A doctor was bending over in front of Jeremy as he finished putting some steri-strip bandages on the cleaned and disinfected cut on Jeremy's forehead. When he finished, he stood back up.
"That should do it, young man. Just keep those strips on it and it should heal fine."
"Thank you, doctor."
"Don't mention it."
"Excuse me, Doctor. Do you know anything about my wife and son; they were brought in by ambulance with gunshot wounds."
"I don't know; I have not been involved in their care. I'll let the trauma team know that you're in here."
The doctor left and Jake reached over and used his fingers to comb Jeremy's hair back.
"How does your head feel, bud?"
"Okay, it only aches a little."
They settled down to wait with joined hands for any news about their family. After a few minutes a doctor in scrubs came in the room.
"Hello, I was just told you were here. Let me bring you up to date on your family. Both of them have gone to surgery. The boy should recover quickly. The bullet did not hit any major blood vessels, and although it did nick the lung, that should be easy enough to repair, and he should be fine in a week or two."
"Thank god. What about my wife?"
"I'm afraid that there was extensive damage. They are doing all they can, but it is pretty iffy. Both bullets tore through some major organs and there was a lot of internal bleeding. They will do everything in their power, but it doesn't look good right now. We'll know more after the surgery. That's all I can tell you now. Once you are finished here, you can wait in the lobby, and someone will let you know how it's going."
"Tha... thank you, doctor."
"I'm sorry I can't give you better news, but it is touch and go right now. I need to get going; I have some work to do on them to help them get better."
"Thank you again."
The doctor left as Jake and Jeremy hugged each other and cried once again. They calmed down after a little while. There was a knock on the door jamb to get their attention. When they looked up, Jake saw Alex Tratner standing in the doorway, and looking grim.
"Hey, Jake, sorry to be meeting like this once again."
"Yeah, me too. What can I do for you?"
"Just wanted to see how you're doing."
"Hanging in there, just waiting for word on Sandy and Trevor."
"Yeah, I heard they're in surgery. Anything else that you can remember about the attack that we can add to the report?"
"No, nothing else. I told the deputy on the scene everything I can remember about the guy."
"We looked around, we saw where the guy hopped the fence and uh... sorry to tell you, we found your dog. They obviously shot him before they jumped the fence, sorry."
Jake nodded and shook his head.
"Fuck! I forgot all about Dee in all the confusion. The guy had to do that to get into the backyard without Dee warning us. He would've torn that asshole a new one, if they hadn't done it. Damn, he was a part of the family. Is there anything on the gun he used?"
"No, no prints, serial number removed, nothing to go on, it was clean. We also found where they got in. The door to your workout room had a hole cut in the glass near the lock. This guy knew what he was doing in getting into the house. We dug the bullets out of the deck railing, and we'll see if we it has been used in any other crime. We'll be able to match the gun if we catch anyone with it. When it gets light, we're going to start checking in the neighborhood and surrounding area to see if we can find out if anyone has seen anything suspicious. We think it was a burglary gone wrong."
"Please let me know if you find anything."
"I'll let you know. Good luck, guys. Talk to you later, Jake."
Jake waved as he left. The nurse came back in as Alex left.
"Okay, you're done; just take these papers and you can get out of here."
Jake took the papers from her and they got up. She escorted them back out to the waiting room. Jake and Jeremy made their way over to the rest of the family. Jared ran to Jeremy and held him tight and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Fuckin' fag boys."
Jake whirled and saw a guy in his forties sitting nearby, looking at the two boys with disgust. The man was dressed in a ripped t shirt and jeans. He looked like he had been in a fight, as he had a black eye and some bruised knuckles. He was unshaven and a little bleary eyed. Jake walked over and grabbed the guy by the neck of his shirt, and twisted it. The guy tried to knock Jake's grip loose, but Jake just tightened it a little more, which caused the guy's face to turn red. He gave the guy a menacing look. The guy tried pulling away in fear. There was a strong smell of beer coming off the guy.
"You don't even want to go there, asshole. Not right now. You better reassess your choices right now."
The security guard near the desk started to get up and intervene as Tom made his way over to Jake, put his hands on Jake's shoulders and pulled him back. Jake reluctantly let go but continued to look at the guy with the promise of assured destruction in his eyes if the guy said anything else. The man swallowed a couple of times and rubbed his neck.
"Come on, Jake, let's go. Let's go wait in the lobby for word on Trevor and Sandy. Come on."
Jake backed away and the security guard relaxed a little as Tom led Jake out of the room. The unshaven man stayed silent as they left. The family made its way to the main lobby, and since it was after four in the morning, the lobby was mostly empty as there wasn't anyone else out here right now except the people at the main front desk. Jake told the front desk person to tell the doctors operating on Trevor and Sandy MacLaren that the family was in the lobby. Jake sat down and Jeremy moved over to him and sat next to him. All of the boys were leaning against Jake. Jeremy and Jared were on one side and Zach on the other side. He put his arm around them. After half an hour, the boys were all asleep and Tom got up.
"I'm going to try to get some coffee. Anyone else?"
Terry and Jake both nodded. He came back in a few minutes with three coffees. They took them and quietly sipped them. A little after five am, the doctor they had talked to earlier entered the lobby. He looked around and spied them. As he made his way over to them, they could see the look on his face. Jake steeled himself as he carefully stood up, and gently removed his arms from around the boys to the couch. He walked over to the doctor and waited for the expected news.
