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Title: Across the Universe (There's Nothing Gonna Change My World) - Part II
Fandom: the Covenant
Pairings: Chase/Caleb
Rating/Warnings: there will be sex in part 3. In this part there's some kissing, more angst, bad parenting and insecurity.
Word Count: 4900 (14056 so far)
Disclaimer: If I owned the Covenant, they would all be naked.
Summary: The dreams start two months before Caleb turns thirteen.

Part I

(12/20/2002)

“You've been distracted lately,” Pogue asked. “Is something going on?”

“Huh? What? What are you talking about?” Caleb asked, not looking up from his phone. Chase had mentioned seeing the new Lord of the Rings this weekend and the warlock needed to find a local showing so that he could see it too. “I don't think I'm acting weird.”

“Except when you smile at your phone like a total idiot,” Pogue replied, grabbing said phone out of Caleb’s hands. “Honestly, I swear you never have time for your real friends anymore. Do you have a secret girl?”

The other teen started scrolling through Caleb's messages while the warlock grabbed for his phone fruitlessly. Pogue had had a growth spurt in the last few months and Caleb couldn't overpower him anymore without resorting to magic or trickery.

“Man, I'm almost insulted. You haven't even been ignoring us for a hot chick. I could have sworn you had a girl from those stupid grins of yours.”

“I've just been busy. Will you chill?” Caleb grumbled. “I haven't been trying to ignore you so will you just give me back my phone?”

The warlock didn't think that he'd been acting different lately. Maybe he hadn't seen as much of his friends as usual over the last few weeks but that's just because his teachers seemed to think that high school meant drowning every class in homework and he'd been studying constantly. He certainly wasn't pining over anyone.

“Seriously. I want my phone.”

“Fine, fine,” Pogue said, handing it back to Caleb. “You're the one who needs to chill. In fact, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Tyler plans to join the swim team this spring – he thinks it'll help give Reid something else to focus on – and I think that you should come along. You're going to turn into some kind of stuck up shut-in at this rate.”

“You know what? Fine. Why not?” the warlock agreed a touch sarcastically. “With a pitch like that, how could I resist?”

Caleb did like swimming and he didn't want to lose his friends through inattention. As much as he still wanted to punch Reid now and then – more like often – the warlock would do a lot worse than join the swim team in order to keep the other teen more focused on living than on the magic's call. Reid had gotten a lot better after meeting Caleb's father but the other warlock still slipped up more often than he’d like.

Besides, maybe swimming would help the warlock lose that last bit of baby fat. Chase seemed to have grown five inches in the last few months and Caleb couldn't deny that he was a little jealous of the other warlock now.

Puberty had made Chase hot. That was just a fact and Caleb was tempted to ask if he'd ever kissed a girl. He wanted to know what it was like, if it was really as amazing as everyone seemed to think. But they'd never talked about their crushes or their love lives. For all their in-depth conversations, some things still felt off limits. That’s why Caleb had never broached the subject of meeting in real life. The teen could probably get the money from his mother to fly out to California and he knew where Chase lived more or less, but he wasn't quite brave enough to ask.

The dreams were safe and he didn't want to change that. What if the other warlock actually hated him in person or simply shot down the idea out of hand? Caleb didn't know if he could handle that. If nothing else, things would probably get awkward and he still had to see Chase almost every night.

So the warlock would stick to watching the same movies and bitching about his teachers. Complaining about his mother to someone who really got it was more than good enough.


(03/29/2003)

“Wait, you joined the swim team, too?” Caleb asked in surprise. “When?”

“About a week ago. I missed tryouts but I guess some people transferred so they let me in anyway," Chase told him with a shrug. “You know I've been looking for an excuse to be out of the house more often and even my parents can't object to exercise. I didn't think you'd mind that I sort of copied you; I admit, you and your friends gave me the idea but I would've joined any team that told me yes."

“No, that's great. Sorry. I don't mind," Caleb said quickly. "You just surprised me since you've never talked about doing any sports before."

In fact, the other warlock's statement had simply overloaded Caleb's brain. The thought of Chase wet and mostly naked making him shift a bit uncomfortably. Sensations might not be as intense when they were dreaming but the teen's body could still make its interest known and he was having trouble stringing words together properly.

However, Chase didn't need to deal with Caleb's bullshit; it wasn't his fault that the warlock was a little bit obsessed. So Caleb dredged a smile up from somewhere and clapped the other teen on the back.

