12 Coming Out, Further

James and Sebastian were laughing and talking over dinner with Peter and Richard when they heard the door to the yard open and Spencer step inside. “Come join us for dinner,” Sebastian called, and the man nodded, sliding into a seat and helping himself.

“How’s it going, Spence?” Peter asked, happily oblivious. “Haven’t seen much of you lately!”

The man blushed and said, “I’ve been busy.”

“Oh!” Peter exclaimed, wagging his eyebrows. “Sounds hot!” Spencer turned red with embarrassment, and Peter shrugged and asked, “What?”

“You don’t have to talk about it, Spencer. We’re just happy for you, that you’ve found something outside our little world,” Sebastian said with a soothing voice.

There was a quiet at the table, and without looking up, Spencer said, “I AM interested in someone.”

“Good for you!” Peter said. “Where’d you meet her?”

“Uhm, I went out for a drink and the bartender,” he began, and Peter jumped in.

“Cool! Think she can hook us up?” Peter asked.

“I don’t think Dean would be interested in having to deal with the law on that one, Peter,” Spencer said in passing. Everyone looked at him in surprise except for Sebastian, who merely smiled knowingly. “What, you have a problem with a couple of guys?” Spencer asked wryly.

“Have you told your … family?” Sebastian asked in passing.

“Ahm, no,” Spencer said, unsure.

“It would be a shame for them to find out you’re dating from someone besides yourself,” Sebastian added.

“You’re right,” Spencer said.

“How would they find out?” Peter wondered out loud.

“Spencer’s family is closely related to the Council. And have little doubt we are all watched,” Sebastian answered vaguely, letting Spencer maintain his privacy as long as he liked, and Sebastian could see the gratitude in the young man’s face.

“I’ll tell my mother when I’m sure there’s something to tell,” Spencer said with a nod. “Changing subjects,” he laughed, clearing his throat, “I’d planned on being away tomorrow….”

“Big date?” Peter asked with a laugh.

“No,” Spencer replied. “I have some business I promised I’d attend to out of town, and I’d like to get it over with,” he finished, meeting Sebastian’s eyes.

“Of course,” Sebastian nodded. “Now tell us a bit about this Dean!” the ancient vampire demanded encouragingly.

Spencer told his friends about the guy he was interested in, leaving out the little misunderstanding they had had. The men talked for a long time, and laughed together late into the evening. Dean was closing the bar that night, and Spencer would be busy in the morning, so the man had nowhere to go.

Later that evening, Peter asked Richard as he stripped out of his clothes, “Who’d have thought?”

“You really never wondered?” Richard laughed as he watched, naked under the covers, propped up on one arm.

“No, not really! He’s so … masculine,” Peter said, leaving Richard in stitches. “WHAT?” the teen asked.

“Look in the mirror lover-boy! Look at yourself! Look at James, and William, and Avery!” Richard said.

“I guess,” Peter said, his face a little red with embarrassment. “And there’s you….”

“And it makes me look a lot more butch when I’ve got you begging for it,” Richard joked. As Peter slipped in next to him, he added, “I mean, sure, Sebastian is pretty, but he has a hard edge you can’t miss, and then there’s Chase….”

“Yeah,” Peter said, smiling. “Him you want to just hold.”

“Something I should know?” Richard kidded. “I know what you mean,” he added after a pause. “And he could take us all out if he took the notion! Looks are deceiving!”

Peter’s face darkened notably, and he mumbled, “I, of all people, know that.”

Richard pulled him in tight and whispered, “I’m sorry, babe. I didn’t mean to….”

Peter shook his head and rubbed his eyes, taking a moment. “It’s okay. I … you know I love you, most, best, always. But sometimes in my memory I see his face and my gut just clenches. Not just from disgust. He was so beautiful, Richard.”

“Peter,” Richard said softly, “he seduced nations, destroyed civilizations. At the end of the day, you were able to turn away.”

“I did terrible things for him. I was going to do worse,” Peter said.

