Castle Roland

The Wizard

by DJ Thomas

In Progress

Chapter 18

Posted: 16 Jul 15

The Wizard Heart

Dj Thomas

Eli spent a lot of time talking with Prince when they got home. He was trying to explain to the dog about the fish and why he couldn't speak in that building. It seemed that Prince was having a difficult time understanding that the fish didn't like barking. Eli also talked to Prince about how to behave in the house. This caused Prince to act a little put out with Eli.

Sherry wasn't thrilled with having a dog, nor was she happy that the dog was part Pit-Bull. David assured her that with Eli being able to communicate with the animal, things would go very smoothly.

Prince slept in Eli's room, and not one accident occurred. He told Eli every time he needed to go out. Eli was very proud of the young pup. There was a major problem when Eli was ready to leave for school. Prince was planning on joining him. Eli tried to explain to him that dogs weren't allowed in the school. Prince thought he could just wait outside the school, but where he could see Eli.

"Prince must protect Eli!" The pup told Eli.

"Prince, I am protected at school by Dad, I need you here to protect Mom!" Eli told the young pup. "You just bark at the back door if you need to go out, but you stay with mom and protect her. Understand?"

"Prince protect mom! Understand."

As they were leaving, David got a call over his county radio.

"10Sam1 to EMTDH"

"EMTDH go ahead."

"10Sam1 meet at HQ at earliest convenience to help stranded family"

"EMTDH 10-4, ETA to HQ in 15"

"10Sam1, copy that ETA 15, 10Sam1 out"

"EMTDH out"

"Eli, I am going to have to drop you off at the school then go to the Sheriff's office to find out what is going on. I have a feeling this has something to do with Prince." David told Eli.

"No, please let me go with you. I am sure that I can help. Please Dad?"

"Fine, you can come with me. I have to call the school and let them know we are going to be late." David had his cell phone ready to call as soon as he got a signal.

After explaining everything to both the receptionist and Dr. Martin, David and Eli arrived at the Sherriff's station. As they pulled up, they saw an older red Ford pickup truck with a slide in camper parked in front of the station. Eli knew this was the family who had Prince before.

Eli was struggling with his emotions. This was a family who had a wonderful dog, but didn't feed it, then dumped him on the side of the road. He wasn't sure if he should feel sorry for this family or be angry with them.

David was having the same struggle. He knew there was a family in need, but treating a dog the way they did was not acceptable.

David and Eli walked into the building not knowing what to expect. As soon as they walked in Eli saw the family sitting in the waiting room. The Father was young, in his 20's. Eli thought he looked tired. The man had a blue aura around him, he was a Wizard. The lady sitting next to him didn't have an aura around her, she wasn't a Wizard. The two young girls both had orange auras. There was also a boy with them. He looked to be about Eli's age, and he had a dark blue aura.

Dad, they are Wizards, all except for the mother. The boys is a very strong Class III, but I don't think he is related to the others. Eli sent to his dad.

"David, thanks for coming in. Things are going to get crazy around here in a few moments, so I wanted you here first. I am glad Eli is here as well, I think some of what is going to happen will fall to Eli. Sorry to do this to you this fast, but it can't be helped. The family is basically homeless. They have been living out of their camper for the past 9 months. The father, Mikael Welsh has been doing odd jobs when available to be able to survive. They found the young boy hiding in the woods a few days ago. He was the reason the family had to get rid of Prince. I am not sure where he came from, there is no missing persons report for him, and he won't tell us his name. Do you think there is any way to get Eli to talk to him and at least get us his name?" Nevin asked David sounding very stressed.

"I will see what we can do. I am sure Eli will have no problems talking to the boy." David said looking at Eli.

Eli went over to where the family sat and started speaking, first to the youngest girl, than the next. Eli didn't act like he knew the boy was even there. By the time Eli was done talking to the father of the group, the boy was beside himself. He wanted attention.

"Fine, I saw you, but you won't talk to my Uncle Nevin, so why should I talk to you. You won't even give us your name, and I won't talk to people who I DON'T even know their name!" Eli yelled at the boy.

David and Nevin just knew Eli blew it with the boy. They were shocked when the boy responded to Eli.

"My name is Sasha Kohler, and I ran away from my captors. I don't care what you do to me, but I won't go back!" The boy said before starting to cry.

