The Scars Above My Heart

by Sean English

Chapter 5

Some Scars Only Scratch the Surface

It was after midnight when the movie ended. Brett located the remote and turned off the TV, darkening the room considerably. The only remaining light came from a small lamp, sitting on the nightstand beside his bed. He had already thought about asking Alex if he wanted to watch another flick, but he then thought better of it after he saw his friend yawning. They sat in silence for a moment, Alex still using Brett's lap as a pillow for his head, something his host found that he enjoyed immensely, and was already saddened when he realized it was probably going to end very quickly.

Alex rolled back and looked up into Brett's face. "Hey, you okay up there?"

"I'm doing awesome tonight," Brett whispered. "How about you down there?"

Alex nodded. "Me, too. I'm doing awesome." They stared at each other for a moment before Alex reached out and found Brett's hand. He held onto it gently, thinking. "You know," he whispered, "I think we've both had a night full of firsts, at least since I got here." Brett raised his eyebrows questioningly, causing Alex to giggle before he explained. "I mean, okay, I bust my balls falling all over the place, and now you've seen me naked - even though I didn't take a shower with you. Which, maybe I should have, but…"

Brett blushed deeply. "It's okay," he whispered, already beginning to chastise himself for some of the things he had done leading up to that moment. Before he could say anything further, however, Alex raised a finger and touched his friend's lips.

"Listen, I admit, it took me a while to understand some things. I don't fault myself for it, okay? It's just the way I am sometimes, but … now that I do, honestly - it's cool. I mean, you've been kind of hinting at some stuff for a long time now. Maybe not so much in words, but in other ways. The truth is though, it wasn't until the other day, and even tonight, that it all kind of registered with me. That's the slow part of me sometimes, but at least I don't think I'm totally blind. Like tonight, I think you kind of wanted something more, and it just threw me a little." He stopped and smiled. "But in a way, I guess I proved I still trust you, right?" Alex smiled. "You believe me now, right? More than before?"

Brett hesitated. He could deny it, but he knew in his heart that his friend was right. "Yeah. More than I could ever have hoped for." He sighed deeply. "I really don't know what to say. I mean, I tried not to look, and… you know…"

Surprisingly, Alex giggled. "Why not? I probably would have, if I were in your place." He shook his head. "I meant what I said, Brett, about not being that shy or anything around you. I know sometimes you think I'm kind of backward and all, but meh. It's like I told you before, there's just some things you have to kind of give me some time with. I don't want to be a dweeb or geek or anything."

Brett shook his head. "Alex, you're not backward at all, or a dweeb. You're one of the smartest and bravest people I know, and that's the truth! And… and… I don't care what you think of me. I mean, I would never, ever try to do something that would hurt our friendship," Brett replied, then hung his head blushing. "I know, I know, I'm rambling but… hell, just seeing you go in there before you got in the shower, that was…"

"What? Momentous or something? Heh… I didn't do anything different than you did," the teen replied softly.

Brett paused. "Oh hell, Alex, yes you did, too! What you did, it told me… it showed me… it, crap…" Brett hesitated, suddenly frustrated with his inability to express what he was feeling. He sighed before hanging his head and staring at the floor. "It told me a lot about us, you know? You've never done that before, not like that, and it… it was just, I can't explain it, you know?" He relaxed then as he collected himself. "Seriously, there is nothing wrong with you, and I of all people should know it! Sure, you're different about some things, but that doesn't make you weird or anything."

"How so?" Alex asked, his voice low but relaxed as he stared at his host curiously.

Brett thought for a moment. "Well, you never flirt or tease, and you always seem like, I don't know, maybe not shy but sometimes bashful about some stuff. But see, I know, okay? It's just how you're wired up and all, and I'm okay with that. If our friendship had to survive on just that alone, we'd be friends forever, believe me." Brett then smiled. "But then sometimes, you do these little things that, maybe you don't think of them so much, or think I don't notice them, but I do. The kind of things that just make me feel good inside, about you and me, you know? And then tonight…" Brett stopped, and when he didn't offer anything further, Alex squeezed the hand he was holding before bringing it up to rest on top of his chest.

"Brett, I want to tell you something, but you have to promise me something first. I need you to promise me you'll try and listen, because if you don't, I'll probably screw it all up and it won't be worth a thing to either of us. Okay?"

Brett started to roll his eyes, but relented upon hearing the seriousness in his friend's voice. "Sure, I promise."

Alex took a deep breath before beginning. "Brett, you and me, we've come a long way together, you know? You were my friend from the beginning, when we first moved in here, and you have stayed with me ever since. I mean, every day that we're together, you've stuck with me more than I thought two people really could do, without getting mad at me, or giving up on me for some things. I mean that, too - every … single… day. When I've done goofy or stupid things, you know, the kind of things I was just ignorant about, you didn't laugh at me too hard, or bust my chops for it. Instead, you've always tried to help me, or teach me. Face it, living like I have since I was a kid, being home-schooled and all? There are some things that were just… well, maybe not always strange, but at least different. It's through that I've come to rely on you so much, but at the same time I've tried not to, like, be a pimple on your ass or anything." He paused, noting his attempt of humor was effective in Brett's expression, which was reassuring. "In other words, you've helped me through all of it, Brett, and a whole hell of a lot more. That's what has made us friends. It's what has made us more than friends, too."

"You've done a lot for me, too, Alex," Brett whispered.

"Maybe, but honestly, I don't think you understand how much that 'lot' adds up to for me. I mean, you also taught me about other things that I've never thought about or considered before, like how to have confidence in someone, enough to the point that you don't have any fear around them. You and your sister both taught me that there is a whole lot more to some feelings than just simply telling someone with a bunch of words. The very first time you told me that, about what it meant to not being afraid, I honestly didn't think that much about it … until the both of you started showing it to me. And, yeah, it was a little confusing at first, but then it hit me. I get it now, I really do. It's a part of believing in what you feel inside. It's the part of us that we show, see and feel, like in the little things that we do every day. Like, you sharing a drink with me at the movies, remember? Or you walking around here in your underwear. It made me kind of nervous to begin with, but then I started to see things differently. You see, I didn't care drinking after you, and you didn't care sharing that with me, remember? We aren't family, but yet we were becoming like family. Same goes for the other. I didn't mind you walking around practically naked, but it took me a little time to get used to it before I understood it was a part of that same openness, that part of still becoming like family to one another. Tonight, I realized could do it, too, for you. To try and help you see that I understood now, what having that kind of freedom does for somebody else. I mean, the feeling it gives you and everything."

"Alex…" Brett started to interrupt, but Alex quickly shushed him.

"Let me finish, okay? That feeling is what trust means sometimes, even if it's in the little things. You already knew that though, see? It was kind of hard for me to figure out at first, but now that we've been friends for a while, I find myself liking 'us' more and more. And that's the cool part. The more I like 'us', I find myself not being scared or afraid of you any. That's what becoming, I don't know, 'deep friends' does for you and me, I think. Our friendship is growing so much, it feels a whole lot bigger now, a whole lot deeper. I couldn't be happier about it, honest. In the whole time we've been together, there hasn't been a day that goes by where I don't see or feel something about it – about us - on the inside, in here," Alex explained, pressing Brett's hand against his heart and holding it in place. "Do you see why I say I get it now? Trust, it's friendship, but it's also something that goes beyond friendship sometimes, because it comes from somewhere deeper between two people like you and me. That's what I think you really meant by it, and why it's so important to you. And do you know what else? Now that I finally understand it, I feel the same way, too. That's a gift you've given me, both you and your sister."

Brett felt a lump building in his throat as his eyes began to get watery. When he spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper. "It does come from inside, yeah. It really does." He paused, gazing down into the eyes that met his own. "You know, I'd do anything for you, Alex, and I think you would do almost anything for me, too," he whispered.

Alex nodded. "Oh yeah, you know I would. You know something else? I don't even care if you're a boy, either. You're my best friend, my best mate as you call us sometimes. It's a part of why I don't feel like I have to be so careful around you, Brett," he whispered back. "That's why I wanted to thank you."

"Thank me? For w-what?" the teen croaked out, slightly confused.

