One Door Closes

By MultiMapper
Copyright ©2002-2009 MultiMapper and CSU Productions.
All Rights Reserved.

For full disclaimer and Copyright information visit Copyright/Disclaimer Page. Continuation of viewing this document is deemed acceptance of all terms on the preceding link. While these stories are provided for free, I would appreciate it if those who were able would consider contributing to this artist via my Patreon.


Cory led the way into the hospital room to find two boys laying on beds. The one on the nearer bed was Asian and appeared to be asleep.

The boy on the further bed had a bandage on his head. He was awake and watching Cory carefully.

"Vincent?" Cory asked as he walked across the room.

"Yeah." Vincent said cautiously.

"My name is Cory. How are you doing?" Cory asked quietly, as the rest of the team began to funnel into the room.

"Well, since I'm in the hospital, I think you should be able to figure that out for yourself." Vincent said in a grumpy voice as he watched the boys come slowly in.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Vincent asked angrily when he saw Lawrence enter.

"I heard you were hurt. I just wanted to see if you needed any help." Lawrence said in a cold but polite voice.

"I don't need anything from you! It's your fault that I'm in here!" Vincent said forcefully.

"If you want me to leave, just say the word and I'm gone." Lawrence said frankly.

"Get out of here. I don't ever want to see you again faggot!" Vincent snarled.

"I'll be in the waiting room when you guys are finished." Lawrence said, not looking particularly upset.

"I'll go with you." Deacon said immediately.

Cory held up his hand, indicating that he wanted Lawrence and Deacon to wait. Then took a step closer to Vincent and said, "We came to see if you needed our help, but if Lawrence is leaving, so are the rest of us. You'll just have to take your chances with the police and CPS."

Vincent thought about it for a second, then a resolved look came over his face. "No. I guess he can stay. Maybe he can help me figure something out."

"I'll do whatever I can." Lawrence said hesitantly, not ready to fully trust his half-brother.

Vincent nodded, then looked around and asked, "Who are all these guys anyway?"

Lawrence glanced around the group, then said, "Since I didn't have any family that wanted me, I found a new family. Vince, these are my new brothers, Deacon, Sean, Cory, Sammy, Sebastian and Gabe. Guys, this is my old brother, Vince."

"Do they know you're a sissy-fag?" Vince asked in an accusing voice.

Lawrence surprised himself when he felt a smile come across his face. Finally he said, "No, but I won't tell them if you don't."

Vincent looked at his brother in confusion at the statement.

"It's not nice to tease the guy with the head injury." Sean chuckled.

"Right." Lawrence said with a laugh, then said, "Vince, these guys don't care about that stuff. They don't care if I'm gay or straight or butch or whatever. They're just my brothers."

Vincent looked around in shock and saw that the group of boys were all nodding in agreement.

"So what can I help you figure out?" Lawrence asked as he took another step closer to the bed.

"Well, after you moved out, Dad got all kinds of mean and nasty with me and mom." Vincent said in thought.

"I didn't move out. Dad picked me up and threw me out the front door. He threw me out and told me he'd kill me if I ever came back." Lawrence said with force.

Vincent nodded and said, "I thought it might be something like that."

"So what did you want to know?" Lawrence prompted.

"I don't know exactly... I mean... all that stuff he used to say about you... he started saying that I was like you and I was turning into a sissy too." Vincent said quietly.

"Is that why he beat you up?" Cory asked gently.

"I don't know. Mom and Dad talked to someone on the phone this morning, it sounded like a lawyer or something from how they were talking. I was getting ready for school and when I was about to leave, out of nowhere, dad just smacked me up side the head. I didn't see it coming and lost my balance and fell onto the stairs. I hit my head when I landed."

"I started crying because it hurt, then he started punching me and screaming at me about how much of a pansy and a fag I was for crying about a bump on the head." Vincent said with a distant, confused look.

"Then mom told me to go on to school and if anyone asked, just to tell them that I slipped and fell on the stairs." Vince said as he looked at Lawrence with question.

"Okay Vince. I can explain what happened if you want to hear what I think." Lawrence said quietly.

"Yeah." Vincent said with a hopeful look.

