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"Is he okay?" Allen asked with concern as he saw his mother carrying Vincent into the living room.
"I think he's just tired. You have to admit that it's been a very long day." Mona said as she slowly took a seat on the couch, careful not to wake Vincent.
Everyone watched in silence as Mona held the boy cradled in her arms.
Joe and Brady walked into the room and stopped at the sight.
"Is anything wrong?" Joe asked with immediate concern for Vincent.
"No. He's just tired. When he stopped for a few minutes to think, he dropped off to sleep." Mona said tenderly.
Joe gave a distracted nod, then looked at Lawrence and asked, "Could I talk to you for a minute Lawrence?"
Brady got a surprised look and quickly said, "It's too soon."
Joe glanced at Brady and said, "I know. I'm just going to let him know to come to me when it's time."
Brady nodded as he watched Joe lead Lawrence to the other side of the room where they could talk privately.
"How are you doing Brady?" Allen asked as he walked to stand beside his brother.
"I'm just ready for this day to be over." Brady said frankly.
"I know what you mean. All the boys went to Utah to see Kenny and Kevin's mother. I'm about to go crazy worrying about them." Allen said seriously.
Brady could see the distress in Allen's eyes and hesitantly pulled his brother into a hug of comfort.
Allen gladly accepted the hug and said, "With all this stuff happening with Lawrence and Vincent's family, I can't help but worry about my boys... do you really think they're okay?"
Brady quietly said, "I'm sure they're fine, but if you're worried, why don't you go into the family room and ask Tommy how they're doing? When there's a team out, he knows exactly where they are and what they're doing at all times."
"I don't want the guys to think that I don't trust them or that I'm checking up on them." Allen said hesitantly as he pulled out of the hug.
"You're their father and you want to be sure that they're okay. I don't think any of the boys will have a problem with that. Come on and we'll check on them together." Brady said with a gentle smile.
Allen smiled at Brady and nodded.
* * * * *
"Lawrence, before I start I need to ask you a few questions. Alright?" Joe asked seriously.
Lawrence nodded hesitantly.
"You know that I love you, right?" Joe asked quietly.
Lawrence gave a small smile and nodded.
"Good. And because I love you, I want to protect you from things that might hurt you. Do you believe that?" Joe asked seriously.
Lawrence nodded that he did.
Joe smiled and said, "Then I want you to know that I've learned some things about what happened tonight and why."
Lawrence got a look of surprise and opened his mouth to ask a question when Joe quickly interrupted.
"I'm asking you to trust me when I say that it's too soon to tell you everything right now." Joe said firmly.
Lawrence closed his mouth and looked at his father with caution.
"I'm telling you this because I think it will help you to know that I have some answers for the questions you'll probably have in the next few weeks as the shock of all this starts to wear off." Joe said seriously.
"Give it some time and just deal with what's in front of you right now. When you're ready to know more, just come to me and ask me and I'll do my best to answer whatever questions I can." Joe said as he looked Lawrence in the eyes.
"Thank you Daddy." Lawrence whispered with a look of love at his father.
Joe smiled at Lawrence and pulled him into a full hug.
* * * * *
"Aaron, it's time." Tommy said as he ran to Aaron and David.
"They're about to leave the Enterprise?" Aaron asked casually.
"They've probably already left. Sean just called from the Mississippi and said that Cory and the new guy are beaming down." Tommy said quickly.
"Oh, I guess I'd better hurry then." Aaron said as he checked to see that he had his car keys.
"Be safe. Love you." David said and gave Aaron a quick kiss.
"I love you too." Aaron said with a warm smile, then started toward the door.
* * * * *
Joe felt Lawrence's body stiffen in his arms and pulled back to look at him to see what was wrong.
"I've got to go." Lawrence said with distraction.
"Aaron." Deacon gasped and looked at Billy as if he didn't even recognize who he was.
"Come on." Lawrence said in a rush and started running for the door.
"What's wrong?" Joe asked in confusion.
"Clan thing. Don't worry." Deacon said as he followed Lawrence out of the door at a run.
Joe looked at Billy with question.
"I guess we'll just have to get used to that." Billy said hesitantly.
"It's going to take some doing." Joe said, then turned his attention to Vincent who was still being held by Mona.
Billy nodded, then followed Joe's tender gaze to Mona and Vincent.
* * * * *
"Aaron, we need to go with you." Lawrence said quickly as he ran to Aaron's side.
Aaron looked at Lawrence curiously, then noticed something different.
