All Good Things

A Sanitaria Springs Story

By Dabeagle

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I wiped down the wrench and placed it in its plastic holder. It joined the other three I'd wiped down and secured so far. I still had four to go for that set. They were good tools, guaranteed for life. Some of my tools I'd bought on my own, others had been given to me by old Mr. Zappala, the fellow I'd gotten my original bus from. They were good tools with character and plenty of wear. Not worn out – the good kind of wear. Experienced tools, I guess you could call them.

Although I liked to do most of my own work, not only was I running out of time but inclination as well. It had been a busy summer of car work – not to mention the little detailing business I had on the side for the last few years. I'd changed the brakes on my parents' cars and changed the oil for both as well as for Alec and Sasha when they'd come home. I'd also been teaching Nik, Mat and Micah as repairs came along. One of my brake lines was looking a little crusty, but after tracing it from the connection to where it snaked up through the dashboard, I wasn't very keen on replacing it myself. When I got up to school, one of my first tasks would be to find a VW mechanic.

“Hey,” Derek said as he walked into my garage. I glanced up and smiled. Derek had the slender build of a runner and was now taller, of course, than when I'd met him – but because he was slender, he looked taller. His brown hair was brushed forward and up in the front and it lent him a fresh-faced look. He'd been a true gem of a friend, one of a kind.

“Hey, D. What's going on?” I said in greeting.

He wandered over by my toolbox. “Robin told me you'd be over here, packing. Thought I'd come by and get all weepy, since you're leaving soon.”

I chuckled. “You guys can come up and hang any weekend you want, and I'm sure we'll be down. We're not letting any of you go.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said and leaned against the wall. “I just hate that you won't be around. Change is inevitable, of course, but you know....”

“Yeah, I do,” I said, wiping down another wrench and sliding it home. I looked up at Derek. “But we do the best we can.”

“Sure. Hard to believe, I guess. You might recall, you and Robin were my first indication things were going to be okay in this little burg.”

I paused. “How's that?”

“Did I never tell you?” he asked with a snicker. “I was going for a run in town to just get out of the house and explore a little and I ended up down at the school. I got a drink from that fountain outside, and the football team was practicing.”

I secured the last of the wrenches in its holster. “And?”

“I overheard you and Robin talking. You guys were sitting on the bleachers. Jamie was getting tackled, and Robin was all worried about him.”

Recalling the time frame I started to chuckle. “Yeah. Jamie's always had a fast mouth, but not fast enough to outrun his feet. He'd just managed to get Sean punched out for something he'd done, and even though Jamie said he'd settled things, Robin was sure someone was going to take his head off in practice.”

“Not like Jamie can't take care of himself.”

“Now more than before, sure. But back then he was a little shrimpy and his mouth was the biggest thing on him,” I said with a grin. “Personally, I thought taking a shot or two from people you insulted to the point they lost their cool would probably go a long way toward making you understand how the world works.”

Derek grinned. “Is that how you'd have treated a little brother?”

“Probably. I don't know,” I replied. “Sean and Jamie are the closest thing I have to that, not that they need another older brother. Well, I guess you could say Micah is kind of a little brother, too.”

“Never wanted a little brother?”

“God, no,” I said with a chuckle. “My life has been so full since I got to this town. Alec and then Robin. Making new friends.” I jutted my chin at him in emphasis. “Then there was Griff and everything he went through. The stuff with Asher. All the extra work to catch up to Robin. When would I have had time for a little brother?”

“Well, you'd have had a lot of help, probably.”

“Yeah. I could have pawned the kid off on you,” I replied with a laugh. I started picking up sockets and organizing them on their rack. I wasn't very good about putting them back where I'd taken them from; after all I might need them a few minutes later, right? Of course right.

“Anyway,” Derek said as he paced around, glancing over my tools. “When I went to school that first day I was looking for you guys. In my head,” he said with a chuckle, “I'd thought of you as 'my guys'. So I was wondering if you two were as open in a crowd as you were on the bleachers. I was so excited to find you guys at lunch.”

I thought about that first day that we'd met Derek and smiled at the memory. “That was pretty slick how you got a seat at our table. Kind of funny. I never really thought about anyone seeking us out. We're just...two guys trying to get through, you know?”

“Maybe to you. To me it was the first time I thought my life might have gotten better,” he said and shook his head. Placing all his weight on one leg and pushing his weight to one side he continued, “My folks had just divorced and we'd moved here. I'd lost all my old friends. I'd never had a boyfriend and I'd figured I was all alone in this town, then, like Chloe said when I got home and told my family about you guys, I'd found my tribe.”

I grinned at him. He was right, of course, we were his tribe. “So you stuck in retro mode today? Going to wallow in memories?”

“Well,” he said breezily. “I won't have you to swoon over, soon. I figure I should get it all out of my system.”

I let out an embarrassed laugh as my face heated up a bit. “Shut up, D.”

He grinned at me and then got a positively wicked gleam in his eye. I looked at him warily.

“I sure hope we get to dress up as superheros again.”

I was already shaking my head. “No and fuck no,” I replied and let out another nervous laugh. “I'm never wearing tights again.”

“Aww, Lu!” he pouted and then burst out laughing at my squirming.

“Cut it out, jerk,” I told him and gave him a little shove.

He leaned against the wall and smiled at me. “You know, you used to not be able to take teasing or a compliment like that.”

I glanced at him as I picked up my cleaning cloth and wiped down the socket rack. “You seem to enjoy embarrassing me.”

“Oh, no, come on, Lu,” he said. “You know you're good looking; I'm just stating facts.”

I set down the sockets and paused before picking up the ratchet to clean. “I guess it's just weird because I know you kind of like me.”

“Of course I do. Hey, I came to terms a long time ago with having a little crush on you. I thought you were cool with it?” His face creased in a slight frown.

I sighed and offered him a weak smile. “I just don't think I'll ever get used to compliments or what passes for them. Like the one I told you about up in Albany? When we went out to that bar or club or whatever?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I mean, it was a compliment of sorts. At least he didn't come up and, like, say it to your face.”

Over the summer we'd made a few trips up to the Troy area to look at apartments and then at houses when Alec suggested it. We'd gone up on a Thursday and looked at a few places and then had a good meal. It was a little late and we all got kind of bored at the hotel. Devyn suggested we go to a local gay bar that had an 18+ dance night on Thursdays. He'd found it on his phone.

The idea of hitting a gay club was really exciting and appealing. As much as we could sometimes live in a bubble where who we are, who we are attracted to, and who we love is the norm, we all knew it wasn't the norm. We still had our fears; we still had scars in our group from being betrayed for that one reason. Being in a place dedicated to serving people who felt as we did, at least about that one, big thing, had my nerves buzzing in anticipation.

So Devyn, Griffin, Robin and I had taken a collective deep breath and walked down to the bar. Downtown Albany is an interesting mix of decaying grace. One could see how these neighborhoods had once been well to do. Now they were showing wear and tear. Maintenance wasn't always kept up, and some homes had obviously been split into apartments.

The club was a mixed bag as well. Outside it just looked like a neighborhood bar. Except for the rainbow flag and a neon rainbow in the window, one might never know there was anything special about it. The entrance was in the rear, and instead of being greeted by fit go-go boys, dance music and, I don't know, glamour, there was just an average middle-aged guy with a lot of his hair missing and a gut to welcome us.

“Hi, boys,” he'd said in a voice that didn't even hint at being feminine, like so many older gay men I'd seen portrayed. Instead he had a slightly gravelly tone and a tired smile. “First time in the club? Here to dance the night away?”

Griffin looked at us and then back to the guy. “Yeah. We're checking out apartments for school and saw you had dancing tonight.”

“We do. Let me give you guys the red bracelet—no one is going to tell me they're twenty-one, right?”

We all shook our heads and he nodded and handed us each a red paper bracelet. He then stamped our hands and took three dollars each from us to get in.

“Okay, listen guys, a word to the wise since it's your first time, okay?” The guy raised an eyebrow and tilted his chin down. “Stick together. Don't accept drinks from anyone you don't know. If someone you don't know hands you water and it's already open, don't drink it. If someone offers you something in the bathroom, you're much safer saying no.”

We all glanced at each other and I know I was feeling a little nervous. Robin voiced what I think we were all wondering.

“Is this place not safe?”

The guy gave Robin a lopsided smile. “Handsome, there are a lot of really nice people that come here regularly. For some people this is the only place they can be themselves. But, honey, there's always some people with issues and you can't always just spot them at the door. I won't say I don't want to scare you, because I do. I want you to dance and have fun, but I also want you to be safe and come see us again. You follow me? Just stay together and watch out for each other is all I'm saying.”

Robin nodded and, glancing at each of us, he thanked the guy for his warning.

“Thank me by coming again. Now, go all the way to the end of the room and you'll see a staircase on your left. You'll hear the music and probably see the lights; the dance floor is up those stairs. There's also a bathroom up there and a counter for getting cold water after you burn up the dance floor, okay? Have fun, boys.”

It was a heady experience as we walked through the dimly lit bar. It was a long room, and we didn't draw that much attention as we passed through. I saw a few guys smile, and one guy did a double take but most barely let their gaze slide over us before going back to their conversations or drinks. A part of me relaxed then, perhaps the part that was convinced, for no good reason, that old gay guys would be leering and making comments at us about fresh meat or something.

We found the stairs and climbed up to a loud room. There were several guys and a couple of girls out on the floor with a few people around the outside of the room, leaning against the mirrored walls and leaning close to talk to someone or engaged in an intense kiss. With some trepidation we all moved onto the dance floor, staying fairly close to each other. From there we just kind of got lost in the experience of dancing together, but not like we had at a high school dance. We could really let ourselves go and be uninhibited about pressing close to one another or simply moving to the rhythm.

It didn't take long before we'd worked up a sweat. I'd worn a button up over a tee and pulled it off, tying it around my waist before continuing to dance with Robin. As for Robin, he seemed to be in his element as he joyously danced with me. Colored lights bounced off the mirrored walls and the disco ball to create a moving rainbow, a kaleidoscope of riotous color that blended with the loud, thumping music, inviting you to throw your cares away and focus on moving in time with your partner.

By the time we moved to the wall to take a break we were drenched in sweat. Robin was smiling from ear to ear and I mirrored him. Devyn and Griffin looked like they were having the best time ever. Griffin had to speak loudly to ask if we all wanted water and then he weaved over to the counter to get us each a bottle.

“Are you having fun?” I asked Robin.

“Oh, so much fun!” he said and pushed me against the wall for a solid kiss. I could taste the salt of his sweat as it ran over our lips and the heat of his body was like having a hot water bottle, body sized, pressed to me.

We grinned at each other and then asked Dev if he was enjoying himself and just generally chatted as best we could in such a loud place. Devyn had the advantage with sign, and I realized that would be another great reason to learn more than I had.

Griffin returned and we all made a show of making sure our water bottles were sealed. Griff didn't find us as amusing as we thought we were. Griff started to laugh and leaned over to speak to Devyn, who looked at me and burst out laughing. At least, he looked like he did but I couldn't hear the adorable wheeze he made when laughing due to the volume in the room.

