Chapter 29 took me a long time to write and edit. The actual music is thrilling to listen to, so I hope some of my readers took the time to download the songs and listen to them.

Much of the information about the Cherokee tribe is true, and was obtained from a website. In this chapter, Chris learns of his Cherokee powers, but needs help from others to survive. This was another difficult chapter for me to finish, so I apologize for how long it took to get it finished and posted. There isn't much sex in this chapter, but there is a lot of emotion.

CJ Chapter 30 Circle of Smoke

Chris returned to his dorm room to find Isaac waiting for him. Isaac gave Chris a hug and suggested that they shower and try to relax in the hot tub room. Chris was blunt when he told Isaac that he would go with him as long as there was no sex.

Isaac understood, and quickly agreed, knowing that Chris was deeply troubled by Mike's injuries and condition. He loved Chris, but knew that Chris and Mike were meant for each other. He had resigned himself to being a true friend to the big athlete, and to support him in any way that he could. It hurt to know that he had lost Chris to Mike, but Isaac was a mature man and knew that true love was very powerful.

"You and I don't have to have sex to be buddies," Isaac said honestly. "I promise not to try anything with you as long as you'll be my friend. Leif and I are growing closer every day, and I think he might be the one for me to be with for a long time. We haven't promised each other that we would be faithful, but I haven't been with a girl or guy other than you ever since he and I got serious with each other. I want you and me to be pledge buddies again, and then brothers. My family wants you to come home with me for a weekend, but I know that football keeps you really busy. Danny tells everyone that you are his brother, and I know my parents love you like I do."

"You've got a great family," Chris said as he undressed. "I wanted to talk to them after the concert, but you know why I couldn't. Tomorrow is going to bring bad news about Mike. I know it. If something happens to me, call B and Grandma Porter. They'll know what to do."

Isaac was confused, but knew that he had the telephone numbers for Saul Bernstein and Ellen Porter. He decided not to question Chris, as he seemed very tired and upset.

The two roommates showered together and then relaxed in the hot tub with other guys from the dorm. It was a strange night, as no one seemed to be interested in a sexual encounter in the hot tub room. Everyone knew that Mike Mahley was in critical condition, and out of respect for him and Chris, they controlled their hormones and let the hot bubbling water relax them.

David Patrick had called Chris and had excused him from football practices. He knew that Chris was devastated by the accident and condition of his best friend, and knew that Chris couldn't attend classes or practices. He contacted Chris's professors and got them to agree to let Chris miss their lectures.

Chris and Isaac slept in their own beds until Chris woke up screaming. His nightmare of being at Mike's funeral had come back, and he was uncontrollable. Several other guys in the dorm heard Chris screaming, and ran to the door of the room. Isaac couldn't control Chris who was screaming and thrashing around on his bed. He opened the door and was relieved to see Jarvis Williams standing there, wearing only boxers.

"Help me, please!" Isaac pleaded with Jarvis. Several other guys came into the room to try and calm Chris down.

Jarvis grabbed his teammate and pinned Chris down on his bed. Isaac had a bruise over his eye where Chris had hit him during their struggle. Jarvis and Tom Borton were able to calm Chris down and convince him that he had a nightmare and was okay. Chris finally calmed down and hugged his big black teammate as he fell asleep again.

As Chris slept, the vision of the "Circle of Smoke" ceremony came back again. This time he understood every word and action that Black Hawk made as he performed the ceremony to save the life of his wife.

Jarvis could hear Chris speaking a strange language in his sleep, and hugged his big friend and prayed for him and Mike Mahley. God answers prayers, but sometimes the answer is "NO".

Chris woke up the next morning to find Jarvis in bed with him, and Tom Borton sleeping with Isaac. No one had been sexual the previous night, as the emotions of being at the hospital and Chris's nightmare had made other things more important.

"Let's take a shower," Jarvis said to Chris when he saw that Chris was awake.

Chris looked at the huge lineman, and knew that inside, Jarvis was a very sensitive and caring friend. His aggression was always left on the football field, and Jarvis always held back his strength when he was messing around with his friends.

"I'm sorry for last night," Chris apologized. "I've been having some horrible nightmares lately, and I'm afraid to go to sleep. I felt you holding me last night, and I know that God sent you to me to help me. Thanks for being my bud."

Jarvis choked back his tears and hugged Chris tightly. Chris was the strongest man he had ever met, and was now showing that he was fragile inside and needed help from others.

"You've got a lot of buds here," Jarvis said. "We'll be there for you, so trust us to help you in any way that we can."

"Thanks," Chris said to Jarvis. "I need to get to the hospital. Bad things are gonna happen today. I know it."

When Chris got to the hospital, Momma Mahley, who told him that the doctors were running the brain scan on Mike, met him. Everyone prayed that the scan would show that Mike was still alive, but Chris knew that his prayers for his lover were going to go unanswered.

Mike Senior walked into the waiting room, and it was obvious to everyone that the scan had not gone well.

"Mike's brain is gone," Mike Senior said sadly. "We didn't get any response from any of the tests. The only thing that keeps his body alive is the respirator, and my wife and I have decided to let him go."


Poppa and Momma Mahley hugged Chris as they all sobbed together. They were losing their loved one, and no one could accept that Mike was brain dead. The guys and girls in the waiting room were all crying at the loss of their friend. They couldn't believe that Mike was dead, and they were being asked to say goodbye to him before the life support was removed.

"We already said goodbye to him," Poppa Mike said to Chris and the others in the waiting room. "Jake is with him now, and we'll let each of you say goodbye to him in your own way before we pull the plug on the respirator. He's in no pain, and he will slip away quickly. We've done everything we can do to save his life, but his injuries were too severe. It's time for him to go to a place without pain and suffering."

"YOU CAN'T DO THIS!" Chris insisted. "You have to let me try to save his life!"

"There's nothing that you can do," Mike Senior sobbed. "I lost my son, but I tried to save him! He's already gone, and we have to accept that fact!"

Chris saw B walking into the waiting room, carrying the package that White Cloud had left for him with White Dove. He looked at Cody and saw a nod of agreement.

"I have powers from my great-grandfather that I want to use for Mike," Chris said to Mike Senior. "B has brought me what I need to perform a Cherokee healing ceremony. All I ask is that you let me try to save Mike. If I fail, it will be the end of his life and mine!"

"Nothing can save my son!" Mike Senior sobbed. "He's already dead!"

"Let me try," Chris pleaded.

Mike Senior hugged his wife and agreed that Chris could perform the healing ceremony, knowing that their son was dead and nothing could change that fact.

The multitude of students in the waiting room was distraught at the thought that Mike was dead. They sobbed and hugged each other, trying to get the strength to go into the room and say goodbye to their special friend. Cody walked up to the group of sobbing students and told them that they had to wait until he and Chris tried to save Mike's life. Everyone looked at the little guy who was demanding that they stay put and wait. The look in Cody's eyes told them that something special was going to occur in the hospital that day.

