We called Keith back a couple hours after he left, and though he continued to train me, we avoided working on telepathy any more. Keith said it was because he didn’t want to have my thoughts about Marc in his head, and from the look he gave our satisfied selves I believed him.
Instead we worked on telekinesis, which was a simpler concept to understand for me, but took more physical energy to accomplish. I was not a natural, though Keith was insistent that I had great potential. Believing him was not something I was a natural at either, and I soon found myself discouraged. Without any of his earlier condescension, he assured me that it would take time to learn, and that it was the same for everyone.
The next few weeks changed a lot for me, and by the end of them I was beginning to see the potential that Keith had explained. I could move small objects almost effortlessly, but moving larger ones were still giving me problems. I had the basics of telepathy down, though some of the more advanced techniques were still giving me trouble, such as breaking through walls of those who kept their thoughts guarded. I was progressing, but there was still much to learn. I spent almost every weekend with Keith, and spent at least an hour every night practicing what we had gone over the week before.
My psychic abilities were not the only thing that improved over that time either. My relationship with my father had improved dramatically, and every time he saw Marc with me he smiled and gave us a thumbs up. We still had our times where we didn’t say much to each other, but they were no longer uncomfortable. Speaking had become more common as well, and more in depth than simple platitudes. I was finally getting to know my father, and he was getting a chance to do the same with me.
Of course, most of my time was spent in school, and Marc had done as he said he would. He was now an actual student at the school, and had managed to get himself enrolled in each of my classes. He no longer needed to remain invisible in order to watch over me. I didn’t know how he pulled it off, but I was glad that he was there. Even with the distraction of my boyfriend, I was determined to keep up on my studies, and I was surprised to find that he was helping me every step of the way. The distraction from studying usually came much later in the day when we would turn in for bed. We were past the point of holding back in our relationship, and the sex was great. The training in telepathy meant that nearly every time we made love it was powerful and moving, and not simply a product of raging adolescent hormones.
Despite all the progress that was being made, and the fact that everything seemed to be going well, there was a tension in the air that kept all of us on edge. Even my father sensed it from time to time, and would sometimes question if everything was alright. Of course, with him I went no further than to assure him that it was just stress and that everything was okay, but I knew what was really going on. The angels had been too quiet on the issue. The fact that one day they had tried to kill me and then for three weeks they hadn’t shown their faces at all was troublesome. We wondered where they were and what they were planning, or if they had simply decided I wasn’t worth pursuing.
We finally got an answer when Veronica finally showed up at school again. Marc and I were sitting alone at our table as usual when she walked into the lunch room. Both of us immediately tensed up, though we knew that there was little chance of a confrontation in a room crowded with human kids. There would be no way that the angels would wish to blow their cover so easily. Still, there was no reason to be anything other than cautious, especially once she approached the table.
She walked within fifteen feet of me before Marc rose and with a growl stated firmly, “That’s far enough Verina. What’s your business coming back here?”
Verina cleared her throat nervously and then replied weakly, “I came to apologize, and to offer information. Could the three of us move to a more private location? In front of the school will do. There are still students there, but we can meet without being overheard.”
I was surprised by her answer. A few weeks before she had orchestrated my execution and suddenly she wanted to make amends. It all seemed a little too perfect for me, but then I remembered what she had been shouting as her angel friends had tried to kill me. She had been asking them not to hurt me.
As Marc was opening his mouth to respond that we would never consider consorting with her, I reached out with my telepathy and scanned her mind. I could tell that she was sincere, and I knew that there would be no harm in giving her a chance to explain herself. I raised my hand to cut Marc off and then replied simply, “Okay, we will hear you out.”
I opened myself to a link with Marc, and I sensed that he was confused and hurt, though he did not have a coherent thought as to why, other than the fact that he didn’t trust her. Then I felt the thought cross his mind that he wondered if I was still attracted to her, and I immediately stamped that out as best as I could. Without giving a thought to our surroundings, I planted a kiss firmly on his lips before the question was even formalized in his mind, and I felt his doubt melt away. Then I whispered my explanation in his ear, “I have read her thoughts, and she is sincere. I don’t know why she is doing this, but I know that we can trust her long enough for a conversation.”
