by Ivor Slipper

Chapter 8

"Yesssss!!!" I shouted as the first picture appeared on the cell phone screen, simultaneously punching the clenched fist made from my free hand into the air while jumping up and down with excitement. I looked up and down the track suddenly worried that someone might have seen or heard this mad boy behaving like an idiot, but I was totally alone apart from the frightened calls of some nearby birds who'd been suddenly scared by this outburst of noise.

That first pic clearly showed Mike Daubney and another boy who I was pretty sure was one of his fellow jocks named Kyle Lundgren at a distance I reckoned of about twenty yards. I then flicked through the other photos which had been taken at a greater distance and showed a total of four different boys. I couldn't make out for sure who the other two were, but I reckoned they could be enlarged to disclose them better. Of course all the pics were date and time stamped so there could be no argument as to when they'd been taken.

My Troy had done it! He'd managed to get pics of his attackers, then had the presence of mind to toss his phone into the undergrowth before they jumped on him and even in his injured and dazed state had been able to tell me where to find it. I was going to hug and kiss him to death when I saw him – well, not quite to death if you know what I mean – as I guessed it would very probably be a while before he was up for much hugging or kissing.

I put his cell safely in the pocket of my hoodie, retrieved the bike, stood on the pedals and started back to town. I was on a fairly straight part of the track and about fifty or so yards ahead was a bend. As I started to pick up speed I saw two bikes come round the bend heading in my direction. It took a second or two before I realized that Daubney was on one and Lundgren on the other. Putting the brakes on I screeched to a halt, now about twenty yards from them. Mike yelled something at me, but I wasn't listening. I turned the bike round and started pedalling back the way I'd come. Self-preservation was the order of the day – there was no way I was going to let those two catch me and take the cell from me.

I can't claim it was a sixth sense that had made me take Troy's bike to school that morning as I don't really believe in such things. It was more that his bike was better and gave a more comfortable ride than mine, plus the fact that I had been intending to go to the hospital after school and that was a fair distance. Also, somehow in my brain it had meant that Troy was still going to school with me that morning, stupid as that sounds.

Whatever the reason, I was damned glad I was on Troy's bike rather than mine. With all the time I'd spent riding a bike I was pretty sure I could have outlasted these two on mine, but it wasn't built for speed in the same way as Troy's. So I was pretty sure I could now both outlast and outrun them, which was how it turned out. By the time I reached the end of the track they had dropped back to twice the distance and once I hit street there was only going to be one winner.

I headed straight for the police station and as I chained Troy's bike up outside I noticed a patrol car pull up, out of which stepped Officers Rudigger and Perkins. Rudigger spotted me and walked towards me with a concerned look on his face.

"Adam isn't it?" I nodded. "You look a mess, son. You haven't been attacked too?"

I managed a grin, despite being rather out of breath from pedalling so hard.

"No, I managed to get away. I've got something you'll want to see."

"What's that?"

"I managed to find Troy's camera and it's got some interesting photos on it!"

"Of the people who attacked him?" I nodded in conformation.

"That's great news – I think. You'd best come inside with us as you need to speak to Detective Diamond who is investigating it now. We just took the call from the dog walker and then followed up at the hospital and your house. We only do the leg work – the D's do the investigating" she finished with a smile.

We went into the station and I was taken to an Interview Room. Officer Perkins went off the find the detective while Rudigger stayed with me. She suggested I sat down and asked if I wanted anything to drink. After my exertions I was pretty thirsty so I asked for a glass of water which she went and got. When she returned she asked me how Troy was doing and I told her he seemed a good bit better today and that he might be allowed home later. At that point Officer Perkins reappeared together with Detective Diamond.

He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place where I'd seen him. I guessed he was about the same age as Mr C, but some inches shorter, quite slim and almost bald. He just had a sort of ring of hair going round his head – a bit like the drawings I'd seen of monks in Europe centuries ago. He was jacketless with his shirt collar undone and his tie half undone. I couldn't help noticing the sweat stains on his shirt under the armpits. He had a careworn look to his face. Perhaps, I thought, he was just worn down dealing with crimes and criminals.

