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The Best Moves
Chapter 9
This is Kalloway's NaNoWriMo Fic.
It has been spell-checked but not edited.
Apologies for all errors.
Feedback Appreciated.

"I still can't believe you came to find me, Robbie," Ethan purred from his perch on the man's lap.

"You're the only family I have," Robbie replied.

Everyone who had made the journey back to Jameson's condo seemed to be thinking the same thing - family? The resemblance was there, but not the most apparent. Robbie had been introduced as Robert Minewin, Ethan's older brother.

Where Ethan's Asian heritage has afforded him a slighter frame and exotic looks, Robbie had the dark eyes and hair, but little else. Instead he was tall and muscular, though not to the point of ugly. His hair was cut shorter though it was still shaggy.

And besides the kiss, the way Ethan acted and looked at Robbie told a story that some of the RT gang weren't so comfortable with. Jameson seemed to have relaxed a little, but still kept an insanely close watch on the pair.

Matthew was sitting beside Billy. Neither of them had shed more than a few pieces of their costumes just yet. It was weird, Matthew realized, that most of his thoughts for the day hadn't gone beyond the superficial. He hadn't planned more than a few moments in advance and definitely hadn't been dwelling on anything.

He watched Robbie and Ethan curiously. Incest was a rather new subject to him. He knew it existed, but only in the abusive way. There seemed to be nothing like that between the brothers, though.

In his mind, Matthew was trying to fathom what it would be like to fuck someone so close, but with his only option being Emily, he shook that thought away as downright repulsive. But if it had worked for the men on the other sofa, he knew he shouldn't condemn them.

"So why did you wait so long?" Ethan asked.

"It wasn't that easy to find you. All you told me was that you were moving to Toronto, and I was already out on a job by then," Robbie explained. "This really is as soon as I could come find you. And it was only by chance I saw your name mentioned in the paper today."

"It's just so good to see you!" Ethan threw his arms around Robbie's neck, holding himself tight to his brother.

"It's good to see you too, and to know you're being so well taken care of." Robbie looked to Jameson, gratitude in his smile. "I was worried at first that you'd been running with the wrong crowd."

"So where have you been working, Robbie?" Jameson asked, taking another sip from whatever he'd poured himself upon their arrival back to the condo.

"Lumber jobs, fishing jobs, just anything no one else wants to do that I can make money with," Robbie answered. "I figured that if anything happened, I'd be set. And if I ever had to help out Ethan..."

"I'm fine," Ethan said. "But I'm so glad you care."

Matthew couldn't tell if this was the real Ethan talking or one of the little plaything personalities he developed depending on who he was dealing with. Everything seemed to be bordering on a game to the man, something that both amused and disturbed Matthew.

Still, Ethan was okay with it all. Whatever was in Ethan's past seemed infinitely darker now, his story seeming to be one full of gothic twists and turns, much like the spiraling architecture of Quaker House.

"This probably seems a little strange..." Robbie said after a pregnant silence. "But anything you're thinking about Ethan and I is most likely true. It's no excuse, but we were raised miles away from others, by our grandmother. When she passed away, Ethan was only thirteen, so I stayed to raise him, too. What happened after that is obvious."

"You make it sound so wrong," Ethan said, pouting. "We just love each other a little differently than other people and their siblings."

"But, little brother, perhaps you should be sitting on your lover's lap, not mine," Robbie chided Ethan before kissing him on the nose.

Billy took that moment to distract Matthew with a kiss, which was probably best as Matthew's mind was lost in a fantasy realm where he was watching the brothers. His imagination had gotten a workout since he'd been in Toronto, that was for sure. That wasn't a bad thing, of course. It was just that when he went home, he didn't know how he'd deal with all the new experiences and everything. He didn't know he'd deal with the doldrums of everyday life. Without Billy.

It wasn't a happy though, even with Billy's tongue twined with his, Matthew was gripped with fleeting sadness. And then pleasure as Billy shifted to start touching Matthew's body, running his hands up under the half-shirt to lightly pinch Matthew's nipples.

Matthew moaned, forgetting he was on Jameson's couch, in the middle of a very bizarre conversation. Billy apparently did the same, as they had a small audience by the time they broke for breath.

"Perhaps a room for you two?" Jameson inquired, ignoring his own obvious concerns for the moment.

Billy chuckled. "If you don't mind."


