondrous Celtic motifs swirling in and around each other. The image itself triggered some thoughts deep in the recesses of Lennon's memory, but he couldn't put his finger on what they were. The next shelf had a collection of fiction concerning magic, sorcery and the occult. He'd not read much in those areas, but as he passed his fingers across the spines, checking the titles and authors, one jumped out at him.

Though he'd never been active in church or been any type of religious believer, he had gone to youth group for a few years in high school to satisfy his parents. He remembered well the pleasure he'd had reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, about how a group of children could step into a closet and magically appear in another world on the other side. He'd learned that Lewis was part of a writing group at Oxford called The Inklings, and it included Charles Williams. He'd read Williams' In The Place of the Lion about celestial archetypes, as well as In Many Dimensions about a group of ordinary people coming face to face with the stone bearing the Tetragrammaton. Here before him was another Williams story he'd not read, The Greater Trumps.

He pulled the book from the shelf, struck by the cover image of what appeared to be a wandering minstrel of some sort. He only had to thumb through a few pages to discover that the trumps in the title were trumps of cards, and the cards in view were from a deck of Tarot Cards. He'd always enjoyed Williams' writing style and he settled in an armchair and began reading. He was soon caught up in the characters of the story, the one who had inherited what turns out to be the rarest and most powerful deck of Tarot Cards, and his opponent who was trying to secure the card deck to access its power. His mind began to fill with images and concepts of the occult and sorcery as he became acquainted with the main characters on the tarot cards, such as The Juggler, the creator and operator of our three-dimensional illusion. The Empress, the Great Mother of Gods or nature as we perceive her. The High Priestess who guards the sanctuary of truth between pillars of dark and light. The Heirophant, who expands truth in dogma and formal ritual, and the rest of the images that comprise the cards of the Greater Arcana or Trumps. As the story unfolded and the action developed, he began to realize that his mind was opening to what had been happening to him.

Somehow, he'd simply accepted what had occurred because, put simply, it had happened. He'd regained consciousness talking to a raven who had transported him to a wonderful place by casting spells in order that he not die, and it turned out that the raven was a person who had in turn had a curse cast on him. While he hadn't denied any of it as it happened, he had pretty much deferred judgment. Now his mind was re-opening to the possibilities of such things through Williams' story, which recalled the others by the same author, and in turn the Narnia stories by Lewis, and, as he thought about it, The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien where a Gray Wizard had perished fighting for what was right and true, and who had then returned as a White Wizard who led the heroes of the stories in overcoming the evil and dominance sought by the Black Wizards. Suddenly instead of thinking of it all as fiction, which is an untrue storytelling, he began to see it all as metaphor, as ways of describing deeper truths that humankind had forgotten or come to deny, and to do so in an accessible and understandable way. Here he had discovered the Greater Trumps of the tarot, along with mythology from ancient Egypt, combined with elements of magic and the occult, which lead to the Divine Love. That he could get behind.

He sat thinking about all of that after he finished reading the book, and then when he startled awake a bit later, realized he'd fallen asleep. Refreshed by his nap, he replaced the book in its place on the shelf and quietly walked down the hall to the room containing the roost. He quietly entered and silently approached the nest. Bran was in the same position with his beak under his wing, appearing sound asleep. Lennon hoped he was recovering his strength and silently went back to the library and continued looking.

It wasn't long before his attention was caught by a book on the Order of the Golden Dawn from the 18th century. As he scanned through it, reading sections here and there, he grasped that it was an order organized to codify concepts of ritual and magic to achieve supernatural ends as well as spiritual development. He was entranced with the symbolism, not missing that there was more than one pentacle illustration, but none as beautiful as the one on the wall between the bookcases. He read enough to learn that there were three orders, the First Order taught esoteric philosophy through study and awareness of the four classical elements, as well as the basics of astrology, tarot divination, and geomancy. He found himself pleased that a book about magic and sorcery actually included tarot cards like he'd just read about. The Second Order taught magic, astral travel, and alchemy. He wondered if astral travel was what Bran had achieved by invoking the kindly powers and casting his spells. The Third Order, comprised of the Secret Chiefs, was the highly skilled magicians who directed the activities of the lower two orders by spiritual communication.