"I don't know why, but I think dad is getting some kind of power trip off of beating us up." Lawrence began.

"No... he wouldn't ever do that... he's not like that..." Vincent began to say.

"Vince, he hurt you so bad he put you in the hospital. I don't know why he's like this but it's been getting worse and worse for a couple years. Now that Lawrence isn't there to yell at and hit, he's starting in on you." Sean said seriously.

"And it's only going to get worse if you stay there." Cory interjected.

"No... he loves me..." Vincent said with tears in his eyes.

"He probably does. But this doesn't have anything to do with love. It's about anger and abuse. Something is wrong with your dad that makes him want to hurt you. If he could control it, you wouldn't be here. Next time he could kill you." Sean said with concern in his voice.

"That's right. Think about it Vince. What did I ever do to deserve the way he treated me? Name one thing." Lawrence said softly.

"You're soft and pretty like a girl. You're not anything like a boy. That's what you did!" Vincent said angrily.

"Vince. You're just repeating the things he said when he was justifying his abuse. My new brothers made me stop and take a good look at myself. Dad was wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me. If you'll take a good look at me you'll see that I'm just the same as my brothers." Lawrence said carefully.

"And besides that, there isn't anything that any child could do to deserve being put in the hospital or thrown out into the street. Even if Lawrence was the most limp-wristed fairy in town, he wouldn't deserve to be beaten, degraded and abandoned." Cory said seriously.

"But... Dad said he was wearing a dress..." Vincent said helplessly as he reached up and rubbed his head.

"Yeah, and dad's probably the reason that I was wearing it." Lawrence said coldly.

Vincent looked at Lawrence with question and confusion.

"For two years he told me that I wasn't a boy. He beat it into me that no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I would never be the son that he wanted me to be. Finally I stopped trying. If I did my best at being a boy and it wasn't good enough, I decided to try being a girl. It sounds kind of stupid now, but it's not like I really thought about it, it's just something that happened inside me. When I dressed as a girl, I felt like... I don't know... like someday, someone might love me." Lawrence said with difficulty.

Deacon discretely put a hand on Lawrence's shoulder and gave a squeeze of support.

"These guys are okay with you wearing dresses?" Vincent asked, looking more confused than ever.

"If that's what makes Lawrence comfortable, then why should we mind? He's not doing anything to hurt or insult us." Sean said carefully.

"But it's wrong..." Vincent trailed off.

"Why?" Deacon asked with genuine curiosity.

"Because guys are supposed to dress like guys..." Vincent tried to explain.

"It's just pieces of cloth. I'll feel the same way about Lawrence if he dresses like a boy or a girl or if he puts on a gorilla costume. It's about the person inside, not the way he's dressed." Deacon said seriously.

Vincent hesitantly nodded.

"Vincent, I don't know how things are going to work out with your family. But just so you know, if you need a safe place to live for a while, we've got a kind of a place set up where kids who've been abused or abandoned can go." Sean said softly.

"Is that where Lawrence is staying?" Vincent asked carefully.

"No. My brothers Billy and Deacon have made me a part of their family and given me a room in their home. I think I'll be going to school at Camp Little Eagle, but I don't live there." Lawrence said seriously.

"Camp Little Eagle?" Vincent asked cautiously.

"Yeah, it's like a cross between a summer camp and a boy's ranch. I just saw it for the first time today, it's really cool." Deacon said as he looked Vincent in the eyes.

"I don't know what I'm supposed to do now... It's like everything is... all messed up..." Vincent said helplessly.

"Yeah, believe me, I know that feeling. Last week I was living on the street and didn't know how or when I was going to be able to find my next meal. I didn't have anyone in the world that I could go to for help. I was completely alone." Lawrence said seriously.

Vincent looked into Lawrence's eyes and saw sincerity.

"You don't have to go through that. You're not alone. You have all of us to help you if you'll let us." Lawrence said firmly.

Vincent looked down at his folded hands in his lap and mumbled, "Thanks..."

"Now all we have to do is find out what the grown-ups come up with." Cory said in a more relaxed voice.

"And then you let us know what you think about what they've decided." Sean said with a smile.

"And then we'll make sure things turn out the best for you." Lawrence said as he put an arm fully around Deacon.

