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On Earth Peace, Good will toward men, except Evan

by Toby Johnston

Chapter 1

What Child is this?

Coming down a short slope, I sling-shotted around a tight turn and with powerful thrusts of my poles I accelerated on the straightaway through the woods. Snowflakes were bouncing off my goggles—reminding me of Han Solo jumping to lightspeed in the old Star Wars movies. Legs straining, shoulders aching, lungs burning from the sub-zero air, snot freezing on my upper lip—God, I loved this! I couldn't be happier! I was in my element.

Halfway through sophomore year, Middlebury Union High School had let us out at noon for Christmas, but I was training hard. I was competing in a biathlon event in just a week's time and was determined to get in a full 20km run today My skis bit into the fresh snow as I skated along the well packed pathway; my body swaying back and forth, the momentum helping to propel me forward. Our school was well positioned on the edge of town, directly adjacent to a huge national park, so we were blessed with one of the best Nordic ski courses in Addison County, Vermont—side by side Classic and Skating tracks. The varsity coach insists that we actively train for both types of races since our choice of technique was dictated by the sponsoring school of any meet.

My breathing and the gentle shush of my skis were the only sounds—and even those were deadened by the blanketing effect of the snowstorm. I'd turned off my headlamp, so I was skiing in near darkness—the brightly shining stars and moon peeking through the clouds and reflected off the pristine snow my only light source. I got an extra surge of wind as I felt that great grandpa was with me. He'd been a Finnish partisan back in the Winter War. A Sissi—silent death on skis, emerging from the forests to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting Soviets with Molotov cocktails.

We were a long way from Finland though. Right after that conflict ended, my namesake Great grandpa Vilho Balzar Järvinen left for America with his young wife and first born. He followed his cousin to Vermont—I suppose they felt that countryside was closest thing in America to Finland. They settled in Middlebury, bought some land and started a farm.

I shot from the woods and turned onto the quarter mile track that ringed the football field. Usually, we'd do two quarter mile turns on that track to the finish line. The whole track was well groomed, so you could really churn by using the skate technique. I was coming into the first turn when I saw that someone had fucked up the track, again. Fucking kids had built a jump again right in the middle of the track. The coach was gonna be pissed!

To add insult to injury, it wasn't even a good ramp—totally misshapen and not even perpendicular to the approach. But hey, a jump is a jump, so I thought I'd go ahead and make good use of it! I sped up, both arms pumping—that's when I saw the hand. The ramp had a hand! I shifted my hips and skidded to a stop, almost. I skipped on the icy snow and kind of slammed into the ramp—it grunted, but didn't move. At least whoever it is was still alive!

I popped my bindings and knelt beside the body, brushing the snow off. It was a boy…I think. No definitely! It was a boy. I asked him who he was, but he was just moaned softly. He was covered in icy snow and blood. Jeez, it looked like someone had been tap dancing on his face with crampons. One eye was totally swollen shut. I tried to pull his hat off, but the blood had dried in the wool. He was really pale and his lips turning blue. With the amount of snow on him, he had to have been there a while, so hypothermia was definitely a problem. I knew I had to get him help immediately—'focus Vil, focus'! I thought about just running home for help; but I was terrified he'd be dead by the time I got back.

I tried to get him to sit up, but he cried out in pain when I touched his side—'okay we got a rib problem'. His arm on the other side didn't look right either. Someone had seriously fucked up this kid. He was bigger than I was; no way I could carry him all the way home. 'Okay Vil, think, think. You're not a 'bear of little brain'; you're a Boy Scout! You've got your medical and cold weather survival badges. You can do this!' Of course, neither of those badges dealt with hauling over 170 pounds of dead weight over five-hundred yards through the snow!

I pulled off the backpack I always carried when I was training on my own and dumped it out. 'Be Prepared' right?! I surveyed the contents: rope, first aid kit, Mylar blanket, some Powerbars, water, and course a pocketknife. I was already formulating an idea. We'd built lean-tos by tying branches together in Survival. I could lash my skis and poles together to make an Indian travois, a drag sled—same idea, right?! I laid out the frame—skis as the sides, poles as cross bars, Mylar laid across—quickly cut the ropes, and lashed the sled together. It didn't need to be pretty—it just needed to get me across the open field. I could see the lights of our house through the snow, which was both encouraging and frustrating.

It wasn't too difficult to roll him onto the sled, once I decided to ignore his protests of pain. I used the rest of my rope to form a simple harness. Good to go—a one Järvinen open sleigh! Now we just needed to see if 135 pounds soaking wet could pull this guy across the snow! Fortunately, I was starting on the prepared track, so it was all packed down; that let me get my speed up so by the time I hit the deeper snow I at least had momentum with me.

If I thought my legs were straining and my lungs burning before, I was sooo wrong! I briefly wondered if I should suggest to the coach that we build up our stamina by skiing with weighted sleds. I'm sure my teammates would be thrilled at that idea—they'd probably find my body in the woods, death by ski pole! I knew I had to just keep going—if I stopped, I was screwed. My eyes were locked on the distant Christmas lights that lit up our house. The goal. I had to focus on the goal.

The newly fallen snow, on top of the existing base, added to the difficulty of traversing the athletic fields—untouched since fall sports ended. My adrenalin was pumping; I think that's the only way I made it through. I slipped a couple of times, falling to the ground and completely losing my momentum. Back up, let the ropes slack, then surge ahead to regain movement. Again. Again—screaming in frustration. Out of breath, out of steam, on the verge of puking, I made it to our front steps. Leaving my wounded cargo there, I scrambled to the door, pounding, opening, and yelling for Mom and Dad. I saw two heads pop up from the couch in front of the roaring fire—dad with no shirt, mom with hers open…oops! Shit, well no time for niceties.

I was gasping for breath, but in between managed to eke out, "Mom, Dad. Help. Boy dying. Shit beat out of him!"

Thank God my parents are action people! Mom (she's a nurse), yelled she was going for her Medic bag (it's Vermont, everyone has some version of a 'Go Bag').

Shirtless, and shoeless it turns out, Dad followed me back outside, grabbed one end of my ski-sled—it promptly disintegrated. He grabbed the shoulders, me the legs, and we carried the boy into the living room. We laid him on the bearskin rug in front of the fire and started getting his wet, heavy clothes off him. Mom got back and started checking him over. She sent me for warm washcloths to help clean him up—which was probably a really good idea since now that I wasn't dragging a body across the fields, I was totally freaking out!

By the time I got back, they had him stripped to the waist. Beneath all the blood I took stock of a very chiseled body—muscles! serious pecs, shoulders, and abs that just seemed to dive down into his tight jeans! I watched as mom used a wet washcloth to dampen and then ease his hat off. That's when I saw the wavy, auburn hair—I knew that hair!

"Holy fuck it's Evan. Evan Donovan!"

"Language Vil," dad admonished.

"Dad, nobody fucks with Evan Donovan. He's a total badass!"

Mom confirmed what I'd thought about his ribs and arm (yea Boy scouts!); he was bruised and bloody all over, but she thought it was mostly superficial—no deep puncture wounds apparent. She was more worried about hypothermia, his eye, and possible concussion from his head wounds. Dad went to call for an ambulance; Mom got busy taking his vital signs. She had me rubbing his torso to try to get his circulation going and warm him up. Shocker, I did not get a hardon doing this. Evan has a stunning body, and I was actually touching it! I guess it was a legit first aid move, as Evan was starting to come around. The call to the volunteer fire house proved useless as the whole house had been dispatched in support of a two-alarm fire across town. Dad finished getting dressed and ran out to pull the Defender around front while Mom and I got Evan sitting up on the couch.

Mom and I wrapped a blanket around Evan, helped him to his feet, and half walked-half carried him to the car. Mom slide into the back seat first. Together we pushed-pulled Evan in the middle and I jumped in on his other side. His color looked better; but he was still pretty incoherent. Dad had the heat blasting, which helped Evan but made me way too hot. I felt my balls starting to sweat! Mom continued to monitor Evan's vital signs—temp and pulse. Me, I just sat there and continued to freak out. Well, maybe half freak out and half give sidelong glances to my crush since 7th grade—who only looked a thousand times more awesome as a junior than he had as an eighth-grader. I did reach out and hold his hand for support. I could feel him squeeze back, so he definitely knew.

