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ObicanDecko

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  1. ObicanDecko

    Take Control

    This was an amazing chapter, very emotional and powerful. I liked it how Tyson realized that now that Vlad is angry with him, he doesn't have anyone left, which caused him to want to make things better. And Cynthia is a brilliant therapist. She knows Tyson so well and knows just how to approach him. I have faith that Tyson will do better and I know Vlad has a big enough heart to forgive him.
  2. ObicanDecko

    Reawakened

    Gotta keep you on your toes!!
  3. ObicanDecko

    Reawakened

    Glad I could surprise you! We'll see how the others fare against Xaviel. Ahh you noticed I changed some details! I knew you would. Thanks!
  4. ObicanDecko

    Reawakened

    “The Great Scourge: The fifth century was a time of great discoveries and explorations in Escaria and beyond. Unfortunately, it was also a time of terrible tragedies, namely the Great Scourge. As explorers headed to far west and crossed the Sinking Sea, they discovered what came to be known as the Cursed Isles. Merely a few days after they set foot on the islands, one by one, the crew men started dying. Those reasonable enough quickly packed their belongings and returned to Escaria. However, they did not return alone. The sailors unwittingly brought back with them Reaper Ants, a tiny venomous species that proved to be the biggest killer of men. After thousands of people died, all with the same symptoms, the scourge was finally traced to these deadly, black insects. Overrun by Reaper Ants, all western port towns were promptly closed and then purged with fire by sorcerers. To this day, the Cursed Isles remain unpopulated by humans and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. -- The night was crystal clear, with not a cloud in the sky. Under the full moon and stars, Sawyer and Castor slowly rode through the desert land. They had taken a nap for a few hours that evening and were now at least somewhat rested. Slowly moving on their camels, the boys were wrapped up in blankets that Sawyer so kindly conjured for them. Still, the chilly night air had them shivering. As he looked into the distance, Sawyer suddenly noticed a structure sticking out from the stand. Like a lone obelisk, it was the only thing that broke the barren scenery of the desert. That must be it, he concluded. His heart suddenly began racing. “Look, we’re here!” the blond boy exclaimed, pointing a finger ahead of them. “This must be it!” Castor looked in the direction his boyfriend pointed at and immediately remembered those words that he had already heard in the vision he had. They had almost reached their goal! Out there in the distance stood the Citadel of Bone, where his brother Cyr was imprisoned. It was a menacing fortress made out of large limestone blocks, with white spikes coming out of its edges. In each corner, there was a tower with barred windows. “I can’t believe it,” Castor whispered. “It’s the Citadel of Bone.” “I know,” Sawyer nodded. “I- I don’t know if we’re ready for this. Cyr is somewhere in there. At least I hope so.” “We’re gonna save him,” the young sorcerer said encouragingly. “Have faith!” Castor nodded. He wanted to believe, but he was too scared. He had seen what was about to happen and knew he needed to prevent it. He had to change the future somehow. “Sawyer,” the shifter spoke and his boyfriend turned to him. “Remember what I told you, about what I saw? That moment is coming. We have to be careful.” “Maybe that was just a dream,” Sawyer countered, but Castor would have none of it. He shook his head. “No, I know what I saw. It was real, I was in the future.” “Alright, I believe you, baby,” the sorcerer said. “We’ll just have to be very careful.” It was nearly half an hour later that the two boys arrived at their final destination. Even in the dead of night, the Citadel of Bone looked magnificent. If it didn’t represent a symbol of evil and fear in their hearts, the boys would probably admire it. Slowly, they dismounted their camels and proceeded toward the massive wooden door with two heavy iron rings on them. They had barely taken two steps forward when suddenly they heard something - a strange noise coming from above. They immediately looked up, knowing what was coming. Even though they had been expecting the gargoyles, they were horrified to see the two hideous stone creatures flying toward them! “Sawyer, watch out!” the shifter called out, sticking close to his boyfriend. The gargoyles were coming down at high speed, ready to snatch the boys. Sawyer swiftly pointed his magic wand up and a green beam shot out from it. Vines wrapped themselves around one of the flying statues, making it unable to move its wings. It dropped to the ground, shattering into pieces. That was when the second gargoyle decided to seize the opportunity and swoop down on Sawyer in an attempt to grab him. Running backwards, the blond boy fell to the ground and Castor knew it was up to him. This was the moment he had to change. “Hey, over here!” he yelled and ran forward, trying to attract the creature’s attention. It worked, as the gargoyle changed directions. Just as it extended its claws, trying to grab the boy, Castor shifted into a snake and quickly burrowed into the sand. This gave Sawyer enough time to recover and aim his wand at the creature, shooting another green beam at it. Just as with the first one, vines quickly sprang out and wrapped themselves around the second gargoyle’s body and wings, leaving him immobile. Castor slithered over to Sawyer and came out of the sand. He shifted back, breathless and shaky. “Are you alright?” he hugged Sawyer, still keeping an eye on the statue lying motionless in the sand. “Yes, my love, thanks to you. And you?” the sorcerer asked, squeezing his boyfriend. “I’m fine. You saved us, you were amazing!” “Yeah?” Sawyer beamed. An involuntary grin appeared on his face. “I have a pretty good aim, don’t I?” “Yes, you do,” Castor had to admit. They both chuckled, relieved to have made it. They still weren’t out of the woods and they knew it, so they couldn’t afford to relax just yet. Picking themselves up from the ground, the two boys went over to the Citadel door and pulled on the iron rings. Holding their breath in fear, they expected all hell to break loose on them if they managed to enter. To their surprise, the door opened easily, making a loud creaking noise. So much for sneaking in unnoticed, Sawyer thought. As the two uninvited guests entered the Citadel of Bone, the dark that surrounded them quickly vanished, giving way to light. They found themselves in a grand, circular hall, almost as barren as the desert outside. There were three sets of stairs - two leading up and one down. The walls, pillars and floor seemed to be made of limestone, just as the outside of the Citadel. The only decorations were sharp, white spikes on the pillars, as well as torches on the walls, illuminating everything in purple light. The boys held hands as they stepped forward. They had no idea what was waiting for them in the darkness of the eerie fortress, but they had no choice but to proceed. However, just as they made a few more steps, they froze with fear. A whirlwind suddenly appeared at the other end of the hall. Seconds later, a tall figure was standing there, dressed in a long, sand-colored robe. Macarius himself. “Welcome, we’ve been expecting you,” the old sorcerer greeted them. Even though his words were polite, he still sounded threatening, which did nothing to calm Castor’s and Sawyer’s nerves. “I apologize about my pets. I forgot to tell them about you, as I did not know when you would be coming.” “Y-you knew we-we were coming?” Castor stuttered. “Of course. You came for your brother,” Macarius replied calmly. At that moment, another, smaller figure stepped out from behind him and into the light. Castor felt Sawyer’s hand squeeze his harder and his eyes went wide with shock. It was Cyr. “Cyr! You’re alive!” Castor whispered, feeling his eyes getting watery. Any second now, tears would come flooding and he wouldn’t be able to stop them. “Cas!” Cyr spoke, his mouth stretching into a bright smile that lit up his entire face. The other twin felt as if his heart would burst with happiness. That was the first time in years his brother seemed genuinely happy to see him. As if pulled by a magnet, two brothers rushed to each other’s arms, crying their eyes out. Sawyer observed the scene misty-eyed. Everything they went through was worth it just for this moment, he thought. “I can’t believe this,” Castor sobbed, squeezing Cyr. “You’re alright!” “I’m ok,” the other twin nodded vigorously. His head was still resting on Castor’s shoulder, as he wanted to hide the tears that were falling freely. “Cas, I’m so sorry... for everything,” Cyr wept. He was overjoyed with having his brother back, but he needed Castor’s forgiveness. He wanted them to start over, without the burden of the past. “Oh, shut it! Do you think I care about any of that after all of this?” Castor pulled back, looking him in the eyes. “Cas, I’m serious. I am so sorry. Can you please forgive me?” Cyr pleaded, wiping his cheeks. “I need you to say it.” Unable to speak for a moment, the shifter just nodded and hugged his brother again. “Of course, brother. It’s all forgiven and forgotten,” Castor cried. From the distance, Macarius observed the brothers’ reunion with just a hint of a smile on his ever serious face. The cruelty of people had caused him to become cold and closed-off, but at a moment such as that, he found his armor starting to crack, just as it had done back at the Lunaros farm. The twins hugged some more and then pulled Sawyer in to join them. They all laughed and cried at the same time, relieved and ecstatic to be together again. All the bad blood that existed between Cyr and Castor seemed to have vanished, washed away by their tears of joy. When Castor finally remembered where he was, he looked up at the old sorcerer observing them. The smile on the boy’s face vanished. He was so happy to have his brother back that he forgot about the main threat. Now that they were all at his mercy, would the sorcerer spare their lives? “Are you…” the shifter started to speak, but then hesitated. He didn’t know what to ask. Sensing the boy’s nervousness, Macarius tried to draw his lips into a reassuring smile - not something he often did. He usually had no reason for it. “You can rest assured I will not hurt you or your brother,” the old sorcerer spoke. “I need your help. I’m sure Cyr will explain everything.” Castor looked at his brother, who just smiled and nodded, squeezing his hand. “I shall give you some time to rest, and then you’ll come to my laboratory so I can finish my work. Are you injured in any way?” Macarius asked, looking at the two new arrivals. They both shook their heads. “Alright then. Follow me to the dining hall. I’m sure you’re starving from your journey,” he said and turned around, taking the stairs up. The three boys followed closely behind him. ~~ By the time Sawyer and the twins washed their hands, the dining table was covered in plates and dishes containing bread, fried fish, meat and baked potatoes. There were also three large bowls with fresh pomegranates, bananas, mangoes, pineapples and oranges. The boys dug in and stuffed themselves with food, especially Castor and Sawyer. The two were incredibly grateful for being welcomed with a feast after nearly getting eviscerated by the two gargoyles. For a moment, Castor wondered what happened to the two stone creatures, but decided he didn’t actually care. As long as they remained outside. Everyone seemed to be in a somewhat better mood except Cassandra, who had just come in carrying pitchers with fresh water. The girl was obviously annoyed she had to serve them dinner in the middle of the night, when they should be sleeping. Even though she didn’t dare express