Castle Roland


by Eric Aune


Chapter 32

Published: 8 Apr 14

There was concern on the faces of several of the parents after Brett's statement. Instead of letting any of them ask a question he forged ahead.

"Do you remember Marty Swift, the head of security at Hunt Labs?"

Most of them nodded.

"Well, he was the product of an early experiment by the GRA when they were known as the PRI. The short version is that he was one of a large bunch of teenagers who were kidnapped off the streets by the PRI and experimented on. The purpose of the experiment was to attempt to change a person's brain so that they could gain the ability of ESP. They wanted to use the kids that they kidnapped as some sort of telepathic spies. Marty was the only person who survived the experiment intact."

"What do you mean intact?"

"The others either died, or their minds were destroyed, and they became vegetables."

"Was their experiment successful with him, or was it just that he survived?"

"It was partially successful. When Marty warned me about the GRA he told me that he could sometimes hear people's thoughts without working too hard at it, or pushing it as he called it. He said that if he pushed it, he had a better chance of hearing thoughts, but it knocked him out for the next few days with a migraine. The reason we left when we did is because Marcus ordered him to take all of us in and push his ability to get anything he could out of me about the experiment."

"Do you know for certain whether he really could read minds?"

"Yes, he showed me evidence of his ability a few times. So I believed him. I don't know if he is still involved with the GRA, but if so, then we probably still have an ally there. I have not tried to contact him, but Mac and I have thought that we might try and see if he can give us any insight into the GRA. However, we haven't yet, just in case he has changed from the ally that we had."

"So you think the GRA would want our boys because they were the results of your experiment."

Brett looked at the boys. "Who would like to go first, or maybe I'll turn this over to the boy's researcher, Sean. He's the one who has put together the research on the boy's abilities. Oh, and Sean, your data is safe."

Sean looked at him with a little confusion and then he scowled. "You did it. You fried my computer, but how?"

"I'm pretty good with a computer as well. Remember I'm Hlander the one that taught you a few things. However, your abilities have surpassed mine. And Ian, you of course know me as…"


Brett gave a little bow of acknowledgement.

"Did you know who I was when you first IM'd me?"

"Yes. I've been keeping an eye on you guys since you moved here. I had to fry your computer Sean, because you were starting to search for things that would be better left unfound. You were about to find out about the Hunt Lab fire and a search of that type may have brought down the interest of the GRA. I couldn't let that happen. So I fried your computer, after I saved your data, and then I decided it was time for all of you to be brought together. For now, I'll turn this over to you Sean."

With that Brett sat down. Sean looked around nervously before getting up. He was brought up short by Dakota's hand in his. He looked down and saw a smile on Dakota's face. He nodded and they let go. Sean finished standing up and looked at the adults for a few moments before speaking.

"Over the last few months, we've found out that we can do things that other people can't do."

"What sort of things son."

Sean glanced at Ethan and nodded, a moment later Ethan's parents jumped in surprise and looked at their son. He looked at them and nodded. The other's noticed their surprise.

"What happened?"

"Ethan just spoke to us in our heads."

<Hello everyone, it’s Ethan.>

Ethan spoke to everyone that time and they looked at Ethan with surprise.

"Can all of you do that?"

"Nope, each of us can do something different, but we can each do that with our…boyfriends."

There was a moment of stunned silence from some of the parents, but the few that knew about the boys said nothing. They looked at those that didn't know to see if there was going to be a problem. The adults looked at the boys and each pair held up their joined hands. Dakota got up and stood next to Sean and took his hand.

"Yes…boyfriends. We know that some of you already know about some of us, and we had planned on telling you all at the party that was planned for Easter at Mister Barrett's house. We call it twin telepathy, at least that's the name I started calling it and it stuck. Each of us can talk mentally to our boyfriends, but Ethan can talk to all of us and we can talk to him."

"Sean, you said each of you can do different things. What other things can you guys do besides this twin telepathy thing?"

There were looks between the boys and then suddenly the chairs that Brett and Hal were sitting in started rising off the floor. Both were startled for a moment, but Brett relaxed first because he had read Sean's notes, so he knew it was his son that was doing that. Hal was looking down at the floor that was a few feet below him. The other adults were of course as surprised as Hal.

Brett looked over at his son. "Thank you Jamie for the demonstration."

