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When Adam came round he found he was lying on one of the sofas, being fanned vigorously by Hillyard waving a palm-leaf. As soon as he was conscious, Adam panicked and started burbling about them leaving the house straightaway.
"You can't leave Adam", said their new host, who had been standing out of his line of vision "Not when we've just met up again after all these years".
"How the hell did you get here Julian?" Adam exclaimed, resisting Hillyard's urgings to lie down again.
"You always did have a terribly bad temper Adam. And in answer to your rather rude question, I must have got here the same way you did, through a time-slip".
"Almost exactly two years ago now".
"The same time we crossed", said Adam "Were you at the penal colony?"
"No. Through my wit and cunning I managed to avoid arrest. I never let on to anyone that I was a time-crosser. Of course it helped that I crossed via Lixix. It was easy to disguise myself there as a common-or-garden fortieth century tourist", said Julian "Well, isn't this nice? I must ask Finia to arrange some tea for us. Excuse me a moment".
"Hillyard, we've got to get out of here", said Adam.
"Why? Do you know him? Is he a time-crosser too?"
"Yes and yes. He's the last person I expected to see here. The last person I would want to see here!" Adam took a deep breath to try and calm himself "He was my first lover. When I was in my teens I had a rather stormy affair with him. Because of him I served five years in prison".
"Tut tut Adam, such barefaced lies", said Julian, coming back into the room "You served time because of your vicious little temper".
"You drove me to lose it Julian. You constantly humiliated me. Do you know what he used to do Hillyard? He used to take me out to bars, and pick up other men in front of me. And then tell me to run along home, as he would be staying somewhere else".
"Calm down Adam", said Julian "I'm sure your friend doesn't wish to hear all this. You always were so fiery".
"Do you want me to fetch Kieran for you, Adam?" asked Hillyard, looking concerned.
"Patsy! Oh lor. Yes, I want to see Patsy", said Adam "Oh Hillyard, how am I going to explain this to him?"
"I'll go and get him", said Hillyard "They'll be wondering where we've got to anyway. I'll try and explain it to him if you like".
"There is absolutely no need for this attack of the vapours Adam", said Julian, once they were sitting alone together over cups of lemon tea "It was all a very long time ago. Another lifetime in fact".
"I've never forgiven you Julian. You robbed me of my youth!"
"Oh don't be so melodramatic, and drink your tea", Julian slapped Adam's bare knee playfully "What's past is past. If it'll make you feel any better I'll admit I was a shit to you, and there have been many times since when I've regretted it. But we were both very young then. I got caught up in the romance of dragging you away from your tyrannical father. Whatever happened to him?"
"I haven't a clue. I haven't seen him since we went to France. All those letters I wrote to you in prison Julian, why did you never answer them? Why did you never come to see me? Not once even just to tell me it was over?"
"I don't know", Julian sighed "Fear perhaps. It's a frightening thing to be caught up with someone who loves as intensely as you do. Still, your current sweetheart certainly looks strong enough to cope".
"Hillyard's a friend, not a sweetheart. There's nothing like that between us. Patsy is my lover. You'll be meeting him shortly".
"Patsy? Not a eunuch is he?"
"No, it's my pet-name for him, because he's Irish you see. He crossed over with me. His real name's Kieran. You might have heard of him. The Vanquisher of Evil".
"You are flying high these days Adam! And I've heard he's quite cute too. How did you hook him?"
"Persistence pays off", said Adam "I can scarcely believe my own luck at times".
"Well it's not really that surprising", said Julian "You look good Adam. Not at all the spectral scarecrow I kept hearing about when you came out of prison. The gaunt creature that haunted the bars, willing to do blow-jobs in return for a double whisky".
"That was just evil gossip, I never fell that low".
"As I said, you look good now. Very much the well-preserved Bohemian. How do you do it?"
"Partly because I've been on the wagon for the past four years".
"Self-control too, how commendable".
"Looks like you could do with a bit of it", said Adam, prodding Julian's flabby girth "It's obvious you never kept up your squash practice".
"Food is my only vice these days".
"And so what's with the wannabe-girly who showed us in then?"
"Finia looks after the house for me, that's all".
"I'm surprised he has time, after shovelling all that crap on his face".
"He's less of a temptation for me to have around. I did have a local youth for a while, as a house-boy, but ... you know how it is".
"A constant urge to roger him over the sink?"
