Hurt & Comfort

Book 11: Creating Comfort

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Chapter 9: Childish Dream

A flurry of enthusiastic knocking jarred Seth out of an unusually deep sleep.

"This day is going to be brutal. I can already tell." Lee muttered from beside him.

Before either could bid the perpetrators of the knocking to enter, they let themselves in and cheerfully announced, "It's time for everyone to wake up and have breakfast so that they can go to school or work or whatever they have to do today."

Seth looked from Louie to Quaid and back again before realizing that they were waiting for some sort of a response. Since Lee didn't seem to be inclined to engage with them just yet, Seth finally responded for both of them by saying, "We'll be out in a few minutes."

Seth was beyond shocked when Quaid hopped onto the bed in one lythe move and immediately pulled Lee into an extremely startled hug.

Although Seth was intellectually aware that Quaid and Louie were nearly his same age, their more immature attitudes made him think of them as being significantly younger. It wasn't until Seth was faced with the prospect of the boy nearly landing on top of him that he was reminded that Quaid wasn't a child, but a young teenager.

Before Lee or Seth could formulate a response, Quaid released Lee, then moved over to give Seth a hug, too.

Out of the corner of his eye, Seth saw that Louie had taken Quaid's place and was currently giving Lee a firm and heartfelt hug which by all indications was the most special thing in the world to him in that moment.

Seeing Louie being able to openly express his affection helped more than anything in getting Seth over his surprise at the morning wakeup ambush hugs. If that's what Louie needed to do to feel that he could hug someone, then it was good that he had Quaid to run interference for him and pave the way.

Soon Quaid moved off the bed and Louie gave Seth a much shorter hug than what he had given Lee. That was fine with Seth. He was happy as long as Louie was getting what he needed.

Quaid and Louie then bounded out of the room, cheerfully going to awaken their next 'lucky' targets.

After a long silent moment of staring at the door, Lee finally forced himself to get out of bed as he asked, "Do you want to shower first?"

"What I'd really like to do is lay back down and get about three more hours of sleep." Seth said honestly.

"You're free to do that. I certainly won't stop you. In fact, as far as I know, the only person you'll have to answer to, if you take the day off, is yourself. I mean, if it gets to be an everyday thing, it could be a problem. You are here to go to school, so if you aren't going to school... do you see what I'm getting at?" Lee asked hopefully.

"Yeah. I wasn't planning on skipping, I just felt like whining about it for a minute." Seth said wearily.

"Oh? You done?" Lee asked cautiously.

"Yeah." Seth confirmed.

"Good. Go in and shower while I check in with Andrew. Considering how your parents reacted, there's no telling how much sleep anyone else got last night." Lee said as he pulled on a robe.

"Yeah. Okay. I won't take too long." Seth said as he picked up the duffel he had packed at the dorm before they left.

* * * * *

As Seth emerged from the bathroom, he was still working to towel his hair dry, not quite used to maneuvering around his horns yet.

"Well, if any of the other parents freaked out last night, they apparently didn't get our phone number."

"Did someone call Marc's family?" Seth quietly asked.

"I'm sure that Julia or Kurt must have." Lee said as he gathered some clothes to take into the bathroom with him.

"Out of all of us, he's the last one who should have gotten hurt. He's not even a mutant." Seth said bitterly.

"None of you deserves to be hurt. I mean, yeah, it sucks that it happened to Marc, but it wouldn't suck any less if any of the rest of you had been shot. If it was you laying in that hospital I wouldn't think you somehow deserved it because of who and what you are." Lee said firmly.

"I know. I didn't mean that the way it sounded." Seth said uneasily.

"I think I know what you meant." Lee assured him, then explained, "But if I don't call out things like that when I hear them, it's almost like I'm agreeing with them. I don't want my kids or grandkids to ever think that I believe stuff like that about them."

"Yeah, well, from what I've seen so far, I don't think there's any chance of that." Seth chuckled.

