Part Five already?? Sheesh this is going to be longer than I thought... This part will deal with the people Timothy left behind. Shounen-ai and paganism should suffice as warnings. All the characters in this part belong to me..(although Nicky is based on an magician I saw on Discovery Channel)



Nicholas Faust paced back and forth in his living room. Something terrible had happened to his friend, Timothy, and he had to help him. He ran his slim hands over his dark sable hair, smoothing down a few stray strands. Timothy had been missing for almost a month and he was beginning to fear the worst. They hadn't even know each other that long, but he still felt the sharp pain of losing a true friend.

They'd met at an art gallery. Timothy had been looking for inspiration, Nicholas had been trying to find someone to design a new poster for his act. He'd asked Timothy where he got his hair dyed, and the reply had been it just grew that way. The two had hit it off beautifully after that, and Timothy had agreed to create the poster.

Nicholas glanced over at the original, it was framed and mounted over his fireplace. He smiled a little, Timothy had made him look so very gothic. One eye was covered by his long bangs, the other left free to give a piercing stare. A stare that seemed to follow you about the room. Jet black robes, opened just enough to reveal a toned chest, a glossy black raven on his shoulder. It was a perfect compliment to his rather unusual style of illusion. His newest one was going to be a little racier, but that slight touch of kink always drew in the crowds. *Nicholas Faust, hedgewizard extra ordinaire...* he thought a little ruefully.

He sighed and sat down on the soft leather couch, thinking back to the night Timothy had disappeared. He knew who the winged bastet served, the sigil on his armlets had given it away. There just wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. He'd heard stories about Azriel, nobody knew his real name, but all magi knew he enjoyed collecting rare and mystical creatures, and that he was on a quest for true immortality. There was a high bounty on Azriel's head, but nobody tried to collect anymore. They said the man was too well protected, and all who tried ended up dead or enslaved. Nicholas knew people often exaggerated such stories, but if even half of what was said about the man was true.... *Oh god... please let this work. I don't want to lose either of them.*

Nicholas had found a spell that he thought might help. The only thing was it required two people to cast it, two people in love. He hadn't told Stacey or Timothy that he was a mage, not just an illusionist. They thought he practiced an odd sort of mysticism, but tended to write it off as new age nonsense. He'd deliberately let them, never suspecting they'd need to know the truth. *Don't lie to yourself, you know you should have told them. You were just scared of rejection.*

Yes, that was the root of it all. He was openly hated by many of his fellow magi, and barely tolerated by the rest. It wasn't anything he'd done, but rather what his father had done. A sin that had never been revealed to Nicholas, but was visited upon him just the same. All he knew was that the small fortune that had been left to him was considered blood money. He'd become a stage magician in an effort to gain some knowledge, and perhaps a little respect. He wanted to prove he could earn his keep. He earned his own money, only using his inheritance in dire emergency. He'd accepted their challenges, done their missions, but it was never enough...

He pushed aside the memories of his past. He didn't need their approval anymore. He had someone that truly cared about him now. Stacey was all he needed, and he had Timothy to thank for introducing him to his true love.

It had come as a shock, when he'd finally figured out just what Timothy was. Nicholas had known before Timothy himself, and had begun to e-mail him anonymously under the name Garou Sensei. He'd been trying to prepare Timothy for what he knew could be a frightening change. None of the local weres would help him, so he did the best he knew how. He put protection spells all over the house and even created a familiar to keep an eye on his friend so he'd always be there for him.

Nicholas sighed, and glanced over at Pepper, who was slurping up a bowl of water. *I should have tried for something stronger, more vicious.* The young mage hadn't created Pepper to be a protector, he didn't think a werewolf would need it. The dog was only meant to serve as his eyes and ears when he couldn't be near. He'd requested something that could be his conduit into the artist's home, something that Timothy was sure to let hang around. And what he got was... hopping up and down trying to open the refrigerator door.

Nicholas shook his head and got up to open it. Pepper stuck his nose inside and pulled out a covered dish, looking up at the dark-haired man with hopeful eyes. Nicholas chuckled softly and scooped off a portion of the pate, placing it on a plate and setting it down for the little mongrel. Pepper gave a happy bark and tore into his meal.

Nicholas looked at the ruined mold, it had taken him forever to make, but he didn't mind too much. He still felt guilty about what Topaz had done to Pepper. Besides, it was his familiar. They shared a psychic link, and he was getting very happy vibes of adoration for providing the treat. The same sort of vibes he got whenever Timothy fed the dog as well.

Nicholas smiled. It was so easy to please the little mutt. Food, shelter, clean water, and a few displays of affection were all he ever asked for. Come to think of it, that was all he really wanted as well. He just saw no reason why it shouldn't be the best money had to offer.

His doorbell rang and he ran over to answer it. He already knew who was on the other side of the door. He always knew when his beloved was near.

Stacey didn't even get out a greeting before he was yanked into the room, and pulled into a soul-searing kiss. He sighed and simply enjoyed it a moment before chuckling and pushing his lover back a bit. "Well, hello yourself." he purred, tracing a nipple through the slinky shirt. Nicholas looked wonderful in the gray silk, it was well worth the effort he'd gone through to design and create it as a gift for the mage.

Nicholas caught the blonde's hand and brought it to his lips for a quick kiss before his asked. "Any word yet?"

Stacey sighed and shook his head. "No, still no trace of him."

Nicholas sighed as well. "I didn't think so."

Stacey smiled and touched his partner's cheek, "Don't worry Nicky, he'll show up. He's still alive, I'm sure of it."

