From:     Snwdemon

Subject:  Playing the game:  Rodie's Story continued.

Chapter 12:  End game {M/t, M/b, no sex}

            WARNING:  This story contains descriptions of sexual acts involving MINOR boys.  I wish to explain that this story is not true!  Further, it is not intended to promote illegal acts against minors, but to demonstrate that young boys can love each other even when adults believe that they are too young.  The sexual acts described in the story are the result of my imagination.  I have not performed these acts, and I do not encourage others to perform them with minors.  If the subject of boy/boy or homosexual love between minors offends you, or this material is illegal to possess in your place of residence, or if you are under the legal age to possess such material, do not read further!

            By downloading this story:  You implicitly declare and affirm under penalties of perjury that you are not a minor or in the company of a minor and are entitled to have access to material intended for mature, responsible members of society capable of making decisions about the content of documents they wish to read ."  The story is copyrighted under my pseudonym, Snwdemon.  A copy has been placed in these archives for your enjoyment.  The story cannot be used to derive monetary gain.  However, if you want to place a copy of this story in your free access archives please email me for my permission.  The story cannot be placed in archives that require payment for access, or printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly.  Any similarity to individuals, living, or dead, is partially accidental.  Reference is also made in context to locations, businesses, characters, and people to define the story line.  No other implication about the true sexuality or actions of the people, or places mentioned is intended.

Author's note:  Well this is it for now my friends, and I hope you enjoy these last few chapters.  This is by far not the end of Rodie's story, but from now on, I will do smaller stories that center on some of the others in Rodie's life as well as how their lives are affected by Rodie, or how they affect him.  I will also post and epilogue to this story in order to explain about Indigo, Crystal, and Rainbow children.  The next part in this series will be with Mikki, Canyon, Derrick, Stevie, and the twins as the main characters, and it will be appropriately titled to the main character of that part.  I will center on Canyon and Mikki in the next few chapters, and then probably follow those with either Mark's, Eric's, the twins, or Derrick's story.  As you all can see, Rodie's story has now evolved and taken on a life of its own.  I am glad that you have enjoyed the story and the characters so much, and who knows, I may do a completely different story in the future using Rodie and his extensive family again, or maybe link this series to another story I do later on.  However, after these last few chapters of `Playing the game'; this will end this part of the series, and it will also end Rodie's personal story for the time being.  I will continue with this series, but now I will do it with one of the others as the main character and Rodie himself will be in the background instead.  Also, from this point on, any time that I write something that is a thought or telepathy, it will now be in italics. However, in order to insure proper formatting, I have switched to an html format instead of just plain text documents.  This way, it will be easier for you to tell the difference between something said using his telepathy and one that is spoken aloud.  I will also do this for a person's private thoughts that they do not speak aloud.  This allows you to connect with the characters in a more intimate way.

Last of all, I want to thank the thousands of friends and fans who has emailed me, written letters, and called expressing their thoughts, prayers, and get well wishes to me after they heard the news of my heart attack over the 2006 Christmas holiday and triple bypass surgery in early January 2007.  I, and my family, deeply appreciate all of the heartfelt wishes and prayers for my speedy recovery.  Thank you all for caring because all of you are angels in disguise.  Thanks again, and God bless, Damion.

P.S.  Just a quick update about Simon.  His low dosage chemotherapy program is progressing much better than we all expected.  As of this posting, he is now entering his 11th month in full remission, and he is back to being his normal self again for the most part.  While he still has good days and bad days, for the most part, he has returned to the point of assuming most of his hobbies and activities again.  He also has a new passion that he pursues constantly, and that is helping other kids like him cope with the rigors of their disease.  He has participated in the annual charity event to help raise money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital.  He has even been featured, along with 24 other children who are afflicted with various forms of cancer and leukemia, in the national TV commercials asking for donations.  He still has not forgotten all of the people who wrote to him, sent him cards, gifts, and their prayers.  He insists that one day he will find a way to thank each and every one of you personally for all of your caring and love that you freely gave to him.  All I have to say is that love, compassion, and caring for others are the things needed in order for miracles to happen.  I know, because for me, all of you performed a miracle and saved my son.  Thank you, and God Bless my friends.

Playing the game:  Rodie's story cont.

Chapter 12:  End game -- August 2001 (two days later)

            The drive home was done in two stages, with the first stage consisting of the majority of the day driving most of the way home.  They stopped for the night at South of the border off US 95 at the South Carolina/North Carolina border.  The town there consisted of a large mall, several hotels, an amusement park, two campgrounds, and a dozen or so restaurants.  The whole place, and all of the businesses had a Mexican/Wild West theme to it, and Rodie, Canyon, Eric, Mark, and Derrick enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the place.  However, for Stevie, being the youngest and least traveled of all the kids, he absolutely loved the place.  Just for their short overnight stay, a total of twelve rolls of film were used mainly to take his picture as he rushed from one place to the next, trying to experience everything in the short time they were there.  Jim was glad that he had brought the `Gator' for the trip because Rodie won Stevie a giant stuffed dinosaur, and his prize now occupied most of the back cargo area.  Now Canyon sat in the rear seat with Eric as they slept against each other.  While Stevie sat, straddle legged in Rodie's lap facing him, sleeping with his head against Rodie's chest.  Jim couldn't help it, and smiled as he looked through the rearview mirror at them as they slept.  He couldn't count the times that Rodie had slept in his lap, in the very same position that Stevie was now in, as he dosed in his recliner at the beach house that was now home.  Since he met Rodie, Jim's family has steadily increased in size over the last two years.  However, of all of the boys in his ever growing extended family, Rodie alone still filled his thoughts and his heart.

            He had turned the volume down on the stereo once the boys went to sleep and now they were getting close to home.  Jim took the Manteo exit off I-95, and proceeded east.  They had stopped at a Dairy Queen about two hours ago after they got off I-95 at a truck stop for a bathroom break before returning to the interstate highway.  He knew that Manteo was still a twenty minute drive to the east as he exited the interstate, and once there, they still had almost another 30 minutes to Rodanthi and home.  He wondered if Rodie would approve of the changes made to the beach house, but Jim suspected that he would.  After donating the old house to Oaklawn, Eddie and Marco had purchased the large rental property directly behind Jim's beach house.  Jim also purchased the empty lot behind Cathy's home too, and was having a new three bedroom, 2-1/2 bath beach home built; it was where Mike and Nell would live with Stevie.  In addition to this, since all four homes now formed a large square, along with Cathy and John's approval, and Eddie and Marco's; Jim had reinforced covered walkways built that connected each house.  He also had a security/privacy fence put up for their protection and landscaped the entire compound.  The reason he did this was because now in the center courtyard was a covered spa/extra large hot tub/aqua therapy pool that was twenty meters in length, and 10 meters wide.

            His beach house had been remodeled inside to improve it's insulation as well as improve its accessibility and comfort for Rodie.  Now, Eddie's large bedroom was gone, and in its place were a smaller guest bedroom, and a new study/office/computer room for Rodie and him.  He also had the house wired for satellite TV and high speed internet access.  Rodie's room had also been custom remodeled with a fantasy theme of wizards and dragons.  He knew Rodie would love the theme and he also had a connecting door put in to give Rodie full access to the master bathroom which had been expanded as well as connecting to his room.  The bed and furniture in the room were also designed to accommodate Rodie's disabilities.  Jim even had a custom made recliner similar to his own made for Rodie's room and the bed was fully adjustable including its height along with a special temperpedic pillow top mattress.  The remodeled bathroom had a special Jacuzzi tub/shower that would allow Rodie to open the door on the side of the two person tub instead of stepping over the sidewall, and it could be filled up to 3 feet in depth with water for either a whirlpool or Jacuzzi bath.  The new home design allowed for full wheelchair access for Rodie's Hove-a-round chair when he needed it.  It also included a small two person elevator to the lower floor where the larger Jacuzzi tub and the newly converted garage were located.  Jim had converted the garage to a downstairs den along with a full bath to go along with the Jacuzzi room, and laundry room.  This allowed Rodie full access to the house inside, while the paved, covered walkways would allow him to move freely between the four homes and therapy pool.

            Jim knew that Rodie would get stronger and would walk again with the aid of a cane or crutches like himself, but he also knew that Rodie would still need the wheelchair occasionally.  The peripheral nerve damage from his spinal cord injury and the damage that was now affecting his motor functions area in his brain, those would not get much better because damaged nerves and brain cells did not heal or regrow.  That meant that while Rodie would be able to lead a fairly normal life; it also meant that he would have to continuously work at accommodating everything to his disabilities.  Jim always felt a pang of sadness when he thought about Rodie's disabilities caused by his father and he felt that if he had been able to reach Rodie a minute or two earlier, then he wouldn't be disabled now.  The question of what might have been was always there whenever he thought about Rodie's future, and it saddened him as well as feeling partially responsible because so many things in life had been taken away from him.  However, the good thing was that Rodie himself did not consider himself disabled.  Instead, he viewed everything as a challenge and used his mind and imagination to devise ways for him to do the things that he was told he couldn't do.  Jim checked the time on his watch and saw that it was approaching 6pm.  He picked up the walkie-talkie that they were using to communicate with each other.

            "Hey, it is getting round to dinnertime for the monsters and the hairy beast needs to walk.  How about if we stopped in Manteo for dinner and take a break before heading home?"  He said into the walkie-talkie.

