Tuesday, Evening, November 2, 2004
Jackie looked over at his friends. Steven and Lily knew he was adopted, but didn't know all the details of the adoption.
As they looked around all they could see were moss covered cypress trees, dark green grasses, bare dirt, cattails and algae in the water. They spotted an overgrown trail behind Jackie, barely visible, like the swamp reclaimed what was once its own land. The sun barely broke through the canopy of trees to give the area a damp, dark feeling to it.
Jackie looked around and felt a shiver run up and down his spine, just like he did every time he came here. He looked over at his two friends, took a deep breath, let it out, and got ready to begin.
Jackie looked out to the water, as if in a trance, and he started talking. "We were running along a trail to get here. I was in my mother's arms, and she kept telling me that she was going to take me somewhere safe. I just held on tight as she ran. I was five years old, and crying because my father just beat mom again. She knocked him out somehow, grabbed me, and ran."
He looked behind him and pointed, "We came from that way. I have never ventured over that way. I only stop here, where the rest happened."
Steven and Lily looked the way he pointed. They both wondered if there was anything of his old home that way, anything that could still be saved for him. They looked at each other and understood what the other was thinking.
He looked back to the water, avoiding his friends' faces and continued; "We got to here when my mother screamed 'NO!' and I peeked out from her shoulder to see why she screamed. Standing where our small pirogue was supposed to be was my father. She was shaking so bad and held onto me so tight that it hurt."
Jackie had to stop and take a breath. Closing his eyes for a moment, he continued; "The next thing I knew, I was yanked from my mother's arms and went flying hard into the ground. I was stunned, that is what I was told anyway. I looked up and up, and saw my father grab my mother and start shaking her, yelling at her. He grabbed her head and I heard a loud snap, when he broke her neck. She was looking right at me, tears running down her face, kicking, trying to get away, and telling me to run." He looked up and at his friends, and then shivered, "I saw the life and light leave her eyes."
Tears were silently running down his face when he saw both of his friends' faces. They also had tears running down their faces and stunned looks in their eyes. Steven tried to smile and nodded to his friend, to let Jackie know it was okay to continue.
Jackie let out a sigh, looked back toward the water. Pointing again, he said, "My father threw her lifeless body out there, into the swamp and I heard him say that she wasn't even good enough to feed the alligators. He then turned toward me. It was then that I started to scoot backwards, shaking my head, no. I started to scream 'no daddy', over and over at the top of my lungs. He just laughed at me."
Jackie's eyes took on a look of fright. "Out of nowhere a Loup Garou showed up." Shaking his head, he looked up and saw the jaws of both his friends drop open in shock.
Jackie tried to smile and said, "Well, that is what I kept saying over and over again. I don't know what it was, but that is what I called it. The Loup Garou picked up my father and snap, he was dead. The Loup Garou threw him into the swamp and an alligator came up and dragged his body under the water. I sat and watched him disappear, and as my father went under the water, the Loup Garou went out into the water, picked up my mother's body and carried her to me."
Shaking his head as if he didn't believe it himself, Jackie continued, "It gently laid her body down by me and left... it just left. I moved over to her body and just started screaming, 'No', over and over again."
Jackie looked up, "Somewhere, I don't remember when, I started saying Loup Garou over and over and couldn't stop as I clutched my mother's hand and laid my head down on her shoulder. I remember trying to fix her hair, pushing it from her face. Trying to wake her up, calling mommy."
Glancing at his friends, Jackie muttered, "But somewhere I stopped, just laid down, and while I held her, I just kept repeating Loup Garou."
Taking a deep breath, "That is how my dad found me, the dad you know. He had just come back from a mission and came out here to clear his head and found me." Jackie swallowed, "He walked up to me so slowly, telling me it was okay, don't be afraid." Glancing back to his friends, "He picked me up, held me and cried with me."
A small sad smile crossed his lips, and Jackie continued, "I don't remember him doing it, but he somehow got my mom and me into his pirogue and continued on into the swamp. He took us to see Miz. Odilia. She is considered a traiteur, or a healer by her people.[In French Acadiana, the term traiteur (sometimes spelled treateur) describes a man or woman (a traiteuse) who practices what is sometimes called faith healing. A traiteur is Cajun healer, or else a traditional healer of the French-speaking Houma Tribe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traiteur] Some say all the women of her line had the sight, including her, her daughter, her daughter's daughter and so forth."
Jackie let out a small chuckle while shaking his head, "She must be ancient. All I remember is hearing her tell my dad that I am his now, take me home and raise me. I don't remember anything else. Dad told me there was a funeral, an investigation, and that they never found my father's body. Miz Odilia told my new dad that my last name was Perdue, and he told me how he heard my screams and tried so hard to get to me."
Jackie then looked at his friends, totally drained. "I still have nightmares sometimes. To this day I can't even explain what I saw that day. I don't know what is real and what isn't." Jackie just shook his head.
"Somehow Bruno found out; that's why he called me a swamp rat today. I needed for you to know what the truth was."
All of a sudden, Lily and Steven were next to him, holding him, and the three broke down in tears, holding onto each other. They reassured him that it was okay, they didn't care and that they were his friends.
They heard a rustle and looked up. Through their tears they saw a boy coming out of the trees. All they could do was stare in confusion at the boy.
In the bushes, Jeremy, Tyler and Renaud prepared to defend Jackie, Steven and Lily. Tyler whispered, "I can't read him, he is blocking all telepathy. All his thoughts are blocked from me."
Jeremy and Renaud nodded that they had heard and kept their focus on the stranger walking up to the group.
The first thing Jackie saw was white hair that looked like it had been cut with a knife, to try to keep it at a somewhat manageable length. The next thing he noticed was his eyes; sad, brown eyes that were looking right at him. He felt like he could drown in those eyes and wanted to run his fingers through the boys hair to try to straighten it. Jackie shoved those feelings aside. He couldn't feel that way. He didn't want to feel that way.
Tyler picked up Jackie's surface thoughts, but kept them to himself. He knew that he and Jeremy would be there for Jackie if he needed help with his feelings.
Lily saw the boys clothes. She scrunched up her nose at how worn, ragged, and dirty his clothes were. She couldn't even identify what he had wrapped around his feet, because whatever it was, it wasn't any type of shoe she ever saw.
Steven noticed how the boy looked at his best friend, as if though he knew Jackie. "Who are you?" Steven asked, looking back and forth between Jackie and this strange boy.
The boy looked over at Steven and smiled, "I am the Loup Garou. That is all you need to know at this time."
The boy looked back at Jackie and continued, "I saved you that day. I came to you as the protector. In my time, the legend spoke of the Rougarou, also known as Loup Garou. There are no, how do you say, werewolf's, just me." The boy smiled at Jackie when he said the last, while holding his arms out to his side.
Jackie shook his head in confusion, "You are not who or what I saw that day. How...?"
"Very simple young one, like this," the boy stated, while he moved leaves and branches around, and then sent an illusion of a werewolf around the items, to re-create what Jackie saw that day.
All their jaws dropped, Steven and Lily held onto Jackie in shock.
Jackie smiled, and the smile grew as he pointed at the image of a werewolf. "That is way cool! But how did that kill my father and carry my mother to me?"
The boy let the image go. The leaves and branches fell to the ground while he sat down in front of Jackie and his friends.
"I can create images, and I am able to move objects with my mind. I read somewhere that this is called illusions and telekinesis. That is how I did what I did. That is how I do what I do. Protect the innocent of the swamp." The boy nodded at Jackie.
Smiling, he continued, "I heard you talking and wanted you to know what happened. Needed to tell you about what you saw. To tell you that, here in the swamp, you are safe. This may help to ease your night terrors. The three of you are always welcome and safe here."
The boy looked like he was thinking and added, "Also, the two other boys that come with you at times are safe also. They are your brother's, yes?"
Jackie nodded, "Yes, they are my brother's, Talon and Ulee."
"The man that arrived, and became your father, knows he is also safe here, should he choose to return." With a final nod the boy stood and started to walk off.
Jackie shouted, "Wait, how do I find you again? I don't even know your name. And why did you call me young one, you are about my age?"
The boy smiled back at Jackie and laughed, "I will always be here. When the time is right, more will be revealed. And you are young, since I have lived two hundred and thirty six years , and yet, I am only fourteen, even though I was born February 29 in the year of 1768."
The boy looked into the bushes, intentionally sent the thought 'don't follow me,' turned and walked into the trees, still laughing. He disappeared as quickly as he arrived.
Jeremy went to move, but Tyler stopped him. Tyler told him the thought the mystery boy sent and shook his head no. Then he tapped his comm and whispered, "Daileass, can you track him?"
"He already disappeared into the swamp, I lost him Tyler." Daileass' frustrated voice came back over their earpieces.
Jackie watched him walk away; his gaze couldn't leave the mysterious boy. Steven and Lily also watched him walk away, and then watched Jackie as he watched the boy. Jackie shook his head and then looked over at his friends.
When he looked at them, Jackie started to cry again and Steven and Lily held him tighter.
"I have to find him Steven, I have too!" Jackie said in-between breaths while trying to stop crying.
Steven looked into Jackie's eyes and whispered, "If anyone can, you can. You have been saying he is alive." Looking around where they were, Steven added, "And after what happened out here, if anyone would know, it is you, Jackie. We are behind you one hundred percent. You do what you need to do. We will back you!" Steven said the last with conviction in his tone.
Lily nodded. She didn't know what to say, so she just held Jackie and silently cried for the little boy who suffered so much; who was lost and then found.
Each of them, in their own thoughts, tried to wrap their minds around what the mystery boy said. They refused to talk about it yet, because it was too unbelievable.
Taking a deep breath Jackie started to let go of his friends and said, "We should start to head back, before it gets too late." Jackie looked around one more time. Wondering about the boy they just met and closing his eyes, he said a small prayer, asking to be able to find the man who saved him, the man he calls father, and who he loves with all his heart and soul.
He whispered, "I promised to love you while you were gone, dad. That hasn't changed; I love you and I won't stop, even when you are home again."
Jackie turned and walked toward the pirogue with his friends. Steven asked Lily to walk ahead for a moment and stopped Jackie. Looking into his eyes, Steven pulled him close and whispered, "When you are ready to tell me the rest of what you are struggling with, I will be here for you. You won't lose me Jackie. You will always be my best friend."
Jackie looked stunned, "Ah, yeah, right, uhm, ok. Let's head home."
Steven smiled and nodded. They caught up to Lily and headed home.
Jeremy, Tyler and Renaud stayed a safe distance behind and followed the three friends back to the plantation.
