Castle Roland

The Sabre's

by Cynaira

In Progress

Chapter 5

Posted: N/A

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

"Hey Tyler, I'm Jackson Sabre. Welcome to our school." Jackie smiled at the grumbling boy. "Hi there. Do you mind? Let me see your schedule and see if I can show you around."

"And if he can't, then I might be able to." Steven said, and then added, "Oh, yeah, I'm Steven by the way. Good to meet you."

Tyler smiled at the two boys. "Thanks guys, I didn't even get a chance to look at it."

Steven leaned over Jackie's shoulder to look over the schedule. "Wow, you and Jackie have all the same classes. You can hang with him and get a feel for everything and learn your way around."

Tyler smiled; he knew that the schedule would be set up that way. He found it much more difficult to act surprised than he thought it would be. This was a whole new territory for the boys and nothing like a normal mission. Tyler glanced down at the schedule then up at Jackie, "I thought you said your name was Jackson?"

Jackie smiled back, "It is, but my friends and family call me Jackie. So, Ty, feel like hanging out with Steven and I today? We will be happy to show you around."

Laughing, "Well, if I am Ty, then, yes Jackie, that would be great." Tyler said just as the teacher came in and was telling everyone to take their seats.

Over in the sixth grade class, Jeremy smiled at Therin as they walked past Talon to take their seats. Therin blushed at being caught looking at the boy he really liked and wished he had the courage to talk with him. Therin just knew that there was no way that Talon would like him that way. So, he didn't even try to become friends with him.

"We really need to work on your self-confidence Therin. You never know until you try. Even if you just become good friends. We've got a lot to talk about later, because you'll really need to work on this." Jeremy whispered to Therin.

Therin, for his part, glanced at Talon and nodded his head in understanding. Taking a deep breath, he started to pull out his book and notes for class.

Jeremy sat back and got ready to 'watch' and learn about Talon. He could see why Therin thought he was so cute.

The boys started their day.

Back at Camp Bam Bam:

The biobed that Janet just put Renaud in started to give her data. Janet immediately placed Renaud into a suspension field and issued the necessary commands to begin repairs.

Janet turned to face the Angle, "You better start talking because this boy was seconds from deaths door. He had an aneurism that was ready to burst and I bet no one knew that he even had it. Not to mention all the fractures and bones that were broken and never mended properly, repairs being made due to several violations of rape, bruised kidneys, fractured collar bone, vision problems due to pressure behind his eyes and busted blood vessels, drug abuse and more. It was a miracle that this young man lived long enough to 'walk' into this room."

Eddie was looking at Renaud, a small sad smile on his face. He then looked at Janet, "My name is Eddie, and this is how we met and just a small part of our story, it may help you to understand what happened.

*** Flashback ***

Eddie Pritchard sat on a park bench watching the new boy try to find his way. He watched the boy make his way over to another park bench and sit down, then place his elbows on his knees and hold his head in his hands. Eddie knew the boy was new to the streets just by how he acted. It was hard for him to believe that it was only four years ago that he was doing the same thing. Four years on the streets, and things really could have been worse for Eddie. 'Yeah I could be dead...' He thought to himself with a chuckle.

He kept his eye on the new kid, kinda feeling sorry for him. The streets had tried to kill that part of him, but Eddie was still a very caring kid. Well at sixteen, he wasn't really a kid anymore, especially after four years on the streets. Any youthful innocence died out the first time he sold his ass for fifty bucks.

The kid picked his head up, turned towards him, and Eddie couldn't help but feel even sorrier for this kid. He was somewhat pale faced, with longish dark hair. The red hoodie he wore had seen many better days, but it was the look on his face that hit Eddy hard. This was a kid that had lost everything, and had no idea where to turn. This wasn't a street kid, or even a kid that ran away from abuse, he didn't have the look. This was a kid who had a good life and somehow ended up out here. This kid wasn't gonna make it long. There was no way someone that innocent could make it on the streets.

Eddie sighed, he wanted to help the kid, but he could barely keep himself fed, how could he deal with someone who had no clue what they were doing? Of course, that didn't stop him from jumping to his feet, and quickly moving towards the kid when he saw who was approaching the boy. He only realized what he was doing when he was almost on top of the kid, but by then he was already committed.

Eddie was just in ear shot when the man reached the boy. "Hey there, you look like you need some help." The man started, and Eddie knew that he had to get the kid away from him. He always said he wanted to help the boys, but the ones that return...well they were always beat up real bad.

"Jack! There you are. I told you mom wouldn't want you wondering alone. Come on, let's get back." Eddie said as he reached the boy who turned and looked really confused at him. The man though, looked daggers at Eddie who met his glare. The two had a staring match for a few seconds, before the man walked off, and Eddie turned his eyes to the smaller boy. "Sorry dude, but he was bad news, really bad news."

"Oh... well thanks, I guess." The boy said, trying not to lose it. Eddie could tell the kid was near the end of his rope. Thinking quickly, Eddie knew he had about fifty bucks left over that he was saving for some new clothes. 'Oh hell, I'll just sell my ass an extra time to cover for it.'

"Come on, I know a decent place around here, I'll buy you dinner. You look like you could use it." Eddie said and saw the boy almost smile before he got a concerned and scared look on his face. Eddie knew exactly what was going through his mind. He hadn't forgotten his first couple weeks on the streets.

"Come on kid, I ain't gonna do nothin' bad. Besides, we'll never be alone. You need something good to eat, after that you can do what you want, okay?" Eddie knew he had to help this kid, and part of him was damning his good nature. If he took this kid under his wing, life would become a lot more difficult for him.

The kid looked into Eddie's eyes for a long moment before nodding and looking down. Eddie turned and started walking; the almost silent footsteps behind him told Eddie that the boy was following. Eddie slowed down so the kid was walking next to him. "So what's your name, I can't keep calling you kid all the time now can I?" Eddie said with a smirk, which brought the first smile to the kids face. It was small, but he was still able to see his teeth. 'Yup, this kid was well taken care of. He's got perfect white teeth.' No kid that wasn't from a loving family would have teeth like that.

"Renaud..." His voice was just starting to get deeper, away from the little kiddie voice, but still high enough to where Eddie knew he wasn't far into it. 'Old twelve or young thirteen', Eddie guessed.

"Okay Renaud, how old are you?" He asked as they rounded the corner in front of the dinner. Thankfully this place never asked any questions, but they wanted to see money before they let you order.

"I… I just turned thirteen last month." The kid, 'Renaud' Eddie reminded himself, said still in his quiet voice. Eddie raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. His young looks would help him on the streets.

"Well, my name's Eddie. I just turned sixteen a few months ago." Renaud smiled as he looked up into the bright blue eyes of the older blond boy. For a moment Renaud thought that Eddie could have been any of the jocks at school that had all the girls chasing after them.

