Melissa sat in the chair and held Xander tightly to her chest. Her eyes were red and puffy from all of the tears she had shed when the boy she thought was her little brother appeared in front of her. Xander had no idea who Melissa was, though. It didn’t explain how Xander was still only eleven-years-old, either. Tyler and Kyle had both tried to see if they could find anything within Xander’s mind, but there was a block on the boy’s past, one that not even a Mikyvis could bypass. Kyle had shuddered slightly when his mind touched Xander’s.
“It’s hard to concentrate around the music,” the boy had said absently as he sat in Xander’s lap.
“You heard it, too?” Tyler asked.
“Yeah,” Kyle said with a nod. “It’s not distinct, but it’s enough to draw you in.”
Tyler’s gray eyes had looked thoughtful for a moment before he had disappeared in the blink of an eye with the promise of returning later. Kyle had decided to remain at Arys’ bedside with a strong look of worry on his face. The boy had been silent for nearly an hour when he finally looked up at Melissa with a sad look in his brown eyes.
The woman looked up from her baby brother to see the look on Kyle’s face.
“What’s wrong, Kyle?”
Kyle frowned as he ran his fingers across Arys’ cheek.
“I can’t get a solid read off of him,” the boy said sadly, his brown eyes glistening with tears. “All I’m seeing is turmoil, confusion, and pain.”
“Come over here, honey,” Melissa said softly.
“I need to go check on Isaac, anyways,” Xander said quietly.
Melissa hesitated to let go of Xander for a moment.
“Sorry,” she apologized with a frown when she let the boy slide from her lap.
“I’ll be right back,” Xander said shyly. “I promise.”
Melissa watched the brown-haired boy slip from the room before she turned her attention to the other boy that was now standing in front of her. The woman smiled and held her hands out for Kyle to climb onto her lap. Kyle sniffled and quickly snuggled into the woman’s chest.
“Kyle?” Melissa had no idea how to help the child that could disappear on a whim besides holding onto him tightly and letting the tiny boy cry himself out. “Shh, little one. I have a feeling that everything is going to work out in the end.”
Tyler suddenly appeared in the doorway of the room, and glanced around before his gray eyes fell on the sight of Melissa cuddling Kyle in her lap. Tyler looked surprised, then stepped out of the room to give his partner some time alone. Melissa did the only thing she could think of; she thought about the different songs she knew and decided on the one she thought would have the most meaning for the tiny boy.
“Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.”
Tyler stepped back into the room and stood next to the door with his head cocked to the side as he listened to Melissa’s song. Kyle’s sobs had softened to gentle sniffles as she moved on to the next verse of the song.
“While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O’er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.”
Kyle sighed deeply and hugged Melissa tightly.
“Thank you, Momma M,” he whispered as he nuzzled into her chest.
Tyler gasped in surprise as he started to move closer to Melissa and his partner.
“What’s wrong, Tyler?” She asked the gray-eyed boy.
Tyler’s look of surprise turned to a grin.
“Absolutely, nothing, Melissa. Though,” Tyler giggled quietly. “I think you just got a new son.”
Melissa looked at the blond-haired boy in confusion.
“Do you ever get straight to the point?”
“Not if I can help it,” Tyler said with a sheepish giggle. Then, he joined Kyle on Melissa’s lap, kissing Kyle on his cheek before making himself comfortable. Once that important task was completed, Tyler went on to explain. “Kyle-Bear’s kinda got a few problems with adults; he trusts them less than I do. Every adult he remembers, up until he met Cory and started seeing Poppa Dan, has hurt or abused him in some way. Most adults he won’t trust even if he sees in their head that they’re good. When he trusts someone enough to cuddle them, it’s a really good sign that they’re a really good person. He just called you Momma though, which puts you on two lists. One is the very short list of adults that he trusts with his life, and the other is the list of people that every single member of Clan Short will trust without question. The first list I can count on one hand with fingers left over.”
“Oh,” Melissa said, finding herself at a loss for words. She held on to both of the boys as tightly as she could. “I’ll never let anybody hurt you. Neither will Charles. If you ever need anything, you can always come to either of us, no matter what. I swear to it, boys.”
“Those are the types of things that I like to hear from my Directors,” Kyle Esparar said as he stood inside the doorway to Arys’ room.
“How can I help you, Lieutenant Esparar?” Melissa asked softly.
“For one,” Kyle said with a grin. “You need to call me ‘Kyle’. Second, I was hoping you could come with me for a moment? I’m going to need the boys, as well.”
“Is it Isaac?”
Kyle nodded sadly.
“His mother really did a number on him,” the young man said distantly. “I think it’s time to get the Clan involved.”
“Don’t you think that I can handle it?” Melissa asked.
“It’s not that, Melissa,” Kyle informed her. “Irene Jennings was a member of the F.C.C..”
The small boys sitting on Melissa’s lap suddenly perked up.
“What?” The smaller Kyle asked with a growl.
Melissa was surprised to see the sudden change in his demeanor.
“I’ll be right back,” Kyle said before he vanished with a slight pop.
“Let’s go see Isaac,” the blonde-haired boy said darkly.
Charles stood in the Receiving Area for nearly an hour before he saw the smiling face of his brother approaching him through the crowd.
“Were you waiting long?” Harold asked as he hugged his brother.
“Not really,” Charles lied. “Did you guys run into trouble?”
“No,” Harold said, shouldering his rucksack. “The USS-Grissom had to stop and pick somebody else up, as well. You sort of get used to it working in Starfleet.”
Charles chuckled lightly as he led his younger brother back towards where he had parked.
“So, Charles,” Harold said to break the silence that was forming between them. “What did I miss?”
“More than you could ever imagine, Harold,” Charles said smugly.
“Charles, you’re going to have to tell me, eventually.”
“Am I?” Charles asked smugly. “Let’s see, Vanek was hit by a car. That’s something that happened.”
“I can tell when you’re keeping secrets, Charles,” Harold said with a scowl.
“Good,” Charles replied, laughing. “You’ll discover it, soon enough.”
“You’re not going to tell me, are you?” Harold asked.
“Absolutely, not,” Charles stated. “It would ruin the surprise.”
“You and your damn surprises, Charles.”
“You’ll like this one, Harold. I can guarantee it.”
Harold looked at his brother skeptically, but let it go.
“Is there anything else that I should know about?”
“Melissa was promoted,” Charles said proudly.
“Oh, really?” Harold asked in surprise.
“Yeah,” Charles replied with a grin. “She’s the new Director of the F.Y.S.-Ohio Valley Division.”
“Oh, wow!” Harold said. “That’s really a step up!”
Charles nodded happily.
“Her boss loves her work,” he told his younger brother with a shrug. “I don’t blame him. She’s done amazing things in the last few days. She’s already rescued three little boys, and only one of them is being turned over to Clan Short. The other two are special cases and family members have already been found for them to stay with.”
“That’s awesome, Charles,” Harold told his brother. “You must be really proud of Melissa.”