Jackie wondered why he didn't feel the same feelings for Steven that he did for the boy they just saw. He looked at Steven's short brown hair that he wore long on top and parted on the side, it hung over his forehead and into his eyes. Jackie never had the urge to brush his fingers through his friend's hair the way he did with the mystery boy he just met.
As Jackie was telling his tale, Talon and Ulee started going over all the information that Talon had accumulated over the last two years.
Ulee didn't remember a lot of the files. Talon looked over at him and said, "Ulee, two years is a lot of time. You were only seven at the time, and really didn't understand what was going on."
"Yes, I did understand! No one thought that I understood, but I did! He is my dad too! Everyone refused to discuss it with me!" Ulee said with enough anger in his voice that Talon looked at Ulee and grabbed him in a hug.
They both started to cry and Talon hugged and rocked Ulee repeating, "I am so sorry bro," over and over again.
They both calmed down, wiped their eyes, and Talon started to show Ulee all the information that he had accumulated, along with his charts and graphs.
"This doesn't make sense, Talon. If this is right, then something came in and grabbed dad without anyone seeing anything. How does that happen? Dad's team is the best, and even I know that dad wouldn't have gone into any meeting without them there for back up."
Talon nodded, "Yeah, and here are their private reports showing that they were there doing surveillance and protecting our dad. Not even they saw anything. Nothing Ulee, not even a transport beam."
The two curled up together and re-read every document that Talon had. While they were reading, first one, then the other, would glance up and look out over the swamp watching for Jackie to come back.
"Okay Talon, dad got a call to go to Washington for a private meeting. He called his team together and they made plans for the meeting. Dad's team flew out a few days early to re-con the area and set up their posts. Dad got the call saying that everything was in place. He took all of us out and spent that last day with us." Ulee said, getting teary eyed as he remembered the last day they spent with their dad.
Talon nodded, with tears in his eyes as well, and continued, "He flew out the next morning. He called to let us know he got there and was in his room preparing for the meeting that night. There is no note anywhere of who dad was meeting and no one will tell us. As far as anyone knows, there was no meeting. Only his team insists that there was, but they didn't know who. Only that dad had to go, and that when dad said it was important and would save children, they went, no questions asked."
Ulee looked back to Talon after looking out over the swamp again and continued, "The guys saw dad walking down the street, get ready to enter the building and then he was gone. He just vanished into thin air. One of the guys said he saw dad start to turn, like he heard something, but then, 'poof', he was gone. They also saw a man they didn't know approach the building, but can't say for sure if they saw him enter the building or not."
Talon looked at Ulee and asked, "What are we missing, Ulee?"
Ulee just kept staring and finally said, "There has to be something out there, something that we don't know about that got dad. How do we get him back though?" Ulee looked over at Talon with tears in his eyes.
"I feel the same way that Jackie does, Talon. I want my daddy back!" Ulee broke down into tears again.
Talon moved over and silently hugged Ulee to him, rocking him as he cried. Talon thought to himself, 'me too bro, me too.'
Therin was hiding under the treehouse and heard Ulee cry out. He started to cry himself as he whispered, "I want my daddy back too, but he is in heaven. I will help you find your daddy somehow."
They heard Jackie, Steven and Lily before they saw them pull up in the pirogue. Talon quickly pulled the CD, put it back into its case and closed his laptop. Gathering everything together, Talon then helped Ulee dry his eyes and clean his face with bottled water before they climbed down from the tree house to meet Jackie and his friends.
Just as they jumped down from the last step, Jackie secured the pirogue and the three started to head towards Talon and Ulee. Jackie could tell right away that something was wrong with his brothers. As he looked over at them, Talon shook his head no. Jackie knew that they would tell him later.
Once the tree house was secure, two sets of eyes started dancing all around. "Did you see all the shineys, Stazie, did you... did you?" Kilroy chatted as he scampered down the wall into the treehouse.
Stazie wasn't too far behind him, reminding, "But we's can't touch. They might be shiney lovers."
"We's can touch, we just can't take, Stazie. And look at all those shineys." Kilroy scampered over to one of the cabinets in the wall and worked to get it open. "Ohhhh, twinkle, twinkle little stars... how you shine so bright."
Kilroy then took one of the throwing stars out of the cabinet, "See how they shine, Stazie, ohhhh, so bright. Oh, noooo, see, it is getting dull here, they's can't be shiney lovers... see.... see... right there."
Stazie looked at the spot Kilroy was showing her. "Kilroy, that's cause that's where some of the shiney wore off from them using them." She reached inside her hat and pulled out a cloth and started to shine the star.
"This is a safe place, like their fortress. Since we can't take their shinys until we know if they are shiny lovers, then we can use this as our shiny vault and shine all the shinys in here." Stazie continued to shine the star while she was talking.
Stazie paused for a moment, "We's be better shining the shiney's cause I think they be shiney lovers. Did you see how they shined hugging each other. Oh, they shined bright then. Yes, they did. And before they leave, he took that shiny disk and oh, so carefully protected his shiney disk."
"Uh huh, uh huh, they did, they did and we's can, we's can. He said it's safe, that no one could get in here, but we did. Yes, we did." Kilroy laughed.
Stazie shook her head, "Oh course we did silly, we's one of High Priest Dave's ferrets. That's our job to get in fortress's"
"Yep, yep. Sure is. And so many shinys. Can we really use this as our shiny vault?" Kilroy asked with a hopeful tone in his voice. "I likes it here. Here is where we's gonna stay?"
Stazie looked around, "Yep, this is good." She pulled down another star and continued to shine them.
"Yeah... I be back, I's gonna go 'splourin'." Kilroy scampered up the wall and out of the treehouse. He had lots of ground to cover and lots of shineys to find.
Jeremy, Tyler and Renaud met up with Therin and they started to compare notes. They all agreed that they needed to help the boys find their dad. Conversations flew all over the place, with Daileass, telepathically and with each other.
They all entered the house. Katie had cookies and hot chocolate for them on the table. They all smiled and dug in, laughing and joking and talking about school. Talon kept shyly looking at Lily with his dimples showing deeply and a slight blush on his cheeks.
Katie then gently reminded them that she needed to get them home and that tonight they also needed to go visit the soup kitchen and assist in feeding the homeless.
They looked at each other and suddenly jumped up and ran to their rooms to change one more time. They enjoyed helping at the soup kitchen and couldn't believe they forgot.
Steven asked, "Do you mind if I go with you? I would really like to help out."
"Not at all, Steven. Why don't you call your parents real quick and then we can get going?" Katie smiled.
Steven called home and got the go ahead from his parents after they asked to talk to Katie to make sure he was welcomed.
Katie got them all in the Jeep, and the boys all allowed Lily to sit up front. Lily smiled as Talon ran to the Jeep to hold the door open for her. Talon blushed so deep that it almost looked as if all his blood ran to his cheeks, he was so red.
Katie dropped Lily off at home and headed to town. They arrived at the soup kitchen and started to walk towards the door.
The soup kitchen was in the older area of town, in an old restaurant that the church bought for this program. They had long tables set up with folding chairs all around them. Some of the church women tried to make it look homey by placing flowers in canning jars on the tables. They also covered the tables with old, worn out table cloths that people donated. There was a sign hanging over the door that simply said, 'Saint Lufthild's Soup Kitchen'.
Once inside, they found where they each were assigned to help serve the food. Katie always worked in the kitchen and helped bring fresh, hot food trays out to the warmers. Jackie helped Father Morgan serve the hot foods. Talon helped with the drinks and desserts. Steven manned the door and helped the elderly and injured to seats. Ulee waited on the people that couldn't stand in line and got to make sure that everyone had a napkin wrapped around silverware and a straw if they wanted one for their drinks.
The boys were all laughing and joking with all the regulars that they had gotten to know over the years. The Sabres believed in teaching the boys to respect all people and help in their community. The family helped out here every Tuesday and Thursday. These were two days that the church couldn't find enough people to volunteer. They made quite a few friends over the years with several of the homeless people, or people who just needed a little help. They had met some children over the years also and helped them find homes and made sure they weren't alone.
Jackie stayed in touch with every child they found and checked on them all, either by letter, email or phone, to make sure they were alright. He didn't want any of the children to feel like they got abandoned once they were placed in a new home. He was thankful that there were only about fifteen children in the last nine years, but to him, one or two children a year were one or two too many. And he knew that there were even more children that didn't come in to get food.
They finally got to sit down and eat with all the people in the room. The line slowed down enough and Father Morgan smiled at the boys, thanked them and told them to go visit and eat.
Daileass had teleported Jeremy and Tyler just outside the soup kitchen so they could keep an eye on the family, while Renaud and Therin stayed back and kept an eye on the house.
Father Morgan was watching the people in the room and smiled at Katie as she walked up beside him. "I am so thankful to you and your family for making this possible. If it wasn't for you, and an anonymous person that donates money and time, I don't think this would be possible. Thank you again, Katie. Would you just look at those boys and how they have grown. It seems like just yesterday that Jackie was a scared little boy of five." Father Morgan seemed lost in thought.
Katie smiled at him. "I know, and he needs this right now. He is getting restless and I am afraid he is going to do something that could harm him. He is so desperate to find his dad and we just don't have any new leads to follow. I am so worried about them, because Talon and Ulee would follow their brother anywhere."
"I will continue to pray for your family, and may you bring your husband home soon." Father Morgan said as he looked down at Katie.
"Thank you, Father. I think I will go and join the boys and have my supper with them. Have a good evening and we will see you Thursday, Father." Katie said. She walked away to join her sons and their friend.
Father Morgan watched them for a while and said a silent prayer. He then walked around the room visiting with many of the people and praying with them when they asked.
In another part of town, Bruno heard noises outside and decided to go see what was making the racket. When he walked outside he felt something hit him. When he spun around, a scream lodged in his throat as he was hit again. He threw his arms up to protect his face and felt a bone snap. He heard a whispering voice say, "Change, you must change your ways. Stop bullying and tormenting others or I will return and finish what I started." He watched the creature, as he thought of it, make its way back into the tree line of the property.
Bruno didn't see the boy hiding in the shadows. The boy watched as Bruno got up and ran into the house holding his arm. The boy whispered, "Mark my words Mr. Bruno, I will be watching you and I will return." The boy turned and calmly walked back towards the swamp.
As soon as the creature disappeared into the tree line, Bruno made his way back inside the house where his father jumped up and asked what happened. "Werewolf, a werewolf just attacked me! Get me outta here dad! It broke my arm and said it was going to finish what it started!" Bruno screamed in tears. He held his broken arm and ran out towards the car with his father following closely behind.
