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Maddog & The Pope (Learning to fly on Broken Wings) - 9. Chapter 9...United They Stand!

Contains an explicit erotic scene

It was done! It was over! It was all a thing of the past! After eight years of trying hard to stay upright by pretending he was another person, with the exception of the last two weeks, he could finally come into this world again as who he really was. A young boy who was deeply in love with another young boy and who wanted to make the most from every single moment they could spend together. The whole thing was made totally perfect because the other young boy felt exactly the same way he did! The added bonus was he could shake off that cursed nickname ‘The Pope.’ That in itself alone might be called a huge relief. He had endured the nickname, but never liked it.

There was also another reason to feel good. He had completed his last exam and everything inside him told him he had done well. He may even have achieved the highest possible mark. That was not a certainty yet, he knew he had to wait for the official results. Another few weeks of tense nail biting. But intuition was mighty important, just like some others knew they had messed up, he knew he had done well, even damned well! It was how he felt after each exam he had taken in the past two weeks, so he figured he could start planning for university. If he only knew what he wanted to study! He would take his time thinking about it and if he hadn’t decided in due time for the winter semester, he could always start in the spring semester. Now it was time for some holidays, for the very first time in his life together with his sweetest Niki.

For the last time he followed his normal end of the school day. He strolled to the bike shed to get his ATB and rode home. When he passed the blue wall painting he threw a last glance at it, in the knowledge he wouldn’t see it any more, at least not regularly.

“It’s still there, angel!” he muttered with a happy smile on his face.

Yes, he felt happy! Apart from one thing, he still hadn’t heard from his mother.

It would make me even more happy if I could tell her I finished all the exams and I think I did really well. Why not…?”

He stopped for a red light, thinking it over, in the meantime absent-mindedly staring at the passing cars. When the light turned green again, he decided:

Yes, I’ll give her a call! It might clear the air between us. If the mountain doesn’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed has to go to the mountain.”

Once home he took his cell phone and pressed the pre-select for his mother’s number. Despite the silence of several months, he always had her number on the phone. He let it ring out to the very end, only cutting the connection when a taped message said: “This call went unanswered. Please leave a message after the beep.”

He didn’t leave a message.

He tried later with the same result. And again without any change. A fourth and a fifth time, but still nobody answered.

He looked at his watch, it was too early for her to go to work. Maybe she was visiting her brother in Munich?

“No, I called on her cell phone,” he muttered thoughtfully, “she would answer it anyway, in Munich or on the moon.”

Or does she recognize your number and refuses to take the call?” a little, devilish voice forced its way into his mind. “Does she no longer want to talk to you? Could that be the case: that she no longer sees you as her baby boy, but as a grave sinner?”

Knowing that further attempts were useless he threw the phone on the table. With a sigh he sagged back in the couch:

“I felt so happy, but now I feel like crying! I wish Niki had finished work. I want him near me!”

He looked at his watch another time. He would have to endure the waiting on his own for at least another six hours!

 

That evening two police officers stood in front of the nondescript apartment door of a rundown residential block and rang the bell another time.

One of them was a man in his fifties, a veteran of thirty years street service. He wasn’t a bad cop, but he had always refused promotion to detective or an administrative job, because his heart was in street work, he reasoned that the very core of police duty could be found exactly there, on the street! There wasn’t much he hadn’t seen in all those years. For that reason his chief had given him the additional duty of playing mentor to a petite, blond girl, who had just arrived from Police Academy. She was that small, even the smallest size uniform fluttered around her, but what she lacked in height she compensated for in zeal.

The duo had been dispatched to this address after tenants in the building had complained about an extremely foul smelling penetrating odor in the building. They had been trying to get in touch with the lady who lives there, but all the ringing and banging on the door hadn’t brought any result.

“I’ll give it a very last try!” the old timer growled. “Then we’ll have to ask Central for instructions.”

He started another salvo of bangs on the door, this time very forceful.

“Police!” he called out. “Open up!”

Indeed, a door opened. Unfortunately, it was not the one in front of him, but the one behind him. He turned around, seeing the shrivelled old face of a man with decidedly grumpy outlooks and who seemed somewhat annoyed. He looked at them with angry eyes. When he saw they were the police, he was just about to close the door very fast again, but the policeman was faster and called out authoritatively:

“Wait a minute, sir! I’ve got some questions for you.”

The door was opened somewhat wider.

“Have you seen the lady who lives here, lately?” the officer asked.

The old man shook his head disgruntled.

“How long since you last saw her?” was his next question.

The man shrugged indifferent, then muttered:

“A few months.”

“Ah,” the officer reacted piqued. “So, you don’t see your neighbor for a few months, but you don’t care?”

“Should I?” the man asked irritated, “Besides, I haven’t seen her son since then, so I guess they are gone, moved out, you know.”

“Her son?” the policeman inquired, his professional curiosity stimulated.

“Yeah, a very strange young kid.” the man answered suggestively.

“How was he strange?” the young policewoman asked.

“Bit of a sissy-type,” was the demeaning answer. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid was a Nancy boy.”

The young policewoman rolled her eyes in amazement. Coming from a modern and tolerant background she had never met a living cave dweller before.

“But you said he has left as well?” the older officer quizzed, searching for the extra confirmation.

The old man just nodded:

“Will that be all?”

“At least for the moment,” the officer said. “Thank you for your help.”

The door was immediately shut. The officer grinned at his young colleague and said softly:

“Not exactly the most sociable character.”

The girl giggled:

“I guess, it’s because he discovered he forgot to put his false teeth in before he opened the door.”

“Lucia, shut up!” the officer chuckled.

But he turned serious again when he called Central and asked for permission to force an entry. He got it!

“Step back, Lucia.” he said with a sigh. “It’s going to be a bit rough!”

The girl dutifully stepped back and the officer kicked the door, letting it crack. At the second kick it flew wide open. He stepped in, sniffed twice and muttered:

“I guess I know enough!”

He looked at his young colleague who stood next to him and was clearly in the process of getting sick very fast.

“Step outside, Lucia. Get yourself a breather of fresh air and once you’ve recovered, ask Central to send the coroner.”

With the girl beating a very hasty retreat, the officer entered the apartment. He looked into the kitchen, only to moan:

“Uuuuuhhh… he or she has been here for a long time!”

He closed the kitchen door and walked into the living. While searching for the light button he saw something blinking on the table. Once he had the lights on, he saw it was a warning light on a phone. He picked up the phone and checked the list of calls:

There were several incoming calls, today, the first one at 13.00, then another four from someone called Inno.

Who or what was Inno, he wondered.

He scrolled through the phone’s digital phone book, where he found an Inno but no mention of who Inno was, a relation or a friend of the deceased or some business. Since he had to wait for the coroner, he decided to ask the ‘friendly’ neighbor about it. After he rang, the door opened and the same grumpy face came in sight, this time grumbling:

“Oh, you again?”

“Yeah, just two questions. What is the son’s name? And how old is he?”

“The queer? He’s called Inno! And I guess he’s about eighteen or nineteen.”

The officer looked at the phone in his hand, the one he found in the dead lady’s apartment.

So, that is the Inno!” he thought.

“Thank you again!” he said to the oldie with the kindest smile he could produce under the circumstances, only to add sharply:

“You’re starting to irritate me, … sir!”

“Is that a crime?” the man asked with a mean grin.

“No, it isn’t,” the officer replied, “but withholding help is! So… maybe I’ll use that as a reason.”

He knew he was bluffing, he was only venting his frustration, because cops are human as well.

The man turned pale, his face grimaced nervously and he rapidly closed the door.

The coroner arrived within fifteen minutes and the examination took slightly longer. He joined the two police officers in the hallway and reported:

“Woman, late thirties. My best estimate is she died about one or two months ago. I can’t be sure of the cause. You will have to wait for the autopsy to determine that, but my best guess is cardiac arrest. There are no traces of external violence, wounds or anything suspicious. So I assume a natural cause of death.”

“Thanks, doc.” the experienced policeman muttered, nodding his head in understanding. Then he gave his young colleague the cell phone and said:

“Lucia, can you do that?”