her displeasure, she frowned at the new arrivals while serving them food and drinks. She resented the fact that Macarius had suddenly taken up interest in these strangers. They used to live such a peaceful life, and now their Citadel was suddenly full of people. Hopefully they’ll all be gone once the master cures Xaviel, she thought. Even though they were not hungry, Dymia and Jarin joined them soon after, having heard noise and wondering what was going on. Stepping into the room, they stopped and stared at the twins. Had the two boys not been wearing different clothes, it would have been impossible to tell them apart. “Gods! You two are truly identical,” the scorpion shifter said, drawing curious looks from the three boys at the table. “Jarin, this is my brother Castor!” Cyr stated, proudly presenting his twin. “Castor, this is Jarin, and that’s Dymia. They were also brought here by Macarius.” “And who’s the blond cutie?” Dymia asked, smiling at Sawyer and moving in his direction. “Um, that’s my boyfriend Sawyer,” Castor was quick to point out, possessively placing a hand on the sorcerer’s shoulder. Dymia frowned and sat at the other side of the table, and Jarin broke into laughter upon seeing her crestfallen face. The dinner was just what Castor and Sawyer needed to regain their strength and refresh themselves after a long and arduous trek through the desert. Cyr and Castor were inseparable the entire time, though. The twins shared their accounts of everything they’ve been through since Macarius abducted Cyr, each stunned and amazed at the other’s tale. After Cyr told him about Macarius’ ill son being the reason for everything, Castor finally understood why his brother was mistakenly taken. Meanwhile, Sawyer got to know Jarin and Dymia and learn about their lives. After Sawyer showed him some of his magic, Jarin was happy to shift for him and show off his scorpion form, which was met with admiration and applause from Castor and Sawyer. After plenty of eye-rolling, Dymia finally agreed to do the same, shifting into her Assassin Wasp form. Although not as flashy as a Fireborn Scorpion, the girl didn’t disappoint. She flew around the table in her insect form before returning to her chair and shifting back. Another round of applause followed. “If you’re finished eating, I’d like to borrow Castor for a moment,” Macarius spoke seriously, standing at the door. Everyone turned their heads toward him. Preoccupied with their conversations and laughter, the five ‘guests’ did not even notice when he arrived. “Very well,” Castor nodded, feeling as it was his duty to help the man, despite the fact that he had kidnapped Cyr. “May I come too?” Sawyer asked, not wanting to separate from his boyfriend. “You may,” Macarius stated, gesturing to them to follow him. Without asking, Cyr also stood up and followed. He would not let Castor out of his sight whether Macarius liked it or not. “I’ll see you two later,” the boy said to Jarin and Dymia, leaving them at the table. Once the group entered the laboratory, Macarius was eager to proceed with his mission. Now that he had all of the necessary elements, he was impatient to finish the antidote so he could finally cure his son. Even though it was only a little more than two months since the tragic event, it felt like years to Macarius. He couldn’t wait to see Xaviel up and about once again. Without his son, Macarius’ Citadel, as well as his life, were empty. “I will need you to shift, Castor, and deposit some of your venom here,” the old sorcerer instructed, placing a glass vial on the table in front of the boy. “Then, I will also need to extract some of your blood.” “Alright,” Castor nodded, feeling a little less nervous now that he knew what he had to do. After getting encouraging looks from Cyr and Sawyer, the young shifter closed his eyes and took up his animal form. A beautiful black snake with a scarlet tail appeared in front of them, raising its body and hissing. Its dark scales glimmered in the light of the many candles that illuminated the chamber. Carefully, Macarius took the vial and brought it lower so that the snake could reach it. The deadly reptile then opened its mouth, revealing two large, threatening fangs. As if biting the glass container, the snake ejected its venom through holes in its fangs. Everyone observed the process in complete silence, as if scared that any noise would make all their efforts in vain. Seconds later, the snake retreated and shifted back, becoming Castor once again. Macarius took his eyes away from the precious liquid he held in his hands and turned his attention to the shifter. “Thank you,” he said with gratitude. “This means so much to me. Once I’ve cured my son, I will fulfill my promise and teleport you back to your families.” After taking a sample of Castor’s blood in a different vial, Macarius let the three boys leave so that he could finish his antidote in peace. Before leaving the room, Cyr pulled a book from under his robe and handed it to the sorcerer. “Book of Venoms?” Macarius stated, looking at Cyr questioningly. “I took it the other day, when you left me here to go find Castor,” the boy replied, peering bravely into the man’s eyes. “For someone who is not even a shifter, you have continuously been the biggest annoyance,” Macarius said, raising his voice just slightly. “A shame you’re not a sorcerer. You have so much potential.” “I think I’ve had enough magic for a while,” Cyr replied, unsure whether to be flattered or insulted. “But you can be sure I’ll annoy you even more if you don’t get us home soon.” It was an hour later, still in the wee hours of the night, that Macarius finally left his alchemy chamber, carrying in his hands a bottle of dark green liquid. The most valuable thing he had ever had. The antidote was complete and if the recipe from the Book of Venoms was correct, it would cure his son. As he slowly descended down the stairs, his five guests appeared, coming from the terrarium chamber. They stopped to look at him. Seeing that he was carrying something in his hand, they knew what it meant. Jarin raised an eyebrow, hugging Cyr and Dymia. “He did it!” After everything that happened, the scorpion shifter was excited for Macarius to finish his task so they could finally be free. He had been locked up in that Citadel for too long. “Calm down, we still don’t know if it’ll work,” Dymia replied, somewhat deflating his enthusiasm. “Of course it will,” Cyr insisted. “It has to.” From the other end of the hallway, Cassandra appeared, approaching Macarius and eyeing the tiny bottle in his hand. “Master, is there anything I can do to help?” “Not right now,” the sorcerer shook his head. “See if they need anything. That would be all.” Too tense to say anything else, he crossed the hall and descended the second set of stairs, leading to the room in which Xaviel was located, frozen in time in his magical prison that kept him alive. He went there alone, as the others knew not to follow him. He needed to do this alone. After passing through the dark hallway, Macarius stopped in front of the door of his son’s room. He unlocked it slowly, as if afraid of waking the boy up. Once he entered, he closed the door behind him and lit up the room using his staff. He could feel tears coming out as he laid his eyes on Xaviel, so peaceful in the glass coffin that shone with a magical blue glow. He was lying just the way Macarius had left him all those weeks ago, unaware that his life was hanging by a thread. With a wave of his staff, Macarius dispelled the magic surrounding the coffin. The glow subsided and he opened the cover. He held his breath and silently prayed that the antidote would work and that his son would be cured. If not, he would spend the rest of his life collecting every known venom until he produced the right antidote to save his boy. Removing the cork from the vial, Macarius drew half of its contents out using a syringe. Carefully, he injected the antidote into a vein on Xaviel’s arm. He then sealed the bottle and placed it in his inner pocket. With another wave of his magic staff, he removed the spell that kept his son frozen, allowing the antidote to start coursing through his system. “Please, son. Wake up,” Macarius whispered, his gaze fixed at his son’s face. Merely a moment later, Xaviel’s eyes shot open and Macarius gasped in shock. The boy winced in pain and started coughing, bringing a hand to his throat. “Xaviel! Son, are you alright? Please, it has to work!” the sorcerer pleaded, caressing his son’s hair. “Dad, what- what happened?” the boy managed to utter. After the coughing stopped, he lifted himself and sat up, looking around in wonder. He was lying in a glass coffin, levitating in the middle of the room. “Dad?” “How are you feeling?” “I- I’m feeling fine. Why?” Overjoyed, Macarius let his tears flow freely, and for the first time in ages, he could hear himself laugh. He wrapped his arms around his son - his greatest joy in life. He was shaking with laughter, but he didn’t care. He was happy and he wanted everyone to know. “Let me get you out of there,” the sorcerer finally said, helping Xaviel get out of the coffin. As his son stood before him, Macarius beamed with joy. There he was, his bright and curious son, looking so much like Macarius when he was that age. The sorcerer eyed him for a moment before pulling him into another hug. After everything that had happened, he could not even imagine he would feel such happiness ever again. “Son, I’m so-” Macarius started to say, but then took a sharp gasp, dropping his magic staff to the ground. His eyes went wide as he felt a cold, sharp blade entering his abdomen. Pulling out from the hug, Xaviel looked his father in the eyes, a satisfied smirk on his dark, young face. “Father, always so predictable,” the boy smiled. “Thank you, though. You did exactly as I thought you would.” Xaviel twisted the dagger and pulled it out, the blade dripping with blood. With a thud, Macarius fell to the floor. “Son… But why?”
  5. LoL is League of Legends - a very popular MOBA (look, another acronym!) game. I can neither confirm nor deny these speculations.
  6. So I'm finally caught up all the way! When I saw they were on a holiday, enjoying themselves, I thought Stuart was going to show up and somehow ruin it for them, but it was some homophobic asshole instead. That incident notwithstanding, they at least had a nice time being away from home for a while. What I like the most about this story (and part 1 as well) is the pacing and how Geoff and Tony's relationship develops in a natural, believable way. It seems like Gloria has slowly gotten through to Joy, which is a miracle. I wonder what her conversation with Geoff will be like - will she admit she was wrong? Somehow I can't imagine her doing that so easily. Considering the long wait (early 2020?! ), I am super glad the story didn't end on a major cliffhanger!
  7. I don't know, do you know how to ride a bus? That seems to be the consensus. Poor guy, no one likes him. Alex is definitely learning and growing through all of his experiences. Hopefully Brandon and Zara can do the same. I'm sorry if Jeremy's suffering has made you sad. I'll try to make it up to you in a later chapter. Maybe I'll even get him to play LoL! Looks like you're in the minority. Hey, are you trying to tempt Alex? Bad boy!
  8. So, Brandon is as popular as I thought...
