"Hello, may I help you?" The pretty brunet secretary smiled,
as she looked away from the computer screen on her desk to the tall, smarty
dressed, and blond young man standing in front of her.
"Yes... I'm Dr. Steven Nash... I have an appointment with
Dr. Richardson," he replied.
The woman raised a long nailed finger as her other hand busied
itself with a phone. "Just a moment... Dr. Richardson, your 9:00 AM is
here," she said into the receiver.
"You can go in now," she said after she had hung up the phone.
"Thank you," Steven said, as he followed her into the chief
"Steven... so you're finally here." The middle aged and half
bald figure of Dr. Timothy Richardson smiled as he stood up from his folder
"Always happy to do a friend a favor," Steven replied, as he
shook his old med-school mentor's hand.
"This is more than a favor I am asking of you," Tim said, as he
waved a hand to an empty seat.
"Hey, what can I say... life's been good to me. It's about
time I gave something back to the community."
"Still... giving up a very profitable practice in the suburbs
to join us in the trenches of inner city medicine, where less than half of
our patients have health insurance."
"As I said, life's been good," Steven said, as he pulled on the
cuffs of his long sleeved shirt.
"Is that an Armani?" Tim said in disbelief.
"Would you kill me if I said yes?" Steven chuckled.
"I might rip it off you and sell it on E-Bay. It might at
least help us pay one nurse's overtime." Tim replied.
"I'll be sure to dress more casually the next time then."
"That might be a good idea... this hospital is not located in
the best part of town, if you have not noticed. If it wasn't for the fact
that we are the only inner city hospital left in town, I'm not sure the
state would keep us open. As it is, we are under-funded and
under-appreciated, and underpaid."
"That will not be a problem for me," Steven said confidently.
"That is what I am not sure about... the people you will be
treating are not the high end, well mannered clients you are used to
dealing with. Most of them are at the end of their ropes mentally, not to
mention financially. Luckily, most drug companies' PR divisions have taken
pity on us. They keep us fairly well supplied. All we have to do is give
them a receipt, so they can claim a tax write off, and mention how generous
they have been to us in our newsletters."
"I see you have not lost your cynical attitude." Steven
"Watch it yuppie... back when you were in diapers I was a free
thinking idealist, with plenty of hair, plenty of sex, and enough spunk to
have myself almost thrown out of med school. Now I'm a bald, fat, divorced
father of three who's not gotten lucky in ages and whose radical idealism
has become a rusty old cog in the machinery of this hospital's
administration. The only benefit I get from this place is that I make so
little that my ex can't sue me for alimony."
"Well then, I guess me being here will help brighten up the
place. When do you want me to start?"
"Today... if you have time." Tim replied.
"Today... You've not even given me the grand tour."
"Don't worry... as this is your first day, I'm only going to
hit you with one patient."
"Just one... come on, I'm used to working from 7:00 AM to 10:00
"I know. You're career has been most impressive. The patient
I have in mind, though, is a special case."
"Yes... he's one of our own doctors."
"This dreary place finally got to him?" Steven asked, as he
looked up at the mildew stained ceiling tile.
"If that were true, he would have left us long ago," Tim
replied. "You see, the man I am referring to is Dr. Gavin."
"Archangel Gavin?" Steven said, remembering the name from the
news. The man was head of the ER at Memorial Hospital and, from what local
media said, he was supposedly a miracle worker.
"Yes... that's what the media call him. Among the staff,
though, he is known as the Stone King."
"I take it then that his bedside manner is lacking?"
"No... he is very warm and sympathetic with his patients, and
very patient with the staff. It is just that once he walks outside of this
hospital, it is as if a switch is flipped. He becomes cold, unresponsive,
and unbearable to be around."
So he's not the life of the party?"
"That's putting it bluntly. Remember the storm three weeks
"Yes... played havoc with the telephone and power lines."
"It also brought more people to our ER than we are used to
handling. With the phone lines dead we couldn't get in contact with the
exchange to have them call in more doctors... at least not all of them."
"You mean they don't pay you enough to have cell phones?"
Steven asked with disbelief.
"No... it just turned out that Dr. Gavin has never owned one."
Tim sighed. "That's why I sent Stephanie, one of our candy strippers, over
to his place to bring him here."
"And what did she find... that he secretly has his own
"No... she found nothing, and that's what has us worried."
"How can you be worried about nothing?" Steven asked confused.
"You don't get it... there was nothing at his place. No TV, no
furniture, no appliances, no refrigerator, not even a bed. All she saw was
a single garbage can, a twelve pack of diet Sprite, a pile of neatly
stacked clothes, a thick quilt, and a telephone lying on the floor."
Steven sat silently as he let what Tim had just told him sink
in. He could think of several reasons why a famed doctor might live such a
minimalist life style... but none of them really made much sense.
"So... you want me to find out what's really up with Dr. Gavin?"
"Yes... this hospital can't afford to lose its best
physician... not one whom it uses as its poster boy for all of our
fundraising. It's not just his iceberg personality, and lack of interior
decorating. It's that over the past few months, staff has reported finding
him crying in the doctor's lounge or in empty exam rooms. Something is
wrong with him Steven. He's not happy."
"Does he know you and I are having this conversation?" Steven
"He knows... The moment after you walked into my office Tara
paged him. He should be waiting for you in his office."
"So... he wants treatment?"
"In a manner of speaking." Tim said evasively.
"Why do I sense a little underhandedness on your part?" Steven
"Would I ever stoop to something so low?" Dr. Richardson
winked. "Tara will take you to his office.
"Fine, keep your secret. I'm certain Dr. Gavin will tell me
what method of blackmail you're using this time." Steven said as he stood
up to leave.
Exiting the office, Dr. Nash caught Tara applying lipstick
while staring into her tiny compact. "I hope you are not going to such
efforts on my behalf." Steven smiled.
"Dr. Nash!" The secretary squeaked as she snapped the mirror
"Dr. Richardson said you were to show me to Dr. Gavin's
"Of course sir... if you will follow me." Tara said as she
stood up, walking in front of Steven, doing an excessive amount of
swishing, to Dr. Nash's amusement.
Leading him down the basement past the morgue, she quickly
turned around after reaching the end of a poorly lit hall, holding a small
white card in her hand. "This part of town might seem drab, but I could
show you a few of the more interesting sights."
"Like the gay bar three blocks away?" Steven asked, taking
great pleasure in the look of shock and disappointment that grew on the
"Damn it, Tim said nothing about you being gay."
"You know Tim... he likes keeping secrets... gives him a sense
"That bastard," Tara swore. "Well I guess Andy will win the
"Bet?" Steven asked with an arched eyebrow.
"It's sort of a tradition around here... whenever an eligible
bachelor comes, we unmarried girls and the few gay boys see who sleeps with
"How big is the pot this time?" Steven asked.
"A little over five hundred dollars this time," Tara replied,
"A big stakes game." Steven laughed.
"Yeah... which is, of course, all Dr. Richardson's fault. He
passed around a few old photos of you back when you were a med student."
"Hmmmm... then I must not be as good looking as I think I am.
My face is worth at least three grand."
"Oh... you're one of those."
"No, you're still a bastard... just now I know you are one of
those egocentric bastards."
"Naw... I'm a psychiatrist, not a surgeon." Steven replied.
"Could have fooled me." Tara retorted.
Reaching into his pants pocket, Steven took out a money clip.
"Here's five hundred dollars, add that to the pot."
"I don't see why I should. I'm not going to win it."
"But wouldn't you enjoy watching all your friends scrabble
about trying to win a cool grand?"
"That's Dr. Richardson's pastime, not mine, but I see your
point. It would be fun to watch all them clawing at each other," Tara
said, just as her beeper went off. "I have to go now."
"Take care," Steven said, turning to face the smoky glass door
before knocking on it.
"Come in." A man's voice replied.
Opening the door, Steven walked into a tiny dark office, the
only light coming from the x-rays that were displayed across an entire
wall. At one end of the room, sitting behind a small desk, sat a man
dressed in a long white doctor's coat, resting his head in his hands.
"I take it you are Dr. Nash?" The man asked.
"Yes," Steven said as gently as he could. For some reason he
felt as if the room he was in was littered with broken glass. "You are
Dr. Daryl Gavin?"
"Yes... I still seem to be," Dr. Gavin chuckled nervously.
"May I take a seat?" Steven asked, pointing to the folded metal
chair resting against the wall. It seemed that Daryl did not get many
visitors down here in the dark recesses of the rundown hospital.
"Yes... I'm sorry. Dr. Richardson told me you were coming
last week. I should have cleaned up the place," Daryl said, as he seemed
almost to scurry from his seat to the light switch, flooding the room with
white florescent light.
Now able to see the room clearly, Steven was surprised to find
that it was not the total wreck he had at first assumed it would be. The
desk was covered with charts but all of them seemed neatly organized into
well kept stacks. The floor was not only clear of any litter, but shone
with a polish that had been lacking in the parts of the hospital Steven had
seen so far. In fact, the only thing that seemed out of place was the
atmosphere of sterility that filled the room. It was as if the room was
not the office of one of the city's busiest doctors, but a museum's example
of what a doctor's office was supposed to look like.
Remembering what Tim has said about what was found at
Dr. Gavin's home, Steven began to wonder if he was dealing with someone
with an obsessive compulsion for cleanliness. "So, tell me, how did Tim
blackmail you into agreeing to see me?" Steven asked, deciding light humor
was the best approach.
"He threatened to fire me." Daryl replied as he returned to
"You knew that was a bluff... didn't you. He can't fire his
best doctor, not the one who brings in so much needed funding," Steven
said, wanting to get an idea of Dr. Gavin's grip on reality, and only
receiving a shrug in reply.
"Come on... you can do better than that." Steven pressed.
"I knew he would most likely not fire me, but I saw no reason to challenge
him on the issue. I'm needed here, that's all that matters," Daryl replied
with little emotion.
"And I must say you have done an excellent job," Steven said, thinking of
the nickname the staff had given Dr. Gavin... Stone King.
"It's what I have to do," Daryl replied.
"And why is that?" Steven asked curiously. "Certainly you have received
offers from other hospitals... I mean you are the archangel."
"I hate that name," Daryl said with disgust, showing the first hint of
emotion Steven was able to observe from him.
"Not the religious type?" Steven snickered.
"I am!" Daryl insisted, his eyes opening wide.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to offend."
"Not your fault. You know nothing about me."
"From what I understand, nobody knows much about you... other
than that you are a brilliant doctor."
"Now that is my fault." Daryl chuckled with a weak smile.
"Well, that's why I'm here, to help you figure things out."
"I don't think I want that."
"And why's that? Do you like being miserable? Because, quite
frankly, after ten years of medical practice I've not seen a patient as sad
looking as you."
"That's suppose to impress me?"
"No... that's supposed to worry you."
"That may be, but I don't see what help you can offer."
"I can be an ear for you. Help you sort things out. There are
also some pretty amazing medications available now."
"I can't take drugs," Daryl said quickly.
"That's a peculiar thing for a doctor to say. Then again,
doctors are supposed to make the worse patients."
"It's not that... I just can't be taking anything that's
"You a Mormon or Scientologist?"
"No..." Daryl said in a tone that did not invite further
"We can talk about that later," Steven replied, knowing when not
to press. "Tell me why you're so unhappy?"
"Because I deserve to be."
"Now that's not very American of you. Is this not the land
where the pursuit of happiness is a God given right?"
"..." Daryl remained silent.
"Ok... why do you think you don't deserve to be happy?"
"Because of the things I have done, the crimes I have
committed," Daryl said evasively.
"Crimes?" Steven asked with an arched eyebrow. "You're not
thinking of committing a crime or hurting someone?"
"No... it's not like that. I've never broken the law, not
even had a speeding ticket," Daryl said.
"Then what did you mean by saying you've committed crimes?"
Steven asked as he saw Daryl squeeze something hidden under his shirt.
"I've committed crimes against my church and family."
"I see... you sure you're not a Mormon?"
"No Dr. Nash... I'm not," Daryl replied, once again in a tone
that did not invite further questions.
Hearing his cell phone go off, Steven did not get to his next
question. Unhooking the phone from his belt, he opened it. "Hello?"
"Hey Steve." A very familiar voice replied.
"Hey Patrick... is this going to be a short call?"
"They already have you seeing patients?" the Man chuckled.
"Just one... sitting with him right now."
"Is he cute?" Patrick asked.
Steven looked across the desk, giving Daryl a quick look before
responding. "You might say so."
"Well I hope you remember why you are really there... no monkey
"Yes... I've learned my lesson." Steven sighed.