“What's so funny?” I asked, leaning toward Griff and raising my voice to be heard.

With a gleam in his eye he leaned forward and told Robin and me what he found so amusing. “So I got the water, okay? And there are these guys right next to the counter and they're talking real loud to each other, you know? I was close by; it's the only reason I heard them.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, one of them said.” He paused to giggle. “He said, 'Look at that one. I don't even want to know his name. I just want to fuck him.'”

I gave him a puzzled look and glanced at Robin, who looked confused as well.

“They were talking about you, Lu!” Griffin said and howled at my look of disbelief.

“Me?” I asked and looked around wildly, as if to spot whoever had said such a thing.

“Let me make whoever it is jealous,” Robin said, and I found my shoulders up against the wall again and a sweaty Robin pressed against me. I can't deny I felt weird having someone making comments like that about me, but I quickly forgot about it with Robin pressed foot to forehead against me.

With a sigh I turned and looked at Derek, who was no longer embarrassed to admit his little crush on me. And, really, why should he be? I thought he looked nice, even if I didn't feel a crush of any kind. I didn't feel it toward anyone, actually, though I was tremendously fond of all my friends. Was that the same thing?

“So,” Derek said with a devilish grin, “what was it like to have someone just randomly mention how much they'd like to have sex with you?”

“Weird,” I said honestly and then shot him some side eye. “Not as weird as my friend undressing me with his eyes but....”

He laughed and I joined him.

“Probably something like how Austin feels when Chloe makes comments to him. So far my favorite is when she grabs her stomach and says 'Oh, my ovaries'.” I shook my head but couldn't help laughing. Hamster is a pretty laid back guy and it had to be at least a little weird that his boyfriend's sister kept making lewd comments in his direction. But as Derek pointed out, it was also pretty funny.

“Of all the things Robin has gotten into this summer, going to the comic con was maybe the strangest. It wasn't as laid back as I'd figured. I mean, I like comic books, you know? Super hero movies are fun, especially since they're more complex than right and wrong, black and white. But I never expected....”

“It was pretty fun, though,” Derek said with a chuckle. “Once Robin told us about the whole cosplay thing it was kind of fun to build a costume.”

I fell silent at that. It was true I'd never wear tights again, and I'd only done it at Robin's behest because I was playing his sidekick. Still, those damn things weren't the most comfortable, and God forbid you needed to pee while in costume.

Derek sat on a small stool I had for working on the car. It had a padded top and wheels on the bottom and only stood about two feet high. I didn't really use it; my folks had seen it on clearance somewhere and bought it for me.

“You think Robin will be okay?” he asked quietly.

I glanced at him and studied his face for a moment, so familiar and now looking troubled.

“I think so,” I told him honestly. “It was a real crisis for him when school ended. I was kind of surprised, you know, because it used to be nothing bothered Robin. You can tease him, it's nearly impossible to embarrass him and he was generally unflappable. I think...well, you weren't here when Charlie died and Robin was... God, it was awful.”

Derek looked away. “All I can compare it to is losing one of us. Thinking about it, I mean really thinking about it...it's back breaking.”

“Yeah,” I replied absently. “It took months for Robin to climb back out of that hole. When I look back and think, though, I think his first cracks started to show up when we found Griffin.”

“Cracks?”

I nodded and placed the sockets in the box, then moved to wiping down screwdrivers. “Robin has told me that you only get out of therapy what you put into it. Robin didn't really respond well to therapy the first time, because he felt guilt and horror and depression. He didn't want to come out of it, so he wasn't really participating in the therapy. He was showing up but not making progress. He told me...” I paused and glanced at Derek. “He said that he had a dream where Charlie told him it was okay to let himself fall in love with me. It was like having permission.”

Derek tilted his head. “His sub-conscious?”

I pulled a face. “I don't know. It's sort of romantic to think someone you'd loved gave you the permission — no, the blessing you needed to love again. But yeah, you're probably right.” I sighed. “I'd had a hard time with the whole concept of God before then, but when Charlie died and put my Robin in so much pain on top of it...that's when I knew that, if one existed, he doesn't care about us.”

“Huh. We going into a religious discussion now?”

I shook my head and began to stow my screwdrivers. “No. I was just off on a tangent. I just think Robin hadn't really healed, and then we found Griffin. We were both horrified at the idea of what was done to him. It...having the friends we do, living how we live, it's hard to think of how awful people can really be to each other. Of course we know and love Griff, and that makes it hundreds of times worse.”

Derek cleared his throat. “I try not to think about it. Griff's moved past it. No more nightmares, and he's at least as in love as you and Robin.”

I smiled at him. “Or you and the Hamster.”

He nodded and smiled. “Yeah, that too. So.”

I nodded and let out a breath. “Robin is so empathetic it never really occurred to me that he'd hurt so badly over Griff. I think he held it together right up until Philip pulled that rotten trick or whatever. Stealing Griff's underwear and leaving him that shitty note?”

“I remember,” Derek said glumly. “As much as I appreciate the work Griff did with Philip and how far he's come, I still feel kind of slimy thinking about it.”

I reached into my mess of dirty tools and started wiping down a crescent wrench. “Robin went looking for Philip and I swear, D, when I looked in his face I almost didn't recognize him. If he'd have gotten to Philip, I think he'd have pounded him to pieces.”

Derek sat silently for a few minutes as I pulled one tool after another from my coffee can. I kept a few around because they were handy containers, and if I put an oily tool in one it didn't get all over everything else. Plus, free.

“I'd find it hard to believe that Robin would ever, sort of, start a fight. But after what happened with Mr. Prescott...I know he'd been moody since your bus got torched, and really who could blame him? The rest of us were horrified, and we're not dating you.”

I packed the last tool and glanced over at Derek. “You know, I remember being more pissed and sorry than I was afraid. I ran out because those bastards were destroying my bus, yeah, but it was way more than just a vehicle to me. Having Claire around wasn't making it easier at the time, either.”

“How are things with your sister, by the way?”

I shrugged. “Off and on. She still thinks I should forgive my mother and go see her. I just...” I turned my gaze to Derek. “I don't need that kind of crap in my life, you know?”

“Totally. I don't remember the last time I spoke to my mom.”

“I did go, once,” I said haltingly.

“You did? What happened?”

I shrugged listlessly. “The expected. She called me Lucien Rousseau, refused to listen to anything I had to say about Robin or my parents and just kind of lived in her own little world. She's made no effort to accept me for who I am. Claire has...you know, I give her credit for making an effort but you know what? At the end of the day if someone has to struggle to accept me for who I love, I don't really need that person. You know?”

“Yeah.”

“I mean I appreciate she's working to overcome her...programming. It can't be easy. But I'm her brother. She knew me for a long time before she got Jesus-touched.”

“I can't imagine. Chloe has always defended me. It's weird, we didn't really fight as kids. She likes that I'm gay, I think. She loves Austin to death. I just can't imagine her turning on me.”

I nodded absently. “Anyway, you know how much Robin changed after the bus thing. He still doesn't trust Claire, and I don't blame him.”

“It really hurt to watch Robin after your bus,” Derek said. “I've never seen someone have their core torn up and be working so hard to hold it together. He snapped at people He was so protective of you afterward and scared. It was heartbreaking.”

I nodded. “He got better, after that fight. It finally clicked for him, somewhere inside, that he was protecting me but not living us. You know?”

“Totally. How does that tie into this summer?”

I chuckled a little and leaned against the wall. “As long as I've known Robin he's never really had an overriding hobby or interest. I mean, yeah, he likes sports, but he's not a fanatic. He enjoyed being on the school teams, competing and being social. He liked the exercise, and goodness knows it paid off!”

Derek and I chuckled over that, and I shook my head. “But all that's over, you know? No more high school, so no more revolving door of teams to play on. I guess it sort of hit him that what his life was about was his family, his friends and me. He didn't have a hobby that he could retreat into to get peace or anything. If he's not with me, he finds me and then does what I'm doing. Not that I mind, I want him with me all the time, but I guess it bothered him a little.

“So he decided this summer was about trying a little of everything.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Derek said with a grin. “I had fun.”

I dropped my chin to my chest and looked at him over my glasses. “Really? The tights again?”

He laughed musically and I shook my head, a smile creeping across my face despite myself.

“So after all the trips this summer, what did he settle on?”

“Trains. Kind of.”

“That was a lot of fun, that train ride.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “It was peaceful and kind of...old fashioned, I guess.” We'd found a scenic railroad and gone as a group to check it out. It had a dining car and we'd elected to have the whole experience of eating and riding through the Adirondack mountains. Robin was fascinated with the train moving across bridges and the entire experience.

“So he's into trains now?”

“Kind of. He's building this N-gauge set. It's really small. Truthfully he spends most of his time building bridges and buildings. He's gotten really good at it. He started with easy to build stuff, modified them and now he can make things from scratch. He's got more buildings and bridges than he has places to put them, but he's having fun.”

“Trains. That's cool. I see an Amtrak in your future with a sleeping car,” Derek said and laughed.

I gave him a lopsided grin. “I don't really care where I make love to him so long as I get to make love to him.”

“Okay, look,” Derek said as he gained his feet and stretched a bit. “I have to ask this because I'm dying to know and because it's just us, okay?”

I raised an eyebrow and nodded at him.

“Just to be clear, I'm not asking for a story. Robin, when he talks about you guys being intimate,” Derek said, and heat rushed into my face. Some things I will never be entirely comfortable with. “He describes you as being so totally passionate that it's sort of amazing to me. Hang on!”

I had opened my mouth but closed it, reluctantly. Derek had his hands out and, once he saw I wasn't going to speak, he dropped them and continued.

“This is what I wonder. Hamster and I, of course, have been having sex for a while now. Relax,” he said with a laugh. “I'm not going to tell you a sex story either.”

My grimace relaxed and I said, sheepishly, “I just figure it's leading to a trade. You know how that went last time.”

“Yeah. Led to Austin and I cramming ourselves in a closet for some alone time!” he said and burst out laughing. I blushed again, thinking of how I'd gotten so descriptive. I had no idea how that sort of thing worked!

“Anyway,” he said through a few chuckles. “We have no trouble getting going and I think we both come away satisfied. There are times that I'm just so...” He lowered his voice and whispered the next word, “horny that I can barely wait to see him. Other times, you know, it's just comfortable and satisfying.”

“Uh, okay,” I said uncomfortably.

“So here's what I want to know. No matter when or how you guys get it on, Robin always says you made love. You guys don't just fuck for fun, apparently, but I know you're hot for Robin twenty-four, seven. How do you...how can you be so....?”

I let out a long breath. This I could handle. I looked away from him, down at my fingers which were drumming tunelessly on the box top. “When I first came to this town I'd had the worst months of my life. You weren't here, but I think I've told you that my dad had died and I was reunited with my mother and then found out she was unstable. She tried to kill us, then my sister outed me and got me dumped in a group home, so I was alone.”

I shook my head. “I'd had crushes on boys before. It's how my sister knew I was gay; I'd told her. We had talks about the cute guys at school. It always irritated me when guys I liked would show interest in her. It made me jealous. It made me...kind of sad to realize I was so far in the minority.”