Lennon was left wondering if Bran's uncle and Gandalf had been Chiefs of the Third Order? Could there be both good or evil chiefs or magicians? Perhaps the Golden Order was the good magic? From what he'd seen, it clearly involved the kindly, or blessed, spirits and all seemed to work for things that were good and virtuous. He decided he'd had enough reading indoors and decided to take a walk, to explore the grounds of the manor house.

He found his coat, ignored the blood stains still on it, and put it on as he walked into the December air. It was brisk but not too cold, and, as he pulled it around him and did up the zipper, he felt an object in the inside breast pocket. His mobile phone! Somehow it had been transported with him, though a lot of good it would do in the hills of Wales somewhere.

It didn't take long to walk through the small gardens around the house. As he did, he thought more about white magic and how it seemed to work for things that were good and virtuous. That was when he remembered reading the book about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in English lit while in college. That's where he'd first encountered the pentacle. Although the book was replete with Christian meaning, he remembered that the five points of the pentacle for the knightly class represented the five highest virtues: courtesy, generosity, chastity, fellowship or friendship, and piety. He also recalled the literary analysis that his teacher had spent some time on, namely that the Green Knight was one of the few pagan gods that found a place within Christianity. It symbolizes nature and is a being that bridges the human world with the environment. He is a god that represents life, death, and rebirth—just like nature itself. Gawain, on the other hand, represents human civilization.

He smiled to himself, recalling the contests between the two in the tale, and remembering the sash that protected Gawain from death. But it was his piety and desire to do the right thing that had made it possible for the Green Knight to strike a fatal blow. Though Gawain fails in most of the knightly tests, ultimately it is his piety that restores him and makes possible a healthy, spiritual relationship with nature, and teaches that the cycle of hatred among humans, and between humans and nature, can be overcome. He'd completely forgotten that all of that symbolism and meaning was embodied in the pentacle.

Lennon reached the upper part of the garden where a wooden gate was set in a stone wall, and he stopped, leaning on the gate and looked up the hill. He wondered if he should end his walk and was just about to turn back to the house when he saw another smaller stone building, perhaps fifty yards up the hill and partially hidden by some trees.

Deciding it looked as interesting as the manor house itself, he went through the gate and followed the somewhat overgrown path up to the building. As he approached, he realized it must be a chapel of some sort, for it was constructed in the shape of a cross. The front door was solid wood and locked, but curious, he walked around the outside admiring the masonry and stonework. Each cross arm had a stained-glass window in it. The one on the west side had multiple panels, each with figures he couldn't make out since it was dark inside the building. He walked around the farthest end, the top of the cross which would be behind an altar, and there was a rose window. He knew enough to identify it as a rose window by the geometric pattern of colored glass emanating from the center. However, in the center of this window was a pentacle!

He moved on to the east side, where he realized that the third stained glass window was much newer that the first two. It was the type where the imagery was principally painted on the interior of the glass. However, he could tell it also contained figures of some type. But again, the lack of interior light prevented him from determining who the figures actually were.

Back at the front of the chapel, he admired the stonework once again before deciding that with evening coming on it was time to get back to the manor house, and perhaps prepare some food so that he had nourishment available for when Bran awoke.

He very quietly checked the sleeping form in the roost again, then went to the kitchen to see what was available to prepare. He found bread and a hearty stew among some prepared food, and set about heating the stew. That's when he heard a sound behind him at the same time as he felt arms come around his waist.

The arms came together at his front as a kiss was placed on his neck. "And what do you think you are doing in my kitchen?"