“Kyle Esparar has already been sending new house suggestions,” Charles said with a laugh.
“He doesn’t want us to be in the downtown area anymore,” Charles explained. “Plus, it would be nice to have a bigger house now that we’ve got another member of our family to think about.”
“What?” Harold asked in confusion. “Are you drunk, Charles? You’re not making any sense.”
“Oh,” Charles said as if he had forgotten. “This is one of those things that you’re going to learn after we go see your T’hy’la.”
“Can you drive any slower?” Harold asked at the change in topic.
Charles chuckled lightly.
“I’m doing the speed limit, Harold.”
“And my husband is lying in the hospital in pain,” Harold stated with a frown.
“I doubt he’s in any pain, Harold,” Charles told his brother. “Doctor Gillespie has been keeping him heavily medicated.”
“Are they transferring him to Vulcan to repair the breaks?”
“Vanek wanted to wait for you to get home to discuss it with you, first.”
“Oh,” Harold said distantly. “Does it have to do with the surprise you planned for me?”
“It might,” Charles said with a shrug. “I guess we’ll find out in a moment.”
“Ugh,” Harold groaned in protest. “I wish you would just tell me, already.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I did, Harold,” Charles said darkly. “It’s even difficult for me to believe.”
“Just trust me, Harold,” Charles stated. “It’ll be better if you wait.”
“I hope you’re right about this being worth the wait, Charles,” Harold said with the hint of a threat in his voice.
Charles just laughed as he tried to find another parking space at the hospital. Charles had considered asking his brother to be teleported straight into the hospital upon arrival, but he decided at the last minute that Melissa’s new security team wouldn’t be all that very appreciative. So, Charles picked up his brother from the receiving station, which gave him ample time to warn Harold about Vanek’s condition. Harold followed Charles into the hospital and over to the elevators. The older brother hit the button for the third floor as the doors slid closed behind the two men. Together, they rode the elevator in silence.
The doors opened on the third floor, and Charles led Harold down to Vanek’s room. The Vulcan’s blue eyes quickly focused on Harold the moment he entered the room behind Charles.
“I found this down by the Receiving Station, Vanek,” Charles said as he pointed towards his brother absently. “He claims he belongs to you, though I don’t see why you would want him.”
“Vanek!” Harold gasped out as he moved to his partner’s bedside. “What happened?”
“Hello, Harold,” Vanek said with a brief glance at Charles.
“I’ll give you two a few minutes,” Charles said as he left the room. He glanced back in time to see his brother press his lips against the Vulcan’s before he strolled towards the elevator. Charles wanted to check on the two boys he had rescued only a couple of hours earlier, plus, he wanted to talk with Tyler and Kyle to see what else they were capable of.
Xander held onto Isaac’s hand, gently rubbing his thumb across the back of the boy’s hand. He had no idea why the boy wouldn’t wake up; all he knew was that he needed to keep Isaac safe.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you safe, Isaac,” Xander promised softly. The boy’s pale skin was covered in bruises and his breathing was shallow, even with the mask helping him breathe. “I promise.”
“You did an excellent job of rescuing him, Xander.”
Xander jumped at the sudden voice and turned to see a young man with auburn-brown hair standing in the doorway to the room. He didn’t appear to be much older than eighteen, and he was smiling at Xander, pleasantly. Even though the young man wore a Starfleet Uniform, he didn’t appear to be comfortable in the outfit.
“You should be proud of yourself, Xander,” the young man said with a grin. “I know Melissa is.”
“She says that she’s my sister,” Xander said sadly before he looked at the man suspiciously. “Who are you?”
“I am Kyle Esparar,” the young man introduced himself. “I am the Federation Youth Services Liaison for Children in Need.” Xander looked confused, so Kyle decided to explain. “It’s a flashy title, but really, it just means that I work for Teri Short, directly.”
Xander’s eyes widened in disbelief before he frowned.
“She won’t help us,” Xander said sadly. “Mrs. Short has more important things to worry about.”
“Teri is already helping you, Xander,” Kyle reassured the boy as he crossed the room and stood next to the small boy. He gently placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I wouldn’t be here if she wasn’t. She may be busy at the moment, but she always makes sure that children are safe before she does anything else. Teri would have come here herself if I wasn’t available. Trust me. I’ve witnessed her drop everything before just to rescue a child that was in danger. She’s helped more children in just a few months than Children Services has helped in the last five years.” Kyle pulled the small boy into a hug for a moment. “Tyler told me how you overcame your own fears and saved Isaac from dying, Xander. I only know of a few eleven-year-olds that would risk their own lives just to save somebody they barely knew.”
“I only know of one,” Xander said absently, his mind drifting back to Arys for a moment. He couldn’t bring himself to stay in Arys’ room any longer than he had to. Every time Xander went into the room, he got the overwhelming feeling like Arys’ accident was completely his fault. “I shouldn’t have let him wander around Springfield alone. He’s not even from here!”
Kyle picked Xander up and held the boy in his arms as he broke down into tears.
“It’s going to be okay, Xander,” Kyle tried to reassure the sobbing boy. “It’s all part of God’s plan-.”
“God fucking sucks!” Xander said with a growl between his sobs. “He abandoned me with nothing but a name! I’ve been alone for as long as I can remember with nothing but a fucking name!”
“Shh, Xander,” Kyle said soothingly, rubbing Xander’s back gently. “I’ll help you get through this.”
“That’s what Arys said, too,” Xander said softly. “Look at what happened to him. Look at what happened to Isaac when I tried to help him. He’s not even waking up, and Arys is never going to walk again! I do nothing but cause people pain. No wonder Davie never wants to hang out with me.”
Xander’s voice trailed off at the end, and Kyle fought his own urge to cry.
“Don’t worry, Xander,” Kyle told the boy. “I’ll make sure that Isaac and Xander survive.”
Xander looked up at Kyle dubiously as the older boy set him back on his feet. Then, Kyle pulled a silver communicator out of his pocket and pressed a button on it.
“Lieutenant Esparar to Medical Director Marc Furst,” Kyle spoke into the tiny device.
“Standby, Lieutenant Esparar,” a tiny voice said a moment later. “We’re getting him, now.”
“This is Marc Furst,” a voice said a moment later.
“Marc, it’s Kyle,” the auburn-haired man said into the device. “I need a medical team at my location, immediately.”
“I’ll be there with Noah in two minutes,” Marc said in a hurry.
“Thank you, Marc,” Kyle said. “I have a few boys that would greatly appreciate the assistance.”
Kyle Esparar stuck the communicator back into his pocket and smiled at Xander.
“Help is on the way, Xander,” Kyle said with a mischievous grin. “It probably won’t even take them the full two-.”
Kyle fell silent as two figures suddenly appeared in the room beside him. Xander jumped at the sudden intrusion before he started giggling.
“As I was saying,” Lieutenant Esparar continued with a roll of his eyes. “Xander, I’d like you to meet Marc Furst, Medical Director of the Clan Short AI Division; and his assistant Noah Barnes, second in command of the AI Division of Family Clan Short.”