"Don't worry, you won't go back. We will figure out what to do together. I'll make sure you are taken care of. Can you tell me everything that happened? This way we will know how to help you better." Eli tried to assure the boy.

"Will you stay with me?"

"Sure." Eli stated.

"Okay, I guess I have to tell them anyway or they would never let me go. I was taken from my home in Russia when I was very young. I don't remember my parents or if I had any. I think I might have been taken from an orphanage. I've lived with a traveling circus for the past 8 years. I had to feed and clean all the animals and help with the big tent. If I did all my jobs, then maybe they would give me some food. Some of the side show workers would feel sorry for me, but they never stayed around very long. The guy that ran the circus wasn't very nice to us boys, and would beat us if we didn't do what he wanted. Even the boys who had parents who worked there were treated the same way. I'd work long hours many days well into the night to get the animals fed and cleaned for the next day. I finally got tired of the treatment, and figured that being on my own couldn't be as bad as living with the circus." Sasha told the group who were now all in tears.

"I have to ask, Sasha did any of the people with the circus ever touch you in any way you didn't like?" The Sherriff asked.

"You mean did they do sex things with me? No, no one would ever touch one of the kids like that. They would hang someone who did something like that. There was one guy there that used to love to watch us boys, no matter what we were doing. He didn't last very long. I don't know about how the girls are treated, but us boys no one would touch us. Big Kurt wouldn't allow it. I think he killed the one guy that tried to get too close to two of the students. Students are the people he would hire locally. What is going to happen to me now?" The boy asked.

"Well, that all depends on what you want to happen. I am thinking we will find you a home around here. Let me talk to a few people then we will have a better idea how to help you." Nevin told the young boy.

Eli decided to try a new Gift from the Wizard Heart. The Gift is called Potential Sight. It allows Eli to see a Wizard's areas of strength. This is very useful in selecting a position for a Wizard. Eli first focused on Mr. Welsh, what Eli saw was a little strange at first, but then he started to understand. Eli had a slight vision, seeing Mr. Welsh with a book and writing on a black board, LCT. Lead Council Trainer.

"Dad, Mr. Welsh should be the new LCT, which is what he would be best at. The Council would pay him very well, and should provide him with housing. You could make the call for him. I also feel he should stay in this area."

"Eli, how do you know all this?"

"I tried out Potential Sight, a Wizard Heart Gift. That is what it showed me." Eli told his dad.

"Eli, can you try that with the boy?" David asked.

Eli tried the gift on the young boy. What he saw again was a vision, but he saw several different things almost at once. One was Sherriff Nevin handing him a gold star, and the other was Deputy Parker Evans handing him a silver disk.

"From what I saw, I think Sasha is going to grow up to be a Deputy and a Dubuquas. He is a very strong Class III, almost as strong as you dad." Eli told them. "But, he isn't there yet."

"What does that mean?"

"Well, the auras around people who are like you have a definet ring around them. When I look at the kids, that ring isn't there, I take it, it means that they haven't grown into their Gifts yet." Eli said not sounding sure of himself.

"That does make sense. We figured that Sasha was only around 10, which puts him a little young to have come into any Gifts. The girls there are way too young to have started. I think you are doing a very good job, seeing how this is the first day you have had the Wizard Heart." David told the boy giving his shoulder a squeeze.

"Nevin, I need to talk to you for a moment." David told the Sherriff waving him over. Once the Sherriff walked over, David started. "I am going to call the Council about this. Eli feels that Mikael will make the best LCT yet, and that young Sasha will be a great deputy and Dubuquas at some point in the future. They need to stay in this area."

"David, not that I don't trust you or Eli, but how does he know all this? I will be putting my neck out there if anything happens to that boy."

"Eli used the Gifts given by the Wizard Heart." Nevin gasped. "Yes, he was given it yesterday by the decedent of the last Garpet, Garpet Holland. It gives him some very useful gifts." David said smiling proudly at Eli.

"Well I'll be damned. I would never have guessed that the Senator would have been the Garpet. Well, what does Eli wish us to do? I will never get CPS to allow a homeless American family to take in a Russian kidnapped victim, and frankly I'm not sure CPS will have anything to say about it. After all, the State Department might get involved. You know how that Putin has been; who knows how he will react if this gets out." Nevin said while pacing.