"Your angel is glowing." Aaron said hesitantly.
Deacon pulled his necklace out of his shirt to see that it was glowing too.
Aaron looked closer at the angel pin on Lawrence's shirt collar, then recognized who it was.
"It's Mikey!" Aaron said in astonishment.
"Yeah." Lawrence said urgently.
Aaron finally put the pieces together in his mind and said, "Mikey needs you two to go with me and we need to hurry."
"Yeah, you got it. Let's go." Lawrence said firmly.
"Come on. My car's this way." Aaron said and led the way to the door.
* * * * *
Lawrence, Deacon and Aaron all hurried into Aaron's car and were surprised by the sound of a voice.
"Thanks for hurrying guys. This just might work." Mikey said as he faded into view in the back seat beside Deacon.
"What's going on Mikey?" Aaron asked as he quickly started the engine.
"No time. Deacon and Lawrence, I need to ask you a really huge favor. I thought I was going to have more time to work up to this but Jake... never mind, it doesn't matter now. I really need you guys' help." Mikey said seriously.
Deacon looked at Mikey in wonder as Lawrence asked, "Are you really an angel?"
"A Saint actually. I'll give you my full bio when this is all done. Aaron can tell you that I'm for real. What I need is for you guys to trust me and let me kind of... work through you for a few minutes." Mikey asked cautiously.
"What do you mean?" Lawrence asked hesitantly.
"I mean that there's some stuff that needs to be done right now and if you guys will help me there's a chance that everything can work out for the best for everyone." Mikey said urgently.
"Lawrence, a Saint is asking for our help. Think about it." Deacon said quietly.
Lawrence looked at Mikey carefully, then turned to Aaron and asked, "Is he for real?"
"Yeah. Really for real. Just a second." Aaron said, then brought his car to a stop at the Camp Little Eagle security gate.
Lawrence turned his attention back to Mikey and said, "Okay. If Deacon wants to, then so will I."
"Good enough." Mikey said with relief.
"What do we have to do?" Deacon asked in thought.
"Here are the absolute basics of what's happening. You two are wearing my symbol, you're my chosen avatars here on the Earthly plane. All that means is that if I need to, I can work through you. I can speak or perform miracles through you, just like I was doing it myself. All I need is for you guys to follow my instructions. You'll hear me in your heads and you'll just have to follow along with what I say." Mikey said seriously.
"Why do you need us? I mean, why can't you just do it yourself?" Lawrence asked in thought.
"Because even though I can do some really cool mystical stuff, I still can't be three places at once. Every now and then I need a little help. Oh, we're here. You guys go on and I'll be there when I'm needed. Just listen when I tell you to do something and trust that I wouldn't ask you to do anything to hurt you or anyone else." Mikey said in an almost begging voice.
"I think this might be our last chance to back out, are you sure about this Deke?" Lawrence asked cautiously.
"Let's do it. We're going to get to help a Saint... How cool is that?" Deacon asked with an expression of boyish wonder.
Lawrence smiled at Deacon's expression and felt the last of his reservations give away.
"I can't argue with that. Let's go do this." Lawrence said with enthusiasm and got out of the car.
* * * * *
"Director Short?" A Starfleet Lieutenant asked as he approached.
"Yes." Teri said as she looked away from the young boys playing in the corner of the family room.
"I am security Chief Rajh. I spoke to you earlier. I just received word that Detective Blair's condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. They performed emergency surgery to remove a bullet from an artery near the heart and the surgery concluded without complications. The doctors are hopeful that he will make a full recovery." Chief Rajh said professionally.
"Did they say when he can have visitors?" Teri asked carefully.
"No, they haven't made any comment on visitors yet. But they don't expect him to regain consciousness for at least a day. I should think Friday at the earliest." Chief Rajh said in thought.
"Thank you very much for you report Chief Rajh. Will you contact me if there's any change in his condition?" Teri asked hopefully.
"Of course. I've left instructions that you be notified immediately. Now if you will excuse me, I am needed in a security meeting." Chief Rajh said respectfully.
"Yes. Of course. And thank you again." Teri said with appreciation.
Chief Rajh gave a gentlemanly bow, then hurried out of the room.
* * * * *
Camp Little Eagle: Cabin One
The door opened and Chief Tecumseh rushed into the cabin with Kevin at his side. Cory and Kenny followed close behind.
Jake, Dylan and Lieutenant Masterson walked into the cabin at a more leisurely pace.
"Um, I'm sorry but I don't remember your name. I'm Jake, I met you this morning. Um... where's the bathroom?" Jake asked timidly.