"So is that your boyfriend?" Vincent asked in a hesitant voice.

"What do you say Deke? Are we ready to be boyfriends?" Lawrence asked cautiously.

"I've been ready since the first day I met you." Deacon said gently.

Lawrence tightened the hug and said, "Yes. Deacon is my boyfriend."

Vincent watched Lawrence and Deacon looking into each other's eyes happily and, try as he might, couldn't find anything wrong with what he was seeing.

* * * * *

"I've been trying to find a time when the two of us could be alone to talk... but I'm not a patient person." Mona said as she and Brady walked away from the pool.

"Somehow, I can believe that." Brady said and glanced curiously at Mona.

"How do you feel about finding your long lost brother?" Mona asked seriously.

Brady smiled at the blunt question and said, "Having Allen as a brother is like an answer to a prayer. After years of being alone in the universe, I have a family again."

Mona nodded seriously in thought before saying, "Brady, you're a good man. I can see that. I'd be proud if you'd consider me a member of your family too."

Brady stopped and looked at Mona with question and disbelief.

"I know it might be strange to think of me as your mother... but maybe if you thought about me like a step-mother or something... it doesn't matter. I'd just like for you to be a part of my family." Mona continued in thought.

Brady froze in concentration and seemed to be looking at something only he could see.

"Unless that's too much for you to handle." Mona said with concern at Brady's distant look.

Brady snapped out of his thoughts and said, "Allen is really lucky to have such a loving mother. You're willing to open your heart to his adopted kids and now his long-lost brother."

Mona rolled her eyes and asked, "Do you wanna be my kid or not?"

Brady chuckled at Mona's irreverent tone and said, "Yes, I'd love to be your son."

"Good. Now that that's settled, tell me a little about you." Mona said as she started walking again.

"What would you like to know?" Brady asked, sounding much more casual than before.

"Where do you live? Do you have a girlfriend? What are your plans for the future?" Mona asked seriously.

"Oh, um, I've been keeping an apartment in San Francisco. I'm not there much since I'm usually off-planet. Now... well, I'm thinking of relocating to Orlando." Brady said in thought.

"It would make perfect sense if you'd move in with Allen and the boys. And that way I could visit both my sons at once." Mona said firmly.

"I'd like that. Thanks Mom." Brady said with a teasing smile.

"Finally! I have a son who'll call me Mom. You need to work on your brother about that." Mona said with a chuckle.

"I don't understand why he doesn't call you Mom." Brady said curiously.

"I'm not really sure. He's always said that I look too young to be his mother." Mona said in thought.

"Well, he's right about that. To see the two of you together, someone might think you were a couple, maybe brother and sister." Brady said consideringly.

"Bullshitting must be a Thompson family trait." Mona said with a chuckle.

"Maybe. But I'm serious. It doesn't matter either way, because I'm going to consider you my mother and call you Mom. Other people can think whatever they like." Brady said with a smile.

"Okay, now that that's settled, are you seeing anyone?" Mona asked firmly.

Brady looked away and didn't say anything.

"You're my youngest son now... my baby boy. I need to know these things." Mona said seriously.

"Yes. I'm seeing someone. But please don't ask me about it, that's all I can tell you at the moment." Brady said hesitantly.

"She's married, isn't she?" Mona asked suspiciously.

"No... well, kind of. He's married to his work. Please Mom, I promise I'll tell you everything when I can, just not yet." Brady said anxiously.

"I just need to know one thing, then I'll let it drop." Mona said as she looked into Brady's eyes.

Brady nodded hesitantly.

"Are you happy?"

Brady smiled and said, "Yes. I can't say I'm always happy with the way our jobs keep us apart, but we're working on that. As far as our relationship, yes, I'm very happy."

"Then that's all I need to know. Just promise me that when everything is settled, you'll bring your mystery man to meet me." Mona said firmly.

"I promise. I know you'll love him as much as I do." Brady said with a dreamy smile.

"Oh lord! You have exactly the same dopey smile as your brother when you're in love." Mona said, then broke into laughter.

"What about you? Are you seeing anyone?" Brady asked with a smile.

Mona gave a shy smile and said, "No. But... I... well..."

