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Butterfly Dreams, Part Four
Reply to AlerionPosted to the rwguiltypleasures mailing list August 11, 2001
Title: Butterfly Dreams Chapter 4
Disclaimer: See Chapter 1. The idea that Drew Valentine is Kyle's cousin comes from the notorious Aunty Mib.
Max did not like my house. He wouldn't say why, but we both knew. I dropped him at the corner. I only took a few minutes to throw some things together and go back to pick him up. We headed for Frazier Woods. I flipped on the stereo . Max frowned. 'Uh, Kyle what are we listening to?' he asked.
I told him: 'Tibetan singing bowls. Aren't they great?'
'Um... Is that what its supposed to sound like?'
'Hey, I had to order this CD through the net.'
'Uh, Kyle, I'm sure Maria would be thrilled.'
'You hate it, right?' I sighed.
Max said: 'Gomez? Counting Crows?'
'I've got out of touch with that stuff since I found Buddha, starboy.'
'Maybe try KBCQ.'
I switched over. I don't think Max is going to take to my new taste in music. Frazier Woods takes a while to reach. Max listened to the radio a while and then went to sleep on me. I wondered if the Tibetan CD would wake him up if I played it again. I found the trail easily, even though it was getting dark.
I've been to this spot a fair bit in the last few months. A forest always feels mysterious at night, all tree smells and soft sounds you can't identify. Its a great place to meditate. I hoped Max would like it. At least we'd be private. I touched his knee. 'Hey, starboy, wake up. Look around.'
Sometimes Max jerks awake and glances round like a startled animal. Or a trapped animal. I hate it when he does that. I hugged him and murmured that it was okay. I think his tongue in my mouth meant that he agreed with me.
We were in a round clearing about 20 feet across. A circle of rocks marked an old fireplace. All round us the trees were pillars reaching up into dark. Trickle of water over mossy stones. Tree smells and earth smells. A wind like something breathing through the trees. The fireplace still smelt of woodsmoke.
I have never been big on camping. Dad was always going to take me but something usually came up, so he only managed it once. Getting the tent set up should have been easy but my concentration was shot. I don't think you're supposed to crawl inside but it was the only way I could think to get the thing set up. The damn poles just would not clip together and I needed a second pair of hands.
'Max, I need you.'
'You keep saying that lately, Kyle.'
A pole came loose and cracked me on the head. 'You know I mean getting this thing up.'
'What are we trying to get up, Kyle? Can I help.'
'For a boyfriend' I growled 'you make a great straight man. Give me a hand, willya?'
I was pleased to get something like a laugh. Max hadn't done much laughing in a long time. He crawled under the tent and wrapped his arms round me from behind. Nice thought, but there was still the tangle of poles to deal with.
'Starboy, are we setting up a tent or playing twister?'
'Um, bit of both.'
Max' teeth and lips were on my neck and his hand was under my shirt. I was ready to kill him and kiss him at the same time. His hand on my nipple persuaded me that kissing was a better idea. Making out half-snared in tent cloth is not a good idea. We don't kiss each other, we drown in each other until we have to break and come up gasping for air.
The link between us does what it likes. We flow through each other's memories, half-fearing what we'll find. I think Max broke for air first, but I could be wrong. I sighed. Escaping the collapsed tent took a while. We ended up embracing by the fire. I discovered I like the way he smells.
'What now, earthboy?'
'We find some wood and build a fire.'
Max said: 'How about I do that?' He wandered around for a while and I dug out a pan and some cans of food. He came back with an armload of wood. He stacked it carefully.
'Hey, I said, its a fire not a work of art.' I was fiddling with matches.
Max said: 'Hey, let me.' He moved his left hand over the pile of wood. Once I hated Max being different. I don't now. His forehead creased and his hand flared silver. Sparks leapt through the kindling, then the twigs took fire and a log burst into flame.
I grabbed his wrist. 'Hey careful where you point that thing, Max. We need the fire to burn for a while, okay?'
'How do you handle chile?'
'Not as well as some aliens I could name, starboy.'
'I found out about this Mexican thing. If I add some chocolate and tabasco will you still eat it?'
'Yeah' I answered. What I really wanted to eat was Max.
'Let me cook then?.'
'Jocks don't cook, Max.'
'Jocks don't have boyfriends either, Kyle.'
'I know, but I seem to have this thing for boy aliens and Michael's probably straight.'
Max smiled. That smile can knock me out. 'I think I agree about Michael, earthboy.'
'Anyway,' I said 'I have this cousin in Massachusetts. He told me about a gay guy that plays for his school. Drew says it's worked out okay...'
'Great, Kyle. Your cousin know a well-adjusted queer alien in Massachusetts by any chance?'
I winced. Max emptied some cans into a pan. A grin ghosted over his face when he saw me watching how much chile he was shoveling in. It smelt horrible. It tasted worse. I smiled all the time I was eating it. First meal a boyfriend ever cooked for me and it tasted worse than anything I've ever eaten. I thought seriously about taking up beer again.
'Hey, starboy. Does watching a fire work for aliens as well?'
'What do you mean, earthboy?'
