Memories Part 1: The Gathering

Chapter 9

Once the boys returned to Cory's room, Sean decided that it would be best to have a serious talk.

"Kyle, Ty," Sean started, "We all need to talk. Do you guys promise to pay attention, or does JJ have to sit between you?"

This caused both suspects to blush fiercely, but they then looked at each other and answered as one; "We'll listen."

"Okay, everyone grab a seat on the bed then." Sean said with a grin.

"Cory, JJ; can I go ahead and speak for you? You know what I need to talk about, and it is something we share."

Both boys nodded their head yes.

"Thanks. Ty, listen up. I have a few things to talk about. Since it looks like you are going to be living here, there are some things you need to know about us. It's nothing bad, but it would be better to know now if you are uncomfortable, instead of finding out later. First thing is, do you know what it means if someone is gay?"

"Doesn't it mean that they are really happy?" Ty replied. This immediately produced a round of giggles from all the other boys, which took a few minutes to settle down.

"In some cases, yes, that's right." Sean replied, grinning. "But it also has another meaning. When a guy likes other guys instead of girls that means gay too."

"Does that mean I'm gay?" Ty replied. "I really like Kyle a lot! It scares me if I think he is even going to leave the room." He then looked at Kyle, the fright in his eyes obvious. It increased as he realized what he had just said.

Kyle saw the fear, and immediately pulled Ty into his arms to prove it was okay. The other three boys just looked on in shock, not believing they had heard an eight year old profess love so plainly. Once he felt Ty relax again, Kyle started to pull away, but he stopped long enough to whisper softly in Ty's ear. "Ty, even if you can't see me, you don't need to worry. I PROMISE I will never run away from you." He then looked deep into Ty's eyes, and watched the fear melt away as Ty realized he was serious. The boys resumed their positions side by side, holding hands to give each other strength.

Sean finally recovered. "Well, that saves me quite a few things I was going to ask. I guess that means you have no problems with Cory, JJ, and me being gay, do you?"

Kyle spoke up. "I feel about Ty like he does about me, so I guess I'm gay too!"

"All you guys have been so nice to me, I wouldn't care if you were from Mars!" Ty replied. "But I don't care who you like, the judge said you are going to be my brothers forever, and if being gay was bad he wouldn't let you be my brothers. I have always wanted a big brother, but the closest thing I ever had was you, Sean. Now I have a whole bunch of big brothers!"

Sean smiled at the logic behind Ty's statement. "Kyle, Ty, you guys are too young to tell if you are gay for sure, but I think there is a chance that you might be. Being gay is something you are born with, like the color of your eyes, but it's hard to be sure till you are eleven or so. Don't worry, we all will support you; no matter if you are gay or not when you get older. Now, Kyle, we can all see that it's impossible to separate you and Ty, so it's a good guess that you will probably be sleeping together tonight. Don't you think there is something you need to tell him? And Ty, don't laugh, promise?"

"Okay, I won't laugh, I promise."

Kyle shrank in embarrassment; the insecure little boy showed through as he looked at his feet. He mumbled just barely loud enough to hear. "Sometimes at night, I have accidents, I pee the bed. I guess you should know something else too. I'm not normal in my privates; instead of two nuts I only have one."

By the time Kyle had finished, Ty was holding him tightly, not speaking, but showing his support through body contact. Once Kyle settled back down, Ty spoke softly "I don't care about the pee, if it's an accident, then there nothing either one of us can do. Don't worry about your privates; I like ALL of you Kyle, just as you are. If only having one nut helped make you like this, then I'm happy you only have one."

Kyle gave a small smile. "Thank you, Ty. You don't know how much better I feel hearing that from you. You're the greatest."

"I think that just about covers anything that could be a problem." Sean said. "What you guys think about pl...?" Sean stopped when Kyle suddenly sat up straight with a far away look in his eye.

"JJ, you need to go get John NOW!" Kyle barked. "Mike is talking in my head again; he says it's urgent!"

JJ started to run for the doorway, but he then remembered the intercom in the room. He pushed the all-call button, and yelled into the microphone. "If anyone can hear me, we need John up here NOW!"

JJ then ran over to the door and opened it. The sounds of adults running up the stairs made it quite clear he had been heard.

"What's wrong?" an out of breath John asked.

Kyle started to speak, but Cory interrupted him. "You won't believe it, but trust us. This is not the first time this has happened, but Mikey can somehow speak to Kyle in his head so that Kyle can understand him. It happened just now, and he told Kyle to get you in here quick. Please listen, this is not a joke."