Dad negotiated the worsening streets like no one's business. Our Land Rover had all the bells and whistles to ensure mom could make it to the hospital no matter what the weather. She must have texted ahead, 'cause there were two orderlies waiting with a gurney when we pulled up to the Emergency entrance. They hustled Evan right into a treatment room with mom in tow; dad and I found ourselves left in the waiting area. I kept going to peek in to see what was happening, but couldn't tell very much. At least the doctor and nurses didn't seem to be panicking—that's a good sign, right?

After a while, the automatic doors swept open with cold blast of air, announcing the arrival of Uncle Mikael (aka Mike). He's the County Sherriff and was obviously here on 'official business'. He started out talking with Dad and I, taking notes on what we knew about the incident. I added in as much color commentary as I could on what a badass Evan was and how whoever beat the shit out of him had to either be a bigger badass or an army. Oddly, Uncle Mike didn't seem to find my information as critically relevant as I thought it was!

Finally, the doctor came out and filled us in on Evan's status. Yeah, I know, we're not relatives, blah blah. Forget HIPPA, Middlebury's a small town. Everyone knows everyone's business—plus dad's the Middlebury Union Hs principal and Uncle Mike is the law, so there! Evan had two broken ribs and a broken arm which they casted. He'd warmed up well, so they weren't really concerned about the hypothermia. The concussion was still a concern though, so they wanted to keep him over night at least. The biggest issue was his right eye—they were worried he had an orbital fracture something which might mean he wouldn't be able to see out of his eye.

The doctor did praise me for my quick action, which made me feel really proud. You train and do all that stuff in Boy Scouts, but you always wonder if you'll remember what to do and actually take action when the shit hits the fan. I guess I did! Uncle Mike got the go ahead to question Evan—though they told him that Evan already had some sedation and would be loopy. They also wanted him to make it quick as they wanted to give him some more serious pain meds that would put him under. Dad and I just followed Uncle Mike right into Evan's treatment area.

Evan looked a hell of a lot better than when I found him; but he still looked terrible. I tried not to look too horrified; you're not supposed to do that right? I gave him a shy little wave from around my dad. I still could not really believe that I'd dragged him across the snow, or even that I was in the same room with him. He both captivated me and terrified me at the same time.

He was kind of loopy, but he tilted his head so he could look right at me with his good eye and smiled, "Hey Vil, I hear you saved my life."

'He got my name right!' I think half the school believes my name is Will instead of Vil; I'm too terminally shy to correct them. I blushed bright red and mumbled something about not really doing anything special.

Evan ignored my shyness, and waved me over to shake my hand…which I did…but then he didn't let go. I wasn't sure what to do. Do I pull away? But that would be rude, plus I really liked touching him. So, I did nothing, kind of. I guess I did something, 'cause I continued to hold his hand.

Fortunately, our handholding was kind of out of the line of sight and Uncle Mike started asking questions. Uncle Mike didn't bat around the bush. He came right out and asked, "Do you know who assaulted you?"

Evan's hand kind of squeezed mine tight when he heard the question. He nodded, but didn't say anything.

I think all of us were waiting for Evan to answer, but finally Uncle Mike asked again.

This time Evan answered, so softly you almost couldn't hear him over the noise of the machines, "My Dad."

"Fuck," just leapt out of my mouth, earning me another stern look from my dad. Well, at least we know who the 'more badass than Evan' is!

"Your dad, Alex Donovan, assaulted you?" Uncle Mike repeated.


"And where did the assault occur?"

"At our house. The front hall. He attacked me right when I came in the front door." Evan pointed to the side of his face, "I think he hit me with a baseball bat or something, knocked me to the ground. Then he just started kicking and hitting me."

"Do you know why he assaulted you?"

Evan's hand moved in mine again. At the time I thought he was giving me another squeeze, so I automatically squeezed back hard. When I replayed it in my mind later though, he might have been trying to pull away, but my squeezing unintentionally held him firm.

Either way, he nodded, took an audible deep breath, "Because he found out I'm gay."

Snap! I'd been looking down at our hands when he spoke, but I think I gave myself whiplash bringing my eyes up to stare at his face! Once again, I was thankful the focus of the room was between Uncle Mike and Evan, not me. 'Holy shit, Evan's gay??!! The biggest badass in Union High School. The Tigers Mr. Playmaker! Mr. Hockey enforcer! The Lacrosse team's Judge Dredd, is gay like me??!! I mean I know I am, but I've never done anything with another boy (unless you count fantasies, in which case I'm a total slut!).'

"He beat you up because he found out you were gay? Did he say that specifically when he attacked you?"

Evan took another, kind of gasping breath, almost like he was going to throw up. God, I felt so horrified for him, tears started just welling up in my eyes. My parents had been so supportive when I had told them I was gay. Evan's dad tried to kill him!

"I came home. He'd found some magazines that I'd hidden in my room. They were torn up all over the front hall. I looked down at them—that's when he clocked me." Evan kept going, "The whole time he was hitting and kicking me, he kept screaming that he had no son. That no son of his was going to be a faggot. That he'd kill me first."

"He specifically used those words—that he'd kill you first?"


"And then what happened?"

"He just kept hitting and kicking me. I just covered my head and rolled into a ball and tried to not feel the pain. I don't know how long it went on. Finally, he screamed, and I heard him go to the basement door and downstairs."

"Do you know why he did that?"

Evan shook his head, "No. But I didn't want to find out. I pulled myself up and got out the front door. Then I just ran. I'm not sure where. I could barely see anyway. I guess that's how I ended up where Vil found me." He turned his head, gave me a little smile, and gave my hand a serious squeeze when he said that last part, which of course made me break out in a silly ass grin too.

At this point, one of the nurses came in and said it was time for us to go. They were going to move Evan to another room for the night, and give him something to help him sleep.

I really didn't want to let go of his hand, but unless I was going to crawl in under his bedsheets (smirk, man how I would love, love, love to do that!), I was going to have to. I gave him one last squeeze. He smiled and squeezed back.

"I'll come and see you tomorrow, okay?"

He smiled, "That'd be cool. Thanks."

I glanced back as I walked out behind Dad and Uncle Mike, but Evan was already lying back with his eyes, or eye, closed.

Mom joined us at the exit, and the grown-ups chatted for a bit. "So, what happens next?" Dad asked?

"I've got more than enough for an arrest warrant. I'll put of an APB for Alex Donovan and send some deputies by his house. I'll have to reach out to State Police to get a forensic team over the house to gather evidence while it's fresh. Given Evan's statement, I could see the District Attorney going for Attempted Murder with special circumstances because of the hate crime components."

"What will happen to Evan," I asked quietly, pretty certain I already knew the answer.

"Is mom in the picture?" Uncle Mike came back.

I shook my head, "She died when Evan was younger; I've never heard of any grandparents."

"He's a junior. What is he, 16 going on 17. That means foster care. I'll have to get Child Protective Services involved. I'll reach out to them in the AM."

I felt my stomach churn. I figured that was the answer, but hearing it made it worse. Plus, Uncle Mike was so cold and matter of fact about it. I mean I love Uncle Mike, but how about some compassion! It's Christmas, the guy's dad tried to kill him, and you're going to throw him in with strangers?!

I just tilted my head back and closed my eyes on the ride back home. Mom and dad rode in silence. I think everyone was pretty exhausted from the last few hours—I know I was. We sat around the island in the kitchen while mom made us all some decaf tea. I stared into the steam rising off my tea.


"Sweetheart, I don't think we can."

"I haven't asked for anything, yet."

"I know how you think."

"He doesn't have anyone, and his own dad just tried to kill him." I wasn't trying to, but the tears started falling again. What can I say, I'm an emotional kid. I cry for the Folger's Coffee ads.

"Vil you just don't understand the burden."

"It's almost Christmas."

"That's not fair Vil."

"Nothing about fair mom. Christmas is Christmas. Away in a manger, no crib for a bed."