"Mr. MacLaren. We tried everything, but I'm sorry to tell you. Your wife didn't make it. The internal damage was too great for us to repair in time and she slipped away. There was nothing we could do. I'm sorry."
"Thank you, doctor, I appreciate what you've done. What about Trevor? What about my son?"
"He will be fine. The damage was not too bad and was easily repaired. He has been transferred to the Pediatric ICU and is knocked out for now. You should go home and get some rest and come back later."
"Can I see him before I leave?"
The doctor looked at him for a few moments and then nodded.
"I'll see what I can do about setting it up. Just wait here a moment."
He walked over to the lobby information desk and asked them to dial a number for him. He waited a few moments and then talked to whoever was on the other end. He nodded as he hung up. He motioned for Jake to join him. Jake turned to the family.
"Everyone just wait here. I'll be right back."
Jake joined the doctor and they walked down the hall and out of sight. They made their way over to the Miller Children's side of the hospital and up to the third floor. The doctor led the way into the Pediatrics ICU and to the room that Trevor was in. As he walked in, it looked as if Trevor was asleep. The only difference was that he looked a little pale. Jake walked over to the side of the bed and looked down on his son for a few moments. He rested his hand on Trevor's forehead and brushed back his hair. He closed his eyes for a few moments before he bent down and kissed him gently on the forehead. He stood up and rejoined the doctor.
The doctor escorted Jake back to the lobby, and Jake nodded his thanks as he shook hands with the doctor. Tom got up and wrapped his arms tight around Jake. After a few moments he felt two smaller arms circle his waist from the side, and he looked down to see Jeremy holding him tight as well. He gave Tom one last squeeze before he turned and bent down to pick up Jeremy. He held him tightly, with tears running down his face. Jeremy laid his head on Jake's shoulder and soon enough Jake felt the crying boy start to calm down. Jake kissed him on the back of his neck. Jeremy sat up in Jake's arms and looked at him before he leaned in and kissed him on the cheek before he laid his head back down on Jake's shoulder. Jake made his way over to a couch and sat down cradling the boy, who had shifted around so that he was sitting on Jake's lap sideways and still leaned his head against Jake's shoulder.
"Thanks for being here, guys. You are my fam... oh, damn. I have to call my folks and let them know about this."
"Other than looking a little pale, he looks okay."
Jake then started fumbling around searching his pockets, and then a phone was thrust in front of him. He looked up at Tom and gratefully took the phone. He dialed the number and held it up to his ear.
At the MacLaren ranch in Montana the phone rang, and after a few rings the answering machine picked up.
"Washte Cola. This is the MacLaren Ranch. I'm sorry we cannot come to the phone right now. We will return your calls as soon as we can. Jake, we're on our way."
Jake pulled the phone back from his ear and looked at it like it was some kind of alien device. He closed it and numbly handed it back to Tom, who was looking at him with a worried expression.
"Buddy, you okay? You look like you've just seen a ghost. Also, you didn't say anything. Is everything okay?"
"Uh... I... I don't know. That was really weird."
"I got the machine."
"Okay, they must be out on the ranch somewhere, but bud, you didn't leave a message; what's up with that. I can understand not wanting to give them all the news on the machine, but at least have them call you or tell them you'll call back, or something."
"It's not that. It was what was at the end of the message. The message said 'Jake, we're on our way'. Like they knew I needed them here."
"Well, you always talked about that Indian Intuition of yours. It's probably genetic. There was always something about your dad that was kind of freaky, like he knew more about things than he let on."
"I know, I grew up with it. Many of our people come to him; he is an elder of our nation and many people have always come to him for advice. Maybe, but I guess we'll know more when they get here, probably later today. Anyway, we should all go home and get some rest for a couple of hours, and come back here to see how Trevor's doing. I'm going to make sure they have the contact info, so they can call me if anything happens."
Jake went to the lobby desk and made sure the hospital had his contact information before he joined the family, as they made their way to where the Suburban was parked. When they got in, Jeremy sat next to Jake, while the twins sat in the back. Jared gave his brother all the support he could, since Zach needed him right now, while his boyfriend was stuck in the hospital.
'Hey, bro. You know he'll be fine. Remember he can heal, so maybe he'll be okay by the time we get back.'
'Oh yeah, I forgot about that. You're probably right. Thanks for reminding me. Do you think I should try to contact him?'
'I don't know. He did just get out of surgery, so he's probably completely out of it right now. Let's just cool it and wait until we see him later today.'
'Kay. We'll wait. I feel a little better now. But I think he's going to need all of us soon. He just lost his mom and he probably doesn't know it yet. We gotta be there when he wakes up.'
'We will be, bro. We will be.'
The boys dozed off holding onto each other, even though the drive only took about fifteen minutes. Tom pulled into his driveway and stopped the Suburban.
"Jake, why don't you guys stay here? I'll go down the street and get some clean clothes for you guys, okay?"
Jake nodded wearily and he roused Jeremy, who had also fallen asleep like the twins had. "Hey bud, how you doing?"
"Okay, I guess. Are we home?"
"We're at Tom's house. We're going to get some rest here before going back to the hospital to see your brother."
"Okay. Can I rest with you?"
"Sure. I think I need that."
"Good, me too."
They got out and Jake tossed Tom his house keys, while they followed Terry into the house. She led them to the spare bedroom. Jake turned to Terry and hugged her. When he pulled back, they both had tears on their faces.
"Terry, I need to take a shower before I lay down."
"Me too, Dad, can I take one with you, pleeese?"
Jake looked at the sad boy and nodded.
"Why don't you guys use our shower, Jake?"