"I'm Simon and the bathroom is right over there." Simon said as he pointed.
Dylan started toward the bathroom but stopped at the feeling of a hand on his shoulder.
"Please let me check first." Lieutenant Masterson said in a firm yet friendly voice.
Dylan nodded and watched as Lieutenant Masterson walked into the bathroom, then returned a moment later.
"I'll be right here when you're finished." Lieutenant Masterson said as he stood by the bathroom doorway.
"Thanks." Dylan said shyly as he hurried into the bathroom.
Jake noticed three younger boys standing in the hallway and asked them, "Did you just see a group of people run through here?"
"They all went in there." The oldest of the boys said as he pointed.
"Thanks. Lieutenant Masterson, when Dylan's done would you tell him that I'm in there?" Jake asked hopefully.
"Sure." Lieutenant Masterson said with a kind smile.
Jake smiled in return, then turned and entered the bedroom.
* * * * *
Southcrest: Family Room
"Tommy, do you think you could let us know how Allen's kids are doing? He's kind of worried." Brady asked as he and Allen approached the group of boys gathered around the terminal.
"They're on their way home. Jake, Kenny and Kevin are over to the Camp. And Xain is comin in on the Mississippi. He'll be here pretty soon." Tommy said as he turned in his chair.
"Are they alright?" Allen asked cautiously.
"Yeah. From what Cory said, they found someone that Jake and Kevin knew in Chicago that was hurt and they're bringing him to the Camp." Tommy said casually.
"Okay, thanks. Sorry to bother you." Allen said shyly.
"S'Okay. It's kewl that you worry fer'em like you do. It jus means yer family." Tommy said with a smile.
Allen smiled and nodded in return.
"I've got to go to a meeting right now. Maybe you should go and check on Edovina. Juana might be ready for a break." Brady said quietly.
"Yeah. Thanks Brady." Allen said with a gentle smile.
* * * * *
Camp Little Eagle: Cabin One - Arlo & Simon's Bedroom
Kevin walked into the bedroom at Chief Tecumseh's side and froze at the sight of a boy being held and comforted in the bed.
"You!" Kevin said with a snarl at the sight.
Cory and Kenny ran into the room next.
As soon as Kenny saw the boy in the bed, he smiled with relief and said, "Kevin! There you are!"
Kevin looked at his brother with question and was surprised to see Kenny run to the boy in the bed and hug him happily.
"I'm guessing you must be Kevin." A young native American man said as he walked from beside the bed to stand before Kevin.
"Yes, I'm Kevin Thompson." Kevin said in a firm voice.
"It's nice to meet you Mr. Thompson. My name is Jerico Foote, I'm a Shaman... that's kind of like a priest." Jerico said carefully.
Kevin giggled and said, "You can call me Kevin. Nobody ever called me Mr. Thompson before."
"Okay Kevin, and you can call me Jerico or Jerry if you want." The young Shaman said gently.
"Okay Jerry." Kevin said with a smile.
"Kevin, you know who that is over there in the bed don't you?" Jerico asked as he pointed to the boy Kenny was holding.
"Yeah. I mean, I don't know who he is outside, but inside it's the whining crybaby fraidy-cat thing that I used to have inside me. It looks like it found someone else to live off of." Kevin said seriously.
The young Shaman's eyes went wide at the description.
"You're wrong." Kenny said firmly from the bed with the whimpering boy held tightly in his arms, "This is my brother. I don't know what you are, but somehow I'll find a way to undo whatever you did and get Kevin back."
Kevin looked at Kenny with astonishment and said, "You think I'm not your brother!?"
Kenny stopped all movement, surprised by Kevin's exclamation.
"I'm the one who fought to protect you in the alley, not him! The only thing he'll ever do is take from you, he'll never give you anything back. He's nothing but a leech."
Silence fell over the room as everyone looked around, trying to decide what was really the right thing to do.
Kenny looked down at the boy in his arms, then up at Kevin with question.
"I really am your brother and I really do love you Kenny. The difference is, that thing you're holding NEEDS you to love him. I can love you and not want anything in return." Kevin said seriously.
Kenny looked at Kevin in wonder and said, "I'm sorry Kevin... I saw him hurting the way you did when I met you and I thought..."
"So you believe me?" Kevin asked cautiously.
"Yeah. I do." Kenny said quietly.
"Guys, we have a problem here. We have to find a way to get Kevin to take this part of his spirit back. Otherwise this little guy is going to die." Jerico said hesitantly as he watched Kevin's expression.
