Zach had his eyes closed as he leaned his forehead against the forehead of the boy he loved more than anything in the world. He nearly missed it. The sound was so faint.
Even as faint as it was, he could feel the love conveyed in that one word. He slowly opened his eyes and saw, right in front of him, the glowing bright blue eyes of his love shining up at him. His mouth opened into smile and he immediately lowered his lips and placed them against Trevor's. He felt Trevor's arms come around him and pulled him close. The kiss was not a spit swapping, tongues flailing kiss, it was a gentle kiss that lasted a long time. It conveyed all the love that they had for each other. Jared and Jeremy stared in wonder as they saw a glow coming from the two boys. It was golden in color and spread out to encompass them as well. They hugged each other and watched in wonder as the glow faded and they saw the boys' lips separate. They could see Trevor's eyes glowing as he looked up into Zach's face. A smile came onto his face.
"Zach, I love you so much." The voice was stronger now.
"Not as much as I love you."
The boys started laughing softly as they continued to gaze into each other's eyes. Trevor winced a little. "Don't make me laugh, it hurts."
Zach immediately got a worried look on his face, but was comforted by Trevor's smile. "It'll be okay, but I'm really tired. Could you call my Dad in here? I want to see him. I need to see him."
Zach nodded and started to leave.
"No, Zach, you stay, we'll go." Jared and Jeremy gave Trevor a kiss. "I'm so glad to see you bro. I love you."
"Luv you too, Jer."
The two boys ran quickly out of the room and Jeremy punched the large silver button that opened the door. Behind them they heard a yell. "Hey, you can't run in here." They ignored it as they ran to the family.
"Dad, he's awake. He's awake and he wants to see you."
Jake whirled around from where he was pacing back and forth and ran to the door as a nurse came out the door; he practically ran her down.
"Sorry." Jake looked at her apologetically as he moved past her. He got to the door of Trevor's room and rushed inside. He saw Zach lying next to Trevor on the bed and holding him tightly, both of them lost in each other's eyes. When Jake came in, Trevor looked over to him, his smile widened and tears rolled down his face, mirrored by the ones on Jake's face. Jake rushed to the bed, and grabbed both boys tightly to his chest and started to cry.
"My boy... my baby boy. You're all right. You're really all right."
"Dad, I love you. You're here, you're okay. I thought... "
"Me too, I was so scared... When I..."
"I saw the blood... It was everywhere..."
"I know... I... love you son, so much, both of you."
"I know... I know..."
"Uncle Ja... guys, can't breathe."
They separated and Jake moved to the other side of Trevor. Trevor put his hand on Jake's chest and Jake took it in his hand, smiling through his tears at Trevor. At the door they heard a gasp followed by an urgent call. "Doctor Tasako, he's awake."
In moments Dr. Tasako came into the room and tried to check him over, but Zach and Jake were kinda in the way. He looked at them. "I really need to examine him, and you guys are kinda in the way, so... could you...?"
"Sure, sorry, we're just so happy. C'mon, Zach, let's let the doc do his job."
They backed out of the room. Trevor smiled and waved to them as they left the room and headed back out to the waiting room. The family stood as Jake and Zach came out of the ICU. The smiles on their face were all that the others needed to see before they rushed to them. Tom and Terry took turns hugging Jake; all of them cried with joy. They settled down and had a seat again. The doctor joined them after a few minutes, smiling.
"Well, everything looks good. He should be able to go home in a few days."
"Can we see him?"
"He's pretty tired, but you can go in and see him for a few minutes, then I think we should let him rest. You can come back later if you wish; he'll probably be more awake by then."
"Thanks, doctor. Tom, Terry, why don't you go on in."
They went in and returned after a couple of minutes. Jared and Jeremy were next and they returned in a few minutes. Jake and Zach were last. They went into the room and Zach went to one side and Jake to the other side. They each took a hand of the sleeping boy and sat with him. Zach leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. He looked at Jake and left. Jake sat there a little longer. He smoothed Trevor's hair back and leaned forward to kiss him goodbye.
"See you later, baby boy. I love you."
As he started to walk away, he felt Trevor's hand tighten on his. He turned around and looked back. He saw Trevor looking up at him. He smiled and moved back to Trevor's side and ran his fingers through Trevor's hair.
"I know, Dad. I know about Mom."
"I just know. I'm kinda tired now. I think I'm going to sleep for awhile. I love you. See ya tomorrow, Daddy."
"I love you too, baby boy. See ya later, son. We'll be here bright and early, as soon as they let us in."
"Sounds good, night, Dad."
"Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite."
Trevor giggled a little and closed his eyes. Jake stayed for a few minutes longer and watched over him as he fell asleep. The gentle sounds of his breathing seem to lift a huge weight off of his shoulders, and he smiled as he leaned down to give Trevor a kiss goodbye. Jake walked back out and joined the family. They left to go get something to eat. Zach hugged Jake's arm to him as they walked out.
"Yeah, Uncle Jake?"
"Did you guys say anything to Trevor about his mom?"
"Uh uh. I didn't want to do that. Why?"
"He said he already knew about his mom. I never said a thing, but before he fell asleep, he told me that he knew about Sandy being gone. He didn't cry or anything; he looked not exactly happy, but I guess at peace."
Zach silently nodded as he hugged Jake's arm to him. Jake stopped and turned to Zach. He bent down and picked him up. Zach wrapped his legs around Jake and laid his head on his shoulder as they walked out to the Suburban. He got down once they got there. As soon as they were inside, he moved next to Jake and took his arm, wrapping it around him, and leaning in, he let a big sigh out. Jake gave him a one armed hug and they left for home. It was the middle of the afternoon as Tom bypassed his house, drove down to Jake's and pulled into the driveway. As they got out, one of the guys from Spirit Wolf came out of the front door and walked up to them holding out his hand; they shook it.