Marc didn’t wait around for any other introductions when he noticed the weak looking boy lying on the hospital bed. He pulled out his tricorder and passed it over Isaac’s frame before his face fell.
“Oh God Noah, we need a biobed in here NOW!” Marc ordered before he started calling out different numbers for his assistant. “He’s crashing fast!”
Noah pulled out his own communicator and started repeating Marc’s orders while also writing down the different numbers that the doctor was calling out. Xander just looked on in amazement as the two boys set to work. Xander was just beginning to wonder how two boys could possibly be doctors, but Lieutenant Esparar effectively distracted him by patting the boy’s shoulder.
“It would seem as though I’m not really needed here, anymore,” Kyle Esparar started to say before Xander suddenly hugged him tightly.
“Thank you for helping Isaac, Kyle,” Xander said appreciatively.
“It’s always my pleasure to help a child in need,” Kyle told the boy.
“You don’t even know me,” Xander tried to protest.
“Does it matter?”
Xander looked thoughtful for a moment as he stepped back from the young man with the green eyes.
“How can I ever repay you, though?”
“You’ve already started paying me back, Xander,” Kyle kneeled in front of the boy and smiled at him.
“How?” Xander asked doubtfully.
Kyle pointed to Isaac’s bed where Noah and Marc were still busily trying to save the boy’s life. Xander jumped slightly when a biobed appeared in the room next to the other bed. Kyle just grinned and continued with his explanation.
“You saved a life, Xander,” the man said reassuringly. “Just keep doing that, and we will get along perfectly. You have no idea how proud everyone is of you for saving Isaac’s life.”
Xander’s cheeks flushed red as he smiled shyly at Kyle. Lieutenant Esparar hugged the boy again, before he stood and took stock of the situation in the room.
“Let’s give Marc and Noah some space, Xander,” Kyle suggested. “Marc, would you be willing to come and get us from Arys’ room when Isaac is stable?”
“Of course, Kyle,” Marc replied without looking away from his patient.
“I’ll make sure he does,” Noah added as he continued to study the readouts on the biobed’s display. “God only knows that Marc would forget his leg if it wasn’t attached.”
“Isaac, don’t let me forget to have Noah dropped in the middle of the Atlantic,” Marc said to his unconscious patient. Noah just rolled his eyes and glanced back at Xander.
“Do you see what I have to deal with, Xander?” Noah asked, barely containing his laugh at the look of surprise on the younger boy’s face.
“Are you guys really doctors?” Xander asked dubiously. He looked at Noah as he tried to figure out how old the blue-eyed boy really was. “You can’t be much older than me, umm, Noah.”
Noah giggled lightly.
“I’m only twelve,” Noah said before he nodded towards where Marc was working Isaac. “Marc looks like he’s only thirteen, but in actuality, he’s like a hundred!”
“I am definitely going to have to come up with a new travel itinerary for you when we go home,” Marc said with a shake of his head. “Don’t listen to him, Xander. I’m really seventy-two.”
“But-,” Xander froze, unable to explain why the blonde-haired boy didn’t appear to be a day over thirteen-years-old.
“I’m an android, Xander,” Marc said with a grin. “Don’t over-think it, please. It’s a long story that I’ll tell you about on a rainy day.”
“Okay. Fine,” Xander said with a shake of his head. “Just promise me that you’ll let me know what’s going on?” Xander’s eyes drifted to the unconscious boy on the biobed. “I feel attached to him like I do to Arys.”
Marc and Noah shared a knowing look before Noah turned around to face Xander.
“We’ll be down to check on Arys, anyway,” Noah told him with a smile. “Isaac’s condition is starting to stabilize, so it shouldn’t be very long.”
“Thank you, Noah,” Xander said shyly. “Thank you, Marc. I appreciate you guys showing up as quick as you did for just a couple of kids.”
Marc and Noah both moved over to where Xander was standing and hugged the boy between them.
“You’ll figure out just how special you really are once you meet the rest of the clan,” Marc said quietly. “Now, go check on your friend, so we can finish up in here.”
“Yes, sir,” Xander said meekly.
“At least, he has the sir part right!” Noah said with a giggle.
“You are really asking for it today,” Marc laughed as he moved back to the side of the biobed.
Xander giggled as he followed Kyle from the room, letting the two doctors do whatever they needed to do in order to save Isaac’s life.
Charles watched as one of the nurses took another blood sample from Arys’ arm. The skin puckered in slightly as the needle pierced the inside of the boy’s elbow before the needle suddenly slid in smoothly. The nurse stuck an empty vial on the end of the needle and proceeded to fill it with the boy’s blood before repeating the process eleven more times until the entire rack was full of blood samples. The woman gathered up her supplies and smiled at Charles as she left the room with barely a word shared between the two adults. Charles’ mind was too busy thinking about the different ways his life had changed since he had first encountered the mysterious boy known as Arys, and the nurse was trying to focus on her current task after already working a ten-hour shift.
Charles moved over to Arys’ bedside, pulling the chair with him so he could sit down while he waited on Melissa to return. She had run off to find Doctor Gillespie so she could get an update on his plan for Arys’ treatment. Every moment that the boy remained in his coma only made his chances at making any type of recovery even grimmer. For now, Arys would be confined to a wheelchair, a life that nobody wanted for the child. Especially, with how he wound up in his current condition. Charles reached out and ran his fingers up and down the boy’s fragile-looking arm.
“You’ve got one hell of a Guardian Angel, Harris,” Charles said quietly. “I’m sure Saint Peter is sending him back to Guardian Angel Training Camp just to scrub the toilets for how bad he messed up with you.”
Charles chuckled softly before he sighed and wiped a tear from the corner of his eye.
“Your dad is going to lose his mind, Harris,” Charles told the unconscious boy. “I haven’t told him, and I even managed to get Vanek to promise not to tell him. You better not tell him, either, little one,” Charles added with another chuckle. “We’ve always done stuff like this to each other when we were growing up. I would play a prank on him, or surprise Harold with something, and he would turn around and do the same thing to me several days later. They were never bad pranks, though. We didn’t hate each other. It was only little stuff like filling his hand with shaving cream before I tickled his nose. Then, he would slap himself in the face with the hand full of shaving cream. Our mom would scold us for messing up her linens, while dad just usually laughed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. It was just boys being boys.” Charles placed his hand on the boy’s chest, feeling the slight flutter of the boy’s heart as it continued to keep Arys alive. “Welcome back, Harris. We’ve all missed you, and we all love you, little one.” Charles sniffled as his green eyes filled with tears. “I knew there was something about you the moment that you walked into my store, and I’m sorry for how I treated you. It’s not every day that a kid walks into your life, claiming to be from another time. That’s no excuse for what I did, though, Arys. I want you to know that, buddy. I will never let anybody treat you like that, again. Thank you for finding your way back into our lives.”
Charles smiled and wiped the tears from his eyes.