  9. Nicholas pulled over to the side of the road just at the beginning of the Promenade, where the pedestrian zone began. He looked at his son with concern, watching him unfasten the seat belt clumsily, hurrying to get out. “Do you want me to come with you?” he asked, wrinkles appearing on his forehead as he frowned. Alex shook his head. “No, we’ll be fine. Thanks, dad.” “Alright. If Jeremy needs someone to talk to, feel free to bring him over to your mom and me.” “Ok, I’ll tell him that. See ya, dad. And thanks for driving me.” With his phone in hand, Alex stepped out of the car and proceeded down the street toward the Appleton bakery. The first thing he noticed when he came in was the awkward look on the face of the new girl, Trisha. She stood behind the counter, cleaning off the flour and crumbs. Several customers sat at the tables, eating their lunches. “Hey, Trisha, is Jeremy upstairs?” “Yeah,” the girl replied quietly. “Hey, uh, is he gonna be ok?” Alex nodded in reply. “Yeah, I hope so. Thanks.” With that, he went to the back door and upstairs into Jeremy’s little apartment. As he climbed the stairs, he noticed how quiet it was. He wondered if Jeremy’s mom was still there and how she would react if she saw him. Luckily, he didn’t come across her. She’s probably gone, he thought as he knocked on Jeremy’s bedroom door. “Come in,” a voice said from the other side of the door, and Alex opened it to find a somber Jeremy sitting at his computer, playing Dota 2. “Hey,” the baker said, his face lighting up just a little at seeing his crush walk into the room. “Hey, whatchu playing?” Alex asked in a soft voice as he pulled another chair over and sat next to Jeremy. “Oh, Dota,” he smiled, glancing at the screen and then back at Jeremy. He was the same, using video games as an escape whenever he was upset or sad. Getting immersed in a fantasy world and playing out heroes and villains was always the biggest draw of gaming for him. It allowed him to escape reality, at least for a while. “Sorry, just a few minutes and I’ll be done,” Jeremy replied, not taking his eyes off the screen. “How’s the match going?” Alex asked, looking at the situation on the screen before glancing back at the blond guy. “It’d be going much better if these idiots knew how to play!” Jeremy suddenly raised his voice in frustration, clicking his mouse as fast as he could. “Oh for fuck’s sake, Meepo died again!” he groaned, slamming his fingers on the keyboard. Alex was startled, but he knew better than to tell him to calm down. If they were anything alike, that would just make him even angrier. He just sat patiently and waited for the match to be over. Five minutes later, when the word “DEFEAT” appeared on the screen, Jeremy huffed and clicked rapidly in an attempt to leave the game as quickly as possible. Alex swivelled the guy’s chair so that they were facing each other, and then took his hands. “Hey,” he spoke softly and Jeremy looked up, his sad eyes meeting Alex’s. “Got it out of your system?” “Yeah,” Jeremy nodded, sighing. “I’m here, wanna tell me what happened?” Alex asked, squeezing the other guy’s hands. He wasn’t sure what to say or do, so he thought it best to let Jeremy open up. Maybe that would make him feel better. Taking a deep breath, Jeremy got up from the chair and moved to the bed. He sat down and pulled his knees up, wrapping his arms around them. Alex followed suit and moved to the bed as well, sitting next to Jeremy with an arm around his shoulders, leaning into him. The silence was heavy. “If you don’t wanna talk now, that’s ok too,” Alex suggested, figuring Jeremy might not be ready yet. “Ok,” Jeremy replied, his voice barely a whisper. “Come on, let’s lie down,” Alex suggested, pulling him down. They lay to the side, Alex spooning Jeremy from behind, his chest pressed against Jeremy’s back. Their slow breathing and the faint ticking noise of the clock on the wall were the only sounds in the room. The two boys didn’t speak a word. After a while, they both fell asleep. It was an hour later that Alex woke up, feeling a stirring motion next to him. He opened his eyes to find Jeremy lying next to him, also awake. “Sorry if I woke you,” Jeremy apologized, turning so that he was facing Alex. “That’s alright, I don’t mind waking up like this,” Alex lifted his head up and smiled at Jeremy. “Do you want to talk about what happened?” he asked gently as he got up and sat next to the other boy. “It’s ok if you don’t.” Jeremy looked down at the blue and white carpet, as if contemplating whether to open up. Then, he sighed and lifted his head. “Mom’s gone. She packed her things and left this afternoon.” “Baby, I’m sorry. I take it she didn’t react well?” Alex looked at him with concern and joined their hands together. Jeremy just shook his head. “How did she find out? Did you tell her?” “That friend of yours came over… Brandon.” Alex’s eyes went wide with shock when he heard Brandon’s name. “What?!” “He came over this morning when I was working, said he wanted to talk about you. I tried to shush him because I didn’t want mom to overhear us, but he insisted that we talk,” Jeremy continued his account of that morning. “What the hell did he want?” Alex asked, fear creeping inside him, making him dread hearing the rest of the story. “He told me… He said you deserved to be with someone you could be with openly, and not me, since I’m not even out.” “What the hell? That fucking… I can’t believe this,” Alex curled his fingers into a fist, infuriated at Brandon as much as himself. He was an idiot to have told Brandon anything at all. If only he hadn’t confided in him that night, none of this would have happened! “By the time I got him to leave, it was too late. I turned around and saw mom standing there, looking… broken.” “She heard everything,” Alex said, looking at Jeremy with sad, brown eyes. “Or at least enough to get the picture. You should’ve seen her, Alex, she didn’t even want to talk to me. Didn’t even let me explain. It was as if she had given up. She just wanted to get out, so she packed her bags and left.” “Just like that? Did she say anything?” “She just mumbled that she couldn’t believe it, that she didn’t even know who I was anymore. As if I’m suddenly a stranger to her,” Jeremy spoke sadly. Alex wrapped his arms around the other boy, trying to hold back the tears. He pretty much hated Zara as much as Brandon at that moment. How could she do this to her own son? He simply couldn’t understand. “Do you think she’ll come around?” “I don’t know,” was all that Jeremy said. He seemed resigned to the fact that his mother was out of his life - indefinitely. “I’m so sorry, baby, you shouldn’t be going through this. And I never should’ve told Brandon anything. I was just trying to get some things off my chest, but I can’t believe he went and did this! That fucking douchebag only cares about himself!” Alex said, his soft voice slowly turning to angry grumbling. “Hey, it’s not your fault, ok?” “I’m just… angry at everything. None of this should’ve happened! You didn’t deserve it. You’re sweet and kind to everyone… And I’m an idiot.” “No, you’re not. You’re amazing. I couldn’t go through this without you,” Jeremy insisted, trying to reassure Alex that he held no grudge against him. However, Alex couldn’t be convinced so easily. He couldn’t help but feel that if it wasn’t for him, Jeremy wouldn’t even be in this mess. “Thanks,” he finally conceded, letting the blond guy rest his head on his shoulder. “So what are you gonna do now? Are you gonna tell your sister?” “Yeah, I guess,” Jeremy shrugged. “Mom will probably tell her anyway, if she hadn’t already. She deserves to know.” “If you want moral support when you talk to her, I’ll be happy to be there,” Alex offered. “Thanks.” “I mean it. Whatever happens, I’m here for you, ok? You don’t have to go through this alone.” “Ok,” Jeremy replied. “That means so much to me.” When he finally left Jeremy’s apartment that evening, Alex was feeling an overwhelming mix of emotions unlike anything he had ever felt before. On one hand, he wanted to be with Jeremy and show him how much he cared about him, but the guilt was starting to eat him up. He couldn’t shake the feeling that it was his presence that was causing all the trouble in Jeremy’s life. First, the fight with Natalie, and now the fallout with Jeremy’s mom. On top of that, he felt anger and contempt toward one particular person - Brandon. Replaying all of the things Jeremy told him that day, Alex hopped on the city bus with a purpose. He knew exactly what his next stop would be. ~~ Alex pressed the doorbell impatiently, waiting in front of Brandon’s apartment. He didn’t bother announcing himself, but in case the guy wasn’t home, Alex was prepared to wait as long as necessary. He was not leaving until he gave Brandon a piece of his mind. The door finally unlocked and opened, Brandon standing there and looking mildly surprised. “Alex, I didn’t…” he started to say, but didn’t even get to finish his sentence. Alex barged in, shoving him forcefully in the chest. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” Alex shouted angrily as Brandon stumbled back, almost falling down. “Wow, calm down, man,” the brown-haired guy said as he steadied himself, raising his hands defensively. “Calm down?!” Unrelenting, Alex went in again, this time with a fist flying straight toward Brandon’s face, but the other guy was fast enough, catching Alex’s fist in his hand. “Fucking stop that!” Brandon yelled, now furious at Alex, pushing him away with great force. Alex almost tripped over his own feet and fell onto the couch. “You wanna fight? Ok, ‘cause I have no problem bashing your face in,” Brandon threatened and Alex realized he had underestimated the guy. “Or do you wanna sit there and tell me what’s bothering you?!” “You gotta be kidding me,” Alex spat out, looking at him with eyes full of burning rage. “You’re what’s bothering me! You had no business going to Jeremy’s. Do you have any idea what you did?” “Oh, of course he would tell you. Why am I not surprised…” “He told me because you outed him to his mom!” Alex shouted, as Brandon’s expression changed from annoyance to surprise. “She heard what you talked about and now she’s gone. She left him because she can’t handle him being gay. So great job! If you wanted to ruin a family, you did it.” “What? I- I never meant for that…” Brandon stuttered. “I promise I…” “Let me guess, it was all an accident?” Alex said sarcastically. Whatever excuses Brandon had to offer, he didn’t want to hear them. “I swear I wasn’t trying to out him. I just came over to talk to him about you, because I care for you!” “Give me a fucking break! If you cared for me you wouldn’t go and tell my boyfriend he’s not good enough for me!” “And what kind of a boyfriend is that when you can’t even be seen together?” Brandon asked, only managing to make Alex even more furious. “That’s none of your business! You had no right to butt in! What, did you think you’d break us up and I’d come running back to you? That’s never gonna happen,” Alex spoke with anger and determination as he stood up from the couch and went for the door. “I’m surprised you didn’t offer to pay him to leave me.” “Yeah, because that’s me, spoiled little rich boy who uses money to get what he wants. I don’t remember you having any problems borrowing money from me five seconds after we met,” Brandon immediately shot back, making Alex stop in his tracks and turn around. “Is that what you really think of me, Alex? Is that how you see me?” “Don’t try to turn this around on me! You were the one who went and ran his mouth, not caring who might get hurt,” Alex responded angrily, regretting he even came to see the guy. “I did it precisely because I didn’t want you to get hurt! I may have gone about it the wrong way, but I did it because I care about you,” Brandon said, chuckling humorlessly at Alex’s blank stare. “Yeah, newsflash, I have feelings too. But you wouldn’t know that, would you? Because to you I’m just a preppy snob who thinks he can buy everything. So maybe I am used to a… more luxurious lifestyle than most - it’s not my fault my parents are wealthy. But that’s not all who I am. And if you’d bothered to get to know me, maybe you’d have seen that. I’m sorry about Jeremy, I really am. But I am mostly sorry about being an idiot to fall for you.” With that, Brandon turned around and stormed off to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him. Completely dumbstruck, Alex reached for the doorknob and let himself out, quietly leaving the building.
  10. ObicanDecko

