Disclaimer: The Equalizer and all its characters are property of Universal and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Time Present: Time Past: Time Future III

Scott started up the steps to Mickeyís apartment. His anger was barely under control and he no longer cared who knew it.

Goddamn it. Here he was again, acting like a junior, following orders that another man had laid down.

It was bad enough that Mickey acted as if Scott were an incompetent and a joke. Scott knew that his last hunt didnít go as planned, but he also knew that it could have still gone his way. Okay, he was almost down and out, the lowlife had a hell of a hold on his throat, but Scott still didnít see, just because Mickey showed up to finish the guy at the last moment, why Mickey had thought he had the right to take over Scottís life.

Too filled with tension to wait for the elevator, Scott started running up the staircase to Mickeyís apartment.

Crap, it was almost as though he had become Mickeyís apprentice. For weeks now, he had to show up for self-defense lessons and lectures in the mental concepts of street fighting. And now, damn it, Mickey was taking him away for a whole week to camp! Camp, for Chrissakes! Okay, it was a combat training camp - but for a whole week! Scott had things to do, places to go, women to screw.

And the worst of it was, Scott had to leave his car at his Momís Connecticut house because he wouldnít be around to move it for street parking. So for the last day he was stuck with public transportation and walking around town Ė like a kid.

And here he was now, hiking it up to Mickeyís place on his last night of freedom before a week of camp! Scott would have rather spent the time with a woman, but Mickey made it clear that he had better show up that night so they could get an early start.

Scott got to Mickeyís apartment door and hesitated to knock for a second. What the hell was it about Mickey that made Scott follow his orders? Well, Scott was determined not to follow Mickey anymore. Heíd get out of this camp crap Ė tonight!

Scott hammered on the door and then glued his finger on the buzzer.

In a moment, Mickey unlocked the door and opened it a little. He didnít even welcome Scott in. He stood there, glaring.

Maybe Scott shouldnít have banged on the door so hard?

Still standing outside the door, in the hallway, Scott cleared his throat. "Look Mickey," Scott couldnít help it, he was angry so his voice sounded shrill and high pitched, "I donít have the time to spare to take a week off to spend at a camp. You probably canít understand it, but Iím a musician. I have commitments. And furthermore, I canít chance harming my hands in self-defense courses."

Mickey opened the door wider. His expression of anger didnít change any. So Scott decided to go for it, let Mickey see that he too had options. "Also, my fatherís going to wonder where I was for a week, and gee, " Scott made his voice lower in pitch, as if he was pushing some dark idea, "If my dad found out that I went to a combat camp, then my whole blood sport spree would be uncovered."

Scott tried for a note of a threat in his voice, "And Iím sure that you donít want my dad to find out all about your part in everything. After all, youíve kept what you know from my dad for all this time. He wouldnít like that. At all."

"You little prick," Mickey growled, a glint of animal anger in his eyes, "youíre trying to intimidate me?"

Oh oh, wrong result. For a second Scott thought that maybe he should try to escape and run back down the stairs. The venom in Mickeyís voice made him want to be anywhere but there.

Mickey grabbed him by his throat and he was hauled into the apartment. Mickey slammed Scottís body against the closed door and the deadbolt locked with a thunk. Suddenly Scottís legs almost gave out. Mickey pressed his face right against his.

"Look Scott, and damn it youíd better listen good, cause this is the last effing time Iím gonna say this! This camp is your last chance to clean yourself up. If you back out, youíre gonna lose more than your hands or a week. Youíre gonna lose your whole Goddamn life, because Iím gonna walk the hell away from you, you whiny little shit. And when the cops find your cold, fucked up dead body when your next hunt goes bad, then your dadís only gonna know that the piss-ant son that crawled out of his wifeís cunt turned out to be a worthless, sick screw-up, who died when he couldnít hold his own end up on the street where only the real men survive!"

In shock, Scott took it all in. He couldnít breath. It felt as if Mickey just buried a knife in his gut and mind Ė and drew blood. He heard the echo of Mickeyís words ring inside his head.

Mickey was still holding him by the throat and Scott looked into his eyes and saw his own weird reflection there.

It was all true, Scott knew it, but why did Mickey have to be so mean about it?

As if Mickey read his mind, he let him go and walked away. Scott remained with his back leaning against the door. He stayed there for a while.

Managing to lower his temper, Mickey pulled the spare blanket and pillow out of his closet and threw them over to Scott. "You can bed down on my couch for tonight."

"I could have gotten here in the morning," Scott muttered.

Mickey hoped he wouldnít keep on with the attitude or he might just deck the kid to keep him quiet and teach him a lesson.

"Yeah, sure. Listen, Scott," Mickey took a deep calming breath, "I know the people who run the camp. If weíre late, they take it out of our hides. Now, you may like the idea of getting fucked over by a bunch of animals but I like to control who gets anywhere near my ass."

Scott seemed to think about that for a moment or two before he turned back to Mickey with a dim-witted grin on his face, "Okay, nice try, Mickey. But Iím not that dumb. They couldnít do that. Iíd go to the police and then where would they be?"

Jesus, what an idiot! 

Mickey threw himself down on the couch, running his hands through his hair. He was fast beginning to have second thoughts about taking the kid to the training camp. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Mickey had figured it would give him the instruction he needed to keep himself safe and the physical exertion and discipline that would take his mind off his desire for violence. He needed the kid to understand fast just what he was letting himself in for in the next week.

"Grow up, Scott and remember what I told you before. No one on earth knows where weíre going. If the men in this place wanted to off you, they could, and no one would be any the wiser. All that would happen would be your dad would spend the rest of his life wondering what had happened to you, because sure as hell, I wouldnít tell him. They wouldnít even find your body."

"ButĖ"

"No buts. Iím taking you to this place so that you can learn to take care of yourself and, if you want to live through this, we do it my way."

Scott started pacing the small living room, making Mickey feel dizzy.

"Iím sorry, Mickey. I know Iím acting like an ass, big time. Itís just that I need to be doing something, but to go to camp for a whole week? I donít know. The workouts with you have helped but it isnít the same. There isnít that feeling of danger that I get when I go out by myself at night. How will a week at some camp do anything?"