"Just spit it out Mom. Being shy and demure doesn't work for you." Brady teased.

"Well, I think Joe is really cute. The way he accepted Laura showed me that he really is a caring man who can see past the surface." Mona said timidly.

Brady's eyebrows went up in surprise, then a crafty smile fell across his face.

"What?" Mona asked hesitantly when she saw his expression.

"Nothing, I was just thinking about how nice it would be to have Joe as a step-father." Brady said with a smile.

"It's way too early for that. I'm just attracted to him and he hasn't given a single sign that he would even be interested." Mona said in warning.

"Don't worry Mom. The past week has proven to me that if things are meant to work out, they will." Brady said with a smile.

"Good. I thought for a second that you were going to try and set us up." Mona said with relief.

"If a situation presents itself where I can do something, I'll do whatever I can to help out. But I'm not going to scheme and plan anything to get you two together." Brady said warmly.

"Speaking of getting people together. We're planning to give Billy and Allen some time alone tomorrow night. I'm going to talk to Allen about it after dinner." Mona said seriously.

"Who is going to talk to Billy?" Brady asked curiously.

"Laura. She volunteered herself and Deacon to help out and make it a special evening." Mona said with a smile.

"That sounds nice. If there's anything I can do to help, just let me know." Brady said with a wistful smile.

"That's all for now. I just want your brother to be happy, and I think Billy is going to be the best one to do that." Mona said gently.

Brady thought about the statement, then said, "I think you're right."

* * * * *

"It looks like you know every travel agent in Florida." JC said with amazement.

"I travel a lot for my job. Look at this and tell me what you think." Billy said as he enlarged one window to fill the computer screen.

JC looked at the itinerary for a moment, then said, "So you booked their flight, then used your frequent flyer miles to upgrade them to first class?"

"Yeah, I want the guys to have a good time. I don't think either of them has ever flown before." Billy said with a smile.

"Well this should do it. What would you think about hiring a limo to pick them up from the airport?" JC asked with a smile.

Billy's eyes got wide at the thought, then he nodded happily.

"If you want, I can make the arrangements for you. I think I know everyone at the limo service by their first name now." JC said shyly.

"I keep forgetting that you're the famous 'JC from *NSync'. I've just been thinking of you as Allen's friend Josh." Billy said honestly.

"Thanks Billy. I'd rather be seen as a person than an image." JC said happily.

* * * * *

"Edovina needs to be changed. Ian, if you will accompany me, I will begin your instruction." Xain said seriously.

"Really? Um, yeah! Thanks!" Ian said as he jumped up from his seat.

Jake watched Xain and Ian walk away from the table with a loving smile.

"You seem so happy." Crystal observed, breaking Jake out of his contemplation of his mate.

"I am." Jake said as he turned his attention to Clint and Crystal.

"How? I mean... you've got a daughter and a boyfriend and you're living with a bunch of other people... it just seems... stressful." Clint said brokenly.

"I guess it could be if we didn't love each other." Jake said with a content smile.

"But Crystal and I love each other..." Clint trailed off in confusion.

"I mean all of us. My Dad and Mamacita love us and support us as a couple and help us with Vina. My brothers love us and are always willing to help us out... even if it's just by giving us some time alone." Jake said happily.

"Maybe that's what's bothering us. It feels like we never get time alone..." Clint said as he put an arm around Crystal.

"Have you told anyone about it?" Jake asked seriously.

"No. I didn't really understand what was causing the problem until just now." Clint said seriously.

"Is the problem with Ian or your parents?" Jake asked in thought.

"I don't know. I guess it just feels like, even when we're alone, someone could walk in at any minute. It's not like they're watching us or trying to make sure we don't do anything, but it feels like we haven't been alone together in weeks." Crystal said in a voice filled with frustration.

"I can tell you what Xain and I did if you would like." Jake offered cautiously.

"Yes. Please." Crystal said, almost desperately.

"We just asked Dad if we could have some private time for the two of us. He understood and made sure our brothers wouldn't interrupt us. He was absolutely cool about the whole thing." Jake said happily.

"I think I'd be embarrassed to talk to Robin and Kayla about that... and I don't want Ian to get his feelings hurt." Crystal said worriedly.

