Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 24

Published: 8 Apr 14

Eric walked on either side of Josh and Jamie as they headed back to his Jeep. The service was a simple graveside service, just them and one of the pastors from the cemetery to say a few words. Most of the costs had already been taken care of by Derrick; Eric just had to pay for a few incidental costs. They got in the Jeep and headed back home.

Later that day, they went over to the condo so that Josh could grab some more of his things that he wanted. The place had been cleaned up and the chair that Derrick had been sitting in when he killed himself had been removed. There was no evidence of what had happened. They had gathered a bunch of Josh's stuff and he and Eric were talking about what to do with the other things. They finally decided that most of it would be donated to Goodwill and what was left he would take with him to Eric's house. Most of the items that Josh kept were the electronic stuff, like TV's, the stereo, computer, DVD's, CD's, etc. There were a few sentimental things that he and Eric wanted to keep, like pictures and photo albums.

Once they had decided what to keep, Eric made some phone calls to rent a small U haul truck so that they could get the other things moved. It was mostly smaller things and some of the furniture, especially in Josh's room.

As they were making plans to do what was needed Jamie spoke up, "Josh, I can ask my foster parents to stay over another night, if you want?"

"That means a lot to me. Do you think they will let you stay another night?"

"I think so, they're pretty cool."

"Good. We could use the help, why don't you call them and find out. I'll talk to them also, if you need me to."

Jamie nodded to Eric as he pulled his cell phone out. Maggie answered the phone and after he explained things, she said it would be okay. She asked if he needed to get more clothes and he told her that what he had was good enough for what they needed to do.

The three of them went back to work getting things loaded in the Jeep. After looking at what they had loaded in the Jeep and what they would have to get the next day, they decided to call it a day. They also decided that they would sell Derrick's car, as there would be no sense in hanging on to it until Josh was old enough to drive. Since Josh was the only next of kin, everything was his. Eric had been named the executor for the estate, so he would handle the money for Josh until he was eighteen. The sale of the condo and the car would be put into the account for him. When the time came it would be enough for him to buy a car and also the money from selling the condo, plus his Dad's investments and insurance payments would allow Josh to go to just about any school that he wanted to when he was ready.

They finished up and headed back home to put the things away. While Josh and Jamie changed and got into the spa, Eric called one of his police friends to give him a ride over to the U Haul agency to pick up the truck.

About the time Eric was ready to go get the truck the boys got out of the spa and went inside. They watched TV while Eric was gone. They heard the sound of the truck as it pulled up in front. Eric came in with a pizza in his hands for dinner. The boys went upstairs after dinner and they put away the things that Josh had brought from his bedroom before settling on the bed to watch TV until they started to get sleepy. They stripped down and slipped into bed. Cuddling up close they were soon asleep.

The three of them were up early and had a breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast. They jumped into the U Haul trucked parked in the driveway and were soon on their way to the condo. They parked where Derrick's car was parked. They grabbed a bunch of flattened boxes out of the back of the truck and carried them into the condo. Eric led the boys to the condo and they got to work once they were inside. He showed them how to put the boxes together before he left to go and get Derrick's car taken care of, he told them he'd be back in a little while. While he was gone they started going through all the closets, to make sure they had everything that Josh and Eric wanted to take with them and packed the items in the boxes.

A couple of hours later Eric returned having been able to sell the car to a local dealer. Once he returned they picked up the pace and soon had all of the small items, clothes, pictures and picture albums, and the rest of Josh's personal items. Eric called a local Goodwill to arrange for them to send a truck to pick up the furniture, items and clothes that they weren't taking with them. Eric was able to arrange for them to come by on Wednesday and he would meet them there to let them in the condo.

Eric also went over to the condo manager's office to discuss their policies on selling the condo. With the information in hand he returned to the condo to help the boys with the final stuff, which included moving the bigger items. There really weren't many things, since they didn't need to move much in the way of furniture. Between the three of them, they had no problems doing it. Once everything was packed, they took one last look around to make sure that they had everything that they needed and then they locked up the place and drove the truck back to the house. They unloaded everything and stored it into the garage for now. They would go through it later.