            "That will be fine with us Jim, how is Sunshine doing?"  Marco asked him.  Jim checked the rearview mirror and he saw Canyon, Eric, and Rodie rubbing their eyes as they yawned.

            "They are all beginning to show signs of life again, except for Stevie, he's still dead to the world."  Jim answered.

            "Of course, it is the built in alarm clock that all boys have...their stomach.  It is time for them to recharge and refill."  Eddie said with a laugh.

            "What about you Cathy?"  Jim asked.

            "Sure, I can hear Mark and Derrick's stomachs rumbling like thunder in here."  She said.

            "Well, count us in too, but we are not that hungry; just old and need to pee."  Mike said into his walkie-talkie with his and Nell's laughter in the background.

            "Eddie, how about if we stopped at the new Asahi Japanese Steakhouse in Manteo?"  Jim asked him before adding, "It should be fun for the boys to eat there."

            "Sounds good here, just as long as I don't have to cook it," Eddie said.  Jim put the walkie-talkie unit down and looked back in the mirror.  "Hey guys, start waking up because we are close to home.  We've decided to stop and eat since it is getting kind of late and you guys haven't eaten anything since we stopped at the Dairy Queen a couple of hours ago, so I figured you should be starving."  Jim said loudly to them.  Eric and Rodie both stuck their tongues out at him causing Canyon to erupt into giggles.  Then Rodie started to gently prod Stevie.

            "Come on Munchkin, its time to wake up now."  He said in his soft voice as he kissed Stevie on the forehead just before his eyes opened.  Stevie yawned for a moment as he focused on Rodie then laid his head back against Rodie's chest.

            "I'm still tireds Rodie."  Stevie said with another yawn.

            "I know Munchkin, but you're getting heavy and my legs are numb.  I got to pee too, so you have to move over into your seat now.  Jim also said that we were going to stop for dinner too, but you can stay in here and sleep if you want."  Rodie told him and Stevie perked up immediately when he mentioned food.  He stretched for a moment before sitting up, kissed Rodie on the lips, then moved off his lap and sat beside him.  He then leaned over and started massaging Rodie's left leg while Rodie massaged the right one.

            "Where's we goings Mr. Jim?"  Stevie asked.

            "Well, I was thinking we could stop in Manteo since it is 6 o'clock, and maybe get some dinner if you guys are hungry."  Jim told him as he looked at him through the rear view mirror.

            "I guess I'm kinda hungry's," Stevie said as he continued to massage Rodie's leg.

            "We don't have to stop, but it will be another hour before we are home and can go get dinner."  Jim told him in a neutral voice.

            "Anovers hour!  Lets stop here `cause I'ms really kinda hungrys now Mr. Jim."  Stevie said with a serious, wide eyed expression.  Even Rodie had to laugh when Stevie said that and he hugged him while Stevie blushed cutely.

            "Yes, we are stopping to eat here, Stevie.  I was wondering if you guys like Japanese food because they have a new Japanese Steakhouse here."  Jim told them, and all of them smiled and nodded hungrily as he said it except for Canyon.

            "Can we get mine to go?  I will eat once we get to the house," Canyon said quietly after a few moments of thought.

            "It will be ok Canyon; Jim will make sure that we sit out of the way so nobody will see really, alright?"  Rodie told him in his quiet voice as he tried to reassure him.

            "What if there are a bunch of people there, then everyone will be staring at me because...I'm a freak since I have no arms and eat with my foot."  He said dejectedly.

            "You are not a freak!  Don't ever say that you are a freak again because it isn't true.  You are no more of a freak than I am, or Stevie is, or Eric.  So you eat with your foot because you have no hands...that don't make you a freak."  Rodie told him, and then he unbuckled his seatbelt, and slid out of his seat kneeling in front of Canyon and grabbed him by his slim shoulders.  He had tears in his eyes when he said, "You will never be a freak to me, even if you had no arms, or legs.  I will never think that you are nothing but beautiful because that is what I see when I look at you.  Jim tells me I'm beautiful all the time, but I didn't believe him for a long time because I was so messed up inside.  He kept telling me though and all of the others did too until I realized that they were right.  I thought I was a freak because everyone called me one when they found out about my talents, so I know what it's like to be a freak.  It took me a long time to see the truth, but I finally saw it and I knew that Jim was right.  I am beautiful, but not only on the outside, but on the inside where it counts.  That's what I see when I look at you Canyon.  I see that you are beautiful, on the inside where it counts and on the outside too.  So don't ever say you are a freak, because if you are one, then so am I."  He said with as much authority as he could put into his soft voice as his eyes filled with tears before spilling down his face.

            "So am I, if you are a freak, then I am one too, and I'm still your friend."  Eric said to him solemnly.

            "Me's too.  I'ms a freak too Canyon and I'ms your friend too," Stevie added as he looked over the back of his seat.  Canyon looked at the three of them as his eyes filled before his tears began to slip down his face just like Rodie's.

"You guys mean it?"  He asked them all.

            "Yes, we mean it and we will always mean it."  Rodie told him with all of his caring in those words.

            "Thanks guys, I don't feel like a freak when I'm with all of you."  He said before leaning forward and hugging Rodie as best he could with his arm stumps as he sniffled.  Then Rodie kissed him and rubbed noses with him, making him smile while he smiled back.  Then with Eric's help, Rodie was able to stand up enough to sit in his seat again with a grunt of pain and effort.  Once he was seated, he looked up and saw Jim's eyes through the rearview mirror.  There were tears in them also as Jim met his gaze through the mirror and Jim just nodded his head slightly as he smiled.  It took another ten minutes for them to reach the restaurant.  Once they had parked, Jim got out and went around to help Rodie, Stevie, and Canyon out.

"You forgot to take your pain medicine earlier, didn't you?"  He asked him as he lifted him out of the `Gator,' and saw him grimace.

"Yeah, I did.  I'm sorry Jim, but it's not that bad right now.  I need to eat something though before I take them, or my stomach hurts."  Rodie told him knowing Jim knew he was being truthful because of their link.  Then Stevie came up to them with Rodie's arm crutches and he said.  "Thanks Munchkin."  Jim gave Rodie a kiss and rubbed noses with him before putting him down.  Then he sent them on their way with Eric while he helped Canyon out but stopped him before he could follow the others.

            "I know that you are embarrassed and shy about your arms, so tell me what you need so that you can enjoy dinner with all of us?"  Jim asked him with all of his compassion and caring on his face.  Eddie came up beside him with Marco just behind.  Canyon immediately rushed over into Eddie's arms, and Eddie lifted him up and kissed him.

            "What's wrong Sunshine?  Are you afraid that some rednecks in there are going to stare at you?"  Eddie asked as he hugged him.  Canyon nodded as he buried his head into Eddie's shoulder.

            "Tell you what, if any idiot stares at you while we are eating, I'll moon him and really give him something to stare at."  He said seriously, and Canyon's small body began to twitch before he lifted his head up giggling.

            "That would be funny if you did that," he said through his giggles as his smile lit up the world around him.

            "I know, but once I did it, I know that nobody will look in our direction again so you can eat in peace."  Eddie told him with a small kiss to his forehead.  "Come on, I can feel that tummy of yours growling at me.  Let's go feed the beast."

            "I don't think it will be bad like all of the other times, because I'm with all of you now, and you care.  Nobody cared before, but all of you guys really do care, and I feel almost like I'm normal with you all."  Canyon said as he smiled at them as Eddie held him in his arms.

            "Well, you're right about that Sunshine.  You are definitely normal because of that rumbling coming from your belly is telling me that you are one hungry kid.  Let's go put something in it before you waste away to nothing."  Eddie told him as he flipped him up over his shoulder, and patted him playfully on his jean covered butt while Canyon laughed happily.  Marco and Jim followed Eddie until they met up with the others waiting at the door.  Jim went in to let the hostess know that they had a large party of 14, and would prefer someplace out of the way.  The hostess suggested that they use the banquet area in the back that had a sliding divider and Jim told her that would be perfect.  She let him know that it would take the staff about five minutes to prepare the room, and Jim thanked her before going back outside with the others.  He told them that the area would be ready soon and suggested that they all go to the restroom and wash up while they waited.  Everyone agreed and Jim, Eddie, and Marco guided the boys to the men's room where they went to the bathroom, then washed their hands while Eddie helped Canyon wash his right foot before coming out and being seated.  They were seated at two long tables, with all of them seated on one side while the other half of the table was a griddle type grill for cooking the food at the table.  There were also two woks, one for each table.  After being seated, two Japanese chefs came out, and took up their positions at each table.

            "Now, there are only five choices here.  You can order seafood, beef, chicken, pork, or all of them.  Since we are a large group, why don't we get the works?  That way everyone will be able to eat what they like the best while also sampling the rest.  Sound good to everyone?"  Jim asked mainly for the benefit of the boys and everyone agreed.  The waitress took their drink orders and once they delivered them, started bringing out all sorts of raw food.  The chefs introduced themselves to everyone and then proceeded to cook the entire meal in front of them except for the steamed rice.  They also made it a point to talk to Rodie, Eric, Canyon, and Stevie in particular as they prepared the food.  While doing that, they went a step further and had them try a small sample of everything they made.  However, when they first offered a sample to Canyon, he blushed almost red and looked about to cry as he looked over at Eddie and Marco.  Marco quietly leaned over and told the chef what the problem was and the chef handled the entire situation with ease.  He asked Canyon to show him how he could eat and after much persuasion from Rodie, Eric, Stevie, and Eddie, Canyon finally scooted his chair back a bit, and nimbly picked up his fork with his bare right foot.  He then picked up the piece of chicken, and brought the fork to his mouth with ease.  While he was still red with embarrassment, the chefs reacted with amazement, and showered him with compliments and praise for his ability to eat with his foot and overcome his disability.  By them doing that, it took the shame and embarrassment away that Canyon felt while showing him the way to be proud of what he could do and that allowed him to relax and enjoy the meal.