"For not only being my friend, but for being my best friend. You see, I want to thank you for being the brother I never had," Alex whispered, a tear escaping and rolling down his own cheek. "Yeah, I know, I'm getting mushy, but… I mean it. You tell me I do things that mean a lot to you, but the truth is, that's what you mean to me. You never knew me from before, see. I've always been kind of closed up, someone never really letting my guard down. Ever since I've moved here though, you've helped me change that. Heck, when I wake up in the mornings, my first thoughts are of what we're going to do that day, and when I go to bed at night, my last thoughts are of what we DID do that day. You and me, together." Alex paused to let that sink in, and then suddenly sighed. "After everything that's happened in this move and all, you found me Brett, and you didn't treat me like a wuss or anything. That's what I really want to thank you for. Even when I fell tonight, you were right there to help pick me back up, and you didn't care that I was naked or anything, you know? And I didn't care either, because I was with you. Right then, that's all that mattered to me." He squeezed the hand he was still holding, a gesture which Brett returned. "That's how tight we are, you and me. That's how much I trust you, from the inside. From my heart," he added with a smile. There, he had said it, laying his soul out to be seen all the way. Maybe Brett would understand now, and maybe he would finally lose this fear that overshadowed him from time to time. They lay there observing each other for some minutes, all the while Alex kept his friend's hand firmly in place over his heart.

Brett tried to speak more than once, but he couldn't get any words to come out through the thickness choking his throat. It was the happiest he had felt in a long while, for his own reasons, and it showed in the way that he held on. When he finally did speak, he was fighting tears that were welling up. "You- You're thanking me?" he finally croaked out. "It's me who should be thanking you. You know, you're right about us. You and me, we are tight. I… I guess I should tell you something, too. Like, before you showed up, the only friend I've ever really had during the summer is just Gina. Most of the guys at school, they … they don't see things like I do, like you and me. A lot of them are into the things I don't care about, like rap music, engines, cars… even drinking, drugs and stuff. It's okay, I don't mind, to each their own I guess, but because of that they don't think that much about me, either. I've kind of, I don't know, just been by myself for a while. I have a few friends, some girls who will hang out a little, but…" He paused, thinking. "Before you moved in, I had already pegged this summer to being much the same. It's one reason I like going to camp – it gets me out of here and doing something different, you know? Even if it is just for one week of the summer. But then, when you moved in Alex, that all changed. See? You have done a lot for me, too. More than you'll ever understand, I think. You gave me something I haven't had before, not like what we have now."

Alex relaxed and adjusted his head back into Brett's lap again. "Brett, you don't have to be afraid I'm going to turn against you or something. I kind of know you now, on the inside. I'm glad of what we have and share with each other, you know?"

Brett nodded. "I am, too," he whispered. Glancing at their makeshift bedding, he added, his voice thick. "Do you think it would be okay, if maybe I could hug you right now?"

"Why do you have to ask?" Alex whispered back. Brett smiled as Alex slowly sat up and scooted his butt back until he could face Brett directly. With a profound gentleness, he didn't wait for his friend as he reached out and pulled the teen into a close embrace. Brett reciprocated, doing the same. Each pulled the other until their chests were tightly sealed together, and each boy in turn nuzzled the other's neck and shoulder. Closing his eyes, Brett held his breath for an instant before sighing contentedly. They sat in silence for some time, enjoying the sudden intimacy of their own private moment, their hands rubbing each other's back softly. Alex only broke the silence once, when he whispered aloud into his friend's ear. "See? I like hugs, too."

Brett struggled to keep his emotions in check, but ultimately failed when tears finally began to escape and roll down his checks. Alex could feel the subtle changes, could feel the wetness as it collected on his shoulder, and it made him hold the teen all that much closer to keep the warmth between them. He couldn't help, however, needling his friend just a tiny bit. "Wow! All this, just because you got to see me in my birthday suit?" he teased, causing Brett to suddenly giggle.

"No, shut up, you goof ball!" Brett croaked out. "All of this is because you made me feel like somebody special, bro."

"But - you are special, Brett. To me," the teen whispered back.

"Yeah? Still, it's like… like I really mean something to you, even with all my craziness sometimes," Brett replied. "I love you, buddy. You're like my brother too, the one I've never had before, either."

"I love you, too," Alex whispered back, after a brief silence. A moment later, Brett unwrapped himself and wiped at his eyes. Shifting around, he pulled Alex back so that they were sitting side by side again, ever so close. He reached out and took Alex's hand yet once again, but this time locking fingers with him and just holding it between them, on their legs. "Feel better now?" Alex asked, adjusting a pillow and then leaning back against his friend.

Brett sighed, smiling. "You have no idea," he replied, doing the same. "Honest Alex, you have no fucking idea."

"Oh, I don't know about that. I think I liked it as much as you did," he replied.

Brett suddenly laughed quietly. "Are we even going to make it through camp now?"

Alex giggled, and then shrugged. "I have a feeling there's going to be a lot of holding and hugging, yeah. We'll be fine, though." A thought crossed him just then. "Uh, this room thing, will it be private? You know, away from the other guys and stuff, with a door? Or is it like, open and all that?"

"Yeah, it's pretty much private," Brett responded with a nod. "Most of them are in the back of the cabin, away from the main room, and it has a door and everything."

"Cool," Alex replied. Once again, they sat in silence for a moment, before he spoke again. "What are you thinking about?"

"Honest?" Brett whispered. "I'm thinking about how lucky I am, right now. I'm glad I asked you to spend the night with me, you know?"

Alex nodded. "Me, too. So, were you planning on us sleeping down here in the floor tonight, or me in the floor, or…?"

Brett shook his head. "No. Believe me, even with all these pillows and everything, my bed is a hell of lot softer than this floor." He wrinkled his nose. "Do you, like, want to move up there now?"

Alex hesitated. "Does it mean we have to go to sleep right away?"

"No fucking way!" Brett whispered, grinning.

"Then yeah, I think my back might like a mattress a little better for a change," Alex whispered. Brett stared at him for a few seconds and then finally let go of the hand, rising upon his knees. With Brett's assistance, Alex reached out and made it to his feet, much of his soreness and pain having now subsided. Brett grabbed some of the pillows and tossed them to the head of the bed, and then walked with his friend around to the side and pulled back the lightweight comforter on top. Climbing in, Alex moved toward the center as Brett circled back around to the other side and turned out the light. Climbing in, he met his friend in the middle.

Though the room was plunged into darkness, once Alex's eyes readjusted to his surroundings, he discovered he could still see reasonably well. A nightlight had activated automatically on the other side of the bed, creating just enough unobtrusive illumination that allowed anyone to get around the room without trouble. Brett, watching him, grinning but remaining silent while he waited to see what his friend was going to do next. Alex settled in finally, and then glanced at him. "So? What now?"

"I don't know…" Brett whispered. "I just, I like this, you and me."

Alex smiled back. "I know. I do, too. What do you want to talk about, then? Your harem of girls that visit you in your dreams, or…?"

Brett snickered. "I admit, I do dream about girls sometimes, but…" He hesitated only slightly. "I dream about other things, too."

When he offered nothing more, Alex responded. "Still scared to tell me things?" He giggled, then pulled a pillow up to prop his head and relax. "Not that I blame you. You know though, I meant what I said a while ago, about you being the first, Brett."

"The first what?" Brett asked.

"You're the first to ever see me, like, naked and all. Since I was a little kid, at least," he explained.

Brett observed his friend curiously. "Alex, it isn't…" He paused, thinking. "It's just, sometimes I don't know how to read you, okay? I mean, you don't talk about sex, you don't talk about girls any… and sometimes some of my jokes and stuff just kind of bounce off of you, you know? I know you're not used to it, but … until tonight, I guess it's more that I just didn't know how you really felt about things. It's like sometimes, even though I know you, I don't know you. Does that make any sense?"

"Why? Because I don't talk about getting it on or anything?" Alex responded, before he giggled. "I thought your sister said it pretty good. Remember? 'Boys have dicks and girls have boobs,' right?"

"Oh, shit!" Brett had to hide his face in his pillow to keep from laughing too loud. When he came up for air, he saw the wide grin greeting him. "Man, you're something else!"

Alex pulled the pillow up closer and hugged it, propping himself in place to face the other teen. "Well, it's true isn't it? Oh, and somewhere along the way, I think I may have heard that girls have pussies, too."

Brett giggled, then shook his head. "Shit! Man…"

"So, I don't talk dirty that much, I know. It doesn't mean I'm dumb about it, though," Alex commented softly.

"I never thought you were, honest," Brett answered, and then leaned in a little closer. "It's just, I don't know anything about that part of you, Alex. Does that make sense? For all I know, you could be this ultra-religious zealot that abhors sex or something! You know, just avoids it for the sake of avoiding it!"

"Why? Do guys talk about it a lot at school or something?" Alex asked.

Brett had to control himself from laughing aloud again. "Oh shit, yeah! And then some! They talk about things like that all the time, man!" He settled down quickly, however. "For a while, I thought maybe that's why you always wore shirts and stuff. You know, so you don't show off your pecs or anything to anyone. You know, like some people do. Some guys go shirtless all the time, just so they can show their nips and bas off, I think."