Eddie led them into the diner and to the back of the room where the people that ran the place wanted the street kids to eat. That way most of the regular people didn't have to see... or smell them.

He watched as Renaud looked at the menu after the waiter brought them over, and saw the concerned look on his face; so leaned in and gently said, "look, order what you want, but if you go light, I might have enough money to get a hotel room tonight, and get you a shower. It's about time I had one too. I was gonna get one tonight anyways." Eddie wasn't sure why he lied, but he saw the hopeful look in the boy's eyes, and knew he was doing the right thing. It also told him that the kid had really not been on the streets long. Had he, the kid would have been somewhat skeptical of such an offer.

When the waiter came back, Renaud only ordered a grilled cheese, chips, and a water to drink. Eddie ordered the same, being happy that their order came in under ten bucks.

Eddie was really curious as to how a kid that looked like Renaud could have ended up on the streets, but Eddie knew better than to ask. Not only was it considered rude to ask how someone ended up on the streets, Eddie know that if the boy was like himself, it was still too soon to talk about it without breaking down. This wasn't what was needed in the middle of the dinner, so Eddie stayed away from it.

"So who was that guy?" Renaud asked after the waiter had walked away.

"I don't know his name, but I've seen him around. He's real bad news." Eddie said hoping that he could get away with just saying that, but deep down he knew that he wouldn't.

"What do you mean?" Renaud asked innocently, and Eddie couldn't help but sigh.

"What I mean is, that guy may have seemed nice, but every kid that I've seen go with him... well either I never see them again, or they come back beat up real bad... and.. well... worse than just beat up."

Renaud got a horrified look on his face. "What could be worse?" He asked with real naivety.

Eddie only said one word, "raped..."

Renaud sat back; the look of horror on his face was almost comical to Eddie, almost. Renaud didn't say anything else till the food came, and Eddie wasn't sure if the boy had lost his appetite, and was about to say something. Then Renaud took his first small bite of his sandwich; three bites later, the whole thing was gone. Moments later, the chips were disappearing fast.

Eddie couldn't help himself, when he saw that Renaud's chips were gone, he broke one his rules; he pushed his plate full of chips over towards the smaller boy. 'Rule number six,' his voice echoed in his head, 'never give away food.'

'What the hell, I already broke rules two and four. 'Never get involved with someone else's problems, and never spend your money on someone else without making sure you get something in return.' Now he had broken three of his rules, but other than the small part of his mind, way in the back, he was actually feeling good helping this young naive kid out. Of course, the question was, would the kid be willing to do what it took to survive?

Thirty minutes later, the two boys, one sixteen year old Eddie and thirteen year old Renaud found themselves standing outside a rather shady looking motel. "Wait here, I'll get us a room, and come back out and get you okay?"

Renaud nodded and Eddie hefted the backpack that he had retrieved after they ate, and went into the motel. He was back in less than five minutes, but to Renaud it seemed like hours. Eddie smiled and held up the key and was surprised at the feelings that ran through him when he saw the young boy's face light up. "Come on kid. Let's get cleaned up and sleep on a real bed tonight."

Renaud's head nodded up and down in eager agreement, as Eddie threw his arm over the kid's shoulder and turned him towards the room they were going to be using for the night.

When they got to the room, Eddie opened the door, and let Renaud go in first. It wasn't much of a room, but the younger boy was just so happy to see a real bed. The first thing he did was drop the almost empty backpack he had on, and fell onto the bed.

Eddie couldn't help but laugh as he too dropped his back pack, but he dropped his on the bed and started to pull out some clothes. "I'll go first, then I gotta go out for a bit. I should be back before you get done, but if not, don't let anyone in; okay?"

Renaud barely nodded as he lay there soaking up the feeling of a soft bed, well softer than what he'd been sleeping on anyways. Twenty minutes later, when Eddie walked out of the small bathroom, Renaud was still sitting on the bed, but this time he was watching the TV. Some stupid cartoon was on, and Eddie couldn't help but smile at the kid. "You're turn kid," Eddie said as he walked by ruffling the kid's hair.

"HEY!!" Renaud mock shouted, then feel silent. When Eddie turned back to look at the boy, his smile faded as he saw the boy fighting back tears. Eddie quickly moved to squat in front of him. "Hey, what's wrong?"

Renaud's eyes were locked on the floor as he started to mumble. "I... I ain't got any other clothes."

Eddie sat back on his haunches and sighed. He patted Renaud on the leg, got up and moved over to his bag. He pulled out a pair of shorts and tossed them to the other boy. "Here, you can wear these. They'll be a bit big, but better than nothing. When you get in there, just hand your cloths out. The guy here will wash them for us, and get them back to us in the morning."

The hopeful look was back in the younger boy's eyes, and Eddie felt himself break another one of his rules; this one though was his number one rule and the most important to him. 'Don't let someone into your heart; they'll only hurt you.'

"You sure they'll be okay?" Renaud asked, and Eddie had to stop himself from laughing. What the kid was wearing was not much better than rags, but Eddie knew what it was like to not have anything else. "Yeah, I'm sure. He does it for me all the time, and he's never stolen anything before."

"Okay, if you're sure." Renaud said as he got up and gave the older boy a big hug. "Thanks... no one's been this nice to me since..."

The words died in the young boy's throat. He quickly backed off the hug, grabbed up the shorts and almost ran into the bathroom slamming the door shut behind him. Eddie knew Renaud didn't want to be seen crying. Eddie knew that all too well as he wiped away a few stray tears from his eyes. A few minutes later, Eddie heard the door to the bathroom open, and a small arm poked out with some cloths that he dropped on the floor and quickly slammed the door shut again. Eddie couldn't decide between laughing and crying, knowing that the boy would quickly have to lose his modesty, that is, if he wanted to survive on the streets.

An hour later, Eddie came back and knocked on the door, he called out "It's just me!" He then walked in to find Renaud at the bathroom door, looking as if he had just run there but stopped and was looking towards the door. Eddie had his hand behind his back as he pushed the door open and stepped inside. "I got us a treat!" He said as he used his foot to push the door closed. When he knew he had Renaud's attention, he slowly brought his hand out from behind his back; in it he was holding a box of Pizza Hut pizza. "Hope you like pepperoni!" Eddie said with a grin, looking at the shocked but happy look on the boy's face.

"YEAH!" Renaud cried as he ran over and grabbed the box from Eddie's hands. He put the box on the bed, and then tore into the first slice he could get out. Eddie was laughing real hard at the boy's enthusiasm, but couldn't help but get wrapped up in it himself as he grabbed a slice and took a huge bite. Five minutes, and three slices each later, Renaud finally slowed down enough to take a breath. "Thanks man! This is great. Is that where you went? To get us pizza?"