Her stressed eyes seemed to pick up what was being asked of her, because she objected, panicking:

“I’ve never done that before!”

“There’s always a first time for everything. I think it is better that you do it. A girl’s voice may be more comforting for a boy about your age. Don’t you worry, I’ll be right behind you!”

 

Niki knew Inno had his last exam that day and he decided to make a special occasion out of it. However, when he got home he found his lover in low spirits. Initially he thought he had messed up the last exam, but once Inno hung against him and started to spill his guts about what bothered him, he reacted with an empathetic but logical:

“Don’t think all those silly things, honey. There are a million reasons why she doesn’t answer the phone. I understand you think the worse, that she is through with you, but it is most probably not the case. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Most times there is a purely logical explanation why someone doesn’t answer. She might have gone shopping or something.”

“Shopping?” Inno reacted incredulously, “My mamma? For what?”

“I don’t know.” Niki said with a shrug, “But even she needs new clothes every now and then. And women need hours to find new fashion.”

It seemed to cheer Inno up a bit, because he giggled:

“Yeah, I guess you would know about that, with your, how do you call that, partly female personality.”

“No,” Niki chuckled, “I’m not that far developed that I understand all the intricacies of femininity, especially such a peculiar one like shopping! But, something else, it was your last school day. How about if we celebrate that?”

“How?” Inno asked, curious.

He found out soon enough. They ended up in a small Greek restaurant, leaving Inno completely overawed. Never before in his life had he have his dinner in a restaurant, simply because the money was lacking. The closest he ever got was the Mac, but even that was a rare luxury. Now he sat at a table with a thick tablecloth on it, silver cutlery and a waiter in attendance, who did his utmost best to make them feel at ease. And, Inno thought, he was quite cute as well.

But less cute than my sweet Niki.” he giggled mentally.

Once back home, they chilled together on the couch with some nice music on their music box and a bottle of wine. They sat in each other’s arms and nothing much was said, communication was limited to lips and tongues. Every now and then a seductive giggle or a moan could be heard. Both were working up towards a long, sleazy, hot night. Then a cell phone started to buzz annoyingly.

“It’s yours.” Niki said hoarsely.

“Yeah, I know it is but where is it?” Inno muttered, trying to get back to Mother Earth very fast.

“On the table.” Niki grinned.

Inno rose, walked to the table, picked up the phone and answered it.

“This is officer Kammerer, Merligborn Police,” he heard a young woman’s voice, “Are you Inno Valponti?”

“Yeah, I am.” he replied. “What’s up?”

Niki sat, his gaze fixed on his lover, lustfully undressing him with his eyes and imagining what lay in store for him the coming night. It turned out another way.

Suddenly he saw Inno’s eyes become incredibly large. His jaw dropped, the color of his face turned an eerie white in a matter of seconds and he started to tremble from his toes to his crown. But the most awful thing was the gruesome, blood curdling shriek he heaved from deep within, an outcry that sent icy shivers over Niki’s spine within a nanosecond.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

For a second Niki sat frozen, not understanding what this was all about. But then he jumped up from the couch and ran to his boyfriend, who just stood there paralyzed. With eyes terror struck and his mouth still open Inno stretched out his trembling hand, giving the phone to Niki. He grabbed it, brought it to his ear and screamed:

“Who the fuck is this?”

“This is officer Kammerer, Merligborn Police.” came the somewhat shaky answer from a young female. “And may I ask who you are?”

“I’m his boyfriend!” Niki barked. “What is this? What did you tell him?”

“I’m sorry,” the girl’s voice stammered, getting shakier by the word, “I… I just told your friend that we found his mother in her kitchen. She is… dead! The doctor told us she had a heart attack. I’m very, very sorry about this.”

Now it was Niki’s turn to feel the blood drain from his head. He only uttered a:

“My God!”

With his free arm he pulled the still uncontrollably shaking Inno to his chest, then he snarled in the phone:

“I’ll try to calm him down a bit and then we will be there!”

“No,” the girl said, “please, don’t do that! I only told him we found his mother and that she was dead. But… oh shit… how do I say this…? She didn’t die this evening, but some time ago. It is not a very pleasant sight. To be perfectly honest with you, you really wouldn’t help your friend by coming here.”

“Jesus!” Niki uttered, closing his eyes briefly.

“Where can we reach Inno?” the girl wanted to know.

“He lives with me.” Niki answered.

He gave the address without any objections, unconsciously realizing that the police would need it.

“Wait a minute, I’ll write it down.” the girl said. “We already have his phone number.”

After a short break she said:

“I’m really sorry about this. Now… please, take good care of your boyfriend. Make sure you support him, he’ll need it… and… give him a hug from me.”

“I will give him everything he needs.” Niki muttered absent-mindedly, his head swirling with unknown feelings.

“OK,” he heard the girl say, “bye now.”

An electronic click ended the call, the call that changed their whole night, that had been so promising.

Niki closed his eyes. He felt Inno’s shaking body against his:

He first! But I don’t know what to do!”

In a way he knew he had to improvise by following what his heart whispered. And since his heart told him to throw the cell phone on the table and take Inno in his arms, he did. With soft, soothing sounds he guided the boy to the couch, making sure his arms were firmly wrapped around the heaving shoulders.

He never let go of Inno. He gently stroked his curly hair. Absorbed the boy’s trembling shock. He comforted him with his closeness and tried to kiss away the tears. He found it to be a fight against all odds; the tears were too plentiful to kiss away, the whispers fell on deaf man’s ears, but he persevered. What else could he do?

He felt increasingly forlorn and frustrated. No matter what he did, it all seemed useless. Inno didn’t calm down. Niki could almost literally sense the excruciating pain and devastation burn through Inno’s skin and clothing, giving him the idea that his fingertips were scorched by it when they stroked his lover’s body in comfort.

I want to take the pain away from you!” he thought. “But I don’t know how to do it!”

He started to feel himself increasingly lonely in his helplessness, in his inability to do something useful for Inno, something that could ease the pain… no matter what! In his mind he started to search for someone who could help him, give advice or new ideas. A friend or family. But all possibilities seemed too remote! There was only the two of them. It was just between a wrecked boy and his increasingly distraught lover. Niki resorted to continuing the only things he could do: he kept rocking Inno gently, his fingers kept caressing his curls, his lips continued their desperate search for all the tears. In that way they lived through the night that once appeared so beautiful, but had turned into an unbroken gruesome nightmare.

He clung to Inno for hours until finally Niki thought he sensed a slight change, a minor improvement. Inno’s trembling subsided and his weeping became less intense. Niki let out a heartfelt sigh of relief, but it was too soon. It turned out to be a lull in the middle of the storm.

Abruptly Inno’s head came up with a shock, his eyes staring directly in Niki’s. They were no longer devoid of life, but burned with fear and terror. The first quivering words, that Inno spat out after that fateful phone call, were:

“I killed her!”

In a way Niki knew he had to say something sensible, but he was so shocked the only thing he was able to utter was a:

“Huh?”

“I killed her!” Inno repeated with a voice that betrayed new tears were on their way.

“What do you mean?” Niki asked urgently.

“I broke her heart and then she died. All alone in the kitchen. I should have stayed at home, then it wouldn’t have happened. It should have been possible to work something out. But it can’t be done no longer… she never forgave me… she never gave her blessing to what we have! I will never know if she forgave me.”

He was just about to lower his head again when Niki grabbed it firmly in both hands and forced him to look up at him. Forcefully he said, emphasizing every single word:

“Inno… sweetheart… Look at me! Don’t do this to yourself! You didn’t kill her! She had a heart attack.”

He took a deep breath to buy time, to consider his next words:

“People die, Inno…. people have heart attacks. Of course, you feel pain. It’s only normal, because it was your mom…, but don’t blame yourself for her death. You had nothing to do with it. And, you know, even if you had stayed at home, what if you had been in your room, reading. She would have had that heart attack as well. And let’s assume you went to the kitchen after… let’s say an hour, to get you a glass of Coke or something, she would have been dead as well and there was nothing you could have done about it. So forget this absurd idea, that you are responsible!”