“By the way,” the man said with a grin. “You’ve got a Vulcan downstairs that is claiming to owe you a life debt, Harris. Don’t ever let him back down from his vow. Also, your only goal in life is to make that man break his form, and actually smile for a change. If you make him laugh, I’ll make sure that he never lives it down. I’ll even tell his brother about it! I bet you didn’t know that Vanek had a brother, did you?” Charles asked the unconscious boy. “Vanek is an identical twin, Harris. His brother’s name is Vanok. They both have blue eyes, but you met Vanek, so you know that, already. It’s a rare trait amongst Vulcans, from what I understand. Oh, just a word of warning, don’t ever ask Vanek to cook for you if you wish to continue existing. I’m pretty sure that he can burn water.”
Charles sighed and leaned back in his chair.
“You’ve got a family that loves you, Harris,” the man said before he yawned deeply. “Whether you want it or not.”
The man was just about to fall asleep in the chair when Xander entered with Lieutenant Esparar beside him.
“Oh,” Kyle said when he noticed that they had woken Charles up. “I’m sorry, Charles. We didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“Don’t worry about it, Kyle,” Charles said as he waved off the young man’s apology. “I’m surprised Xander wasn’t back sooner.”
Xander crossed the room and looked up at Charles hopefully.
“May I sit with you?” He asked the brown-haired man nervously.
“Of course, Xander,” Charles told the boy as he pulled him onto his lap.
“Marc and Noah kicked us out of Isaac’s room so they could work,” Kyle explained.
“Marc and Noah?”
“They’re doctors from Clan Short’s A.I. Division,” Kyle told the older man. “You’ll be meeting them once they are certain that Isaac is stable, again.”
Charles nodded and continued to comfort the boy that was sitting on his lap. Kyle smiled as an idea suddenly popped into his head.
“Have you ever thought about adoption, Charles?” Kyle asked the man, not surprised to see the man smile whimsically at Xander.
“Only recently,” Charles replied softly.
Kyle nodded and was about to excuse himself from the room when Kyle Richardson suddenly appeared with a woman that was tied up with rope and had a gag over her mouth. Lieutenant Esparar gasped slightly at the woman’s disheveled appearance. Her brown skirt was torn, and her hair was sticking out like someone had grabbed it. She had tears coming from her blue eyes, and there was snot running down her face. Kyle stood there with his arms crossed against his chest. A look of anger filled his dark-brown eyes as he stared up at the older Kyle.
“Lieutenant Esparar,” Kyle said, his small voice trembling with fury. “I present to you Irene Jennings; the mother of Isaac Jennings, and also the person responsible for his current situation.”
Lieutenant Esparar turned his attention to the sobbing woman.
“Hmm,” Kyle said with a look of hate in his green eyes. “It seems as though I’m going to be needed around here a little bit longer.”
Harold looked up as Charles entered Vanek’s hospital room. The older brother was trying not to smirk as he glanced at his brother and his brother’s soul mate.
“Are you ready for your surprise, Harold?” Charles asked, still concealing any emotion from his voice.
“Can it wait?” He asked, motioning to his partner. “I mean, I haven’t seen Vanek in two weeks, Charles.”
Vanek looked at Charles thoughtfully before he nodded and turned his attention to Harold.
“This is important, Harold,” Vanek said in a serious tone. He was about to go on when the blonde-haired Mikyvis known as Tyler popped into the room. The three men looked at the gray-eyed boy in confusion.
“Is something wrong, Tyler?” Charles asked the boy.
“Yes,” he replied in a grave tone before he turned his gaze to Harold. “Lieutenant Commander Harold Conner?”
“Yes?” Harold looked at the boy in surprise and confusion, still trying to figure out where the boy had come from.
“Do not overthink it, Harold,” Vanek said softly as he too studied the boy. “He is from Clan Short. You will just give yourself a headache if you try to figure it out, T’hy’la.”
Harold looked scowled at Vanek for a moment before he turned his attention back to Tyler.
“How may I be of assistance, Tyler?” Harold asked the boy in a professional manner.
“As a ranking member of Starfleet,” Tyler said in his treble voice. “Clan Short is in need of you to pass judgment on a trial.”
“A trial?” Harold asked in confusion. “Doesn’t stuff like that usually take time and require lawyers and stuff.”
Tyler grinned slightly.
“Not when it comes to violations of the Safe Haven Act,” the gray-eyed boy said grimly.
“I trust that you will give me the relevant information to make sure that I pass a fair judgment?” Harold asked the boy.
“Of course, Commander,” Tyler said with a nod. “Do you accept?”
“I will always accept when it involves children in need,” Harold said firmly.
“Umm, Tyler?” Charles said, stopping the boy from vanishing.
“Yes, Charles?” Tyler asked with a giggle.
“Could you make certain that Harold comes back here when you are finished with him?”
“Of course, Mr. Conner,” the boy agreed. Then, he turned his attention to Harold, again. “It’s going to be a great surprise, Harold. You shouldn’t worry so much.”
Charles was about to say something when Tyler disappeared, taking Harold with him.
“It would seem as though my T’hy’la will not be meeting his son anytime soon,” Vanek said in a serious tone.
“I know,” Charles agreed. “It would be better if we could just get all of this over with. My brother needs this. Both of you need this!”
“What do you mean, Charles?” Vanek asked. “Please, explain why you think your brother and I both need to have Harris in our lives?”
“For a Vulcan, you’re not the quickest, are you?” Charles asked then held up his hand to keep Vanek from cursing him out. “Don’t lose your temper just yet, Vanek. You’re just not seeing the bigger picture because you are part of it. Think about it, Vanek. Just for a moment. What have you always wanted, but you could never have? What did Harold have that was yanked away from him?”
“A son,” Vanek said thoughtfully. “I have always wanted a son. I admit that I have even been jealous of my own brother and the relationship that he has with his son. I think Harold feels the same about yourself and Geoff.”
Charles smiled proudly as he thought about his son and he couldn’t wait until the teen could come home to meet his cousin. Then, Charles thought about all of the times that Harold had been around whenever he had interacted with Geoff, and he remembered the longing in Harold’s gaze that Charles had never noticed before. His proud smile turned to a sorrowful frown. Charles was about to go hunt down his brother, just to rectify the situation when Vanek stopped him.
“Do not interrupt a trial being held by Clan Short, brother,” the Vulcan stated seriously. “It would not go well for you.”
Charles froze. Vanek rarely called him brother, and when he did, it was when the Vulcan was trying to get his point across to the older man. Charles frowned and pulled out his cell phone. He quickly sent a text message to his wife, instead.
Charles: Where are you love?
It was only a few seconds before Charles’s phone chimed with Melissa’s reply.
Melissa: Harris’s room with Dr. Furst.
Charles: Can you come down to Vanek’s room for a minute? Bring the doctor with you. It’s time for a second opinion.
Charles smiled and slid his phone back into his pocket.
“You are up to something, Charles,” Vanek said suspiciously.