Alex nodded in understanding. "I can understand that, I think. I guess I'm a little self-conscious sometimes, yeah, but believe me, that's not why I wear shirts all the time." When he did not offer anything further, Brett hesitated, unsure if he should pursue it. For the moment, he decided to lay that topic aside.

"Well, that's what I'm saying though. Before tonight, you've never talked to me much about the things inside of you that make you tick. Not that I minded it so much, but you have to admit that it makes you kind of a private person, and I want to respect that. Even though sometimes it makes me feel kind of … I don't know, kind of empty, or unsure. Like I was saying the other night when we talked, you know?"

Alex nodded. "Yeah, I know. It's not you though, Brett. I just sometimes, I guess I just try to be careful, that's all."

"Careful of what, though? It's just me, Alex… I'm not going to blow up at you or anything. I hope you know that by now."

Alex shrugged. "I don't know. It has nothing to do with you, honest. I mean, I hope you believe that after tonight. It's just… me. It's a habit I have, because I'm afraid of what people will think, or do, or something like that." He hesitantly reached out and found Brett's hand. "You have to remember, I don't have a lot of experience around people like you do. I'm learning to let go and open up, but… it's just hard for me sometimes, that's all."

"I can understand that," Brett replied, gently clasping the hand back. "It's okay, though. I won't let anyone screw us over when it comes to that, I promise."

Alex smiled. "I hope so. I'm going to need you when we start back to school."

"Wait, what? What did you say?" Brett asked again in surprised, which made his friend giggle.

"When we start back to school. I've got some news for you. Mom and Dad are going to let me enroll in school with you in August. After the tests and everything today, we've already started filling out the forms. I was waiting to surprise you. Or at least, I hoped it would be a surprise."

"O - my - fucking - ass! No way! No - fucking - way! You're going to go to school? To public school? With us? With me?" Brett stuttered in a hushed voice. When Alex nodded, Brett rolled until he was practically on top of his best friend, hugging and wrapping the teen in both his legs and arms before squeezing him tightly.

Alex gasped. "Hey, easy! Please!" He laughed as Brett, in response, did fall back slightly, taking his weight off but still using his legs, arms, elbows, and everything in between to wrap the teen up gently. Alex hugged him back again, catching his friend's feelings of happiness, and suddenly deciding he liked this new closeness of theirs. "That's why I said you were going to have to help me. So, I don't look like too big of a dumb ass mixed in among everyone else."

Brett pulled back just enough to stare into his friend's face. "Why? Why didn't you tell me sooner! Crap, that is… that is so awesome!"

Alex laughed. "Because you were already peeing your pants when I told you I was going to camp. If I added this to it, you would have probably crapped in them, too!"

"Eww…" Brett replied, making a face before shaking his head. "Alex… man!" He suddenly collapsed, as if all his strength had left him. Alex held him, rubbing his back up and down as silence ensued. Eventually Brett grunted, and then rolled back, but pulling Alex with him until they lay side-by-side. Staring at each other, Brett finally whispered. "What other things are you holding out on me, bro?"

Alex smirked, but shook his head. "I think that's it, mostly."

Brett laughed. "I hope so! After tonight, and… and the other day, and… shit, my heart is going to go for broke if it gets any more excited than this!" He paused, looking on in admiration. "You know, I'm going to get you for that! Just you wait! You hold too many secrets out on me, sometimes! School… that is so awesome! That is so - fucking - awesome!" he whispered.

"I'm glad you feel that way," Alex whispered. He noticed that Brett had found his hand again and, like before, they locked fingers.

"You know something, Alex? You're the opposite of dumb. I've already told you, I think you're one of the smartest-"

"No Brett, you misunderstand me. I'm not talking about book-smart, okay?" Alex explained. "I'm talking about being around people and everything. You're going to have to help me, understand?"

Brett considered, but then shook his head. "Alex, you're not even dumb around people, believe me. And yeah, I'll help you if you need it, but … I don't think I know much more about it than you already do. You just have to be yourself, and when peeps get to know you, it'll be a lot easier than you think." He wrinkled his nose. "I wish you could just do that, you know? Learn to not be afraid of other people."

"I'm trying, Brett. I'm really trying," Alex whispered.

Brett nodded. "I know you are. You'll be cool with it in the end, you'll see."

"I guess we'll find out." Alex paused, then changed the subject. "So, you think I'm kind of private, huh?"

Brett blushed. "Okay, maybe that wasn't a good choice of words. I don't know man, it's just something hard to explain."

Alex giggled. "But… you think because I don't talk about certain things, it makes me what, mysterious or something?"

"Maybe, yeah, that might make better sense. I mean, you have to admit - there are things you don't talk about around me, and I'm your best friend? Before tonight, it made me sometimes wonder about how you feel, what you think, things like that," Brett explained.

"Like what? Religion? Girls? Sex?" Alex asked amusedly. He saw Brett nod, so he relaxed back into his pillow again. "Well, okay then, you've got me here now, so shoot. What do you want to know about me?"

Brett laughed. "I don't mean-"

"Ask me, I don't care." When his friend didn't respond, Alex grinned. "Listen, let's play a game, right now. Until we go to sleep, we can ask each other anything, and we each have answer honestly without holding out. No hiding, no being embarrassed, anything goes – I promise. I'll tell you whatever you want to know about me, if you'll do the same."

Brett was intrigued. "If I do it, will you play, too? Will you ask me stuff, too?"

"You know I will, Brett," Alex whispered before giving Brett's hand a gentle squeeze. "You go first, though. Anything you want to know, just ask. I promise, I won't hold out on you."

Brett smiled. "You're sure about this, right? No matter what I ask?"

"Yeah, anything. Go for it."

"Okay then, first up: do you like girls?" Brett asked mischievously.

Alex giggled. "Yeah, but I like guys, too. Some of them make good friends, you know."

Brett rolled his eyes. "I didn't mean…"

Alex hesitated, then squeezed the hand in reassurance. "I know what you meant, Brett. Honestly, I answered it, too."

Brett's eyes widened in wonder. "You mean, you do? You like guys, too? For how long?"

Alex thought about it for a second. "I admit, I've always been kind of curious and stuff, but it's not like I'm going to go out and pull someone's pants down and ask, 'Oh hey, can I see your privates and everything? Wow, what a big dick you have!'" When Brett started to giggle, Alex grinned and waited, before finishing. "Yeah, it's true. Don't shoot me, okay? I mean, I don't think it's something I would tell to just anyone, you know?"

Brett nodded. "Hell no, I wouldn't either." He sighed. "Wow. Okay, your turn."

"Okay, what about you? Is the reason you tease me about your harem and losing your virginity and everything because you like girls? Or do you like guys any, too?" Alex asked.

"I'm like you," Brett whispered, almost so softly Alex didn't hear him. "For the same reasons, too. But the guys part, well, only when you moved in and we got to know each other, did I start having some feelings and stuff." He adjusted himself to scoot a little closer then. "I think I already know the answer to this, but uh… you're a virgin, right?"

"Yeah," came the whispered reply. "You?"

"The same," Brett answered. Alex giggled, causing Brett to add, "Why? What?"

"The way you act sometimes, I guess I was half-way expecting a different answer. Like maybe you've screwed a few girls or something."

Brett scoffed. "Alex, you're going to find out that a lot of guys bullshit about that stuff. It's not as rosy as it looks like on TV sometimes, about everyone getting on with it. You know, getting laid. Unless you live in California or somewhere like that, or maybe Florida."

Alex shrugged. "I believe you." They fell silent briefly before he continued. "Your turn, again."

Brett rolled onto his back then, but then maintained their close proximity to each other. "Do you, like, jack off any? You know, masturbate?"

Alex giggled. "Yeah, some. Do you?"

Brett grimaced. "Yeah. Hey, are you going to just ask me back everything I ask you?"

"I don't know… maybe," the teen whispered. "How am I supposed to figure out what to ask if I don't?"

Brett turned his head, finding their noses almost touching. "Meh, I don't care. Um, how much? How much do you do it? I mean, jerk off?"

Alex wrinkled his nose. "I don't know, a couple of times a week, I guess."

Brett was surprised. "Really? Is that all?" Before his friend could even ask, Brett answered the unspoken question instead. "I know, what about me, right? I do it like, almost daily, sometimes more than that."

"Wow!" Alex whispered. "You must get really boned up, then. What do you, like, think about and everything when you do it?"

Brett smiled. "Finally, you got to it first! That's what I was about to ask you!" He turned and looked toward the ceiling. "Girls, sometimes guys, too." Turning back, he whispered. "I've even thought about you a few times." To his surprise, he saw Alex nod. "No way! You, too?"