"You tired?" Billy asked, pulling Matthew to him.

Matthew shook his head. He'd burned through a reasonable amount of adrenaline, and he was a bit fatigued, but he didn't want to be tired. He wanted to stay up all night with Billy, talking at the very least.

"You look tired."

"Just a little," Matthew admitted. He didn't feel like Matthew Andersen at the moment, he felt like some totally new person, a shadow of his former self, as ridiculous as it seemed.

"It's weird, isn't it?" Billy asked, shifting so he could start to take off his costume.


"Everything, lately. It's just been awhile since anything so exciting happened," Billy explained. "But you wouldn't know that - you probably think every day of my life is a party."

"No..." Matthew answered, watching Billy undress. "But I guess I..."

He didn't know Billy that well, yet he'd climbed right into bed with the man. There was a nagging pang that went along with that, a rather icky feeling that Matthew hoped would go away with time.

"Even if we're apart, I don't want to let you go," Billy said quickly. "It'll be tough, but..."

Matthew just nodded, laying back on the bed, happy to be away from the oddity that was occurring out in the living room. Every time he thought he was suddenly okay with the relationship between Ethan and his brother, the next moment he'd be disturbed again. The last time was when he idly stole a glance at the pair as he and Billy were heading off to bed and saw Robbie's hand most-definitely cupping Ethan's crotch.

"I don't want to think about it either," Billy said. "Let's just make the most of what we have now and deal with what comes when it comes."

Matthew responded by pulling off his shirt and crawling under the covers. In moments Billy was beside him and they were sleeping in one another's arms.

Neither really slept deeply, instead just lingering in the warmth coming from one another. The wail that pierced the apartment had them both alert and staring at one another.

"Loud, isn't he?" Billy mumbled, attempting to pull Matthew closer and use him as a blanket.

"You don't think..."

Billy met Matthew's question with a curious gaze.

"I don't know. Do you think... the three of them?"

"It would be interesting," Matthew said, hoping he wasn't saying the wrong thing. After all, he had just admitted a bit more than he'd meant to.

"It's just Ethan. He does that to everyone. Believe it or not, he's managed to wrap all of us around his little finger at least once." Billy leaned to kiss Matthew quickly. "And everyone wants him, at least to some capacity. He thrives on knowing that."

"He kissed me earlier, just on the cheek though," Matthew admitted, hoping not to cause too bad a reaction. The last thing he wanted was for anyone to get hurt. Billy didn't seem to be prone to violence though, more along the lines of video game battle or practical jokes.

"I've gotten everything short of full-on sex from him," Billy replied. "That's just how Ethan is."

"Everything short..." Matthew was curious. Everything short of sex left hundreds of possibilities, really. He was a bit jealous, really, though he had no reason to. Everything that happened before he met Billy happened before he had any influence on Billy.

"Or don't you want to know about that?"

"It's in the past. It can't be changed and I have no reason to be upset about it," Matthew said truthfully.

"Yes, but do you want to hear about..."

Billy was cut short by another loud cry that caused both men to start laughing. It did seem rather silly, laying in bed listening to friends fuck down the hallway.

"Nnnn," Matthew muttered as Billy started nipping at his throat. "Billy..."

He was definitely waking up. But he wasn't too sure just as to what Billy had in mind.

"I'll tell you after," Billy said before resuming his vampire-like attack on Matthew's neck. Matthew didn't care about the mark that was bound to be left there. If anything, he'd wear it as a sign of being taken, in more ways than one.



Billy crawled onto Matthew, kissing him and letting his multi-colored hair fall over them both. It ticked Matthew ever so slightly as the tips danced along his upper-half. It was such a neat feeling, really. With a devious grin that was visible only because of the light coming in the window, Billy threw their blankets off and started toying with the button of Matthew's already-low pants.

"Ethan does have good taste. You looked amazing tonight, Matthew," Billy said. "All those people out there were staring at you, at us both, wanting us."

"You like that?" Matthew asked. He'd never been aware of anyone watching him in any way besides supervisory before the after-auction bit of mingling he'd been pulled into. While he actually wanted to shop at bit at Otaku-Nation, he kept getting pulled into photographs and conversations involving whoever was speaking gushing over him until Matthew politely ducked away, in search of either Billy or Jameson, whichever he could find easiest, to hide behind.