For now it was time for Jamie to go home. They stopped for dinner at an In and Out Burger on the way to his house for dinner. When they got to Jamie's house, he and Josh exchanged a hug and quick kiss before Jamie got out and went up to the house. He waved at them from the door and went inside to greet everyone. He had called to let them know that he was going to eat dinner with Josh and Eric before coming home, so they had not waited dinner for him. He put his things away and joined the rest of the family in the den to watch TV, until it was time for bed. Maggie and Tom asked about how everything went and how his friend was doing. He let them know that everything was okay with Josh. Sooner than he expected he was yawning, probably because it had been a pretty tiring day, so he said goodnight and went to his bedroom. He made sure that he had all his school things ready and crawled into bed. Before long he was asleep.

The next morning groans were heard throughout many houses in town as they all realized that Christmas break was over and it was time to head back to school. Jamie stopped by Dylan's house and found that Ethan was already there. He said hello to Mister and Missus Robinson. Dylan came downstairs and they were on their way to school. Josh was waiting for them by the bike cage. He hadn't ridden his bike yet, because as far as his uncle knew, he was supposed to be still taking it easy for at least another week, when he saw his doctor. They had decided to not let him know that Josh was really okay and the stitches were mainly decoration. It would require a lot of questions that they did not want to answer. So his uncle had dropped him off on his way to work.

They waited until all eight of the boys were there and then headed to class. It was a little hard to get back into the school routine, but necessary. On their way to the last class, Jamie told Josh that he had to use the restroom, Josh nodded and hurried to his locker, as he had forgotten his homework in his locker and told Jamie that he would see him in class.

Jamie was in the restroom and he was drying his hands when the door opened and Enrique Mendes walked in. He stopped at the door and smiled as he saw who it was. He looked back out the door and said something to his friends who were outside and turned back around to face Jamie. "Ah the little maricon all alone? Where are the rest of your friends?"

"I don't want any trouble."

"Oh, don't worry, it won't be any trouble at all. I'm just going to kick your gringo ass, that won't cause me any trouble at all."

Jamie tried to just walk by, but Enrique grabbed him by the arm and pushed him back toward the back of the restroom. Jamie dropped his backpack and got ready to defend himself when the door was flung open. Enrique turned around and saw Mister Kearney, one of the two school security officers standing there.

"Mister Mendes. I think you should come with me." He looked at Jamie, "And you should get to class, Mister….."

"Carpenter, sir."

"Very well, get on to class Mister Carpenter, Mister Mendes and I have to go talk to the Assistant Principal, Mister Reed."

Jamie reached down and picked up his backpack to sling over his shoulder. As Jamie walked by on his way outside, Enrique glared at him. When he left the restroom he saw a couple of Enrique's buddies peeking around a corner. They ducked out of the way as Enrique was led out of the restroom and down to the Mister Reed's office. At the office, he brought Enrique into the office and told him what he had heard and what he had observed.

"Hi Len, Mister Mendes was causing some trouble with another student."

"Is the other student okay?"

"Yes, I got there before Mister Mendes was able to, and I quote, 'Kick his gringo ass', unquote."

Len Reed looked at Enrique with disappointment, "Enrique, we talked about this a couple of months ago, this is a five day suspension for you. We have no tolerance for bullies here at Rancho Viejo. You're lucky you didn't have the chance to hurt this boy or you would be walking out of here in handcuffs."

He picked up his phone and called the secretary and told her to contact Enrique's parents to pick him up and inform his next period teacher that he would not be in class today and then hung up.

"Darrell, you can escort Enrique out to have a seat and wait for his parents. Thank you. This is your last warning. The next problem and you'll be expelled."

Enrique got up with a sullen expression on his face as Mister Kearney put his hand on his upper arm. Enrique pulled away from him and walked out of the office and sat in the chair that Darrell pointed at. He sat down. The secretary was just getting off the phone with the teacher when they came out of the office. Darrell stood nearby leaning on the counter so he could keep an eye on Ricky. The Secretary looked up Ricky's contact info and made a call. It was answered by his older brother Victor. He told her he would come pick Enrique up.