"Alan's got the first wave of breakfast set out in the dining room. If you want to go on in. I'll meet up with you in there in a few minutes." Lee said as he stepped into the bathroom.

"Yeah. I'll see you then." Seth called after him, then picked up his duffel and left the bedroom.

* * * * *

"Where can I put this that it won't be in the way?" Seth asked as he held up his duffel while walking into the living room.

"You can put it by the front door over there, unless you plan on needing it before you leave." Andrew suggested as he pointed across the room.

"Nope. That'll be fine." Seth said easily as he changed course to continue on across the room.

"How are you doing this morning, Seth?" Andrew asked curiously.

"I coulda used a little more sleep, but besides that, I think I'm fine." Seth said honestly.

"So you don't have any headache or extreme fatigue or anything like that?" Andrew asked cautiously.

"No. I feel pretty normal. Just a little tired from being awake in the middle of the night." Seth confirmed.

"Good. Sometimes when you use a mutant ability there's an unpleasant price to pay." Andrew said frankly.

"Do you have anything like that?" Seth asked curiously, then thought to add, "I mean, if it's okay to talk about it."

"The way my portal ability works, the farther away the portal has to reach, the more of a physical toll it takes on me. There was one instance not too long ago where, by all rights, I should have died." Andrew said honestly, then added, "As to talking about it... I'd be careful about that. There are people who will take whatever personal information you give them and wait for an opportunity to use it against you."

"When we first got here John said that we should be careful about talking to people, or around them, about being a mutant. He said that some people are really sensitive about it." Seth said carefully.

"That's good advice. There are people who work really hard to hide that they're a mutant and are ashamed of it... in fact, some are even in denial about it." Andrew said frankly.

"I might be a little bit that way. I mean, it's not that I can't deal with it, but I just haven't been a mutant too long and sometimes I forget that I don't look like regular people anymore." Seth said honestly.

"You're doing fine. This is one of those things that there really aren't any social norms for. Just try to keep that in mind and cut people some slack if they're unintentionally being rude. If all of us can make an effort to overlook each other's shortcomings, it should make all our lives that much more pleasant as we go along."

"Breakfast is all laid out. Go ahead and get started." Alan called from the kitchen doorway.

"Go on in. I'm going to see if there's anything else that needs to be carried to the dining room." Andrew said as he started toward the kitchen.

As Seth turned, he saw Lee standing in the doorway to the bedroom hallway.

"It looked like you two were having a good talk. Was Andrew able to answer your questions?" Lee asked as he ambled slowly to Seth's side.

"I guess so. We were just talking." Seth said easily.

"How are you now?" Lee asked as he motioned for Seth to walk with him to the dining room.

"Right this minute? I'm worried about Marc." Seth said frankly.

"From everything that I've ever heard about this place, Marc should be getting the best medical care that there is; really world class." Lee assured him.

"I wasn't worried about that as much as I was that Marc might be feeling like he doesn't belong here with us, or isn't wanted here, or something." Seth said seriously.

"Yeah. I can see how being shot might make someone feel unwelcome." Lee said frankly.

"Do you think there'd be a way that we could stop at the hospital sometime today to let Marc and Lisa know that they're not all alone in all of this?" Seth asked hopefully.

"Hey! That sounds like a pretty good idea." Slash said as he and Beau walked into the dining room.

"What's a good idea?" Beau asked uncertainly.

"Checking in on Marc and Lisa." Slash automatically answered.

"Going to the hospital to see Marc and Lisa and let them know that we're worried and care and stuff." Seth further explained.

"Yeah. I don't know who we'd have to talk to to set that up, but it'd probably be worth the trouble." Slash said with an uncertain look at Lee.

"You guys get started and I'll ask around." Lee said decisively.

"Why don't you have your breakfast first?" Seth asked curiously.

"Because, with any luck, I'll be able to find out all the steps that we'll need to take to visit, if it's even possible. Once we know what needs to be done, we can put our heads together and make plans over breakfast." Lee said frankly as he started toward the door.

Before he could take two steps, Andrew walked into the dining room carrying a large basket.