“You are one-hundred-percent correct, Vanek,” Charles replied with a smug grin. “I am up to something.”
Charles took the seat that Harold had vacated and waited for his wife and the older-than-he-looks doctor. He wore the same satisfied smirk until Melissa finally entered the room with Marc in tow.
“How is Arys?” Charles asked as he stood to embrace his wife.
Marc immediately went to Vanek and pulled out his tricorder.
“It’s still the same,” Melissa said quietly, trying to keep from disturbing Marc as he studied Vanek’s condition. “He’s never going to walk, again. He might even be on a respirator for the remainder of his life, Charles. How are we going to tell Harold that yes, he can have his son back, but that he is going to be taking care of him for the rest of his life?”
Melissa broke down and began to cry in her husband’s arms.
“Are you the man that our little friend pushed out of the way of a car?” Marc asked Vanek.
“I am, Doctor Furst,” Vanek replied. “I was distracted by a phone call with my T’hy’la at the time, and I did not see the car until after it hit the boy.”
Marc nodded as he studied the display on his scanner.
“You are very lucky, Vanek,” the young-looking doctor stated plainly.
“The boy was not as lucky, though,” Vanek said darkly. “I would like to be with my T’hy’la when he meets his son, Doctor Furst.”
“As long as you don’t mind being confined to a wheelchair, Vanek, I believe that I can make that happen.” Marc smiled at the Vulcan. Marc pulled out his communicator and tapped it. “Noah, can you get me a biobed to Room 307?”
“Two seconds, Marc,” came Noah’s reply before Marc stuffed his communicator in his pocket.
It took exactly two seconds before a biobed suddenly appeared with a very surprised looking Vulcan lying in the middle of it. Charles chuckled at the sight of Vanek’s leg being propped up by a bunch of pillows with Mickey Mouse on them. Vanek’s eyes were wide as he glanced to his left and saw the now empty hospital bed that he had just been lying on.
“Thanks, Ark,” Marc said absently.
“Don’t overthink it, Vanek,” Charles said with a grin. “You’ll just give yourself a headache.”
Charles turned his attention back to Melissa as Doctor Furst started repairing Vanek’s leg.
“What about the driver of the car, Melissa?” He asked her softly. “Did anybody press charges against them?”
“I’ll be right back,” she said in a dry tone before Melissa left the room.
Charles shook his head in disbelief before he turned back to where Marc was finishing up helping Vanek.
Harold stumbled forward slightly when he found himself suddenly standing in the center of another hospital room. A small blonde-haired boy was lying in the middle of a biobed, his eyes closed as his chest rose and fell slightly with each breath. The boy’s shirt was gone, and Harold gasped as he saw the different belt marks across his torso. Bruises upon bruises, some that looked as though they were only a few days old, and some that looked like they had been there for several weeks. Harold turned to look at the boy beside him.
“This is the victim?”
“Isaac Jennings,” Tyler replied. “He’s nine-years-old.”
Harold glanced around and saw a young man with auburn brown hair, wearing a dark blue polo shirt, and he had wire-framed glasses perched on his nose. His expression was filled with anger as he glared at a woman that was bound and gagged with rope, zip-ties, and duct tape. Her blonde hair was sticking up in all kinds of directions, and one of her eyes was beginning to turn purple and swell shut. A small boy with brown hair and brown eyes stood next to the woman, a look of grim determination on his face. What bothered Harold was the fact that only he and the two boys were moving.
“Why aren’t they moving, Tyler?” Harold asked the blonde standing next to him.
“They will in a moment,” the brown-haired boy said darkly. “Tyler is holding time in place while he gives you the facts of the case before you, Commander.”
Harold briefly remembered what his partner had said about not overthinking the situation and decided to just go with the flow.
“So,” he asked grimly. “What are the facts, in this case, gentlemen?”
“Commander Conner?” Tyler got the man’s attention.
“I am going to give you all of the information you need in a way that you’ve probably never experienced before, sir,” Tyler said in his small voice. “Just relax, and I’ll put it in your mind telepathically. Okay?”
Harold studied the boy for a moment.
I’ve heard that Clan Short was able to do more than anyone had ever expected, he thought before he finally nodded his consent to Tyler.
Less than a few seconds later, it was all Harold could do to keep from going over and murdering the woman known as Irene Jennings. He seethed with fury as he fought to maintain control.
“Are you good?” Tyler asked cautiously.
“Not yet,” Harold replied with a growl.
“Take as long as you need, Commander.”
“So,” Harold said to try and get his mind off of the woman he wanted to murder. She was only a few feet away from him, but the man knew he had a duty to perform, and justice had to be served. It was the only way to make sure that Isaac would be able to heal in peace. “You guys are both from Clan Short?”
Both boys nodded.
“I am Captain Tyler Short, Clan Short Intelligence,” the platinum-blonde introduced himself, before he motioned to the boy standing next to Irene. “And that is my teddy bear, Lieutenant Commander Kyle Richardson, Intelligence Director, Clan Short of Vulcan.”
“It’s nice to meet both of you,” he said. “Even if it is under such grim circumstances. If you need my help with these things in the future, never hesitate to call me.”
“I have a feeling that your future is already planned out for you,” Tyler said smugly before Harold’s ears were suddenly assaulted by the sounds of the woman’s muffled shouts and screams, effectively distracting him from Tyler’s statement.
“Ms. Jennings,” the young man was saying in a calm tone. “If you would just quiet down for a moment, I’m sure that. . .” The young man with the green eyes looked startled for a moment before he just grinned at Harold and Tyler. “You must be Lieutenant Commander Harold Conner?”
“I am,” Harold confirmed.
“I am Lieutenant Kyle Esparar of Federation Youth Services,” Kyle introduced himself with a brief nod. “Did Tyler explain to you the situation?”
“He did,” Harold said darkly as he turned his attention back to the pathetic looking woman. He glared at her, refusing to look away as her cries fell silent under his icy stare. “Kyle Richardson, please remove the tape from the accused’s mouth.”
The brown-haired boy nodded once before he reached over and yanked the tape off of the woman’s lips. She cried out for a moment at the sharp pain.
“You little piece of shit!” She spat angrily at the boy, but Kyle just gave her a look that silenced her.
“Irene Jennings,” Harold said in a commanding tone, grabbing everyone’s attention in the room. “You are hereby charged with multiple violations of the Safe Haven Act, including, but not limited. . .”
“All of these boys are faggots and sinners!” The woman screamed out defiantly. “God will judge you to burn in Hell for Eternity while I laugh at you from Heaven! The F.C.C. will live forever! It will take more than a bunch of queer brats to bring down God’s Right Hand!” The woman began to sing Amazing Grace in a nasal sounding voice that was flat and dull. Harold rolled his eyes in disgust.