"Good... I was just calling to let you know that the store
only had pre-frozen salmon so I went for the Ahi tuna. Does that sound ok
"Sounds find with me... just be careful with the pepper this
"But I like pepper." The voice on the other end pouted.
"Patrick..." Steve warned.
"Fine... I'll cook yours separately."
"Thank you." Steve said as his eyes noticed Daryl starting to
fidget. "Is there anything else?"
"Yes... I got the Stockton report ready. It will be waiting
for you on your desk."
`Thanks... hopefully that will be the last one I have you do."
"Considering what happened... so do I. Take care."
"You too," Steven said before closing his cell phone. "Sorry
about that... family stuff."
"I see." Daryl replied just as his beeper went off.
Steven watched as Doctor Gavin looked at his pager, the
expression on his face melting into a frown. "You have to go?"
"Yes, I'm sorry. We have a TSTL upstairs."
"A TSTL?" Steven asked, not recognizing the lingo.
"Too stupid to live." Daryl sighed as he stood up. "The nurses
came up with it."
"Not a very nice thing to say," Steven chuckled.
"You have to know the patient," Daryl replied, heading for the
"I see... in med school I think we called them `repeat
offenders'." Steven said as he followed after Dr. Gavin.
"Funny," Daryl chuckled lightly. "Shall I have someone show
you the way out."
"I'm going with you... gives me a chance to see the archangel
"Fine... but stop referring to me as the archangel, gets on my
"Would you rather I call you the Stone King?"
"My name is Daryl," Dr. Gavin grunted.
"Alright Dr. Dare."
"Daryl." He corrected.
"No, I think I like Dare better," Steven insisted.
"Whatever," Daryl sighed, opening the door to the stairwell and
taking the steps two at a time.
Following Dr. Gavin to one of the ER's exam rooms, Stephen had
to control a burst of laughter when he saw the patient. Lying on his
stomach on the exam table, the man had what looked like half a clarinet
sticking out of his ass.
"Well Ed... want to tell me what you were trying to do this
time?" Daryl asked, his face remaining stoic as he slapped on a pair of
"Don't bother Dr. Gavin... he's too stoned," Jessica, a short
black nurse replied.
"What about what's his name... his friend Sid?"
"Rotting in jail hopefully," the nurse replied. He's the one
the police decided sold Mr. Baron whatever shit he is now on."
"Language..." Daryl sighed. "This is a hospital not a bar."
"Sorry, Dr. Gavin," Jessica apologized, waiting for Daryl to
turn to examine Ed before sticking out her tongue at him.
After watching Daryl apply an anesthetic, and carefully remove
the instrument section by section, Steven had to admit he was impressed.
Most doctors, even in the ER, would not have acted so calmly, not when the
removal of the clarinet's mouth piece soon triggered a spray of fecal
"Code brown... we have a code brown in exam room three,"
Stephanie laughed on the intercom, while Dr. Gavin went to the sink to
clean his face.
"You ok?" Steven asked concerned.
"Yes, fine... should have seen that coming," Daryl replied,
wiping his glasses clean before turning to face Jessica. "Clean Mr. Baron
up and see him on his way."
"That's all?" Jessica asked, surprised.
"I would put him on pain meds, but it took a court order to get
him off them last time," Daryl replied. "I gave him Celebrex last time,
but thinking it was like Vicoden he tried to get himself stoned on it. Had
to pump his stomach."
"We could keep him here a few days... at least till the
swelling goes down."
"You know I would like to do that, Jessica, but with the bed
shortage I can't justify it. I tried to get him a bed in a mental
facility, but since the shrinks at the state hospital don't see him as a
danger to anyone they won't give him one."
"Maybe I can help?" Steven offered.
"You got any pull with the state hospital?" Daryl asked.
"No... but I do sit on the medical boards of three private
"Ed doesn't have insurance." Dr. Gavin warned.
"Don't worry... I can pay for it." Steven said as he reached
for his cell phone.
Three phone calls later, Mr. Baron was in an ambulance being
taken to a private hospital located outside the city.
"Thank you," Daryl said to Steven when he reached the end of
his eighteen hour shift four hours later.
"Not a problem... just wish I could have gotten you to go along
"You really think I'm that bad?" Daryl asked, as he walked into
the doctor's lounge.
"No... you're not schizophrenic. You are certainly suffering
from a depressive episode however."
"So, what is your recommended prescription?" Daryl asked, as he
popped three quarters into the soda machine and selected a root beer.
"Well, since you have already said you won't take any
medication... I think I would concentrate on cognitive, followed by
"So... you believe my depression is caused by delusional or
misguided thinking?" Daryl chuckled before taking a swig of his soda.
"You're a doctor. Did you do a psychiatry rotation?"
"No... but I did take a basic psychology course."
"Ah... and were you like most 101 students, thinking you could
self diagnose yourself after a single course? I know I did." Steven
"No... it did teach me enough to know I really didn't want
someone fumbling through my head though."
"But you are going to let me `fumble' about inside you, as you
"Only because I would find Dr. Richardson's attempts more
annoying," Daryl replied, wiping the foam from his mouth.
"Good... then I expect to see you in my office tomorrow,"
"I'm home." Steven shouted from the front entry before hanging
his coat in the nearby closet.
"Finally... I've been wanting to eat for the past two hours,"
a near identical voice replied.
"You could have eaten without me Patrick," Steven replied as he
made his way through several rooms to the kitchen.
"I told you I was cooking tuna tonight. If I cooked it when I
wanted to, it would have dried out and gone cold before you came home,"
Patrick said to the sizzling sound of uncooked flesh hitting hot oil.
"Did you remember not to put so much pepper on mine?" Steven
asked, as he looked over Patrick's shoulder.
"Of course," he replied, turning his face, a near copy of
Steven's, to kiss his twin brother's lips.
"Mmmmmm... now this kind of spice I don't mind," Steven
chuckled as their lips parted.
"Well this is all you are getting tonight... got a date,"
Patrick replied, flipping the pan seared fish over.
"Work, or pleasure?" Steven asked, as he went to the counter
where a salad bowl stood.
"A little of both." Patrick replied.
"Oh?" Steven asked, as he picked out a chunk of tomato.
"Yeah... remember that cute guy at the club last week?"
"Of course... how could I not? You were with him the whole
time," Steven said as a piece of avocado slipped from his fingers.
"Well he gave me a call today; seems he wants to hire me for a
"What is it this time... blackmail, embezzlement, jealous
"Don't know yet... all I know is the target," Patrick said as
he took the fish out of the pan, letting the oil heat up before cooking his
"Someone important?" Steven asked.
"A local celebrity," Patrick replied.
"Who?" Steven asked, now curious.
"You know the rule... You don't tell me about your celebrity
patients and I don't tell you about mine."
"Fine... be that way," Steven said, as he took his plate from
his twin before heading to his office.
There, sitting on his desk was a single DVD... the Stockton
report. Putting his plate down, Steven took the disk out of its protective
case and placed it in his computer's DVD drive. Within seconds a video
began playing, the last recorded session he had done with Mr. Nathan
Stockton right before the man had killed himself in front of his doctor.
Nathan had been like most of Steven's patients... first
generation success stories, many times being the first in their family to
go to college. Having come from a similar background, Steven felt he had
good understanding of the issues and emotional insecurities faced by some
people new to money. That, at least, was what Steven had first thought
when Nathan stepped into his office.
Nathan... having grown up in a small Southern Baptist farming
community in Georgia, had been a local football legend... good enough to
earn a scholarship to go to college in Athens, the first of his family to
do so. In his second year, however, a hard tackle received while making a
winning touchdown had torn his Antilles tendon, ending his career and
costing him his NCAA scholarship. His coach however, not wanting to see
the promising young man's future destroyed, made a few calls to certain
well-to-do alumni who raised enough money to allow Nathan to finish
Getting a degree in accounting, Nathan scored exceptionally
well on the GMAT; well enough to get into Wharton's. So... against his
father's advice, Nathan left Georgia for Pennsylvania, working as a part
time accountant. From then on life moved into the fast lane for
Mr. Stockton. Heavily recruited right out of business school, he quickly
became one of his company's leading investment bankers, making his first
million before turning 30.
Using that money, Nathan paid off his family's mortgage on the
farm and bought his parents a pair of new cars. It was a couple of years
after that when Nathan's physician referred him to Steven for depression.
For the next three months Steven had listened patiently while
Mr. Stockton complained about his family's never ending demands for more
money while at the same time refusing to take any action to stop it.
Eventually, Steven started to suspect that Nathan's problems had nothing to
do with his family... at least where money was concerned.
It was with these kinds of patients that Steven was glad he had
his brother. Having worked as a police undercover officer until a case
ended with him getting shot at, Patrick had retired to the less strenuous
role of providing security and private investigations. So... whenever
Steven suspected one of his patients was not being totally open and honest,
he would use his brother to dig up whatever secrets were really eating away
at them. It might be unethical, but Steven felt it was for his patients'
When Patrick came back with the deal on Mr. Stockton, Steven
was both impressed, and a little horrified. As it turned out, Nathan was
not just cheating on his wife but was cheating on her with a much older
man... one of the rich alumni who had helped pay for his college education.
Knowing Mr. Stockton's religious background, Steven began to wonder if
the money he was giving his family was not out of feelings of generosity,
but of guilt.
If that had been all of it, Steven would have been sure he knew
how to guide their meetings to help Nathan reach some resolution. That
wasn't all that Patrick found out however. His brother didn't know if
Mr. Stockton was aware of it, but the man he was sleeping with was HIV
positive. This placed Steven in a difficult position, for he was sure that
Mrs. Stockton did not have a clue about her husband's ambiguous sexuality.
Considering how he came by the information and the code on
ethics dealing with patient confidentiality, Steven knew he could not go
behind Mr. Stockton's back and tell his wife to get tested, but his
conscience would allow him let one of his patients put another person's
life at risk. So they came to their last meeting.
Showing Nathan the evidence his brother had gathered, Steven
had expected some sort of response, but all Mr. Stockton did was thank him
for the information and then left ... his face pale.
What happened later still haunted Steven's dreams. Not liking how
Mr. Stockton left, he had called his house to check up on him, only for the
police to answer the phone. On learning that Steven was Mr. Stockton's
psychiatrist; the police had him report to the station at once. On
arriving there, Steven learned what happened to Mr. Stockton after he left
his office. First he had gone to the house of his gay lover and killed
him. Then he went home and killed his wife before killing himself with a
single shot to the head.
Steven knew what he should have done... tell the police everything about
his last meeting with Nathan, but he didn't. He knew if he did, he would
never free himself from the guilt that still haunted him. Three people
were now dead, and while not all his fault, he had been the catalyst, the
one drop too many that had broken the weak forces holding Nathan's sanity
After watching the entire video, Steven took the disk out, snapping it in
half with his hand, a sharp shard cutting into his palm, destroying the
last piece of evidence of what he had done.
"Hand all healed?' Daryl asked Steven the third week of their daily
"Yeah... looks like the cut is going to leave a scar for me to
remember it by," Steven grunted between sips of his morning coffee.
"Sorry to hear that."
"Don't worry about me... this is your hour."
"But all we seem to do is talk about me," Daryl complained.
"It's called professional detachment. Surely you were taught
that in med school."
"Everyone here seems to think I got a PhD in it."
"Is that true?"
"Maybe," Daryl admitted. "Quite frankly, though, I don't see
why anyone would want to get to know me in the first place."
"You are the archangel," Steven said before he could stop
himself. From the way Daryl was now glaring at him, he knew Dr. Gavin
still did not like that nickname. "Sorry... I forgot, but you have to
admit... after saving the lives of five people whom others have declared
dead is a pretty remarkable feat. It's one of the reasons why I respect
"Saving lives is what doctors are supposed to do." Daryl
shrugged. "I'm sure that in your own practice you've helped rescue people
who might have ended up killing themselves or others."
Squinting from a sudden twinge of guilt triggered pain, Steven
closed his eyes for a second. "We're not here to talk about me," he
"I'm sorry." Daryl apologized. "It's just..."
"Never mind... it's not important."
"Not important in that it's not important? Or that it is on the
long list of things you don't want to talk about."
"I don't want to talk about it," Daryl replied, as he tried to
look to see what Steven was scribbling down.
"You really think I'm going to let you see what I am writing?"
Steven chuckled. "That would be the same as you letting your patient's see
"I'm a doctor... I'm not used to not being able to read other
"Well get used to it." Steven said as he held the pad close to
"Sorry," Daryl apologized again, biting the nail of his thumb.