As soon as Lee spotted Andrew, he firmly asked, "You got a minute, Andy?"

"Sure, Dad. What's up?" Was his immediate response.

Slash, Seth, and Beau watched as they both left.

"He coulda left the food with us." Seth whimpered.

"I'm sure that he'll eventually remember that he's carrying it. Andrew's really responsible like that." Slash said confidently.

"Is everyone here yet?" Quaid asked as he hurried into the dining room.

"No. But I'm sure they soon will be. You woke everyone up real good." Beau said with a gentle smile at the energetic boy.

"Where's Andrew?" Alan asked as he carried a platter heaped with breakfast foods into the dining room.

"Lee needed to ask him something." Seth quickly answered.

"Andy! We're going to need that toast in here!" Alan called loudly into the air.

"Sorry!" Andrew's voice responded from a distance. As the boys watched, a blurry twist in reality formed above the dining room table. Before Seth could fully process what he was seeing, a pair of hands placed a basket of toasted bread and warmed muffins in the center.

"Is there anyplace for Jesus to sit?" Louie timidly asked as he walked to the table with Jesus riding on his back in a backpack.

"Actually, yes. Hold on for a second. I've got just the thing." Alan said suddenly as he rushed away.

//You don't have to do anything special for me. As long as I can get some food and water, I should be fine.// Jesus gently explained.

"You can't eat and drink in the backpack and with all the people we've got around here, I don't want anybody stepping on you." Louie firmly explained.

"Here. How about this?" Alan asked as he rushed back into the dining room carrying a high chair.

//Is that really alright?// Jesus asked uncertainly.

"Well, don't expect me to kick the babies out if they're using them. But until they're ready to sit up at the table, there's no issue with you using one of their high chairs." Alan assured him.

"Where are the babies?" Slash asked cautiously.

"William and Robert are feeding them right now. They might bring them in here to show them off when they're done." Alan easily explained.

//Alan, not many people have genuinely welcomed me into their homes. Thank you. I will humbly and gratefully accept your hospitality.// Jesus said reverently.

"Well, good. Now, all of you, dig in. Drinks are on the sideboard over there. Help yourselves." Alan announced to the group.

With a modest amount of telekinetic help, Jesus made his way out of the backpack and onto the high chair.

"Don't worry about waiting for everyone to gather in here. Most of the kids don't eat and the rest are all at different stages of being ready for work and school. People will be passing through here for the next half hour or so." Alan explained as he looked around to see that everyone had what they needed.

"Do you know how we're getting to school or when we're supposed to leave?" Slash asked Alan cautiously.

"Actually, I don't have a clue. Nobody's said anything to me about it." Alan said honestly.

"Oy! What do we have going on in here, then?" Spike asked as he and Alex walked into the dining room.

"These are some of the kids from the Wagner school. There was a drive-by shooting at their dorm last night, so they stayed with us." Alan helpfully explained.

"Are you guys okay?" Alex asked with concern.

"Marc got shot and is in the hospital. I think the rest of us are alright." Seth said simply.

//What are you?// Jesus asked cautiously.

"A vampire... What are you?" Spike asked in return.

//A rat.// Jesus answered simply.

"A rat... who can talk... like a real person?" Spike asked slowly to confirm his understanding.

//Yeah. Just like that... Can we get back to the vampire thing? Are you talking about being like a traditional vampire in some way or are you saying that you believe that you're actually a vampire?// Jesus asked slowly.

Rather than answer verbally, Spike simply allowed his demon transformation to fall into place.

//Does this mean that you want to hurt us or feed on us or anything like that?// Jesus asked cautiously, as the others around the table readied themselves for action, should it be necessary.

"The only thing I want to feed on right this minute is some of those sausages and eggs. Alan here puts on a proper feed and I want to pay it due respect by not letting it go cold." Spike said as his 'game face' faded.

"Wagner students, if you can finish your breakfasts in the next few minutes, we think that we've worked out a way for you to visit with Marc before you go to school this morning." Andrew said as he led Lee into the dining room.