To Niki’s surprise it seemed to work. For a moment the terror left Inno’s eyes, when he whispered hesitantly:

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, sweetheart… I’m damned sure! Hey, you can cry about it all you want. I’ll be there for you, but stop blaming yourself!”

Inno slumped against his shoulder. There was a short pause in the crying, but then the tears started streaming again.

I have to find a way to sooth him….” Niki thought. “If not, he’ll fall to pieces.”

Frantically he tried to find a way, but there were no tranquillizers or sleeping tablets in the house.

He briefly considered to call Dmitri. Maybe he would know how to handle this. However:

I can’t. He doesn’t know I have a boyfriend. He doesn’t know I’m gay. I can’t spit it out. It would make me easy meat for my father.”

But…

Wait a minute! I’ve got some…” he remembered.

Carefully he disentangled from Inno and whispered:

“One second, honey. I have to get something. Don’t be afraid. I’m within reach if you need me!”

He walked hastily to the kitchen, where he snatched two glasses from the cupboard and returned to the living room and took a bottle of whisky out of the cabinet. Once seated he poured two glasses, a very modest bottom for himself and a double for Inno. He gave the glass to Inno and kindly he suggested:

“Take a sip, honey. You have to drink something.”

Being thirsty and not knowing what Niki had given him, Inno was not satisfied with a sip but took a large swig. His face contorted when he tasted the burning liquid, but it didn’t hold him back from taking a second swig. In no time he emptied the glass with Niki only having one careful little sip. He knew he had to keep a clear mind, but that was exactly what he wanted to take away from Inno.

The whisky seemed to do the trick. Gradually, Inno became quiet. No more tears followed and he slid into some state of tranquility. Niki poured a second glass for him.

In a way he felt guilty doing it. It was a kill or cure remedy, but it was the best he could think of. And in about an hour it became obvious, it had worked. Inno’s extremely frayed nerves had been soothed and his painful emotions were cushioned by the liquor’s blissful haze. It made him slump against Niki, no longer in tears, no longer shaking, but in deep sleep, his breathing completely regular.

Niki took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Infinitely gently he pressed a kiss on Inno’s brow, took the empty glass out of the boy’s hand and put it on the table. Then he looked at his watch: it read after five o’clock.

“Oh man, I have to get up at seven.” he muttered, but without too much consideration he decided:

“I call in sick! Let the company go to hell. I must be with Inno!”

He rose, scooped up his sleeping lover from the couch and carried him to the bedroom. Inno didn’t stir.

Once Niki had him in bed, he undressed and slid beside him, like a ghost. He switched off the light, kissed him another time and carefully pulled Inno against his body as a token of protection, a sign of being there!

“My poor sweetheart,” he muttered, “I can’t take your pain but at least I can share it with you. But please… please… don’t ever startle me another time like you did tonight! Please…?”

That said, he let his own tears run free.

Funerals are never happy and pleasant happenings or they must be in Ireland, where it is a part of local custom that once the deceased is put under the ground the funeral guests go to the pub to raise the glass to commemorate him or her. But the same folklore doesn’t limit the proceedings to only one glass, often resulting in the fact that the major part of the funeral party might be found under the table after having a real good time. If luck doesn’t turn against them, most of them are able to get home in one piece in the early morning hours.

But this funeral was in Germany so it was a decent and orderly ceremony. This one was also subdued, because it was paid for by the City Council after the Social Security Department had certified that ‘the only known relative (the deceased’s son) was without sufficient means to bear the costs for a funeral himself.’ It made it all obviously cheap and drab, since the City Council only conceded grudgingly and was not prepared to pay large sums for pompous burials for their deceased citizens. The coffin was decorated with only one flower arrangement which was there because Niki insisted on it and had his dad paying for it.

This general atmosphere of poverty was not relieved by the number of guests. There were some colleagues of Inno’s mother from work, including the owner of the Italian restaurant where she had waitressed, a few neighbors attended and of course her only son was there, constantly supported by a beautiful boy who seemed to be his… Could it be his lover?

But there was no family. Niki had informed Inno’s uncle, but he happened to be on the other side of the world, where he was on holiday. Inno’s grandparents saw no reason to undertake the long voyage from Munich to attend at the final goodbye to their renegade daughter who had resisted their well-meant education and had brought great shame on the family by getting pregnant while being unmarried. Even being so hardheaded she kept the child and raised it as single parent.

And the child she had, their grandson? He was branded a black sheep from his birth onwards by virtue of how he came to this world, an illegitimate child, growing up without a father, which only served to prolong the shame on the whole family. And black sheep could do their crying alone.

Niki kept Inno in a firm embrace during the whole ceremony, kissing him on the forehead every now and then to provide an extra measure of moral support. He felt the disapproving glances around him, he heard the soft gossiping murmur behind his back, but despite feeling ill at ease, he kept his stance. He didn’t care about the rest of the people around him, his loyalty was to the boy in his arms, who stood with bowed head and closed eyes as if he wanted to ban all the sights of the funeral from his hurt soul.

An unknown priest debited some vague hackneyed phrases about “Dust to dust” and that kind of stuff, the bearers lowered the coffin and then the time for the very final goodbye had come.

“Come, honey…” Niki said softly, “It’s time.”

Still supporting Inno, they shuffled forward to the edge of the grave. The priest gave Inno the small spade of earth, him being the first to throw as her son. Inno stared briefly into the grave and muttered a barely audible “Ci vediamo dopo, mamma – see you later, mamma” and threw the earth on the coffin.

Niki kept his distance. He was no family so he felt he had no right to throw earth. But Inno looked at him with a determination which was unexpected under the circumstances and said with firm voice:

“Niki… you too… please?”

“But, Inno, I’m not family.” Niki objected gently.

Inno looked intently at him and said loud and clear:

“Niki, from now on you are my only family. So you too please?”

Moved by the gesture Niki took the spade, filled it with some earth and threw the soil into the grave, where it landed on the coffin’s wooden lid with a rattling sound. He turned to face Inno to give him an encouraging smile, but was utterly amazed when he saw an unanticipated sight. Despite the place and the situation he was in, Inno gave him one of his angel-like smiles.

With the ceremony at its end, they turned around and started to walk towards the cemetery gate. Niki could understand the heartbroken Inno was not capable of showing pride so he made up his mind he would do it for the two of them. Fully erect and eyes in a warning blaze he gently guided Inno through the group of other funeral guests. No one said a word, no one paid their respect, no one offered condolences. The only thing heard was a woman’s voice, who said:

“It’s a crying shame! The boy can’t even behave at his mother’s funeral!”

Niki’s eyes sought out the source of the remark and sent her a scorching look which silenced the woman in an instant.

But for the rest there was deep silence. They left the cemetery, stepped in the car and drove home all alone, each with their own thoughts. Once at home, the rest of the day was spent in fathomless lakes of tears.

 

It was an astonishing recovery Inno made. It was not because all was forgotten or became unimportant, but in an unexplainable way their being together and Niki’s loving care seemed to lift his spirits very rapidly.

However, there were relapses into sadness as one might expect. While enduring them the same thought constantly reappeared, did God act in the same way life did? Alternating between forgiveness and punishment, just as life changed from happiness to sadness occurring in turns. What bothered him the most during these periods of grieving was he would never know if his mamma forgave him and accepted his relation with Niki for what it was or had she rejected and punished him for it.

On top of this, his mother’s sudden death and the aftermath had another dark impact. It turned what should have been his day of glory into a depressing event. It overshadowed his graduation day.

Inno wasn’t alone at the ceremony, Niki was right beside him. The focal point for the attention of many admiring girls.

Inno wasn’t surprised when the school principal announced he was to graduate with honors. Under normal circumstances he would have been elated, but not now. Because his heart told him there was one person sorely missing, the person who would swell with pride at such an announcement, who would cover him with Sicilian kisses after he had his diploma in his hands… his mamma! But she wasn’t there… because she couldn’t be there any longer.