"Don't worry Uncle Nevin, it doesn't fall into any of their jurisdictions. This is mine to deal with, he is a Wizard! Dad, you need to call Councilman Ben Smith, and Uncle Nevin, you need to call the Monco right away. Do we know a good realtor who can work fast?" Eli said with a smile.

"Eli, what are you planning?" Both David and Nevin asked at the same time.

"Well, it's really simple. The Council of Wizards needs a new LCT, and Mr. Welsh is just right for the job. The Council needs to purchase them a home here, in this district so that Mr. Welsh can work and train for his new position with several former LCT's, you and Grandpa Max. This also will allow us to place Sasha with the Welsh's as a foster child, until such time as they can adopt him. If, the Council refuses to buy them a house, then I will borrow the money from you, Dad, and buy one for them. Sasha needs to stay here so he can train to be a deputy and a Dubuquas. See, it's simple!" Eli said like the adults were idiots.

"Son, that is brilliant, however you forgot one little thing." David said trying to tease his son.

"Um, no I don't think I did!"

"Yes, what if the Welsh's don't like this plan of yours?"

"Oh, I didn't think of that." Eli said starting to really doubt himself, but then he felt the warmth of the Wizard Heart. "No, I didn't think of that, but the chance they will not go for my plan is about as slim as mom not working!" Eli said with a sly grin.

"Okay, then I guess we need to get started. Eli is right this is the right plan. I will call the Council and talk to Smith, you get Tucker over here fast. I'm missing too much school as it is. Eli, you need to call your mom and let her know what is going on and that I kept you out of school to help with this situation, I really don't want her mad at me." David said as Nevin chuckled.

The call to Councilman Smith was a lot simpler than David would have thought. After making his recommendation to the Councilman, and suggesting they buy the family a house there in Dyersville so that David and Max could train him, the Councilman was all for it.

"David, if you say this guy is right for the position, then that is good enough for me. Unfortunately, it is not just up to me, I will send Councilmen Peters, Baylor, and Marina. I am sure they will feel the same way you do, but we have to do this right. They will come down later today. Go ahead and get the family settled, I will authorize that. Call me once that is done and I will wire you the funds." Councilman Smith told David before hanging up.

Nevin was still on the phone when David looked over. Eli was talking with the three kids while the parents were huddled together talking quietly. David knew things were going to get dicey before long.

The Judge walked in just a few moments later. After talking with Nevin for just a moment, the Judge asked if he could talk to Mr. Welsh alone for a few moments. Both the little girls started to cry and hang onto their father's pants. The Judge was great with them and talked to them about what was going on. Before anyone could do anything to help, they both went over to their mothers lap and smiled up at the Judge.

Nevin led them over to one of the conference rooms for them to have some privacy.

"Mr. Welsh, my name is Judge Russell Tucker. I am also known in some circles as Monco Tucker." The Judge started.

You could see that both titles scared Mikael Welsh. It was not known which title scared him more.

"I assure you everything is fine and you have nothing to worry about from me. I have several questions I need to ask you though before we get into helping your family. Would that be alright?"

"Sure I guess." Mikael said not understanding what was going on.

"Well, please tell me where you lived prior to hitting the road? Your local Monco should have been willing to help you out, or get you help from the Council."

"We lived down by Topeka, KS. The area Monco there didn't like the fact that I married a Non-Wizard and was weakening our blood lines. He also happened to be my Father. That was one of the reasons I didn't stay there to get help from him. He didn't come right out and say that he wouldn't help us, but he made it very clear that Cindy wasn't welcome. She is more important to me than getting the Council of Wizards help."

"Well, now you are here, and this Monco has no problems with mixed marriages. I have performed several myself." Russell laughed at his attempt of humor.

"Let me tell you where we stand right now. You are basically homeless, and traveling with a kidnapped child from a different country. Most Judges would site you with kidnapping or harboring a kidnapping. I don't see it that way. I see that even though you have problems yourself, you rescued a boy in trouble, putting your family at risk to do so. To me, there is no higher measure to a man's honor. If you had the means to do so, would you and your wife consider keeping Sasha and raising him as your own?"