            After the meal was finished, the waitress brought out small bowls of ice cream topped with a fortune cookie.  While Canyon still needed assistance with some things, his abilities that he had learned to compensate for the loss of his hands simply amazed the adults around him.  It also gave Marco and Eddie ideas on how to change Canyon's perceptions of himself.  Marco knew why Canyon had such a bad perception of himself and also almost no self esteem.  It was because he had been a world caliber athlete and because he was trained and coached to win only.  His parents and coaches must have instilled into him a perception of perfection.  If he showed any deficit in any area, then he was told he was weak, lazy, or incompetent.  He was also told that any weakness in his performance was disgraceful and embarrassing.  Because of that, once he lost his arms, it forever shattered his self image of perfection and was now slowly driving him towards depression and suicide.  Marco knew that this type of training and mental preparation was wrong and now was widely discouraged in the Olympic coaching circles.  Because if the child lost, it was devastating to them and to their self esteem, just as the loss of Canyon's arms was just as devastating to him.  If a child cannot see themselves excelling and improving as they train and compete, then they will never see themselves winning in competition.  However, if a child is never taught about losing or defeat, then it is equally devastating to the child when they do lose.  Olympic coaches have to carefully balance their mental preparation with the child's physical and competitive development so the young athlete can reach their maximum potential and win while also preparing them to face defeat in case they do lose.  Marco knew that they had a monumental task ahead of them, but he knew that they could help heal Canyon's shattered soul and that his healing had already begun.

            Once dessert was finished, Jim paid the bill, and he also left each chef a $200 tip as well as their waitress because of the way they eased Canyon's worries about him eating with his foot.  Eddie and Marco both spoke with them before they left and thanked them for what they did.  Once everyone was in their cars and ready to go, Jim led the way as they headed home on the last leg of their trip.  Eric, Stevie, and Canyon quickly dozed off once the Gator was moving again, but Rodie didn't and asked Jim if he could sit up front with him.  At the traffic light right before they crossed the south bridge to the Outer Banks, Jim helped Rodie move up front to the passenger seat.

            "How are your friends doing back there, my love?"  Jim asked him quietly.

            "They are doing ok Jim.  Those guys at the restaurant were really nice and they helped Canyon to feel better about his self tonight.  They didn't realize it, but their compliments actually opened up his mind to the truth of how amazing he is and about what he can do.  I'm glad you decided to stop there because he needed something like that to happen very much."  Rodie said to him thoughtfully and although Jim knew that Rodie had matured in many ways, it still surprised him at times about how grown up he could be.

            "You worry about him a lot, don't you?"  Jim asked him and Rodie looked away from him before answering.

            "Yeah, I guess I do."  He said in his soft voice as he looked out the window.

            "It sounds to me like you really care about him.  I also know that something is up between you and Mark.  You want to tell me about it?"  Jim asked him while Rodie blushed before looking out the window again.  He was silent for a long moment before turning back towards Jim.  Jim could see the tears in his eyes, and he reached over and put his hand on Rodie's slim shoulder.

            "It's alright my love; try not to think about it for now and we can talk about it once we get home."  He said before leaning over and giving him a quick, but gentle kiss on his forehead after Rodie nodded in response to him.  Rodie sniffled and wiped his eyes with the back of his hand as he tried to control his tears.  It took almost five minutes before he was able to relax again and stop his tears.  He remained silent for the rest of the drive home.  However, twice he looked over at Jim and said, "I love you" to him silently.  Jim responded the same way, "I love you too Bright Eyes."  Their bond with each other had also grown over the past year and at times it seemed like they were one person, while at other times their personalities seemed to clash badly.  However, their love for each other was intricate and almost boundless.  If you were not one of Rodie's inner circle of loved ones, then you could not understand or even comprehend how deeply that they loved each other.

The rest of the drive home went in silence with Rodie looking out the window while exchanging occasional glances with Jim.  When the four vehicles reached the security gate, Eddie stopped, punched in the code, and then drove in after it opened while the others followed.  Right inside the gate, in front of Mike and Nell's new house and Eddie's and Marco's home, was a parking area that was covered.  There were ten spots under the carport cover, but one space was filled with Jim and Eddie's Bayliner powerboat while Jim's BMW was parked beside it.  They parked in four other open spaces and Jim got out while signaling to Rodie to be quiet.  Jim let the others know that the boys had all fallen asleep again.

"Where is Stevie going to stay because our house isn't finished yet?"  Nell asked him.

"We figured that he would stay with Rodie in his room and you are welcome to stay in the guest bedroom if you want."  Jim told them, but Eddie jumped in at that moment.

"How about if you all stayed with us?  We have more room and I think things will go easier for Sunshine if he has Stevie, Mike, and Nell with him until he gets adjusted to everything.  Stevie can run back and forth between your house and ours Jim when he wants to see Rodie."  Eddie suggested to them, and they all agreed that this would be best for now.  When Cathy, John, Mark, and Derrick joined them, Mike and Nell started talking about the new house and overall design of the whole place.  Jim stepped back with Eddie for a moment.

"Thanks, Rodie has some troubles right now.  He's trying to hide it, but I really need some time alone with him."  Jim told him.

"I know.  The tension in the air between him and Mark tonight at the restaurant was thick enough to cut with a knife.  That was one of the reasons, along with what I told them, as to why they should stay with us for now.  I hope that Rodie isn't backsliding either because of whatever it is.  I'm worried because of his seizure and now this, so I hope he is prepared enough emotionally to handle it.  We will take care of Sunshine and the beast, while you go take care of our bright eyed surf boy."  Eddie told him and gave him a half smile at the end.

"Thanks Bro, I owe you another one.  Come on everyone; let's get the boys to bed because it has been a long day."  Jim told Eddie quietly before raising his voice enough for the others to hear.  They all went to the Gator and Eddie and Nell picked up Canyon and Stevie in their arms.  Jim went to Rodie and explained to him that Mike, Nell, and Stevie would stay with Eddie and Marco for now until Canyon got situated.  Both Canyon and Stevie woke when they were moved and Stevie started to protest when Rodie came up to him.

"It's alright Munchkin.  You need to go stay with Canyon for now because everything is so strange to him and he's going to need you to help him too.  Look, this place is going to be almost like one giant house for all of us, but it's not all the way done yet.  You can come over and see me in the morning, just follow this walkway from Eddie's house to mine and ring the bell."  Rodie told him before leaning close and whispering in his ear.  He told him that Canyon would feel a lot better if he were there to help him do things like use the bathroom, bathe, and to get dressed then Stevie understood and nodded.

"Ok Rodie, I loves you."  Stevie said and he gave Rodie a crushing hug and then Rodie kissed him and rubbed noses making them both smile.  Then Rodie went over, said goodnight to Canyon, and kissed him before rubbing noses with him before kissing Brutis and telling him to behave.  Last of all, Rodie went over to Mark and after telling him goodnight, they both exchanged an awkward kiss on the cheek before Rodie went back over to Jim.  Jim could see the perplexed expression that Mark had on his face as he watched Rodie walk away.  Cathy had gotten Eric up and he hugged, kissed, and rubbed noses with Rodie before allowing John to pick him up in his arms.  Mark, Derrick, Mike, and Marco got the luggage out, while Jim carried his overnight bag along with Rodie's small suitcase.  They all said parting goodnights to each other before heading to their respective houses.  Jim led Rodie to the front door and let him in.  Rodie looked at the spiraling staircase going up to the main floor with consternation that had replaced the narrow straight flight of steps.

"I can't climb these Jim," he said in his soft voice.

"Well, I kind of figured that my love.  Come on, these are for emergency use for us only."  He said as he directed Rodie down the hallway towards the Jacuzzi.  "This room is our new Den and I've fully enclosed and vented the Jacuzzi room too.  This door here though, is how we get up there."  He said before opening the elevator door that resembled a closet door.

"Oh Wow!  This is so kewl!  We got our own elevator...this is totally wicked!"  Rodie said as he opened the small security gate and stepped into the small elevator with Jim.

"Just remember that it has a maximum capacity of 350 lbs.  That means that only you and another person can use it at a time.  Most of the time the adults will use the stairs by the door, but for you and me, we can use this."  He said as he stepped in with their bags and pressed the up button.  The elevator began going up with a loud hum and stopped at the main floor.  Jim opened the door and then opened the security gate before they stepped out where the top of the stairs used to be.  The living room, dining room, and kitchen were unchanged for the most part from the last time Rodie was here.  Jim guided him into the back and showed him the new computer room.

"This is where you can do your homework, or you and the others can play games.  There are two terminal stations set up for multiplayer gaming and all have high speed internet access.  However, I do have it set up with parental controls to try and keep you from the darker side of the web.  If you need to use the net and access a restricted site, then you can get me to do it.  So, what do you think?"  Jim asked him as he pointed out everything.