He sat down in a chair on the opposite side of the table from me.

"I'm told you've got some evidence to identify the people who attached your friend."

I thought I detected an odd emphasis in the way he pronounced 'friend', but I didn't pay too much attention to it as I was still on a bit of a high from finding the phone and the chase that ensued.

"Yes, I found Troy's cell and he managed to take pictures of the boys who attacked him. Look, I'll show you……"

I went to get Troy's cell from the pocket of my hoodie, but he interrupted me.

"Hold on, son – Adam isn't it?" I nodded. "How did you manage to find it and where exactly was it? Your friend" again I noticed the odd emphasis on that word "told us he was attacked by four people, but that he couldn't identify them. Why would he say that when he'd taken pictures of them?"

I was starting to feel as if I was being cross-examined in a courtroom.

"I dunno why he'd say that, except perhaps he thought it wouldn't still be there to be found. Look, when I saw him in hospital yesterday afternoon he was drugged and couldn't talk properly. He managed to whisper two words to me that sounded like 'Poem' and 'Bish'. They made no sense to me then."

"Don't make any to me now either" he said with a chuckle.

"Well, it finally occurred to me this morning that what he was trying to say was 'Phone' and 'Bush'. Once I'd had that idea then I wondered, as he did have his cell with him the last time I saw him when he set off for home from the park, if he had not only managed to take a pic of them but had also been able to throw it into the undergrowth before they jumped him. So I went up there, dug around in the undergrowth for a while and finally managed to find it."

I wasn't going to admit to him that I'd spent ages in the undergrowth looking for it before the idea of calling Troy's number had occurred to me.

"Yeah, it looks like you've been doing some crawling around in goodness knows what. Smells a bit like it too."

I really was beginning not to like this man.

"Alright, let's see what you've got."

I took the cell out of my pocket, switched it on and brought up the first picture. I showed it to Diamond and Rudigger who was sitting by his side.

"Do you know who these two are?" asked Diamond.

"One is Mike Daubney and I'm virtually certain the other is a fellow jock named Kyle Lundgren."

"Is that the only photo."

"No, there's some more." I proceeded to show him those.

"Do you know who the others are?"

"It's hard to be certain at that distance, but I'm pretty sure they are fellow jocks from the football team. Can't you get them enlarged or something to show their faces better?"

"Guess we should be able to. Mind you it might not be necessary. If we pull in this Daubney he might well give up the names of the others. These pictures do look fairly conclusive as I see they are timed just before your friend was attacked."

I wasn't sure if I was going paranoid as again I was sure I'd picked up a strange emphasis of how he'd said friend.

"So what happens now?" I asked.

"We'll need to keep the phone as evidence. I'll give you a receipt for it in a minute. I hope your friend hasn't got any pictures on it he shouldn't have."

Yet again I heard the emphasis and now there was an implication of some sort. I couldn't imagine Troy had any pictures on there that he shouldn't have. We'd never taken naked pictures of each other and I couldn't imagine he had nude pics of anyone else.

"Then we'll go and find Daubney and invite him down here to answer some questions. Hopefully it won't take long to get this resolved."

He stood up, picked up the cell and said he was going to write out a receipt for it, returning with that piece of paper a couple of minutes later. He then asked Rudigger to show me out, adding that he'd almost certainly need to see me again to get a formal statement about how and where I found the phone.

As we were walking towards the front door Rudigger said to me

"You seemed pretty much out of breath when you arrived here. I guess you wanted to get here as quickly as possible to show us what you'd discovered. "

"Sort of, but I only found it a couple of minutes before Daubney and Lundgren showed up. Fortunately I'd taken Troy's bike to school this morning and it's newer and quicker than mine so I managed to outrun them."