"I don't want you to go." Quaid said grumpily.

"I know. But I said that I'd go there, so I'll do what I promised to. But if it's really bad there, I'll ask about going to school with you instead." Louie said seriously.

"Yeah. Me too." Quaid easily agreed.

"So, what's the plan?" Slash asked Andrew and Lee curiously.

"As soon as everyone's finished with breakfast, I'll walk you over to the mansion. That's where Marc is. You can visit with him and Lisa for a few minutes, then Matt can drive you from the mansion over to the Wagner school so that you can start your classes." Lee said informatively.

"Aren't you going to go to school with us?" Louie asked Lee with obvious disappointment sounding in his voice.

"No. I have a job to do. While I might drop in on you at Wagner's when I'm over there on business, I won't be attending classes with you." Lee said honestly.

"Good morning..."

"Everyone, in case you haven't met them yet, this is Xander and Remy, and their daughter Marguerite." Andrew said with a grin.

There were a few uncertain waves and muttered hi's from the group in general.

"Xander, Remy, Marguerite. I'd like to present... everyone." Andrew said in the cadence of a formal introduction.

"Andrew. Dis ting you got wit adopting kids, Remy tink you be needin professional help wit dat." Remy said slowly.

"Don't worry. We're not keeping them... probably." Alan finished with a concerned look at his beloved partner.

"Slash does have a room here and it looks like Louie fits right in." Andrew explained.

"Are the Wagner students just about ready? We need to be leaving soon if we're going to visit before we leave for classes." Lee patiently explained.

"Yeah. Just give us a second to clean up our dishes." Seth quickly volunteered.

//Please. Allow me.// Jesus said firmly as the empty plates and silverware all levitated to one end of the table and organized themselves.

"Whoa! I didn't know you were that powerful!" Slash said with surprise.

//I can't do something that complicated very often or for very long. But when the time is right, I like to show my appreciation by using the talent that I've been given.// Jesus said seriously.

"Even so, your exact telekinetic control reminds me of Jean when she was adapting to the phoenix." Andrew said thoughtfully.

"What about a phoenix?" Beau asked suddenly.

Andrew snapped out of his distant thoughts and quickly answered, "Just a teacher who used to work here. You guys had better get going or you're going to miss your chance to visit with Marc."

"I left my bag in your bedroom. I'll be right back." Beau said to Slash before dashing away.

"Father? Can I walk to the mansion with Louie?" Quaid asked hopefully.

"Just stay with your grandfather and it'll be fine." Andrew assured him.

"Thanks for taking us in and making us such a good breakfast and everything." Slash said sincerely.

"You don't have to thank me, Joe. You're family." Andrew said gently.

"Oh. Yeah. Well then, thanks for taking such good care of my friends." Slash said peacefully.

"Any time." Andrew said with a smile as he watched the group starting to funnel out of the room.

* * * * *

"Do you mind if I smoke?" Slash asked as they walked away from the house.

"You know that's bad for you, right?" Lee asked in a half-teasing tone.

"I'm getting lots of practice at dodging bullets lately. So, is it okay?" Slash asked a bit more insistently.

"Yeah. In fact, I'll join you." Lee said as he took a battered pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket.

"Couldn't you just drive us over? It's freezing out here." Seth asked as he hugged himself for warmth in his medium-weight coat.

"I suppose that I could have. But we usually don't bother for such a short hop." Lee said patiently, then explained, "In the time it takes us to get everyone settled in and belted up, we can just walk it."

"This isn't cold." Slash informed Seth in no uncertain terms.

"I'm from Texas; the desert part. If anyone's feelin the cold, it should be me." Beau said frankly.

//Seth, why don't you at least try to live with it for a few minutes before you start complaining?// Jesus asked curiously.

"That's easy for you to say, you've got a fur coat." Seth said grumpily.

"There's the field house. It looks like the locker rooms are open. If you need to stop and warm up, there's the place that you can do it." Lee said seriously.