"Relax Dare... I'm not going to bite your head off."
"Stop calling me Dare."
"Not going to happen." Steven smiled widely.
"Is giving your clients annoying nicknames part of your way of
keep professional distance?"
"No... not really. You're the first."
"Lucky me," Daryl sighed.
"See... you are getting better. Three weeks ago you would
have just glared and not said a word."
"I'm trying," Daryl said sarcastically.
"Good... then I think we are ready for the next step."
"Yes... I think you should invite me to dinner."
"Now that is definitely not something I would call professional
"Still, I would like you see where you live."
"I think you know how I live... if not you must be deaf for it
is all the nurses are gossiping about... that, and which one of them is
going to sleep with you first."
"You've put money into the pot?" Steven asked curiously.
Daryl shrugged. "A dollar."
"Not a big stakes gambler?"
"No... not part of my religious beliefs."
"I've noticed you seem to have a lot of those. When are we
going to finally talk about what kind of church you belong to?"
"Not any time soon," Daryl said, his eyes darting towards the
clock on the wall.
"Are we out of time already?" Steven said in mock surprised.
"Alright. Then I will see you later tonight... does nine sound
"I never said..." Daryl started to argue.
"I know your address Dare, so unless you plan on selling your
house and moving in the next five hours, I'm going to be at your door."
"Doctor's orders," Steven said sternly just as Daryl's pager
went off. "Seems like I've kept you over. Better get going."
"Finally," Daryl sighed, leaving the office.
An hour later, just as he finished making his rounds, Steven
received a phone call. "Hello?"
"It's me... Tim."
"Hey... what's up?"
"That's what I wanted to ask you. Did you know Dr. Gavin just
called in sick?"
"No... he seemed perfectly fine when I saw him. Is he ok?"
"That's what I want to know. In the six years that man has
worked here he has never called in sick... even when it was obvious he
"Ahhh... I see. I think I know what's wrong," Steven laughed.
"Please tell me," Dr. Richardson demanded.
"I think it's his nerves."
"Aren't you the one who's supposed to make sure that doesn't
"You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs," Steven
"Just make sure he comes out an omelet and not a plate of
scrabbled eggs," Tim warned.
"Trust me... I have everything under control."
"So what is it that has our archangel stressed out?"
"He and I have a dinner date... at his place."
"But there is not even a stove at his place from what I
understand," Dr. Richardson said, concerned.
"Now I have given him a reason to get one. I mean, unless
there is something I don't know, he's not spending his money on anything.
If I were to guess what Dare is doing right now, it's that he's rushing to
the nearest Best Buy or furniture store to see if he can try to make his
living situation seem halfway reasonable."
"I hope you're right. Still... is having dinner with one of
your patients professional of you?"
"He's not really left me with much of a choice. As far as I
have determined through the limited subjects he's been willing to talk
about he has no social life, no friends, no family that's he's willing to
speak about. He doesn't date and doesn't go out to bars or clubs. His
life is just a repetitive cycle of going between work and home."
"Sad isn't it?"
"Yes," Steven agreed. "For all I know, I am the only person he
talks to who has no connection to his job."
"Just don't let me find out you're dating him," Tim warned.
"You can if you want but you need to warn me. Might do him a hell of a lot
of good. From what I remember of you in med school... he's just your
type. I just don't know if he's gay. Hell... he could be a 32 year old
virgin for all I know. "
"I know... sometimes I think I should stop trying to be his
"You got it that bad for him?"
"I've been having dreams." Steven admitted.
"I see... then I think I should let you in on a secret," Tim
chuckled. "The bet on Dr. Gavin is still going on."
"How big is the pot?" Steven asked, thinking it had to be only
a few hundred dollars.
"That's the interesting part... as it stands now it's over ten
"What? I thought I was doing well at an even thousand. How
did Dare's get so big."
"Because every year for the past six years almost everyone in
the hospital adds some money to the pot," Tim explained. "It's now seen as
a mercy fund since everyone believes he must suck in bed."
"Still ten thousand dollars is ten thousand dollars, but I
don't see any of them fighting each other to get at Dare."
"After six years of trying everyone's given up. The staff put
money into the pot now, not because they think they can win, but just to
continue what has become a sad joke."
"Does Dare know how much money is now on him?"
"I'm sure he does, but I've never heard him talk or joke about
"Well... this makes it more interesting," Steven chuckled.
"Of course if you really think you have a chance at collecting
you'll need to put some money into the pot first," Tim warned.
"Sure... who do I give the money to?"
"As it would so happen... that person would be me," Tim
Three hours later, and a hundred dollars lighter, Steven was
rushing home to pretty himself up. Not that he planned to jump Daryl's
bones that night. He wanted to take his time with this seduction.
Patrick certainly guessed something was up when his nose caught
the sent of one of his own expensive colognes. "Hey... that's mine! Do
you know how expensive that shit is?" He said as he barged into the
dressing room they both shared.
"It's a special occasion,." Steven said evasively.
"Really... does that mean you will actually have dinner before
you fuck whoever you are going out to see?"
"No... I'm off to see a patient."
"Wearing a red silk shirt that is one size too small for you,
black leather pants, and a cologne which is described as `ravishing'?"
"He will not always be my patient," Steven said defensively.
"At least promise me he's not married," Patrick pleaded.
"No... he's not married, but he might be a virgin."
"Oh God... why do I sense another migraine headache coming on?"
"You better not be," Steven said, knowing that if his twin got
one, more often than not he would get one as well. "Don't worry Patrick, I
promise to be on my best behavior."
"That's what you always say. Remember your conference in
Brazil... you brought back crabs."
"How can I... you'll never let me forget."
"Someone has to act as your conscience," Patrick smirked.
"I won't sleep with him until I stop being his doctor. I
"Really?" Patrick asked, skeptically.
"Yes, I promise even though this is all conjecture. No one
knows if he's even gay. As I said... he might be a virgin," Steven said.
"But you're sure to have fun finding out. Just remember to keep Jr. under
"You think getting out of these leather pants is easy?" Steven laughed.
"They would be if you would just buy the right size," Patrick pointed out.
"But the smaller size shows my ass off better," Steven pouted.
"Don't I know it," Patrick agreed, squeezing both cheeks of his brother's
"We will continue this later," Steven promised, even as he felt himself
"Promises, promises... you're just full of them today," Patrick laughed.
"This is one promise you know I will enjoy keeping though," Steven said
before lightly kissing his twin.
"That's what I'm counting on."
Arriving at Dr. Gavin's address Steven was surprised, after all he had
heard, to find that it was a significantly large place in a very well-to-do
neighborhood. The front lawn, while devoid of the colorful flowers and
pruned bushes that marked the other houses, was well kept. Daryl's car,
parked in the driveway, seemed out of place. Not that it was a rusty
bucket of bolts. It was that it was a Honda Accord at least two models,
maybe three models old, with the old boxy design. With every other
driveway containing a sleek Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus, Steven felt as if he
was crossing into a different time zone.
On reaching the front door, Steven heard the heavy sound of a hammer
followed by the high pitched squeal of an electric drill. Curious as to
what Daryl was up to, Steven wasted no time ringing the doorbell, bringing
the ruckus coming from inside the house to a sudden halt.
A few moment's latter the door jerked open, showing the half naked, sweat
drenched and exasperated Dr. Gavin. "You're early," he said, breathing
Steven, finally seeing the hard muscular body that had been hidden
underneath Daryl's baggy clothes, coughed nervously as he tried his best to
will away the hard-on growing in his tight pants. "Should I come back
later?" he asked nervously.
"Like next month?" Daryl asked, his blue green eyes looked pleading.
"I was thinking more like ten minutes... enough time for you to finish
whatever you were doing and get cleaned up."
"Wouldn't make a difference," Daryl said, wiping at what seemed like a
constant stream of sweat that was running down his face. "You know, most
doctors I know set up their appointments several weeks in advance."
"This is a house call," Steven snickered, as he squeezed both hands into
his front pockets in an attempt to adjust his pants.
"Then you might as well come on in," Daryl sighed before walking back into
Following after Daryl, Steven had to hold back a lust filled moan as his
eyes followed the movement his gorgeous ass, only covered by the thin
material of the blue shorts he was wearing. "Damn you Patrick," he
whispered under his breath as he followed Daryl into what he assumed was
the living room.
Looking around Steven saw the product of Daryl's efforts. The room, while
still far way from looking comfy, was not completely empty. There were two
unfolded metal chairs, a sleeping bag in one corner, a microwave in
another, and what looked like a medium sized, half built, do it yourself
table. Also laying about the room were a dozen discarded Wal-Mart bags.
"Well... I'll give you an `A' for effort, but a `D-' in style." Steven
laughed as he felt himself starting to sweat. "Is it me or is it hot in
"Sorry... forgot to lower the air-conditioner," Daryl said as he rushed
toward the wall thermostat, almost slipping on a few of the plastic bags
before reaching it.
"It's July you know... winter won't be here for a few more months. What
did you have it set at?"
"Eighty-five degrees," Daryl said apologetically as he turned the dial
"Do I really want to know why?" Steven asked. If there was one thing he
hated about his leather pants, it was how sticky and uncomfortable they got
when he started sweating. Of course it would not be so bad if he did as
Patrick recommended and wore the correct size.
"It's more energy efficient," Daryl said, as he made his way back more
"Dare... I know eventually our country is going to face a serious energy
crisis, but setting the thermostat so high is not efficient; it's
just plain crazy."
"Sorry," Daryl apologized again.
"Don't be... as far as I know you might like living in a sauna," Steven
said as he started unbuttoning his shirt.
"Well I don't. I just don't like wasting money."
"Really? They don't pay us a lot, but you can at least afford a higher
electric bill," Steven said, quickly biting his tongue. He was being over
critical. "I'm sorry... I should be minding my own business."
"Not your problem. Isn't your job to help me see where I am
acting... `unreasonably'?" Daryl sighed.
"Ok... then you wouldn't mind me asking you a few questions?"
"You can... I'm just won't promise that I will answer all of them," Daryl
"Fair enough. I guess I will start with the big one first."
"The one where you ask my why, a successful doctor such as I, am living
"All I can say is that this is my life and I have the right to live it the
way I want."
"And I agree with that, but unless you have some financial issues I don't
know about, none of what I've seen so far makes any sense."
"I know, and I am sorry, but I really can't explain much to you."
"You are making helping you very difficult you know," Steven sighed.
"But don't you like the challenge?" Daryl smiled nervously.
"A challenge is one thing, even the game Twenty Questions can be fun at
times, but most times you won't even give me a yes or no answer. I find
that fucking annoying."
"Fine... we will play a game of twenty questions then."
"Only if you promise to answer me honestly without any mind games or trick
answers," Steven demanded.
"I've never been dishonest with you," Daryl said defensively.
"But you can't say you've been very forthcoming about things." Steven
glared as the air coming from the air conditioner began finally to cool the
room, sending a shiver down his spine.
"I will be this time," Daryl promised.
"Fine... are you in financial trouble?"
"No," Daryl replied.
"Are you a wanted criminal?"
"No." Daryl laughed.
"Are you suicidal?"
"No," Daryl replied after a short pause.
"Have you ever been suicidal?"
Daryl lowered his head. "Yes."
"Have you ever wanted to hurt yourself?" Steven next asked.
"Be more specific." Daryl said after a long pause.
"Have you ever wanted to cut yourself?"
"No." Daryl said quickly.
"But you do hurt yourself in some fashion?"
"Is living like this how you punish yourself?" Steven asked, not knowing
what else it could be.
"Yes." Daryl nodded.
Finally getting somewhere, Steven could not stop a smile from forming on
"You find this funny?" Daryl asked accusingly.
"No... I find it quite sad, but I'm happy that you're being more open than
you have ever been with me before."
"I told you I would answer honestly."
"I know," Steven replied sympathetically. He could tell by the expression
on Daryl's face that these questions were not easy for him. He just wished
he could ask questions beyond those that could be answered by a `yes' or
"Next question?" Daryl asked, looking up to show the tears running down
"Do you have any close friends?"
"Do you have any family?"
"Are your parent's dead?"
"Yes... that's ten questions."
"I know... Did you ever have any brothers or sisters?"
"Yes... nine left," Daryl said, the tears running down his face increasing.
"Any other siblings?"
"So both your parents and younger brother are dead?"
"No... five left."
Wait a minute... you said you have no family." Steven said, sensing a
"But..." Steven said confused.
"You asked me if both my parents and younger brother were dead. I never
said I had a younger brother."
"But you said `no' when I asked you if he was older than you... wait a
minute, if he's not older or younger than you he has to be your twin?"