"Nah... Tony, the desk guy, threw it in as a tip." Eddie said before he caught himself.

"A tip? What did you do, some work for him or something?" Renaud asked still not knowing what living on the streets was really like.

Eddie struggled with what to say, but instead of following his gut and telling the kid straight up what things were like. He decided to let him have his one night of retained innocence before Eddie was forced to destroy the kid inside of Renaud that was really the worst thing to Eddie right now. He knew, deep down, that he had to teach this kid how to survive, and that was going to destroy the little boy that sat in front of him eating the pizza, in the hotel room, that Eddie sold his ass to get.

Eddie knew that Renaud was going to have to learn the harsh realities of life out here, but maybe, just maybe, Eddie could ease him into it; in the way that he wished he was. "Something like that. Just eat up, and don't worry about the details. There'll be time enough for that later. Let's just get a good night's sleep, and worry about the other stuff tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure, thanks again." Renaud said, knowing that something was wrong, but really having no clue what it was.

After they ate all of the large pizza they could, Eddie stood up, went to his bag, and pulled out another pair of boxers. "I'm gonna take another shower. You may wanna try and get some sleep; it might be a while before you can sleep in a bed and not have to worry about other people. Lesson number one of living on the streets, you sleep when you can, especially when it's a safe place you sleep as much as you can."

"That sounds smart, but why're you taking another shower? Didn't you just have one about an hour ago?" The boy asked again showing his innocence, and naivety.

It almost tore Eddie's heart out, once again knowing what was going to happen to this kid, and the fact that he was going to have to be the one to do it to him. "Just another one of my rules, rule number ten." Eddie almost lied; it was one of his rules, but not to this extreme. "Shower as often as you can when you can. I worked up a bit of sweat... working for Tony, so I wanna get as clean as I can."

"Oh, okay." Renaud said, then hesitated as he asked his next question. "Uhh... you want me to sleep on the floor since there's only one bed?"

Eddie sighed, and then sat down on the bed next to Renaud. "Look Renny, I know you're not used to it yet, but you're gonna have to get used to it real quick. If you're gonna hang out with me, that's fine, but there are gonna have to be times when we sleep in the same bed. You're just going to have to get over it as quickly as possible. I'm sorry, but we both need to sleep as well as we can, and the bed is something we won't see for a while. Okay?"

Renaud seemed a little shocked, but then he started to think about it. He and Hagen used to share a bed when they had sleep overs when they were younger. They hadn't for the last few years, but Renaud used to really like it when they did, so he figured it wouldn't be too bad now. "Okay Eddie, you're right. It's no big deal."

Eddie grinned as he patted Renaud on the leg. "Cool. I'll be out in a few. Go ahead and finish up the pizza, or leave some for breakfast. Then try and get some sleep."

Renaud nodded as Eddie went into the bathroom. Renaud put the pizza box on the little desk, then climbed into bed. Before he really knew it, he was out like a light.

The next morning found Renaud being woken up by Eddie. When the younger boy looked over at the clock he was shocked to see it was only seven AM. He crawled out of bed and looked towards Eddie. Eddie was already full dressed, and was handing one of the remaining pizza slices to Renaud. "Grab a quick shower, then we gotta get outta here. At eight, the big boss shows up, and we need to be gone by then."

Renaud just nodded and went into the bathroom while eating his slice. Less than fifteen minutes later, Renaud was back, and getting dressed. He hated putting those clothes back on. He had been wearing nothing else since he was kicked out. The clothes were good quality, but even good quality clothing can only stand up to so much. At least the washing had gotten most of the stink out of them.

When they walked out, Eddie was quick to hurry them away from the hotel, and back down into the shadier side of town. They were both safer and in a lot more danger there. Safer, because Eddie knew what he was doing, and where they shouldn't go. It was more dangerous, because Renaud was a good looking, young, naive boy who could easily make someone a lot of money.

As they were walking, Renaud looked up at Eddie. "Ummm... Eddie. What're we gonna do now?"

Eddie sighed, trying hard to hide the annoyance that question brought. "Well, first thing we gotta do is get some place safe. Some place where we don't have to worry about getting jumped all the time. That's where we're headed to now. Then I need to work on getting us some money to eat with."

"Well, I can help... just show me what to do, and I'll help us get some money." Renaud said completely innocent.

Eddie stopped and looked into the younger boy's eyes. 'No... he ain't got any idea what he just said.' He thought to himself and then out loud he spoke. "Nah… it's okay. I got this one."

The next three days were almost a routine; Eddie would go out during the day while Renaud would watch their stuff. Eddie had led them to a small abandoned warehouse, and showed Renaud how to get into the basement, which is where they stayed. That first night, Eddie came back just before the sun went down. He brought a bucket of KFC chicken and a two liter bottle of soda for the two of them to split. He also managed to get his hands on a couple books that he thought Renaud might like. Of course, he didn't tell Renaud that he had actually stolen them. That was something the younger boy didn't need to know.

Of course, no matter how much Eddie wanted to shield Renaud from the truth of what he was doing to make it so they could both survive the truth came out, and in a big way. The third night in their little basement, Eddie came back in a little later than normal, and Renaud had started to worry. When Eddie made it back in, Renaud knew something was wrong. As soon as Eddie made it into the room, he collapsed on the floor.

"EDDIE!" Renaud cried out as he rushed over to his protector. When he slid in next to the older boy, Renaud could see that he was beat up, and that his clothes were in tatters. Renaud, surprising even himself, helped Eddie to his feet and almost carried him over to the old blankets that Eddie had found and that they had been using as a bed. "What happened?!"

Eddie was out of it really. He didn't really know where he was, or who he was with. He just knew deep down that he was with a friend and that they were safe; at least as safe as they could be. Had he had his wits about him, he wouldn't have let slip what he did, but around busted lips Renaud heard words that would haunt him for a long time. "I screwed up... I went with a trick into his home." Eddie started to cough which also caused tears to come to his eyes. "Rule number five, never go to a tricks home for sex... anything can happen."

"SEX?!?! Why would you go to someone's house for sex?" Renaud was horrified by what he heard.

"Had to... I needed money. That's how I make money... I sell sex to men. I just screwed up this time. Don't worry...." Eddie's head fell back and Renaud froze in fear. For a moment he thought that Eddie had died. Renaud held his breath for a moment until he could see the boy's chest rising and falling, and knew that he had just passed out.

Slowly, as if in a trance, Renaud did the only thing he could think of to do. He walked over to the case of bottled water that Eddie had brought in the night before and crabbed a few bottles and the t-shirt that he had been wearing since he got kicked out. Last night Eddie brought back a better one that Renaud was told came from the Salvation Army. The younger boy didn't care where it came from; it was a different shirt that didn't smell.