Richard held him tight and kissed his muscular shoulder softly. “It’s over, Peter,” he whispered, and felt the boy shiver in his arms.

“It’ll never be over,” Peter whispered back, pressing back into the man, trying to make as much contact as possible along the length of their bodies.

Early in the morning, back in his barracks, Spencer showered and walked to his closet and tried to decide what to wear. He had some nice civilian clothes, but thought it would be deceptive to travel in them when he was on business. His military uniforms seemed like a good alternative, but there was too much that would need to be explained. So he reached in and grabbed a uniform he hadn’t worn in a long time.

He pulled on the black pants and white shirt, before the crimson thigh-length tunic which buttoned up to his neck. He hung the royal cross around his neck and pinned on some distinctions that had been accorded him over the years. After he pulled on his shiny boots and formal hat, he looked in the mirror and a prince stared back at him. Then, he walked out of the barracks and up to the house.

“Holy shit!” Peter said, dropping his spoon as he sat eating cereal. “What is that?”

James just sat there with his jaw hanging open at the sight of his friend in full-dress uniform. He would have been gorgeous in anything, but this outfit was him. “Gentlemen,” Sebastian said, leaning back, “I present to you his Royal Highness, Percival Spencer, Prince of the Great Sea, heir to the throne of the witches.”

“Guys,” Spencer said, “I am just me, okay?”

James nodded, but Peter smiled wickedly and said, “Yeah?” Spencer nodded, confused, until Peter laughed and said, “Then zip your pants, your highness!” Everyone laughed as Spencer’s face got as red as his tunic and corrected the issue.

“You’re off to see our friends, then?” Sebastian asked. The young man nodded. “I expect, but do not require, a report of your activities.”

Spencer nodded. “Of course. I have no problem with that!”

“Thank you,” Sebastian said kindly. “We’ll see you for dinner?”

“I’ll try to get back, but I’ll let you know,” Spencer said.

Sebastian grabbed the phone and dialed Sam. “Sam?”

“Sebastian, what can I do for you?” the man asked.

“I need you to open the portal, someone from my division is coming through for the day.”

“And who would that be?” Sam asked making his way down the hall to the location of the portal.

“The crown prince of the witches,” Sebastian said with a smile.

“Percy? How is he?” Sam asked.

“Ask him yourself,” Sebastian said. “He’ll be there momentarily…. Thanks, Sam.”

Moments later, the portal flickered and Spencer was standing there in his uniform. “Thanks, Rabbi Roth!”

“My boy, my boy! How have you been?” Sam said, putting a hand on his shoulder, though he had to reach up to do it.

“Very well, since my transfer. I’m making close friends with the guys there, and I’m getting out into the world more.”

“It’s one thing they often forget when ‘handling’ you young ones,” Sam said sadly. “You have to learn to be your own person in order to rule.”

They were walking down the hall and Spencer stopped. “Before I go … do you have a minute?”

“For you, anytime,” Sam said, motioning him into his office, past a very confused-looking Irma. “What’s on your mind?”

“How did Sebastian and my mother get to know one another so well?” Percy asked.

Sam leaned back in his chair and thought for a moment. “Sebastian has had close relations with your ancestors for many generations, but he was especially close with your grandmother. Your grandfather didn’t like him all that much, though. I don’t know what you know about Sebastian’s role in WWII, but he was desperately injured. Shortly after the war, Sebastian visited the UK for a couple of years, and during that time he was in constant contact with your grandmother.”

“I’ve never heard any of this,” Spencer said.

“I’m not surprised,” Sam sighed. “No one likes to talk about those dark days. Sebastian had made our victory possible, but there were so many dark forces arrayed against us still. Dark wizards had gone underground after the war, and the Communists were trying to harness the forces. In any case, your grandmother was taken while she was pregnant with your mother.”

“Taken?” Spencer asked.

“Kidnapped by a cartel of wizards bent on punishing the queen for supporting the Council. They were going to make a message out of her.” Sam said.

“What happened?” Spencer asked.