Bruno's father caught up to him and grabbed him. "What ya talkin' about boy? There ain't no such thing as werewolves. You goin' crazy like your mama, huh boy, are ya?" Bruno's father just looked at him with contempt. He grabbed Bruno and pushed him into the car. Bruno screamed out in pain.
When they got to the hospital, Bruno calmed down somewhat, but tears still ran down his face. They were tears of fear and pain. They were ushered into an examination room, where the nurse started to take his vitals. When she asked how he broke his arm, Bruno glanced out of the room where his father was filling out paperwork and whispered, "A werewolf attacked me in our backyard."
The nurse looked over at him and said, "A werewolf attacked you." She smiled at Bruno and said, "I will be right back, Bruno. I need to take these results to the doctor. You just rest right here and we will be back soon." Bruno just nodded his understanding.
Nurse Abbie Clyburn made her way over to Dr. Mack Loury. When Dr. Loury looked up, he noticed a concerned look on his nurse's face. "What is it, Nurse Abbie?"
"Well, we have a patient that just came in, fourteen years old, broken arm, x-rays have been taken, vials are stable, and he swears that a werewolf broke his arm. We are just waiting for x-ray to send the printouts back to us. Is there anything else you might want added, and do you want me to notify CPS about possible abuse?" Nurse Abbie asked.
"Werewolf, hmm." Dr. Loury murmured while rubbing his eyes. "Never a boring day around here, is it, Nurse? Do a full tox screen and see if there are any drugs in his system. I don't want to give him anything for pain until I have the full lab report back. Tell them this is stat as I have a fourteen year old boy in severe pain. And, no, I want to evaluate him first. We don't want to make any false claims. I don't trust that organization with a child. I will only use them if it is really necessary."
"Yes, Doctor," Nurse Abbie said, and then turned and headed back to Bruno's room to draw the needed blood for the lab.
Still murmuring to himself about boys seeing werewolf's, Dr. Loury didn't notice when Dr. Tassoni walked up next to him. She cleared her throat to let him know she was there, "Did I hear you say, werewolf? I had a case about nine years ago, a boy rescued in the swamp, he was only five and kept saying that the Loup Garou saved him. Interesting coincidence don't you think, Doctor? I would like to evaluate the boy, if you don't mind? I believe that a child that has undergone severe trauma of some sort is using this as a subconscious way of dealing with things that they normally wouldn't be able to."
Dr. Loury looked over at Dr. Tassoni and nodded, "You might be right. You can join me while I evaluate the broken arm. Then we can discuss this in private, after my examination, and I have the tox screen results back."
The two doctors entered Bruno's room and heard his father screaming at him, "How am I supposed to pay for this you ungrateful brat? And then you start on about some damn werewolf, like we's supposed to believe that crap." While storming away from a crying Bruno, he added, "You's just as crazy as your mama. I swears boy, you gonna be the death of me. You's a good for nothing, boy." He walked out of the room informing the doctors that he would be waiting in the cafeteria.
Both doctors glanced at each other. "Hello Bruno, I am Dr. Loury and this is Dr. Tassoni. I hear you had a little trouble tonight and broke your arm. Let me look at the x-rays here, and then we can go from there." He smiled at Bruno and turned to look at the x-rays.
"Hmm, you broke your arm in two places, I see. Very clean breaks. We are going to put a cast on your arm and I should be able to give you something for the pain very soon." Dr. Loury smiled at Bruno, and then added, "Do you want to tell us how you broke your arm?"
Bruno, while still crying softly, sighed and started to explain again, "I heard something outside and went to look. Out of nowhere comes this huge werewolf, and it started to swing at me. I put my arm up to protect my head, and damn, if the thing didn't bust up my arm but good."
Right then the phone in the room rang and Nurse Abbie went and answered it. She said, "Thank you" very softly, turned and informed the Dr. that the lab results were back. Dr. Loury nodded and said, "We will be right back, Bruno. I am going to look over the lab results and get everything ready to put a cast on your arm." The two doctors left the room. Nurse Abbie stayed to keep Bruno company, since his father left and refused to stay in the room.
Dr. Loury looked over the lab results when he reached the nurses' station. "Not too much here, some residual drug use, but from the tox screen, not enough to cause hallucinations. It appears that a very small trace is left in his system. I want to find information on Mrs. Rampa. What exactly did Bruno's father mean by his statement that young Mr. Rampa was as crazy as his mother?"
Thinking out loud, Dr. Tassoni said, "That is very interesting. I would also like the answer to that question. Let's see if we can find her records, so we can help this young man."
After a quick search they found that the 'late' Mrs. Rampa committed suicide three years ago. It was suspected that it was the result of domestic abuse, which resulted in an emotional breakdown and the result was the suicide. Dr. Tassoni looked over at Dr. Loury and said, "I want to counsel that young man. It doesn't say if he witnessed the abuse and death of his mother, but if he did, then there is enough trauma there for his subconscious mind to create an image of anything to get him the help he needs. I may have to take other necessary steps after I talk with him in private."
"Agreed. Let's get this cast set and then we need to convince, not only Bruno, but also his father, of Bruno's need for counseling."
Dr. Loury gave Bruno the necessary pain medication and set the cast on Bruno's arm then excused himself, so that Dr. Tassoni could talk to Bruno in private. Pulling up a chair and sitting next to the bed that Bruno was laying on, Dr. Tassoni started, "Bruno, would you like to tell me what really happened? Exactly how or who broke your arm?"
Bruno glared at the doctor, "I already told you! A werewolf started to beat on me. It told me that I better change my ways or it was coming back to finish what it started. Why won't anyone believe me?"
"Well, for starters, there are no such things as werewolf's, Bruno. We are going to need to put you in counseling for awhile, so we can figure out what is really going on with you." Dr. Tassoni told him.
"No way am I going to let no two bit piece of lowly woman mess with my head. Women are only there for one reason, and believe me doc, you ain't got what I need." Bruno sneered at her.
Dr. Tassoni watched Bruno's facial expressions change, "Is that what your father always said to your mother?"
"You leave my mama outta this, you hear me, don't talk about my mama!" Bruno shouted.
Nodding, Dr. Tassoni said, "All right, I will be right back. You just relax right there. We need to double check the cast before we can release you to go home."
Bruno sighed and leaned back, the mild pain reliever that Dr. Loury gave him finally started to work, he fell into a light sleep.
Dr. Tassoni found Dr. Loury and asked him if they could go to his office. He nodded, and when they entered his office, Dr. Tassoni started, "Mack, that boy is traumatized about something or being abused. You saw how is father treated him. While that was mild, I believe it runs much deeper."
"Loriann, what can we do? CPS isn't the right route anymore. I despise calling them; they make some problems worse more than they help."
Sighing, "I know Mack, but I might have another option. Have you heard about Clan Short and the Safe Haven Act?"
"Yes, what those kids went through, do you think they will be able to help on just a suspicion?" Mack asked.
"I don't know, but can I use your phone and we will find out? That boy needs help and I know a woman who knows how to get a hold of the information." Loriann said.
Nodding towards the phone Mack said, "Of course! Be my guest."
After making the call and hanging up the phone, Loriann looked up at Mack, "She just got home and said she would be here shortly."
Nodding his head, "That is good. We need all the help we can get, and if we can keep the CPS officials away from here that just makes it even better." Mack stated.
Just as they entered the house, after dropping Steven off at home, the phone rang. Ulee ran to answer it, "Hello?"
"This is Dr. Tassoni, could I speak with your mother please?"
"Sure, hold on a sec." Ulee told her. Then he hollered, "Mom, there's some doctor lady on the phone for you."
Katie laughed and went to answer the phone, "Hello."
"Katie, this is Loriann. I really hate to be calling this late, but I need your help here at the hospital. It seems that a patient was brought in with a broken arm, and he is stating that a werewolf broke it. We believe that the father is abusing the boy and that domestic violence played a part in his mother's suicide three years ago. Is there any way you could come to the hospital and help us? We really don't want to call CPS if we can help it." Dr. Tassoni explained.
"The boys and I just got home from the soup kitchen. Give me a few minutes to get them settled and I will be right there. You know that I will help in any way I can." Katie replied.
Loriann thanked her and hung up. Katie turned to the boys and explained what was going on.
"Mom, can I come with you? You might need my help. I might know who it is and may be able to talk to him." Jackie asked.
"Okay, you can come. Talon, can you watch over Ulee while we are gone?" Katie asked.
"I don't need watchin', mom. I'm not little anymore." Ulee looked at his mother with an offended look on his face as Talon grinned his special grin behind him.
Katie laughed and rubbed her hand over the top of his head, "Of course you aren't little anymore. How about I rephrase that; can you both take care of each other while Jackie and I run to the hospital?"
Both boys nodded their heads in approval. Katie smiled at them and turned to Jackie, "Are you ready then? We should go so we don't keep them waiting long."
Jackie nodded and headed back out towards the Jeep and Katie reminded the boys to lock up behind them. Talon and Ulee both groaned at the reminder. They followed though and locked the door when their mom and Jackie left.
As they were driving toward the hospital, Jackie looked out the window in deep thought. "What are you thinking about Jackie?" Katie asked, as she quickly glanced over at her son.
"What? Oh, just wondering if I am going to know who the boy is. Even if I don't, it won't hurt for him to be able to talk to another boy. Ya know, it's sometimes easier to talk to another kid than an adult."
Sighing, Katie responded, "Yes, I know. That is why I didn't hesitate to bring you with me. Abuse isn't easy on anyone. I don't like seeing a child being hurt or hurting because of a cruel parent."
Jackie turned and smile at his mom, "I am so lucky daddy found me and brought me home. I got the best parents. I love you mom."
Katie smiled and fought not to cry. "I love you too, Jackie. We are here, ready to go, buddy?"
"Yep, let's go see if we can help," Jackie said. He opened the door and got out.
When they entered the hospital, Katie asked to see Dr. Tassoni. After the nurse called, they were directed to Dr. Loury's office.
When they arrived upstairs, Dr. Tassoni held out her hand to Katie to shake. "Hello Katie, it is good to see you again." Then she smiled at Jackie, adding, "And it is good to see you again, Jackie. You sure have grown since I saw you last."
Jackie blushed and mumbled hello.
Dr. Tassoni turned and added, "Katie, this is Dr. Loury. It is his patient you will be seeing tonight."
Dr. Loury held out his hand to shake Katie's and then Jackie's. "Please, in here I like to drop all formalities. Just call me Mack."
Katie smiled, "Thank you, Mack. And I am just Katie, and this is my son, Jackie. What can you tell me about the boy we are going to meet?"
Mack showed them the rest of the way into his office and they all found seats. "The patient is Bruno Rampa." He stopped when he heard Jackie deeply inhale. "Do you know him, Jackie?" Mack asked.
