"Hey Levi, how did you manage on your own? Nothing naughty, I hope."

Karen was in a cheery mood - knowing she had everything done and could just relax.

"Oh, of course not, mom." Levi was grinning. 'If she only knew...' he thought. Mikey had been there for 5 hours. They mostly cuddled on the couch, flipping channels, kissing now and again. Of course, Mikey had to leave a bit early, in case Karen got home early, but they still had a lot of fun and agreed to meet again soon.

"So what did you do, honey?" Karen asked just on motherly instinct.

"Nothing, just watched TV, read my Star Wars book." Levi's smile was making Karen curious

"Are you hiding something, Levi? Did you have someone over?" Karen could read Levi like a book.

Levi knew he had to say something, or she'd get really suspicious.

"Michael stopped by, looking for Sam."

"That doesn't explain the smile, mister." Karen said, putting away groceries.

"Oh, uh... well, I dunno. He was just really nice, and it surprised me since usually he picks on me, like Sam." Levi crossed his fingers, if Karen didn't accept that....

"Well that's nice, dear. Sam loves you, and so does his friends.

Classic Big Brother syndrome." Karen was happy to hear that Levi might blossom a bit, under the influence of Sam and his friends.

"Yeah, I guess. It doesn't feel like that, though." Levi pouted.

"Do you want me to have a talk with him?" She was trying to be helpful, but Karen had a feeling this wouldn't do much good. She had brothers when she was younger, and they never got along. Mothers were constantly trying....

"No, mom. He'd just pick on me for being a momma's boy more than he does anyway." Levi certainly heard that often.

"That's not true, you just haven't bloomed yet. I bet you'll get real big and tough, and then you can join the football team like Sam. Won't that be fun? You should start working out with him, maybe that'll get you started." Karen didn't entirely believe what she was saying.

"I don't wanna play football! Why is that so important? That's just not who I am, mom. I'm not another Sam." Levi lost control for the moment, surprising more than just himself.

Karen was about to yell, but realized that perhaps they had all been putting pressure on him to be like Sam. Was that fair? However, she didn't get the chance to tell him...

"Levi! Don't you talk that way to your mother!" Adam had gotten home just in time to hear it. "That is terribly disrespectful."

"Leave me alone!" Levi took off for his room; this day was certainly taking a new turn.

"Running won't help you, boy!" Adam always handled things in COMPLETELY the wrong way. "Don't be such a little girl!"

"Adam!" Now Karen was mad.

"Don't talk back to me, Karen. You are my wife, and will stand by me.

Especially when dealing with Levi - he's always been a little pussy. We need to toughen him up, or he'll never be a man."

Karen didn't argue. "I'll set out dinner."

Adam began heading for the stairs. "Levi needs a lesson." He thought, attempting to take off his belt.

"Damn cheap..." he started, unable to remove the belt. "Must be jammed or somethin'." He stopped, halfway up the stairs, to look at the buckle more closely.

The Man grinned; he always enjoyed watching mortals while invisible. He was standing before Adam, though totally undetected. Well, except for one thing -

Adam suddenly felt a hard shove right on his chest, pushing him off balance. He reached for the banister, but was already falling backwards.

Karen, seeing her husband roll down the stairs, immediately dashed to his rescue. "Honey, are you ok?" she said, flustered.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine." Adam blushed, standing a bit hesitantly. He did ache in a few places, but felt all right. "Lets eat, I'm starving." He felt an urge to just forget what happened.

"Oh, ok. What about Le..." Karen began, but didn't finish. Why remind Adam?

Levi burst into his room only to stop mid-step, startled by The Man who was sitting on his bed.

"Let me comfort you. Please, sit in my lap." The Man, like always, had that glowing smile. Levi was in no position to argue, and quickly did as The Man asked.

"If my father comes in here, he'll see us." Levi said, attempting to hold back tears.

The Man just held him tighter. "Nothing bad will ever happen in my presence. I will not allow it."

Levi soon felt enveloped in total peace. Though questions were bouncing around his mind, the moment felt too perfect to disturb the silence. After a short while, The Man gently removed Levi for his embrace.

"Why does he do that to me?" Levi asked. He was past sadness, and onto confusion.