Before anyone had a chance to answer, Kyle spoke. It was not his normal voice; it seemed deeper and much more urgent. "Mike says there is a Days Inn at the corner of University and 109th. Ty's parents are in room 126, and they have his half-brother Adam there. Mike said to get someone over there now, because Adam is about to get hurt by them." As soon as he finished, Kyle collapsed onto the bed, looking completely drained.

Ty cuddled down next to him. "Are you okay, Kyle?" Then it hit him what Kyle had just said, and he began sobbing. "I have had a brother and nobody told me? They left me for him, now they are going to hurt him too. WHY?" Teri came over to the bed and pulled both boys into her arms, slowly calming Ty while reviving Kyle.

There was just a seconds hesitation, but then John quickly looked around the room and spotted the phone on the computer desk. He strode over to the desk. "Joe, I'm glad you witnessed this, because nobody is gonna believe the source!" John said as he reached for the phone. He quickly dialed a number, which was answered almost immediately. "Ruth? Sheriff Martin. I just got a lead on the parents who abandoned the Cooper boy. The information also suggests another boy may be in danger. Roll all available units to the Days Inn at University and 109th, Code 3. I'm rolling now, call the manager and request he standby with keys to room 126. My ETA is 5 minutes. I'll radio you from the car." John looked over at the boys. "Kyle, Ty, JJ; come with me. Everyone else load up in the other cars and follow me, if Mike is right you all might be needed before this is over."

With JJ's help, Teri managed to get Kyle and Ty to John's car. Cory, meanwhile, made sure all the seats in Teri's Suburban were folded up for use. Sean followed Cory, and as they were latching the 3rd row seat in place, they were surprised to hear the deep rumble of Dan's Camaro starting. The two boys looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders.

"Guess we'll be alone with Mom" Cory quipped.

"OK guys, strap in." Teri stated as she walked up at climbed into the drivers seat. The roar of Dan taking off, as well as the smell of scalded rubber, told everyone who would be there first.

Dan's Camaro had been parked at the curb, so by the time John and the boys backed onto the road, Dan and Joe were already out of sight. John flipped on his dash flashers, and then sped off with Teri's Suburban in close pursuit. JJ was in the back of John's car with Kyle and Ty, holding them and calming Ty down.

Sean and Cory were in the center row of seats in the Suburban. Cory leaned forward and asked Teri; "If Adam is Ty's brother, does that mean he might be moving in with us too?"

"I don't know, son. If he is taken from Ty's parents, I would think that they would want to keep them together. I will try to keep him and Ty together, if they want it and all of you agree to it. It's amazing how well all of you have bonded, but if he doesn't fit in I will not force you boys to live with him. Remember, none of us has even met him, not even Ty."

In the other car, John picked up the radio. "Unit 3 to all units, there is a black 93 Camaro en route to the Days Inn at 109th. You are instructed to escort him to that location if you spot him; the vehicle contains emergency response personnel."

"This is unit 23, he is on Hickman, and I just waved him in behind me."

"This is unit 3, thank you unit 23."

"Unit 3 to all units, Clear channel 2 for Days Inn traffic only."

"Dispatch to unit 3, Channel 2 clear for Days Inn. All units, all other traffic is to move to Channel 3"

As they pulled into the lot, John turned around and said; "Boys, stay low in the back seat there. Either an officer, one of your parents, or me will come and tell you it is okay to get out. I don't want to take a chance of any of you getting hurt."

As the car came to a stop, the motel manager came up to the driver's door. "I have to ask this, Sheriff. Why do you need access to room 126? And do you have a warrant?"

"We have information the occupants are wanted, and other information a crime might be in progress. That's all I can say. If you have a pen, there's a judge sitting in the passenger seat of that Camaro who will gladly sign the warrant to make you happy." John replied.

Just then, Dan walked up and handed a paper to John. "Joe said you might need this," he said with a grin.

John smiled. "Never mind the pen, it looks like he found one." he said as he showed the signed warrant to the manager.

The manager reached in his pocket, and handed the master key card to John. "Thanks, Sheriff; that was all I needed; now both of us are covered. That key will open the Cooper's door as long as the deadbolt is not set. If it is, you will have to kick down the door to open it."

John waved Dan to go back near his car, and then, after a quick conference with the rest of the officers, the police moved into the lot near room 126. Two of the officers went up to the door. "This is the Polk County Sheriffs Department. Open up, we have a warrant."