Now his old t-shirt was used to slowly wash the boy who had taken such good care of him. Renaud gently removed what was left of Eddie's shirt and almost threw up when he saw the cuts and bruises that were all over his chest and back. Renaud also saw the circular bruises around Eddie's wrists. The only thing that he could think of that could make those kinds of marks was handcuffs. As gently as he could, he washed the dried blood from Eddie's injured chest and back. Then he started to remove his ripped up jeans. He almost stopped when he saw that Eddie wasn't wearing his boxers. He must have lost them somewhere.

That's when he heard Eddie's voice in his head. It was the second night together when Renaud wanted to change his underwear, and put on the new boxers that Eddie had found. 'Rule number eight Renaud... on the streets we can't afford luxuries like modesty.' Taking a deep breath, Renaud pulled down Eddie's pants and this time he did vomit when he saw the contusions that were forming on his testicles, upper thighs and legs.

When he got himself back under control, he went about gently washing Eddie's lower body. He had saved Eddie's penis and testicles for last. Taking a deep breath, he started to gently wash his balls, that's when he noticed the blood. Following where it came from, he saw that Eddie had been bleeding from his anus.

Renaud pulled himself together long enough to wash Eddie as best as he could. When he was done though, he sat with his back against the wall, with his knees pulled up to his chest and cried. Not just for what Eddie had been through, but he was starting to understand what Eddie had done to take care of him over the last few days; all the way back to that first night in the hotel.

Renaud didn't get any sleep that night. He sat next to Eddie, letting him have the bed completely to himself, as well as both thin blankets, and the single sleeping bag that Eddie had found. The only other thing Renaud could think of to do was keep the wet t-shirt on the burning forehead of Eddie. Renaud stayed dressed and when it started to get colder, he simply put his coat on and snuggled down as much as possible. However, every time that Eddie moved in his sleep it caused him to moan in pain. When that happened, Renaud would wake up and move over to see if there was anything he could do to help and would change the compress on his head. At one point he got the idea that Eddie needed to drink and hoped that would help his cracked lips. So with as much care as he could, he gently lifted Eddies head and touched the water bottle to his lips. Eddie was able to drink a little bit before he started to cough.

Renaud lowered him back down and went back to sitting next to the small 'bed' and continued to watch over his protector. Sleep, though, would not come. All he could think about was what little he knew about sex, and what he thought Eddie was doing to help him.

Eddie was pretty much out of it for two days after the beating he took. Renaud went out during the day only and using the money that Eddie had hidden away, was able to buy some light things like bread and soup, applesauce, and soft fruit. He also knew, due to his swimming background, that Eddie needed lots of nutrients right now, so while he didn't want to spend that much money, Renaud picked up several Gatorade bottles.

He also picked up some ointment meant for cuts and a big box of bandages. Renaud drew on the first aid training he received while in boy scouts to make sure he had everything he could get his hands on to try and help Eddie. For nearly two days, Renaud nursed Eddie back to the point that on the third morning, when Eddie finally woke, he was doing much better than he would have been otherwise.

However, by the time Eddie woke, Renaud was so exhausted he had fallen asleep sitting up against the wall next to where Eddie lay. The first thing that Eddie realized after he took stock of himself was that there was a bowl under him, obviously placed there to catch anything that came out of him while he slept. The next thing he noticed was all the bandages on him, and how much he didn't hurt compared to what anticipated. Slowly everything came back to him, the man that he met, the desperation he felt because he had Renaud to look after, and he hadn't found anyone that day to make money from. Then it came back to him, in bits and pieces the conversation he had with Renaud while he was pretty out of it.

The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach grew to the point where he wanted to vomit, but then something else hit him. He was afraid that if the Renaud knew what he was doing, he would hate him, but he didn't… he couldn't. Not if he had taken care of Eddie the way he did. Suddenly the sick feeling in his stomach changed to a burst of something he vowed he would never feel for someone else... love.

The next three days were quiet between the two boys. Eddie was healing from his injuries, and Renaud was tending to him as best he could. Eddie knew that Renaud wanted to talk about what happened, but the young boy couldn't seem to bring it up, and Eddie couldn't bring himself to bring it up either. So, while there was no real tension between the boys, there was a conversation that they both knew they needed to have.

Finally, on the fourth day, Renaud got up the courage to talk to Eddie. The younger boy had just gotten back from another shopping trip and both boys knew that the saved money that Eddie had would not last them more than another week. The bruises on Eddies face and chest were slowly dissipating, but Eddie knew he wouldn't be able to go out and make more money before it ran out. Not to mention that the tears in his anus had only just healed to the point that he wasn't bleeding whenever he went to the bathroom. He knew his backside needed a lot more time to heal.

Renaud walked over to Eddie and handed him a ham and cheese sandwich, a small cup of soup, and a bottle of water, then sat down across from him to eat his lunch as well. While Eddie ate, Renaud was just pushing the soup around in the cup with his spoon. 'Here it comes' Eddie thought to himself and tried to mentally prepare himself. The problem was he now knew he loved Renaud. The he had become his one ray of sunshine in the night that had become his life. Renaud was that single rose that grew in the cracked pavement of the abandoned lot that was his existence. However, when Renaud asked the question, it still hit him like a ton of bricks in his stomach, but he had to be strong for him, Renaud deserved no less than the truth.

"What's it like?" Renaud asked softly, staring into his cup of soup.

"What's what like? I'm not trying to not answer you, but I need to know what you're asking." Eddies voice was just as soft, emotion dripping out off every word.

"What's it like to... to sell sex?" Renaud had trouble even asking the question.

Eddie thought about it for several minutes before he could answer. "Before I can answer that question, you need to know some things about me. If you want to leave after I tell you, I'll understand." Eddie's eyes were locked on the floor, he couldn't bear to see the look of rejection he was sure that Renaud would be sending his way as he spoke.

"Four years ago, when I was twelve.. I figured out I was gay. I tried to fight it, but there was nothing I could really do. My father was the preacher in a small town church, and I bet you can guess what his feelings towards me would have been once he found out. Well, he did, when he found pictures on my computer. Needless to say when I got home, things went badly. After he was done beating me, he threw me out of the house telling me that if I ever showed my face around his home again, he would kill me. Knowing him the way I did, I knew he was serious. So I left.

I knew I had nowhere to go, because he would've been on the phone to all of my friend's parents telling them what a sinner I was, so I walked. Not really knowing where I was going to go, I just walked. I don't know how far out of town I was when the sun started to fall and night got closer. Suddenly I heard a big rig slow down, then stop in front of me. I must have been stumbling or something because the driver jumped out of the truck and came running towards me.