Niki was no honor graduate by a thousand miles. He just managed to struggle through his exams by a small margin, but he wasn’t dumb. He had simply decided studying should take a back seat, because he had more important things on his mind.

He anticipated it would be a difficult day for his lover and had thought about how to compensate for that. How to give the day that little extra so Inno at least had something a bit of a good feeling about it. But he wanted it to be a huge surprise and with Inno more or less continuously at home after his exams that proved to be the most difficult part of the whole scheme he was planning.

Luck was with him. When they stood on the school steps after the graduation ceremony, they looked at the painting across the street. It caused a knowing, conspiratorial smile on both their faces. But then Inno’s face grew sad again.

“Angel, can you take my diploma home with you?”

“Sure,” Niki replied, astonishment on his face. “Why?”

“I… I… eeuhhh… want to be alone for a while. Maybe take a walk in the park or go to the library to do some reading and think things over. Do you mind?”

Niki gave his boyfriend a soft stroke over the cheek and answered encouragingly:

“No, of course not. I understand! It must have been real tough for you… such a glorious day without your mamma.

“You don’t feel hurt if I do that?” Inno asked cautiously.

“No, sweetheart.” Niki said, confirming it with a kiss. “Just take your time. It’s no problem at all.”

They parted, Inno on his way to the Merlig Springs Park, his favorite, Niki walking to his car, waiving at each other parting with a ‘Have a good time’ and a ‘See you later.’

As soon as Niki was alone he immediately picked up his cell phone and started to set things up. And it worked miraculously! Everything fitted! After the call was finished, he looked at his watch: it was shortly before five.

“Time to get things moving!” he smiled.

Once at home he showered, put some nice scent on his body and dressed in his velvet-like black blouse, the sexy one, that was somewhere between male and female. He put his ear ring in and rumbled through his trinkets to find something that matched its color. Then he spent some time styling his hair.

He had just finished when he heard the apartment door open.

“Hi angel…,” he heard, “I’m back.”

“I’m coming.” he yelled back.

He took one last look in the mirror, was satisfied, and walked out of the bedroom.

“Wow, gorgeous!” Inno reacted spontaneously, “how did I deserve that?”

Niki giggled and countered with:

“If you don’t do anything about it, then you haven’t deserved anything. So, get in the shower and put on the nicest clothes you have.”

“What for?”

“It’s a surprise!” was the teasing answer.

“Oh come on, angel… what are you playing at?” Inno asked.

The only reply was a “Hushhhhhhhh” and a finger on his lips, followed by a kiss.

“OK,” Inno capitulated, crumbling with so much loving and gentle pressure, “I’m off to the shower. I don’t know what your intentions are, but I’m starting to feel just like a girl as well.”

“Why that?” Niki asked astonished.

“Because my next remark is: ‘I can’t! I’ve got nothing to wear!’” Inno answered laughing.

“Get moving, sweetheart!” Niki growled good-humoredly.

Inno got going. In the meantime, Niki completed his finishing touch by applying the delicate touch of eyeliner.

About an hour later Inno returned, looking more beautiful and desirable than ever. He wore the new jeans and a hooded sweatshirt in flashy red and orange. He had to make an effort to get it out of the wardrobe. It was the last Christmas present he received from his mother and he had always saved it for special occasions.

As if I had a premonition.” he mused.

But he figured Niki was planning some special occasion, so he found it appropriate to put it on, despite the few tears summoned.

For the rest he dried his curls with the hair dryer and carefully brushed them.

“Wow,” Niki said in admiration, “You look great for our date!”

Inno gave him a shy smile, sat down and getting very curious, he asked:

“But you never told me where you’re taking me, angel.”

“Secret.” Niki giggled with an enigmatic smile.

Then he looked at his watch. Half past six, another half hour to kill before they could get moving.

“You want something to drink?” he asked light-heartedly.

“What?” Inno reacted in surprise. “oh, yeah… just a glass of water!”

Niki rose, then stopped when Inno cried out:

“Don’t tell me we’re dressed up the both of us to go to some party only to drink a glass of water on the couch?”

“No!” Niki replied with large innocent eyes.

“Oh, come on, angel.” Inno moaned, “What are you up to? You’ve got me dying of curiosity!”

“Don’t,” Niki giggled, “you might miss all the fun!”

But he was aware that time should hurry up a bit. Because the surprise was getting quite untenable as things went now.

He was saved by the clock. Shortly before seven he said:

“Come on, it’s time to go!”

They drove for a while in silence, Niki feeling anticipation, Inno wondering what the hell was happening. They stopped in front of a large, old building, that was beautifully illuminated.

“What’s this?” Inno asked in wonder.

“What does it look like?” Niki asked giggling.

“Some… fancy restaurant, I think?” Inno guessed.

Niki nodded, bent over and kissed Inno on the cheek.

“Congratulations with your diploma, sweetheart. Let’s celebrate it with a nice dinner for the two of us!”

Dumbfounded Inno let himself be led to the restaurant’s entrance. The place looked as if it was mighty expensive. The only people he saw where overweight businessman-types accompanied by elegantly dressed ladies. The parking lot contained only the kind of cars compared to which Niki’s sports car looked like a cheapy. He had already been overawed in that small Greek restaurant, but this? This was something he couldn’t comprehend.

As Niki was about to ascend the steps he cried out:

“Stop!”

Niki stopped in his tracks and looked at his boyfriend, big question marks in his eyes.

“What?” he muttered.

“Don’t,” Inno said sharp. “come here!”

Niki complied and took a few steps back. Inno wrapped him in his arms, right there in front of the laughably expensive restaurant. He stood on his toes to look straight in Niki’s eyes. Niki furtively regarded all around, feeling uncomfortable. He saw people gazing at them with disapproving faces.

“Inno”, he muttered, “people are staring at us!”

“I don’t fucking care.” Inno said determined. “I’ve got nothing to say to them. I’ve got something to say to you!”

“What?” Niki asked, distinctly unhappy with both Inno’s irritation and the whole situation.

“You’re behaving like an emotionally neglected child.” Inno said. “You’re doing all you can to get affection and love. You even want to buy affection and love if you have to. Don’t! For your information, my affection and love for you come for free. So, stop buying dinners for me, things I can’t afford myself and can only dream of. You got that, angel?”

“But…” Niki protested weakly, “I wanted to make you feel good after the graduation!”

“I don’t doubt that!” Inno replied, “But it won’t make me love you more than I already do. As a matter of fact: I might even love you less. Is that what you want?”

“No!” Niki cried out.

“Fine, then stop doing that… these dinners and all that. Just love me with your heart and keep your credit card in your pocket!”

“I only wanted to make you happy.” Niki tried meekly.

“I understand,” Inno reacted, “but you won’t make me happy with a piece of meat that costs fifteen times what we pay for it in the supermarket. I wouldn’t be surprised if they charge forty euros for a piece of sausage in there.”

“They don’t have sausage on the menu.” Niki tried to defuse a tense situation.

Inno was undisturbed and went on:

“You know when you make me happy? You make me happy when we are on the couch sharing a bottle of cheap wine, me with my head in your lap and hearing you say sweet things to me. You make me happy when we’re in bed, making love. You make me happy when we wake up in the morning and you give me a sweet ‘good morning’-kiss. Then I’m happy!”

“I did it again, didn’t I?” Niki said desolately.

Inno shrugged:

“I don’t know what you are referring to, but if you mean using your credit card as a passport to someone’s heart… yes, you did it again!”

“Sorry about that.” Niki said softly.

“Don’t take it too hard, angel.” Inno whispered in his ear, “It’s only that I wanted to say it. So you would learn from it. By the way… are they still gazing at us?”

“I don’t care.” Niki grinned. “Like you just said: I’ve got nothing to say to them, but I’ve got something to say to you.”

“What’s that?” Inno inquired with a giggle.

“That I love you!” Niki said, confirming it with a kiss, provoking even more disapproving glances. But he ignored them, he was simply past caring.

 

When they arrived back home they found an official looking letter in their mailbox, they were expected at the police station the next morning at ten.