Sam smiled weakly. “What do you think happened? You’re here, they aren’t! Sebastian tracked them down in a couple of days, contacted them and agreed to meet them on his own. He took some nasty hits, but he killed them all. Brutally. He’s your mother’s godfather, you know? Even your grandfather couldn’t begrudge him that.”

“So that’s why, when she called him, he came to help?” Spencer mused mostly to himself.

Sam surprised him by asking, “Have you ever asked your mother about that afternoon, Spencer?” He shook his head no and Sam added, “I thought not.” After a long pause, he said, “Your mother did not call Sebastian. She called me.”

Spencer sat back and had no idea what to say, so he waited for the man to continue. “I was a very prominent member of the wizarding community, but my loyalty was to the Council, so I betrayed your mother’s trust and called Sebastian, who came to her aid and helped her cover up the death of the young man.”

“Why didn’t she call him directly?” Spencer asked.

“She didn’t know whether she could trust the Council and she was trying to protect you,” Sam said.

“Well, I was traumatized, but why was she worried about protecting me? I was the victim!” Sam sat in his chair perfectly silent for far too long, and Spencer stood up and demanded, “WHAT!?” And after another pause, “SAM!”

Sam shook his head. “Tell me what you remember….”

Spencer sat down heavily and said, “We were having our lesson, and he followed me to my room like he had been for a few weeks. I wasn’t resisting any more, I just let him do what … whatever he wanted. Then mom came home and found us and … I always figured she heard me crying and realized.”

“But?” Sam asked, encouraging the thought.

“But I wasn’t resisting anymore. Not whimpering or crying out. I just laid there. And when I saw her. I was so ashamed, and then there was a flash and it all went dark.”

Sam reached out and grabbed his hand. “You were just a boy, Percy! It was a spontaneous lashing out by your soul. You couldn’t have stopped yourself. To see you go on trial, even if it was open and shut! Killing a mortal? It was all too much. I couldn’t help, but Sebastian, he had the connections, the power, the will.”

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Spencer asked, his world spinning ever so slightly off kilter. He was a killer.

“Would it have helped? Does it help to know now?” Sam asked. The young man just shook his head, and put his head in his hands. “You need to go home, Spencer. You’re in no shape for business right now….”

“I don’t … I can’t face them,” he said with the broken voice of a younger boy.

Just then the intercom buzzed and Irma’s voice called out, “Rabbi, your 11 o’clock is here. Should I tell him to wait?”

Sam opened the door and said, “Can you give us a minute, Chase?”

“Chase is here?” Spencer asked and the boy heard his voice.

“Spencer?” the melodic, boyish reply came, and Chase slipped past Rabbi Roth. As he approached, he could see the man had tears in his eyes and knelt at his feet. “What’s wrong?” Rabbi Roth began to speak but Chase held up a hand and the Rabbi smiled to himself and slipped out. “What’s wrong?” he asked again, peering deep into the young prince’s crystal eyes.

“Chase,” he whispered, almost a plea, and though his eyes were closed he felt warm fingers stroke his cheek and jaw. “I’m not … what I thought I was. I did something terrible. And they knew, but they never told me.”

Chase smiled and said, “I have no idea what any of that means, but I can see that you are who you always have been, Spencer. You’re just as handsome and brave and honest as you always were, and I believe in you.”

On hearing those words, a dam of tears unleashed from deep within his soul, and Spencer collapsed forward to cry on the slight shoulder of the slim figure before him. When he was mostly cried out, he whispered, “When I was younger than you, I killed a man.”

Without flinching, and without the slightest hint of judgment, Chase asked, “What did he do to you?”

“He hurt me … terribly,” Spencer allowed.

“And did you plan to kill him?” Chase asked.

“It was an accident,” Spencer said, “but….”

“But nothing. Let’s go back to my place. William told me you wanted to talk, and you need to relax.”

“I should go back,” Spencer said, trying, but not really trying, to pull away.