The next thing I remember, I woke up in the back of the truck while it rumbled down the road. I was lying on the bunk and I could tell that my clothes had been removed, but I still had my boxers on. I was hurting pretty bad, and Rick, the driver, later told me that I had a couple of broken ribs, as well as a bunch of cuts and scrapes, and a whole lot of bruises. I actually looked worse than I do now.

For the next eight months I rode with Rick. For the first few weeks he never asked anything about why I was on the side of the road. He bought me clothes and food, and we got to know each other real well. He was a big man, but he had a heart of gold. At least I thought he did.

After the first month, he started making some suggestive statements about how I looked, and that I must have had all the girls all over me. Then he started talking about how people that got rides on trucks usually paid for their ride, usually with sex. Finally he told me straight out, I could either put out or get out. I was too scared to do anything else, so I let him do what he wanted.

I'll give him this much though, he might have been an asshole for forcing me into having sex with him, but he was gentle about it. I guess that's how he made it okay with himself, he didn't hurt me physically, and he was always doing what he could to make sure I 'enjoyed' myself, but he still raped me; every night for almost seven months. Then I grew hair and started to shoot sperm.

One day we stopped at a truck stop and like we did every other day, Rick got us showers and we went to get cleaned up. He knew it would draw way too much attention if we showered together, so we got different ones. When I got done though, he was gone."

Eddie tried hard to stop the tears, but he couldn't. Although he never looked up, Renaud could hear the tears in his voice, as he told his story. "So there I was, just turned thirteen in a strange city with nothing but the clothes on my back and a few sets of clothes in my shower bag. I found out later that Rick left an envelope in my bag with three hundred dollars, but I still had no idea what to do.

I walked for a while till I found the park where I first met you. I sat down on the same bench that you did and cried. That's when the first man approached me, bought me dinner and then paid me for sex.

But that doesn't answer your question really. At times it's awful, you get smelly, dirty men that want you to suck them off, or put their dick in your butt. Then sometimes you have guys that want nothing more than a hole to shove their cock in and get off as fast as possible. Those aren't bad if you can prepare yourself beforehand. Then, every once in a while, you meet someone that takes their time and are gentle. Those are the ones that actually try and make sure you enjoy yourself. Those are the ones I try and find. They make it bearable. But the point is, always there in the back of my mind, I know what's really happening. I'm selling my body so I can eat... so I can get clothes… so I can survive. That's what it's all about, survival."

Eddie still couldn't look up, the tears had stopped but he still couldn't handle the rejection he knew was coming. What Renaud said though, Eddie could never have been prepared for. In a voice that Eddie almost couldn't hear, Renaud asked his question. "Will you teach me?"

"WHAT?!?!" Eddie cried as his head flew up and his eyes met the tear streaked eyes of Renaud.

"Will you teach me to survive?" Renaud asked, this time with more strength in his voice.

"Nooo, Renaud, please, no. Don't ask me to do that. I... I couldn't do that to you!" Eddie's face was streaming with tears now as he was gasping for air as well, and so was Renaud.

"Why not?!" Renaud cried. "Please Eddie, I know I'm gonna have to learn... I want to learn from you." He begged and pleaded.

"I… I can't Renaud, I... I love you too much for that!" Eddie was about to lose it and he knew it. How could he do this to the boy he was falling so deeply in love with? He couldn't turn his innocent beautiful boy into a prostitute like he was. He just couldn't do it, wouldn't do it.

"I love you too Eddie. I... I don't want to see you hurt like this again. If I'm out there too, you wouldn't have to do so much, you wouldn't have to go with the bad men again. Please Eddie, let me do this!" Renaud thrust himself into Eddie, and then gently pushing him onto his back he pressed his lips to the older boys. Eddie started kissing back deeply then stopped. Trying to push Renaud away, Eddie sobbed, "I don't want you to turn out like me, you're better than me."

"Eddie" Renaud cried, "But how can you be better than me if I love you. You said you loved me. Didn't you mean it?"

"Of course I did, I just don't want you to turn out like me, selling yourself." Eddie wept into Renaud arms.

Renaud slowly moved Eddie's face back to his, nose to nose. "Can we just make love then; don't think of it as teaching me. Just love me and make love to me. That is what I want; really what we want isn't it?"

Eddie slowly began to grin and moved his lips to Renaud's and they began kissing. This time it was more passionate, loving, caring and not forced. As both boys started to let go and love each other and be loved, they entered a world of their own. It was just the two of them and it was perfect. They both whispered to each other how much they loved each other.

Slowly, gently, Eddie made love to someone for the first time in his life. He cried the entire time he did it. Partly from the innocence that was being lost, but also because of the feelings of love that were coursing through him the entire night. The passion that the two shared would never be able to be topped or forgotten.

It was another week before Eddie was healed enough to go 'back to work', and also the same amount of time before Renaud felt himself ready to 'join the workforce'. The first night they went out to 'work' Eddie had a long talk with Renaud.

"We're going to do things weird tonight. I'm only going to take a John who wants two boys. I'm not going to let your first time be alone. Okay?" Eddie said with so much conviction Renaud didn't even try to argue.

It took them a while but they did end up finding a john that was interested in 'hiring' both boys. This guy was one of the nicer guys and realized right away that Eddie was teaching Renaud how to work the streets. He was very patient with them and made things 'almost' enjoyable.... almost.

Things went well for almost a week. Eddie would 'approve' of a john before Renaud could go with him. Then he would find himself a customer and they both would meet back at the same spot every evening before heading back to their 'basement'.

But Eddie wasn't perfect. One John was able to fool him, and Renaud found himself with someone who liked things a little rougher than Renaud was prepared for. The guy didn't beat Renaud or anything like that, and if it had been Eddie with the guy, Eddie wouldn't have had an issue with it. But, Renaud wasn't used to the rough ones that really only cared about their own pleasure.

Eddie found Renaud in tears when he got back to their spot, but Renuad wouldn't say anything about what happened. However, when they got back to the basement Renaud begged Eddie to 'get the feeling of that guy out of him'. Eddie knew exactly what Renaud meant, and spent the rest of the evening softly and gently making love to his only lover.

Over the next nine months, things were actually going really well for the boys. At least as well as things can go for two teen aged boys who had to prostitute themselves out so they could live.

They only had to go out two or three times a week. The two boys were actually trying to make their little basement into a small home. They picked up an air mattress that they would sleep on, a small heater to take the chill out of the air, a camp stove to cook on, and they had actual dishware to use. They each had a good sized selection of clothes, and a Laundromat that they would go to once a week.