"Hey, boss. Sorry about what happened."
"Thanks, Jed. What are you doing here?"
"I had them take care of things here, Jake."
"Thanks, buddy. Thanks a lot."
"What're friends for? Anything for you, you know that."
"Yeah, I know."
"We replaced both sliding glass doors."
"Yeah, apparently the burglar came in through the door in the workout room. The sheriffs found a hole cut into the glass door near the latch. They've already taken all the evidence that they could find, everything, so we replaced both doors. There are new mattresses in both yours and the boy's room. We cleaned everything up and painted and patched where it was needed. Everything will be back how it... sorry, not back, but everything's cleaned up."
"Thanks, Jed. Thanks for everything."
"Don't mention it; it's the least we could do. How's your boy?"
"He's fine. He woke up, and they said they'll let him come home in a few days."
"That's great news. Oh, one other thing: we have your dog lying on a blanket in the garage. We didn't know what you wanted to do. He's covered up..."
"Thanks, you guys, doing this means a lot."
"It's the least we could do, Boss. Well, we'll get going now. If you guys need anything, let us know."
"I will, and thanks again."
A couple more of the guys from the company came out of the house and joined Jed. After they gave them condolences, they got in their vehicles and drove away. Jeremy moved next to Jake and took his hand. Jake looked at him and smiled as he squeezed his hand. They walked into the house, followed by the rest of the family. The two went upstairs, and left the others behind. They paused at Trevor's room and looked inside. They could smell the fresh paint. They moved on down the hall to Jake's bedroom. In there they could smell the fresh paint as well; everything looked normal. Jeremy looked at him and Jake sat on the edge of the bed and pulled him onto his lap. They cried for a little bit. Once they were calmed down, they went into the bathroom to clean their faces.
"Do you want to stay with Jared, tonight? You can, you know."
"No, I want to stay with you."
"Okay. Let's go back downstairs."
Jake took Jeremy's hand and they made their way back downstairs. Once down there they saw that the group had grown by two. Sean and Shayna were standing there. Jake quickly moved to them and put his arms around them.
"Dad, Mom. I'm so glad you're here."
"We got here as quick as we could."
"Yeah, about that... "
"Later, son. We'll talk later."
Jake nodded and they separated, going to Jeremy to give him a hug as well. After some discussion they decided that they needed a good steak and headed to Outback. After dinner, Tom and his family went home, and Jake and his family went back to Jake's house. Shayna went into the kitchen and got some coffee going. They all sat down in the living room once it was ready and talked for a bit about what had happened. How Trevor was doing. Jeremy yawned, causing Jake to imitate him.
Jeremy giggled. "Can't help it."
"You two go to bed. Me and the old man will clean this up. It's been a long day and you need to rest."
"Thanks, Mom. The guestroom is ready for you."
Jake gave his mom a kiss and his dad a hug. Jeremy gave them a kiss and hug, then followed Jake upstairs. He followed Jake to his bedroom.
"Dad, can I stay with you?"
"Yeah, I'd like that."
Jeremy went to the other bathroom and brushed his teeth, while Jake did the same in his bathroom. Jeremy came back into Jake's room and they both stripped down to their underwear and slid into bed. Jeremy scooted over to Jake and lay partially across him. Jake held him gently as the boy drifted off to sleep. Jake soon followed him in dream land.
It was dark and quiet when Jake came awake. He had turned onto his side and Jeremy was cuddled up close facing him. Jake held him in his arms. The slow steady breathing of the boy against his chest was soothing. He smiled at the boy and started to close his eyes.
"It's a wonderful feeling, isn't it, Son?"
Jake was startled at the sound of the voice. He carefully turned around and looked behind him. In the moonlight he could see his dad sitting in a chair near the window. He carefully took his arms from around Jeremy and turned to his dad.
"What do you mean, Dad?"
"The love of a child. It fills you with a wonderful feeling, doesn't it.?"
"Yeah, it does. I hope I get to feel it for a long time."
"Jacob, we need to talk."
"Jacob, huh? Now? Can it wait till morning?"
"No, I think we need to do this now."
"What if he wakes up and I'm not here?"
"Don't worry, he'll sleep fine. I hope to have you back in bed before he knows you're gone."
Jake let out an exasperated breath, which caused his dad to chuckle. Jake looked at him with a quizzical expression.
"You haven't changed at all."
"What do you mean?"
"You used to make that same sound whenever I made you do something you didn't want to."
"Well, I guess you're right, I don't want to get up."
"Don't worry, things will be fine. C'mon, or should I send your mother in here. You know she'll get you up, and we wouldn't want to disturb Jeremy, would we?"
Jake raised his hands in surrender as he carefully got out of bed.
"Okay, Okay, I'm up. Let me get something on. I'll see you downstairs."
Sean left the room, while Jake got a t shirt and some shorts on. He went downstairs and found his dad and mom sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee. He gave his mom a kiss. She reached up and patted his cheek.
"There's some hot water made for your tea."
They silently watched his movements as he made a cup of tea. Their eyes followed him the whole time. He sat down with his cup and took a sip before looking at his dad.
"Okay, Dad, what did you want to talk about?"
"Jacob, what I'm going to tell you now is something that will be very hard to believe. In fact, you may think I'm crazy, but I assure you, I am not, and neither is your mother."