"Thanks. Come along, buddy, let's go get cleaned up and then get some rest."
Jake and Jeremy followed Terry as she led them to the master bedroom. She stopped at a hall closet to grab some towels for them. She handed them to them as they went into the bathroom. They went into the bathroom and closed the door. Jeremy stood there and watched as Jake took his shirt off, revealing some of the dried blood that was still on his chest and stomach. Jeremy flinched as he saw it.
"C'mon, buddy, get undressed."
"Daddy, will you take care of me, please?"
Jake first got the water going and then sat down on the toilet seat, motioning for Jeremy to come to him. He had Jeremy lift his feet as he took off his shoes and socks. Then he grabbed the bottom of his t shirt, lifted it up and off as Jeremy raised his arms. He unbuttoned the jeans and lowered them. Then hooking his thumbs in Jeremy's briefs, he lowered them as well. Jeremy steadied himself by placing his hands on Jake's shoulders, and then stepped out of the jeans and underwear that were pooled at his feet. Jake stood up and directed Jeremy to the shower.
Once Jeremy was in, he quickly took the rest of his clothes off and joined him. Jeremy turned to him and put his arms around Jake. They stood like that for a few minutes, letting the water wash over them. Jake rubbed Jeremy's back and rested his head on top of Jeremy's, shifting his head to kiss the top of Jeremy's head every few moments, comforting Jeremy as Jeremy comforted him. Below them the flowing water was tinged with red from the dried blood that washed off of them.
After a little while, they separated and Jeremy handed the soap to Jake with a look of complete trust. Jake took it and a wash cloth and began to wash Jeremy all over, being careful around the steri-strips on his cut. When he finished washing his body, he grabbed some shampoo and gave his hair a good washing as well. When he was done, he started to guide Jeremy out of the shower, but Jeremy didn't move and picked up the soap and washcloth and started to wash Jake. Jake opened his mouth to stop him, but Jeremy just looked at him with a pleading expression and Jake nodded. Jeremy continued his ministrations, washing Jake everywhere until he was clean as well. Jeremy grabbed the shampoo and looked up at Jake.
"You gotta bend down, Daddy. I can't do it right if you don't."
Jake chuckled and got down on one knee. Jeremy got behind him and started washing his hair, running his fingers through Jake's long hair as he rinsed the shampoo out.
"Okay, Daddy. All done."
Jake turned around and picked Jeremy up and hugged him under the water. "Thank you, son. I think I needed that. Let's get dried off and try to get some rest."
They dried each other off and then looked down at their clothes and then looked at each other and wrapped their towels around their waists. They picked up the clothes from the floor and walked to the spare bedroom, where they dropped them on the floor. They dropped their towels and crawled into the bed. Snuggling up to each other, they tried to get as much skin to skin contact as was possible. Before too much longer they fell asleep, Jeremy lying halfway across Jake, one arm and one leg wrapped around him.
At Jake's house Tom went in and walked through the house. He paused at Trevor's room and saw the shattered door and bloodstains on the bed. He walked outside to the deck and looked across to the parking lot behind the house, and gritted his teeth in fury. He looked down and saw the form of Dee covered by a sheet lying in the backyard, and closed his eyes in sorrow. He saw where the forensics team had dug the bullets out of the deck railing. He went back inside Trevor's room and walked down the hall to Jake's room. When he entered, he shuddered at the large blood stain on the bed and sheets. He quickly went to the dresser and grabbed some clothes for Jake. He walked back down to Jeremy's room and did the same there. Once downstairs he put the clothes on the back of a couch and went to the phone. He picked it up and dialed a number.
"Spirit Wolf Security, this is Brian. Can I help you."
"Brian, this is Tom. I need you to send someone over to my house. I have some errands for him."
"Yes sir. You're calling early; is there something wrong?"
"Yeah. Sometime after midnight, someone broke into Jake's house and shot Sandy and Trevor. He tried to shoot Jake too, but Jake drove him off."
"Shi... sorry, sir, are they going to be all right?"
"That's okay, Brian, shit seems about right. They say Trevor will be okay, but Sandy didn't make it; she died at the hospital. Whoever you send, have them come to my house. I'll give them their instructions. Have them get here as soon as you can. We've been up all night, and I'm worn out."
"Will do. I'll get someone there ASAP."
Tom hung up and grabbed the clothes he had left on the back of the couch on his way out of the house. He walked down the street and into his house. Terry met him at the door and hugged him.
"They're asleep. Come on."
They walked to the bedroom and looked in the room. They saw not only Jake and Jeremy asleep, but Zach was on one side of Jake and Jared was cuddled up behind Jeremy, all of them looked like they were trying to use as little space in the king size bed as possible. Tom laid the clothes on a table in the room, before leaving and gently closing the door. They walked back out to the living room.
"I called the office and had them send one of our guys over here. I'm going to have him watch the house, and take care of a few things. I think we should try to keep them both over here for a day or so, while I have our guys take care of the cleanup."
"I agree. Come to bed when you finish. We both need some rest too."
Tom nodded and gave her a kiss. Terry headed to their bedroom. Thirty minutes later there was a knock on the door, and two of the guys from the company were at the door. Tom invited them in.
"Jed, Phil. Thanks for coming. I told Brian one."
"He called and told me, but I figured safety in numbers. Besides with two of us, we can get more done."
"Fair enough. I want you to go down to Jake's house and clean up the mess. Get everything fixed that you can. The sliding glass doors on the second floor need to be replaced. One was broken and the other has a hole in it. Get rid of the mattresses in Trevor's room and the master bedroom, and get all the blood cleaned up. Get some replacements for the beds as well. They won't want to be reminded of what happened."