"I promised I would tell you the truth, and I am. So yeah, I have," Alex admitted. "You've not made it that big of a secret for me to be curious, you know. Especially as many times as you've been in front of me in your dungs." He blushed, and wondered whether Brett could tell it or not. When they fell silent, he took his next turn. "So, how big are you anyway? You know, down there?"

"About six inches, I think," Brett whispered. "You?"

"I'm not quite that big. More like, I don't know, a little over five I guess."

"Wow," Brett said, stunned. He shook his head. "You've actually measured then?" Alex nodded, causing Brett to smile. "Damn, and we're about the same height and everything, too. You know something? You're really cool, Alex. I mean that."

"What makes you say that?" Alex asked.

"Because, I don't know, you never gave me the impression you would even, like, be the kind of person that would do that. You know, measure and all, and then be willing to admit it to me," Brett admitted.

"Come on, I'm not that weird," Alex scoffed, but blushed all the same.

"No, that's not being weird at all! It's just, hearing it, that makes me feel like I'm not so abnormal or anything."

Alex shrugged. "You are normal though, and besides, why shouldn't I tell you? I've got nothing to hide. I told you, I'll answer anything, right?" Just then Alex placed his arm over his best friend's side and let it rest there. "So, what else do you want to know?"

Brett thought for a moment. "I can ask anything, right?" Seeing his friend nod, he took a deep breath. "When you think about us, do you ever think about us doing stuff together? Like, messing around, or…?"

Alex raised his eyebrows. "Define 'messing around.' You mean, like jacking off and stuff?" When Brett nodded, Alex leaned in closer to whisper into his ear. "I think about a lot of things, Brett. And yeah, sometimes some of them uh, well… They're about us. Sometimes just getting in a shower, or doing something where I get to see you all the way, like, naked and everything. Sometimes, other things, too."

"Really?" Brett thought about continuing, but then remembered he needed to wait his next turn. "It's your turn, mate."

"What kind of stuff do you think about?" Alex inquired, after thinking briefly.

"Kind of like you just said, I think about a lot of things. What things would feel like, sometimes sexy, sometimes just being held. Things like that," Brett whispered.

"And that gets you off?" Alex asked, giggling.

"Oh yeah, especially if I imagine us being naked and everything, it really gets me off," Brett replied truthfully. "I've wondered about you a lot, what you looked like and stuff before tonight and… you know. Sorry if that sounds crude, though. How about you?"

"It doesn't sound crude. So, now you kind of know, I guess," Alex answered, teasing him before relaxing and answering his question. "Sometimes, I just jack off thinking about people I see in the movies, or characters I read about in books and all. I'll read something sexy or whatever, like guys doing stuff to girls and all, and that will make me horny, too. Or maybe I'll daydream what it would be like to see, say, Harry Potter and Hermione getting together and doing it. Or Harry and Draco or someone… Stuff like that, you get the idea. Then, when it comes to me and you, well…" Alex started, but then he stopped.

"Tell me, and don't hold back. You promised I could ask you anything," Brett whispered.

Alex shrugged. "I won't hold back." The teen thought for a few seconds before continuing. "I don't know. I mean, I've not really done things beyond just jerking off, so I never think about much more than that. To me, sometimes just stripping you naked, and feeling you all over, and seeing things, and comparing – all of that's a good turn on for me. I mean, I don't go too far, if that's what you're wondering about. I know there are some things guys can do, like 'it'. You know, going all the way and screwing and stuff. But that always kind of feels like, you know, crossing a line or something. When boys get involved with boys and all and do that."

Brett rolled back onto his side. "Yeah, I know it does. Especially if they do it just to do it, you know? But, then again, there's the trust thing. Like, how much you trust one another to do the things you want to try, or are curious about. In a way, kind of like you and me." He grabbed Alex's hand and held it close to his own chest for a change.

"Does that mean you think of screwing, then?" Alex asked softly.

Brett shook his head. "Not really. If I did it, it would only be with… well…"

"With me?" Alex smirked.

Brett looked deep into his eyes. "Well, maybe. I won't lie, I might would do 'it', but only if it felt right, and we both wanted to do it. Otherwise, no way."

Alex nodded in understanding, thinking about that. "I think that's the way I would feel about it, too. I might would, but… I'd have to be ready for something like that with anyone, boy or girl, really. Kind of like you said, it would have to feel right and everything. Honest, like I said, doing 'it' kind of crosses a line, you know?"

Brett nodded. "Alex, I answered because I promised I would, but that doesn't mean-"

Alex pulled his hand up and pressed his fingertips against Brett's lips. "Stop, don't worry so much about it. Just be honest, that's all I care about," he whispered. "That's our game, remember? For a little while, we tell each other the truth, about what we feel and everything. I'm being honest, too, remember? So, let's not worry about it." Recognizing the silence that followed, Alex slowly pulled away from the grasp and slid his hand down to Brett's waist, before moving it over the top of his cotton briefs there. There he found a hard boner pressing up from inside, that pulsed at his touch. Grinning, the teen gave it a squeeze, thinking it felt quite large, then leaving it held there for a few seconds before he retraced his route back up again. Brett had turned motionless, squeezing his eyes shut and gasping at the touch. Before the teen let go, Brett had pushed himself further into the grasp, an action that told Alex it was alright. "I'm glad somebody besides me has a boner," Alex whispered, making Brett turn his head and see the smile that met him. "See? I told you, I'm not afraid." Glancing down, he grinned. "This is one of the things I dream about sometimes, you know? Just getting to feel you, all over."

"You do?" Brett whispered, asking the obvious yet again in return. "Alex, you can feel me up anytime you want man, I swear. Even right now, if you want to." He saw a nod acknowledge him, so he took the next step. "Does that mean I can do it, too? Do you have a boner?"

Alex grinned. "Find out, if you want to."

Brett hesitated, then let his hand fall to the bed. As he closed in on Alex's crotch, it was met by a very hardened member poking outward at him. He grasped it in kind, holding it for seconds before feeling it pulse in his grip. He grinned at Alex before letting go, but instead of retreating, he placed his fingertips just inside the waistband there. Stopping, he looked up, and Alex nodded at him encouragingly. Holding his breath, the teen inserted his fingers inside and pushed down lower into the groin. As he brushed what was obviously Alex's pubic bush, he felt and grasped hold of the steel-like rod that was extended, but now pushing off to the side. When it throbbed in his hand again, it caused Brett to whisper, "That is so … fucking … cool!"

Alex, on the receiving end, had closed his eyes, not in nervousness, but instead at the thread of electricity he felt from the touch. "Mm hmm…" was all he said, biting his lip. Although he had to briefly struggle in letting his guard down, once Brett made it past a certain point, all Alex felt was something both incredibly stimulating and welcome. His dreams had never had anyone touching him like this. It was strange at first, but as Brett felt around and then squeezed his cock again, it was a completely different experience. Enough so that Alex could not have felt any better about it if he tried. Letting Brett inside felt awesome and… something more.

Brett then propped himself up, still holding on, but facing Alex close enough he could watch his expression. "Can I? Will you let me see?" he whispered, a certain lust developing in his tone. Alex opened his eyes and observed the other teen, realizing in that instant the moment was hanging in the balance between them. This was what it had come down to. Was he going to stop it now? No, he decided. If he had come this far…

"I said anything, Brett, and I meant it. But…" Alex hesitated just a second. "Promise me something though?"

"Yeah?" Brett asked.

"Anything we do, it can't change us, okay? I don't want to lose what we already have between us," Alex replied. "We have to stay friends, brothers even. When we get up tomorrow, we're still everything that we were today at least, if not more. Okay?"

Brett smiled, then leaned in close, whispering into his best friend's ear. "If anything changes, I give you permission to castrate me, okay?" Pulling back and seeing the expected smile, he added. "Between you and me, it's just us Alex. But if you tell me no, I'll stop."

"Then, don't stop. Go for it, for Pete's sake!"

Brett smiled and then scooted back slightly until he could sit up. He let go of Alex's cock and grasped the front of his briefs on each side. Slowly pulling them out and down, his actions revealed a very distinct v-line that tracked from the hips into Alex's groin. Although the dim lighting made it hard to make out any minute details, Brett could easily view the pulsing shaft lying stretched out on his friend's lower belly, cushioned at the base by a localized set of dark pubic hairs. The pubes were not widespread, but instead mostly bunched together. Brett, for some reason, thought that was interesting. "You don't have like, a lot of hair and stuff, you know?"

