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Mouse and Luke walked into their room and each automatically went to sit on his own bed.
"Do you want to talk about what it was like for you before you came here?" Mouse asked cautiously.
"Not really." Luke said quietly.
"Okay. I don't really want to talk about mine either. I just wanted you to know it's okay if you feel like talking about it." Mouse said awkwardly.
Luke nodded, then said, "Yeah. Same here."
"What do you feel like doing now?" Mouse asked in an obvious effort to change the subject.
"Let's see how Paul is doing. I don't want him to feel left out or alone." Luke said in a considering tone.
"Yeah. That sounds good to me." Mouse said with a smile.
Luke returned the smile and stood to follow Mouse out of the room.
* * * * *
As the name Kevin came out of Simon's mouth, he remembered that it was the name that Mr. T had said earlier.
Simon quickly opened the door and stood back so Chief Tecumseh and Kevin could enter.
Cory and another of the guys Simon had seen that morning hurried past him and followed Chief Tecumseh into his bedroom.
As Simon was about to close the door, the cute guy from that morning walked in followed by a Starfleet Lieutenant and an Asian guy with a bandage covering half his face.
"Um, I'm sorry but I don't remember your name. I'm Jake, I met you this morning. Um... where's the bathroom?" Jake asked timidly.
Simon smiled at Jake's casual nature and pointed as he said, "I'm Simon and the bathroom is right over there."
The Asian guy started toward the bathroom but the Starfleet officer stopped him by putting a hand on his shoulder.
Simon inwardly flinched at the sight of the casual contact and moved back to the table where Arlo's soul was in the bowl of water.
"Please let me check first." Simon heard the Lieutenant say before he walked into the bathroom.
Simon was surprised by the gesture then realized that the Lieutenant was probably security and he was protecting this hurt guy.
"It looks like another new guy might be moving in." Simon said into the bowl.
A moment later Simon saw the Lieutenant give the new guy the okay to go in the bathroom, then stand by the doorway in a protective stance.
"Either this new guy is someone really important, or he's been hurt really bad and needs someone around to protect him to make him feel safe." Simon said into the bowl in a contemplative tone.
Simon watched as Jake talked with Obie for a few seconds, then said something to the Lieutenant before walking down the hall, probably to his bedroom.
Obie walked out into the common room and hesitantly asked, "What's going on?"
"I'm not really sure, but would you get Trent and Jose out here? I think that maybe there's something important that you guys can help with." Simon said carefully.
Without a second's hesitation, Obie ran to gather the other two boys.
"I'm going to tell the guys what I'm thinking. You can sit this one out." Simon said with a smile into the bowl.
After a moment, Simon said, "Don't give me that look. Don't worry about how I know, I just do. This once we're going to let the other guys handle things."
* * * * *
Obie, Trent and Jose hurried to Simon and waited expectantly.
"You guys remember what it's like to be new here. You know, what it felt like on your first day?" Simon asked carefully.
"Yeah. I was almost nuts from everything that was happening around me." Obie said quietly.
"We all were Obie. I think we've got a new guy in the bathroom. He's all bandaged up and probably not sure about everything that's going on. To top it off, he's got a guy who looks like Starfleet security watching out for him. That tells me that something pretty bad was probably done to him if he needs an armed guard to make him feel safe." Simon said seriously.
"What should we do?" Jose asked cautiously.
"Help him. Make him feel at home. Don't crowd him too much, but make sure he knows that he's welcomed.... there he is." Simon finished abruptly as the new guy walked out of the bathroom.
"Don't worry. We'll take care of him." Obie said seriously and led Trent and Jose to meet the new guy.
* * * * *
Mouse and Luke walked into Simon's bedroom and hurried to Paul's side.
"What's going on?" Mouse asked as he looked around.
"No clue." Paul said frankly.
The three stopped their conversation abruptly as Chief Tecumseh and a young boy ran into the room.
"You!" The young boy said with a look of such hatred and disgust on his face that Paul felt an instinctive urge to crawl up on the bed and protect Kevin, who was still in Devon's arms.
Two more boys ran into the room and as soon as the younger one saw the boy in the bed, he said, "Kevin! There you are!"
Paul's eyes went wide as he watched the boy climb up on the bed and give Kevin a warm hug.
Jerico walked cautiously to the angry young boy just inside the door and said, "I'm guessing you must be Kevin."
Paul looked from Arlo/Kevin in the bed to the young boy standing by the door and realized that this was the little boy who was filled with so much hate that even his own soul couldn't stand to be around him.
In a firm voice, the little boy said, "Yes, I'm Kevin Thompson."
"It's nice to meet you Mr. Thompson." Jerico said formally, then continued, "My name is Jerico Foote, I'm a Shaman... that's kind of like a priest."
Paul was puzzled at his cousin acting so courteously to the horrible little boy.
"You can call me Kevin." The boy said with a giggle, then said, "Nobody ever called me Mr. Thompson before."
Paul looked at Kevin curiously and realized that he wasn't an evil hateful person after all. He was just a boy.
"Okay Kevin, and you can call me Jerico or Jerry if you want." Jerico said gently.
"Okay Jerry." Kevin said with a smile.
"Kevin, you know who that is over there in the bed don't you?" Jerico asked as he pointed to Arlo/Kevin being held by a boy.
"Yeah. I mean, I don't know who he is outside, but inside it's the whining crybaby fraidy-cat thing that I used to have inside me. It looks like it found someone else to live off of." Kevin said seriously.