"He feels that he turned out alright, so his parents' form of parenting must be a good choice. Therefore, he attempts to use it on you." The Man replied, calmly. His grin had been replaced with a solemn expression, though he still glowed in some way.

Levi thought for a moment. "Well, it doesn't seem to be working."

"In more ways than he knows." The Man gave him a wink. Somehow Levi knew he was referring to Mikey.

"That reminds me! What did you do to me then?" The thought of Mikey immediately blocked out the earlier negativity.

"I just brought out a side of you that is a bit neglected." The Man's grin returned. "How else would you two realize each other's feelings?"

Levi smiled. "Yeah, I bet you're right. The idea never even occurred to me until he actually touched me. How can I ever thank you?"

"You don't need to. Just promise that you'll trust me. I'm here just for you, after all." The Man said while pulling something from his pocket.

"Here, I have something for you." He held up a gold and silver heart.

Levi reached for it. "Wow, its beautiful."

The Man placed it into Levi's hand. "It is sculpted by the finest. Look inside."

After fumbling for a moment, Levi got it open. "There is a picture of Mikey inside!"

"Yes. I thought you'd like that." The Man grinned even more, showing a second, identical locket. "Get a picture of yourself, put it into this one, and give it to Michael. It'll be something special for you to share. Just be careful!"

"Oh, I will. Of course! These are so cool! Thanks." Levi hugged The Man.

"I'm glad you like them. I should get going. You never did get any schoolwork done. Though I suppose I can't blame you."

"No, I guess I didn't." Levi laughed, looking up from the lockets - The Man was gone, again. "Geez, he sure uses that to death." Levi mused. "Well, I better get started..." he thought, getting out his backpack.

"Come on babe, " Sam begged, "I can never get enough. How about one more quickie, right here in your front yard?"

Lauren laughed. "You mean you can be even quicker?"

"Shut up!" Sam pulled his hand back, as if to hit her.

"Don't you dare, Samuel! I warned you about that!" She quickly raised her hands in case she needed to protect herself.

"You should be more respectful, you're my woman." Sam obviously listened to his father very closely.

"Yeah, yeah." Lauren didn't feel like arguing - men were too pig headed. She was only with him because of his place on the football team, anyway. "I need to get inside."

"Don't I at least get a kiss?" Sam forcefully pulled Lauren to him, planting a kiss on her lips.

Lauren let him finish, said "Good night" and left him outside.

The moment Lauren was out of sight, Sam gave his crotch a rather large groping. "Hmm... its 10 already." He thought, checking his watch. "Lea wouldn't be available this late. Fuck." He looked at his hands. "Looks like you two have some work to do."

Lauren only lived a block away, so Sam arrived home rather quickly.

"Hey dad, hey mom." He said, walking into the kitchen.

"Hi honey, how was your date?" Karen was obviously trying to be cheery, something must have happened.

"It was fun. If you don't mind, I'm going right to bed. I already ate while we were out." Sam flicked his Manners Switch.

Karen looked to Adam, getting no negative response. "Yes, that is alright Sam. Good night."

"Good night, mom." Sam leaned in, giving his mom a kiss on the cheek.

"Good night dad."

"Yeah, 'night." Adam still wasn't in a good mood.

Sam bounded upstairs, but went to Levi's room.

"Hey twerp." He said, bursting through the door.

"Sam, I'm trying to do my homework." Levi said, not even looking up from his desk.

"What's this?" Sam queried

"What's what?" Levi turned to see Sam looking at one of the lockets.

"You have a sweetheart, Levi?" Sam put on a wicked smile.

Levi panicked, what if that was the one with Michael pictured inside?

"Give me that!"

"No way! Not until I see who your darling is." Sam began dodging, moving throughout the room while attempting to open the locket.

"Sam, that's mine!" Levi was really frantic, now.

"Ah hah! I got it" Sam proclaimed, while giving Levi a hard shove so he could peacefully see the contents. "What the hell is this, Levi"?

"Oh, uh, I can explain." Levi stammered.

"You don't need to." Sam said, almost in a whisper.

Levi sat quietly, awaiting Sam's reaction.

"It's empty 'cause you ain't got nobody!" Sam exclaimed, laughing.