"Okay, Dad, you've got my attention."
"Son... because of what happened here the other night, there is something that I must do, soon. It involves you, Trevor and... Zach."
"What are you talking about?"
Sean glanced at his wife before taking a deep breath and looking Jake directly in the eye.
"I'm talking about magic."
"What, like those guys in Vegas?"
"No, that's not magic. That is illusion and misdirection, mostly smoke and mirrors. No, I'm talking real magic."
"You mean, things disappearing into thin air."
"Not exactly, but yes, something like that, yes."
He looked at his dad and then his mom. Then he shook his head and chuckled. He noted the serious look on their faces.
"You're serious, aren't you?"
"As a heart attack."
Jake looked at them and sipped his tea for a few moments.
"Okay, let's say you mean what you say, that you're talking about real magic. What does that have to do with Trevor and me?"
"Don't forget Zach. Well, that's because Trevor has the gift, untrained though it is."
"What do you mean, he has the gift? Mom, what is Dad talking about?"
"Just listen to him, Honey."
"The gift I'm talking about is the ability to do real magic."
Jake looked at them with complete disbelief. Sean looked at his wife and raised his hand, palm up. Jake followed the hand, and he stared as little arcs of lightning danced along his dad's fingers in little electric arcs that jumped from finger to finger. He moved his other hand near and the lightning arced across to his other hand and back. He dismissed the lightning, and soon a small ball of fire appeared in his hand. He gestured and the ball floated up from his palm and hovered above his head. Jake had followed the movement of the ball, and once it stopped he lowered his gaze and met his father's eye. Sean nodded.
"I believe it and it's not just because I see it, but I know. Somehow I know that it's real. I think I've always known."
"Yes, it is real."
Sean gestured again and the ball returned to his hand. He closed his hand around the ball, and the ball extinguished itself.
"I needed to tell you about this, because what happened here with you and Trevor caused certain other things to happen."
"What... certain things are you talking about?"
"Well, when you both were shot."
"So, I was shot?"
"Yes, you were. I felt it and that is why I left that message on my machine, because I knew you would be calling me."
"So if I was shot, why were there no wounds?"
"Well, Trevor is not the only one with some... abilities."
"Abilities, I have abilities?"
"Yes son, you do."
"But what abilities...?"
"We can get into that later, Jake, but for now, like I told you, Trevor has the ability to perform magic, and you are important as well. What is important about all this is that, because of these... gifts, when you both were shot, it sent out... echoes... I guess you could call it, that others like us can sense. The problem is that some of those... others... are really not very nice people, and those people would love to find a young, untrained mage and if possible destroy him."
"Destroy him? They would kill him?"
"Yes, if at all possible they would not hesitate to do so."
"Yes, they most definitely are. So because of all this, we need to get Trevor trained. Once he is trained, then he will be able take care of himself, with your help of course."
"Okay, so what do we do?"
"Once he's out of the hospital, I want you to bring him up to the ranch. It's a good place to do his training. It will take a few weeks, so I would plan on spending most of the rest of the summer at the ranch. And Zach needs to be there as well, so try to get Tom to let you bring the boys with you as well."
"But why Zach?"
"Jake, for now, let's just work on getting Trevor and the boys out to the ranch. We'll talk some more later. For now, you should go back and keep Jeremy company. Go get some rest. We'll talk more later. Goodnight, son."
"Okay, night, Dad. See you in the morning Mom."
Jake hugged his parents and went back to his room. He stripped down quickly and slipped back into bed. Jeremy seemed to sense him there and snuggled up close. Soon they were both asleep once again.
Sean and Shayna cleaned up and headed to bed as well.
"Well, that went well."
"Yep, hopefully everything else will go as well too."
Sean went into Trevor's room and picked up something from the bedside table. It was the wolf necklace that he had given to him back at Christmas. He rubbed the wolf figure and muttered something in the Cheyenne language; it sounded something like a prayer, and then he put it in his pocket before he headed to the guest room.
Jake slowly opened his eyes and blinked a couple of times. He felt a weight on his chest and looked down where he saw the top of Jeremy's head lying on his chest, one arm across his stomach and one leg between his own. He lifted his arm up to gently stroke Jeremy's head. Jeremy started to stir and pushed himself up as he yawned and looked at Jake.
"Good morning, Son, although I think it's closer to afternoon."
Jeremy squinted toward the window and nodded; his stomach growled.
"Yeah, I think so. I'm hungry."
"Yeah, me too. Let's get up, get cleaned up and get something to eat, so we can go see your brother."
Jeremy got off the bed and went to the bathroom down the hall near his room. Jake got up and took care of his morning cleanup. He made his way downstairs. When he got to the kitchen, he saw Jeremy sitting at the table, and Shayna was just putting a grilled cheese sandwich and some soup on the table in front of him. She looked up at Jake and smiled.
"Your Dad said you guys would be down soon, so I started making lunch. You want some too?"
"Sure, Mom, thanks."
He gave her a hug and sat down across from Jeremy and watched him eat while he waited. Soon enough his mom set the food in front of him and he started eating. By the time he was done, Sean walked in the front door. He came up to Jake and squeezed his shoulder before he sat down at the table.
"I was over at Tom's and we took care of things for you."
"Oh... uh... .thanks, Dad. I appreciate it. I was just out of it and wasn't thinking."
"Yeah, I know. Everything's taken care of, so don't worry. You just take care of that boy, and speaking of which, you need to hurry up and get going."
"Yeah, I guess so. Jeremy, you finished?"