Lennon leaned against the side of the face that had provided the kiss. "And hello to you, too! I'm warming up some food, so you'd have some sustenance when you woke up." He turned in the arms around his waist, kissed the lips that had just been on his neck and added, "I'm pretty sure that after the last couple of days, just ten hours of sleep in your nest isn't all you need." That's when he realized that Bran was naked.

Bran leaned back with a salacious smile on his face. "You are completely correct, my dear Lennon. I do need some sustenance, and I'm very hungry. That's not all I need, though. I need you as well."

Lennon arched his eyebrows. "You do?"

"Indeed. I heard you come in to check on me just a while ago. I was slowly waking up and it was so sweet that you came to check on me. I'm quite certain it wasn't the only time. So, as I woke up, I found myself thinking about you more and more." Bran pulled him back into an embrace. "And the more I thought about you, the more excited I became."

"Really?" Lennon was trying to act incredulous, but not succeeding. "I think I see what you mean. Is that why you came in here to find me, without dressing, after you transformed?" He slid a hand down Bran's chest, across his belly and pubes and grasped his cock. "Oh! Now I know what you mean. You're hard, so you were thinking about me that way. Sexually, right?"

"Indeed! I told you last night about how long it had been. That reality, plus your person coupled with your beautiful body, has resulted in my current condition." He paused, trying to stay in control and not start giggling, and then added, "My request is that you turn off the heat and come with me."

Lennon understood exactly what was going on and played along, but said, "If I turn off the heat, aren't you afraid you'll get soft?" He gave Bran's hard cock a squeeze.

"I doubt that is possible, but I don't want to risk it. Come with me now. Let's make love again. I need that as much as I need food."

Lennon let himself be led down the hall to Bran's bedroom and pushed back onto his bed, whereupon Bran slowly started to undress him. "Don't move, please. Let me. I just want to revel in your beauty." When he finally removed Lennon's socks and had him lying naked on the bed, he began to slowly kiss up the inside of his lower legs and then thighs until he reached his groin where he kissed the tip of Lennon's now erect cock. Their eyes were locked together, and Bran said, "May I?"

Lennon grinned. "If you don't, I think I'll die."

Bran grinned back. "I thought I took care of that detail. It seems I will have to assure that's the case," and with that he took Lennon's throbbing cock in his mouth.

Lennon let him work on his cock for a minute, then lifted his head off and said, "I don't want to cum alone. Let's get on the bed where we can suck each other." Bran did, and they quickly settled into what became a glorious sixty-nine. They both lasted longer than they had in the early morning, and came almost together, both happily swallowing the ropes of hot cum the other produced.

When they'd caught their breath, Lennon turned around on the bed and pulled Bran into a close embrace. "That was amazing. You make me feel wonderful."

"Likewise. As I said this morning, it has been so long. So long since I was held and loved and kissed and… and…" His sentence died.

Lennon looked at his brown eyes and said, "Go ahead. Say it."

Bran winced.

Lennon smiled knowingly and then said, "you told me it's been eight hundred years. Okay, fine. We're now together in the twenty-first century. We can freely talk about sex. I want you to know that I don't just love your body, but I think your cock… that is, your penis… is beautiful. I love the feel of it in my mouth. I loved being able to suck it and I loved your taste when you came in my mouth just now."

He paused and watched Bran process what he'd said. "Now, tell me what you were about to say."

Bran smiled back with a mild blush of embarrassment. "It's been such a long time since someone has sucked my cock and I've been able to suck theirs." He paused, waiting as if for a reaction. When one didn't come, he said, "There! Is that what you wanted me to say?"

Lennon stroked his face. "Bran. What I wanted you to say is what you were feeling. We just need to be able to express our feelings to each other. It's no more complicated than that."

"That's something I shall have to work on, you understand."

"I do. I'm a contemporary American, so it's easier for me." Now it was his turn to pause, and he stroked Bran's face again. "You know I'm falling in love with you, don't you?"