Alex shrugged. "I guess not. I don't know, am I supposed to have a lot?"

Brett shook his head. "No, I don't think it matters. I mean, some guys do, some guys don't. At least, from what I've seen in videos." He returned his attention back to his prize. Beneath the base of the cock, situated under the groin were two large, marble-sized testicles, wrapped inside a sac that lay flat between his legs. From what he could make out, Brett found it interesting at how thin the sac itself appeared to be. As he leaned in for a closer look, another thought hit him about the trust his friend was putting into him to let him do this.

Brett was about to pull the briefs back up when he stopped, staring at his friend's dick again and noticing something radically different. "Hey, um, Alex? Are you… are you not cut?"

Alex responded by pulling his hands up and placing then behind his head. "You mean circumcised? No, why?"

Brett shook his head, smiling. "Oh wow! You know, in everything I've ever seen, never once have I saw anyone uncut," he whispered, admiring the differences. Using his other hand, he reached out and touched along the tip, noticing instantly that while Alex's shaft pulsed again, the skin drew back a short distance and let the glans briefly appear, before once again disappearing inside. "Holy shit! Wow!" he exclaimed again, softly.

Alex smirked, not knowing whether to be embarrassed or not. "I take it you're not like me, then? I mean, you're circumcised, I guess…"

Brett nodded. "Yeah," he answered. He reached in again, this time grasping the whole shaft and pulling the skin back slowly. "Does it, like, hurt any for me to do that?"

"Nope, as long as you don't pull it back too far," came the reply.

Brett played for another moment, before finally letting go and easing the front of the cloth back into place. Glancing back, he then pivoted so that he lay on his back as close as they could meet. "Thanks, Alex. That was… I don't know. It was awesome, I guess." He whispered, sincerity ringing in his words. Turning, he met the other boy's eyes. "Uh, your turn. If you want to see me, I mean," he whispered.

Alex grinned. "Nah, not now. I mean, I want to sometime, but I can't really see anything that much anyway, right?"

Brett grunted. "You can still get an idea, though. I'll still let you see me all you want, sometime when we've got more light and all."

Alex grinned, but ignored the implication for the time being. "What I will do for you though, is this - if you want me too…" Alex reached down and pushed Brett's briefs down on both sides, before lifting the front and freeing what already felt like an iron base to his touch. Hooking the waistband underneath his friend's balls, Alex did rise up enough to glance down, and what he saw amazed him. "Shit man, you're so hard your dick even stands out without touching your belly! And… crap, it's huge, too!" Alex then took hold of the throbbing member. "I mean, it's quite a bit thicker than mine, and hot, too!"

"Yours was pretty hot to touch, too!" Brett fired back, blushing deeply, but remaining still as he felt a strange electrical-like energy begin coursing through him. The connection with someone other than himself was deeply gratifying for some reason. He even commented on it. "Did you like, feel different and everything when I was gripping you? It's like… wow!"

"Oh, yeah," Alex whispered, taking the time to pause and feel all around. "I see what you meant, too, about my pubes. You do have more – a lot more! They kind of come up and out on both sides, and spread up farther toward your belly, whereas mine are all bunched up around my dick. Oh, and you've got this, like, in the middle," Alex observed before giggling. "Hairs that trail upward to your navel."

Brett looked down. "Yeah, some people call that a happy trail, or a tiger tail."

Alex grunted in acknowledgement. "I guess I've kind of known that happens, but … honestly, I thought you had to be a lot older before you grow them." Afterwards, the teen decided to take his play a step further. Grinning at Brett, he grasped the rod in his hand and began stroking the teen, causing his friend to fall back completely and shut his eyes. "Um, do you want me to, you know?" Alex whispered. Brett smiled at him in surprise, but then in answer, pivoted his hips toward the teen. Alex took that as a sign of permission, so he pulled Brett's t-shirt up in the front to just below his rib cage, before grasping his friend's dick again. Slowly, but methodically, he started a regular rhythm, massaging and pulling against the hot, hardened flesh. Alex noted how it felt different in a lot of ways, especially when compared to what he felt while doing it to himself. Aside from the fact he was holding another boy's most precious asset, he noted how Brett's cock filled his hand more fully, and he could somehow feel that each tug required more effort to pull the skin up and over the glans. In the dim lighting, he watched the effects as he increased speed, too, and gradually set his pace to pump faster. Being off to the side, Alex thought it was cool to watch something like this happening to another person, someone in his power to control. There was a clear throbbing coming from inside that began to build up stronger. All the while, Brett began to bend and squirm, and his breaths were coming much shorter. Alex knew he wanted this to be good then, and he didn't waste any time playing around.

"Oh shit, Alex, I'm going to fucking erupt here…" the teen hissed and then moaned. Alex could already feel the tenseness building ever higher, as it seemed the very flesh itself expanded in his palm. He kept his pace up, squeezing tighter in the process, which sent Brett into a frenzy beneath. The teen sucked in his gut and suddenly thrust his hips upward, deep into the hand holding him, and then groaned. The end of the shaft started spurting wildly, heaving thick gobs of slick, white cum to arc through the air, landing upon Brett's upper chest and neck. "Oh shit, Oh shit, … OOhhhh sshhiiitttt…." the teen gasped out softly between gulps of air. He grabbed a pillow and pulled it over his face to effectively muffle another outright, loud cry - all to Alex's amusement. In the midst of his climax, he continued to clinch his butt cheeks together, raising and thrusting his whole midsection into the air as he pushed his tool harder into Alex's grasp. The teen holding him looked down at one point and grinned, especially when he felt something suddenly hit his own cheek.

As the crescendo started to subside, Alex only paused enough to realize that Brett was leaking quite a bit of spooge, most of it spilling over heavily into the hand wrapped around his dick. Alex continued though, albeit more slowly this time, making the effort gentler as he anticipated the coming after-effects. In the darkness though, he could still make out a number of places across his friend's belly and chest that had gotten hit, and it amazed him how much had been milked out. "Sheesh, Brett, do you always give up this much jizz?" He finally slowed to a stop and pulled his hand away, noting the huge amount of cum he carried with it.

At first, Brett just lay there, his breaths becoming more controlled as he recovered. He had reached out and pulled Alex up closer to him, keeping his friend from escaping. The teenager propped up on one elbow and watched the throbbing member in the hushed lighting, as it slowly retreated and softened. For some reason, he found it curiously interesting as it started to lie down against the skin again. When he had first pulled the underwear away and noticed, the fact that Brett's member was so hard it cleared the stomach underneath was surprising. Alex had never done that, at least as far as he knew. "Do you get that hard all the time? You know, so stiff that it sticks up away from your belly?" he asked, whispering.

Beneath him, Brett recovered enough to open his eyes and observe the curiosity that met him. His eyes then lowered to see the state of his remains upon his chest. "Sometimes, yeah." His head fell back upon the pillow. "I don't think I've ever had that hard of an orgasm, though!"

Alex giggled. "It must have been good, the way you went at it. Who did you fantasize you were with this time?"

"I didn't have to fantasize about anyone, Alex," Brett quickly replied. "This was all you, man. YOU did that for me, and it was so … fucking … awesome!" He grabbed his shirt and pulled it down to soak up the remnants across his belly. "You made me cream like I've never cummed before, buddy! And it felt like… like I was on fire or something. Like I could feel it surging from all the way down in my balls or something! It was so… intense!"

Alex giggled and then lay back down, overlooking the spent teen beside him. "I'm glad," he whispered again, smiling. Brett nodded in acknowledgement. After another minute, Alex asked, "Honestly though, did you really just… you know, think of me and what I was doing to you?"

Brett looked over at him. "Is it really that hard to believe?" Then the teen sprang up on his own elbow, pivoting over Alex. "Maybe it's time you find out what it's like, and then you can tell me," he said simply, reaching out and totally pulling down and removing Alex's briefs from his legs and feet, surprising the teen. Brett found his friend still just as hard as before, so he grasped the rod and gently squeezed it. "Close your eyes, man. If you trust me, you'll understand in a minute," he whispered. Slowly he started to replicate what Alex had done to him, and in less than a minute, the teen beneath him shifted so he could lie flat on his back and relax. "Do you want ME to stop?" Brett asked, teasing him.

"If you do, I'll still castrate you," Alex whispered, making Brett giggle. As he brought him along, Brett gradually went faster and purposefully played around on the end. He, too, found something that fascinated him in what he held. Alex's extra skin moved more easily overall, and after a moment, Brett got into a rhythm that began exposing more of the glans beneath the helmeted skin. He pulled back and then let the helmet get re-covered with each stroke. "You know," he whispered. "Your dick feels a lot different, being this way. It's not as, you know, not as thick as mine is."