"Yes... four questions left."
"That was meant to be rhetorical." Steven grunted.
"It was a yes or no question." Daryl replied.
"Fine... be that way. Just be kind enough to give me a moment to sort
things through. I don't want to waste my remaining questions.
"I can wait all night... I'm off tomorrow."
"So am I." Steven could not help but snicker, letting many pleasurable
possibilities pop into his head. Knowing Daryl had a twin... a dead twin
at that, he really only had one question that truly needed to be answered.
That left three questions he could use for more selfish reasons.
"Is the reason you punish yourself anyway related to the death of your
"Yes..." Daryl whispered, nodded his head.
"I'm sorry. I can't imagine how losing him felt and still
feels for you. Now for the easy questions."
"They'd better be."
"I promise... you might even find them fun. Are you gay?"
"What?" Daryl shouted in disbelief
"It's a yes or no question... and be honest."
"Yes." Daryl glared.
"Really... you're really gay?" Steven said excitedly.
"Yes..." Daryl said, as if embarrassed.
Nothing would have made Steven happier than to ravish Daryl
right then and there, but his promise to his brother held him back. Still,
there were a few more things he needed to know. "Are you a virgin?"
"No." Daryl shook his head nervously. "Two questions left."
"Even more interesting," Steven chuckled. "Are you attracted
"Yes... and that's all I am going to say on the subject."
Daryl said in a defiant tone.
"We'll see." Steven grinned moved in on Dr. Gavin. "Last
question... will you let me kiss you?"
Daryl did not say a word but closed his eyes, leaning ever so
slightly forward, his lips barely parted. Taking that as a yes, Steven met
Daryl's lips, touching them ever so gently before letting his tongue slip
into his mouth.
"Is this what you call professional detachment?" Daryl asked,
catching his breath after the long kiss ended.
"It's what I call giving each other what we both want and
need," Steven replied as he reached over and touched Daryl's face tenderly.
"I can't do this... I don't deserve it, and you're out of
questions." Daryl said as he pulled away.
"We'll have to do this again then."
"Not anytime soon," Daryl replied in a begging tone as he tried
to distract himself with the pieces of half finished table.
"Don't worry about this cheap junk. Let's go out," Steven
"Go out?" Daryl asked in disbelief.
"When was the last time you spent a night on the town?"
"To be honest..."
"I see... then this will be your first adventure. That is
unless you would rather we stay here and fuck each other silly?"
"Let me get dressed." Daryl said all too quickly.
"But I like how you're dressed now," Steven whined as he
followed Daryl to his near empty bedroom.
Steven watched with interest as Daryl slipped off his running
shorts before putting on a pair of khaki pants and a dark blue t-shirt.
"Is this alright?" Daryl asked, as he spun himself around for
"It'll do for now," Steven chuckled, running a pair of fingers
down the other man's chest.
"Stop it," Daryl said weakly, as he lightly brushed Steven's
"I can't help it Dare. What can I say... I have a weakness for
"You're my doctor... try to remember that," Daryl pleaded.
"I could always quit," Steven offered, barely keeping his lust
"You want to give up on me?"
"Giving up is not the problem," Steven laughed, rubbing the
growing bulge in the front of his pants. "But you're right... I should at
least try harder to pretend we have only a professional relationship."
"Let's get going... I think I will feel safer around you with
other people around."
Patrick sat in a far corner of the bar watching his target from
a distance. Wearing one of his many faces and hisfavorite deep purple
dress, he watched with a bemused smile the clumsy, nervousbehavior of the
other man and the lusty overconfidence of his companion.
"Behave yourself brother." Patrick smirked between sips of his
Patrick knew he should have told Steve days ago that the man he
was spending so much time spying on was the same man his brother had both a
professional and personal interest in. This was especially true with all the
peculiar information he had gathered on the famousDr. Gavin.
Stillhe had to admit, Daryl, or Dare as his brother had
nicknamed him, was indeedmore than cute. He was freaking gorgeous,and a
twin to boot, which made the man exactly Steven's type. The ironic twist
was that it made Dare exactly Patrick's type as well.
Seeing his brother leave Dare's side for long line to the
bathroom, Patrick saw achance for a little fun. Waiting untilSteven was
out of view, he stood up and swished his way over to where Dare wassitting
nervously at the bar.
"Surprise!"Patrick said with his best imitation of his
brother's voice as he covered bothof Dare's eyes.
"I think I have had enough surprises in one day, Steven," Daryl
replied, turningaround to see Patrick in all his fabulous glory. "Steven?"
"Don't you like my dress? At least this one is the right size,"
"Uhmmmm..." Daryl replied nervously.
"Oh come on Dare... what's the point of being gay, if you are
not willing to dress uplike a queen every now and then?"
"I just never knew you were into this sort of thing."
"I'm into a whole lot of things... including you," Patrick said
as he moved in closer.
"Ialready gave you your kiss for the night," Daryl said as he
"But I'm a whole new person now," Patrick laughed as he spun
around in his longpurple dress.
"That's for sure," Daryl said uneasily.
"Come on... let's go to my place," Patrick said just as he saw
his brother reach the front of the line. "I promise to get out of this
getup. Then we can have some real fun."
"We could play dress up. I have this fabulous sea green dress
that would match perfectly with those pretty eyes of yours."
"I'm not dressing up like girl at some debutant ball."
"I do not dress up like a girl!" Patrick said offended. "I
dress like royalty."
"Sorry,my mistake," Daryl apologized, trying hard not to laugh.
"Your majesty," Patrick corrected. "You must address me as your
"As you wish, your majesty," Daryl bowed.
"That's better... now let's go," Patrick said just as he saw
Steven pop out of the restroom.
"You know my place is in no place for entertaining," Daryl said
as he allowed himself to be led away.
"But we are not going back to your place. We're going to mine."
"We are?" Daryl asked nervously.
"Don't worry Dare... I'm not planning on raping you. We are
just going to play a few games."
"Justn ot another game of twenty questions." Daryl warned.
Seeing the all too familiar man dressed in a royal purple gown
Steven knew he was in trouble, even more so when he saw his twin leading
Daryl out of the club. With the crowded dance floor between him and his
kidnapped love interest, Steven had no easy time trying to catch up
withDaryl. As a result, by the time he gotoutside, all he could see of the
pair were the departing tail lights of hisbrother's SUV.
"Damn you Patrick," Steven cursed, as he raced to his own car
with every intention of beating them back to the house.
That of course involved Steven breaking more than several
traffic laws, which during the heavily patrolled streets of a Friday night,
only led to him being stopped by the police. Considering that he had both
been speeding, passing through red lights, and had a few drinks at the club,
the officer was more than generous. With his blood alcohol level just a
fraction of a point below the legal limit, the policeman ticketed Steven
only for speeding on the condition that he agree to spending a night in the
Steven,hatig letting his brother win, almost turned the offer
down and accept the reckless driving charge, but looking at the ticket the
officer had just handed him, he saw that the man had written down his home
telephone number. Looking up at the police officer, he saw the man given
him a wink. As he watched the man head back to his patrol car from his side
view mirror, Steven suspected that the man was doing an unnecessary amount
of swishing. To say the least Steven never did end up jailthat night... he
did get handcuffed a few times though.
"Now don't you look as pretty as a princess." Patrick grinned
as he turned the stool around to show Daryl his handywork.
"I look ridiculous," Daryl sighed, looking with distain at the
red beehive wig ontop of his head.
"That' like most true royalty... you're big boned."
Patrick explained. "Now you sit still while I go get my camera...and don't
"I'm not going to let you take a picture of this."
"Too late," Patrick said just as a flash bulb went off.
"Now that you've finished humiliating me... can you help me get
this stuff off? All this glitter is starting to get into my eyes."
"Of course." Patrick said. Undressing Daryl was going to be
almost asmuch fun as it had been to turn him into a princess.
Liftin gthe large wig gently off Daryl's head, Patrick then
unzipped the back of the green dress he had made the doctor put on, letting
the tips of his fingers rundown the spine of the man's back.
"You made a beautiful princess Dare... but I must say you make a
better prince." Patrick whispered as he used a cotton ball totenderly wipe
the makeup from Daryl's face while his free hand continued tomassage the
good doctor's muscular back.
"I'm neither," Daryl sighed, leaning back against Patrick.
"Am I not a queen... can't I bestow titles of nobility on those
I see as worthy?"
"I'm not a good person."
"Let me be the judge of that," Patrick said as he pulled the
dress off Daryl's shoulders.
"I shouldn't be doing this," Daryl sighed. "I haven't done
something like this in ages."
"ThenI think you're well overdue for a little fun."
"Yes...but do I want to pay the price later?"
"I'm clean... I can even show you the lab results."
"It's not that. Its father... he would not approve of me doing
something like this."
"So far you're not doing anything... I'm doing all the work."
Patrick chuckled between the kisses he was now planting on Daryl's sinewy
"I'm sorry... it's been so long I guess I've forgotten how to do
this sort of thing."
"It's like riding a bike... once you've learned how you just
need to go byinstincts. Don't try to think your way through it... feel your
way." Patrick suggested as he pulled the dress down from the front of
Helping Daryl to his feet, Patrick slipped the rest of the dress
off his chiseledframe. "For someone who doesn't get outmuch you sure look
like you spend a great deal of time at the gym."
"I work out at home... our bodies are reflections of our souls.
We are supposed to take care of them."
"So,no drinking or drugs but plenty of sit-ups?" Patrick
"Your turn now," Patrick said, turning aroundso that Daryl could
unbutton the back of his purple gown.
The touch of Dare's fumbling fingers tickled Patrick as the man
nervously undressed him. Kicking his high heels off beforestepping out of
the dress, Patrick sat himself down on the white ottoman infront of the
"I might dress like a queen but those heels are a bitch," he laughed as he
rubbed his sore feet. "Can you give me a foot massage?"
"Never given one before, but I'll try," Daryl said as he sat on the
"Mmmmm... you're a natural," Patrick cooed, as he removedhis own wig,
makeup, and press-on nails.
When halfway done,Patrick reached down and took Daryl's hand in his,
letting it feel it's way uphis leg till it rested between his inner thighs.
"Do what you want to do Dare, not what you think you should."
Watching Daryl nod silently, Patrick let out a deep moan as he felt a warm
hand slip past theopening in his boxer shorts, taking hold of his cock.
"That's it Dare, hold it like you own it,like it is a part of you."
As soon as his cock was free, Patrick watched with surprise as Daryl, moved
his head forward,nuzzling his face against the muscle of his sex. "Taste
it Dare... I know you want to."
"I shouldn't," Daryl protested.
"Stop `shoulding'all over yourself; you're making a mess." Patrick
laughed. What would you like us to do then?" Patrick asked, running his fingers
through Daryl's short brown hair.
"Just to hold you... to not spend another night alone."
"I would like that too," Patrick replied. "Care to join me in the bedroom?"
Arriving home shortly after dawn, Steven had hoped to catch Daryl and his
brother in midst of passionate lovemaking. Instead however he found his
brother in bed alone, a content smile on his face.
"You seemed to have had a pleasant evening," Steven said as he tossed his
brother's purple dress on top of the bed.
"It was entertaining to say the least," Patrick replied, before stretching
out his long body in a yawn.
"First of all Daryl was my date. Second, what were you doing at the
club... I thought you had to work."
"You might not believe me Steven... but keeping an eye on Daryl is my job."
"You mean the archangel is the man your new client has had you spend so
much time spying on?"
"Yes... paying me triple my normal fee too."
"I thought you had a rule against sleeping with the men you are paid to dig
up dirt on."
"I thought your profession had a rule about not dating your own patients."
"It was a house call," Steven insisted.
"At a gay nightclub?" Patrick smirked.
"Behavior modification and desensitization therapy," Steven said all too
"Is that the line you used on Daryl when you talked him into going?"
"In not so few words... yes."
"Oh don't get on your soapbox. I'm sure you were not so honest about your
intentions. I would bet half my medical practice that you didn't tell him
you are my brother."
"Which is entirely your fault. You're the one who has not told him about me
so that when he saw me he automatically assumed I was you."
"How could he have mistaken me for you? You were in a fucking dress. Not to
mention the fact that you are one of the most nelly queens I have ever
"That still makes me royalty," Patrick insisted, throwing his dress back at
his brother. "Anyway...Daryl didn't seem to mind, not even when we played
"Oh God... you didn't."
"I did," Patrick said, reaching for the nightstand for his digital camera.
"See for yourself."
Taking the camera,Steven looked through the pictures till he found the one
showing Daryl wearing a red beehive wig and green dress. "I must say he
looked better in it than you ever have."