"Umm, yes, I know him. He dated Lily for a little while. He got rough with her when she wouldn't have sex with him. We kinda almost got into a fight at school today, when he tried to bully us." Jackie mumbled and glanced at his mom.
"Oh. You didn't fight, did you?" Katie asked.
"Well, no, a teacher stopped it just before he could take a swing at me. He might not like seeing me, but if we can help, I'd still like to try." Jackie responded.
Katie nodded, "You know, if he is being abused then that would explain why he acts the bully. You do understand that, don't you, Jackie?"
Jackie sighed, "Yes mom, I understand that. That is why I still want to help."
Both doctors followed this exchange and then Mack continued. "Well then, he came in with a broken arm. It was broke in two places. His father was furious and is still in the cafeteria. He refused to be with his son while we were treating him. We found mild drug use in his system, not enough to cause hallucinations and not enough that it was recent. He claims that a werewolf attacked him."
With the last, both Jackie's and Katie's heads snapped up, but for very different reasons. Katie's was because of what happened when her husband brought Jackie home when he was five. Jackie's was because he knew who the werewolf was, and knew that the boy had heard him say that Bruno was a bully.
Loriann asked Jackie, "Are you okay, Jackie? I know that we made a lot of progress years ago about werewolves. This isn't going to be difficult on you, is it?"
Jackie looked over at her. He couldn't tell her the truth. "No, it won't be a problem. I'll be fine."
Once this exchange was finished, Mack continued again. "Due to things that Mr. Rampa said during his ranting and raving, we checked into Mrs. Rampa's file. We found that she committed suicide three years ago. The autopsy revealed that the possible cause of death was emotional breakdown, due to possible domestic violence that couldn't be proved. They came to this conclusion due to Mr. Rampa's actions, and several bruises, old and new, that couldn't be explained."
Katie took a deep breath. "Then, I really have my work cut out for me. If that boy has been subjected to emotional the physical abuse for the last three years, then he isn't going to want to talk to a woman."
Loriann smiled at Katie, "That is correct. He didn't want anything to do with me. Do you think you can still help?"
"Oh yes, I never met a child that I could walk away from and I won't start now. Let's go see this boy and see if we can find out what is going on, shall we?" Katie said. She stood to let them know she was ready. Jackie stood also and followed his mom. Both doctors stood and Mack led them to Bruno's room.
Dr. Loury entered the room and checked on Bruno. He was just starting to stir and wake up. "How are you feeling, Bruno?"
"Tired, when can I go home?" Bruno yawned.
"Not for awhile yet, Bruno. I have someone here I would like you to meet. She might be able to help you, if you will let her." Dr. Loury told him.
"I don't want to see any woman doctor." Bruno snarled.
"She isn't a doctor, but she will be able to help, if you are honest with her. The choice is yours. I hope you will listen to her." Dr. Loury responded while he gestured for Katie to enter the room.
Katie entered and looked over at the boy lying on the bed. She saw a frightened boy with deep blue eyes wearily watching her. To her, he looked so pale, with his medium brown hair that had a hint of red and gold highlights in it, and freckles running across his nose and cheeks laying there against the stark white sheets. She smiled at him and walked over to the stool next to the bed and sat down. "Hello Bruno, I'm Mrs. Sabre, it is nice to get to meet you."
"Fuck, just what I need. Get outta here. I ain't talking to the mother of no swamp rat. You a swamp rat lover, aintchya, lady? Go on, get outta here!" Bruno hollered at her.
Jackie entered the room and just glared at Bruno. "Mom, give me a minute to try to talk to him please." Jackie said, without taking his eyes off of Bruno.
Katie smiled at Bruno and went to pat his good arm. He pulled away as if though he was going to be hit. She stopped and smiled at him instead. "Be nice, Jackie," she said as she left the room to listen at the door.
"Yeah, you heard her. Be nice, Jackie." Bruno said in a mocking, false high voice.
Jackie just stood there a minute looking at Bruno. "Well, aren't you gonna talk rat? Thought you wanted to talk to me or are you gonna hit me when I can't defend myself? Isn't that what you rats do? Attack when you have the upper hand." Bruno snarled at Jackie.
Jackie took a deep breath and walked over to the stool his mom just vacated and sat down. "No, that isn't what I do. I don't fight dirty, Bruno. I really don't want to fight with you at all, and now that I know what kinda shit you have going on at home, I just want to help."
"Yeah right, like you really want to help me. What can you do?" Bruno laughed.
"Well, technically, I can't do anything. But my mom knows some people with the Federation Youth Services, and she can get you into a new home, if you want, a home with parents that would really care and love you." Jackie told him.
Bruno looked down, "Yeah right. Like anyone would love me. Not even Lily could love me. No one has loved me since my mama. And did anyone care when he drove her to kill herself, no, no one did a thing. They just put her down and said how weak she was. There is nothing anyone can do, so why don't you just leave. You saw me beaten down, isn't that enough? Go gloat to your friends and leave me alone."
Jackie looked at Bruno. "I can't just leave. You seeing the werewolf let me know that I can't just leave, Bruno. He protects the innocents of the swamp. He was protecting me, and Lily. If he attacked you and didn't kill you then he is giving you a chance to change."
Bruno looked up with shock, "You know the werewolf?"
Jackie smiled, "He saved me from my father. I watched my father kill my mother right in front of me. When he was going to kill me the werewolf saved me. Let us save you, Bruno."
Bruno just stared at Jackie, "I really did see it then, didn't I? Wow, you saw him also, you really saw him?"
Jackie nodded and they just looked at each other for awhile. Then Bruno sighed, his blue eyes filling with water that he refused to let fall. "What would I need to do, Jackie?"
"Well, is there anyone that you know that you would like for a parent? Anyone that you know that would let you be you, someone that would help you heal?" Jackie stood and started to walk around the room and with his arms spread out while he was talking and continued, "Someone who would let you be free and fly. Any adult that would be able to help you spread your wings to grow, and teach you to glide on the wind stream instead of fighting everyone and everything you come in contact with."
Bruno watched Jackie glide around his room and heard the words from earlier, "I know of your father and did some research. I know that your father broke your mother. She was a beautiful woman and he broke her wings. He slowly killed her with his abuse. That is all you know, the way you have been raised. I see in you something majestic, something powerful. Right now your father has broken one of your wings. He has made you fear him, made you dependent on him, and made you feel week. I want you to know you are not a sparrow with a broken wing, Bruno. If you will trust me, if you will allow me to continue to train you, I will help you heal, Bruno. But, you need to believe in who you are. I see the ferruginous hawk, Bruno. They are powerful and independent. They are also majestic and wild. In the way you move, you show the power and wildness which just makes you that much more graceful. I can help you become powerful and independent. Don't be the sparrow with the broken wing, be the hawk, powerful and free."
Bruno whispered out loud remembering the conversation from earlier in the day. "How do I do that, Mr. Taylor?"
He heard in his mind, "With dance, and also, a time will come when you are given a choice. Make the right one. You will know when the time is right. Just think about what I said and remember when the time comes, all you have to do is say you need the help, and it will be there."
Jackie heard Bruno whisper and stopped, turned around and asked, "What did you say, Bruno?"
Bruno whispered again, "Mr. Taylor, could you call Mr. Taylor? Maybe he will take me and help me. I don't have anyone else, Jackie."
Jackie smiled, "Yes you do Bruno, you have me. That is if you will let me be a friend. I'll be right back and let my mom know that she needs to call Mr. Taylor. But when she does, you are gonna need to tell her everything, so that she can get you the help you need. Can you do that, Bruno? I won't have you mistreatin' my mom. You're gonna have to be nice to her. Treat her the way you treated your mom when your dad wasn't around."
Bruno sighed and nodded, "I'm scared, Jackie, but I'll do it, if you stay here with me. I don't trust her, I don't know her." Then Bruno grinned, "But if she took in a swamp rat like you, then she has to be able to help me, right?"
Jackie laughed this time. Somehow, hearing Bruno call him a swamp rat this time sounded more friendly than derogatory. "Yeah, Bruno, she can. I'll be right back."
Jackie exited the room and talked to his mom. She had already heard it all and just smiled while he talked to her.
Katie went to a phone and couldn't find a home phone number for a Mr. Taylor. Jackie asked her to try to find the number for the coach, Mr. Lewis, since Bruno played football.
Katie found that number and called. When she heard hello she started, "Hello, Mr. Lewis, this is Kathryn Sabre. I am at the hospital with Bruno Rampa. I was hoping you could help me. He is asking for Mr. Taylor. Would you know how I could get a hold of him?"
"What happened? Is Bruno alright?" Mr. Lewis asked. Katie could hear the concern and worry in his voice.
"Well, he has a broken arm and is asking for Mr. Taylor. I really need to speak to him if I could get a number from you." Katie stated.
"I can do better than that. I will get him and we will be right there." Mr. Lewis hung up without even giving Katie a chance to reply.
She held the phone away from her ear and just looked at it. Jackie looked at her and she answered his unasked question, "Mr. Lewis is going to get Mr. Taylor and they will be here shortly."
Jackie smiled, "Great! Are you ready to talk to Bruno?"
Katie laughed, "Yes, let's go get all the information we can, so I can help them."
As soon as Coach Marty Lewis hung up the phone, he picked it right back up and dialed a familiar number. As soon as he heard the receiver at the other end pick up he started talking. "Phil, I'm on my way over. I just got a call from Mrs. Sabre, and learned that Bruno is in the hospital asking for you." Marty didn't even give Phil a chance to respond before he hung up, grabbed his car keys and ran out the door.
As soon as Marty pulled up outside the dance studio, he saw his boyfriend pacing out front.
Phil ran to the car and got in, "Hurry, what do you know? What did she say? How bad is he hurt? Oh my god, please let him be alright."
Marty placed a hand on Phil's leg to clam him and he started to drive towards the hospital. "All I know is that his arm is broken and that he is asking for you. It'll be alright, babe." Marty rubbed his hand gently on Phil's leg and Phil started to calm down.
"What are we going to tell him, Phil?" Marty asked. You could hear the worry in his voice. He didn't want to lose the man he loved, but knew that Phil wouldn't walk away from the boy he grew attached to.
"We'll tell him the truth and pray he accepts our relationship. I love you Marty, and he needs me." Phil whispered, and put his head back on the seat. He was afraid and didn't know what to expect when he got to the hospital.
They made the rest of the drive in silence. Both deep in thought and not sure what was going to happen when they got there.
While Marty was on his way to get Phil, Katie and Jackie entered Bruno's room. Bruno tried real hard to be respectful towards Katie and told her everything he could remember. Katie smiled and asked Jackie to visit with Bruno while she went and made a phone call.