Jamie slipped into his seat just as the bell rang. After class he told them what had happened as they walked to the cage to get their bikes. Nearby, Ricky was getting into his brother's car. If Jamie had been paying attention, he might have recognized it as the one that had been used to do the drive by against him. But he was paying more attention to what his friends were talking about. The guys who had been at Eric's house on Friday, wanted to go somewhere and talk to Sean and Dakota about what had happened, but Dakota had someplace to go, so they made plans to get together Wednesday at the park across the road. They were going to do it the next day, but Sean had something he had to do on Tuesday afternoon.

In the car Victor pointed towards the group once Ricky was in the car.

"Ricky, who is that kid there?"

"Which one?"

Victor pointed to Jamie and Ricky scowled.

"That's the maricon that got me in trouble today, bro. His name's Jamie. He even has a faggot name."

Victor nodded as he looked at him, "Do you know where he lives?"

"No, I just seen him heading that way when he leaves with his faggot friends."

Ricky pointed off to the south. Victor nodded and then he saw a police cruiser car enter the parking lot.

"Fuck, it's the Chota."

He started the car and turned away from the police cruiser. In his rear view mirror he saw the car stop and one of the kids around Jamie waved to the others and got in. He turned right out of the parking lot and went down Cawston and pulled into the elementary school a little ways south of the middle school.

"What's going on bro?"

"I want to see something."


"Just shut the fuck up carnal. I'll tell you when I'm ready."

Soon Victor saw Jamie and a couple of the other kids ride by on their bikes. He started his car and followed them from a distance as they turned into the neighborhood to the south of the school. He hurried to make the turn and saw them up ahead making the next right. He followed them and made the turn in time to see them turn left on the next street. He followed and saw them stop at the corner of a street up ahead. Victor pulled over to the curb and watched as they talked for a minute before bumping fists and Jamie rode off while the two other kids turned left at the corner and out of sight. Victor pulled away and continued to follow as Jamie turned right at the next street. As Jamie made his way to his home he was unaware of his tail. He finally got home and walked his bike into the garage. Victor drove by and looked at the house.

"That's what I thought. That's the bendejo who shot me."

"Him, that maricon shot you?"

"Yeah, I think we're going to come back here in a few days and pay him a visit, little bro, just you and me."


Victor looked over at his little brother and they exchanged satisfied grins as Victor turned the car around and drove back home.

On Wednesday, Eric kept Josh home from school in the morning so that he could go to his doctor appointment. As usual, even though they were on time, they had to wait for a little while before they were taken into an exam room to wait for the doctor. Finally Doctor Temple came in the room and greeted them with a smile.

"Hello Josh. I'm sorry about your dad and what happened."

"Thanks, Doctor."

"You must be Eric Barrett?"

"Yes, I'm Josh's guardian now."

"Excellent. Well young man, let's take a look at those incision sites. I have received the reports from the hospital. The surgeon said you had been healing remarkably well. If you would remove your shirt we can take a look."

Josh easily took his shirt off. The doctor watched him and saw no evidence of pain or discomfort as he moved. Eric took the shirt from Josh to hold it for him. The doctor started taking the bandages off the front and the back to expose the incision sites. He glanced at the bandages before throwing them into the bio trash can. He went to a drawer got some supplies and put them on a small rolling tray near Josh. He put some gloves on and then sat on a stool so he could get to work.

He first probed around each site and nodded to himself before looking up at Josh, "Well, I would say you seem to have healed amazingly well at least on the outside. I'm going to remove the stitches now. It won't hurt but it might feel a little strange and their might be a little blood but nothing to worry about. Okay?"