I paused, took a breath and glanced at Derek, who was watching me raptly. “The group home was right next to the school. I could sit out on the front porch and watch practices on the fields or, had I been inclined, go out and play on them. One day I watched a lacrosse team practicing. I spotted one guy. I couldn't take my eyes off of him.

“Given my experience with my sister, I wasn't going to tell anyone. Instead I watched him for a while. He was athletically graceful. He was on the skins squad for practice and so he had on the helmet, shoulder pads and the elbow pads but...” I closed my eyes and called the memory into focus, feeling the emotions I'd been filled with at the time. “He had no shirt and had all these flat planes; not stacked, just toned. He was sweaty, skin glistening in the sun, and his legs were long and toned with exercise. Then, on a break, he took his helmet off. He had black hair that pointed all over the place, a pale face to match his chest – a strong face. Cheekbones to cut glass and....”

I opened my eyes and blinked a few times.

“Was that the first time you saw Robin?”

“Yeah,” I replied, my tone one of reverence. “When he took his helmet off it gave me the idea of a knight taking off his helm. I thought about that. After the practice ended and the players were all gone I retreated into the daydream of that player who would protect me, who would take me someplace where I'd be safe and just love me.”

“Then what?”

I looked over at him; he was watching me intently. “Then my world, which had been so upside down, got suddenly righted. I didn't realize it at first. I think I fought it for a few reasons—fear of being disappointed. I didn't want to be let down again like my sister had done, like my father had done. My mother, well, I knew she was unbalanced so it wasn't really her fault, but I still felt that disappointment.

“But Alec happened. He pestered me, introduced me to good people who also happened to be gay. He, ah, figured out that I was into Robin, and he actually introduced me.” I paused and then said, softly, “He and Charlie were dating. I liked Charlie, despite wanting to hate him for having Robin. To be honest, I still don't like that Charlie was...intimate with Robin. In a selfish, childish way I wish I'd been the only one to ever be with Robin.”

“Possessive much?” he said and chuckled.

I nodded and smiled. “I am, and I know it. I know it isn't reasonable, but it doesn't matter. It makes me upset to think about someone else being with Robin.” I paused. “So, then Charlie died. It was horrible. Robin was in such pain. We all suffered, first from having lost Charlie and then from watching Robin come apart.”

Derek had a sympathetic look on his face.

“But as bad as things were, I had a very ghoulish streak in me that hoped Robin could be mine, then. I feel terrible to admit that, D. I wanted to be there for Robin, of course, because I loved him. But there was a part of me that shames me even now that was hoping he'd be mine, then.”

“I guess we all have thoughts we aren't proud of,” Derek offered. “I know I have. I'm glad people can't hear some of the random things that go through my head when I'm upset.”

I nodded. “Yeah, I hear you. Anyway, Robin showed up at my house one afternoon and I figured he was there to see Alec. Alec, you see, had really stepped up to be there for Robin. Everyone had. But I was shocked and overwhelmed that he was there to see me. He was odd when he showed up, his eyes were a little hooded and he wasn't really looking at me. And then...he was kissing me. And then asking to go to my room. He didn't get hard, but he wanted me to fuck him.”

Derek's eyes were wide and his gaze focused on me,

“I knew he wasn't ready. I knew he was fragile but...he was kissing me. It was Robin and I'd walk through fire for him, so for him to ask me for sex....” I paused and coughed before looking away. “But even then I couldn't just take from him. I felt things were off, somehow, but just as now I couldn't deny him then. I can't deny him anything. So before anything else happened I said 'I love you, Robin.'”

The silence was deafening in the garage. I kept my gaze averted from Derek and continued. “So. He started to cry and we didn't go through with it. He left. I punched a wall for taking advantage of him. He avoided me, feeling like he'd taken advantage of me.”

“How did you guys ever fix it? Is this the dream thing?”

I nodded and looked back at him. “It was the day of my adoption. He stayed over and we cleared the air of everything. I told him how I'd wanted him to defend me, to protect me and take me somewhere we could be happy and safe. We made love that night. Took turns, actually. And whether he was in me or I was in him I was shattered by the idea that Robin let me touch him like that. That he wanted me to touch him. That I was bringing him pleasure. That I was making him feel loved, desired and worthwhile. The idea that a broken person like me could make an angel...whole has never left me.

“Yeah, like you said, I'm pretty much horny for Robin anytime, anywhere. He's been my knight more times than I can count, but just as important is that I've been his. No matter how much I want him, no matter how long it's been or how recent, I'm always accompanied by that sense of awe. Robin wants me to touch him. He wants me to make love to him. He wants me to make him feel good and loved and desired.

“There is always a part of me that is conscious of that. A part that holds me in check from ever having sex just for my own satisfaction.” I coughed. “I never take being intimate with Robin for granted. I never want to. It's the...I express my love for him in a lot of ways, but those ways are things he can do with anyone—making him laugh, complimenting him or teasing. Joining him on whatever he chooses to do. Being there to support him. All of our friends love him and when things are bad they're all there for him.

“But making love is unique. When Robin wants me I'm suddenly back to the night of my adoption and...yeah. Does that...?”

“Yeah. I mean, wow. I'm kind of...just digesting that. I knew you guys had a deep connection but that's...amazing.”

I nodded and hefted the box of tools. “My life has been amazing every day since Robin returned my love. My family makes me strong, but Robin makes me invincible.”

~AGT~

By the time Derek left I felt a little better about the way he felt toward me. I won't say it had exactly bothered me before, but it hadn't made me feel good, either. I don't think I'll ever quite understand people looking at me and thinking they'd like to date me or have sex. I'm just not wired that way, or maybe I had some kind of complex from my childhood that affected me in that way. I don't care, really. At least I understand where Derek was coming from, and it sort of makes sense to me. If I thought someone else would be able to teach me to be a better man for Robin, I'd be right there to learn.

That was a little off, though. Derek wasn't really there for that, but it's what I'm going with. I glanced around the garage, pleased with the progress I'd made. I was going to miss this, but at the same time I was ready to start down a new road. I turned as a car pulled into the driveway. Alec and Sasha had run to the store, because Alec claimed it was our traditional taco night. We have no such thing; Alec just wanted tacos, and he can't do anything normally.

“We return victorious!” Alec said as he climbed from the car. “Come! Carry our booty into yon domicile!”

I wandered out while Sasha just rolled his eyes. “Pseudo-pirate doesn't seem like the accent you should be using,” I commented.

“We plundered the supermarket!” he said with a grin.

“Get cooking, matey,” Sasha said to him. “Tacos were your idea.”

Alec smiled and pointed at Sasha, grocery bags hanging from his hands. “You're only saying that because my tacos are better than yours.”

Sasha crossed his arms and leaned, putting his weight on one hip. “You think that weak poke is going to get me to cook instead of you? Think again, loverboy.”

“Sash!” Alec said, holding his arms wide. “Are you really going to be responsible for so many deaths by letting me cook?”

“Sure,” Sasha told him with a smile and went inside. Alec started to chuckle and he looked at me.

I put my hands up. “I'm not cooking. I'll have enough of that soon enough.”

“I know! I'm looking forward to having a meal you cooked in your apartment! It'll be so convenient just to go up the stairs for dinner! Hey! What time should I send Micah up to get his lunch in the mornings?”

“Eat me,” I said dryly.

He grinned at me. “Seriously, you excited?”

I widened my eyes and blew out a breath. “I'm kind of too overloaded with making sure I pack things and all that to get too excited. I mean, yeah, I'm totally looking forward to it – it's just the getting there part that's in the front of my mind.”

Alec grinned lopsidedly. “Anything you forget, the folks will be dying to bring up to us. Trust me, after a month Mom will be asking how nice our couch is.”

“Oh really?” Mom asks as she stepped out the back door and put her hands on her hips.

Alec smiled again, but this one was one of those 'aw shit' smiles.

“May I remind you that my angel is going up there with you? How terrible you are to bring him just for a few months. I ought to beat you for that alone!” she said, amusement in her eyes.

“It's official,” I said to Alec. “Mom likes Micah best.”

We laughed and I followed them inside. After cleaning up I wandered down the street to get Micah. He left his phone at home, something he did at least half the time, and had gone down to see his friends Carlo and Dominic. Micah was an interesting kid, and as I walked I thought about a conversation I'd had with Robin the morning before when he'd been packing some things up in his room.

~AGT~

“Make sure you find all the lube. We're going to need it,” I told him with a grin.

“Oh, I haven't forgotten your promise about the first night there. Not sure how you're going to swing that, considering we have roommates, but I'm definitely intrigued,” Robin said with a little smile.

“You just leave that to me,” I said confidently. It would take a little groveling to Dev and Griff, but I'd make it happen.

“So...what do you think about Micah?” Robin asked out of the blue.

“Um. He's a decent kid,” I said, not sure why Robin was asking. When he didn't immediately tell me why he'd brought that up, I asked him.

“Oh. I don't know,” he said and pressed his hand down on the pile of shirts he'd been folding. “He's been on my mind. When you first brought up how Alec was talking about us all more or less living together, I thought of him. Micah, I mean.” He hesitated and I waited. He glanced at me, blushed lightly and smiled. “I was thinking that Micah's life has been pretty unfair. It's also been short, given his age. It made me think of Charlie.”

Ah. The connection made in my head I nodded. “So, thinking of being a nice Uncle Robin are you?”

He chuckled. “I don't know. I wouldn't mind playing a part, I think. Kind of hard to shake – the idea of being there for him.”

I thought it over for a minute. “He's been a good helper when I work on the cars. He's also not had to do it much lately, since Nik has been so adamant about Matei coming to work with me.” I chuckled. “Nik told me Matei doubted I was gay because I worked on a car.”

Robin smiled ruefully. “Old stereotypes die hard.”

“Still, Micah's a lot more stable than he was when the summer started,” I continued. “I think making friends with Dominic and Carlo was a big deal for him. Like, real friends.”

“No doubt,” Robin said. He paused and then said, “What would you think about a specific night of the week where we hung out with Micah? You know, a movie or game night or something. He can visit when he likes, but you know, a regular event kind of thing?”

I gave him a lopsided smile. “Sure, Babe.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Are you mocking me somehow?”

I laughed and he tackled me, knocking his nicely stacked clothes all over. We rolled around for a few minutes and ended with some light kissing. He pulled back a little bit and looked down at me. “So what do you think? Really.”

I smiled up at him. “I'm good with it. Micah's a good kid. Plus, you know, I have to help him against Alec.”

Robin burst out laughing. “Yeah, he definitely needs an ally in that prank war. He also needs you to rein him in from his more, um, over the top ideas.”

I grinned up at him. “Like setting all of Alec's underwear on fire?”

Robin laughed again. “Yeah, like that.” His chuckles trailed off and he looked down at me again. “So, how is your packing coming along?”

“I'm...doing okay,” I said cagily.

“Second thoughts? Or just laziness?” he teased.

“Laziness,” I admitted. “I'm honestly surprised how much crap I have. Trying to figure out what I'll need or use is kind of tough – and Alec is no help.”

“I can imagine,” Robin said with a smile. “What did he say?”

“To not worry about it because Mom will be dying to come see us.” I snorted. “Sasha told me to bring essentials, and we can always make visits home.”