Jake got a distant look on his face, then said, "Xain is going to have a talk with Ian about you two needing privacy. He probably needs privacy with Toby so I'm sure he'll understand."

Clint looked at Jake with question.

"We have a telepathic bond." Jake said with a smile.

"I bet that makes it a lot easier." Clint said with an apologetic look at Crystal.

"It's just communication. Whether I talk to Xain with my voice or through our bond, it's all the same. We just have to communicate." Jake said seriously.

"I see what you mean. You seem so happy and peaceful, I just want for us to be like you and Xain." Crystal said longingly.

"I think that if we can arrange some private time for the two of you, then everything else will work itself out. If you want, I could go with you now and talk to your parents about arranging it. Once they understand how important it is, I'm sure they won't have any problem." Jake said assuringly.

"Thanks Jake... It's funny, it feels like by doing this, we're moving from being boyfriend and girlfriend to being more of a real couple." Clint said in thought.

"That's a good way of thinking about it. And with the babies on the way, I think you're moving in the right direction." Jake said happily.

"There's Robin and Kayla, let's go ask them now." Crystal said as she pointed toward the house.

* * * * *

Author's Note: Just move your cursor over the non-English phrases to see an English translation. It may appear beside your cursor or in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window, depending on your browser of choice. MM

The boy on the first bed awoke and looked around curiously.

Deacon saw the boy looking at him and said, "Hey there. How you doing?"

The boy looked at him with question and sleepily said, "Gomen nasai, wakarimasen."

"Watashi no namae wa Deacon desu." Deacon said gently, with a smile.

"Dozo yoroshiku. Watashi no namae wa Koji desu. O genki desu ka?" The boy said with a smile.

"Hai, genki desu. Anata wa?" Deacon asked peacefully.

"Byoki desu." The boy said as he rubbed his abdomen with apparent discomfort.

"Watashi no namae wa Lawrence desu." Lawrence said next.

"Since when do you speak... whatever that is?" Vincent interrupted from his bed.

"Japanese. And I speak it since my brothers taught me." Lawrence said with a smile at Vincent's puzzled look.

Lawrence turned to Koji and asked, "Anata wa eigo o hanashimasu ka?"

"Hai, sukoshi hanashimasu." Koji said shyly.

Lawrence nodded.

"He... no speak... the Japanese?" Koji asked with difficulty as he looked at Vincent.

"No. His name is Vincent." Lawrence said, wanting to keep it simple.

"Vincent. Pleasure... to be... to meet you." Koji said brokenly.

"Yeah. Me too." Vincent said as a wave of nausea washed over him and he laid back on the bed.

"You okay Vince?" Lawrence asked with concern.

"I think I'm gonna puke." Vincent said through gritted teeth.

"Here's a trash can. Do you want me to call someone?" Sean said quickly and handed the can to Vincent.

"No." Vincent said into the trashcan.

"Koji, do you need anything?" Deacon asked as he focused on Koji again.

"Daijobu desu. I to be well." Koji said directing his English response to Vince who was watching from his bed with a trash can in his hands.

"Good..." Deacon began to say when the door opened and a Japanese man walked into the room.

"Konnichiwa." Deacon said automatically to the man.

The man looked surprised, then said, "Good afternoon."

"We'll leave you two alone to talk." Deacon said shyly and moved closer to Vincent's bed.

"Domo arigato gozaimasu." The man said formally and turned his attention to Koji.

"Do itashi mashite." Deacon said quietly, then turned his attention back to Vincent as the man pulled the curtain for privacy.

* * * * *

"She's in the lounge." Dr. Jenkins said as they walked down the hall.

"Are you Dr. Jenkins?" A man asked quickly as he approached. He was followed by a grim looking woman who was moving more slowly.

"Yes I am. And this is Director Short of Federation Youth Services." Dr. Jenkins said professionally.

"Director Short? I thought our paths would cross one of these days. You're something of a hero back at the precinct." The man said with a smile.

"Then I take it that you're a police detective?" Teri asked pleasantly.

"Yes. Excuse me Director Short. I'm Detective Blair, I'm here to investigate an allegation of abuse of..." The detective trailed off, then pulled out a notebook to look up the name. "...Vincent Winters."