“Irene Jennings, you are charged with violating multiple aspects of the following Articles: Article 11 – Physical Abuse, Article 12 – Mental Abuse, Section 17.3 – Failure to provide acceptable educational opportunities, Section 17.4 – You have repeatedly placed your son’s physical and mental health in jeopardy, Section 17.5 – You have been involved with illegal activities regarding the F.C.C. and you have been a witness to multiple crimes committed by them.” Harold paused for a moment as his emotions started to spiral out of control for a moment. He felt his hands shaking as he glared at the woman. “Do you have anything to say for yourself before I continue?”
“Harold,” Tyler said in disbelief. “She just thought of something else.”
“What is it, Tyler?”
Tyler hesitated and glanced back at Lieutenant Esparar.
“Tyler?” Harold pressed. He wanted to get this over with so he could return to his husband’s side.
“Lieutenant Commander Conner,” Tyler said in an official tone. “Irene Jennings is now also being charged with the attempted murder of a Vulcan official and attempted vehicular homicide. She purposely ran down Vanek, son of Vilnar, with her vehicle, and in turn, struck another child that is in critical condition, at the moment. This has now escalated into an Interplanetary incident. You are hereby instructed to tailor your judgement accordingly.”
Harold nodded and held up his hand to silence the boy.
“Irene Jennings,” the man said once he took a deep breath to regain control of his emotions. This woman was the reason that the love of his life was in the hospital. She was the reason that his entire life had been upset and he had been pulled back to Earth from an important diplomatic mission. Harold knew already the verdict that needed to be passed. He could practically feel the hatred coming off of the woman. “I have come to the conclusion that you have been so brainwashed by the F.C.C. that you will never change your ways, no matter how we try to help you. In other words, there is no hope for you. Even if there was, you would not deserve it for the way you have treated your son since you joined what you call a church, which is in fact, nothing more than a terrorist organization that apparently still needs to be taken down a few more notches. Tyler, do you have all of the relevant information regarding her associates?”
“I do, Commander,” the boy replied grimly.
“Good,” Harold said darkly. It was time for him to render his verdict, and only one thing would suffice. “Irene Jennings, you are hereby sentenced to death for your violations of the Safe Haven Act, and for the attempted murder of a Vulcan official. Do you have any last words?”
“Fuck you!” The woman spat angrily. “You won’t get any names from me! I’ll never tell you anything! That boy is a liar! I want a new trial!”
Suddenly, the woman was gone from Harold’s sight, and the man breathed a sigh of relief before he turned to look at the others gathered in the room.
“Where did she go?”
“I phased her out for the moment,” the younger Kyle said. “Isaac is starting to come around, and I didn’t want him to have to listen to his mother’s filth any longer.”
“Thank you, Mr. Richardson,” Harold nodded. “Is there anything else needed of me, at the moment? I would like to be with my T’hy’la. Who is going to be handling the execution?”
“I will be,” Kyle said. “As soon as Isaac wakes up.”
“I’m awake,” a groggy voice said making everybody turn and look at the blond-haired boy lying on the biobed.
Kyle and Tyler were about to go over to the boy’s side when Harold moved over there first. He sat on the edge of the bed and put his hand on Isaac’s chest.
“Isaac, my name is Harold Conner,” he said softly. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“Xander helped me,” the boy said softly. “After I broke out of my mom’s house. Then, we went to the park, and he gave me one of his sandwiches, even though he said it was Arys’ backpack.”
“Arys?” Harold asked suddenly. His mind froze as he thought about his infant son, and how he had been taken from him in the house fire nine years earlier. Harold shook his head for a second and focused his attention back on Isaac. Nothing else mattered. “Your mother did horrible things to you, Isaac. Things that are inexcusable, and she is going to be punished for what she did.”
Isaac’s look of fear changed to disbelief at the man’s words.
“She won’t be able to hurt me anymore?”
“No,” Harold confirmed. “I have sentenced her to death for her crimes, Isaac, and you will never have to worry about her or the F.C.C., again.”
Isaac’s look turned to relief and Harold patted the boy’s chest again.
“Now, I’m going to have your mother brought back in here, Isaac,” Harold said calmly. “She won’t be able to touch you. She won’t be able to talk to you. Hopefully, she won’t even be able to see you.”
“I’ll make sure of it,” Kyle Richardson said quietly.
Isaac looked at the man and the small boy beside him.
“Will she suffer?” Isaac asked meekly.
“For eternity,” Kyle replied darkly.
Isaac nodded and Harold stood next to the biobed. He nodded towards Kyle and a moment later, Irene Jennings was standing in the center of the room with a small stuffed animal shoved into her mouth. Kyle held up his left hand and made a fist.
“One second, teddy bear,” Tyler said. The air around Irene and Kyle flickered for a moment before a clear shield formed around the two. “Okay, now you can finish.”
“Thanks, Ty,” the brown-haired boy said before he glared at Irene Jennings.
The woman turned into a solid form just before a massive blood-red blast of energy shot out from his wrist and struck Irene Jennings in the center of her chest. Her entire body was absorbed in a bright ball of light that pushed against the shield that Tyler had put in place. Harold instinctively started to cover Isaac until he realized that the shield was holding against the massive blast that Kyle had thrown against the woman. The light swirled within the bubble, almost as if it was angry that it wasn’t able to go out any further.
I would hate to be on the receiving end of that, Harold thought grimly.
Finally, the light faded away leaving nothing but a pile of ash where Isaac’s mother had once stood.
“That was,” Harold searched for the right word as the shield vanished from existence with a slight poppingsound.
“Intense,” Kyle Esparar finished for him. Harold just nodded in disbelief at the man. “I need to go file my report with Teri. I will have Melissa debrief you, Commander Conner. Thank you for your assistance, today.”
“What about my dad?” Isaac asked quietly.
“Dalton Jennings is currently en route from the San Diego branch of Federation Youth Services,” Kyle Esparar told them happily. “He should be here within the hour.”
“I get to see my dad, again?” Isaac asked in a tearful voice.
The younger Kyle and Tyler each took one look at each other before Kyle disappeared, only to return a moment later with a very terrified looking Dalton Jennings standing next to him.
Harold quickly took control of the situation before the man had a panic attack.
“Are you Dalton Jennings?” Harold asked with a light smile on his face.
“I am,” the hazel-eyed man said in confusion. “What’s going on?”
“My name is Lieutenant Commander Harold Conner of Star. . .” Harold began, before he was cut off by Lieutenant Esparar.
“That’s just Commander, now, Harold,” Kyle told the man. Harold looked at the younger man in disbelief. “Oh, didn’t I tell you? You work for me, now. Your transfer paperwork will be in your email in a few minutes. Sorry, you can continue, now. I just wanted you to know what kind of authority you had over this situation. Only Clan Short can supersede our authority.”
Harold nodded numbly. Dalton and the two boys standing with him chuckled lightly.
“Well then,” Harold said, still in disbelief. “Dalton, I need to ask you a few questions, just to make myself feel better about the choice I have to make in a moment. All I ask, is that you are completely honest with me. Do you understand?”
“Yes, sir,” Isaac’s father replied quickly.
Harold nodded and paused as Tyler fed him some information about Isaac’s past with his father.
