The following evening, the boy was sat on his bed reading a book as Brendan arrived. Brendan knew how to assert his authority. He stood before the boy, looking down at him, his whole body far too close. The boy flinched back automatically.

Brendan smirked. He could still scare them. There must have been something wrong with Stephen for him to have lost that fear. Brendan should never have shown his feelings, let alone say them aloud, that was stupid.

Brendan realised he'd got lost in his thoughts of Stephen again. He'd just been stood in front of this boy. Jesus, he hoped he hadn't smiled.

The boy's face suggested that whatever his own expression had been, the effect on the lad was exactly what he wanted. He smirked, one side of his lip twitching upwards. He imagined it was a pretty unnerving sight for a boy who didn't know him. And was rewarded as the boy stiffened even more.

He brought his face down, and their lips together. The boy didn't respond straight away, so he brought his face back again, eyebrow raised, to check what reaction this was having.

The boy looked stunned, shocked, but no distressed or disgusted. Brendan kissed him. This time the boy brought his own lips to meet Brendan's, tentative at first, then more eager. Brendan smirked, and brought his face back. The boy tried to follow, so Brendan placed a hand on his chest. Best this boy knew who was in charge.

Suddenly Brendan realised he had no protection. Damned if he was going to let this boy give him anything. He slipped his hand down the boy's body, and reached for one of his wrists. He took it, and then reached for the other with his other hand.

He had never let himself go without protection with Stephen either. He realised that was probably unnecessarily cautious. He had been the very first to use Stephen in the way he had. Obviously Amy and Rae didn't count in his head, and Stephen had made his own lack of experience known to Brendan early on. In those early days, he could have made use of Stephen any way he liked. Except for Rae of course.

And that pathetic Noah.

That familiar anger. Bloody Noah. It had been great to know he was Stephen's first and only.

He wrenched the boy in front of him forward by his wrists. The boy stumbled to his feet, his expression bemused and surprised again. Brendan kept hold of his wrists, but sat himself on the edge of the bottom bunk. He yanked the boys wrists again, and he fell forward onto his knees. That would probably be enough to give him the idea.

Stephen had been so scared of giving head that first time in the cellar. Brendan could see him now, face so uncertain, but so keen to get it right, "I've never done this before, Brendan," he'd said, unnecessarily. (Brendan had known exactly how much experience he had before he even started to pursue him.) He'd spoken like a child on their first day of school, knowing what it was supposed to be about, but completely unsure if they were doing it all right. He'd needed reassurance. Brendan had given it to him. "It's all right Stephen, you'll be grand."

"Er, my name's not Stephen."

Brendan growled, what the hell was wrong with him?

"Whatever, mate, I think you know what to do down there, yeah?"

"Er, can I have my wrists back please?"

Brendan tutted and let go. Stephen had grown to love this activity so much he would have opened Brendan's fly with his teeth if he had to.

The lad set to work. Brendan let his eyes close. That mouth felt so good, so warm. So eagar. Like the boy was trying to consume his essence, make Brendan a part of him. Even if he hadn't tried so hard, he'd already succeeded. Brendan couldn't have stayed away. He had tried to, succeeded for almost a month, then let him back in and let him back in. and manipulated back him, and begged him back in. This boy who made him feel like he was on fire, like he could lose himself in his soft skin and firm muscles and beautiful face. He wanted to look into those eyes, to see the love there. He opened his own.

A stranger was sucking him. Some lad he had known for five minutes, with brown eyes and short hair. No locks to sweep from his eyes or to tangle his fingers into.

Enough to grab though.

And he did. He grabbed the lad's hair, pulled him up and pushed him away in disgust. The boy stumbled over his feet and into the desk against the far wall. He looked t Brendan in shock.

Brenda stood, anger swelling through him. Anger at himself for how stupid he had been, how pathetic, what a poof, a girl.

Anger at the lad for not being Stephen.

"What's wrong?" the lad asked, so much fear in his voice now.

"You!" Growled Brendan, "Ye're wrong. And if you cross me again, boy, ye will regret it!"

"But I didn't…"

Brendan struck with the speed of a cobra. He grasped the boy by his collar and shoved him against the desk. He held him so the boy was leaning backwards, back arched over the desk, and feet barely touching the ground.

"Don't question me, boy, don't you ever question me!"

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," the boy wittered, and Brendan slowly released him. He was, in many ways, actually a far safer bet than Stephen. He had a naturally submissive nature, and could clearly see who was in charge. Maybe he should try again.