Josh nodded and the doctor got back to work. He picked a small pair of scissors that where shaped a little different than regular scissors, one of the blades had a little hooked part in it. He slipped the hooked part under a stitch and cut it. He continued this as he moved along the length of the incision until he had cut all of them. He then had Josh move a little so that he could see his back and repeated that process. Once he had cut them all he grabbed the hemostat and with it grabbed each stitch, pulled it out and deposited it on a paper towel on the tray. When he did that Josh understood what he meant by it feeling weird. He could feel the stitch moving through his skin and then out. The doctor moved quickly and soon had all the ones on his back out and he had Josh moved back to his initial position so he could get the ones in the front. The front took a little longer because there were more of them since the surgeon had to go in here to make the internal repairs. Once they were out, there was a small pile of little black threads. The doctor probed around the incision site. He noted the site was very well healed.

"Josh, does it hurt anywhere when I push on the incision site?"

"No sir."

"Good. Well the surgeon was correct; you do seem to heal remarkably well. Everything looks to be in pretty good shape."

"Doctor, the surgeon gave Josh a slip for school to say he wasn't to take part in PE and things like that. The slip said one month. Should that continue?"

"Well, I think to be on the safe side, let's go along with what the surgeon says. There are stitches on the inside that will dissolve over time as he continues to heal. Come back in three weeks and we'll reassess. If everything is fine then, I will release him to take part in PE once again."

"What about riding my bike?"

"Hmmm, let's wait a week before you do that. Then take it easy, no racing or overly strenuous riding until your next appointment. However, if you start to have pain while you ride, then I want you to stop and wait until the next appointment. Let your uncle know right away too, and I'll leave it to you Mister Barrett as to whether you want him to see a doctor or wait until the appointment. If there is a lot of pain, then I would suggest you contact me and I'll have you come in to check it out. Any other questions?"

They both shook their heads and doctor stood up and moved the small cart to the side. He made some notes on a paper form and then tore a carbon copy of the form off and handed it to Eric.

"Well then, I think we're done. Good luck Josh."

He shook hands with both of them.

"Just go to the front desk and make the follow up appointment for three weeks from now and have a good day."

He left them and after Josh got his shirt back on they went out to the front desk to make the appointment. With that done, they were on their way to the school. Eric parked and walked with him to the office to sign him in. It was nearly lunch time, so the secretary had Josh wait in the office until the lunch bell rang. He said goodbye to his uncle and had a seat. It wasn't too long before the bell sounded and he headed to the cafeteria to meet with his friends. He got his food and sat down at the table that they usually sat at and watched for them to join him.

Jamie spotted him first and hurried to his side, "Did everything go okay Josh?"

"Yep," He pulled his shirt up a little to show Jamie the thin scar. "I still have to stay out of PE for the next few weeks, but I might be able to ride my bike in a week, if I take it easy. He said if I feel any pain then I have to wait until I go back for the next appointment. We all know that won't happen."

All of their friends had joined them and the way he had said that made some of them who knew what had happened to smile.

Sean and Dakota looked around puzzled. "What's so funny?"

"Um, well, nothing really."

"You guys are weird."

That got a couple of giggles as the other six looked at each other, sharing the secret that they knew about each other. This got them more puzzled looks but no one shared anything, so the two who were still in the dark, shrugged and went back to eating.

After school Josh called his uncle to tell him that he and his friends were going over to the park across from the school for a little while, and he could pick him up there half an hour after school let out. They got their bikes out and walked them across the street to the park. They found a bench under a tree that didn't have too many people around it and sat down.

"Okay, so what did you guys want to talk to us about?"

No one said anything for a few moments. Ethan did a quick scan of their surface thoughts and then he looked at the six.

< Let me start. >

They nodded in agreement. Sean and Dakota looked at all of them trying to figure out what they were nodding about. Then their mouths dropped open as they heard Ethan speak to them, because he had waited until they looked at him before saying anything. The surprise was that he wasn't moving his mouth.

< Hi guys. This is Ethan. >

" did you do that? You didn't move your mouth. Are you a ventriloquist?"

< No. I’m speaking inside your head. >

The two nearly fell off the bench in shock. They looked around to see if the others could hear him too. They noticed that no one else looked surprise.

"You guys all knew this already?"

