Authors' Note: D&B and Ilúvantír would like to make sure that you are aware, with two stories moving 'arm in arm' in the same place and time span, that you are aware that for maximum story pleasure and minimum confusion, you should read them in this order: Be Careful chapter 5, Sa'ren chapter 1, Be Careful chapter 6, Sa'ren chapter 2.
Teri invited Kurt to use a guest room, letting him know it was his as long as he needed it. Finding out that a group of the Clan boys were planning to build a nest, the boys jumped at the chance to join them.
Snuggled up with Jude, Scott looked over at Galen, who was contentedly cuddled up with several Clan boys, with an enormous smile on his face. 'This is just what he needed,' he thought, and turned his attention to Jude.
At breakfast the boys saw the changed and recovered Joel. Once they had finished, and after all the excitement was over, Tommy and some of the others went to help the boys still convalescing from Saturday's attack, Jude volunteered to tag along and help. "It's something I can do, right off the bat, to help pull my weight," he said. "And I feel like it's what I'm supposed to do."
"C'mon with me," Tommy answered. "Gotta run breakfasts to 'em and hand out some painkillers to those as need 'em; you'll be a lot of help."
Joel spoke up, "Is there anywhere quieter to go to for a while? I'm not used to all these people about..."
Kevin nodded. Kenny giggled and said "Sure there is, Joel. Lots of room in the Compound. I'm gonna stay, though. Need to speak with Cory. Kev can show you around, though."
Kevin smiled "Come on, Joel. We'll walk around for a while." He rose and held out his hand for Joel to take. He did so and they walked out of the room, with Cory and Sean watching from the armchair, smiling all the while.
"Okay, I think I know who Tyler and Levi were referring to." Sean chuckled softly.
Cory just smiled more, then started to tell Sean about what little the Doc had said regarding Joel. As he finished, he looked up to see Kenny standing nearby, holding a folder, his body language saying he was waiting patiently but with something urgent to say. He motioned Kenny over. "What's up, bro?"
"Last night," Kenny said, "we were showing Scott and Galen Kevin's pictures, I read one that I hadn't read before. I'm firmly convinced we need to do an intervention, and this boy has convinced himself that he doesn't need help. You guys need to feel what I felt, and then we need to figure out what to do."
"If he doesn't think he needs help..." Gabe began, joining them.
"He still needs it," Kenny said. "And that's not the sort of meddling we all despise. Just wait until you get the images, and you'll understand."
Sean called over Austin, Alec, and Cory. Scott raised his eyebrows, and Sean motioned him and Galen to join them, remembering that Kenny had said they'd been present when he first 'read' the picture.
"Austin, will you relay my reading to everyone else?" Kenny asked. Even though we've been practicing, I'm not good at telepathy beyond our twin link, and I sure can't plant images in non-telepath minds."
"Sure," Austin said. The group gathered around Kenny. Wordlessly, he drew the drawing of the boat out of the folder he had been carrying, and rested his hands on it.
Anastasios "Stass" Kalouris leaned against his boat, squinting against the glare of sun on sand and sea and trying for the warmest, most inviting smile he could muster. Tourists walking by in family groups ignored or tried to shield their children from him. A few men walking alone, on the other hand, looked appraisingly over his young naked body. At 13, he was well into puberty and showed it, but he had not yet sprouted any body hair, for which he was thankful. He had stopped wearing cutoff trousers a few months back; being naked attracted the customers he wanted, and was one less thing getting in the way.
He glanced over at the ruins on the island. His dreams of finishing school, college, and becoming an archaeologist had gone down with the ship his father had drowned on last year. He remembered the stories of the glory days of ancient Greece, and the ones his father didn't tell, about how men and boys would come together in love in the olden days. He visualized the boys who used to frolic in those ruins, flirting with the men as Greek boys should, in Stass's opinion. He was proud to be able to carry on that tradition in his own small way.
The lone middle-aged man wore an open sports shirt and Bermudas, and flip-flops on his feet. He had focused in on Stass as he came into view. Hair slightly receding and a touch overweight, he still looked like a prime prospect. "Twenty drachmas, mister, and I'll take you out in the harbor in my boat and give you a nice ride." A twist of his hips as he finished the offer made it clear exactly what kind of ride Stass was offering.
The front of the man's Bermudas began to bulge, and Stass openly looked at the bulge with what he hoped was a convincingly appreciative smile. Inside, he was thinking, 'This could be one of the good ones. He may have the size and stamina to bring me off too.' Men who could give Stass the pleasure he longed for, the shuddering orgasm he craved, were in the minority among his clients lately. Too many merely mounted and entered him, took a few strokes, and came, before Stass had gotten himself to the point of pleasure. He felt the familiar stirring in his groin, and decided to press the issue. "I can give you a really good ride, mister," he encouraged.