Jamie lowered them back to the ground. A moment later, Brett got a huge smile on his face and it got bigger and then he started laughing. The others were wondering what was going on.

"Dyl…Dylan could you…stop please. Why…why am I the…guinea pig?"

Dylan stopped projecting and was grinning himself, as were several other people because it was hard not to laugh when someone else is laughing. Dylan then turned to their parents.

"Whereas Ethan is telepathic, I'm empathic. I can feel emotions and I can push an emotion to a person, to make them feel that emotion. I can sense that you all feel a little worried about everything that is going on, but I can also tell that you love your sons and us being gay hasn't changed that feeling, which is really great news to us."

The parents nodded and Ian stood up. "Uh, you'll have to believe me if I say that I can't show you what I can do….."

He paused a moment to look at Logan who had a sheepish look.

"But that would involve someone being hurt and I don't want anyone to deliberately hurt themselves to prove it. I can heal people, but it makes me tired when I do it. The more injured a person is, the more it tires me out. I healed Sean when I met him, he had a broken nose from someone slamming a restroom stall door into him. We never saw who did it. I healed both Josh and Jamie after they were hurt and Logan when he hurt his arm at school playing soccer and another time when he did something dumb."

Brett nodded and looked at the other adults.

"I've been looking into this since I first connected with him as Pysealer. When he heals it uses his energy, so there is a limit to what he can do. He can't bring someone back to life, or heal any major disease, but he could probably save someone who has been severely injured if he is there in time. He would be the perfect combat medic because he could save a person's life or at least stabilize them enough until they could get to more extensive medical treatment."

Logan spoke up next.

"I don't know how I can show you what I can do, but it's sort of like a sense of something happening. I had a feeling that something bad was happening when Josh was hurt and the same again when Sean got hurt. It was like I could feel, or see that something was wrong. I can also sometimes sense something about an object if I hold it, but I haven't done that too much yet."

Josh's uncle took his wallet out and pulled something out of it. It looked like a coin. He walked over to Logan and held it out. "Try this."

Logan looked at the item. It looked like a coin, but it had a symbol on it that had a black shield with some diagonal stripes in red and yellow across it, on the other side it was inscribed "5th Special Forces". He closed his hand over it and then closed his eyes to concentrate on the object. Everyone watched Logan as he held the item. There wasn't much to see and then suddenly Logan's facial expression changed and his fist tightened over the coin. He then jerked as if he had been surprised by something. Ian reached over to him and took his hand. He calmed down and moments later he opened his eyes.

He looked at Eric. "I saw lots of trees and bushes. I think it was a jungle and there was some shouting and soldiers shooting. This belonged to someone else before it was yours."

"It was my dad's. He was a Green Beret in Vietnam and he gave it to me when I passed Special Warfare School at Fort Bragg and became a Green Beret myself. It's a challenge coin."

Gabe reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, he took a similar coin out and showed it to Eric, who chuckled.

"I guess I owe you a drink Gabe."

Eric retrieved his coin and put it back in his wallet.

"So I guess that shows a little of what Logan can do. That's five of you, what about the rest of you?"

"I'm real good with computers. I know that doesn't sound like much, but what I mean is that I seem to be able to crack the security of most computer systems and get in. The password sort of comes to me."

"What have you been doing Sean? You haven't been breaking any laws have you?"

"Well…I don't think so, well maybe, but I haven't done anything to get in trouble, I don't think."

"Eric, uh I mean Cory…sorry. He hasn't left any footprints behind. He has an uncanny ability to crack computer security, even some fairly secure systems, like the military."

"Sean! We need to talk. You need to stay away from those places."

"Yeah, I know. I haven't done that too much and I didn't stay in the system. I just wanted to see if I could."

"Yeah, well at least we haven't had Homeland Security visiting us, but I'd be happier if you didn't do that anymore."

"Okay Dad."

"It's partially my fault…Cory, sorry. I sort of encouraged him when I connected with him as Hlander in a chat room. I've kept watch on him, and I'm pretty sure he hasn't tripped any alarms. The closest was when he started searching for information that would have led him to the info on the Hunt Lab fire. When I found out, I stopped him, by frying his computer before he went very far."

Sean's dad seemed satisfied, but his look told Sean that they were still going to talk. They looked at the last two boys and waited.

Dakota noticed and shook his head. "I got nothing."