"No. That's okay. Now that we're moving, I'm actually not as cold as I was." Seth timidly replied.

Beau, Slash, Lee, and even Jesus shared a look, but didn't verbally respond.

* * * * *

"Guys, before we can go any further, I'm going to need for each of you to promise that you're not going to tell anyone about what you're about to see." Lee said firmly.

"What are we about to see?" Seth asked cautiously.

"I can't tell you until you promise."

"I can't promise until you tell me." Seth countered, then explained, "If you're about to show me your meerkat torture dungeon, then I'm not going to promise not to tell."

"It's not a dungeon... well, maybe the hangar is a little dungeony but... wait, meerkats? Where did you come up with that?"

"They're cute!" Seth said in his defense.

"Listen. The only reason I'm taking you there is because that's where Marc is and I agree with you that it's important for Marc and Lisa to know that there are people who are concerned about them." Lee carefully explained.

Seth seemed uncertain what he should do.

"I promise that no meerkats have been harmed." Lee quietly added.

"Okay. I won't tell anyone." Seth reluctantly agreed.

"How about everyone else?" Lee asked as he looked around.

"If we're going where I think we are, I've already been there." Slash reminded him.

"I wasn't worried about you." Lee said with a grin, then said to the others, "Actually, I wasn't really worried about any of you. I just felt like it had to be said aloud so there wouldn't be any doubt that it's supposed to be a secret."

"We won't tell anyone." Beau assured him.

"Louie?" Lee asked to be sure.

"Everyone I'd tell is already here." Louie said honestly.

"Good. The back door's right over there. But there's a cigarette butt can wedged in the rocks, so we'll be swinging by there first." Lee informed the group.

"That's a really bad habit you've picked up there." Beau said as the group followed Lee and Slash's lead.

"I know. But since moving in with Andrew I hardly smoke at all anymore. Who has the time?" Lee chuckled as he reached between the rocks to properly dispose of his cigarette butt.

"Yeah. Same here. Lately, I've just been working it in when I've got the chance." Slash said frankly.

//Guys. Can we go in now? Seth's being really good about not complaining, but I can hear his teeth chattering from all the way over here.// Jesus asked hopefully.

"Yeah. We can do that." Lee said with a smile as he led the way.

* * * * *

"This kind of reminds me of my family's house in Maine." Beau said as they emerged from a hallway into a grand room.

"You come from money? I wouldn't have guessed." Slash said consideringly.

"Thanks." Beau said with a smile.

"This place doesn't only serve as a home for several people, but also functions as a school." Lee explained as he led them across the great hall.

"If this place is a school, why are you bothering with the Wagner school?" Beau asked curiously.

"Wagner's is publicly known as a school for mutants. It's a place where obvious mutants can go to get an education without having to worry about being harassed or discriminated against. Xavier's is more for mutants who need to learn to control their abilities to safely be around other people." Lee carefully explained, then motioned for the group to enter the elevator at the side of the room.

"So, is my 'sideways' thing the kind of ability that I'd have to go to Xavier's for?" Seth asked cautiously.

"Sideways thing?" Lee asked with a smile.

"Yeah. You know. The way you and Andrew do it, you punch a hole from one dimension into another. I just kind of slip sideways in between dimensions." Seth said frankly.

"I guess, if you want to look at it that way." Lee said uncertainly.

"Do you think that I'll need to go to Xavier's to learn how to do my 'sideways' thing?" Seth pressed.

"I really don't know." Lee said honestly.

"What about me?" Slash asked cautiously.

"What about you?" Lee automatically responded.

"Do you think that I'll need to go to Xavier's to learn how to use my 'blackout' fog?" Slash asked with concern.

"I honestly don't know. Let me talk to a few people and get their advice before I give either one of you a definite 'yes' or 'no' on that." Lee said as the door of the elevator opened.

Everyone was silent as they stared at the intimidatingly shiny brushed-metal walls.

"What is this place again?" Beau asked hesitantly.