Since they were both ‘good boys,’ they complied. So shortly before ten they walked into a small interview room where they were jovially greeted by the same detective who had registered Niki’s stalking complaint.

“Hi guys, take a seat!”

Once they were seated the detective addressed them, smiling.

“I don’t want to keep you in suspense any longer. We got the guy who was stalking you!”

“Who was it?” Niki cried out, burning with curiosity.

The detective shook his head and said:

“I can’t tell you. The law guarantees a suspect’s privacy. But let me say that your tip was very helpful.”

Both boys looked at each other. They had each reached the same conclusion.

“It’s him!” Niki said.

“During our investigation,” the detective continued, “we confiscated his cell phone and computer. We found a considerable quantity of porn, the type of porn involving adult men and young underage boys. Possession of this kind of material happens to be a felony. He received a warning for the stalking with the strict restriction to stay away from you, but he also has a police report for the possession of child pornography. One might say he has a problem since judges don’t look very kindly on these kind of offenses”.

The man stopped talking, took a cigarette from the packet on his desk, lit it and rather theatrically inhaled. As he blew out the smoke, his eyes looking at Niki in an uncomfortably piercing way, he said:

“We found a large number of pretty revealing and compromising photos of you!”

Niki dropped his eyes and bowed his head in shame, softly biting his lower lip.

“You know these were on internet?” the detective asked.

Niki shook his head.

“Only since about two months, sir.”

“And when were they made?” the detective asked.

“I don’t know exactly. There were several shoots, but they were all when I was between fifteen and seventeen.”

“So, a minor?” the detective concluded.

Niki nodded.

“Did you consent to making these pictures? And more importantly: engaging in sex acts?” the detective wanted to know.

“Do what?” Niki asked, not understanding the word ‘consent.’

“Did you agree with it?” the detective asked with a smile. “To having sex with him and taking pictures of it?”

Niki shrugged nervously:

“The sex, yes. I was in love with him. The pictures, part of them yes, the erotic ones, you know, the ones with very little or without clothes. As far as the real hard porn is concerned, I didn’t even know he made them. And I really don’t know about him making videos of it. I found out two months ago! And I never allowed him to put any of them online. I thought all pictures were private, strictly between the two of us.”

There was a silence, that became tense and almost unbearable for Niki. Helpless, he looked at Inno who gave him a smile of encouragement and whose lips articulated soundless:

“You’re doing fine!”

To break the stalemate Niki asked:

“I guess you want to know who took them.”

“We already know who took them.” the detective answered. “After we found the pictures on your stalker’s computer our cyber crime experts started a little sniffing around on the darknet. Mr. Fireball has quite an extensive catalogue over there. We found lots of pictures of several boys. Only problem is: we don’t know where to find him.”

One of them must be the kid that succeeded me, I guess. His new toy boy!” Niki thought. “The slime didn’t only abuse me, he abused all of us!”

Somehow, the thought made him furious. His head came up, his eyes spat fire and he cried out:

“The bastard is using the same nickname that he used in Hamburg. I tell you all I know about him.”

And he did, how and where he met Raimund, how he fell in love with the artist who was ten years older, what had happened between them and how he was ‘disposed’ of.

“You know his full name? And where he lives?”

“I only know where he lived in those days. But not where he is now.”

He gave the address he recalled from those days, the address where he was initiated in the world of gay sex.

“So, he was a street art painter?” the detective asked pensively.

Niki nodded, barely avoiding blurting out “Just like me.” He stopped himself in time, luckily, because that might not been a very good idea to volunteer that particular piece of information to the local cops.

“’Scuse me, sir,” Inno interrupted, “I was thinking…”

The man looked at him with an inviting smile.

“Well, we know he calls himself Fireball, in the Hamburg street art scene and on the darknet. Now, I was thinking, if your Hamburg colleagues start sniffing around among the local street art folks, chances are big that someone knows or at least remembers this character, so you could find him. Or, is that too optimistic?”

The detective’s smile grew wide now.

“Good thinking, kid. You would make a great detective!”

Inno giggled shyly:

“No, thanks, sir. I’ve got other plans.”

But inwardly he shrugged and thought:

Do I? I’m not sure I have any plans.”

It didn’t take long before they were back on the street again, amidst the passing cars and pedestrians.

“How does that feel?” Inno asked, “That you have a chance to get even with that filthy Raimund-character?”

Niki grinned somewhat meanly as he considered the question.

“It makes me feel good! Especially if the cops can grab him. He’s an even greater bastard than I already thought. And it looks as if we are killing two birds with one stone. You know, that other thing?”

Inno stared dreamily into the sky and suddenly said in an exaggerated way:

“Alas, how I will miss the gay-erotic products of his imaginative pen, the delusions of his distorted mind!”

Niki stared at him with large, shocked eyes and cried out:

“Inno, are you out of your fucking mind?”

Inno broke in loud laughter and fell onto his boyfriend grabbing him around the neck, kissing him in the middle of the street.

“Come on, angel,” he roared with laughter. “He’s gone now. We can make jokes about him, can’t we?”

With a smile Niki nodded.

“Yeah, sure we can. But there is still one question unanswered, we don’t know who he is!”

Inno looked at him with a shrewd expression and said softly:

“Don’t we?”

Then he got serious, pushed his lips against Niki’s ear and whispered:

“Shall we start discussing how you can get that ugly character off your back once and for all?”

Niki didn’t understand what Inno meant. He turned and looked at him questioninglye .

“I don’t mean the letters. I mean everything. Finally, putting an end to it all.”

Getting the message Niki nodded eagerly. The only thing Inno said was:

“Come closer!”

In a low whisper he explained his plan to get the pressure off Niki’s back. When he was finished, Niki conjured another mean grin on his face and uttered:

“If I didn’t know that you were so sweet in everyday life I might even think you are a very wicked boy!”

“Everything has two sides, angel.” Inno reacted philosophically with perfectly innocent eyes.

Then he giggled:

“There’s two sides to every boy… both sexy!”

Laughing, they joined hands, ignoring the burning fury of many disturbed eyes for another time, and walked home.

 

Niki’s good feeling proved to be the last good feeling he would have in quite some time. All the laughing would soon be over!

In the following weeks the mounting day and night temperatures hinted that summer was coming. The first thunderstorms had already unleashed their power over the city, but Niki didn’t anticipate the most dangerous storm, the one brewing over his own head.

Inno enjoyed the temporary freedom of the holidays, spending daytime hours at the library or at the gym, one evening crying out excited:

“I can handle twenty kilos now, angel!”

Niki just continued to work in his boring job, whilst waiting for a possibility to spring Inno’s trap. Unfortunately, the target wasn’t very cooperative and one delay followed after another.

“Not yet!” he kept telling himself.

Then, one very warm day the spark came that sprang the trap. Due to the expected high temperatures Niki went to work in a very tight white jeans, gleaming orange tank top and sandals without socks on his feet. He knew he was good looking and he saw no reason to hide it. While walking to work he picked up some stealthy admiring and approving looks from other no doubt boy-loving boys and young men, not to mention a lot of girls, getting a kick out of the feeling. He was not on the prowl. He loved Inno and felt no need for another lover. It was only innocent flirting-on the-move.

He entered the store, greeted his colleagues, solely out of politeness, and started his work. It took only fifteen minutes before he heard the dreaded voice behind him, icy and clipped as always.

“Young man, a word please!”

Damn, what is it now?” he asked himself.

“Young man, I would like to remind you that this is a decent photography shop and not a brothel.”

The remark surprised Niki so much that he stared with eyes full of incomprehension at the speaker, almost falling out of his normal defensive posture of just letting it roll all over him.

“Yes, young man… a brothel! Look at the way you are dressed. This is no way to dress as a shop salesman. It’s perfect for a whore…”

A mean smile came on Herr Weber’s face when he added:

“… or in your case… a rent boy might be more appropriate!”

Is this bastard calling me a rent boy?”

Niki felt an all-consuming rage welling up. It was followed by a thought he never had before, a thought that had directly to do with his descent and exile:

Does this creep actually know to whom he is talking?”