Sean looked at him and shook his head. He turned to the others. "He does have something, but he doesn't believe me. I don't remember what it's called since my computer got fried."

He glared at Brett, who shrugged. "Sorry."

"Anyway, I think he's able to pick up something that was used by someone else and if he holds the item and concentrates, I think he could use it as well as the person who owns it. There was this time, he borrowed a skateboard from this kid who was real good and when he used it, he could suddenly skate as good as the kid could."

"I still don't believe it."

"I told you, I'll prove it to you. Just wait."

"It's a form of psychometry."

Everyone looked at Brett.

"It's something like what Logan can do. The difference is that he can access the skills of the person who has used the object." He looked over at Gabe. "For instance if Gabe is a good shot with a pistol, theoretically if Dakota used Gabe's pistol that he uses all the time for shooting, he should be able to shoot just about as well as Gabe and the more he used it, the better he would get."

"Okay, if that's true then what about Josh. He and I thought we didn't have any ability until mine started working, but he hasn't shown anything other than that telepathy thing he has with me."

"Jamie, he did show something, but no one realized it because it was to his dad?"

"WHAT? What did I do? Did I make him do what he did?"

Jamie noticed that Josh was starting to look panicky and he grabbed onto him and held him. Brett got up and went over and put his hand on Josh's back.

"No, no, no, Josh. It was something else. I think you did it when you were trying to protect yourself. It was in the police report and was dismissed as an accident. They thought he burned his hand on the stove, but I don't think so. I think your gift manifested itself and tried to protect you.'

Brett looked around and his eyes lit on the fireplace. He gently took Josh by the shoulders and turned him around. "Come with me Josh."

He saw that Jamie wasn't going to let go of his hand. "Both of you, follow me over to the fireplace."

They both were wary, but there was that bit of adventure in there, that made Josh want to find out, so they followed Brett. He pulled the screen out of the way and there was some partially burned wood on the grate.

Brett pointed down at the wood. "Reach in there and put your hand on that piece of wood."

Josh reached in and with his other hand in Jamie's, he put his hand on the wood. He was tentative when he first touched it, but there was no heat so he rested his hand on it before looking at Brett with a "now what?" expression.

"Okay, close your eyes."

Josh looked over at Jamie and then at the log and trembled a little before he closed his eyes.

"Now feel the wood beneath your hand and then think of it being hot, like when you rub your hands together and the friction makes your hand hot. Think like you're rubbing your hand across the log and making it hot."

Josh's eyes popped open and he looked at Brett with worry.

"Trust me, just think of the wood being hot."

Josh bit his lip as he closed his eyes. He still had a tight grip on Jamie. In his mind he tried to make the wood feel hot. Brett and Jamie as the closest to him noticed sweat on his brow, then Jamie's eyes widened and he looked at their joined hands.

Brett noticed the look, "Josh, to the wood, not to Jamie."

Jamie let a sigh of relief go, as he felt the heat between their joined hands cool down and then they noticed smoke coming from the partially burnt log. A moment later there was a flicker of flame and Jamie pulled Josh away as the log caught fire. Josh's eyes popped open in surprise. Jamie grabbed the hand that had been touching the log and they both looked at it to see if he had been burned. His hand was free of any sign of a burn. It was completely intact. They both looked at Brett.

"Did I do that?"

"Yes Josh, you did."

"How did you know?"

"It was in the police report. You father's hand had second degree burns as if he had held his hand over a fire, or grabbed a hot piece of metal. Did your father grab you when he attacked you?"

Josh nodded after a second.

"I thought so. I think that was the first time that your gift manifested. I think with practice you could do that without touching something."

"Whoa. You mean you think I can set something on fire by looking at it?"

Brett shrugged. "I don't know for sure, maybe not. Maybe you need to touch the object. They call it pyrokinesis, at least that's what they call it in Sci Fi books. There have been no real scientific studies on the subject. The ability is about being able to cause the atoms of an object to speed up, which increases fiction and causes the fire to light."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

Brett looked at Eric Barrett the one who had asked the question.

"It can be if Josh couldn't control it, but with practice he will be able to control it. For all of the boys, I think that they should practice it as much as possible. Which is another part of the reason I wanted to bring you all up here. Once I found out about the boys burgeoning abilities, I wanted to offer them a safe place to practice them and hone them. My reasoning is that if they can control them, it will also give them an edge if the GRA finds out about them. I want to give them a way to fight back and keep themselves and their family safe from the GRA."