"It's his eyes... they're a better match."
"So what else did you two do?"
"We gave each other massages, let him play with junior for a little bit,
and then we went to bed and snuggled."
"Well, I did give him a guest pass to gym I go to. He's supposed to meet me
there latter this weekend."
"But where is he now? You're not an early bird Patrick so I know you didn't
drive him back home."
"He woke me up around five this morning telling me he was taking a cab
"I see..." Steven said, placing the camera back on the nightstand only for
his eyes to catch the glimpse of a worn out checkbook. Curious, he picked
it up, stepping back just in time to avoid his brother's reach.
"Hey... that's not yours!"
"It's not yours either," Steven pointed out as he opened it.
Walking backwards into the bathroom before his brother could untangle
himself from his bedsheets, Steven locked himself inside. Going through
the pages he discovered that the checkbook was in fact Daryl's and that
while he did not seem to be in any financial trouble... the flow of money in
and out of the account made little sense. On top of his five thousand
dollar a month salary, on the first of every month a twenty thousand dollar
deposit was made by a source only labeled as `Father'. Adding to the
peculiarity of the situation, almost a soon as the deposit cleared the bank,
it was soon withdrawn and handed out in large chunks to several
local charities. As a result, while Daryl was clearing 300 grand a year, he
was only keeping around 25 thousand a year to support himself.
"You really are punishing yourself." Steven sighed just as the door popped
"Finished with that?" Patrick asked, as he calmly started putting away his
lock picking kit.
"I take it that Daryl didn't accidentally leave his checkbook here?"
"I have a job to do," Patrick said defensively.
"Does that include seducing Dare? Because, if whatever scum is paying you
this time asked you to mind fuck with one of my patients..."
"The one you want to screw?"
"That's different! I honestly want to help Dare."
"So do I Steven... have you never heard the term `double agent'?"
"I don't understand."
"I don't fully understand it all myself. Right now I am depending totally on
my instincts, and what my they are telling me is that something fishy is
"I could have told you that," Steven snorted.
"I know... that is why I think we are going to have to break the rules
again. I am going to have to use some of my more underhanded methods to dig
up whatever past Dare has tried so hard to bury,while you are going to have
to break your patient confidentiality with him and tell me what you know."
"I'm not sure I can do that... not so soon after Nathan. What if I screw up
again and more people end up hurt or even dead."
"Steven... I don't know how you feel about Daryl, but I'm in love with him
and I don't understand why. There is something about him...something that
feels so familiar, like what you and I have. Ever since I started
investigating him he's been a constant feature of my dreams."
"Mine too," Steven admitted.
"Do you understand why?" Patrick asked with a pleading look.
"Yes... but I can't tell you without breaking confidence."
"I need to know Steven."
"Do you love him...really love him? Promise me this is not like one of your
"Like the two years I insisted I was really a redhead?" Patrick chuckled.
"I promise you... unlike the 70's I have no intention of letting this
disco party come to an end."
"You always have to joke about this sort of stuff," Steven sighed.
"Someone has to lighten the mood."
"Well I love him too Patrick... and I will tell you why. He's a good man in
a world filled with not so good people... including me. He's saved so many
lives, helped so many people that when I compare my own accomplishments next
to his, I see how empty and selfish my life has really been. Yet... even
with all the good he has done, it breaks my heart to see him so unhappy. It
makes me want to embrace him to take away all his pain, make him see him the
way I do, and in doing so redeem myself in some way."
"I feel the same way." Patrick said, standing up to embrace his brother.
"I'm so ashamed," Steven sobbed. "I killed that family."
"We both did." Patrick said, rocking his brother in his arms.
"He had a twin you know. That's what's really eating at him... I think he
feels responsible for his death."
"That's why he feels so familiar." Patrick chuckled softly.
"Because he is also a twin?"
"Not just that... it's because he carries some of the same guilt we do."
"Now you know all that I do... other than the fact that he is indeed gay
and is not a virgin."
"That's good to know... wouldn't want to waste my time chasing after a
straight man. Do you think he and his twin got it on like we do?"
"Now that is one porno tape I would not mind having," Steven laughed,
nuzzling against his brother.
"Do you think Daryl would be opposed to a three-way?" Patrick asked as he
worked on the silver buttons of Steven red shirt.
"Now you're really getting me horny," Steven laughed, as his shirt fell to
the floor. "He doesn't even know that there are two of us."
"Mind if we keep it that way for a while?" Patrick asked, ripping down the
buttons of his brother's pants.
"The next thing you are going to suggest is that we set up a schedule."
"That's won't be too hard. You get him at work and every weekday evening but
Friday. He's mine at the gym and on weekends."
"But I want him on the weekends," Steven pouted, as his brother struggled
to pull down his tight pants.
"Come on, I'm giving you four and a half days out of seven. I
think that is more than generous."
"But you want a monopoly on play time... Saturday morning
cartoons and all."
Considering that technically he's still your patient and
therefore off limits... playtime would just be wasted on you."
"I'll drop him as a patient then."
"No...you can't do that. Right now you got him talking,
something he might stop doing if he wasn't seeing you
professionally,"Patrick pointed out.
"But that mean you'll get him first."
"Better me than some stranger."
Better me over you," Steven insisted as Patrick finally got his
pants down to his ankles.
"How about this... I promise to keep things pretty vanilla if
you agree to let me come with you on your next shopping expedition. I'm
tired of building up a sweat just trying to undress you."
"Deal." Steven grunted as he felt his cock pulled out of his
shorts before feeling it embraced by the familiar warmth and shape
of Patrick's mouth.
Later,when both were resting in bed, their limbs entangled,
Steven began to cry softly.
"What's wrong?" Patrick asked, concerned, looking up from where
his head was resting on his brother's chest.
"Just imagining the hell Dare's gone through in loosing his
brother, made me think how I would feel if anything ever happened to you. I
then remembered the last time you were working undercover... how you got
shot. It did not hit me until now that I could have lost you."
" But didn't," Patrick said comfortingly.
"But I could have. Whatever happens with Dare, I don't want it
to come between us."
"Like that could ever happen... remember Bo?"
"Oh god... was I really that nasty to him?"
"You practically threw him out of the house when he tried to
talk me into bare-backing."
"I'm the only one who's allowed to do that." Steven grunted as
he ruffled Patrick's hair.
"Yes...you're just lucky he was a closet case or he might have
"Yes...but do you remember Vain Trey?"
"Vain Trey?" Patrick laughed. "He wasn't anymore vain than
when I play dress-up."
"There's a difference... You needed to spend all that time in
front of a mirror to put your makeup on. Trey on the other hand was a bald
man who kept a compact in that man-purse of his."
"Will you ever forgive me for making you endure him?"
"I'll consider it." Steven winked. "I think Dare will be
different though. First, this is one of the few occasions where we have
both fallen for the same man at the same time. Second, and more
importantly, I've yet to find any deceit in him. Unlike almost every man I
have ever dated he doesn't lie nor does he try to use the truth as a sledge
hammer to get what he wants. I can actually relax and let my guard down
"Iagree," Patrick replied, tickling thesides of his brother's
"We need to be careful with this one Patrick. A person like him
doesn't come into our lives often. I don't want to screw this up."
"Neither do I," Patrick said as his alarm clock went off.
Turning to look at the clock, Steven was surprised to see it was
only nine o'clock as his brother usually did not get out of bed till noon.
"Starting early today?"
"Got a meeting with the client," Patrick said as he rolled off
"What are you going to tell him and when are you going to tell
me what you know?"
"Nothing about last night or what you've told me. I will tell
you what little I know when I get back."
An hour later:
"Hello Mr. Fisher." Patrick smiled as he sat himself down in a
High back leather chair.
"I hope you have more information than you did last time," the
black haired, grey eyed man said coldly.
"About Dr. Gavin's finances?"
"Yes...that is what I am paying you for."
"I do have more information."
"Well...tell me," Mr. Fisher pressed.
"It’s quite simple really... he gives it all away." Patrick
grinned, eager to see his client's response.
"Gives it away? You mean every month he tossed tens of thousands
of dollars off the roof of some building?"
"Not literally. He gives it to charity...anonymously of
"That is something he would do. What about his living
arrangements? I don't really believe that he's actually living like some
"I’ve photos this time to prove it." Patrick said as he handed
Mr. Fisher a computer disk.
"And what would you have me do with this?" the man asked with
"Uhmmm...put it in a computer and load up the images."
"We aren’t permitted to use computers. It goes against our
"I see..." Patrick said as he made a clicking sound with his
tongue. I will just have to give you printouts then."
"Never mind... just tell me what the photos show."
"As I said before... a whole lot of nothing. The house is still
practically empty, except there are now a couple of metal chairs, a microwave,
and a half finished table."
"This does not make me happy," Mr. Fisher said as if that were a
crime. "Do you have copies of his bills?"
"Yes, “Patrick replied, happy that he had taken the time to
photocopy them instead of scanning them onto the disk.
"These are much lower than I expected them to be." The man said
with greater displeasure.
"When my man arrived, the thermostat was set at 85. With no
refrigerator and the lights off most of the time he's not really using much
juice," Patrick explained.
"I should have never let him go," Mr. Fisher grunted, crumpling
the papers into a tiny ball.
"Excuse me?" Patrick asked, hoping his client would finally tell
him what this was all about. He was at least sure of one thing...this was
not an issue of embezzlement."
"My name is not Mr. Fisher... its Rev. Gano... Brian Gano."
"That church up in Montana?"Patrick said, controlling himself
enough to limit his comments.
"Yes...Daryl is our lost sheep. Even though he has left our
flock, we have tried our best to take care of him. The house, the money,
his education, all of it was provided by us even though he abandoned his
"So the deposit entries marked `Father' are from you? You're
the Father?" Patrick asked, remembering what he knew of the `cult'.
"Yes...after the old Father died, I took his place. He was my
real father by the way."
"I see..." Patrick said nervously, waiting for a pamphlet,
bible, or whatever tool of conversion Brian's church used.
"Don’t worry Mr. Nash... membership into the Blessed is only
allowed through birth, marriage, or five year purification processes."
"And how did Daryl become a member... by birth?"
"Yes...not like that was a hard guess," Brian chuckled. "His
ancestors were the original family who welcomed us onto their land when our
people were caught in a blizzard. He is the last surviving member of
that family and is therefore very special to us."
"I see..." Patrick said, clicking his tongue as the pieces
started falling into place. "So I take it he is an only child?"
"No...he had a brother, a twin actually. He died under
unfortunate circumstances," Brian said as he moved uncomfortably in his
"You have no idea how it devastated our community, especially
when Daryl left us soon after. He was supposed to marry my sister."
"No you don't see." Brian said angrily. "You have no idea how
important that marriage was to me, my sister, and all my people."
Patrick arched an eyebrow, funny that Brian listed himself first
"Is there anything else you need of me?"
"Yes...I do. I've done a little investigating myself... into
"Oh?" Patrick said. This time it was he who was sitting
"I know about your ‘alternative' life style but don't worry; in
this case it's an asset." Brian chuckled.
"How so?" Patrick asked, not yet ready to relax.
"Because Daryl’s gay... everyone in town knew it but looked the
other way because of the family he belonged to. Still, I'm afraid to say it
is one of the things that led him away from us?"
"So what do you want from me?"
"I’ve read all your reports but in none of them have I heard
mention of any love interests in Daryl's life. In truth that concerns me
more than how he spends the money I have given him. We Blessed believe
that one has to have love in one's life if a person is to be considered
"What is it you are asking of me?"
"Would it be asking too much of I paid you to seduce him?"
"What?" Patrick laughed.
"When Daryl left us he had just lost his brother, the person who
meant more to him than life itself, causing him not to just turn his back on
his church but from opening his heart to anyone else as well if your reports
are accurate. If you could help Daryl to love again he might come to
forgive us for what happened to his brother David."
"I’ll think about it but first I need to know exactly what
happened to his brother...the detective in me doesn't believe it was a
"Do you know of any suicide that was simple?" Brian replied.
"True... still the more you tell me the better I will be able to get
Dr. Gavin to forgive you."
Letting out a deep sigh Rev. Gano nodded before beginning.
"Well?" Steven shouted from his exercise room when he heard the
front door slam closed.
"You would not believe the conversation I just had." Patrick
said as he sat himself down at the weight machine.
"Does your client want you to now hire a bunch of snipers and
"Ambush yes... shoot no, at least not with real bullets."
"Oh?" Steven asked, slowing down the treadmill to a fast walk.