Dylan was the one who answered them. "Yeah, we just found out about this at Josh's house on Friday. Well, I already knew about it, because Ethan's my boyfriend."

"You…your boyfriend. Then you're…"

"Gay, yeah."

He looked at the others and they nodded seeing the question he wanted to ask them on his face. Dylan smiled and turned back to Sean and Dakota, "All of us are and I mean all of us."

As he said that he looked pointedly at Sean and Dakota. They got the hint and started to blush, although it wasn't as easy to see on Dakota with his slightly darker skin.

Dylan laughed, "So that's why they call you a redskin."

Dakota scowled at him, "Yeah this redskin is going to pound the paleface if he doesn't start explaining things."

Dylan held up his hands in surrender. Sean had a calculating look as he looked at the others.

"Okay guys. Here is what is going on. Ethan appears to be telepathic and can read minds, but he says he doesn't go snooping around. He's the one that found out you guys are a couple. He said that he picked it up from slips from your surface thoughts, because he doesn't go around reading your mind, because that's private."

"Yeah, I would only if I was invited or there was a chance someone could be hurt if I didn't. Otherwise that would be like sneaking into your house and snooping on you. The seven of you are different from other people that I've been around. You don't really broadcast your thoughts like other people do. I don't know what it means, but it's like you have, I don't know, mental shields, that other people don't have. It used to be harder to keep out all the other person's thoughts. In fact, I meant to mention it to you guys on Friday when we were talking about this, but remember when I met you guys and I went to the doctor about that buzzing in my ears. I think I was hearing the jumble of everyone's thoughts all at once. I've been working on it and I hardly hear that anymore. I don't know, but I think that's it."


Ethan glanced over at Dylan and nodded toward their two friends. Dylan nodded and the others saw the mischievous smile on Dylan's face as he looked at their two friends. They started giggling which caused some more strange looks from the two boys for a moment before their eyes widened again.

"Ohhhh, shiiiit. Wha…who, what are you guys doing?"

The sensations let off and they were able to take a couple of breaths to calm down. Both looked down and tried to adjust their pants that suddenly felt a little tight.

"Pretty cool, huh?'

"One of you guys did that?"

Dylan raised his hand, "I'm empathic, I can feel what people are feeling and I can project feelings to other people."

"Dude, um, wow, but, uh, don't do that again, please. I almost made a mess."

Sean looked from Dylan and Ethan to Josh and Jamie. They were just sitting there

"So is that it?"

This time it was Ian who spoke up. "No, I can heal a person."

Sean's face got a look of triumph on his face when Ian spoke up. "I knew it. I knew you did something that day."

Ian gave a sheepish shrug. "Yeah, I didn't know how and I still don't know how exactly I do it, but I've had a little more practice at it."

"Yeah, recently on me," Josh stood up and lifted his shirt. They could all see the thin healed scar on his stomach.

"The doctors think that I heal real fast and that's what I'm letting them think. But when I was in the hospital Ian and Logan came to see me the next day and Ian did something that partially healed me. Then he finished the job on Friday at my house. Now I'm good as new, but the doctor wants me to take it easy for a few more weeks before he'll let me get back in PE. I'm not supposed to ride my bike until a week from now either. I know I could, but we don't want any unusual questions to come up, so I'm sticking with what they say even though it's not necessary."

Sean nodded, "I knew you did something, because I could feel something in my nose that day when you guys found me in the restroom."

Sean paused for a moment and got a calculating look. "Speaking of that, what made you guys come into the restroom. I mean you didn't do anything in there except help me."

"That would be because of me."

Sean looked at Logan, waiting for him to elaborate.

"I, uh, kind of knew something was wrong with a kid in the restroom."

"What, you can tell the future or something?"

"I don't know. I just sometimes get…I guess visions of things. Sometimes when I hold something, it's still kind of sketchy, but, it kinda works."

"What did you see when you found me?"

"Well, we were in the hall and I kinda saw you lying on the floor, holding your nose and somehow, I was able to…feel which restroom to go to. I don't know how, but that's what I saw. I also felt something was wrong the day Josh got shot. I didn't know what, but something felt wrong and I kept seeing Josh lying on his bed, but he didn't look asleep and he wasn't moving. So I called Dylan, because I knew he was supposed to be over at Josh's Uncle's house."