It had been a thankful moment when midnight hit and everyone cleaned up and went home. Apparently the stage and everything belonged to Otaku-Nation and the staff handled the clean up. It was a good break for the Remote Transmissions crew, many of whom looked much more tired than anyone would admit to.

"It's interesting to be someone else for a little while," Billy said. "The object of their obsession. But it's no way to live."

Even as Billy kissed his body, Matthew found himself wondering if he was even being honest with himself. But as his pants were eased down, Matthew gave up on the deep thoughts and went solely for the sensation as Billy started stroking his growing arousal.

With a moan, Matthew thrust against Billy's hand, enjoying the warmth that was caressing him. It felt so different when it wasn't his own hands. And despite the fatigue and everything, he definitely found himself wanting to come.

"Billy..." Matthew pulled himself away, moving to strip Billy from the last bits of his costume. His mind was racing. He wanted to do a thousand things at once. He wanted to suck at Billy's erection the way he'd been so sucked the day before. He wanted to lay back and let himself be taken. He wanted Billy's fingers inside of him, everywhere on him. He just wanted. And he wanted to do the same to Billy. He wanted to touch every inch of his lover. He was okay with it. It was too late to hold onto any of his insecurities, they'd all been cast to the wind.

With Billy naked, Matthew found himself face to, well, head with Billy's arousal. There was a clear drop of liquid at the tip and hesitantly he dipped to lick at it with his tongue. Billy moaned, grabbing at the blankets beside him.

"Matthew - you don't have to," he said quickly.

"I want to try," Matthew replied. He'd read some of the most beautiful stories featuring scenes like this. It was a little sad, he knew, when he started comparing fanfiction to his own budding sex life, but he had nothing else in his brain to reference.

Billy just closed his eyes as Matthew went back to his task at hand and mouth. He couldn't quite place what Billy tasted like, besides just a bit of salt. In all his bizarre fantasies, he really had never considered pleasuring another man like this, so Matthew found himself suddenly without ideas.

After a pause, he decided to just go for it and explore. He took more of Billy's hardness into his mouth, licking over all he could. It was a weird feeling, hearing Billy gasp as he licked and tried to suck just a bit. Matthew felt like his mouth was too small for Billy's arousal, for when he tried to take in more he hit his gag point and had to sit up, coughing.

"You okay?" Billy asked, quickly scrambling to put his arms around Matthew. "It takes a little practice at first."

Matthew nodded, letting himself be kissed and held by Billy for a moment. He could feel Billy hard against him, against his thigh. With a little twist his own arousal met Billy's and both men let out a slight gasp.

"Yes..." Billy murmured as they both eased down to their sides, still grinding against one another and using their hands to fill in whatever they felt wasn't getting enough attention.

Lost in feeling, Matthew was stroking at Billy’s arousal, using his hands and thigh together to coax cries from Billy's throat. He did want Billy inside of him, but had absolutely no idea if there was anything that would work as an acceptable lube. And he was still a bit sore. But just a bit. The feeling he'd had with Billy inside of him was stuck in his mind, calling to him.

"Want you," Matthew murmured. "But..."

"Remember where we are," Billy replied, crawling over Matthew to tug at the drawer to the nightstand on Matthew's side of the bed. "I'm sure there have to be lube and condoms in here somewhere."

Matthew was glad there weren't any lights on, as he was sure he was bright red. Billy looked like a child as he tugged at the stuck drawer, his face painted with concentration. It was a beautiful scene in the moonlight though. Billy's hair shone almost white from the light coming in the window. After thinking a moment, during which Billy did get the drawer open, Matthew realized it most likely wasn't moonlight, but just the lights from the city. One of the main things he missed by being away from home and in the city was seeing the stars.

"What are you thinking?" Billy asked, digging in the drawer. "You're too quiet."

"Stars..." Matthew said softly.

"Stars?" Billy asked.

"I miss seeing them. There are too many streetlights here."

"Can you see the stars where you live?"

"Yes," Matthew answered.

"Then I'd like to see them with you."

Billy pushed Matthew back down to the bed, kissing his thighs slowly, trailing his tongue over Matthew's skin before dipping between Matthew's legs to kiss just above Matthew's opening.

Matthew cried out, not so loudly as the cries still echoing through the walls but still loud enough that he was surprised with himself. Still, as Billy let his tongue do a little venturing, Matthew felt himself ready to come just from the thought of what Billy was doing.