"The best way I can describe it is that he wants me to give Dare
"Wow...may I ask why?"
"Yes...but unless you are up to doing a marathon I suggest you
get off that treadmill," Patrick said.
"Along story I take it?" Steven asked, hopping off.
"Over a hundred years long," Patrick warned.
"Give me the Cliff Notes version then."
"I can sum it up in just four words... Church of the Blessed."
"I knew it... I knew he had to belong to some way out religion,"
"He’s not just a member of the Blessed... his family was one of
the founding members."
"Well, considering that the church owns the land of the largest
natural gas reserve in the country that must mean he's really rich."
"You have no idea..." Patrick said, his eyes still wide from the
meeting with Brian.
"Educate me then."
"Ok...I'll tell you, but this is sort of a church secret so you
can't be going around telling anyone."
"I understand," Steven nodded.
"The church doesn't own the land... they only signed a 120 year
lease on it, which expires very soon."
"What happens after it expires?"
"It goes back to the original title holders... or in this case
"You don’t mean..." Steven said his own eyes now wide as well.
"Yes...our very own archangel is about to become a very rich
"Does Dare know anything about this?"
"According to Rev. Gano, the great and mighty `Father' himself,
Dare does know. The twenty five grand he receives a month from the `Father'
is just a small fraction of the gas royalties owed to him? The rest is in
a gigantic trust account that Rev. Gano has control over until the lease
"If Dare is so rich... why in hell is he living as if her were
"You know why. You told me yourself... to punish him over
the death of his brother."
"Did you learn anything about that?" Steven asked hopefully.
"Yes...but I need a stiff drink first. Hearing about it was
hard enough. It's another matter for me to say the words myself."
Three shots of brandy latter Patrick began. "Like most things
that motivates people, the tragedy around Dare's life centers around money;
in this case a whole shit load of money.
"The gas fields?" Steven guessed.
"Yes...when Dare and his twin David were only four their
parents died. Their car slid off the road during a snowstorm and their
bodies were found until the spring thaw. That's the official version, and
what Dare was made to believe at least."
"And the unofficial one?"
"According to Brian they were murdered, executed... by the
unanimous vote of the church leadership...the Father, the sheriff, the
mayor, the judge, and the CEO of NM Mining Industries, which practically
employs half the people in the community."
"But why and how did they get away with it?"
"They did it because Dare's parents didn't want to renew the
lease for another 120years. They felt they would have better luck
convincing the children when they came of age. They got away with it
because the town went along with it."
"So everyone in town knows?"
"The older folk do." Patrick nodded.
"What happened to Dare and David after their parents died?"
"They were adopted by the Father himself. Who else would the
church have mold the two Gavin brothers into compliant followers."
"But something tells me that it didn't work out that way."
"You’re right, it didn't. First off David never really adjusted
to living in the minister's family. According to Brian, David was a
constantly involved in fights at home and school. It got so bad that the
Gano's had to eventually home school him. That made matters worse until
they decided to home school Dare with his brother, as Dare was the only one
who could calm his brother down."
"He took his parents death badly as well, but remained a fairly
sweet boy. This of course is coming from a man who’s still in love with
"Rev. Brian Gano, the Father."
"How old is this man?"
"Just two years older than Dare."
"So the leader of one of the most conservative religious groups
in the country is really a closet queer?"
"Yep...which you can guess made his father real proud."
"What happened?" Steven asked.
"They got caught of course. Brian's father showed a great deal
of restraint in regard to Daryl. He had to, considering that he didn't
believe David would ever agree to sign a new lease. As a result, everyone
in that highly conservative community gave Daryl and Brian's affections for
one another a blind eye. That was, of course, until Brian turned eighteen,
the age when he was required by church law to marry."
"I take it his wife was not in a sharing mood?"
"That, added to the fact that after the first year no child had
has been born, infuriated Brian’s father no end. He didn't dare punish Daryl
"So he punished Dare indirectly, through... David?"
"Yes... on the day they refer to as Pardoner’s Sunday, the
members of the church are allowed to declare their crimes for the year and
receive absolution from them. That's what its original purpose was at
least. These days the so called blessed use it to list the sins they
believe others have committed against them. On Dare and David’s seventeenth
Pardoner's Sunday the only person the congregation accused was David... the
hammer blow being when Brian accused Dare's brother of leading him into the
sin of sodomy."
"But Brian was sleeping with Dare and the whole town knew it!"
Steven said, his anger rising.
"Yes...but it was David who was accused. Since Brian made the
accusation and had been the first to ask forgiveness, he was declared
innocent and clean in the eyes of the church."
"But not David."
"No...not David. There was a trial where David was found
guilty. As punishment he was to be shunned for five years. He never made it
through the first."
"He killed himself." Patrick said as tears started running down
his face. "You see they blackmailed Dare... threatened to have him shunned
as well if he didn't obey the church order not to talk to his twin. For a
while they believed Dare was obedient... that was until they discovered the
stacks of letters the two brothers had found some way of passing to each
other. Brian's father then took a different approach... he had Dare locked
up in the house, his son forced to shun him. It did not take long before
the flow of letters stopped. Two months of no word from his brother was all
it took before David committed suicide."
After the funeral Dare changed... much of the rebelliousness
that had been his brother’s trait started showing up in him until shame,
guilt, whatever, made him leave Montana."
"So the Father's plans were ruined regardless of what he did."
Steven chuckled without humor.
"If only it had ended there..." Patrick sighed.
"Not involving Daryl but Brian. When Daryl left and refused to
come back, Brian turned his grief into rage. For the past six years the
Church of the Blessed has been in a state of civil war with the members of
the old guard being removed one by one."
"At least without bloodshed I hope."
"Of five men who ordered Dare's parent's murdered, only one of
them is still alive, and he's in a mental institution. Brian did not admit
to killing the others, but he didn't deny it either, when I asked."
"What did he say then?"
"He only laughed," Patrick said, as a cold shiver ran down his
"I see... I think we can both assume that he had some part in
their demise. Is his father the one who is still alive?"
"Yes...he had his father shunned three years ago, had the same
effect on him as it did David, only that Brian was prepared when his father
tried to kill himself. There's an isolated mental hospital somewhere in
Montana where Brian's father spends his days locked up in a padded room."
"And Brian is the man who you've been working for?" Steven
"Hey...don't get mad at me... I just found out about this shit
myself. I read up on the Blessed years ago... I just didn’t know how crazy
they really were until now," Patrick said with raised hands. "What do you?
"To be honest I don't know what to think... Right now I just
want to know who I am supposed to be mad at."
"Brian’s father... he's the one who started all this."
"Yes...but he couldn't have done it without the help of others.
A small part of me is even mad a Dare for not speaking up when Brian falsely
accused his brother."
"If you have any understanding of the kind of community Dare
grew up in you wouldn’t blame him. He has blamed and punished himself more
than enough, or have you not yet realized that the way he lives is his way
of experiencing what his brother went through?" Patrick said.
"But no one is shunning him."
"No...what he does is worse. He shuns himself. He ignores his
emotional and physical needs. He refuses to listen to himself. He does not
give him love."
"When did you become the shrink?" Steven said, impressed.
"I took notes watching you," Patrick chuckled. "Now that we
know the truth ... what are we going to do?"
"We’re not going to tell Dare that we know... I learned that
lesson at least."
"Do you trust him? I sure don't. Regardless of what his father
did, no man should act so cold towards one's family."
"When was the last time you talked to mom?" Patrick asked.
"Six...maybe seven months ago," Steven said guiltily.
"See...so don't be so quick to judge."
"Ok...want to explain why you are defending a man you just
described as a monster?" Steven asked confused.
"Brian might be many things... even a killer but I believed him
when he told me how ashamed he still feels over what happened."
"And he should."
"Yes...but he doesn't know what to do now that his need for
revenge has burned itself out. He's lost and lonely and needs help."
"You sound like you are describing a homeless puppy," Steven
"Ina way he is... this is his first time away from his church
let alone the state of Montana. He tries to act cold and stoic but behind
all that is a man I believe who is genuinely frightened by the outside
"Then why did he leave his little commune in the first place?"
"Twelve thousand people is not a small group, not in Montana at
least." Patrick replied. "He's here because he wants Dare to come
back home with him."
"So he can sign a new lease?" Steven said suspiciously.
"No...not entirely at least. According to Brian the church
feels ashamed over what they did to Dare's family... the one that gave their
ancestors their homes over a hundred years ago. Dare's refusal to come
back to them is being called the `great exile' believe it or not. They
believe they have lost God's blessing and won't get it back until Dare
returns and forgives them."
"I take it Rev. Gano has been promoting this mythological
"Yes...but because he believes it. He's read the news articles
and is well aware that Dare's been christened the archangel. He's been able
to use that and the stories of how Dare's has brought back people from the
brink of death. Hearing Brian talk about it, Dare is the second coming,
third coming, or whatever number they are on. I don't know."
"And what do you believe... am I going to have to worry about
you are running away to Montana to join some crazy cult?"
"Don’t worry Steve. I'm not going off the deep end... yet. I'm
just telling you what his church believes."
"All the more reason to keep those nut cases away from him."
"That is what I am trying to get you to see." Patrick said,
clearly flustered. "Brian and his followers are desperate... they want
Dare back and from my professional perspective one of three things will
happen. One... we both do what we're good at with me protecting him while
you do your psychiatry thing and help Dare reach some resolution with his
past. Two... we could do nothing and have the best thing that has come into
our lives get stolen away from us."
"Weds our best to keep these nut cases away from him only for
them to get desperate enough to resort to violence."
"I don’t want these kind of people near Dare. You know what I
would pick but you're the security expert."
"I don’t like our choices either Steve but there is only so much
I can do. I can only protect Dare against rational threats. Religious
fanatics, by their nature, do not always act rationally. The best we can do
is try to minimize the damage."
"You want Dare to go back to Montana?" Steven asked accusingly.
"No...I want him to move in with us where I know I can keep him
safe!" Patrick said angrily.
"I’m sorry... this is just too much for me to take in."
"Think about how I feel. You know how bad I am at multitasking."
Patrick said as he poured himself another drink. "At elastic was able to buy
us some time. For some reason Brian believes that Dare will be more open to
going back if he lets ‘love' back into his life."
"And he picked you to achieve that?" Steven smirked as he poured
"He openly admitted that he's having me watched. He might be
even watching you for all I know. He has the resources."
"Theses starting to get dangerous Patrick. Are we sure we want
to get involved in this?"
"I don't know why but I feel as if some invisible force is
guiding me toward Dare. I can't abandon him Steve, not now, not when I know
what's at stake."
"Would you be surprised if I felt the same way?"
"Must be my fault... Brian must have a contagious form of
Irrationality." Patrick laughed.
Walking into the gym Sunday morning, Patrick found Daryl sitting
by himself in the lobby dressed in a white t-shirt and a pair of delectable
blue running shorts. He was going to have to make sure that Daryl took the
treadmill in front of him, not wanting to miss a chance of gazing at Daryl's
"Hey...you made it." Patrick greeted.
"I’m surprised not to find you dressed in a sport's bra." Daryl
"Exercise is usually beneath royalty but since I can't be a
queen every day I bring my more boring self here three times a week."
"I don't know why... I saw the set up you had back at the
"Yes...but it's a little hard to get motivated just by your
lonesome. If you have not noticed there's lot of motivation here." Patrick
said, pointing to a few of the naked men in the locker room.
"I noticed." Daryl replied... his dimpled cheeks blushing.
"Of course since I have you with me this time you have to let me
show you off to the others."
"What?" Daryl asked confused.
"I would be amiss if I didn't do my best to spread the good
cheer of envy and jealousy amongst the other men."
"You’re terrible," Daryl chuckled.
"Just promise me you will play along."
"The most I can promise is to keep my mouth shut."
"That would be perfect... they'll think you're a total moron
then. Nothing makes a gym bunny more jealous than a queen dating a man who
is not only hotter than they are but also dumber."
"Why?" Daryl asked confused.
"It’s part of the myth of the gay food chain. All you have to
know is Hot equals Dumb... partly because any person with a real nine to
five job doesn't have the time or the energy it takes to get a perfectly
sculpted body but also because dumb people are automatically assumed to be
easier to get into bed with. It’s sad but in some gay circles being a slut
is seen as a plus."
"So...let me see if I understand this. You want me to pretend
to be a dumb slutty jock whose has spent the last several hours having wild
sex with you?"
"And you got it on the first try." Patrick laughed, coming to a
sudden halt when he saw a tear run down Daryl's face. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing..." Daryl said as he reached over and
touched Patrick’s face.