“You’ll have to race me in a dream sometime," he said. “See which of us is faster. What's your favorite stroke?"

“Honestly, I don't know. Anything but butterfly?" Chase answered with a chuckle. “I do seem to have a knack for freestyle so I'll probably stick with that if my coach lets me have a say. Might as well do something that I'm good at."

“Makes sense to me. And, hey, I'm sure that you'll do great."

Their conversation moved on to other things then but Caleb didn't forget what the other boy had told him. And if he went to his coach at their next practice and said that he wanted to focus more on freestyle, well it really just made sense. The warlock liked the stroke well enough and since his friends preferred backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly respectively, he might as well fill out the IM relay.

If Caleb was also thinking that he might run into Chase at a meet someday, well, no one else needed to know about that part.


(05/17/2004)

Tonight had been a quiet dream so far. Caleb and Chase were just sitting by the lakeshore – one that the other warlock had dreamed up from a travel brochure several weeks ago – and neither teen had much to say. Indeed, when Caleb had glanced over earlier, Chase seemed to be in one of his more pensive moods and while the teen would usually have tried to cheer him up, he was feeling much the same.

Caleb had his own problems at the moment and this time his issues weren’t something that he could talk to Chase about. In fact, the other warlock was the problem because Caleb was increasingly sure that he was gay or at least bisexual and far more attracted to his friend than he wanted to admit.

He blamed it all on puberty – normal teens dreamed about sex, Caleb dreamed about Chase and woke up hard anyway. Chase swimming, Chase eating, Chase laughing – it didn't seem to matter - and while the teen thought several girls at school were pretty, none of them compared. Even the other boys on Caleb’s swim team couldn't make him blush as quickly, though all that naked skin had helped convince him that he really wasn’t straight.

Still, basic attraction aside, Chase was the only person that the warlock really wanted. In fact, Caleb wanted to kiss him rather desperately but the other teen was pretty much his best friend and he wasn't willing to risk it.

If Chase wasn’t interested – and the warlock honestly couldn't imagine why he would be – then these dreams would get so awkward. Caleb couldn't bear the thought of seeing the other teen most evenings and knowing for sure that he would never have him. He's rather keep the fantasy. Caleb doubted he'd be brave enough to tell Chase how he felt as long as their minds were still connected and yet, the warlock hadn't looked for a way to stop the dreams in at least a year. Because the real truth was that he wanted to keep Chase however he could have him and Caleb lived in dread of the day that the other teen finally got sick of him.

So when Chase broke the silence with a question, “Do you ever think about the future?” the warlock thought the worst immediately. He was sure that the other teen wanted to sever their connection so that he could live in peace.

“What do you mean?” Caleb asked warily. “Everyone thinks about the future sometimes but nothing specific comes to mind.”

“My parents want me to go to Stanford,” Chase explained. He wrapped his arms around his knees even as Caleb tried not to make his relief too obvious. “They have my entire life planned out from now until I'm forty. My mother is convinced that I'm going to be a famous doctor with a massive house, six children, and a wife who runs our church group with an iron hand.”

“Seriously?”

“Oh yeah. She's already picked out the patron saints for half my children. It's honestly kind of creepy but I'm afraid to tell her that.”

“Would your mother really flip? I thought that your parents had calmed down. You should have told me if they were getting worse again.”

“It's not that,” Chase reassured him before Caleb could really start panicking. “Other than making me go to church and confession every weekend, they seem to have forgotten about my little stint with 'possession.' But I'm still never going to be the perfect son they want.”

“I know what you mean,” the teen replied. “My mother keeps comparing me to my dad like that's a good thing. I'm not sure what I want but the last thing I want is to waste my life like that.”

“Exactly. It's my life, isn't it? I have the right to live it how I want,” Chase said before sighing heavily. “Only I don't know what I want either. I've been saving money from my part-time job and I should have enough to leave in a few years when I finally turn eighteen. But I'd rather have a plan. Maybe I should try to find my birth father. Or his grave, at least. My mother finally told me that his name was Aaron Pope. She said he died when I was still a baby but maybe seeing where he's buried would give me some kind of closure. I wish I knew why my birth parents gave me up. Honestly, you think my dad would have left some kind of explanation; if I hadn't met you, I probably would have ended up addicted before I knew what was going on.”

“Maybe he wanted to but died before he could,” Caleb offered. “If he was anything like my father, he probably wasn't functional. But I think that's a good idea and... Actually, the name Pope sounds familiar. I'll go back through my family's records and see what I can find.”