"Roll over, Matthew, and I'll do more," Billy said. "It feels good, doesn't it?"

Nodding, Matthew eased himself over, trying to get comfortable. He was laying on his own harness and it was just a bit uncomfortable. The bed was soft though, and that helped a bit. Actually, Matthew had to fight the urge to thrust against the bed to pleasure himself between the mattress and his body. He knew some people got off that way but he'd never really thought about it himself.

And then Billy descended upon him, spreading his buttocks and pushing his tongue between them, going after what he'd first claimed less than a day before.

Matthew moaned. He hadn't thought himself to be truly so submissive, but it fit. He couldn't believe how much he liked the feeling of being pleasured like this, of being the one to be filled so completely.

Mainly Billy stuck to the outside of Matthew's opening, slicking it and occasionally pressing through the tight muscle, a motion that made Matthew moan and writhe. Billy kept doing it, and Matthew thought he was going to come, knew he was going to come before he was supposed to.

He knew he was shaking when Billy drew back for a moment. He never thought he could feel like he did now, never thought he could be pushed to such a level of pleasure without being cast over the ledge in a white-lit orgasm.

Ethan was crying out from the other room, not helping with Matthew's level of arousal at all. As Billy pressed a pair of lubed fingers into Matthew's giving body, Matthew found himself almost trapped in a fantasy beyond his doing. All it had involved was trying to figure out just how Ethan, Robbie, and Jameson would all manage to be pleasuring one another, if not just flat out having sex with one another.

In his mind, it was Robbie buried inside of Ethan, causing those wails that so permeated the walls. Jameson was on the bed with them, watching at first as Robbie thrust again and again into their shared lover.

However had Ethan ended up sleeping with his brother?

The question was unanswered as Billy angled his fingers to press lightly against Matthew's prostate. Matthew couldn't help it, he pushed back and shoved a hand between himself and the bed. He had to come, he had to or he would just die. There were no more options for him.

"I need, I need..." he cried as a mantra, not ever really explaining what he needed but knowing somehow that his pleas would be understood.

Obliging, Billy pulled Matthew up just a bit and thrust into him, the space where his fingers had been still open and seeking something to fill it. Matthew reveled in the fullness, that he really could take something as large and hard as Billy's erection into his body and have it feel more good than bad. There was a sting, yes, but it paled in comparison to being filled and to stroking himself.

Billy thrust, and knocked Matthew's hand away, taking over that duty quickly. He pumped at Matthew's arousal while quickly thrusting repeatedly into Matthew's body. Matthew felt almost like he was going to lose himself, fall out of his body in bliss. He didn't even quite realize he was coming until he felt his semen hit his stomach in warm bursts. He felt both empty and full at the same time, some sort of vessel built just for an episode such as this.

And when Billy came, he pulled Matthew close and instead of crying out, whispered just one thing: "I think I'm falling in love with you."


Billy was asleep, snoring lightly with his covers thrown off. Matthew had spent the better part of an hour just staring at Billy's body, each line and curve as painted by the white light coming in the window. It made Billy look like Matthew thought one of Emily's faeries would look.

Matthew found his mind wandering again though. The last series of cries hadn't been Ethan's, as far as Matthew could figure. They hadn't woken Billy, thankfully, but had made Matthew a tiny bit uncomfortable. For some reason, he couldn't shake the thought of those three men in bed together.

The series of mental pictures that went along with all of that drew him back into his original question. How exactly did one end up sleeping with their brother? And to keep doing it, even to the degree where you pull your lover into the entire scene.

Something was off about it, but then again, everything about Ethan was off just a little bit. Somehow Matthew couldn't imagine the lithe creature growing up in the woods without anyone else around. It didn't explain the obsessive wantonness that seemed to affect everyone around the man.

Emily's faeries cohabitated, and it was acceptable for them to cohabitate with siblings instead of with lovers, but only if there were no offspring involved. That was based solely on the fact that a couple years before, Emily had announced she was going to marry Matthew. When it was explained to her that she couldn't do anything like that, she worked the idea into her faerie world. She didn't really understand sex as well as some other the other children her age, something Matthew was almost glad for.

He was nineteen, but it seemed as though his eyes had just been opened. And he felt constantly young around Billy and his friends. Most of them were older, but none of them treated him as though he were a child.

There was one other thought swimming around in Matthew's mind at that moment. He was thirsty.