Mickey closed his eyes, Shit! The kid just doesnít understand anything. Why did I let myself get involved in this? It was a dumb question really; he already knew the answer. He was doing this for Robert McCall. The thought of his mentor being told, by the police, that his son had been found dead in an alley somewhere when he could have done something about it would have destroyed Mickey.

He looked over at Scott, understanding some of the demons that were struggling within him, "Why donít you go take a shower? It might help you relax a little. But I warn you, if I have to, Iíll knock you out cold and tie you down so that I can sleep."

"Okay." Scott shrugged and headed off towards the bathroom while Mickey went into the kitchen and helped himself from a bottle of scotch he kept in the cupboard. He drained the glass in one swallow, wishing that he hadnít been so insistent when he spoke to Bump. Taking Mickey at his word, the trainer had booked him and Scott into the first available spaces at his survival camp upstate.

Mickey looked into the bottom of the glass and sighed, it had meant that he had to cancel a date with Simone too. She was due in town tomorrow and they had arranged to get together in the evening. He had planned to sleep most of the day tomorrow to get ready for whatever activities she had planned Ė the one thing you could be sure about with Simone was that sleeping wasnít an option. Now the only sort of physical workout he was going to get was running assault courses and hand to hand combat. He hoped she would get his phone message canceling the date; she would be as pissed as hell if he just didnít turn up.

Shit! This trip with Scott had better be worth the aggravation it was causing him.

Pouring a little more scotch into his glass, Mickey walked back into the living room and sat on the couch. He nursed the scotch and set it back on the table just as Scott re-appeared from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his lower body. He was rubbing at his newly cut hair to dry it.

"We need to be there by ten-hundred hours and itís going to take three hours to drive there so we need to leave by oh-six-thirty at the latest."

"Shit! Thatís the middle of the night!" Scott muttered under his breath.

Mickey spoke quietly, making sure the menace was clear in his voice, the kid was going to find out soon enough just how important some things were. "Just remember, I gave up a certain hot date for this trip so youíd better not give me any crap."

Scott nodded and looked a little more relaxed, but a second later, when someone knocked at the apartment door, he jumped a foot into the air.

"Itís okay, Scott, calm down. Iíll get it." Mickey looked out the peephole and sighed, "Oh no."

Scott looked alarmed, "Whatís the matter? Is it my dad?"

Mickey shook his head and started to open the door, but before it had moved much more than two inches, it burst open the rest of the way and his arms were full of delectable female.

"Surprise!" Simone said as she glued her mouth to Mickeyís giving him a warm, wet kiss.

Off balance, he staggered back into the living room, cursing life general and Scott McCall in particular. "Simone, whatíre you doing here? I left you a message."

She put her hand over his mouth and pouted, "I know, I picked up the message when I arrived early and as I canít get into my apartment until tomorrow, I thought I could stay here tonight and give you a farewell party."

Mickey wanted to cry! He was passing up the opportunity to spend time with a great lay to go and run around in the forest and get bruised and battered. Heíd never been a fan of S & M! "Aw Simone! Fuck!"

"Exactly what I had in mind lover." She opened her coat to reveal black stockings, a garter belt and nothing else. "And look I got ready in the taxi on the way over. You know, I thought the driver was going to crash. He spent more time looking at me in the mirror than at the road," Simone laughed.

Mickey felt his cock begin to react, and from the sharp intake of breath from Scott he knew the sight of Simone was having the same effect on him.

"Simone, I canít." He hated himself for saying it, "I have to leave early in the morning and look," he pointed to Scott whose mouth was wide open as he stood staring at Simone, "Iíve got someone here."

"Itís okay, Mickey, I can leave and be back here in the morning." Scott blurted out.

Mickey looked round at the kid, surprised he had got his tongue back inside his mouth to talk.

Simone seemed to notice Scott for the first time then, "Heís nice, but I didnít know you went both ways, Mick." She turned to Mickey and put her hands on his shoulders and rubbed her breasts against his chest.

Without thinking he slid his hands around her waist inside the coat. He let his voice deepen, "I donít darliní. There ainít no one straighter than me and thatís a fact. Scott there is a friend and thatís all."

Scottís voice came out in a near squeak, "Look, I hate to bust up your party. Iíll just find my clothes and get going." Mickey could see the bulge in Scottís towel from across the room as the kid scurried around for his clothing.

Then he had an idea. If Simone would go along Ė and he was pretty sure she would Ė heíd make sure that Scott made it up to him somehow later. Front row seats at a Nickís game seemed like a good start.

Mickey turned back to Simone and whispered in her ear, "Hey, you want some fun with the kid tonight?" Mickey sighed, not believing what he was about to do, "Why donít you take him into the bedroom and help him relax. We have to go somewhere early tomorrow and heís getting a little tense about it. You could help him out."

Mickey could see the hunger in her eyes as she studied Scott, "Are you sure? I can think of something we can all do together."

"Itís okay, Iíll sleep on the couch."

Moments later, the bedroom door clicked shut and Mickey sat down on the couch not quite believing what heíd done.

The noises started as he began to kick off his shoes. He peeled off the rest of his clothes to an accompaniment of moans from the bedroom.

Punching the pillow into a more comfortable shape, he switched out the table lamp and pulled the blanket over his naked body. Hoping the noises would stop soon, he tried to go to sleep. He struggled as hard as he could not to think about what they were doing in his bed but it was no use; he was now wide-awake and as horny as hell.

They had been going at it for at least an hour, and his imagination had been running overtime before he gave in and wrapped his hand around his engorged cock and started stroking. When he came, it wasnít great, but at least he didnít feel so deprived when he heard Scottís shout of completion and Simoneís shrieks of pleasure.

Just as he was falling asleep he remembered that he made her scream like that when he took her in the ass. He wondered if Scott had ever had a woman that way. He didnít think that either of the kidís girlfriends heíd met would have let Scott do that. Not like Simone Ė sheíd take it anywhere and everywhere, at the same time, if she could get it. She was one great date.

It was dark outside when he woke again, and for a minute he thought he was in the middle of a very erotic dream. He needed to take a leak but he lay still for a minute letting the sensations of his dream wash over him. It was only when he realized that the sensations werenít fading that he opened his eyes and looked down to see Simone kneeling beside the couch with his cock in her mouth.

"Simone, what are you doing?"

She released him and sat up, her hard erect nipples clearly visible in the faint light from the street coming in through the blinds. "You looked so lonely and from the way you were making a tent with the blanket I decided to do something for you, especially after you were nice enough to introduce me to Scott."

She started to bend her head again and Mickey stopped her, "No wait. I need to take a leak, thatís all. Sorry to disappoint you."

Without waiting for an answer, he stood naked in the cold room, went into the bathroom and took care of things.

He was washing his hands when she came into the bathroom, standing close behind him so that he could feel her tits pressed against him. She reached around and grabbed his now deflated cock, pulling on it. The sensation of her shaved snatch against his butt gave his dick a mind of its own and in less than a minute he had another massive boner.

He let her turn him around and push his cock downwards so that it went between her legs. Then, making sure her clit was in contact with his shaft she started sliding back and forth, covering him with her juices.

Animal instinct made him lift her up. Knowing what he would do next, she spread her legs wide, wrapping them around his hips as he took her with one thrust. She responded by fastening her mouth over his and sticking her tongue down his throat.

Mickey carried her into the bedroom and over to the bed, it was so dark he navigated by habit rather than sight. Each step made him move inside her and he could feel her muscles working him all the time.

Gently, he kneeled on the bed, letting her lay back against the pillow and she instantly unhooked her legs from his waist and put them over his shoulders, lifting her hips so that their bodies were still touching. When she slid her hand across her stomach and began to play with her clit, Mickey slid two fingers into her ass and began to finger fuck her at the same time.

Their orgasms, coming close together, were about an eight on the Richter scale. It was only after, that he remembered Scott McCall was on the other side of his king-sized bed. In the darkness he hadnít seen him.

"Jesus! The kidís here!" Simone was smiling at him and he realized that she knew full well that Scott was there the whole time. "You are one crazy bitch Ė you know that?"

She laughed, "Whatís wrong, lover? You didnít mind sharing a bed with me and Ulrike."

"Itís not the same. His fatherís my friend."

Simone looked over at Scott. "Heís dead asleep lover," then she giggled again and snuggled up against him, "Well his daddy can be proud of him. Heís a fast study."

Exhausted, he lay against the pillows, feeling the sweat drying on his body.  Knowing he should go back to the couch Mickey tried to get up but she held onto him, "Donít go. Cuddle me for a little longer. You know I like to be held afterwards and poor Scott was just too worn out."

His resistance faded at once, hell it wasnít as though McCall had woken up while they were going at it. Simone must have fucked the poor kid half to death. "Okay, but just for a while. Iíve set the alarm for oh-six hundred and we need to get moving."

Fucked out, he realized he must have gone back to sleep  when he woke to feel her hands on his cock once more. Enjoying the sensations he kept his eyes closed, letting her work him. Then he remembered the plans for the day and he tried to get up but Simone pushed him back onto the bed and whispered, "Itís okay. You just keep your eyes closed and lay there nice and quiet and Iíll take care of everything."

He tried to protest but what she was doing felt so good. Her hand stopped for a minute and he felt her lips engulf the tip of his cock before she continued to jerk him off. He could feel the pressure building and he knew he was near to coming when he heard a male voice, groaning close by and he realized that Simone was doing the same for Scott as she was for him!

He wasnít sure whether the idea of Scott being there made it more exciting for him but before he could get up and away from the bed, he was coming, long and hard, roaring with pleasure.

When he had recovered enough to sit up he switched on the light and looked at her. She was grinning from ear to ear. Scott was lying there as though he was dead, his arm across his eyes and his face to the wall.

"What the fuck were you doing?" Mickey was angry. He liked kinky, but when it was of his choosing.

Simone pouted, "Having some fun. I liked the idea of getting you both off together. I wanted to compare how you tasted. Anyway why are you getting so bent out of shape? Havenít the two of you ever shared a woman before?"

"No! And I donít aim to start now!" As soon as he said the words the idea took root in his mind and he couldnít shake the thought that maybe he would like to try something like that.

Her next words didnít help at all, "Maybe when the two of you get back from your trip we could get together again. I like sharing a bed with the two of you. We could have a lot of fun."

"No!"

Simone reached over and kissed him, "Jeez, you can be such a prude, Mickey. Will you be happier if I invite Ulrike so we can have a real orgy?"

Mickey looked over at Scott hoping for something from the younger man to indicate he was against such an idea but instead he saw a hopeful, lustful look in his eyes. "Scott!"

"What?" The kid reached over and stroked Simoneís hip. "I donít know Mickey I kinda like the sound of it myself. Maybe when we get back we couldÖ"

Just watching Scott touch Simone was turning him on, so Mickey decided to stop fighting the inevitable and nodded. "Okay when we get back. MaybeÖ"

Simone laughed as she slid out from between them and stood at the foot of the bed, "Call me as soon as you get back and you can come to my place. I canít wait for our little party. Itís not everyday that a girl gets two such gifted men to play with." Simone looked so great and the idea sounded so hot that, despite his best intentions he found himself reacting again.

Her words made Mickey realize that he was still in a very embarrassing position, in the same bed as Scott McCall, naked, with cum all over his stomach and the makings of another hard on. Not wanting to think about what would happen when they got together again, he rolled off the bed making for the bathroom and a long cold shower.

As he was about to shut the bathroom door, the alarm clock started to blare. "Donít forget, Scott," he called back into the bedroom, "we need to be outta here in thirty minutes. You donít have time to screw around any more. While I take a shower, get yourself some breakfast Ė there wonít be any more food until tonight."

Scott fell onto his cot at the end of another crappy day. He was filthy, encrusted with dirt and a full day's sweat. He didnít even remove the thick leather gloves he wore constantly to protect his hands. He knew he stunk but he was too tired to move, much less wash-up.

The five miles everyone ran in the mornings was bad enough, but they had to get up at 6am to do it. As a musician 6am was closer to when he went to sleep than the start of the day, and now he was expected to get up and run too? The rest of the days spent with hands-on training in stealth, trap deployment, survival training, basic training, swordsmanship, jujitsu, karate and Krav Maga, an Israeli form of street fighting had, during the last five days, overused every darn muscle in his body, including his brain.

Damn, the worst thing that happened was when he didn't pay full attention and got his section caught up in a booby trap last night. His arm still hurt, but not as much as his ego. Four of the men that were assigned his squad still wouldn't look him in the face.

Well, he had been tired. He wasn't used to running around in near total darkness the way those professional soldiers were. They should have thought of that before they let him be the team leader. He couldn't be held to the same standards as the others. So they were captured, so what? It was just a game.

With effort, Scott turn on his side. The hardest part was dealing with the crazy men here. Like that ape, Col. Layton Treves. Massive and taller than he was, Treves was blonde too, but with scary, crazed blue eyes. Treves's skin was dark leather, baked and dried from the sun of dozens of assignments in the roughest areas on the earth. Treves was of an indeterminate age; his skin was old and weathered, but his body had the muscled cut of a body builder in his prime. Mickey had warned Scott from pissing Treves off the first moment he spotted him in the camp.

The second day there, Scott had passed a table and had innocently picked up a knife to admire it. Within a breath, Scott found himself flat on the dirt with that roaring maniac on top of him, squeezing his throat, screaming that it had been his knife that Scott had fingered. Scott couldnít do anything to get the guy off him.

Just as he almost lost consciousness, his windpipe had been released. Gulping for air, he looked around and saw that Mickey had come to his rescue and was grappling with Treves. Scott had never seen such animal anger in any men as he saw in those two. He got himself to a safe distance from the fight, but the other people in the camp had immediately surrounded the brawl, cheering and calling for blood.

A few times it looked as if the stronger and bigger Treves was going to finish Mickey off, but at the last moment Mickey who was the more agile and speedy fighter, managed to throw Treves off balance and went in for the kill.

To Scott, it looked as if Mickey would slaughter the other man but instead, after a roar of victory, Mickey let go of Treves's limp body. He let the soldier rest a moment then had helped him to his feet. To Scottís surprise, Treves had actually smiled, spat out a mouthful of blood and embraced Mickey, calling out that it was good to see the scrawny out-of-control bastard, again!

Scott knew then that he was a completely different brand of life form than the men in the camp. These guys, for the most part, were not as intelligent as he was. Scott was comforted by the fact that he had gone to college and most of these men hadnít been able to finish high school.

God, these guys hardly used utensils when they ate.

Ha! Most of those uneducated grunts wouldnít know an aria from an air gun. How the hell had his dad ever spent so much time with these sorts? They were just a step or two above apes. Unhappily, Scott had to admit to himself that Mickey wasnít too far above this group. He had thought that Mickey was better than just a fighter, but he blended in with these barbarians Ė totally.

God, Scott could still hardly believe what had gone on that last night in Mickeyís apartment. His dadís friend had bent Simone, that choice piece of ass, in half, and had reamed her with his schlong and had humped his fingers in her ass at the same time! Scott had to force himself to lie still and make like he was asleep while that was going on in front of him in the same bed! Jesus, Mickey was an animal!

Scott smirked to himself, his own breeding was evident in almost everything he did. Even when he dealt harshly with his ladies, Scott had never been so crude as to do the sphincter slide! That was just so wrong.

And later, the look of horror on Mickeyís face when Simone suggested a ménage à trois was just laughable. Scott himself had heard about such things, but not a simple Joe like Mickey. That man could manage to do the dirty, but his mind was too pedestrian to even dream of indulging in something that was so free spirited and sexually sophisticated as that!

Oh well, he couldnít help that the camp knew that he was an educated and talented man. Scott flexed his fingers in the thick gloves, he was the only guy in camp who had to protect his hands. After all, a musician of his stature had to observe special precautions.

So what if the men in that camp didnít like him? Big deal, so theyíd never be friends with him, he never intended to see any of these mugs again after this week. Disliked him? Who gives a flying f -

Suddenly, he sensed someone near his bed.

"Scott, you awake?" It was Mickey. "Damn it," Mickey hissed, "answer me right away. You'd better learn to wake up at a moment's notice or your ass is grass."

Not even trying to open his eyes, Scott made a supreme effort and managed to move his lips. "I'm awake."

"He's awake, JJ, so don't kill him right away." Mickey said.

Huh?

Scott had a half moment to puzzle over that sentence when he felt multiple hands lifting him up. Rough material was pulled over his mouth and eyes as he tried desperately to fight his way free. Soon his hands and legs were also bound tightly.

No longer able to register up from down, he was pulled, then thrown into what felt like a truck and his captors sat on top of him. It was unreal, pain was screaming loudly in his head, but the men who piled on top of him were silent, massive ghosts.

Fear made Scott's heart beat wildly. He tried to yell for help but every time he managed to make a sound, someone punched him in the gut or squeezed his balls, hard enough to torment him but not hard enough to make him vomit.

He was pummeled and prodded for some time. He couldn't tell how long they had been driving when the truck stopped. All he could hear now was his heart pounding and his own rasping breath. Other than the sounds of the forest, everything else was quiet.

If Mickey were around, he wouldn't let anything really bad happen to him. Scott was almost positive of that.

Then hands grabbed every part of his body and pulled at him. By now, he knew to be quiet. He felt weightless as he was carried off the truck and set standing. The gag, blindfold and bindings were pulled off and Scott opened his eyes to pitch dark.

Before he could react, lights were turned on and he was blinded. He could hear men cheering and he reeled at the sudden noise and bright light. Vehicles of all sorts had their headlights shining onto the same point. With a jolt, Scott realized that he was in the center of a makeshift circle.

"Yo, Mickey, are you sure you don't mind our teaching your pussy here some manners?" Scott recognized the voice of JJ, a hardheaded ex-marine.