Katie walked out of Bruno's room and went looking for Dr. Loury and Dr. Tassoni. She was directed back to Dr. Loury's office and knocked before entering. "I was wondering if I could use your phone. I need to make a call so we can see about getting Bruno a new father."
Both doctors smiled and Dr. Loury directed her to his desk and the phone. "I am so happy you were able to get through to him," Dr. Loury said while Dr. Tassoni smiled.
Katie shook her head, "I didn't, Jackie did. I truly believe that if Jackie wasn't here, we wouldn't have gotten anything from him. The mental abuse alone that his father put him through will take time to heal."
Katie picked up the phone and dialed a number that she found. It was a different number than she normally called and hoped that it would work. It was just a month ago that Father Morgan got the pamphlets with the necessary information for the Safe Have Act, Federation Youth Services and Clan Short. Then a week or five days ago they received the Emergency Hotline information. This was the first opportunity that Kathryn, as the Child Advocate for the Saint Lufthild's, was able to utilize the information.
After making the call and hanging up the phone, Katie looked up at Mack and Loriann, explaining, "They said they would be sending someone shortly, and to stay right where we were so we wouldn't miss them. That was really weird."
"Why is that weird?" A young voice said from behind them
Both doctors turned around in shock and Katie stood up from her seated position behind the desk. Mack immediately stood at attention, "Sir."
Remembering that he wasn't in the military anymore Mack began to relax and said, "Ah, who are you and how did you get into my office?"
Loriann looked at him more closely, seeing a boy that couldn't be more than ten years old, with blond hair and bright blue eyes, standing there in fatigues with a Brigadier General star on the lapel of his shirt, "You're from the UNIT, aren't you? You're the one that was being sent to help us?"
Katie gulped. She thought she was calling the Federation Youth Services for Louisiana and didn't expect to see the young boy standing in front of her.
"Yup. I hear you have someone that needs some help?" He looked at the two doctors for a moment then spoke softly. "I do not want to know anything about the case other than the patients name and age. As of the moment I transported in here, everything that happens around me is being recorded, both visually and audibly. If I find any indications of abuse, I will act in accordance with Clan Short protocol and the Safe Haven act." Looking over at Katie, he added, "All phone calls from hospitals are monitored by us, as a precaution. Are there any questions?"
"I have no more questions. Allow me to introduce everyone. I am Dr. Mack Loury, this is Dr. Loriann Tassoni, pediatrician and psychologist respectively. And this is Mrs. Kathryn Sabre, child advocate from Saint Lufthild's. Please, follow us and we will take you to the patient's room. The patient is Bruno Rampa, and he is fourteen years old." Mack stated as he motioned towards the office door.
Once out of the office they escorted the young man to Bruno's room. He was talking with Jackie, still not totally trusting him but they were trying to put their differences aside.
They entered the room and Bruno immediately spoke up, "Hey, kid, didn't anyone tell you that Halloween is over, this is Tuesday, and Halloween was Sunday. You really need to get out of your costume. So, doc's, when can I get outta here? I got school in the morning." Bruno resorted to the only way he knew how to act when confronted with someone different, with sarcasm and false bravado.
Jackie, who had stepped back out of the way, watched from the corner of the room. He was just standing there watching Bruno react to the unexpected and wondering who this young man in uniform was. He was really interested to see what was going to happen.
Jory smiled at Bruno, and then looked at the doctors and Katie. "Could you leave us alone, I would like to talk to Bruno alone for a bit."
"That will be fine. We will be right out in the corridor if you need us for anything." Dr. Tassoni smiled back as both Doctors and Katie left the room and closed the door behind them.
Jory looked back over at Bruno and asked, "Would you like your friend that is standing in the corner to stay or go?"
"What's this about? I only need Jackie here right now. I don't need no kid visiting with me. I am not your babysitter. You can leave with them and leave me alone." Bruno said with a frown.
"Sorry, can't do that. Before we go any further, I need to ask if you have any idea who Clan Short is, and if you do, what they do, why and how?"
Bruno looked at the boy with confusion on his face, "Huh, what are you talking about? Clan what?"
Jory heard a small gasp and smiled over at Jackie. Jackie smiled and indicated that he was just going to stand back and stay out of the way.
Jory nodded at Jackie, chuckled, and then sat down in the chair. "Okay, first off, my name is Jory Casey, and for now, it'll be easier to say that I am a member of Clan Short, in the Special Forces division. Before I go on, I must inform you that this conversation is being recorded, both visually and audibly. Do you understand what I have just said?"
"What are you talking about? You sound like you are trying to be some kinda cop. I understand the visual and audible thing but where are the recording devices? And how does a kid get that kind of authority? I don't know anything about no Special Forces Division of some Clan." Bruno said in frustration.
Jory nodded and sat back. "Tell you what, before I get into some long winded description of what the Clan is, and why I am here, do you want something to eat or drink? Personally, I missed my late night snack." He couldn't help but chuckle.
Bruno couldn't help but laugh also, "Yeah, I am kinda hungry." Licking his lips, he realized how thirsty he was also, "And yeah, gosh, I sure could drink a nice cold coke about now! But how are you going to get snacks and soda's here?"
Jory grinned and spoke up to the ceiling. "Hey Daileass… we need a three cold cokes, and I think a large pepperoni pizza will work as a start."
From Jory's com badge, a voice from another young boy was heard, "Sure thing, bro."
A second later, two large pizza's from Angeli On Decatur and three bottles of coke appeared on the bed side tray table. "Now that is service!" Jory sniggered.
"Dude, I am not even going to ask how you did that, but however you did, can you send some mozzarella sticks and some deep fried mushrooms to go with this? Mmmmm, this is good," Bruno said with a mouth full of pizza.
Before he could finish his first bite, the rest of his order arrived. Jory invited Jackie over to join them, and for the next several minutes the only noise that could be heard were three boys eating, in the way that only three young males could.
Bruno was so hungry that all he could do was inhale and it seemed as if all the food and air around him disappeared into a vortex!
Jackie scooted his chair back a little ways so that Jory and Bruno could talk.
"Okay, where to start..." Jory said, as he wiped off his face from the pizza sauce that was all over it. "Clan Short is a group that was created by the Vulcan's here on Earth. The long and the short of it is this; it is painfully obvious that most adults either cannot, or will not protect the kids of this world the way they should. So we decided to do it ourselves. We have the full backing of both Vulcan and the Federation, which means even the highest law enforcement agencies on the planet can kiss our asses if we decide to do something."
"Now that explains the Clan. The UNIT, which is the Clan's military wing, is somewhat different. We are, primarily, genetically enhanced humans who have been trained since birth to be warriors. I may only be ten years old, but I hold a doctorate in chemistry, specializing in explosives."
"Now that that's out of the way, the reason I am here is simple; the doctors and Mrs. Sabre think that there is a possibility of you being abused by your father, and I am here to figure it out." He saw Bruno about to say something, so he cut him off, "Do you know what Telepathy is?"
Bruno shook his head first in amazement, then in confusion, "What, whoa, you sure do talk fast. Give me a second to take that all in."
Bruno sat and stared at the boy. He couldn't help but wonder where all the food came from as he never saw anything like that before. But, when he heard Vulcan and Federation, he knew this boy had a lot of power behind him. For the first time in his life, he felt small. Only his father made him feel that way, and not in a good way. He glanced over at Jackie and saw that Jackie was smiling at him.
He took a deep breath, looked at Jory and he thought back to his conversation with Mr. Taylor earlier that day. He decided to be honest with him. "I think we were taught that telepathy means that you can read my mind, if I remember our lesson correctly."
Jory nodded his head, fully aware of the war going on in this boy's mind, he didn't even need his telepathy to know, he could see it in the older boy's face.
Bruno really was conflicted in what to do. Shaking his head, he added, "You scare me, yet at the same time, I feel like I can trust you. I haven't felt that in a long time. Do whatever you need to do. But, if it turns out bad for me, can you make it quick? I don't want to suffer the way my mama did." When he finished, pools of water filled his deep blue eyes, the pain inside coming out and a tear ran down his face.
"First off, you never have to worry about me. Unless you try to hurt another kid, you'll never have to worry about me. Now, your right on the telepathy, and in case you haven't figured it out, I am telepathic. We do have rules in The UNIT when it comes to telepathy. Unless I feel there is someone in danger, I do not use it without the person's permission. So let me make this formal. Bruno, do I have your permission to do a mind scan on you? Understand, nothing I take out of your head will be used to harm you, unless I find that you have killed someone for pleasure. Most everything else will be dealt with in other ways." Jory spoke officially, yet in a soft manner that he used to ease the older boy with. He could tell that Bruno was nervous, and he tried to medicate it as much as possible.
Bruno just nodded to let Jory know he was ready.
Jory simply sat back, and Bruno could 'feel' the boy looking into his thoughts, and his memories. It did not take long for Jory to make his way throughout the boys mind, and gently pull back out. "Bruno, I want you to know right now, that you will never have to suffer the type of abuse that you have suffered at the hands of your father again."
Standing up, Jory walked over to Bruno and sat down on his bed to hug him close, "I'm gonna go and talk to the doctors and Mrs. Sabre. Jackie will continue to keep you company while I go deal with your father. From there, you will either go back to the UNIT base with me, or pending the meeting with Mr. Taylor, you might be going home with him. We will wait and see and we will go from there. You have been a bully, but that is more than slightly understandable by what you have lived with. However, it is something that will have to change. This is your opportunity to make a new life for yourself. Pretty much anything you wanna learn or do is open to you; all you have to do is grab for it. Do you have any questions before I leave to talk to the Docs and Mrs. Sabre?"
Bruno burst out in tears, "I'm just so scared, I don't want to hurt anymore."
Jory asked the most important question, even though he already knew the answer. "Bruno, do you WANT to learn how to be a real person, not someone like your father?"
Nodding on the younger boys shoulder, Bruno hugged the boy back with his one good arm, and he whispered, "Yeah, I think I want that. I'm so tired, Jory. Can I just rest a bit?"
Jory nodded and backed away from Bruno.
"Thanks, Jory. That means a lot to me. Will you be here later then?" Bruno asked.
Jory nodded, "If I'm not right here, I won't be far away, and unless there is a damned good reason, I'll be here within a few minutes. If I'm not able to, Daileass will have someone here within a few minutes. And you still have Jackie here. I'll make sure that he is able to stay until I can let you know what is going to happen. Is that okay?"
With a deep sigh of relief, Bruno nodded and whispered, "Yeah, that's perfect. I'll just lay down here for a bit." Bruno laid his head down on the pillow, emotionally drained, he fell to sleep.