Paul was shocked at the description, but decided to wait and see what was going to happen.
"You're wrong." the boy holding Arlo/Kevin called out from the bed, "This is my brother. I don't know what you are, but somehow I'll find a way to undo whatever you did and get Kevin back."
"You think I'm not your brother!?" Kevin said with disbelief.
"I'm the one who fought to protect you in the alley, not him! The only thing he'll ever do is take from you, he'll never give you anything back. He's nothing but a leech." Kevin said in an increasing voice, looking like he was about to cry.
Paul could see that Kevin really did love the boy, his brother, and being denied by him had hurt him deeply.
"I really am your brother and I really do love you Kenny. The difference is, that thing you're holding NEEDS you to love him. I can love you and not want anything in return." Kevin said in a voice that was trying to sound reasonable.
"I'm sorry Kevin... I saw him hurting the way you did when I met you and I thought..." The boy, Kenny, trailed off.
"So you believe me?" Kevin asked cautiously.
"Yeah. I do." Kenny said quietly.
"Guys, we have a problem here. We have to find a way to get Kevin to take this part of his spirit back. Otherwise this little guy is going to die." Jerico said, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room.
"No way. I don't know what that thing is, but you should let it die so it can't hurt anyone else." Kevin said in a defiant voice.
"It's part of you Kevin. It's part of your true self." Jerico said in a tone of voice that was begging for him to understand.
Kevin shook his head and said, "So what? Just because it used to be part of me doesn't mean I should take it back. It's like a tumor or cancer or something."
Paul was startled at the statement and looked carefully at Arlo/Kevin in thought. Just a few minutes ago he was so sure of what was the right thing to do. The spirit fragment needed to go back where it belonged... but now.
Paul could see the reasoning behind Kevin's argument and didn't know what he would do if he had to face the same choice.
A movement caught Paul's attention and he saw a tall thin boy with dark blond hair walk into the room and stand just inside the door.
"You really don't want him back, do you Kev?" Kenny asked quietly as he looked across the room at his brother.
"No. I don't even want to be in the same room with that thing." Kevin said honestly.
Paul noticed that Jerico was looking at his Uncle Hawkeye, silently asking him to step in and straighten things out.
"You said that he's going to die if Kevin doesn't take him back, right?" Kenny asked into the silence that had fallen over the room again.
"That's right. Arlo's body is rejecting him and he's too weak and incomplete to survive as a disembodied spirit." Jerico said softly.
"What would happen if I took him?" Kenny asked in a voice of deep concentration.
Paul felt his eyes go wide at the question.
"You can't. This is part of your brother's soul. All the pain and fear that this little guy is carrying would become a part of you. It would hurt you. Your spirit would probably reject it, but if it didn't... that much pain and fear could drive you insane. Honestly, I don't even know if I could do it. I've never heard of it being done." Jerico said distantly.
The boy by the door finally said, "So what are the options?"
"Kevin has to accept this part of his soul back into himself..." Jerico began to say.
"Which he won't do." The boy by the door said simply.
Jerico nodded, and said, "Or we let it die."
* * * * *
After his pressing business had been taken care of, Dylan noticed some stuff laying in the floor of the bathroom.
He walked over and looked in one of the pouches to find it filled with a brownish-gray powder.
The next pouch seemed to have a mixture of herbs.
"I've heard of safe places, but to leave your stash laying out like this is just crazy." Dylan muttered to himself as he went to wash his hands.
As he approached he saw his reflection in one of the mirrors over one of the sinks.
Dylan forced himself to look down as he washed his hands.
"Jake said this place is okay. I've got to give it a try." Dylan said to himself as he felt panic welling up within him.
After drying his hands, Dylan walked out of the bathroom and was surprised to find that Jake wasn't waiting for him.
"Jake said to tell you that he was going into that room." Lieutenant Masterson said quietly.
"Oh, thank you." Dylan said in an overwhelmed voice.
"Hi!" A boy said happily to Dylan.
"Hi." Dylan said cautiously and could feel them staring at his face.
"I'm Obie and this is Trent and Jose. Are you going to live here with us?" The boy asked hopefully.
"I guess so." Dylan said hesitantly.
"That's SOOOOOO AWESOME!!!" Obie crowed, then covered his mouth and looked around to see if anyone was going to yell at him.
"I think Obie is happy because that means you're going to be his roommate." Jose said with a big smile.
"That's right. I just moved in here tonight too so we can both have our first night in our new home at the same time." Obie said with excitement.
"Dddddo you wwwwwant ttttto sssssee your room?" Trent forced out.
"Yeah, it's the one right next to the bathroom which is the best one to have because when you need to go you're right there." Obie said in a ramble.
Dylan held up his hands to try and get the excited boys to give him a second to answer.
After a blessed moment of silence, Dylan calmly said, "Yes, I'd like to see the room. But if you guys get too hyper, I might have to ask Lieutenant Masterson to stun you."
The boys gathered around Dylan and Lieutenant Masterson and guided them into the first room past the bathroom.
* * * * *
Simon watched with amusement as the boys dragged Dylan and his security escort away.
"I bet after this job, that security guy will start carrying a phaser rifle." Simon said into the bowl of water.
"Don't worry Arlo. We've got the Shaman, that Kevin guy is here, Cory is here... and you know that Cory can do almost anything. Whatever is going to happen is probably happening right now."
"It won't be long now. As soon as you get back into your body I want to hear all about what it was like... or whatever else you want to talk about. I just miss the sound of your voice." Simon said quietly.