The two boys looked at their friends and settled on Josh and Jamie.

"What about you guys?"

"As far as we know, we got nothing. What about you? You have any superpowers, like these guys?"

Sean didn't answer right away, but he did look like he was hiding something. "Uh, I'm not sure, but maybe."

"How maybe?"

"Well, I'm real good with computers."

"Okay, but…."

"No, I mean I'm really, really good. I'm pretty sure I can hack into any computer system anywhere. The way to do it, like passwords and stuff, just sorta comes to me."

"But a lot of people can do that."

"I don't think they can do it quite like I can. I kinda know some hackers online and the way they describe it. They have to try a lot of different things to hack into something, sometimes it takes them a long time. The most I've had to take is a few minutes."

"What places have you gotten into?"

"Some military computer systems, police departments, and things like that."

"Okay, that seems kind of impressive. Have you ever tried anything really big?"

"No, my main hacker friend online says that I shouldn't take the chance."

"Oh, what about you Dakota?"

He shrugged, "Nope."

"Well….." They all looked at Sean. He looked at Dakota before continuing, "I'm not really sure, but I think Dakota has something, I'm not sure what it is, but I don't think he realizes he does it."

"What, Sean? What do you think I do?"

"Well, remember when we were at the skate park a few months ago. You were there Ethan."

Ethan nodded. Dakota was still puzzled.

"Remember, that real good skater who fell and his board came toward us."

Dakota and Ethan were both nodding.

"Well, you said that you had never really done much on a skateboard and you liked his and asked if you could try it. When he said yes, for someone who hadn't skated much, you were at least as good as that kid. When I asked how you did it, you just said that when you got on the board and rode it, it just felt right."

"Well, it did."

"Yeah, but you know most people can't ride like that just because it felt right. It still takes some practice and you said you hadn't done that stuff."

"Okay, so maybe I got lucky. I'm pretty good at most sports that I try."

"Yeah, you are, but remember playing video games at my house that first time. You really sucked."

Dakota scowled at him and gave him a light punch in the shoulder.

"I could have beaten you with my eyes closed."

"Hey, I beat you."

"Yeah, but that was when I handed you the controller that I had been using. Right after that, we ever evenly matched, like you had been playing the game as much as I had. You told me that you hadn't played that game before. So it seemed like you were able to play better by using the controller I had been using."

"Alright, but that isn't much. So I'm good at things."

"Well, I'm not sure yet, but I'm still doing research and trying to find out more."

Sean looked at the others and smiled. "Now I've got more to look into. I'm going to try to get all the information about what we can do and see if I can figure out how we do it and maybe get an idea of what we can do with it."

"You know this kind of sucks."

They looked from Sean to Josh, who was frowning a little. "All of our friends are gay and with boyfriends, which is cool. But you guys can do all this cool stuff and Jamie and I can't do anything."

"You sure?"

"Well, I haven't noticed anything, have you Jamie?"

Jamie just shook his head. There was a honk from a car and they looked up. Eric's squad car was at the curb nearby and Josh waved to him and got up.

"Gotta go guys, I'll see you at school tomorrow."

He and Jamie hugged and Josh ran off to the car. The others looked at each other.

Sean spoke up, "I'm going to do some research on all this. It's pretty cool. Do you guys want to meet here next week and I'll let you know what I could find out."

They agreed and everyone bumped fists as they left the park going their separate ways. Those that rode together didn't say too much because they were thinking about what they had found out. Dakota continued to insist that he didn't have anything like the other guys, but Sean told him to just wait, he'd prove it to him.