Silently and carefully he stole from the bed, glad that Billy barely stirred. He pulled on his costume pants, not bothering to button the top button, and headed for the kitchen. As good as water sounded, he wanted something more substantial. After all, Jameson had said they could help themselves to the fridge.

No lights were on in the kitchen besides a nightlight, but Ethan sat on the counter eating a sandwich. He was wearing a robe closed snugly and thick slippers. There was something in his eyes that unnerved Matthew a bit, besides the fact that he could see Ethan's eyes.
Really, most of the time Ethan had his hair over his face, hiding himself or playing that he was someone he wasn't.

It was the real Ethan, the one who'd bandaged Matthew's bleeding arm in Rhyn's bathroom, that sat on the counter, staring curiously at Matthew as he entered.

"Morning," Ethan said, deadly.

"I was thirsty," Matthew replied. "Are you okay?"

Ethan looked away. "You probably think I'm all sorts of things, the first of which is a whore, the second of which is sick, and..."

Matthew shook his head. "Where would I find a glass?"

Confusion crossed Ethan's face. "The cupboard behind you."

"Thank you," Matthew said, stepping to grab a cup. He didn't say anything while checking out the fridge and settling on apple juice.

With the fridge closed, Matthew took a drink before looking back to Ethan.

"I don't know your situation. Everybody has a story. I have no reason to judge you," Matthew said. What he really wanted to do was take Ethan in his arms and hug the man, telling him that he wasn't the horrid person despite the stupid idea that obviously had somehow taken root in his mind.

"You..." That's when Matthew realized that Ethan had tears in his unnaturally green eyes.

"If neither of you has any reservations, then what makes something bad?" Matthew asked, sitting down at the table. He suddenly realized he was spouting some of the things Daniel had told him in the days and weeks beforehand. Perhaps they weren't exact Christian law, but they weren't condemning.

"We were young, and alone," Ethan began, sliding off the counter to land silently before he walked over to sit at the table across from Matthew. "And we both were starting to experiment with our bodies. It only made sense to start using one another."

Matthew nodded. After his hundreds of bouts of masturbation, he knew the feeling quite well. Except that he'd shied away from others for the most part, especially family.

"It took us years to get to actual penetration. Robbie didn't want to, but I begged him. I did..."

Ethan started crying again, freely this time. He gave up on his sandwich in order to start trying to wipe them away.


"It ruined me, didn't it? I'm just nothing now but a toy. And I've brought Jameson into it all now too. He's going to be so dirty because of me."

"No..." Matthew was on his feet, his arms wrapped around Ethan without him even thinking. "No one's forced anyone to do anything."


"It sounded as though everyone was enjoying it," Matthew said quickly. "If the three of you can be okay with it..."

"Jameson isn't. He's just catering to my whims because he loves me."

"Has he told you that?"

"No, but..." Ethan hiccupped and buried himself against Matthew's chest.

"You need to talk to him. And Robbie," Matthew said. "You can't just solve everything in the bedroom."

Matthew was a bit confused as to where his sudden wisdom was coming from. He wasn't struggling for words. Instead he suddenly realized he was talking to himself as well as Ethan. He had learned plenty of things during his stay in Toronto, he just hadn't realized most of them yet. He wouldn't be able to put his life together in a month, but he had begun, and that was the most important part.

Ethan nodded against Matthew's chest, and after a moment of silence, he pulled Ethan into the living room, where, still clinging to Matthew and sobbing lightly, Ethan fell asleep against Matthew's side.

Matthew just relaxed and ran his fingers though Ethan's hair. He used to do the same to Emily when she was upset, just idly comfort her as best he could. Despite Ethan being older, he was still like a child in some ways.

Matthew wanted Ethan to be happy, for his life to work out. Perhaps he really needed to stop thinking of Ethan in his self-imposed playtoy status but instead as a friend, a human with emotions running deep behind the facade so carefully erected to make others think he was as animated as the worlds they lived in.

Ethan had a story, and it was much more a tragic one than he ever let on.


They were sitting in the park near Quaker House, looking up at the trees and reveling in the still-warm weather that Toronto was being gifted with.

"That date is tomorrow, isn't it?" Billy asked.

Matthew nodded.

"Mine's first, sort of a test run. I'm meeting the girl, Arielle, at Jameson's sister's restaurant," Matthew said.