The front door of the cabin flew open and the two guys that Simon actually got to meet that morning ran into the room.
Deacon and Lawrence. Both of them looked scared half to death and before Simon could say a word, they ran off down the hall and into his room.
Aaron walked in next and carefully closed the door.
"Hey Simon. Sorry about that, the guys were in a hurry." Aaron said shyly.
"I could tell. What's going on Aaron?" Simon asked cautiously.
"Honestly, I don't have a clue. But I probably need to be in there." Aaron said and walked casually to Simon's bedroom.
* * * * *
"No! You're wrong. You're worried about this piece of Kevin's spirit hurting me, but you don't care that it already hurt Kevin. You want him to take it back even though he already said that he doesn't want it. Well, I love my brother and I don't want him to hurt. But I love this part of my brother too and I want him to live. I want you to give him to me." Kenny said firmly.
Paul felt tears well up in his eyes as he thought about how much love this boy must feel for his brother to be willing to suffer or even go insane to keep a part of him alive.
"I don't think the spirit fragment will be able to survive in you." Jerico said quietly.
"We're twins. IDENTICAL TWINS! We're the same!" Kenny said firmly.
Paul wiped his eyes, then looked at his Uncle Hawkeye when he said, "Jake, this course of action is very dangerous. Try and make your brother understand the gravity of the situation."
The boy by the door said, "I'm with Ken. If he believes that this is the right thing to do, I'll trust him."
"Really?" Kenny said with surprise from the bed.
"Yeah Ken. If you say it'll work, then I'm with you." the boy by the door, Jake, answered.
In a voice that was almost too quiet for Paul to hear, Kenny told his brother, "I'm sorry I thought you weren't my brother for a while. I understand now. I know that since I'm going to take the part of yourself that you hate into me that... well, that you might hate me too."
"I won't hate you, I promise! I'll always love you." Kevin said with teary eyes.
Paul smiled as he heard Kenny say, "I'll always love you too Kev."
Jerico seemed to be frozen in thought so Paul finally asked, "So are you going to do it?"
Jerico reluctantly nodded and turned to face Kenny as he said, "Okay... It looks like I don't have any other choice. I'll give it a try. Are you really sure?"
Kenny looked at Kevin, then at Arlo/Kevin in his arms then peacefully said, "Yeah. Do it."
"I left some things in the bathroom that I'll need." Jerico said as he started walking toward the door.
"STOP!" A boy screamed as he entered the room at a run.
* * * * *
"Okay, this is our room, I just moved in here today, but if you want the bed by the door, it's okay with me. I won't mind moving." Obie said quickly.
"No, I think I'd rather have this one anyway." Dylan said as he walked to his bed and took a seat.
"Nnnnnneed Ccccclothes?" Trent struggled to say.
Dylan thought about the question, then said, "Yeah, I guess I do. Dr. McCoy gave me this jumpsuit thing on the Enterprise. I don't really have anything else."
Trent nudged Jose and gave him an aggravated look.
"I think Trent wants to know if you know your sizes." Jose said, then looked at Trent with question.
"Yeah. Why?" Dylan asked cautiously.
"Because they keep all kinds of clothes in the admin building in case someone shows up without any. We can go over there and you can pick out whatever you want." Jose said happily.
"Yeah, and then this weekend they'll take all of us to the mall and I bet they'll let you pick out a whole bunch of stuff since you didn't bring anything with you." Obie said with excitement.
"Do you want me to stun them?" Lieutenant Masterson asked with a smile.
Dylan smiled at the question and said, "Not yet. But you might want to keep that phaser handy."
"I'm sorry if I was bugging you. I want you to be happy here so if you want me to be quiet, I will be... I'll try to be." Obie amended.
"It's okay. You don't have to be quiet, but I wouldn't mind if you calmed down a little. I'm feeling a little weird right now and all you guys talking fast and bouncing around isn't making it better."
The room went silent as Trent walked to stand before Dylan and look him in the eye.
In his most determined voice, Trent forced himself to say, "I nnnnever ttttalk ffffast."
Obie and Jose were the first to break into laughter at the statement.
Trent and Dylan finally joined him.
Dylan was surprised when he noticed that Lieutenant Masterson was fighting down chuckles.
* * * * *
Paul's eyes went wide when a guy with wings appeared out of nowhere and started talking to them.
Everyone else seemed okay with it, like it happened everyday.
Paul finally came out of his shock enough to understand that the angel was asking Cory, Jake and Aaron to get someone named Dylan settled into his new home.
"Do you think we should go too?" Mouse whispered to Luke and Paul.
Luke shook his head, then pointed at the angel.
Mouse thought for a second, then said, "Mikey didn't ask us to leave, so that probably means that we're needed here for something."
Luke nodded his agreement, then turned his attention back to what was happening.
Paul cautiously looked over at the angel again, not at all certain about what was about to happen.
* * * * *
Dylan looked up as Cory, Jake and another boy walked into the room.
"Sorry about leaving you Dylan. I just wanted to make sure my brothers were okay." Jake said quietly.
"No problem. I've just been getting to know my roommate and his friends." Dylan said with a smile at the boys.
"I thought you'd like Obie. He's a good guy." Cory said with a grin at Obie.
"Do I know you?" Dylan asked the blond boy who had walked in with Jake and Cory.
"You might. I'm Aaron Carter." Aaron said cautiously, not knowing what type of reaction to expect.
Dylan looked at Aaron in wonder, then asked, "Are you sure?"