There was no response from inside, so one of the officers tried the key card. It turned the light green, but did not release the latch. "Someone's inside, the deadbolts set." the other officer said over his radio.

Both officers suddenly perked up. "We just heard a loud slap then a scream inside; request permission for forced entry." the second officer called over the radio.

The manager was standing behind John and heard the radio. "Go ahead." he said. "If anyone bitches, I'll take the heat." John nodded, and then motioned two other officers to move in to assist in opening the door. "Access authorized." he called into the radio.

The two largest officers moved in and set themselves to kick, while the other two took up positions to move into the room. It took two solid kicks, but then the door suddenly caved in. The second two officers moved in fast. The officers still outside heard a "thud", and saw one of the inside officers start to fall, then a shot was heard from in the room.

"Unit 57 to dispatch; Roll EMS to Days Inn, shots fired, officer down." John quickly called over the radio. The outside officers locked and loaded, then crashed into the room.

A minute later, there was a scream; then a preteen boy came running through the door, totally naked. He was covered in welts and marks from what appeared to be a belt. As he ran across the lot, John moved to intercept him. As John got closer, he could see most of the marks seemed fresh; but there were also bruises starting to appear, which told John that the torture had been going on all morning. Every inch of the boy's slim body seemed to have a mark on it.

As the boy reached the grassy area at the edge of the lot, John finally got close enough to grab him.

"Are you Adam?" John asked as he caught the boy and held on to him as carefully as he could.

"Don't hurt me!" the boy cried.

"I'm not going to hurt you. I'm John Martin, the sheriff here. You are safe now; I won't let anyone hurt you."

The boy collapsed, crying, into Johns arms. John knelt so that the boy could sit on his lap, and let him cry out the pain. John looked up after a few minutes, and noticed JJ heading toward him. He looked towards his car, and saw Teri there with the rest of the boys. When JJ reached them, he did not say a word, but dropped his shorts so that he was just in boxers and a long tee shirt. He handed the shorts to John. "He needs these more than I do."

John smiled at the generosity of JJ. He lifted the boy's head, and asked again in a soft voice; "Is your name Adam, buddy?"

"Yes, Sir." he sobbed.

"Please call me John, I get a feeling you will see a lot of me when I'm off duty. It looks like you have already made a friend. This is JJ, and it sounds like he has decided that he would prefer to walk around in his boxers instead of letting you stand here nude."

Adam dropped his head in shame, and mumbled through his tears "He don't want me to wear them, I'm a no-good queer. Nobody would want to be friends with a faggot, and if I did put them on, he would probably throw them away when he got them back. That way he wouldn't catch cooties from me. I bet he would never want them back."

On hearing this, JJ quickly walked up to Adam. He lifted Adam's chin so he could see his face. "Adam, there is no such thing as a no-good queer. You are gay, so am I, and so is the boy who all the clothes that I'm wearing belong to."

JJ noticed Adam had hair just like his little brother, a blond so bright it looked silver, and as he lifted Adam's chin to look him in the eye, he found the most amazing ice-blue eyes he had ever seen. Adam stood up straight as JJ lifted his chin, and it became evident they were almost exactly the same height. Dan moved off to the side of the boys, and was pleasantly surprised when JJ knelt down to assist Adam, helping him put the shorts on with a minimum of pain.

As the shorts were finally wiggled in place, John was shocked again as Cory walked up and stripped off his shirt; he then handed it to JJ so that JJ could help Adam put it on.

"It's probably best he has a shirt too, bro. Ty is gonna freak if he sees all them bruises up close. That's not what anyone wants to see on his big brother, especially not the way he's all marked up. By the way, I'm Cory." Cory then got a grin on his face "You know what? I think my clothes are being worn by half the city today. Let me guess, you must be Adam, right?"

Adam gave a little smile at the humor, "Yeah, seems like everyone knows me already." Suddenly it registered what Cory had said. "You said his big brother? Wait a second; did you say Ty? Tyler? You mean Tyler Cooper?"

"That's him. He is waiting over there to meet you. He did not even know he had a big brother until just a little while ago" Cory replied.

Adam was overcome with rage, but managed to speak through clenched teeth. "That bastard told me Tyler was dead! Mom got real sick, so she called him. She had told me I was going to be living with him, his wife, and my little brother, but when I asked where Tyler was, that bastard told me he was dead."

Cory took a chance. "Who did this to you?"

"They both did, I was getting along great, then I thought I'd be honest and tell them I thought I was gay, but then the next thing I knew they had stripped me and both of them were beating me with belts and slapping me."