“Yeah,” Robin said, his voice trailing off. “You know, I've been thinking about that. Look at the older guys – they only come home on holidays or big events, really.”

“Would you want to come home more often?” I asked.

Robin frowned lightly. “I'm not sure, yet. I've been looking forward to waking up beside you every morning for so long, I can't see that far ahead, yet.”

Ugh. He says things that just are for him, and to me it's like he's stroking my heart. “I can't wait to live with you,” I told him.

He smiled, then it slipped from his face. He looked away for a brief moment and then asked, “Have you said goodbye to...Claire?” I stumbled a bit as I continued my walk to the Cassatelli's, thinking of how difficult managing Robin's relationship with Claire is.

I bit back a sigh. “This afternoon. I wanted to come see you, first.”

He rubbed the back of his neck. I know he hates her – probably one of only two people he could say that about. The other was my bio-mom. He's so empathetic and understanding and forgiving except in one circumstance: Me. Even his brothers don't get that level of 'nope' out of him. He can see where they might have gotten what they had coming, even if he doesn't like it. But with me? Not a chance. I don't mind it most of the time, but this situation just isn't as black and white as his feelings about it are.

We moved to lighter topics, but I departed with a promise to call on my way home. I headed over to meet Claire at an outdoor cafe. We'd met there before, and I wanted to get come croissants to bring to Robin afterward – a win win. I know I told him I'd call on my way home, but he'll feel better – and thus I'd feel better – if I stopped by instead and brought him the carbs he'd grown so fond of.

I got a latte and snagged a table outside. I checked my phone and then looked up as Claire called out. I waved as she headed inside, emerging shortly with her own drink.

“I just love this espresso!” she said with enthusiasm. “I'm not sure what I like more about coming here – the drink or seeing you!”

“Thanks,” I said sarcastically, but smiling. She smiled gleefully.

“So, big brother is off to college, huh? Are you all packed?”

“Jesus,” I said and chuckled. “Have you been talking to Robin?”

“Hardly,” she said dryly. “I'm still not sure if he'd piss on me if I were on fire.”

I frowned. “Look at the mouth on my baby sister. That what your new pastor says?”

She snorted and looked away. “No. Just an observation.” She turned back toward me. “Why doesn't he care that we're trying to fix this?”

I sighed and leaned back. “I never should have said anything to you.”

She leaned forward, placing her forearms on the table. “Why not? How come he doesn't care that I was raped, only that I made a stupid, foolish choice? How come he has no forgiveness in him? How do you even tolerate that?”

I pressed my lips together and counted down from five before speaking. “When it comes to me, Robin is very black and white. It's his decision, and I have chosen to leave him out of our relationship for now – so we can focus on us. I'd really, really fucking like it if you'd do the same.”

She crossed her arms. “I told mom off for you. I picked a side.”

I felt ready to scream. “Neither of you is happy!” I snapped. “This isn't about goddamn sides! It's about trying to salvage something with my sister, who seems to be obsessed with my boyfriend's inability to forgive her. So I don't bring him – won't allow him to come! And you? You're going to focus on that. Or would you like to have your mother join us for a drink as well?”

She looked away and pressed her lips into a tight line. I looked away and ran a hand through my hair. We sat like that for a few minutes, not looking at each other and letting the silence build between us.

She turned her head slightly and in a quiet voice said, “It hurts me, Lucien. You've told me so many things about him and I want to love him and I want to be happy for you.” She looked up at me. “But how am I supposed to do that if there isn't any give in him? I asked you for your forgiveness. You didn't do anything to me, but I hurt you. It was misplaced, bad thinking, whatever you want to call it – I accept that I was wrong. Why is it you can find it in your heart to forgive me and care for me, and he can still hate me so much?”

I sighed and put my head in my hands. “I can't control how he feels any more than I can control how you feel.” I looked up at her. “Let me ask you this, though. He's not here. He's never here. Why does he bother you so much when we're sitting here together?”

She bit her lip for a moment. “I want into your life,” she said. “I want to come to your birthday and not have it be a mess. I want you to come to my life events and not have to make an excuse because he won't give me a chance. What if I get married, Lucien? Or you? What if I want my children to have a relationship with their uncle? Will I have to send them to the car while I stand in the doorway because he won't forgive me? I see this as a problem, Lucien. I have done nothing to him.”

I nodded. “You have good points.” I couldn't tell her that Robin felt she had done something to him by hurting me. But she was right. “I'll speak to him. Can we talk about something else now? Please?”

She nodded and let out a long breath. “Jeremy and I...we've left the church.”

“You – I'm sorry?” I asked, incredulous.

She smiled grimly. “I need to find a good place to go, but the one we went to after those bastards destroyed your van-”

“Bus.”

“- turned out to have issues, too. I just don't understand why people have to find some reason to dislike another group.”

“Was it the gays again?” I asked, sarcastically.

“No. It was the abortion movement. They wanted to organize a picket in front of Planned Parenthood.” She paused. “It put me in mind of something I heard about putting yourself in someone's shoes before you judge, and I asked myself – who am I to judge? We're supposed to let God judge. We're supposed to try and help other people feel His love, and teach His word – and how does that work, picketing? What sort of love is that, anyway?”

I nodded. “I think it's none of my business if a woman has that procedure. It's her body, not mine. That should be between her, her doctor and her god – whoever that may be.”

“I'm inclined to agree,” she said, but then pursed her lips. “Understand, I don't agree with it in principal. It's killing babies, right?”

“Well, not exactly,” I said. “But you can dislike it and not, you know, be a doctor about it.”

She sighed. “I just wonder at what point a soul goes into a body. You know? How do we tell when that...mass of cells becomes a person? A divine being in God's image?”

“Can't answer that for you,” I said with a grin.

“Oh, I know – the big atheist!” she said and chuckled. “Mom just about had a stroke when she found out you didn't believe. She won't stop calling you Rousseau, either. My God, you'd think she was French and not our dad!”

I laughed as she smiled at her statement. “I forget, what ethnicity is she?”

“Mutt,” she said, deadpan and we laughed. “She told me she was part English, part Irish and part Setter, I think.”

We laughed again. I sighed. “Lucien Rousseau was a happy kid, early on. But by the time he was thirteen, he was ready to give up on life,” I said quietly. “Then Alec happened.”

“Happened?”

I grinned. “It's really the only way to describe Alec. He occurs. He washes over people like an errant weather pattern.” I chuckled and said, “He took one look at me and wanted nothing more than to ease my worry, my pain. He gave of himself, gave me a family – and the extended family.” I looked away. “I met Robin through him.”

She cleared her throat lightly. “You never did say...when did you fall in love with him?”

I glanced up at her, surprised to hear her ask. She was looking at me with interest, so I decided to answer her. “I started falling for him the second I laid eyes on him. Instant attraction.”

“Like that boy in fifth grade? What was his name?”

I laughed. “Chad. I'd forgotten about him. No, this wasn't really the same.” I paused and looked away for a moment before making eye contact with her again. “I saw him in his Lacrosse gear and I thought he kind of looked like a knight. A hot as fuck knight, but still.”

She cracked a smile and I returned it. “And after your loins had their say, when did your heart get involved?”

“First time I met him. He was so nice. Cheerful. Talked to Alec like he was just one of his friends instead of this amazing, all-powerful being that had been my experience. He talked to me like I mattered. He explained things to me.” I looked up and said, “I felt seen. Heard.” I looked back to her. “I fell in love with all the little things about him.”

“Such as? And please, do not go over every physical feature – I know he's good looking.”

I smiled lopsidedly. “When he's up to something, he gets this light in his eyes. It's so noticeable to me, like a spark. When he blushes, his cheeks don't get one spot or go red all over, it's kind of blotchy. But the biggest thing is the smile – the one he gives me.”

She leaned forward and rested her chin on her hand. “Tell me.”

I leaned forward. “His mouth opens like he's going to let out a little sigh, and his eyes look like a stormy sea – all choppy with whitecaps and everything – and his smile gets these little...they aren't dimples. Just,” I said, pointing to the corners of my mouth, “he gets this second set of something right there. He only looks at me like that.”

“That sounds beautiful,” she said.

I nodded and shifted on my seat. “So, Jeremy chose to leave the church with you, you said?”

She nodded quickly. “He's in the same place I am. We're struggling with a lot of the things in the bible. They really contradict the whole idea of a loving God, sometimes. He...well, he's not so sure about the whole God thing anymore. We're both kind of having a crisis of faith.”

I nodded and said, “Well, I hope you both find what you're looking for.”

She smiled. “Thank you.”

We moved to lighter topics before her mother called and told her she was late for dinner. As she hung up she smiled ruefully. “Mom says you're welcome to come to dinner.”

“Pass,” I said with a sunny smile.

“I know. Still, I told her I'd tell you,” she said. We embraced and she headed down the sidewalk to her Mom's car. I watched her until she'd left, turning the whole conversation over in my head. I walked to the counter and ordered two croissants. For some reason Robin loved them from this place, and I figured it would ease my way into the discussion we had to have.

As I left the shop, croissants in a box with a string bow on top, I spotted a hobby store. Normally that wouldn't mean much to me, but with Robin so into trains I thought I'd go over and look. A bell jangled as I entered and a fellow looked over from behind the counter. He had a pipe in his mouth and a thin trail of smoke trailed from the bowl.

“Afternoon,” he said in greeting.

“Hi,” I said.

“Help you find anything particular?”

I approached the counter. “I thought I'd stop and look at your 'N' Gauge things.”

“Sure, sure,” he said, holding the pipe and waving it gently. “There are kits in the third aisle, some rolling stock on the back wall,” he said and then turned to his left, “and in that case on the wall is some used rolling stock and engines.”

“Oh. I'm going to check those out!” I said with a surprising amount of enthusiasm. I was actually anticipating how pleased Robin would be to receive a new piece for his train...set...setup – whatever you call it. I looked over the different cars – rolling stock – and felt silly. I mean, boxcars and tankers I get, but what would Robin like?

“I take it the layout isn't yours?” the man said, puffing pipe smoke in the air.

“That obvious, huh?” I asked with a grin.

“I've seen a few expressions like yours. Tell me about the layout you're buying for.”

I turned to him thoughtfully. “Well, he's putting in a few hills – I think he's modeling some rail line in the area where we'll be going to school.”

“And where is that?” he asked politely.

“Oh! RPI, up in Troy?”

“Yep, heard of them. They have a nice model railroading club at the school,” he replied as he slid his bulk around the counter.

“I hadn't thought of a club. I'll have to tell him,” I replied.

“Yep,” he said with a slight drawl as if he were bored. “Well, he might be thinking the old D&H.”

“That sounds...vaguely familiar.”

He turned toward me. “The Delaware and Hudson Railroad was an independent line for one hundred and fifty years before they got bought in the early nineties. There are a lot of folks that love that old rail line – and I took this little engine in just a few weeks ago,” he said. He produced a key and unlocked he sliding glass divider and reached in to grab a little gray and blue train engine. “This is the Montreal Limited – or it could be the Laurentian as they operated on the same line. Either way, the engine is an Alco PA1, one of my favorite designs due to the long nose. Kind of elegant if you ask me.”