Mickey walked out in front of Scott.

Relief washed over him. With Mickey there as protector, he knew that he'd be unharmed.

Mickey turned his back to him and addressed the men. "I told you ladies. As long as you keep away from the face or the hands, fucking go for it."

Scott felt his stomach turn over. What the hell was going on?

"Pain in the ass's cover's a musician and if we harm the frigginí fingers," Mickey looked at Scott, a cold grin on his face, "he'll be of even less use to anyone than he is already."

"Mickey?" Scott hated that his voice sounded shaky.

He tore his eyes from Mickey's death grin and looked around him. There were about fifteen people from the camp there. Most were men, including all of the members of his squad that had been captured, but there were three or four woman there that Scott had tried to get friendly with. All of those Lesbos had blown him off and then made it their point to beat his ass in a combat class the next day.

Mickey gave one quick glance at him, but Scott couldnít read anything as he walked away into the shadows. Where the hell was he going?

Mickey must be trying to teach him some sort of lesson, leaving him to help himself out of a bad spot. That had to be it. Heíd never let him be harmed, right? So Scott pasted on his friendliest, boyish smile and shined it on the group surrounding him. He knew his smile was golden. It had always gotten him out of most trouble and furthermore, usually got him what he wanted from anyone.

The crowd slowly formed a large circle around him and Scott felt his smile weaken.

"What's going on people?" Scott asked, making his voice sound his most sincere.

"Shut the fuck up, dipshit," one of the woman called out. Everyone laughed.

Scott looked around. "Really guys, I don't understand why-"

"The lass said shut the fuck up, you piece of stinking shite!" A voice sounded and the ring of people parted.

Colonel Layton Treves walked into the middle of the circle.

Only wearing heavy combat boots and pants, his massive, muscled chest shone in the blaze of the ring of headlights. His blonde buzz-cut hair had been slicked down with something that made it shine. His face was set into a jovial looking smile.

He turned his back to Scott and nodded acceptance as people started to chant his name and cheer. When Treves turned around to face him, Scott couldnít tell if he should be afraid, since Treves was smiling. But something about the manís eyes made Scottís bowels loosen.

Continuing to face Treves was a fearsome task but Scott knew that if he ever wanted to get out of that situation in one piece, heíd better see if he could get on Trevesís good side. Scott made his smile brighter. "Whatís going on, Colonel?"

Treves stared at Scott and looked him up and down, then laughed. "Take that faggot smile off yer face, mate." His ice blue eyes caught Scottís "Youíve made yer first mistake. I let you see my back, and you didnít take the first step to save yerself."

The spiked way he said the words made Scott move back a step. "But, but I donít have any argument with you, er, sir."

Scott barely registered Trevesís moving toward him when the pain of a kidney punch doubled him over. The air filled with cheers.

"Heíll be pissing blood for a week," one man applauded.

Scott hadnít been able to stand up before he was hit in the same side again. He couldnít breathe and fell to his knees. Suddenly vile tasting bile filled his mouth and he spat it out.

"Dammit," He heard Mickeyís disgusted voice holler from the darkness, "Fucking whole week of hand-to-hand training and the kidís still behaving like a lamb to the slaughter. Donít just stand there, asshole, do something to defend yourself!"

Treves stepped away and turned his back again. Scott pushed himself to his feet and felt himself sway.

By now the crowd was screaming insults and laughing at him.

"Hey college boy, didnít they learn you to wipe your nose?" a voice called out.

Without thinking about it, Scott swiped his hand at his nose. To his surprise his fingers came away covered in blood. When did he get hit in the nose? And didnít Mickey just tell them not to hit him in the face?

Before he could clear his head, a blur came at him and Scott found himself staring at a dark night sky scattered with stars. He felt the cold hard ground beneath his back. Somewhere far away, he could hear men cheering as pain seemed to slide towards him and fill his body.

His brain felt as if it were loose. What was happening again?

Scott felt himself being pulled upwards, and he recognized a face that was frowning at him.

"Mickey?" Scott puzzled, "Síthat you?"

Scott felt hands grab his head and point his nose at Mickeyís face. "Scott? Scott!" Mickeyís face hissed at him, "Get your shit together, or else you wonít get outta this place in one piece!"

"Huh?" Scott tried to listen to what was being said, but his ears didnít seem to be working right. He could hardly hear the words. "Mickey?"

"Defend yourself, idiot! You have the skills! Do what I taught you, what you learned this week!"

"Whatís happening?" Scott couldnít understand what was going on. Why was his brain loose?

"You pissed off too many people this week, I warned you to get the hell off your high horse and work with the men here. Now they all decided to let Treves teach you a squadron etiquette lesson."

Scott was beginning to be able to think again, "But Ė,"

"But nothing!" Mickey glared at him.

"Ha ha, Mickey my man," Scott recognized Billy Bumpís voice as it rang out, "leave the chump to his fate!" Mickey had told him that Bump was an owner of the camp and an old friend of his dad. What the hell?

Mickey let go of Scott and disappeared back into the darkness.

Where did he go? "Help me, Mickey!"

A stabbing pain swept through him. Scott spun around. Treves was bobbing and weaving, laughing as he threw swift quick punches into Scottís torso.

An excruciating jab into his solar plexus doubled him over in pain. The lights and sounds surrounding him starting to fade and Scott had a vision of what he looked like.

He saw the old whiney, dopey Scott, being taken down again, this time because he was so damn sure that he was better than everybody else. There he was, once again, the spoiled boy he thought he had left far behind after his show of skill in the Bulgarian embassy and when two junkies had attacked him.

Is this how his life was going to end, as an embarrassment?

Almost without thinking, Scott feinted to the right just as Treves kicked at his chest. Managing to dodge the blow, Scott used his own powerful thigh muscles to jump and thrust his own heel up making contact with Trevesís nose.

There was a moment of silence as the crowd took in what happened. Then a yell went up and people started to scream with excitement.

"Go, Pussy!" Scott heard JJ yell out.

"OK, haul ass, Scott!" Mickeyís voice roared!