Bran's smile widened and he said, "As you may guess, I'm so glad, as I've been in love with you for a very long time. I just never knew if it would be possible."

"Well, it seems to be. Are you familiar with the saying 'you're pushing all the right buttons'?"

Bran shook his head.

"It means that everything you do is just what I need and want to happen."

"Oh, well then! I'm more than pleased to comply!"

Lennon pulled Bran closer for a passionate kiss, then he said, "Let's both take a bath and then we'll have supper. I know for a fact that there's some nutrition in my cum that you swallowed, but not nearly enough to provide the sustenance you need."

Bran grinned and replied, "You are a cheeky sod, but I won't argue with you on that point."

Later, as they ate, Lennon told Bran about the time he'd spent in the library and the understanding he was beginning to get about magic and sorcery from the books he'd read and looked at.

"That's wonderful. Little did I imagine how seriously you would take to reading material that would help you understand our situation or what has been going on."

"I also started remembering some things I'd read before but forgotten. For instance, about the meaning of the pentacle and I have to tell you what a beautiful rendering of one you have in the library."

"That one is beautiful and precious," Bran said. "My housekeeper found it for me. She said she just knew that the Celtic motifs would make it especially meaningful, and she was right about that."

"I also took a walk through the garden and on the property, and then through the gate and up to the chapel. I saw that there is a pentacle in the rose window above the altar. Will you show me the interior in the light of day, tomorrow? I can only imagine how beautiful the interior is when it's illuminated with light streaming through the stained glass."

"I'll happily do that, but you need to understand that it's not a conventional chapel. Meaning it's not a traditional Christian church."

"I assumed that based on the pentacle."

"Understood, but realize that what are now considered symbols of magic or sorcery were not always so. There is a rose window in Amiens Cathedral in France that includes a pentacle. The moral of the story being that the meanings of symbols can change over time. The pentacle derived from pentagrams, meaning five lines, and they appear as symbols as far back as Greek and even Babylonian times. It came into Christianity as a symbol for the five senses, or the five wounds of Christ. However, it had much earlier meanings."

"What I remembered," Lennon added, "was that my first exposure to it was from reading about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where it had to do with the five virtues."

"You are remembering more and more about these matters. That warms my heart. Let's clear these dishes and set a fire and talk more."

After the fire was burning merrily, Lennon pulled the armchair over next to the low backed chair Bran sat on and took his hand. "The reading about magic and spells got me thinking again about what you said before you brought me here, what you said about preventing my spirit from separating from my body. Tell me more about what that means."

Bran smiled and nodded. "It begins with the obvious, that there is more to human beings than just the body. Christianity tends to complicate matters by talking about body, soul and spirit, but the simple fact is that humans are embodied spirits, meaning a body with an integrated spirit. The body by itself is a wondrous thing, but it is the integration of the spirit that enables us to do and experience all the things that make us human. Does that make sense?"

"Certainly," Lennon replied. "There's the obvious stuff like thinking and reasoning and logic and all of that, but what's most important to me right now are things like emotions and feelings and love." He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows.

Bran grinned back. "You know, of course, that there is love at the physical level, meaning sex, which is the result of biological responses to an increase in hormones?" He let the question hang.

"Yeah, I took biology in college. But that's not what I'm talking about, and you know it. I'm talking about how I'm feeling. What's happening in my heart."

"Well, we don't just love with our heart or our brain. That is what makes humans so unique. We love another person with our entire being. That comes from the fact that we are body with spirit. It is our spirits that connect and form this bridge of feelings and emotions, so that we love another person with our entire being. Feeling the kind of love that we are discussing is only possible because of embodiment. It is what enables us to feel love and to love others. It is also where the power lies."

"What does that mean? What power?"