Just as Cory had asked who did it, Joe walked up, so he heard what Adam had said happened. "Hi, Adam, I'm Judge Lewis, but call me Joe out of the courtroom. I'm the local family judge, so I can make emergency placements if I see a reason to. What you just said is more than enough reason; so I'm placing you with the first available emergency home. The good news is; it happens to be these boy's mom that is available. The better news is; it happens to be the same place that Tyler is going to be living from now on."

"What about them?" Adam asked, as he looked toward the motel room in fear.

John spoke up first "Don't worry about them; the state of Iowa tends to frown on gay bashing. The state REALLY frowns upon it when it's a child who is the victim and the bashers are adults. On top of that, they abandoned Tyler; so my guess is they won't even be allowed to have Beanie Babies. There is a better chance of me becoming President of the United States next year than there is of them EVER getting custody of either you or Tyler."

Joe chuckled. "Well put, John." He then looked back at Adam. "He was right, though. Put those two out of your mind, John's boys will handle them. Right now, you need to follow along with your new brothers, that way you can meet the rest of your family. John and I have to write down a statement from what you just said, and then he needs to secure the area. Later on, he will probably need to ask you a bunch of questions, but for now you have been through enough. Once we get this all cleaned up here, we are going to take you to the hospital to be checked out. We need to make sure that you are going to be okay before you go home with your new family, wouldn't you agree?"

Adam looked at Joe quizzically. "But how do you know they are going to be my family? They're probably not going to like me. There is no way all of them are going to want someone they don't know around, especially someone who is gay."

"The reason I know is I will be the one signing the papers," Joe replied. "As far as the rest of your question, ask Cory and JJ."

Cory turned Adam toward him before speaking. "I can tell you now, being gay is not a problem in this family. The only person who lives in the house who is not gay is mom; and she supports all of us as long as nobody gets hurt. The two youngest, one of which just happens to be your little brother, are too young to tell; but they both are showing signs that they may be too. Sean and I have already talked to mom; and she agreed to let you join the family as long as all of us agreed to it. Honestly, from what I have seen so far, you will fit in with the rest of us with no problem. Actually, you are a lot like your little brother, so you should fit in great. Besides, I think goofy over there might be developing a crush on you!"

Both boys looked over to see JJ standing there with a beet-red face. "Well ... ummm ... what can I say, he's CUTE!"

Adam pulled JJ close. "You are too, but how you can think I'm cute looking like this we are going to have to have a LONG talk about!"

JJ and Adam both giggled over that statement then returned their attention to Cory, once they had finally calmed down.

"I will warn you," Cory continued, "Sean will probably get on your case if you talk down about yourself around him. It will be because he wants to help you though, not because he is mad. He is the best guy I know to talk to; maybe later we can sit down and catch up on everyone's recent troubles. Right now, though, there's an eight year old little boy who is going to kill us if we don't get you over to him. By the way, how old are you, Adam?"

"I just turned twelve on July 30th. By the way, thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Cory and JJ, I feel a little better now."

"AWESOME!" JJ broke in, "my birthday is August 1st!"

"You're welcome, Adam," Cory replied, "and I guess since my birthday is July 31st, that means we get to have a MAJOR three-day party next year!"

Adam smiled. "I'm already starting to feel like I fit in. You guys are great!"

Cory and JJ each took one of Adam's hands, then they escorted him to the waiting group by the car. As they walked, JJ talked to Adam. "You know, everyone has problems. The difference with this group is; all of us kids have sworn to stand alongside each other, and to help with those problems. If it's something we can't handle, there are a BUNCH of adults who are willing to help. You never have to worry about there being nobody there to help if something happens."

Just then they reached the car. It was obvious Teri had been keeping Ty's attention, that way he didn't see Adam and the boys walk up. Everyone else watched expectantly to see how the first meeting of the brothers would go.

Adam smiled, and tears of joy started slowly running down his cheeks. "Tyler? Is that really you, little bro?"

Ty froze, and then slowly stood up. "Adam? ADAM!" Ty almost ran over Adam running to give him a hug; once Tyler reached Adam, he buried his face in Adam's shirt. When he opened his eyes, he finally saw the damage on Adam's arm. "WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU?" Ty screamed.

"I will be alright, bro. They tried to hurt me, but it don't matter now, because I'm with you. If you will let me, I want to stay here and be one of your big brothers."

"Adam, I will never forgive them for what they did to you. And if you ever try to leave, Kyle and I will hunt you down and drag you back."

"Thank you little bro. By the way, I'm curious, why did you say Kyle and you? Why not just you?"