Jory sighed as he stepped back, then whispered, "Hey Daileass, can I get a hypospray with something that will keep him asleep for about an hour?" Daileass didn't respond, but within a few seconds, a hypospray appeared in his hand. Without disturbing the sleeping boy, Jory pressed it lightly to his neck, and soon the boy was not just asleep, but he wasn't going to wake up for about an hour.
"Thanks Daileass, can you also get a team on standby, and prepare one of the holding cells for a new occupant, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to arrest someone, and if he's anything like what Bruno thinks he is, he's not going to go anywhere without a fight. Personally, I hope so; I got some aggressions to work out." Giggling the last line, Jory turned around to Jackie and added, "I need you to stay with him. You heard me promise you would be here."
Jackie looked at the small boy and nodded, "I won't leave him." Jackie couldn't help being impressed with what he saw. He started to wonder if maybe they could help him find their dad.
Jory then turned and walked out of the room, and walked up to the two doctors and Mrs. Sabre.
Dr. Tassoni saw him first and asked, "How is he? Did you get him to open up and talk to you?"
Jory sighed as he walked up to them. "Yup, for now he's asleep, and will be for about an hour. As soon as I'm done with his sperm donor, I might be taking him back to Utah with me. You guys were right to call us; he was not only being mentally abused, but he was also being beaten. His father's smart enough to do it in such a way that it didn't leave a lot of bruises. Also, when I read his mind, I will say this, he saw a werewolf. He wasn't hallucinating or anything like that, he SAW a werewolf. I don't know what it means, but I've seen a lot of weird things in the past few days, so it could just be. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an asshole to deal with." Jory grinned and turned to walk away, before turning back with a full grin now. "Oh, and you may want to warn security to stay out of my way. I ain't gonna pull a gun or anything, unless he does first, but I have this strange feeling, he's gonna get a rude awakening."
Without waiting for a response, Jory headed down the hallway to the cafeteria where he knew, from Bruno's memories, that was is where his father went.
Jory had a grin on his face as he walked into the hospital's cafeteria. Somehow it didn't surprise him to see the big fat man arguing with the person working behind the counter. As Jory got closer he almost laughed out loud, the guy was bitching because they didn't serve any beer.
'Oh this is gonna be fun!' Jory thought to himself, then spoke softly, "Hey Daileass, how long would it take you to hack into the hospital's security cameras and record the fun that's about to happen?"
"Already done," Daileass responded with a chuckle, "as soon as I knew where you were going, I hacked in. You're good to go, and everything is being recorded."
"You know... if you ever get a body, I's gonna have ta give you a big ol' kiss!" Jory grinned as he made his approach on the fat man. Once he was standing behind the man, Jory spoke clearly. Most of the cafeteria was already silent, as everyone there watched the big man warily. "Mr. Rampa?"
"Huh?" The man said, as he turned around, then looked down to Jory. "What the hell do ya want, brat?"
Jory cocked his head to the side, and gave a half grin. "Just need to make sure you are actually Mr. Rampa." Jory was going to continue, but was cut off.
"Yeah, I am, now, what the fuck do ya want?" Spittle flew from the man's mouth and Jory had to resist the urge to wipe his face off.
"Okay, we'll play it your way. I am General Jory Casey representing the Clan Short Special Forces Division." Jory heard many people gasp, and even a few chuckled. Jory held off his grin as he finished what he had to say to be official. "After a telepathic investigation, you have been found guilty of multiple violations of the Safe Haven Act;" Jory would have kept going, but the fat man was being very disrespectful.
"Why you little shit!" Mr. Rampa spat out, and actually attempted to strike Jory across the face with an open hand smack. Jory quickly moved forward, pushing his hands up to hit the fat man's arm, causing it to go high, and smack nothing but air. At the same time, Jory stepped forward again and hit the man hard in the gut.
The man's breath exploded out of him as he stumbled backwards. Jory, for his part, started screaming. "OH my GOD…my hands! I thought I lost them. Fucking-a man, how much flab do you have in there?" What did shock Jory though, was how little it seemed to affect the man. He figured he'd have to hit harder next time to get through all the fat.
Mr. Rampa didn't even bother saying anything, he simply charged. For the briefest of moments, Jory was actually scared. He wasn't concerned about the actual fight; however, he started to realize that no matter how strong he was, if the man somehow managed to fall on top of him, he'd be in trouble.
As the fat man swung his huge, beefy arm at Jory, the young boy simply stepped forward, grabbed the huge arm, stepped into the guy, and twisted. Had Jory not been as strong as he was, this wouldn't have worked. As it was, Jory almost wasn't able to toss the guy. The only thing that ran through Jory's mind as the man started to go over top of him was 'Me no wanna be stuck in his bellybutton forever!' Thankfully that was not to be as the man flipped over Jory and landed hard, flat on his back.
Jory ran over and jumped on the guy's stomach, further knocking the wind out of him. Jory WAS going to kneel down and start pounding on the guy, but when he saw that he sunk almost past his shins in the guys flab, he thought it wiser to just beat the guy up while he was standing. There was less chance of getting lost in all those rolls.
Jumping back, Jory started to circle around as the fat man struggled to get to his feet. It was about then Jory noticed security had come into the room, but were staying back, standing next to the two doctors and Mrs. Sabre, who he'd talked to about Bruno.
"You little fuck! I'm so gonna get you!" The fat may screamed as he once again charged Jory, making the boy sigh. Obviously, this man had little to no intelligence. In less than the blink of an eye, Jory started to go through his options. The first thing that went through his mind was to take out a knee, but then he figured he might have the issue of the guy falling on him... that wasn't a good thing in Jory's mind.
So he decided to go from the back. As the man reached him, Jory quickly moved out of the way, letting the man run right by him, however, as soon as the guy got past, Jory struck out his foot as hard as he could, and kicked the man in the back of the knee.
The guy went down hard, having one of his legs knocked out from under him. Jory couldn't hit the guy hard enough since the fat really cushioned the blow. To the man's credit, he didn't stay down long. As soon as he stopped, he started to get back up, and Jory figured now was as good a time as any to end the fight. Using his speed, Jory ran at the guy, at the last moment, he jumped onto the table the guy was next to, and used that to springboard up and delivered a full power kick to the side of the guys head. Spittle flew as the man's head snapped to the side, the rest of his body followed, until the guy did a complete turn in place. For a moment, the guy just stood there with a weird look on his face, his jaw sticking out at a very unnatural angle, until his eyes rolled up into his head, and he dropped to the floor. Jory couldn't help it, in a very bad Japanese accent, Jory called out, "BOOT TO THE HEAD!"
It started with the security guards, but soon everyone in the cafeteria was standing and applauding. One of the guards came over to Jory as the two doctors ran over to the fat man to make sure he was still alive.
When the guard got to Jory, he asked in a quiet voice, "I thought you were going to play with him for a bit longer?"
Jory looked up at the guy and shivered. "I was gonna, but I just couldn't get the image out of my head of the fat fucker landing on me, and his belly button trying to eat me!" He looked over to the doctors who were quietly shaking their heads. "Sorry docs, I didn't really want to hurt him that bad, but I was afraid my foot might have gotten stuck in one of his twenty chins."
Jory muttered under his breath. "I need to have a talk with Adam; he SWORE that Jabba-The-Hut was a fictional character...."
He then grinned evilly and looked back to the doctors. "Do either of you have a pair of exam gloves?"
They looked at each other, and then back to Jory, without saying a word, one of the doctors reached into her pocket and pulled out a pair of gloves. Jory took them, put them on, and then walked over to the man who was blissfully unconscious on the floor.
Jory raised the fat man's shirt. He squeezed the top and bottom of his fat belly button in imitation of a mouth while he said, in a perfect Jabba-The-Hut impersonation... "Achute, my pee kasa Fatass!." Then he translated as he did it again, "Hello, my name is Fatass!"
Laughter filled the room as Jory turned and looked seriously to the guards. "I hate to do this to you guys, but I ain't gonna waste the time of our doctors fixing that fat thing up. So if you guys could just place him under guard, and let the Clan know when he's good enough to go to our holding cells, I would greatly appreciate it."
The security guards both nodded as a stretcher was brought in. Jory stood there watching till the fat man was wheeled out. Next on his agenda was to see if he had to take Bruno back to Utah with him. He started to walk out, but cast a glance over his shoulder to a slightly older boy who had been watching from the corner.
Jory grinned, nodded, and started to slow down, he wanted to talk to the boy. That was until he heard a voice in his head. 'Now is not the time young soldier. Soon, but the time is not now. I will see you again when the time is right. I am looking forward to it after what I just witnessed.'
Jory looked at him for a moment, nodded and headed towards the door where he met up with Mrs. Sabre. "Now, let's see what we can do for Bruno. If this Mr. Taylor isn't good for him, he will be going back to Utah with me."
Katie smiled, "I just got word that Mr. Taylor is here. Shall we?" She prompted, as she started to guide Jory to the room that Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lewis were waiting for her in.
As Jory and Katie headed towards the conference room, Jory asked, "You don't work for FYS yet you know quite a bit about it."
Katie looked at Jory as they walked, "Yes, we got notification at Saint Lufthild's about Federation Youth Services, the Safe Haven Act and the Clan Short Hotline. I also did my research. This is the first opportunity I have had to use the phone number that was provided for emergencies."
Jory nodded, "Yep, I know, I scanned you when I first appeared in the office. Then I asked Daileass to run a background check on you. I want to welcome you to Federation Youth Services as an FYS Officer and this is your first case. I will back you, and over the next few days will have an office set up for you."
Katie stumbled and stopped before she fell. She stared at Jory who stopped and looked back at her. "Well, are you just going to stand there, you gotta job to do." Jory sniggered.
Katie blushed, smiled and nodded. She stood a little taller, and then said, "I am so happy that I don't have to go through CPS anymore and can now really help some of the children. Thank you, Jory."
As they walked towards the conference room, Jory filled Mrs. Sabre in on the abuses Bruno suffered and the truth about the death of Bruno's mother. Katie stayed strong. She wanted to cry for Bruno, but knew that she had a job to do now. She could cry later.
An hour and a half after making the phone call to Mr. Lewis, Katie found herself sitting across from the two men. "How is Bruno? Can we see him?" Mr. Taylor immediately asked when they entered the room.
Katie motioned to the chairs and they all sat, "Mr. Taylor, I am Kathryn Sabre and this is General Jory Casey, representing the Clan Short Special Forces Division. Please, have a seat."
The two men looked concerned seeing this young man sitting at the table with Mrs. Sabre. They looked at each other, both knowing full well just who Clan Short was and who the young man sitting in front of them was and what it could mean.