“Dalton Jennings,” Harold began in a serious tone. “Have you ever been a member of, or attended services of any F.C.C. controlled organization?”
“I have attended one of their so-called church services,” Dalton told him grimly. “It was shortly after Irene had started attending. She convinced me that it would be good for us to appear as a family, and I only did it so I could see what kind of filth they were feeding my son. I tried to convince Irene to stop going, but she wouldn’t listen. They had already gotten to her.” Dalton’s shoulders started to shake as he told his story. “The fucking church convinced that bitch to file for divorce, and to keep my son from me. Their lawyers fucking told the courts that I raped my son, when I had never touched him like that! I swear to it! I would never! I only loved Isaac,” the man said angrily. “He’s my son. I have to do whatever it takes to get him back, so I can protect him from his mother.”
“I think you pretty much answered everything that I needed,” Harold said with a brief nod. “I have two more questions for you. First, how would you like to come work in the Ohio Valley? I’m pretty sure that Melissa could use someone like you in her division.”
Dalton studied the man curiously, before he spoke up in a hesitant tone.
“Are you being serious, Commander?”
“I am, Mr. Jennings.”
“It wouldn’t be cheap for me to move, sir,” Dalton said sadly.
“It’ll only cost twenty dozen cookies,” the younger Kyle stated happily.
“I seriously doubt. . .” Dalton said before he and Kyle suddenly vanished from the room. They returned a second later, with Dalton suddenly nodding his consent and trying to move away from the small brown-haired boy. He coughed as he quickly reached out and shook Harold’s hand. “Job accepted.”
“I’ll have Melissa discuss your new salary with you, later, Dalton,” Kyle Esparar said as he stepped forward.
Dalton looked shocked before he looked around the room and saw a small figure lying on the biobed. The waft of blonde hair sticking out from a pile of pillows was all it took for Dalton to identify his child.
“Isaac?” He asked breathlessly as he stepped towards the bed. “What the hell did she do to you? I’m going to fucking kill her!”
The man had tears falling down his cheeks as he sat on the edge of the bed and took in his son’s condition.
“She’s dead, daddy,” Isaac whispered as he stared at his father in disbelief. The frail-looking boy reached up with one hand and touched his father’s cheek. Tears fell from the corner of his hazel eyes. “I’ve missed you, so much, daddy!”
Dalton couldn’t resist the urge to lean over and cuddle his son as much as possible without hurting him.
“Let’s give them some space,” Kyle Esparar suggested.
“Congratulations, Dalton,” Harold said as he reached over and patted the sobbing man’s shoulder. “You’ve got the next month off to reconnect with your son. I’ll make sure Melissa knows.”
“Thank you, so much, Commander,” Dalton said as he looked up at Harold with tears in his eyes. “You have no idea how much this means to me.”
Harold nodded and patted the man’s shoulder, again.
He’s right, Harold thought sadly, trying to keep his emotions from showing on his face. I don’t know how much it means to have your son back in your life, and I never will.
“You should come with me, Harold,” Tyler said, distracting the man from his gloom. “Vanek is waiting for you.”
Harold nodded and turned towards Kyle Esparar.
“Do you need me for anything else, Kyle?”
“No,” Kyle told him with a nod of thanks. “Make sure that you don’t forget to take a few weeks off for yourself, as well. I have a feeling that you’re going to need it.”
Harold was about to reply when the intercom above him chimed, and a woman started to shout over the speaker.
“Doctor Furst to ICU! Code Blue!” The female voice shouted in a panic. “Doctor Furst to ICU!”
Kyle Richardson vanished, leaving Harold and Kyle Esparar standing with Tyler.
“Mikyvis Taxi Service,” Tyler said with a slight giggle. “Speaking of taxi service, Harold. I believe we need to get back downstairs.”
Harold nodded and suddenly found himself standing next to Vanek who was sitting comfortably in a wheelchair. Charles jumped slightly as the man and boy appeared in the room.
“Welcome back, gentlemen,” Charles greeted them with a brief smile.
Harold nodded at his brother before he went over and sat in the empty chair.
“I need a nap,” he said grimly.
“That bad, huh?”
“Worse,” Harold stated.
“Nothing is fucking working!” Marc shouted angrily as he tried to get a solid reading off of his tricorder. The biobed had failed, and Marc was waiting on another one to arrive. He suddenly had an idea and turned to the tiny Mikyvis standing next to him with a look of fear in his brown eyes. “Kyle, can you go get me the biobed from Room 307, please?”
“Right away, Doc!” Kyle quipped before he vanished, only to return a second later with another biobed. Once Kyle had transferred Arys to the new biobed, he made the broken one vanish with a glance. “There you go, Marc.”
“Thank you, Kyle,” Marc said with relief as he began powering up the machine. His look of relief turned to one of horror when he realized that the second biobed was just as faulty as the first. “This isn’t possible! This unit was just working a minute ago!”
“All of the settings are correct, Marc,” Noah stated from his position at the end of the bed.
“Get me another bed, then!” Marc demanded.
Melissa was standing in the corner of the room with Xander held firmly in her arms. The tiny boy that she thought was her brother was in tears as he watched his friend slowly slip from existence. His entire body was trembling as he watched the young-looking doctor try to save Arys’ life.
“Nothing is working,” Marc said hotly. “Get me another tricorder!”
“Save him!” Kyle pleaded with his hands clasped together. “He has to be saved before his dad gets here!”
Kyle Richardson was getting angrier as Marc continued to fail to save Arys’ life. The monitors were blaring obnoxiously, and Marc was beginning to lose hope.
“There has to be something they can do,” Xander whispered desperately. “They can’t let Arys go!”
Xander turned his blue eyes to Melissa, but only saw the look of hopelessness in her own tear-filled gaze. Xander was heartbroken. He didn’t want to lose Arys. He had promised him that he would protect him, even if it cost him his own life, Xander would keep Arys safe!
“Marc,” Noah said in a solemn tone as the monitors were all beginning to show the same result. They were losing Arys, and there was nothing any of them could do. Noah turned and looked at Kyle and Melissa with tears in his own eyes as Marc hung his head sadly. “I’m sorry, Director Conner, but there’s nothing we can do.”
“No!” Kyle screamed out in terror! “There has to be something! If you won’t do it, then I will!”
Kyle ran over to Arys’ side and held his hands out over the small boy. A golden glow began to cover the two boys until another boy with strawberry blonde hair suddenly appeared in the room as Charles led Harold in through the door. Charles held Harold back just inside the door once he saw what was going on.
“You’re not allowed to save him, Kyle,” the blonde-haired boy said sharply.
“You can’t stop me, Davie!” Kyle declared soundly as he tried to start the glow back up again.
Davie made it vanish with a wave of his hand.
“What are you doing, Davie?!” Kyle practically screamed at his friend.
“I can’t let you do this, Kyle,” Davie said softly before he turned his gaze towards Xander. “Come here, Xander. It’s time for you to learn the truth.”