"What are you proposing Brett?"

"I would like to have the boys come up here as often as you will allow it. Any of you are welcome to come here anytime as well. I still value the friendships we shared and would like to rekindle that friendship. As part of that, I have a gift for each family. Hal, if you would."

Hal Jackson picked up the briefcase beside him and opened it. He removed seven envelopes and shut it. He stood up and walked to each couple and handed them the envelope and then returned to his seat.

"This is small recompense for what you lost by having to go into hiding for the sake of my experiment. By my reckoning, you would have at least had this much in your accounts."

The couples opened the envelopes and removed a check. Their mouths dropped as they saw that each was made out for five million dollars. The checks were from Carpenter Investment Group LLC.

"Use that how you wish, but I can assist you in increasing that amount with what I have learned by the investments that I have made. Just let me know how I can help you."

The boys had by this time joined their parents and they were also surprised at the amount of each check.

Dylan's dad looked at Brett. "Are you sure you can afford this Brett?"

"This is not a burden at all. I have done well with what Mac taught me about the market and what I have learned along the way. So this is about half of what I have. You all deserve this for being with me and making the sacrifices that you have done for the last thirteen years. For now, why don't we just relax and renew our friendship. If you have any questions, you can ask me or Hal and we will answer to the best of our abilities."

For the next couple of hours the families intermingled and renewed old friendships. Brett had taken a seat and talked to those who came over. The general consensus was that they would use a chunk of the money to pay off mortgages and cars. The money was in a Swiss account. Hal told them that he would take care of any tax issues that arose from making use of the money, while Brett would cover tax costs so that the original five million was theirs free and clear. He considered it the least he could do for having turned their lives upside down. He saw Josh and Jamie standing over by the fireplace where the piece of wood was burning still. He decided to go over to them.

He got up from the chair and limped over to the two boys. "Boys. How are you doing?"

They turned to look at him and shrugged.

Brett continued. "I guess this is a little scary?"

Josh nodded, "A little. Are you sure I didn't make my dad ki….shoot himself?"

"Yes, I believe other than the 'twin telepathy' with my so…Jamie, you have the ability of pyrokinesis."

The three of them stood there silently watching the fire before Josh broke the silence. "Can I hurt someone accidently?"

Brett didn't answer right away. He wanted to give the right answer, but not scare Josh further.

"You could, but, and I stress this, you would probably only do it, if you felt threatened like with your dad. Otherwise, probably not. I think that most of you boys could do something that could hurt someone accidently when you are threatened. Jamie's ability woke up when those boys attacked him and he threw them into the walls. You can burn someone or something. Dylan could feed an emotion into someone that could possibly cause them to despair so much that they might go into a depression and maybe contemplate suicide. Ethan might be able to cause pain to someone by forcing himself into their mind and causing them to have headaches. Ian, instead of healing, could possibly cause damage instead. So yes, some of you guys could do something if you don't learn how to control your gifts. That's the only suggestion that I have for you."

"Can you get rid of it from inside me, since you put it in me?"

"Oh buddy, I'm sorry, I can't. What happened was unexpected. I only thought that you guys would be very smart and would have eidetic or photographic memory ability. That was the most that I expected as a result of the experiment. The extra sensory abilities, I didn't really expect."

"Did you make us gay?"

Brett looked at Jamie when he asked that and shook his head. "No. I did know that you would all be boys, but that is all. The intelligence was a hoped for outcome, but the abilities and being gay. I had no indication that those traits would appear."

Once again they lapsed into silence while the two boys thought about what Brett had said. What he really wanted to do was put his arms around Jamie and hold him close. He hated that he had missed so much of Jamie's growing up. Now here he was, not entirely grown, but getting there and Brett did not want to miss any more of that. What he really wanted was for Jamie to come and live with him, but he also didn't want to take him away from Josh and his friends. Maybe he could convince the others to move nearer him, or maybe he should move down nearer to them. He had decided that he needed to get a chance to talk to Jamie alone in the next day or two and see if it was still possible to build a relationship with him and be a father to him. He hoped it was possible, but he knew it was up to Jamie.

"I'll leave you boys to your thoughts. I need to talk to some of the others."