"No way. I don't know what that thing is, but you should let it die so it can't hurt anyone else." Kevin said firmly.
"It's part of you Kevin. It's part of your true self." Jerico said as he looked deeply into Kevin's eyes.
Kevin shook his head and said, "So what? Just because it used to be part of me doesn't mean I should take it back. It's like a tumor or cancer or something."
Kenny looked down at the trembling boy in his arms and felt pain wash through him at the hopelessness and fear in the green eyes staring at him.
"You really don't want him back, do you Kev?" Kenny asked quietly as he looked at his brother.
"No. I don't even want to be in the same room with that thing." Kevin said with a look of disgust.
Jerico shook his head in disappointment then gave Chief Tecumseh a helpless look.
"You said that he's going to die if Kevin doesn't take him back, right?" Kenny asked quietly.
"That's right. Arlo's body is rejecting him and he's too weak and incomplete to survive as a disembodied spirit." Jerico said with an ache in his heart.
"What would happen if I took him?" Kenny asked in thought.
"You can't. This is part of your brother's soul. All the pain and fear that this little guy is carrying would become a part of you. It would hurt you. Your spirit would probably reject it, but if it didn't... that much pain and fear could drive you insane. Honestly, I don't even know if I could do it. I've never heard of it being done." Jerico said distantly.
Jake had been standing and watching for a few minutes just inside the bedroom door. Finally he had to ask, "So what are the options?"
"Kevin has to accept this part of his soul back into himself..."
"Which he won't do." Jake interrupted.
Jerico nodded, then continued, "Or we let it die."
"No! You're wrong. You're worried about this piece of Kevin's spirit hurting me, but you don't care that it already hurt Kevin. You want him to take it back even though he already said that he doesn't want it. Well, I love my brother and I don't want him to hurt. But I love this part of my brother too and I want him to live. I want you to give him to me." Kenny said firmly.
"I don't think the spirit fragment will be able to survive in you." Jerico said quietly.
"We're twins. IDENTICAL TWINS! We're the same!" Kenny said firmly.
Chief Tecumseh felt that this was getting out of hand and said, "Jake, this course of action is very dangerous. Try and make your brother understand the gravity of the situation."
Jake looked into Kenny's eyes and saw the determination housed within. As he opened his mouth to begin to try and talk Kenny out of his plan, Mikey's words replayed in his mind. 'I need you to trust him.'
"I'm with Ken. If he believes that this is the right thing to do, I'll trust him." Jake said firmly.
"Really?" Kenny said with surprise.
"Yeah Ken. If you say it'll work, then I'm with you." Jake said seriously to Kenny.
Kenny turned to Kevin and said, "I'm sorry I thought you weren't my brother for a while. I understand now. I know that since I'm going to take the part of yourself that you hate into me that... well, that you might hate me too."
"I won't hate you, I promise! I'll always love you." Kevin said with the beginnings of tears in his eyes.
Kenny gave a watery smile to his brother and quietly said, "I'll always love you too Kev."
"So are you going to do it?" One of the other boys in the room asked, directing his question to the Shaman.
Jerico thought about it for a few seconds, then reluctantly said, "Okay... It looks like I don't have any other choice. I'll give it a try. Are you really sure?"
Kenny looked at Kevin, then at the boy in his arms and peacefully said, "Yeah. Do it."
"I left some things in the bathroom that I'll need." Jerico said as he started walking toward the door.
"STOP!" Deacon said in a breathless voice as he ran into the room followed by Lawrence and Aaron.
* * * * *
Southcrest: Living Room
"What's going on with you Joe? I mean, with Vincent?" Billy asked curiously.
Joe turned his gaze away from Mona and Vincent and said, "I can't even tell you how it happened. I just feel like Vincent is my own son. I want to protect him and do whatever I can to give him a good life."
"From what little I've seen, he feels just as strongly toward you." Billy said honestly.
"We're trying to work it out so Vincent can live on the Yorktown with me." Joe said quietly.
"Really? Do you think that's such a good idea? I mean, from what I've heard, you guys get into some dangerous stuff out there." Billy said with concern.
"Billy, I can't see any way that Vincent could be happy here. His family is gone. He's all alone. I'm afraid that he'll grow into a very rebellious and troubled teenager if he's left here. I just don't see any way around that. But if he comes with me he'll gain the benefit of Starfleet discipline, structure, respect... I think this may be his only chance to have a decent future." Joe said in thought.