Eddie even convinced Renaud to go to the local YMCA and teach him how to swim. To say that Eddie was astounded at how Renaud moved through the water like a knife would be an understatement. The local high school diving coach watched as Renaud did a few dives and was doing everything he could to get Renaud to go to school just so he could be on the team.

Of course, when the coach was able to figure out what was going on, he stopped pushing, but often the boys would find things in their lockers. Things that the coaches own boys had out grown. He was also able to help Renaud with some extra coaching. For a while Renaud was actually close to being happy.

"So, what do you wanna do for your birthday?" Eddie asked Renaud one night as they were lying in bed together. "You're not working that night, I can tell you that much."

Renaud lay there for a few moments trying to think about what he would like to do, and just soaking up the love he felt as he was wrapped in Eddie's strong arms. Even above the sex, which both boys really liked, and Eddie was VERY good at, Renaud liked this better.

"Don't laugh, but I really just wanna go see a movie." Renaud spoke quietly, afraid that his wish would seem too childish. Eddie squeezed the younger boy closer into himself and quietly let a few tears fall.

"If a movie is what you want to do, that's what we'll do." Eddie said as he squeezed Renaud one last time before both of them settled into sleep. Before Eddie fell asleep though, he said a quiet prayer to God.

'I know you probably don't listen for prayers from people like me, but if you're listening... please help me give this boy a better life than I've had. Give me a way to get him out of this.'

Two days later, the two boys set out to walk to the movie theater. They had to wait till late afternoon so that no one would question two 'brothers' going to the movies, while they should have been in school.

Throughout the entire movie Renaud had this goofy grin on his face, and one hand entwined with Eddie's. Unknown to Renaud, Eddie had went out and bought tickets so they could see another movie. Renaud didn't really care what they watched, he simply wanted to spend time with Eddie and do something 'normal'.

By the time they got out of the movies, it was well after dark. The two boys started to head 'home', both of them being in moods that were so good, nothing could bring them down. As they were walking, Renaud kept his hand in Eddie's even as the older boy was laughing at the antics of Renaud's youthful rendition of some of the funnier scenes from the movies.

They were almost back to their basement when they heard voices from behind them. "Hey look at the fags!"

Renaud immediately dropped Eddie's hand as both boys started to walk faster. Both knew you didn't stop and face off against a gang. Glancing over his shoulder, Eddie saw a group of about eight boys walking quickly towards them. As soon as he looked, they broke into a run towards them. "No matter what happens Renaud... keep running." Eddie said as the two boys broke into a run.

The comments they heard coming from the gang as they were being chased gave very little in the way of question as to what would happen when the two boys were caught. Eddie knew from everything he had heard on the streets that if they got caught, death would be the easy way out. He couldn't let that happen. Not to Renaud.

It was less than two blocks later that Eddie knew they weren't going to be able to outrun the gang. "Keep running!" Eddie said as he stopped and turned to face the gang. The only thing he could think about was making sure that Renaud got away.

It may have been a stupid thing to do, but Eddie didn't sit and wait for the gang to catch him, he charged head long into the middle of them trying to take out as many as he could as quick as he could.

Even though Eddie told him to run, Renaud couldn't help but stop and watch what happened. He was shocked when Eddie ran right into the group, almost as shocked as the gang was. When Eddie hit the group, he hit them hard and fast. Before they knew what was happening, two of them were on the ground moaning in pain. For a brief moment, Renaud held out hope that Eddie could make the gang run away. That was until he saw the flash of the blade.

Eddie had no clue what happened, one second he was fighting and the next it felt like fire ripped into his stomach. He stopped and looked down only to see a knife hilt sticking out of his stomach. Everything stopped for a second, as the shock of what happened stopped everyone in their tracks, everyone except for the guy holding the knife.

With a violent yank, the older teen pulled up with the knife hilt causing Eddie to gasp in the most unimaginable pain he'd ever felt. When the guy yanked the knife out of him, Eddie fell to his knees desperately trying to hold his insides in. He only had one thought on his mind as he heard Renaud scream his name.

"RUN!" he cried out to Renaud, as he somewhere got the ability to get back to his feet. The shock on the gang member's face when Eddie got up was only momentary as Eddie ripped the knife from the boy's hands, turned it around, and sunk it deep into the kids neck. Eddie was fighting for Renaud now.

"GO!" He screamed again when he saw that Renaud hadn't left, thankfully this time Renaud did run.

"That was the last time that Renaud saw me. I had to make sure that the gang didn't catch him, no matter what happened to me." The angel Eddie said to Janet who sat there with tears in her eyes. The story that she just heard made everything she found regarding the teenager on her bio-bed make so much more sense.

"I followed him from Shreveport back to New Orleans. He just couldn't handle being in the basement anymore. Thankfully he stopped by and picked up the money that we had saved up, and used it to buy a bus ticket. It broke my heart every time I watched him cry himself to sleep."

The analytical side of Janet's mind found it fascinating that she was sitting here talking to an angel and watched as the older teen cried. Giving into her motherly instincts she got up from her chair, and went over to the boy and wrapped her arms around him. Angel or not, he was still a boy who was hurting, and she would be there to let him cry on her shoulder if that's what he needed.

Through his sniffles, Eddie continued "For over two years, Renaud would not open his heart to anyone. He was actively searching for the worst men he could find, so that one of them would put him out of his misery, but he was too much of a fighter to let them get to him. But he was losing the fight and started doing drugs to numb the pain, to try to forget, to not feel. That's when I found Therin. The boy needed Renaud just as much as Renaud needed him.

"It only took a few gentle pushes on my part to bring the two boys together, and thankfully Renaud was stronger than I was. He wouldn't allow Therin to join in the lifestyle I taught him about.

"When I prayed to God that night, I never imagined the way he would answer my prayer was through my death, but now Renaud has a real chance at the life I wished I could have given him. Now I just need to make sure he grabs onto life and starts to heal." Eddie smiled sadly at Janet.

Back in Louisiana:

Jeremy was watching Talon all during the day. He liked what he saw. Smirking, Jeremy thought, 'This young man has more layers to him than I bet people give him credit for. He shouldn't even be in the sixth grade, but in the ninth with Tyler and Jackie'.

They were making their way to the lunch room when Jeremy saw a boy push another boy. As Jeremy was getting ready to go and stop the bully he saw Talon walk up. Therin stopped, "That boy is new here also. I don't know his name, but the boy pushing him around is Dwayne, he is tough. I stay away from him 'cause he likes to really push us smaller kids around."

Jeremy looked at Therin and saw a dreamy smile on his face, looking at him with a look of 'well, what are you smiling about', Therin looked up and grinned, "Isn't he wonderful? Just look at the confidence he has. He just walks into the middle of these fights and stops them. Doesn't even look like he's thinking about what he's doing and the bullies all back down whenever he's around." Therin just sighed, turned and started to walk towards the lunch room.

