Chapter 15 - ‘Spilt Milk-erm Tea, rather.’




        Scott had worked Jason for the entire day, pushing him to his limits and back again. Sara's orders had been quite specific; "Train him. Now." So Scott did. He rushed the whole process and managed to fit a whole months worth of normal training into a single day. Scott was exhausted, but he couldn't let Jason see that. For some reason he felt he needed to look invincible in Jason's eyes. After Jason had finally collapsed and refused to get off the ground again, Scott gave in and called it a day. He helped walk Jason into the changing room and set him down on a bench. Jason's muscles were so sore from the intense workout that he couldn't even manage to take his own shirt off. So he sat there, feeling like a baby, while Scott undressed first Jason and then himself.

        Again Scott helped Jason to his feet and half carried him into the showers. Jason could feel Scott's muscles rippling under his skin as he moved while Scott could barely concentrate on keeping moving with Jason's naked body pressed so close to him. He set Jason under his own showerhead, turned it on and moved to his own. He dashed back to Jason's side and caught him as his muscles gave out and he collapsed. Jason was too tired even to moan.

        "Alright bud," Scott sighed. "Looks like I'm gonna have to help you out." He stood behind Jason, his arm wrapped tightly around Jason's midriff and reached for a bar of soap. His hand trembled slightly as he brought the bar of soap to Jason's chest and began rubbing it across his pec's, trying to work up a lather. He leaned Jason back against his own chest and used both his hands to spread the soap across Jason's torso, washing the grime form their workout away. Scott couldn't believe it. HE was rubbing his hands across Jason's naked flesh. Ever since he had met him, he had been wanting this moment. He pressed forwards into Jason and leant his head on Jason's shoulder. He was hard and knew Jason could probably feel it pressing into his back, but he didn't care. He kissed gently along Jason's shoulder and neck.

        Jason mumbled something drowsily, it sounded to Scott like a moan. "Mmmm..."

        So he continued. His hands were rubbing further down Jason's body, feeling his six-pack. His breath deepened and he pressed harder against Jason's ass with his erection. His hands trembled as they slid lower, feeling Jason's waistline. Then he stopped himself. 'This isn't right,' he told himself. 'I-- Jesus, what's happened to you Scott? Didn't you used to be straight?' He pulled away from Jason, his face red and breathing raggedly. He turned off the shower and wrapped a towel around Jason, and another around himself. Jason seemed to have fallen asleep, so he nudged him awake and helped him to walk back into the changing room.

* * *

        Miriam looked around the hall, examining every detail of the room. She suddenly turned to face Fiona, "Is there somewhere more comfortable that we can adjourn to?" she asked.

        Fiona was still standing by the open door. "G-get out of my h-house!" she finally managed to stutter.

        "Um... No." Miriam said. She waved her hand behind her and the door slammed shut. The bolts slid home. She marched over to Fiona and grasped her wrist. Fiona gasped sharply from the pain. She tried to tug her arm free, but Miriam's grasp was like an iron claw.

        "Come along you spoilt little brat," Miriam snapped and began to drag her along by her arm. "We are going to have a little chat about my son, among other things." She dragged Fiona trough into the living room and sat her down on a sofa. She gestured with her hand and a small table shot away from the wall and positioned itself in-between them. She motioned again and a large, antique, hardback chair slid up behind her. She sat down gracefully. "Tea dear?" She asked Fiona cheerily.

        As if having a reputed psychopath force her way into your house wasn't enough, the woman had dragged her around and then begun tossing her stuff around with slight gestures. Fiona was already petrified, and Miriam's rapid mood swings only added to her unpredictability and made Fiona even more afraid. She sat very still and tried to control her breathing. She squeezed her eyes shut and muttered under her breath. "It's just a dream, it's just a dream. You'll wake up any moment now, and everything will be fine-"

        Miriam snapped her hand across the table and slapped Fiona on the face. "Wake up you stupid bitch." Fiona gasped and held her hand to her cheek. She tasted blood in her mouth.