"A reality that has been lost because of the mechanistic view of nature is that the human body stands as the mediator between the material world and the spiritual world. Being an embodied spirit, the person is able to encounter the world of objects in a manner that transcends the physical. Unlike the rest of the animals, we're not only sentient beings, but spiritual beings, and that is what allows us to form intimate relationships with other things. Material things, other living things, and especially people."

"That all makes sense. Are you explaining to me how our intimate relationship has happened?" Lennon's smile turned coy as he squeezed Bran's hand.

"Indeed, I am. It is this unique joining of body and spirit that allows us to surpass our limits, to transcend what would otherwise be physical limits. That transcendence works in different ways. As you quaintly point out, it is the magic in our growing and now intimate relationship. It also means that humans are part of the spiritual realm, meaning right now in their physical form, not just later upon their death."

"But doesn't everyone think it kind of only happens after they die and go to heaven, or whatever?" Lennon looked quizzical.

"That's what the majority have thought from time immemorial. The fact is, though, that if one gets in touch with the spiritual dimension and receives training in how to experience it, and how to use it, then it provides access to the spiritual realm, and that can be used for good."

Lennon paused, clearly thinking, and then said, "Or for bad, obviously, if you were cursed."

"True enough. Developing spiritual powers can be used for good or for evil. To your original question, though, I hope you can how see how important it was to prevent the separation of your spirit from your body. Once that occurs, it is done. It can't be reversed. As I told you, I have been watching you. Specifically, I've been watching descendants in your family for many generations, waiting for, hoping for, a certain type of person to reappear."

"You mean reincarnation?"

Bran chuckled. "No, not specifically. I do not think reincarnation is an actual reality. However, when you understand the concept of embodied spirits, and how traits and understanding and personalities occur in families, it was my hope that all the things that made my first, and last, love so true and real would occur again."

Bran paused and looked away, then back at Lennon. "I told you his name was Leannán, and I'd never loved a person like that before, and clearly not since I was cursed. Finding it again would be impossible as a raven, just as my uncle desired. It would likely be impossible even as a raven-boy. Who would want to be with a person like this, with wings?"

A soft smile appeared on Lennon's lips, and he said, "It turns out that I would."

"And my heart leaps for joy that it is so. In my family there was always at least one person in each generation who followed the old ways, who understood the spiritual powers, who knew of my curse, and who remained in contact with me and assisted me. Almost always it was a woman, and always they seemed to manifest the same qualities and characteristics and powers as did my mother and sister. I thought of them as my family seer. Without them I likely would not have made it. So, I could only hope that, in some manner my first love would return."

"Meaning someone would finally appear that was like Leannán."

"Yes. Not that it would be any guarantee that he would understand or love me. When your family changed its coat of arms and added the raven, suddenly it seemed hopeful again, as if somehow it was in touch with a spiritual element common to both your family and mine." He paused, then added, "It seemed so hopeless, over forty generations of watching and hoping, and then you came into being."

"And the rest is history, as they say?" Lennon grinned as he said it.

"Yes, or at least I hope that is the case. But now you see why it was so important to me that your spirit stay with your body… if there was to be any hope of recapturing what we… what I… had. Meaning, in order to determine if what Leannán and I had was possible with you."

"And it only took a mugging and a near death experience to bring it about."

"Those were fateful events, indeed. However, I had no involvement in bringing them about. I just intervened to prevent your death and hoped for what might happen."

"I know. And I understand how important it was to you that it was my own choosing," Lennon said softly. "You didn't force or coerce me in any way."

"Do you understand why it is so important? I mean besides not violating your own will and rights?"

Lennon looked quizzical and said, "You'd better tell me, so I am completely clear."

"Happily, as it will become evident when I show you the chapel tomorrow. If there is any chance that my curse is to be broken, it would be in a restored love such as I once had, and that obviously has to be one of choice."

Lennon turned Bran's hand over and stroked the palm with a finger. "So, you chose me and hoped it would work out as you dreamed, but I have to choose you? I had to want a similar thing. Is it that simple?"