He nodded and then gestured for her to lead the way. He spoke, his tone mocking, “You go first. I won’t turn my back on you again. Ever.”
She stiffened, and at first I read anger from her, but then I felt her emotion switch from anger to acceptance, and she turned to walk away. When we made no move to follow, she turned her head and said, “Well, are you coming or not?”
Marc moved to follow but I shook my head and said to him, “No, I should go second. You should watch our backs. I know that you are suspicious of her, but I can assure you that she is clean. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t being watched though. There may be others who would look to harm us that will come at us from behind.”
My boyfriend nodded and stepped behind me. I maintained my link with him to make sure that I could understand anything that he thought was amiss, but I didn’t need to worry. There were no traps or hidden ambushes of angelic troops as we followed Verina to the front of the school. It was a normal school day, with students enjoying their lunch hour like they always did. The only thing that was different about it was that an angel, a demon, and a human psychic were meeting to talk over their differences.
We walked to one of the trees that stood in the front lawn of the school, and Verina sat down, and then gestured to the grass in front of her. I nodded and took a seat, and with the renewed suspicion from Marc, I didn’t blame him for deciding not to join us. He stood resolutely behind me with his hands calmly at his sides, a stance that I knew would allow him to easily flow into any of his martial maneuvers should a threat become apparent.
“Alright Verina, speak,” I ordered with a hint of anger in my voice. Though I didn’t exactly distrust her, that didn’t mean I had gotten over her involvement in my attempted assassination.
“I suppose if you know that name then Prince Dae’Marca here has told you everything, or at least enough,” she began with reluctance. I knew from reading her thoughts that it was because she didn’t know how to say what she wanted to, not out of wanting to hide anything from me. She continued after a slight hesitation, “I’m sure you know all about angels and demons now.”
I nodded, and then gestured for her to continue. She returned my nod and went on, “You have also probably been told the legend of Merlin. Well part of why I am here is to verify that the angelic accounts verify the legend. He really did say that the next son born of his bloodline would have the power to end the war. The angels were also very aware of Merlin’s typical ability for being right about things. Painfully aware. We have long memories, and we remember Merlin and Pen’Arthrun very well. The battles they fought against us cost us the highest casualties in the entirety of the war, until we finally managed to kill Merlin on the battlefield, and Pen’Arthrun was wounded.”
“You came here to give a history lesson? You’re wasting your time, angel bitch,” Marc said with a snarl, his impatience radiating from him enough that it wouldn’t take a psychic to know exactly what he was feeling.
“No, I didn’t come here to give a history lesson, but hopefully I can change some history,” Verina replied with almost as much venom, though her tone was cool again when she turned back to me and said, “I came here because I’ve changed sides.”
My eyes widened, and I could feel the surprise in Marc as well. I looked over my shoulder and I saw his mouth hanging open, before either of us could respond to her revelation, she continued. “I have spent the last decade and a half of my life watching Dae’Marca, here, watch you. That means I have spent more time on Earth than any angel even remotely close to my age. I have lived among you, paying close attention to how humans interact. Yes, there is a great deal that mankind does that doesn’t mesh well with my racial programming. I am not fond of your immodesty, for instance, but does your immodesty warrant senseless killing? No. You personally have done no harm to the angels, and I hope you will believe that I had no idea that they were going to kill you.”
I could tell from her thoughts that she wasn’t concealing anything from me yet, and that she was one hundred percent sincere. I was surprised at the truth, but that didn’t subtract from it being the truth. Marc of course, had more trouble believing her.
The anger was definitely still present as he replied, “You expect me to believe that you had no idea? You’re people kill innocents every day! Or at least they lead them to their deaths. How many wars have been fought on this planet in the name of your different religions! You’ve created a civil war among these people as a cover for your invasion! What do you mean you didn’t know your superiors would kill in order to protect themselves?”