"You were lucky they didn't catch up to you Adam. Based on what they did to Troy and knowing what you had found, they'd have made an even bigger mess of you. Why didn't you call us when you worked out what Troy had said?"

I thought about that for a minute, chewing over the reasons in my mind.

"I guess it was partly because I was excited at having worked out what I thought he'd said and wanting to prove that. And partly because I feel so guilty that he got beaten up because of me."

She laid her hand on my arm. "He didn't get beaten up because of you Adam, but because what the pair of you represent. Some people just can't accept gays and consider they have to 'dealt with' in one way or another."

She was right of course and I was slowly coming to realize that perhaps I wasn't the sole cause of everything bad that happened around me.

"I'm just glad they hadn't thought to go there before I got there because they must have seen Troy using his phone."

"If that dog walker hadn't come along when he did they'd have finished beating Troy and then gone and found the phone. I can only think they were too scared to come back last night in case we were still there or perhaps because they felt they'd not find it in the dark. As for why they didn't go there earlier this morning, who knows? Let's just be grateful they didn't."

By this time we'd reached the front door, so we said goodbye to each other and I went to unlock Troy's bike. There was only one place to go now – the hospital to give Troy the news.

When I got there they weren't too keen on letting me in to see him no doubt because of how I looked, but I managed to talk my way in. Troy was still in the same room and as I entered he appeared to be asleep with Mrs C sitting in a chair by his bed, holding one hand. She looked up as I entered and sort of gasped as she saw me.

"Adam, what's happened to you? They haven't attacked you now, have they?"

I grinned. "No, they tried, but they couldn't catch me."

It was a stupid thing to say I guess and she gasped again, dropped Troy's hand and put her own to her mouth. Having his hand freed by his mom must have disturbed Troy as I heard him groan and then move a little in his bed before his eyes started to open.

"That doesn't sound good, Adam and what brings you here? You should be in school at this time of day.

"Yeah, I should, but……how's he doing?"

"He's improved a lot. The doctor is coming to see him in an hour or so and I hope they'll agree to discharge him. If he doesn't need any treatment he might just as well be at home."

"That's what I reckon too" mumbled Troy, before wrinkling his nose and adding "Jeeze, Adam, you stink!"

I walked round to the free side of his bed, leaned over and kissed him which drew from him a sound that could best be described as 'Yuck', before I sat down on the chair there.

"That's your fault for tossing the 'phone where you did."

A smile crossed Troy's face – at least it was mean to be one, but it didn't form like it normally did. He raised himself slightly in the bed, "But you found it?"

"Yeah – and only just in time."

"What are you two talking about?" enquired Mrs C.

So I had to explain everything to her from the start when Troy had uttered those two words that I thought were 'Poem' and 'Bish'. When I reached the point where I'd found the 'phone and opened the pictures it was time for Troy to let out his own little 'Yesss!' and for Mrs C to beam at me. I then told them about being chased by Mike and Kyle, but how I'd got away from them and taken the phone to the police station to hand it over to Officer Rudigger, or as it turned out, Detective Diamond.

"Thank goodness they didn't catch you, Adam," said Mrs C when I'd finished, "not just because of losing the evidence, but because of what they'd have done to you. From what's been said they hadn't finished with Troy when that dog walker came along, so……… I wouldn't want to have both my boys in hospital."

The realization of what she'd just said hit me a couple of seconds later and I could feel tears starting to form - 'both my boys' – she really did consider me to be part of the family!

"Troy would have done the same for me, Mrs C – but I'd probably not have been bright enough to throw my cell in the bushes."

"I don't know about that Adam," she responded, "but yours hasn't even got a camera. That's something I'm going to put right very quickly."

"That's not necessary, Mrs C. I don't really need one with a camera."

"You never know when it might be important as this has shown. You're going to get one, so don't argue with me."

"He can have mine mom and I'll have a new one." Troy piped up with his lopsided grin.