"It's kewl Jim, I like it, but I'm not used to having my own computer though.  You will have to teach me how to use everything first."  Rodie said while stifling a yawn.

"I will, now let's get your things put away."  Jim told him and Rodie nodded and followed him into his room.  However, Rodie almost tripped over his arm crutches when he came into the room.  He looked around his room with a wide eyed, open mouthed expression of surprise on his face.  It took a few long moments before he could speak.

"It's beautiful.  You did all of this for me?"  Rodie asked in his soft voice with teary eyes.

"Yes, I did.  I hope you like it."  Jim told him as he sat Rodie's small suitcase down by the dresser.  Rodie slowly made his way around the room and then into the bathroom before coming back over to Jim.

"I love it Jim...It''s the room I always wanted."  Rodie said as his tears spilled down his face.  He then hugged Jim as tightly as he could.

"Let's get you comfortable and then we can talk.  If you like, you can even try out your new bed tonight."  Jim said with a smile.  Rodie giggled as he wiped his eyes with the back of his hands.

"Yeah, right!  What makes you think I'm going to be using my bed so much now that I'm home for good?  Are you kicking me out of your room?"  Rodie asked him with a wide grin.

"Well, I just thought that you wouldn't want to sleep with an old man like me.  I snore, fart, and I have a bad tendency of tickling boys in my bed until they wet themselves."  Jim said as he dug his fingers into Rodie's armpits making him explode with giggles.  After a few moments, Jim stopped and lifted Rodie up into his arms.  He then kissed him on the lips and Rodie melted into his embrace.  "I love you, my bright eyed surf boy.  Let's change clothes and relax for awhile before bed."

"Alright Jim, I love you too...more than I can ever say."  Rodie told him softly with a serious expression.  Jim put him down and steadied him until Rodie was able to get his balance.  Then he went over, opened Rodie's suitcase, and started unpacking it.  It did not take long to unpack and put away his things and by the time Jim had finished, Rodie had already undressed.  However, he still kept his leg braces and bikini briefs on.

"Don't tell me you sleep in those things.  The way you kick at night sometimes will make me sterile if you are wearing those braces."  Jim told him with a small grin.

"I just wear them until I get into bed.  Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to walk, even with my crutches."  Rodie said almost ashamedly.

"I know my love; and its fine with me.  I didn't mean to make it sound that way."  He said apologetically.

"It's ok.  I just wish that I didn't need them.  Dr. Goodman said that I would get better and I am...I guess.  It's just that things are just not the way I thought everything would be is all."  Rodie said in his soft voice as he looked down at the leg braces before looking out the window.  Jim came over and kissed him on the top of his head before opening the door to the bathroom.  He then passed through to his bedroom and Rodie followed in his easy lope after a few moments.

"Well, you are wrong there Rodie.  You will walk unaided again and even run to an least walk pretty fast when you want to.  What Dr. Goodman did not factor in at the time was your heart damage, but once he did, he still sees the same outcome for you.  Only, it will take a bit longer is all.  See, before he had you learning to move again while strengthening and conditioning your body.  However, once we found out about the heart damage, he changed your rehab program.  Now you have spent the last 9 months just learning how to move again without putting too much stress on your heart.  Now you will move on to the next phase which is stretching, conditioning, and strengthening your legs and body; again without causing too much stress on your heart.  Then the final phase will work to increase your endurance and muscle coordination.  It will take a little longer, but the outcome will still be the same.  You have just got to be careful not to let your depression come back and not to push yourself too hard because of your heart.  I know you want things to happen more quickly than they are, but they won't no matter how much you try to rush them.  I had to learn the same thing after the accident and it was the hardest challenge that I had to do in order to recover."  Jim explained as he undressed to his boxer briefs.  Rodie could see the new scars from his surgeries to replace the broken prosthetics in his hip and leg.  Then Jim handed him the silk kimono robe while he put on his favorite terry cloth robe.  Rodie slipped on the kimono and then thrust out his hip as he posed for Jim.

"You are still the sexiest boy that I know," Jim told him honestly, as he felt his dick begin to swell.  Rodie gave him a vamped smirk before reaching down to adjust his own hardening cocklet.  Jim couldn't help but to laugh before he said, "Come on you horn dog, let's go get something to drink."  Rodie followed him out to the kitchen and asked Jim for some sweet tea and Jim made them both a glass before going out into the living room.  Jim sat in his recliner and Rodie leaned against it while he removed his leg braces before letting Jim pull him into his lap.  Rodie turned around facing him while he sat straddling Jim's legs.

"Now, do you want to tell me what is wrong between you and Mark?"  Jim asked him, and Rodie's eyes immediately filled, then his tears spilled down his face.

"I have to let him he can be happy."  Rodie answered in his soft voice.

"He is happy now and he and Derrick love each other.  So why are you so sad?"  Jim asked.

"Because I still love him too...but I'm not the one for him."  Rodie said as he dropped his head and looked away from Jim.

"How do you know that you are not the one?  Up until a few months ago, you two were almost inseparable even though he was here and you were at Oaklawn.  What changed Rodie?"  Jim pressed although he already knew the answer.

"Because I found the one I'm supposed to be with...that's why I have to let Mark go.  I'm supposed to be with Canyon, but I still love Mark though.  It hurts."  Rodie said, and Jim pulled him into his embrace as Rodie cried in his confusion and pain.

"I know it does my love.  However, I think you are wrong about this.  You and Mark are supposed to be together and both of you will always love each other too."  Jim said soothingly as he hugged him gently.

"No, I'm right because Canyon saw it in a vision and so did I because he let me read his thoughts.  His talent is always right and he has never been wrong before."  Rodie said as he rested his head on Jim's shoulder.

"Well he can be right and you can be wrong too."  Jim told him and Rodie sat up and looked at him with confusion.  "I don't have any talents like you have, but I know that you are wrong.  How do I know?  I know because you and Mark are going to be like Eddie and me.  Eddie was my first true love and he always will be.  I love him as much as I love you.  However, our love doesn't stop us from loving someone else.  I love you now and he loves Marco, but we still love each other just as much as we did when we were twelve."

"But, I thought you love him like your brother?"  Rodie asked him in confusion.  "You don't love him as your boyfriend."

"That is where you are wrong, my love.  He was my first lover and my boyfriend.  However, we both realized as we got older that we would love others, because we needed different things from a lover that we could not give each other.  For all of Eddie's outlandish behavior, he is really a gentle person with much insecurity and he needs someone that is physically strong, logical, as well as gentle.  I am not emotionally calm and I react with what I feel.  Therefore, I knew I couldn't give him all of those things that he needed and he found someone who could, Marco.  However, it has not diminished our love for each other, just as my loving you has not diminished his love for me."

"I can't do that with Mark though, because it would hurt Derrick since they are already together now."  Rodie said sadly in his confusion.

"Rodie, you have grown in so many ways and you now know exactly what your talents are.  You have learned how to play the game, now play it, and quit trying to change the rules.  You can make people love you just by them looking at you, yet, you do not know how to let someone else love you, physically or emotionally.  You have to trust someone in order to love them completely and that is what Mark still has to do.  He has to teach you to trust so you can love someone else.  Only then will you be able to love Canyon and be happy.  However, that doesn't mean you have to stop loving Mark or me.  I know it is hard for you to trust others after everything that has happened, but until you can do that, then you cannot love someone completely, not even me."  Jim explained gently to him. 

Rodie was silent for a long moment as he realized what Jim was telling him.  Eddie was Jim's first lover and boyfriend and he is still one of Jim's true loves and his closest friend.  Now Rodie could see how he had misunderstood Canyon's vision.  He was only thinking about the physical part of love and that was where he messed up.  He was supposed to love Mark, and Mark was his first true love and always would be once their love was consummated.  Then he would be able to love Canyon, but he also realized that before he could be with Canyon, that he would be with Jim first and that made him smile.

"So I'm not done then, am I?"  Rodie asked him and Jim nodded.  " am I supposed to be with Mark though if he's with Derrick?"

"By not worrying about it, that's how.  Things will work out the way they should, so stop fretting over everything.  Remember, it is the game and it is a never ending cycle."  Jim told him as he kissed him on the nose making him smile.  "Also, you were my first boy lover because making love to another person does not mean they have to have anal intercourse.  What we did is the same as anal intercourse and we made love together.  My job was to love you for the person you are so that you could learn to love yourself again; and I was also supposed to save you from your father and from yourself too.  I did that, although I wish I could have done it better than I did.  Now you need to let Mark do what he is supposed to do so that you can love Canyon."

"I will, but who is supposed to teach Canyon?"  Rodie asked as the understanding of the truth came to him.

"Derrick will, and then you will be able to be together with him.  Also, Marco and Derrick are going to help him heal over the loss of his arms by giving him back his passion which is gymnastics.  Derrick is going to be Canyon's first true love; just like Eddie was mine, and Mark is yours.  Although, what we did together should not count because I did it to heal you.  Mark was the first person that you actually fell in love with once you were able to love yourself.  You will be Canyon's true love one day and Derrick will be like me with Canyon...understand now?"  Jim asked him and Rodie was quiet for a while as he thought everything through.