"Got it. Anything else?"
"Oh yeah. Jake's dog was killed too. See what you can do about his body. I'll ask Jake what he wants, but right now Dee is lying in the backyard covered by a sheet."
"We'll take care of it."
"Good. Here are the keys to the house and the alarm system. Keep 'em with you until you're done with everything."
They nodded and took the keys. They shook hands with Tom before getting back into their car and driving over to Jake's. Tom went to his bedroom and took his clothes off. He got in with Terry, and they moved close together and hugged as they both gave in to their feelings that they had been holding back, and quietly cried in each other's arms before they fell asleep.
At an apartment in Redondo Beach, James Harvey stood in front of the mirror in his bathroom, cleaning the cuts and tending to the bruises that he had sustained in the fight with Jake. He was furiously thinking about what went wrong.
'Fuck. The plan was perfect. I'd grab the kid and anyone in the way dies. If I hadn't tripped in that fuckin' bedroom. Maybe that fucking Indian heard me when I tripped, and that's why he was walking to the door when I opened it. Shit, he's strong. I was sure I shot him at least twice, but it didn't seem to slow him down. He just kept coming, probably minor wounds. Anyway what's done is done. I'm not done yet. I'll get that kid yet. At least I got the little shit that clubbed me; he won't be a problem anymore. I'll just have to bide my time. Mr. Stanhope said I would be well compensated if I can get that kid. Ouch, damn, my back feels like he hit me with a sledgehammer. I'll give it a few weeks; this time, I'll make sure everyone in my way is down and then the kid is mine. No fucking around this time. I'll get him up to Mr. Stanhope immediately.'
He finished up and went back to the living room. He made himself a drink and walked out to the back porch, looking across the beach to the ocean beyond, sipping it. The sound of the waves and the drink finally calmed him, and once he finished it, he went inside to get some rest.
Jake slowly came awake feeling real sweaty. He blinked his eyes a few times in the light coming through the partially closed curtains. Once he was completely awake, he realized why he felt so sweaty: he was in the middle of a kid nest. Slowly he looked around and saw Jeremy lying almost completely on top of him. Jared was curled up behind Jeremy and Zach was on Jake's other side. He looked at Jeremy and smiled as he gently ran his hand through his hair and cuddled him. After a few moments, the movement woke Jeremy up. He stirred and yawned before he looked up at Jake and gave him a sad smile. He tightened his grip on Jake and laid his head back down on Jake's chest. Listening to his heartbeat he sighed. "I like hearing your heartbeat, Dad."
"I like hearing yours too, Son."
"Are we gonna go see Trev now?"
"Yeah, we need to be there for him. You know best how he's going to feel, and we need to be there for him."
"Let's get these guys up so we can get dressed."
Jeremy leaned over to Jared and kissed him. Without opening his eyes, Jared raised an arm and put it around Jeremy, pulling him closer so he could return the kiss. He opened his eyes and looked at Jeremy.
"Morning, Jer. I like that way of waking up."
"I like that way of waking you up. We need to get up and clean up, we're all kinda sweaty."
"Yeah, you wanta take one together?"
"Sure, let's go."
The two boys got up. Jeremy grabbed the towel from the floor to cover himself and got some clean underwear from the clothes on the dresser. Once they left, Jake turned and kissed Zach on the forehead, and rubbed his back.
"Time to wake up, Zach."
"I know, but I don't wanna. I feel just fine right here."
"Yeah, me too, but we gotta go see someone as soon as we can, and he's gonna need you a lot."
"I know, Uncle Jake, and I'm gonna be there for him. D'ya think he really will be all right?"
"Yeah, I do. With all of us to love him, he'll be all right. He's going to be hurting for a while but, he'll be fine. Especially because he has you. So come on, let's go take care of your boyfriend."
"Okay. Thanks, Uncle Jake."
"No, thank you guys for coming in here and sleeping with me. It made me feel better, when I woke up and all of you were around me."
Zach pushed himself up and kissed Jake on the cheek before he got out of the bed. Jake got up and picked up the towel he had used before, grabbed some clean underwear and wrapped the towel around himself. He walked down the hall to the master bedroom. The door was open; he looked in and saw the bed was empty. He went into the bathroom and got cleaned up. He went back to the guest room and saw the door was closed. He knocked on it and heard a muffled voice on the other side. "Come in."
He opened it and saw Jeremy sitting on the bed tying his shoes. "Morning, Dad."
Jake dropped the towel and grabbed his clothes that were there and put them on. Jeremy finished and waited while Jake got dressed. Jake sat down next to him to put his shoes on. While he did, Jeremy leaned against him and put his arm on Jake's waist.
"Letting me be with you. It made me feel loved."
"Well, you made me feel the same. So thank you too."
"This is going to be a bad day, isn't it?"
"Yeah, I think so. You ready for it?"
"As ready as I can be."
"Yeah me too. But we're together, so we can handle anything as long as we're together."
"Yeah, we can."
They got up. Jeremy kept an arm around Jake's waist, and Jake rested an arm across Jeremy's shoulders. They walked to the kitchen where Tom and Terry were putting plates on the table. Zach and Jared were just sitting down.
"Hey, guys. How're doing."
"Hanging in there. What time is it?"
"About eleven. Once we heard you guys moving, we got a late breakfast going. You're going to need your strength, so dig in, guys. You want some coffee, Jake?"