Chris used his cell phone to call his grandmother, White Dove. He spoke to her in Cherokee, and she was shocked that he knew the language. He told her it was his time, and asked her to pray to help him. White Dove said she would pray to Unetlanv for him.

Chris found Jarvis and Brendan, and told them to guard the door to Mike's room and not let anyone inside. The look on his face told them both that Chris was deadly serious in his request.

Chris went into Mike's room along with Cody, Jake, Momma and Poppa Mahley and B. He looked at the lifeless body of his best friend, and was determined to risk his own life to save Mike's. He took Cody to the end of the room where they sat down on the floor with the package between them. Chris opened the package to find a buckskin outfit of shirt and leggings, along with a large clay bowl. Other items in the package included a breechcloth, strings of beads, and several deerskin bags of herbs.

"No one can touch me, Cody, or Mike," Chris announced in English to the people in Mike's room. "You will know when the ceremony is finished."

Everyone in the room watched Chris unwrap the package, and were startled to hear him speaking in a strange language to Cody. Cody understood every word that Chris spoke in Cherokee, as they both stood up and undressed completely. Chris handed the breechcloth to Cody and helped him put it on to cover his genitals and butt from view. He then put a string of beads around Cody's neck and untied the string that held Cody's long ponytail in place.

Chris put on the buckskin pants and was surprised that they fit him perfectly. He then put on the buckskin shirt that had rawhide lacing across the front. He put on a belt of beads and a headband of beads and tiny colorful feathers. He sat down on the floor and asked Cody, in Cherokee, to sit facing him.

In Cherokee, Chris began chanting as he and Cody unwrapped the items in the package. They were oblivious to the other people in the room as they faced each other and prayed to Unetlanv to give them the strength to heal Mike. Cody took the clay bowl and placed it on the floor between them. He retrieved seven small sticks of cedar from the package and carefully arranged them to form spokes of a wheel. He then found tinder of cedar and laurel, and placed the dry material in the center of the clay bowl.

Chris took the flint and created a spark that ignited the tinder. The flame glowed red, but the smoke didn't rise. Instead, the smoke fell toward the floor, and was contained inside the clay bowl.

Poppa Mike, Momma Mary, B, and Jake all watched in amazement as Cody and Chris continued the ceremony. They couldn't understand the words that were being spoken, and realized that Cody and Chris were speaking Cherokee and were in some form of trance. Saul never knew that his son could speak Cherokee, but also realized that the power of the Cherokee Nation had saved Chris's life when Chris was 12. He watched his son; concerned that Chris was in serious danger as he performed the ceremony.

Chris added the herbs that White Dove had told him would help heal Mike. He watched as the herbs burned into a pure white smoke that was completely contained in the deep clay bowl. He stood and asked Cody to get the bottle of creek water from his backpack.

Cody stood and shook his head to make his long black hair whip around his head. He understood the Cherokee words that Chris had spoken, and retrieved the sacred water.

Chris and Cody stood and went to the bed where Mike's lifeless body lay. They removed all of Mike's hospital clothing and saw the swollen belly of their friend.

Cody took the top off the bottle and gently poured it over Mike's body, starting at his head and ending with his feet. He saved a few drops of the water and trickled them into Mike's mouth, where the respirator tube was still pumping air into Mike's lungs.

"It is time!" Chris said in Cherokee to Cody. "Give me your strength that was passed to you from the Little People!"

Cody leaned over Mike's body and let Chris run his fingers through his long black hair. He could feel electricity flowing out of his body and into Chris's as the fingers made contact.

"Bring me the smoke and wing," Chris asked in Cherokee.

Cody retrieved the clay bowl filled with smoke and the eagle wing that had been in the package. He handed them to Chris and stood back in front of the window to the hospital room.

Chris took the bowl and tipped it over as he continued chanting. The smoke acted like it was heavier than air, and fell down onto Mike's chest. Chris plucked a feather from the eagle wing and placed it on Mike's chest as he continued chanting in Cherokee. He asked Unetlanv to give him the strength to save his best friend, and promised his fidelity to Mike. He pledged his entire life to being Mike's soul mate, and begged for the strength to heal the man he loved.

Chris took the eagle wing and fanned the smoke into Mike's face. He made a swirling motion with the wing, and the white smoke collected into a stream that circled over Mike's head and headed toward the ceiling of the room, forming a spiral of smoke.

Everyone in the room was spellbound by the way the smoke circled. They had heard the strange language that Chris and Cody had spoken, but didn't understand what was happening in the room where Mike lay brain dead.

Chris continued chanting as he raised his arms over his head and put his hands together in the top of the circling smoke. The smoke vanished. When Chris separated his hands, a bright red glow with sparkles of energy flowed from one hand to the other. He continued chanting as he brought his left hand down to Mike's abdomen where the infection had begun. His right hand rested on Mike's forehead. With his palms flat, Chris lifted his hands up, and Mike's body was levitated off from the bed and hovered a foot over the sheets. Mike's entire body was enveloped in a red glow that matched the intense red glow of Chris's eyes.

Everyone watched in a combination of terror and unbelief as Chris's body began glowing with the same red glow that wrapped around Mike.

Chris was chanting loudly, as he moved his hands down to rest Mike's body back on the hospital bed. He held his hands on Mike's abdomen and forehead and lifted his eyes to the ceiling. He broke contact with Mike's body and lifted his arms over his head and touched his hands together.

A surge of energy blasted into the hospital room, causing the lights to go out and then come back on. The blast of energy threw Chris's large body toward the window, where Cody caught him. The respirator and all electrical equipment in the room were electrically fried. The witnesses to the "Circle of Smoke" were all startled and disoriented. When they recovered, they saw Cody Emerson, holding CJ Hammer like he was an infant. Cody weighed 105 pounds, and he was holding the huge athlete that weighed 350 pounds like Chris was a feather.

"Chris is sick," Cody said in English. "Open the door so I can take him to a bed."

Momma and Poppa Mahley were still recovering from the blast of energy when Saul yelled for Jarvis to open the door. Saul was in shock as he watched the little guy carry his big son into the hallway and gently place Chris on a hospital bed.

Cody leaned over Chris's unconscious body and let his hair flow across Chris's face and down his body.

"Undress him," Cody commanded. "Make sure that nothing is torn or cut!" Cody collapsed on the floor when he saw Saul and Jarvis undressing Chris.

Back in Mike's room, Jacob shook his head to clear his mind. He looked at his brother on the bed, and saw the blank control panel on the respirator. He knew it was fried, and believed that his brother was officially dead. The electronic equipment was all inoperable.

"HE"S BREATHING!!" Jake screamed to his parents. "MIKE'S BREATHING ON HIS OWN!!"

The Mahley parents both were shocked to see that Mike was now struggling to breathe with the respirator tube in his throat. Mike Senior carefully removed the respirator, and was sobbing with joy at seeing his son breathe on his own.

"HE MOVED HIS FINGERS!" Mary Mahley screamed to her husband and son. "HIS BELLY IS BACK TO NORMAL SIZE!!"

Mike Senior couldn't believe what he had just witnessed. No one in the medical profession would ever believe what had just happened! His son had been brought back to life by the healing powers of a Cherokee medicine man! He screamed in joy as he watched his son's body return to a normal color. The drainage tube out of Mike's abdomen was running clear saline, and he knew that he had just witnessed a miracle.

The moans from Mike Mahley's mouth were met with cheers and sobbing by his family. They had their boy back, and they hugged and wept tears of joy.

Mike Senior ran out of the room to get the specialists that had been helping him treat his son. His screams were quickly answered, and he left his son to attend to Chris.

Nurses ran around the hospital ward, trying to figure out what had happened. Saul was holding his son, and realized that Chris was burning up with fever. He screamed for Mike Senior to help him.

Mike Senior quickly realized that Chris had taken the infection out of Mike's body and into his own. He quickly pushed Chris into a treatment room in the ICU, where he ordered antibiotics.

In Boston, Randall Carpenter was in a lecture hall when he stood up and screamed, "CHRIS!!!" He ran out of the hall, with the professor and other students wondering what was wrong with him. Randy grabbed his cell phone and called his father, Jonathan Carpenter.

"CHRIS IS SICK!" Randy screamed as his father answered the call. "WE HAVE TO GO THERE NOW!!"

Jonathan Carpenter knew that Randy was connected to Chris, and quickly called for their private jet to get ready for a flight to California. He also called his other son, Charlie and told him that they had to fly to California immediately. Charlie left his study group and ran for his car to return home. In less than an hour, the Carpenter men were headed for California in their Lear Jet.

Jon used his cell phone to call Saul Bernstein. Saul was shocked when he got the call that the Carpenters knew that Chris was sick and were flying to California. He tried to explain what he had witnessed, and was babbling incoherently. Jon Carpenter finally understood that Chris had performed a Cherokee ritual, and told Saul that he would call Ellen Porter for advice.

Ellen Porter sensed the energy that had been released, and had told her husband that she had to be ready to fly to California if her help was needed. Harvey Porter knew that his wife and grandson had special powers, and quickly called the airport to get information on available flight to California. Ellen packed some special clothes and buckskin packages, hoping that she wouldn't have to use them.

Back in California, Chris was taken into the ICU where he was immediately hooked up to a flow of antibiotics. The attending physicians were concerned by his rapidly increasing body temperature and the swelling in his abdomen.

Cody and Saul had taken off the buckskin clothing that Chris wore during the "Circle of Smoke" ceremony, and were both shocked to see the swollen abdomen and high body temperature. They both feared that Chris had contracted a fatal infection by saving Mike's life.

The hospital was bedlam, as nurses and doctors rushed around to care for the two stricken men. The specialists that had treated Mike were amazed that he was alive and was responding to their treatment. Mike's blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing had returned to normal, and none of the specialists could understand what had happened. They all had feared that they had lost a special patient, and worked feverishly to attend to Mike.

The students that were ready to pay their last respects to Mike Mahley were confused and then elated when they heard that Mike was now breathing on his own. The tears of sorrow turned into tears of joy, as everyone realized that a miracle had happened. Everyone was confused, and wondered what had happened to change their emotions from despair to celebration.

Saul Bernstein looked at the body of his son lying on the hospital bed, and knew that Chris had warned him about the danger of performing the ceremony to try to save Mike's life. Saul hugged his son and felt the high body temperature that told him that his son was seriously ill. He looked at the massive body and saw huge bruises on Chris's chest, right arm, right leg, and abdomen. Saul knew that those were the areas where Mike Mahley had been injured. The swelling in Chris's abdomen increased until he looked like he was nine months pregnant, and Saul begged Mike Senior to help his son.

Mike Senior was trying to run back and forth between the two treatment rooms, and saw that Chris was bloated. He immediately found the specialists that could take Chris into surgery to evaluate his abdominal condition. The surgeons were shocked when the hooked up the drainage tube in Chris's abdomen. One-liter bags were immediately filled with a sickening fluid that was greenish black. The specialists worked tirelessly, and installed a saline flush to push the infection out of Chris's body. They saw the severe bruises on Chris's body, and wondered what had caused the deep injuries.

Mike Senior walked into the waiting room and addressed Saul and the multitude of CSU students.

"I don't know what to say to you," Mike Senior sobbed. "I just witnessed something that my medical training would say is impossible! Chris Hammer just performed a Cherokee healing ceremony that brought my son back to life! Mike is now breathing on his own, has moved his hand, and even moaned! We have just had a miracle here, and now both Mike and Chris need your prayers! Chris is unconscious, and his body is filled with infection. We need to pray for both of them now, as Chris put his life on the line for Mike!"

Saul Bernstein was in shock at what he had witnessed in Mike's room. He knew that the Cherokee Nation had saved Chris's life when he was 12, and now prayed that his son would be saved again. He knew that Ellen Porter would come to California, along with the men of the Carpenter family who were already on their way. He prayed that the combined forces would be able to save Chris's life.

Cody Emerson appealed to his Big Brother, Jermaine Lewis, to take him back to the fraternity. Jermaine wanted to stay at the hospital but realized that Cody had played a critical part in the healing ceremony, and saw the intensity in his Little Brother's eyes. Cody had the glass bottle that was used to wash Mike's body, and he told Jermaine that he had to keep it to help heal Chris. Jermaine took Cody back to the fraternity and watched as his Little Brother walked down to the creek at the back of the yard.

"Help me find cedar branches," Cody said to Jermaine. "I need to build a fire."

The two men looked around the area and found kindling and dry grass. Cody asked Jermaine to go inside the fraternity and get some matches or a lighter from one of the members who smoked. Jermaine returned and watched Cody dig a small hole and fill it with the kindling material. Cody then selected 7 cedar branches and arranged them carefully around the small fire pit, with the branches meeting in the center of the circle and fanning out.

"It's time for me to be alone," Cody said to Jermaine. "Don't worry if you can't see me. I'll be okay."

Jermaine was confused, but knew that Cody had strange powers, and hugged and kissed his Little Brother before returning to the fraternity house. Cody had just lit the fire and the smoke was rising when Jermaine got inside the house. When he turned to look out the window, Cody and the fire were gone.

Cody fanned the smoldering kindling until the fire started burning with red flames and white smoke. He sat cross-legged on the ground and allowed the smoke to envelop his body as he began chanting in Cherokee. He fell into a trance, and could hear high-pitched voices calling to him in Cherokee. The Little People had heard his call for help and came to his aid. He was transported to a beautiful meadow filled with fragrant wild flowers. Seven Little People led him to a flowing stream and helped him undress. They took him into the crystal clear water and bathed him from head to foot while they chanted a ceremony of cleansing.

Cody was amazed that he could see the Little People. Chris had told him that the Little People were very shy and rarely revealed themselves to anyone, but he could see them and feel their hands gently washing his body. When his body was cleansed, he was led out of the cool water and onto a grassy spot where his clothes lay. The seven Little People surrounded Cody and began blowing their warm breath on him. To Cody, it felt like he was standing in the middle of seven blow dryers as his body and hair were quickly dried.

Cody sat down nude on the grass, with the seven Little People forming a circle around him. Each of the seven spoke to Cody in Cherokee, telling him that he had been selected to perform a healing ceremony with White Dove to heal Golden Eagle. Cody knew that Golden Eagle was Chris's Cherokee name, and he was honored that he could help Chris.

Small, high-pitched voices took turns telling Chipmunk how to prepare for the ceremony. After each speaker finished, he brought his long hair over his face. When the last had finished, the Little People stood and let their hair cover Cody's face. He could feel energy flowing into his body and then suddenly, he was back in the backyard of the fraternity. All traces of the fire were gone, and he was fully dressed. It took Cody a few minutes to return to normal before he could stand up and walk to the fraternity.

Jermaine was standing at the window, concerned about his Little Brother, when he saw Cody materialize near the creek. Jermaine was startled that Cody had vanished and then reappeared so quickly. He also saw that the fire was gone, and shook his head to try and understand what he had witnessed. He ran out of the fraternity and hugged Cody, asking if he was okay.

Cody hugged Jermaine, and said, "Now I am ready for White Dove. I need to rest before she gets here. Please let me sleep with you, but don't do anything sexual with me. I have been cleansed by the Little People, and I won't let anything affect that cleansing. Our love isn't dirty, but I need to focus my mind on saving Chris's life."

Jermaine felt a strange feeling hit his body when his Little Brother hugged him. He knew that Chris and Cody were remotely connected by their Cherokee heritage, but couldn't understand how powerful his Little Brother really was. To Jermaine, Cody was the cutest young guy he had ever met, and their friendship had blossomed into pure love. Jermaine was black, but he loved the little white dude with all of his heart and mind. He knew that Cody was a special guy, and he loved everything about him. He took Cody to his room, helped him undress, and got in bed beside him to hold his little lover.

Back at the hospital, Mike Senior and his wife were in the treatment room with their son. They sobbed in joy as they watched Mikey breathe and moan in pain. It was a beautiful sight to them to see their son showing signs of life. Mike Senior injected his son with painkiller, and watched as Mikey relaxed and fell asleep.

"How do we thank Chris for doing this for us?" Mike Senior asked his wife.

"Chris told us that he was in love with our son," Mary Mahley replied. "He did what you and the medical profession couldn't do, and now we need to love both of them and pray that they will be healed. There isn't a way for us to repay him other than loving him like a son."

The CSU campus celebrated the improvement in Mike's condition, but was concerned about the health of their star athlete. Reports on the condition of the two students were broadcasted hourly on the campus radio and television stations, and other local news media streamed to the hospital to broadcast live reports.

Chris was moved to the Isolation Ward, as the exact type of infection hadn't been identified. Only the attending medical staff and Saul Bernstein were allowed in Chris's room, and they all had to wear protective clothing and masks to prevent spread of the mysterious infection.

The Carpenter men arrived and were warmly greeted by Saul. They were updated on Chris's condition that was listed as "critical" as he wasn't responding to the antibiotics, and the drainage continued. Jonathan was allowed into Chris's room with his two sons, and they tried to make mental contact with Chris.

"His brain is shut down," Randy said softly. "I can't make contact with him."

Charlie was wearing protective latex gloves, but touched Chris's hand and said that he couldn't feel any energy flowing to Chris.

"His brain needs to be awake before you can help him," Randy said to his twin brother. "We have to wait for him to start thinking again. I think he is in a lot of pain, and that is why his brain won't let me communicate with him."

The hospital staff listened to Randall Carpenter, and decided to administer pain medication in small amounts to see if that would help Chris relax. Many things had happened that defied all medical practice and knowledge, and the staff agreed to accept the help of the Cherokee Nation and the telepathic skills of the Carpenters.

Jacob Mahley was sitting in Mike's room, reading a book, when he heard Mike moan. He quickly went to the side of the bed and saw that Mike's eyes were open, but glazed over. He quickly pushed the call button for the nurse and kissed Mike on the forehead.

The nurse came into the room and immediately left to page Dr. Mahley, who was in the cafeteria with his wife. Jake could see Mike's lips moving, and he leaned over to put his ear close to Mike's mouth.

"Chris," Mike Mahley said barely whispering. "Chris," he repeated.

Tears flowed down Jake's face as he touched his brother's face and kissed him again. The very first words that Mike had spoken were thrilling to him, and he prayed that his parents would get there fast. The hospital staff had warned the family that Mike might have brain damage from the infection and high body temperature, and might remain in a vegetative state.

Poppa and Momma Mahley ran into the room and cried tears of joy at seeing Mike's eyes open, and hearing that he had spoken Chris's name. Other specialists were on call if there was any change in Mike's condition, and quickly came into the room.

"His eyes are dilated," Dr. Thomas stated after making his examination. "I don't think he can see anything but light right now, but just the facts that he opened his eyes and spoke are very encouraging.

"Dad, Mom, Jake," Mike whispered.

"We're here!" Poppa Mahley said to his son with tears flowing down his face. "You're hurt, but you're gonna make it!"

Momma Mahley hugged her son gently and kissed his forehead, with her tears spilling down on Mike's face.

"Chris," Mike whispered again.

"Chris has an infection," Poppa Mahley sobbed to his son. "We're treating him in another room. Chris saved your life by performing a Cherokee ceremony. I promise to take care of him."

Mike groaned, closed his eyes, and fell asleep. The Mahley family all hugged and cried tears of joy. Every new sign that Mike was recovering was a breath of fresh air for them, and they celebrated before taking the news to the waiting room.

The Sig Ep Sorority and the Tri-Delt Fraternity had established a prayer vigil in the waiting room. At least four people were there 24 hours a day to get any updates for sharing with the rest of the campus. When Dr. Mahley walked into the waiting room with his wife, over 30 guys and girls were waiting for news.

"I don't know how to tell you this, Mike Senior began, "But my wife and I just talked to our son! He only spoke a few words, but it is a miracle that he can even talk! He said 'Chris', 'Dad', 'Mom' and 'Jake' to us, and we know we are witnessing a miracle! All the blood work is coming back as normal, and all of his vital signs are holding steady! He seems to be in pain, but that is normal for anyone who has experienced major injuries like Mikey has. My wife and I want to thank you for being here to give us and Saul Bernstein support, and I'm going to see Saul right now to tell him the good news about Mike. Chris remains unconscious and in critical condition, but he is breathing on his own and we have hope that his condition will improve."

The crowd cheered at the good news about Mike, and promised to continue their vigil until both Mike and Chris were healthy. Several of the students ran outside to use their cell phones, knowing that the hospital rules prohibited cell phone use inside the facility. That rule had been violated several times, as Saul had used his cell phone to communicate with the Carpenter family.

Saul was happy to hear about the improvement in Mike's condition. He was only allowed five minutes with his son each hour, as the hospital staff was still concerned about the communicability of Chris's infection. Dr. Mahley was talking to Saul and the Carpenter men when Randy suddenly stopped talking in the middle of a sentence. Jonathan Carpenter linked to his son's mind and announced that Randy was linked to Chris. Everyone stopped talking and looked intently at Randy's face that had gone totally blank. They waited; praying that Randy would have some information to help the medical staff treat Chris.