Bran suddenly looked concerned, as if at this moment it would all come to pass or violently be destroyed. He nodded his head slowly.

Lennon waited a few seconds for effect, all the while stroking the palm of Bran's hand. Then he softly said, "Never fear. I told you I was falling in love with you. I was, I have, I am. I choose you, too."

The look of concern on Bran's face disappeared in a flash, replaced with a countenance of pure joy. He reached up and stroked Lennon's cheek. "To say thank you would not do justice to what you have just said. After forty generations of hope and yearning, my heart is overjoyed. I love you as well. You must understand, I felt I had to wait for you to tell me. It all had to happen in the realm of your free will."

"I understand completely," Lennon said. Then his smile broadened, and he stood up in front of Bran, taking both hands and pulling him to his feet. "I absolutely love you," he whispered softly as he pulled him into a passionate kiss.

Two minutes later as he extricated himself from the most erotic kiss he'd ever received, he said to Bran, "Now that you've told me you love me, you're going to come with me and make love to me." He looked him directly in the eyes and added, "I mean really make love. You, making love, to me. Come on."

Lennon led Bran to his bedroom and removed his tunic and placed it on a chair and then backed him up to his bed where he kissed him again, then slowly let his mouth slip down Bran's neck and chest, moving to lick and kiss his nipples, then down across his belly as he pushed his kilt down, allowing his semi-erect cock to spring free.

Lennon softly slid back the foreskin and licked the drop of precum that had appeared. He looked up at Bran's eyes, wide with anticipation and pleasure, and then leaned forward taking the head of his cock into his mouth. He heard Bran's deep groan of pleasure, and spent a little time swirling his tongue around it before slowly taking the now fully erect cock into his mouth. Knowing they'd cum together earlier, he was counting on Bran lasting longer this time. After bobbing a few times, he pulled off and leaned back, blowing Bran a kiss.

"Off with these," he softly said, pulling off Bran's kilt and slippers. Bran leaned back, holding his weight on his arms as Lennon took a step back and quickly stripped. He could see the love and hunger in Bran's eyes, and then he knelt back down, fully took Bran's cock in his mouth again, and then pulled off and said, "Slide back on the bed just a little. I know you can't lay down on your wings."

Bran did, and Lennon followed him up onto the bed, kneeling so he was straddling Bran's hips. He leaned forward and kissed Bran, his tongue going deep into his lover's mouth, inhaling the gasp he felt as he ground his crack on Bran's cock.

"You like?" He whispered it seductively, already knowing the answer but wanting to hear it.

"Oh my god! You have no idea. As you would say, I love it."

"Good," Lennon said as he continued to rub up and down on Bran's cock, "because I love it, too. In fact, I love it so much, I love you so much, that I want you inside me."

Bran's eyes widened again.

"That's right, I want you inside me. We're going to make love, and I want you to fuck me. I know you can't lie back, so I'm going to ride you, like this." He wet his fingertips with saliva and rubbed it on his anus, then did the same on the head of Bran's cock and grasped the shaft to position it.

"I'm a little out of practice, so we'll go slow." With that he settled his weight on Bran's cock, sought to relax and felt himself open and the head of Bran's cock begin to enter him. As it slid in, Bran's mouth opened and a deep moan that seemed to originate at the base of his cock wheezed out.

Lennon felt himself opening further and slowly settled to take all of Bran's cock into him. He took a deep breath, looked directly into Bran's eyes and said softly, "Good?"

"Beyond… beyond good. Transcendent!"

Lennon smiled and began to raise and lower himself, impaling himself on Bran's rigid cock. He knew Bran wouldn't last a terribly long time for lack of practice, and when he saw that his lover was getting close, he said, "Let's roll to the side. I want you on top of me. I want you deep inside me. I want to feel you fill me."