"I'd rather have some tea."
"That's what I thought. I've got the hot water going, so let me get a tea bag for you and you can make it."
They started eating, and the smell of the food got their appetites going. Soon enough the plates were empty and the boys started clearing the table.
"Thanks, I feel better. Now we need to get going."
The adults helped clear the last of the dishes and put everything away. They headed out to Tom's Suburban and got in. Jared and Jeremy were in the back and Zach sat next to Jake in the middle seat. The drive was a bit more leisurely than it had been a few hours before. They checked in at the children's hospital part of the medical center, to find out what room Trevor was in. He was still in pediatric intensive care, and they made their way up to the third floor. Once they arrived at the door to Peds ICU, they pressed the button on the intercom; a tinny voice answered the call.
"Yes, may I help you?"
"Hello, I'm Jake MacLaren, I'm here to see my son Trevor. He was brought in during the night with a gunshot wound."
"I will let the doctor know. He'll be right out."
The family sat down nearby and waited. A few minutes later a tall Asian man in scrubs came out. He came up to Jake and shook his hand.
"Mr. MacLaren? I'm Gordon Tasako."
"Nice to meet you doctor; how is Trevor doing?"
"He came through the surgery fine, but he is still unconscious. We do not have him on a respirator or anything, because he is breathing on his own, but other than stimulus to pain, he is not responding to anything. His body may still be in shock, and sometimes the body will rest until it's ready to wake up again after something traumatic has happened to it. We think this is the case, but we won't know until he wakes up. Normally, he would have awakened by now, but we're not sure what is going on."
"Can we see him?"
"Sure, but only two at a time."
"Okay. Jeremy, why don't you and I go in first?"
Jeremy nodded and they followed the doctor to the doors. He presented his badge in front of a small black box on the wall and the door opened. They followed him in and he brought them to the first door on the right. He left them at the entrance and returned to his duties. They walked inside and slowly made their way to Trevor's side. Jeremy clutched Jake's hand tightly. There was a dim light in the room, and Trevor was lying on his back, with the sheet pulled up to his waist. There was an IV line running into his arm, and wires were attached to his chest and ran to a machine that beeped with his heartbeat. There was also a big bandage high up on the left side of his chest. Other than the sound of the monitoring machines in the room, and his face being a little pale, he looked like he was sleeping normally. Jake pulled a chair over near the bed and sat down next to Trevor and took his hand in his as he reached up and slowly stroked Trevor's head, smoothing his hair back. He leaned forward and kissed his forehead.
"Hey, buddy, time to wake up. Open your eyes so that I can see you those bright blues looking back at me."
Jeremy had moved to the other side. He sat in a chair on the other side of Trevor and took his hand.
"C'mon, bro, wake up, like Dad says. You've rested long enough. Everyone's here to see you, but you gotta wake up to talk to them."
Trevor continued to sleep. Jake and Jeremy sat for a little while longer and then got up and let the next two come in. Tom and Terry went into see him. Jake walked over to a window and crossed his arms as he looked out toward Signal Hill. The three boys sat together; Jeremy sat next to Jared, and they kept their joined hands hidden between them so that no one else could see them, if someone walked by. Zach looked around to make sure no one was near.
"Jer, how does he look?"
"He looks like he's sleeping, except for the bandage on his chest and the machines and IV's. He just looks asleep, but we couldn't wake him up; we tried."
Zach looked at Jake's back for a few moments before he continued. "Guys, we gotta try and get all of three of us in there for a few minutes. Maybe we can do something."
"I don't know how; they only let two in at a time."
Zach got up and looked through the door that led into the PICU, and he saw a door to the right just inside the main doors. He came back and sat down again.
"There's a door on the right just inside. It doesn't look like a patient room. Maybe one of us could hide in there for a few moments, and then while one of us hides in Trevor's room out of sight, the other gets the one hiding in the room and walks back in with him to Trevor's room. We pretend like we're just coming into the room. We'd have to do it pretty quick, but maybe, if we watch inside and see if they don't pay too much attention, it might work. The only thing is that we should wait by the doors until mom and dad come out, and slip in before the doors close, so we won't have to call in and ask them to open them for us."
"Okay, I guess we could try; what's the worst that could happen?"
The boys nodded, got up and stood by the doors. Zach was looking in and saw his mom and dad coming back. Terry dabbed at her eyes with a tissue. The boys moved to the right side of the door, and as soon as it opened they moved in as one; they got a startled glance from Tom as they entered together. As the doors closed behind them, Tom looked back and saw Jared slip through the door on the right, while Jeremy and Zach continued on into Trevor's room. The boys went in, and Zach sucked in a breath when he saw his boyfriend lying there unmoving and a little pale, with that big bandage on his chest. He and Jeremy stood there for a little bit. Zach had tears in his eyes as he moved over to the side of the bed and took Trevor's hand. Jeremy nudged him and looked pointedly to him. Zach moved around and when no one was looking, he crouched down out of sight near the bed. Jeremy moved over to a curtain, and as he left, he surreptitiously closed the curtain across the window that looked into the room. After he looked out into the central area, he saw that no one was near, or even looking in his direction, so he scooted back toward the entrance and looked in the room. He motioned for Jared to follow him and they casually walked back into the room. Once there, Jeremy carefully closed the curtain a bit more, so that they had some measure of privacy. Zach came out of hiding and sat in the chair next to Trevor on one side, while Jeremy and Jared sat on the other side. He took Trevor's hand and moved close to him.