"If only!" Julian laughed, bitterly "Finia, for all his finery, doesn't do anything for me. I think that rather hurts his feelings. He's desperate for a man like ourselves to keep him in splendour. He wants a 'daddy' as he puts it, rather grotesquely I find".
"Well he needn't look at me. I'm extremely happy with the pet I've got. And talking of which, I want you to behave yourself when you meet him".
"Do I have to kiss his feet or something?"
"Don't be absurd. Just don't do something outrageous, like come onto me in front of him. It's the sort of petty, spiteful game you always excelled at".
"Adam dearest, as you can see I am now rather a pathetic old man. My days of cruel games are long gone".
"Your type of leopard never changes his spots".
"He is divine!" Julian breathed, as Kieran followed everyone else into the room "A little on the short side, but very much the Pocket Adonis".
"You touch him and I'll saw your hands off", Adam hissed "He is strictly out of bounds".
"I can look can't I?"
Julian ordered Finia to prepare more tea and sandwiches, most of which Ransey commandeered. He wandered around the room, clutching the plate of food, and blatantly eyeing-up Julian's knick-knacks with evaluation prices on his mind.
Adam in the meantime found himself adoring Kieran more than ever. The boy sat being ogled by Julian, and yet keeping himself encased in a glacial reserve, completely at odds with his usual effervescence. Kieran answered all Julian's questions with an almost imperial demeanour, as though he was an emperor having to tolerate a tiresome visiting diplomat. Adam was so turned on by this display that he could hardly keep still.
"So which boondocks part of Ireland are you from originally?" Julian asked, in that old teasingly belligerent way that Adam had used to dread years ago. It was the sort of tone Julian had employed at parties, when loudly quizzing Adam about his painting, hoping somehow to put him down in front of everyone.
Kieran looked at Julian as though he was too bored to seriously consider answering him.
"Killarney", he replied, eventually.
"That IS the boondocks. And now you cross over in time to find yourself being hailed as the Vanquisher of Evil. Quite an achievement for the last Irishman in the world. How did you do it?"
"You figure it out", said Kieran "And if you do find out, let me know. I've often wondered myself".
"In your position and with your looks you could have whoever you wanted, so why do you bother with old Adam here?"
"I get the impression you'd quite like to bother with him again yourself, otherwise you wouldn't be taking the trouble to be so unpleasant to me".
"Adam, I think we should be getting along", said Joby "Find somewhere to camp tonight".
"But there's plenty of room here", Julian protested "Now come along, you can't refuse. This part of the jungle is no place to be outside after dark".
"And why is that?" said Kieran "Perhaps you can tell us exactly what goes on here".
"Gladly. Over dinner perhaps. You'll be quite safe inside the house. Now I won't take 'no' for an answer. There are plenty of spare rooms. I don't know what all your sleeping arrangements usually are, but Finia will show you where everything is".
The eunuch showed Kieran and Joby into a sizeable bedroom that overlooked the garden. It was sparsely but effectively furnished in an Oriental style, which made it curiously relaxing. This mood was further enhanced by a set of tinkling wind-chimes hung over the window. The window had no glass in it, only bamboo shutters which opened out onto a balcony. Joby though wasn't influenced by the soothing peace of the room. He was considerably uptight, and snapped at Finia, who had lingered in the doorway.
"What are you waiting for?" he barked "A tip?"
Finia left the room with considerable hauteur.
"Don't be so rude Joby", Kieran sighed "We are in his house".
"It's not his house, he just works here", said Joby, as he began to unpack his rucksack "Anyway, you were giving a pretty good account of yourself downstairs. Not that I blame you".
"God, isn't that Julian a slimeball though? What the hell did Adam ever see in him?"
"You should've seen your face when Hillyard told you whose house it was!"
"I thought he was having me on, until I remembered that Adam's never told him about that relationship".
"Anyway, you can't blame Adam for what he got up to when he was nineteen. I don't think I'd wanna bump into some of my ex-girlfriends when I'm forty. Not that I expect they'd remember me".
"Dinner at seven-thirty", Kieran fluted, impersonating Julian's voice "Upper-class English git. How dare he call Killarney the boondocks?"
"Well it is!"
Kieran laughed and hurled a pillow at him. Joby threw himself across the bed and they wrestled playfully for some minutes. They were so engrossed they didn't hear the hammering on the door at first.
"Oh who the hell is that?" Joby exclaimed.
"Probably the castrated twiglet again".
"I hope I'm interrupting something", said Adam, coming into the room "Patsy, I need to talk to you alone. Joby, can you make one of your tactful withdrawals? Go for a walk round the house or something".