"Yeah, I understand now Jim, but don't say anything to Canyon ok.  He doesn't understand yet that he is gay, or that we will be together one day.  He is just realizing that he prefers boys over girls right now.  See, you are still teaching me too and always will.  I love you for that," Rodie said before smiling.  "You are wrong too; you are my first true love.  I loved you before I even met Mark, so that makes you my first true love and not him."

"What about Stevie now?"  Jim asked him.

"Oh, well, that's a secret too for now, because Stevie is almost as good as I am at finding things out, but he can't find out if I don't tell anyone.  I'm supposed to love him like you love me so I can heal him inside, but Eddie and Isaac are the ones who will be with him in the end."  Rodie said with a small laugh.  "I just wonder who is supposed to teach them how to love someone so they can be with Stevie?"  Rodie asked.

"I don't know," Jim said to him.  "Maybe you should talk to Chiari about it; she would probably know."

"Me?"  Rodie asked before he blushed red.  "Why do I have to ask her?  Why can't you do it; or Eddie?"

"Well you're the one who wants to know, so you can ask her."  Jim said with big grin as Rodie shook his head no.

"What about Eric?"  He asked in order to change the subject.

"I don't know really.  It certainly won't be his Dad."  Jim told him with a half smirk making Rodie giggle.  "Anyway, I think he already knows to be honest about it."

"Why weren't you his first?  I think you are right though."  Rodie told him thoughtfully.  "He makes everyone think he's innocent, but he isn't really."

"I know, but it was not my job to teach him this time.  I thought it would have been a little while longer before he was ready to love someone physically.  That's because I thought one of his talents was innocence, and if he learned too fast, then he would have lost that innocence.  I don't know for sure what his talents are, but he will use those talents to restore the innocence lost in Stevie though."  Jim told him as he wiped Rodie's eyes.  Rodie then yawned.  "I think it is time for my bright eyed surf boy to go to bed."

"Yeah, I am tired and we can also have that pointed conversation that you've been promising me for so long too."  Rodie said with a smirk while his eyes twinkled and Jim could feel his desire as his cocklet hardened.

"I thought you said that you were tired?"  He asked him as he slid his hand down Rodie's side and leg and grasped his hard cocklet.

"I'm not that tired!"  Rodie exclaimed with a giggle.  Jim stood up and picked up Rodie's braces before heading back to his room while Rodie giggled in his arms.  In the bedroom, Jim unceremoniously dumped Rodie onto the bed before putting his leg braces next to the night stand on the opposite side of the bed.  The silk kimono had now come open revealing Rodie's near naked body and very hard cocklet as it tented his bikini briefs.  Jim took off his robe and lay down on his side next to Rodie.  He then gathered his giggling boy in his arms and rolled him on top of him.  Rodie tilted his head down and kissed Jim who slipped the silk robe off Rodie's arms and tossed it aside.

"So what do you want to do?"  Rodie asked him after they broke the kiss.

"Whatever you want, my love...are you sure you are ready for this?"  Jim asked him as he slid his hands up Rodie's flat stomach and small chest.  As his hands made contact with Rodie's dime sized nipples, he felt Rodie shudder with excitement as he let out a soft gasp.

"Yeah...I think so Jim.  I have wanted to do this with you for a long time now.  I haven't done anything like this since that night, then I got sick and then what my father did to me..." he said as his soft voice trailed off and his eyes watered.

"Shhh.  I know.  That's all in the past now and tonight we will make some new memories for you to dream about."  Jim told him as he pulled Rodie down onto his chest and kissed him again.  As he kissed him, Jim slid his hands gently down Rodie's back until his fingers slid under the elastic waistband of Rodie's bikini briefs.  He cupped Rodie's small, silky smooth, firm buttocks and massaged them briefly as their tongues met.  Then he slid the small briefs down until Rodie bent his legs at the knee allowing Jim to take them off.  Now he could feel Rodie's small, hot hardness against his stomach as he pressed his fingers into Rodie's hot crevasse.  The muscles in his small butt tightened instinctively when Jim's probing finger made contact with his little rosebud.  He felt Rodie stiffen and then a terrified shudder passed through his small body before he broke their kiss suddenly.

"Oh!  Stop...please," Rodie gasped in his soft voice.  Of course, this immediately worried Jim, and he moved his hands to Rodie's slim hips.

"I'm sorry Rodie," Jim began, but Rodie quickly cut him off.

"No...I'm the one who is sorry.  I have dreamed of doing this since that night my father tried to kill me two years ago."  Rodie said as he panted.  "Only, now everything is happening exactly as it happened just like before and I can't do it right now.  Everything is repeating itself from before and I can't live through it again...I can't, I'm sorry Jim."  He said with an almost desperate, fearful look on his face as his tears spilled down his face as his whole body trembled.  Jim now understood what he was trying to say.  That everything he was doing with Rodie now was exactly how it had happened two years ago and he could feel the fear building inside Rodie's mind.  Jim had hoped that this wouldn't happen, and he knew that it wasn't just him causing this panic attack.  He knew that if Rodie tried to engage in sexual play with any adult man right now, that this would happen again.

"Now, you see it Rodie; and now you know why I have refused to do this with you since that night because I cannot be the one to do this.  I want to do this just as much as you want to, but I can't because the fear and panic will always be there until you get past this and finish healing inside.  That's why it has to be Mark who teaches you, and not me.  I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but it did.  We cannot undo it now, and I'm sorry it had to hurt you again before you fully understood."  Jim told him while his own tears filled his eyes as he watched Rodie's face.  He saw the fear and regret in Rodie's eyes change suddenly into anger though.

"Damn him!  Why can't he just leave me alone and stay in hell where he belongs.  Why does he have to keep hurting me?"  Rodie said angrily as his hatred for the man who sired him spread across his face.  Then his small shoulders slumped and his tears came hot and fast again.  "He's dead now, but he is still hurting me.  He took away everything I loved from me except you...and now he has even taken you away from me too."

"No he hasn't.  I'm still here my love and I always will be.  All he has done is delayed our being together as one for a little while longer, that's all.  Soon, you will be able to move on past this, I can promise you that."  Jim told him as he watched Rodie struggle with this understanding.  Finally, Rodie just nodded his head a little, as his choking sobs came and Jim pulled him down into his protective embrace.  He didn't know how long Rodie cried before he finally succumbed to sleep.  All he could do was to hold him and comfort him while Rodie's pain ran its course.  It was well after midnight before he joined Rodie and slept.

Friday September 7, 2001  (Noontime)

"Are you sure you will be all right here while we are gone?"  Jim asked Rodie as he finished packing his suitcase and closed it.

"Yeah, I'll be fine.  John will be here and Mark, Derrick, and Eric will be with me too, so everything will be fine Jim.  Just take care of Canyon and Munchkin, and be careful."  Rodie told him.  He was dressed in the silk kimono wearing his leg braces as he sat in the chair in Jim's room.  He had been quieter than usual since he came home and discovered that his sexual desires and playing with Jim was still barred from him because of his fear.  It was a setback for him, but unlike before, he was no longer afraid to confront it, or to challenge it in order to change things.  That is what he was planning to do while Jim was gone as Cathy, Eddie, and Marco went through the legalities to adopt Canyon.  Mike and Nell were back at Oaklawn doing the final preparations before the new facility opened.  They also had a hearing in court about Stevie's placement with them so he was going with Jim who would meet them at Oaklawn after the hearing for Canyon.  Since that first night home, Rodie had mostly slept in his own bed or with Stevie instead of with Jim; and when they told him that they had to go on this trip, he had declined to go with them.  Since he told Jim that he was staying home, Mark and Eric also refused to go too.  He had not planned on Eric staying, but he was determined to use this time to confront and overcome his fear so he could be with Jim.

"Well, the guardianship hearing for Canyon in Tennessee is on Monday and then Stevie's hearing will be on Thursday in Raleigh.  We should be back on Friday if everything goes as planned for Canyon and Stevie.  We will fly to Memphis today, and Tuesday fly to Raleigh after the hearing for Canyon is done.  There are the numbers for our hotels where we will be staying at just in case you need to get a hold of me.  In addition, this is our flight information in case of an emergency."  Jim told him as he finished getting dressed and looked at him.  For the last few days, Rodie seemed on edge about something and it was clear to Jim that something was wrong.  "What is the matter Rodie?"

"I don't know...everything feels wrong Jim.  I've just got this awful feeling that something bad is going to happen to you and Munchkin."  Rodie said quietly as he blushed pink.  Jim came over and knelt down in front of him.

"Everything will be fine my love.  I will make sure nothing happens to Stevie, so stop worrying so much."  He said trying to reassure Rodie.  "Relax ok?"

"I'll try.  Just be careful ok?  You and Munchkin are really important to me and if anything ever happened to you guys...I don't think I could survive losing either of you.  So, please be careful...for me?"  Rodie said as his eyes filled.  Jim gently pulled him into his arms and hugged him.

"I don't think I could survive either if something happened to you my love.  I will be careful, so try not to worry so much.  I promise."  Jim told him as he wiped Rodie's eyes before the tears could slide down his face.  Just then, the doorbell rang letting them know that the others were ready to leave and Jim said.  "Come on, let's go see the others."  Rodie hugged him tightly for a moment longer before nodding his head, afraid to speak because he was on the verge of tears.  When they stood up, he steadied Rodie until he got his arm crutches before heading out towards the living room.  However, Rodie stopped in the hallway beside his door.

"Um, I'm going to get dressed while you let them in ok?"  He asked Jim.