Mrs C slapped his arm and Troy made an exaggerated groan of supposed pain.

"I don't want yours after where it's been." I told him.

"Eeugh – hadn't thought about that. Mom, can I please have a new one too?"

"I guess maybe you'll have to as I suspect the police will want to keep yours for a while as evidence."

Just then a doctor appeared and told us that he wanted to examine Troy. He also said to Mrs C that if everything looked alright he would probably agree to Troy going home later that afternoon.

I went out to the waiting area and sat biting my finger nails – but only mentally - that was one bad habit I didn't have. After a while the doctor emerged, smiled at me and said it was alright for me to go back in.

Mrs C looked up at me. "It seems they don't need to keep him here any longer. His urine flow looks and smells normal they tell me." I wrinkled my nose at the mention, although I had no idea why as we usually pissed together after a sleepover. "As for the rest of his injuries, he's got some fairly severe bruising to his ribs, but they don't appear to be cracked, so it seems all he needs is to rest which he can do just as well at home as here. Once they get all the tubes out and we've done the paperwork, we'll be on our way home. I'll call Mary Wallis from next door and ask her to come and pick us up – she phoned earlier to find out what had happened and asked me to let her know if there was anything she could do. Why don't you go home now, have a shower and change out of those filthy clothes?"

So that was what I did. I left my sneakers outside the back door after putting Troy's bike away in the garage and then went upstairs where I stripped. My now ripped skinnies would be alright I thought for wearing in the house or maybe into town – rather trendy really. My hoodie was a bit of a mess though, so would need to be replaced. Once I'd stripped down I took the jeans and hoodie along with some other of my clothes and put them in the washing machine. I was relying on Troy not being home that quickly as I walked around naked – not that I'd mind him seeing me like that, but being caught by Mrs C was another matter. As I got into the shower the thought dawned on me that Troy almost certainly wasn't going to feel like doing anything together for a while and briefly the idea of jerking off crossed my mind. I dismissed it pretty quickly; if I had to be patient and wait to share my juices with Troy, then wait I would. I couldn't be unfaithful to him even to the extent of pleasuring myself.

When I'd finished my shower and found some clothes to put on I was a bit lost as to what to do. I'd never been alone in the Connelly's house before and it felt a bit strange. Not so much that I felt I was an intruder and had no right to be here, just odd in the silence. That was solved by putting on some music on my cd player when I had the idea of seeing what I could find online about sentences for gay bashers. What I found on a quick scan through wasn't very encouraging. It did largely seem to depend on what part of the country you lived in and. perhaps worryingly, I couldn't find any report of local cases. I guessed we'd have to see what happened, but I sure hoped they'd get more than just their knuckles rapped.

I'd more or less finished my search when I heard a car pull up outside. I ran downstairs and was in time to open the back door to Mrs C and Troy. As they came into the kitchen it was evident he was limping and hurting. He was wearing a hospital issue dressing gown because there was no way he could have got his skinnies on and he did look a bit absurd in this drab brown garment. Once he was inside he asked his mom to help him take it off before asking me to go and get him a shirt and a pair of shorts. His mom suggested I should find a button up shirt as she reckoned that would be a lot easier to put on and also a sweatshirt he could put over his shoulders if he felt cold. I could see a lot of bruising on both his upper body and his upper legs – they sure given him a real working over and it hadn't been with just their fists.

When I came back down with the clothes Mrs C asked him if he wanted to go upstairs. Troy thought about it for a second or two before saying that he'd prefer to go to the family room for now as if he went upstairs he might not want to come down again. His mom told him he needn't bother about coming down until whenever he felt up to it and she'd happily take food up to him, but he told her that having spent almost the last twenty four hours in bed he wasn't ready for another one yet. I helped him hobble into the family room while Mrs C set about making a snack for us. I was starved as I hadn't eaten since breakfast. So I was more than ready to make an impression on the sandwiches she brought in a few minutes later. Troy also managed a couple but he was finding chewing difficult, so his ma heated up some soup for him.