'There's something magic about just looking into a fire. Its almost like meditating.' I stretched, yawned and whispered: 'This turning gay really wears a guy out. I'm already sleepy.'
Max said: 'Same here.' He lay down and settled his head in my lap. We watched the fire a long time and listened to the forest. That was the first time I realised how beautiful he is when he relaxes. I was not really used to thinking about another boy like that. I stroked his hair and put a hand over his heart. I know I watched the fire reflecting in his eyes until they closed.
You know when you're half-asleep and something makes you jerk awake? Max was still there, but everything else had changed. The trees were gone. We were in a room the size of a baseball park. There were these really big columns in a ring. I could see a still pool of dark water in the middle of the columns. When I looked up I could see we were inside a dome but it was so high clouds had formed inside. The place looked empty, but felt like someone was staying out of sight and watching. I looked round quickly to try and catch them but no-one was there.
I was sitting on a broad stone step. Max was still sleeping with his head in my lap. Well the stairs looked like stone, but sort of gave like a cushion. When I looked further up the staircase I could see a dark stain across the stone. That felt really bad. I thought Max might be pumping weirdness into my head again but he was sleeping quietly. When I ran my finger along his jaw there was a vague silvery smear. I almost woke him to brag about it.
I heard footsteps. Isabel was walking towards me. Things kept shifting and stretching. The first time I saw her she was a long way off but then she was right in front of me. It was like we were underwater. Things kept wavering if I looked at them too long.
'Valenti, where is this?'
'I don't know, Isabel. Didn't you make it?'
'You'd already made it when I found you. You shouldn't be able to do this.'
'Well, looks like I can.'
'But Max can't dreamwalk...'
'Iz, Max is asleep. Somehow I think its me.'
'Where are we, Kyle?'
'Aliens keep asking me that the last 24 hours or so. I don't know where we are. I don't think Max should wake up here. How do we stop him?'
Isabel looked down at him. She looked like she thought my lap was a bad place for Max to sleep. 'How is Max? Our parents think he's having a breakdown or something. They rang your dad about 5 times tonight. '
'He's okay now. My dad will cover for us. Max is a wreck.'
Isabel's eyes widened. 'Did Max told you about the nightmares?'
'Not really. I guessed from something that happened last night.'
'He's been like this since Pierce. A whole year. I think it got a lot worse when he was with...'
'Stop. Things are strange here. Don't say that name right now.'
'You can't protect him, Kyle. You're...'
'Human? I know. You aliens have done a terrific job of protecting him, right? '
'You couldn't possibly understand.'
'Yes I could. I understand Alex is dead. I understand you trust aliens no matter what. I understand we die when you do.'
Wrong, stupid, cruel thing to say. I'd said it before I thought about it. Bad karma.
'Shit I'm sorry, Iz. That just came out. '
She closed her eyes and just nodded.
'Max and I, uh, saw Alex last night.'
Isabel nodded again, still walling herself off in some private place. She whispered: 'That's happened with me too.'
'Kyle, Max said he would see Michael this afternoon and then disappeared.'
'We have stuff to work out.'
'What's happening with you two?'
'isabel, I, uh, think I am in love with your brother. Wow, that's still hard to say. He seems to feel the same way.'
'If you ever hurt him, Valenti...'
'Don't do your tigress big sister act on me. We need to talk sometime, Iz, just the 3 of us.'
A flicker of colour caught my eye. Something had changed. The pool at the heart of the room was shimmering every colour I knew. The rainbow colours shot up as high as the dome, and there was a dark cone shape floating in the fountain of light. The thing spun slowly in a slow arc. I could feel a slow drumming in my head, like something just below the edge of what you can hear. I asked Isabel if she felt it as well.
'It feels like the Granolith, but different.' Isabel shook her head, closed her eyes, opened them, looked again. It was still there. 'What's that rhythm?' She glanced down at my hand on Max' heart. 'Is that thing sounding Max' pulse?'
'I thought the Granolith was destroyed when, uh...'
'Kyle, don't. I think you're right about that name.'
'Well, you're the expert. You're right about the heartbeat.'
Isabel thought a moment before she said: 'We need to know what that thing is.'
I shouted: 'Don't go near it, Isabel!'
isabel continued as though she had not heard me. She didn't say anything. She walked, glided, whatever towards the pool. When she reached out towards the thing a sense of danger blared like a siren in my head. I shouted at Isabel not to touch it. She nodded and drew her hand back. I remember she promised me she would be careful. Something took hold of me and I felt myself being pulled out of the dream.
Max was kneeling in front of me. He had that Max look that means you're the only thing he can see or care about. 'Earthboy, nightmares are what I do. You're the strong silent superjock, remember? You were shouting something.'
'My head hurts, starboy.' I felt like every alien in the vicinity had taken a hammer to my head. Then his hands were on either side of my face and the headache was gone. 'Max, I was, uh...'
'You look like road kill, Kyle. Can it wait until morning?'
'I think so. I was talking to Iz. I didn't realise being queer was this complicated.'
I remember stumbling into the tent. I must have gone to sleep as soon as my head touched his chest.
Continue to Part Five
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