Jeremy watched Therin walk away for a moment and then walked towards Talon and the other kids.

"Hey, there you are, Brody. We were going to meet for lunch so we could study biology together." Talon smiled at the new boy while putting his arm around the boy's shoulders. Talon then grinned at Dwayne, showing off his deep dimples, "Sorry to break up your fun, but you know my rule about messin' with my friends."

Dwayne sneered at Talon, "Everyone can't be your friend Talon, one of these days you won't be around to protect everyone."

Talon just grinned bigger and the dimples got even deeper, "Maybe not, but here you know the rules, and I'll enforce them. You don't want to go another round with me do you Dwayne?"

Dwayne just cussed and started to walk away, stopping he turned and whispered, "This ain't over Sabre."

Talon just grinned and shrugged. Turning Brody towards the lunch room, Talon saw Jeremy watching him. Talon tilted his head to the side for a moment and then just smiled and nodded at Jeremy, and continued on with Brody by his side.

Talon knew why Dwayne picked Brody to bully. You could tell by his straw cowboy hat that he wasn't from around here. Talon then looked at the shell choker around Brody's neck, dish water blond hair and green eyes. Talon also knew that the choker around his neck was a small way of trying to fit in. Talon kept moving to the table in lunch room that he normally sat at.

Jeremy watched the whole thing with admiration. Not once did Talon ever look threatened, but to Jeremy's trained eye, he could see that in every move Talon made, he was prepared and positioned in such a way to move Brody out of harm's way while defending himself at the same time. Jeremy was impressed that Talon did it in such a way as to not draw attention to himself. He knew that the Sabre boys had extensive martial arts training. 'Interesting', was his last thought as he made his own way to the lunch room to meet up with Therin.

When Jeremy got to the lunch room he was surprised to see Tyler there with Therin. "Hey, I didn't realize that you had lunch with us. How is it going?" Jeremy smiled over at Tyler, letting his smile show the love he felt at seeing his boyfriend.

"Actually, better that I thought it would be. I have Jackie and his friend Steven showing me around and they're great." Tyler leaned closer to Jeremy and softly whispered so that only Jeremy could hear him, "If his brothers are anything like he is, then we got it made. I can't understand why we were sent to watch these boys; they seem more than capable of taking care of themselves. This doesn't make sense but at the same time I know better than to question Logan."

Jeremy nodded, "I know, they have extensive martial arts training, that is for sure. But Logan has his reasons. There is a reason he sent us to watch these boys and that is exactly what we are going to do, keep them safe."

"I did hear Jackie telling Steven that they would be at the Saint Lufthild's Soup Kitchen tonight. From what I could gather, when I asked about it, they go every Tuesday and Thursday evening to help serve food to the homeless from the parishes." Tyler informed Jeremy.

Jeremy nodded, "Then we need to be close by to watch them."

Therin whispered, "Renaud wouldn't let us go there to get anything to eat. He said that being a kid that they would want to get us into the system and he wasn't going into no system to be abused. He could protect us better right where we were."

Jeremy nodded, "I can see him thinking that way. But now we can go in and offer to volunteer and work with them. You will have plenty to eat now and that won't be a problem. We have a lot to discuss when we get to the cabin and see Renaud."

Tyler nodded and Therin wondered what Jeremy meant by 'they had a lot to talk about'. This was the second time he said that now. The boys settled down to eat their lunch while at the same time observing everyone that was in the lunch room and watching over Talon.

Talon felt like someone was watching him. Every instinct he had said that eyes were on him. He kept looking up and scanning the lunch room, and every now and then he would see the other two new boys glancing his way. That had to be what he was feeling. Shrugging it off, Talon kept talking to Brody but Brody wasn't answering, just nodding or shaking his head as Talon asked questions. Talon wasn't going to let this stop him. He knew that given time, trust and friendship that this boy would tell him what was wrong.

Over in the gymnasium, Ulee was doing everything he could to get a very silent set of twins to talk to him. They just moved here a few days ago and hadn't said a thing to anyone. But, the twins just kept looking at each other and then turned back to stare at the game of dodge ball that was in progress.

Ulee knew their names were Clayton and Colton because that was what the teacher called them.

"So where are you two from?" Ulee asked the twins.

Clayton looked at Ulee, then looked at his brother and they both shrugged and looked out at the game again.

"Why don't we join in the game? The coach isn't going to like it if we just sit over here on the side." Ulee tried again.

This time Colton looked at Ulee, then looked at his brother and they both shrugged their shoulders again and looked out at the game still in progress as another kid got hit with the ball and was out of the game.

"Would you rather play something else? We could run laps and I would run with you if you want?" Ulee tried again.

Both boys looked and Ulee and shook their heads no then looked back to where the game of dodge ball was still going on.

"Well, what about shooting some hoops over there?" Ulee asked.

Once again both boys just shook their heads, with a sigh this time.

"Yes, I got a sound outta ya. You sighed so I know you can talk." Ulee teased.

Both boys started to giggle then immediately stopped. They both looked at Ulee and frowned.

"Well, I am going to stay right here and if we get in trouble, I will get in trouble with you. That's what friends do and I want to be your friend." Ulee stated as he sat there with the twins and didn't move.

The two boys looked at each other with a touch of fear. Ulee knew something wasn't right, he just didn't know how to fix it. Nodding his head as he thought, 'I will ask Jackie and Talon what to do, they will know'.

Back at Camp Bam Bam:

Janet walked back into the room that Renaud was in. She smiled as Eddie was still sitting by the biobed. Janet placed her hand on Eddie's shoulder, "Well, it's almost time to wake up sleeping beauty. He should be healed enough to go home with Jeremy and Tyler. Between the biobed and a little help from our friends he is almost as good as new. They will make sure he is taken care of."

Eddie looked up at Janet and smiled, "Then I guess it's time for me to leave. I wish I could give him one more kiss before I have to leave him though." Eddie sighed as he looked back to Renaud.

"You can, I can set it so that there is a few minutes between shutting off the suspension mode and his waking up so that you can give him that kiss you want." Janet paused, and then added, "Are you sure you need to leave, he is going to be looking for you."

Sighing, Eddie said, "Yeah, I have to go. I wasn't supposed to let him see me yet. But I couldn't stand by and do nothing any longer." Sniggering he added, "Guess it is a good thing that I did show up the way I did or he might have died, and that I couldn't let happen." Janet patted his shoulder and reached over to touch a few buttons.

Eddie stood up and looked down at the boy he loved with all his heart. Leaning over he gave Renaud a gently kiss that spoke volumes. Eddie ran his fingers through Renaud's soft black hair and whispered, "I love the new hair style, it really becomes you. Take care my love, I will be here watching over you always." Then Eddie slowly vanished just as Renaud opened his eyes.