        Miriam addressed her again. "I asked if you wanted any tea." Fiona looked at her in hurt confusion. Miriam snapped again. "Answer the fucking question!"

        Startled, Fiona shook her head and fought to hold back her tears. "N-no." she whispered.

        Miriam stared at her coldly. "If I offer you something, you will bloody well take it." She reached for something on the empty table, and it was suddenly covered by a small tea tray. Miriam clasped the teapot and poured out two cups. "Do you take milk or sugar in you tea?"

        Fiona considered refusing the tea again, but Miriam's words still resounded in her head, '"If I offer you something, you will bloody well take it."' Fiona's cheek was still burning from the slap, so she nodded meekly. "Yes p-please."

        "Aw, you see? Manners aren't hard to learn." Miriam added milk and sugar to their tea and motioned for Fiona to take her cup. She did with a trembling hand and the cup slid off the saucer on the way back to her. It shattered on the floor, spilling tea across the oak surface. Miriam's hand snapped out again and Fiona flinched. A single tear escaped from her eye.

        "Please, let me go." She sobbed.

        Miriam's hand gently touched her other cheek. "Dear, there's no use crying of spilt milk." She poured Fiona another cup.

        Fiona took this one gingerly and held it in her lap. "What do you want from me? I don't know where Matt is."

        Miriam laughed cruelly. "Oh I know you don't. But I'm sure he is watching your house just in case I happened to turn up and try to cause trouble." She withdrew a small pocket watch from her coat and studied it. Small stars whirled inside it, but Fiona couldn't see hands of any sort on its surface. Miriam snapped it shut. "Any moment now." She tapped her nails on the side of her cup. There was a bright flash from the window to the backyard, behind Fiona and Miriam set down her teacup. "There we go." She stood and moved around towards the French windows that opened up off the back of the living room into the garden. She leaned back over the sofa so her head was next to Fiona's. "Don't think about going anywhere, dear." She tapped her finger on Fiona's mouth and a silk cloth wrapped itself around her mouth and head. Fiona felt similar cloths twist around her ankles and wrists, binding them together. The tea she had been holding in her lapped slipped sideways and tipped onto the sofa, but it remained unnoticed.

        Matt's voice filled the room, startling Fiona. "Miriam, let her go. Your quarrel is with me, not her."

        "Where are you Matt? Are you too afraid to show yourself?" Miriam screamed at the walls.

        "I'm right here Miriam. In the garden."

        Fiona was just able to turn her head and see Matt standing in the garden, resplendent in snow-white robes, waiting patiently. Miriam raced out of the French window doors and into the frosty garden towards Matt.

        Someone raced in from the hall and quickly sliced through Fiona's bonds. She looked up at the person's face as they removed the gag.

        "Matt?" she asked in surprise.

        "Shush, we have to hurry, it wont take her long to figure out that's an illusion out there." He whispered as he picked her up in one arm and raced out into the hall. They raced past the kitchen door, and Fiona kicked him and ordered him to stop. He skidded to a halt and looked at her.

        "What? We have to hurry!"

        "Rosy's in the kitchen, we can't leave her here with that bitch." She pleaded.

        Matt nodded and ran back, still carrying Fiona. He pushed his way through the swinging door. They were suddenly bombarded with blaring music, so loud, that Rosy hadn't even heard them come crashing in. Matt ran up behind her and grabbed her around the waist with his free arm and then ran back out of the kitchen. Rosy was too surprised to even scream. She looked anxiously up at Matt and then over at Fiona who waved at her nervously. Matt dashed down the hall and out the front door, still carrying both women as if they weighed nothing. He set them down by Fiona's car.

        "Get in and drive to Jason's house, explain everything to his mother." He bade them.

        They clambered into the car and Fiona was about to start the engine when Matt stuck his hand through the window and placed it on her bruised cheek. A warm feeling spread across her face, and the pain ceased.

