10 Training Commences

Monday came early for Marcus, as he packed up for the boys’ training. He was already worn out by the time Lt. Spencer got up. “Bright and early this morning, eh?” Spencer asked.

“I’ve got to have everything I’ll need for a week of training,” Marcus sighed over his shoulder. “You’re going to be okay this week? You could come with us?”

“Thanks,” Spencer smiled. “But that would be … awkward. I’d be a bit of a fifth wheel….”

“This week is about training,” Marcus retorted.

“And there’ll be no extracurricular snogging, I suppose? Presuming your little wood nymph doesn’t just assault you in some eerie hollow.” Marcus grunted and rolled his eyes at the man. “Besides, I’m having dinner with Dean.”

At that Marcus turned and smiled and clapped the man on the shoulder. “Well, if anything goes, well, abnormally, you can always go to James, or Sebastian.”

“Thank you, Marcus, but I’ll be fine,” Spencer said.

“Yes, well,” Marcus began. “Just talk to someone if you have any troubles.”

“I promise,” Spencer said with a smile. “Now let me go shower!” Spencer sauntered off to the barracks shower with a freedom in his step Marcus couldn’t help but notice.

Shortly, Marcus made his way up to the house and let himself inside. James was sitting in the living room reading and asked, “Everything almost ready for your trip?”

“Almost! When are the guys getting here?” Marcus asked.

“Sebastian left an hour ago to bring them back here,” James said.

“Good! Is Chris up?” Marcus asked.

“In the shower,” James said. “You could go surprised him!”

Marcus rolled his eyes. “Not you, too!”

“I just don’t know what you’re waiting for. Chris knows what he wants. He’s serious. He’s loyal. What do you want?” James asked with a smile.

“Right now,” Marcus said levelly, “I want to ask you to look in on Spencer this week. We’ve been friendly lately, and I think he’ll get lonely.”

“Funny,” James began and paused. “Chris said the same thing earlier!”

Marcus shook his head and headed to Chris’s room, where he found the boy packing, a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. Marcus watched for a moment before knocking gently on the doorframe.

Chris looked up at him with no hint of shame and smiled. “I’m almost ready! I just need to pack my toiletries and put some clothes on. Unless you’d prefer I….”

“Get dressed, you imp!” Marcus shouted lovingly and closed the door.

When Chris opened it, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, he whispered, “You didn’t have to wait outside!”

Marcus snaked his arms around the boy’s waist. “Yes, I did,” he whispered, his warm breath tickling Chris’s ear and making him shiver. “Chris, just give me some time, okay?”

“Alright, but I’m ready WHENEVER you are,” Chris smiled up at him.

“Grab your bag, then! I’ll go out and get my stuff so we can be ready to go when Sebastian brings back Carl and Edward,” Marcus said.

“Alright!” Chris replied, watching the man walk away with open appreciation. ‘Let it never be said I didn’t give him all the signs,’ Chris thought to himself and laughed.

Within about five minutes, Sebastian arrived with the boys in tow, each carrying a fairly heavy duffle-bag, packed as instructed.

Marcus returned with his bags. “We’re all set, then?” he asked with a smile.

“It would seem so,” Sebastian replied. “You’re sure you have all you need? You can handle this on your own?”

“Yes, sir, I believe so! I won’t take any chances, you can be sure of that,” Marcus replied.

“I am,” Sebastian said. “Very well. Gentlemen, you travel the next leg of your journey together. Have a wonderful week!”

“Thank you, Sebastian,” Carl said with a big smile and Sebastian nodded. Sebastian and Marcus had already prepared the portal to the cabin, so the young soldier waved for the boys to follow him the basement and got their ‘mission’ underway.

“God willing,” Sebastian said with a wry look at James, “this will go better than Avery’s attempt at training William!”

James snorted and smacked him on the arm. “Let it go, Sebastian,” he said with a laugh.

Sebastian nodded. “I’ll be in the office until it’s time for Avery and William. Will you be joining today?”

“Maybe,” James responded, drawing a searching look from his partner. “I’m going to make some time to talk with Spencer this afternoon, so I don’t know.” Sebastian nodded and disappeared.

Carl unlocked the cabin and let everyone inside. “Kitchen’s right there, den’s through here. There are three bedrooms. Edward and I will take the one at the far end of the hall. My parents room is down there, so y’all take the other one,” he said, raising his eyebrows as he saw Chris smirk and Marcus blush. “Or … Marcus you can,” Carl began, but Edward grabbed his arm to shut him up.

“That’ll be just fine,” Chris said with a smile. Marcus followed the boy into the room with his bags with a funny look.

“What do you think that’s all about?” Carl whispered.

“I think they don’t sleep together,” Edward said.

“Well, why didn’t you let me tell Marcus he could sleep in my parents’ room?” Carl asked.

“Chris wants to sleep with him,” Edward smiled, and Carl shook his head.

“We shouldn’t interfere,” Carl cautioned.

“We aren’t interfering,” Edward said. “How they arrange themselves behind that door is none of our business!”

Carl shook his head and put his bags down in his room, and Edward was a few steps behind him. He snaked his arms around Carl’s muscular torso, slipping one hand under the boy’s shirt. “Mmmm,” Carl sighed as the boy’s soft hand moved across his taught skin.

“I love you,” Edward whispered into his powerful back. Carl turned and lifted the boy so they were face-to-face.

“I love you too,” he replied in a deep voice tinged with Irish brogue.

Edward could feel the boy’s hardness pressing into him as he kissed him, but he knew Carl wouldn’t press the issue. He trusted the boy completely, and held on for dear life. A few minutes later, Carl sat him carefully on the bed. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom,” he laughed and excused himself. A few minutes later Carl returned looking much relieved and relaxed.