"A school... for more powerful mutants." Lee said carefully.

"Are you really that powerful?" Seth asked cautiously.

"No. Not me. I'm here because of Andrew and Alan. They're both high-level mutants. I'm just here to help take care of the kids." Lee said as they walked.

"This isn't like any school that I've ever been to." Seth said under his breath.

"The MedLab is up here on the right. Would you guys hang back for a minute while I talk to Dr. McCoy and get his permission for you to visit?" Lee asked hopefully.

"I thought you called ahead to do that." Seth said frankly.

"I did. He told me to check with him before bringing you in." Lee said simply, then continued on through the door to their right.

* * * * *

"You've been here before, right?" Beau asked Slash uncertainly.

"Yeah. This is just their private doctor's office. There's actually nothing creepy about it." Slash said seriously.

"You don't think this is creepy?" Seth asked disbelievingly.

"No. Not particularly. It never occurred to me that there might be anything wrong with it." Slash said frankly.

"Guys. You can come in and visit with Marc and Lisa for a few minutes. Lisa's ready for school. She'll be going with you." Lee said quickly.

"Where are you going to be?" Seth asked slowly.

"I'm going to be talking to a few people about you and Slash to see which school is going to be best for you. While I'm doing that, why don't you two be thinking about which school you'd like to go to? In the end, your own preferences will probably be the deciding factor." Lee said honestly.

"Okay. Yeah." Slash said decisively.

Seth nodded his agreement.

"Good. Come on." Lee said as he led the group into the MedLab.

* * * * *

"You can come in for five minutes but be aware that Marc may not be able to hold a conversation or remain awake. If he falls asleep, let him. He needs his rest." The large blue furry doctor said seriously.

"We won't get him worked up." Slash assured him.

"I trust that you won't. But if you notice Marc having any problems, you can ask Garfield to press the call button to summon me. I will return shortly." Dr. McCoy said professionally before leaving.

As all the boys turned their attention from the door toward Garfield, he timidly said, "Hi. I'm Gar."

"Are you sick or were you hurt like Marc?" Seth asked cautiously.

"I was sick. I'm getting better." Garfield answered simply, then asked, "Are you Seth?"

"Yeah. How did you know? Are you telepathic like Jesus?" Seth asked curiously.

"No. Lisa told me about you. Is Jesus here with you?" Gar asked hopefully.

//I'm back here, in Louie's backpack.// Jesus responded.

"Can you come over here? There's something that I was wanting to try." Garfield asked hopefully.

//Sure.// Jesus responded hesitantly as Louie brought him closer to Garfield's bed.

* * * * *

"How's Marc doing?" Slash asked Lisa quietly.

"He's hurting, but not too bad I guess. I want to stay here with him, but Dr. McCoy and Marc both said that I need to go to school to make a place for us there." Lisa said uncertainly.

After a long silence, Slash cautiously said, "They might be right about that. If everything was already set up and established, it probably wouldn't be as big of a deal. But with this being the first day, they're probably going to be trying to figure out what fits where. If neither of you are there, it may make things harder for both of you later on."

"Thank you." Marc said in a weak whisper, drawing both their attention.

"Hey there. It's good to see you awake. How are you feeling?" Slash asked warmly.

"Where's Beau?" Marc asked as he fought to see past Slash and Lisa.

"Beau. Marc wants to talk to you." Slash said quickly.

"I'm right here." Beau answered, as he hurried to Slash's side.

Once Marc could focus his eyes, he broke into a slight smile as he said, "You saved my life."

"I was just in the right place and time to use the things I've been studying. I'm glad I was able to help." Beau said frankly.

"Thank you." Marc fought to say as his eyes fell closed.

"Sure. Anytime." Beau whispered in response.

* * * * *

//What did you want to know?// Jesus asked curiously as Louie and Quaid walked to the side of the bed.

"Get on the bed with me. I want to be able to see you." Garfield said imploringly.

//What for?// Jesus asked suspiciously.