The blood streaming down his face had painted Trevesís front teeth, and the smile that resulted was gruesome, but Trevesís voice sounded delighted! "Now, thatís better!" he bellowed, "Get yer back into it. Show me what you know!"

Pushing the pain and confusion down deep into the depths of his mind, Scott found himself standing tall, concentrating on Trevesís stance and his body.

Abruptly, he moved closer to Treves and pistoned his fist out. He felt it land a reverberating blow to the other manís gut. Treveís face blanched underneath his tan and his smile faded.

"Shit Scott," he heard Bumpís vice ring out, "Donít be admiring your handiwork boy, keep a goiní!"

Treves lunged at him, but Scott registered the movement and felt himself slip an inch to the side. The blow completely missed him.

This time, Scott spent no time congratulating himself; he continued to read Trevesís position. Mind and body became one as his vision narrowed until there was nothing in the world but his opposition. His energy was on full.

Scott had never felt so contented in his life.

When they left the camp at the crack of dawn, Mickey had thrown his car keys at him and, with a warning not to exceed the speed limit, had belted himself into the passenger seat and had fallen asleep.

Scott took his time, driving slowly, spending most of first part of the trip home thinking over the last day or so.

After the fight with Treves, Scott had been surprised when the other men started to treat him with some respect. He was especially surprised because Treves had beaten the holy shit out of him and the men had to drag his battered body back to camp in time for their morning run.

He didnít know how he managed it, but he had kept his mouth shut and completed the five miles. During morning chow, some of the other guys had pounded him on the back and smiled at him. He had even caught Mickey crack a grin towards him. Thatís when he really got confused.

Later that day, Mickey had explained that heíd gotten some respect for finally acting like a man, taking responsibility for his own fights and keeping any complaints about it to himself.

Camp had become much better after that.

During the ride home they hardly talked, even when they stopped for a late breakfast in a diner off the Interstate. Then Mickey took over driving, leaving Scott to his thoughts again.

They were on I 95 just getting to the George Washington Bridge to enter the Bronx when Mickey cleared his throat. Scott got an idea that Mickey was flustered - or something.

"Weíll be at your apartment in about twenty," Mickey said, clearing his throat again. "Iíll get in touch with Simone and we can all hook up at my apartment tonight, if youíre still interested in what she, you know, what she suggested, that we get together?"

Scott became a little embarrassed. He had been thinking about the threesome but wasnít sure how to say what he wanted to say. No way did he want to offend Mickey, of all people.

"Well, Iíve been thinking," Scott started, "You know the guys in the camp talked a lot about their women and all the strange things they did with them." This was going to be hard to say correctly.

"Yeah," Mickey mumbled.

"Well, it kinda came to me that they all spoke about their women as objects they used, not like people," Scott was sweating now. "And it occurred to me that they had to do really unusual things with them because they didnít feel anything deep during the act, er, you know?"

Mickey took a quick look at him and Scott thought he looked more confused than angry.

OK, so far so good.

Scott took a deep breath, "Iíve always been the type to be emotionally involved with the women Iíve slept with, er, that is until recently. And I noticed that Iíve been kind of pushing the line with this particular woman, doing freaky, aggressive things to her, making her do them to me andĖ"

"Little man Scott?" Mickey snickered, "Youíve been iron plugging a POA? You? Iíd a never thought you had it in you. Must be another offshoot of the shooting Ė no pun intended."

Scott shifted in his seat. "What Iím getting at is, I donít think that using women is really my taste, you knowĖ "

"What the hell are you flapping your gums about?"

Scott hurried to calm him down. "The guys at the camp donít care about their women and donít respect them or even seem to like them, so they have to push the envelope when they have sex. They donít feel much during the act so they have to get more aggressive to feel anything at all. Well, I realized that Iíve been doing the same thing lately."

"Psycho-babble shit Scott. I donít need to hear about your touchy feely pansy crap, just spit it out kid. Whatís on your mind?"

Scott sighed. "Iíve been thinking about the threesome with Simone and Iím going to pass on it Ė not that sheís not a fine POA, but just that I donít think that itís my thing." Scott studied Mickey, trying to read his reaction.

"Wait one damn minute," Mickey growled, "Simone goes all out to have fun but sheís no dumb piece of ass. Iíve known her for years and sheís a loyal friend. I never badmouthed her."

Scottís heart went faster. The conversation was going bad. "No, you never spoke like the other guys did about their women, I didnít mean you Mickey, I meant me. I donít know her and if I joined you both tonight, Iíd be no better than the guys at the camp, and I donít want to do that. Not to me Ė or to Simone."

After a while, Scott saw that Mickey relaxed. Then he smiled, "No problem. Iíll tell you, Iím kinda relieved. Iím not so sure that Iíd be able to face your dad after I got an eyeful of Simone riding you for all youíre worth."

Scott breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, just humping to get it done, doesnít do it for me. You know?"

Mickey nodded, "I know what you mean, kid. When it gets too impersonal, you might as well use your own right hand. At least that way youíre sure to get your rocks off right." He looked at Scott again for a moment. "I guess that youíre too effing sensitive to not care about whatís connected to the pussy, huh?"

Scott thought about it. He usually got angry when anyone called him sensitive but, after spending a week with men who had no artistic feelings and no way to express their emotions, it made him appreciate that he was able to be sensitive.

"Yeah I guess, butĖ,"

"Your dadís the same way," Mickey interrupted, "And I gotta admit that I admire that about him. Okay, he sometimes goes too far getting emotionally involved with his women, but over all, Iíve let him influence me a lot over the years. I was one emotionally constipated grunt after ĎNam and Leavenworth. Your dad showed me that there was more to life than just surviving and getting drunk and laid." He grinned at Scott, "And I think I helped him lighten up a little over the years too."

Scott grinned back. He hated to think that his dad could be even more uptight than he was. 

"To tell you the whole truth, Mickey, Iíve also got a giant itch to get to my music. This is the first time in years that Iíve spent more than a day or two in a row not practicing and Iím getting antsy. I need to get my fingers roving over my guitar and violin as soon as possible."