"Yep. I'll go get my shoes on and we can go."
Shayna took the plate from Jeremy as he stood up and then picked up Jake's as well. The doorbell rang and Jake got up to answer it. When he opened the door, he saw Zach and Jared were standing there. They both came in and put their arms around Jake.
"Hi, Uncle Jake."
"We came over to go with you guys to see Trevor."
"Good timing. We were just about to leave."
Gathering the boys together, Jake led them to the jeep. They got in and left for the hospital. Once there, they made their way up to the Pediatric ICU. Jake announced himself, and Trevor's nurse opened the door for them. He and Zach went in. When they got to the room, they saw Trevor lying on his side asleep. They sat on some chairs facing Trevor and watched him sleep. After a short time, they saw Trevor stir and his eyes started to open. He yawned and closed his eyes for a few minutes as he stretched. When he finished stretching, he opened his eyes fully and smiled when he saw the two faces in front of him.
"Hi, Dad, hi, Zach."
"Hey, buddy. How're you feeling?"
Zach leaned forward and gave Trevor a kiss. He took Trevor's hand as he sat back, while Jake stroked his head. The doctor came in the room and interrupted them.
"Mr. MacLaren. It's good to see you.
Jake shook his hand.
"Well, I have some good news. Trevor is doing very well. The bullet seems to have not done as much damage as we feared, and he seems to be healing well. I think we can let him go home tomorrow."
"That's great news, doctor."
"Instead of moving him to a general pediatric room, we're going to keep him here until tomorrow, and you can take him home around noon."
"That's great news! Buddy, you're going home!"
"Yeah, Dad, that's great!"
"Doctor, I have two other boys outside; can they come in with us, so we can we all visit with Trevor awhile together? We'll keep it down, but can we just be together for a little while?"
"Sure. I'll let them in."
The doctor left, and in a short time he returned, followed by Jared and Jeremy. He ushered them in and closed the door to the room. They rearranged themselves. Trevor raised the head on the bed up and Zach climbed up next to him. The other boys closed the curtains around the room to give the family privacy before sitting on the edge of the bed. They visited for an hour or so, before Jake started getting them ready to leave. He sent the boys out to the waiting room so he could talk to Trevor. Each of them gave him a hug and kiss goodbye. Jake asked the boys to wait for him out in the waiting room, and he would join them for the trip home. Once they left, he turned to Trevor.
"How are you feeling, Son... really?"
"I'm okay, Dad. Really I am."
"You said... you knew about your mom. Zach said they didn't say anything. How did you know?"
Trevor's eyes started to tear up. Jake moved closer and hugged him.
"I talked to her, Dad. I was at... a uh special place and I was able to talk to her... and my Daddy. He was there too. They said I needed to be here, that it was important that I be here with you and... Zach, so I came back."
"I'm so glad you did. I don't know what I would have done without you here. I need you, baby boy. I really need you."
"I know, Dad. Uh, Dad?"
"I... uh, thought you were dead. I heard the gun, I saw all the blood on you and then you passed out, and it looked like you weren't breathing when you fell on the bed. What happened?"
"Well, that's kind of a long story, and I think it should wait until you get home. Your grandfather and grandmother are here as well. They got here yesterday evening."
"That's good. I can't wait to see them."
Jake released Trevor and gave him a kiss on the forehead before getting up.
"Okay, bud, you get plenty of rest. I'll be here before noon to take you home."
"Okay Dad, I'll see you tomorrow. I love you."
"Love you too, Son. See you tomorrow."
Jake smiled at him and left the room. He rejoined the boys and they left the hospital. They got home soon and Jake delivered the good news. Zach and Jared headed home to let their parents know what was going on. To keep himself busy, Jake took care of Dee. He decided to bury him in the backyard in a back corner of the yard. When Jake finished, he went to his home office and did some work until Sean interrupted him later that afternoon.
"Hey, Jake, why don't you take a break? Let's go grab some dinner. Shayna will take care of Jeremy."
"Sounds like a good idea, Dad; I'm in."
Jake shut down his computer and joined Sean at the door. They said goodbye to Shayna and Jeremy. Jake took him to Parker's Lighthouse in Long Beach and they found a nice quiet booth. After giving their orders to the waitress, Sean looked at Jake for a few moments.
"Do you know how old I am, Jake?"
"In your sixties somewhere? 65, 66, something like that. I knew you guys were a little older when you had me; I figured you were in your 30's."
"A bit older than that. I was a five-year-old boy when Big Foot and his band were massacred at Wounded Knee by the 7th Cavalry."
"What?! Then that would make you over 100 years old, but you look..."
"Like I'm in my 60's. Not bad for someone who's almost 120 years old."
"120 years old? Wow, but how?"
"It's all part of what I told you about. I was always younger looking than those around me. Around 1910, your grandfather, my father came to me and asked me the question I just asked you. He had been a young officer in a Scottish Regiment that fought in the Revolutionary War against the Americans. He was wounded in one of the battles and he was taken by the Americans. He healed up and when the war was over, he went west, becoming a fur trader for decades. He had been alive for nearly ninety years before he met my mother, and a few years later they had me. His power came to him accidentally while he lived with the Cheyenne. He met another like him who taught him about magic. He found that he could heal, and he used this for my mother's clan, who adopted him. He had wondered why he seemed to look so young after all those years. He also remembered hearing stories about his ancestors. When it was time for my training, he and I went out into the mountains around the Greasy Grass, and he told me about my power and he taught me how to use it. He had just been waiting until I was ready. I am telling you this, because it is time for me to pass on my knowledge to someone."