"Here, take it. If you ever get some pussy rather than being one, you'll need it. She'll want lots of gifts to make up for your tiny pecker." His tormenting finished, Sam went to his own room. Levi could still hear Sam laughing as he hid the twin lockets in a safe place. That was far too close.

"Levi, wake up." A soft voice woke Levi from his slumber. He had fallen asleep on his desk. He slowly lifted his head, blinking his eyes, stretching.

"Yeah, yeah, I must have drifted off." Levi replied, groggily.

"Its all right, my attitude can never change, so I'm infinitely patient, in a sense." The voice said from behind Levi.

"What are you talking about, dad?" Levi was rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"You are mistaken, I'm not your father." The voice replied.

"Oh, hehe, I'm sorry. I never caught your name before. I wanted to thank you for holdin...." Levi said, expecting to see The Man as he turned, but rather the Demon was back. "Get away from." Levi's voice suddenly vanished; he felt his neck assuming something had happened.

"Do not be frightened. I need to speak with you about a very important matter." The Demon actually did seem benign. However, Levi was still panicking and brandished his pencil as a weapon.

"Please, trust me Levi. I will release your voice if you promise not to scream. I cannot hold my presence near more than one person." The Demon's face was actually pleading. Levi was very surprised to learn that a Demon could do so.

"Please don't call me a demon. I'm not, really." A tear slowly drifted from the De... creature's face.

"How did you know what I was thinking?" Levi whispered, "Oh, hey, I can talk again."

"Yes, my powers are only capable of one thing at a time. Even so, I get weak rather quickly. You can probably see my lack of resolution." The creature did appear fuzzy.

Levi got a feeling from this creature. It was like deep pain, suffering. He could understand why the creature easily shed tears. "Uh, well, what should I call you?"

"I cannot remember my name, however Luke is what most call me." Luke answered.

"Alright. Uh, so... now what?" Levi didn't feel like Luke was a danger, but still kept his guard up - in this case, he kept that pencil ready to stab.

"I'm here to speak with you. Have you had any encounters with a strange man, probably in an overcoat?" Luke's face showed a lot of effort, like it was hard for him to speak.

Levi wasn't sure if he should tell Luke the truth, but figured that The Man would have warned him if this creature were a threat. "Yes, I have."

"Oh! They've started already. Listen, you need to stay away from this Man. He's a liar. Don't let him fool you. He will appear helpful, but is actually just trying to get your trust." Luke was becoming fuzzier by the moment.

"Why should I believe you? Some ugly, freaky thing that scares me half to death!" Levi held the pencil up, to emphasize.

Luke's eyes began to water. "Please, you must believe me. Please." He begged. "I can't stand up to him, Levi. None of us can. They are all too powerful. We need you. We need you so terribly..." Luke trailed off.

Levi couldn't help but feel sorry for Luke, it was in his nature, however Levi had no proof that what Luke was saying was true. "Luke, I - I don't know what to say. I have no reason to believe you. Can you show me?

Prove it?"

"No, no. I can't, not now. I'm already too weak; I only have a few more moments. Please, Levi. Please, you must trust me." Luke's image faded until he looked more like a large, red spot. "At least keep an eye out...." He managed to get out just before disappearing completely.

This had been one hell of a weird day. Bullies, The Man, Michael, a Demon named Luke... Levi felt too tired to try and figure this all out tonight, so simply crawled into bed and drifted off to sleep.

Michael slowly sat up in bed, yawning; he'd been up 'til midnight finishing up his homework. Of course, thoughts of Levi forced him to stop and... exorcise the feelings.

"I'm gonna be sore for a while." He thought, laughing at himself. "Its appropriate, in Levi's case."

Michael couldn't stop himself from smiling in a rather... love-full way. That was it, too. He knew it. He was in love with Levi. He had been for three years. Obviously Levi wasn't very developed at the time, being only 10 years old (not that he's grown much, really) but there was just something about him. He was cute, certainly, though Michael had seen better (go watch

"Titanic") but there was more to it. Levi had an essence about him. He was, in some way, special.

Michael took a long shower this morning and put on some cologne. He had something special planned today. After his normal routine, Michael was standing outside his home, waiting for his ride, reading the newspaper to pass the time.

"Wow!" He thought, reading the Headline.