Aaron chuckled at the question, then answered, "Yeah, pretty sure."
Dylan ducked his head at the stupidity of the question.
"Jake thought you might enjoy a celebrity welcome to your new home." Aaron said, wanting to divert attention from Dylan's embarrassment.
"Yeah, I wasn't sure if you listened to Aaron's music, but I thought you'd like to meet him either way." Jake said casually.
Dylan looked up shyly and said, "Yeah, thanks Jake. It makes me feel like I'm important or something."
"Well you'd better get used to it." Cory said frankly.
Dylan looked at Cory with question.
Cory looked Dylan in the eye and firmly said, "You are important so you'd better get used to feeling that way."
Dylan didn't answer, but his expression clearly spoke his disbelief.
"There's no way you'll believe it now, but he's right. Everything that's happened to me the past week has made me feel so important and special that I can't even imagine living like we did in Chicago." Jake said seriously.
Dylan glanced at Jake, then broke into a smile.
Seeing Jake happy and accepted gave Dylan more hope for the future than anything anyone could have said to him.
* * * * *
"Devon, I'm going to need to hold on to Arlo for a while to keep him safe. Thanks for doing such a good job taking care of him." The angel, Mikey, said and drew Paul's attention.
Paul watched as Mikey scooted into the bed to hold Arlo/Kevin.
"Shhh. Don't worry little one, you're almost home." The angel whispered.
One of the guys who just ran in walked up to Kenny and asked, "Will you trust me?"
"Sure Deacon." Kenny said and seemed to be confused or concerned about something.
"Hold still." The boy, Deacon, said, then held his cupped hands in front of Kenny's stomach.
Paul watched in amazement as a sphere of sparkling light slowly emerged from Kenny's chest.
The light floated out and stopped all movement a few inches above Deacon's hands.
Mikey held Arlo/Kevin's body tightly as a blond boy cupped his hands in front of Arlo/Kevin and did the same thing. Except that Arlo/Kevin's light was dim and hazy.
As the sphere of light floated over the blond boy's cupped hands, he whispered, "It's okay. You don't have to be afraid now."
"Tell me what you see." The angel called out as he held Arlo's unmoving body in his arms.
"I have fear." The blond boy said quietly.
"I have safety." Deacon said with assurance.
"I have loneliness." The blond said as if he were feeling it himself.
"I have companionship." Deacon said in a voice filled with love.
"I have strength." The blond said, sounding surprised.
"I have weakness." Deacon said in exactly the same tone.
"I have wisdom." The blond said and started to smile.
"I have innocence." Deacon said and didn't look sure how he felt about that.
"I have stubbornness." The blond said with a chuckle.
"Uh oh." Deacon said as he looked carefully into the sparkling orb.
He glanced up and looked around the room before saying in a hesitant voice, "I have stubbornness too. A lot of it."
An amused chuckle spread through the room.
Deacon looked over at the blond and gave him a loving smile.
Paul suddenly realized that these two boys were in love. The look that they exchanged couldn't be anything else.
The two boys walked toward each other holding their glowing spheres before them.
Deacon held his sphere forward, as if offering it to his lover.
In response, the blond lifted his fainter glowing sphere to float beside the brighter one.
Paul watched as the two orbs began to pulsate.
In a movement that seemed to be slow motion, the larger sphere absorbed the smaller one into itself.
Deacon and his boyfriend looked into the new, brilliantly shining sphere with matching expressions of peace and joy.
Quietly, the angel said, "The spirit is now complete, brought full circle. That which started as one has become whole again, as it should have always been."
With their hands nearly touching, the two boys carefully guided the glittery sphere of light to Kenny.
"Is that thing going to hurt him?" Kevin asked in a voice that held an underlying tone of warning.
"No. The frightened child is safe. The lonely child is forever held in his brother's arms. This won't hurt Kenny, it will complete him." The blond boy said with a happy smile.
"If you wanted, you could share this complete spirit with your brother. The two of you would become what you should have always been." Deacon said quietly.
"Kevin, it's your choice. Kenny will be fine either way. All you have to decide right now is if you want to share a soul with your brother. You will literally become soul-mates, friends for life." The angel said from the bed, still holding Arlo in his arms.
Paul watched as Kevin and Kenny exchanged a look.
"I'd really like to share it with you if you'd let me." Kenny said seriously.
"What about Uncle Chip?" Kevin asked in deep thought.
"What about him?" Kenny asked in confusion at the question.
"Kevin. You'll still be you and you'll still love who you love. The only difference is that now you won't feel the same desperate need for acceptance and hunger for his love and attention that you felt before." The angel said peacefully.
Paul's head whirled at the fact that Kevin was in love with his uncle, then decided to put that one out of his mind for a while so he could focus on what was happening in front of him.
"Good." Kevin said with relief.
"So, are we gonna do this or what?" Kenny asked with a smile at Kevin.
Kevin nodded and returned the smile.
"Hold your brother." The angel said from the bed.
Kevin walked to Kenny and gave his brother a gentle hug.
Paul smiled at the scene before him.
This expression of love before him touched him down to his soul.
Deacon and his boyfriend carried the sphere of light and raised it up between them.
Carefully they walked together to stand on either side of the brothers, then slowly let the sphere of golden light come to rest on Kenny and Kevin.
Paul watched in amazement at the beautiful sight of the pure spiritual energy being absorbed into the two brothers.
"That wasn't so hard. It's done." The angel said happily.
"I don't feel any different." Kenny said as he reluctantly released his grip on Kevin.