"Wow. You've really thought about this. When you put it that way, I guess it is the best thing for him."
"I hope so. If we can get it all worked out with Starfleet, then the rest will be up to Vincent. I'll be there to support him, but whether he succeeds or fails will be entirely on him." Joe said with a tone of worry in his voice.
"What happens if he can't handle it?" Billy asked with concern.
"I don't know." Joe said and the worry could clearly be seen in his eyes.
"Joe, if it comes to that, he'll always have a place with us... and so will you." Billy said gently.
"Thanks. I really appreciate that. And remember that if you or the boys ever need anything I can provide, all you have to do is ask. I was serious about being like a father to you all."
Billy gave a gentle smile and said, "I know you were. We'll keep in touch and if there's ever a time when we need some fatherly advice or anything like that, you'll be the first to know."
Joe gave an ironic chuckle and said, "I've been alone for so long... then in one day I've taken on a whole family."
"Been there, done that." Billy said with a sympathetic smile.
Joe looked at Billy for a second, then said, "Yeah, I guess you have."
* * * * *
"Everyone, I think all of you know Commander Dodds, this is his home and he's been kind enough to allow me to use his study as a command center. To his right is Lieutenant Brady Thompson from the Enterprise. He volunteered to help us with the investigation into tonight's incidents." John said to the group.
"To my right is Lieutenant Clark who is in charge of security for Southcrest, the Short compound and Camp Little Eagle. To my left is Lieutenant Rajh who is in charge of Starfleet security for the Orlando metro area.
Greetings and handshakes went around the group quickly, then everyone settled in to listen.
"Lieutenant Rajh, report." John said seriously.
"The first victim is positively identified as Sharon Anne Stanton, maiden name Watford. She is the estranged wife of Walter Stanton currently residing in Wheeling, West Virginia. The shooting took place in her residence and from the condition of the crime scene, I would venture to say that there was no struggle. It appears that she answered her front door and when she opened it, she was shot immediately in the head." Chief Rajh said carefully.
"The second victim is tentatively identified as Peggy Jean Winters, maiden name Shoupe. Due to the excessively violent attack on her person, we will have to rely on fingerprints to give us a positive identification. Preliminary investigation indicates that she had assumed a defensive posture and had tried to defend herself to some degree."
"The third victim is Police Detective O C Blair. He was shot in the upper right chest area and has undergone surgery to remove the bullet. He is currently listed in serious condition. He regained consciousness long enough to identify the shooter in the incident to be Victor Winters. Detective Blair also said that he discharged his weapon at Victor Winters and believed that he was able to hit him in the hand and possibly in the head to some degree as Mr. Winters' hand was holding a phone to his ear."
"We have a forensics team on site and the area is secure." Chief Rajh finished professionally.
* * * * *
Camp Little Eagle: Cabin One - Simon & Arlo's Bedroom
Everyone looked at Deacon and Lawrence with question.
"Cory, would you take Aaron and Jake to get Dylan settled into his new home? These guys can handle this." Mikey said from beside the bed.
"Mikey!" Corey said with a happy smile.
"Go on. I'll talk to you later bro. We have some things to do right now, but Dylan needs some attention too." Mikey said with a warm smile at his brother.
"Okay. You guys yell if you need me." Cory said as he looked around the room.
"Count on it." Mikey said with a smile.
Cory nodded and walked to the door.
Jake looked around with concern, then hesitantly followed Cory and Aaron out of the room.
* * * * *
"Lieutenant Clark, report." John said as he turned in his chair.
"Mr. Victor Winters entered the Southcrest area by running past a security checkpoint, then proceeded at a high rate of speed until he purposely crashed his car into the Short Compound entry gate. He appears to have died in the impact, we're awaiting the autopsy for an official cause of death." Lieutenant Clark said seriously.
"Anything else?" John asked carefully.
"Inspection of his vehicle yielded an empty 'Jack Daniels' bottle in the floorboard and a cardboard box of various items in the back seat." Lieutenant Clark said without emotion.
"What items?" John asked with irritation.
"Duct tape, rope, a leather gag... the selection that he carried is what law enforcement professionals sometimes refer to as a 'rape kit'." Lieutenant Clark said seriously.
John shook his head at the statement, then said, "Thank you Lieutenant Clark, Lieutenant Thompson?"
"While investigating the Winters home I found Mr. Winters personal journal with a very detailed description and photographic evidence of the acts he perpetrated against his children. His last entry referred to a phone call from someone who we believe was a Ms. Carolyn Rind who is in custody in the Orlando City Jail. In the final entry he expressed his desire to kill his wife and rape his son." Brady said, trying to hold in his emotions.