        He looked at her a moment, then said, "Te-tell Jason I-" he looked like he was about to break down. "Tell him I still love him." And then he twirled his finger, the engine burst to life and Fiona felt the gas pedal pressed under her foot as the steering wheel moved on its own accord. She tried to shout something back at Matt, but the car was already speeding around the block. When she looked back, he was gone.


* * *

        Jason didn't remember much of his afternoon. He vaguely remembered collapsing and refusing to get up again, and then being helped into the changing room. After that though, it was just a blur. He had felt someone helping to support and wash him in the showers, and when they had kissed his neck he knew who it was. He had tried to say his name, but he was too exhausted to say it fully. "Matt" had simply come out at "Mmm..."

        The next thing he knew he was stumbling into the canteen. A buzz of murmurs spread across the hall as people caught sight of him. He followed Scott to the cafeteria and grabbed food randomly, not even bothering to look at what it was. They sat at the same table as earlier and Jason shoveled food into his mouth, not bothering to look at what it was. For some reason, Scott seemed uncomfortable and edgy around him. He didn't ask, he was to tired to really care. After finishing his meal, he told Scott he was going to crash.

        Scott looked at him in surprise, "It's only 6:30."

        Jason shrugged and told him goodnight. Scott tapped his arm as he was about to leave. "Sara wants me to keep training you tomorrow." He caught the look of dread that passed across Jason's face. "Don't worry, she wants me to take you to the next level. We'll be doing different things. So be up by 7:00."

        "Oh goody." Was just about all Jason could manage at that point. He stood and made his way towards the exit, still oblivious to the stares of women and men that accompanied his passage.

        That is until some one shouted, "Hey, faggot!" and the room fell silent. Jason recognized Kevin's voice from that morning but ignored him and kept walking. He heard a chair scrape backwards and knew Kevin must have stood to get his attention. He ignored him and kept walking.

        "Hey, fag, I'm talking to you!" Kevin shouted again. There was a faint whistling and then Jason's instincts kicked into action. His arm shot out behind him and caught the metal knife Kevin had thrown at him. There was a collective gasp from the room and the tension built like a thunderstorm. Everyone was expecting Jason to fight back. They were all thoroughly surprised when Jason casually tossed the knife into the washing bucket and pushed through the double doors. Jason's stubborn refusal to even acknowledge Kevin seemed to have earned him even greater respect among the others.

        Jason walked across the compound and found his room again. He shucked off his clothes and collapsed on top of the bed, not even bothering to get under the covers. He was soon fast asleep.


* * *

        Something woke him up shortly before dawn. He was tucked carefully under the covers of his bed. He looked at his alarm. It was only six. He had another forty-five minutes before he had to get up. He caught a familiar scent of lilies and jasmine in the air and he sat bolt upright in bed. He looked around the room but there was no one there. He thought he hard a rustle of vegetation near the window and sprang to it and looked out. There was nothing there. He rested his hands on the windowsill and his fingertips brushed something. He looked down. A single white rose lay on the sill.

        "Matt," he called softly into the dawn air. "Where are you? I feel so lost without you..." He shivered in the chill air. After another few minutes of looking at the sky as it slowly grew paler and paler, heralding the approach of dawn, he set the rose in a small vase on his nightstand and moved into the bathroom for a quick shower.


* * *

        "Jason, you're up early." Scott said, quite surprised at Jason's arrival in the mess hall and barely 6:30. He eyed Jason's chosen apparel for the day. A simple, plain fitting white T and kaki shorts. His skin was a rosy red after the quick walk from his room to the mess.

        "Something woke me up early." Jason replied as he grabbed a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. He took a bagel and some cream cheese from the canteen and joined Scott. He chugged the juice and sipped at the coffee while taking bites of his bagel. "So, what's doing for today?" he asked once the coffee had started working on his brain.

        "Sara thought I should start off with teaching you how to fight with weapons." Scott said nonchalantly.