He held the little engine out to me and I took it gently on the palm of my hand. It was a slick looking engine, long and hinting at the streamlining that was to come in Europe. I knew Robin didn't have anything like this, and his face would light up. He thought I didn't care much for his hobby, but I loved how much he loved it.

I looked up at the fellow. “How much?”

“It's used and runs. Fifty-five and it's all yours. Or your friend's.”

“My boyfriend,” I automatically corrected.

“Oh.”

I glanced up at him. He was looking at me with an unreadable expression, and I started to feel odd.

“Shall I ring it up?” he asked.

I debated quickly – and fuck this guy. It may put a few bucks in his pocket, but I get to see Robin light up.

“I'll take it,” I said.

“Outstanding,” he said. He locked the case and headed behind the counter. “There's a fellow by the name of Claude LeGere up at RPI. He used to run the railroad club, but he also organized trips to go watch trains or ride them. Let me just scratch his number down for you,” he said, pulling out a Post It note. I wondered if I'd misjudged him.

I left with the number and with the engine in a plastic case with a clear front so you could look at it. A few minutes later I texted Robin that I was coming back to him, and he replied with a smiley face. The Kirkwood home was something of a zoo. Kale and Chase were packing, Linc was kind of terrorizing everyone because of the change in venue. Jamie was out with Boomer and Sean tossing a basketball at the hoop attached to the garage, though I'm sure Boomer wasn't letting him overdo it. He'd grown very protective of Jamie, though I assumed that had to do with his misplaced feelings of guilt for Jamie's knee.

I let myself in and headed to the basement where Robin was tinkering with his setup – layout – and he grinned up at me as I approached.

“Nice surprise. What brings you back?”

“You. The same thing that always brings me back,” I said with a grin.

“Oh, smooth. What have you got behind your back?”

I pursed my lips. “They're not a bribe,” I said. “I just want to use them to occupy your mouth while I occupy your ears.”

He sighed. “Uh oh.”

I stepped forward. “This is important to me, Babe.”

He looked at me and smiled weakly. “Okay. Let's get on the couch.”

He pulled his legs up and sat on his feet and I shuffled over so we were side by side, essentially. I'm glad he wasn't wearing shorts, because I wouldn't be able to speak – just love his legs.

“So. What do you have to tell me?” he asked.

“Well, first I have these,” I said, and he took the box and placed it on the table, unopened.

“Later. Let's do this.”

I nodded and took a breath. “I need you to work past your feelings about Claire.”

He guffawed. “I've brought it up in therapy. So far, no real change.”

“Yeah, well, that's because it's not a conversation; you get to kind of vent, right? I mean, Claire isn't sitting in the room giving her side of things, right? ” I asked, tilting my head and giving him some puppy eyes.

He frowned. “Don't look at me like that. If you want to talk, we can talk, but none of your manipulation.”

“Manipulation?”

“Sure. Whatever is in that box – a bribe, really. Your pleading eyes. So you want to talk Claire? Talk.”

“Well, okay,” I said, not liking Robin's tone. I decided I needed to be blunt. Robin may not be clear on everything, but I had to cut through the soft words and hidden meanings and just come out and say things. “It's like this, Robin. The foster dad we were living with was raping her. She was in a bad mental place as a vulnerable teen and she made a shit call. It hurt me, yes. I love you for being so...protective. But she's trying to atone. She knows she lashed out the wrong way.”

Robin looked away and his eyes were wet. I felt like shit for a moment, because I'd caused that. I almost took back my words, just to stop his feeling like that.

“What happened to her...that's awful, Lucien,” he said softly. He turned his gaze back toward me. “But I don't know that I can ever trust her. I know, I know – she was a kid. I should be able to see this through that lens, but I remember holding you when you asked if you were worthless – if God hated you because he'd taken so much from you, and because your sister had turned her back on you for God. I've seen that hurt and how much it hurt you. How do I deal with that?”

I smiled at him, feeling warmth in my chest from the love I had for him. “You do the Robin thing.”

“I what?”

“You do the Robin thing. You realize that I love you and I'm still here, right? I survived. The bio-mom is still living in her own world, lost to me and to herself. But Claire? She's sorry, Babe. She's admitted she was wrong – even though she was in pain herself.” I smiled and took one of his hands in mine. “She asked me today, what about our wedding? What about hers? What about kids? She asked me if her kids would have to get in my car for a visit like you and she were these toxic divorced people.” I rubbed the back of his hand with my fingers, staring at his sea blue eyes.

“Well, I...I don't know,” he said quietly. “I mean. I know some of what I feel isn't rational. I know that, okay? But it doesn't just go away. I don't know why it doesn't go away.”

“Babe. I want her to be part of our family. You don't have to love her, or even like her. But I am going to ask you to make room for her, and to try to give her a chance to show you she isn't that person anymore.”

He stared at me for a moment, and then said with a tone of wonder, “Of course. That's it.”

“Huh?”

He shook his head and looked away from me, curling his fingers around mine. “For some reason I still have Claire in the box in my mind that says she's going to hurt you, like she's still the girl she was when all that happened. That her religion will get you in a bad spot. That somehow those people will do you harm.” He looked up at me. “It wasn't her that threw the Molotov cocktails into your bus.”

I love that he remembers it's a bus and never calls it a van.

“It was the people she was with. Marinating in their hate.”

“She and Jeremy left the church,” I said quietly.

He stared at me for a moment. “Well, I didn't see that coming.” He cleared his throat. “I hate what she did to you.”

“So do I. But I don't hate her. Not anymore.”

He nodded slowly and let out a breath. “Okay. I'll...I'll do my best. For you.”

“Not for me,” I said with a shake of my head. “For you.

“I don't understand.”

“Babe,” I said affectionately. “You're going to be Uncle Robin to my sister's kids one day. She has heard me – really heard me – talk about you. She knows you're a good person, and she wants to try to mend things. It's not just about me. It's not just about her. It's about you and the kind of man you are, and the kind of uncle you're going to be.” I squeezed his hand. “It's also about who you are already. You're not a hater. You're not really built that way, and it's not hurting them. It's hurting you, and me.”

The corner of his mouth twitched and he took a deep breath. “You're right. I do need to do this for me. It's for you, but yeah...it's more. I'll do my best.”

“That's why I love you. Well, that and this whole smoking-hot body thing you have going on,” I said with a sassy smile.

He rolled his eyes and smiled at me. “What's in the box? And why is the corner all wrinkled and messed up?”

I plucked it off the table and pulled on the string that tied it closed. I pulled a croissant out, wrapped in paper and he smiled. “Ohh. My favorite!”

I produced the second one and he raised an eyebrow. “You were certainly prepared to bribe me,” he said with a grin.

I chuckled and plucked the small plastic case from the box, turning it to show him the little engine inside. He gasped and reached for it quickly.

“Where did you find this? You've been paying attention all this time? Oh my God! I love it!” he said, his face completely lit up with pleasure. He kissed me excitedly and then climbed off the couch to carry the little engine to his layout. I set the pastry on the table and followed him as he excitedly placed the engine on the tracks. He powered the rails, and the light on the nose lit up and the train started to move around the little town. I slid in behind him, wrapping my arms around his waist and leaning against him.

“The guy at the hobby shop gave me the number of a guy that runs a train club at the school,” I told him.

“Really?” he asked, his voice laced with excitement. He turned and gave me that special smile, the one that ratcheted me up to eleven.

I nodded. “I left it out in the bus.”

He gave me a sly look. “Are you trying to get me out there?”

I shook my head and smiled at him. “I'm saving that up for our first night in the apartment. I'm telling you, it's going to be legendary.”

~AGT~

I looked up, realizing I'd walked all the way to the Cassatelli's, the grandparents of Dominic and Carlo. I knocked on the screen door and their granddaughter, whose name I didn't know, looked out and sighed. She looked over her shoulder and called out to Micah without saying anything to me. A few minutes later Micah came to the door with a confused look on his face.

“Hi, Uncle Lu. What's up?”

“Dinner, buddy. You left your phone at home – again.”

“Ah, crap!” he groaned and called back into the house that he had to go home for dinner. Dominic appeared almost instantly.

“Aww, man!” Dominic said with a pout. “We were so close to kicking their asse- uh – butts.”

I chuckled at the idea he was censoring himself for me. “Micah, it's taco night.”

He sighed and turned toward Dominic. “My dad says I should be converting people to the first church of taco consumption, and you're invited to take part in the sac...sacra – what is it again?” he asked me.

“Sacrament,” I said rolling my eyes and looking at Dominic. “You're invited for tacos.”

“Oh,” Dominic replied, unfazed. “Is Alec cooking?”

I nodded.

“Let me know if you order pizza,” he said to Micah, smiling, and they bumped fists before Micah and I headed back home.

“Excited to head back north?” I asked him as we walked.

“Eh. Another new school, you know?” he said and shrugged. “I mean, they said the school is way better, but what difference will that make?”

“I was in a few different schools,” I said, smiling at him. “Better schools mean more opportunities. Every school has some good kids, some bad ones – but when things are crappy, like in your last school, then it tends to make the schools weaker. Less parent involvement, less opportunities.”

“What kinds of opportunities?”

“Clubs, teams, all sorts of stuff. Probably a chance to make some friends, too.”

“Yeah,” he agreed glumly. “I wish I was going to be in school with Dom and Carlo. It sucks that we won't see each other until next summer.”

“Video chat, right?”

“Not the same,” he lamented. “There's something satisfying about being able to slug the person sitting next to you, you know?”

I laughed out loud. “Yeah, I hear you. Well, we'll have to try and get you guys together when we make trips down.”

“All the way in Binghamton?” he asked, doubtful.

“Yeah. I mean, probably not every time. But there will be times they come here too, I'd think. Thanksgiving, maybe winter break.” I patted his shoulder as we paused at the back door to our home. “We're not so good at letting people go once we have them, Micah. We'll help.”

“Lu? Tacos. Chop chop,” Alec said, leaning out the door. Micah and I trotted in the back door. Alec already had the meat grilling and Sasha was getting bowls of fixings ready. Micah started setting the table and my parents were looking at the whole scene with a look of bemused pride. My mom had her camera out – she'd taken a lot of damn pictures this summer. I can think of tons of other hobbies I'd have rather she took up. I'm not sure why, but I didn't really enjoy getting my picture taken.

I went and washed my hands, then joined my family at the table. It's been great to have Alec back for the summer, and Sasha living with us has been pretty cool. Adding in Micah really fills the dining room table up and I think I'm going to miss that once it's gone. I mean, sure, we'll have things like Thanksgiving or what have you, but this...daily chaos of sitting with my family is almost over.

“Micah, did you spread the good news of taco night to your friends?” Alec asked. “Your recruitment numbers are down.”

Micah raised an eyebrow at him. “They said the taco god is too temporary, but to let them know when the pizza god stops by.”

“Heathens,” Alec muttered.

Conversation quickly turned to how packed things were. My parents were planning on coming up to help with setting up. Specifically they were gifting us a bed for our new room, and they planned to look into a reasonably priced couch so we'd have somewhere to sit. Robin's folks had found a nice little table and chair set, and Griff and Dev would be adding a few things as well.