“Hold on Marc, she’s telling the truth,” I interjected, and put a hand on his arm to calm him down. “Remember, I can read her thoughts. If I sense that she’s lying about something, believe me, you’ll be the first to know. Try not to get too worked up over it.”
“Thank you, Damien,” Verina said with a cautious look toward the angry demon that stood behind me, “So you can read minds. I suppose then that you’ve been training to reach your psychic potential? That’s good. I’m sure you’ll need it if you’re going to have any hope of stopping the war.”
“So does this mean that you’re on our side?” I asked with skepticism. Even though I knew she was sincere about not wanting to help the angels anymore, her thoughts were not clear enough to tell me what she planned to do next.
“I suppose that’s a way to look at it, if the old saying is to be believed. An enemy of an enemy is a friend and all that. I have been in contact with Hell, and the Lady Lucifel was quite interested in what I had to say. She’s taken me in and helped hide me from my former superiors. She has a compound in the area that keeps us safe from discovery.”
“I suppose that it would be reasonable to defect to her, wouldn’t it?” Marc replied with another snarl, though he was less angry than before. Instead a new emotion had taken the place of anger. Disgust.
Verina replied with a tone that I could only describe as smug, “I know that relations are not great between Hell and the demons, but they are far from terrible. You may be interested to know that your father has even approached Lucifel and Shatan in a move to strengthen the peace between us. The word alliance has even sprung up a few times.”
“He wouldn’t dare!” Marc exclaimed in surprised anger. From the little Marc had explained to me, I was surprised as well, but once again I knew that she was telling the truth; at least as far as she knew it, though she seemed pretty certain.
“Indeed he would dare. Tradition may state that no alliance with the angels will ever occur, but your father cited a certain loophole. Hell is no longer considered to be populated by angels, but rather devils. Your father plans to use the different terms as his basis for going against tradition. I don’t know why this bothers you so much. Wouldn’t you welcome the assistance in a war that you are losing?” She never lost her smug tone, and her thoughts showed her satisfaction at the way Marc responded to the words.
“The Lady Lucifel also sends her personal regards to you, Damien. I stole this from my former commander,” she explained as she retrieved the necklace she had shown me at dinner from her pocket. “The Lady explained that she once created a gift for her beloved Shatan; a device which could disrupt angelic technology. It was stolen from her by the druids and they kept it hidden somewhere. They likewise hid the controller of the device inside this necklace. When the angels found Merlin’s body, they retrieved the necklace but could not find the device. Lucifel assumed it was most likely still with you. I would agree with that assumption based upon you recognizing the symbol when we were at the restaurant.”
“You mean the statue that disrupts your holographic projectors?” I replied in wonder as I took the necklace from her extended hand. “So what else can the device do?”
“All of our technology works the same way. That device creates an effect similar to an electromagnetic pulse. Like the EMP would do to your technology, it disables all of our technology within its area of effect. The device is designed to emit a field covering a fairly large area, even larger than the few miles it currently covers, but the larger the area is, the weaker the effect it has. Now that you have the controller, you will be able to put it to more use than it has seen in a very long time. You now have access to the greatest weapon ever used against the angelic forces. You have the power to expose and cripple any forces that come against you. Congratulations Damien, you’ve just gained immunity to angelic incursion.”
I stared dumbfounded at the necklace, and then looked up at Marc. He was just as shocked as I was, and when we both turned toward Verina, I nodded in thanks and held out my left hand for her to shake. I had learned that it was the way the Druids had conducted business, and after my experience with Keith, it felt more proper to do it that way. Verina eagerly took my hand and shook it. It was then that the bell rang, and Verina excused herself, saying that she needed to get back to Lucifel. I watched her go, knowing that she was as good as on our side now, but when I read Marc’s thoughts, I had to admit he had a very logical reason for retaining his suspicion.