They nodded and he walked away. He made his way to Dylan's parents. They greeted each other and talked. Brett glanced over at Jamie and Josh who were now sitting with their friends while the adults talked around them.

Barbara noticed where he was looking. "He's a wonderful boy Brett."

"Huh, what."

"Jamie. He's a wonderful boy, well, all of them are really. Kathy did a good job. Are you going to take custody of him?"

"I want to, but not yet. How do I explain it to CPS? I'm still afraid of the GRA somehow finding out about us. I know I can use my Bryan Carpenter identification and it would probably work out, but there is still that paranoia about them finding me."

"You probably should at least talk to him and see what he thinks. Maybe now that he knows he has a living family member, he'll want to be with you."

"I know and I plan to try to talk to him sometime in the next couple of days while you guys are here; but, what about his school, friends, and Josh? I don't think he'd want to be separated from Josh."

The three of them looked over at the boys and Barbara nodded. "You're probably right. Well, I wish you luck. He is welcome to stay with us as long as he needs to, or wants to."

"I know and I appreciate it. I'll let you know after I get a chance to talk to him."

After a while, the adults were shown to the rooms that they would be staying in for the couple of days that they would be staying in before returning to their homes and jobs. There were plenty of bedrooms for the adults, but for the boys it was a little more difficult. After a lot of discussion the boys were going to lounge around near the fireplace. They thought that if they took all the cushions off the couches and chairs, they could make comfortable enough beds on the floor in the room. For now they wanted to explore around the area, especially the boys. Most of the adults walked around with Brett, while Gabe took Eric and the boys with him.

They were shown around the property. The large garage held several vehicles, including the SUVs that had brought them up to the compound and some heavy equipment, a small bulldozer, and a backhoe. One of the buildings was like an apartment area, where the men who worked on the compound lived. Another building had several parts to it; one was like a military mess hall and a game room with pool tables and a couple of TV rooms. There was also a door that was made of heavy steel and locked. Above it was the words Armory. The boys wanted to know what it was and they were told that it was where they stored their guns. The boys started clamoring to be allowed to look inside. Gabe shook his head, but the boys kept asking until Gabe held up his hands and pulled out his cell phone.

"Hey boss. The boys want to see the armory…Their parents are with them, you can ask….oh, okay, if you're sure."

He started to hang up when he heard Brett say something.

"What was that…oh."

Gabe looked at the boys, and especially at Dakota, as he listened before nodding. "Sure…that might be interesting. I'll take care of it."

He closed the phone, pulled some keys out of his pocket, unlocked the two large lock bolts on the door, and pulled the door open. Inside they saw that the room was divided. On the side that they were at was an area with a waist high table that formed a U on the side of the room to their left. There were some cabinets above it and what looked like a couple of toolboxes. Across from them was another door. To their right was a caged area that was behind a locked door. When they entered the room, the lights came on lighting both areas. Behind the cage could be seen some racks and on them were guns of various kinds. Many of them were military type weapons, rifles and pistols. Gabe unlocked the gated part of the room and invited Eric and the boys to come in and look. The area had a large workbench in the middle, and underneath it were several drawers. Along the walls were the weapon racks.

"Here are our guns for security. We are listed as a licensed security force and so are allowed to have these weapons. They are just like ones used by military and law enforcement, but are semi-automatic rather than fully automatic like the military and law enforcement uses, so that makes them legal for us to have."

He didn't tell them that hidden underneath the racks in some of the locked cabinets were the parts that could be swapped out to make them fully automatic in a few minutes. The boys walked around and looked at the guns.

Gabe let them look around for a few moments before saying anything else. "Would you guys like to try your hand at shooting one of the pistols?"

All of them thought that would be cool, so Gabe went over to where the pistols were and chose a pistol off the rack. He removed the magazine and pulled back the slide, locking it in place. He held it up for all of them to see.

"This is a Glock 23, .40 cal semi-automatic pistol. You notice that when I picked it up, I ejected the magazine and then pulled the slide back. That is a safety thing. Too many people have been killed by supposedly empty pistols. Whenever you pick up a gun, you always make sure that it is unloaded. Clear?"

Everyone nodded and he gave them a nod in return. He looked at Eric, "Eric, under the cabinet there is some ammunition for the gun. Will you grab several boxes of .40 cal and follow me?"