Jory smiled at the two men hoping to clam them, "First, I need to inform you that as of the moment I transported in here, everything that happens around me is being recorded, both visually and audibly. Due to indications of abuse, I am acting in accordance with Clan Short protocol and the Safe Haven Act and need to determine what will be the best course of action concerning Bruno Rampa."
After a nod from Jory, Katie continued, "Bruno has a broken arm and they are having him stay the night for observation. I had a long talk with Bruno this evening and made some phone calls. After an investigation, Mr. Rampa has been taken into custody and has received a sentence of death for the abuses, mental and physical, inflicted upon his son, and for the forced death, made to look like a suicide, of his wife. Bruno asked for you when we asked who he would like to live with. We checked for any living relatives and found none suitable to place him with. He is going to need someone, especially when he finds out that his father murdered his mother and will be executed."
Phil looked at Marty, then looked back at Katie and Jory, "Please, call me Phil. What do I need to do? I would be honored to raise Bruno. He is so broken and needs to heal. He needs a safe place to do that."
"And you can call me Marty," Mr. Lewis added.
Katie smiled, "And you can call me Katie. Now, I need to ask, since you just stated that you would be happy to raise Bruno, do you wish to be a foster parent or his new father? Bruno has final choice in the decision, but I really would like to know your feelings before we go and see him."
"It will take time for an adoption to go through. I would love to be his new father. But only if that is what Bruno wants." Phil answered.
Phil hesitated and Katie waited for him to say, "I need to tell him about," he looked at Marty, "about Marty and I, so he knows before he makes a decision. I hope he can accept my love for Marty, and hopefully, he will accept Marty as another father." He looked back at Katie, asking, "Is our relationship going to affect whether or not I can raise Bruno?"
Katie thought for a moment, "No, I don't believe so." She glanced over at Jory then back to Phil, explaining, "The choice is still Bruno's. From what I have read in the Safe Haven Act, your sexuality cannot and will not be used against you. It really will depend on Bruno's feelings and what he wants."
Jory smiled, "That doesn't matter at all. I do have to do a telepathic scan on the two of you to make sure you will be good parents for Bruno."
Phil sighed, "I have no problem with that. Okay, let's go see him." Phil looked over at Marty, "Can I have a few moments to talk with him?" Marty smiled and agreed.
Katie smiled, "Of course, let's go see Bruno. My son, Jackie has been keeping him company while we visit."
She smiled when she saw the shocked looks on the teacher's faces.
"Bruno and Jackie are talking and not trying to beat the crap out of each other? How did that happen?" Marty asked.
Katie laughed, "Well, Jackie just started talking and Bruno really needed a friend. I think they may just work out their differences in time. It was Jackie who got Bruno talking."
They reached Bruno's room and heard the two boys laughing. Katie knocked and entered with Jory, Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lewis right behind her. Bruno stopped laughing and looked at his two teachers and did something none of them expected. He finally burst into tears.
Mr. Taylor ran over to Bruno and sat on the bed, wrapping his arms around Bruno and holding him. He just let Bruno cry while whispering that he was there now and Bruno was going to go home with him. That just made Bruno cry harder. Then they heard Phil whisper, "Shh now, I love you son, now you can heal your broken wing. Everything will work out now. I am here."
Bruno hiccupped and his crying quieted. He looked up at Phil, "I'm sorry. I got your shirt all wet. I didn't mean to cry. I'm so sorry."
Phil just rocked Bruno, gently assuring, "It's alright son. We all need a good cry every now and then. There is nothing wrong with crying. It's good for the soul and helps us to heal." Then he smiled down at Bruno to let him know that it really was alright and that Bruno wasn't in trouble for crying.
Katie quietly got everyone else to leave the room so that Phil could talk with Bruno alone for a moment.
Phil took a deep breath, "Bruno, I need to tell you something and I'm not sure how much more you can take tonight."
"I'll listen. What do you need to tell me? Are you going to tell me you don't want me now?" Bruno looked more afraid than anything. He couldn't help but feel that he finally got the courage to ask for help and now the one person he felt he could call was going to turn him away.
"What? Oh, no Bruno. That isn't it at all." Phil sighed again, getting his courage up, he quickly said, "I want you to come live with me, but the decision is yours and you can't make that decision without all the facts. See, Marty, Mr. Lewis, is my boyfriend. We started dating over the summer. We don't live together, but we are hoping to, someday, and if you come live with me then he would be like another father to you. Can you accept that, Bruno?"
Bruno looked up at Phil with shock written all over his face He would have never guessed that his two favorite teachers were in love with each other. Then he looked confused. He could hear his father in his head yelling about perverts and sinning and going to hell. But he was wrong about Jackie, maybe he was wrong about this also.
Phil sat and watched an array of feelings cross Bruno's face and waited. He had all night to wait, so he didn't want to rush this very important decision.
Bruno finally looked at Phil and asked, "You only want me for a son, right?"
Phil looked confused for a moment and then it was like a switch was flipped and the light turned on and he got a very serious look on his face. "Bruno, I will love you as a son should be loved. I will hug you and give you a kiss on the cheek or forehead, but I will never, and I mean never, touch you in a sexual manner. You will never have to worry about that, from either of us."
Bruno sighed, "Good. I, um, won't hear you guys having sex or anything, will I? That is just gross."
Phil laughed, "I can't promise that. I love Marty very much and there will be times where you will see us hug, kiss and hold hands. And there may be times that you may hear us make love to each other, but we will try to be quiet. How is that?"
Bruno thought some more, he really wasn't sure how he felt at all. He knew that he had been lied to for so long and he really, really wanted to try to get his life back. He stared and stared at Mr. Taylor, and just as Phil was thinking Bruno was going to say no, Bruno finally answered, "Well, I could always turn my music up and use earphones. And I like Mr. Lewis. I think I can live with that."
Phil pulled Bruno in close for another hug and was just holding him when the others walked back into the room.
"Bruno?" Katie asked to get his attention. "I need to talk to you and Mr. Taylor for a minute. I need to know if Mr. Taylor is going to be your foster dad or your new dad."
Bruno looked at her confused and asked, "My new dad?"
Katie smiled and said, "Yes, your new dad. I can get the adoption papers and have your name changed if you want. Or we can do a foster placement and see how things work, but the choice is yours, Bruno."
Bruno got a look of hope in his eyes and looked over and saw Mr. Lewis smiling at them. Bruno then looked up at the man still holding him. It had been so long since anyone just held him that he didn't want to let go. Then he got a look of fear on his face and Mr. Taylor read that fear immediately. "I would be honored to call you son and be your dad, if that is what you want Bruno. But if you need time and want to wait, we can do that also." He said with a smile as he looked down at Bruno.
"You would? You would really want me for a son? But I'm all messed up; I'm not a good son. Dad always said I was worthless." Bruno said, just barley loud enough for everyone to hear.
"Oh Bruno, you're not worthless. Remember our talk earlier today? I wouldn't have said all of that if I thought you were worthless. You have so much potential to do so much good in your life. You just need time to heal and gain confidence in yourself again. Will you let us help you find your true self and help you heal?"
Bruno stared into Mr. Taylor's eyes, searching for something. All of a sudden he sat up and looked over at Jackie, "Is this for real Jackie?"
"Yeah dude, it's for real and it's your choice man. You ready to take a leap of faith and be loved again?" Jackie smiled while he answered Bruno.
Bruno smiled back then looked over at Mr. Taylor again. Then he got real shy and whispered, "Could you be my dad?" And then as an afterthought rushed on with, "and can I be Bruno Taylor? I mean, that is, if you want me?"
Mr. Taylor smiled and said, "I would be honored to be your dad and even more so for you to become a Taylor, if that is what you really want."
Bruno smiled at him and wrapped his good arm around Mr. Taylor. "Well, Mrs. Sabre. I believe I have a son. What do we need to do now?"
Katie smiled and said, "Give me a few minutes and I will be right back." Jory smiled and followed her out of the room.
Katie left the room and went to the conference room that they were in earlier. When she entered the room she asked, "So, did he pass?" The response was a simple, "Yep, with flying colors. He is going to be good for Bruno. And so is Mr. Lewis." Katie smiled and thanked Jory for his help.
Jory looked at Katie, "You will be being contacted for official training. I have the adoption paperwork done already and it is being faxed over for you. After tonight, you will be able to do this once your training is done."
While Katie was talking to Jory and getting the paperwork, Bruno filled them in on what happened. At first they were concerned about the story until Jackie told them about his rescue at the age of five. Both teachers knew that they were going to have to accept that it really could be true.
Katie and Jory entered the room smiling, "Well, congratulations Bruno Taylor. You now have a new dad and here is all the paperwork you will both need to start your new life." Katie began, and then Jory jumped right in.
"Unfortunately, for both of you, any celebrations is gonna have to wait, since your arm is in the cast and all. You know how doctors are… they want to mess up your lives just so they can make sure your healthy and what not." The disappointment on both the man and boy's face was obvious which only made Jory smile broader.
"But..." Jory said as he raised a hand in the air to stop anyone else from talking. "After I kicked the crap outta your old man, Bruno, I'm in a really good mood. So, if you want, I can get you outta here tonight, and heal up your arm fully."
"You... you really beat up my dad?" Bruno asked in total shock.
"Yeah... he's just a big wimp... although I was worried he might fall on me!" Jory said with a visible shudder.
"How?" Bruno excitedly asked, still not able to believe someone was able to beat up his dad.
"Easy... I'm just that damned good. Now, you want me to fix up your arm so you can go home with your new dad, or do you want to stay here and be subjected to the crap they call food till tomorrow?" Jory tapped his foot impatiently on the floor, but his wide smile gave away the fact that he was playing with the older boy.
"Ummm... if you could let me go tonight, that would be great." Bruno said hesitantly. He definitely was not used to someone like Jory.
"Not a problem." Jory said before he pulled out his communicator. "Hey Daileass... could you send me one of those med kit thingies."
"Sure thing, Doc Jory." Daileass said over the communicator just as a good sized box appeared on the table next to Jory.
Jory rubbed his hands together as he grinned, and then opened the box. He rummaged around in it for a few moments before he started to mutter to himself, but more than loud enough for everyone to hear. "Okay... I know it's in here somewhere." He pulled something out and looked at it. "No…I don't think this is it...not sure what it is…but this ain't what I need."
Without looking, he tossed it over his shoulder as he reached back in the box. "Nope, it's not this thing-a-ma-bob...it definitely ain't this what-cha-ma-call-it. It might be this thingy-dingy…but I don't... ahhhhh!" He said triumphantly as he pulled out a strange looking devise. "Here's the bone repairer thingy!"