It was no longer directed at her, she had proven herself, but one question began to nag at both of us. Why was Lucifel suddenly interested in working with the demons?
The rest of the school day found us silently contemplating Verina’s words. I knew that Marc was troubled by the revelation of the proposed alliance, and I couldn’t wait until we could get home for me to comfort him. My last period was spent planning exactly what I would do to take his mind off of the situation. By the time the bell rang I had a shopping list of scented oils and candles that I could use to give him the best massage of his life, and I knew the store to get them was just five minutes from the house. It was going to work out great.
As we left our last class, we headed to my locker as usual to put my books away. From there our normal pattern was to visit Marc’s locker and then head off home. My bladder had other ideas than our normal routine, and to save time I sent Marc ahead to his locker while I went to restroom. He nodded in agreement and said he would meet me in front of the school, and we parted ways.
It might have helped if I had been listening, but unlike Keith I couldn’t stand to have my telepathy active all the time. Besides, I didn’t care much for most teenage gossip, and from the few times I had listened in on the general student body, that was what was going through most of their heads. But if I had been listening, I might have sensed the intent of the four guys following me to the restroom.
Instead I was oblivious. I pulled open the door and stepped inside the blue tiled room, then walked casually to the urinal. The door to the restroom opened again, but I paid it no heed. As I began to relieve myself, another student came and stood at the urinal next to me. I briefly glanced over at this unusual behavior in a high school restroom. There were six other urinals than the one I was using, and they were all unoccupied. Normally it was against culture to take a urinal next to another guy.
He was bigger than me, both in height and build. His hair was cut very short, and he was looking right at me with hard eyes. As soon as I glanced his way he opened his mouth and barked, “Hey, what you looking over here for, faggot!”
“I think he likes what he sees Karl,” said a voice from my other side, I didn’t have to see him to know that he was just as big and menacing as the first one. “I think we need to teach the kid a lesson. We need to teach him where to look and when.”
I was grabbed suddenly from behind by a third person, and pulled away from the urinal. I hadn’t finished peeing yet, and the last bit of my stream flew out and hit the tiled floor to the sound of laughter from the two who had been standing by me. When he finished laughing, Karl spoke up again, “Ah look, now you’re making a mess, faggot. I bet you like that sort of thing don’t you? You and your boyfriend think you can make out in the lunch room and not get beat for it? Well it’s time you learned what it’s like at this school for people like you.”
He stepped toward me and unzipped his pants, then fished his meat out of the hole. He held it in his hand as he looked me in the eye. At that point I was too scared to act, and I tried to calm myself down enough to think of a way out of what was going to happen next. When I finally calmed myself enough to think rationally, I realized that I could attempt to use my power to escape, but I knew that with my skill level I wouldn’t be able to handle all three of them. I would barely be able to handle one at my current level. Plus, using my telekinesis in any capacity was going to reveal me for what I was, and I didn’t want to explain myself. I decided I was going to have to take it, or at least try to talk my way out of it, and just hope that someone would come soon and break up what was going on.
“Hold him down,” Karl ordered to the guy holding me. The other one also moved into position to push me down, and I was soon kneeling in front of Karl, his penis less than a foot away from my face.
“Hey man, if you wanted me to blow you, you could’ve just asked. I have a boyfriend though, so I think I’m going to have to pass,” I said with a forced grin. I decided to be as cocky as I could, in an attempt to throw him off his game. I knew from past experience that showing fear to a bully was the surest way to keep him after you. Though I certainly was scared, I knew I had to be as brave as possible.
“Shut up faggot, that’s not what’s going to happen. I know you’d love to have this in your mouth, but no cocksucker is going to get anything but pain from me,” He replied as he waved his dick at me. “I’m going to make sure you never forget what happens if you wave your faggot flag at this school.”