“Davie?” Xander asked in disbelief.
“What’s going on, Charles?” Harold asked in confusion until his eyes locked on the tiny boy lying on the biobed. He took a hesitant step forward, trying to keep from getting his hopes up as he felt himself being drawn towards the boy. Tyler appeared in front of the man and put his hand on Harold’s chest to stop him.
“Not yet, Harold,” Tyler said firmly.
“Davie, I don’t understand what’s going on,” Xander said quietly as Melissa set the boy back onto his feet. He stumbled over to Davie in a daze as he continued to watch Arys with a falling heart. “Don’t let him die, Davie. Please?”
“We’re not going to, Xander,” Davie said softly as he reached out and pulled Xander into his arms. “You just need to remember a few things, first.”
“Stop wasting time, Davie!” Kyle demanded. “Just let me do this!”
“Stop, Kyle,” Tyler said as he suddenly appeared next to his hurting partner.
“He’s dying, though!” Kyle sobbed as Tyler pulled Kyle close.
“Have faith, little ones,” Davie said, his voice sounding like it was being sung by a chorus of angels as his street clothes fell away into a set of white robes that hung loosely from his shoulder. Everyone, except Tyler and Kyle, looked on in disbelief as a set of golden wings appeared on Davie’s back and he stretched them out to their full width. Davie looked down at Xander and wiped a tear from the boy’s cheek with his thumb. “You have been punished long enough, Alexander Charles Martin, and it is His decree that you be returned to your former standing.”
Davie put his hands on Xander’s cheeks before he kissed the boy on the forehead and wrapped his wings around both of them. A golden glow filled the room as Davie hid Xander from everyone’s sight. Charles and Harold exchanged looks of confusion and disbelief as Melissa had to sit down to keep from fainting. Vanek wheeled himself forward to Harold’s side and took the man’s hand in his own. Tyler and Kyle kept ahold of each other as the glow continued to get brighter until everyone had to look away. When the glow faded, Xander was standing in front of Davie, with his own set of white wings fully extended. Xander turned and looked at Arys, sadness, and longing in his eyes as he retracted his wings and stepped over to Arys’ side.
Xander sat down on the edge of the biobed and placed his hand on the dying boy’s chest. His blue eyes were filled with tears as his memories of everything that had happened between the two of them continued to rush back into his mind. Xander trembled as he thought about how he had ruined Arys’ young life with just a simple miscalculation. It was a mistake. An error in judging his own strength, and he had failed his entire family. The family that Xander had sworn to protect when his own life had been tragically ended so long ago.
“I’m so sorry, Arys,” the angel said to the boy, sadly. “I made a mistake a very long time ago. It was so bad, that you were sent to the wrong universe. I swear that I never meant to hurt you. I spent seven years trying to find you before He found me. He stripped me of my wings, Arys, and sent me to the Earth with no memory of my past life. It was my punishment for failing you. I have failed you many times, Arys. None of them are excusable, but I can try to make up for it, now.”
Xander climbed up onto the biobed and pulled the tiny-lifeless form into his arms. Xander wrapped his wings around both of them as a chorus of angelic sounding voices filled the room with its song. Everyone waited breathlessly for the result.
While they waited, Davie approached Kyle and Tyler. He had tears in his eyes as he knelt next to the eight-year-old.
“What?” Kyle asked, clearly still angry with the angel.
“You’re not Superman,” Davie told him sternly. “Not everything can be handled by you! If you don’t start thinking about the consequences of what you are doing, then you will never be one of the High Races.”
Kyle looked at Davie in shock. The blonde had never been this blunt with him before. Kyle was about to say something, when Tyler cut him off by grabbing his hand.
“He’s right, Kyle,” Tyler said sadly. “We can’t fix everything.”
“I want to, though!” Kyle declared. “I could have saved him!”
“It wasn’t your place to save, Harris,” Davie said sternly. “It was never meant to be your task, yet you tried to make it your task without even questioning my stance on the issue. If you don’t stop, you’re going to cause a war that’s not going to be solved with just a flick of the wrist. It’s going to destroy the universe. Just stop, and think before you act, Kyle. Some things are meant to happen for a reason. Is it really up to you to decide somebody’s destiny?”
“He’s just a boy, though, Davie!”
“And that’s what makes it even harder to be what you are, Kyle,” Davie told him simply. “Trust me, I know how hard it is to see people you care about cross over to the other side.”
Their conversation was brought to an end as the chorus faded, and Xander released Arys from his wings. Arys took a deep gasp as the air fluttered into his lungs, and his eyes blinked open slowly. He sat up and looked around before he hugged Xander, tightly.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Arys repeated over, and over, again. His entire body shuttered as his sobs of joy filled the small room.
“Son of a bitch,” Marc muttered in exasperation before he went over to Melissa and tried to muster the best puppy dog eyes that he could. She was about to pull the doctor onto her lap when Kyle and Tyler suddenly appeared in the spot, giggling happily as they snuggled into the surprised looking woman. Marc frowned until Charles walked over and held his hands out to pick up Marc.
“I know I’m not a woman, but I do know where to get the best ice cream,” he said with a grin. “Plus, I sort of owe you for fixing my friend’s leg,” Charles added as he jerked his thumb towards the wheelchair-bound Vulcan. “Well?”
“If you don’t go, Marc, I’m going!” Noah quipped.
Marc practically jumped into Charles’s arms with a smile.
“You can still come with us, Noah,” Charles told the other boy from the A.I. Division.
“I need to check on Isaac, first,” Noah said with a slight grin. “Just make sure you bring me back something with peanut butter in it.”
“Yes, sir,” Charles said as he gave the boy a salute with his right hand before taking a look at his surprised looking wife. “Are you going to be okay, Melissa?”
“Yeah,” Melissa said as she looked up at her husband with a sad smile. “This has just been a busy day.”
“Oh, right!” Charles said with a wide grin. “There’s just one more thing that needs taken care of.” Charles turned to face Harold. “Harold, I’d like you to meet your son, Harris Michael Conner. You might see the resemblance if you look closely enough.”
“What?” Harold looked between his brother and the sobbing boy being comforted by the angel. “That’s not possible.”
“Strange things happen every day, Harold,” Charles said with a shrug. “The doc and I will be back in a little bit. He needs some ice cream to recharge after having to deal with your husband.” Charles saw that Vanek was about to say something and quickly left the room with his young-looking friend.
Harold turned to look at Arys and couldn’t believe what he was looking at. He had thought Arys was dead for so long.
“Is it really him?”
“It is,” Davie said with a nod. “He was taken from you because of a mistake that his Guardian Angel made at the time. There was no way to rescue him until recently, though. It’s actually a rather long explanation.”
“It’s him!” A terrified small voice said from Xander’s lap. The boy’s green eyes were open wide in terror as he stared at the brown-haired man talking to the angel. “It’s the fucking Monster!”
Everyone looked between Harold and Arys in disbelief.
“How is that possible, though?” Kyle asked. “This is your father, Arys.”