    May, 2019 (A)

    Awesome chapter!! We got to see Margaret in all her waspy glory and find out what her plan was - I definitely didn't see it coming! Now with Ezra doing a Lance and being promoted to the main roster so quickly, I wouldn't be surprised if it affected his friendship with Sean in a negative way - and we already see the first signs of it here. And of course Lance would be picked for the documentary too, I had no doubt he would! The match was super fun, I love how obnoxious everyone is in the ring (tho Kodeine is obnoxious outside of it too). Ezra clearly wasn't prepared for the homophobic remarks by him and the audience. I love Ezra's Insta segments at the end - and the fact that Michelle follows him! ^_^
  11. I really hope Ryan gets help and goes to those therapy sessions. It'd be nice if Jasper accompanied him.
  12. ObicanDecko

    Birthday

    Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! We'll find out who spilled the beans in the next chapter.
  13. ObicanDecko

    More Secrets

    Ohhhh you cannot do this to us! 😮 We need Ryan to be fine!
  14. ObicanDecko

    Birthday

    Something tells me you could be right! Thank youuuu! Alex is so hot, can you blame Brandon for wanting a piece of that? and you know you love a good cliffhanger, so don't even! I actually agree, that fandom is almost as bad as Beyhive.
  15. ObicanDecko

    End of the Road

    Thank you so much, friend! ❤️ I hope you noticed I did some slight tweaks to Macarius' parts and explained better what Eteon did to Sawyer.
  16. ObicanDecko

    Birthday

    Me neither, so... Totally true, Jeremy has created a life for himself and doesn't depend on his mom, so even if she can't accept him, it's not like he'll end up on the street. And yeah, Nat and Brandon are definitely not making things easier. We'll see more of both of them very soon. Thanks!
  17. ObicanDecko

    Birthday

    Thanks, guys! I appreciate the comments! Yes, it sounds like Jeremy needs Alex's support right now. They should be handling this together.
  18. ObicanDecko