Lieutenant Clark looked at Brady with a mix of disbelief and horror.
"After Lieutenant Thompson told me about the phone call from Ms. Rind, it was brought to my attention that Director Short and Detective Blair had had an encounter with Ms. Rind earlier in the day that resulted in Detective Blair arresting her. Apparently Ms. Rind was the Child Protective Services case worker assigned to Vincent Winters." John said seriously.
"Why was Child Protective Services called?" Lieutenant Clark asked cautiously.
"Director Short issued an advisory to the local health care providers this morning to be on the lookout for Vincent Winters. This afternoon he was admitted to the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital with a head injury and when the doctor investigated, he found signs of abuse. The hospital is required by law to notify the police immediately when child abuse is suspected and I'm sure they called Child Protective Services." Chip said seriously.
Lieutenant Clark nodded slowly.
"Lieutenant Thompson, have you been able to secure the recording of the phone call between Ms. Rind and Victor Winters?" John asked as he turned to face Brady.
"No sir, but if I may use the terminal, it might be waiting for me." Brady said carefully.
John nodded, then watched as Brady walked to the terminal.
After a moment of looking, Brady said, "I don't have it yet, would you mind if I make a quick call to find out why?" Brady asked hesitantly.
"Go ahead. I'd like to find out what was said." John said seriously.
Brady nodded, then initiated a call.
"Brandon here." A voice said in frustration over the terminal's speakers.
"This is Lieutenant Thompson, what's the status on the phone recording?" Brady asked curiously.
"Oh, Lieutenant Thompson, just when I thought I had it, some... officer... decided that he needed a court order to release it. He's just dragging his heels and making it unnecessarily difficult. I should be able to get it for you within twenty minutes."
"Let me try something first. I've made a friend down there, maybe he'll be able to get things moving." Brady said with a smile.
"I'll keep working on things here in case your friend doesn't have the right connections." Brandon said seriously.
"Thank you Lieutenant Brandon. Thompson out." Brady said with a smile, then switched connections for another call.
"Orlando Police Department, how may I direct your call?" A pleasant female voice asked.
"Police Lieutenant Marsh please. Tell him it's Starfleet Lieutenant Brady Thompson." Brady said firmly.
"Right away sir." The woman said quickly, then the call switched over to soft music.
"Lieutenant Thompson, what can I do for you?" Lieutenant Marsh asked seriously a few seconds later.
"Lieutenant Brandon has been trying to get a recording that Ms. Carolyn Rind made to Victor Winters right before all this mess. He seems to have hit a bit of a roadblock, I was wondering if you might be able to help me out?" Brady asked hopefully.
"Let me put you on hold for a moment and I'll see what I can do." Lieutenant Marsh said professionally.
There was the sound of a click, then everyone in the room could clearly hear Lieutenant Marsh saying, "Turner, are you trying to play your power games with Starfleet? These guys are trying to piece together what happened to OC. Go ahead and give them what they want."
"But this is Starfleet! They're always walking all over us." Turner said in a whiney tone.
There was a moment of silence, then Lieutenant Marsh said, "Not this time. This is different. Lieutenant Thompson asked us to help out with this investigation. We're on the same side here. OC's side. Besides, if we won't give them help when they ask for it, why shouldn't they kick us out of the way to get the job done?"
"I'll send it off right now." Turner said quietly.
A moment later there was a click, then Lieutenant Marsh said in a pleasant voice, "It should be to you soon Lieutenant."
Brady looked around the room with amusement, then said, "Thank you Lieutenant Marsh. You've been very helpful. There's just one other thing."
"What's that?" Lieutenant Marsh asked curiously.
"You need to check to see if your 'hold' button is working. I could hear everything you just said." Brady said with a smile.
"Oh... you could?" Lieutenant Marsh said hesitantly.
An icon on the terminal screen flashed and drew Brady's attention.
"I just thought you should know. I've got another call. Thank you for your help." Brady said in a kind voice.
"Of course and thank you for.. um.. telling me about that. Goodbye." Lieutenant Marsh said shyly.
Brady chuckled and said, "Sure. Goodbye." Then switched over to the other call.
"You must have some good friends at the Police Department. I've got your recording. It's on it's way." Lieutenant Brandon said in an impressed voice.
"I just met a cop with the right attitude about cooperation. I've got it. Thanks for your help." Brady said sincerely.