"Not yet. But you are different in a fundamental way. Every day of your life until now you've had this little feeling inside you that something is missing. Even if you didn't know what that feeling was, it was always there in the background." The angel said in concentration.
As Kenny nodded at the statement, Paul considered the angel's words and realized that he had an emptiness like that within him.
"Nothing is missing now. You can rest. You can truly know peace. The two of you have each other now... and forever." The angel said happily.
"Wow. That sounds really cool but... I still don't feel any different." Kenny said in an apologetic voice.
The angel chuckled and said, "You will. It's a fundamental change to the core of your being. When you finally notice what's different, it's going to blow you away."
"What do we do now?" Kevin asked in confusion as he looked around.
"I think you guys need to help get Dylan settled in, then get Aaron to take you back to Uncle Chip's house. The rest of us have another situation to sort out here." The angel said as he held Arlo's unmoving body close to his chest.
Kevin ran to the angel's side and gave him a quick hug, then said, "Thanks for helping me Mikey. I still think you're the best angel ever."
"Not a problem little guy. I was just fixing something your parents screwed up by separating you two when you were so young. Now go on and have fun showing Dylan around. I've got more work to do." The angel, Mikey, said gently.
"Okay." Kevin said happily and ran to Kenny who was waiting for him at the foot of the bed.
* * * * *
"Hey Dylan, how are you doing?" Kevin asked happily as he finally found the room that Dylan was in.
"Me? I'm great! Jake fixed it so I could meet Aaron Carter." Dylan said happily.
Aaron chuckled and said, "I live right across the street. By this time next week you'll probably think it's no big deal."
"Yeah, and the week after that you'll probably be trying to throw him into a swimming pool." Cory said with a laugh.
Dylan looked at Cory with a wide eye.
"The guys throw me in the pool a lot. It's just something we do." Aaron said shyly.
"Yeah, he'd think we didn't love him anymore if we didn't do something to tease him every now and then." Cory said with a warm smile at Aaron.
After a moment of thought, Aaron said, "I still think my way is better. I just say it... I love you Cor."
Cory was taken aback by the serious note in Aaron's voice and stared at him in wonder.
Jake looked from Cory to Aaron and finally said, "Nah, it's less painful to just throw him in the pool."
Cory began to chuckle and nodded his agreement.
"So it looks like all the serious stuff is done in the other room. Is everything okay?" Jake asked curiously.
"Yeah. Mikey fixed everything." Kevin said happily.
"How's everything with you Ken?" Jake asked with concern.
Kenny looked at Jake and gave him a gentle smile as he said, "Really good. Thanks for what you said back there Jake. You know, that thing about trusting me... I'll never forget it."
Jake smiled and said, "I meant it Ken. You've been honest and nice to me since we first met. Even if you weren't Kevin's brother, I'd like you and trust you."
Kenny blushed and said, "If there was a swimming pool here, I'd throw you into it right now."
Jake chuckled and said, "I love you too Ken."
* * * * *
"Mouse and Luke, would you help Simon bring Arlo's soul in here?" Mikey asked hopefully.
"Sure." Mouse said quickly, then glanced to see that Luke was following.
Mikey turned to face at Jerico and said, "With everything going on, we didn't get formally introduce. I'm Saint Mikey."
"Nice to meet you." Jerico said hesitantly.
Mikey chuckled and said, "Don't worry, you're doing fine. I'm just here to keep Arlo's body going until you can get him put back together."
"Are you sure that you want me to do it?" Jerico asked cautiously.
Mikey gave a gentle smile as he said, "Of course. You had everything under control here and you would have done just fine without me. You just didn't have any way of knowing what to do about the twins."
"Oh. Um, well thanks." Jerico said uncertainly.
"Once you get Arlo put back, I need to talk to you." Mikey said, then looked around the room and continued, "All of you."
Jerico slowly nodded, then noticed Simon, Luke and Mouse carefully carrying the copper bowl of water into the room.
"It's your show." Mikey said with a smile as he held Arlo firmly.
"Bring it over here." Jerico said as he walked to the side of the bed.
Devon and Uri took a few steps back to allow the three boys to get by.
As the bowl was placed on the bed beside Arlo, Jerico cautiously took hold of Arlo's hand.
"Hold on to the bowl. He might jerk or something and I don't want to spill it before we're finished." Jerico said carefully.
Mouse, Luke and Simon all took firm grips on the bowl.
"Okay Arlo, it's time." Jerico said and carefully placed his hand into the water.
"That's not going to make him pee the bed is it?" Mouse asked seriously.
"I hadn't thought of that." Jerico said as he waited to see Arlo's reaction.
"Don't worry about it. If that happens, we'll deal with it." Mr. T said assuringly.
Chief Tecumseh nodded and said, "Such things happen occasionally."
"Go on Arlo. It's safe. It's where you belong." Jerico said into the bowl as he watched Arlo carefully.
Silence fell over the room as everyone watched, waiting for something to happen.
Suddenly, Arlo's body took in a deep gasp of breath, then his eyes snapped open.
"It worked. He's back." Jerico said with a smile and released Arlo's hand.
"What? What happened?" Arlo asked in confusion.
"A lot. I'll tell you all about it later." Simon said with relief.
Arlo looked at Simon with question, then his eyes went wide as he appeared to remember something.
"What's wrong?" Simon asked slowly with concern.
Arlo looked around the room quickly, then his gaze fixed on Uri.
"What..." Simon began to ask, but was stopped by the look of complete terror in Arlo's eyes.