Mom sighed and looked at Dad, "We'll think about it."

I jumped up and threw my arms around her, "Thanks mom! You're the best."

"I didn't say yes. I only said we'll think about it."

"Yeah, but that was a 'yes' think about it; not like Dad's we'll see 'no'."

I knew Mom and Dad had to talk, so my pitch was done for now. Not to mention that I had not one ounce of energy left and had choir practice first thing in the morning. I dragged myself off to bed, pausing to peek into my brother's old room which I was certain would soon be Evan's! Okay, I wasn't a total Boy Scout (or maybe I was, ha-ha). Once I stripped naked and got under my down comforter, I couldn't get to sleep; my pulse was still racing. I did play back my mental images of a half-naked Evan in front of our fireplace. Blood and bruises aside, he was beautiful. I felt my cock swelling as I replayed running my hands all over his solid pecs; his rock-hard nipples (Maybe from the cold? Maybe not!); and those deeply grooved abs—Sweet Jesus! That led to a need to 'take care of things'—which I did in the most spectacular manner!

I awoke late to the smell of bacon and waffles. Fuck. Choir practice. I had no time to waste, and more importantly no time for my morning jerkoff! I quickly showered and dressed—boots, jeans, t-shirt and open plaid flannel (standard Vermont teenager uniform!) Mom and Dad are already had breakfast ready and were sipping their coffee at the table. I saw Mom look up and knew instantly that the answer was yes—like I ever had a doubt. They were certified Foster Parents after all; they had done that a while ago because the need had come up before within Dad's school.

Dad had talked to Uncle Mike first thing in the morning—they had arrested Evan's dad still at his house. He'd done nothing to try to clean up, so there was tons of evidence, to include the bloody bat, that fit Evan's description of the events. They even found a plastic tarp and duct tape by the basement door—that made me shiver.

Evan's Dad had a pretty sketchy reputation according to Uncle Mike. Though he owned a legit business—high-end car importer and garage (even working on Dad's Defender), he was suspected in range of illegal activities across western Vermont. He was known as a serious badass too, having once put a guy in the hospital, though charges were never pressed. Not a guy I'd want to run into in a dark alley, that's for sure!

I had a little time to kill before we left or choir practice, so I ran upstairs to my brother Oliver's room to do what prep I could in anticipation of Evan moving in. I stripped the bed and put on fresh sheets—God only knows what my brother did to those sheets when he was home for Thanksgiving! I checked out his dresser and there was so little left in it that I just cleared it out entirely and put his stuff in a box in the closet (he might get pissed at that, but he'll get over it). I cleared most of the random shit off his desk so Evan would have somewhere to do his homework. Looking around, I couldn't see anything obvious to do; plus, I was pretty much out of time, so I headed downstairs to light a fire under dad.

Dad dropped me at St Stephan's for choir practice. I loved our church ever since I was a little kid. It's high church Episcopalian, a very traditional stone church with lots of stained glass. You feel like you've been transported to England. I was a little late, and it looked like the whole Men & Boys' Choir was already gathered. Those of us in high school had been in the choir together since we were 8 or 9. It was turning into a more intriguing mix as we all got older and moved in different directions. There were brains, populars, jocks, floaters, arts kid, normals, stoners, loners, introverts and extroverts. And yet the choir still held us together as a group.

The Choirmaster David Atlee is a huge fan of King's College Choir, so our Christmas Services are patterned after their annual service. I think he really wished he'd been born in Cambridge not Middlebury! With five days to go until Christmas Day, practice was now every morning. That was probably a good thing, as it occupied my time until the hospital visiting hours opened up at ten o'clock.

Everyone talking about what happened. Like I said, it's a small town especially if you're local as opposed to the college population. Folks had seen the police at the Donovan's, and it went from there. People knew Evan was in the hospital, that his dad had been arrested, and ugh, that somehow, I was involved. It seemed like everyone was staring at me, waiting for me to deliver a whole monologue. Me, I don't want to say anything about it; I just took my choir-book and went to my position for the Processional. I wasn't being completely antisocial, I had to be focused since I'm the opening treble solo for 'Once in Royal David's City'. It's probably the last year I would be able to hold on to that role given my changing body. I was a little bummed about that; but way happier with all the benefits of puberty, so no question about that trade off!

By now we were doing full blown rehearsals, including both the processional and recessional. Mr. Atlee was nothing of not a perfectionist! The organ music and the singing were beautiful though; especially against the backdrop of St. Stephan's, with the sunlight streaming in through the soaring stained-glass windows. I was completely absorbed, and it wasn't until the last note had died that I noticed my Scout Master Mr. Burgess standing with Father John at the back of the church.

He waved me over as we broke up, and gestured for me to join him on one of the pews with Father John. Mr. Burgess is a deputy sheriff under Uncle Mike, so it was no surprise that he was fully up to speed on the events of the prior evening. He wanted to hear all the details from my perspective though, all the way back to my first skiing up to Evan, building the travois, and getting him to my parents.

At first, I was pretty matter of fact about it, but as I went further into the whole thing, I started getting panicked all over again. What if I'd screwed up? What if I couldn't pull him? What if he'd di…died? What if? What if? Both Father John and Mr. Burgess comforted me and explained about stress, 'combat situations', adrenalin, the 'coming down' and post-traumatic stress. Eventually, I calmed back down—it felt good actually to have talked it through with two mentors I trusted implicitly.

Just as they got me off the ledge, Mr. Burgess pushed me right back to the edge! He dropped the bomb that he was going to put me in for the Boy Scout Heroism award for what I had done.

"But I didn't do anything heroic. All I did was get Evan to my parents. They and the doctors did everything else."

Mr. Burgess ticked off on his fingers (he kind of does that, every time he covers badge requirements), "You encountered a person in distress, close to dying. You assessed the situation, drew from your Scout training, improvised a means of transporting him, and got him to proper medical treatment. You then went above and beyond to find him a safe home environment."

Okay, maybe that last one was more driven by horni-ness than hero-ness, but I wasn't going to admit to that! "I just did what any Scout would do," I mumbled.

"I'd like to think so, but not everyone keeps their head about them in an emergency. You did. That's what the heroism medal represents."

I grimaced, "Umm. That's going to mean a ceremony, right? On stage and lots of people?"

Mr. Burgess chuckled, "Definitely. Probably even some press. Who knows, maybe the mayor will join you on stage. He's a big fan of spotlights!"

"You're not helping!"

"Don't worry. You'll survive," he laughed again. Standing up, he gave me a pat on the shoulder, "Time to go on the clock, can't have your uncle wondering where I am!"

I looked up and realized the church had emptied out during our talk. 'Shit! Dad must be waiting outside to take me to the hospital, and I'm the one slowing things up!' I sprinted outside to find no dad; ok, now I was annoyed he wasn't here yet! While I stewed, my buddy Kyle came up—Mr. Burgess' son—we've been in Scouts and choir together forever. We know each other's secrets—including my crush on Evan—so I actually filled him in on what had happened. I could trust him not to share.

I had to wait 15 minutes; it seemed like 50. On top of that, Dad drove to the hospital like a grandmom on Valium—does he not realize how important this is??!! I thought I was going to have an aneurism the third time he stopped to let someone go from a side street. Seriously, this is the time you pick to start reforming your aggressive driving? It was all I could do not to sprint ahead when we walked into the hospital. Fortunately, he peeled off to talk to the lady from CPS and I then sprinted for Evan's room.

I got within about 10 feet before the doubts halted me in my tracks. 'What am I thinking? I had us dating and married by the time I fell asleep—how lame it that? So he's gay; that doesn't mean he has any interest in me (despite what my friend Adam believes that all gay guys are automatically hot for each other). He was probably just being nice last night; now that I think about, he probably said 'Will' not 'Vil'. Sigh.

I paced back and forth—approaching his door, then retreating, again and again. Fuck, what should I do? Finally, I leaned back against the wall and thought. I ticked through my options, calmly, coolly, frantically—in the end, I had none. I'd already set the 'Evan comes to live with us' plan in motion last night ('pre-marriage'). The Dad-CPS lady freight train was 'gonna be coming round the mountain' before I knew it!