"I'm not roaming about this place on my own", said Joby "It's like 'The House on Haunted Hill'. Too many weirdo's in it".
"Alright, Patsy come into my room. It's just across the corridor".
"I'll pop over in a minute", said Kieran.
"See that you do", said Adam, and went back out again.
"I'd better go and see what he wants", said Kieran "He's bound to be a wee bit sensitive at the moment".
"Run along to Master like a good pet".
"Now don't be like that! Things have been difficult for me and him lately, first Noni and now Julian back on the scene".
"And me. I know that's what you're thinking".
"Cobblers, that was a good thing. I'll walk down to dinner with you later".
"Brilliant, I'll twiddle me thumbs for a couple of hours until then".
"You look hunted Patsy".
"Beleaguered", said Kieran "I'm getting nagged by both you and Joby. Trying to please both of you and failing by the looks of things".
"No you are not. Come and sit down. I was very proud of the way you handled Julian earlier. I wish I'd had that presence of mind at your age".
"It must help that I'm not in love with him, and never likely to be", said Kieran "What a dreary room you've got!"
He stood in the middle of it and looked around him. The room was so small it looked as though it should have come with a shoe-horn to aid getting in and out. It was painted a depressing bamboo colour to match the shutters, and the only furniture in it was a chair, and a low bed swamped by a mosquito net.
"Joby and me must have the VIP suite by the looks of things. Or is Julian hoping you'll be so uncomfortable you'll go sneaking into his room?"
"Oh Patsy come here", Adam pulled him onto the bed and cuddled him "This holiday was meant to give us more time together, and all I seem to have done is mess around with everyone else".
"Trouble is, it's not a holiday anymore is it? It's a mission to get rid of Gabriel".
"How do you feel about that?"
"Surprisingly determined", said Kieran "Particularly after what happened to Noni. No one deserves to die like that. I keep trying to imagine his last moments".
"Well don't!" said Adam "I don't think you and I are ever destined to have a normal life together Pats. The likes of Gabriel keep getting in the way".
"You're not giving me the brush-off are you?"
"Twit! It's only times like this, when I'm alone with you, that I can be truly myself. It makes me realise how precious the past year and a half has been. Coming home to find you waiting for me in the apartment. Knowing you were safe. And now here we are, heading off back into the unknown".
"Gabriel's only a mortal man though, he's not the Devil".
"He's a mortal man who, oh I don't know, who through some kind of voodoo employs elementals and zombies".
"You think that weirdo last night was something to do with him?"
"Too much of a coincidence otherwise, unless your friend the witch-doctor works as a double agent".
"Can we trust Julian? Are we safe here?"
"I'm not entirely sure, but put it this way, I can't see any reason not to trust him. Julian has always only ever looked out for Julian. I can't imagine he's in Gabriel's pay".
"He might resent me though. For certain obvious reasons I can think of", said Kieran, placing a hand on Adam's warm knob.
"He's not the jealous sort. God knows I tried hard enough in the past to make him so, just to get my own back. He only ever laughed. If he wants something he takes it, that's always been his motto".
"Yes, but what if he can't have it?"
"I don't think he's ever been tested that far", Adam kissed him "Don't waste precious time talking about him. We've got more important things to do".
"I'm sorry Addy, I'm finding it so hard to relax. And I want to so much. I'm angry with meself".
"It really doesn't matter", said Adam, soothingly, running his hand along Kieran's leg "We can just sleep together, in the literal fashion, if you'd prefer. It's enough for me that I'm alone with you".
"This room has one advantage. Lying here like this with you under the net, I feel as though we're cast adrift together. Out of reach of everyone else", Kieran sighed "I must be a huge disappointment after Joby".
"You are talking nonsense. Talking out of your cock in fact. I shall have to shut it up".
Adam dived down and massaged Kieran's flaccid penis until it was erect once more. He then sucked on it hard. Kieran squirmed in delight, feeling the ends of Adam's hair tickling the sensitive skin around his genitals.
"You do want it don't you?" said Adam, coming up for air.
"Take me Addy. Just take me. Now!"
Adam obliged most eagerly. Afterwards Kieran felt as though all the tension was slowly seeping out of his body, draining out through his feet, his fingertips and his cock, like ectoplasm from a medium. He curled himself up on his side, slotting himself against Adam's chest, and slept peacefully, untroubled by the dark, incoherent dreams that had disturbed his sleep of late. He was secure in Adam's love, and that was all that mattered at this moment.
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