"You're talking about Trevor?"
"Yes, I am, but you are important as well. There are two types of mages, Light and Dark. I am a Light Mage. Dark Mages are exactly what you would expect; at the least they are amoral, but for the most part they are evil. There are not a large number of mages, but there are a significant number of both types around. We all keep a low profile as much as possible. Both types of mages have a protector, if you will, that is bonded to them, a kind of bodyguard. There is a ceremony that is done by the teacher and this is what seals the final bond between the mage and his protector. They work together for life. I have a protector..."
"It's mom, isn't it?"
Sean smiled and nodded.
"Yes, your mother is my protector. My father's protector was my mother, your grandmother. We call them Guardian Angels or just Guardians. The protectors of the Dark Mages are called Dark Angels. They stand by the side of the mage and protect them. You... are a Guardian Angel, son."
"But how do they protect the mage?"
"With their skill at arms. Usually by way of a hand-held weapon like a sword, axe, knife, spear, items like that."
"What about a gun?"
"The Guardians can use guns, but against the real threats to them, Dark Mages and their Angels, they must use their weapon of choice, for only then can they defeat another Angel. Guardian Angels and Dark Angels can only be killed by someone who wields a bonded weapon. Any other weapon will damage them, but will not kill them. If they were shot by someone with a gun, even a normally mortal wound, it would merely knock them out for several minutes. When they come to, they will feel the hurt, but there would be no evidence of the wound."
Jake put his hand to his chest and felt it. Sean watched his movement and nodded.
"Yes, Jake, you already have experienced this. I felt it and that is why I knew we needed to come here right away. Since you are my son, I have a connection to you. I have known since you were young that you would be a Guardian, and I worried that I would not be able to pass down my knowledge to another of my family. Because of this connection, I felt it when you were wounded when you were in Iraq, so many years ago. I knew they were not fatal, so there was nothing for me to do but to wait longer. I felt the wounds that were inflicted on you the other night. Had you been anything other than a Guardian, you would have died. So here we are. You are a Guardian to a mage and it is a life-long commitment. You will always be together or at least nearby. You of course have the choice to not be a Guardian, but if you do, the Mage will eventually be killed by a Dark Mage. Unprotected mages do not live to old age."
Jake was silent for a few moments. "Trevor's the mage that I am to protect, right?"
"Yes, Trevor is your mage."
"But how, he is just a boy. I mean... how could a boy his age handle something like this?"
"He will, because he must. Like I said earlier, when you two were shot, it opened up your abilities. The echo that I mentioned is like a notice that there is a new mage about, to other mages. Some might be inclined to investigate, to find what kind he is. Normally that echo happens when a mage and his guardian go through the ceremony that bonds them together. There are many Dark Mages that gladly would kill an unprotected Light Mage without a thought, or some might even try to corrupt such a mage and control them. Light mages would welcome a new Light Mage, but they would not be able to teach him enough to reach his full potential, because he would not be family. Only family can fully teach a mage of their family."
"But Trevor is not part of the family, at least by blood. He is my son by marriage, so will that work out, since he is not my blood son?"
"Jake, what do you feel about Trevor? Don't just answer, think before you answer."
Jake closed his mouth as he had opened it to say something. Right about that time their meals were served. They quietly started eating while Jake thought about what Sean had asked him. He looked at Sean after a few minutes of quiet. "He is the most important thing in my life. I would gladly give my life to defend his and to keep him from being hurt."
"So, in your heart he is your family."
"Yes, he is my family."
"That is what it takes. The love that binds you two together is what makes a family; it doesn't require a bloodline. So since he is your family, and you are ours, then he is also our family. This is how mages who have no children are able to pass on their knowledge: they will adopt a boy or girl who has the gift and teach them."
"How long have you known about Trevor?"
"Since Christmas time. I could see the connection between you two. Let's finish our dinner before it gets cold."
Jake nodded and they soon finished eating. Jake paid the check and he and Sean decided to walk around Shoreline Village while they talked. They found a secluded spot that looked out over the harbor.
"Jake, there is also something else you should know. Some mages, light or dark, are very powerful. Trevor has the potential to be one of those, more powerful than me, in fact."
"Among mages, some have what is called a 'Companion'. This is another person who can augment the power of a mage. This person is always someone who is very special to that mage. When they are together, the mage's power is much greater. These Companions can lend their strength, and they can pull more power from the world around them and send it to the mage just by being near them. That is why Trevor has the potential to be very powerful."
"Yes, Zachary is Trevor's Companion. However, like you he has free will and can choose not to be a Companion. If he chooses to be Trevor's Companion, Trevor's power will be very great, and as a Light Mage he can do great good; as a Dark Mage he could do great evil. I have seen into his heart. He will do great good; in fact I believe he already has done great good."
Jake looked out over the harbor silently for a few moments as the thought. "Zach and later Jeremy. Oh, yeah, that kid with leukemia... Tim."
"Yes, because he is part of my family, because you made it so, I sensed his use of the power of healing. It was very crude, but I could feel the power. Yes, Trevor healed them, because he has a good heart and wants to help. That is the compassion he has for others. But I sense the steel within him, and if he is not trained he could hurt someone inadvertently. If he feels someone he cares a great deal about is threatened, he could lash out without thinking, and his reaction could cause great harm. This could bring him to the attention of those that could cause all of us a great deal of trouble, like the government. He needs to be trained, and soon."
"How do we do this?"
"Once we get him to the ranch, I'll start working with him, Zach and you."
"So Tom and his family should go because Zach is this Companion you talked about. Do Dark Mages have Companions?"