I took a deep breath and slipped inside. I scanned the room quickly, there he was, lying in bed on his side, facing the window. Thinking he might be resting, I approached quietly so as not to awaken him. As I got close, I heard him make a noise, so I spoke up, "Evan, it's me Vil. How are you doing?"

He spun back quickly towards me, wiping his one good eye as he turned. In a choked voice he mumbled he was fine. That's when I knew he wasn't—I realized the noise he'd made was a sob. My heart just broke at that point. I forgot my fears and rushed to his side, grasping his hand like we'd done yesterday, "Does it hurt?"

Evan shook his head, "Nah, I'm too hyped up on painkillers to feel any pain."

"Then what's wrong?" I whispered softly.

He gave a weird laugh, "What's wrong? Let's see. My own dad beat the living shit out of me and tried to kill me. I have no mom. At this point I don't think I have a home, so who knows what happens to me when I get out of here. Dear ol' Dad will probably just be waiting for me and finish what he started."

I reached around and gave him the best half-hug I could—wary of his ribs and other injuries, "Yeah, your dad definitely went off the deep end. Do you think he feels bad about what he did?"

Evan shook his head, "He's always been a prick. I think mom was able to keep him under control, but she passed away when I was 10. He has just gotten worse and worse since then."

It broke my heart to think what Evan had been suffering for the past six years, "Has he hit you before?"

Evan nodded, "Yeah. Never as bad as last night though. He never broke anything or put me in the hospital."

"Did he hit you hard enough to make you limp in school?" I asked, thinking back to the occasions when I'd noticed Evan moving slowly in school.

Evan looked down at his lap and nodded, "I just passed it off as a game injury. I didn't want people to know what he'd done. I didn't want people to think I was a pussy."

"A pussy?! Evan that's fucked up. You're not a pussy because your dad hit you. He's your dad—he's supposed to love you and take care of you; not hurt you!" I reach out and pulled his head up so I could look him in the eye, "You need to tell the lady from CPS Evan; you need to tell someone, an adult."

"I'm scared. It'll just set my dad off even more."

"Well, you don't need to worry about your dad. He's in jail and won't even see a judge until Monday. Uncle Mike says he'll be remanded without bail for sure."

Evan looked a little hopeful, "That's right, your uncle's the sheriff. What's remanded without bail?"

"It means they'll keep him in jail and not even give him the chance to post bond."

Evan squeezed my hand (he seemed cool with holding it, so I sure wasn't going to pull back) and let out a slow breath, "Okay. So maybe I don't have to be looking over my shoulder."

"We might have an answer to your home problem too. If you're up for it."

He cocked his head and gave me a curious look, "You've been busy. I don't think I have a lot of options, so what is this plan, and who is we?"

"Me, well my mom and dad really. They're approved foster parents and we have plenty of room because my sibs are off at college. The plan, if you want, would be that you come and live with us."

I held my breath. Evan just sat there, kind of looking at me. I couldn't read him, though he hadn't let go of my hand. "Why would you guys do that? With my family reputation? Not to mention my 'I don't give a fuck' attitude at school—your dad can't be a fan of mine."

I tried to give him my best comforting smile, "First of all, you know dad's the principal and my mom's a nurse—they're like uber nurturing, kind of overboard actually. I think dad's a fan, you're a good student, grade-wise, even if you've got a badass attitude."

"How do you know I'm a good student?"

"Dad's got like the worst password hygiene; it's possible I looked," I blushed, "Plus, there's the whole gay thing—they're very supportive of gay kids. I'm gay too."

He stiffened and hissed, "What do you mean gay too?"

Now I stiffened, 'Fuck, did I get that wrong. No, he definitely said his dad attacked him because he was gay. Is he backtracking and denying it now?' "Umm, last night, Uncle Mike. You said your dad attacked you because he found out you were gay."

Evan slumped back on his pillows, "So I did really say that. I wasn't sure—thought maybe it was a dream. I was kind of out of it last night." He took a deep breath and gave a weak little grin, "Sooooo, guess we know each other's deep dark secret then."

I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief, acutely aware of the sweat now dripping down my armpits.

Evan looked at me for a bit, actually more than a bit. It was like he was inspecting me or something. I started to feel embarrassed again, but I couldn't tear myself away from those eyes, so I just held my little smile. Finally, he spoke, really softly, "Since we're sharing secrets, I probably need to tell you one more. Before you agree to host me."

I cocked an eyebrow (it's a Järvinen family trait), my mind racing through what he could possibly say that would change my mind.

He gave me the cutest, kinda embarrassed smile (very un-Enforcer-like!), "I, umm, well, I've had a crush on you since you were in the 7th grade, when you joined the middle school cross-country team and you shared a locker room with us 8th graders."

My jaw hit the floor! 'Seriously?! My major crush has a crush on me? Lord, take me now—no wait, never mind, ignore that! Don't take me now—this is too perfect!' I tried to say something, but nothing came out. I think I was just too flustered with the revelation.

I guess Evan got nervous with my silence, so he pressed on, "So gay or not, you probably don't want me perving on you in your own home."

I laughed, "Ahhh, actually I would love it if you perved on me in my own home! 'Cause I've been crushing on you the whole time too."

He gave me a skeptical look and shook he head in disbelief, "Really? You're not serious. You're just saying that to make me feel better."

I might be terminally shy, but that challenge unleashed my bold side, "I'm not making that up Evan. Scout's honor, I crushed the moment I saw you in the locker room wearing nothing but your shorts. All those muscles. I mean you have way more now, but back then you were an 8th grade stud. Plus, you had that 'I'm in charge attitude'. You're so sure of yourself, not like me."

"I don't feel very sure of myself right now," he grimaced, "You really promise you're not making this up?"

"Better," I grinned, "I can prove it!"

"What, you took pictures of me in secret?"

I gave a wry smile, "I wish. Mental pictures yes; actual pictures no. But, umm, I did kind of steal your jock strap."

"You stole my jock?!"

I blushed furiously—it's one thing to do it; a whole other thing to admit to it. "Yeah. That last day of spring season. Everyone was excited; the locker room was chaotic. I saw it on the floor in front of your locker, grabbed it and stuffed it in my bag."

"And you still have it?"

"It still fits!" I proudly announced.

"I hope you've washed it."

"Sadly, I had to, eventually. It got kind of crusty and uncomfortable."

Evan smirked, "Who knew shy Vil Järvinen, choirboy and Boy Scout, is such a perve! And innocent little me was crushing just because you've got the face of an angel, and you're just the sweetest, nicest kid in the school."

'Ugh. I said too much. Now Evan thinks I'm a total deviant!' This whole discussion was a fucking rollercoaster. My shoulders slumped in defeat.

Evan reached up with his casted arm (we were still holding our other hands!) and touched my cheek, "I'm just messing with you Vil. I'm cool with you perving on me. It's good for my ego. I'm not at all innocent either. I was always checking out your cute little butt. You'd go running past me in those flimsy little shorts. Then in the showers, where I could see those sexy dimples in the sides. I lost track of you when I moved to high school, but when you showed up a year later as a freshman, you looked even cuter."

My heart just surged at all that—'could Evan really be as head over heels for me as I am for him?!' "Soooo, it seems we have a mutual crush thing going on here."

Evan nodded, "Maybe we could explore that, if you want. We have to be careful though. We might find out our 'crush beliefs' aren't up to the hype. You might find out that I'm totally annoying."

"I doubt that, but yeah. I'd be really up for the explor..." I was cut short as the door opened and a procession entered Evan's room—dad, the lady from CPS, and a doctor. As I looked up at them, I felt Evan flip the corner of his blanket over our hands.

The CPS lady started off the discussion, explaining to Evan the process for foster care; quickly adding that she and dad had already spoken about his coming to our house on an emergency basis. It all seemed kind of clinical and cold the way she described things. I guess she had to get through it, but I wondered how the kids must feel if they have no idea where there's going to go. At least Evan had an option, which when we got to that part and she asked if he wanted to come and live with us, he said yes (yea!)!

Once she got through the 'where you go to live' discussion, she took a deep breath and started to explain the criminal side of things with his father's arrest and the likely path forward.