Randy sat motionless on the chair in the waiting room, tuned into Chris's mind that had finally opened up to him. He could sense that Chris was very weak, and decided not to break the contact to tell Saul and his dad what Chris was thinking, knowing that Chris might not be alert for very long. He was right, and when Chris broke off the link and let his mind go inactive, Randy slumped down in the chair to catch his breath.

"TELL US! Saul demanded. He was determined to know anything about his son's condition.

"He's in a lot of pain," Randy began. "He asked about Mike, and I told him the news we just heard. He cried when he heard it, and begged me to tell Mike that he loves him. He said he loves all of us. He asked for Chipmunk and White Dove to heal him, and then he broke off the connection."

"We know who White Dove is," Jonathan said, "But who is Chipmunk?"

"Chip is a name Chris gave Cody Emerson," Dr. Mahley said. "Chris said Cody's cheeks look like a chipmunk storing food. Cody helped Chris perform the Cherokee ceremony that saved Mike's life! We have to get both of them here to help heal Chris!"

"I'll call Ellen," Saul said.

"Tell her that I'll send our plane if it is faster than commercial connections," Jon Carpenter promised.

Saul walked outside the hospital building and turned on his cell phone. It immediately rang, and he saw that the call was from Harvey Porter's residence. He was shocked to hear Ellen saying that she knew that she was needed in California, and Harvey had already made flight arrangements for them both to leave within two hours. Ellen also told Saul that she had just experienced a trance where Chipmunk had contacted the Little People, and she was ready to help him heal Chris.

Saul was shocked, but realized that his son had connections to another dimension of reality. He knew that the medical profession could work miracles, but what his son needed now was a miracle from the Cherokee Nation. He thanked Ellen Porter, and promised that he would have a limo pick them up at the airport and they would be welcomed at his home during their stay.

Saul walked back into the waiting room and told everyone how Ellen Porter already knew she was needed in California, and would arrive in the morning. Jake Mahley was there and promised to call Cody and beg him to help when White Dove arrived.

The next morning was extremely busy for everyone, as Harvey and Ellen Porter arrived at the hospital. Dr. Mahley had made arrangements for the ICU wing to be secured, allowing access to Chris's room only to the people he gave written approval for. Jake had brought Cody to the conference room where he instantly connected to Ellen Porter. They went off to the corner of the room and began speaking Cherokee to each other. They were both prepared, and returned to the group to discuss what they had to do to heal Chris.

"Chipmunk has done something that I couldn't ever do," Ellen said to the group that included her husband, Harvey, Saul, the Carpenter men, Momma & Poppa Mahley, and Jake. "He has made contact with the Little People who are sacred in the Cherokee Nation. My father, White Cloud, is watching over us as we try to help my grandson get well. It is time for us to be with Chris. We won't wear any of the hospital gowns or masks. You can decide who is in the room with us, but no one can touch Chipmunk, Golden Eagle, or me during the ceremony. You must trust Chipmunk, and me or our efforts will fail! There could be danger for anyone in the area when we perform the ceremony."

Jahmahl Cochran, Administrative Head of the Mercy General Hospital, joined the group and began explaining the hospital's position that only board approved treatments could occur in their facility. He had met with the Board of Directors of the hospital, and was concerned about the public reaction to recent events. He and the board had reviewed reports that indicated that non-conventional treatments had occurred in their facility, and they were concerned that the media would make a mockery of their facilities if details were released. He was determined to prevent any media coverage, or any future "unconventional" treatments.

Mike Mahley had to be restrained by his wife and son, as he was ready to physically attack his top boss after hearing Jahmahl state that "voodoo" treatments would not be allowed.


Jahmahl Cochran was faced with the massive bodies of the Carpenter men, and knew he was no match for even one of them. Before he could leave the room, Charlie blocked the door and squared off against the large black man.

"You're not leaving this room!" Charlie threatened as he blocked the door. "My brother is sick, and your doctors can't heal him. I challenge you to go inside the room when the healing ceremony is performed. Witness it yourself, and then make your own decision, instead of letting a board of assholes make decisions based on profits and advertising. You either agree or I'll kick your ass so bad your own hospital won't be able to save your worthless, fucking life!"

Jahmahl Cochran looked around the room and saw a group of people that was determined to convince him to allow another unconventional treatment to be performed. He realized that he was the only one in the conference room that didn't believe that the proposed treatment was necessary. He weighed his options, and finally agreed that he would watch the treatment, firmly convinced that any "voodoo" ceremony would be unsuccessful.

Things finally settled down as the group sat down and decided who would witness the Cherokee ceremony to be performed. They agreed to have the fewest people exposed to any danger in the room, and settled on Saul and Jahmahl joining Cody and Ellen in Chris's room.

Ellen Porter led Cody to a restroom where she presented him with buckskin pants; a buckskin shirt, moccasins, a belt of colorful beads and a necklace made of rawhide with a pendant of red stone.

"You get changed, and then I'll take my turn," White Dove said to Chipmunk.

Chipmunk and White Dove were both ready and walked toward Chris's room. Jahmahl Cochran, who was dressed in a hospital gown, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, met them outside the room.

"You will stay back and don't touch anyone during the ceremony," Ellen insisted.

Jahmahl quickly agreed, not wanting to risk his own health by going into the Isolation Room unprotected.

"It is your time," White Dove said to Chipmunk in Cherokee. "The Little People told you what to do, and I will help you."

White Dove walked up to the bed that held her grandson, and began removing his hospital clothing. She used a flint knife to cut away the fabric until Chris was nude on the bed. She then opened a buckskin pouch and retrieved herbs and chalk. She drew a circle on Chris's chest with the red chalk and explained to Cody in Cherokee the significance of what she was doing.

"This circle will center your power on Golden Eagle's heart, where his Cherokee soul exists," White Dove explained. She then drew seven lines that started in the center of the circle and fanned out to form spokes of a wheel. "These lines represent the Seven Clans of the Cherokee Nation that we need help from to heal our loved one."

Cody watched carefully as the lines were drawn on his good friend. He knew the significance of the number seven, and waited for his time to call for help from the Little People. He listened as White Dove named each clan as she drew the chalk line. He looked at the nude body of the man he loved and prayed to Unetlanv for the strength to heal Chris.

Saul Bernstein watched with a mixture of fear, anxiety and hope that his son would be cured. He watched as White Dove stood back and let Cody approach Chris's bed, holding the bottle of creek water.

Cody began chanting the words that the Little People had taught him to appeal to Unetlanv for the healing of Chris. His eyes were glassed over, and it was obvious that he was in a deep trance where he was oblivious to everything and everyone in the room except Chris. He opened the bottle of water and began trickling it over Chris's head. He shook his hair loose and covered Chris's head with his long black hair, the same way the Little People had covered his head. Cody shook his head to cause his hair to sweep across Chris's face as he continued chanting. He could feel energy flowing out of his body into Chris's and knew it was time for spiritual cleansing. He poured more of the sacred water across Chris's chest, down his swollen abdomen, over his genitals and down each leg.