"NO!" Arlo screamed, then bolted out of bed and ran for the door.
"What's wrong?" Simon asked in confusion.
"Simon, follow him. Everyone else, stay here." Mikey said firmly as he stood.
It took a moment for Simon to comprehend the words, but he quickly followed Arlo out of the room.
"Shouldn't we go to see that he's okay?" Mr. T asked with concern.
"Simon is the only one who can do what needs to be done." Mikey said seriously.
* * * * *
"Uri, wait." Mikey said firmly as Uri walked toward the door.
"I... I must go." Uri said past his churning emotions.
"No. What you're planning won't do anyone any good." Mikey said seriously.
"How do you know what I am planning?" Uri asked cautiously.
Mikey flexed his wings to their full span and glanced over his shoulder at one of them for an instant, then said, "Maybe I'm just a really good guesser."
Uri looked around the room and noticed that everyone was frozen in place, like statues.
"I pulled us out of time so we could have a talk." Mikey said casually.
"You know?" Uri asked in a trembling voice.
Mikey nodded solemnly.
Uri looked at the floor and asked, "Is there any way I can be forgiven?"
Mikey looked at Uri with sympathy and said, "Yes. That's why we're having this talk."
"What must I do?" Uri asked cautiously as he dared to look up at Mikey.
"I think you already know. You've known since you got here." Mikey said seriously.
"But I cannot ask him." Uri said desperately.
"Maybe not. But that doesn't change the fact that it needs to be done." Mikey said frankly.
"I do not deserve his forgiveness." Uri said in a voice that held no hope.
Mikey shook his head and said, "Uri, you don't get to decide that. You have to let it be Simon's decision. You need to give him that authority over you so you can restore the balance."
Uri stood quietly for a moment, then asked, "Is there no other way?"
"None." Mikey said firmly.
After a moment of thought, Uri quietly said, "Then I am damned."
"Only if you choose to be." Mikey said with sympathy.
Uri looked at Mikey with question, then noticed that everyone in the room was moving again.
* * * * *
Simon stepped out the bedroom door in time to see Arlo rush into the bathroom.
He quickly followed and found Arlo curled into a ball, crying in the floor of one of the bathroom stalls.
"What's wrong?" Simon asked in a whisper.
"I... I... I saw what he did to you... I felt it. All of it." Arlo whimpered.
"Who? What did you see?" Simon asked as he crouched by Arlo's side.
"Uri. I saw what he did to you. Oh my God! How can you live here with him? How can you stand to be in the same room with him?" Arlo asked in a shaky voice as he hugged his knees to his chest.
Simon let out a sigh as he realized what Arlo was talking about.
"He raped you! Oh God! I can still feel him touching me." Arlo said as a shudder ran through his body.
"Listen to me Arlo. You're only seeing half the story." Simon said quietly as tears filled his eyes.
"No I'm not! I saw everything. I FELT it! He hurt you!" Arlo screamed.
"If you'll calm down, I'll explain." Simon said gently.
"What's to explain? You need to tell someone... You should call the police! He should be in jail!" Arlo said desperately.
Simon shook his head and waited, not knowing any way to make Arlo calm down.
"He's the reason you can't let anyone touch you. What he did to you... you still feel it don't you? That's why you have the nightmares..." Arlo said as he searched Simon's eyes.
"You need to listen to me." Simon whispered.
Arlo finally noticed the serious expression on Simon's face and tried to calm himself.
"Are you ready to listen?" Simon asked cautiously.
Arlo hesitantly nodded.
"What happened wasn't Uri's fault." Simon began.
"But I saw him. I felt him." Arlo said with a shudder as he hugged his knees even more tightly.
"Yes. But he wasn't doing it because he wanted to." Simon explained quietly.
"I don't understand." Arlo said slowly.
"You know I used to do porn before I came here, right?" Simon asked carefully.
"Um, yeah. I saw some pictures of you on the net once." Arlo said shyly.
Simon nodded and said, "The guys who made me do that stuff wanted to make a porno for the really sick freaks out there. They thought they could make lots of money from it."
Arlo looked at Simon cautiously, not sure he wanted to hear what was next.
"They put me in a room and locked me in there for about six hours." Simon said as his eyes became distant.
"I didn't know what was going to happen, but I had a feeling that it was going to be something really bad." Simon said in a pained voice.
"Then Uri came in and... well, you know that part. He beat me and... um, raped me." Simon said quietly.
Arlo began a slight rocking as he continued to hug his knees.
"But it wasn't his fault. He was doing what he was told to do." Simon said in a whisper.
"What?" Arlo asked in confusion as he stopped his rocking.
"You've got to understand, the people who brought Uri in there told him to rape me. And if he didn't do it the way they wanted him to, they probably would have beat him or maybe even killed him. That's the way they did things." Simon said quietly.
"But... he hurt you..." Arlo said in a small voice.
Simon looked Arlo in the eyes and said, "Uri has never talked to me about what happened that day. I don't know if you've noticed, but he doesn't talk to me... ever."
Arlo thought about it for a second, then said, "I never really noticed. Uri kind of keeps away from everyone."
Simon nodded, then said, "The day that Uri arrived here and he saw me... I could see it in his eyes. Arlo, as much as that memory hurts me, I think it's twice as bad for him. Think about it. What kind of monster would you feel like if you were forced to hurt someone the way he hurt me? I don't know about you, but I can't even imagine what kind of pain he's feeling."
"So you really don't blame him?" Arlo asked cautiously.