    Birthday

    Another trophy, my hands carry ‘em! Too many that I can’t even count ‘em! As the music blasted from the speakers, Jeremy stood in the middle of the room, looking at the screen. He and Alex were playing Just Dance, and he was trying his best to hit all the moves of the choreography. Somebody stop me, I’m bout to pop off! Too busy, you know my body ain’t enuff! The blond guy mouthed the lyrics as he copied the moves, but Alex’s laughing was distracting him and he struggled to keep up. He somehow powered through until the end of the song and then turned to Alex, faking anger. “Hey, what’s so funny?” he asked, playfully hitting the other guy on the arm, not wanting to hurt him. That was not going to happen anyway - he had never been in a fight, which was fairly obvious to Alex. The guy was simply too nice for that. “Sorry, it’s just you and that song,” Alex smirked. He wasn’t trying to get Jeremy to mess up - at least not too much - he just found the whole scene genuinely funny. “What? I love BTS!” Jeremy defended his choice. For years he had been one of the many members of the ARMY - the name for fans of the South Korean boyband. “I know, it just doesn’t really suit you,” the black-haired guy shrugged. “I never imagined you as the type to flex on his haters like that. Not that you’d have any haters.” The comment made Jeremy laugh and Alex stared at his face, enjoying his wide smile. Even though it was his birthday, the young baker hadn’t exactly been in the best of spirits earlier that day. It was all because of Natalie. She and Jeremy seemed to be back on speaking terms, but the ice between the two former best friends hadn’t really thawed yet. Now that Alex was in the mix, things were even more awkward. After the girl had left the house, it took some time for Jeremy to get back in a good mood. The fact that Alex felt guilty about his role in the situation didn’t help things either. “Sorry I’m being lousy company today. I should be entertaining you,” Jeremy apologized, placing a hand on Alex’s. It was a rare display of affection for the blond guy, as he was always too skittish, afraid his mom might suddenly appear out of nowhere and see them. Alex understood that and didn’t push him; still, that moment of tenderness came as a pleasant surprise. He smiled and turned his hand over, entwining their fingers together. “You’re always good company, so shush!” he said, trying to put on a happy face for Jeremy. Sometimes he wondered if Jeremy would be better off without him, as he only seemed to be causing problems for the young baker. But Alex knew this wasn’t about him - it was about Jeremy, and he wanted to make the guy feel good. So, he put on his best sexy smile and leaned over, giving him a light kiss that just barely grazed the boy’s lips, leaving him hungry for more. At least that should distract him from his problems, Alex thought. The birthday boy started to open his mouth, clearly hoping for a full-on tongue kiss, but Alex got up with a smirk and went over to the other side of the room to get his bag from the floor. Now that should be on his mind for a while, he thought, planning to treat Jeremy with a proper kiss later, before he leaves. “I almost forgot, I brought you something!” “You really didn’t have to,” Jeremy protested as Alex sat back down next to him and shoved the bag in his hands with a grin. Alex made sure to sit very closely, so that their legs touched. “How’d you know it was my birthday, anyway?” “Saw it on Facebook,” Alex shrugged, watching the other guy unwrap the gift. Jeremy started peeling the wrapping paper off, and as soon as he saw the logo on the box, he knew what it was. “Aaaahhh! I love them!” he squealed, holding up the boxes with the Sonic and Knuckles figurines and admiring them. They were about six inches tall, made of what seemed to be high quality plastic. Alex was glad when Jeremy started opening the boxes to take the figurines out and inspect them more closely. He never understood it when people got toys and kept them on a shelf in the packaging, never to open them. What’s the point of buying one if you’re not even going to use it? “Are they really ok? I didn’t know which characters you’d like...” “Seriously, they’re awesome! I’ve been playing Sonic since I was like five! At one point I even got Emily hooked on it. Thank you so much,” Jeremy gushed and gave Alex a hug, but a knock on the door caused them to draw apart quickly. “Come in!” “I just wanted- oh hey, Alex, when did you get here?” Zara appeared at the door, smiling. “Hi, Mrs Appleton,” Alex greeted her. “I came to see if anyone was up for some cake?” the woman asked, and both guys nodded. “Ok, coming right up!” It was a few minutes later that Jeremy’s mom returned to the room, carrying two plates with cake on a tray. As she came over to hand them the dessert, Jeremy noticed a suspicious smirk on his mom’s face. Only then did he realize it wasn’t a tray she held in her hands - it was a big photo album. “Oh, no,” he sighed as she held the album up and winked at them. “What? I thought it’d be fun to see some old family photos! I bet Alex wants to see your pictures as a kid, right?” “I would love to!” Alex smiled when he saw Jeremy squirm. He had never seen any of the guy’s old photos. Jeremy’s Facebook profile was pretty barren, having only a few photos, mostly with his family, so Alex was curious to see what he was like as a little kid. He scooted over to let Zara sit between them, and the woman put the album on her lap so that all three of them could see. “If you ever order something from the bakery, I’m gonna spit on it,” Jeremy fake-threatened, pointing a finger at Alex. The black-haired guy leaned back so that Zara wouldn’t see him and just shot a dirty look at Jeremy, mouthing “can’t wait”. “Ahhh here we go,” Zara announced with glee as she opened the album, which turned out to be filled with plenty of Jeremy photos - some with his sister Emily, others with his parents, friends or just him alone. The first few pages were just baby pictures, which Alex found cute, although a bit boring. How many photos of a baby smiling or sleeping in different positions does one really need? “Remember this one?” Zara pointed to a photo of a herself as a young woman, with little Jeremy beside her, sitting on a beach towel, covering his eyes with one hand. “You were three. This was the first time we took you to the sea. You were too scared to get in the water so you just stayed at the beach the whole time with me or your dad. One of us always had to stay with you while the other went swimming. You cried even at the mere sight of water!” “Umm, I don’t remember any of that,” the guy shook his head. “Are you saying I’m lying?” his mom teased. “I’m just saying… All we have is your word for it.” “How dare you insinuate!” Zara pretended to be offended, placing a hand on her chest. Alex looked over, grinning at the little three-year-old Jeremy. He looked adorable! As they went through the next several pages, the photos showed Jeremy’s first day of school, his first school excursion and plenty of photos with his little sister. “What about this one?” Alex pointed at a photo in the corner, which showed the thirteen-year-old Jeremy in jeans and a Ninja Turtles t-shirt. “That was from the year we went to the summer camp,” Jeremy explained. “I think this was taken a few months before.” “Ahh memories… Too bad we didn’t take any pictures then,” Alex said. “Say no more,” Zara stood up and held out her hand, waiting for someone to give her a phone. Alex had to suppress a laugh - it was clear the woman was trying to play the cool mom and failing miserably at that. He still took out his smartphone, opened the camera app and handed it to her. “Ok, boys, let’s get you a picture or two,” Jeremy’s mom said as she moved away, motioning for them to sit closer next to each other. Alex glanced at Jeremy, feeling incredibly awkward. There he was, with his secret boyfriend, whose unsuspecting mom was taking their photos. As far as birthdays go, he had definitely been to better ones. Once Zara snapped a few shots, they continued going through the album. Alex noticed Jeremy had once again went quiet, especially when his mom found a picture of him and Natalie and commented how it was a shame they broke up. “I thought you