Wordlessly, the man nodded, and drew twenty drachmas from his pocket. Stass smiled, and began pushing the boat into the water, purposefully spreading his legs wide as he pushed to give the man a nice view.
As the sun moved toward the western horizon, the man climbed from the boat and walked up the beach without a word or backward look. Stass began pulling the boat on shore contentedly. It had been a good day. His older brother was content that Stass slept in an alcove off the small kitchen, and did not condemn his way of making a living. In fact, he sometimes apologized for being unable to do more for Stass, but his meager wage was barely enough to support his young wife and two small kids. Stass climbed in the now-beached boat, dipped a sponge over the side, and began wiping up his own ejaculate from the floorboards. The man had indeed had the stamina to bring Stass to a powerful orgasm, and Stass was happy. As he bent over, his anal sphincter, now shrinking to normal, twinged, his right thigh began to itch, and Stass reached back with the sponge to wipe off the man's semen from his thigh as it drained.
Satisfied with the results, Stass climbed from the boat to walk up to the taverna. Naked, he'd have to eat around back, but he was used to that, and had enough money for a good meal. Perhaps, after, he might find another man with a taste for a boy's bottom. He felt arousal again at the thought.
"Oh, my God!" said a horrified Alec.
"But he's convinced himself that he's happy doing that," Scott mused. "Before we can rescue him, we need to convince him he needs rescuing. I want so much for him to have a better, happier life...." He let his thought die off.
Galen stepped forward and rested his hand on Kenny's shoulder. "He's repressed his hopes, hiding his pain," he said. "He wants a man, or someone bigger and dominant, to love him. He's convinced himself he's content selling himself to those men, but deep down inside he wants someone who cares enough to make it an act of love, not just sex, to give him pleasure too. And despite his resolution, he's never completely given up his dream for his future."
"You need to come on the intervention team, Gale," Scott said. "And it needs to include at least one or two guys who are bottoms, who can identify with him."
Austin rested one hand on Kenny's shoulder and the other on Galen's. After a moment, he announced, "Galen's right."
"Unk said I was an empath," Galen said to him.
"He was right," Austin said. "Have Tyler transfer some of the empath techniques he's learned, when you two have time." He smiled at Galen.
"As I see it," Scott said, "what we need to do is to find a way to spend a day with him, with guys talking with him one on one. The effect will be to convince him that he can have the future he dreamed of, without having to give up sex or something."
"That makes sense," Cory spoke up. "You have a handle on what needs doing, Scott. Work out your plans more and get a team together."
"Me!?" said Scott. "I've never been on an intervention!"
"Well, it sounds like you know exactly what we did on all of them, from the conversation last night," Sean said. "You guys reminded us of stuff that we'd forgotten. And it's not true that you've never been on one -- Jude. And you guys pulled that off without even having a Clan to back you up."
Marcus was peeved. Scott and Galen were huddled with Cory, Sean, Kenny, and a couple of the other older boys -- and he'd been left out of it. 'They're treating me like I'm just a kid,' he muttered to himself. He walked out the door, and saw a couple of kids his age tossing a Frisbee back and forth. "Hey, Marky!" C.D. called out. "C'mon and play with us!" Grumpily, he wandered over to join them.
"This is C.J.," C.D. said by way of introduction. "C.J., this is Marcus; he's part of the group that came in yesterday. C.J. and his brother Jed are part of the Clan but they live in an apartment, not here."
"You're C.J.?! Marcus exclaimed. "The kid who brought your big brother back from a nervous breakdown? Awesome! I hope someday I can do cool stuff like you!"
C.J. for his part was dumbfounded. With all the changes since his parents had been killed, he'd pretty much taken the role of tag-along to his brother and the other kids. And here was somebody new that not only knew who he was, but was treating him like some kind of hero. He gave Marcus a big grin. "I'm not anything special," he said. "Just a kid like you."
"Yeah, you are," Marcus answered. "You're somebody my age who's helped save someone."
"Kyle's done a lot more of it than anything I've done," C.J. said.
"Yeah, but Kyle said he's turning into a Mickey Mouse," Marcus giggled. "Anyway, he's off doing Clan stuff, and I wanna be friends with you."
A spirited three-way Frisbee game left the boys feeling hot. "C'mon, let's go for a swim," C.J. suggested. They ran to the indoor pool, and stripped down. C.J. noticed Marky was not at all bashful about stripping for skinny-dipping. Marcus for his part was in his element -- showing off, his grumpy mood forgotten. He dropped his pants and struck what he thought was a 'sexy' pose. C.J. giggled. "How come you got a boner?" he asked. "My brother gets 'em when he makes out with Jared, his boyfriend."