“Oh, so what I’m never supposed to forget is that I got cornered in the bathroom by three guys who were bigger and stronger than me? Or, that you held me down so you could show me your dicks? Or, am I supposed to remember that they left me unzipped so they could stare at my gorgeous manliness while they beat me?” I replied with a snarl. My snarl ended abruptly in pain as the right side of my head was smacked hard enough to make my ear ring. That pain wasn’t even close to the pain I felt next as Karl aimed his foot at my groin and stomped down. I had trouble seeing through the tears that came unbidden to my eyes.
“That’s what I think about your so called manliness. Get some real balls, faggot. It’s time to give you that lesson. Hold his mouth open, boys.” As his urine started flying at my face, I did the best I could to keep it from getting in my mouth, and most of the time I succeeded, but over the next few seconds I got far more than I wanted to. Sputtering, and with tears still streaming down my face, I looked into Karl’s eyes with murderous intent. I no longer had any fear, just anger. When I had a chance, I was determined to get even.
Karl shook his meat and then put it back in his pants, giving me a long, satisfied look before zipping up. Without any warning, his fist was flying at my face, and blood from my nose mixed with the tears and urine. He sneered down at me as I squinted in pain. “Listen, faggot, if you tell anyone about this, we’re going to do a lot worse to you next time.”
Shouting from outside the bathroom caused Karl and his cronies to look toward the door, and I almost laughed as I heard Marc’s voice. He was shouting at whoever they had guarding the door. I knew that there would be no saving these three. I smiled as best as I could as I looked up at my abuser and said, “Looks like I won’t have to tell anyone. They’ll already know how much of a coward you are.”
He snarled and kicked me hard in the ribs. I reflexively tried to double over in pain, but they held me upright, which earned me another sharp kick, and then I was released to slump to the floor. What happened next was difficult for me to see through the pain, but I could hear the commotion well enough for me to discern what was going on.
The door flew open, and I heard a crash as at least one body was slammed to the tiled floor. Footsteps abounded on the smooth, hard surface as a brief melee ensued. I knew that Marc would struggle with this one, but I also knew that he would win. Three thugs on a martial artist as skilled as my boyfriend would end in my boyfriend’s favor. In short order I heard two more bodies hit the floor, and then I was being picked up.
It was rougher than I had expected, and then I felt sharp steel against my neck. Marc hadn’t been the one to pick me up, it had been Karl. He held a knife to my throat, and my thoughts trailed back to the day in the alley. I slowly gathered myself for an attempt at a more subtle version of what I had done to the angel then. I would only get one shot, and it had to be perfect.
“Stay back or your faggot boyfriend gets it,” Karl ordered with obvious fear in his voice. He had witnessed what Marc had done to his friends, so I couldn’t blame him for his fear. He was slowly dragging me toward the door, and was keeping me between Marc and himself.
We were crossing in front of the urinals when Marc replied, and Karl stopped moving. “Let him go, and I promise that I won’t kill you.”
“Like I’d take that chance. Look what you did to my friends you freak! We were just having a bit of harmless fun,” Karl replied with a sneer. He was getting cocky, and I knew that my chances of getting away with using my powers were getting better. He still clutched the knife firmly though, and I knew I still had to wait.
“Harmless fun? I doubt that Damien thinks so. Judging by his face you had quite a bit of what you consider fun, but it was definitely not harmless. You think I can just let you walk away from that?” Marc replied in a dead tone. He was more serious than I had ever heard him before.
A new voice joined the conversation, and I saw that it belonged to a scrawny boy who looked to be a freshman. He spoke in a tone that was surprisingly calm for the situation and his small frame. “We’ve got to guarantee his safety, or he’ll never let him go. I know how bullies work.”
I could tell that Karl wasn’t convinced, but his grip relaxed slightly, and I knew I had to take my chance to act. I pushed on his hand with my telekinesis, and to my delight and his surprise, the knife fell to the floor. I used what physical energy I had to push him away from me, but in so doing I tripped over his feet.
With a sickening crack my head collided with the urinal, and the last thing I heard before descending into blackness was Karl’s body hitting the floor beside me.
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