Monday, October 25, 2004
He leaned against a tree across from the school and just stared at the building. He took a long drag off of the cigarette he just lit and blew the smoke out. He appeared calm on the outside, but inside he was longing. Longing for something he no longer had.
He thought back to almost three years ago. He was a happy thirteen year old boy, had lots of friends, was on the track and swimming teams and loved school. His favorite classes were mythology and ancient history. He took another drag off his cigarette as he continued to stare at the building.
Everything changed when he came home from a swim meet one day. He was so excited because they had won and he took first place in the butterfly race that day. He ran into his home to tell his parents and stopped dead in his tracks when his father yelled, "I knew with a son who begged to swim and run he had to be a damn queer. Look what I found in your room." His father threw ear marked magazines at him.
They were sports magazines that he had marked the pages with articles and pictures of his favorite sports stars. Shaking his head he asked his father, "What do you mean? I don't know what you are talking about?" He looked at his magazines lying on the ground by his feet. He went to pick them up and when he bent down, his father kicked him. He went flying sideways onto the floor clutching his side in pain.
"I am allowing three changes of clothes so you better hurry and get your shit and get out of my house. You are no son of mine." He just looked up at the man he adored, the man he loved and couldn't believe what he was hearing. He got up off the floor and when he started to try to talk his father yelled, "Now boy, move it. Go get your stuff and get out." The pain in his heart, when he saw his father turn his back on him, was excruciating. He looked over at his mother who sat there in tears.
He bent down again to pick up his magazines and headed for his room. He pulled out an old duffel bag and threw as many clothes and books into it as he could, including a coat and jacket. His mother walked in while he was packing and cried, "I tried to talk to him. I tried to tell him they are your idols, your heroes. He wouldn't listen. I couldn't change his mind. I am so sorry." She handed him a handful of twenties and hugged her only son tight.
He hugged her back, crying and told her, "I don't understand. What did I do wrong? I didn't do anything wrong mom. I don't even know what a queer is."
She held onto him and told him, "A queer is a boy who looks at other boys; a boy who loves other boys instead of girls. Do you?"
He just looked up at her in shock, "What, no…"
She shushed him and told him that he'd better get moving before his father really hurt him. He asked "How can he hurt me more that he already has? I love you mom." He let her go and walked out of the house.
Shaking himself from the memory he took another drag off the cigarette. He chuckled every time he thought of that day. He thought, 'I may not have know about it then, but I sure do now. And the thing is; now I know that I enjoy both. It doesn't matter to me as long as it makes me enough money to eat.'
He took another drag and then put the cigarette out, crushing it under his shoe. He looked at the crushed cigarette and was thankful that he didn't have to buy them, so many people just left half packs lying around and he wasn't picky.
Thinking back again, he thought how he wasn't even able to finish school that year. He knew that if he went back to school he would be ridiculed. His clothes were filthy. He couldn't always get himself clean. He lost his home, his friends, everything. He was just making it day by day and now he had another person to try to take care of. He wasn't going to let Therin go through what he did. He was going to make enough money to keep him off the streets.
Just then, he saw Therin walk out of the school and walk towards him. "Hey Renaud, I got a surprise for you." Therin set his book bag down and pulled out the new history book. "I thought you might like to read this with me." Therin held the book up; Renaud looked at it and smiled at the younger boy.
Ruffling his dark brown hair Renaud smiled "You bet buddy. We'll look at it when we get home. Let's head out, we have a long walk."
Therin smiled up at Renaud, put the book back into his book bag and they started to walk. They heard laughter and turned around and saw the Sabre boys get into a Jeep. Renaud knew them from school. Even though he was almost three years older than Jackie, everyone knew the Sabre boys.
At the UNIT Base, Utah
Jeremy and Tyler were both wondering why Logan would ask to talk to them alone. It was Monday, early afternoon, and they had just gotten back from Orlando earlier in the day. They were all not only looking around the new base that was designed for them, but also dealing with all the people calling for help from the Clan, and the UNIT. Now though, instead of being out there and helping with the rescues, both Jeremy and Tyler were going to a meeting with Logan.
Both boys couldn't help but remember the day that the UNIT saved them from the 'children's home' they were living in, and since that point, both boys had been doing things they only ever dreamed of. Jeremy still missed his dad, and still had nightmares from the time he spent in jail, but things were getting better for him.
When they found Logan, neither Jeremy nor Tyler were surprised to see him working on a computer system. Spread all around him were pieces and parts of other systems, and only he and God knew what the heck he was trying to do.
"Oh, hey guys!" Logan said looking up from the computer screen. "Come on in, and thanks for coming." He pointed them to a love seat that was surprisingly clear of any computer debris. Once they were seated, Logan pushed a few keys on his keyboard and the huge monitor on the back wall lit up with the faces of three boys, brothers actually. "I need you guys for a specific mission. A lot of what you guys are gonna be doing, is going to call on people who can think on the fly and really work without much back up. When I talked to Adam about it, he suggested you guys, and I couldn't have agreed more. What we are going to ask you guys to do, and by the way... this is a request, not an order, but anyways,what we would like you guys to do is go to Louisiana, and watch out for three brothers. The tricky part is, we don't want the brothers to know who, and more importantly what, you are."
"Why not?" Jeremy asked, confusion written all over his face. "I mean, I get the whole 'watching out' for them thing, but them not knowing who we are, makes that difficult; you know what I mean?"
Logan was nodding and when Jeremy finished, Logan took back up. "I understand that, and that's why Adam and I wanted you two. We know this won't be easy, and we both think you two would be the best ones to be able to pull it off. As to why we want you to remain hidden, that's a bit tricky. See, the boys will eventually become an important part of the Clan, and even have a lot to do with the UNIT. They just don't know it yet. The problem is, there're a few things that could happen over the next week or so that could really hurt them. So, I want you guys to go and do what you can to protect them."