A clearing throat drew everyone's attention to the plain woman accompanying the police detective.

"And this is Ms. Rind from CPS." Detective Blair said with a note of irritation in his voice.

"So you're Director Short... I suppose I should just leave now." Ms. Rind said with a sneer.

Teri gave a predatory smile and said, "You don't have to leave on my account. I'm sure you won't get in my way."

"Well, to be honest, I'm not sure who has jurisdiction in this instance." Detective Blair said carefully, hoping to minimize the hostility coming from the two women.

"I have the authority and sufficient grounds to invoke the Federation's Safe Haven act and take Vincent into custody if I feel that's what's in his best interest. However, I would prefer to interview the mother and the child before taking that step." Teri said in thought.

Ms. Rind shook her head in exasperation and said, "You stomp in here where you aren't wanted or needed and make decisions without a proper investigation or regard for the law."

Teri gave a Vulcanesque raise of one eyebrow in surprise before saying, "Well, I'd be happy to put my track record up against anyone at CPS, or for that matter, everyone at CPS. As far as the rest, I'm going in and doing the things that your department can't or won't do for these children. If you were really interested in the welfare of the children, you'd see that we could work together to help ALL the kids. None of them have to fall through the cracks..."

Ms. Rind looked at Teri as if she'd just smelled something bad.

"On the other hand, if you'd rather treat me as an enemy, I can play it that way too." Teri said with a shrug.

"So how do you want to do this?" Detective Blair asked Teri cautiously.

"Play it by ear. We'll talk to the mother and see if anything positive comes from that. I wouldn't get my hopes up, but... it's worth a try." Teri finished casually.

"What is the boy's condition?" Detective Blair asked Dr. Jenkins seriously.

"If you don't mind, I'd like to have this discussion in front of the mother. That way we don't have to repeat ourselves and she can understand just how much trouble she is in." Teri suggested somewhat firmly.

"I like your style Director Short." Detective Blair said with a smile.

Ms. Rind flashed Detective Blair a hateful glance.

"I would ask you to call me Teri, but I think my title might actually be more intimidating when we get in there." Teri said with a casual smile at the detective, ignoring the social worker completely.

"I see your point. When the official business is over, I will. And you'll be welcomed to call me OC." Detective Blair said with a warm smile.

"OC? What does that stand for?" Teri asked curiously.

"Nothing. On my birth certificate, my first name is O and my middle name is C. My parents couldn't agree on names for me and that was their compromise." Detective Blair said with a smile.

Teri looked at the Detective with question, prompting for more information.

"Dad wanted Otis Clarence and mom was pushing for Octavio Cantu. They decided to name me OC and that way I could decide when I got older. I decided that I like OC better than any of those names." Detective Blair finished with a chuckle.

"I see what you mean. I guess there's no more putting it off... Let's go talk to Mrs. Winters." Teri said in a voice of resignation.

* * * * *

"Hey Pop." Kenny said as he walked to Allen's side.

"What's up Cute Stuff?" Allen asked with a smile as he pulled Kenny to sit on his lap.

"Nothin. Kevin is talking with Dan. Jake is talking with that boy and girl. Xain is with Ian..." Kenny trailed off.

"Feeling a little left out?" Allen asked with sympathy.

"Maybe a little. I think I'm just worried about Kevin." Kenny admitted reluctantly.

"Well, you're welcomed to sit here with me." Allen said as he hugged Kenny gently.

"Yeah. I'd like that." Kenny said as he rested his head on Allen's shoulder.

A string of cars coming up the driveway drew everyone's attention.

"It looks like the rest of the guests are finally here." Chip said with a smile.

"Goodness. They came in a convoy." Jackie said in astonishment.

"I'm going to greet my guests. If you will just stay here, I'll bring them over in just a minute." Chip said as he stood.

As they watched Chip walk away, Spock said, "Mr. Thompson. I would like to voice my approval of your childcare techniques. After speaking with your sons Jake and Xain, I find your methods to be acceptable."

"Thank you Captain Spock. I am gratified by your acknowledgement. It is my hope that my sons will perform their duties adequately and bring honor to the house of Surak." Allen said formally.

"My house is improved by their inclusion." Spock said seriously.