were such a cute couple! I never saw it coming,” she lamented, as if having a monologue. Alex just glanced at Jeremy, but didn’t dare say anything, just wishing for the awkwardness to pass. Once Zara finally left the room, leaving the two guys alone, Alex turned to Jeremy and took him by the hands. “I’m so sorry, Jer,” Alex looked at him apologetically. He felt even more guilty, as if he had made Jeremy’s birthday unnecessarily complicated just by being there. “For what?” “For making things weird with Natalie, and now with your mom.... For insisting that we look at the album. I thought it’d be a bit of fun, I didn’t know she’d do… all this.” “Hey, none of this is your fault, ok? This is just how mom is,” Jeremy shrugged. “I’m surprised she didn’t invite some customers to come look at the photos with us.” “That’d be a sure way to lose customers,” Alex chuckled. “Yeah... I just wish mom wasn’t so… overbearing. I don’t think she even does it on purpose, she just can’t help it.” “Look at the bright side. At least you have the new employee, so your mom doesn’t have to stay here much longer. She’ll move back home soon and you’ll have this place all to yourself.” “Yeah, I guess you’re right. But I’m glad you’re here. You made the day so much better,” Jeremy squeezed Alex’s hand in appreciation. “I didn’t even want to celebrate at all, but I’m glad you came. Now it feels like a birthday.” “Of course, Jer, I wouldn’t miss it! And you know, the day’s not over yet - we can still have fun, just the two of us,” Alex smiled at Jeremy and leaned in. “If you’re into playing games, that is,” he whispered in his ear, grazing it with his wet tongue. Jeremy inhaled and held his breath, closing his eyes for a moment. Alex placed one hand at the back of Jeremy’s head, and the other on his thigh, slowly stroking it, making sure to get close to his crotch, but not actually touch it. “Alex…” Jeremy whispered, but Alex quickly silenced him with a kiss. It was brief, but searing hot, enough for Alex to get aroused. He had to stop himself before they went too far. “We can’t,” he said, barely audible. His heart was already racing and he was close to tearing Jeremy’s clothes off. “I know…” the blond guy agreed, finally opening his eyes, as if waking up from a magnificent dream. “As I was saying, we should play some games,” Alex stood up and went over to the shelf, picking up a copy of Just Dance and presenting it to Jeremy with a silly grin. “What do you say?” The other boy returned the smile and got up on his feet, quick as a whip. “I say bring it on!” “Waaait a minute. Are you a good dancer?” Alex asked, suddenly scared. “You’re about to see,” Jeremy raised an eyebrow, looking suspiciously smug. Alex wasn’t sure he liked it. He was about to get his ass handed to him. Jeremy turned out to be amazing at moving his body to the rhythm, and ended up a clear winner in the game. Even so, Alex was glad the mood had improved by the time they were finished. They were both nearly crying with laughter and struggling to catch their breath, exhausted from all the choreography. “Thanks for coming today,” Jeremy hugged him once they were outside on the street. “You made my day, X!” “I had a great time as well, old man,” Alex smiled. “See ya tomorrow?” “You bet. Now go home and practice those moves.” ~~ “Cheers!” Alex and Brandon said in unison, raising their cold beer cans in the air before taking a big gulp. It was late in the evening and the two guys were relaxing in Brandon’s living room and drinking, while a Hollywood action flick was playing on the large flatscreen, providing background noise more than anything else. Brandon had recently gotten a new job and invited Alex to celebrate, promising it would be just the two of them. Since he didn’t manage to come up with a good excuse quickly enough, Alex agreed to come. “I can’t believe you quit on your dad!” he said as he put the can between his legs, comfortable on the big leather couch. “Sometimes I can’t believe it either! But it’s not like dad’s mad about it. If anything, he supports me starting my own business rather than depending on him,” Brandon explained. “Mom and Dan were not so thrilled, though.” “And you dared defy the family expectations?!” “Shut up,” Brandon rolled his eyes. “But I gotta say, it’s scary. Doing everything on my own… Ok, I have dad and his whole team of experts at my disposal to advise me, but still...” “Really? You don’t seem the type of person who gets scared easily.” “Well, maybe you just don’t know me that well,” Brandon cocked his head and Alex looked away staying silent. It was true, he realized, he didn’t really know Brandon well. Not knowing what to say, he decided to steer the subject in a different direction. “So, your own software company… How are things going so far?” “It’s still too early to say, but we’re all optimistic. Our profession is among the safest when it comes to job security right now, so hopefully it’ll turn out well.” “I hope so,” Alex nodded, raising his beer can again and taking another sip. At one point, during a brief lull in conversation, he turned his attention to the action movie playing on the TV. However, Brandon interrupted him as he came over from the kitchen, bringing more snacks and sitting right next to Alex – much closer than they were before. “So tell me, how are things with you and Jeremy?” Brandon asked, seemingly keeping his eyes on the big TV screen mounted on the wall. The several beers he’d had convinced Alex it was a good idea to open up to someone about his concerns – and Brandon was the only one available at the moment. He swallowed the pretzel he was chewing on and sighed, still looking ahead, not sure where to start. “It’s good, you know…” “That look on your face says differently,” Brandon replied softly. “You can tell me stuff, you know. If I had guy issues, I’d tell you.” “Ahh… It’s just that, he’s got some problems and I can’t help him. It makes me feel useless.” “What kind of problems?” “First of all, there’s his best friend. They’ve fallen out and I feel like it’s all because of me,” Alex explained. “Oh, so you blame yourself for it?” “They were fine before I came into the picture... But I blame her too. And then there’s his mom. She wouldn’t react well if she knew Jeremy was gay. At least he doesn’t think so,” Alex shook his head. Beers or not, it felt good to share his worries with someone. Even though he was no closer to finding a solution, he felt slightly better after getting those things off his chest. “Wait… So he’s not even out yet?” Brandon asked, raising an eyebrow. “No, he’s not.” “I see… You know, Alex, things will work themselves out. They somehow always do in the end,” Brandon said, and Alex suddenly felt a hand on his thigh. “You never know why this could turn out to be good. I know it’s a cliche, but things do happen for a reason.” As he said those words, Brandon removed his hand from Alex’s upper leg, waiting for his reaction. “Yeah, maybe you’re right,” Alex finally replied, deep in thought. He then downed the rest of his beer and abruptly got up, in a rush to leave. “I should go now. Thanks for listening, man.” “Uh... don’t mention it,” Brandon nodded at him, walking him to the door. “And good luck with your new company. You’ll do great.” “Thanks… See ya.” ~~ Alex was in the passenger seat of his dad’s car, going back home from work, when his phone rang. He was surprised to see Jeremy calling, since the guy usually prefer texting. As soon as he picked up and heard the weeping voice on the other side, Alex’s stomach dropped and the feeling of anxiety invaded his body. Something bad had happened. “Jer, babe, are you alright?” “Alex, can you come over?” Jeremy asked, his voice cracking. There was no doubt he had been crying. “Of course, I’m on my way right now,” Alex assured him, gesturing to his dad to turn the car around. “What happened?” “It’s mom… She knows about me.” “Baby, I’m so sorry. I’ll be there in fifteen, ok?” “Ok. Thanks, Alex,” Jeremy replied in a sad voice that broke Alex’s heart and then hung up. As his dad drove him to Jeremy’s apartment, Alex stared ahead into the distance, wondering what to do. He had no idea what to say to Jeremy, how to console him in a moment like that. At least he would be there for him and maybe that would be enough.
  19. ObicanDecko