"Sasha has come to mean a great deal to both my wife and myself. Our girls are both in love with him as their big brother, and he acts just like that. I wish more than anything that I could help him, and have him as part of our family." Mr. Welsh said before starting to cry a bit. "We struggle to feed the girls as it is. We live in that cramped camper with not enough room for the four of us. There is just no way we could take him on. He needs a good home, not a camper on the back of a pickup."

"Well, that's where we come in. For now, you are his official foster parents, and we will work out the rest later. Now, I am going to ask that David and the Sherriff come in and talk with us. After all it is their plan." The Judge said as he picked up the phone.

David and Nevin walked in very shortly after the Judge called out. Nevin sat down at the table and waved to David, signaling to him it was his show.

"Mr. Welsh, my name is David Hunt." Hearing this, Mikael's head snapped around to look at David. "Yes, I was the LCT for many years, but have stepped down from that position. The Council has tried very hard to get me back or for my brother, Stephen to take the position, he refused it as well. The position isn't really a hard one, but it has just not been handled right. However, it has come to our attention that you are the right person for the job. I cannot tell you at this time how we know, or why we know, but..."

"Let's just say it came from a higher power, and leave it at that." Nevin tossed out.

"Yeah, that's a good way to put it. I have spoken to Councilman Smith a few moments ago. He is sending down two Councilmen and Councilwoman Marina. They are going to interview you for the LCT position." You could feel the shock radiate from Mikael when David told him this.

"They should be here later today. Before they get here though, you and your wife are going to go pick out a house. The Council is going to pay for it, and furnish it. This is part of your position as LCT, yes I know you don't have it yet, but you will soon. We also need to get your kids enrolled into school here, and that includes Sasha. With you getting the house, you will be able to afford to foster, even adopt Sasha. Are you willing to do all this?" David asked the shell shocked man in front of him.

"Yes, I think I can do all that. Is the LCT position a paid position? I always heard you still had to work." Mikael asked tentatively.

"Yes it is a paid Council position. I, however, didn't want to only be the LCT, I wanted to teach as well. I didn't have to work, I wanted to. What you do is up to you, however, there are a lot of changes that need to be made and with new blood in the position, those changes can be made. My Great Uncle, Max Hunt, and I will both help you learn the position."

"Wow, I can't believe all this is happening to us. Last night my wife and I were talking about giving up. We don't have but a day's food left, and that is only if she and I didn't eat. Now, I have a job, getting a place to live and get to keep Sasha! How did all this happen?" The man sobbed.

"It happened because of Prince. I found Prince yesterday and he told me all about you and your family. He told me how you would give him the scraps off of the girl's plate, but he didn't see you eat. He told me how you cried when you dropped him off in the woods, how you didn't want to leave him but you knew you couldn't take care of him. Why didn't you take him to a shelter or something? Why did you drop him off in the woods?" Eli said walking into the room.

"I couldn't take him to a shelter, they would have just killed him. Pitt-bulls aren't a well like breed. It wasn't his fault. I did the best I could for him, is he safe?"

"Yes, he and I are connected now. He will be taken care of forever. I understand why you did it. He told me how nice you were, and that Emily really wanted Sasha to stay. He said that Emily understood, but was still hurt when you took him into the woods. Mr. Welsh, you must forgive yourself for everything that has happened. You had to go through all this pain to learn from it. This will make you a stronger LCT for our world." Eli said before turning and walking out of the room.

"David that is one very wise boy you have there." Judge Tucker said in awe.

"Yeah I know. He needs to be an 11 year old, not a 111 year old! Well, everything is in place to help you. Aaron's Department store will set you up with whatever your family needs. They have an open account for you. Make sure you get the kids the fun stuff as well as needed items. I believe Mrs. Costas is here to take you to find your new home. I need to get Eli to school. I will meet with you after the school day. Goodbye everyone." David said as he was getting up to leave.

David collected Eli and the two of them headed off to school. When they got to the office, Eli got a pass to class while David went into Dr. Martin's office.

"So, tell me what happened. You don't have to, but I would really like to know." Ron started the conversation.

"Well, it's a really long drawn out story involving a dog, a kidnapped Russian boy, and a traveling homeless Wizard family. Do you really want me to go into specifics?" David told him trying not to laugh.