“Nope. You’re coming home with me. That’s it.” He held the young soldier’s hand and urged him up out of the seat and led him into the outer office, never letting go. “Sam, we’re going back to my place to rest and relax. You want to come by for dinner this evening?”

“Of course,” the man said, nodding with a grandfatherly expression. “You have this under control young man?”

In a low voice Irma couldn’t hear, Chase said in a mischievous voice with a twinkle in his eye, “Is that any way to speak to your superior officer, general?”

Sam rolled his eyes and smiled. “See you this evening, then, gentlemen.” When Spencer followed Chase out, Sam went into his office and picked up the phone.

“Sebastian?” Sam asked.

“Sam? Everything alright?”

“He remembered everything, Sebastian,” Sam misled.

“High time,” the vampire replied.

Sam added, “Chase is looking after him. He just happened to be here.”

“Of course he did,” Sebastian said with a smile.

“Should we call Dora?” Sam asked.

“Let Spencer decide in his own time. Let me know if anything else happens. God forbid,” Sebastian said.

“Will do. I’m joining them for dinner this evening, so I’ll call you after,” Sam reported.

“Thanks, Sam. Goodbye.”

As they walked down the car he had borrowed, Chase asked, “What’s with the outfit?”

“It’s my uniform—crown prince of the witches,” Spencer said with a sigh.

“You are full of surprises, aren’t you?” Chase said with a smile. “Reminds me I’m supposed to get fitted for my uniform before this Congress thingie. That is what we’re supposed to be talking about, right?”

“Your uniform? I think we have people for that,” Spencer joked.

“Funny! Feeling better?” Chase asked as he turned on the car.

“A little, yeah!” Spencer said.

“Take it from me, Spencer, and I would know—when things get too heavy, you just have to keep going. If you stop and dwell, things get sticky. You can get lost,” Chase said.

“I guess you would know,” Spencer replied and they rode back to the house in silence.

When they arrived home, Chase heard Xavier call, “I wasn’t expecting you back so fast,” but he trailed off as he emerged holding the baby and saw Spencer in his uniform. He stood there, his mouth open, staring.

Spencer said, “I’ve been getting that reaction today.” Holding out his hand, he added, “Percival Spencer. I prefer Spencer!”

“Of course,” the man mumbled. “Your Highness.”

“Give it a rest Xavier! Spencer’s had a hard day,” Chase said, taking the baby from his uncle and passing him directly to Spencer. “We’ll be upstairs.” Xavier nodded and just stood there. As they were walking up to William and Chase’s room, Chase added, “That was William’s uncle Xavier!”

“Is he that impressed by the uniform?” Spencer asked.

“Not the uniform, I think,” Chase winked, “as much as the man beneath the uniform. But he’s taken!”

Spencer laughed, but asked, “What makes you think I’d care?”

Chase just raised his eyebrows knowingly and, after a long pause, shrugged. “I guess in some ways it made what happened even harder, huh?” Chase asked. “I mean, being interested in guys, and having a guy you kind of like take advantage of you?”

Spencer smiled again and relaxed. “Yeah. It made it hard. Impossible, really.”

“So you just threw yourself into study, into your military career, and ignored your feelings?” Spencer laughed and nodded, before shaking his head. “What?” Chase asked, innocently.

“I didn’t know you could read minds too!” Spencer said.

Chase looked surprised, and laughed. “I can’t!” Then after a pause he added, “Or I don’t, anyway. Never tried. Never wanted to.” They sat silently for a while and Alex inspected this new man. “So, you’re in uniform because you wanted to talk. Feel like talking?”

“Not really, but let’s get it over with,” Spencer said.

Chase took Alex and went downstairs to find Xavier on the phone talking to Aiden. “We’ve got some things to talk about. I’ll be away for a bit. Do you mind?”

Xavier took the baby and asked, “Can he stay for dinner?”

“I’ll insist on it,” Chase smiled and winked. As he walked upstairs he heard Xavier demand, “Be home by six; he’ll stay!” And after the answer came, “Of course he’ll stay, Chase is asking!”