We switched the TV on and while Mrs C busied herself in the kitchen Troy and I sat together on the settee. Initially I was worried about even touching him in case I hurt him so we just held hands until I plucked up the nerve to put my arm round his shoulder. He winced a little but told me it felt good. After a few minutes he stood up and shuffled a little way away from me causing me to worry what I was doing wrong. He sat back down, pulled his legs on to the settee and then lay back so his head was in my lap.

"I love you, Adam," he whispered

"I love you too, Troy. I'm so glad you're home."

"And I'm so glad you're here for me. I don't want us to be apart."

I was running one hand through his hair while my other one was joined with one of his. I bent forward and kissed his face. I could see he had some tears forming and I knew I definitely did.

Troy was still lying in that position when his pa came home. Troy sat up and they talked for a little when his pa asked how he was feeling. Mr C then embarrassed me by congratulating and thanking me for what I'd done. He said that Alicia had asked him to go into town to get a few things while she was preparing dinner, so we'd have a chance to talk more while eating. Soon after he'd got back Mrs C came in and said that dinner was ready. She'd made a bowl of chicken soup for Troy and had prepared mac and cheese with mixed salad for the rest of us. Troy managed his soup and some ice cream afterwards. We sat at the table and talked for a while until Troy said he thought it would be a good idea for him to go up and get ready for bed. I said I'd go up with him in case he needed any help in getting undressed.

"When you've undressed him and got him into bed Adam, you can get into bed with him – if you want." Mr C said.

"But it's not the weekend." I replied.

"Agreed. I don't imagine that Troy is going to feel up to doing more than sleep tonight anyway, but I believe it would be unfair of us to keep the pair of you apart any longer. We recognise what you mean to each other. We'll take our chances with CPS, but I don't think they'll worry that much due to your age."

Both our faces had lit up while Mr C was speaking.

"Pa, your and mom's trust means a lot to us" said Troy. "I promise we won't go any further then we have until Adam is sixteen – and only then if he wants to."

"Of course I want to." I found myself saying. "But I agree with Troy – we can wait and it'll be something to look forward to."

As I helped Troy upstairs I couldn't really believe I'd just had that conversation with his parents. We went into his bedroom and I helped him undress – there was no sexy stripping tonight as I eased his clothes off. I told him to sit on the bed while I went to take my own clothes off and find a clean pair of boxer briefs for the night – or perhaps the morning. I did a double take as I walked into my room and saw a pile of clothes on my bed. I guessed Mrs C must have taken them out of the washing machine and brought them upstairs, but alongside them was a pair of what had to be brand new black converse and top of the pile was a cell phone that definitely wasn't mine as I'd left that on my nightstand earlier. I walked over to the bed and found a new grey hoodie, a new pair of blue skinnies, plus a couple of pairs of boxer briefs and socks. I couldn't help but start crying and then I ran back to Troy's room where he was still sitting on the edge of the bed.

"Did you know about this?" I asked

"About what?"

"I've just gone into my room and on my bed was a pile of new clothes and a new cell phone – that's what."

He managed a lopsided grin. "Santa must have got his dates mixed up I reckon."

"It's not right. They shouldn't spend money on me like this."

"Shut up, Adam. They're only trying to express their thanks for what you did and show that they truly love you."

He was of course right, but this was alien territory for me. It was hard to adjust to such gestures.

I ran downstairs and found both of them in the family room.

"I don't know what to say." I started.

"You don't have to say anything, Adam, or at least nothing more than a simple 'thank you," said Mrs C. "But you can give me a hug if you want."