Jeremy and Tyler looked at each other for a few moments before Jeremy looked back to Logan and sighed. "I'm not even going to ask how you know any of that..."
Logan cut in with a soft 'thanks' before letting Jeremy continue.
"You know, going into something like this, essentially blind, ain't a good thing right?" Jeremy wasn't pissed or upset or anything, simply making a point.
"Yeah, I know, which is again why we wanted you two." Logan simply stated.
Jeremy took a few moments, deep in thought, while staring at the pictures of the three boys on the wall behind Logan. After a few moments, Tyler was the one who spoke up. "So what are our rules of engagement?"
Logan smiled softly as he sat back in his chair. He hadn't even realized he was leaning forward in anticipation. "Well, obviously we want you to try and keep your cover at all times. There is a small house on the land that the boy's mother owns, that would work perfectly for you guys. I have Daileass working on school records for you guys, so you can be at school with them. The middle brother is eleven, just like you guys. So you will be in the same classes as Talon. Due to special circumstances, there may be a few schedule changes. Daileass will be making all the school arrangements. I would suggest, if you find people that you think would fit, recruit them to help. Once the brothers are part of the Clan, the people you recruit might be able to become part of the Clan as well, who knows."
Both Jeremy and Tyler were nodding, churning this over in their minds. Over the next thirty minutes, they asked questions, and Logan answered as best he could. When they had a good enough handle on things, the two boys went back to their rooms to pack what they needed. 'You think we can do this?' Tyler asked Jeremy in his head while they were walking. Since meeting the kids in Orlando, and being taught how to use his mental abilities, Tyler had been practicing with his telepathy as much as he could.
'Yeah I think we can, and to be honest, I think this could be a lot of fun.' Jeremy thought back to Tyler.
Back in Louisiana:
As both boys were walking, Therin started to talk,"Every day when I see Talon, I wonder what he would think if he knew we were staying in one of the houses on their plantation." Therin mumbled.
Renaud looked down at Therin. He saw trusting, hazel eyes looking up at him. Renaud reached over and brushed the bangs hanging in Therin's eyes out of the way to better see them. "They won't say anything because they won't find out. Don't worry about it, with almost four thousand acres; one old slave house isn't going to make a difference to them."
Therin looked up at Renaud, not sure he was right, but he knew they needed a place to sleep.
"Come on, let's stop and see if we can get something to eat to take with us." Renaud took Therin's hand as they walked away from the school.
They stopped at a gas station on the way out of the main part of the parish and Therin was looking at the few sandwiches left in the cooler. Renaud grabbed him some chips and bottled water. They put the food on the counter and after the clerk rang everything up, Renaud paid for it. He looked at what he had left and knew he needed to get some more money soon. The way the clerk looked at the money clearly showed he wasn't sure he wanted to touch the money at all. He looked at the boy and all he could see was a wasted life. He didn't know what their story was; he only knew they came in everyday after school to get food and water. The clerk noticed scars on the older boy's lips and noticed that his fingers looked so thin that he thought he could almost see the bones.
Therin took the bag with the two sandwiches while Renaud took the bag with the water in it and they left the store. "Are you going to stay home tonight Renaud?" Therin asked while they walked.
"No buddy, I gotta make us some money. Gotta eat, ya know."
"But I don't want to be alone at night anymore. You're not eating either. When was the last time you ate dinner with me Renaud?" Therin said, while trying not to start crying.
"Uhm, I really don't remember. Didn't we eat last night?" Renaud asked.
"No, I ate, you went out last night. Can't you stay with me tonight?" Therin looked up at Renaud.
Looking down at Therin, he said "I can't. You got homework. You do your homework and when I get back I'll read some in the history book you brought. Okay?"
"Okay. Be careful Renaud,you are like a brother to me." Therin said as he grabbed onto Renaud to give him a hug.
Renaud hugged him back, "you too lil' bro, you too. Now, stay outta sight and do your homework. I don't want you to end up like me. Livin' on the streets ain't cool."
"Yeah, well, it isn't like I had much choice when my step mom threw me out after my dad died. Where else was I going to go? I don't know where I would be if you hadn't protected me." Therin looked up into the darkest brown eyes he ever saw. They were such a dark brown that they looked black sometimes.
Renaud gave Therin a quick hug and said, "Go on and get inside and eat. I'll be back later tonight sometime."
Therin looked down and sadly mumbled, "Okay, I'll see you in the morning."
Back at the UNIT Base:
Almost two hours later, Jeremy and Tyler were all packed and ready to go. They made sure to bring all of their smaller weapons, as they would have to be stealthy. As far as clothing goes, they made sure to grab enough stuff, and in style enough, so they could fit in at the school. Of course, Daileass had just had the Federation Transporter installed, so getting there and back, and getting them more supplies was not an issue.
To be undercover, they also decided to change their appearance. Jeremy took the time to change his hair color to black and got gray contacts to change his eye color. He wanted to look like Adam. Tyler couldn't do much to change his appearance; he was able to get deep blue contacts to change his eye color though.
When they transported in, Tyler immediately held up his hand and clenched it into a fist; the sign for those around to stop. Jeremy froze and looked at Tyler with a question. Before Tyler could answer, Jeremy heard voices coming from the front of the building they had transported behind. "Go on and get inside and eat. I'll be back later tonight sometime." They heard an older boy say to someone.
When they heard an obviously younger boy respond, things became a little clearer to them. "Okay, I'll see you in the morning." It was the way he said it, both boys could tell that the kid was close to tears, as he turned, opened a door, and walked inside. Both Jeremy and Tyler both heard the older boy walk away.
Even though Jeremy was technically in charge, Tyler motioned that he would follow the older boy, while Jeremy should look after the younger one. They would each figure out what was going on, and why they were living in the slave building.