        Jason raised an eyebrow, "What's she trying to do, train me or conscript me?"

        "Protect you, I think." Scott said. "I thought we could start with the basics of knife and sword fighting, then guns, and then see where it goes from there."

        Jason held up his hand, "No guns. I don't ever intend to fire one of those things again. But isn't sword fighting... a bit outdated?"

        "Sword fighting isn't restrained to swords. A stick or a piece of metal can have the same effect." Scott explained. Jason had finished eating, so he clapped his hands and stood. "Well then, shall we get an early start?"

        Scott led him out of the main exit and through the compound. People were just starting to emerge from their barracks' and people kept stopping to salute ate Scott passed them. "Certainly is different form yesterday," Jason commented.

        Scott smiled and nodded. "Yesterday was Sunday. It's the one day of the week when no one has duties and no one has rank, except for Sara. It was one of her better ideas for helping to increase the sense of community of the base."

        They entered a large stone building through a set of massive wooden doors and then Scott led him off down to the Men's changing rooms. Obviously, their route the previous day had not been the normal one. Once again, Jason had to avert his eyes as Scott undressed, lest he get too aroused.

        As the entered the training grounds, there were a few other early risers already working out. They stopped briefly to observe Jason and Scott's entrance, and a few whispers were passed between them. Scott led him to the far side of the courtyard, where they hadn't been the previous day, and selected a number of training weapons from a rack. He set then on the ground and chose two blunted and dulled sabers.

        "You ever fenced?" Scott asked him as he tossed Jason one of the sabers.

        Jason deftly caught it and twirled it so that he was holding it correctly. "Not since I was twelve."

        "Well then, your about to get a crash course in saber fighting." Scott said and then took a stance.

        The other occupants of the training grounds tried to pretend to be busy while watching Jason and Scott. One of them ran off through the changing rooms excitedly.


* * *

        Nick Palmer had been one of the other people working out in the training grounds when Scott and Jason had come in. He had also been the one who ran off into the changing rooms as soon as it had become clear what Scott was doing. He ran into his bunker where people were still getting up and shaving. He burst through the door, gasping from running the whole way. All eyes were on him as he spoke.

        "Scott's training Sara's brother with swords."

        Murmurs and whispers shot around the room.

        "Already? He just got here yesterday!"

        "I told you he was better than Sara."

        "I doubt it, I've yet to see someone who could match her."

        The talk continued along these lines once they reached the mess, and word quickly spread of Jason's rapid advancement.


* * *

        At some point during his training, Jason noticed Sara standing on the balcony watching them. She was talking softly with someone who was draped heavily in white robes, complete with a hooded cowl. His heart soared at the thought that it might be Matt, but then he realized whoever it was, was to short and small in the shoulders to be Matt.


* * *

        Sara watched Jason come back en guarde after Scott had given him a breather. She focused her attention on his every movement, watching for a mistake. His body suddenly taught with lean but well-toned muscle, Jason nodded a reluctant readiness to Scott.

        As Scott attacked with a fluid sword stroke, Jason turned the blade, fouling it. He checked his own answer cut short, leaping backwards to avoid Scott's swift response. They passed in an uneven circle, Scott never allowing him a respite, and Jason always wary of allowing Scott to get behind him.

        "How is he doing?" Her companion asked quietly. "Well, it would appear."

        Sara fiddles with the fingers of one of her gloves. "Adequate,"
she replied after a moment's silence. The two continued watching Jason in silence. Until...

        "No," she suddenly yelled as Jason overextended to score against Scott but left himself open to his opponents striking sword. "No, Jason, not a parry. A riposte. Riposte! You turn the blade back against itself, and that leaves you still ready to defend or attack. Again. Do it again." She glared at him, daring him to make a remark. Jason blew out a long sigh of frustration and set himself back on his guard.

        "Is there a way to accelerate his training?" Her companion asked after a moment of silent observation. "To make him... better?"

