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"I got it, Chief!" Jim shouted. He was on his feet, candy bowl in hand. With a devilish grin he swung it open just before the fist hit the door. Startled the kids looked up at him with big, round eyes. All except the one nearest the door, he only had one big round eye, the other was covered by a big black patch. A stuffed parrot listed drunkenly on his shoulder and the plastic hook on his hand fell off. "Pirates, eh?" Jim said. "You here for the gold?"

This seemed to revive the little raiding group, there were several Trick or Treats and a half a dozen small hands shoved into the bowl. They left with their booty, happy and maybe a bit freaked out. Jim watched them go, chuckling softly at the memories of similar nights in his own past

"How many?" Sandburg called from his room.

"Six this time."

"Not bad."

Jim settled back onto the couch, muted TV flashing eerie blue/gray light across his features. He propped his feet on the coffee table and dug a hand into the candy filled bowl he'd made for his own enjoyment.


Captain James Ellison closed his eyes in resignation. He didn't need the spyglass to make out the markings, nor did the men at his back. They too were seasoned veterans and knew just as well as he that they were in deep trouble.


James steeled himself, back straight and expression grim. When he turned to his men it was with determination written on his face. "Pirates," he said and the unease of moments earlier settled into a feral smile. "It seems we have something they want. All hands to their stations. This is war!!"


"Coming!" Ellison said and untangled himself from the nest he'd built for watching scary movies and drowsing. Pillows tumbled to the floor in his wake but Jim got to the door before his visitors could become discouraged.

"Trick or Treat?" A chorus of small girls shrilled at him.

"Wow! It really is a small world after all." He held the bowl out and the princess, Cinderella, daintily retrieved a piece of candy. She gestured to Belle and Pocahontas who followed suite. With a final majestic wave, the trio disappeared in the search for more candy.

"Three more, Sandburg," Jim shouted and smiled at the answering mutter from his roommate's vicinity. He collected his pillows, crammed his back against the corner of the couch so no one could sneak up on him and went back to the pleasant lethagry he'd been enjoying. He kept one eye on the Creature Feature playing on the local station and the other seemed to droop back into some kind of a limbo state.


Thorns tore the flesh of his arms and still James struggled onward. He carved his own trail, marking it with crimson drops of blood but at length the ordeal ended and his goal emerged into view. The castle stood just inside the deadly ring of thorns, and the first thing Prince James notice was the complete lack of life. Not a soul stirred, no insect, not even a leaf on a tree moved. He stepped deeper into the shadow of the walls, pausing often to stare in wonder at the people barely visible under layers of dust. So the old stories were true. An enchantment had been laid on this kingdom and all those within fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep. James proceeded though the great hall, and up the grand staircase. At the top he turned and found his way to the chamber he knew would be in the highest turret in the farthest corner. He climbed and climbed and at last entered the still room at the very crown of the castle.

Sunlight streamed through the window and though the entire palace lay amid filth and dust this one object sparkled like diamonds. James moved silently forward, eyes locked upon the crystal casket which dazzled his eyes. Inside, glowing with life, yet utterly still, lay the most exquisite creature he had ever laid eyes upon. Slowly, as if being too swift might somehow damage his treasure James removed the lid and bent to kiss the feather soft lips.

This time the knock came twice before Jim could get to the door. He threw it open only to recoil in fear. "Trick or Treat?" The hellish faces screamed at him. Count Dracula sucked up a fist full of candy then disappeared into a mist. Frankenstein seized his own share before lumbering away while the mummy had problems getting his gauze wrapped hand into the bowl. Jim dumped a handful into the sack and closed the door. He leaned against it, eyeing the dwindling candy with a miserable glare. If this kept up he'd have to kick in some of his own personal stash. He checked his Butterfinger sack, the Milk Duds and M&Ms and decided he could leave the lights on for another half hour. On the TV screen a ghost was gibbering wildly and a blond woman screaming. Jim cuddled his pillow to his chest, just in case he needed the protection it provided and waited for his next visitor.


The bag bumped heavily against his thigh and the wind had changed from a breeze to a gale but James continued on. He must, there was no other way but to climb the path and face Evil where it waited. Stray shafts of sunlight freed occasionally from the gray clouds scuttling overhead, washed over him. He prayed he would not be too late, if he were then they would all perish this night. Another torturous hour and the ruins came into view. James felt a weight lift from his heart, he fingered the small crucifix within his pocket and quickened his pace. A heavy gate had once stood sentry at the property line but like everything else it had fallen into a state of decay.