"Oh, yeah, you wouldn't know that. Kyle is like my other half; ever since we met this morning, we have been kinda like glued together. I don't know why, but being without him by me scares me. It's kinda like he is a missing part of me that I just found"

"Kinda like glued together? That's an understatement!" Cory giggled.

"Yeah," JJ chuckled, "if one of them farts, the other one's butt cheeks flap!"

Just then Teri came over with the rest of the group; and, as if proving their point, Kyle immediately came over and wrapped his arms around Ty.

"Hey Ty, are you gonna introduce your big brother, or do we all have to just guess?" Kyle said with a grin.

Ty lightly elbowed Kyle, but then stepped back so he could point out everyone. As Ty stepped back, JJ came back up close alongside Adam and held his hand.

"Everyone, this is my big brother Adam. Adam, watch close, I'm going to show you OUR family! You already know Cory; well that big old teddy bear hanging on him is Sean. This cute cuddly boy hanging from my arm is Kyle, and you probably already know the kid hanging from you is JJ. Over here is our mommy, Teri, and next to her is Dan, he's JJ and Kyle's daddy. It's weird, even though some of us have a different mommy and daddy, we are all brothers, Sean will have to 'splain it though; it makes my head hurt to try to figure it out."

"I'll do that later," Sean chuckled.

Everyone came up to hug Adam, all being careful not to hurt him.

As Teri started to walk away with Dan, Sean pulled them aside. "I'm going to take Adam to the Suburban. From what Cory has said I think he will fit in great, but I would like to talk to him too. I'll let you know for sure when we are done."

"Okay, don't grill him too much though; I think he's been through enough today." Teri replied.

"No problem, mom." Sean then walked back to the group, all of whom were trying to keep Adam's attention.

"Hey guys, I hate to interrupt, but I need to talk to Adam alone for a couple of minutes. It's nothin' bad, but it needs to be in private. There's only one problem; Ty, could you and Kyle try to separate JJ from Adam so Adam can come to the Suburban with me? That way, we can sit in it to talk."

Adam started to panic until he noticed that Sean was smiling, and then he fully relaxed when he felt Sean's hand being carefully laid on his shoulder. It amazed him that Sean was apparently giving him comfort as he was being guided to the Suburban.

As Adam carefully perched on the edge of the Suburban's seat, Sean suddenly realized how much pain the boy was really in, and how he must be straining not to show it. "Adam! You should have told us you were hurting that bad! We would have got you here sooner if you had said something"

The concern in Sean's voice was the final straw; Adam started sobbing. "Why are you all being so nice to me; I KNOW you will all hate me next week, just like everyone else. My mom would rather smoke a joint with her friends than pay attention to me, and as soon as my dad found out I might be gay he tried to kill me." He then gave Sean a defiant look through his tears, challenging Sean to prove him wrong. "Why should all of you be any different?"

"That's all over with, Adam." Sean said patiently. "I don't know about your mom, but I will bet she had worse problems in her own head, it was not you. As for that s.o.b. you got stuck with as a father; do you know what he and his wife did to your little brother? They left town while he was in school Friday; he finally found a note they had left for him in, of all places, a frigging cereal box he finally opened this morning! Be glad you are not still with them; they were nothing but trouble waiting to happen. I'm just glad we were able to save you, and I hope you will be happy living with us. Anytime you need to talk I'm available. I have no idea why, but somehow it seems that everyone comes to me lately, even though Dan is the shrink." Sean carefully put his arm over Adam's shoulder in a semi-hug. "We really DO want you to stay with us. Mom said the final decision was up to Cory and me, I know what Cory thinks, and I know that I really want you to stay too. All of us older kids are gay, and I'm pretty sure the two young ones are too, so fitting in here is not a problem. Once we get you fixed up at the hospital, we can go home and have a talk with all of us boys together, that way everyone knows what's happened to everyone else."

Adam was shocked; he could tell Sean was serious. "OH MY GOD! I didn't know they did that to Ty! Sean, if you are all willing to give me a chance, I'll try not to disappoint you. Please promise me that I won't be kicked out again, though."

"That I will promise. Here's a secret for you, even if you do happen to do something that makes mom mad, she will never kick you out. Once you hear what Cory has been through you will understand, she does not give up on anyone." Sean began to get out of the truck. "Stay here bro; I'm going to get the others so we can get you checked out by a doctor." Sean took off at a jog towards the adults; lines of worry crossing his face as he pondered what the latest addition to his family had just been through.