“Appreciate it, but I doubt you'll be much help,” the other boy told him. “If I'm part of some forgotten bloodline, my ancestors must have lost touch years ago.”

“You're probably right,” the warlock agreed. “But I'll feel better if I'm doing something. And it would be good to find out if you're actually part of my Covenant. If you are, you're going to get stronger on your eighteenth birthday, that's what my mother says. I think that's why she's getting twitchier again.”

“Shit, really? That's the last thing that I want. If I slip up again, my parents probably will disown me this time or hire another twenty exorcists. Eventually they might find someone who can actually lock me down,” Chase groaned, rubbing a hand across his face and then giving Caleb a wry grin. “You know, when I asked about the future, this wasn't how the conversation was supposed to go.”

“It wasn't?”

“No. I thought you'd just tell me where you planned to go to college so I could tell you that I've been looking at universities back east. I've been thinking about becoming a lawyer and there are some great programs out your way; I thought maybe I could visit if I get the chance.”

“Really? You want to meet me?” Caleb asked in disbelief.

“Well, yeah. It's been three years and you're my best friend. Why wouldn't I want to meet you in real life?” Chase replied with a shrug. “I mean, not in Bakersfield. You'd be too hard to explain to my parents and they seem to find out everything. But somewhere else for sure. Unless you don't want to?”

He looked a little hurt by the suggestion and the warlock couldn't let him think that. Indeed, he tripped over his words in his haste to get them out. “No, no, of course I do. I want... I'd love to meet you. I just wasn't sure if you did since you've never asked.”

“Then I'm glad I finally did. I don't know when exactly but someday definitely. Maybe my team will actually make nationals when they're holding it back east,” Chase told him with a blinding grin. “Or, Hell, if I turn eighteen and my parents do disown me, you can bet that I'll be on the first plane here. You'd let me crash on your couch, wouldn't you? If I really needed to?”

The other teen threw an arm around Caleb's shoulders as the warlock stammered his assent, rationality blown out the window by the warmth against his side. He couldn't think when Chase was pressed that close to him.

Thus Caleb didn't realize that meeting the other teen was a terrible idea until he woke up again. It wasn't that he didn't want to; the teen wanted to too much. If he could barely keep from kissing Chase while they were dreaming then how was he supposed to resist temptation with a living, breathing guy in front of him? The warlock might be able to hold back for a little while, but if he saw Chase awake and dreaming then he was bound to crack eventually. Caleb needed the time apart to regain his self-control.

So he couldn't meet Chase while their minds were still connected; he just couldn't. Caleb still didn't want to lose the other teen and that meant he had to end this; the warlock had to protect their friendship any way he could.


(05/18/2004-9/17/2004)

It took Caleb three months to find an answer and he never would have managed it without Chase's family name. Because the answer wasn't in the books of spells or the endless genealogies hidden in the Danvers' spell chamber; Caleb found the solution in the Book of Damnation.

Despite its name, this book was actually a record of Ipswich's beginnings and the creation of the laws that still governed the warlocks' actions now. Because there had been five founders, but only four had believed in secrecy. The fifth had believed in power and gotten himself burned in the witch trials; he was the reason that they'd made a Covenant.

While John Putnam hadn't left any children, a local widow, one Agnes Goodie Pope, claimed that his spirit had come to her for weeks after he'd died. She said that her son was of his bloodline but she had been driven from Ipswich for adultery before the other warlocks could verify her story and none of Putnam's descendants had ever come forth to claim his place.

However, Agnes Pope must have spoken the truth because her name had been passed down through the generations to Chase's father and in Putnam's life where Caleb finally found a mention of his dreams. The Book of Damnation said that William Danvers I and John Putnam had been the closest of the town's founder, brothers in spirit if not blood. The warlocks' had been woven together by magic, their bloodlines linked so closely that some considered them a single soul split between two forms.

William had been devastated when John Putnam was sentenced to burn for witchcraft but trying to save him would only have brought down the Inquisition on them all. The warlock's magic might have been limitless but his body was not and the witch hunters were a force to be reckoned with back then. William would have burned himself to ash trying to protect his brothers and so he had been forced to let Putnam die for the greater good. He had severed their link between with a ritual so that the other warlock's death did not destroy him, though his magic was much weaker from that moment on. William had been forced to sacrifice his dearest brother to save the rest and then the remaining warlocks had created their Covenant of secrecy in the hopes that no one would ever have to pay that price again.

