Author's Note – This is more an introduction than an actual 'story'...  The characters and situations in this, however, belong exclusively to myself and darthelwig.  Anyone stealing from us will be used as target practice.  I'll stand three feet away, and because I'm such a poor shot I'll miss everything vital and just have to keep hitting you and hitting you...

What No One Knows

by Ghost Helwig

     What no one knew was how beautiful it was to her.  Huck and Pol, so alike in so many ways, so different in others...

     Pol read in bed, sonnets and novels and anything else he could get his hands on.  He would read anything, and he read so quickly that even though his time in bed was usually not allowed to include much reading a book of his rarely stayed on the nightstand for longer than three consecutive nights.

     Huck was different – but then, Huck was always different, from everyone, even when he felt he was being utterly normal, even boring.  His tastes changed rapidly, and the things he took to bed changed accordingly, from books of Braille that he was determined to learn to read even though his eyesight was impeccable to the needlepoint he'd taught himself one very bored afternoon to coloring books and crayons that he occasionally enjoyed for no reason he could name (Ali suspected that it was part of having lost out on so much of his childhood, but she knew better than to say so aloud).  The only constant he brought with him was whatever notebook he was currently drawing on and writing in.

     Alasen herself never brought anything to bed, because she never went there before she intended to sleep or make love with her husbands.  The energy inherited from both her parents disallowed most activity that could be accomplished sitting quietly in a bed.  It was just a part of her and her family, that seemingly limitless energy, that tirelessness - even her stoic older brother David had been chastised in school for being too energetic.  So when she went to bed, she was either utterly wrung out and exhausted, or hyped up and wanting.

     Usually, it was the latter.

     And when she walked into the bedroom both boys – men, really, though she never called them that; that would require seeing herself as a woman, and even at twenty-three that was something she could not do – would look up, look at her.  Then they would put their things away on opposite sides of the bed, while she wondered how she had survived so long without both of them.

     She'd loved Huck first, that was true – and even now, while deeply in love with them both, Huck's pull went just that slightest bit deeper, because it was just that much older.  She would have chastised herself for it, except that she knew Pol felt the same way about Huck.  She suspected that it wasn't even that they had both loved him longer, loved him first – there was just something about him that dragged one in, made one care and need and exalt in his presence...

     Not that saying so to him would be a good thing.  Oh no.  Lovers' flattery was all well and good, but Huck would know the difference between true words said in heat and words that were just true, and thinking such things of him was guaranteed to make him freak.  But that was part of his charm, and part of the reason everyone was so unshakably loyal to him...

     But that, in a nutshell, was why Ali knew that of all those who'd loved Huck, and many had, she and Pol were the only ones truly good for him.

     They weren't just loyal to the man who commanded and comforted, who led people into battle using only his self as a shield, who knew just what to do or say when to have the best effect.  They were loyal to the boy who sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve like the child he'd never really been allowed to be, who giggled uproariously at jokes that weren't funny because the irony that they'd still been said amused him, whose brain could understand and decipher even the most perplexing and complex of riddles but still could not seem to help him tie a tie without choking himself or cook dinner without setting off some sort of alarm (even, on one memorable occasion, the burglar alarm).  They were loyal to the man-child Huck saw himself as, willing to protect and die for and – most importantly – live for, that beautiful, strange child Huck was within.  If the others saw that boy, he frightened them.  But he simply drew Ali and Pol farther in.

     And their love for Huck brought them even closer together.  When it came to Huck, she and Pol had a shorthand between them that was beginning to bleed into the rest of their lives.  Ali knew that in a few short years, possibly less, it would be developed into an easy, ancient-seeming connection so like their separate connections to Huck but still achingly, deliciously different...

     And then there was Huck and Pol.

     She knew it was supposed to make her jealous.  The way they clung, the way Huck turned his face into Pol's neck whenever he was afraid (and vice versa), the way their eyes burned when they looked at each other – it was supposed to frighten and anger her.  She knew that.  But even if she hadn't been possessed of a supernaturally secure nature (that she had earned through her own loss of childhood) Huck and Pol's insane, desperate need for each other would never have upset her.  But then, everyone else only saw what they were allowed to see of the two boys.  She saw this:

     Clutching hands glued to each other.  Wet mouths sliding along skin only to return to their chosen ports and drink of each other's sweetness.  Eyes that locked and held and said so much while voices said nothing at all.  Hips that ground together as one, always needing more, wanting more, giving as much as possible.

     This was her world.  Her family.  Her love.  And as much as the real world disallowed such things, they were her husbands still and always.

     These were the things no one knew.

     And that bothered Alasen not at all.