"Yes, they can, but there is a difference: the bond between a Light Mage and his Companion is a bond of love. Their joining is one of love for one another. A Dark Mage's bond is one of pain and rage; it is almost always forced. Dark Mages search for a suitable candidate, and they force that person to submit as their Companion. There is a period in their life that they can try to bond with another as their Companion. It is a terrible thing, because sometimes it becomes too much for the candidate and they die in great pain during the bonding ceremony. Many such Companions are little more than a slave to the Dark Mage and live a life of loneliness, abuse, self hatred, and nearly all would gladly end their lives, but the bond prevents them from doing so. A very few become willing Companions to a Dark Mage, or over time they grow to like being part of the bond, but that is rare. Dark Mages can try several times to bond with another as their Companion. Most thankfully cannot forge the bond, or there would be lots of powerful bonded pairs and we would be in trouble. Many times Light Mages bond with their Companion before they even know that they are mages, and it is their only chance to have one. If a Light Mage does not have a Companion by the time he bonds with his Guardian, he will never have a Companion."
"So we need to get Tom and Terry to buy into this as well."
"Yeah, we do."
"How do we tell them about all this?"
"I would like to wait until we are all back at the ranch. We only need to get them out there."
"I'll talk to Tom about all of us coming up for a visit. I think it will be a good way to get away from everything for awhile."
"That's a good thought. I'll leave it in your hands. Let's go home. We have plans to make."
Sean clapped him on the back and they headed back to the Jeep.
At noon the next day, Jake took Zach with him to pick up Trevor. They were met at the door to Pediatric ICU by Dr. Tasako. He led them to Trevor's room. He was sitting up watching some TV when they got there. He smiled as they greeted them. The doctor handed some papers to Jake.
"Mr. MacLaren. I've got the forms here for you to sign. He is cleared to go home as soon as you wish. He should take it easy for the next couple of weeks at least. You should also take him to his regular doctor in a few days, so he can assess how Trevor is doing. I have also included a prescription for some pain medication and antibiotics. The important thing is for him to take it easy."
"Thanks, Doc, for everything."
"Glad it was a good outcome for him. I'll have someone bring a wheelchair. Have a good day."
Jake and Zach closed the curtains around the bed. Zach handed Trevor a bag with clothes in it. Trevor took the bag and pulled out the clothes, and laid them on the bed beside him. Zach went to help him as he pulled the hospital gown off and tossed it behind him on the bed. Zach helped him get his underwear and then his pants on, giving him support while he carefully stood up. Trevor sat back down while Zach helped him put a button up shirt on, wincing when he moved his arm because of the bullet wound that was in that area. Finally Zach helped him with his shoes and socks. When everything was done, they opened the curtains again and waited for his ride. The wheelchair showed up a short time later, and Zach took over the pushing of the wheelchair, almost elbowing the orderly out of the way to do so. The orderly followed them to the ground floor and waited with the boys while Jake got the Jeep. Once he pulled up, he and Zach helped Trevor into the back seat. Once Trevor was settled, Zach went around to the other side of the jeep and hopped in next to Trevor. They waved to the orderly as they left. Soon enough they were back at home. Jake got out and lifted Trevor out of the seat and carried him to the house, with Zach leading the way. Zach opened the door and a cheer went up as they entered the house. There in the living room was the family: Tim, Terry, Jared, Jeremy, Ben and Evie Davis, and Sean and Shayna. Everyone came up to him and gave him a hug and a welcome back. Trevor was very happy to be back home among family. Jake carefully set him down on the couch and Zach quickly sat beside him; the other boys joined them. They brought out some cookies that Shayna had baked. It was almost a party; it was subdued because Sandy was not there to share it with them, but everyone was happy to have Trevor back with them. After awhile, Trevor started to look tired, and Jake suggested that he get some rest. He nodded and Zach helped him upstairs to his room. Once there, Zach helped him undress down to his underwear and helped him into bed.
"Zach, will you lay down with me?"
"Sure, you know I will."
It seemed to take Zach only seconds before he was stripped to his underwear and slid into the bed next to Trevor. Trevor scooted forward and laid his head on Zach's shoulder with one arm across his stomach. Zach kissed him and he rubbed Trevor's back. Soon Trevor went to sleep, with Zach following shortly behind him. This was the position that Jake found them in a few minutes later when he went to check on them. He gave each of them a kiss on the head, and closed the door behind him as he left to rejoin the family.
"They're both out like a light."
"Well I think it's time to go anyway. See you later, Jake, everybody. We'll head home for now. Call if you need anything."
"Thanks, Ben, we'll talk to you later."
The Davises left and Tom and Terry stood up as well.
"I think we'll get going as well. Jared, go and get your brother quietly, and we'll get going."
"Tom, why don't you let them stay? Zach's asleep, and I'm sure the other boys wouldn't mind the twins staying here as well. We'll get the two boys up for dinner and then all of them can have some fun together, watch a movie or play games. This is Trevor's first night back; it might be good for him to have his friends with him."
"I guess that's all right, Sean. That way I don't have to cook. Well, husband mine, where do you want to take me to dinner?"
"Let's discuss it."
She gave him a kiss and they made the rounds of goodbyes to everyone there before leaving. Sean waited until they were gone before he looked at the people remaining.
"Jake, lets talk about some things after dinner."
Jake nodded. Jared went to Jeremy's room and they played some games while Shayna started dinner. Jake and his dad sat and watched TV until Shayna told them to get the boys up. Jake went upstairs; he knocked on Jeremy's open door to get their attention and pointed downstairs.