Nicholas smiled a little as well. Stacey was the only man he ever allowed to call him Nicky. He'd learned to despise the name as a boy, since it was favored my his old nemesis, a child with an angel's face and a demon's attitude. A horrid little monster called Dylan. He wondered sometimes if it was the same Dylan that had hurt Timothy, he'd never know. Timothy had burned all his pictures. In a way, Nicholas hoped it was, a guy like that needed his legs broken. The aggressive thoughts were interrupted by his lover's voice.

"Now what did you have in mind for these?" Stacey asked as he dropped a large canvas bag on the kitchen counter and turned back to his companion.

Nicholas shrugged. "I'm going to cast a spell."

Stacey raised one blonde eyebrow. "Really? You can cast spells with a bunch of herbs? I thought you were going to make me dinner."

Nicholas chuckled and said. "I'll do that to, but first...the spell."

Stacey sighed, and considered pouting. That usually got him what he wanted, but he decided he could wait.

"I'll need your help." Nicholas whispered.

Stacey blinked and frowned. This was the first time Nicky had asked him to take part in one of his rituals. He really didn't believe in all the hocus pocus, but felt it best to humor his lover. After all, all couples had their differences. "All right... what do you need?"

Nicholas smiled, "I need you to have faith in me... are you willing to prove your love for me?"

Stacey chuckled, "Of course, you should know that."

Nicholas shook his head, "Are you willing to admit it, no matter what the consequence?"

Stacey stared at him, this was starting to sound a little scary, but he'd spoken the truth. He did love his Nicky, and he would do anything for him. So his response came without a hint of uncertainty. "Yes, Nicholas. I am."

Nicholas smiled and pulled his lover close. "Good, because you may just have to."

* * *

Stacey stared at the large mystical circle that had been drawn on the slate black floor of Nicky's spare room. It he didn't know better he'd swear it was glowing, giving off a sense of barely contained power. He pulled up the long hem of the smooth gray robe, Nicholas had made him don (with nothing underneath) and gingerly stepped into the center, making certain not to disturb any of the markings.

"Sit down and try to relax." Nicholas whispered.

Stacey nodded and sat down in the lotus position, breathing in the odd smell of the burning herbs. Nicholas had given him a general overview of what he expected to happen. He said he was going to summon a spirit that only served true love. He told Stacey there was a possibility he could hear a voice in his mind, or that he might have some odd visions. His main advice however was to be completely honest with any questions posed to him and try not to be afraid.

Nicholas' voice began to rise and fall, in a soft litany of odd, but somehow beautiful words. Stacey glanced at his lover, who was walking around the circle slowly, in all his nude glory. The brunette stopped at each point of the pentagram and flung out some sort of fine oily powder.

Stacey's vision went a little blurry and he blinked, assuming something must have gotten in his eyes. He was about to lift a hand to rub them when the candles set about the room flared up to impossible heights, burning like flame-throwers, before winking out.

Stacey shuddered slightly in the sudden darkness. It took a moment to sink in that the smoke from the herbs was glowing faintly in the gloom. The smoke began to coalesce above him, and Stacey gasped as it formed into a face. A rather hideous face.

The blonde began to shudder even more, but made no moves to run away. He'd told Nicky he would do this for him, and damn it he would.

"Why?" came the thing's voice, like the rattling of dried leaves. "What will you gain by doing this?"

Stacey blinked. "I...I'm not sure. I'm just doing it because he asked."

"Sooo, you follow him blindly like a sheep to the slaughter? He's using you!"

Stacey shook his head. "NO!! I trust Nicky, he'd never do that!"

The voice chuckled, "Ahh, but he is. He using you to gain knowledge, knowledge he will use to get the one he really loves." The smoke shifted, showing Timothy's face, before settling back into it's frightful visage.

Stacey shook his head again, even as images of the two men in some of their more suggestive moments flooded his mind. Watching them dance together, walking in on them when Timothy was drawing the nude that was set to become Nicholas' latest poster, seeing Timothy curled up against Nicky's chest fast asleep a few days after Rizer had died.

"No, he wouldn't use me that way. I love him, I trust him, I trust them both."

The smoke suddenly disappeared and Stacey found himself staring up into Nicholas' soft gray eyes. Eye's filled with love and no small amount of worry.

"Are you okay Stacey?"

Stacey blinked, wondering if the face and voice had all been some sort of crazy dream. He nodded, wondering when he'd laid down. He rubbed his eyes and sat up, feeling a little dizzy. As he did, he felt something heavy settle against his chest. He reached into the robe and pulled out a medallion, one that hadn't been there even seconds before.

He tried to remove it, but it wouldn't come off, no matter how hard he yanked on it. Nicky put his hands over it and tried as well. It still wouldn't budge. Frowning he tried using the cantrip he used to remove locks on it, and got a sharp zap of indigo lightning for his efforts. A zap that knocked him a few feet away to land flat on his back.

Stacey gasped and scurried over to him, completely ignoring the fact he was obliterating the circle. "Oh God!! Nicky, are you okay? Speak to me Nicky!"

Nicholas blinked the stars out of his eyes and groaned. "Man, that thing packs one hell of a wallop." He looked at the thick triangle of obsidian metal nestled against Stacey's chest. It was covered in symbols he couldn't even begin to decipher, and glowed with a dark blue aura. *Well, I guess that means it stays put for now...* Nicholas thought to himself as he felt the energy emanating from the artifact. He gritted his teeth and cursed softly. *Damn!! Now I'm going to have to take him with me. I didn't want to endanger him that way.*

In the darkness of the astral plane, a spirit chuckled, the true test was about to begin.