"I'm not trying to impress her. I'll just be myself," Matthew replied. "It's not as if I'm looking to date her, just have a good time for an evening."

Billy laughed. “I know that.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Matthew asked. “I still have so many questions for you.”

“Like what?” Billy stretched, standing before turning to sit down on the grass, looking up at Matthew who was still on the metal bench they’d started on.

“How did you get involved with Remote Transmissions? I don’t think you ever told me. And what do you want to do for the rest of your life? And…” Matthew was cut off with a swift wave from Billy.

“Enough with the questions!” Billy said, laughing. “Can I start with the one about RT?”

Matthew nodded, smiling.

“Well, I happened across one of their first issues while wandering around flyering one night. After that I was hooked. A couple of issues later, I had a letter printed. And after that I started writing columns,” Billy explained. “For awhile I was writing absolute volumes for RT, but I’ve been slacking lately.”

“Do you think Myra would let me e-mail her an article to print?” Matthew asked.

“I’m sure she would,” Billy replied. “But why do you think that it’s Myra who runs everything?”

“She’s the one who seems to be the most with it,” Matthew said, blushing a bit. He figured he’d made the totally wrong assumption. Still, Rae seemed awfully busy for the most part and Ethan didn’t seem like the type to start anything.

Speaking of Ethan, Matthew still had the dark-haired man on his mind. But it had turned to a very platonic concern. After the morning where Ethan cried himself to sleep in Matthew’s arms, Matthew couldn’t look at Ethan as a sexual creature.

There hadn’t been much of a public resolution to what was going on between Ethan, Jameson and Robbie and no one had dared ask them. Robbie was staying at Jameson’s condo for the time being though, until another job was ready, and that could be weeks off, by Robbie’s figuring.

But the last time they had been to dinner, the tense nature the situation had been emanating was gone, replaced instead by a complacency that Matthew hoped was the beginning of something akin to acceptance and resolution. Hopefully during his month in the city, some good had come from his being there.

He didn’t technically count Billy on that list, because Matthew really couldn’t imagine anything different happening to Billy without his presence. Instead it was more like one of those bonus things.

They still hadn’t talked at all about what would happen in little over a week - when Matthew had to go home. It wasn’t technically the last thing on his mind, but it was close.

“Actually, it’s all three of them. Believe it or not, Ethan is a competent human with exceptional writing skills,” Billy said. “He told me once that he didn’t have many books growing up, but he did have a set of encyclopedias that he read all the way through one winter.”

“I can see him doing that,” Matthew replied. The thought of a younger Ethan sitting beside an open fire with Volume T of the Encyclopedia Britannica on his lap was an adorable mental picture.

“As for Rae, she’s sort of the Voice of Reason for the group. If they stall for two long, she kicks them. Usually literally and she always does wear heels, for the record,” Billy continued.

Matthew laughed, moving to join Billy on the grass. It was dry and the day was downright beautiful. They’d both cast off their coats earlier in the day. Both were tired, but neither wanted to sleep just yet. It was just too nice outside to not want to be out in it for just a little while longer.

Billy was going to stay over at Quaker House. Not necessarily for any sexual reason, but just to be close to Matthew for as long as he could be.

“So what about your future?” Matthew asked.

“I’ll let you know when I get there,” Billy replied, looking up at the leaves above. “I didn’t even know this park was here.”

“I found it right away,” Matthew said quickly. “It made me think of… oh, never mind.”

“Of what?” Billy asked. “It’s okay, I’m not going to think it’s stupid.”

“Yes you will,” Matthew answered. He hadn’t mentioned Emily’s faeries to anyone yet and he didn’t intend to. He spent way too much time as it was thinking about his sister’s fictional creations. He didn’t need to get teased about it.

“You never know unless you tell me,” Billy said, rolling to his side so he could quickly kiss Matthew.

Matthew reveled in the quick but tasty kiss.

“Fine. It made me think of my sister, who writes about faeries,” Matthew said. “And by now, I know the faeries really well, so certain things make me think about them.”



“Like, little sparkly things with wings?” Billy asked. Matthew wanted to bang his head on something, but being as he was already on the ground his list of options was painfully small.

“Yes, but not quite. Her faeries are different, at least. I mean, Emily is only thirteen, so she’s borrowing and changing much of her source material,” Matthew explained.

“So what are her faeries like?” Billy asked. “This definitely looks like a park that should have faeries in it.”