Alex moaned, squirming more as they progressed. "That's the way … it was… with you, though just the opposite. And you're right… this feels … awesome…" At one point, the teen opened his eyes. "I'm going… going to make… a mess, Brett. Just warning you…"

Brett giggled. "It's okay, we're allowed to make a mess tonight," he whispered, then slowed down his motions before leaning close to Alex's ear. "Don't freak out, okay? I'm going to do something, and I just want you to let me know how it is afterwards, okay?" he whispered even softer, then without waiting for a response, he moved down quickly until the tip of Alex's penis was less than an inch from his lips. Hurriedly, before he could change his mind, he pulled the skin all the way forward and then inserted his friend's dick inside his lips, going down all the way until it filled his mouth. Once there, he clamped around it and began sucking, using his tongue to gently move around the shaft.

Alex's eyes opened wide as he stared down at his crotch, seeing the back of Brett's head and listening as the teen slurped up and down the shaft. In the next instant, however, Alex closed his eyes again as a new sensation, involving a combination of both wetness and hot air, took over – especially while Brett used his tongue strategically in places. To top it all, Brett then pulled Alex's skin back completely and licked at the bared glans inside, poking and playing his tongue across the slit feverishly. "Ooohhhhh…. Ssshiiitttt….!!!!" he hissed.

There was nothing Alex could do then, as he went into a complete sensory overload. He groaned deep from within his gut, as he felt the ache in his loins transforming. He could feel the flow, starting from deep in his testicles all the way up into his groin, rushing to find an exit as it climbed through his shaft, where it finally spooged from the cavernous path within. He couldn't have warned Brett even if he tried, so fast had his change occurred. Although he knew he had already started giving it up, he did try to grab at Brett and pull him back. The teenager refused, however, choosing to stay right where he was, as Alex emptied himself. Toward the end, trying to hang on to the edge of his climax, Alex even involuntarily thrust himself upwards into the mouth that was gripping to him like a vacuum. He now understood what Brett had meant. There was an intensity that was so incredible and fulfilling, that for those precious few seconds, his orgasm almost felt painful to him. He didn't have to fantasize, or think or dream about anything. His attention had been solely in the act, and what an act it had been. Alex didn't want it to stop, but as it receded, he groaned and fell back to the bed, completely spent and gasping for air.

When Brett pulled up, he let the flesh fall from his lips slowly. He stared at Alex's groin for the next few minutes, watching the shape soften and shrink slowly, albeit magically, back to its regular self. As it retracted back into the folds of the extended skin, he reached out and gently pulled the sides back one more time, then let go so he could watch it all over again. He had just turned to glance up into Alex's face, when his friend grabbed and pulled the teen up beside him again. Alex hugged onto Brett fiercely. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry… I'm so sorry…" the teen moaned, over and over.

Brett held him quietly, but puzzled. "Sorry for what?"

Alex finally pulled back, his eyes watery. "I didn't mean to, like… cum in your mouth like that! I … I've never like, creamed that fast before, it was like… like…"

Brett laughed. "Hey, it's okay! I knew what I was doing, Alex. Stop worrying. It isn't the first time I've tasted cum."

Alex furrowed his brow. "It isn't?"

Brett shook his head. "I've eaten my own before, lots of times. You haven't?" Seeing Alex shake his head made Brett pause. "That isn't going to like, make you freak out or anything, is it?"

Alex stared at him in amazement for several seconds. "Why would I freak out? We told each other, Brett. Anything, as long as it was just us. Right?" He then scoffed and grinned. "Fuck! I've never…Oh my God, I've NEVER done anything like THAT before. I mean, not just done, but like, creamed like that! It honestly felt like my dick was shooting rockets or something!" He shook his head. "Like you said, it was … intense!"

Brett then smirked, looking amused. "So, fess up - what did YOU fantasize about?"

Alex blushed. "Okay, okay… I understand now. Sorry for being so ignorant."

Brett laughed out loud, then snuggled in for another hug. "I'm glad, Alex. I wanted you to feel it, too. I've never had it done to me, but I've heard the guys at school talk about getting blow jobs, like, from girls and all. Listening to them, I knew it was something supposedly really cool," he finished. "Just, I didn't go too far, though… right? We're still okay?"

Alex hugged him tightly again. "Oh my gosh! Someday Brett, I'll show you what it's like, I promise."

"You don't have to," came a quick reply, as Brett pulled back again so he could see his friend's face. "I didn't do that for you, like, just so you would to do it back to me, Alex. I did it because I wanted to, I swear."

Alex stared at him a moment, and then placed a finger on his friend's lips. "And I didn't ask you why, either. Did I? Do you know why?"

Brett hesitated, but then relaxed. "Because you trust me."

Alex nodded. "Yeah, because I trust you … completely. Don't forget it, okay? We've got a long summer ahead of us, if I'm going to have to keep convincing you of that."

Brett laid his head against Alex's forehead. "You won't, I promise." He stared into the eyes that watched him. "So, do you think we might do this some more?"

"What do you mean?" Alex asked.

"I don't know, bro. I thought maybe, well, this might just be a one-time thing between us. That maybe after tonight, you might not want to mess around anymore." Although his tone was calm, Alex could hear a certain level of sadness within it, which made him smile again.

"Remember our promise? We both told each other, as long as it's just us. Right?"

"Yeah," Brett breathed.

"Then, as long as it stays that way, I don't care. One night or a hundred nights, just so long as it's just us," Alex whispered back. "Besides, I think it's a fun way to get off, you know? Definitely something new, for me anyway! It was fucking cool!"

Brett breathed a sigh of relief and then giggled. "It's more than just getting off, but yeah, I know what you mean." He looked deeply into the eyes that met his. "Alex? Thanks, man. From my heart, just like you said. Thanks - for everything. For believing in me, for letting me have all the little things, for making me feel special." His voice fell to a whisper. "You're special to me, too."

Alex leaned in. "You're welcome, bro. Is it okay if I call you that? At least, in here?"

"What, you mean 'Bro'? Fuck yeah! I mean, you are my bro, almost a real brother even! At least in here," he replied, tapping his heart.

"You're in mine, too, Brett," the teen replied.

Brett lay back again. "Remember how we promised this wouldn't change us? Well, I've got a confession. Sorry man, I think it did, on the inside. That's what you've changed inside of me. I feel, hell, I don't even know how I feel now, just that it's so awesome." Then in the barest of whispers, he leaned in close. "I think that's what I love the most about us, you know?"

"Me, too. You know what? I can take that kind of change, because I think you did it to me, too. Just… seriously, don't let it ever make us lose our friendship, okay? That means far more to me than sex, Brett. A whole fucking lot more!"

Brett giggled. "Don't swear, Alex. Somehow, it doesn't fit you," he teased. "I promise though, it won't." Brett then leaned in closer and kissed Alex on the nose. "I'm so happy you talked to me tonight, and that you told me how you felt inside. And yeah, I'm so happy we messed around too, and… and…"

That made Alex giggle before he turned serious. "Just once, Brett. Just one time," he whispered, then leaned in and kissed his best friend ever so lightly on his lips. "See? I told you, that's how much I trust you. I'm not saying anything by it, though-"

"Shut up Alex, you worry too much," Brett whispered, then leaned in and reciprocated the kiss himself, ever so lightly and gently. When he pulled back, they both grinned wickedly. "Now you can't say you have one over me. We're both in deep, you know?"

"Hey," Alex suddenly whispered. "I'm going to hold you to that other thing you promised me, too."

"What's that?" Brett asked curiously.

Alex leaned in. "You promised me I could see you sometime when we have a lot of light, remember? So, I can, uh, get to see you and everything…"

Brett sighed, feeling happy. "I'll get naked for you anytime bro. No sweat, I promise." He then pulled away and got up out of the bed, taking his t-shirt off. "Um, I don't want to sleep in stickiness all night, you know?" he explained to Alex's look of curiosity. Pulling another clean garment from the dresser again, he disappeared into the bathroom momentarily, but came back with a washcloth, which he used to rub over his belly. Finishing, he donned his new shirt while offering the cloth to his friend. "Do you need it? I think you came out of this pretty clean, but…" When Alex shook his head, he tossed the cloth back through the open bathroom door, before climbing back into the bed and pulling the spread over them again. Then, with a little gentle persuasion, he turned Alex away from him before scooting in and spooning his friend from behind.

Alex half-turned his head to quip, "What? Are you trying to go at it again?" he whispered, before shaking his head. "I'm not too sure about going all THAT way you know, and…"

"Shut up!" Brett hissed, nuzzling into his friend's neck. "Go to sleep, Alex. I'm not going to do anything, or let anything happen to us tonight. I swear it, on my life. You're my best mate, remember? I just, I want to really hold you for a while, okay? Is that alright?"