He ushered the boys and Eric out of the caged area before locking it. He crossed the room to the other door and unlocked that from his ring of keys. He opened the door and stood aside gesturing for them to go through. Once everyone was in he closed the door behind him. They found themselves in an inside gun range much like law enforcement agencies had. There were four shooting stations. Gabe walked up to one and set the pistol down and directed Eric to put the boxes of ammo down beside it. He went over to a cabinet and took out several sets of ear and eye protection, which he handed out to each of them. He put a pair around his neck and some shooting glasses on. He reached under the station and pulled a silhouette target out of a rack that was located there. He attached it to a pair of clips that were above the shooting station. He pushed a button that was on the inside of the shooting station and the target moved away from him. He stopped it about 50 feet away and turned back to the group. He picked up the magazine and opened one of the boxes. He loaded the magazine as he talked.

"This pistol has a thirteen round magazine. I'll let each of you that want to shoot to fire off one full magazine. Now it has a little kick, so I'll show you the proper way to hold it so that you can absorb the shock."

He finished loading the mag and laid it down while he took up the pistol, still in a safe position. He then demonstrated the proper way to hold it. His right hand holding the gun and his left partly wrapped around his right hand, supporting his gun hand.

"Now if you're left handed everything is the opposite of what I showed you. Are any of you left handed?"

Everyone shook their heads.

"Eric, take the keys and go grab another Glock."

Eric caught the keys that were tossed to him. He returned moments later with another similar Glock. He had already ejected the mag and locked the slide back when he returned and started to hand it to Gabe. He was waved off and Gabe pointed to one of the other firing positions.

"I'm going to split you up, half will go with Eric, the others will go with me. First I want each of you to show us that you know how to hold it properly as I showed you. Once everyone has done that, then we'll let you shoot."

He split them so that Jamie, Josh, Dylan and Ethan were with Eric. He took the other four. They each checked over each boy's stance and how they held the gun, making corrections as needed. Once he was satisfied he directed Eric to set up the shooting station that he was at and load the magazine for his Glock. Once they were ready he directed the boys to put on the protection and he told them that he and Eric would demonstrate how to shoot the pistols. They explained the safety on the gun and then loaded the mag, and when Gabe gave the okay they each put the thirteen measured shots into the target downrange. When they were empty, they ejected the mags and locked the slides back before setting the guns down. They pushed the button to retrieve the target and they boys saw that the bullet holes were in the center of the target closely grouped. They let the boys look at it and then grabbed another target and set it up for the first of the boys. They reloaded the mags and then called up the first boy in each group. When the boys were ready Gabe gave the command to commence firing. Dylan and Ian were the first ones up. They clicked off the safety as directed and then began firing at the target. The recoil did surprise them a little. When the mag was empty, the men retrieved the gun and brought the target back. There were holes in the paper but they were a bit scattered around, nothing like the men's targets had been. They handed the target to the shooter and set up another for the next shooter. This process continued through the boys, until the last ones in the line, Josh at Eric's station and Dakota at Gabe's.

Before he let him start Gabe leaned close and whispered something in Dakota's ear, who nodded. Gabe inserted the mag and then handed it to Dakota. Josh had already started shooting his gun. Dakota held the position and sighted downrange and did as Gabe had instructed him. He closed his eyes and concentrated on the feel of the gun in his hands like Gabe had whispered to him. He had said to take a few seconds and feel the weight and feel of the gun before he started shooting. When he was ready, open his eyes and fire.

Dakota opened his eyes and sighted down the gun and fired slowly until the mag was empty. He handed the gun off and Gabe hit the button to bring the target back to them. When it got close enough, there was a surprised intake of breath. The thirteen shots were grouped close together in the center of the target. The black bull's-eye was obliterated.

Gabe looked at him with surprise as well. "Have you ever shot a gun before?"

"No, sir."

"I want to try something else."

Gabe quickly reloaded the mag and inserted the mag. He put a new target up and sent it back, only this time it was much farther back about 100 feet. He handed the gun to Dakota. "Okay this time I want you to fire that as fast as you can at the target, but I want you to still be as accurate as you can."

Dakota nodded and got into the stance again. He once again closed his eyes for a few seconds. He opened his eyes and fired the mag empty in a few seconds. He handed the gun back and Gabe brought the target back. When it got close, they could all see that except for a couple that were a few inches from the center, the rest were in the center of the target, not quite as closely grouped as the prior shots, but still far above the accuracy of the other boy's efforts when they were making careful aimed shots.