    End of the Road

    Thanks! I'm pretty sure Castor and Sawyer are in for some very emotional moments very soon! And so is Macarius. Yes he is! He just took a little nap!
  20. ObicanDecko

    End of the Road

    Thanks, I'm glad you're digging the old guy! He has no time or will to play nice when it comes to saving the only person he cares about.
  21. “Infernal Jellyfish: One of the deadliest aquatic animals is the Infernal Jellyfish, after which the northern Infernal Sea was named as a warning to all travellers. Stings of this species are extremely painful and can be fatal to humans if left untreated. Brightly colored, these orange jellyfish are easy to spot from a distance. Although very small in size, they produce large amounts of highly potent venom. However, they are very difficult to catch, so not much is known about their venom and whether an antidote could be produced. Since the islands in the dangerous Infernal Sea have been abandoned by human tribes for centuries, the Infernal Jellyfish is likely to remain a mystery for the foreseeable future. -- A knock on the door startled Cyr, almost making him jump. He was still in Macarius’ laboratory, perusing through the Book of Venoms. The sorcerer had left the old tome behind when he disappeared to find Castor. Curious and ever hungry for knowledge, Cyr took the curious-looking book and started reading it. The book was opened on the page containing instructions on how to make a universal antidote - a cure for all toxins. As he read on, the dark-skinned boy realised why Jarin, Dymia and he were taken - everything had fallen into place. Each of the shifters was one essential piece of the puzzle. Without any one of them, everything would be in vain and Macarius’ son would not be saved. Unfortunately for the old sorcerer, he had taken the wrong twin, which caused a slight delay in his plans. Cyr wondered if Macarius would be able to find Castor. He couldn’t help but wonder if his brother and their parents were missing him and trying to find him. As long as Macarius doesn’t hurt them, everything will be fine, he thought. When he heard the knock on the door, he quickly put the book down and got up from his chair, eyes fixed on the door. It must be that sneaky bitch Cassandra, he thought. He decided he did not like her one bit. A few seconds later, as no reply came, the door slowly opened and the servant girl stepped inside. “Master, do you-” Cassandra started to ask, but stopped in surprise when she saw the boy was alone in the alchemy laboratory. “What are you doing here? Where is the master?” the girl asked, drawing her blade. “Shouldn’t you know that?” Cyr smirked. “It seems that he’s telling me more than you.” “Don’t play games with me!” the girl raised her voice, trying to sound brave. In fact, she was not comfortable around Cyr. She found him to be more cunning and potentially dangerous than the other two prisoners. Even though it was morning, which meant shifting was out of the question, she didn’t want to take any chances. “Where is he?!” “He left on business,” Cyr raised his eyebrows, backing up as the girl approached him, pointing her blade at him. He moved around the large table that was in the middle of the room, preventing Cassandra from ever reaching him. Quick as a whip, he grabbed a random vial with purple liquid off a rack on the table and held it tight in a raised hand. “Back off unless you want me to ruin your face!” The servant girl stopped and eyed the small bottle in his hand. She didn’t have the faintest idea what could be inside it, but she didn’t trust the boy in the slightest. Lowering her blade, she conceded. “Fine, go. Not that it’ll do you much good. You can’t leave the Citadel anyway,” she scoffed. “And I’m not trying to. But I don’t intend to be stuck here with you,” he shot back, picking up the Book of Venoms from the table. Before Cassandra could react, he ran out of the room and slammed the door, locking her in. “Sorry, but I can’t have you following me,” he muttered, more to himself than to the girl. With the book in one hand, Cyr went to find a good place to hide it. If Macarius decided to betray or threaten him or Castor, the book would serve Cyr well as insurance. Unless the sorcerer knew the procedure by heart, he would need the book to finish his antidote. After he rejoined the other two prisoners in the terrarium chamber, Cyr told them everything that had happened between him and Macarius in the laboratory that night. Jarin was especially in shock about everything, as he didn’t know about Xaviel’s existence until Dymia told him earlier that night. “I still can’t believe he went through all of that to save his son!” the scorpion shifter said incredulously, sitting on a rock in the terrarium and watching Cyr pace back and forth. “I feared his plans were much more sinister.” “We all did,” Dymia agreed. “What else to think when a powerful sorcerer such as he abducts you and extracts your venom. I was sure we would all perish, but now… Perhaps there is hope for us yet.” “I hope so,” Jarin nodded, frowning at Cyr. “Will you stop pacing about? You’re making me nervous!” “Then don’t look at me!” Cyr snapped. He then stopped and looked apologetically at the orange-haired boy. “Sorry. I’m just so distraught… What could be taking him so long?” “Your brother will be alright,” the wasp girl tried to console him. “Look at us, we’re still fine. Macarius needs your brother, remember that.” “I know, but… It’s been hours. Where is he? Where are they?” Cyr wondered aloud, angry and nervous at the same time. He couldn’t tell them that Castor and he hadn’t been friendly in years; that he grew to be resentful of his twin brother because of jealousy. He couldn’t reveal that because he was embarrassed. He had been horrible to Castor for so many years, and now he didn’t know if he’d ever see him again. However, Cyr decided that if he ever did, he would make things right and make it up to his brother. He would apologize and tell him he wanted to start over, but in order to do that, he needed Castor back. Seeing Cyr so concerned about his brother sparked something inside Jarin as well. All this time, the scorpion shifter was only concerned whether the three of them would get out of the Citadel alive. He barely even had time to think of the family he had left behind. It wasn’t that he regretted leaving, but he had to wonder if he would ever see them again. If that moment ever came, he would probably not be welcomed by them. “I also have a brother that I left behind,” Jarin decided to open up, drawing curious looks from Dymia and Cyr. “But unlike you, I left of my own will,” he added, looking at the dark-skinned boy. “Did you not get along?” Dymia asked, her focus now on the orange-haired boy. “We didn’t see eye to eye on many things, but I didn’t have a problem with him. Despite our differences, we were brothers. It was our father who made me want to leave,” Jarin explained. Cyr looked at him intently, trying to read his expression. He had been so invested in his own problems that he never thought other people could be going through something similar. It then occurred to him that in that short time they knew each other, that was the first time Jarin had mentioned his family. “Your never talk about your life, your past – how come?” Cyr asked. “Because... I left them all for a reason, and if I start to reminisce, I’m afraid I’ll begin to question what I’ve done. And that’s not something I want to do. I am not going back,” Jarin shook his head. He had decided he would no longer depend on anyone but himself. If he ever managed to get out of the Citadel, he would create a new life for himself. Where and how - he did not know, but he would make it on his own. That he was sure of. A sudden noise interrupted his thoughts - the door to the terrarium chamber creaked open. The three prisoners all looked up in unison, holding their breath. Frowning and silent, Macarius entered the room. Cyr looked at the sorcerer expectantly, waiting to see if his brother would appear behind him. However, there was no one else. Macarius had returned alone. Cyr’s face fell and he made eye contact with the old man, feeling concerned for everyone’s future. “Did you find him?” the boy asked. Macarius shook his head gloomily. He still looked menacing, but Cyr knew he was desperate more than anything else. Desperate to save his son. “He’s not at your house. Your parents don’t know where he is,” the sorcerer confirmed. “My parents… Are they alright?” “Yes. Just desperate to find you. Both of you,” Macarius replied. When he teleported to the Lunaros farm, the plan was simple enough: swoop in, grab Castor and get out. Just as he had done with Cyr. However, the boy was nowhere to be found. Macarius was in a hurry, but finding that boy was imperative, so he decided to lie in wait. Cyr’s twin would have to appear sooner or later. However, hours passed and Castor was still not appearing. Just as Macarius was about to leave and seek for the boy elsewhere, he heard footsteps. Someone had arrived at the farm. He waited in his hiding place, but his hopes were quickly dashed when he realized it wasn’t the boy - it was his parents. The middle-aged couple looked ghastly, as if all hope and energy was drained from their bodies and souls. They had lost both of their sons and couldn’t find them anywhere. “What if we never see them again?” Alice Lunaros asked her husband as she tried to wipe the tears from her cheeks. One week had passed since their boys went missing. One week of not sleeping, not knowing if they were still alive. “We will, you must have faith. The Gods will bring them back to us,” Bryan, her husband, tried to console her. “Castor and Sawyer will find Cyr and bring him back. They will all return to us.” The farmer was on the verge of breaking down as well, but he had to stay strong for his wife. Listening to their conversation and seeing them so distressed, Macarius realized they were in the same situation he was in - desperate parents wishing to be reunited with their children. At that point, he felt something he hadn’t felt in years - a connection to someone. After years of self-imposed isolation in the desert, living with his son and dealing with strangers only when necessary, Macarius realized that maybe not all people were corrupted. “Did you… did you talk to them?” Cyr asked the sorcerer. He nodded. “I told them you were alright and that I would bring both you and your brother back,” Macarius replied. “Thank you,” the boy nodded. “But only once my mission is complete,” the sorcerer warned. “Alright, Castor will help you, I’m sure of it. But… You didn’t find him,” the boy stated the obvious. “No. But your parents are not aware of that. They think both of you are with me,” Macarius explained. “However, your brother is out looking for you. He will find us sooner or later.” The sorcerer turned on his heel and left the terrarium chamber, leaving the door open. The three prisoners were no longer that, he decided. He could not let them out of the Citadel until he was sure his son was safe, but he no longer wished to keep them under lock and key either. That was the most freedom he could afford to give them. ~~ Castor whirled around with his arms outstretched, showing off his new outfit in front of Sawyer and Cyr. With a simple spell, Sawyer had turned his boyfriend’s simple brown tunic and robe into fancy, deep blue garments fit for a prince. The golden buttons on the vest sparkled in moonlight, much to the boy’s delight. “I love it so much!” Castor gushed, looking at his boyfriend with affection. “Now do Cyr!” The