That night Sean got to work proving his assumption after getting caught up on his homework. He did a lot of research on various mind powers. There was some scientific based research, some not so scientific and some that was straight science fiction. He looked through all of it. He hacked into a few secured websites, which he was finding easier to do the more he did it. He had not been lying when he said that the passwords came to him. They did, except in a few instances, at least as far as he had found so far. Most of the stuff was right out there where he could find it and he began his research. He had upgraded his system to a two monitor system, so that he could have more monitor space to put things now. He kept a word file up on one monitor that he entered his notes into as he found relevant information. The note document started to fill up with info. He put headings in the document, one for each of his friends and one for him as well.

This was his schedule for the next couple of days after school; work on homework and then do his research. Dakota came home with him to do homework together before Sean got into his research. Although Dakota made sure they had time for some recreational activities as well. Although he really wanted to get back to the research, because it was getting more interesting to him the deeper he dove into it, Dakota was very persuasive and Sean was easily persuaded by him. He occasionally called one of the guys to ask them a couple of questions to clarify what they knew about their gift. He even asked Ethan and Dylan to try a couple of things. He continued his search through Friday, staying up late on Friday before he was satisfied that he got the information that he needed. When he finished he looked at it and came up with a basic idea of what each person could do. Some of it was based on what he got from science fiction based sources but he was partially satisfied with his list.

Dylan - Empathic: Can sense person's emotions and can project emotions to someone who is receptive is some way. One thing he asked was for Dylan to try to project with Ethan trying to resist him. The result was that it was much harder to force an emotion on someone who was resisting against it.

Ethan - Telepathic: Can read a person's thoughts and can send thoughts to another person or persons. Sean also had Dylan resist and it stopped Ethan from getting anything. He also made a guess that Ethan was right about the buzzing sound he had heard earlier. It was when his gift was starting to open up and he was sensing lots of background noise from everyone around him. He was able to get Ethan to think about when he heard the buzzing sound the most and it was when he was around a lot of people. At least until he had learned to block the noise out. He admitted that occasionally he still got the buzzing, but it was much more rare that before. Ethan also told him that he had always had the hardest time reading any of the other seven boys of the group of friends; they seemed to naturally resist his efforts unless he focused on the person he was trying to read. His past reading that led him to realize that they were all gay had also included visual clues that helped him fill in the gaps.

Ian - Can heal people obviously. From talking to him he found that when he had healed severe damage like on Josh, he felt weakened and even a little dizzy, so Sean theorized that something really severe could tax his gift and might even cause Ian harm.

Logan - Has some sort of pre cognition, with some sort of clairvoyant part to it and maybe some post cognition as well. He also looked into some object reading because of what he had said about that assignment for his dad's student. Sean thought that they might want to test that and see if it really was some sort of object reading.

Sean - He found something really obscure that he thought sort of applied to him. It was under something called Astrakinesis or Fulgarkinesis, it was called Technopathy, the ability to mentally link to computer systems. He thought that might be the closest thing to what he could do that he could find. He also found references to an old game like Dungeon and Dragons but with a technological bent to it called Shadowrun. He remembered his dad had said that he had played the game when he was younger with a bunch of his friends. Sean asked him if he still had those books and he shook his head and Sean noticed there was sort of a sad look that quickly crossed his dad's face before he hid it. Anyway he had looked Shadowrun up and found that there were characters in the game who could mentally link to computers and somehow travel through computer pathways to affect other computer systems. He thought that if he could mentally link to a computer, it would be real cool if he could do that, but there was no way that he knew to do that yet, so he had to stick with the old "quaint" keyboard and mouse method. {Any reader remember who called that method quaint, just wondering - Author}

Dakota - Can absorb the ability of a person who uses an object and can duplicate their skills. Sean found it similar to what Logan could do, but it was called Psychometry. If it was true, theoretically, Dakota could pick up the rifle of a master marksman and be able to shoot about as good as the master marksman as if he was a master marksman himself. Sean wondered how he could arrange to try that.

Josh - ?

Jamie - ?

Sean included Josh and Jamie on the list even though they apparently didn't have any gift like the other boys. The thing that stuck in his mind though was what Ethan had said about having a hard time reading the others of the group compared to anyone else. He also remembered that Dylan said he could detect a kind of connection between each couple and among all of the group together as well. He sent an email late on Friday to his friends that he thought that they should meet again after school sometime next week.