"Hey, Trev. I'm here for you, like you were there for me. I know I can't do what you did, but I wish you'd wake up and look at me. I need you to be okay, 'kay?"
All of the boys had tears on their faces as they looked at their brother. Zach looked back out the door to see if anyone was looking, and then he leaned over and kissed Trevor gently on the lips. He then turned Trevor's head toward him and leaned his forehead against Trevor's. He looked at his closed eyes, and tried to will them to open and looked back.
"C'mon, bud, wake up. I need you. We all need you. Show me those shining bright blue eyes. C'mon, Trev."
Zach stayed in that position while Jeremy held Trevor's other hand and Jared held Jeremy's. All of them tried to send all the love that they had for Trevor to him. They let him know that they were there for him.
On a smooth granite rock sitting on the edge of a grassy meadow a boy in white shorts and a white polo shirt sat looking down into a pond where he tossed pebbles and watched the ripples that they made. The sun coming down was warm and comfortable. All around him he could hear birds sing. There was a light breeze that blew the boy's hair gently back as he continued staring at the water and occasionally tossing a pebble into the water. Another pebble landed in the water, and it took a moment for the boy to realize he hadn't thrown it. He looked around with sad eyes to see where it came from. He saw a boy about his age with blond hair like him, in a blue polo shirt and jeans, wearing sandals, and standing near the rock looking up at him. The new boy smiled at the boy on the rock and waved.
"My name's Justin."
The boy raised his hand weakly in greeting.
"Mind if I join you?"
The boy turned away, shrugged and went back to his pebble tossing. Justin smiled and climbed up onto the rock, and sat next to the boy. He opened his hand, took a pebble out and threw it into the pond. His ripples hit the first boy's ripple and rebounded back against each other. Pretty soon the boys were throwing the pebbles and making different ripple patterns. Justin looked at the boy out of the corner of his eye and occasionally saw a lift at the corners of his lips that the boy quickly suppressed.
"This is fun, huh?"
The boy shrugged and went back to his ripple forming. Justin quietly joined in. After a time he looked at the boy and kind of pushed against him with his shoulder. He got the boy's attention.
"So what's your name?"
"Does it matter?"
"I guess not, but I told you mine, so I just wanted to know what to call you, instead of 'Hey You', or 'Kid'."
"I don't remember."
"You don't remember, huh?"
"Yeah, I don't remember, okay."
The boy scowled at him and went back to throwing the pebbles, although he was throwing them a little harder now and scowled a bit. Justin just smiled at him and joined him in ripple making.
"Maybe I can guess it?"
The boy shrugged and kept up his throwing.
"Let's see... Abercrombie? Basil? Clarence? Dabney?"
Justin looked at the boy and saw a little lift of the corner of his mouth. Justin smiled and continued.
"Edsel? Ferdinand? Guillermo? Haggis? Indiana? Jamaal? Kingston? Lowell?"
Justin took another peek and saw the curl was still there, even though the boy still kept his head turned toward the water and would not look at Justin. Justin smiled before continuing.
"Menachem? Norbert? Olaf? Percival? Quincy? Rigoberto? Sebastian?"
Justin snuck another look and the curl at the side of the mouth was a little more pronounced, he continued.
"Theodore? Ulysses? Vernon? Wencelaus?"
"Xerxes? Yeardley? Zebulon?"
The name was said so low that Justin almost didn't hear it. He turned to the boy smiling, and saw that there was a smile lifting the corner of his mouth and a little bit of a dimple was showing. He was still not looking at Justin, but continued to throw pebbles into the pond.
"Hi Trevor, nice to meet you."
"This is fun, but don't you feel a little warm?"
"Cool, let's go swimming?"
"But I don't have any other clothes."
"So. Look around, there's no one else here but us. Don't tell me you've never skinny dipped?"
"Well... yeah... a couple of times."
"Great, then let's go."
Justin pulled his shirt off and started to remove his sandals.
"C'mon, what're you waiting for, unless you want to go in wearing your clothes?"
"You wouldn't dare."
Justin looked at him with a mischievous smile and raised an eyebrow, with an expression that said 'Wanna Bet?'. Trevor took his shoes and socks off and then stood up to take his shirt off. Justin had taken his pants off and was standing there in a pair of white briefs. His skin appeared to be lightly tanned and flawless. Trevor took his shorts off and stood before the boy in a pair of the boxer briefs that he liked, also as white as the rest of his clothes. Both boys grinned at each other and hooked their hands in the waistbands, and slipped their underwear.
"Last one in is a rotten egg!"
Justin and Trevor both ran to the edge of the rock and jumped in. The water felt just cool enough to make it feel good when they hit the water. The two boys started to splash water at each other, and wrestled each other in the water, trying to dunk each other. The beautiful sound of boys laughing and playing filled the area. For thirty minutes they wrestled, had swimming races and just had fun. The sad look that had been on Trevor's face was replaced with a look of happy joy. At the end of the thirty minutes, the boys walked out of the water with their arms around each other, like they were old friends. They made their way up on top of the rock once again, and lay down next to their clothes and let the sun warm their bodies. They looked at each other and giggled. Trevor reached over to Justin and they held hands. Trevor closed his eyes and smiled up to the sky.
"I love this place. I could stay here forever."
"Yep it is nice, but I'm sorry staying here is not possible."
Trevor was startled by the slightly deeper voice that came from behind him. He let go of Justin's hand and turned around quickly to look at an older teenage boy who stood on the meadow side of the rock. The boy looked to be about sixteen or seventeen years old, with brown hair and eyes. He was dressed casually, in a polo shirt and some very light blue jeans. The boy was smiling at them, and looked friendly. Trevor started grabbing for his clothes to cover himself.