LOCAL BOYS FOUND DEAD -

The bodies of three teenage males were found last night. They have been identified, though names have not been released due to their age. The police are currently making a list of suspects, however sources say there is very little evidence. All they know so far is that all three boys were killed by a very powerful electric current, which stopped - and, in one case, exploded - their hearts. However, the lack of tissue damage suggests it was very brief and delivered in a manner that would localize it in the chest region.

Though certain manufactures offer devices capable, the equipment would have to be modified, since it is ordinarily stationary. Some have offered the theory that a van could be equipped in such a fashion, however it would quite expensive...

Though Michael's interest had been piqued, Sam and his dad had just pulled up. Michael bolted for the car - he would never be tardy again. The last thing he needed was to lose the privilege and have to walk while a murderer was on the streets.

"Hey Mike." Sam greeted.

Michael immediately knew that Sam was upset - he always used 'Mike' in times of despair. "Hi Sam. You alright?"

"Is it that obvious?" Sam grumbled, "Lauren was a total bitch last night."

Michael sighed; he had been through this countless times - As if Lauren was the one at fault. "I don't see why you put up with that shit, man." Of course, Michael had to play his part.

"Yes you do. She's hot - it's that simple. Plus she's, uh, talented."

Sam doubted that his father was paying attention, not that he'd mind anyway - guys were supposed to bang chicks constantly - but still didn't like Adam in his business.

"Well, is it worth it?" Michael asked.

"Uh, yeah, of course. Man, why do you ask such gay questions?" Sam gave him a 'Duh' expression.

That pissed Michael off - not only did Sam just insult a whole group of people - but he said that after complaining. If it was worth it, what right did he have to bitch? "Screw you, man."

"Yeah, I bet you'd like some of this." Sam grinned, grabbing his crotch.

Michael just laughed - he actually did.

Sam laughed too, though simply because he had made himself uncomfortable. Thinking about sex with Mikey was just too....

"Here's your stop, boys." Adam chimed in.

"Thanks for the ride." Michael - forever minding his manners.

"Yeah, thanks dad." Sam too.

Once in the building, they parted ways as usual, however Michael doubled back to the entrance, left the building and waited around the corner for Levi to show up. His parents made him walk, so he always arrived a bit later. Sure enough, within a few moments, Levi came into view. Michael dashed towards him.

"Hey Levi. Here, quick." Michael gushed, pulling Levi into a small alley between buildings.

"Hi Mikey." Levi gave him a big hug.

"I've got a surprise for you!" Michael exclaimed, still holding the smaller boy.

"Really? What is it?" Levi asked, letting go of Michael in order to look into his eyes.

"Well, I was thinking that we could skip school and have some fun."

Michael's grin grew as he spoke the words.

"Oh, I dunno, Mike..." Levi shied away. He was never much for rule breaking.

"Come on, babe! You've never done anything bad in your life, what better reason could you think of then this?" Michael half-begged.

Levi developed a sly grin.

"What?" Michael questioned.

Levi gave out a little giggle. "You called me 'babe.'"

Michael's face went from casual tan to cherry red. "Yeah.... I uh...

guess I did."

"I like it." Levi tightened his grip for a moment to emphasize his feelings.

Michael flashed a smile. "So does that mean you accept?"

Levi's face appeared in thought. "Well...."

"It's a great opportunity to spend some time together without worrying about who will see us. Please?" Michael leaned in for another kiss.

Levi suddenly felt like an idiot - he could never deny Mikey. To show his acquiescence, Levi decided to make a move.

"Mmfff" Michael moaned in surprise as Levi, for the first time, lightly pushed his tongue against Michael's lips. To say that Michael immediately opened up would be an understatement. They stood for a few minutes, playing an interesting version of "Tag." And to think Michael claimed not to enjoy kids' games.

Eventually, Levi needed some air, and backed away slightly. However Michael wasn't done, he quickly leaned down and began nibbling on Levi's neck. He was teasingly gentle, driving Levi - who was now, once again, holding his breath - crazy.

"Mikey... Oh," He softly moaned, "I uh... changed my ooooh mind. Let's goo OOH!"

Michael giggled slightly, hearing Levi's response to his love-bite.