"Sure, my love, I will see you in the living room."  Jim told him before going to let the others in while Rodie went into his bedroom.  He quickly slipped on his camouflage muscle pants and a plain "v" neck t-shirt and his slippers before heading out to the living room.  Eddie, Marco, Cathy, and Stevie were there with Jim as he came in.

"Rodie!"  Stevie said with a big smile as he hurried over and hugged him.

"Hi Munchkin.  Did you sleep good?"  Rodie asked him after hugging and kissing him.

"Yeahs.  Its funs when I stays wif Eric."  Stevie said quickly with a huge smile.

"Talk right Munchkin.  You promised to try, remember?  You don't want to make the judge think you are stupid, so you have to remember to try."  Rodie chided him gently with an understanding expression.  Stevie still spoke like a toddler because his foster parents claimed they were home-schooling him in order to prevent Social Services from discovering the abuse.  Stevie was six when they found out what they were doing to him and he was removed after his foster dad had disfigured him.  It wasn't until he went to Oaklawn that he actually began school at the age of seven and a half, and he tended to revert back to his old baby talk when excited or upset even though he was eight, almost nine now.  He had been working with a speech therapist at Oaklawn and would continue doing so once he was transferred to the new facility.

"I'm sorrys Rodie.  I will do betters, I promise."  Stevie said with a hurt look on his pixie face.  Rodie just leaned down a little, kissed him, and rubbed noses with him making everything all right again.

"I know you will Munchkin.  So, are you excited about going on your first plane ride?"  Rodie asked him with a big smile and Stevie nodded enthusiastically as he began bouncing up and down in Rodie's arms.

"Yeahs!  Mr. Jim and Aunt Cathy even said I's can sit by the window toos."  He said with boyish excitement making all of them laugh.

"Where is Canyon?"  Rodie asked them as he looked over at Eddie.

"He is with Mark and Eric still.  He is a little down this morning, but I think it is because he had a nightmare last night."  Eddie told him and Rodie's face creased with worry.

"A nightmare?  He doesn't have nightmares very often.  What was it about...did he tell you?"  Rodie asked as he stopped in between the recliner and couch.

"I think it was about the accident when his parents were killed.  I couldn't really understand what he was saying except about something crashing and fire."  Eddie told him as he sat forward because he knew that Rodie sensed something that they did not.  He was quiet for a few moments as he thought this over in his mind.  Then, Rodie sucked in a quick breath as his face became alarmed and he looked at Eddie with a dead serious look on his face.

"But that's wrong though; his parent's car didn't burn at all."  He said before going silent as a blank look came onto his face.  They all knew that he was reaching out with his mind right now and waited patiently.  After a long moment, Rodie's brow creased and he looked around at everyone with a worried expression on his face.  "That's why I feel like this...I need to talk to him Eddie.  Right now, it can't wait."  Rodie said in his soft, quiet voice.

"Ah, sure; what are you thinking about Surf boy?"  Eddie replied as he stood up and asked.  "I'll go get him, ok?"

"No, I'll go with you.  Just help me with the stairs please."  Rodie told him as he moved to the spiral staircase.  Jim got up, went over, and lifted him up into his arms before going down the steps while the others followed.  They went outside, followed the walkway over to Cathy's house, and went inside.  They found Mark, Derrick, Eric, and Canyon in the living room with John along with Brutis.  They were all a bit surprised when they came in with Rodie.  Rodie wasted no time going over to Canyon as soon as Jim put him down.

"What did you see?"  Rodie asked, almost demanded from him.  Canyon looked up at him for a long moment before looking away as his eyes filled.

"I don't know...just something very bad."  He said in almost a whisper.

"Show me...please; because it is important."  Rodie told him as his face softened to one of caring and understanding as he sat down beside Canyon.  Canyon nodded after a moment and then he and Rodie hugged each other, touched their foreheads together, and closed their eyes.  They sat in silence for almost five full minutes as Canyon shared his vision with Rodie.  At the end, Rodie gasped before opening his eyes and breaking their connection.  He was visibly pale and had a frightened expression on his face.  He shuddered visibly and began trembling as he looked around the room at everyone.

"You can't go...the plane is going to crash."  He said shakily in his soft voice.

"What?  What plane is going to crash...and when?"  Jim asked him with alarm.

"I don't know Jim.  I just know what he saw is all.  He had a vision...of things that are going to happen.  It is hard to understand because everything seems so jumbled, but he has never been wrong before.  He isn't like us in talents because he is a true psychic.  We are either empaths or telepaths to some degree, but he can see the past, or the future for someone, and he can talk to those who have passed on too.  I saw it in his vision just now and it will way or the other there will be a plane crash.  If you go on the plane, something is going to happen with the plane and everyone will die."  Rodie told him as he hugged himself as he hunched over like he was cold.

"It is ok my love, calm down, and tell me about it."  Jim said gently to him as he sat down beside Rodie.

"I don't know Jim...everything was jumbled because it hasn't happened yet.  In his vision, there is an airplane, a big ball of fire and lots of people dead.  Then it shows a funeral with a bunch of caskets and hundreds of people there too.  All I can tell is that something awful is going to happen and a plane is going to crash somewhere.  Many people will die, and many more will be hurt because of what will happen."  Rodie said quietly as his slim body shook and then he looked at Jim and said as his tears spilled down his face.  "You can't go on a plane, because all I know is that all of you will die if you do."

"Then we won't go on the plane, so calm down.  Now tell me if this is going to happen because we go by plane, or if we go on this trip?"  Jim asked them both and Rodie couldn't answer him so he looked over at Canyon with Jim.  Canyon blushed before looking down.

"I think it's only if you go on the plane.  I'm not sure though because this is only the fourth time something like this has happened."  He said quietly as he looked at his knees.

"What do you mean, Sunshine?"  Eddie asked him as he sat in the chair closest to Canyon.

"That I've seen things that haven't happened yet.  I usually can only see things that have already happened with someone, or talk with the spirit of someone who has died.  That's why I couldn't answer your questions last night because I didn't know how to...or if you would even believe me if I told you."  He said with an apologetic look on his face.  Eddie just held his arms open to him and after a moment, Canyon rushed over into his embrace.  He buried his face into Eddie's chest as he pulled him up into his lap and kissed him.  After a few moments, Canyon lifted his head and continued.  "The only times before that I saw the future was when I was six.  I saw when my grandpa was going to die...and then after he died, I was eight, and he showed me the accident that killed my parents and took my arms.  When I see things that haven't happened yet, I don't know when they will happen, I just know that they will happen.  That is why I worked so hard to be good at gymnastics because I knew that I would lose my arms one day.  I tried to make my parents believe me, but they never believed me about this.  They thought I was crazy or having some kind of breakdown, so they stuck me in that nut hospital.  They didn't believe me, and they died...and I lost my arms and gymnastics."  He sobbed into Eddie's chest.  Eddie just soothed him quietly with his loving embrace, and light kisses.  After a few minutes, Canyon lifted his head and said as his tears continued to flow.  "Then the last time was when I saw Marco and you...and that you would love me even without my arms."  Eddie didn't respond except to kiss away his tears.  After he had calmed down and relaxed, Canyon looked around at the others before looking back at Marco and Eddie.  "That was six months ago, and it was my parents who showed me because of the guilt they have for not listening and believing me.  They want me to be happy again, and they knew that I can be with you."

"You will be happy again, we promise."  Marco told him solemnly.  Then Eddie asked, "How do you see these visions for the future though?"  Eddie asked in a soothing, reassuring voice.

"The spirits show me mostly.  Usually one who is near death, or has just passed on recently."  He answered honestly, but he looked away before finishing.  "But it wasn't a spirit this time though.  It was Mikki who showed me."  He said before letting out a small gasp and quickly casting a nervous glance towards Rodie because had Mikki asked him not to tell Rodie about her.  Everyone was deep into their own thoughts, but Jim noticed Rodie was staring hard at Canyon who was blushing bright red while his expression was one of fear.  Jim knew exactly what Rodie was doing, and hoped he wasn't too late to stop him from finding out.

"Rodie...stop!  You promised not to use your telepathy on someone without their permission first.  So stop it now!"  He barked breaking Rodie's concentration, however, he saw that it was already too late.  Rodie's young face clouded over with anger before he stood and turned towards Jim while everyone could see how angry he was.

"Damn knew all this time!  How could you do this to me Jim?  How could you not tell me she was so sick?"  Rodie demanded angrily as his face reddened while he breathed heavily, then his eyes filled and his tears spilled down his red hot cheeks.  Jim immediately moved over next to him and tried to get him to sit down again.  After a few tense moments, Rodie eased himself down, but sat on the very edge of the cushion, and he kept his crutches too.  Jim moved over next to him and went to take his hand, but Rodie snatched it away when they touched.

"I'm really sorry Rodie, I wanted to tell you when I first found out, but she made me promise not to tell you because you were not ready yet."  Jim said in the most gentle and caring voice that carried all of his love and respect that he had for Rodie.  After a long silence, Rodie's shoulders slumped as his hot tears coursed down his small face.

"Is she gone already Jim?  Why didn't any of you tell me she was dying?"  He asked Jim specifically.  "I could of said goodbye at least and told her how much I love her."  He said the last part in a dejected voice along with a look of unbearable loss on his face.