Despite his anger he felt ashamed. He wanted to be on his own, not hiding behind his father. With superhuman effort he kept his rage under control.

Not now! Not yet! He is bound to use these words again, because he loves to hurt me… wait for it! And if he does… only then I will spring Inno’s trap!

There were no clients in the shop and that lack of an audience had a diminishing effect on Herr Weber’s virulence. It was, nevertheless, the most destructive and humiliating dress down to take place in the little photo shop. Even Niki’s colleagues, despite their familiarity with their chief’s verbal malignancy, stood speechless and shocked. Herr Weber managed to outdo the previous swearing speech which had provoked a client to intervene.

Niki felt himself beginning to shake, his whole body. He prayed it would not be noticeable and if it was, would be interpreted simply as a sign of fear. But it wasn’t fear, it was barely controlled rage. In a supreme effort to keep it in check he continuously repeated his mantra:

Not now! Not now! Wait until he uses those words again! Only then… and without mercy!”

It took the better part of twenty minutes before Weber had released all his venom.

“So let that be another lesson, young man. If you work here during the day, you will dress according to our guidelines. You can reserve the kind of clothing you are wearing now for your nighttime activities, when you pursue your no doubt successful career as a rent boy.”

NOW!” something screamed inside Niki.

In a split second he released all his anger and the hate he had pent up over the months. In that same second he controlled his voice to be as sharp as a dagger and as clear as possible.

“Go and fuck yourself, Weber,” he cried out. “And if you’re no longer capable to manage that, then write me another letter. You know, the filthy ones you are so good at! No doubt you drool a lot while writing them.”

The effect of his outburst couldn’t have been more devastating.

Weber’s mouth sagged wide open, his face turned livid and puffy, his eyes almost rocketed out of their sockets and his carotid arteries were thick in his neck, throbbing visibly. The man stood that way for at least fifteen seconds, panting like an old dog.

Niki kept a close eye on him, beginning to fear Weber might not only verbally but also physically attack him. It would suit him just fine, he would beat the shit out of the creep without blinking an eye. But Weber’s reaction was a completely unexpected one. Without saying another word he turned around and rushed to his little office in the back. Once the door was slammed shut the sales staff of the little shop didn’t see him again for the rest of the day!

Niki needed some time to recover as well, but after a few minutes he resumed work as normal as could be humanly expected from him. Thinking he had perhaps gone too far, overstepped the mark, he couldn’t help feeling worried and a little apprehensive. He expected a phone call from his father. Every time the phone rang he felt an electric jolt through his nerves, but the feared call didn’t come, much to his relief. It surprised him, perhaps because he always expected the worse.

Once he got home he discussed what had happened with Inno, giving him a detailed report of how his plan had worked out. Inno smiled contentedly.

“OK, now let’s see how this whole thing goes.”

Niki felt himself disconcerted by this remark.

“Now, wait a minute… are you saying that your plan has an open end?”

“Every plan has an open end, angel,” Inno said smiling. “You can plan whatever you want, but you’re never sure how the opponent reacts. But so far… he’s reacted as I expected.”

During the evening Niki tried to concentrate on a flashy design he was planning. It was meant for a railroad locomotive to reinforce the image of strength and speed. He kept doodling and sketching images of engine parts, flames and air turbulence, but while doing so his eyes kept gliding regularly to his cell phone, expecting the ominous announcing buzz of that feared phone call, not noticing Inno was watching him.

Finally, Inno said:

“Angel, can you stop staring at your phone so nervously? You’ll hear it soon enough when it buzzes.”

“Yeah, sure”, Niki replied somewhat dejected.

“What are you afraid of?” Inno asked.

“Jesus, sweetheart, after what I did today? I expect a tongue lashing that will cut me to shreds!”

“Oh well,” Inno reacted playfully, “it didn’t buzz, so there’s no blood!”

“Man, you are a great help!” Niki muttered.

“That is so sweet of you to say that!” Inno countered, giving him one of his angelic smiles.

The next day Niki went to work with a heavy heart. He had genuine fear about what might happen once he got into the store. But nothing happened! Even better, Herr Weber was nowhere to be seen for the whole day, still firmly entrenched in his office. Nobody actually knew if he was really there or not.

His work colleagues didn’t mind, they saw him as a hero, the only one who had the courage to successfully stand up against their tormentor. It raised Niki’s prestige among them to new heights. Still, he felt tense each time the phone rang. And every time it did, it proved to be a false alarm. It was either the usual clients, or every now and then a supplier. There were even two wrong numbers. But no call from Hamburg!

He expressed his confusion to Inno that evening.

“That is what I expected.” Inno told him.

“How could you expect that?” Niki asked in wonderment.

“It’s my estimate of your Herr Weber.” Inno explained. “I hope you don’t consider him to be a courageous character? Because he isn’t. He’s the type who licks his way to the top and kicks to the bottom, only to maintain his own shaky position in life and to hide his own insecurity. In fact, he is a coward.”

“So?” Niki asked. Beginning to understand, but thinking something was still missing.

Inno smiled scornfully.

“First, he is in trouble with the cops for stalking the big boss’s son and as an indirect result of that he is facing going to court for the possession of child pornography. It places him in a very awkward and vulnerable position, one where he is not going to report your ‘misbehavior’ to your father. Imagine if your father asked ‘Which letters did he mean?’ What should Herr Weber reply then? That it was his obscene love letters to you? In other words, angel, he no longer controls you, you control him! I’ll bet my last euro he hasn’t reported this.”

“You can be really demonic!” Niki cried out with admiration.

“I would usually be angry with anyone who said that,” Inno smiled, “but under the circumstances and coming from you I’ll consider it a compliment.”

For the rest of the evening Niki regularly kept his eyes on his cell phone, but when the damned thing hadn’t buzzed by the time they went to bed, he had to admit Inno was right.

“Seems you’re right, sweetheart.”

With another blinding smile Inno answered:

“I told you so, didn’t I?”

This might well have turned into the forecast thunderstorm, but it remained another light summer shower in the end. The real thunderstorm was still brewing, its ominous, dark clouds growing more and more black!

 

A few nights after his violent encounter with Herr Weber, which was actually the last time he saw the man in the shop, no call from Hamburg had come and Niki felt himself relax noticeably. It left his mind free to turn his attention to his still very embryonic design and to another thing which was rambling through his thoughts again.

One night they were in bed, but Niki couldn’t find rest.

“You’re brooding again!” Inno said without warning. “Still about your old man and the feared phone call that never seems to come?”

“No…,” Niki answered, “about something else!”

This triggered Inno’s curiosity. Propping himself up on one elbow he said:

“Tell me about it!”

Niki was in two minds. On the one hand he wanted to be honest with Inno, on the other he expected that he would make himself look ridiculous.

“Come on!” Inno insisted.

It didn’t help that his insistence was soft, almost tender. It was compelling beyond any doubt. It became even more pressing when Inno said:

“Or… are you keeping secrets from me?”

“No!” Niki cried out, “It is just so complicated. I can’t understand it myself, so how can I tell you in a clear, concise way what this is all about?”

“Bullshit!” Inno said, very sharply, not like his normal self. “That’s just an excuse. Just start talking and when I don’t understand, I’ll let you know. OK?”

It is the same as when he wanted to know if I was Maddog. I’m stuck again!” was the only thing which entered Niki’s head. But if he couldn’t trust Inno, who could he trust?

Not fully of his own free will, but knowing that resistance was useless, he started talking. Hesitantly searching for words, here and there stammering, alert to each mistake he might made.

“It is so confusing. I mean, my heart and soul, they constantly oscillate between male and female. Even worse, they get stuck in the middle between the two opposites, so I no longer know what I actually am at that moment. You… you understand what I mean?”

“Gimme a second to think it over,” Inno told him.

He fixed his eyes on the ceiling, ostensibly pondering over the matter. It took him a lot longer than the promised second and the continuing silence made Niki increasingly nervous. But after a long time Inno said:

“Yeah, I think I got the point.”