Simon shook his head, then said, "No, I don't blame him. But there's something inside me that's still afraid of him. I don't know if I'll ever be able to get past it."
Arlo nodded his understanding.
"But I can't let that stop me. As much as those memories hurt me, I can't let Uri see it. He needs to see that I'm okay so he can forgive himself." Simon said carefully.
Arlo stopped all movement as he thought about the statement.
"Everyone at Camp Little Eagle was rescued from something, but I think that there's a part of Uri that still needs rescuing. And I'm the only one who can do it." Simon said quietly.
"No. You're not the only one." Arlo said in a whisper.
Simon looked at Arlo with question.
"I'm part of this now. If Uri needs to be rescued, we'll work together to help him." Arlo said, trying to sound self-assured.
Simon gave a brief smile and said, "Thanks Arlo. It'll be good to have help."
Arlo gave a weak smile in return.
"Let's get back to our room. I bet the other guys are worried about you." Simon said as he stood.
"Yeah... I was meaning to ask, what happened?" Arlo asked cautiously.
"You were just possessed for a while. I'll tell you all about it later." Simon said with a peaceful smile.
Arlo was startled by the statement , but finally nodded his acceptance.
* * * * *
"So are you going to take Dylan to the mall this weekend?" Obie asked with excitement.
"Sure, that sounds like a good idea. You guys think about what stores you'd like to go to and we'll get Dylan completely set up." Cory said happily.
"Um, I don't understand where you're going to get the money to pay for that stuff... or what I'll have to do to pay you back." Dylan said cautiously.
"The Clan established this camp so that children in trouble can have a safe place where they can grow and learn so they can have a chance at a decent future." Cory said carefully.
"Clan Short is a Vulcan clan. A share of the money to support this camp comes from Vulcan. Each planet that accepts the Safe Haven Act also contributes to supporting the camp. Beyond that, we also receive donations from certain companies and individuals who appreciate the work that we do." Cory finished as he looked Dylan in the eye.
"So what do I have to do to pay you back?" Dylan asked seriously.
"For now, just accept what you're being given. If you feel honor bound to pay back what's being spent on you then after you leave Camp Little Eagle continue our work and help kids in need. That's the only payment that we'll ever ask of you." Cory said firmly.
"Okay. I think you believe what you're saying, but I should probably talk to that Chief guy to make sure he believes the same thing." Dylan said cautiously.
Cory chuckled and said, "You can talk to him if you want to, but I have to warn you..."
Dylan watched Cory's expression carefully.
With an impish grin, Cory said, "...Chief Tecumseh works for me."
* * * * *
"You said you needed to talk to us." Mr. T said as he noticed a strange pained expression on Uri's face.
"In just a minute. We need to wait on Simon and Arlo." Mikey said, then glanced at Uri with concern.
"While we're waiting, can I ask you some questions?" Jerico asked cautiously.
"You can ask, but I probably won't answer. You have to find the answers to the big philosophical questions for yourself." Mikey said with a note of regret.
"Oh. Well that knocks out the majority of what I was going to ask you." Jerico said in thought.
Mikey chuckled and said, "You won't have time to worry about that stuff anyway, you're about to get very busy."
"I am?" Jerico asked cautiously.
Mikey nodded seriously.
"What am I going to be busy doing?" Jerico asked hesitantly.
"Being the camp's resident Shaman." Mikey said frankly.
"I am?" Jerico asked slowly.
"He is?" Mr. T asked in exactly the same tone.
"Look at the people in this cabin. You've got one with such power that he can't speak without hurting people, another who's a spirit medium with incredible potential, and a few more with other gifts that will need to be nurtured. For years you've been searching for a place where you're needed, where you can make a difference, now you're here." Mikey said seriously.
"When you put it that way, I guess you're right." Jerico said as he considered the words.
"Excuse me, I know you were talking about Luke and Arlo, but who has the other gifts and what are they?" Mr. T asked slowly.
"I've told you all I can. I just wanted you to be on the lookout for them." Mikey said seriously.
Conversation stopped as the door opened.
* * * * *
"Kenny? Why are you smiling?" Jake asked curiously.
"Because he is." Kenny said as he pointed at Kevin.
Jake glanced at Kevin and couldn't help but chuckle at the glowing smile on his face.
"So why are you smiling Kevin?" Jake asked with a grin.
"Cause he is." Kevin said as he pointed at Kenny, then started to giggle.
Jake turned to Dylan and said, "You see what I have to put up with?"
"I can think of worse things." Dylan said, then let a small smile escape.
"Me too." Jake said frankly, then looked at Kevin curiously.
"I just feel like smiling. It's like there's just something in me that feels happy." Kevin said, not letting his smile fade for an instant.
"I think it's your 'little guy'." Kenny said happily.
Obie broke into laughter at the statement.
A moment later, Trent and Jose were laughing right along side Obie.
Jake rolled his eyes and said, "You'd better watch out for these guys Dylan, I think they might have dirty minds."
"I was talking about this part of Kevin's spirit..." Kenny tried to explain to the boys who were laughing hysterically.
Jake glanced at Obie nearly convulsed in laughter, then said, "Give it up Ken. They think you're talking about boners."
By now Dylan and Cory had been drawn into the infectious laughter.
"Maybe he was." Kevin said quietly, then started to chuckle.
"Not you too." Jake said as he shook his head.
"Jake, you'd better just go with it. You're outnumbered." Cory fought to say past his laughter.