“Well,” Matthew began, “they’re like humans, the same size, but built differently. Most of them are closer to Ethan than you or I.”

Billy snorted and Matthew suddenly realized he did have a similar build to Ethan, he just wasn’t anywhere near as graceful with it.

“You know what I mean,” Matthew continued. “The one she mainly writes about is named Jorin. He has blue and green hair, and grey wings.”

“Grey?” Billy asked.

“It’s supposedly rare. I also thought it had something to do with some future plot about him dying valiantly in battle, I guess,” Matthew said, carefully searching for faeries in the trees above him. He saw none.

“They fight?”

“They battle other things that try to attack their city. Right now Emily is writing a very long story about a battle with an evil sorcerer. At first it had just been with a banshee controlled by the evil sorcerer, but now the Banshee, Aanor, has been freed from the sorcerers spell and is falling in love with Jorin…”

Matthew realized he was babbling a bit and shut up.

“Tell me more,” Billy said after a minute. “There has to be more. This sounds like a game plot or something, where you never know who the villain is. I mean, in order to stick with the entire schema, she needs to throw in a twist where Jorin is in love with the evil sorcerer.”

“Emily told me that Jorin was going to fall in love by the end of this story,” Matthew replied. “Which means she has something figured out. Or, since she is only thirteen, she’ll make Aanor into Jorin’s true love and they’ll live happily until the next story.”

“If that was a video game, I’d play it,” Billy said.

“It’s an illustrated story printed out and up in my room,” Matthew replied. “If you are at all interested in the literary efforts of my little sister.”

“If it’s any good, maybe she can get serialized in Remote Transmissions,” Billy said. “I remember Myra mentioning they were looking for something like that - short, light-hearted, and illustrated.”

“Now that would make Emily’s life. I’ll have submit it secretly though, I don’t want to crush her if she’s refused.”

Billy was on his feet stretching. He glanced down at Matthew before offering a hand.

“C’mon, show me this story.”


Matthew found himself in the bathtub again, reflecting as he soaked. He still had a couple hours before his date with Arielle, but that wasn’t what he was reflecting on.

Instead it was everything else, the world opened to him in an almost jarring fashion, mainly. He’d been thrown headfirst into a subculture he truly knew nothing about and had absorbed as much as he possibly could, albeit very quickly and superficially. He could rattle off the names of the anime he’d watched with Billy or in larger groups, and could talk about the plots of the manga he’d read, but it had all been so quickly that he had missed just about all of the detail and innuendo. He couldn’t wait to reread and re-watch everything though, to pick up on the small stuff.

And even though he’d played video games on and off throughout his entire life, he never knew of the sort of cult status they had. Tyler had never hinted at it more than a handful of times, but perhaps, Matthew thought, Tyler hadn’t deemed him the sort of person to be into all of that.

Tyler. He hadn’t heard from Tyler in the last couple of days, despite his frequent visits to the internet café. Tyler hopefully was doing well, despite the tone of the last e-mail Matthew had received from him. Apparently Tyler had been having more trouble with his girlfriend and as painful as it was, he was ready to end it. Besides, Tyler had said, he had his eye on someone at work.

Matthew had laughed at that, and once he’d eliminated himself from the dating pool, as well as all the other men, he couldn’t think of any woman there who Tyler would have a thing for. Unless it was seasonal help hired on early, which was a distinct possibility as well.

Still, it didn’t matter. Part of him missed his time with Tyler, being a complete slob and falling asleep mid-game without repercussions. Billy still didn’t seem to realize that sleeping was built so completely into Matthew’s system that it was a requirement for him, even if Billy could effortlessly stay awake for days on end.

Along with his daily e-mail, despite lacking a message from Tyler, Matthew did hear from one of Audra’s friends who was concerned why he wasn’t writing.

That’s one of the main things he was reflecting on. He’d written back to Audra finally, after a week of not having the words to explain, telling her that he’d been questioning who he was. And, after trying to make it sound as much like his problem as he could, he told her that he just wasn’t into women and that it wasn’t anything she had done. It was a personal thing that had been cemented when he met someone in Toronto that he was enjoying a relationship with.

He apologized a dozen times, he knew, and hoped it would lessen the blow. But still, it hurt him too. He considered Audra a good friend and didn’t want to hurt her too badly. Hopefully distance and time had not made her heart grow fonder and she was only minimally in love with him. He’d never loved her, only really liked her. And it was misplaced. He realized that now, now that he was finally giving his heart to someone.