"Something is defiantly up." Patrick pressed.
"You remind me so much of my brother Steven. He liked playing
dress up too. David would have loved your dresses."
"I’m sure I would have liked his as well."
"No you wouldn't have... think Amish but with even blander
"Hey, I would have you know I have a nun's outfit stored away
somewhere." Patrick replied.
"I miss him so much Steven. He was more than the last member of
my family. He was my other half... wild and carefree like you are."
"If you think I'm wild then I better not let some of my stranger
friends get near you," Patrick laughed.
"I think I could handle them... after six years in the ER I've
seen most everything. I'm not as saintly as people think I am."
"Hang around me long enough and you will find yourself with a
pair of horns and a tail."
"Now that will be interesting," Daryl chuckled.
"Come on... take that bland t-shirt of yours off. No point
having a six pack if you let no one see it," Patrick said, quickly having to
correct himself. "Make that an eight pack."
After Patrick had his fun showing Daryl off, he spent the next
two hours showing him how to use the different pieces of exercise equipment,
returning to the locker room surprised and a tad jealous of his guest.
"I still can't believe you got the body you have without
spending a single day at a real gym."
"What can I say... good genes." Daryl laughed.
"Some people have all the good luck," Patrick sighed, leading
Daryl to the steam room. "Now this should feel like home to you."
"Almost," Daryl nodded. "Sorry about earlier Steven, I should
have cooled the house down before you arrived."
"Not a problem," Patrick laughed. He had not been the one who
had to enter that sauna.
Leading Daryl to an unoccupied bench, Patrick leaned against the
slick wet walls. His eyes glaring at any of the occupants who dared even
glanced in their direction.
"I can’t believe I'm out of the house."
"We’re surprised too." Patrick said before he could stop
"Us at the hospital." Patrick quickly said.
"Well, now you can tell them I'm more of a clay figurine then I
am of stone."
"Why did you come... it must not have been easy."
"It wasn’t, but I missed you."
"But it’s only been two days."
"I missed being with you." Daryl corrected. "I don't know what
it is about you, Steven, but I feel normal around you."
"Normal how?" Patrick asked, hating himself for not being able
to tell Daryl who he really was.
"Normal in that I can pretend that my brother never died when I
am with you."
"It hurts that much?"
"It’s made me the man I am today." Daryl replied. "But maybe I
can become someone else with you."
"Are you asked me to go steady?" Patrick asked surprised.
"Steady? “Daryl asked confused.
"Date...you want to date me?"
"Hahahaha...back home they call it courtship and it's
completely arranged by our parents. “Daryl laughed.
"Well..." Patrick said in a deep Southern accent." "Are you
courting me kind sir."
"I guess I am," Daryl said as if surprised by his own words.
"Then I accept your gentle proposal. Now be so kind and kiss
Where did you learn how to talk like that?" Daryl asked after
their lips had parted.
"Where did you learn how to kiss like that?" Patrick said,
covering his hardening cock with his hands.
I guess it's like you said... it's like riding a bicycle. Once
you know how it’s all instincts."
"You must have had a good teacher then."
"I guess I did... now your turn. Where in the world do people
talk like that?"
"I take it you haven't been to Atlanta, or seen `Gone to the
"Atlanta or the movie?"
"The movie... I've never been to one."
"Let me guess... it's against your religious beliefs?"
"Yeah..."Daryl said, embarrassed.
"What about TV?"
"But surely there's a television in the doctor's lounge."
"You know there is... but you'll never see it on. It broke two
years before I started my residency."
"Sorry, I must have forgotten," Patrick replied before changing
the subject. "Well, we are going to have to change that. The last Star
Wars movie is coming out next week and I have this fantastic Queen Amidala
costume I've been dying to wear." Patrick said as he stood up to leave for
"Does anyone at the hospital know about your taste in women’s?
"No...so don't go about telling anyone," Patrick said,
panicked. If people at the hospital started making cross dressing jokes to
his brother, there would be hell to pay.
"Hey...I know how to keep a secret," Daryl said as he turned
the shower on full blast...on cold."
"Turn the fucking water off." The man under the next nozzle
"Sorry." Daryl apologized, quickly excusing himself, leaving
Patrick to shower alone.
Leaving the shower, Patrick found Daryl was already dressed,
sitting on the bench looking nervous.
"Don’t let that man get to you. He was being a jerk."
"No...it was my fault. I'm just used to taking only cold
"Saving money on the gas bill?"
"Yeah...pathetic I know," Daryl said, as he waited for his
brother to get dressed.
"For an ER doctor I would think you would have more backbone."
Patrick said as they left the gym.
"In the ER I really am the Stone King. I’m just not used to
"You’re only human."
"I know but after six years of working trauma do you know how
many patients of mine have died under my care?"
"Considering the neighborhood I would assume quiet a lot."
"Seven." Daryl said flatly.
Considering that, until Mr. Stockton, his brother had not lost a
single patient in eight years of practice, that number at first seemed high.
Then Patrick remembered that fatality rate found in a psychiatrist office
was not anywhere near the kind of numbers for in the ER. "Archangel indeed,"
he finally responded.
"It’s becoming an annoyance." Daryl grunted. "My record has
become a matter of hospital pride. They took me off the night shift and cut
my number of eighteen hour days. I became a doctor to save lives but
because I did such a good job they're taking that away from me."
"You could always go to another hospital."
"And abandon Memorial?! Do you have any idea what would happen
to that place if I left?"
"Continue to treat patients as usual," Patrick replied.
"But..." Daryl protested as he stopped by his car.
"Daryl...you are a great doctor but I'm not sure if I believe
that being just a great doctor is enough to make you happy. If you think
that if you save enough lives, you're going to get your brother back... it's
not going to happen."
Daryl pounded his fist against his car. "Dang it... why not!
Why can't things work out that way? Why can't huge amount of good wipe out?
an equal amount of evil?"
"Because we are human and therefore not perfect, but a mixture
of both good and evil," Patrick said, struggling for the words he was sure
his brother would use. "You're trapped in a black and white world like a
1950's television set. You think people are either all good or all bad.
Your problem is that you are under the misconception that you are evil.
People, hell, entire governments have told you what a good person you are,
but you refuse to believe it because of a single event that happened in your
"I'm sorry... I let my temper get away from me."
"Good...I wish that would happen more often."
"Really?" Daryl asked suspiciously.
"You can't really love a person fully if you're not willing to
get angry at them at times."
"That's not what I've been taught."
"I know... but we have plenty of time to teach you some new
tricks. You're not an old dog yet."
Hearing a beeping sound coming from his pocket, Brian Gano
reached inside and pulled out one of the few technological wonders of the
outside world that he had allowed himself... a cell phone.
"Can you here me on this tiny thing Father?"
"Yes Sheriff I can," Brian sighed.
"Save your wonderment for later. What's happened?"
"You're sister is gone... that's what happened."
Brian let out a deep grunt. Just what he needed... more
problems. "Do you know where she has run off to?"
"Uhmmm... according to your ma she went looking for you,"
The Sheriff said nervously.
"Imbeciles..." Brian swore to himself. Maybe Daryl had the
right idea of leaving. His month outside of New Hope Settlement, had
surely opened his eyes to the larger world. "Did I not leave clear
instructions that you were to not let her out of your sight?"
"Well, she sent me to the market to pick up a few odds and
ends you see." The Sheriff floundered.
"She trick you... you, the man in charge of law an order in
New Hope. Luckily, I so happen to be in a position as to be able to
relieve you of that post."
"But Father." The Sheriff protested.
"Oh come on Sheriff... you knew this day was coming. The
only reason why I picked you was so that your son could take over one
day. Now put Landon on the phone."
"Yes Father, Forgive me Father..."
"Just put Landon on," Brian sighed. He was only 34 years
old... too young to feel comfortable having a 58 year old man fawning over
"Yes Father..." a younger, more reverent voice eventually
came from the phone.
"Landon... my sister had gone and done a terrible thing."
"I know father. What would you have me do?"
"Find her, and bring her back home as gently as you are able
to manage and keep her there. I don't want her ruining things. You're
the Sheriff now. I believe you know how to keep things under control?"
"Yes Father... I won't fail you."
"I know you won't. Remember that I love you and all of the
"I love you too," Landon replied, in a tone that revealed
his feelings went deeper than mere admiration.
Closing the cell phone, Brian went back into the large office
he was now renting where a man stood by, tapping a clipboard. "Sorry
for the interruption. You were just about ready to show me how to use
"It's called a mouse sir," the man said, covering his
mouth to hide a chuckle.
Brian did his best not to glower at the man. He hated
looking like a fool, especially in front of a total stranger. If only
Daryl was here to teach him.
"What is this?" Daryl asked when he found Steven in his
office, a stack of boxes on the desk.
"You're gateway to the twenty-first century... or in your
case at least the late 90's. Either one would be a significant
improvement from the 1950's you've been living in."
"You mean the black and white televisions?" Daryl
replied., remembering what Patrick had said.
"Yep... I think that's all they had back then," Steven
said, not getting the reference.
"So what amazing bit of sinful corrupting technology do you
have in these boxes?"
"Now that's no way of looking at it," Steven squinted.
"I'm joking. I just have to warn you though florescent
lights were only approved fifteen years ago back home, and even then many
people avoided the buildings for several months out of fear that the
white light would blind them."
"That too was a joke... right?"
"No, I'm afraid it wasn't," Daryl sighed. "Open the
"It's a computer!" Steven shouted, as he lifted the tower
out of its box.
"A computer?" Daryl replied, a little taken back. "You
really shouldn't have."
"I didn't really know what kind to get you, so I went
online to Dell and picked every option they had available," Steven
said, taken up by his own excitement.
"How much did that cost?" Daryl asked warily.
"About six grand."
"But I can't afford that!"
"Who said anything about you paying for it? I got it for
you as a gift," Steven said, a little miffed.
"Dare..." Steven said in a tone that warned he was not
about to have his gift refused.
"But we don't believe in accepting gifts."
"Not even birthdays or Christmas."
"Wait a minute... say a neighbor needs a cup of four. You
are telling me that under your religion's rules you wouldn't even be
allowed to give her one?"
"That's different... the rule that says we can not let a
fellow member go hungry takes precedence."
"Ok... how about a box of nails? For whatever reasons
someone in the community needs a simple plain box of nails... you're not
allowed to give him even one?" Steven said, feeling that Daryl was
purposefully being difficult.
"No... not without bartering." Daryl replied, a little
amused by the bright shade of red Steven's face was turning.
"You mean your people still dicker with the barter system?"
"It's the oldest economic system in the world," Daryl
"I don't understand."
"Considering that every family in the community owns
significant shares of NM Mining and giving the royalties it pays... we had
what you would call a slight inflation problem," Daryl said with a hint
"I don't understand."
Well... since we are not allowed to buy goods outside the
community without the approval of the Father, the only people we could
trade with on a daily basis were each other. Given basic laws of supply
and demand... your one little nail would be selling for around 15
dollars... a whole box could run over 500. Going to the barter system
turned out to be a lot easier to deal with."
"Dare... you know I love you but your people are plain
crazy. Every day you seem to surprise me on how normal you turned out."
"Probably because I'm the only one who's gone to a real
"What about your doctors, lawyers, nurses, dentists, and
"We have a community college but would you be upset if I
told you we use the old apprenticeship system?" Daryl asked worriedly.
"God forbid I ever go there and need an operation."
"To be honest, I wouldn't want old doc Foley operating on
me either. Luckily NM Mining has its own emergency clinic. For anything
serious, our people are sent there. It's just..."
"Yes, tell me. Can't be any crazier than what I've heard
"You see they have to get the approval of the Father before
they can go, and he always requires that the patients remain sedated the
whole time while they are gone from New Hope."
"I stand corrected," Steven moaned, before giving Daryl a
bear hug. "God I'm glad you're somewhat normal."
"Now about this computer," Daryl said once Steven had let
"You're going to get over this Blessed nonsense and accept
my gift." Steven said sternly.
"If only if it were that easy," Daryl sighed.
"We'll barter then..." Steven said, reaching for a half
chewed pencil. "I hereby accept this fine writing utensil in exchange
for this lousy computer. There... does that meet your religious
"Are you sure you're not schizophrenic?" Daryl chuckled.
"First... you just told me this computer cost you around six thousand
dollars. A fair value trade on that pencil would be a paper clips or a
"Can't I place whatever value I want on this pencil?"
"You can, but according to church law I'm not allowed to
take advantage of another person's misplaced value on an item."
"Now I'm certain you are trying to be difficult on
purpose," Steven accused.