"Go wash up, boys, dinner's about ready."
"Okay, Uncle Jake."
They finished what they were doing and put everything away as Jake turned to Trevor's door and walked into the room. He went to Trevor's side and gently shook him.
"Time to get up, buddy. Dinner's about ready. You guys need to get up and get washed for dinner."
Trevor turned to Jake and stretched a little before he opened his eyes. He smiled.
"'Kay, Dad, we'll be there."
Jake tousled his hair and left the room. Trevor turned to Zach, who was also waking up. They looked at each other and smiled. Then, moving closer, they shared a gentle kiss. They got out of bed, and Zach helped Trevor get dressed. They washed up and went downstairs.
"Hey, guys, how do you feel?"
"Real good, Grandmother. I needed that sleep;, I feel better."
"Okay, the food's ready, so take a seat."
As she started putting the dishes on the table, everyone took their seats: Trevor and Zach on one side, Jeremy and Jared across from them. Jake sat at one end of the table, while Sean and Shayna sat at the other end. It was a fine meal and the conversation was light. Shayna brought out a pie for dessert. They finished up, got the table cleared and the dishes in the dishwasher. Sean got everyone's attention.
"Why don't we have a seat in the living room? We have a few things to talk about, and probably some questions to answer."
They all went into the living room and sat down. The boys all sat together on the couch. The three adults on the loveseat and other chairs in the room. Once everyone was settled, Sean stood up.
"Before we start, there is something that I must do first. Zach, can you help Trevor get his shirt off?"
"Yeah... uh, okay."
The boys were puzzled but did as he asked. Soon enough they revealed the bandage covering his upper chest. Sean walked over to him and motioned for Jeremy to scoot over, so that he could sit next to Trevor. He carefully started to take the bandage off, causing Trevor to wince when the tape pulled against his skin. The boys continued to look at him with puzzled looks. He smiled at Trevor. "It works better skin to skin."
"Patience, Little Wolf, patience."
Trevor snapped his mouth shut and watched as Sean peeled away the bandage. Once it was cleared away, they could see the stitches that had been put in to close the wound from the surgery to remove the bullet. Sean probed at it with his fingers before he placed his hands on the wound and closed his eyes. After a few seconds Trevor felt his shoulder start to get warm, and Sean opened his eyes. He looked at Trevor and Zach; the two boys saw that Sean's eyes were glowing and they looked down at Sean's hands. They saw his hands and the area around the wound were glowing with the faint light that they were familiar with. They looked at Sean with wonder, mouths wide open. Jake and the other boys were equally shocked. After a few moments, Sean moved his hand away and smiled. They all looked at the unblemished skin where moments before there was the surgery scar. Sean got up and picked up his coffee before sitting in the love seat with Shayna. She gave him a kiss and smiled at them as she took a sip of her coffee.
"That's to establish my bona fides."
Trevor carefully moved his arm around and then smiled at the complete absence of pain. The others just looked at Sean.
"Yeah, what Zach said."
Sean chuckled a bit. "What, did you think you were the only one? Okay, now we can talk. Jake, we need to plan a trip to the ranch within the next few days. Everyone here, along with Tom and Terry, need to go; it's important. We should go as soon after the funeral as we can. Besides, it will be a nice break for everyone to get away. Do you think that will be a problem, Jake?"
"No, I don't think it will be a problem. I'll talk to Tom tomorrow at work. I'm sure we can get away as long as we need to."
"Good. Okay, you all have just seen something that I know you have seen before, right?"
"Yes, Grandfather. We've seen Trevor do something like that. What does it mean?"
"Boys, I'm going to tell you something that some may find hard to believe, but you have seen the truth, magic is real."
"Like spells and such?"
"Yes, although it is more like using the natural energy around you, you know like the Force in Star Wars. I may be old, but I'm up to date on things like Star Wars, so don't look so surprised. Now Trevor can do this, because he is a mage like me."
"You mean I can cast spells and things?"
"Yes, but you are untrained and you need to be taught. That is why we are going to the ranch. I'm going to teach you what you need to know, and I need all of you there. Especially Jake and Zach. You both need to be there for his training. Jake, you know why, since we've already talked a little about it."
"The reason Zach needs to be there, is that he and Trevor have a connection, I've known about it since Christmas. The connection helps Trevor in the use of the magic; it is very strong and can make him more powerful than others like him."
"There are others?"
"Yes, Little Wolf, there are. Many do not start their training until they are older teenagers, but because of what has happened with you and Jake, it is important that you are trained now, rather than waiting."
Trevor looked at Jake. "So I didn't imagine it. You were shot."
"Yes I was, twice in the chest. Both of them should have been fatal wounds."
"Yes, Little Wolf. He actually did die for a short time. I felt him die. If someone would have checked him, they would have thought him dead. However, now that it has happened, he is nearly invincible. A fatal wound or a special ceremony awakens the power. Very few things can kill him. He is what is known as a Guardian Angel, and he is your protector. Every mage has one. Shayna is mine."
Trevor looked back and forth between the adults. "So does that mean you can fight, Grandmother?"
"Yep, it does."
"Have you had to do that before?"
"Yes I have, but I would rather not talk about that right now, maybe another time."
"Okay, so I can do magic?"
"Yes. I know that you have done some healing on Zach, Jeremy and that boy in the hospital, Tim."
"How did you know? I didn't even know about Zach or Tim until later."
"I have a connection to you because we are family. When Jake told me that he considered you as family, that made you family to me, and so with that statement you became connected to me through Jake. So I've known when you have used the healing power that you have. I sealed that connection with a gift, and it is time that you take it back."