"No problem Scott. Like I said in camp, I think youíve learned a way to keep your bloodlust in check, and youíve started to adjust that whiney brat attitude youíve been dragging around for most of your life. If you get the urge to go a hunting again, just get your ass to Bumpís gym. Either me, Bump or someoneíll help sweat the need for blood out of you."

Scott nodded. He did feel different now, a little more comfortable in his skin. He just hoped everything he had learned from Mickey and the camp over the week, would stick.

He hoped that with all his soul.

Life traveled in cycles. A few weeks later, Scott found himself in his dadís car. They had stopped in front of his apartment and Scott waited a few moments before he moved. His father sat quietly behind the wheel of the car and didn't say a thing either.

"Well, itís really late. I had a great time Dad." Scott said, reaching for the door handle.

"Your, your mother seemed to enjoy herself," Robert said, a little too fast, "Don't you think?"

Scott sat back in the car seat. "You know, I believe she did. We spent a lot of time sitting together over dessert and coffee. We should all get together a little more often, maybe next time when Walter's in town. We are a family and it's time we acted like it."

"Yes," his dad said, and then he cleared his voice. "Weíve never acted like a family, haven't talked about anything as a family should. Perhaps someday, maybe we will talk aboutÖ things."

Scott looked out the window of the parked car. Maybe someday they could mention the name Kathy without the sky falling in. For once, he wanted to talk about his sister and find out what happened. Over the years, it was the one topic that would start his parents fighting each other, both becoming boxers looking to strike the knockout blow to the other.

Suddenly Scott remembered, "Oh Dad, I ran into an old friend of yours and he wanted me to say hello."

Robert looked at him, surprised, "An old friend? Who?"

"Guy named Billy Bump. I met him in my new gym."

Scott and Mickey had worked out this cover story. Since his dad, on rare occasion, also went to Bumpís gym, they wanted to cover the odd meeting.

Robert frowned, "I thought you went to a health club around here, closer to your home. Bump's place is way uptown."

Scott nodded. "I decided that my old place is too gaudy, too much of a pickup joint."

"I thought that was what you wanted?" Robert chuckled.

Scott laughed too. "It was, but I was talking to a friend who's game has gotten real good."

"Game?"

"Basketball, we pick up a game every once in a while. Anyway, he told me about this place uptown, he said it was damn good because it's all business and that he's gotten much stronger and faster from it. So he took me there and I liked what I saw. The owner makes sure every member is serious about working out and he interviews the applicants."

"That would be Bump."

Scott smiled, "Yep, he read my name and looked me up and down so hard I thought he was going to throw me out. But when he asked if I knew a Robert McCall and I said yes, Bump said I looked familiar and just signed me up."

His dad smiled, "Good man Bump."

"He said the same about you. Also said, and I quote, 'Tell your dad to get his white British butt into the gym or he's gonna be dragin' it around on the floor down by his ankles.'" Scott tried not to laugh, but he couldn't squash his smile.

Robert frowned, "I'll have to speak to Bump personally about that subject, but be that as it may, next time he gets out of line, let on that you know he graduated from Yale Law."

"You're kidding?" Scott was amazed. That streetwise guy? "Bump doesn't act likeĖ,"

"That's his big secret. He likes to keep it undercover," Robert said and smiled at his son.

Scott felt good. It had been a few weeks since heíd returned from the training camp with Mickey. He had been feeling more and more in control of his life as time passed and tonight, even during a dinner with his parents, he had felt even keeled and calm.

His dad cleared his throat again and Scott hoped that he wouldn't say anything that would ruin the evening.

"I thought you might bring your lady friend along tonight, the young woman I saw you with two weeks ago as you were going into the theater?"

Oh oh, his father must have been sweating ever since he saw him with Debbie. That was the night he had taken Deb out for the first time in weeks. Scott had been treating Debbie really badly there for a while; wanting her to become a spitfire again and boy had it worked! That night he was determined to apologize and make it up to her. They had planned to meet in front of the movie theater and, as much as Scott tried to make it on time, he had been five minutes late.

He had stood patiently, head down, letting Debbie curse him out for treating her so badly when he had spotted his dad walking across the street. He had waved and Scott introduced them to each other. He didnít have time to explain anything about his relationship with Debbie since then, and his dad must have thought that Scott had hooked up with a woman who was in the habit of chewing his balls off!

Well, he couldnít blame him for that assumption. Scott knew he hadnít been the best judge of character in the past.

"No, Debbie and I arenít serious, we met through Zandi, and I think weíve finally become friends. Sheís taught me a lot about myself." Taught me how much I like it rough. He kept that info to himself.

They had had slept together a few times since he got back from camp, but he had made the effort to get to know her instead of just using her to scratch his itch for violent sex. Now that was really getting to experience the whole woman, he could see what Zandy had been so devoted to her. "Deb is great, but not to get romantically involved with. Sheís too emotional for me."

"Oh," his dad mouthed, not letting Scott read anything on his face.

"I have met someone at work, though, sheísĖ"

"What was that?" His father abruptly said and held his hand up for Scott to be quiet. "I thought I heard Ė," His dad turned and opened his door and got out.

Scott felt his adrenalin start to flow and opened his own door. Both men stood for a moment and listened the early morning quiet of the residential Manhattan street.

After a minute Scott said, "I donít hear anything." But the moment he finished he heard the unmistakable sound of a woman scream in fear.

"Use my car phone to call the police!" Robert called out as he started running toward where the scream seemed to originate. "Then stay there in the car!"

Fleeting annoyance coursed through him. Why the hell was he supposed to stay in the car like a kid? But he swallowed that down and slipped back onto the seat and reached for the phone, all the while watching where his father turned into an alley.

While trying hard to listen to any sounds from the street, he pressed 911 and told the operator his location and that heíd heard a woman screaming in terror.

"Tell the patrol car that two civilians are going to try and assist," Scott added as he rifled through the car to find something he could use as a weapon, "My father is an older man and Iím blonde and in my twenties. Tell the cops that weíre there trying to help."