The connection between William and John sounded exactly like the dreams that Chase and Caleb shared – or close enough to risk it – and the ritual was written plainly on the page. The spell was simple and it should free them but Caleb didn't feel relieved by his discovery.

Instead the warlock had to run outside as his guts protested, kneeling on the grass and retching until he throat burned painfully. Everything about this ritual felt wrong. It felt abhorrent deep down in his bones and even though Caleb was set on his course, it took him another month before he finally brought it up.

“Do you ever want to stop this?” the teen asked Chase during their next shared dream. He tried to keep his tone neutral but he still couldn't make himself look at the other warlock; he didn't think he'd be able to say this if he did. “I was researching your bloodline and I found a ritual that could do it. Do you want to dream like normal guys again?”

“What?! Why?!” Chase exclaimed, sounding completely horrified.

“I just thought that you might want your life back after three years of this,” Caleb muttered, keeping his eyes locked on the ground. “Maybe not immediately but it's an option now.”

“Is that what you want?” the other teen asked, his face twisting when the warlock didn't answer. “That's it, isn't it? You're finally sick of me.”

“No!” Caleb protested, finally looking up. Though he almost wished he hadn't when he saw the naked pain on Chase's face. “You're my best friend. You are! But once we meet in person we won't need to keep dreaming anymore.”

“Right, because you've hated every minute of it,” Chase bit out. “What's the real reason?”

“I told you-”

No, you gave me a canned bullshit answer and I want to know the truth,” the other teen retorted, crossing his arms over his chest. “If you're done with me, just say it; you don't have to lie.”

“I'm not lying!” Caleb growled. He was starting to get frustrated; why couldn't Chase just agree already without pushing him like this. He needed him to say yes before he ran out of the willpower to see this ritual through. “I'm trying to save our friendship!”

“This is you trying to save our friendship? I'd hate to see you ruin it,” Chase snorted. “What the hell do you think is gonna happen that could be worse than this?”

“I think I'm going to fuck it up, okay?” the warlock shouted, throwing his hands up in his air. “If we meet while we're still dreaming then you're going to find out.”

Find out what?!” the other teen yelled back. He wasn't going to let this go, Caleb could tell, and with this realization, his control finally snapped.

“You'll find out this,” the warlock growled, taking two steps forward and pulling Chase into a kiss. Caleb had one glimpse of the other teen's shocked expression before he closed his eyes; he wanted to enjoy this kiss as much as possible since it was probably the only one he'd get. Although Chase was frozen stiff against him, Caleb fully expected to get punched or shoved or yelled at pretty soon.

But then the other boy relaxed, pulling Caleb closer instead of pushing him away. Chase backed the warlock up against the wall and returned his kiss with interest, their noses bumping until they found the right angle for their heads. Even with this touch of awkwardness, Caleb was pretty sure this kiss was perfect if only because Chase was kissing him. Caleb would have assumed that he was dreaming if he'd been a normal person and that still seemed like a more likely possibility.

“You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that,” Chase murmured when he finally pulled away. “We should have started making out years ago.”

The other warlock was smiling, his anger completely forgotten, and Caleb was gratified to see that he wasn't the only person breathing hard.

“Why didn't you say anything?” he asked.

“For the same reason you didn't, I assume,” Chase told him. “You're my only real friend, Caleb. No one else knows about the magic or my parents and I didn't want to lose you. So I hope we can shelve any more talk of rituals until we're actually in the same place in real life. Or maybe even later. I like the dreams we have.”

“Of course,” Caleb agreed happily. He probably would have promised the other warlock anything. “I just... I can't believe.... Damn, I wish you had a phone. I don't want to wake up knowing that I can't talk to you for real. How will I know this really happened if it's only in my dreams?”

“Hey, this is real. This is as real to me as anything that I do when I'm awake,” Chase replied, wrapping his arms around Caleb. "Though I get it. I wish that we could talk more often too. But my parents won't pay for a cell phone and I can't afford it, not when I'm trying to save every penny just in case. And I can't have you call the house phone; if I suddenly had a friend in New England my parents wouldn't understand. That's the same problem with using Facebook or my standard email. Especially when my parents still run random checks on me. They may not think that I'm possessed but they don't trust me worth a damn.”

“Yeah, I know,” the warlock said. “It's not your fault. And this is plenty. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking with that stupid ritual. I was just worried that you didn't feel the same.”

“Well, I do. And this is better than email or a phone call. As much as I'd like to hear your voice in person, I can't do this from California,” Chase replied before pulling the teen into another heated kiss.