"Come on, we're wasting time!" He grinned, leaning up and grabbing Levi's hand.

"Are you sure that we should hold hands?" Levi was pensive.

"Do I need to convince you again?" Michael gave him a sinister look.

"I really really really don't think we should hold hands." Levi laughed.

Michael gave him a big hug, then pulled him out of the alley. "Come on."

"How are we going to get there?" Levi asked, suddenly realizing its distance from their location.

"We can ride the bus. There is a stop around the corner." Michael replied, removing a bus schedule from his backpack. "The next one is due in about 10 minutes."

"Alright." Levi sat down on the bench.

"So, is there anything you'd like in particular while we're there, or shall we just browse?" Michael asked, sitting down rather closely to Levi.

"Oh, not really." Levi appeared thoughtful, "Though I could always use more books."

Michael wasn't exactly a book-fan. "Ok. Uh, listen; I wanted to talk to you about something. If anyone sees us there, I don't wanna be all phony and pretend it's a coincidence. I don't know how long we're gonna be together, but I.... Well... really like you Levi and I think that such blatant hiding would be a bad way to start."

Levi turned away; he didn't want Michael to see him tearing up.

"Levi? What's wrong?" Michael gently used his hand to turn Levi toward him, "Did I say something wrong?"

Levi reached up to wipe his eyes. "No, no. It's just so weird. I like you too, Mikey. I never even realized. I always thought of you as another dumb friend of my brother's. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have."

Michael put his arm around Levi - he would have hugged him, but he didn't think that attention would be a good idea now. "Its ok, Levi. I don't blame you. I was such a jerk, at times. I never should have gone along with Sam all those times."

Levi just looked him the eyes. He knew it was gonna be different now, and there was no reason to go on about the past. Mikey's eyes said so much.

"Forget it, Mikey. That was the old us."

"Yeah." Michael agreed just as the bus squealed to a stop before them.

They stepped on, paid their fares and took a seat in the very back.

There was only a few other people, and they were in the front, so didn't cause a security risk.

"Let's hold hands." Michael reached out to take Levi's hand with his.

Levi smiled "Its kinda fun, knowing what we're doing while the people in front have no idea."

"Yeah, yeah it is. Maybe we could get away with more..." Michael was in a naughty mood.

"Right here? On the bus? We barely did anything in private!" Levi whispered as forcefully as he could.

Michael released Levi's hand. "Well, it's more kinky this way. You even wore shorts. Perfect." He said, putting his hand on Levi's bare legs.

Levi's face turned a bright red. "Mikey...."

Michael didn't reply, he simply moved his hand a bit higher, placing it on Levi's inner thigh. They both sat transfixed for a few minutes; enjoying the feel of each other. However, Levi was getting into it, and wanted more.

After looking at the other people to make sure they weren't drawing any attention, he decided to just go for it and placed his hand right over the prominent bulge in Michael's jeans.

Michael let out a slight groan. "You feel so soft, Levi."

SCREETCH! The bus loudly stopped, bringing the duo from their world.

One person got off, a few got on, and the bus started up again.

"That scared the hell out of me!" Levi whispered as the pair returned their appendages to more appropriate places.

"Yeah, but you have to admit - that was fun!" Michael was smiling in a way that would make him appear crazy if someone unknown had been watching.

"It was, but I think we should wait." Levi replied.

"Well, if that's what you want." Michael was a little disappointed by that.

"Is that bad? I just thought that we shouldn't push our luck on this bus." Levi appeared genuinely worried.

Michael couldn't help but burst out into laughter, causing a few people to give him a glance. "Levi, you're such a tease!"

"What? What?" Levi's confusion only made Michael's laughing fit even worse - he was actually clutching his stomach now.

"Oh, oh man." Michael's laughter was now bringing on some strange looks.

Levi stopped to think... "Oh you thought I meant!" Levi exclaimed, joining Michael in his laughter.

By now the bus driver had taken notice. "You two! In the back! Quiet down!"

Of course, this only fueled their laughter.

"Hey! You hear me?" the driver obviously wasn't very tolerant. "Be quiet!"

"Oh hush up!" an elderly woman near the front hissed at the driver.

"Its cute."

The driver gave her a dirty look, but laid off. Levi and Michael had calmed down a bit by now and smiled at the woman - who then got up and moved to the seat in front of them.

