The kiss lasted all of several minutes and ended in a silent, loving embrace. Both men closed their eyes to just be in the moment.
"I'm going to miss you," Fever said at length.
Jolt nodded before letting go to look Fever in the eye.
"I know," he said. "I'm going to miss you to."
"You don't have to go."
"Yes, I do." Jolt wished Fever could understand. "I let you down. All of you. Seduction made me do things I can never forgive myself for. I was your leader and I failed."
"We all fell under his spell," Fever pointed out.
"You know Jackhammer is loyal to you."
"And I know Jackhammer is my natural successor. He always has been, and now is the time to let him be."
"We need you," Fever implored. "I need you!"
"I'll be back… one day," Jolt promised him. "I just need time. I need to stand on my own and restore faith in myself. The Australian Aborigines call it a 'walkabout' - they travel the land until they find themself. That's what I need to do."
"And what if you don't?"
"I will," Jolt laughed gently. He turned off the shower and dried Fever without another word, enjoying the contours of his body one last time. Fever returned the favour, although it was obvious by the glisten in his eyes that he could no longer just enjoy the moment.
In the main room of the hideout, the others had gathered amongst the few remaining unpacked boxes and humming machinery to bid Jolt goodbye. Jackhammer stepped forward, already the leader, as Jolt entered the room with Fever in tow. They clasped hands and hugged.
"You deserve this," Jolt said. "You'll make us proud."
"I've learned from the best," Jackhammer said. "When you return, the leadership is your's."
Jolt smiled, appreciating the sentiment, however much he couldn't believe it.
"I just hope you've found Crunch by then," he teased.
"Are you sure you're ready?" he asked Bounce, taking the youth's hand.
"Hell, yeah!" said Bounce. "These powers were fun for a time, but when I saw what Seduction was doing…"
Jolt smiled. "It's a good school. I'm sure you'll be leading the new Brotherhood before you know it."
"God help us," Gyan grinned, taking Jolt's hand.
Gyan shook his head. "For the first time in my life, I feel like I don't need to prove myself anymore. It's a nice feeling, and one I can pass on to my students."
The Brotherhood groaned and Jolt laughed at their dismay.
"Listen to what he says," Jolt ordered. "In another year, you'll be back fighting alongside these guys as equals."
"Betters!" Simmi corrected him, slapping Gyan on the back as he laughed.
Jolt shook each of The Brotherhood's hands, before ending with Quake. It was all he could do to retain his composure by now and he was grateful to see the understanding in Quake's eyes.
"Yes," Jolt said with relief, recognising the Swahili expression. "I'll see you later."
They slapped each other playfully on the arm then, with a final, forced smile, Jolt backed out the doorway and slipped into the night.
It was a new chapter for The League, and a whole new tomorrow for him. But no matter what the future held, at least he knew the sun would rise.
But wait, there's more!
The Paragons: Apotheosis has taken a year and a half to write... Wow! After such a mammoth commitment, I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment and say hi.
It's been a bit of an experiment for me to write a long-term serial like this, but it's been one that I've thoroughly enjoyed. I hope you've enjoyed it too.
Around mid-August, I will reverse the Chapters so they're in chronological order for new readers.
My next serial has just begun, with the first chapters already online. It's something sexier and rougher, and I've already written more than year's worth of Chapters! (yup... I've got the writing bug!!) I hope you enjoy:
Now online at http://scandalabra.blogspot.com
Thanks again for following The Paragons: Apotheosis. I hope to hear from you and look forward to leading you through our next big gay adventure!