Another e-mail had been from Emily, with more story. The day before Billy had been converted to an instant fan of the works of Emily Andersen, but Matthew didn’t tell Emily and of that. Instead it had just been a standard daily e-mail including bemoaning homework and news of a new kid at school as well as a page and a half of story that Matthew quickly printed.

Matthew was getting the odd feeling that most of his Toronto money was being eaten away by the per-page printer at the internet café. The women there had stopped staring at him like he was a pervert and were now calling him by name, which was only a little less disconcerting than being considered a weirdo had been.

Also in his e-mail had been a message from his mother, asking if he’d started his car once a week to make sure it was still going to start and run well when it was time for him to leave. With a slight grimace, Matthew realized he couldn’t remember the last time he’d even gone out to check that his car hadn’t been stolen into the night. Checking the second he got home, it was still safe and still started, albeit with a bit of a clunk at first that was just a little worrisome.

Smiling, Matthew reached for the shampoo to wash his hair. He was in no hurry for once. Billy was working and his date wasn’t for a couple of hours. Besides, it was raining outside and Matthew was hoping that if he stalled for a bit, the rain would pass.

Ethan had given him an outfit for the date, telling him he could keep it as a thank you gift for the other night. Matthew had just smiled as he looked at the outfit. It was perfect. It wasn’t quite as flashy as what he’d worn to the auction, but it was still definitely falling into the category of sexy.

Not that he had any intentions of doing anything other than showing up at the 24 Hour Coffee Shop after the date in order to steal Billy away for the rest of the night. He didn’t have much time left in the city and he wanted to make the most of it.

It was still raining when Matthew left Quaker House. He was leaving early, but he could only find so many ways to alleviate his boredom. He didn’t want to start any projects with less than an hour and he’d finished everything besides ‘Faith and Practice’, and even that he was near the end of. He just wanted to put a little more brain power into reading the end of it, just in case it managed to throw out something useful as a kicker.

Getting on the subway to head south,  Matthew found himself people watching again, wondering just what each person’s story was. He’d been having thoughts like that more and more often, that everyone had a story and sometimes it was worth it to listen to that story before making any judgments regarding that person. Because without taking everything into account, it was just a superficial decision and had no weight anyway.

It was one off his observations that made it to paper, along with many other things.

His self-doubt was another thing he found himself drawn back to. He was filled with neurosis, insecurities, and self-doubt, none of which did him any good. As much as Matthew wanted to just dig a hole and bury them, it just wasn’t that easy for him to do so. But to work through them, that was his goal. To realize that those things are a part of each person’s story and some of them get past them, so it’s definitely possible.

The world was a wide-open place, Matthew decided, just waiting to be explored. The answers didn’t have to be apparent at first. In fact they most definitely weren’t going to be apparent until quite a ways along the road. That was what made the adventure worth having.

He was losing his regrets about the past too. There was no point dwelling on anything he couldn’t change. Letting go of Audra was one of those things. He would like her as an e-mail friend, but little more. It was something that had been in his mind all along but he just wasn’t sure how to say properly. Life was for living, Matthew decided, within the boundaries of morals and ethics.

He wasn’t going to run off on a killing spree, but had no urge to deviate from his own currently deviant lifestyle. Stepping back was what he had needed. He’d needed time to reflect. Not that month was the exact time it took - he knew he was just a few steps along the voyage he’d begun, and that was more than okay. No one could define and then set goals to redefine themselves in just a month without the help of a team of professionals. And even then Matthew doubted something like that was possible.

The announcer called his station and Matthew rose from his seat, barely knocked off balance as the subway train slowed to a stop. It was still raining when Matthew made it to the surface. For some reason Matthew always had the bizarre idea that the subway was dropping him off somewhere completely different, not just a few miles away where everything basically was the same.

Traffic was heavy and a glance at the time on his phone reminded him it was still very much during rush hour. He stood at a crosswalk with a group of people waiting to cross. Many of them had umbrellas but other just seemed to be enjoying the warm rain that threatened to drench them.

Matthew had a jacket on, but hadn’t bothered finding anything else to shield him from the weather. He didn’t mind the rain so much.

Instead, he just stared up at the red light above, waiting for it to turn green so he could keep going forward.

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