(02/22/2005)

The dream flickered around Caleb as he ground against his boyfriend, his fingers tight on Chase's hips. But the other teen just pulled him closer, throwing back his head and moaning loudly. He rocked up into the warlock and lightning crackled outside the windows as Caleb buried his face in Chase's neck and then came with a gasp.

“Fuck,” the teen groaned, flopping over onto his side when he could think again. “Fuck, I love you.”

Caleb didn't realize what he'd said at first. The warlock had thought these words often enough that he'd honestly forgotten that he hadn't said them yet. Because his relationship with Chase had only gotten better since his confession; the teens still talked for hours, Chase was still his best friend - they just also had sex too.

Indeed, Caleb had quickly decided that kissing the other warlock was one of his favorite things to do. He loved touching Chase, loved stripping him out of his clothes and finding every place that made his boyfriend arch or moan. The teen wanted to know everything and if he still woke hard and aching sometimes, jerking himself off didn't seem so lonely anymore.

Honestly, loving Chase felt as natural as breathing, and it was only a matter of time before the words slipped out. Caleb was in love, he was getting laid, and he was happier than he could remember being in a long, long time and it had never occurred to him that his boyfriend might not feel the same.

At least not until Chase stiffened sharply next to him.

“You love me?” the other warlock asked. “Like, 100% in love, full romance happy ending? Spending the rest of our lives together, full stop and wedding bells?”

“Well, I mean, I guess so. We're a little a young to get married but the rest of it sounds right,” Caleb told him. He didn't understand this reaction. Chase didn't look happy or angry; he just seemed baffled by the thought of love at all.

“So you... you love me?” Chase repeated and Caleb was starting to get really worried now.

“I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it,” the warlock replied. “But I don't... you don't... you don't have to feel the same.”

“Fuck, Caleb. I don't know. You're my best friend and I care about you. But... shit... I'm just, you know that I'm fucked up,” the other teen said, his face twisting painfully. “I think I might. I think I could, maybe?”

Chase's confusion only made Caleb feel worse, a cold chill washing over his body as a horde of doubts screamed awake inside his mind. Maybe Chase had only wanted to have sex with someone easy. Or worse, much worse, maybe Chase had only kissed him back to make him happy; their few fights had been awful since they were still stuck together almost every evening and Chase often said that Caleb was the only real friend he'd ever had. Maybe that friendship had been worth the cost to him.

“We don't have to do this; you do know that, right?” the warlock asked, fighting down a wave of nausea. You could fake anything in dreams if you concentrated hard enough and the thought that Chase had been forcing himself to do this was enough to make him sick. “I can't say that I don't want you, you know I do, but I'd still be your friend, no matter what. I could... I could manage if I had to...”

Caleb started to pull away, trying to put some distance between them so that Chase wouldn't feel too crowded. The last thing he wanted was to make the other teen uncomfortable. But before he could get too far, Chase grabbed his arm.

“Shit, no. Caleb, that's not what I meant,” the other warlock said. “If I love anyone, it's you. I don't doubt that. And I definitely want to sleep with you; I do. You just surprised me. I mean... I always figured you'd have some fun and then go on to better things. I never thought that you might want to stay with me. I'm not even sure what love should feel like – I know that I don't want you hurt or sad or angry, but I don't know if that's the same. I don't want you to waste your life on someone who's never sure.”

“I'm not some kind of expert, Chase. I don't think that there's an answer,” Caleb told him softly. The teen would like to believe Chase but now that his worries had been awakened, they weren't silenced easily. “I said I loved you because I do. Because I think you're smart and gorgeous and amazing and I want us to be together. But I want you to be happy more. Please don't do something that you don't want to for my sake.”

“I'm not, I promise. And if that's love then I guess I love you too,” Chase replied. “Because your happiness... our happiness together is all I want as well. I love you, Caleb, and if you're dumb enough to love me back then I'm dumb enough to mean it, okay?”

“I guess. Just, are you sure?” the warlock asked. “I need you to be sure.”

“I am. I really am,” the other teen replied. His expression was almost wondering and Caleb couldn't keep protesting after that. So he went when Chase tugged him closer to wrap him in his arms. “Seriously, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to freak you out. But I love you, okay? I love you and I want this. Please believe me now.”

And Caleb did. He didn't think that Chase was lying, not on purpose anyway. But every once in a while the warlock would look at his boyfriend and wonder how long this dream could last.


Part III