James shoved his way passed the rusted gate and fought his way through the overgrown tangle of weeds. He could see the door, the rotting remains of the once grand castle entrance. His booted foot struck the wood a might blow, sending it crashing back against the wall. Dust billowed out like smoke and tore the air from his lungs but still he preserved. He knew the way, had traveled it a million time in his thoughts. Now he found the crumbling staircase which spiraled down, down, down into the very bowels of the castle. Here only the smallest rays of light made their way and James relied on the extraordinary gift of his own eyesight to find the lair of the beast. He spotted the box partially hidden beneath discarded furnishings and moved swiftly towards it.

A sound just behind him made James turn and his mouth opened in horror. A thing, wrapped in its death cloth and carrying the putrid stench its grave lurched at him from the shadows. Its outstretched hand and dragging foot forced him back. James looked to the left for a way to escape but another form loomed from that direction. Seven feet tall, it bore the scars of surgery across its face. Bolts protruded from its thick neck and James could not begin to comprehend the hellish reason for these. "We meet again, Mr. Van Ellison, and for the last time" a lugubrious voice sighed in his ear. James turned and knew he had lost.


"Hey, Jim," Blair's voice seemed to call from far away, "you got any of that candy left?"

Ellison roused himself a little, stretching, "you gotta have a costume, chief, if you want a Treat." He thought he heard an evil chuckle, but it faded into a magical, lyrical sound that sent him back into the warm and welcoming world of his dreams.


James caught a glimpse of the fey creature between the trees. "Wait!," he called but the beautiful thing fled. James gave chase, his long legs eating the hard packed ground, his hooves drumming the earth until it shook. "Wait," he called again but to no avail. He ran as fast as powerful legs would carry him, thanking the gods he was a centaur and vowing he would sacrifice the largest goat he could find if they would allow him to capture the elf who had stolen his heart.

Ahead he saw his quarry slowing, winded by the distance they had covered. James put on a final burst of speed and succeeded in chasing the elf into a sheltered glen. Mountains rose on two sides, the river raged on the third and he stood guard on the fourth. Trapped, the elf realized his folly at once and a look of terror grew in its deep blue eyes. "Don't be afraid," James called. He moved slowly forward, watched by wary eyes. "I won't hurt you, I love you." He neared the elf, breathing in the musty scent pouring off its lithe body. Brown curls tumbled around its beautiful face and lips like ripe cherry beckoned James' mouth. He moved closer, bolstered by the stillness of the other. "I won't hurt you," he repeated and touched one surprisingly muscled arm.

"Yeah? What's to stop me from hurting you?" The elf dodged his grasp, leaped high into the air and landed squarely on James' back. Strong hands clamped on his ears and jerked his head back. "Giddyup!" The elf screamed and James crashed to his knees.


"Holy hell, Jim!" Blair gasped into his face, "are you trying to give me a heart attack?"

Jim opened his eyes and saw that he was lying on the floor, wedged between the couch and the coffee table. His candy bowl had overturned and smashed chocolate stuck to his shoulders like mutant dandruff, the pillows were strewn over the living room like autumn leaves and Blair's eyes were as big as plates. "What happened?" He slurred through the memory of his elfish punishment.

"I just touched your head," Blair said as he settled astride Jim's belly. "You screamed and threw yourself under the table." His position, so closely mirroring the elf's, made Jim shivered with desire.

"Sorry. I was dreaming."

"Oh, yeah?" Blair asked with interest. "About what?"

Jim swallowed hard, blinking up at Sandburg. Was it his imagination or were the kid's ears - pointed? "Y-you," Jim stammered. He reached up and touched the soft shell of his partner's ear, fingering the lobe before running his fingertip around the inside. Blair groaned and seemed to melt. He pressed his own chest to Jim's, head thrown back and mouth agape. Jim felt himself harden like lead and groaned as the jolt of desire flared between them.

"What, Jim? What did you dream?" Blair asked in a half whisper, half growl. He ground his hips into Jim's erection, thighs clamping like a vice around Jim's.

"I dreamed," Jim panted, "I dreamed you were an - elf." He raised his head, using his hands to bring the sexy ears within reach. Sandburg pulled out of his grip so fast he left hair between Jim's fingers.

"An elf? Do I look like a fucking elf to you?" The demonic glow in his eyes actually made him look like a satanic satyr but Jim wisely held his mouth.

"Then what's with the ears?"

Blair shot him an unbelieving look, shook his head and sighed. "Vulcan ears, Jim. Live long and prosper, you know?" He made to get up but Jim stopped him with a strong grip on his arm.

"Hey, what about IDIC?"

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination?"

"Nope," Jim grinned up at him, "Infinite Dick in Infinite Copulation." He captured his fey companion in something akin to a Vulcan Death Grip and not even the continued knocking on the loft door could make him break it.