other twin was quick to get up from the blanket on which they were sitting, changing places with Castor. Sawyer pointed his scepter at Cyr and closed his eyes for a moment. “Revortio auculpis,” the sorcerer whispered and Cyr’s brown cape turned black, with a scaly design like that of his snake form. His shirt and pants also turned black, with scarlet buttons. “Wow,” Cyr looked at himself with awe, playing with the snake-themed cape. “This is beautiful. Thank you, Sawyer,” he grinned and then plopped back down next to his brother. “I told you my boyfriend was a master sorcerer,” Castor said, completely forgetting he was in a different reality and that minutes ago he was puzzled when he saw Sawyer wield a brand new scepter. “Oh, I’m far from it! But Esthor has been a great teacher so far,” Sawyer was modest, although he did like the praise. “Almost everything I know, I learned from him.” “Are you going to go back this summer?” Cyr asked. “Yeah, I can’t wait!” Sawyer replied ecstatically! “Although, I am going to miss you, Cas,” he quickly added, kissing his boyfriend on the cheek. “Nice save there!” Castor teased, kissing him back. “I’ll miss you too, but I think we’ll manage two months apart.” “Okay, you two lovebirds, we’ve seen enough,” Cyr rolled his eyes. He liked to tease them for their displays of affection, but he was genuinely happy for them. “Hey, Cyr, you should come with me,” Sawyer suggested. “That is, if your parents let you. Esthor and his boyfriend Rulf are shifters too. They also give lessons on shifting. Last summer, there was this young sorcerer, I think he was eight, and he could shift into a wild boar. This made him very aggressive, he’d try to attack anyone who came close, even without being provoked. They helped him learn how to control his temper better, and by the end of the summer he could shift freely without hurting anyone.” “Thanks, I’ll think about it,” Cyr replied. He had no doubt mom and dad would let him go to Alduin for two months; even though they would never admit it, he was their favorite son. The main reason he hesitated to go was because he didn’t want to leave Castor for two months - they were too attached to each other. There was no chance of both of them being allowed to go since someone had to stay and help their parents out at the farm. “Sawyer is right, you should go,” Castor said, trying to sound supportive. Even though he loved his brother dearly and wanted nothing but the best for him, he couldn’t help the brief pang of jealousy that flashed through him at that moment. He wanted to go to Alduin with his boyfriend, but he’d never be allowed to. Maybe if he was a shifter like Cyr, their parents would let him. Otherwise, there was no chance. He knew that in their parents’ eyes, Cyr was the golden child. Still, he never resented Cyr for it. Their brotherly love was as strong as ever. It wasn’t Cyr’s fault he was born as a shifter and had a much more interesting personality. Castor had nothing to brag about - he was just a bland copy of his twin. He was never particularly good at anything. Sometimes he even wondered what Sawyer saw in him. As Castor contemplated his life, the door to the house opened and the three boys heard a voice calling them. “Come on, boys, it’s past your bedtime,” Mrs Lunaros called out. “Cyr, you can stay out some more if you want,” she added. She knew her son liked to spend some time each night in his animal form, slithering through the cool grass and climbing trees. “Just don’t go near the animals, you know chickens are scared of snakes.” “I won’t, mom. Thanks,” Cyr chuckled and shook his head. She had to warn him about the same thing at least three times a week. Castor and Sawyer reluctantly got up and went into the house - Castor in his own bedroom, and his boyfriend in a spare room. Just another thing that was unfair - even though they had been dating for over a year, they weren’t allowed to spend the night in the same room, let alone the same bed. Castor’s parents, even though very nice, were still quite old-fashioned and didn’t want to allow their sons to sleep with their dates in their house, at least not until they turned eighteen. However, Castor was sure that when that happened, they would come up with some other excuse. As he stood in the hallway, deliberating whether to go to his room or sneak into Sawyer’s, a strange golden door appeared in the wall, startling the boy. He gasped and jumped back, staring with wonder at the sparkling door. He knew something was wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint what. Then, suddenly, as if a dam in his head was broken, all of the repressed memories came flooding back. This was not his world, he realized. In his world, he was a shifter, Cyr hated him, and Sawyer… Sawyer laid unconscious, knocked out cold by the God of Time. Yes, now he remembered all of it. The two of them went on a mission to find his brother. This was some kind of an alternate reality, a parallel world. It was all a test for him, Castor realized, recalling the other two rooms he entered. Whatever this place was, he wasn’t sure he wanted to leave it. There was nothing good waiting for him in the other reality. Sawyer and he were held by Eteon, who was a little too eager to punish them for trespassing on his land. Even if he let them go, what kind of a chance did they stand against Macarius? They would never be able to rescue Cyr. The only thing they would accomplish was to get killed. In this reality, however, everyone seemed to be so much happier. Cyr was a shifter and he seemed to be loving it. He had always coveted that ability, and now he was granted that wish. Castor was glad for his brother - Cyr would certainly enjoy being a shifter much more than he ever did. As for Sawyer, he was excited to be advancing in magic and was looking forward to learning more. He no longer felt inadequate and awkward. “I can’t leave,” Castor muttered to himself, standing between the two doors. Yet, he was hesitating. He made no move either way, torn between the two options. He could stay and take the easy way out or he could return to his reality and face whatever fate had to throw his way. For the second time that night, he was startled, this time by a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Hey, what are you doing standing here?” It was Cyr, standing next to him. “What are you thinking about?” “Nothing important,” Castor lied, forgetting how strong their bond was. He and Cyr could never lie to each other, even in this reality. They never had a problem tricking other people, even their parents, but not each other. “Now I know something big is up,” Cyr replied suspiciously, raising an eyebrow. “Let’s hear it. I can sense you’re troubled.” Castor stared at the door, contemplating what to say. How could he explain to Cyr what was going on? How could he tell him that in another reality, all of their lives were in danger? “Would you… Would you be angry with me if I was a shifter and you were not?” Castor asked insecurely. He knew the words sounded silly as soon as they came out of his mouth, but it was the best he came up with. “What?” Cyr observed his twin with a mixture of confusion and silliness on his face. “Of course not, brother. Why would you even ask that?” “Nevermind, I’m being weird,” Castor waved him off. “You know, you can go to Alduin with Sawyer if you want, I won’t be jealous.” “I know,” the other boy nodded. “I just don’t want to leave you here.” “I’ll be fine, I promise,” Castor smiled. “Good night, Cyr.” “Good night,” the other boy said and went to his room, closing the door behind him. Left alone once again, Castor took a deep breath and stepped to the right. He placed his hand on the door knob and pressed it slowly, opening the golden door. Entering the room, the door closed behind him. There was no way back. With a deep gasp, the dark-skinned boy woke up and opened his eyes, finding himself back in the eerie purple chamber in Eteon’s palace. He made it. Looking around, he saw that he was alone and got up from the sofa. As soon as he opened the door and got out of the room, a whirl of sand appeared before him, forming into the familiar shape of a tall, long-haired and bearded man of imposing stature. He must’ve been at least ten feet tall. Castor looked up at him, awaiting Eteon’s judgment. “Well done,” a booming voice could be heard. “You have passed all three tests, young man. You are now free to go.” “But… What about the future that I saw? Sawyer being taken by that gargoyle? Will that still happen?” “Now that you know what happens, you have the power to change it. Go now, your friend is outside, waiting for you.” “He’s fine?” Castor asked, cracking a smile. “You didn’t punish him?” “No, I did not punish him,” Eteon stated. “However, I undid some of what Nammis did to him. His powers will now develop more slowly, at a rate he can handle.” With those final words, the God of Time disappeared in a flurry of sand, leaving Castor alone. The boy found his way out of the palace and felt his heart almost bursting with joy when he saw Sawyer pacing around, waiting for him. The sorcerer stopped as soon as he noticed his boyfriend and turned to him. As their eyes met, Castor felt the pull he was unable to resist. He ran toward his boyfriend, grabbing him into his arms and squeezing him tight, much to Sawyer’s surprise. “You’re ok!” he sobbed, holding onto Sawyer. “Yeah, what happened?” the blond boy asked, unaware of what Castor had just been through. “I’ll tell you all about it. Let’s get out of here,” the shifter replied, eager to continue their journey. “We need to find Cyr.” ~~ After traversing the desert for a large part of the afternoon, the two boys were exhausted, and so were their horses. The beaten path they had been travelling on had vanished, giving way to sand. It made it very difficult for the poor animals to move, which started to slow their progress. “I have an idea,” Sawyer said, picking up his wand. He couldn’t explain it, but ever since he woke up in front of Eteon’s elusive palace, he didn’t feel the urge to use his magic all the time. Only then did he start to realize that it was as if magic had had control over him. Now, it was the other way around. Nevertheless, what he was about to attempt was uncharted territory for him, so he wasn’t sure if the spell would work. He closed his eyes, focusing all of his power on the incantation. “Execto preotico marus!” A moment later, when Castor gasped, the sorcerer opened his eyes and a big grin appeared on his cute face. “Yes! I did it!” he shouted, admiring the two camels they were sitting on. “Much more fitting for crossing the desert, don’t you think?” “Uh, yes, that is amazing,” Castor was wowed - not just at his boyfriend’s magical prowess, but also at his ingenuity. However, the feeling of uneasiness creeped into the boy’s heart. He remembered the second room in the palace, the one that showed him the future. In his vision, Sawyer and he were riding camels, not horses. Castor knew that meant they were getting close to the end of their road.
  22. Yeah I have no doubt Chris is behind this. The other members need to stand up to him as well, Jasper shouldn't be the only one fighting for the band.
  23. ObicanDecko

    Chapter 17

    I love it that we can all finally understand Pip better and realize how eloquent he really is. It was a very sweet and hot chapter!
  24. ObicanDecko

    Chapter 7

    Always love a Dabeagle story! I really liked all the characters in this one. Looking forward to seeing what you write next!
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