"Anytime. Brandon out."
"Thompson out." Brady said, then looked around the room with question.
"This is what we've been waiting for." John said as he looked at Brady expectantly.
Brady nodded, then clicked the file to open it.
* * * * *
Camp Little Eagle: Cabin One - Simon & Arlo's Bedroom
"Devon, I'm going to need to hold on to Arlo for a while to keep him safe. Thanks for doing such a good job taking care of him." Mikey said gently.
Devon looked at Mikey with wide disbelieving eyes, then carefully got out of the bed.
Mikey slipped into the bed behind Arlo's body and took the frightened boy into his arms.
"Shhh. Don't worry little one, you're almost home." Mikey whispered into his ear.
Deacon and Lawrence looked at Mikey with question, then got matching looks of realization.
Deacon walked to Kenny and asked, "Will you trust me?"
"Sure Deacon." Kenny said cautiously, confused by the distant look in Deacon's eyes.
"Hold still." Deacon said, then held his cupped hands in front of Kenny's stomach.
As everyone watched in silence, a sphere of sparkling light slowly emerged from Kenny's chest.
The light floated out and stopped all movement a few inches above Deacon's hands.
Mikey held Arlo's body tightly as Lawrence extracted a hazy golden sphere of dim light from Arlo's chest.
As the sphere of light floated over his cupped hands, Lawrence whispered, "It's okay. You don't have to be afraid now."
"Tell me what you see." Mikey prompted as he held Arlo's unmoving body in his arms.
"I have fear." Lawrence said as he looked into the dim glow.
"I have safety." Deacon said as he looked into his sparkling sphere.
"I have loneliness." Lawrence said in a pained voice.
"I have companionship." Deacon said with a warm smile.
"I have strength." Lawrence said curiously.
"I have weakness." Deacon said with surprise.
"I have wisdom." Lawrence said with a delighted smile.
"I have innocence." Deacon said with a look of indecision.
"I have stubbornness." Lawrence said with a chuckle.
"Uh oh." Deacon said as he looked carefully into the sparkling orb.
He glanced up and looked around the room before saying in a hesitant voice, "I have stubbornness too. A lot of it."
An amused chuckle spread through the room.
Deacon looked over at Lawrence and gave him a loving smile.
Lawrence smiled in return and nodded slightly.
The two boys walked toward each other holding their glowing spheres before them.
Deacon held his sphere forward, as if offering it to Lawrence.
In response, Lawrence lifted his fainter glowing sphere to float beside the brighter one.
Deacon and Lawrence watched in concentration as the two orbs began to pulsate.
Everyone in the room watched carefully, none sure exactly what was supposed to happen.
In a movement that seemed to be slow motion, the larger sphere absorbed the smaller one into itself.
Deacon and Lawrence looked into the new, brilliantly shining sphere with matching expressions of peace and joy.
Quietly, Mikey said, "The spirit is now complete, brought full circle. That which started as one has become whole again, as it should have always been."
With their hands nearly touching, Deacon and Lawrence carefully guided the glittery sphere of light to Kenny.
"Is that thing going to hurt him?" Kevin asked in a voice that held an underlying tone of menace.
"No. The frightened child is safe. The lonely child is forever held in his brother's arms. This won't hurt Kenny, it will complete him." Lawrence said with a happy smile.
"If you wanted, you could share this complete spirit with your brother. The two of you would become what you should have always been." Deacon said quietly.
"Kevin, it's your choice. Kenny will be fine either way. All you have to decide right now is if you want to share a soul with your brother. You will literally become soul-mates, friends for life." Mikey said from the bed, still holding Arlo in his arms.
Kevin looked at Kenny with question.
"I'd really like to share it with you if you'd let me." Kenny said seriously.
"What about Uncle Chip?" Kevin asked in deep thought.
"What about him?" Kenny asked in confusion at the question.
"Kevin. You'll still be you and you'll still love who you love. The only difference is that now you won't feel the same desperate need for acceptance and hunger for his love and attention that you felt before." Mikey said peacefully.
"Good." Kevin said with relief.
"So, are we gonna do this or what?" Kenny asked with a smile at Kevin.
Kevin nodded and returned the smile.
"Hold your brother." Mikey said from the bed.
Kevin walked to Kenny and gave his brother a gentle hug.
Kenny hugged Kevin tightly to his chest and waited to see what was going to happen next.
Lawrence and Deacon took the sphere of light and raised it up between them until it was at eye level.