He turned around and walked over to Bruno before he stopped. "Oh shoot...Daileass...I forgot. We need to remove that cast. Think you can transport me 4 ounces of C-4 explosive. That should do the trick."
"WHAT?" Bruno cried out in horror, and tried to push himself into the bed trying to get away.
Jory, still keeping a straight face, and knowing this was going to top the UNIT's must watch video charts, looked at Bruno blankly. "C-4...you know the stuff they use to blow up buildings and the like. We need to get the cast off of there somehow, and that's the quickest way I can think of. Don't worry...you're in a hospital, so if anything goes wrong they can fix ya up. Not to mention I'm already fixing your broken arm, so if I break it a bit more when I remove the cast... what's the big deal?"
Bruno looked absolutely horrified. "You are not blowing up my arm!" He almost screeched.
"Why not?" Jory almost whined, before deflating. "Fine...so what do you want me to use, my knife, or my phaser?" As he said the last part, he reached behind him and pulled out a big bowie knife, then looked at the blade. "Well, at least I know it'll be sharp enough!"
That's when Doctor Loury spoke up. "Ummm... why don't I just get the saw that we use to remove casts?" He was hesitant, because while he was hoping the boy was joking, he couldn't be one hundred percent sure.
Jory turned to the doctor and exclaimed, "SAW?" He then turned back to Bruno. "You'll let the doctor use a saw, but you won't let me use the explosive?!? Now how fair is that?"
Before anyone could say anything else, the doctor started to work on Bruno's casted arm… using their saw. Finally, when the cast came off Jory moved over to Bruno's side with the device he held.
"You are just no fun!" Jory said as he adjusted some setting on the thing. "Okay, let's see if I remember how to use this thingy." He started to pass the device over the break in Bruno's arm while he looked up at the older boy. "This shouldn't hurt at all... if I'm doing it right. So you just tell me if it hurts or anything... okay?"
Bruno visibly flinched as Jory talked, and then finally got up enough nerve to ask the question weighing heavily on his mind. "Uhhh…no offense or nothin'…but... are you sure you know what you're doing?"
Jory looked at him with another one of his lopsided grins, "To be honest...not really. How about you tell me?" He said as he stopped running the bone knitter over Bruno's arm and then turned it off. "How does it feel?"
Bruno hesitantly moved his arm and then flexed it a bit. His nervous look vanished to be replaced by a broad smile. "It feels fine! Thanks, man!"
Jory smiled, "Great, now you can get outta here, as soon as the doctor releases you and you can go home. But, in a few days you will need to come to Utah and do some community service for some of your actions Bruno. You knew what you were doing wasn't right. It will only be for a weekend due to the abuse you suffered."
Bruno looked down, but nodded his head in agreement, looking back up he said, "Thanks for everything, Jory. I will gladly due the community service, I deserve it."
Jory nodded and then vanished.
Doctor Loury called for Nurse Clyburn to have another x-ray taken. Phil and Marty read over the paper work and had to really hold back their anger as they read all the reasons that Bruno was taken from his father's custody and was able to be placed in Phil's. Phil just held Bruno in his arms while Bruno cried again.
Jackie and Katie told them good night and Katie stopped long enough to finish filling Dr. Loury and Dr. Tassoni in and giving them a copy of the necessary paperwork for Bruno's file. They both gave Katie a hug of thanks and shook Jackie's hand to say thank you for helping.
Phil gently rocked Bruno while he cried some more. It seemed that now that the tears started he just couldn't get them to quit.
Phil looked at his new son and said, "As soon as the Dr. Loury comes in and releases you we can head home."
Bruno looked confused for a moment. New home? Where was he going to live now?
Phil realized what Bruno was thinking so he added, "I have the whole loft above the dance studio as a home. I converted the whole upstairs. It has a living room, a kitchen, three bedrooms and a den. Well, the den is my office space. You can choose either one of the two guest rooms and we will go out and get stuff to make it your own. How does that sound? We can also go to your old home and get things from there so you have your own stuff and things to remember your mom. Whatever you want to save from there you can get."
Bruno smiled and nodded. He couldn't believe this was happening. Not yet anyway. He knew it was going to take time for it all to sink in.
Doctor Loury came in and gave them the good news. The arm was completely healed and they could head home. Phil and Marty got Bruno ready and thanked the Doctor for everything and left the hospital to head home for the night.
Katie and Jackie headed for home. After seeing Bruno so happy, Jackie got angrier at their inability to find their own father. When they got home he said a quick good night and headed upstairs.
When he got to his room he found Talon and Ulee there waiting for him and he remembered things from earlier in the day. "What are you two up to? And what were you doing with your laptop in the tree house Talon?"
Talon had the laptop set up on Jackie's desk and turned to look at him. Ulee was sitting on the edge of Jackie's bed waiting impatiently for the conversation to start.
Jackie closed the door to the bedroom, crossing his arms over his chest he looked from one brother to the other then said, "Spill it, what are you two up too? If I didn't know better I would think you were following me and then waiting."
Talon stood up by the desk, shuffling his feet back and forth while looking at the floor. Ulee was looking down and mumbled, "Well, not totally."
Jackie snapped his head and looked over to Ulee and asked, "Just what does that mean?"
Talon looked up and whispered, "We are worried about you Jackie. You have not been your normal self."
Jackie's head snapped back over to Talon and demanded, "Just what the hell does that mean?"
Ulee looked at Jackie, jumped up off the edge of the bed and stood up straight, "Exactly that. You would never talk to us the way you are. Never!" Ulee started to tear up all over again.
As Jackie started to turn his head to glare at Ulee he caught a glimpse of Talon nodding his head in agreement. "What do you think you are talking about? I am not acting any differently! And what is up with the damn laptop? You know that mom doesn't like it out of the house."
Talon shaking his head stated, "Listen to yourself Jackie. You aren't asking us, you are demanding and cussing. You never demand and you don't cuss. You, of all people, are usually so patient and always talk with us, not AT us!"
Jackie started to say something, stopped, shook his head and placed his hands over his eyes. He lowered his hands and looked up with tears in his eyes, he whispered, "I have a lot on my mind, I told Steven and Lily about the day dad found me and just spent hours with Bruno at the hospital. He saw the Loup Garou and it broke his arm. He has a new dad now though."
Talon and Ulee both ran to Jackie and enfolded him in a hug. They both said at the same time "We miss him too." Talon added, "That is what we were doing with the laptop," and squeezed harder into the hug.
Then they both asked at almost the same time, "Is Bruno really okay?"
Talon got thoughtful and asked, "He won't hurt Lily anymore will he?"
Jackie looked down at his brother's, "No, Bruno should be alright now," looked over at the laptop and asked with suspicion in his voice, "What do you mean by that?"
Holding onto his brother tightly Talon spoke softly, "Well, I have been compiling all the reports and data from all the documents since dad went missing and charted everything, detailing every moment. I have generated a graph of his movements, the teams movements, everything."
Talon looked up to see the shock on Jackie's face then added, "Ulee and I were re-reading everything because I feel like I am missing an important link to help us figure out what happened."
Jackie was a little tense; he didn't realize that his brother had this information. Nodding, he said, "Okay, let's see what you got."
Jackie, Talon and Ulee sat side by side, with Jackie in the middle and their backs against the headboard, looking over all the data. Jackie had a questioning look on his face and asked, "How many meetings did dad go to over the years where it was only him required to be there and not the team? And, how many meetings were in the evening?"
Talon looked up at Jackie and shook his head, "I have no clue. I don't have access to that information."
Jackie looked up at the ceiling in contemplation. Sighing, he said, "It probably won't make a difference to what we know. I don't see it either guys, but you are right, something is missing."
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts he said, "We better get ready for bed. We still have school tomorrow."
Talon and Ulee both nodded their heads and Talon closed the laptop and started to put everything away.
They both gave Jackie another hug and went off to their rooms.
Jackie went into his bathroom and got ready for bed. When he came back into his room, he found Talon and Ulee on his bed waiting for him.
Smiling and shaking his head, Jackie walked over to the bed and sat down. Putting his arms over the shoulder of each brother he pulled them in close and asked, "What is this all about? We are supposed to be going to bed."
Talon and Ulee both looked up and said at the same time, "We don't want to be alone."
Jackie pulled both of them to him, kissed the top of each of their heads and said, "Okay, get in here. We really do need to get to sleep for school."
Talon and Ulee both smiled up at Jackie and Jackie couldn't help but smile back. Seeing the dimples that always appeared in Talon's smile just made his own smile that much bigger.
They let Jackie get in first so he could be in the middle and curled up next to him. Jackie held each of this brother's tightly and thought back to how many nights they slept just like this when their dad went missing because none of them wanted to be alone.
Giving himself a slight nod, he decided that tomorrow he was going to do something.
Sleep slowly took over and before he knew it his brothers were asleep. He laid there hoping sleep would claim him soon.
Jackie was having a difficult time sleeping. Even with his brothers there with him, he couldn't get his mind to stop thinking. Being careful so as to not wake his brothers, Jackie crept out of the bed. He put on a sweat outfit and deck shoes, snuck downstairs, and stopped by the laundry room to grab one of the blankets they could use to sit on outside and then walked out the back door.
He walked towards the trees and found the spot he was looking for. He placed the blanket on the ground in the clearing, removed his shoes and sat down. He took a deep breath and leaned back on his forearms and stared up at the night sky.
"Dad, I don't know what to do! Where did you go? We need you here so much." A tear ran down Jackie's check.
He heard a rustle by the trees and looked in that direction. His heart stopped a moment for there, coming out of the woods, was the boy they met earlier. He couldn't believe this was the same boy. He had on clean clothes and his hair was combed. Jackie had to shake his head and force himself to calm his breathing.
The boy looked at Jackie, placed his hands in his back pockets, unsure of his welcome he whispered, "Do you mind if I join you? Just to sit with you for a while?"
Jackie smiled at him and inched over some to make room for the boy to sit down. The boy smiled, removed his hands from his pockets, walked over to the blanket and sat down next to Jackie. He imitated the way Jackie was sitting.
After a few moments, he looked over at Jackie and with a shy grin on his face he softly said, "I think it is time that I introduce myself to you."
Wow, here we are, over a year later after a little side trip into the past and I finally get to post the chapter that I wrote with Roland so long ago! I hope you enjoyed the surprises and had plenty of tissue, because if I cried re-reading what I wrote I am sure many of you shed a few tears.
If anyone makes it to New Orleans, here is the pizza place that was mentioned. http://angelirestaurant.webs.com
Now hard at work on chapter thirteen! (hehe, and I already had ten pages of that chapter written way back when!)