        Sara turned and looks steadily at her companion. "Jason's different, somehow, isn't he?" she asked. "More than just being my brother?"

        Her companion nodded. "He is different, yes."

        Sara sighed. "He has the ability, but he must have the drive as well. You can't force a person's basic nature."

        "Don't be so sure." Her companion said softly.

        Sara tried to study her companion through the hood. "Is it the Council or is it Matthew?"

        The cloaked figure stiffened, but then whispered for her ears alone, "Matthew."

        Sara sighed. "He can be pushed to excel, but I'm not sure if it will help. A just cause isn't enough. He has to have the heart to defend it. If he cannot rise to my challenge, I may do more harm then good."

        Down on the training grounds Jason skipped back, arm clutched to his side against the pain of a solid hit. He tossed his sword down again in disgust at himself.

        "I can't do it, Sara." He called up to her. "It's not that he's stronger than me, but he's not committing to probing attacks that I can turn easily. When a sword comes in driven by their full body weight, how am I supposed to match that with the strength of my arms alone?"

        Sara turned her head and gazed steadily at her companion. A faint breeze teased at the cowl, but the face remained hidden. Finally, her companion nodded, "Push him."

        Sara made her way down into the courtyard and over to Jason. The other people who had been using the exercise machines stopped pretending to workout and watched with excitement. Sara drew her longsword and stepped into the practice circle. She threw it to Jason, who caught it properly by the hilt. An easy flick of her foot and his abandoned weapon flipped into the air. She struck and en guarde position with it, anchoring her feet flat against the ground.

        "Come at me."

        Jason studied her with wide-eyed amazement. "This sword will break that one in two, Sara."

        "If I let you do that, I deserve to bleed," she said, her voice steel. "You'll come at me," and she quoted him, "driving with your full weight." She gestured with her weapon, and when he hesitated she slashed at the air and screamed in her best commanding son-of-a-bitch voice, "Do it now!"

        Jason leapt forward, almost as if not by his own volition, the gleaming sword whistling a quick feint and then driving in with a slashing attack that would hope to overpower any defense she could offer. Sara brought her smaller weapon up at an angel to the flat of Jason's blade, catching it in a spinning parry that she held in a full arc, until turning the blade back towards Jason's right shoulder. She kept her feet planted. Not wanting to drive the sharp instrument back into him. She released it and extended her arm to rap the side of Jason's head with the back of her closed hand. He crumpled to the ground, dazed.

        Sara stood on her guard, ready for another attack. A few snickers of laughter drifted over form the observers. Tossing the small sword down onto his chest, she stalked back out of the circle. Jason came reluctantly to his feet, one hand pressed to his new bruise.

        "Do it again," she ordered him. "Do it right." She looked back up to the balcony, but her companion had disappeared. As she passed Scott, she stopped and whispered something quietly in his ear and shot a meaningful glance at Jason. Scott raised his eyebrows in surprise but nodded.


* * *

        Eventually, when Scott was satisfied that Jason had the basics of sword and knife fighting; he suggested they break for lunch. As they were walking back to the mess, Jason voiced something that had been bothering him. "Do people usually get the hang of it after just one day?"

        Scott looked at him surprised and then chuckled. "Of course not. But Sara wanted me to rush you. You've progressed amazingly. If the other trainee's had the skill that you have, we'd have an army in no time- ah, forget I said that would you?" He suddenly seemed very anxious and looked around them to see if anyone had been listening to their conversation.

        'So that's what Sara's up to!' Jason thought. 'But why? What could she want with an army? And who's army would it be anyway?'

        As they slipped into the mess, a draft of air blew from inside and washed over Jason. It hit Scott squarely in the face as he was inhaling. Jason's scent filled his nostrils and he felt himself hardening in his trousers. He looked briefly at Jason's ass before catching himself. 'Jesus Scott! What is wrong with you?' He shook his head as if to clear it of such thoughts and then followed Jason into the mess hall.