"What do you mean? Do you own this land?"
"No, not exactly. Why don't you boys get dressed and come and join me? I brought a picnic lunch."
The boys looked and saw a picnic blanket set down in the shade of an oak tree, with the basket opened and several items of food laid out. Trevor's stomach grumbled just then. Justin smiled at him and the boys got up and quickly got dressed. They walked in their bare feet over to the blanket carrying their shoes. Trevor marveled at how soft the grass was; it felt like he was walking on a cushion of grass. They dropped their shoes on the grass nearby and sat down on the blanket. Justin went over to the older boy and wrapped his arms around him. The teenager smiled at him and hugged him back.
"Hi, Justin. How're you doing?"
"Good, thanks. I'm glad you're here."
"Well, you know me. I'm here when I'm needed."
Mikey gave Justin one more squeeze before he let him go. Justin went to sit near Trevor. Trevor looked at him with a puzzled look.
"You know him?"
"Yeah, Mikey's a real good friend. I love him. He's the best big brother anyone could have."
"So he's your brother?"
"Not exactly, he's like a brother to anyone who needs him."
"Questions later, time to eat, if your stomach is any indication."
Trevor's stomach grumbled again, causing the three boys to laugh. Mikey sat down and they began to eat. There did not seem to be an end to the food and all of it tasted better than any food that Trevor had ever had anywhere before. The boys were mostly quiet, but they looked at each other and smiled and giggled a little as the lunch progressed. After Trevor was completely stuffed he leaned back, looking at Mikey and Justin.
"So you're not brothers... exactly. So where do you live?"
"What does that mean... around? I don't see any houses here."
"Well... there aren't any."
"D'you have a tent or something like that?"
"No, we don't need it."
"Trevor, wait a minute."
Trevor closed his mouth and waited. Mikey crawled over and sat next to Trevor and put his arm across Trevor's shoulders as he looked at him.
"Do you remember what I said before we had lunch, when you were on the rock?"
Trevor thought back and looked at Mikey and nodded.
"You said it wasn't possible to stay here."
"Yes, I did. Do you know why?"
Trevor shook his head and his eyes started to shine a little with unshed tears. Mikey looked at him and smiled gently.
"Yes, I think you do. Why don't you tell me why you want to stay here?"
Trevor looked down and the tears started to slide down his cheeks. He took some hitching breaths and felt Mikey's arm tighten around him. He leaned into the arm. Justin had moved to Trevor's other side and put his arm around his waist and leaned his head on Trevor's shoulder.
"M... my... dad's dead. I miss him so much. He can't be gone, but I saw all the blood on his shirt and he fell down and stopped moving. I just found him and now... now he's gone. He was my dad!"
Trevor started to cry with big wracking sobs. Mikey pulled him on his lap and held him against his chest. He laid his head on top of Trevor's as the boy cried into Mikey's chest. Mikey let him go, and just held him gently as he rocked him. Mikey let him get all the crying out. Justin had moved up behind Trevor and leaned against him, putting his arms around Trevor's waist and holding him as well. After what seemed like a very long time, Trevor started to calm down, and Mikey and Justin relaxed their hugs. Justin sat back on his heels but kept one hand on Trevor, and rubbed his back. Trevor looked up at Mikey.
"What am I gonna to do? I need Jake, I love him so much. He protected me and now I don't have anyone to protect me now."
"Sure you do. Close your eyes and listen to your heart. Look deep inside yourself."
Trevor closed his eyes and leaned against Mikey. He felt his body relax as he went deep into his feelings. He seemed to be searching all around and he started to feel some things. He felt sensations of warmth and light, and when he focused on them, he recognized the feeling of friendship and could see the persons who were a part of the warmth and light. He felt like he was flying along as he searched for the light. He saw friends that he had from school and scouts. He delved deeper and felt two warm sensations, and when he focused on them, something inside him recognized them as his Uncle Tom and Aunt Terry. As he neared their light he could feel their love. Warmer and brighter lights drew him on. He found Jared and Jeremy. He could feel their love for him and each other.
Next he felt an even brighter glow and when he neared it, he felt a strong warm protecting presence. It seemed to hold him and cover him completely with the feeling of safety. Within that light he felt that nothing could touch him.... It was Jake, he knew it, Jake was alive; somehow he didn't know how it was possible but Jake was alive and he seemed to be okay. Before he could let himself get lost in the sensation of love and complete safety, another presence made itself known. The light was nearly blinding and the warmth was like every lazy and perfectly warm summer day rolled into one and multiplied a thousand fold... Zach. The love he felt from Zach completely pulled him in and he melted into it, wanting to join with it and merge with it, and just revel in the complete and unconditional love that surrounded him. His inner being started to let itself go and bask in it, when it realized that something was missing.
He looked around and focused everywhere, but he couldn't find it. He searched frantically everywhere, going every direction that he could, but he couldn't touch it. He rushed back to where he came and opened his eyes looking with panic into the eyes of Mikey, who looked down at him with sympathy. Trevor started to shake his head and tears started to come to his eyes.
"No... mommy... where's my mom? I couldn't find her. Where is she?"
"I'm here, honey."