Therin took the bags of food, turned around and walked into the old slave house. He tried not to cry but a tear or two slid down his check. He looked around the small cabin. The walls were covered with old newspapers to try to insulate the home. It had two rooms. The one Therin entered had an old wooden table with two long bench seats, one on each side of the table. The wall dividing the two rooms had a fireplace that had an old cooking grate in it. Off to the right was a doorway, with no door, that led to the only bedroom. At some time, a small bathroom was installed. It had a toilet with a pull chain on it; the tank was on the wall. Next to it was an old sink with a pump handle. Attached to the faucet opening was a hose, and depending on where you needed to pump water to was where you placed the hose. In the corner was a cast iron tub.
Therin went in and found the area that they hid their sleeping bags, clothes and a battery powered lantern. This building had old wood floors in it and in one corner they found where the floor boards could be pulled up and a hiding space was just underneath. Every morning, they would gather all their belongings and hide them in the hideaway space under the floor boards. Therin pulled up the boards and set about setting up their sleeping area. He also set the lantern on the table so he could do his homework and read later. He went in and pumped water into the tub so he could at least feel clean. They didn't have any soap, but he insisted on using an old t-shirt and cleaned himself the best he could in the water. As soon as he was done he put on a pair of shorts and went into the main room and started on his homework and ate his meager meal.
Jeremy had snuck up close to the slave house to monitor what Therin was doing inside. Listening to him moving around, he could tell that the living conditions were very primitive. He walked around the outside and found a small window. It didn't have any glass in it, just an old worn out piece of cloth to cover it. Jeremy saw Therin pull both boys belongings out from under the floor boards and had to smile. Thinking to himself, 'So that is how they are living here and haven't been discovered yet.'
While Therin was taking care of himself, Renaud was making his way back towards town. During the walk he was trying to figure out how many johns he would need to service to make enough money to get Therin more food, and he needed to get more coke. He knew he couldn't make it through the night without a joint or two and some coke to forget the humiliation and pain. Running his hand through his hair he thought, 'I just gotta make it through the night. I gotta make enough. Therin has to stay in school. At least this school year is paid for'.
He kept walking until he found his dealer. He had just enough money left over from when he sold his mothers rings for a few joints to get high enough to sell himself. He hated this life, hated living on the streets, hated that he broke into his own home and stole his mother's rings just to try to survive and despised his father and his beliefs.
"Hey Junya, wat you lookin fer tonight?" the man asked, while never looking at Renaud.
"Needin a quarter J, or mayhap dat banano you mix. Needin a ju-ju man." Renaud replied, looking in the other direction, while leaning up against the building.
"Dat gunna cause you dirty for the banano," the man stated. Then he looked over at Renaud with a smirk on his face, walked over to Renaud and grabbed his crotch, "You's chock a block though, be willin to give you da half to make your ju-ju for some a dis though an tan dollars. I been wantin to get me hands on dis whilst slammin my meat in dat purty lil white ass of youruns." He leaned in while rubbing Renaud, whispering in his ear, "Whatchya say Junya, yous gunna let me play wich you."
This was the same game they went through every time Renaud saw the man. But at least he got what he needed cheap. Renaud knew he only had ten dollars left, he swallowed and nodded. "Yah, but I gets the banano up front, I ain't crazy. No piece up front wid out de product."
The man nodded, motioned for a young boy to get the product and took Renaud around the corner, into the alley. The boy came back with a half ounce baggie and Renaud opened it and sniffed. He scrunched up his nose, "Smells like yous tryin to give me bammies, not a good play, ah."
The man grabbed the boy and slapped him across the head. "Bring me the good un childe. No games wid my best customer, here."
The boy stuffed back his tears and ran off to get the better quality stuff. When he got back, Renaud sniffed it and stuffed the bag in his pocket. He pulled out the ten dollars he had and gave it to the man. Smiling, he pulled his pants down and placed his hands on the wall, his bangs fell over his eyes so the man couldn't see the disgust and pain in his eyes. He felt so low, so dirty. What he just bought would help dull the pain, not only in his body, but in his mind.
He always blocked out the feeling of anybody using him this way, the hands on his body, having some man's penis slamming in and out of him or some woman ridding him, he didn't even remember cumming. He knew when it was over with though, and he reached down and pulled his pants back up. He put his best smile on his face and turned around. "Always good doin business wid you." With that, Renaud walked away. As he was leaving he heard the man yell, "Spark it up Junya." Renaud kept walking.
Tyler really had to hold himself back from stopping Renaud from buying the drugs and he so wanted to stop what Renaud was doing to get them. He also made a mental note to come back and rescue the boy working for the drug dealer, and finding out how many others there were. Tyler knew he just had to follow and learn right now. It was so frustrating to hear Renaud's thoughts, and to know the pain he was going through to do everything he could to keep him and Therin alive. Tyler was impressed with knowing that it was Therin first and foremost in the boys mind; making sure that Therin was safe, had enough food, clean clothes and got to school every day. Right now he could hear Renaud thoughts and how dirty he felt and him being thankful that Therin didn't know anything about this part of living on the streets.
When Renaud got to a gas station, he slipped into the men's room and went into the toilet stall. He pulled his pants and underwear back down and sat. He cleaned himself up the best he could. He got real good at rolling his joints while sitting on the toilet. He rolled four and lit one. Inhaling, he relished the rush of the marijuana laced with coke feeling as the smoke filled his lungs and the numbing effect started to take over a little at a time with each inhale. After about four deep inhales, he put the joint out. He needed to save as much as he could. He put the joints into the baggie and tucked it into a pouch that he sewed into his underwear, right under where his balls rested. He placed the one joint that he already smoked part of in the front pocket of his jeans, knowing he would need it before the night was over.
He pulled himself together, stepped out of the stall and washed his face and hands. Leaving the restroom he started to walk around looking and waiting for his next john.