"Because she asked me not to; that's why.  No, she isn't gone, but her time is becoming short.  That's why we have to get everything taken care of now so we all can go be with her as soon as we get back."  He told him and Rodie's face brightened a bit when he said this.

"So she is just sick right now and will get better once we get there right?"  He asked with a small glimmer of hope in his eyes, but Jim carefully shook his head no.

"No my love, Mikki is dying, but she promised me that she won't leave until you are ready.  She is much, much older than she appears and she has waited here for a very long time until she found you.  Now she is tiring quickly, and she told me that it is almost time for her to pass on.  However, she won't go until after she speaks to you first, and that you are ready to take her place."  Jim explained to him in a gentle, caring manner.  He reached out to touch him, but Rodie turned away.

"Please...don't.  I'm all of you, but just leave me alone now," he said softly as another tear slid down his face.  Then he got up and slowly left the room.  However, he went into Eric's room, closed, and locked the door.  Then he broke down and wept like the broken hearted child that he was.  When his tears stopped a half hour later, he sat on Eric's bed after arranging the pillows to support him as he sat back against the headboard.  Then he closed his eyes, placed his hands out to the sides of him with his palms up.  Finally, he lifted his tear stained face up toward the ceiling as he reached out with his mind.



"I'm here, my littlest one."


"Why didn't you tell me?"


"I chose not to because you are not yet ready.  You still have things to do before we can talk.  Do not be upset with my dearest one, or our dear ones for concealing this from you.  They did so because I told them not to tell you.  You have come so far, but your soul is still torn.  The game goes on, and this cycle is almost complete.  However, unless you mend that tear in your soul, then you will not be able to move forward.  Play out the final part of this cycle of the game, then come to me, my littlest one, and I will be here waiting."


"I will Mikki.  I will do whatever I have to do, even if it hurts.  I love you little mother, and I will be with you soon, I promise."

Friday September 7, 2001:  (mid afternoon)

"Well Sunshine, you were right because we do love you even without your arms because it makes it so much easier to tickle you.  As for believing you about your visions, all of us here know to trust your talents because of Rodie.  We will always believe you when you tell us something important like this.  However, just like it is with Rodie, no telling fibs, or playing jokes on us concerning your talents."  Eddie told him after Rodie had left the room, and Canyon studied his face for a moment until he was sure that Eddie spoke the truth.

"Well, I guess your first plane ride will have to wait a bit longer Stevie.  I know it isn't the same as flying, but how about if we went on the train instead?"  Jim asked him because he saw the disappointment in Stevie's eyes when he told them they wouldn't fly, but Stevie immediately brightened up.

"You means we gets to rides a real choo-choo train instead?"  Stevie asked excitedly, and when Jim nodded, he started bouncing up and down again with excitement.  "Kewl!  I likes choo-choo trains betters than airplanes anyways."  Everyone relaxed a bit after that while Jim and Marco made the changes in their travel plans.  They would have to take the Saturday afternoon train, and it would arrive in Memphis in the morning.  They also caught a break for the return trip for Stevie's hearing because there had been a number of cancellations for Wednesday's train to Raleigh.  Once everything was set, Jim suggested that they go to the buffet at the Down Under for dinner since they didn't have to leave as planned and everyone agreed.  He was surprised at the time because two hours had past while he changed their travel arrangements.

When Jim went to check on Rodie, he was relieved when Rodie agreed to go with them, but he remained quiet during the trip there.  It didn't take long for everyone to get ready, and soon they were on the road heading towards Nags Head.  Once they arrived, everyone piled out of the cars and headed inside.  Rodie and Eric kept a tight lease on Stevie because, like everything else, this was a new adventure for him.  As they came into the restaurant, Rodie stopped beside the hostess station and looked around the place along with Stevie.

"Wow!  This place is reallys big Rodie."  Stevie said quietly as he looked around in awe.  When he looked over at Rodie, he became worried because Rodie had tears in his eyes.  He could also feel the mixed emotions that Rodie was experiencing as he surveyed the restaurant.  "Why are you sad Rodie?"

"I'm not really sad so much Munchkin.  It's just that it has been a really long time since I was here last.  I had just turned ten when I came here last, and this place was one of the first places where I felt safe and happy, and like I was just a normal kid.  I've really missed this place, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.  I hope that you will feel the same way about this place now like I do."  Rodie said wistfully as he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.  Jim and Eddie had come up behind them as Rodie spoke.

"Well, you can come here any time you want now, and you, Stevie, and Canyon can make new happy memories.  Just remember to behave yourself because it is very unbecoming for the manager to be rude or obnoxious in front of the other guests."  Eddie said to him as he pointed towards one of the framed photos hanging on the wall under his and Jim's photos as the owners.  Rodie's photo was hanging between Chiari's and Dennis's while the large caption underneath announced that they were the managers.  Just then, a petite woman came out from the back followed by a taller man wearing a chef's uniform, and she stopped when she saw Rodie.

"Oh Dennis...he's come home to us again."  Chiari said with a squeal of happiness before rushing towards them.  Rodie looked up when he heard her voice, and started towards her as his eyes brimmed once more.  He let out a soft cry as he stumbled into her waiting embrace, and they both cried as they hugged each other.

"Oh my sweet, darling child, we have missed you dearly and the twins have been beside themselves with worry that you were not coming back.  I just knew that today was going to be special, and now it is because you are home where you belong."  She said as she hugged and kissed him tenderly.

"Welcome home Rodie.  You have become a young man since you left us, and all of us have prayed every night for your recovery.  Eddie and Isaac even light a candle for you every night and put it in the window so you can follow the light home just in case you were lost.  They also include you in their prayers every night before bed for you to come home soon because we all have missed you so much."  Dennis told him as he hugged Chiari and Rodie together.

"I've missed all of you so much too, and I prayed every night too.  I have dreamed and hoped for this day to hurry up and arrive.  This will always be my home because everyone I love is here.  I have to apologize to Eddie and Isaac for missing their birthday, but I still have their gifts if they want them."  Rodie said softly through his tears.  "Thanks you guys...for taking care of my first true friend, and for taking care of Jim when I couldn't.  I was so sad, and really broke up inside and everything back then, but I'm almost all better now.  I've missed you all so much because both of you are like an extra set of parents to me, and Eddie and Isaac are like my little brothers.  So how are the clones doing, and when can I see them again?"  Rodie said to them with a big smile as Chiari began wiping his small face with a handkerchief.  However, before she could answer him two high pitched squeals erupted from the back near the game room, and then Rodie saw the twins running towards them.  He had just enough time to pull free from Chiari and discard his arm crutches as he sank to his knees with his arms wide open before he was practically tackled by Eddie and Isaac.

"Rodie!"  Isaac started.

"You're home."  Eddie continued.

"We've missed you..."  (Isaac)

"so much, and we..."  (Eddie)

"were so worried that..."  (Isaac)

"you weren't ever coming back."  (Eddie)  Rodie automatically switched his gaze from one twin to the other as they completed each other's thoughts and sentences.  He finally started laughing as he toppled backwards with them in his arms.

"Hold on you two, you are going so fast that I can barely keep up."  He said finally after hugging the two carbon copies in his arms as he lay on the floor with them still in his arms.  He then kissed each one of them, and rubbed noses with them before sitting up and saying as they stood.  "Hey, I need some help now that you two got me down here."  Stevie came over with a wary expression, and they all helped Rodie to stand up and steadied him once he had his crutches again.  The twins started to speak again, but Rodie cut them off with a stern look at each of them.  Of all the people in their short lives, it was with Rodie only that they would listen to and obey when push came to shove.  The only exception to that were their parents Dennis and Chiari, but even with them, they could usually manipulate them enough to get what they wanted.  Rodie gave both of them a look and silently told them in a moment that Stevie was not to be messed with until he felt secure enough to open up more with them.  Then he turned to Stevie, and pulled him close to him and spoke out loud.

"Munchkin, I want you to meet two really kewl kids who I think will be your friends once you get to know them.  They are linked together like we are, and they also have a really bad habit of completing each others sentences.  Even though it's hard at first, you really can tell them apart once you get to know them.  Isaac, I want you to meet Stevie Jacobs, and Stevie, this is Isaac and that green eyed, blond look-a-like beside him is his brother Eddie.  They are identical twins, and they turned seven not long ago.  You can always tell who is who just by looking at their upper lip because Isaac has a small freckle right there while Eddie doesn't."  Rodie told him as he hugged him close, then he looked at the two smiling, green eyed devils.  "You two better behave or else because I will give you a whipping.  Well, at least let him get to know you a little first before you start corrupting him.  Also, you guys have to be careful of his hands because they were hurt really bad."  Rodie told them after wagging a warning finger at them.

"We will be good, we promise."  They said in perfect unison before a small hint of a mischievous smile crept onto their faces.  Then Eddie stepped closer and held out his hand to Stevie, and after a moment of hesitation, he extended his small damaged hand towards him.  Just like he promised, Eddie was very careful when he took Stevie's hand to shake it, making sure that he did not squeeze his damaged hand.

"Hi's, I'ms Stevie," he said shyly as Eddie gently shook his hand.  As soon as their hands touched, it was almost like a bell went off inside Rodie's head.  He now knew that whatever had just happened between the twins and Stevie was very important, and was meant to be.  He couldn't help smiling as he watched Eddie and Isaac do what they did best, and that was to subtly lower a person's guard so that they were at the mercy of the twins disarming charm.