Scott heard the operator telling him to remain where he was as he threw the phone down on the seat, leaving the line open in case it would help the cops find them. He couldnít locate anything in the front seat to use in a fight so he gave up and shot running from the car, following his dadís route into the alley.

The light was sufficient for him to see that his father had downed one man and was scuffling with another. He noted the whimpering woman cowering in a corner, her skirt and panties lying in a bloody heap by her side. Then he saw the back of a third man who was holding a trashcan up high. He was going to bash his dadís head in!

In a split second he assessed the situation. Relying on his training to take over along with the element of surprise, Scott sprang into action. Using the weight of the trashcan and his opponentís lack of balance, he sent the guy spinning off to the side. He hit the ground hard.

Before the punk even knew what was happening, Scott managed to stomp on his groin. Mewling in pain, his opponent moved to clutch his balls and as he sat up, Scott went down on one knee to finish him off with a hard elbow to the nose. Blood spurted and Scott caught a glimpse of the guyís eyes rolling back into his head just before he slumped over. His skull hit the concrete with a hollow thump.

Glancing around, Scott saw that his dad apply a finishing blow to the second man who crumpled to the ground like a limp marionette whose strings had been cut.

Removing his jacket, Scott slowly moved toward the victim. The woman was still huddled in the corner and was now shivering violently.

He made his voice as gentle as he could. "Hi, Iím Scott. Iím not going to hurt you, Okay? Iím just going to give you this to cover you and help you get warm. Okay?"

The woman turned her wild, bruised eyes to Scott and started to gurgle out a strangled cry. Bloody spittle spewed from her lips and Scott stepped backwards still holding his coat out ahead of him. He felt a tap on his arm. His father was standing by his side, staring at the woman.

"We shall step away from you. Will that be better?" his father said to her, his voice soothing.

Scott heard police sirens in the distance, coming towards them.

"Youíre cold," His dad took the jacket from his hands, "Let me give you this to put on, would that be all right?"

The womanís eyes jerked back and forth from Scott to his father, terrified.

"Scott," his fathers voice was gentle, "two men so nearby might be frightening to her. Perhaps it might be better if you went to the street to direct and inform the police as to what happened? Tell them we are in need of an ambulance."

Scott glanced at his dad, whose full attention and concern were directed to the unfortunate woman.

"If my son moves away, may I give you this jacket?"

The woman hugged herself harder, still trembling. Scott started to back out of the alley. Before he left, he looked closely at the three attackers to check that they were still out cold

Glancing once more at the corner of the alley, Scott saw that his father was already kneeling by the woman, tucking his jacket around her body.

Just as he got to the street, the police car turned onto the block and Scott waved it down. As soon as the patrol car stopped, the two cops got out and Scott said, "In the alley. Three men attacked a woman. My fatherís with her now. Sheíll need an ambulance."

One cop got on his radio and called it in as another patrol car edged onto the street. A cop entered the alley while the other pulled Scott to the side. Two more cops joined them and they were directed where to go.

The cop started to shoot questions at him and Scott tried to answer, but he was more interested in the whereabouts of his dad. An ambulance showed up and then another and then a third. Before long the street filled with police cars and unmarked vehicles and what seemed like fifty police personnel bustling around. The harsh lights and noises were unsettling to Scott, but he forced himself to remain calm.

The cop took Scottís ID and after it was confirmed that he did live on that street, the cop left Scott to stand by a patrol car.

The three ambulances took off and, after what seemed like a long time, Scott finally saw his dad walking out of the alley, talking companionably to a tall black man.

His father saw Scott and made a beeline for him.

"Scott, are you Okay?"

He nodded.

"Isadore," his father introduced the other man, "I want you to meet my son Scott. Scott, this is Lieutenant Isadore Smalls, an old, ah, associate."

With a very genial smile at him, Smalls grabbed Scottís proffered hand in his own large, strong grasp. "Well, well! A pleasure to meet you, Scott. Seems youíre a chip off the old block huh? Equalizing crime on the streets of the city, eh?"

Scott shook his head, "No, my dadís the expert. I was just here at the right time, but Iím glad I was here to help that woman. How is she?"

Smalls looked somber. "She was hurt pretty bad. Seems like you and your dad saved her life. She was abducted uptown and theyíve been driving around abusing her for hours. Looks like they were going to dump her in this alley and finish her off..."

Scott felt his gut turn. "Damn, thatís horrible. Iím glad my dad was here to save her." He looked at his father, who was in turn staring at him.

A patrolman called to Smalls. "Lieu, the press is here!"

"Want to be introduced to your grateful public, McCall?" Smalls said, then laughed.

"You know better than to ask me that, Isadore!" his dad frowned, but then he looked at Scott, "But if youíd like to talk to the press Scott? You did do a excellent job of saving the day Ė,"

Scott shook his head. "I didnít."

"Scott," his dad put his hand on his shoulder. "That third man would have done me in if you hadn't been there to back me up. I saw how you handled yourself. It was first-rate. You should get acclaim and credit for it. Be proud of yourself boy." Scott saw the glint of deep emotion in his dadís eyes, "I am very proud of you."

As he stood there, looking at his dad, Scott realized that he no longer needed the worldís admiration; he no longer cared what others thought of him. He had his dadís approval, and furthermore, inside, he felt a column of solid of self-esteem. He didnít want to talk to the press. He didnít need to.

"Letís go to my apartment, Dad," Scott shivered from the cool air, "I think we can both use a drink."

He saw his dad start to protest, he had always made it clear that he didnít like Scott to imbibe, but then his dad smiled at him. "I think thatís a grand idea."

Nodding good-bye to Lieutenant Smalls, they walked back to the Jag. His father locked it up tight and they climbed the stairs to Scottís building.

"You know dad, " Scott ventured, as he opened the door. "This looks like the start to a beautiful friendship."

At first his dad stared at him in surprise, but then he nodded. "I do believe so," he said.

Scott couldnít believe it. His dad agreed with him. Maybe, from now on, they were going to act like adults when dealing with each other!

Scott took a fast glimpse at the bustling street and the black night sky overhead. He wanted to remember it all. He and his father, acting as equals. It had to be the most memorable night of his entire life.

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