Saul and Jahmahl watched in shock as the chalk markings began to bubble like peroxide on an open cut. The color of the markings changed from red to white and then completely disappeared, as Chipmunk opened Chris's mouth and poured the last few drops of the water inside. Cody placed his left palm on Chris's belly and his right palm on Chris's forehead. The effect was immediate, as a white haze of vapor enveloped Chris's body. The haze flowed around Cody, and he and Chris were hidden from view by the other three people in the room. Inside the haze, Cody lifted his hands over his head and touched his palms together. A surge of energy flashed in the room as the haze disappeared.

Saul, White Dove, and Jahmahl were disoriented from the surge of energy. When they recovered, they looked at Cody's smiling face, standing over Chris's body. Chris was moaning and moving around on the bed. His abdomen had returned to normal size and the flow of the putrid infection had turned to clear saline.

"Mike," Chris moaned.

Saul had tears of joy flowing down his face as he removed his surgical mask and kissed his son's forehead. Chris's body temperature had returned to normal, and Chris was asking for Randy and Charlie. Saul ran out of the room and found all three Carpenter men rushing to get inside along with Harvey Porter.

Charlie immediately took Chris's hand, and felt energy flowing out of his body and into Chris's. When Charlie broke the contact, he staggered and was caught before he fell to the floor by both his father and Saul Bernstein. They carried Charlie to a chair in the room, as Randy began telling them what Chris was thinking. Chris thanked everyone for healing him.

Randy started laughing, and everyone wondered why.

"He's telling me things," Randy giggled. "He's hungry, and asked me to get him a beer!"

Saul and Jon were weeping tears of joy as they listened to Randy describe what Chris wanted. Randy started laughing and said, "I won't tell anyone what you just asked for brother!"

"Whatever he wants, he'll get!" Saul said emphatically.

"He wants a blowjob!" Randy laughed.

"OH MY GOD!" Saul choked out. "When Chris starts joking, I know he's gonna be okay!" Saul hugged and kissed his son; thrilled that Chris was recovering.

Chris's eyes opened and he tried to focus on the people in the room. He was weak, but his body was free from major pain for the first time since he had performed the "Circle of Smoke" ceremony.

"Where's my food and beer?" Chris managed to choke out.

Everyone in the room, including Jahmahl Cochran cheered and celebrated. They had witnessed a miracle, and their cheers brought more people into the room to join the celebration. Poppa and Momma Mahley ran in along with Jake and Shannon O'Brien. The new arrivals covered Chris with hugs and kisses and wept tears of joy.

Poppa Mahley left the room and returned with specialists to examine Chris. He asked everyone to leave the room until the examinations were completed. During the time the specialists were examining Chris, Mike Senior talked to Jahmahl Cochran about how to handle media questions, knowing that most of the campus already knew that a Cherokee healing ceremony had been performed on Mike.

"I have to admit that I've never seen anything to compare with what that little guy just did," Jahmahl admitted. "I was wrong, and I apologize to you and the others for what I said. If the public gets the idea that we can perform that type of miracle, we will be flooded with requests, demands, and lawsuits. The State Medical Board will certainly investigate, and all the good things we are doing could end if they pull our license."

"The two ceremonies that were performed were very special," Mike Senior said. "They were performed by men who are part Cherokee on men that they love. From what I have learned, Chris and Cody can't do the same thing for someone that they have just met. We have to protect Chris, Cody, and Ellen Porter, or people wanting then to heal their family members and friends will hound them for the rest of their lives. I think the Public Relations Staff should handle the media. I'll be careful in what I say to the students in the waiting room."

Jahmahl and Mike Senior agreed that PR should handle the media. Jahmahl left to meet with the PR Staff and Mike Senior promised to talk to the family and friends of the two recovering men.

Saul and Jon walked into the waiting room and gave the great news to a group of at least 30 students and faculty, that Chris had regained consciousness and that Mike was also improving. They were careful not to mention the special healing ceremony, but did say that the prayers of everyone had been answered. The waiting room erupted with cheering as everyone celebrated and hugged each other. Phones were used to spread the good news across the campus.

Craig Golden, PR Director for the hospital, met with the media. He was bombarded with questions about the two miracles that had happened, with many of the questions referring to Cherokee healing ceremonies. Craig was a master at handling the media.

"I want to make a few things very clear to all of you before I take any questions," Craig said to the media. He was standing in front of a collection of microphones and video cameras, with camera flashes constantly lighting up the auditorium. "When our medical staff treat a patient, we know that repairing the physical damage is only part of the recovery process. A patient's mental state is just as important, and in many cases, it is critical. The entire medical profession recognizes the power of spiritual healing. If you look into our parking lots, you will see spaces reserved for 'Clergy'. It's my belief that prayer from clergy members has healed many of our patients after our medical staff has done everything that they could possibly do. People pray to the higher power that they recognize, whether it is God, Allah, Buddha, or in this case, Unetlanv, The Creator or God of the Cherokee Nation, because, as you all know, CJ Hammer is part Cherokee. We have many patients here that are gravely ill, and I believe that prayer can help many of them recover. With that groundwork established, I'll now try to answer your questions."

Craig was fantastic as he gave information about the conditions of Michael James Mahley and Christopher Jonathan Hammer, but diverted specific questions about the Cherokee ceremonies. The media were frustrated, but realized that they were interviewing a seasoned veteran at controlling the content of a news conference. As the conference ended, Craig knew he had a long day ahead of him, as he and Jahmahl would have to face a tougher audience at the Board of Directors meeting that had been immediately called for that afternoon.

Saul returned to Chris's room, where he, Ellen and Harvey Porter, and the Carpenter men were happy to see Chris awake. Everyone gave Chris hugs and kisses, and quickly realized that he was weak and tired. Saul explained to everyone that they should be careful what they said to any reporters to prevent future pleas for help in healing other patients. Everyone agreed.

"I want to see Mike," Chris said softly. "I need to talk to him."

"Mike is still weak," Saul replied. "I'm sure that Mike Senior will let us know when you two guys can see each other and talk, but we have to make sure that both of you are free of any infection, and Mike is too weak for you to be with him. It's gonna be very emotional for both of you, so you'll have to wait."

Chris grumbled softly, but realized that he was very tired and weak himself. He wanted to tell Mike how much he loved him and to get his pledge pin back. He knew that it would take a long time for Mike to recover from his injuries, but he desperately wanted to see him and talk.

"I've called Tom Jankowski," Saul said. "There will be a special meeting at the fraternity for all the members and pledges tonight at 6:00 p.m. All of them have already been told to refuse to talk to the media or other students about what happened here. Tonight I'll tell them all the truth, and ask them to keep quiet the same way they did when Tom Broadbent was kicked out of the house."