Marky refused to be embarrassed. He wiggled his hips and giggled. "I get 'em all the time; so do my brother and cousin, too."
"Does that mean you want to be my boyfriend?" C.J. asked. Marcus's eyes got big. "You mean you'd want me for a boyfriend? I never thought that'd happen when I read about you!"
C.J. shyly stepped forward and hugged him. "Sure; you're nice and fun." Marcus hugged back. "Cool, then we're boyfriends! Race you to the end of the pool!"
Aaron walked into C.I.C., waving at Cory and the group around him. He caught Tommy's eye, and walked over to join him. "How're our convalescents doing?" he asked.
"Jest got through taking them their breakfasts and morning meds," Tommy answered. "I had help: Calen, C.D., C.J., Raffy, and that new kid who came in yesterday, Jude. They're all hanging out with the kids that are still healing from what happened to them Saturday."
"That's what I came over for. I was tied up with a performance Saturday, and I kind of feel like I let the Clan down by not being here when all the ... stuff ... was going down. So I thought maybe I'd do the celebrity visit bit with them, see if I can help anyone cope. It's not much, but it's the least I can do now."
"Sure," Tommy answered warmly. "I have a hunch it'll give some of them a pick-up to their spirits. C'mon!"
Tommy led Aaron briskly to where the boys who were still getting their strength back from Saturday were bedded down. Three were sitting up in bed, animatedly talking to Calen and C.D., who were sitting on the edge of a couple of the beds. As Aaron walked over to them, one caught a glimpse of who was coming and his eyes grew large. Looking on to the scene, Tommy smiled. 'Just what they needed,' he thought to himself, watching Aaron give a hug to C.D. and then to one of the bedfast boys. Further down the line of beds, C.J. and Raffy were sitting with two boys about their age, all four gesturing animatedly with the Hot Wheels cars they were holding. Just beyond that, Jude was sitting and holding the hand of a slender teen with dirty blond hair and haunted eyes.
Aaron rejoined Tommy, who pointing at Jude and the boy he was with. "You probably won't make much of an impression on the Hot Wheels Fan Club," he said, waving his hand in the direction of the four younger boys. "I think Jude there and the boy he's with are where you're needed next."
"Works for me," Aaron answered. "Let's head over there." The mid-teen singer and the country boy with a gift for cooking and for organizing walked side by side towards Jude and the boy he was with.
Jude glanced up. "Hey, guys, c'mere! I want you to meet...."
The boy on the bed looked up, and his eyes went wide. "Oh, my God! You're...." Aaron smiled indulgently at the obvious case of Fan Freakout.
"...Tommy!" the boy finished. Aaron did a double-take and then burst into delighted laughter. "Hey, Tom, looks like you've got your own fan club now!"
"This is Billy Joe McAllister," Jude finished, "and don't even think of teasing him about the song."
"Tommy? What are you doing here?" Billy Joe asked. Tommy looked at him in puzzlement and then his eyes went wide in realization.
"Well, you remember that my Ma died, and I got taken away by my Uncle Calvin," Tommy answered. "It turned out he was part of a kiddie porn ring, and when he went to recover Sammy and Jeffy, I mean Sebastian, the Clan rescued me from him. But what are you doing here?"
"Um, can I tell you private-like? There's some stuff people might get the wrong idea about -- like remember that day in the tree fort? Stuff like that." Billy Joe was blushing as he answered.
"You don't have to worry about no one gettin' upset 'bout that around here," Tommy said reassuringly. "But ya don't have to say nothin' you don't wanna, either."
"Ya sure?" Billy Joe was skeptical.
"Sure I'm sure," Tommy said. "Aaron 'n' I can bring our boyfriends over to meet ya if'n it'll relax you 'bout it. I want you to meet Kelly anyway."
Aaron smiled reassuringly. "Don't I know you from somewheres?" Billy Joe asked him.
"I get asked that a lot," Aaron answered. "I gather you know Tommy from back when."
"Yep, before I got sent away to be 'saved'," Billy Joe answered. "Ummm...." He remained nervous.
"Relax," Aaron said. "Whatever your story is, chances are good one of us in the Clan has been through pretty much the same thing too"
"Okay," Billy Joe said. "Let me finish up my lunch here, and I'll tell you two what happened."
Wow! D&B have outdone themselves this time! I can't wait to see what happens next; they have definitely started something that is proving to be extremely awesome!