Then came the bombshell, "Evan, I've been doing this for a long time. I've found that very often in these cases, the perpetrator, in this case your father, has done this many times before. We found nothing in the medical examinations that would indicate prior abuse. Could you tell us if your father has harmed you previously?"

Evan's eye and my eyes snapped to each other at the same time. I nodded and gave him a squeeze under the blanket. He took a deep breath and nodded, "Yes. It pretty much started after my mom died. He's smacked me around ever since then, twisting my arms, taking his belt to me. It was never the same thing set him off; it seemed totally random."

At that point, she seemed to become a lot more empathetic—nodding, making sympathetic noises, even toughing his hand (the other hand!). Then she laid out the next steps. She would come and visit the house, along with a CPS investigator and probably someone from the Sheriff's office. They would question Evan in more detail and then write a written statement for him to review and sign.

Finally, we got to the really good part. The doctor took over and went through his overall assessment of Evan's injuries; that wasn't the good part though, the good part was that they were going to cut Evan loose that afternoon (triple yea!). They were still worried about his eye, but had determined that the orbital region was badly bruised, not fractured. It still needed care and treatment, but no surgery. It just needed time to heal at this point, so he could do outpatient care for that.

Partway through the doctor's section, Evan started gently rubbing my palm—geez it felt so intense! I've never had that done to me before. I got hard right away, and it was all I could do not to start moaning in front of everyone. I don't think anyone else noticed my squirming, but Evan sure did. It looked like he was smiling and nodding at what the doctor was saying, but I knew he was smirking because he knew he was driving me crazy. He started pressing harder, which only got me more worked up. I couldn't even reach down to adjust myself without it being obvious. My cock has hard as a rock and clearly outlined against my faded Levi's for Evan's viewing pleasure!

The only downside to the whole discussion was when Evan asked about getting his clothes back to wear home. All that was left was his hiking boots and some personal effects—they had cut the rest of his clothes off him when he got to the Emergency room. Enter Vil to save the day! While dad and the CPS lady went off to finalize the paperwork, I snagged dad's credit card and headed out to Green Mountain to get him some clothes.

I found a pair of Levi's 501's (Levi's because that's what we wear; 501's because they hug the butt so nicely); a nice Campbell plaid flannel shirt; and some boot socks. I hit A&F for boxer-briefs, cause I kind of have an A&F boxer-brief fetish—there I found some hot four panel boxer-briefs—blue/grey/white front with a light grey butt (I liked 'em so much, I bought myself a matching pair!). I was having trouble finding a good t-short for him to wear under the flannel until I came across the perfect t-shirt with the phrase 'Let Me Know If My Biceps Get In Your Way' emblazoned across the chest!

I enthusiastically upended my bag of goodies when I got back to Evan's room; walking him through my whole decision process behind each purchase (which mostly came down to how awesome I thought he would look in each item). He was grinning the whole time—though I wasn't sure if it was because he liked the stuff, or if he was just amused at my excitement! I definitely hadn't thought through the next stage though, as evidenced by my furiously blushing when he sat up, flipped his legs over the side of the bed—wearing nothing but that flimsy hospital gown, and asked me to help him get dressed.

You probably don't think those gowns are sexy, but Evan looks sexy in anything. His shoulders, his chest, his nipples, all showed through the almost threadbare cloth. I gulped, "You can't do it yourself?"

He held up his casted arm and pointed at his ribs.

"A nurse?"

"She's 80. No way I'm getting naked in front of her." Evan gave me a challenging look, "Come on Vil, we've seen each other naked in the locker room tons of times. This is no different."

He was so wrong! Naked from across the locker room, with 50 other naked guys running around, is SO different than just the two of us, in a little room. But I was cornered. I swallowed, and nodded. Evan twisted slightly so that the back of his robe was exposed. I reached over and undid the upper tie, exposing his tightly muscled back. I undid the lower tie, my fingers brushing the top of his butt and his crack! He held his arms out so I could pull the gown off—grinning the whole time. I think he was enjoying see how flustered I was!

"Ta Da! Evan in all his glory!" he grinned, as he turned totally naked in front of me. Of course, my eyes went right to his cock, nestled softly in his dark auburn nest of pubic hair. Sure, I'd seen it before, from 20 feet away, on the move in the locker room. But now it was right there, inches from me—paler than mine, longer than mine soft, his mushroomed head darker than the rest. His balls gently cushioning his shaft. I licked my lips.

"Uh Vil?"


"We need to get me dressed." He giggled.

If it's possible to blush even more, I did! I nodded and grabbed the A&F boxer briefs. I probably should have thought my next move through as well, but I didn't. I knelt down and slipped one leg over his foot, then the other; then lifted my head up as I pulled the boxer-briefs up his legs. So, yeah, my face was right in his crotch, I could see his pubes moving when I breathed! His cock was quickly swelling and moving across his thigh. It was a race to see if I was going to get the boxer briefs up before he was totally 'up'. I lost!

The only reason I didn't totally die of embarrassment was that Evan was clearly equally breathless. He shuddered as I pulled the briefs up and over his hardon. We both swallowed heavily and just locked eyes for a bit. Then I pressed on, grabbing the 501's and going through the same motions to get those on him. I snickered as I worked the button fly—my fingers totally rubbing against his hard cock—nothing but a thin layer of cloth between us (payback for him rubbing my palm earlier!)

Dressing him in the t-shirt and flannel was totally relaxed in comparison—though I did get in a ton of grazing finger touches on his taught torso as I worked that, slightly too tight, t-shirt over is case and shoulders. Both of us were very flushed by the time I had his boots on and laced up.

"Thanks," was all he could say, and his voice was kind of trembling at that.

"Anytime!" I laughed.

I sat at the end of his bed, and we just hung out while we waited for Evan to get released. We talked a little. We exchanged embarrassed looks a lot. Neither of us made any attempt to hide the swollen bulges in our jeans. Finally, we got out of the hospital and headed home. We swung by Evan's house on the way and Uncle Mike met us out front, so we could gather up everything Evan wanted to take with him. The house was still pretty trashed. I guess the cops don't clean anything up after they've collected their evidence. Dad and Uncle Mike were super nice and cleaned up what they could while I went with Evan to his room.

We filled his duffle-bag and some trash bags with clothes, books, his school stuff. But then Evan started noticing things missing—his computer, his art supplies and finished artwork (I had no idea he did art!). He was getting more and more agitated as we scoured the room—but no joy.

Eventually we did find it—thrown all over the back yard! Drawings. Water-color paintings. Brushes. Paints. Pencils. Evan freaked; I thought he was going to cry. He thought it was all ruined. I started gathering it all together though and we discovered that only a few were really ruined. The rest were a little messed up from lying outside in the snow—but it hadn't rained, and it was too cold for the snow to melt. We were able to gather them all up, and we spread them out in the back of Uncle Mike's cruiser. We also found Evan's laptop all smashed up—actually it was only the screen that was smashed. I told him I knew a kid who could probably recover his hard drive (the guy had helped me with my Digital Technology badge—surely a hard drive would be easy).

Finally, we arrived at home, and mom came out to greet Evan. She was all smiles and hugs as usual, and insisted that Evan call her Mary instead of Mrs. Järvinen. Dad jumped right on that bandwagon with Jake, but apparently this new era of equality wasn't universal as I discovered when I suggested that Jake get us some sodas! No matter, I was supper excited to show Evan to his new room. I practically dragged him upstairs—eagerly pointing out my room, the Jack & Jill bathroom in between (maybe it's Jack & Jack now!), and his/my brother's room.

Evan wanted to see my room first, so I gave him the grand tour. It was nice sized—queen bed, the usual dresser, desk, bookcase. Evan was immediately drawn to my wall of pictures. They kind of told the story of my interests I suppose— camping and events with the Scouts; Nordic and Biathlon events; the St Stephan's choir; and hunting with the family.

Evan slowly walked along the wall, picking out things that caught his eye, "Nice body suit. You wear that to race in?" he smirked, pointing to a picture of me in mid stride, poles planted and pushing, rocking to one side as I skated—it was from slightly behind, so there was a perfect view of my butt.