There was a knock at the door, and Harvey Porter opened it to find Cody Emerson standing there with his Big Brother, Jermaine Lewis.

"Can we see Chris, please?" Cody asked sheepishly.

"OF COURSE!" Saul responded enthusiastically.

Cody walked up to the bed and gave Chris a hug and kiss. Tears were flowing down his face and he sobbed as he told Chris how happy he was that Chris was awake.

"You saved my life!" Chris sobbed. He tried to return the hug, but he was too weak to lift his arms and only groaned. "You and Grandma Porter saved both me and Mike, and there is no way I can ever repay you."

"Just be my friend," Cody replied, kissing Chris on the lips.

"We're better than friends," Chris said softly, "We're blood!"

Jermaine took his turn to give Chris a hug and kiss before wrapping his big arms around his Little Brother.

"Tell Mike that I love him," Chris begged.

"You need to rest now," Saul said to his son. "I'll check on Mike and tell him. He's been asking for you and I know he'll be happy that you're starting to feel better."

Saul asked everyone to leave so Chris could sleep. Before the multitude left the room, Chris had closed his eyes and was asleep. Saul kissed his son before he left the room. He was emotionally drained after what he had witnessed, and thanked God that Chris had been brought back to life by Cody and Ellen Porter. He knew that Chris would sleep for several hours, and he wanted to take the family members to the fraternity for an important meeting.

Tom Jankowski had made the arrangements that Saul Bernstein had requested, and was excited about having a special meeting in the Chapter Room. Normally, only members were allowed in the Chapter Room, but for this meeting, Tom knew that all of the pledges and special guests would be invited. He also knew that Saul had made arrangements for a special supper after the meeting, and the entire fraternity was ready.

When everyone was seated in the Chapter Room, Saul introduced the Carpenter men along with Ellen and Harvey Porter. The members and pledges cheered and applauded until Saul asked everyone to calm down.

"I want to tell everyone here what I know about my son," Saul said. "When Chris was 12, he was savagely beaten and raped at an orphanage in Texas. He survived the attack, and was invited to California by Stephen Segall, where he recovered from his injuries and learned Karate skills. He returned to the orphanage in Texas and was again going to be attacked and killed. Chris fought back and ran away, only to be involved in a gunfight between a police officer and some bank robbers. Chris was shot and was badly injured. I was at the hospital when they told me that Chris was dead, but a miracle happened. Chris told me that an Indian had saved his life. I have loved Chris ever since the day I met him. He learned of his Cherokee heritage when he met his biological father, Jonathan Carpenter. The power of the Cherokee Nation is beyond anything that I can possibly understand, but I know that my son is alive today because of his heritage."

The collection of members, pledges, and guests, listened intently as Saul continued.

"Chris loves Mike Mahley," Saul continued. "I've known for years that my son was bi-sexual, as he has entertained a multitude of guys and girls in his part of our home. The walls of our duplex home aren't soundproof, and I knew that my boy was very sexually active. Chris has fallen in love with Mike, and the two guys have had a tough time coming to grips with their love for each other. Chris told me that he was in love with Mike, and only realized how much Mike loved him the night of the concert. My son risked his life by performing a Cherokee healing ceremony to bring Mike back from the dead. He knew that he was risking his own life, but he felt he had to do what he could to save the life of the man that he loves. Cody Emerson is part Cherokee, and I want all of us to recognize the little guy that proved that he is the biggest man I have ever met! Cody and Ellen Porter performed a Cherokee healing ceremony at the hospital that cured Chris's infection and brought him back to life! Let's all give Cody and Ellen a round of applause!"

The Chapter Room was filled with the applause and cheers of everyone. Cody was a celebrity, and everyone wanted to hug him and congratulate him.

"I have some things to say to you," Ellen Porter began. "My Cherokee name is White Dove, and my father, White Cloud was a medicine man. Only a true Cherokee medicine man can perform the 'Circle of Smoke' healing ceremony on a person that he truly loves. Chris can't perform that ceremony on anyone else. He risked his life to save Mike's, and that proved that his love for Mike is pure. The Cherokee Nation believes in the Little People, a tribe of tiny people with immense powers. Normally the Little People remain invisible to human eyes, but Cody was able to contact them and get their help in healing Chris. The healing ceremony that Cody performed is called 'Washta', and can only be performed by a Cherokee of the same clan as the sick person. For that reason, Cody can't perform the ceremony on one of you if you get sick. If the news media hears what happened at the hospital, the people of the world will try to bribe or threaten Chris and Cody to heal their loved ones. We have to protect Chris and Cody by not giving any information to the media for problems to start. These two miracles must remain as guarded secrets among everyone in this room. From what I learned from my father, I know that Chris and Mike will both recover fully and return to this fraternity and college life. We all have to protect them from people who would try to harm them or expose the power of the Cherokee Nation."

"That's why I wanted to tell all of you the truth," Saul said. "I have always loved Chris, and now I have another son to love just as much. I don't know when Chris and Mike will be well enough to leave the hospital, but from what I saw today, they will recover and start a new life together as soul mates. I just ask you to keep praying for their recovery, and not talk to the media, or even your family about what has happened."

Many of the members and pledges asked questions, and got honest answers. They all realized that Chris and Mike were lovers and needed their support and prayers to get well.

"It's time for supper," Saul said. "I took the liberty of asking Kevin Michaels, Head Chef from the Jacobs Dorm to prepare a special meal for us to celebrate our good news. After the meal, I'm going back to the hospital to see Mike and Chris before I take some family members back to Fremont."

Kevin Michaels had ordered in a huge supply of Porterhouse steaks, and was using a Texas style barbecue grille outside the Delta Delta Delta Fraternity house to cook the USDA choice meat. His staff had prepared twice baked potatoes using a recipe that Chris had given him, along with Greek Salad, garlic breadsticks, corn and green beans. Dessert was cherry cobbler, one of Chris's favorites. After supper, a caravan of vehicles left the fraternity to travel to the hospital to visit Chris and Mike.

Saul was thrilled to see Chris sitting up in his bed. He walked up to the bed and kissed Chris on the forehead. He was happy to feel Chris lift his arm and hug him as Chris asked how Mike was doing.

"I came right to your room," Saul admitted.

"I have to see him," Chris demanded. "I need to tell him that I love him."

"We have to make sure that your infection is gone," Saul said. "I talked to Poppa Mike, and he said your body was filled with toxins that have to be eliminated before you can see Mike. The only way the toxins will be eliminated is by fluids and exercise to flush them out of your body. We know that you can't walk or move right now, but when you have recovered enough to walk to the bathroom, we'll take you to see Mike. You two have been through a lot, and it will be very emotional for you to see each other. You have to be strong enough that you don't have some sort of relapse, and Mike has to be strong enough to handle his emotions when you see each other. He is still very weak, but he is getting better every hour."

Chris wasn't happy to hear that he couldn't see Mike. He complained about the hospital food and said that he wanted a beer to wash away the foul taste of the food.

"I brought you a Care Package," Saul said. Kevin Michaels made us a fantastic meal at the fraternity, and he packed a snack for you."