"Yes I really do, but I don't think either of us have the time to do this justice." Ron said laughing. "I have had your morning classes covered until lunch time. I would like to keep it that way. I have a favor to ask you, and it isn't going to be an easy one."

"I will do what I can to help. What do you need me to do?" David said not having a clue what the principle was wanting from him.

"Ryan said something to me last night about his best friend, Toby Kaufman. I don't really know what to do about it. I tried talking to him when he got to school today. He said everything is fine, but I could tell its not. I thought that maybe you could talk to him and find out what is really going on." Ron said while rubbing his face.

"It might help if you tell me what Ryan said about Toby. I have Toby in third hour, so I do know him a little."

"Ryan said that Toby has a lot of bruises and they couldn't be from his motocross. He said the stories Toby is telling him about the bruises just don't sound right. He is sure that Toby is hiding something, but is too scared to talk."

"Okay, I will talk to him. What I think will work best is that I pull him from class on the assumption that he needs to do some make up test from the time he has missed due to his motocross schedule. This will hopefully keep him from closing down right away. I don't want to read him without his permission, but I will try to compel him to tell me the truth, otherwise we can call in Max and he can use his Force Truth to get the info." David said while thinking about his plan.

David asked the secretary to call Toby down to the office. He already had things set up in the small conference room down the hall from the office. Now all David needed was a little luck at finding out what is going on.

"Hello Sir, I was told to come here?" The boy said standing in the open door.

"Yes Toby, you were. Please come in and have a seat. We will get started right away. They did tell you what we are doing here, right?" David said shuffling papers around.

"They said that I had to take some tests that I missed while I was gone. I don't know what kind of test they are though." The boy said.

"Well, these are tests that the state makes us give you. Not to worry, you can't fail them." David handed the boy the first sheet of the test and the test booklet. He noticed the bruises on the inside of Toby's arm.

"Toby, how did you get that bruise?"

"Oh, I hit the handlebars really hard." The boy lied.

"Toby, you know that I am a high Class III Wizard, correct?"

"Yes sir, everyone knows that. You were the best TCL we have ever had."

"Well, thank you for that. But, I was asking you that because I really don't like to be lied too. I have the Gift of Truth, as well as Empathic. Both of them are telling me you are lying about how you got that bruise. And that, my young friend, is not a good thing. Now, do you want to tell me how you are getting hurt so often?"

Toby put his head down on the table and started crying. David moved around the table to comfort the boy.

"I am going to lose everything now! He told me I would if anyone found out!" The boy cried.

"Toby, you aren't going to lose anything. We will figure this out together. Now, why don't you tell me who is hurting you so we can get it stopped?"

"My Dad. He said I am not trying hard enough to win races. I have to win so that we have money to live on. He refused to work other than my motocross."

"I am going to call the Sherriff's office and ask for someone to come over to talk to us. They are going to have to take some pictures and they are going to want a statement from you. Think you are up for all that?" David asked.

"Yeah, I guess I have to be." The boy said not raising his head.

"I will be right back." David said before leaving the room to call Nevin.

Nevin said that he would send Deputy Parker right over. He said that Parker has the best report with the children, David laughed and said that was because he was still a child.

"Okay, Deputy Parker Evans is on his way over. He is a great guy. Toby, do you have any cuts that are open or bleeding?" David asked as he walked back into the room.

"I don't know, but it feels like maybe my back is bleeding a little bit."

David called Ron into the room. As soon as he got into the room Toby was up in Ron's arms. David had Ron helped remove the boy's shirt and both gasped at his back. There were whip marks all across the boy's back. David started to slowly clean the open ones, and rubbing some triple antibiotic ointment onto the boy's back. Once that was done David had wanted to bandage the boys back until Ron reminded him they need the pictures as evidence to the crime.

As they waited for Deputy Parker to arrive, David sat there thinking of everything that had happened. Finding Cody beaten to a pulp almost dying. Then finding Sasha, a ten year old kidnap victim from Russia, and now Toby. David hadn't ever thought it possible that a Wizard would hurt a child, whether that child was a Wizard or not. Something needed to change, and it needed to happen soon.

*Dad? What's wrong? Are you alright? * Eli sent to David.

A classmate of yours has been hurt. We are working to get it worked out, but it bothers me a lot that there are kids out there fearing to even go home, but knowing they have no other place to go

I agree, and I think that should be the first thing we take care of when I take over. Eli replied.

Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. We need to worry about the wedding first, then you take on the Council of Wizards. I will take care of this young man, and you take care of your class work, David sent back.

I will, but I felt you were really upset. If I can help I will! I love you dad!

I love you, too.

Deputy Parker had arrived while David was talking to Eli. Once David knew that Parker was there, he took him in and introduced him to Toby.

"Oh, I know you, you're the one that rides the dirt bikes. Isn't that right?" Deputy Parker Evans asked the boy making a big deal out of it.

"Yes Sir, I ride motocross semiprofessional. I am hoping to get a sponsor next year."

"Well, I hope you do, too. Now I understand that someone has been hurting you. Would you please tell me all about it?" The Deputy asked as he placed a recording device on the table.

"My dad has been hitting me because he doesn't think that I am trying hard enough to win. He is pushing for a big sponsorship or just bigger payouts. At Tuesday's practice, I blew a tire. It wasn't my fault, but he took it out on me. This is what happened when we got home." Toby said while turning around and lifting his shirt.

There were whip marks crossing his back. It looked like there were some old ones, and lots of fresh ones. Deputy Parker made the call. First call was to the DA. After that he called for one of the other deputies to go out and pick up Toby's so called father on the charges of assault with a weapon, Child abuse, and Child neglect.

"Now the call I hate to make, CPS." Parker said to David before starting his next call.

"Hold off on that one, Toby is one of us, therefore we should handle this one. I know that CPS should be called, but let's see what happens first. I think we have the perfect foster parent for him sitting right there with him." David told him putting his hand on the phone.

"Okay, I will take your word for it, but how do we make that happen?"

"We call in the Monco, it's his job, and he has control of CPS, legally anyway." David laughed.

Parker called the Monco who was still at the Sherriff's office sorting out the Welsh's situation. After Parker explained everything to the Judge, Parker just smiled at David.

"Dr. Martin, can I speak to you a moment?" Parker asked Ron.

They stepped out into the hallway where they could talk. Parker explained everything that was going on, and that according to the Judge, Ron had custody.

Ron said that before he could agree to that, he would have to talk to Ryan. After all, he said, it was Ryan's house they lived in.

The house the Martins lived in had been left to Ryan by his uncle who was killed while serving in the military. This was to protect Ryan further from his mother's family. Ron had always felt that Ryan deserved to be treated like an equal when it comes to the house matters, like someone else moving in.

Ron had Ryan pulled from class to come down to the office. As soon as Ryan was there Ron took him into his office to talk to him. It wasn't long before Ryan ran out of the office and into the conference room.

"You bloody Jackass! Why didn't you tell me this was happening?" Ryan all but yelled at Toby.

"He said I would lose everything if anyone found out. Now I won't be able to do my Motocross or go pro!" Toby said before starting to sob again.

It was Ryan this time that held him as he cried. Ryan was supporting his friend as much as he could. Ryan told him they would figure it all out, and that he was going to go live with Ron and him. Toby didn't really believe that was going to happen.

"Deputy Parker, am I really going to live with Dr. Martin and Ryan?" Toby asked.

"Yes, we called Judge Tucker and he already put in the paperwork to give Ron custody of you. We will have to revisit it in a few weeks, as it is temporary, but it shouldn't be a problem as long as you all get along!" Parker told the boy.

Toby ran to Ron and gave him a huge hug. "Maybe it won't be so bad now. I won't even mind giving up motocross if I can stay with you." Toby told Ron's chest.

"Well, we won't make any decisions about your motocross for a few days. We will sit down as a family and talk about how to handle that. Now, Mr. Hunt wants you to go to the hospital and get you're back looked at. So, Ryan, do you want to go back to class, or go with us?"

"Really dad? A member of our family is hurt and going to the hospital and you want to know if I want to go back to class?" Ryan just rolled his eyes and walked out of the office with Toby. Ron looked back at the others and just shrugged.

David had one more class period left before he needed to be in his classroom, so he headed to the library to get some grading done. That didn't work, because Eli and Noah were there.

"Hey dad, so what is going on? Who got hurt? Why was Ryan pulled from last hour? Where is Ryan now?" Eli asked in rapid fire.