On Saturday afternoon a man pulled into his property and parked the Suburban in the large garage. He took his computer case and the small carry-on bag out of the back and made his way to the house. He was glad to be home again, where he could smell the fragrance of the pine trees in the air as he crunched through the snow on the path that led to the large custom built log cabin. Inside he put his computer and carry-on bag down before taking his jacket and his boots off in the mud room and put some slip on moccasins on his feet. He picked the bags up and walked toward his office where he left the computer bag. He then headed upstairs to his bedroom to drop his carry-on bag on his bed. On his way back downstairs he paused by one bedroom and looked inside. It looked like the bedroom of a teenage boy, but there was something missing. It appeared vacant as if it had not been lived in. After looking at it for a few moments he walked away with a regretful look and headed to his office.

Inside he opened his case and took some papers out that he looked through before placing them on the desk. He looked over to a large multi monitor computer setup at one end of the room. He went over there and touched a button to bring the system up. When it was ready he entered his password and started to go through his email. There was a bunch as usual whenever he was gone for a few days, a lot of it junk, but most of that got dumped into the junk mail folder automatically. He cleared that out first before tackling his inbox. He answered a few of the emails that required it and deleted everything else that was of little or no importance.

His next task was to check some monitoring programs that he had running. He sat back and idly looked through them for a few minutes before one of caused him to sit up quickly. He looked at the screen and then entered some commands into another program. He looked through several web sites before entering commands into another program. While that was running he went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee. When he returned he looked at what both of the running programs were showing him and started entering some commands into one of them. He was soon looking through a word document. As he read, his eyes widened a little, but there was also a smile on his face. He closed the document and then the program and sat back staring at the monitors for a few minutes while thinking.

He got up and went over to his desk to make some notes and check a few things before heading into his kitchen to put something together for dinner while he thought about what he needed to do next.

That Saturday afternoon Shane got Jamie to play catch with him. He wanted to get some practice in because Little League tryouts were going to be held in a few weeks and he wanted to be ready. Jamie was more than happy to help Shane out. Mark got his glove out too and the three of them played catch. Jamie would roll grounders to each of the boys and they would throw them back.

A car turned right from Kimball Street onto Harvard and drove north. The car drove by the large empty lot at the corner and continued north. The occupants heard some boys playing ahead of them and saw a young teenage boy playing catch with the two younger boys. The driver slowed the car down as they neared them.

Jamie was waiting for Mark to make his return throw and when it came it was a little off to the side, so Jamie had to lunge for it. It hit the tip of his glove and headed toward the street. He got up and went to get it. Something made him look up and he saw a vaguely familiar car driving slowly up the street toward them. He looked at it and saw the driver sneer at him and there was movement in the back seat and as the passenger came into view. Both of them were wearing bandanas covering their foreheads and as the passenger came into view he saw an evil looking grin of satisfaction as both driver and passenger brought pistols into view. Jamie recognized the passenger, it was Enrique Mendes. Jamie glanced between the car and his two foster brothers. A look of fear and horror filled his face as he started running toward the two younger boys screaming at them.


The two boys who had been laughing at something turned at Jamie's yell. At that moment they all heard what sounded like a bunch of firecrackers going off. There were some little explosions of dirt where bullets hit the ground trying to track on Jamie. As he neared the boys it was like he was moving in slow motion. He saw the look of fear on Shane and Mark's face as they saw him running at them with his arms out wide, yelling like a madman, not really knowing what was going on. Jamie tackled both boys and brought them to the ground, and lay still. Time seemed to suddenly speed up and in the background he heard screaming and screeching tires. He lay still for a moment before he looked up. In the distance he saw the car speeding away and was soon out of sight.

Jamie heard a couple of whimpers from beneath him.

"It hurts Jamie."

Jamie realized he was lying on top of both boys and started to get up, when he noticed that his hand felt wet. He looked at it and saw blood on it. He looked down and saw the pain filled eyes of Shane looking up at him. Jamie looked at Shane and saw there was blood soaking his upper arm.

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