“Oh…” Niki reacted with surprise, “and would you be so kind as to enlighten me?”

Inno nodded, undisturbed by the somewhat sarcastic phrasing of the question. Cautiously he explained what he meant, starting with a question:

“Have you ever thought it over, this confusing thing?”

“Of course I have”, Niki answered.

“And?”

“Well,” Niki said pensively, “I came upon this Yin and Yang thing, you know, happiness through combining the complementary or something like that. It was pretty hard to understand”.

“Ah, yes”, Inno said, “that ancient Chinese philosophy. It doesn’t explain anything. Zou Yan only tried to describe something that was widely known by the people, but that no one understood. They couldn’t have and neither could Zou Yan. Because a lot of things we know now was knowledge unavailable to the people in those days. Anyway, Zou Yan wanted to explain it to his contemporaries. Call it a mission impossible. He tried anyway by forcing it into a philosophical cadre by using parallels from nature. But he didn’t explain anything, because he simply couldn’t, being unaware of the real reasons.”

“Such as?” Niki asked thoughtfully.

With a smile Inno said:

“What makes men behave like men and what makes women behave like women?”

Niki chuckled and without thinking replied:

“That’s pretty easy. We have dicks, girls have tits and cunts.”

“Wrong!” Inno smiled, “those are only the physical characteristics you mention. That is not what I asked. I wanted to know what causes them to behave masculine or feminine?”

Niki had no idea, so he shrugged.

“It’s their sex hormones. Men have testosterone and females have estrogen. But that is only part of the truth. All human beings have both! In the typical masculine man… if something like that exists… the testosterone is more dominant than the estrogen, in the typical woman it is just the other way around. Now, what I’m about to say is not scientific, it is only a thought I developed on my own when I was trying to find out what was going on with me. Call it my personal philosophy.”

There was another short pause, before Inno continued:

“Medical science has determined that the ‘real man’ has a certain quantity of testosterone in his blood, as does the ‘real woman’ have a certain amount of estrogen. But nature is pretty devious in finding its own ways, so the actual mix can be different from what science sets as standard. And actually, some people do end up that way. I think… no. I’m pretty sure, that you are an example of one of those people. You happen to be born in a male body but your hormone mix is different from other people, ending up with a mixed male and female heart and soul as the result. That is what they call androgynous.”

“But…,” Niki objected gently, “then it is a kind of fixed condition. I have the feeling that it constantly changes. That is what makes it so confusing.”

“That only means your hormone levels are fluctuating all the time. Then you are genderfluid. It doesn’t matter that much, both are considered non-binary.”

Another pause, another continuation:

“But that is just the physical, the biological side of it. There is also an emotional side. Each human being has male and female elements in his soul. Most men suppress their female side, because they are ashamed of it or because they don’t conform with what society expects from a man. You...? You let them both be free, combining them into one personality. Maybe you’re right, maybe it is Yin and Yang, the unification of the male and female components to become something beautiful. Because it is not only about boy or girl, it is about you! If you had been just another boy… yes… you would have been very handsome, but that would be it. If you had been a girl, people would think you were pretty… just pretty, but not particularly interesting. But since you have united your male and female characteristics in the microcosmos that is formed by your body and soul, you are something special. What you radiate makes you beautiful, gorgeous and desirable. The harmony in you gives you that extra touch that makes you a really unique and magnetic person, a person born to be loved!”

“But…,” Niki asked in doubt, “what makes me gay then?”

“It has nothing to do with anything. I once read something, in which a scientist described it in two simple and understandable lines: “Gender is who you are, male or female, and sexuality is who you desire; sexual orientation is who you go to bed with, gay if you are male who sleeps with men, and gender identity is who you go to bed as, what gender or mix you feel applies to you. So… you’re a non-binary gay!”

Niki raised his eyebrows. He understood what Inno said, even felt somewhat flattered by it all but Inno’s tone suggested there was more to come. Inno looked at him with a teasing smile and whispered:

“Surprised, are we?”

Niki was, but this one scary thought came up as well,

“But this thing with these hormones? Does it mean I’m ill? Should I see a doctor?”

“No, silly,” Inno laughed. “You’re perfectly healthy. You’re only different from what the medical world expects. Hey, it is not something unique to this century. Androgynous and genderfluid people have always existed. They were priests in the old Sumer, they are mentioned in Mesopotamia and in very old Jewish scriptures. In old Indigenous cultures in North America and in the European Arctic they were respected, even revered, because people saw them as their go-between, between the mortals and the Gods. They were the shamans. But we, Westerners, we once decided at some point they were despicable.”

He stopped briefly as if a thought had popped up, but then said with a cheeky smile on his face:

“Now I think of it, it has been scientifically proven that androgynous people often have a much higher level of creativity than other people. Does that ring a bell, angel?”

Niki slowly nodded. Yeah, it rang a whole bell tower of bells.

With gleaming eyes Inno said:

“A lot of artists, composers and writers, are queer in one form or another. It seems even Leonardo da Vinci was gay and had a relationship with one of his young students, Michelangelo probably was… and Caravaggio… hmmm, well, I believe that is pretty certain.”

He giggled.

“So you could say you are in very good company!”

Growing serious again he continued:

“Androgynous people have a way of thinking that was not understood and accepted by the powers that be in Europe, they were seen as witches, heretics, or sodomites. Didn’t matter which, it was the death penalty anyway.”

He pressed a soft kiss on Niki’s cheek and whispered:

“Don’t you worry, you’re not sick or mentally deranged. Your being non-binary makes you beautiful. The happiness you experience inside from that unison enables you to give the world something of value, your beautiful art. Accept it, enjoy it, be happy with it. And keep radiating that very special touch you have, because it makes you like an angel, so ravishing!”

Niki looked at him, astounded by such a profound way of thinking, He couldn’t ignore the desire to create something beautiful, as in: right away! His male side was playing up a bit.

He sensed it was the right moment to ask what he had wanted to ask for a long time now.

“Sweetheart, can I ask you something?”

“Mmmmmhhhhh”, was the only reaction.

“You know”, he started, feeling ashamed, “when I met you and when we had our first sex, I was no longer a virgin. I told you who took care of that. As a matter of fact, it is only half true. I was the bottom, but never the top. In that respect I’m still a virgin.”

“That’s funny.” Inno giggled.

“What do you mean?” Niki asked, feeling somewhat insecure with what the remark meant.

“With me it is just the other way around.” Inno answered with another giggle. “You let me top you, but I’m still a bottom virgin.”

He bent forward, giving Niki a long, fierce tongue kiss. Ending the seemingly everlasting kiss he whispered in a husky voice, a grin on his face:

“How about solving our mutual problem?”

He leaned down and kissed Niki then rolled over, laying flat on his stomach.

“Then behave like a good top is supposed to,” he told him. “Get on top of me!”

It was a manifest invitation and Niki moved over, covering Inno’s body with his, his erection pressing against the boy’s ass.

“But do it nice and easy, angel,” Inno hissed, “I’m new to this!”

Niki knew that full well. He had to be careful, so he thought back to his own very first time, the evening that his cherry was popped. That knowledge gave him a clue about how he wanted to handle it with Inno to do it in the most perfect way, the way his lover deserved!

He lifted himself off Inno and straddling him, his legs stretched out either side of the boy beneath him, he pressed the head of his hard cock between the small round buttocks. That in itself was more than enough to give him a tremendous kick, knowing he was about to do something he had for a long time only imagined. He was a hunter, the predator, the one hundred percent male, his manhood standing proud, the tip wet with anticipation. Cautiously, he pressed against Inno’s tight entrance…

Not too hard! Not too wild! Don’t hurt him!” his mind warned him, exhorting him to subtlety and caution. He did what his heart told him. With the utmost care he pushing slowly forward and to his astonishment he entered the boy accompanied by the sound of a low moan.

“You want it, don’t you?” he asked, seeking conformation.

“Yesssssss!” Inno whispered. “I want you, desperately!”

It was clear that he did and he was willing to grant Niki his long held and ultimate desire. Inno would let him go all the way and he was determined to give his lover all he wanted!