I realized I'd never hugged her, but she'd shown me more affection and done more for me in the last few months than my own ma had done for years. She stood up as I walked towards her and I threw my arms around her and we hugged. Boy, it felt good – not as good as hugging Troy, but good all the same. Mr C and I had hugged the other night, but there was no reason for him not to have another so when Mrs C and I had finished ours I walked over towards where he was sitting. He saw me coming, stood up and said

"This is becoming a habit, Adam – not that I'm objecting."

"Nor am I." I replied. "You're so kind to me. I don't know how I can ever repay you for all you've done for me."

"We don't want to be repaid, Adam. Just never hurt our Troy" he said.

"I'd never do that!" I exclaimed.

"I know you wouldn't, it was a silly thing for me to say and I apologise."

Deep down though I knew what he meant. If I had a son or a daughter I wouldn't want to see them hurt.

We said goodnight to each other and I went back upstairs. I looked in Troy's room to check he was still sitting on the bed.

"Get a move on Adam. I'm getting cold sitting here with no clothes on."

You're becoming a moaner, Troy" I retorted before going off to my room to do what I'd intended to do a few minutes earlier. Once that was done I went back to Troy's room and helped him into the shower. Now I could see his bruises close up in full technicolor – he really had been worked over. I washed his hair and gently soaped his body. Interestingly he did start to go hard when I reached a certain part to ensure it was clean.

"Nice to see it still works." I commented.

"Yeah, me too. They kicked me in the balls a couple of times so I did wonder and it does hurt a bit still."

Poor Troy I thought, but at least I managed to keep my guilt feelings at bay while thinking that.

When I'd dried him off we walked back into the bedroom and towards his bed.

"Do you want to put your boxers on?" I asked reaching towards the drawer where he kept them.

"No, I want to feel you next to me. But mom has left some Arnica cream on my nightstand that you could rub on my bruises." I got his lopsided grin again. "It won't be like baby oil though."

No, it definitely wouldn't I thought. "Okay, where do you want me to start?"

With a little difficulty Troy climbed onto the bed and laid face down.

"Anywhere you like. They aren't hard to find."

Indeed they weren't and over the next ten or so minutes I gently rubbed the cream onto various parts of his body. When I'd dealt with his back he rolled over and I attended to the front which seems to have even more bruises than the back. There was no sexual feeling to what I was doing; this was more like nursing I supposed. When I'd done as much as I could I put the lid back on the container and replaced it on the nightstand, knowing that I'd be using it again tomorrow and probably for a few days after that as the bruises came out.

Troy rolled onto his side and edged more into the middle of the bed allowing me to slide in behind him. I wrapped my right arm gently over his chest and maneuvered myself closer to him. He let out a sigh that I took to be of pleasure as our two bodies came together.

We stayed like that for a while. I was so happy that he was back home and delighted that his parents had allowed us to sleep together as I felt I didn't want to ever let him out of my sight again. With my front against his back it was inevitable that I should start to get hard but I studiously kept my right hand over his chest and well away from his dick. I thought he was dropping off to sleep and kissed his neck, but he stirred, rolled onto his back and then rolled again so we were lying face to face.

Now I could kiss him properly on his lips, but gently because of the bruising. As I did so he started to cry, at first just a few tears but then they turned into a flow which became almost a flood and he started to shake. I guessed he was thinking back to what had happened.

"Troy, it's over now. You're safe; they've been caught and it can never happen again."

I realized that was simple to say, but in the light of my own experiences, not so easy to believe, but after a while the crying slowed to just a few sniffles.

"I know that, Adam. That's not the problem."

I was more than puzzled. "What is the problem then?"

There was a long pause, punctuated by the occasional sniffle, before he spoke again.

"I'm afraid, Adam. Afraid like I've never been before in my life."

I was more than worried when I heard those words. What had got into Troy? Had they found out he had a fatal disease when he'd been examined at the hospital? Surely not, because if that had happened his parents would have known and they were behaving normally.

"Troy, you have to tell me what's wrong. I need to know. Please!"

"I know you need to, but I'm so afraid you won't love me when you know."

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