I grinned, "It doesn't leave much to the imagination, does it? That's the standard Nordic racing suit, pretty much a wrestling singlet with arms and legs. Usually lycra, or something similar."

"I'm definitely coming to your next race!" he laughed, wiggling his eyebrows. He peered closely at another where I was in a standing shooting stance "So what's with the bizarre rifle you're shooting. Is that special for biathlons?"

I nodded, "Yeah. That's an Anschütz Fortner. More rifle than I need, but Uncle Mike got it off a turn in, so it was an awesome deal." I pointed out the ergonomic features, the magazines, the weighted barrel.

"And all that helps you hit your targets?"

I tapped below my eye, "Grey eyes, not to brag, but I don't need help hitting the target. I don't miss. This rifle helps me shoot faster; your score is speed of your skiing, shoot time, plus your accuracy."

Evan raised an eyebrow, "So do you use the same rifle when you go hunting?"

I snorted, "No, no, no. That would not be good. For biathlon we shoot a .22, really small bullet. For hunting you need a much heavier caliber." I pointed to another picture, "This is what I use. My great grandpa carried it in the Finnish Winter War. It's a Czech-made Brno Vz.33 mountain carbine—light weight, and short, but it fires an 8mm round, same as the standard infantry rifle."

"What do you hunt?"

"Mostly deer. Sometimes moose and bear. Järvinen's were always hunters, going back to Finland. Granddad Tomo taught dad; dad taught me. Here's a picture of Grandpa Tomo and me with my first buck."

"Tomo. So, you and your grandpa have Finnish names?"

"We all do actually. Jake, my dad, he's really Jaakko. Uncle Mike, the sheriff, he's Mikael. All the others have their Finnish formal names, and their nicknames. Some are really similar; my brother's name is Oliver. Others like mine are pretty different."

"I like different. I think Vil is cool. You look like a baby in this picture with the buck! What were you 10?"

"Eleven. Youth hunting in Vermont is anyone under 15. I tracked it with Dad and Grandpa, but I had to shoot it. I almost fell over from the recoil of the rifle."

"What do you do with it after you shoot it?"

"It goes to a butcher who cuts it all up. We keep some of the meat and the rest goes to the homeless shelter downtown. The skin, horns and bones all go to a guy just outside of town. He makes clothes, knife hilts and all kinds of stuff out of it."

"You do Nordic, biathlon, Scouts and hunting? You spend a lot of time out in the wild."

"Yeah, I guess. There's a lot of merit badges in these pictures. Have you ever been camping?"

Evan snorted, "Nope, if the Järvinen's are hunters, the Donovan's are city boys. I've never been, and pretty sure the Prick hasn't either. Mom tried to get us to. She bought all of us Nordic skis when I was little—dad refused to use 'em. He's a mechanic—metal and oil good; woods and animals bad!"

"I'd really like to take you camping if you're up for it."

"That would be fun, especially if you're wearing these shorts," he laughed, pointing to a picture of me shirtless in a pair of German leather scouting shorts—they were really short and tight.

I blushed, "Sadly those don't fit me anymore. That was from a Scouts Jamboree when I was 13. There was German scouting group there and we traded some uniform stuff."

"You need to invite those German scouts back. You look way cuter in those shorts than this red dress!" as he pointed to another picture, this of me in my red cassock from the Christmas concert from last year.

"No making fun of me in my cassock, and don't call it a dress. I'm all boy!" We headed into Evan's new room and got him organized. It took a while because we basically had to refold everything we'd brought over from his house in garbage bags. By the time we got him all moved in, he was pretty tired and wanted to lie down and get in a nap before dinner.

With time to kill, I went downstairs and convinced Uncle Mike to run me by the high school (after confirming that Mrs. Elliot—my photography teacher—was there working on grading). We brought all of Evan's artwork—a collection of charcoals and watercolors—inside to her classroom and laid it all out on the big tables. She was really impressed and yelled down the hallway for Mr. Ableburn to come down—he's more into painting than Mrs. Elliot. The two of them pretty much forgot we were there as they perused Evan's work. They only reengaged with us when they wanted to know who had done the work and did he have any formal training. It was Evan of course, and to the best of my knowledge he had not. He'd only mentioned his mom teaching him when he was little.

They were both super excited, gave me their cell numbers, and made me promise to bring Evan over during the holidays. I got the impression that Mr. Ableburn wanted to talk Evan into taking his class in the spring. They said they would hold on to the pictures and put them in a drying/press machine that they had which would fix the problems caused by the pictures being out in the snow.

I had to wake Evan up for dinner when I got home, a chore I readily accepted. He just looked so peaceful and cute asleep on his back—even with all the bruises and bandages. I watched his lips move just ever so slightly as he breathed; his chest rising and falling at the same time. Boy, I could have watched him all night! I had to wake him though, so I reached out and gently pushed his shoulder.

He shot up like I'd punched him though! I froze, wide eyed, as I stared at his clenched fists; his face angry and twisted! His face softened right away—guess he realized it was me. Then he looked down at his fists and got really embarrassed, "God I'm so fucked up."

His shoulders slumped and he looked really sad. I got choked up and almost cried. I knew I needed to be strong for Evan, so I refused to let myself get teary eyed. I moved in close and slipped my arms around him, pulling him in tight against my chest—very careful not to squeeze too hard on the ribs side! He seemed to just melt into me (which did feel really nice!), while I gently stroked his back and calmed him back down.

Dinner was pretty casual. Mom and dad hit Evan with a lot of the usual parent questions; but they were savvy enough to stay away from ones dealing with why he was now living at our house. We ended the evening watching a movie in the family room, with Evan and I sharing opposite ends of the couch. Mom and dad were there, so it's not like we were making out or anything, but it sure felt nice to have Evan's leg stretched out against mine the whole night.

I was very tired and happy when we all finally went to bed. Evan and I shared the bathroom while we brushed our teeth just like I'd always done with my brother. He did get to take the eye bandage off at night as they wanted it to get air to help the healing process, so I got to briefly wallow in both of his beautiful green eyes. I snuggled into my bed, wishing Evan was there beside me but recognizing that the reality of our potentially budding relationship was going to move much slower than my mind and heart wanted it to.

I drifted off to sleep, replaying the events of the past few days in my mind. It totally sucked and was sad that Evan's dad was so mean to him; but it totally didn't suck that it meant he was now living with us and that the barriers (real or imagined) to our getting together seemed to have evaporated in the chaos.

I awoke to the sound of screaming! Something was wrong with Evan! I leapt out of bed and sprinted through the bathroom, skidding out on the tiles and clocking my hip on the edge of the vanity. I could see Evan sitting up in the dim light of the moon, looking wildly around the room in a panic. Oblivious to the fact that he might take a swing at me in his disoriented state, I rushed the bed and flung my arms around him.

"Evan, Evan! It's me Vil. You were having a nightmare."

"He came for me again. He was swinging that bat. I tried to run but I couldn't move my feet. I was so scared," Evan gasped. His whole-body shuddering and trembling against me.

"He's in jail. He can't get to you. You're safe here," I whispered, trying to help him calm down. Light from the hallway blazed over his shoulder, as dad opened the door and start to come in, I looked at him and shook my head. He stared at us for a few seconds, nodded, and retreated.

"God, I'm so fucked up!" Evan moaned for the second time today.

I squeezed him tight, trying to make the hurt go away (and acutely aware of the light sheen of sweat on his body—damn he smelled good), "You're not fucked up Evan. You been through some major fucking shit and you're still trying to deal with it."

"I feel like he's still got a hold on me even though he's locked up."

"Do you think maybe you should talk to someone about it? A professional I mean? My mom and dad would definitely know someone who could help."

"Do you think that would help?

"Well, I'd love it to be me, but I wouldn't know the first thing to do. I think you need to talk to someone who really understands what people go through when this kind of stuff happens to them."

"Maybe I should talk to your parents in the morning."

I nodded in agreement. But then things seemed awkward. There we were, two of us hugging, my arms around him, I didn't want to let go, but I wasn't sure what to say next. I wanted to stay but it seemed Evan was ready to go back to bed, "I guess I should go back to bed then."