“I'm retired. I don't really do the moving thing unless I hire handsome young men to do it for me,” Mom said with a laugh. That was kind of a relief. Alec got up and left the room for a drink, and Micah snagged the taco from his plate and crammed it into his mouth, half giggling, half snorting as he did. The whole thing was down his gullet by the time Alec got back.

“Hey! Where's my taco?” Alec demanded.

Micah gave it up as he asked innocently, “What taco?”

“What tac- what taco? Really?” Alec asked.

“Well, if you think about it,” Micah said, adopting a tone that sounded an awful lot like Alec when he started to spin a line of crap. “If there had been a taco on that plate, technically it was abandoned. Isn't it against our religion to abandon any taco? It was pretty much my duty.”

Alec squinted. “You're trouble.”

My father burst out laughing and looked at my mom. “Remember that old curse you laid on Alec? That he'd have a child just like him? It worked!”

After dinner I texted with Dev and Griff, asking them if they would mind bringing their stuff up a day after I did – and they immediately wanted to know which rooms I intended to have sex in. I tried to protest, but eventually told them I just wanted that one night with Robin. They agreed, payback to be made at a later date. With my plan in place, I just had to get ready for moving day.

~AGT~

My bus was packed to the gills, my room looked empty and even the garage was looking a little bare. I felt a strange mixture of excitement and sadness that I wasn't sure how to process. I guess it was just that everything was changing. This change, though, I'd been dreaming of. Tonight I'd climb into bed with Robin and wake to him in the morning. I'd have breakfast with him – all my meals – and after all the moving, the studying, the work. I'd still be lying next to him every night. I am one lucky bastard.

We got on the road about nine-thirty, trekking up I-88, then hooking up with I-90 which we followed all the way across the Hudson River. I climbed out of my bus in front of our new place, Robin's car at the curb and my parents just behind him. The Kirkwoods had ended up staying behind. A water line broke in their laundry room, and they had a real mess going on.

We walked to the door as a group and entered, as the door was standing open.

“Hello?”

“Hi! I'm upstairs!”

We climbed he stairs and found Wyatt in the kitchen with a vase filled with flowers and a smile on his face.

“Welcome home!” Wyatt said with a grin.

“Oh, my! How nice!” Mom said as she went to examine the flowers. The apartment was completely cleaned up and painted. It looked as good as I'd envisioned it when we'd toured the damaged space. We spent a few minutes with Wyatt, getting keys and letting him know that Alec and family would be up the next day. He left the keys for the downstairs with us, along with a nice business card with his number should we have any trouble.

After he left my parents commented on how nice and professional he was. Recalling how awkward he'd been when the apartment had been a shambles, I sent him a quick text to let him know what my parents had thought – he seemed like the kind of guy that would really soak up that kind of compliment.

Robin went with my dad to get us some lunch before we got working, and I had a rare moment with my mom as she walked through each room.

“So which room will you and Robin take?” she asked.

“The rear bedroom. There's an enclosed porch all the way in the back where Robin can put his train layout,” I told her. She walked to the rooms I'd specified and looked through them, nodding her head.

“Based on what you said about the previous occupants, they did a nice job getting it all cleaned up.”

“I get the impression Wyatt's a pretty on-the-ball guy,” I said.

After lunch we moved our stuff in, then went with my parents to shop for a bed. Once we found a nice one that was in stock, we loaded it into my bus and dragged it all back to the apartment. We ordered a pizza while Robin and I put the bed frame together and my parents made a run to pick us up fresh sheets and towels. We ate at the little dinette Robin's folks had bought us, and we took a selfie so they could see.

My parents left not long after dinner, electing to drive home that night. I knew mom just wanted to take one last walk for ice cream with Micah, who was really special to her. Robin and I spent most of the evening getting our stuff put away, since we'd be busy helping Griff and Dev move in the next day.

Robin's mom called and I indicated I was going to take a shower. He nodded and mouthed he'd go after me. Although I was tired from the day's activity, I perked up as I thought about what was to come next. After toweling off, I made sure I was standing at attention as I exited the bathroom. Robin had a towel in his hand and was just leaving our room when he saw me.

“Oh,” he said, his lips curling into a smile. “Maybe the shower can wait, since I think I'm going to get sweaty anyway.”

I cupped the side of his face and kissed his lips lightly. “Go shower. I'll be waiting.”

Once he was in the shower, I pulled out a box of small candles and set them about the room, lit them, and shut the lights off. I took a deep breath, in anticipation and desire.

As Robin stepped back into our new bedroom, I stood up from the bed. He took me in at a glance and the corners of his mouth turned up. He looked down at me through his lashes.

“You have something for me?” he growled.

“I'm going to make sure you never forget our first night in our new apartment,” I told him. Then, the only way I can describe it was I launched an attack – a well planned assault. I started with his lips, pressing against him so urgently that he dropped his towel and was pushed firmly against the wall. With a hand on his hip and another on his chest, I opened my mouth and turned my head to the side to better make out.

I shifted my hips back to let Robin's erection stand, as it had risen against my leg and likely wasn't in a comfortable spot. I took my time kissing Robin, knowing I had the whole night even if we were kind of wiped out from moving in. I used my mouth to guide his head to one side and I slipped past his jaw and nibbled his ear, which made him shiver and let out a low, breathy groan.

Knowing him as I do, I began the journey that delighted me each time I had the opportunity. I whispered in his ear, “Have you been eating your pineapple?” then kissed my way down his neck, leaving wet spots with my tongue as I swirled it against his delicious, hot skin.

“Yes. Eating the pineapple,” he said in a dreamy voice as I worked my way past his clavicle and moved directly to his nipple, taking it into my mouth and twirling my tongue around it. He gasped as I sucked and nipped at the sensitive nub, stiffening it beneath my hard, wet ministrations. Keeping one hand on his hip, I moved the other to his other nipple and began stroking and teasing it until it was as stiff as the first, then I swapped sides.

I let my move off his hip and curl around to the small of his back as I continued my offensive against his nipples, but that was just to get him warmed up. My free hand drifted down and caressed his balls and glided gently against his erection. Sex with Robin is like to starting a fire. A small spark, some heat and light to be nurtured and fed. But once you get him going, he's something even Smokey Bear wouldn't tangle with.

I slipped my hands down his sides as I knelt in front of him and stuck my tongue out to lick the sweet pre-cum from the head of his dick. Robin's dick is pretty and there isn't really any way to hide that, in my opinion. It was kind of like the model for the poor imitation penises they made into dildos and vibrators. It was large enough for one to think he was primarily suitable for being a mighty top. His girth always set my jaw to aching within a few minutes, but tonight I was dead set on reaching a cocksucking high—the point where my jaw stopped aching and I could simply go on and on.

Robin's dick was also long. I always struggled to get it all in my mouth as it was just a hair too long. On this night, I was going to push for all I was worth to get my lips down around the base of his dick.

I pivoted my gaze up to his face, and he was looking down on me, his expression hungry and full of desire. Having someone you love looking at you with such primal lust is intoxicating in a way drugs can't duplicate. Alcohol leaves me feeling muzzy; Robin's expression sharpened my senses—I registered the scent of his clean dick and the slight scent of his pre-cum. As my lips closed over the wide, blunt head of his cock my gaze stayed locked to his. Watching his tongue dart out to wet his lips, his mouth as it slowly worked open and closed with desire and uttering slight groans and grunts as I took more and more of him in my mouth.

I began to move my mouth back and forth, licking the underside and then swirling his head from time to time to catch more of his sweet liquid. I moved my hands from his butt and rubbed the front of his hips, pushing him against the wall. Then I moved my hands between his legs, nudging them wider. He shifted and I reached between his legs, dragging my fingers forward to stroke from his perineum to his balls. I pulled down on them gently, eliciting another low groan from him as I bobbed and sucked and slid my fingers back to stroke his perineum. He arched his back and let out a long, guttural growl and then...pay dirt.

“Fuck, Lucien!” he said, panting. Robin isn't what anyone would call foul mouthed. When he started swearing in the bedroom, that was when I knew I had him firmly enthralled, or to stick with my previous analogy, he was on fire. Encouraged, I kept looking up at him, watching his face contort and feeling my jaw, finally, stop being sore, and then I pushed harder.

I dropped my tongue to the bottom of my mouth and worked his dick in a little deeper with each suck. I was picking up the scent of his sweat clinging to his trimmed pubic hair and I made it my goal to reach it. I started to swallow my saliva as, by now, having his cock in my mouth was making my eyes water and my sinuses feel full. I savored the taste of his dick and pushed myself forward, edging ever closer.

With a final burst of determination his cock wedged in the back of my throat and my lips kissed his pubic bone. I inhaled his scent and wiggled my nose, covering it in the carnal, sensual scent that stoked the fires of my already raging desire. I repeatedly pushed my face down on his dick, moving faster and sucking harder until I heard him groan my name and swear...and warn me he was close.

It wasn't so much renewing my efforts as it was racing to the finish line. My goal, my reward, was impending and I poured all my energy into pleasing his sensitive cock. His hands landed on my shoulders and his hips bucked once, twice and then his dick pulsed in my mouth. I kept sucking, slurping my reward even as he pulled back due to his cock head being sensitive. Instead of relenting, I eased my movement and began slowly licking him from the base of his balls up to the tip of his leaking dick, curling my tongue at the top and stroking his dick with my hand to milk every pearl of his orgasm.

“Oh. Oh my fucking God, Lucien,” he panted above me. His hand stroked up the back of my neck and through my hair and I looked up at him with desire as I continued to stimulate his gorgeous cock. I kept it up until it seemed that his breathing was becoming somewhat more normal, and then I moved to my next goal. I stood, my legs a tad stiff, and pulled him forward into a greedy kiss. He returned my fervor, licking and sucking on my tongue and lips. I reached behind him and pulled him away from the wall, turning him and walking him back until he bumped into the bed and fell backward.

He lay back, elbows on the bed and his look was positively smoldering. “Babe,” he said, his voice husky, “Am I going to get my fucking now?”

It wasn't going to be a simple fuck, hell no. Tonight was about making history. I smiled at him and he moved back on the bed, already spreading his legs. I picked up one leg by the ankle as I knelt on the bed, and after a lingering kiss to the ankle pushed his leg to the side, letting him know I wanted him on his stomach.

He rolled over quickly and pulled a pillow under his belly for comfort. I placed my fingertips on the pads of his toes, lightly tracing forward and making him giggle and twitch as I passed over the soles of his feet. I caressed his ankles, paid homage to his calves and worshiped his thighs as I slowly moved between his legs, nudging them wider with my knees. Placing my hands on his butt, I began to knead the soft yet firm muscles of his fantastic ass. He groaned under me as I continued my ministrations. I slowly worked myself into a lying down position, spread his butt cheeks and probed him with my tongue.

He hissed and spread his legs wider and I pushed my face forward, wedging my way deeper, and began to lick and suck around his twitching bud. I pushed forward and he tilted his hips to give me more access. I responded by dipping my head further down, taking advantage of the height the pillow gave me, and attacked his perineum.