"Uh, mates are usually guys and girls, and lots of you-know-what going on bro, and…" Alex began teasing, but at the same time he grasped Brett's arms and hugged them to his chest.

"Shut up," Brett growled again. "You know what I meant goofy!" He snuggled up close and sighed.

Alex turned back to his pillow and then settled in, but not without acknowledging by pushing back deeper into the embrace. With his whole lower half still naked, he could feel Brett slide up close, including the soft, unhardened member that rubbed against his butt. He smiled though, knowing he had nothing to worry about. "Good night, Brett. And thanks."

He felt Brett rise up over his shoulder. "There you go again. What for, this time?" His tone was musical and soft, something that made Alex smile again.

"For being my friend, my best friend - and for being my brother, too. Someone I can love and trust," came the whispered reply.

In response, Brett hugged him tightly again. "Thank you, too, Alex. For all those reasons and a whole lot more, ditto."

With that, both boys fell soundly asleep within minutes.

<<<<<<<<< _ >>>>>>>>>

The next morning, Brett awoke slowly as he felt a certain canine begin licking his cheek. Grunting, he propped himself up on his elbow and observed the furry animal wagging his tail furiously, happy to have finally elicited the desired effect. As the fogginess evaporated, the teen glanced at the clock and was surprised to find it was almost nine. Reaching out, he ran his fingers through Bobba Fett's fur before scratching him behind his ears. "I guess you need to go out, right buddy?" he whispered. The dog half-barked, half-grunted at him in response, and then began bouncing on all fours.

Quietly extracting himself from bed, Brett walked over to the bedroom door and let the canine out of the room. He knew he didn't need to follow, as the dog had a pet-door access elsewhere in the house, one which he made use of readily to make his way outside. Yawning deeply, the teen re-closed the door and made his way to the bathroom, where he proceeded to relieve his bladder. Compared to some of his usual risings, the hour was somewhat early, but by the time he returned to the bedroom, he was rapidly waking up.

To Brett's surprise, however, he observed that the figure in his bed was still sleeping soundly. Brett stood and watched briefly as Alex's chest rose and fell in a slow rhythm. Thinking about the night before, and everything the two had done, brought a smile to his face, along with a feeling of elation. He slowly peeled back the covers and started to climb back in as surreptitiously as possible. He almost succeeded, as he snuggled up to his friend. However, he heard a grunt.

"It's 'bout time you woke up," Alex whispered.

Brett grimaced as he propped his pillow up higher and draped an arm over Alex's side. "I thought you were still sleeping. It sure sounded like you were."

Alex turned his head and opened one eye briefly to observe his friend, before closing it again. "I was, but I've been awake off and on for the last hour or more." The teen then yawned before opening both eyes completely. "So, you okay?"

Brett smiled. "Me? I'm doing fantastic! How about you?"

Alex started to answer, but then yawned heavily for a second time. "I'm good." He lay there a few seconds and then scooted closer until he was tucked into Brett's side. "Um, new day, right? Any regrets?"

Brett, confused, looked puzzled. "About what?"

"About last night, goofy!" Alex whispered, amused.

Brett grinned before letting his head fall back to his pillow again. "I wish I could have another one just like it, all over again with just you and me," he whispered back.

"Good!" Alex replied. "I'll take that as a no then, because I have no regrets, either." He grunted. "I guess you must like me then. Probably as much as I like you." It was a statement of fact, one which Brett readily acknowledged.

"Of course I do!" Brett whispered.

Alex giggled and then gave his friend a brief hug before backing away. Rising to the side of the bed, he announced, "Time out, I've got to get rid of some more processed tea from last night."

As his friend stood and walked away, Brett noticed the teen had reacquired his briefs at some point during the morning. It didn't bother him in the slightest, but it did connect with something else in the back of his mind. When Alex returned, he spoke up. "Did you, uh, get up earlier or something?"

Alex nodded, climbing back into the bed. "Yeah, Bobba Fett was scratching at the door, so I let him in. That was, um, I think around 5:30 or so." He fluffed his pillow before falling onto his back again, retaking his previous position tucked into Brett's side. This time, however, Brett lifted an arm and easily slid in to rest his head on Alex's shoulder. "So, what are we going to do today? I take it you're not going to church or anything, right?" Alex asked.

"To be honest, we rarely go. I guess we should go more than we do, but meh, Mom and Dad sleep in now on most Sundays. Sometimes it's as late as noon before they'll get up," Brett replied.

Alex nodded. "I can understand that." He paused, becoming thoughtful. "You know, you said something last night about not knowing if I was some religious zealot or anything."

When he didn't offer anything more, Brett replied. "Yeah, I remember. Seriously though? It's none of my business, Alex. I was just trying to explain how I felt sometimes about, you know, and-"

"I know that, Brett, don't worry. The answer is though, we used to go to church - a lot. We stopped going, um, about three or four years ago, I guess. There were some things that just changed for us really fast, and then we moved, and… well, that's just the way it has been since then."

Brett raised his eyebrows in curiosity. "Really? What happened? Or is this a part of that stuff you say we'll have to talk about sometime later?"

"Kind of, yeah," Alex answered. Turning his head, he looked deep into Brett's eyes just then. "I'm sorry, I'm still not ready, but if you want, there is one thing I feel like I can tell you now. I mean, it'll answer some of the questions you've been wondering about. In a way, I think I need to get it out in the open anyway. Between us, I mean."

Brett hesitated, but then nodded, his curiosity piqued. "It's all up to you, buddy. Only if you want to, though."

For a moment Alex was silent, staring out into the room in deep thought, before he unwrapped himself and sat up. Turning to Brett, he spoke again. "Well, remember when you said something about me always wearing shirts all the time?"

"Well, yeah, kind of. But … I still didn't mean anything bad by it, though, I just-" Brett started, but Alex shushed him.

"It's cool, I know you didn't." The teenager paused again, this time choosing his words carefully. "I think you need to know why, though. There's a reason. I mean, in a way it's kind of a self-conscious thing, but there's also a lot more to it, too."

Brett sensed something important was on the horizon, so he rolled and sat up beside his friend. "There is nothing wrong with that, Alex. A lot of guys don't like to skin any, especially some of the bigger guys. They either have man-boobs, or they're like, all white skinned and everything. Like, you know, no tans or such. Others, they just don't like to really show their bellies or anything at all."

Alex grunted. "I can understand that, yeah, but… for me, it's a different reason." He hesitated only slightly before taking a deep breath, and then grasped hold of his shirt and peeled it off. Brett looked on, initially not noticing anything different between them at first. From the angle where he sat, he could see the whole right side of Alex's chest and stomach, and thought it looked just as normal as anyone else's. The skin was somewhat un-tanned, but not blindingly so like some guys Brett knew.

It wasn't until Alex rotated toward him, however, that Brett was given pause. Along the teen's left side, everything initially seemed normal from Alex's nipple down to his waist. Stretching north of there, however, was a series of deep scars and indentions in the skin, extending wildly toward his left shoulder and around under his arm. The scars didn't look that bad, certainly not in the vein as a disfigurement, but they were profound compared to the rest of his friend's skin. They were lightly ridged the further away they trailed from his breast, but it was there in the center that the ridges stood out the most. It was there that it appeared they began, and the deeper, more profound indentations displayed a darker discoloration. "Oh, shit! Wow!" Brett exclaimed softly, glancing up to voice his surprise.

Alex sat still for a moment, then lifted his left arm and turned so that Brett could see the rest. The scarred tissue only extended to the edge of his rib cage, tapering off to skin that was more normal in appearance. Alex remained unmoving for a few seconds, but then slowly lowered his arm before explaining. "You see, this is a part of me that will probably never go away, Brett. At least, not completely. It will get better as I get older, but… you can see why it makes me, I don't know… shy, I guess."

"Wow," Brett repeated, leaning in to observe the remnants more closely. "When did this happen? How did it happen?"

"Before we moved here, there… there was a fire, and… our house burned down," Alex replied, his eyes unfocussed momentarily and his voice cloaked with a distant tone. "I- I almost made it out, but then a part of it caved in, and one of the walls fell and caught me, hitting me here. I was trapped…" Suddenly his eyes came back into focus and he watched Brett closely. When his friend didn't speak, he continued with a voice barely above a whisper. "Uh… say something, please?"