"Don't go. Could you stay. With me. Sleep here?"

'Gloria in excelsis deo!' Like way too eagerly I agreed, "I'd love too!" then I blushed, "Sorry, guess that was a little over eager."

Evan smiled, "That's okay. Over eager is very flattering." He turned on his side, his back to me. "Would you spoon me?"

I gulped as I looked down at his tight, boxer-brief covered butt—spoon that? Thank you, God! And so, the little spoon spooned the big spoon. I snuggled my chest in against Evan's back and slid my arm around his torso. He grabbed my arm and pulled me in more tightly. "Scoot in tight. It's okay."

"Ummm. I kind of have a problem." Seriously, I mean, I was trying to be so good and comforting. To not be a perv. But come on, I'd been hugging a half-naked Evan, caressing his back, and now I'm feeling his muscled back against my chest.

"Ha-ha. That's okay. We got two solid layers of really thin cloth to protect my honor! It's not like you're going to rape me in my sleep, right?"

"Never. But I can't promise I won't have a wet dream!" I giggled.

He reached back behind me and grabbed my butt. Firmly pressing me into him as he wiggled back. I moaned as I felt my hard on nestling into his cleft. Evan pulled my arm even tighter, his hand holding mine against his solid pec. Okay, well if he wasn't going to be shy, I wasn't either! I snuggled up really tight. I don't think we could have been any closer—our legs intertwined; my boner pressed against his butt; my bare chest to his bare back; my nose nestled against the back of his neck, inhaling his scent. I could die now, a happy boy!

I lay there for a long time just enjoying being this close to him. I heard his breathing slow and calm down, eventually he fell back asleep. I wasn't too far behind him, and we slept straight through until morning.

The pale morning light was just starting to come through the window when I woke up. As my eyes focused, I realized Evan was already awake. I looked over and he was there, smiling, laying on his side, head propped up on his casted arm, watching me. I'm pretty sure I had my happiest smile ever when I whispered, "Morning."

"Good morning. You look really peaceful when you're asleep, did you know that?"

"Probably not. You know, 'cause I'd be asleep," I giggled.

"Aren't you the funny guy," and he dug in to tickle me in the side. Which was a really bad thing. Have I mentioned that I'm ticklish? I don't mean a little ticklish, if you really try. I mean full on, pee in your pants, look at me funny, and I start giggling ticklish!

Of course, I instantly revealed my kryptonite! Twisting in a ridiculous attempt to shield my vulnerable sides. Holding my hands up in an equally ineffective defense against his probing fingers!

The Enforcer smelled blood in the water and went in on the full-on offensive—darting and grazing across my bare torso. I protested vehemently, sort of, I mean I protested sure; but I didn't really want him to stop. It felt so nice having Evan touch me everywhere! Okay, I also found it just slightly erotic, as evidenced by my raging hardon which in my throes of spasmed defending maybe rubbed up against Evan.

Eventually I held my hand up, and Evan stopped, allowing me to catch my breath. My chest was heavy; my heart pounding; my dick hard as a rock! Evan was leaning in over me from the side, so close. We were panting in each other's faces (I wondered if tickling is as erotic for the tickler as it is for the ticklee). As we looked into each other's eyes, I felt a kiss coming. This was it. He was going to kiss me!

Nope. Instead, dad knocked loudly on the door, and we both pulled back in fear of parental intrusion, "Rise and shine boys! Choir practice. Breakfast in 10." 'Thanks dad. Way to kill the mood!'

"I think you should get in the shower," Evan whispered, "He's going to come back if he doesn't hear it going on."

"You could come shower with me," I tried, wiggling my eyebrows as seductively as I could.

He smirked, "Tempting, but risky with your parents in the house. I'll take a rain check though."

"Hmmm. Okay. I'm good with a rain check—but you have to understand, there's kind of a short expiration date on those rain checks." Then I heaved myself out of bed, making no attempt to hide the obscene bulge in my boxer-briefs. I saw where Evan's eye was looking and paused, leaning back a little just to put on a show before I turned and headed for the bathroom (I hoped he was as hard as I was!).

Sadly, we had to part as dad and I headed off to choir practice, leaving Evan with mom to get his eye bandaged for the day and then turn to on a long list of Christmas prep. I sat back with my eyes closed the entire way to the church, reliving the events of the previous night—the touching, the hugs, the comforting, the boners. I was reveling in the near-kiss, when dad interrupted just like he had done with the real near-kiss! I know he means well, he's concerned for Evan, and he is an educator; but Jeez, does he work that horrible timing intentionally??!! He wanted to know about Evan's nightmare, what it was about, what I'd done to calm him down. I didn't think I was betraying any confidence, nor was I really telling dad anything he didn't pretty much know already, so I gave him a rundown on what had happened. I left out the spooning, tickling and boner parts!

I couldn't wait to get back to the house as soon as rehearsals were over. Unfortunately, I came home to just mom (no offense to mom's everywhere). I sprinted past her, figuring Evan was upstairs, but found only empty rooms. Confused, I wandered back downstairs only to discover that Evan had reached out to Mr. Ableburn and was over at the school discussing his artwork.

"Oh," was all I could say, as I processed not being part of the art discussion. I don't know why it seemed to be bothering me so much, but it definitely was. Maybe I need to take a deep breath.

"You know, one's art can be intensely personal. Maybe Evan was more comfortable talking to Mr. Ableburn on his own. You don't know what he's going to say, some of it might be very critical."

I looked at my mom like she had three, no twelve, heads. WTF? Is she reading my mind??!! I think my mouth opened and closed a few times, maybe more, as my brain tried to connect with my mouth to respond.

Mom just gave me her 'you're my youngest, I love you, and you know I've been through this with all your siblings right' smile (she packs a lot into a smile!), "You really like him, don't you?"

I couldn't really have denied it, even if I wanted to, as the biggest smile spread out across my face. So, I just nodded, and gave a decisive, barely audible, "Yes. Is it that obvious?"

"Your dad noticed at the hospital. He's usually totally oblivious; so yes, it's pretty apparent. And he likes you?"

"I think so. We both admitted to secretly crushing on each other since 7th grade."

"Crushing is nice, but you only think so? Have you guys talked about your relationship?"

"Yes. No. Well, a little bit, maybe. I don't want to push him because of all the sh.., umm stuff, he's going through."

Mom nodded, "That seems like a wise decision. But still, if you're serious, you should talk. You know 'communicate'. It's important that you both understand your desires and expectations."

"Like you and dad?"

"Exactly, though when you've been married as long as we have it's more a matter of me setting my desires and expectations—and him agreeing!"

I nodded, staring off into the distance, as my mind wandered off in contemplation. 'Okay, I'm going to have to think about this as bit. How would I even start such a conversation? What is it I want? Okay isn't that obvious—I want Evan.'

Tap, tap, tap. I blinked, going cross-eyed as I tried to focus in on the finger poking me gently in the forehead. "Why don't you gear up and head out on the course. You need to get your practice in anyway and that always helps you think. Evan should be back by the time you're done."

No point in arguing with that—she was right in more ways than one. I suited up, did a quick refresh on my wax, and headed out. With the biathlon event a little over a week away, I wanted to do a full 20k circuit; carrying my dummy rifle for weight; and pausing to dry-fire at the requisite four intervals. I didn't take any music with me this time—I needed to think. Mom was right, a few minutes into the course, my mind was clearing—nothing like searing cold burning your lungs to help you focus! As I skied, I ran through scenario after scenario of discussions with Evan. Hopefully, one of them would be close to reality. At least it helped me think through what I wanted to say; and what was really important to me.

It was a cloudy day, and already getting darker as I came out of the woods and headed for home. If nothing else, I felt awesome from the workout—the endorphins were surging through my body. I'd long gotten over not being invited to the session with Mr. Ableburn. Across the final stretch, I could see the Christmas lights had already turned on, making our house look like it had been plucked from the North Pole!

I quickly stowed my gear and trotted inside. Mom spied me from the kitchen and gave a head nod, "He's upstairs."