Carefully they walked together to stand on either side of the brothers, then slowly let the sphere of golden light come to rest on Kenny and Kevin.
Slowly the light was absorbed as the brothers continued to hug.
"That wasn't so hard. It's done." Mikey said happily.
"I don't feel any different." Kenny said as he reluctantly released his grip on Kevin.
"Not yet. But you are different in a fundamental way. Every day of your life until now you've had this little feeling inside you that something is missing. Even if you didn't know what that feeling was, it was always there in the background." Mikey said in concentration.
Kenny nodded as he remembered having that feeling.
"Nothing is missing now. You can rest. You can truly know peace. The two of you have each other now... and forever." Mikey said happily.
"Wow. That sounds really cool but... I still don't feel any different." Kenny said in an apologetic voice.
Mikey chuckled and said, "You will. It's a fundamental change to the core of your being. When you finally notice what's different, it's going to blow you away."
"What do we do now?" Kevin asked in confusion as he looked around.
"I think you guys need to help get Dylan settled in, then get Aaron to take you back to Uncle Chip's house. The rest of us have another situation to sort out here." Mikey said as he held Arlo's unmoving body close to his chest.
Kevin ran to Mikey's side and gave him a quick hug, then said, "Thanks for helping me Mikey. I still think you're the best angel ever."
"Not a problem little guy. I was just fixing something your parents screwed up by separating you two when you were so young. Now go on and have fun showing Dylan around. I've got more work to do." Mikey said gently.
"Okay." Kevin said happily and ran to Kenny who was waiting for him at the foot of the bed.
* * * * *
"Hey Dylan, how are you doing?" Kevin asked happily as he finally found the room that Dylan was in.
"Me? I'm great! Jake fixed it so I could meet Aaron Carter." Dylan said joyfully.
Aaron chuckled and said, "I live right across the street. By this time next week you'll probably think it's no big deal."
"Yeah, and the week after that you'll probably be trying to throw him into a swimming pool." Cory said with a laugh.
Dylan looked at Cory with a wide eye.
"The guys throw me in the pool a lot. It's just something we do." Aaron said shyly.
"Yeah, he'd think we didn't love him anymore if we didn't do something to tease him every now and then." Cory said with a warm smile at Aaron.
After a moment of thought, Aaron said, "I still think my way is better. I just say it... I love you Cor."
Cory was taken aback by the serious note in Aaron's voice and stared at him in wonder.
Jake looked from Cory to Aaron and finally said, "Nah, it's less painful to throw him in the pool."
Cory began to chuckle and nodded his agreement.
"So it looks like all the serious stuff is done in the other room. Is everything okay?" Jake asked curiously.
"Yeah. Mikey fixed everything." Kevin said happily.
"How's everything with you Ken?" Jake asked with concern.
Kenny looked at Jake and gave him a gentle smile as he said, "Really good. Thanks for what you said back there Jake. You know, that thing about trusting me... I'll never forget it."
Jake smiled and said, "I meant it Ken. You've been honest and nice to me since we first met. Even if you weren't Kevin's brother, I'd like you and trust you."
Kenny blushed and said, "If there was a swimming pool here, I'd throw you into it right now."
Jake chuckled and said, "I love you too Ken."
* * * * *
"Yeah. Who's asking?"
"I'm Ms. Rind. Do you believe in justice?"
"Listen lady. I just had a bitch of a day at work and now I get home to find out my old lady ain't got dinner waiting for me. If you're trying to sell me something. Save it. I ain't buying."
"Your wife is at the police station making a statement against you."
"It's not her fault. Teri Short is the one who talked her into it. I was there trying to make sure you got a fair hearing and that everything was done by the book. But Teri Short came in and took custody of your son and talked your wife into making a statement against you."
"When Peggy gets home, I'm going to have a little talk with her about loyalty."
"She won't be coming home. She's going someplace where she'll feel safe. And Teri Short is taking Vincent to her house, you know, out by the Southcrest Ranch."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"Because it's not right. We have policies and procedures that have to be followed for everyone's good. But Teri Short comes in and takes your son without a hearing or a court order then turns your wife against you... someone has to have the courage to speak out against her. If she isn't stopped, there are going to be others running around taking kids from their parents 'for their own good', without any regard for the laws that govern our country."
"It's my own damned fault. I've been too easy on them. I didn't want to be the heavy handed bastard that my old man was to me, but I let them get out of control. Well it's my home, my castle, I'm the head of this family and they're mine to deal with."
"What are you going to do?"