While Renaud was walking around, Therin had finished his homework and walked into the next room. He filled the tub with water; it always took time as he had to stop a lot while working the pump handle to get enough water to fill the tub. He did this every night so the water would be at room temperature for when Renaud came home. When he was done, he set another scrap piece of t-shirt by the tub then went into the bedroom and set out the two sleeping bags.
Therin went and sat outside, just staring off into the distance. He never knew that Jeremy was at the side of the house watching and listening, keeping him safe. He loved the way the moss hung from the trees and the look of green on the water. He knew that the water wasn't green but had a coating of tiny seeds that the ducks ate. To some it gave the swamp and eerie feeling, to Therin it calmed him and gave him a sense that he was transported to another world, where he was safe. He started to think, 'home. What was home?' He felt a tear run down his cheek and brushed it away.
He thought about all the times his dad would come home from work and pick him up and hug him. All the weekends that they went to the park and his dad played catch with him, or they threw a football around and his dad would pretend to tackle him and then start tickling him when he was little. Then his dad met his step mom and the fighting started whenever his dad wanted to spend time with him. His step mom felt he was too old for those childish games. Now that he didn't even have his home, he now knew that she was only after his father's money and that he was just in her way.
He glanced behind him and thought of the home he had now. It wasn't perfect. He didn't have a comfortable bed, television, computer, games, electricity, running hot and cold water and so many other comforts of a home, but he had love here. He thought back to the night Renaud found him crying, scared, and hugging his back pack with his books and duffel bag that he threw a bunch of clothes in, hiding behind a dumpster in an alley. He didn't know where to go or what to do. He had stopped at one of his friend's homes to be told he couldn't stay there. So he wandered aimlessly for hours, scared and hungry. Then this older boy knelt down in front of him and told him everything was going to be alright, that he was going to take care of him. Now he was here, in this old home. He was worried about Renaud. He didn't understand where his friend, who he now thought of as an older brother, went every night. Late at night he could hear him crying. Therin sighed and just stared into the swamp.
Renaud was getting upset. It was getting harder to make money now that he was older. When he was fourteen the men loved him, and so did a few women. He had good money coming in. Now that he was sixteen and just two months shy of turning seventeen on January seventh, he was too old. It had been hours now, and he only made twenty bucks giving some man a blow job. He was no longer desirable to the men who liked boys, because he no longer looked like a little boy. The streets made him look older and harder. And the men and women, who were looking for a man, wouldn't touch him since they knew he was still a boy, not of 'legal age', like what he was doing was legal anyways. Sighing, he knew he had to get some money or they wouldn't eat. He lit the joint he had put into his pocket earlier and took a long inhale.
Tyler was silently watching him and could tell he was getting desperate. All of a sudden Tyler stood up straight up and touched the communicator in his ear. Mouthing the words, "Daileass, I need Adam here now. I got a problem I am going to need his help with."
"Contacting Adam now bro. He is on his way and should be there, umm, right about…..now."
Right then Tyler saw Adam transport in right behind him, "Thanks Daileass."
Hearing a giggle in his earpiece, "That is what I am here for."
"So, what is the emergency Tyler," Adam whispered as he walked up to Tyler.
"He is going to rob that woman and I can't break my cover. He is so lost Adam and we need to help him." Tyler whispered with a sound of urgency and desperation in his voice. "Let me show you why."
Adam nodded and Tyler sent everything he had seen and learned about Renaud to Adam.
After Adam processed everything he learned, they both saw Renaud move.
Looking at what he thought of as nothing he saw an opportunity. There, a lone woman getting money from an ATM. Renaud watched her while she was at the machine pushing all the necessary buttons and finally receiving the money she requested. Feeling desperate, he moved to do something he swore he would never do. Pulling his switchblade from his pocket, he snuck up behind her as she was getting into to her car. His arm wrapped around her and he placed the knife to her throat. "Just give me the money and you won't be hurt."
He could feel her stiffen in his arms. He saw her nod and as she started to slowly move her hand to get the money they both froze. They both heard the sound of a gun being cocked. The woman started to cry. She now believed she was going to die, until she heard, "Drop the knife and let the woman go. Do it now!" in a very young yet very firm voice that said he knew how to use the weapon in his hand.
Renaud froze as he felt the barrel of the weapon at the back of his head. He slowly moved his hand with the knife in it away from the woman's throat. He didn't want to hurt her, he just wanted the money. He dropped the knife and slowly let his grip on the woman loosen.
"Go on lady, get in your car and get outta here. No one wants you hurt." The boy told her.
She opened her car door and got in. She took one quick glance and noticed it was her own son who had held a knife to her throat. She reached into her purse and threw the money out the car window and drove off. Renaud didn't even realize who he had grabbed until that moment. He didn't move to retrieve the money. He stood there with a barrel of a gun to the back of his head. "What now? You gunna shoot me or you gunna let me go?"
He felt the barrel lower and heard the distinct click of the hammer going back into place. He slowly started to turn and couldn't believe he was looking at a small, fourteen year old boy with long black hair and bright gray eyes who was staring at him. His first thought was, I can take this kid and he took a swing that never connected. He went after the boy with a vengeance, and not one punch or kick landed on the boy. Before he knew it he was on the ground with his arm twisted behind his back and his face in the ground.
"Are you done? I sure hope so because I've got a few things I need to talk to you about," the boy said harshly by his ear.
Renaud nodded, thinking, 'when he lets me up I am going to kick his ass but good'.
The boy moved back and Renaud moved to kick the boy. The boy jumped back, just shaking his head. "You know, if you weren't so high you just might have half a chance at kicking my ass." As the boy reached down and grabbed Renaud by his shirt, and hauled him up off the ground as if he weighed nothing. He lifted the boy slightly off the ground and said,"As it stands right now, you couldn't fight your way out of a brown paper sack. How are you going to protect Therin like this? What about him?" He gave Renaud a slight shake, "Are you done fighting and ready to listen?"
Renaud looked down at the boy and nodded his head. He was done. He knew the boy was right. Breaking down in tears he crumbled to the ground when the boy let go.