"As they are improved by inclusion in your house." Allen said with a gentle smile.

"Hey Kenny, some of us were going down to the stable for a ride before dinner. Do you want to join us?" Jacob asked hopefully as he led a group of boys to the table.

"Yeah. Thanks guys." Kenny said quickly and hopped off Allen's lap.

* * * * *

"Mrs. Winters?" Teri asked as she entered the small lounge, followed by Dr. Jenkins, Detective Blair and Ms. Rind.

"How's my son? I thought you were done with him. Is something wrong?" Mrs. Winters asked with concern.

Dr. Jenkins gave Teri and Detective Blair an inquiring look.

Detective Blair looked at Teri and raised his eyebrows expectantly.

"Mrs. Winters. I'm Director Teri Short of Federation Youth Services, I spoke to you this morning regarding the abuse and abandonment of your son Lawrence. Right now I'm here in regard to the abuse your son Vincent has suffered." Teri said firmly.

"Alleged abuse." Ms. Rind said coldly.

"Abuse? He just fell on the stairs. We would never hurt Vincent, he's our baby. Please, you have to believe me." Mrs. Winters said in a trembling voice.

"I'm not here to debate the point Mrs. Winters." Teri said coldly, then turned to Dr. Jenkins and asked, "Can you tell us about Vincent's condition?"

"Yes. Our initial examination was for the injury that was causing the patient discomfort. To put it in layman's terms, he has a significant bump on the back of his head with a minor amount of bleeding. He's suffering from a moderate concussion which is effecting his thought processes and his vision to a small degree." Dr. Jenkins said seriously, then glanced at Teri.

"Kids fall and get hurt all the time. That doesn't prove anything." Ms. Rind said in nearly a growl.

"When the afternoon duty nurse made the connection between the advisory Director Short issued and the boy that we were treating, I immediately performed a cursory examination for signs of abuse then contacted her." Dr. Jenkins said in a careful tone.

"What did you find in that examination Doctor?" Detective Blair asked curiously.

"Indications of a beating, inflicted as recently as this morning. Several bruises on his abdomen and upper body of sufficient clarity to show the individual knuckles." Dr. Jenkins said and a note of disgust crept into his voice, then he handed a small handful of photos to Detective Blair.

"He could have gotten into a fight at school. There is no reason to believe that this has anything to do with abuse." Ms. Rind said defensively.

"Is that all the significant information?" Teri asked absently as she glared at Ms. Rind.

"Yes. I'll send each of you my full report when it's ready." Dr. Jenkins said to Teri, Detective Blair and Ms. Rind.

"I'll be making my own investigation into this. I want an independent CPS certified physician to examine the child." Ms. Rind said quickly.

"Now Mrs. Winters, here are the facts. Your son Lawrence was verbally and physically abused by your husband for a period of years, then he was physically thrown out of his home and left with no way to support himself. During an investigation to find Lawrence's biological father, telepathic testimony was taken that will serve as evidence in any criminal case that may arise." Teri said coldly, then said to Detective Blair, "I'll have those transcripts for you by tomorrow."

Detective Blair just nodded, astonished by Teri's commanding presence.

"In the matter of Vincent, I believe that since I put out an advisory in advance of the 'alleged' abuse..." Teri gave a significant look toward Ms. Rind. "...and in light of Dr. Jenkins' preliminary findings that there is more than enough evidence at hand to pursue a criminal case against Mr. Winters and possibly against Mrs. Winters as well."

Mrs. Winters looked at Teri with panic.

"Now I think you should have a long talk with Detective Blair and Ms. Rind to see if there is anything you can say to them that will convince them that you aren't an accomplice in the crimes committed against your children. After I've talked with Vincent, I'll make a decision regarding his custody." Teri said forcefully.

"You have no right to make that decision. This isn't a Federation matter so you should just butt out." Ms. Rind said angrily.

"Ms. Rind, you do whatever you feel you need to do to protect the interests of CPS and yourself, I'll do what I feel I must to protect the child. If you get in my way, I promise that you'll come away worse off for having had the experience." Teri said seriously, then turned to Detective Blair and said, "Detective, I'll be in Vincent's room when you're done."

To Be Continued...