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the necklace with the silver wolf on it and handed it to Trevor. Trevor looked at it and turned to Zach and handed it to him.
"Will you put it on me, Zach?"
Zach wordlessly took the necklace and lifted it over Trevor's head. As he settled it around Trevor's neck, a light shone out from the wolf, encompassing them both. They both smiled and leaned towards each other for a kiss; as they ended the kiss, the glow faded away.
"Wow, that was awesome."
"You see, something like that can only happen when a mage and companion are together. Trevor, why did you ask Zachary to put it on you?"
"I don't know, it just felt like the right thing to do."
"Exactly, sometimes the power almost compels you to do certain things, because it is the right thing to do, and this is apparently one of those times. Something like that happens because you two have a very strong connection and the magic of that necklace recognized it."
"So what does it mean?"
"It means that you two have a very deep connection that cannot be easily broken. You boys will be able to communicate with each other and know when the other needs you, things like that. Also I am aware that there have been other powers that you have used a couple of other times. Think about it for a little bit, and tell me if you can think of when that was."
Trevor bit his bottom lip as he thought about it, and after a few minutes he remembered. "The first time was the mountain lion."
"Yeah, Dad, on the backpack trip to Bear Canyon. After we threw rocks at it, I looked at it and told it to run away and it did."
"Yeah... I remember that cat having a strange look on its face before running away. You said the first time."
"Yeah, the next time was when I kicked in the door to the restroom where they were beating up Zach. I remember someone saying that the hinges were almost torn off, and they had to replace the whole door. The next time was at the school assembly; I looked into Zach's eyes, to let him know how I felt about him."
"Yeah, I remember, I thought your eyes looked like they were glowing. Does that always happen, glowing eyes?"
"Yes, when we use magic, our eyes glow. The stronger the magic, the brighter the glow."
"Grandfather, you said that I have to be trained soon, why?"
"Well, there are two kinds of mages, Light Mages and Dark Mages. When you and Jake were shot, it sent a kind of ring or echo out in the area. Think of it like the ringing of a bell or ripples on a pond. Any mage and even anyone who is a little bit sensitive to the magical forces may have felt it. You are like me, a Light Mage. You have a good and caring heart. As you can guess, a Dark Mage is not very nice, and they would not hesitate to hurt you if they can, and until you are trained you are vulnerable to them. So I'm going to have all of you come to the ranch and I'm going to train you. As for you, Zach, you have the potential to be Trevor's Companion. You can enhance his power by being near him. You can channel power to him, to give him extra strength."
"How do I do that?"
"We will talk about that once we get to the ranch. For now, know that the love you have for each other is very powerful."
"I can live with that."
Trevor smiled at him and they joined hands.
"Grandfather, you say that there are others like me, I guess us. Do you know many of them?"
"Yes, I know quite a few, and eventually you will meet some of them as well, but for now, we will try to keep this among ourselves, okay?"
"Okay. What about the... other kind... the bad ones? Do you know any of them?"
"Yes, I know of them, and I have met some. We don't usually mix very much, but it has been known to happen."
"Will any of them know about me?"
"Yes, possibly, if any were near enough the other night, they will have felt the echo that I told you about, but none of them know exactly where you are. But they may start looking, and that is why we have to get you trained as soon as we can. Now everyone understands about this?"
There were nods from the other boys.
"I think that is enough for this evening. I'm sure you have questions, but I'm getting tired, I'm not as young as I used to be, and Trevor can probably use some rest. Trevor, you need to wear that necklace from now on; it will give you some protection, which you will be able to increase once you are trained. The only way for you to lose the protection is for either you or Zach to remove it; otherwise no one else can. Let me show you. Jeremy, take it off of him."
Jeremy reached over and he lifted it off of Trevor's chest, but he could not pull it over his head. Sean got up and took a pocket knife out and opened it. He put the blade against the leather thong it was made of and tried to cut it; he was not successful. He put the knife away and sat back down.
"As you can see, it can't even be cut. If I used enough of my own power, I can take it off, but other than that, only you or Zach can easily take it off."
"Grandfather, do you have any more necklaces like this, so that my brothers and my dad can have one as well."
"I do not. You and I will have to make them when we get home."
"You say that I am in danger; what about the others."
"Yes, anyone around you is in some danger, which is why we have to get to the ranch as soon as possible. Until then I will keep everyone as safe as I can. Also it will take some time for any of them to find you. Right now they only know the area you are located in. If they feel interested enough to search, it will take them some time, and because Jake's power awakened at the same time, those that snoop around will know that your protector is around as well. So I don't think we have anything to worry about. Let's just get through these next few days and not worry about it for now. Well, good night, boys."
They all said good night to him and everyone headed to bed. The boys gave a hug and kiss to the adults and went to their rooms. Zach went with Trevor to his room, and Jared with Jeremy to his room. Once in the room, Trevor and Zach quickly stripped down to their underwear and got into bed; they looked at each other and smiled. Hooking their hands in their waistbands, they quickly stripped their underwear off too. They turned off the light and then jumped into bed. They scooted close and put their arms around each other and cuddled close. They came together in a kiss that deepened for a few minutes and then they pulled back. They looked in each other's eyes and Zach noticed that Trevor's eyes started to glow a little. Zach felt warmth fill his chest.
'I love you, Zach.'
'Always, Tigger, always.'
The glow left his eyes, and they cuddled close once again and closed their eyes. Soon all that could be heard was their matched rhythmic breathing as they fell into a deep sleep.