The boy crouched down in front of Renaud, "You need to go back to the cabin, eat something, get cleaned up and get some sleep. Tomorrow some things are gonna start happening and what you choose to do, will determine what your part in everything will be. But, you've got to want to help yourself and stop feeling so sorry for yourself. You do have a future, and Therin is a main part of that future. I am giving you tonight to think it over. You've got to get yourself cleaned up because in the state you're in right now, you're no help to Therin at all."
Renaud looked into the boys gray eyes and saw understanding and compassion. "You really think I have a future. How? The pain I live with everyday. How do I change my future when I don't have anyone who will give me a chance?"
"I'm giving you that chance. You'll have a chance to do something good with your life; for you, for Therin and for so many other kids that you don't even know yet. But, the choice is yours. It is up to you now, if you take the chance when the time comes." The boy told him.
"Who are you?" Renaud asked.
"For now, all you need to know is that my name is Adam, and if you choose to get clean and take the opportunities that will be presented, we will meet again someday." Adam smiled at the boy, stood up, and walked away.
Renaud watched the boy as he walked away. Then he burst down into tears again. He crawled over to the money his mother threw down onto the ground. He crawled around and picked it up still in tears. Clutching the money in his hand, he sat there and cried until he couldn't cry anymore. He couldn't believe what he just did. The desperation he felt. He replayed the words the boy said to him over and over again. 'Oh my god, Therin.' He got up and relying on his days in track started a fast paced, steady jog back towards the slave home.
Tyler smiled, staying far enough behind the older boy, so as not to be discovered; he started his own fast paced jog and followed Renaud back to the house.
When he got there, he still had the money clutched into his fist. He realized what he had and quickly counted our one hundred and forty dollars. He cried some more. This would keep them going for two weeks if they were smart about it. Making up his mind, he was going to stay at the house with Therin this week instead of going out at night.
When he walked into the house, he saw that Therin left food on the table for him. He smiled at that and broke down into more tears. He couldn't disappoint Therin so he took the time to eat the sandwich and drink the bottle of water. Renaud then walked into the bedroom and looking over to the side saw the tub filled with water. He had to smile again. It was something that Therin did for him every night. Still crying, he got into the tub and cleaned himself up the best he could. He put on the pair of shorts that Therin left out for him, when he was finished he went into the small bedroom.
Looking over at Therin, Renaud did something he never would have done before. He moved his sleeping bag over by Therin, set it up and lay down on top of it, he then pulled Therin over to him and held him. He then broke down into tears all over again and started to whisper, "I am so sorry. I screwed up so bad. I am so sorry. I promised to keep you safe and broke that promise. I can't keep you safe when I am so messed up. I am so sorry." He continued to cry and then he said, "Oh God help us."
Therin tried to turn over but Renaud was holding him so tight, so instead he just patted Renaud's arm and started to whisper back, "It's okay bro. I'm safe and nothing happened to me. Shhh, it's alright." He just said this over and over again until Renaud fell asleep.
While the boys bonded and Renaud cried himself to sleep, Jeremy and Tyler filled each other in on everything that happened. Jeremy smiled when he saw how Adam handled the situation and was glad that Tyler called him for help. They snuck into the cabin and got ready to go to sleep. Jeremy put his finger to his communicator and asked Daileass to wake them in the morning.
It was just after five AM, when Jeremy's communicator started to vibrate. Instantly Jeremy was awake, and looking around. From the other room, he heard the soft snoring of the two boys; he was glad that they were still asleep. He looked around and tried to take stock of what they had there. As he was doing so, a wicked idea formed in his mind. While he and Tyler talked last night, they decided to try and help these kids out. They also decided to reveal themselves and see if these kids would take the help they offered. If worst came to worst, they could always have Daileass transport Therin and Renaud back to Utah and they would have a better life than they had here. But, Jeremy really hoped that they would stick around and help them.
Jeremy silently woke Tyler up, and the two boys moved to the other side of the small house so they could talk without chancing waking the other two boys. Before they went though, Jeremy had Daileass transport in a small camera and microphone so that the AI could keep track of the sleeping boys, and let them know if they woke up suddenly.
"You know Ty, my mean streak is showing through right now." Jeremy said with a grin. "What's the one thing that you love to wake up to the most?" Jeremy asked, and then quickly added when he saw Tyler start to grin. "Besides THAT!"
Both boys laughed silently for a minute, before they got down to work. They had Daileass transport in one of the folding tables that they had at the base, four chairs, and two of the camp stoves that had a large griddle on it. Once they had all that set up, they had Daileass transport in two one gallon containers of milk, a gallon of apple juice, a gallon of orange juice, and just because Jeremy loved it so much, a full pot of coffee with cream and sugar on the side.
Once that was all set up, Daileass sent them four pounds of thick cut bacon, a dozen eggs, and something that David, Jack's husband who ran the kitchens, had whipped up for them, a large bowl of chocolate chip pancake batter as well as two cook aprons and a chef's hat. Trying hard not to laugh too loud, Jeremy started to cook a breakfast that could feed an army. Within two minutes, the smell of cooking bacon was starting to fill the small house. It wouldn't be long before the two boys woke up.
Renaud started to stir and Therin whispered, "That smells like bacon, I must be dreaming." He cuddled in closer to Renaud, not even realizing that he was still being held by Renaud.
As soon as Renaud heard Therin's words, he silently untangled himself from Therin and picked the boy up. He may have felt like he failed him last night but he was going to make sure he protected him today. Renaud carried Therin, sleeping bag and all into the small bathroom and put him in the tub. As soon as Therin looked at him with a question in his eyes, Renaud put his finger over his lips and whispered, "Shh, I am going to check out what is going on. Don't come out until I tell you that it is safe."