Brett's broke from the seeming trance he was in as he looked up and smiled. "What? There's nothing really here, Alex, that-"

"You don't understand. You can say it's not so bad, okay? But… I don't know, to me I'm not so sure. Some people can see something like this, and then think I'm some kind of a freak, you know? This…" He hesitated, looking down at himself. "Like, with us. This is a part of me. They grafted some skin from my thigh and butt to rework it and all, but still … it's not normal, see? Before now, I know you probably saw me as just a regular guy, right? I was afraid if you knew this and all, well… Don't you see? I didn't want things to change."

"But, why do you think it would change?" Brett asked, confused.

"Its just… I was afraid, that's all. But after last night, I got to thinking this morning, I can't hide it from you any longer. Not this part of me, anyway."

Brett saw the serious look, and the misty eyes that developed in his friend. "This changes absolutely nothing, Alex, I promise." He paused, becoming thoughtful. "Why now though? Why did you wait until now? You could have told me before."

Alex shrugged. "I guess I was afraid you might start seeing me differently in some way. After last night, I… I don't know, Brett. I guess I didn't feel like I had a need to, you know? I mean, you must have either not noticed, or you did and you just ignored it. I didn't know, given everything else that went on. And… now…"

Thinking back Brett realized that, except for the shower incident, the whole evening had passed with Alex wearing his t-shirt pulled down. "I honestly didn't notice, really. I think I was like, almost always on your right side anyway, remember? And after Dad came to the door, you already had your t-shirt pulled back on by the time I got back." Seeing the incredulous look, Brett grunted. "I'm serious Alex, and besides, it's really not that visible unless you're turned right at me, you know?"

"Brett, come on, I was naked the whole time you were helping me get out of the tub, and…" Alex started.

"Yeah, and I was behind you most of the time too, remember? Except maybe when you were turned around and sitting on the john. Even then though, I…" Brett hesitated. "If I noticed anything, I was too busy to pay attention, man. I was worried about your… your other problems. You know, between your legs and all." He looked up into his friend's eyes, pleading. "Believe me Alex, that doesn't mean I stood still and took mental pictures of you! I admit, I might be curious about some things, about you and all, but man - right then? I was a lot more worried about you being hurt than anything else!"

Alex stared at him briefly and then relented. "Okay, okay… I believe you," he replied softly, which made Brett sigh with relief. "There's also the part about what we did last night, too. The 'messing around' stuff you called it. I – I was also thinking this morning, if we do very much of that kind of stuff, then, well… it's better to just get it out in the open and done with, you know? That way, you wouldn't have to be surprised later."

Brett smiled, following the train of thought easily. "I promise buddy, you've got nothing to worry about, okay?" Brett offered. Reaching out, he tentatively brought his fingers up to touch the affected area, but then hesitated. Alex saw it before reaching out to grasp the hand and guiding it up to his skin where he held it in place.

"Go ahead, I don't care. Please," Alex whispered, nodding in encouragement.

Brett started caressing the area back and forth. "Dang, dude, you must have really been hurt kind of bad," he whispered.

Alex shrugged. "A little maybe, but I was burned more than anything else. I only caught a part of the wall that buckled on top of me."

"I guess it was some pretty scary shit then, wasn't it?" Brett commented, holding the palm of his hand over Alex's breast. "Wow…"

"Kind of, yeah." Surprisingly, Alex sudden sighed deeply in relief. "I'm sorry, Bret. Like I said, I was scared … scared that this might change something between us. I know that sounds stupid, but… with us getting like we were last night, and… and starting to do things … well… you understand, right? I was afraid you might feel different about me. I needed to explain, especially if it might affect us, and I'd rather get it out of the way now, in case… in case…"

Brett sudden sat up straight. "No way, man. No fucking way," he whispered. He pulled Alex into a deep hug again, but still felt a certain amount of resistance, as if his friend wasn't yet fully convinced. Thinking quickly, Brett decided to make his point clearer by pulling back and maneuvering himself so that he sat directly in front of him, scooting in until he sat in his lap. Wrapping both legs around Alex's waist, Brett pulled them both together. Each could once again feel the heat, the intimacy - and the caring - of one another.

Alex finally relaxed and embraced his friend fully. "I wanted to tell you before, Brett," he whispered. "Long before now, but… I just couldn't, because I didn't know how. There were so many things going on, and… and… We're still trying to put our lives back together and all, me and my parents, I mean. It's taken me this long to just find out how much I believe in us and all, you and me. Does that make any sense?"

"Yeah, it does," Brett answered. Pulling back, he saw tears of relief slowly falling down his friend's cheek. "Actually, I'm glad. Like you said, it explains so many things now. Like, why you didn't have so much stuff when you moved in. And me and Gina, we noticed you guys didn't have hardly anything on the walls, like pictures and stuff, when we came over. I take it you lost all of that stuff?"

Alex nodded. "Mostly, yeah. They had a few things in a fireproof box, like negatives and old pictures and stuff. At least that much got saved, but still, we've not had much time to deal with stuff like that yet. As far as other stuff goes, Dad thought we had some good insurance and all, but … there were problems. In the end we only came up with less than half of what we were supposed to be covered for. So yeah, we've been rebuilding. It's just kind of slow going, that's all."

Brett looked on with admiration. "You know something? I never knew, Alex. I admit, I wondered about some of it sometimes, but I never suspected anything like that hit you guys. To think you guys lost everything? I don't know whether to curse or… or… Damn!" In the silence that followed, Brett suddenly removed his t-shirt and, initially glancing between them, saw a gap still existed. With his legs, he inched forward and pulled his friend in even harder, before looking up. "I don't care if our dicks make out, man. I don't care if my chest rubs with yours, I don't care anything about any of that stuff. I just… if you'll let me, I want to hold you as close as I can right now," he whispered.

Alex smiled and then renewed their embrace, closing his eyes. "I don't care either, Brett, After last night, everything felt so awesome," Alex whispered. They sat there in silence, totally relaxed until the teen continued. "Thanks, man, for listening, and for understanding. This means a lot to me, right now, you know?"

Brett eventually pulled back. "It means a lot to me, too," he whispered. Turning his gaze again to the scarred tissue, he asked, "Do they still hurt you or anything?"

Alex shook his head. "No, it's all mostly okay now. I do get pretty sore in my shoulder sometimes still, but it's nothing that I can't handle. Docs told me to keep it exercised and all, for the better." He sighed. "So, we're okay, right? You don't think I'm a freak or anything?"

Brett giggled. "Alex, if you're a freak, then you're my freak! I'd still hug and hold you just as much as I would have before you showed me. I swear, it doesn't change anything between us, except…" He paused, smirking. "Except maybe now it gives me something to feel and play around with for a while - especially when you let me hold you from now on. That is, if you'll let me push my hand up inside your shirt."

Alex giggled. "I don't think that's going to be any problem, bro."

Bret nodded before looking up. "Alex? Thank you. Thanks for telling me this."

"You're welcome. Just… just don't go and tell anyone else, okay? Dad… he doesn't want anyone knowing about the fire, or the house or anything. At least not right now, okay?"

"But… how come?" Brett asked.

"There are other reasons, Brett, the kind I really can't talk about just now. I mean, I've broken one promise already, just showing and explaining this to you... understand? The way I figure it though, he can't find out I told you about it, at least not now. Keep it between us, okay?" Alex pleaded.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone," Brett replied. "I promise. I would never want you to get in trouble."

Alex smiled weakly, but then nodded. "I know you wouldn't. I would never knowingly do that to you, either." He suddenly shrugged. "In some ways it's not that big of a deal, you know? But, in other ways, it is. Anyway, I knew you were going to have to know about this sooner or later."

"Really?" Brett asked.

"Yeah. I don't know. I mean, if we ever got in the showers together or something, you might have freaked out on me, right?" Alex answered, his voice gradually returning to a more normal, teasing tone.

Brett grinned as he thought about that. "You think?" He giggled. "Uh, is that something you think we might do sometime?"

Alex scoffed. "With you? Yeah, it'll probably happen, you know it will. Anyone else though, uh…"

Brett giggled. "Then just me it will be, then. OH! Except, well…" Brett hesitated, thinking. "Um, the showers at camp, they're all open showers and everything. You know, like five or six shower heads in a room? Not a lot of privacy, really."

Alex grimaced, but then shrugged. "I'll deal with that when I have too, then. Just as long as I have you with me, and you're okay with all of this, then I'll be okay - I think." He blushed. "We'll find out, anyway."

"Alex, I am without a doubt, one-hundred-thousand-percent okay with it, bro," Brett declared. He noticed they were still holding one another, though loosely. "Alex?" Brett whispered. "I love you, man. Don't forget it, okay? Please?"

"I won't, bro. I promise," came the whispered reply.

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