Jonathan Carpenter came into the room along with Randy, Charlie, Ellen and Harvey. The group unwrapped the packages that they brought to reveal a duplicate of the meal they had enjoyed at the fraternity. Jonathan cut up the juicy steak and offered the first bite to his son. Chris was in heaven as he savored the flavor of the tender steak. He still couldn't use either arm to feed himself, as his right arm had the IV's and he had to use all of his strength to even lift his left arm.

"Let me give you some strength," Charlie said. He grabbed Chris's left arm and felt the energy flowing out of his body and into Chris's. He maintained the contact until he was exhausted and nearly collapsed on the floor.

Saul and Randy caught Charlie and took him to the chair in the room. The effect was almost immediate, as Chris was able to move on the bed to get in a more comfortable position to enjoy his meal. He groaned in pain, but ate as fast as the food was offered to him. Kevin Michaels knew of the huge appetite of his special friend, and had provided double portions of everything.

"Where's my beer?" Chris asked when he had finished everything.

"You're not of legal age!" Saul said. "We won't corrupt you by providing beer to a minor!"

Chris laughed. He knew his dad wasn't going to bring beer into the hospital, but he loved teasing B to see his reaction.

"Please go see Mike for me," Chris asked B. "I need you to tell him that I love him. I need to know if he still loves me. I'm worried that he is still sick. If I can't go see him, I need you to do it for me. Please, B, do it for me!"

Saul Bernstein hugged his son and promised to visit Mike and then return to give him news. A steady stream of visitors came into Chris's room. Most of the visitors were guys from the fraternity, but several of the Sig Ep's and other college students came in to see Chris and wish him well. Jonathan Carpenter, Randy and Charlie stayed in the room and made sure that no one stayed too long, as they realized that Chris was getting tired from all of the visitors.

Saul walked into Mike's room where Mike Senior, Mary, Jake and Shannon O'Brien warmly received him. He was happy to see that Mike was awake. He was shocked that Mike was sitting up with casts on his right arm and leg, but was alert and was talking.

"Hi B," Mike said softly. "I want to see Chris and talk to him."

Saul was thrilled to see that Mike was not only awake, but could recognize him. He could see that Mike was very weak and was fighting the pain of his injuries.

"Chris wants to see you too," Saul said. "He asked me to tell you that he loves you. Chris is very weak, but he is getting better. When you guys are both healthy enough to see each other, I promise to bring him to see you. I know that you guys did more than sleep together when you were at our duplex. I'm ready to love both of you as my sons, and I just hope that you guys will be honest with each other and talk about your mutual love. Chris risked his life to save you, but he is very weak and in pain. He has huge bruises on his body in the same areas where you were injured. He has fought off the infection, but his body is filled with toxins that have to be eliminated before you guys can see each other."

"I've always loved Chris," Mike admitted softly. "I've been an asshole for the way I treated him. I need to apologize to him and beg him to forgive me."

Mike and Mary Mahley were shocked that Mikey had enough energy to talk to Saul. It was the longest series of words that Mikey had spoken since his motorcycle accident. They both realized that their son was going to recover with all of the mental faculties that he had before the accident, and they both celebrated. They knew that the miracle of Mike's recovery would lead to a new life for their son with his soul mate, Chris Hammer.

Saul leaned over and gave Mike a kiss on the forehead, promising that he would go back to tell Chris how he was doing. Saul knew that Chris would be relieved to hear that Mike was alert and talking. He could sense that his son and Mike were going to recover and share their lives with each other. It was a great feeling for Saul to return to Chris's room and tell him what Mike had said.

Chris wept when he heard that Mike was now alert and had said that he loved him. He begged to be taken to visit Mike, but knew that the hospital staff would prevent him from leaving his room. He was surprised to see Poppa and Momma Mahley come into his room.

"We don't know how to thank you for saving Mikey's life," Poppa Mike said. "I know that everything I ever learned in medical school and my practice couldn't save his life, but you, and your Cherokee powers, did what no medical specialist could do. Mary and I know that you and Mikey are lovers, and we love both of you. We both want you guys to be together. Gay love and sex is still frowned upon by much of society, but we love both of you and will support you if you decide to be more than just best friends. You saved Mikey's life, and we can't ever repay you for doing that for us!"

"Mike and I have been best buds for a long time," Chris choked out. "He is the one person in the world that I want to spend my life with. I hope you don't hate me for loving him. My life will be complete if I can just be his buddy and take care of him for the rest of his life."

"You have always been our son," Mary Mahley said. "We both knew that you and Mike were more than best friends, and we welcome you into our lives as Mike's lover and partner."

"You need to drink a lot of liquids," Dr. Mahley said. "Tomorrow we'll start you on physical therapy to get your muscles working again. It'll be painful for you, but the exercise will work the toxins out of your body. When you can walk to and from the bathroom, we'll take you to see Mikey. After that, if you guys can work things out I might be able to get you in a semi-private room together."

Chris was thrilled with the thoughts of seeing Mike and being in the same room with him. He was determined to work hard on the physical therapy so he could tell Mike how much he loved him and beg for his pledge pin back.

It took two days of intense therapy for Chris to be able to walk unassisted to the bathroom and back. The physical therapists had to stop the treatments when Chris pushed himself further than they ever expected or saw in any other patient. He was exhausted, but demanded therapy sessions twice a day instead of the recommended one session per day. The therapists finally refused to conduct more than one session a day after Chris fell and hit a piece of equipment in the therapy room. He got a gash over his left eye that took 12 stitches to close, and the hospital was concerned about liability issues.

Chris was in his room sleeping when Saul and the Carpenter men came into the room. Charlie immediately touched his brother and got an immediate reaction. Chris woke up and pulled Charlie into a hug, proving that he was regaining his strength.

Charlie was in heaven as he hugged Chris and felt his strength flowing into his brother's body. He knew that Chris needed him to regain his strength, and was determined to continue giving his body strength to help Chris recover. Charlie felt his strength ebb, and knew he was close to passing out. He felt the strong arms of his father and brother holding him up and guiding him to the visitor's chair in the room.

"I don't know how to thank you," Chris said to Charlie. "I still can't believe that you can give me your strength."

"I love you," Charlie said softly to Chris. "I'm glad that I can do something to help you get well."

"B, I can't wait any longer," Chris said. "If you don't take me to see Mike right now, I'm gonna go postal!"

Saul saw the intensity in his son's eyes, and knew that he had to do something quick. Chris had lived up to the agreement to work hard in the physical therapy, and was still weak, but had proven that he could walk to the bathroom using a walker.

"Let me talk to Dr. Mahley," B said to his son. "You've earned the right to see Mike, and he's improved a great deal. I want you to relax and trust me to take care of this. I'm your dad and I love you and Mike. I promise that you will see him soon."

Chris knew that Saul had never lied to him, and finally relaxed to wait for B to return. He was ready to use all of his strength to fight his way out of his room and find Mike's room.

 To be continued... 

 Feedback is appreciated to jacob_latson@hotmail.com