Therin just nodded. Renaud reached for his jeans and pulled out his switch blade and crept towards the opening between the bedroom and the only other room in the house. He stood there looking in with complete confusion. He saw two boys that were around the same age as Therin. The one boy setting the table was wearing an apron that said "KISS THE COOK" on it. The boy looked up and smiled at him. Just then the other boy looked over at Renaud, with a smile on his face, a large chef's hat on his head and an apron that said 'Wal-Fart. We smell of less.Always'. Smiling, the boy in the chef's hat said, "Hungry? I sure hope so because we are. There's plenty here, come on out and eat. Oh, and Renaud, could you put that switch blade away, we are not going to hurt you and we are no threat to Therin."
Renaud rubbed his eyes and heard Therin in a loud stage whisper, "Can I come out Renaud? That food smells so good and it is really making me hungry."
"Uhh, yeah. Come on out Therin." Renaud looked over at the two boys. "Care to tell me who you are, how do you know our names, and what are you doing here, cooking none the less."
The boy in the chef's hat smiled, "First, let me finish cooking and then Tyler and I will explain everything to you."
Tyler added, "Jeremy's the one cooking, I'm Tyler. Come on and sit down while I pour you some juice. What kind would you like?"
Just then, Therin peaked around the corner and ran into the room to sit down, "Oh, you have orange juice. I love orange juice."
Renaud caught Therin and stopped him from drinking the juice, what if it was drugged. He whispered to Therin, "Don't drink or eat a thing until they drink and eat it first."
Therin looked up at Renaud totally confused but the trust he had in Renaud won and he followed Renaud's example.
Tyler giggled while he was pouring the orange juice, as he already knew what Therin would want. Tyler then looked over at Renaud, picked up the apple juice and started to pour the juice into a plastic cup, "It really isn't a dream, come on and sit down Renaud. We aren't going to cause you any problems, just give you some options, and pending what you choose is what will happen."
Renaud heard those words from Adam last night. 'Is this what he was talking about?' Renaud slowly walked into the room, followed by Therin and took the glass of juice just as Jeremy started to set the food on the table.
Tyler poured some of each juice into two other glasses, he handed one to Jeremy while he took to other and they both drank, showing the boys that the juices were safe. Jeremy finished setting the food on the table and they both sampled each of the foods. Renaud was satisfied and gave Therin the go ahead.
"Oh wow, chocolate chip pancakes!" Therin started to fill his plate and the next thing you knew, all you saw were two boys who had been starving just start to eat. Jeremy and Tyler followed, a little slower.
They finished eating and before they knew what was happening, all the dishes, the cook stove and utensils disappeared. They were still sitting at the table when Renaud jumped back and yelled, "What the fuck just happened? Where did everything go?"
"Oh, Daileass was just helping to clean up after us so we don't get caught being here." Jeremy answered in a matter of fact tone that said, 'this stuff happens around us all the time'.
Jeremy started, "Well, we have a lot to talk about and not a lot of time to talk. Therin, we're going to be joining you in school today. I'm going to take a chance and confide in the two of you. I'm Second Lieutenant Jeremy Rose and this is my boyfriend Sergeant Tyler Morse, we're from The UNIT, the Military section of Clan Short. We were sent here to protect the Sabre brothers, and all we know about that is that they are going to be a part of the Clan and the UNIT; they just don't know it yet. We were going to use this house as our base of operations and found you here."
Tyler picked up the conversation, "I followed you last night Renaud, while Jeremy stayed here to watch over Therin." Tyler looked down at his hands for moment trying to think of how to say what he knew he needed to say next, looking back up he continued, "We have a way of getting you the help you need to get off the drugs you've been using to numb the pain of your life. We're also able to help you so you don't have to go back to that life, ever."
Therin looked over at Renaud with tears in his eyes, "Drugs? What drugs? Why Renaud? I can't lose you too. You're my brother now." He really started to cry.
Renaud reached over and pulled Therin up out of his chair and put him in his lap to hold him. "Shh, it'll be alright. I promise." He then looked over at Tyler, he knew that if they boy followed him that he saw what he did to try to make money for them. Holding onto Therin and rubbing his back to try to calm him, he asked, "How can you help? I won't leave Therin long enough to go into rehab. I can't afford something like that. Just look at how we live, how can I get that kind of help and what would happen to Therin?"
Tyler smiled, "While we are in school, you'll be in a biobed in the hospital wing at Camp Bam Bam, our base. We will watch over and protect Therin while you are there and you will be back here before we even get back from school."
Therin looked up at Renaud, "Please Renaud, please let em help you. I need you here."
Renaud just nodded and then said "Alright, I'll go. When do you want to do this?"
Tyler jumped up, "Now, the sooner I get you there and settled, the sooner I can get back so we can leave for school."
Renaud took a deep breath and looked at Therin, looking at him with so much hope and love in his eyes. He hadn't had anyone look at him like that in over two years. How could he not do everything he could to be there for this young boy who wasn't even in his life a few months ago? He looked over at Jeremy, "Keep him safe for me while I'm gone."
Jeremy just smiled and nodded.
Tyler motioned for Renaud to come over and stand next to him. Renaud gave Therin a hug and promised to be there when he got home from school. Therin hugged him back and whispered, "I love you bro. Get better and I'll see you this afternoon."
Renaud set the boy down and went and stood next to Tyler. Tyler touched his ear and said, "Daileass, two to transport to the hospital wing at base."
Therin was surprised when the two boys disappeared the same way the dishes did. "Where did they go?"
Jeremy laughed, "Exactly where Tyler said, to the base hospital. Come on. We better get our school uniforms on while there're gone."
Back at the UNIT Base:
Tyler and Renaud transported into the hospital wing at the base just as Janet was walking down the corridor. "Mama Janet," Tyler said to catch Janet's attention.