"Well, we'll answer those questions in order, shall we? First; noneya, second one; noneya, the third and fourth questions would be; noneya, and finally the last one; noneya! Does that answer all your questions?" David said to the boys.

"No, not really because I don't know what noneya means!" Eli said with a confused look on his face.

It was Noah who broke up laughing.

"Eli, noneya means none of your business. It's something adults say to try and sound funny when they aren't going to answer our questions."

"Well, that's not very nice!" Eli said with a pout which caused David to start laughing.

"Noah, did you hear about Toby?" Nora asked as she came running into the room. "Oh hello Mr. Hunt, sorry didn't see you there."

"Yeah, I gathered. What did you hear about Toby Miss Mills?" David asked her.

"Well, I was in the computer lab, and I heard over the scanner that Toby's father had been arrested by dad for beating up Toby. Then I saw Ryan and Uncle Ron taking Toby out of school, so I figured it has something to do with that." Nora said looking down at the table.

"Fine, yes it does. Dr. Martin is going to be Toby's foster father until everything gets worked out. I do not know how long, but, at least for now. You three, and the others in your group need to leave Toby alone about all this right now. Do not ask him any questions, he won't be able to talk about most of it anyway. Do you hear me and understand me?" David warned the three.

"Yes sir." All three of them responded to him.

"Alright, you three remember what I said. I have some papers to get graded, and I now don't have a lot of time." David said before going and sitting at a nearby table.

"Can you reach Ryan and ask him what is going on?" Noah asked Eli.

"I don't know, but do you really think I should after what dad said to us?" Eli asked getting nervous.

"Well, he did say not to talk to Toby, but he didn't say anything about Ryan." Nora pushed.

"That is splitting hairs. We know he meant for us to leave them all alone." Noah told his sister.

"Yeah, but what is he going to do to Eli if he finds out. I mean come on, he is the..." Nora started to say but was cut off by her brother.

"DON'T you even say it! You know that is not the point."

"Fine! I guess we will just have to wait to find out if one of our friends is alright." Nora pouted.

"I guess I could ask Ryan if Toby is alright. Let him know we are worried about him. I don't think my dad would be too upset if I did that." Eli tried.

"It's still pushing it though, Eli. Maybe we could ask your dad if it was alright before you did it. I don't want to see you get into trouble over this." Noah told his friend.

"I guess you are right. Let's go ask him and see what he says. After all I don't know if I could even reach Ryan from this far away." Eli said before getting up to go to where his dad was working.

As the three kids approached the table where David was grading papers, he saw them coming towards him. He knew just what they wanted by the look on their faces.

"Go ahead and try, son. I don't know if it will work or not, but I want to know as well. And, I would like to know if you can reach him from this distance. If you can't, then no worries. I will use the cell phone!" David laughed at the shocked look on all three faces.

"How did you know, sir?" Nora asked.

"Well, you three aren't good at hiding your feelings unless you are really trying. And with a feeling as strong as worry for a hurt friend, I could tell what you were wanting from home!" David told her.

Eli tried to send a short message to Ryan. He wasn't sure if it went through, so he put a little more effort into it the second time.

Ryan, its Eli. Is Toby aright? Eli sent the second time.

ELI, WHAT THE HELL! Ryan shouted back.

You don't have to shout, just think about what you want to say and I will be able to hear you. How is Toby doing?

He is alright. He has a cracked rib, and is having to get a few stiches in his back, but other than that he is alright. He is flirting big time with the nurses. Ryan sent back without yelling this time.

That is great news. Let him know the rest of the group is worried about him. We will see you when you get back to school. Eli said.

Thanks, I will tell him as soon as he is done with the x-rays. Thanks Eli! Ryan sent back before Eli closed the connection.

"He has a cracked rib, and is getting stitches in his back. Ryan said other than that he is doing great and is flirting with the nurse's big time. Right now he is getting more x-rays. Ryan said to tell you thanks for checking in and letting Toby know we were worried for him." Eli told the twins and his dad. "We need to let the others know before the rumors start flying around."

"Well, I have class with Evan next hour, so I will tell him." Nora told them.

"We have Stacy and Jeremy in our next class, so that works out well." Noah replyed.

The kids went back to their own table until the bell rang for them to go to the next class.

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