Meanwhile, Marcus stood looking at the queen bed he seemed destined to share with Chris. “Well, I suppose you’re pleased?” Marcus asked.

“I’m not complaining,” Chris said, looking satisfied.

“Well, we’ll make do, but don’t get any ideas. We can share this bed without,” he was saying when Chris interrupted.

“Whatever! You know what I want! You let me know when you’re ready!” With that, he stormed out of the room and down to the den, plopping down on a couch.

Marcus shook his head and thought to himself, ‘WHAT AM I DOING HERE?’ Looking in the mirror, he saw an unhappy face. “What are you doing? There’s a boy who adores you, who wants to be with you, and you keep turning him away!” ‘He’s too young,’ his inner voice answered him. “Bull! He knows! You’re just afraid!” ‘Afraid he’ll change his mind. He’s young, he’ll want to experience the world later. You’ll be left alone again!’ To that, he had no reply, and he brought his fist down on the dresser hard, causing pain to shoot up his arm to his elbow.

In a moment, he heard fast footfalls. “What’s wrong?” Chris asked, worry in his voice. He saw Marcus holding his hand and quickly took it in his own. He could see it was hurt, not badly, but he lifted it to his lips and kissed it. “I’m sorry,” Chris whispered.

“It’s my fault,” Marcus said, turning his face away.

“I pressured you,” Chris said, shaking his head.

Marcus sat down on the bed and let Chris slide in beside him, still holding his injured hand. “I’m just afraid you’re not ready for what I want and that I’ll get left alone. I’m not ready for that again,” he added softly.

“Again?” Chris asked.

Marcus nodded. “When I was a little older than you, there was this boy in military academy. You know, among wizards, such things aren’t as taboo, so it wasn’t a big secret. We were together for a long time. He was my first. I was in love and ready for a life together.”

“What happened?” Chris asked softly.

“He graduated the year before I did. I was waiting, and I thought he was too. But I called him one night, and a woman answered. His new girlfriend. He never even told me. He sent me a letter a month later explaining everything. We were just boys when we got together. What did we know? We needed to explore…. All that….”

“And you think … one day I’ll ‘grow up’ and,” Chris trailed off as Marcus looked away with a little tear in his eye.

“I’m afraid, yes,” Marcus allowed.

“I’m not like him,” Chris said, “but there’s nothing I can say to make your fears go away. YOU have to believe it to make that happen,” the boy said wisely.

“Chris, you are sooo young,” Marcus said, plaintive.

“And in your observation, will age make me more faithful?” Chris asked.

Marcus laughed. “No….”

“When we’re ready, we’ll be ready,” Chris whispered. “But you’ve got me, I swear it…. I left Steve because I didn’t know if he’d ever be ready for what I wanted, and I’ll wait for you for the same reason—I know you’ve been waiting for what I want.”

Marcus wrapped his arm around the boy and said, “I need to prepare for your first lesson. Why don’t you and the boys go grab a snack and get ready?”

“Sure,” Chris smiled and went to get the others.

He knocked on Carl’s door and, hearing no answer, opened the door, finding the two boys laying on top of the covers kissing. Chris blushed fiercely and knocked harder on the doorframe.

The boys separated quickly and looked over at him. “Sorry guys, but I did knock! Marcus is working on our first lesson and thought we’d best have a bite to eat.”

The boys nodded. Edward winked and asked in a lower voice, “And how are things down at the love shack?”

“Better,” Chris said with another mighty blush.

“So, you guys aren’t, you know?” Edward asked with an awkward smile.

Chris shook his head, before adding slyly, “I wish!”

“He is cute,” Edward said, causing Carl to poke him in the side and exclaim, “HEY!”

“Deny it!” Edward demanded with a laugh.

“Well, he’s not exactly my type, but he isn’t hard on the eyes,” Carl allowed.

“Oh, and what is your type,” Edward asked with a sly smile.

“Well,” the big boy said thoughtfully, “Chris is pretty cute!” Now it was Edward’s turn to poke him in the side. Carl put a hand on the boy’s cheek and laughed, as if he had forgotten Chris’s presence. “I like my men sleek and slim, with light skin and dark hair, with gorgeous green eyes and soft voices.”

“That’s awfully specific, isn’t it?” Edward asked, giggling.

“It is, isn’t it?” Carl asked playfully.

Chris coughed awkwardly to remind them he was there, and said, “Sooooo, food?”

Both boys jumped up and followed him to the kitchen, only to realize there was no food in the refrigerator. “Marcus, no food!” Chris called.

The man came out of the bedroom smiling, wearing a pair of camouflage cargo pants and a moss green, form-fitting t-shirt. “Sorry, guys,” he said. He opened the refrigerator and whispered a few words and opened a small bag he had in his hands. Suddenly the refrigerator was full.

“Wow!” the boys exclaimed.

“Oh, that?” Marcus asked. “For convenience’s sake, I shrank our food!”

“Very cool,” Chris said. All the teens made sandwiches, while Marcus just grabbed a banana and sat with them.

“Our first lesson will begin after you’re finished. Edward, you’re welcome to join us, or to stay here and read or relax or whatever,” Marcus said.

“What are you guys doing?” Edward asked.

“That,” Marcus began with a smile, “is secret until it happens!”

“You’re no fun,” Edward said. “I’m coming. But I’m bringing my book!”

“Excellent compromise,” Marcus smiled. “Gentlemen, change into something comfortable but not too baggy.”

The boys quickly put their plates in the dishwasher and went to change. Edward didn’t bother, but grabbed the mystery he was reading and accompanied them.