It had taken me a lot of time to find out that the most sensual place on Robins' body wasn't his dick or his ass. The only thing that surpassed both was right where I was now. His legs jerked even wider apart and he groaned again, setting my lust for him into overdrive.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck. Luuucien,” he groaned. I pushed my face deeper, licking up from his balls to his waiting hole, nipping and slurping as I did. The muscles of his ass began to quiver, which was the sign that my ministrations were putting Robin in ecstasy. The very idea that I was putting Robin into such a heightened state of aroused pleasure made me hungry for more. I dug my tongue deeper, then dragged it down along his perineum, pressing my tongue flat and proceeded to tease the flesh while Robin whimpered and swore under his breath.

I ran my hands up his legs, across his luscious backside and up to the middle of his back as I took a moment to breathe, taking in gulps of air. I snagged the tube of lube on the side of the bed and, as I popped the top and began to coat my aching erection, I returned my tongue to the duties of making my boyfriend groan in raging lust.

With a final, long wet lick, I moved my finger to his entrance. I used the fingertips of one hand to stroke his exposed balls and perineum as I pushed my finger into the moist heat of him. I wiggled my finger, pulling it back and then pushing forward. I touched on his prostate, flicking it with my finger and Robin spasmed under me and gasped. I pulled my finger back and inserted a second, twisting and wiggling my fingers gently and feeling my lust rise to new heights as I watched my fingers disappear into him.

“Fuck. Fuck me, Lucien. Ohh. Fuck,” Robin groaned and wiggled in front of me. Feeling I could wait no longer I slid forward and, bracing one hand on the bed, I guided my dick toward him. Feeling my cock head slide and catch briefly on his hole before sliding past and up his crack, I let out a groan of my own. On the second pass the head of my cock compressed, the spongy head slowly disappearing from my view. My shaft looked shiny with all the lube coating it and glistened in the lighting of our room.

I pulled back slowly and gently eased forward, listening to Robin's breathing as his breaths became shorter and sweat popped up on his back. He arched a little, exposing dimples just above his ass that drive me insane. The only time I saw those dimples was when I was behind him as I was now, and he was arching as he did now. Nothing but good associations with that image!

I dug my knees into the matters so I could sat up a bit and watch my dick as it disappeared inside him. Watching my cock as it simply disappeared into his perfect ass was better than any porn; feeling it happen while I watched was almost too much. I closed my eyes and ran my hands down the back of his legs, from just above the knee down to his unbelievably hot calves. He bent his knees, raising his feet, and I grabbed one ankle in each hand. I looked down and saw my cock slide home. I heard him gasp then groan out a curse, and his toes curled as I slapped home again. Fearing I'd go over the edge, I stroked his ankles and let them fall back to the bed.

With a satisfied sigh, I settled in him, buried to the base of my shaft and feeling the firm, soft resistance of his butt against the front of my hips. The feeling, for me, is nearly painfully erotic. I began to grind into him, rubbing my dick in circles and stirring his warm, slick insides. His gasping and groaning under me, muttering small curses makes me smile in the knowledge that I was going beyond mere pleasure; he was transcendent with sexual gratification. I stroked my dick in and out a few times, looking down, wildly turned on to see my dick disappearing into his sweet, hot ass. Then, reminding myself that I was aiming to give Robin an experience he'd never forget, I stopped indulging myself and lay back down on his back. I snaked my arms under his and wrapped my hands around his shoulders as if doing pull ups on his back. With my hands braced I pulled up and pushed my dick down into him, and within a few short strokes and adjustments, Robin barked a curse and gasped my name.

As Robin was taller than I was, I had figured out that this position let me reliably beat his prostate silly. With a flash of excitement I pulled out and slammed my dick home, relishing his gasp and, using it as fuel, slid back and thrust forward again in slow, deliberate strokes. He jolted under me, straining his body back into my thrusts as I nibbled his ear. He turned his head and we kissed, quickly, and his glazed eyes locked to mine.

“Fuck me, Lucien. Oh my God, fucking hell...Oh, give me that fucking dick.”

I complied, spurred on by his language and unending groans, gasps and grunts. The feeling of my dick sliding into his ass, withdrawing and spearing forward, was nearly beyond description. There were so many things combining into one, making the experience of sex with Robin almost otherworldly. Surely no mere human could be filled with this much passion, lust, love and raw sexual energy? Each slap of my hips meeting his ass punctuated the actual feeling of those warm, firm, soft globes as I pressed into them, driving my cock like a spike.

My thighs, coated with a thin layer of sweat, slid against his delicious, agonizingly sexy legs. My chest rubbed along his back with each thrust, each breath, reminding me of the achingly beautiful man underneath me, urging me to make love to him. The emotions were near bursting for me, and I exulted that Robin was in the same state of supernatural arousal, filled not just with my lovemaking but also of my love for him.

I slowed my strokes and planted butterfly kisses along his neck. I let him shift under me, groaning and pushing back slightly and tightening the muscles of his sphincter to grip my dick, release and grip again. I slid my fingers down his sides, leaving goosebumps in my wake, and settled my grasp on the front of his hips. Keeping my dick buried deep in him I pulled him to one side as I rolled and dragged him on top of me, never withdrawing.

With his back now lying on my chest I bent my legs, using them to push his legs apart and support them with my own, and I thrust up slowly as I built up into a steady rhythm. Robin's gasps slowly returned, and he began to push down and grind against me, pushing back and forth to rub my dick across his prostate. I wrapped one hand around his hard cock, leisurely tugging it as I placed the other hand on a nipple, teasing and rubbing it in time with my thrusts.

With a wet pop, he pulled off of me and turned quickly, taking my face in his hands. He passionately kissed me, pressing me down into the bed and energetically twining his tongue with mine. I felt his hand on my cock as he reached behind himself and then he was sitting up and I was sliding home, back into his welcome, warm embrace. Robin looked down on me, his eyes heavy lidded and his mouth open. He dropped his knees to either side of my chest and I began to stroke his thighs as he rocked forward and back, again making my cock head drag back and forth across his prostate. He grabbed my hands, twining our fingers together and pushed them up over my head, trapping me as he sinuously ground against me.

His dick was drooling clear, sweet pre-cum on my stomach, and with each hit of my cock on his prostate a new bead bubbled forth.

“Oh. Oh, fuck. Lucien. I'm...I'm fucking close.”

Excited, I pulled a hand free from his grip, ran my fingers over his thigh and rubbed my thumb over the soft head of his dick, eliciting a shiver from him. I swirled the slick fluid over his sensitive crown, swirling the lubricated flesh with my thumb. Letting go of my hand to sit up, he reached to stop me, but I blocked his hand and spun my thumb faster on his dick until he barked out a quick 'Fuck!' and then released his seed in hot spatters across my belly and hand.

I ceased rubbing the head of his cock and slowly stroked his shaft, coating it in his own cum. His head was down and his breathing ragged and his chest heaved. My God, it was so incredibly sensual I almost came just looking at him. He lifted his head, bringing his heavy lidded eyes to meet my gaze and the muscles in his ass squeezed my dick.

“You're holding out on me, Lucien. You have something that belongs to me,” he said, his voice a husky whisper. I shivered involuntarily with sexual tension and my cock, happily buried to the hilt, began to throb and ache for release. I reached for him, flicking his nipples and cooing at him to kiss me. He bent forward and his cum made our bellies slide against one another as he laid into my lips with all his passion. Slipping my arms around him I rolled us, and at the last second I slipped from him.

I wedged the pillow under the small of his back and lifted his legs. Turning to one side I lovingly kissed one ankle, sliding my tongue partway up his lower leg and returning to his ankle in time to see him curl his toes. I turned and repeated my kiss and lick on his other ankle while nudging myself forward and guiding my dick back to where I wanted to be.

Finding my place, I slid home and groaned with pleasure. Now, I thought, now I can indulge myself. It would be bringing pleasure to Robin, but this little bit...it was my thrill.

I squatted down so my thrust would be going more up and forward than simply straight forward. This angle let me hit his prostate reliably, and he began to mutter as I set a steady rhythm. This position stretched the muscles of his ass so that they were less pliant as my hips pressed into them, firmer. As I drove into him I fairly gorged myself on his legs, stroking the skin, pulling them tightly together and lifting them toward me, the back of his thighs slipping against his seed that was smeared on my belly.

Pressure was building, a tingling in the very bottom of my balls. Grabbing each of his ankles I pulled his legs wide apart, exposing his whole gorgeous body to me. With him spread eagle before me, I thrust, battering his prostate and thrilling to the sight of his hard dick as yet more clear, sweet fluid seeped. My eyes devoured him as he lay exposed: the pale skin of the front of his hips, the tendons in his groin standing out and his muscles stretched wide, the change from white skin to toffee colored tan on his legs. The thigh muscles shaking, his stomach tight as he lifted his head and urged me on, swearing and demanding that I give him what he wanted, what belonged to him.

“I'm close. Fuck, I'm close,” I growled and sped up my pace.

“Fill me up, Lucien. Give me all of it!”

The pricking sensation surged up from my balls, scorching along inside my dick, and burst forth. My dick head felt engorged and I slammed forward, digging my knees into the bed and pushing into Robin, trying desperately to push the tiniest bit further into him. I shook and gasped as my orgasm ripped through me, and Robin clamped down on my cock as I came in a torrent.

My dick felt hot inside him, as if the friction of our lovemaking had pushed it beyond a normal level of body heat. My dick continued to pulse inside him, but I doubted I could still be coming. Likely it was the galloping beat of my heart that was making it throb.

I reached down and started to stroke his dick, which was drooling pre-cum on his belly. I smiled down at him and withdrew, my dick still hard. Still stroking him I dropped down and began to lap at his sensitive perineum and was rewarded with his gasp.

“Holy fuck,” he groaned. “Again? You're going to make me cum again?”

With a final hard push of my tongue I lifted my gaze up to meet his and threw his words back at him. “You have something that belongs to me.”

As punctuation I dropped my mouth over his cock, licking off the sweet slickness of his pre-cum and then swiftly bobbing along the upper half of his cock while wrapping my hand along the bottom of the shaft and jerking it madly. This wasn't about sensuality and taking my time. This was about raw desire, aching need to have him cum a third time—a record for us—and fill my mouth. He began to buck his hips slightly and I traced my fingers down and slid a finger into his hot, wet hole. Fingering the nub of his prostate I stroked his dick with my hand and slurped noisily on his flared cock head, working my hardest to send him over the edge.

“Ah. Ah, fuck...fuck. Oh, here. Here it. Fuck.” Robin's swearing spurred me on and with a long, guttural and god damn noisy groan he thrust upward and began to spurt into my mouth. His hands gripped the sheets as he came, and I lapped up the thick hot spend, swirling my tongue slowly as I collected my prize.

Robin's hands slowly released the sheets from his death grip and he sighed deeply. “My dick is sore from that workout. I don't think I have anything left in my balls.”

I shimmied up the bed to cuddle him, my softening cock pushing wetly against his hip. “I did my best to drain them dry. You'll have to make more, soon.”

“Hah,” he said with a snort. Slipping an arm behind me and pulling me close he began to stroke my back. “What got into you tonight?”