        He stopped dead in his tracks. As Jason walked between the tables up to the cafeteria, men and women turned their heads to follow his passage. He heard a whispered voice to his right.

        "God, he is just sex on legs!"

        Scott couldn't have said it better. There was definitely something about Jason that seemed irresistible. 'Yes, that must be it!' Scott realized to himself. 'I've been spending too much time around him, that's why I'm attracted to him.' But then this created a new problem for Scott. What was it that Jason did to make everyone lust after him. He watched Jason a moment longer and then followed him up to the canteen. He slid his tray along next to Jason who turned and spoke to him out of the corner of his mouth.

        "Isn't there anywhere else to go for food? This is really unsettling." He looked pleadingly at Scott. "Why does everyone keep staring at me? Is my fly undone or something?"

        It suddenly struck Scott that perhaps, Jason really didn't know what he was doing to other people. Maybe it wasn't intentional after all... He defiantly had to speak to Sara about it, and soon by the looks of it. Another few days, and the entire compound would be chasing after Jason, intent on ravishing him.


* * *

        Scott hurried them through lunch, so as to get Jason away from the crowd of people and their increasingly lustful stares. They slipped once more through the small door Fiona had led them through the day before, so as to avoid getting past Jason's enamorous fans. Scott led them down the stairs back into the training grounds and into a corner, as yet unused by them. Jason looked about him. There were just padded mats on the ground and walls. No weapon racks stood by, no machines waited to be operated. He raised an eyebrow in question.

        "Not everything about fighting requires a weapon," Scott answered his unspoken question. He struck a stance. "The body itself is a deadly weapon. Take of your shoes." Scott said as he slipped off his shoes. Jason followed suite.

        Jason eyed him warily, eager to see what was in store for him. Scott shifted his left foot slightly, and then suddenly spun and lashed out his with his right foot. It seemed to materialize next to Jason's head. He fell sideways onto the ground and clutched the side of his head.

        "What the fuck was that for?" Jason shouted as he staggered to his feet, still clutching the side of his head. Scott remained silent, but shifted his left foot slightly. He spun and kicked at Jason again, but Jason had seen the slight movement of his foot in preparation and jumped backwards, avoiding Scott's attack.

        "Good," Scott smiled. "See? You learn quickly this way."

        He snapped out his hands towards Jason's chest and Jason tried to bring his own hands up in front of him in defense. He found his wrists were clinched together as Scott changed his attack with lightning movement. He held Jason's wrists fast by locking his shoulders. Jason struggled for a moment before Scott struck out with his foot against Jason's knee. Jason hit the ground with a heavy thud and grunted as the air was knocked from his lungs.

        Jason expected Scott to let him regain his breath, but rolled to the side suddenly as Scott's knee slammed into the padding where Jason's chest had been moments before. Jason leapt to his feet and spun to face Scott again. Scott was already on his feet, launching his next attack. Again, he drove his fists towards Jason's chest. Remembering what had happened last time, rather than try and block Scott's attack, he tried to instead counter it. He brought his hands around from the outside and caught Scott's wrists, similar to how he had done moments before.

        Scott grinned for a moment at the fact that Jason was learning from his own moves and then he planted his feet on Jason's shins and ran up his body. The action freed his arms and he landed a solid kick on Jason's chest before flipping backwards and landing on his feet. Jason stumbled backwards and crashed into the padded wall behind him. He slid his back down the wall and sank to the ground.

        "Come on Jason," Scott encouraged him. "I know you can do better than that."

        Jason rubbed his hand across his sore chest. "How the hell am I supposed to do better when I don't know what you're doing?"

        Scott stuck his face in front of him. "Do you think Damien's going to tell you how he's going to kill you before he tries? Do you think he's going to give you a second chance?"

        'Of course he would have to make it make so much sense, wouldn't he?' Jason thought bitterly to himself. He struggled to his feet and faced Scott once more.

        Scott lunged with his fists in a stabbing motion at Jason's midriff. Jason himself spun to his right, and brought his own arms around behind Scott, driving them lengthwise across his back. Scott's hands were driven sharply into the wall and he grunted slightly at the pain. Jason anticipated his next attack, which came swinging around from his left and ducked as he struck Scott's knee from behind. He danced to the side as Scott toppled backwards.

        Now Scott was openly grinning. Jason was learning fast. He kicked his legs up into the air and then brought them down again, using the momentum to toss his body back upright. "Good! Good!" he shouted and then launched his next attack at Jason.


* * *

        When darkness had fallen, Scott was forced to bring Jason's second day of training to a close. He led Jason back into the deserted changing room and they stripped off their clothes. Scott led the way into the showers and Jason followed after him, limping slightly on his right ankle. A memento he had received from failing to watch where Scott's feet were. Jason turned on his shower and hung his head heavily under the spray. He looked down at his chest and arms and grimaced at the numerous bruises and welts he had received during the days training session. He started as he felt a pair of hands begin to rub soap across his back. He turned to find Scott, holding a bar of soap.

        "Erm... thanks." Jason said nervously, as he took the bar of soap from Scott. He stepped backwards under the spray of the shower and closed his eyes as he started to lather his own chest. He opened his eyes again suddenly as his hands were joined by another pair, which gently rubbed his pecs.


        He was cut short as Scott moved in close to him and kissed him solidly on the lips. After a moment of surprise, Jason pushed Scott back by his shoulders.

        "Whoa... dude..." he forced out.

        Scott reached out and rubbed his chest and pecs. He tried to press forwards to kiss Jason again, but was forced back. Jason pushed him back to arms length and then stepped back.

        "Dude, I'm not-" he tried to say but Scott interrupted him again.

        "I know you're not gay. Neither am I." Scott pleaded. "I need just want to hold you like yesterday." He tried to move forwards again.

        Jason sidestepped him. "No. I-I mean, yes I am gay, but I'm already-" what Scott had said suddenly struck him. "Yesterday?" He asked in surprise.

        Scott nodded, his brow furrowed slightly. "Like yesterday, when I held you, and you..."

        "Oh god! Oh shit! Ohshitohshitohshit!" Jason cursed. He rubbed his hands up his face. "Fuck, I thought that was a dream, I thought Matt..." He trailed off. He looked into Scott's concerned and confused face. "I-I need to go." He said suddenly and rushed past Scott out of the showers.

        He pulled on his clothes, not bothering to dry off as he heard Scott calling his name pleadingly. He heard Scott shut off the showers and come out after him but didn't look. He shoved his feet into his shoes, not waiting to tie them and then ran from the locker-room.

         He ran through the compound back to his own quarters, capturing a number of stares at his wet hair and disheveled appearance. He slammed his door and slid the thick iron bolt in place, locking out the world. He slid to the ground with his back against the door and wept into his arms.

        After a few minutes, he regained control of his emotions and wiped the tears from his face. He staggered into the bathroom and gazed at his reflection. He splashed his face with cold water from the tap and padded his face dry.

        "Oh why? Why Matt?" He moaned into the towel. "Why can't I get over you? Why do I even love you?" He sighed. "Idon'tknowIdon'tknow, it just feels right." His skin prickled slightly on his neck, as if cobwebs had brushed him. He shivered slightly.

        "I'll always love you, Jason. But it could not have worked..."

        Jason dropped the towel and whirled around. His eyes darted around the room, looking for the speaker. Had he imagined it? His voice had seemed so real, but barely a whisper.

        "M-Matt?" he called out tentatively. Silence was the only reply he received. He turned back to the mirror and rubbed his face again. He jumped as he caught sight of Matt standing just behind him. He reached back with a hand. If Matt had been there, he would have felt him. He clenched his eyes shut and shook his head. When he opened his eyes again, he stood alone once more.

        If his nose hadn't been blocked with mucus after crying, he might not have failed to notice the distinctive scent of lilies and jasmine that hung in the air of his quarters.