I took those stairs two at a time and burst into Evan's room, startling him as he looked up from his art pad. His eye opened wide and he held his hand up, "Stop!"

Confused, I skidded to a halt, freezing in mid skid.

"Turn…slowly. Not too fast."

Now grinning, I slowly turned. Arching my back just a little, to stretch out my torso against my racing suit. Pausing when I was full on back to him and looking back over my shoulder. I could see Evan's beautiful green eyes scanning up and down my lycra clad body. My suit was inspired by the Finnish colors, so it was a combination of medium/light blue and white—it was easy to make out all the curves and bulges.

"Damn," he hissed quietly, "That suit looks even sexier in person than in your pictures!"

My cheeks, already bright red from the cold and the workout, blushed even more, "You like it?"

"I like you in it! Most definitely!

"I'm not too skinny?"

"Vil, you are most definitely not too skinny! You are beautifully lean!"

I blushed more, then got flustered, "I should go changed."

"Wait. Come here first." Evan set down his pad and stood up as I came over to his bedside. "Before you go change, let me do what I was about to do this morning before we were so rudely interrupted by your dad."

I shivered as he reached out and ran his hands up my sides. He pulled me in tight against him. A stalwart 5' 8", I had to tilt my head back to look him in the eyes. He reached up and ran his fingertips along my jaw. I was already panting and felt my dick starting to swell up. He licked his slightly parted lips; I imitated his actions. And then he did it!

He kissed me. So lightly. So softly. So gently. So tenderly. So romantically. I moaned and shuddered as he pulled my body tightly against his. He pulled back and then came back in. Again, and again. I was in heaven—and a lot braver, my shyness giving way to unleashed Vil desire!

By the third go around of kisses, I was pressing my crotch hard into Evan's. If my racing suit left little to the imagination when on the course, you can guess how it looked with a raging hardon. Eventually, Evan pressed me back and little, "You should go change before you have an accident."

I wrapped my arms around his neck and tucked my face in against his, "I seriously do not want to move from this spot, ever."

"My foster mom mentioned that I should have a talk with my boyfriend," he whispered in my ear, "Go change and we'll talk."

I pulled back, not sure whether to be happy or angry that mom saw fit to get involved. One look at the beautiful smile on Evan's face and the eager look in his green eyes 'did I mention how I just melt when I look into those eyes…sigh', pushed any consideration of mom's actions out of my mind.

I untangled myself from Evan and practically skipped through the bathroom to my room, peeling off my suit and ripping through my drawers for the perfect 'discussion' outfit! I think I changed in record time, returning to Evan wearing my best, form fitting sweats—not those dumb ones where the crotch hangs to your knees; mine were nice form fitting in the butt, slim legs, and cuffed ankles. Those, a t-shirt, and warm boot socks comprised my perfect, snuggle in bed and talk with your boyfriend attire!

Evan was sitting back against his pillow when I returned. He raised his arm (the good one, not the casted one) and indicated I should tuck in against him there. Which I happily did of course. He pulled me in close for a sideways hug.

He started to talk, but I interrupted and pulled out for under his arm, "Wait a sec. I need to move. As much as I love being tucked in against you, we should be looking at each other for this discussion, not both staring at the end of the bed."

So, I flipped around, and retucked myself in, basically hip to hip. I leaned a little bit across him, propping my arm on the other side of his body. He nodded in agreement and reached out to hold my free hand, "Okay. You all settled in now? No more interruptions?"

I nodded, trying to pay attention and not lose myself in those eyes!

He took a deep breath, "So, we talked about our mutual crushes, we agreed to explore, there's been a ton of flirting, and a little kissing."

"Excellent synopsis, Mr. Donovan! Continue please," I intoned in my best rendition of our bombastic government teacher Mr. Meyers.

Evan arched and eyebrow and wiggled his fingers, "Careful young Vil, you don't want to inadvertently unleash the tickle fingers!"

"Sorry. Stupid joke. I'm just a little nervous," I shivered, "For the record though, I really like unleashing your tickle fingers. But point taken."

"I really like you Vil, and I want to date you."

"I really like you too. So does this mean we're boyfriends?"

"I'm not sure. I've never had a boyfriend. I guess the real question is what do you want in a boyfriend?"

'Okay. I was ready for this discussion. If only I could remember all the carefully rehearsed thoughts I'd just had while skiing.' "There's the easy stuff. We date each other; not other people—that's really important to me. And there's the physical stuff—like kissing, touching, cuddling and ummm…sex."

When we're ready.

"I think I'm ready now ha-ha"

"I know you're ready, but we have to be ready. We shouldn't just have sex to have sex. I've done that before and I don't want us to be like that."

"I thought you said you'd never had a boyfriend."

"I haven't. I was always too afraid to try to have a boyfriend because I didn't think I could hide it from my dad, and well you know what he would have done if he found out. So instead, I did stuff with guys—some I knew, some I didn't. It was just to get off. I'm not proud of what I've done. I stopped a while ago. If we're going to try this, I don't want to just get off with you. I want a relationship."

I nodded, taking that all in. "Well good news is I don't want to just have sex either. I don't think I could ever do that—not that I'm judging." I frowned, trying to figure out how to say this, then I pulled Evan's hand up to my chest, pushing it against me; leaving it there, I moved my hand to his chest. "I want my heart to belong to you; and your heart to belong to me. I want you to know me; and I you. I want to understand your art; I want to share my wilderness with you."

Evan smiled, rubbing his hand firmly against my chest, "I think we're saying the same thing. If that's what we are as boyfriends, then I'm all in."

I'm pretty sure the silly grin on my face showed I was all in too, but I wanted to officially seal the deal, "Can I kiss you?"

Evan tilted his head, "First rule of boyfriends. You don't ever have to ask for a kiss!"

"I think I like that rule," I murmured, leaning forward and quickly licking my lips before we connected.

Just like before, we exchanged the gentlest kisses, to start. Then I felt Evan's tongue run across my lips. I couldn't part my lips fast enough to let him in; sliding my tongue out to meet him halfway. I felt jolts of electricity shoot though my body as our tips touched, danced, and then slid past each other. We kept having to break apart just to catch our breath. Leaning our foreheads together as we panted. Grinning. And then diving back in for more!

We kissed for a really long time, but neither of us was keeping track. At some point, our hands got involved—touching, caressing, stroking. My brain was having processing overload with all the intense feelings and sensations flooding in from all quarters—but in a good, no awesome, way. I was beginning to wonder why I ever thought Evan had a hard, don't fuck with me, edge to him. I guess there is there are kind of two Evan's—the one caused by his dad, Evan's defense mechanism; and the real one. I like the real one!

Eventually we took a real break, pulling apart and sharing the happiest smiles I think either of us could muster. I leaned forward and snuggled in on Evan's chest. He wrapped his arms around me as I rested my face in the crook of his neck. I gently inhaled his scent—he was using my bodywash, but it had a whole new scent to it when combined with Evan. 'Life is nice wrapped up in a muscular Evan cocoon', I thought.

"So, when should we go on our first date?" I pondered out loud.

"I haven't thought that far ahead," Evan mused, "That's going to be kind of tough with my eye all bandaged up and my arm in a cast. Unless you can drive?"

I shook my head in his neck, "Not yet. My parents won't let me get my learner's permit until I'm 16 even though I could get it now. They had the same rule for Olly and Maria. I tried the Boy Scout/Choirboy argument, but no luck."

"Hmmm. We'll have to figure something out then."

My mind started churning. There was no way I was going to wait until Evan was all healed up! "We could Home Date!"

"Home Date?"

"Yeah. It's like Home Schooling; only it's Home Dating! That way we could date before you get your bandages and cast off."

"How would Home Dating be different from what we're doing now? It should be a real date."

I had to think about that, "Hmmm. It would need to be a defined date and activity. Not just hanging out. Like we would decide that we're going to do something, at a specific time. And you have to dress for the date. Are you busy tomorrow night?"

"Are you asking me out?"


"What are we going to do?"

"It's a surprise." I giggled, "For both of us, 'cause I haven't figured it out yet! But I will, by tomorrow."

"I'll have to check my social schedule, but I'm pretty sure I'm free."

"It's a date then!"

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