I turned my head so I could look at his face. He met my gaze and I said, “I wanted you to remember the first night we lived on our own together. I wanted to give you a scorching hot memory that you'd always remember. I've been dying to make love to you where we don't have to be quiet, where I can take my time and not worry about someone coming home to interrupt us or some nosy jackass checking to see why the windows are fogged up,” I said, and he giggled. “I wanted to leave you a spent, sweaty mess and tell you once and for all that you're mine.”

He smiled at me indulgently. “I was already yours, Lucien. You didn't have anything to prove.”

I brought a hand up to his face, gently cupping his cheek. “You are so fucking beautiful. I wanted to make love to you in the most soul-shattering way so you could feel exactly what I do whenever I touch you, whenever I see you, whenever I smell your scent or whenever you smile just for me.” I paused for emphasis. “I can't stop falling in love with you every day. I wanted to try and make you feel like I do.”

His face split wide in a smile and he chuckled. “Wow. I mean, you totally rocked me tonight and that's saying something. You've always been passionate with me, but I have to admit—this was more than I thought I could feel, more...more...fuck.” He grabbed my face and pulled me toward him, and I scrambled up to meet his lips. He kissed me lightly but repeatedly, eyes open and his gaze on me. Holding my face he said, “Lucien Kutsenko, will you marry me?”

I grinned down at him and kissed him quickly. “You already know I will, silly, Why do you ask that now?”

Robin shook his head. “I...hang on. I have to grab something.”

Reluctantly I let Robin get out of bed. He left the room and I waited impatiently as he thumped around the small apartment. He came back with his left hand behind his back.

“I've been keeping it safe. I knew you were the one for me. I've known for a long time now. But this moment...there can't be a more perfect time.” He crawled onto the bed and sat on his feet. “A lot of guys will give their fiancé their grandmother's wedding ring. A family heirloom. I know—and I want to be Mr. Robin Kutsenko one day. But today I want to make it official by giving you this.” He held up a ring on a fine chain.

“My grandfather's wedding ring.” He looked down on me with a focused expression. “So, Lucien Etienne Kutsenko...will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?”

I stared at the ring and then my smile nearly broke my face. “Yes. Of course I will!”

He pushed the ring on my finger, seeming to forget about the chain for a moment. Even with the chain it was a little loose, but I had little time to notice as he clamped my face between his hands and kissed me repeatedly. My heart soared and my soul felt a monumental peace settle into my being.

We didn't bother to dress, but simply lay curled together. “I can't believe I have this ring,” I told him. He looked confused and I continued, “I know we've talked about it every once in a while, and I was wondering about what kind of ring to get you and if I should do one of those things where you hide the ring in the dessert or if I should have done something sexy, like maybe have it on a chain and let it dangle from my erection,” I said to him.

He burst out in giggles. “You seriously considered proposing like that? With it hanging from your dick?”

“Alec's idea,” I said wryly. “Though, you have to admit it has the virtue of being memorable.”

Robin rolled his eyes. “Yeah, true. I liked tonight, though,” he said, rolling on his side to press himself against me. “It was the most perfect lovemaking, and the things you said to me...look, Baby...we've been together since we were fifteen. Here we are starting our life at college and you're telling me you feel this way about me years after we got together? It just....” He hesitated, smiling a bit shyly and then said, “You words hit me right in my core. Heart. Soul. Whatever you want.”

“But you know how much I love you,” I said with a questioning smile.

He laughed lightly. “Babe...Lucien,” he said, his voice taking on a soft quality. “We've made love to each other more times than I can count. For you to still feel this way about making love to me, about me period after...remember when Kale was on his sex police thing?”

“Christ,” I muttered. “Such a freaking hypocrite.”

“True,” he said wryly. “But remember your biggest complaint? That people thought we were just horny, and couldn't see we were in love?”

“Well,” I said slyly. “You do make me horny.”

Robin raised an eyebrow.

“It's not my fault. You're stupid hot,” I told him, honest and yet teasing him. I smiled and added, “But yes. Every time I touch you...I'm conscious that it's a gift.”

He shook his head. “I don't like that. I'm yours. Owned, willingly. And you're mine. Forever. It's not a gift, other than I give myself to you because you give yourself to me.” He rested his head on my chest and spread his fingers out on my ribs, tugging me to him slightly and molding his body to mine. “Don't think for one minute the way you feel doesn't come through to me in the way you treat me, in the way you touch me. I'm built oddly, on the inside. Who you are, how you treat me, is a huge part of why I love you so much. Holding you like this...this peace, this love...this is what's sacred to me.”

After Robin started to breathe rhythmically, falling asleep on me, I touched the ring, now hanging by its chain around my neck, promising myself to have it sized right away. Looking down I could see it glint in the moonlight, and with a sigh and a soft kiss to Robin's head as he slept, I fell into dreamless, happy sleep.

~AGT~

I awoke to Robin climbing from the bed. I watched as he slipped from the room, nude, and a few minutes later slipped back in the room. He crawled back under the covers and slid next to me, nuzzling me warmly.

“Good morning, Babe,” he said softly.

“Good morning,” I replied, rubbing my fingertips up and down his back. We lay like that for an untold, yet insufficient amount of time. It's odd, in a way, when you achieve a dream. All I wanted was to go on dreaming, to go on holding this unbelievable person and soak in that he was mine – that he wanted me as much as I wanted him. To share life, to hold in passion and in sadness. That was the real meaning of his marriage proposal – not the sex, but the emotion behind it. Behind everything.

I was pulled from my musing by the sound of people climbing the steps. Robin rolled over and I let my fingers trail over his side as he picked up his phone.

“Jesus, we've gotten lazy on our first day,” he said with a chuckle. “Dev and Griff must be here.”

“They can move in,” I said agreeably. “We'll just stay in here all day. What do you think?”

He smiled and rolled over to me, laying a light kiss on my lips. “I'll start the coffee, in case they didn't bring any.”

I grabbed his waist as he started to pull away. “Send them for coffee and then come back to bed. I'm awake, now.”

He giggled at me and we engaged in a light back and forth as I didn't release him right away. Of course I did eventually, and he stood from the bed and I drowned in his form as he found clothes. He turned to look at me. “Come on, lover boy.”

“Be right out,” I said. He left the room, closing the door behind him, and I stretched from my fingers to my toes. Life was fucking good. I rolled out of bed and pulled on some shorts before crossing the hall and hitting the bathroom. Despite my claims of being awake, my head was still a little muzzy. I wandered into the kitchen where Robin was talking to Griff and Dev. I slid in behind him, wrapping my arms around his middle as I heard him lower his voice and say 'Three times!' I grinned to myself.

“Morning, sex machine,” Griff said and laughed. I let go of Robin to look at the coffee pot, which wasn't filling fast enough. I stuck my tongue out at Griff.

“Don't be jealous,” I said amiably. I leaned my butt against the counter, for some reason comfortable and pleased. Robin turned toward me and then his face cracked into a wide smile. I raised an eyebrow, but started getting confused when Griff and Dev started to laugh.

“What?” I asked.

“Um. Looks like something's on your stomach, Lu,” Griff said between giggles and snorts. I looked down. Oh. I hadn't cleaned up last night and Robin had spilled a lot on me. A lot. I flushed and looked up at them, who were all red faced and laughing. “Great. No pictures; Derek would lose his mind.”

At this they were nearly falling down with laughter. I felt embarrassed, but not cripplingly so like I'd have been in the past.

“All that and you guys missed this?” I asked, holding the ring out on its chain.

They were still laughing, but Griff leaned closer, and then his eyes went wider. He looked at Robin with his mouth open. “You proposed? What happened to the perfect time?”

Robin smiled and crossed to me, leaning in and placing his forehead against mine. Looking into my eyes he said, “I was with him, so it was the perfect time.”

~AGT~

Robin and I spent the next few days settling in and taking drives around the area to familiarize ourselves with our new city. We were passing through downtown when I pulled over suddenly.

“What did you see?” Robin asked.

“VW shop,” I said with a grin, matched by his eye roll. We climbed out and crossed the street to a garage with a neighboring lot surrounded by a high fence. I could see VWs parked behind the fence, and figured this guy had a thing for them. The sign over the door read 'Charbonneau's Volkswagen Tuning and Small Car Repair', which was kind of funny. Someone only works on small cars? Was there a weight limit?

I walked in and found myself in a tiny waiting area with two chairs, a small circular end table with auto magazines on it and a narrow counter. The air was filled with the smells of auto work – gas, grease, oil and other assorted smells all wrapped into one. A man entered from a side door, open to the garage bays. He was handsome for a man who was probably in his late thirties, with a few strands of hair going gray. A patch on his shirt identified him as Jake.

“Hello guys, what's up?” he asked.

“I saw you had some old Vanagon's parked in your lot. I have one, and I'm new in town so I was interested in making sure I can get parts,” I told him.

“Sure. I have two I'm parting out – one from an accident and one rusted out. Looking for anything in particular or just wanted a general place to go?” he asked.

“Actually, I have a brake line that I'm worried about, but I'm not sure I want to do it myself,” I told him. “I don't have the space right now, and those lines curl up all the way through the dashboard.”

“Yeah, they're a bitch all right. I could do both lines, be about five hundred with tax and all. It's just time consuming.”

“Okay, that sounds fair. Would I have to drop it off for a day or two?”

“At least a day. I can set aside a day for it, excepting emergencies,” he said and turned toward an old computer on the counter.

The door opened behind us and a nice looking guy around the same age as the mechanic stepped in. He was dressed nicely as if for an office and had a greasy bag in his hand.

“Lunch is here,” the new fellow said cheerfully. “I'm going to miss Jack's when it closes for the year.”

“At least Gus's is year round, even if their politics suck,” the mechanic, Jake, replied. Jake looked at us. “You guys been up to Jack's yet? Great for greasy burgers, real summer treat.”

“No, where is it?” I asked.

“Kris, what's the name of that street? The one Jack's is on?” Jake asked as he clicked the mouse on his computer. The other fellow, Kris apparently, gave us directions while I made an appointment with Jake. I had the money, and frankly I didn't want to do the job. I was getting to the point where easy maintenance like oil changes and brake pads were fine, but I didn't have as much enthusiasm for more time consuming work.

After we left Robin wanted to find this Jack's place, so we did. They were sort of like a roadside burger joint with no indoor seating. We got a few sliders, which are these tiny hamburgers dripping with grease and cheese – a heart attack in your hand, basically – and they were like little bites of heaven. We split some cheese fries between us as we talked about driving through the campus the next day to find all our classrooms and stuff.

That night I settled into bed with my fiancé. I didn't miss any part of home, just yet, but I think the idea of home has changed. It's a feeling, and that feeling morphs over time. It's a safe thing, where you're loved and free to love in return. Home is wherever the man sleeping next to me is. While my life at my parents' home had been everything I'd needed to heal, all good things must end.

Maybe not end. Maybe they just change, like energy, never actually created or destroyed. Home used to be a safe place with parents who clearly loved me and a brother who could move mountains and part seas, all while making stupid jokes. Now it's Robin. His fierce and loyal heart, his teasing, his intelligence and fire. His weaknesses, too. His cracks and imperfections. Maybe what it means is that all good things don't have to end. Maybe they were just beginning.