"I haven't been able to use my mutant ability thing since I've been here, at first because I was sick, but now because all I can do is the same thing over and over." Garfield fought to explain.

//What do you expect me to do about it?// Jesus asked hesitantly as Quaid picked him up.

"You don't have to do anything. I just need to be able to see you for a minute so I can try to use my mutant thing." Garfield said enthusiastically.

//Why does this sound like one of those things that you look back on as not having been a good idea?// Jesus asked slowly as Quaid placed him on the bed beside Garfield.

"Are all rats as worried about things as you are?" Garfield asked curiously.

//As far as I know, they're not worried about anything. They're just rats.// Jesus said frankly.

All of a sudden, without any warning, Garfield shrank until he was almost identical in size and shape to Jesus. While there was no possibility of mistaking one for the other, since Garfield was still green, he had nonetheless successfully transformed himself into a duplicate rat.

//You should probably check your ink cartridge.// Jesus said hesitantly.

The green version of Jesus twisted and turned a few times before returning to his more humanoid form.

"That was really great! When I get out of here, maybe I could change myself again and you could show me some rat things." Gar said hopefully.

//As far as I'm concerned, 'rat things' includes being carried around in a backpack and being served strawberries for breakfast in a highchair.//

"That sounds great! Count me in!" Garfield said with an ear-to-ear grin.

* * * * *

While Lisa described the events after Marc had been taken to the hospital, Beau discreetly slipped out of the room and stopped in the hallway, just outside.

"I thought I left you in Texas. What are you doing here Emily?" Beau asked curtly.

"It was never your house that was haunted. It was always you." A female voice whispered in the air.

"That doesn't surprise me. I'm a Collins, after all." Beau said wearily.

"I wouldn't have revealed my presence to you now, except that I thought you would want to know. There's a spirit here." Emily said imploringly.

"You mean besides you?" Beau asked firmly, not being swayed by her apparent emotional state.

"Yes. It's a human soul. He's displaced and desperate and grieving the loss of his life." Emily urged Beau to understand.

"Okay. Let's say for the sake of argument that I agree to help him. What is it that you expect me to do?" Beau asked cautiously.

"Help him to cross over, or help him to find a reason to stay. Whatever you decide to do, just don't let him remain trapped here like he currently is."

"If I agree to do this, it's going to have to work around my school schedule. I'm not going to let it become the most important thing in my life." Beau said firmly.

"I can talk with him and find out what he wants. Then I can come to you and let you know what needs to be done."

"Who do you work for?" Beau asked seriously.

"I don't work for anyone. I'm just trying to help." Emily insisted.

"Well, that's just about a load of horse shit. Tell me who sent you to me or I'm not going to do anything to help you."

"I was sent to you by your Uncle Barnabas, but I don't work for him. I'm only here because I want to help you."

"Okay. What about Mrs. Durtnal? Did you 'help' her too?" Beau asked insistently.

"She helped you in her way and I help you in mine."

"Okay. I don't have any of my supplies with me. I'm going to need to get some before I can perform any rituals." Beau cautioned.

"This is a new place with many new people. I will need time to find you what you need." Emily implored him.

"I'll leave that part to you. But you need to understand that I won't be able to perform any Necromancy without the proper tools."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Have I mentioned lately that I truly love this story?

The only thing that I find a bit of a problem is remembering who is whom and where they all fit in. It has been quite some time since I last read through the earlier parts of the story, so some of it has faded from my conscious mind; I will most likely need to take a trip down memory lane to catch up again.

I believe the last thing I read before this and the previous chapter, I believe, was mostly concerned with Clark, and his dealing with life.

That is not a complaint, just a sort of trying to pull things together as best I can and catch up with all the new, and not so new things that are going on currently.

Again, I humbly ask that you let MM know you are reading his work and your feelings regarding the stories he is bringing us.

Authors, especially those of us who write on line, derive a good deal of our incentive to write, from people who read our work, and their comments and suggestions.

Thank you, MultiMapper for all the wonderful stories you have written.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher