power_absolute: (Reflective)
[personal profile] power_absolute
You, I thought I knew you
You, I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me,
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath
Nightswimming ~ REM


The water felt the same as it always had as it closed over his feet, rippling away and splashing those in the next lane with the force of his dive off the block. Somehow, Caleb had expected it to feel different. He wasn't sure how, exactly, but he seemed so very much more aware of everything around him that surely that awareness would affect the water as well?

It didn't.

He settled into an easy stroke, arms slicing through the water that was a little too cold on skin that hadn't warmed up yet. Four strokes then a breath, as always. A voice whispered that he could do more, swim the entire practice without needing air, anything he wanted, really. He pushed it aside and kept to his rhythm.

He'd taken the week off, after his birthday. Reid and Tyler had stopped by to tell him Pogue was healing faster than the doctor's could explain. Kate had already been released, much to the hospital's mystification, but some of Pogue's injuries had been physical instead of mystical. Even their bodies needed time to knit themselves back together. He told them Chase had disappeared, that it was all right now, but he didn't mention his father.

Caleb supposed he and his mother were in mourning. His father had died, after all, even if no one but the two of them and Gorman knew it. Willingly, at the last, in an act that still left him questioning too many things he'd taken for granted. But what was there to mourn? His father had been gone for a long time. Only, perhaps not as gone as they'd thought. He'd maintained enough of himself for one last act.

His arms moved faster, pushing water away like memories of a smiling, younger man who aged too rapidly and then was gone, his labored breaths a warning to the Sons of Ipswich to always stay in control. Caleb had needed that week to try and find that control. The power from his ascension rippled under the surface of his skin and with the joining of his father's as well, it was all close enough to taste, dark and metallic and just begging to be launched out from under him, rolling over them all in waves and shaping the world as he wanted it to be.

He'd spent a lot of that week running around the estate. Meditating. Writing, though he'd never admit that to anyone. He'd gone to the hospital to check on Pogue, and only then did he let some of the power unfurl, healing the injuries that should never have been inflicted and leaving the doctor's to scratch their heads. Pogue had yelled, but Caleb hadn't minded. That little bit was worth the sacrifice. Somehow the words to tell Pogue about what his father had done couldn't come. Not there with monitors and the smell of astringent all around them. It was something to be whispered by candlelight over the Book of Damnation, not told in sterile halls.

When the coach's whistle split the air, slipping underneath the water even, Caleb finally let himself drift to a stop. Reid and Tyler had already left, but Pogue was sitting on the diving block watching him.

“You hogged the lane.”

Caleb gave him a grin. “Only from people flopping their arms around thinking they're wings...”

Pogue offered him a hand he didn't need, but took anyway, helping him out of the pool. “Yeah, well. I didn't quite feel up to fighting you for the space.”

Caleb gave him a sharp look. “You okay?”

Pogue nodded easily, brushing the look aside. “I'll do.”

They reached the locker room with the rest of the team, and stripped down, hunting for towels amid the general locker room banter and horseplay. The showers were hot and it was there that Caleb noticed the difference. There was energy in the water, pulsing underneath it. He knew the principles of the magic the practiced. Knew about elements. He'd manipulated them in some fashion since he was 13, but this was different.

He could feel each particle in the water, feel it pulse and almost see the different shapes it might make. He was contemplating the way the water could be reformed into something entirely new when he felt a warm hand close around his arm.

“I don't think it's possible to use up all the hot water in the school, but those of us who live here would appreciate it if you didn't...”

Caleb looked up, startled and met Pogue's eyes. “What?”

“You've been in here nearly half an hour.” Pogue's gaze was searching. He’d pulled his jeans on, but was barefoot and shirtless for his trek back into the shower. “You okay?”

“Yeah...” He shook his head to clear it, turning off the water and reaching for his towel. “Yeah, I'm fine. Just...thinking.”

“About last week.” It wasn't a question. “You never said what happened.”

Caleb couldn't meet Pogue's eyes. His father had broken the Covenant for him, for all of them, but that meant Caleb had become something none of them was meant to be. He wasn't sure how the others would react to it when he told them, and wasn't sure he was ready to do so yet.

“We fought. I'd say...I don't know that I won. There wasn't a body. He was just gone.”

Caleb moved toward his locker, realizing how empty the locker room was. Pogue's hand closed around his arm again.

“How?”

“How what?”

“Look, I know I was out of it, and I don't know everything, but I do know how strong he was, and Reid told me about his father. He had twice the power he should have, Caleb. How did you beat him?”

“I said I didn't know if I had!” He could have pulled away, but he didn't want to upset Pogue. He forced himself to meet Pogue's eyes, holding them steadily, his own confusion clear. “He could be back at any time. I may have won the battle, but we don't know the war's over and you could all still be...”

“What? In danger? He wanted you. He used us to get to you, but he didn't get you...”

“I couldn't...” Caleb shook his head. “He wanted me to will him my power. He wanted more and more, and he threatened all of you to get it, and I couldn't let him do that.”

“I told you to stay away from him.” Pogue's voice was deathly quiet.

Caleb gave him an almost scathing look. “Yeah, like that was going to work. He threatened Kate and you went running off after him. You think I was going to let him sit there and threaten all of you?”

“No.” And now it was Pogue's turn to look at him oddly. “But a guy can hope.”

“She would have died,” Caleb said softly. “You would have died.”

“So you went all superhero on us and tried to take on a guy with twice your power. Were you going to give him yours?”

“Not an option.” Caleb glanced down, aware of how odd it was to be standing at the edge of the showers in nothing but a towel having this conversation. Almost surreal.

“Then what was the plan?”

“I didn't have one.”

Pogue stared at him for a long, long time. “You what?”

“I didn't have one! I thought...he's been using a lot. Maybe he's not as strong as all that, not twice as strong, at least. I figured when I ascended I might have a chance.”

“Of all the stupid...” Pogue was almost yelling. “And you call me hot headed and impulsive? You just walked in to what you knew was a trap with no clear plan and no real idea of what you were facing. For what?”

“For you!” Caleb yelled back. “For Kate. For Sarah. For Reid. For Tyler. For you.”

Pogue pushed him back against the wall, hard. “You idiot...” But the words were soft for all the furious tone, and then Caleb was sure that he had started hallucinating, because Pogue's lips were covering his and any reply he might have had was swallowed in the breath that flowed between them.

A million different thoughts flew through Caleb’s head, eyes wide and staring at his best friend who was closer than he’d ever been before. He was frozen, completely unsure of how to react and his fingers latched around Pogue’s shoulders to push him away. At least that was what he intended, but they seemed to curl around the other boy’s shoulders instead, holding him there. Pogue was the hothead, yes, but he rarely did things for no reason, and Caleb thought he should figure out what the reason was, or so he rationalized in a logic that didn’t quite make sense. Questions were better asked with lips not pressed together, eyes falling shut. Lips were moving, but there weren’t words, just soft touches, and when he finally opened his mouth, telling himself he intended to push Pogue away this time for sure and ask those questions, Caleb found instead that tongues were meeting and somewhere in the confusion he’d slid into kissing Pogue back. Reflex, right? That’s all it was.

Pogue made a soft noise that sounded to Caleb’s ears like it might have been a broken off sob. There was a wetness, hot and salty mingling with the slickness of their mouths. Caleb gasped, just a little bit, because in all the years they’d been friends, he had never seen Pogue cry. They were teenage boys. Any tears shed were done strictly in the privacy of their own rooms, quiet as mice so no one would hear and question their almost-grown up status.

One of Pogue’s hands slid to his cheek, just a touch that was as intimate as any he’d ever felt there. The other slid from his shoulder over skin still slick from the shower to his waist, the edge of the towel. Caleb’s breath caught because if they’d been in uncharted territory before, this was hitting dangerous waters with unknown depths and hidden currents. The kiss would have changed things all by itself, but this would send them both diving off of a cliff and Caleb wondered if they’d remember how to swim when they hit the water below.

If his mind was working overtime, telling him to stop, his body seemed to think that was a very bad idea and refused to cooperate. Caleb’s hips arched into Pogue finding a hardness trapped in his jeans that echoed the ache that was starting to slide from his groin to his stomach and tighten around his heart even as it filled his lungs. The only release was offered in the pressure of Pogue’s hips, forcing his back against the wall and the soft moan that broke through the kiss. Caleb flushed a bit, cheeks feeling like they were on fire, when he realized it had come from him.

Pogue’s hand was sliding from his hip, tugging the towel with it as it went, and when his fingertips slid over the bare skin of Caleb’s hip, Caleb knew they’d started the dive. He couldn’t have even said where the cliff was anymore. He was falling. Warm fingers closed around his cock and he felt the pit of his stomach dropped out with the force of the surge that ran through him. He had water instead of blood in his veins and it was all rushing faster and making his head spin, caught in the currents swirling around the locker room. He bit down on Pogue’s lip just to find something to hold on to, making him moan, hips jerking into Caleb’s again, trapping his hand between them.

“Pogue…” There. A coherent word moaned on a soft breath into a warm mouth.

“Shhh…it’s all right…” Pogue fumbled with his jeans, each twitch of his fingers sending another spasm of pleasure through Caleb. It was awkward, and they broke for a moment for Pogue to kick off his jeans and boxers, but the momentary separation wasn’t enough to break the fall.

Then there was skin. Skin against skin and they were both moaning, sliding together. Each press of hips pushed Caleb back into the wall and he resisted, pressing back, sliding back. Instinct and need took over and Caleb knew they’d hit the water below. They found a rhythm to their strokes, as precise as each he’d taken in the pool. No turning his head to breathe, though. He was doing that through Pogue’s mouth. Buddy breathing, or something like that, right? His brain was firing random facts at him that had nothing and everything to do with the sweet sensations flickering along the pathways of his nerves.

It swelled, a wave to ride if only they could find the crest of it, and finding that moment was all Caleb could think of now. He held on tighter to Pogue, the only solid thing to keep him afloat. Moans, soft grunts and little cries echoed around the tile walls of the locker room, and then there was an almost whimper and Caleb wasn’t sure which of them made it. They found the last wave at the same time and there was a warmer wetness spreading over him as Pogue cried out and crashed down the other side, clutching tighter at Caleb. Caleb followed on his heels, tumbling, gasping out his release and clinging to Pogue as the world swam and shook around him for a moment.

They finally broke the surface, coming out of the kiss to rest their foreheads together, gasping too hard to continue it. Caleb opened his eyes to stare at Pogue, confusion in his eyes. He couldn’t read anything in Pogue’s, though, looking back at him, shuttered and wary.

“What…?” He needed to catch his breath.

Pogue just looked back silently, didn’t move away. The length of his body was still pressed tight against Caleb’s. When he spoke, his voice was thick, scratchy with the tears he’d spilled, fear for Caleb still lacing it.

“You have to talk about it sometime.”

Caleb blinked, frowned. Had to talk about…this? His brain flickered back to what started the whole thing. Oh. That. Pogue’s fingers traced the frown, down his cheek and he would have wondered what had happened to his best friend with these tender touches, except that there he was, still, in his eyes, intense and demanding. His lieutenant, taking advantage of the walls he’d torn down, not that Caleb believed for a second that was what this had been about.

“What just happened?”

Pogue ignored him. “What happened that night?”

Caleb shook his head, glaring at him. He could have thrown him off with ease, and they both knew it, but he let Pogue hold him there still.

“We’ve all got secrets.” Pogue’s voice was still hoarse, but it was also dry, ironic as it flickered over him. “We’re not supposed to have them from each other, though.”

Clearly they’d had some, though, and the sticky heat over their skin was proof enough of that. But Pogue’s eyes were holding his steadily, waiting with more patience than Caleb had ever seen him exhibit.

“A secret for a secret?”

“Seems fair.” Pogue hadn’t blinked, pinning him there with the secrets Caleb didn’t know and the ones that wrapped around them both, with a new one added.

Caleb nodded slowly, unconsciously tightening his fingers on Pogue’s skin, back to needing him as a floatation device. The water in his veins finally found its way up and out, and the heated tears were his this time, falling quietly down his cheeks as the words tumbled from his lips.

He told Pogue everything.
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Caleb Danvers

August 2009

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