"See why we don't give gifts?" Daryl retorted. "You've
been to my house so you know I don't have anything worth six thousand
dollars to trade with you... not even my car is worth that much."
"Speaking of your car... does it even have airbags?" Steven
asked, at the mention of another thing he wanted Daryl to work on
"No... it's an 87 model. Air bags were still only an option
"I'm going to get you a new one... just for your own
"Fine," Daryl sighed.
"What?" Steven said surprised. "No arguing, no haggling,
no spouting of insane religious dogma?"
"Well if you insist... one of the oldest church laws clearly
states that each member has a duty to help protect one another. As a
result, the only gifts that are ever given in New Hope are some form of
"So... because I want to give you a car with airbags, you're
allowed to accept it."
"Can't I just say that the computer is also for your
protection?" Steven said.
"What am I going to do... throw it at some would-be-attacker
or use it as a mace?"
"Won't you give me just a little wiggle room?" Steven
"No... you will just have to keep it until I have something
to trade it for." Daryl said as Jessica walked into the office.
"It's that time of the year again," the nurse laughed as
she shook a small plastic barrel filled with money.
"Well here's my token dollar." Daryl said as he pulled
out a folded dollar bill.
"What's this?" Steven asked, surprised.
"It's our annual collection for the Dr. Gavin virginity
fund." Jessica grinned.
"That's not what it's called," Daryl blushed.
"Ahhh... I remember. And where does the pot stand now?"
"I think we are going to break the twelve thousand mark this
year." Jessica replied.
"Good..." Steven said as he reached into his pocket and
took out his money clip. "Here's another five hundred to make sure
"Why thank you Dr. Nash. You better be careful Dr. Gavin...
I think Dr. Nash might try to win his money back," Jessica said before
"I'm counting on it." Steven grinned lustfully.
"Steven..." Daryl said nervously.
"Well Dare... it turns out you do have something to barter
with... something that's worth twice what this computer cost."
"I'm not going to sleep with you over a computer Steven."
"No... you're going to sleep with me because you've been
wanting to for weeks now."
"I'm your patient... it wouldn't be professional."
"I'm glad you said that!" Steven said as he reached into
his satchel and pulled out a blue document. "Your discharge papers."
"What?" Daryl said surprised.
"I'm releasing you from my care as a patient."
"I know what a discharge is. Why are you giving me one?"
"Because I decided that your depression is situational, not
chronic and given that the best way to handle such depression is by
removing the patient from his depressing environment, I'm taking the
necessary steps to enact said treatment."
"Yes... or at least that's part of it." Steven said,
hesitating for a bit before continuing. "I want you to move in with
"What?" Daryl whispered.
"I don't want you living alone in that big empty house of
yours... it's a major cause of your depression. You've been shunning
yourself for too long."
"Shun?" Daryl asked.
"Yes... that's what I determined what you were doing. You
were shunning the outside world."
"Maybe I am... but why did you use that particular word?"
"If the shoe fits..." Steven said, trying not to look
guilty. "What's wrong?"
"That word has a special meaning to my church and to me...
it's what they did to my brother. It's what drove him to kill
himself. Now I want to know why you chose to use that word," Daryl
"I wanted to tell you after you moved in, and I would still
rather do it at the house but there is a secret I've been keeping from
you, and if you want me to tell you now I will." Steven whispered.
Just at that moment, Daryl beeper went off. "This will
have to wait until later," he sighed. "Sorry if I seemed angry."
"Trust me... you have every right to be angry with me."
"We'll just have to wait and see." Daryl said before
While busying himself setting up the computer, Steven
cell phone went off. "Hello?"
"Well... what did he say?" Patrick's voice said.
"He hasn't given me an answer yet... we sort of got into
"That's not like Dare... so that mean it has to be your
fault. What did you do Steve? Did you fuck things
up?" Patrick asked accusingly.
"It was a slip of the tongue," Steven said weakly.
"Out with it," Patrick demanded.
"I used the word `shun' in front of him."
"God... did I end up with all the brain when we were
born?" Patrick swore.
"I know... it was a big mistake."
"I told you to read those files I gave you... it is a
pretty accurate list of topics not to discuss with
Dare... the top one being anything to do with shunning."
"I'm sorry... I really meant to read them and even went
to my computer to open the files but then I got
distracted on wanting to give Dare a computer."
"You tried to get him a gift?" Patrick moaned.
"Don't start... it took me forever to find something
for him to barter with."
"And what would that be... knowing you, you got him
some over-powered over-priced machine that he will
"Sex." Steven replied.
"The hospital has been keeping a pot which goes to
the person who beds Daryl first."
"And how big is this pot?" Patrick asked
"Twelve thousand dollars." Steven laughed.
"He's mine! I saw the most fabulous dress EBay that
I've just got to have."
"Sorry... you have to be hospital staff."
"I could always drop by in my nurse's outfit,"
"Don't you dare!"
"That's the whole idea... me doing Dare."
"Stay away from him Patrick. If you want the dress
so badly I'll loan you the money."
"I have a better idea. How about we both sleep with
Dare at the same time and split the money 50/50."
"Now that would be fun," Steven chuckled.
"So it is a deal?"
"Yes... I'll bring Dare home as soon as we get off
"I'll be sure to have the whips and chains ready
then," Patrick joked.
"I forgot... which boyfriend of yours left those
"It was Tom."
"What ever happened to him?"
"I don't know... I dumped him when he wanted to put me
in that sling," Patrick replied.
"I think we still have that stored somewhere in the
basement," Steven chuckled.
"Good... keep it there. That thing gave me the creeps.
Is there anything else up?"
"Yes, I gave Dare his discharge papers today... dang he
didn't sign it."
"You better make sure he does," Patrick warned.
"I'll do that now," Steven said. "Catch you later."
Snatching the paper from the desk, Steven rushed back
up to the ER, grabbing Jessica. "Where's Dr. Gavin?"
"In trauma. A pregnant woman came in with a gunshot
wound... it hit the baby. The woman is going to
survive. Our archangel is trying to save the child."
Going to the observation room, Steven looked into the
trauma unit. The nurses were getting ready to roll
the mother out while Daryl seemed to be working with
lighting speed on the premature baby. Twice the
infant needed to be resuscitated with Daryl continuing
well past the standard time that such efforts were to
be made. In the end, the archangel of Memorial
Hospital achieved another miracle... the infant leaving
for the operating room in stable condition for further
When Daryl finally left the room, he looked tired and
haggard even as he wore a weak smile on his face.
Half the ER staff, including Steven clapped and
cheered when Daryl came out.
"That's one you're going to have to write an article
on for the Journal of Trauma," Dr Richardson said,
slapping Daryl hard on the back.
"It was what I had to do," Daryl replied, sounding
"Tim... I think Dr. Gavin could do with the rest of the
day off," Steven said.
"I think you're right," Dr. Richardson nodded. "Take
off Daryl... you deserve it."
"I..." Daryl said as if he was going to protest before
slumping to the floor unconscious.
"He did it again..." Jessica sighed, as she started sticking
electric monitors on Daryl's chest..
"This has happened before?" Steven asked, concerned.
"Every time he saves someone who everyone here knows should be down
cooling in the morgue."
"Exhaustion?" Steven guessed.
"That's what Dr. Gavin claims... I'm starting to think otherwise."
"What do you mean?"
"Are you a religious man?" Jessica asked, taking hold of the small
crucifix around her neck.
"I filed a restraining order on God several years ago. He's not
allowed within 500 yards of me," Steven joked.
"But you spend so much time with Dr. Gavin..." Jessica seemed
surprised. "I don't fully understand what it is he believes, but I do have
a great deal of respect for his faith. Don't you?"
"I have a great deal of respect for him... I just don't see why he
bothers being a member of a loony cult. He's a doctor for goodness
sakes... an educated man."
"That might be how you feel... but most people are not so pessimistic
as to not believe in miracles."
"Or angels?" Steven chuckled.
"Why not... I don't know if Dr. Gavin is one, but I do believe God
has a special purpose for him. Do you have any idea how much money he
gives to the community each year?"
"I have some idea," Steven nodded.
"There is a small children's home a few blocks away from here for
AIDS patients whose parents are either dead, in jail, or just too
incompetent to take care of their children. It's called the Henderson
Home... after a girl who came to our emergency room."
"Is she still alive?"
"No... she's on the short list of patients Dr. Gavin has lost. It's
his money that supports the home."
"Isn't your last name Henderson?"
"Yes... the girl was my niece," Jessica said, a tear rolling down
her face as she ruffled Daryl's hair.
"I see," Steven sighed.
"You're in love with him... aren't you Dr. Nash?" Jessica asked
after a long silence.
"It's that obvious?"
"Not by anything you've done."
"Then how do you know?"
"By the way Dr. Gavin looks at you. I don't believe he would look at
you the way he does if you didn't love him as well. Promise me you are not
doing this for the money."
"I'm not," Steven swore.
"Good... then I leave Dr. Gavin to your care. He usually sleeps
this off in a few hours."
"Care to explain this?" Patrick asked, clicking his tongue between
each word as his brother wheeled an unconscious Daryl into the house.
"There was an emergency at the hospital. A child almost died but our
archangel here performed another one of his miracles."
"And passed out?"
"Seems to be the tradition," Steven chuckled, as he guided the
wheelchair towards the guestroom. "Help me get him on the bed."
Once Daryl was under the covers, Steven began to slip out of his
clothes as did Patrick. Soon both were on either side of Daryl, their
limbs wrapped around his body.
"Uhmmm..." Daryl groaned when he started to wake up.
"Wakey wakey," Steven chuckled before planting a kiss on Daryl's
"Steven?" Daryl said as he slowly opened his eyes.
"And me," Patrick said, kissing the back of Daryl's neck.
Quickly Daryl turned around, finding Patrick's grinning face. "I..."
"This is the secret I wanted to tell you," Steven said quickly.
"Yes," Patrick nodded, letting the tip of his finger draw away one of
"Which one's which?"
"I'm Steven... the one who likes to wear dresses is my brother
"Why... why didn't you tell me?" Daryl demanded.
"It started off as a joke I was playing on Steven... but then things
got complicated," Patrick said when Steven didn't speak up.
"Not on you Dare... but on each other," Patrick said quickly.
"I understand... David and I did the same sometimes. Twins... I
don't believe it. It does explain a lot though."
"You're not mad... are you?" Steven asked worried.
"No Steven... I'm not. I'm actually happy, giddy almost." Daryl
"Why?" Both Patrick and Steven asked at the same time.
"Because now I know you two are not schizophrenic and because I
finally feel like I've found a real home."
"So you will move in with us?" Steven asked hopefully.
"Yes... if you think you can put up with me," Daryl chuckled.
"Then there is only one thing you need to do." Steven said as he
reached for the nightstand to pick up the discharge paper. "Sign!"
"Think I should sign this with my own blood?" Daryl laughed.
"If you will get you to move faster," Steven grunted.
"I'll get a pen," Patrick said, hopping out of bed.
"Sorry, forgot about that," Steven said when Daryl rolled on top of
"It's ok... I'm too happy to get angry over such a little thing."
"You really are?" Steven said surprised.
"I am... I don't like that you two lied to me but the truth is too
wonderful to make me angry."
"Here's your pen," Patrick said, handing Daryl the ballpoint.
Placing the paper on the hard abs of Steven's body, Daryl signed and
dated the discharge. "There, it's done."
"Finally!" Steven said, a wicked grin on his face as he ripped the
buttons off Daryl's shirt.
"Hey!" Daryl protested.
"Don't worry about it... you will soon be able to afford a new one."
Steven said. "As it turns out, the jackpot going to the hospital staff
member who beds me first is much higher than yours."
"Why do I suspect you had a hand in seeing to that?" Daryl chuckled.
"Well here's the check," Steven said... removing it from the table.
"This is a hundred and twenty thousand dollar check..." Daryl said
"Plus some change," Patrick said, lifting up a collection barrel
filled with twenty dollar bills."
"You can thank Jessica for the extra change," Steven explained.
"I can't accept this." Daryl insisted.
"This isn't a gift Daryl... its payment for services rendered.
You've more than earned it, or you will have by the time we let you out of
this bed," Steven said, rolling Daryl onto his side so that Patrick could
wrap himself around Daryl's back.
"I'm not a whore," Daryl said weakly as his pants were ripped off his
"But you're definitely horny," Steven said hungrily, as he used the
opening in Daryl's boxers to tear them off.
"Just one question before we start," Patrick said. "Are you a top or
"It's been ages but back then I was sort of versatile."
"Perfect," both brothers said with wide grins.