Janet smile as she saw Tyler, then she noticed the boy standing next to him. He appeared to be around eighteen but she knew that life on the streets made some children look older. She noticed that he had longish, dark brown hair, but what stood out was that she thought his eyes were black until she got closer and noticed what a dark brown they were. To her he looked tired, too thin and apprehensive. She noted that while he appeared calm on the outside, she could see his eyes darting and taking everything and everyone in, noting all his escape routes, and that the calmness masked the tension strung throughout his entire body.
Janet kept a little distance, so as to not frighten the boy, "Hello, I am Doctor Janet Hayes." She put her hand out for the boy to shake.
Renaud, not knowing how he got where he was, slowly extended his hand toward the woman standing in front of him, "Hello, Renaud, umm, Renaud Mathiea. Pleased to meet you ma'am." He held her hand in a way that showed a proper upbringing in which to gently shake a woman's hand. He even performed a small bow without even thinking about it.
Janet smiled at this then asked, "So, why did my son bring you to the hospital for?"
At this Tyler answered, "Um, mama Janet, Renaud kinda got messed up with stuff and we told him you could help him."
Janet smiled at Tyler, "Well then, young man, you better leave your friend here with me and you need to get your little butt back so you and Jeremy can make it to school on time." She reached out to ruffle his hair.
Tyler jumped back, "Not the hair mom, and I made sure we had plenty of time to get to school."
Tyler turned towards Renaud, "You can trust mama Janet. She adopted all of us, and believe me when I tell you there are a lot of us. She really loves us and will take really good care of you. I gotta go now, are you going to be alright or do you want me to stay?"
At this last part, Renaud smiled, "I'll be just fine, living the way I did I think I can handle the next part. Well, as long as I don't meet that kid Adam that I met last night. He could have kicked my ass, oops, sorry ma'am, my umm rear end, if he really wanted to. I sure don't want to be at the other end of the barrel of his gun again. Go on and head back, and, um, could you please take care of Therin for me, make sure he gets home alright."
"Don't worry about Therin. Okay, I'm outta here." Tyler went over and gave Janet a hug, which she gladly returned along with a kiss on the top of his head, "Daileass, ready when you are," and then Tyler was gone in the blink of an eye.
Janet, to her credit, didn't acknowledge that she knew who Adam was. She was very curious as to how this young man ended up facing the barrel of Adams gun, then fought him and yet walked away without a single broken bone or even a scratch. She knew she would find out soon enough. "Well, Renaud, why don't you come along with me to this room over here and we will talk and see exactly what we need to do to get you healed." Janet saw Renaud nod his head in agreement and with that Janet turned and started to head towards the exam room. She could hear Renaud following.
They entered the exam room and Janet had Renaud take a seat. "So, tell me what is going on and what you have been through. As soon as you are done, we will get you set up on the biobed and start getting you all fixed up. How does that sound?"
Renaud sat there looking at a smiling Janet and wondering what he should tell her. He put his head down and ran his ringers through his hair. He was starting to feel shaky and trapped. He jumped up out of his seat and started to pace the room. He knew where the door was and kept glancing at it. All of a sudden he didn't know how to feel or what to think.
He found himself pacing back and forth, stopping every now and then to glance at Doctor Janet, then the door, over to the biobed and back to Doctor Janet. He asked himself, 'Do I dare put my life into her hands. What if these people aren't the nice people they seem to be and I just left Therin in their hands. What if they mean to cause me more harm? How do I know what the machine really does?"
He finally settled on leaning against the wall and just stared at Doctor Janet. He thought back to what Tyler said before he left. He knew that Tyler called her Mama Janet, but that didn't take away the fact that she introduced herself as Doctor Janet Hayes, so Doctor Janet it is. Doctor, he despised doctors. Renaud didn't trust them at all. So, he decided to start on the defense.
"Alright, you want to talk, I want to know if I can really trust you, trust all of this. Can you tell me how to do that?" He said this while waving his hands around the room and then crossed his arms across his chest.
Janet watched his every move, and knew that right now this young man felt like a caged animal. She stayed calm. Still sitting she smiled at him, "Only you can do that Renaud. Can you tell me how long you have been on the streets? You obviously came from a good home. Just the way you carry yourself and they way you shook my hand. You were raised in a good home and definitely raised to be a southern gentleman. There must have been something that you believed in, something or someone that you could trust. How did that trust feel then?"
He really had to think about what she said to him. Renaud looked down at his feet and mumbled, "Almost four years. It will be four long years in February." He sighed and leaned his head back against the wall, looking as though he was staring at the ceiling, "I love them you know. To this day I still don't know what happened, why my dad flipped, I didn't even know what he was talking about." Letting out a chuckle that wasn't laughter at all he added, "I sure know what he was talking about now. Living on the streets kinds of brings that truth home for you when you need to do things that you don't want to do to survive."
Renaud was carefully watching Janet, even though he appeared to be staring at the ceiling. All he could see was her nodding in understanding. Understanding, how could that be? How could she understand?
"Many of the children here have lived on the streets, just like you. Many have been through more or less what you have been through, have had to do what you have done. All of them, no matter what their stories are, all needed to believe and trust in someone. You are a very caring young man or you wouldn't have taken in Therin. How about letting someone care for you now?"
With those words, Janet saw a tear roll down Renaud's cheek, he didn't even more to wipe the tear away, the she heard him whisper, "The last person I allowed to care for me died protecting me."
Janet held in her gasp. She knew that just saying that was a big step. That Renaud opened the door just a little. Then they heard, "Then don't let my sacrifice be in vain." A voice said from behind him. "These are good people, let them help you."
Renaud jumped away from the wall, eyes wide and still looking at Janet, he murmured, "It can't be, I can't be hearing his voice."
Just as Janet was getting ready to respond she saw a shimmer form behind Renaud, then they heard, "Either you tell her everything or I will."
Renaud spun around and his mouth opened and closed, tears that he couldn't stop came pouring out of his eyes, finally he was able to choke out, "I saw you die," and with that he passed out.