“Slowly, angel, careful!” Inno warned, as Niki sunk his cock deeper in the tight virgin.

It was a warning that came just in time. Niki was so thrilled by this new experience that he had almost plunged in fully, but the hardly audible caveat brought him back to a cooler and more restrained approach. He waited to allow Inno to get used to the feeling, before he slowly sank deeper. His eyes were closed, his face contorted in a grin of blessedness, his breathing fast and shallow. Niki revelled in the feeling and wondered:

Is this what Raimund felt? Is this what Lukas felt? And what Inno felt when he fucked me? Oh, it is such an intoxicating wonderful feeling!”

Niki had always been the bottom and this one experience was a gift which didn’t change that. It was a present from his lover, but even as he buried his cock inside him he knew it was Inno who was the dominant partner. Niki didn’t mind, he loved the feeling, he enjoyed having his dick sunk deep in the boy’s ass.

“Give it to me!” Inno commanded and Niki obeyed.

He began to slowly fuck his lover, watching himself as he pulled back and sunk his cock once more into the boy lying beneath him. Eyes spewed fire; moans, groans and body movements became a kind of finely-tuned communication, and when that wasn’t enough, Inno ordered:

“Fuck me, angel…fuck me!”

Niki obeyed and increased the speed, building up an intense rhythm of thrusts, his balls swinging wildly as he moved his hips and slapped against his boyfriend’s firm little ass. He felt the mounting pressure raising with every second, he would not be able to hold back much longer. He was close.

“Sweetheart,” he gasped, “I’m going to…”

“Do it! Do it! Do it!” Inno growled.

Niki arched his back, threw his head in his neck as he plunged his cock balls deep and shot powerfully, buried inside his lover’s ass, his heart pounding in his chest.

Inno reached his own climax at almost the same instant, his very hard dick fucking the mattress beneath him.

As their lust subsided Niki started to move off of Inno, but the boy reached back to hold him.

“No! Stay in me!” were his only words.

And so they stayed joined together for a short time, until Niki could do nothing else than rolling off, separating them. Inno in turn moved to look at his boyfriend with dreamy eyes. Leaning towards him, he brought his lips towards Niki’s. It turned into an intense kiss.

“You liked it?”

Another pair of dreamy eyes stared back at him:

“It was beyond all expectations. It was much more than I had dared to dream of.”

Giggling Inno pressed another kiss on Niki’s lips and whispered:

“My sweet boy who can be a girl as well… never change! Because I love you exactly the way you are!”

 

The next day Niki went to work as normal, dressed in another pair of very tight jeans, this time with a gleaming purple tank top. Even his golden earring was in again. With a grin he thought he was really behaving provocatively now, but he didn’t care any longer.

If they accept it... maybe tomorrow some eyeliner as well!”

For the first time in days he noticed Herr Weber was back in the shop, but he had no problems at all with the guy, who fought shy of him, acting as if he was the bearer of some very dangerous overseas disease. It suited him just fine, as it did his colleagues, who observed with amusement Weber’s frantic attempts to flee to another part of the store as soon as he saw Niki. It resulted in one more boring, but also quiet day, without any confrontations with the store manager.

That evening was a beautiful summer evening and it was impossible to keep Inno at home and renounce the luxury of a walk in the park. One glance out of the window convinced Niki to join him, because it promised to be a wonderful sunset.

“Wait a minute”, he said hastily, “I’ll grab the camera!”

“Why?” Inno asked astonished.

“Look outside, honey.” Niki replied. “If I can get the right angle I have a great shot. Then a few evenings fooling around on the laptop and there it is, a great picture!”

Inno only shrugged and with a “Suit yourself” the matter was settled.

A short time later they were strolling in the park with a wonderful sunset; so far Niki had been right. He tried some angles, but it didn’t work out! There were too many trees masking his field of vision.

“Don’t worry, angel, there are more beautiful sunsets in autumn, when the leaves have already fallen off.” Inno said soothingly, only to add. “Come, let’s sit down on that bench and enjoy the music!”

Feeling disappointed after his failed attempts Niki muttered:

“What music? Ah, another blackbird?”

“No”, Inno smiled knowingly, “the same blackbird.”

“Yeah, sure!” Niki growled incredulous. “How can you be so sure of that?”

“Because each male blackbird has his own melodies, let us call it his own repertoire, to protect his territory.”

“Maybe he is a she?” Niki tried, not willing to give in so fast.

“No, blackbird ladies don’t sing, they only shriek.” Inno answered full of conviction.

“Fine,” Niki reacted with a grin, “then I know what to do as a blackbird.”

Inno’s eyes betrayed that this answer surprised him.

Still with the grin on his face Niki said:

“I’d turn gay! I don’t like shrieking ladies.”

“Wow, that’s unique in biology, a non-binary gay male blackbird.” Inno chuckled. “I wonder what songs he sings!”

They broke in laughter and Inno embraced his boyfriend, hugging him tightly and kissing him on the cheek.

“I can’t understand what I did to deserve you!”

“Is it that bad?” Niki asked in mock fear.

“To the contrary!” Inno replied, “But… hey, I said it before, just look at us. The most desirable boy of the city… no, in the whole of Germany and a little scarecrow. I still don’t get it.”

“Maybe…” Niki said teasingly, “it has something to do with your eyes and with the cute curls and the outrageous wonderful color of your hair.”

“That’s all?” Inno asked, knowing there was more. But a bit of extra confirmation couldn’t hurt.

“No,” Niki whispered in his ear. “most of all for who you are. In a way I know you’re always with me, no matter how big the problems are.”

“You too for me.” Inno turned serious. “You proved that when mamma died. As a matter of fact, I forgot to thank you for that!”

“No need to thank me.” Niki said. “You do that every day just by being here.”

The sun had almost disappeared, the sky turned purple and velvet blue. In this soft light they kissed, not just a quickie on the cheek, but the real kind, not noticing they were observed by two piercing eyes, somewhere behind a bush.

When they finished their kiss Niki said:

“Want another one?”

“Dumb question, angel.” Inno whispered. “What do you think?”

A second, even longer and more intense kiss followed. They were so absorbed in each other they didn’t notice the black shadow, who still observed them from behind the bush. This late in the evening the park was so silent they might have picked up the soft mumbling from the shade.

“I adored you, but you despised me! You even rejected me! A rejection for which I hate you. And for the fact you destroyed my life. You ruined all that was important to me. You turned me into a criminal, an outcast. I’ll make you pay for it, in the most literal meaning of the word!”

Then the shadow slipped out of the shade and left the park as silent and inconspicuous as a thief in the night. His normally arrogant attitude was gone, being reduced to appearing like a broken man. But his ridiculous pedantic way of walking remained.

Their captivation for one another was so total they missed all these warning signs of impending doom. Only after the second kiss concluded Inno decided,

“Let’s go home, angel… I want you!”

“Again?” Niki snickered.

“Yeah,” Inno sighed lustfully, “I can’t get enough of you!”

Hand in hand and full of expectations as to what the night might bring they sauntered out of the park.

Always happy with your comments, remarks and critiques.

©Copyright 2022, Georgie D'Hainaut; All Rights Reserved eserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Niki's father is going to come into play at some moment...perhaps Herr Weber - or might it have been Raimund in the bushes - will have pictures to give to Niki's father.  This chapter has given us all an emotional roller coaster ride but also was very educational!  Great job.

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But you have to choose: Herr Weber or Raimund😀

The next will be even more an emotional roller coaster, so stay tuned.

And many thanks for your kind comment

Georgie

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With the evidence in hand, Herr Webber should have been in jail and behind bars...I can't believe he was allowed to walk the streets with what was on his computer!!

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9 hours ago, drsawzall said:

With the evidence in hand, Herr Webber should have been in jail and behind bars...I can't believe he was allowed to walk the streets with what was on his computer!!

Just a tip: reread the last paragraph closely and you'll find a clear indication what has happened with Snake Eyes. But for the rest his role in this story is finished. There are however other things to happen🙂

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