"Hi Stevie, I'm..."  Isaac began to say as he gently shook hands with him, but he was cut off by his brother.

"Eddie, and he is my little brother..."  He said while Isaac rolled his eyes before cutting of Eddie.

"Isaac, and you're only older by five minutes."  He said in an exasperated tone of voice.

"So that makes you my baby brother."  Eddie said with a mischievous grin and an `I dare you' expression on his young, angelic face.

"It does not!  And if you call me a baby again...I'm gonna have to hurt ya!"  Isaac said as he clenched his small jaw and assumed the same `I dare you' look.  Of course, Eddie did dare just as he had.

"Baby brother!  Maybe it's time to change your diaper so your little pee-pee don't get a rash."  He said before sticking out his tongue at his brother.

"Am Not!  And yours is the same size as mine so shut up!"  Isaac retorted before kicking Eddie in the shin.  Then he turned and bolted towards the back with Eddie right behind him although he did have a slight limp.  Rodie watched them run off and knew that they wouldn't hurt each other.  It was mainly a show they put on in front of others to mask their talents.  Eddie was an Empath like himself and Stevie, while Isaac was the only other true telepath that Rodie knew besides his Mom and Mikki.  The twins could use the other's talent even when they were not together, which was rarely, just like he was able to share talents and feelings with others.  It was because their minds were so interlocked with each other that nobody could really tell where Eddie and Isaac actually separated into their own personalities except for Rodie, Dennis, and Chiari.  They loved him dearly too because he was the only one that could teach them about their talents, and also help them from making the same mistakes that he had.

"Are they always like that Rodie?"  Stevie asked him innocently.

"Like what?"  Rodie asked while he continued to monitor the twins who were now wrestling and tickling each other in Eddie's office.

"The's like theys are one person insteads of twos."  Stevie told him.

"Oh that, well, they are identical twins so they are kind of like the same person, but with two bodies is all.  Don't let them fool you though with their acting.  They only do that to hide their talents is all."  Rodie told him as he draped his arm and crutch around Stevie.

"I thinks I gonna likes them cause they make things fun," Stevie said as he leaned against Rodie.

"Yeah, they are fun, but they can also be terrorists too when they want to be.  Come on, I'll show you around after we find the others.  Anyway, I'm really hungry, and Chiari and Dennis are great chefs.  You know, they make all of the food here, and you can eat as much as you want with the buffet."  Rodie explained as they headed towards the back where the others had gone.  Rodie found them at the large table that was reserved for them specifically, and it was the place where he had first became friends with big Eddie.  They joined the others, although Rodie had to practically drag Stevie away from the buffet bar as they went past.  At the table, he had Stevie sit between Canyon and Eric while he went over and sat down next to his mom.  She watched him as he surveyed the entire place once more while his eyes filled again.

"What's wrong Rodie?  Does this place make you sad?"  She asked with concern and he quickly looked at her and shook his head no before sliding his chair closer to her.

"No Mom, I'm just thinking is all.  This is where it all started, remember?  This is where we came after you told Jim that it was ok to love me.  I had just won my skateboard from the Laser Tag place, and I was hurting so much that night.  I was so sunburned from the beach, and this is where I found my first real friend Eddie when he gave me that lotion for my sunburn.  I still can't believe that it has been two years since we came here that first time.  I will always love this place because this is where all of you saved me and changed my life.  This is the first place where I felt safe and I was just a normal kid instead of a freak.  It's special here, and now Stevie and Canyon can begin to heal here just like I did."  He said in his soft voice as he leaned against her and she hugged him tightly.

"I'm glad you feel that way because I feel the same about this place as you do.  We've both have traveled a long, hard road to make it back here, but because we have, we can now make everything much easier for Canyon and Stevie.  You've grown up so much over the last two years, but you will never get big enough to outgrow my hugs and kisses."  She told him as he relaxed and melted into her embrace as she kissed him and rubbed noses.

"You know what I like, ok.  I'm going to take Stevie to the buffet before he eats the tablecloth.  Get him and Canyon the same as me, ok Mom?"  Rodie asked her and she agreed.  He then got up, and asked Eric to help Canyon while he had Stevie follow him to the buffet.  After they made their plates, Rodie asked one of the waiters if he could carry their plates to the table.  Once they were seated again and the waiter had delivered their plates, Jim and the others began to laugh.

"Good lord, the table is groaning under the weight of all that food."  He said while laughing.  All four of them blushed and giggled after sticking out their tongues at him.  Then while the others began to eat, Canyon hesitated until Eric, Rodie, and Derrick encouraged him to not worry about it.  After their gentle encouragement, Canyon pushed his seat back a little, slipped off his sandal and sock before picking up his fork with his right foot, and took a bite before looking around.  Nobody seemed to notice him at all, and he relaxed and began eating almost as fast as the others.  Derrick watched him for a moment; then he looked over at Rodie and saw him nod his head slightly with a quick glance at Canyon before eating.  The remainder of the meal passed by without any other concerns, and the twins joined them when Chiari brought out the main entrées, sautéed crab cakes for all of them, and all of them enjoyed it.  Afterwards, the twins wanted to go to the arcade in the mall, but Rodie told them that the others had to go home to finish getting ready for the trip.  He promised to see them Sunday after the others had gone, and then they smothered him with their hugs and kisses before doing the same with everyone else including Stevie and Canyon.

Everyone then went home, and Rodie, Canyon, and Stevie stayed together while the others finished packing and loaded the cars with the luggage.  They watched a movie together with Mark and Eric after Derrick went home.  After the movie, it was getting late and everyone agreed to call it a day.  Stevie, still feeling a bit insecure, asked Rodie if he could stay with him, and they said yes before kissing and hugging everyone good night, and leaving with Stevie.  Once they got to Rodie's room, he helped Stevie as they showered and then changed into their pajamas.  After putting him in the bed, Rodie told him that he had to speak privately with Jim for a moment before going through the bathroom and knocking quietly on Jim's door.

"Come in," Jim said.  Rodie cautiously opened the door before coming into the room and closing the door behind him.

"I'm sorry Jim...about what happened earlier.  I know that you were only doing what Mikki asked you to do.  I shouldn't have gotten mad at you like I did."  Rodie said sincerely to him as he came over and stood beside the bed.

"It is all right my love, and I understand why you were angry.  We decided not to tell you earlier because we were afraid that it would cause you to have a setback when you were so close to leaving Oaklawn.  I know that you are worried, but Mikki is not going to die anytime soon.  Even though her time is short, she said that she will wait until you are ready before she goes, and we both hoped that we could give you a little more time to adjust at home before telling you."  Jim told him while his face showed all of his caring and love to Rodie.

"I know Jim and its ok now because I talked with Mikki.  She told me the same thing, and I understand now.  I just wanted to apologize for the way I behaved is all because I was wrong."  His said sheepishly.  All Jim did was to hold open his arms to him, and then lift him up and perch him on his lap after hugging him.  "I knew that she is older than most people, but I didn't know she was that old until she told me today.  I'm just confused is all...why me?  Why has she waited all this time for me?"

"It is because you are special Rodie just like she is, and your talents are just like hers too.  The only thing that you don't have is her knowledge and experience, but that will come with time.  See, it is rare enough to find someone with similar talents like Stevie, Canyon, or the twins.  However, Mikki said that it is even rarer to find a single person who has all of the talents like you do.  She said that only one or two people in a generation may be born with all of your talents.  However, she said that only one person every couple of centuries is able to realize the full extents of their talents like you have done.  The ones who do, it usually takes their entire lives to reach their full potential, but you have mastered all of your talents in your short life already, and you are not even a teenager yet.  She can explain it better, but she said that you are a Rainbow child, while the others that you know are Indigo or Crystal children.  That is why she has been waiting for you, because you are the only one who can apply your talents to help others like you and make a difference for them as she has.  You have already started doing that.  Just look at Stevie, Canyon, the twins, and all of the other kids at Oaklawn too.  Before you went to Oaklawn, she was there all of the time helping the kids to understand and use their talents.  Then, after you got there and settled in, she no longer needed to stay there every day.  That is because you had already started to take her place just by doing what you always do, and that is to love others, and let them love you.  You could identify their talents, and you helped them heal from the hurt caused when everyone shunned them.  It's because you have a very special talent besides all of your other gifts.  That talent is love, and it is probably the most powerful talent in the world.  Now, she has already gotten almost everything set up with Oaklawn along with the new facility here to be operated from her foundation and you already know that the foundation will be yours when she is gone.  You understand now?"  He asked him and Rodie nodded before kissing him and smiling.

"I love you Jim," Rodie said as he stifled a yawn.

"I love you too.  Now why don't you go to bed, I know that Stevie is still feeling a bit insecure because he is going back to Oaklawn without go help him like you always do.  I will see you in the morning, and don't forget to take your meds also."  Jim said with a smile as he kissed Rodie and hugged him.  Rodie then kissed him again and then rubbing noses with him as he smiled.  Then Jim helped him to stand and steadied him before Rodie went back to his room.  He got his meds, went into the bathroom, and took them before coming and getting in the bed with Stevie.  Once he was comfortable, Stevie snuggled up against him while Rodie embraced him and kissed him on top of his head.

"Good night Munchkin...I love you," Rodie told him.

"Nite's Rodie.  I loves yous toos."

End of Chapter 12.

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