Janet barely caught him and got him on the biobed. She started it up and it started to beep. She knew she had a fight on her hands as soon as the biobed started reporting what was wrong. Sighing, she turned and looked at the semi translucent shape behind where Renaud had been standing. "You know... a couple weeks ago, an Angel showing up in my med bay may have actually shocked me."
Back in Louisiana:
Tyler arrived back at the house the boys were using as their base of operations and immediately started to change into his school uniform. He started to laugh, "Well, we go from one uniform to another. I guess it doesn't matter what uniform we wear to do our jobs, right?" While getting dressed he was tucking various weapons into inconspicuous places that he could still get to in an emergency.
Jeremy looked over at his boyfriend with a smile, "Nope and you look sexy in both." Jeremy walked over and kissed Tyler. Tyler almost melted into the kiss when they heard Therin gasp. They pulled apart and looked at Therin.
Wide eyed, Therin quietly said, "That was beautiful. You too look so good together like that. I hope someday that the boy I like will like me that way too." Then he added, "Is Renaud alright? He'll be here when we come back right?"
Both boys smiled at him, Tyler smiled, knowing exactly who the boy had a crush on and until he met the boy, he wouldn't know if he liked Therin in the same way. Answering his question Tyler said, "He is fine, scared, but he will be alright. I left him in good hands."
"Okay, if you're sure. I don't want nothin' bad to happen to him. He's been a real good brother to me. Well, at least how I think a big brother would've been if I had one." Therin said while nodding his head. He was a lot more trusting than Renaud.
"Well, what are we waiting for; we got a long walk ahead of us. Oh, no we don't. Wait," touching his ear piece, "Hey Daileass, can you get us close to the school where we won't be seen transporting in?" Jeremy asked.
"Of course Jeremy, there is a web cam on the roof on the school so I can get you close to the school. Is everyone ready?" Daileass asked.
Therin shouted, "Wait, I gotta get my back pack." Therin ran into the other room and got his back pack. Running back he smiled, "Okay, I'm ready. This is gonna be so kewl."
Daileass chuckled when he heard the word 'ready' and started to transport.
Just then, all three boys disappeared and reappeared by the trees that Renaud was waiting for Therin the day before. They started to walk towards the school when Jeremy said, "We've got to go to the office first to get our schedules. Everything was set up yesterday. Ready?"
Therin smiled, "Come on, I'll show you where the office is." He then headed off towards the school with Jeremy and Tyler right behind him. They didn't want to let Therin know that they already knew their way around the school; they had memorized the school layout and the layout of the entire Parish before even leaving the base.
They entered the office and Jeremy walked up to the desk while Tyler watched the door. Even in this setting, they couldn't and wouldn't let their guard down totally.
"How may I assist you young man?" Mrs. Blanchard asked as she saw two young men that she'd never seen before standing in her office area.
"Our mother called, we are new here and needed to pick up our schedules." Jeremy responded with a smile.
"Oh, you young gentlemen must be Jeremy and Tyler Hayes. Your mother sounded like a very pleasant woman and we got all the necessary documents signed yesterday. Let me see now, oh yes, here are the schedules. And you are?" Mrs. Blanchard looked pointedly at Jeremy.
"I am Jeremy Hayes and that," pointing over his shoulder, "is my brother Tyler." He then smiled and patiently waited.
Mrs. Blanchard looked at the schedule and then shook her head, "Well, this can't be right. Just one moment and let me go and check this schedule with the principle." With that she turned and walked out of the room.
She came back and noticed Therin in the office with the boys for the first time, "Oh, perfect. Therin, I presume that you know Mr. Jeremy Hayes and Mr. Tyler Hayes." Seeing Therin nod, she continued, "Good, if you could please show Jeremy to your homeroom. He will be in all of your classes and you can show him around. Now for you Tyler, I will show you to your homeroom. You are scheduled for the ninth grade due to your high IQ scores that your mother sent us."
When Mrs. Blanchard said this, Jeremy, Tyler and Therin all gasped. "The ninth grade, why you little...I'm so go to get you. If I could get my hands on you..." Tyler was mumbling so Daileass could hear him and all Jeremy and Tyler could hear was Daileass giggling in their ears.
Tyler stood up straight and said, "Well then..." and holding out his arm to Mrs. Blanchard continued, "shall we ma'am."
Jeremy hid his chuckle behind his hand and pretended to cough, Therin just stared with his eyes wide as Tyler showed a calm exterior and Mrs. Blanchard came around the counter with their schedules. She handed Jeremy's his and then placed her hand on Tyler's arm. Tyler opened the door and the all proceeded to their classrooms.
Jeremy and Therin headed towards the sixth grade hall. "Wow, is Tyler really that smart to skip two whole grades? Oh, no, wait, that means he skipped the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, so that is three grades, but he seems like a normal eleven year old like us. He doesn't act smart at all." Therin kept rambling until they were at their homeroom.
Jeremy just smiled, he knew how smart his boyfriend was, and he also knew that Tyler didn't like people knowing. So, he knew that this mission was not going to be easy for him either.
They entered their homeroom and Jeremy immediately knew who Therin had a crush on. His eyes lit up once they landed on one of the objects of their mission, sitting in the middle of the classroom.
While Jeremy and Therin were getting settled in their homeroom, Mrs. Blanchard and Tyler were entering the ninth grade homeroom. As they entered, all eyes turned towards the door. And Tyler was facing a room full of thirteen and fourteen years old peers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mr. Tyler Hayes, a new student to our school. If one of you would be so kind, he will need someone to show him around the school. Tyler, please take a seat." Mrs. Blanchard stated and turned and walked out the door.
Tyler swallowed and started to move towards an open seat. Still mumbling, "I'm so going to get even with you Daileass."
As Tyler was walking towards his seat, he could feel everyone's eyes on him and he could hear Daileass blowing a raspberry in his ear. This made him want to scowl even more.