He ran a hand across the boy's cheek, and schooled his face back to something warm and kindly again. He let out a single, warm, breathy laugh, and said, "Good boy, that wasn't so hard now, was it?"

The boy shook his head.

"Well, then," sing-songed Brendan, "get back to it then."

Maybe he'd pushed too far; to turn him down and terrify him and instantly expect to just start again. Well, at least the boy would stay on his toes after that.

The lad was being hesitant. Brendan looked fatherly at him, put his hand around the boy's face and kissed him softly. He felt the boy's lips respond and pulled away. "Everything alright there, lad?" he asked, "Do you want me to stop?"

The lad shook his head, so Brendan claimed his mouth again. He manoeuvred them around, and leant himself back against the desk. The lad took the hint.

This time Brendan kept his eyes closed.

He kept an eye on the lad the next day. Kept him out of trouble. And the lad definitely noticed. He braved a smile at Brendan more than once.

That night Brendan let the boy blow him again, and closed his eyes again. In his head he saw Stephen again. He would have to work on that.

He realised that he would have to make this a little reciprocal, so after the lad had finished, he picked him up off the floor, and pressed him down on the bed. He pushed his own body against the boy's, then freed the boys cock. He spat on his hand, and rubbed the appendage.

The boy was appreciative enough, but Brendan found himself getting bored. When he pleasured Stephen, he was like an animal, all purrs and growls and arched back and cries. He was so sensitive, Brendan would swear he could get him hard by glancing at him. They were so full of passion, like electricity shot through them both every time they touched.

The boy came. Brendan didn't stop long. He got up, wiped his hands, then leapt energetically onto his own bunk. He could hear the boy's breathing start to return to normal. By now Stephen would have tucked himself into the gap between Brendan's arm and body, his head on Brendan's shoulder. And be talking some sort of nonsense about feelings.

"So, who's Stephen, then?"

Maybe no one really knew when to shut up.

"What?" Brendan said in his most warning of growls.

"The guy you kept imagining while I was blowing ya," the lad said.

Brenda's eyebrows knitted together. He'd expected the boy to back down and apologise instantly. Maybe he was less of a mouse than Brendan had thought.

"I think you're imagining it, mate," Brendan announced, firmly.

"Er, I don't…"

"I ain't queer, son!" Brendan's tone was now deadly.

The lad paused. Brendan couldn't see his face from where he lay on the top bunk, but the pause must have meant the boy had got the message. He un-tensed his body.

"You're in love with him, though, aren't ya?"

The boy's tone was not even slightly accusatory. If anything it was sad, disappointed, resigned. That was irrelevant to Brendan. He leapt off his bunk , the red mist firmly clouding his mind. He grabbed the lad by his collar and pulled him free of the bed. Before the lad had even found his footing, Brendan was pummelling his belly. He struck and struck and struck. The lad was screaming like a girl, on the floor curling in on himself.

Hands were pulling at his shoulders, his arms, pulling him away. The boy was in a heap. With his eyes closed and his hands covering his head, all Brendan could see was Stephen.

Solitary was so quiet, so empty. In many ways his cell was now much more acceptable. No lad littering it up, filling the silence with his stuttered babbling.

But nothing to hide Brendan's thoughts either.

Stephen lying, battered and bruised, of a cold concrete floor. Stephen crying. Stephen leaving him, abandoning him. Stephen spilling those bitter words all over him.

He told himself Stephen deserved all those feelings, all the pain. How could he know Brendan so little? Believe him capable of this?

Stephen, lying battered and bruised on a cold concrete floor.

He had done that to him. He'd made Stephen fear him, and then he'd nurtured that fear.

But that was normal, wasn't it? Stephen should be scared. Brendan was scared. Scared of his father finding out, scared of them finding out his weakness, scared of what they would do when they did, scared of death. Scared of being a queer. No, it was right Stephen was scared. It was the loving that was wrong, that was disgusting. A man loving a man.

But Brendan didn't love Stephen! Not really, that was impossible. He was just obsessed. It was just the power. Stephen had challenged Brendan's power again and again. And Brendan had wanted to rise to that challenge.

That was all. And that was natural

And if Brendan ever got out, he could rise to that challenge again. He could use Stephen's guilt this time (because Brendan would be proved innocent,) and sex and love and pretty words, and Stephen would be his again.

Best not question why that was so important.

A few weeks later, Warren came to visit. And Brendan met his friends.

Getting Stephen back went down the list of things to do when he got out.

It wasn't to keep Stephen out of it, and it definitely wasn't to protect him.

It was because of the power.

And it always would be.