Jake glanced at Lieutenant Masterson who had his hand over his mouth trying to hide his smile.
"Jake." Kenny said with a curious look on his face.
"What is it Ken?" Jake asked cautiously.
"I can feel him. The little guy." Kenny said with wonder.
"What does it feel like?" Jake asked with a smile.
"It feels like he's laughing his teeny tiny little ass off." Kenny said, then crumpled to the floor in laughter.
Jake looked to the ceiling and asked, "Where's Xain when I need him?"
"Why... why do you need... Xain? Do you have a happy little guy for him?" Kevin asked through his laughter from the floor by Dylan's bed.
Cory and Dylan broke into fresh gales of laughter at the question.
Jake shook his head in exasperation, then started to chuckle.
* * * * *
"Sorry about that." Arlo said shyly as he walked in at Simon's side.
"No problem. I'm glad to see you feeling better. Now let me fill you in on what's going to happen." Mikey said seriously.
"Do you want me to get the other guys?" Simon asked cautiously.
"No. Just the people in this room. The others will be brought into it later, when they're ready to take on the responsibility." Mikey said firmly.
Deacon and Lawrence shared a look with each other, feeling distinctly out of place.
"A storm is coming and you guys need to be prepared." Mikey said firmly.
Chief Tecumseh looked at Mikey curiously and said, "I take it that you don't mean a literal storm."
Mikey nodded and said, "It's too early to know how it will manifest, but it's coming; A force that will stand in opposition to Clan Short."
"Then shouldn't Cory be in here for this?" Mr. T asked seriously.
"No. He needs to focus on what's right in front of him at the moment. We need to look ahead and prepare. When the danger manifests, Cory will recognize it and do what needs to be done. If you guys are prepared when he needs you, the Clan might have a chance of surviving this." Mikey said firmly.
"Then what do we need to do?" Devon asked carefully.
"What you need to do Devon, is to do what you do best. Study. Knowledge is your source of power. Jerico can provide you the books and other resources that you'll need. Everyone else will need to find their own source of power and develop it." Mikey said as he looked around the room.
"It's likely that our enemies will manipulate circumstances to get me out of the way before they act against you. In fact, there's a chance that I might not see you again in the coming weeks. Deacon and Lawrence will be able to provide you valuable information and offer some assistance if that happens."
"Chief Tecumseh can make arrangements for the resources you'll need for your training." Mikey said as he looked to Chief Tecumseh and received a nod.
"Mr. T can teach you to become a team. All of you need to learn how to be leaders... and followers. This will be a critical lesson no matter what form our enemies choose when they face us." Mikey said firmly.
"The first and most important thing the rest of you need to do is to resolve the issues in your past. Anything that is unresolved can be used as a weapon against you." Mikey said as he looked from Simon and Arlo to Uri.
"Jerico, your first job is to train Paul. I know you'll be tempted to show him the basics so you can devote your full attention to Luke and Arlo, but I can guarantee that any deficiency in Paul's training will be exploited and used to attack you. You are his sword. He is your shield. Neither of you can be effective alone." Mikey said as he looked deeply into Jerico's eyes.
Jerico nodded his understanding.
Mikey looked around the room and said, "All of you need to discover your gifts and learn to use them as effectively as possible. The security red that happened tonight was the first shot being fired. I'm afraid it won't be very long before our enemy is revealed so we can't waste any time."
"Does that mean we should learn to use phasers or something like that?" Devon asked carefully.
Mikey shook his head and said, "That's not the kind of threat I'm talking about. When the time comes, Cory will deal with the physical threat. You are going to be facing our enemy on a different level."
"What can *we* do?" Mouse asked cautiously.
"In the dark days ahead, the members of Cabin One are going to become the spirit of the Clan. It's going to become your responsibility to keep the Clan and the other members of the camp morally strong. You are going to have to reveal the misdirection and lies that our enemies will use to try and discourage us. It will be up to you to keep your brothers from falling into despair. The members of Cabin One will be responsible for keeping everyone focused on our true goals. And you will also need to be there to comfort those who fall victim to the attacks of our enemies. Our enemies have many weapons, but they usually use hate, deceit, misdirection and lies flavored with enough truth to make what they say sound reasonable." Mikey said firmly.
"How can we fight that?" Paul asked in shock.
"With faith, hope, truth and love. Those are your most important tools and all of you need to learn how to use them." Mikey said seriously.
"I... don't even know where to begin." Jerico said in a daze.
"With truth. Once the residents of this cabin are alone, you need to have a meeting and each reveal your own truths. If you face them as a group, you can overcome them. If you hold them back, our enemies will exploit them later." Mikey said firmly.
"You said the residents of this cabin... where does that leave us?" Jerico asked cautiously.
Mikey smiled at Jerico, then turned to Mr. T and asked, "Do you have any spare quarters for teachers?"
"They just finished the house parent's room of the new cabin today." Mr. T said cautiously.
"I think it would be appropriate for the camp's new Shaman to be given the responsibility of being a house parent..." Mikey said in a leading tone.
"So Jerico could move in here and Derek could move into the new cabin." Chief Tecumseh said speculatively.
"Paul needs to move in here too. He's essential to this plan." Mikey said firmly.
"So what do we do now?" Devon asked quietly.
"Right now, we need to get everyone who doesn't live here back where they belong. Once we're gone, the rest of you need to have your talk." Mikey said firmly.
"It feels like we're becoming an army or something." Mouse said quietly.
Mikey looked him in the eyes and said, "You're becoming the Clan's spiritual warriors."