Gabe nodded as he looked at the target. "Well I guess that answers that question. That is about as good a set of shooting as I can do myself. The gun you guys are using is my gun that I use. Very impressive. That must be your talent."

"See, I told you Dakota. You only have to hold something like that and you can use it as well as the person who owns it."

"Apparently so, let's do one more test. Eric, bring your pistol over to the position next to us here. We'll set up on these two stations next to each other. Once you have it loaded give it to Dakota and he and I will have a little shoot off."

They made the preparations and set up new targets. When everything was ready, Dakota and Gabe began firing. When the targets were brought back, there was a definite difference. Gabe's target looked about the same as before. Dakota's was not as accurate as before. He wasn't really all over the place, but there were more bullets off the center targets than before. Gabe and Eric reloaded the pistols and he and Dakota set up as before, but this time they switched pistols. When everything was ready, they again fired. When the targets were compared, this time there was a marked difference in Dakota's target from the last one. Once again, his shots found their mark in the center of the target. The boys cheered his score. It was nearly identical to Gabe's.

"That's interesting. I'd like to test this ability of yours further, but we really should join the others. Put the protection on the bench back here and we'll go clean the guns before joining up with the others."

He had the boys pick up the brass and brought everyone back in the armory area. He and Eric quickly stripped and cleaned the guns while the boys watched. As they cleaned them, the two men explained what they were doing and why. The fired brass cartridges were dumped in a big bucket that already had a lot of fired brass cartridges in it. Once everything was cleaned, the guns were returned to the rack and they left the armory. They continued the tour and eventually met up with Brett, Hal, and their parents on the back deck of the house where they were having some hot drinks as it was still cool up here in the mountains at this time of year, even with the sun shining. Patchy snow was still on the ground in the area.

When they joined them Brett looked at Gabe and he nodded, causing Brett to smile in acknowledgement. Gabe came over and whispered to him what had occurred at the range.

Brett stood up and addressed the group. "My chief of security, Gabe, was able to confirm something about Dakota's ability a short time ago during their tour. The boys were given a chance to fire a pistol on our indoor range. Dakota says he has never fired a gun before. However, while using the gun that Gabe normally uses, his accuracy was identical to Gabe's. It was if he had been shooting the gun for as many years as Gabe had."

There were murmurs from the group.

"For now, I'd like you all to relax and visit, explore the grounds, whatever you would like. Members of my staff here will make sure that you are comfortable and will show you around if you wish. I am very glad to have you all together once again."

The boys had their jackets on already and ran out into the field to play in the snow and throw snowballs at each other. Soon they were all laughing and yelling as they ran around and then Jamie decided to try something. He was hiding in some trees near the edge of the 'back yard' and had been trying to get Josh with a snowball, but Josh was also hiding behind some trees. He made another snowball and this time he took control of it with his mind and slowly moved among the tree branches until it was above Josh. Then, when it looked to be in the right place he brought it down until it was just above Josh's head and then he gave it a little push and it hit Josh on the head. Josh quickly looked around and tried to find who had gotten behind him, but didn't see anyone. Jamie crouched down and snickered. He was trying to warm his hands which had gotten a little cold from making snowballs and had another idea. Staying in cover, he tried to use his telekinesis to make a snowball. It took him a few tries, and he had to dodge snowballs thrown his way, before he got it right and then his concentration was broken when he got hit in the head with a snowball and he 'dropped' the one he was making. He looked around for the culprit and saw Dylan pointing at him and laughing. He picked up the ball and gave it a strong mental push and it hit Dylan in the chest. He laughed and then he saw that Dylan was standing under a pine tree that had a bunch of snow on its branches. Jamie smiled and looked at the branches of snow for a few minutes. He made a motion with his hand and the branches shook enough for the snow to fall on Dylan. Dylan was knocked down by the falling snow. He was covered from head to toe with the snow. He wiped the snow off of his face and looked around, this time it was Jamie that was laughing. He went running out into the open.

"Hey, time out, time out."

The other boys stood out from where they had been hiding wondering what was going on.

"Jamie, no fair using your gift."

"I'm just practicing. The guy in there said we need to learn how to use our gifts, so I am."