Renaud looked around confused. "Where am I?"

"You are at Camp Bam Bam's hospital. You gave us quite a scare young man. You passed out and when we got you on the biobed we found and aneurism that was just about ready to burst. So, we got you all fixed up. All those broken and fractured bones bruised internal organs, the tears in your anus and other issues. We also got rid of all the drugs in your system. You don't need those anymore; you are clean of them all. And most importantly, you don't need to sell yourself on the streets anymore to make money for food, clothes, and shelter." Janet sternly yet gently told Renaud as he looked at her shocked.

"Aneurism? I almost died? Who would have taken care of Therin? Where is Eddie? Oh God, Eddie!" With that Renaud broke down into tears and Janet picked the boy up and held him while he cried.

"Shh, now, it's going to be alright. I know all about Eddie. That's it, let it all out. You can finally grieve now." Janet whispered into Renaud's ear while she gently held him and rocked him back and forth to try to comfort him. Renaud held on to her for dear life. It had been a long time since he felt the comforting arms of a mother around him.

Sniffling, Renaud whispered, "I must have talked in my sleep. Sorry, didn't mean for anyone to ever know." He then looked up at Janet, expecting to see condemnation and instead saw love and understanding.

"It's alright Renaud. Love is not something to be questioned. And you two shared a very strong love that few people get to ever experience." Janet ran her fingers through Renaud's hair while she spoke.

Slightly helping him sit up some Janet continued, "Jeremy and Tyler should be here soon and I have a few surprises for all of you. Especially since you need some more rest. Just rest assured Renaud, you are safe now and you can start a new life now, today. The days of selling yourself are over." Janet smiled at the confusion on Renaud's face.

Just then the door to the room slammed open, Therin came running in yelling "Renaud, I missed you so much." As he leapt up onto the biobed and wrapped his arms around Renaud and hugged him tight. Smiling up at Renaud, Therin added, "you all better now?"

Renaud couldn't help but smile down at Therin, "Yeah, I'm all better. I gotta rest some more, but according to Doctor Janet I'm gonna be good as new." Renaud then wrapped his arms around Therin and noticed Jeremy and Tyler standing in the doorway smiling at them.

Janet stood up, "Good, everyone's here. Now, I learned a few things and I didn't like where you were living. So, I found a nice little three bedroom house right across the street from the Sabre family. I rented it so you now have a warm place to live, beds to sleep in and a fully stocked kitchen. And space to do your homework."

"Mama Janet!" Tyler moaned, "This is our mission, you aren't supposed to help. That won't look good."

Janet smiled, "Well, normally I wouldn't young man. But, one of my boys was seriously hurt and needs to get all the rest and healing as he can over the next few days. I didn't do this as Mama Janet; I did it as Doctor Janet. That supersedes everything else when the health of one of my boys is in question."

Jeremy looked at Mama Janet close, "Can you let us know what happened?"

Janet looked over at Tyler and nodded; Tyler then read Janet and gasped.

Tyler then sent what happened to Jeremy who looked over at Renaud, still holding onto Therin.

"Alright, I can see why you did what you did and I agree. Thanks Mama Janet." Jeremy and Tyler went over and hugged Janet.

"Ready to go home guys," Jeremy called over to Renaud and Therin. Then added, "Daileass, can you transport the guys stuff from the cabin to the house Mama Janet rented and then take us home. Renaud needs to rest and we have a lot to talk about before we have to head over to the soup kitchen to watch the Sabre boys."

"Sure thing Jeremy, done and..." The four boys found themselves standing in the living-room of the house they would be living in, "...done." They could hear Daileass giggling.

"Wow," Therin yelled out, letting go of Renaud and ran down the hallway. "You guys gotta see this; one of the bedrooms has four desks in it, and looked at all the new clothes in the closets and dressers. Hey, one of the rooms has one big bed in it while the other has two beds. Come on and look guys." Therin was so excited that the three other boys followed to see what he was yelling about.

Author's Note:

I would like to send a big Thank you to Roland. He wrote a large section of this chapter for me and we had many long chats of where to take this. He really brought Eddie to life and Renaud and Eddie's past into light. And another big Thank you to Boxerdude for editing for me and helping me fine tune a few things. Without the two of them, this chapter wouldn't have turned out the way it did. Hugs guys! And thank you so much for all of your support and hard work.

Editor's Notes:

Well, I have got to say that I had to use a few tissues in this chapter to wipe away my tears. It is not often that a chapter gets to me but this one did. I hope all of you out there who read this will send Lady Cynaira and Roland and email explaining your own feelings about this chapter. I think they captured the essence of Eddie and Renaud so well and it was heart breaking. To understand why Renaud is doing for Therin and seeing this come out to a positive outcome is heartwarming and awesome. I think this chapter is one of the most brilliantly written chapters I have ever had the opportunity to edit. I can't wait to see what the Lady has for us next!!! Thanks Roland for the help, it was great to see you involved in another story.

Your friendly neighborhood editing puppy!


Note from Lord Roland:

I just had to put something in here. Almost a year ago, Cynaira was talking to me about Renaud and why he was the way he was. That night I went to bed, and woke up to find I have yet ANOTHER character floating around in my head... his name was Eddie.

Now you all have to understand, Eddie is a very flexible character. He allowed Cynaira and I to come up with most of the details of his life, but there was one thing that he made absolutely certain that we knew, and knew well... he loved Renaud.

Many readers laugh when the authors talk about the 'characters talking to us,' but they do. They become real to us, and we love them like children. That's why it took almost a year to write only a few pages. I knew before I even started to write this that Eddie was going to die at the end, and I... I just didn't want to write it. I didn't want to loose someone that had become so real to me.

But with Cynaira's help, I was able to push through it, and then she came along behind me and wrote everything around it, help to massage what I wrote, and generally made it much better then it was originally. Then we had Boxerdude come in and edit it. Do not ever think that all he does is edit. He is so much more then your average editor. I know this chapter, and all of my personal stories would not be as good if he didn't edit them.

However, there is one thing I wanted to put in here, that Renaud actually asked me to do. I would like you all to picture sixteen year old Renaud sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar. He starts of playing a hauntingly gentle tune, then he opens his mouth and starts to sing. You can feel the hurt and sadness in his voice as he starts to sing a song that many people know well. It's called 'The Dance'

Looking back on the memory of

The dance we shared beneath the stars above

For a moment all the world was right

How could I have known you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I'd of had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything

For a moment wasn't I the king

But if I'd only known how the king would fall

Hey who's to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know

The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain

But I'd of had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance

I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance

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