Bran understood and quietly complied as Lennon slid an arm around his back, softly cupping his wings, and they rolled over so Lennon was lying on the bed. He quickly found his position and began pumping into Lennon, starting slowly and tentatively, then increasing in pace.

Lennon watched the expression of pure sensual pleasure blossom on Bran's face, and spread his legs wide, giving him as much access as possible. As he saw him get close, he said, "Harder."

Bran thrust to his full depth and Lennon closed his legs around Bran's waist, holding him tight to him as he began to cum, shooting hot pulses deep inside him. It had been quite a while since Lennon had been fucked this well, and never with this much shared love and affection. He reveled in the feelings of Bran's cock pressing deeply into him and mashing his own cock on his stomach. As he began to cum himself, he heard Bran whisper in his ear, "Oh, Leannán, this is beyond belief."

They lay panting for a little while as Bran softened inside Lennon, and then he rolled off, but pulled Lennon onto his side so they could kiss and cuddle.

"You're a wonderful lover," Lennon said softly. "No one would know you're out of practice."

Bran smiled, slightly embarrassed. "It took you leading me. In my time we'd hardly talk of sex, let alone be so open about it."

"I was happy to lead you. Openness is healthy. It was wonderful for both of us, wasn't it?"

"Wonderful, indeed," Bran repeated softly.

"You know what you called me as you came, don't you?"

Bran raised his eyebrows questioningly.

"You called me Leannán."

"To me you are. You are my first love, and now hopefully my last love. You do know that your modern name, Lennon, was originally Leannán, don't you?"

"I've figured that out. And now here in your arms I know I am your lover and sweetheart."

"And beloved. You are all of those things to me."

Lennon took a deep breath, somewhat overwhelmed with the emotions flowing through him on top of the deep physical experience he'd just had. Then a thought struck him

"Will you stay right here, not move? I want to get something and do something for you. You have to stay right here."

Bran nodded, smiling with bliss and wonder. Lennon got off the bed and padded into the main hall where he'd left his coat and pulled his mobile phone out of the breast pocket. He turned it on as he turned back to the bedroom, happy to see that it had almost three quarters of the battery charge. More than enough for what he intended to do.

He cuddled back into place in front of Bran and said, "I've got some of my favorite songs on my phone and, as we recovered from sex, I thought about how I felt and how different this relationship is than any other I've had, and what it means. What it means to me, and maybe even more so what it means for you. I want to play it for you, so you know how I feel, okay?"

Bran nodded and Lennon went on, "It's an old love song from almost forty years ago. I've got a collection of old songs I really like, and this one's by a singer and pianist called Billy Joel. It's about love lost and love found, but especially about hope… like the first verse says: In every heart there is a room; A sanctuary safe and strong; To heal the wounds from lover's past; Until a new one comes along."

With that he started the song playing, holding the phone between them.

Watch the YouTube video of Billy Joel performing And So It Goes


When it stopped, Lennon saw the tears in Bran's eyes. He didn't need to ask if Bran had liked it, but he did ask, "You heard the last verse, right? Where he says: So I would choose to be with you; That's if the choice were mine to make; But you can make decisions too; And you can have this heart to break."

He paused and watched as Bran wiped his tears away and went on before his lover could reply. "So, the difference between us and the song is that I have made the choice. You have too. You can have this heart because I know you won't break it."

Bran leaned forward and kissed Lennon and said softly, "My beloved Lennon. You know I agree completely. We have chosen to be together, and together we will transcend this situation, wherever it may take us."

Lennon kissed him back and they lay together for a time and then Lennon softly asked, "Has the curse been broken?"

"Why do you ask that question now?"

"Because you just made love to me, you fucked me, and we pledged ourselves. Doesn't consummated mean the couple fucked? Wasn't that the main part of the curse?"

A soft smile appeared on Bran's lips which grew into one of delight. "We did, in a physical manner that was beyond belief. Breaking the curse will require a corresponding rite, however, one we can discuss tomorrow when I show you the chapel."

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[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