"That was you that dropped the snowball on my head!"

Jamie smiled over at Josh and nodded while giving his boyfriend a big grin. Josh pulled a snowball from behind his back and flung it at Jamie. Jamie was caught off guard and threw his hands up and mentally pushed it away from him back at Josh hitting him in the chest.

"Hey, not fair."

Seth had a speculative look on his face as he watched everything happen. "Guys, I got an idea. Let's see how much Jamie can stop, that is if you don't mind?"

Jamie shrugged. "What do you have in mind?"

"Well, you stand in front of us and we all throw snowballs at you as fast as we can and you try to stop them."

The other boys were grinning and nodded in agreement at the suggestion. A couple of them were already making snowballs.

Jamie looked at his friends and smiled. "Yeah, that sounds good."

"Okay, you get over there and we'll spread out in front of you. When you're ready, say go and we'll start throwing."

Jamie nodded and went to where Sean said for him to stand. He had just gotten there and turned around when he was hit by two snowballs.

"Hey, I didn't say go."

Josh and Dylan grinned at him. "Just getting even."

"That wasn't nice."

"Okay how about this?"

Josh ran up to him and gave him a quick kiss, which made Jamie smile of course and kiss him back. Josh ran back.

"Do I have to kiss you too?"

Jamie just flipped him off with a smile. The rest waited until Josh and Dylan had replaced their snowballs before they turned to face Jamie.

He looked at his friends for a few moments and then yelled. "GO!"

It caught them by surprise for a moment and then snowballs started flying at him. He was able to knock all of them away as they flew at him. Sean held his hand up.

"That was cool. Now I have another idea. Let's each make bunch of snowballs and have them ready to go before we start throwing them, if that's okay Jamie?"

Jamie was enjoying this and he nodded eagerly. The boys grinned and started making snowballs, placing them in front of where they stood. When they figured that they had enough they picked up a couple each and got ready to throw. Jamie waited until he saw that they were all ready and smiled at them. Then he put his hand out and made a gesture, like you see in movies where two martial artists are fighting and one of them makes a 'come on, bring it' gesture. A couple of them gave him mock growls and rolled their eyes and then the onslaught started. As the snowballs flew at him, he knocked them aside, some of them fell apart when he stopped them. Then he thought he'd try something different and he started directing them either back at the thrower or at one of the others. Soon they were ducking as much as they were throwing. By the time they had run out of the snowballs, most of them had been hit with several snowballs, either theirs or someone else's. Jamie had been hit a couple times only, when he was distracted by another incoming snowball, but the others had been hit several times. By the time they were out of ammunition all of them were giggling. A truce was called and they came together.

"That was cool Jamie.

"Was it hard to do?"

Jamie shook his head. "Not really, although I feel a little tired, just like I had been throwing all those snowballs myself."

"Yeah, I read that sometimes it's as tiring as if you did it yourself, but a different kind of tired."

"I guess.'

"I've felt a little tired after I healed Josh and you Jamie. Maybe that's the same thing."

"We should head inside, I'm feeling a little cold right now."

Dakota moved over next to Sean and put his hands around him. "I'll try to warm you up."

Sean smiled at him and hugged him back. "I could go with that."

The group of boys paired up and headed back inside where it was warm. Josh held Jamie's hand and walked slower than the others, which caused them both to drop back some.

"Jamie, why do you call Mister Carpenter, 'that guy', he's your real dad, isn't he?"

Jamie shrugged. "I guess so. At least that's what he says."

They were silent for a few moments as Jamie thought about it. "I guess it's true that he is my dad, but I don't know what to say to him."

Josh pulled to a stop and faced Jamie. "But if he's your dad, shouldn't you talk to him or something?"

"I guess, but what do I say? I mean, I never knew him as my dad. My mom always told me that my dad died in accident when I was a baby. I guess as far as my mom knew, that was the truth."

Jamie started walking toward the house and pulled Josh along by his hand. The others had already gone inside when they went up the steps to the back deck. Jamie stopped and looked out toward the trees. "It's beautiful up here, but Josh, I'm afraid."

"Afraid of what?"

"That he's going to make me move up here and I'll lose you."

Josh stepped close and held him tight. "I won't let that happen. There's no way that I'm letting you go."

"Yeah, me too."

They turned to the back door and entered the house.

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