"Don't let people like that bring your spirits down. Times like these are the ones you'll look back on and smile about when you're my age."

Michael and Levi suddenly became aware of how close they were sitting, and scooted apart.

"Oh, don't worry boys. I could tell the moment I saw you." Though she had a smile, the duo appeared nervous.

"Its ok. Really." She said, trying to comfort them.

Michael, being the eldest, decided he should speak up. "Its not that, mam. We just didn't know that everyone could tell."

"Don't call me that - my name is Martha, and not everyone can tell. Few are observant enough to notice. Even if they did, they probably wouldn't realize you were anything but good friends. Peoples' narrow-mindedness is helpful, in that sense." Martha exuded a lot of confidence despite her fragile appearance.

"Oh. Ah, well, good." Michael replied. Levi could only nod.

"You don't look old enough to have been together long." She said, looking over the couple.

Levi didn't feel quite right. "This doesn't add up." He thought, just as Martha looked him right in the eyes, making his nervousness triple.

Michael, on the other hand, felt very at ease with the woman. "No, we haven't. Only two days."

"Oh, that is so sweet! How'd you meet?" Martha smiled brightly.

"Well, you see, I've known him for three years, through his brother."

Michael was happy to relay the story.

"And you resisted him this long? I don't think I could have done that if I had known Levi at your age."

"I won't waste any more time, you can be sure of that!" Michael grabbed Levi's hand to emphasize.

Levi, listening idly suddenly realized something, Martha had called him by name! "Hey! How'd you..."

SCREETCH! The bus came to another loud stop, interrupting Levi.

"This is our stop." Michael stated, standing up. "It's nice to meet you Martha."

"It was very nice to meet the both of you." Martha gave them a little bow.

"Come on! This is gonna be great!" Michael gave Levi a little push towards the front. On the way out, Levi caught a glimpse of a very stunning boy waiting to get on the bus.

"Wait a sec, Mikey." He said, stopping to look at the boy. "See that kid there? The blond one?"

"Yeah, he's pretty nice." Michael commented.

"No, that's not what I meant. Does he look familiar to you?" Levi replied, carefully studying the boy.

"I don't recognize him." Michael was starting to feel a little jealous.

A metaphorical bulb flashed above Levi's head. "I got it!" He exclaimed

"Oh? Where from?" Michael asked.

"From my dreams." Levi said rather hazily.

"That is so cheesy, Levi! Come on, we're wasting time." Michael dragged Levi away from the boy, towards the mall.

Aboard the bus, the boy sat down next to Martha. "You're doing a great job." He smiled, wickedly.

"I serve to the best of my abilities, sire. Could this mean a possible promotion?" Martha asked.

"Don't push your luck." The boy replied sharply, his eyes changing from a stunning icy blue to a dark red. "This is very important. Do not fuck it up over your ego."

"Of course, sire." Martha's earlier confidence was totally overshadowed by the boy's presence.

"I hope so, for your sake. I have some things to attend to, and I know that you do as well." The boy stated.

"You could have at least gotten me off this thing!" She said to the now empty spot where the boy had occupied a moment before.

---------------------

Fourth Chapter - Completed.

The plot thickens! I hope everyone is continuing to enjoy the story, I'm certainly having fun writing it. I probably should have done this before but better late than never. I'd like to acknowledge a dear friend, Gymnopedies. He has been a HUGE help in the creation of "The First and the Last" and if not for him, I wouldn't have done it. On top of that, he's a great author. You've probably seen his stories around, (for example "The Corps" and his latest "Family Album") all of which are intimidatingly good.

Do me a favor and check out his site - which contains links to all of his stories, plus some other fab authors - at "gymnopedies.tripod.com" without the quotes.

Anywho, Chapter 5 of "TFATL" should be out within a few weeks. Of course, please email me with your thoughts and comments. My address is

"[email protected]" without the quotes. It's impossible to describe the great feeling us authors get from the tiniest gesture on your part, so please take a few moments to write a letter. On that note, I wish to thank all of you who have written, and encourage you to write in again - I'd like to know what my readers think of the stories' evolution. Thanks again.

Laterz!

 

Jacyn Alias

[email protected]

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