Trevor twisted around in Mikey's lap and saw his mom, standing at the edge of the blanket, looking at him with so much love. The tears in his eyes fell and he launched himself into her open arms. He buried his head into her chest and cried. She held him and comforted him. He started to feel other hands on his back, rubbing it and stroking his hair. Hands which were bigger than his mom's, a man's hands. There was something familiar to him in the feel of those hands. He looked up at his mom with disbelief in his eyes; she looked down at him and smiled as she loosened her hug. He slowly turned around and kneeling there in front of him...
Trevor jumped into the arms of his father. Logan enfolded his son in a tight embrace; both of them were crying. Logan stood and as he did, Trevor wrapped his legs around him and kissed his cheek, smiling through his tears, and getting an answering smile and kiss from his dad. They just looked at each other and smiled. Sandy came up and wrapped her arms around both of them and the family enjoyed something that they had not had in a long time. Finally Logan loosened his grip a little and Trevor slid down and stood on his own, between his parents. He stood there holding their hands, smiling and looking at each of them. He looked at Mikey and Justin standing before them. Justin stood in front of Mikey, with Mikey's arms draped over his shoulders and holding Justin's hands. Both were smiling at the happy family. Trevor smiled and looked at the two boys.
"Thank you so much."
"You're welcome. However..."
Mikey got a serious look on his face. The look made Trevor's smile fade a little.
"Remember what I said earlier?"
Trevor's smile faded away and he looked down to the ground.
"Trevor, look at me, Tigger."
Trevor raised his head and looked at Mikey, who had moved over to him and knelt down.
"You do not belong here. It is not your time. However, the Father allows all of us free will and you can make a choice."
"Then I choo..."
"Wait; before you do, I want you to think very carefully. Yes, I know what you were going to say, but I want you to really think about it first. Search deep and then choose. You will get your choice, but make sure it is the right one."
His parent's knelt down on either side of him and looked at him.
"Yes, my baby boy. Look deep, you know how. Look very deep."
Trevor nodded at them and closed his eyes as he looked deep inside himself. As soon as he took a deep breath, he felt two bright lights next to him. He looked into them and knew them instantly, Mom and Dad. The love from them comforted him as he knew they would. Just beyond them he felt two other lights and he gasped as he saw Mikey and Justin shining brightly. He could feel their love for him and it was strong and pure. What really shocked him though is that flowing from their backs were beautiful wings, shining brightly. Mikey's were gold and Justin's were white. He could see their faces and bodies and the light shined from them. He smiled and another light and feeling of warmth reached out to him; his curiosity drew him and suddenly he once again felt that great warmth, love and nearly blinding light that was Zach. The light began to outshine all others around him. As he drew near, he felt another light enfold both him and Zach, covering them within a field of protection that was both strong and soft at the same time... Jake. He felt everything that they both felt for him. He flowed through them and connected his glow to them, joining the three of them together until they were one being. The sum of the parts was greater than the whole. Everything felt completely right to him. He felt more whole than he had ever been in his life. He looked back and saw the light that was his parents, Justin and Mikey standing there. He let go of the feeling and came back to himself, opening his eyes. With tears running down his face he looked at his parents and smiled. They took him into their arms and held him. They rocked together for a little bit, and murmured their love to each other and gave each other little kisses. Trevor loosened his grip and they followed suit, but kept their hands on his shoulders as he turned to Mikey and Justin, who stood in the same position as before. He could not see their wings, but he somehow knew that they were there.
"So you guys... are, uh... angels?"
Mikey and Justin laughed.
"Yes little bro, we are."
"So is this heaven?"
"No, not exactly. It's a little place that the Father let me make to take people who needed to get away to someplace safe for a little while. Sadly I've had to use it more than I would have liked. In fact, Zach spent a little time here, but he doesn't remember."
"I think I'm ready to make the choice."
"Yes, I think you are. I want to let you know, that we believe that this is the right choice. You felt what Zach feels for you. It was so strong that we can easily feel it. There are still going to be some tough and maybe even dangerous things happening, but you will come through. You, Jake and Zach together can weather almost anything; don't forget that."
"Honey, we love you so much. But Mikey is right; it is not your time here yet. When it is time, we will be here and everyone that you consider family, Jake, Zach and Jared, Jeremy, Tom and Terry, all of us will be together. But only when it is time. We would have loved to have you with us, but there are people out there who need you more right now. People you haven't even met yet, but rest assured they need you. Take care, baby boy, we love you."
"Trev, I am so happy that you and Jake found each other. I couldn't have asked for a better man than him to take my place in your life. With him, you will become a wonderful person. So my baby boy, go return to them. They need you now; we will always be near watching over you. We love you and can't wait to see the man you become. We know that man will be a great man."
They gave him a hug and then stood up and stepped back a little. Trevor looked at Mikey and Justin and now he could see them in their glory, wings shining as they moved toward him. He felt tears like raindrops hit his face. As the angels neared him they each put a hand on his shoulder.
"Look up, little bro."
Trevor looked up and more water struck his face.
"Close your eyes, little bro, and when you open them next, you will see a sight that will fill your heart with such joy that it will be hard to hold it all in. See you later, little brother. Know that we all love you."
One of the drops on his face trickled down to his mouth and he reached out with his tongue to taste it. It was a little salty and when he got the taste on his tongue, he smiled.
He opened his eyes.
Author's Note: In this chapter I had a guest character that is familiar to nearly all of the readers out there, unless you've been living in a cave for the last few years. With AC's permission Mikey has stopped by for a "Short" visit. When I wrote this chapter, his caring and compassion for those that need him seemed a perfect fit for this chapter, so I wrote him in. Thank you, AC, for allowing me to have Mikey visit and help Trevor out when he needed him.