Copyright 2002 by

This is a fictional story of holiday giving between friends, young and old. If you don't like friendship, don't read it. If you don't like love, I'm sorry for you. If you are not old enough to legally read this, find your friend and have him read it to you.


Stocking Stuffer Part 8 December 27 and 28th

As we stood near the door shaking hands, there was a sudden blood curdling scream and suddenly Scotty was shouting, "Dad! Dad! Nick! Help! Help! Over here, Quick."

We both raced for the edge of the parking lot and I almost collapsed seeing Scotty jumping and yelling and waving at two huge dogs, trying to get them away from Stephy. Stephy was curled up in a ball and lying in the snow. The dogs were nosing and pawing and trying to get around Scotty and a little lady was trying to get them away and get leashes back on them.

As I got to Stephy everything was in slow motion, I heard Gene yell at the woman, "Get those dogs leashed and away from us before I shoot them! Scotty get the car blanket from the truck and then get that woman's name and address." I heard his cell phone dial and I heard, "Hello? Brian, I need you. No Scotty's fine. It's a new friend, there's been an incident. Dogs. Good met me at," and I heard him give my address.

I knelt over my boy and tried to get him to talk, but he was out cold. I was vaguely aware that he had voided his bladder and was soaking wet as I lifted him and cradled him and cried and prayed that he would be okay.

I don't know how long I sat there and cradled my boy. It seemed an eternity, although I'm sure it wasn't even minutes. Gene was beside me with an arm on my shoulder. He was saying, "Stay strong Nick. Here's a blanket, let's get him wrapped up. Can you tell, was he bitten?"

I just moaned, "God, I don't know. He's out cold. I don't see any blood, but I don't know, I don't know."

I heard Scotty say, "I don't think so, Dad. The dogs came from both sides and surprised us. One tried to sniff Steph, you know, like dog's do? And he just screamed and collapsed. I tried to get them away, really I did!"

"I know honey. You did real good. Did you get that ladies name?"

"Yes, I put it in my pocket."

"Good," Gene continued. "Nick, can you pick him up? Give me your keys. Scotty and I will get you home, safe. Then we'll see what we need to do."

As I tried to get me keys out of my pocket without letting go of Stephy, I heard Scotty whisper to Gene, "Dad, I think he had an accident, you know, in back, too."

"It's okay, son. Let's get him home."

Getting Stephy wrapped and in my arms and in the jeep, Gene was suddenly driving us home. Scotty was in back with his little hand patting Stephy's head and saying pretty much the same thing as me, "It's okay Stephy. You're okay, We're here to make you safe." Somehow hearing it from his sweet boys voice helped make me believe it and I knew I was stronger and just tried to make peace and safety flow out of my body and, I prayed, into Stephy.

As we entered the garage, Gene said, "Scotty, we need to get Steph cleaned up. Can you help? Can you hold him up?"

"Sure, Dad, " he said. "I'll get the shower running and warm," and he dashed inside.

We entered the kitchen and Gene threw his coat off and said. "Nick! Let me hold him. You get your coat off. I'll hand him right back." He stood in front of me and the command in his voice took control and I handed over my baby. I shucked my coat and practically before I got it off, Gene was putting Stephy back in my arms.

"In here, Dad." I heard Scotty yell.

We headed for the bathroom with Gene leading me and when we got there I saw the tub was running and a towel was placed on the bottom of the tub. "Let's get him out of the blanket and the coat," Gene ordered, and somehow I followed the orders. Scotty's little hands had worked in around us and gotten Stephy's shoes and socks off. "Now put him down on the towel, it's warm," ordered Gene again.

Once more I followed orders and put my baby down on the warm towel in the tub. "This will be hard to handle Nick. Are you okay?" Gene asked.

"Yes, God he's so fragile and I can feel him breathing, but he's still passed out!" I groaned.

"Well, let's finish getting him cleaned up. Ready Scotty?"

"Yes," I heard from in the tub and then I saw Scotty reach forward from between my Stephy's legs and begin to unbutton the polo shirt. When it was unbuttoned, he took my hands and had me lift Stephy's arms while he lifted the shirt. Gene reached in and took the shirt as I held my boy sitting up. Then the shower spray started and Scotty reached down and gently undid the button and zip of the jeans and motioned for me to lift a little. My boy was a stinking mess. He had not only lost control of his bladder, he had loosed his bowels as well and I just realized what Scotty had meant in the parking lot. Scotty didn't seemed phased a bit and I gasped as I saw he was naked under the shower and pulling Stephy's soiled and soaked jeans and boxers down and toward the drain. Gene's hand reached in and grabbed the sodden mess and wrapped it in a towel as Scotty stood up and told me, "Nick, lift him up and put his arms over my shoulders. I'll hold him while you wash and rinse him down. Still in my daze over Stephy's condition and clearly operating under the calm voices around me, I pulled my boy up and did as I was told. Then automatically I stepped in behind him, knelt in the tub and grabbed a washcloth and began to lovingly clean my angel.

I had never held a baby, I had never changed a diaper, but the love and concern driving me seemed to make my hands do the right things and I gently washed and cleaned his entire backside until I was sure I had my angel spotless. Scotty knew when and grunting a little with the effort, got Stephy turned around and I washed his frontside too. There was no thought of anything but pure love here. My boy was still out and his newest friend had just helped clean him up from one of the most intimate of accidents. Scotty scooted back into the spray and together we rinsed Stephy completely. Gene handed me a beach towel and turned off the water. I took my baby from his friend's arms and just wrapped him up and hugged him to me. I felt Gene reach in to my arm and quietly help me stand, cradling my baby to my shoulder. Then through my haze I saw him wrap Scotty and lift him exactly as I was cradling Stephy.

I heard him say, "I Love You, Scotty. You were wonderful."

"Love you too, Dad. Will Steph be okay?" he asked.

Putting his boy down, Gene replied, "We won't know for a while Scotty, but you helped make him feel safe. Now get dried and dressed while I get Nick and Steph settled." Then Gene was leading me from the bathroom to the bedroom.

"Let me hold him again, Nick. Get some dry clothes on and I'll give him right back."

In my fogged brain I recognized the advice and command and handed Stephy over again and quickly shucked my soaked pants and shirt. I put on some sweats and turned to take my boy back just as Scotty came in and said, "I started the fireplace, Dad and here's his blanket."

Gene handed me the polar bears before he unwrapped the towel from my boy and handed him to me also. I now had Stephy wrapped snugly in his bears and snowflakes and they led me to the study and pushed me into the chair. Scotty came back with some of the sweatsox I had bought for Steph and he eased them on my angel's feet while Gene scurried around in the background.

"Nick," I heard Gene command. "We're going to leave now. Love him and hold him. My card's on the kitchen table and there are some other things you might need. I filled the thermos with coffee and it's hot for you. Call me if we can do anything. Anything, you understand? I put a CD in your player on repeat and we're going to leave you alone with Stephy. Call me!"

I nodded and croaked, "Thanks," but was still emotionally a zombie. I heard Scotty and Gene leave and the garage door go down and then I was aware of angel voices singing in the background and I just hugged and rocked my baby and began to tell him it was okay he'd be all right, everything would be okay.

We must have just sat and rocked for hours, because suddenly I realized it was dark outside. Stephy was still out like a light, but his breathing was regular and deep. I had to get up, so I eased him out of my lap and into the chair and I headed for the bathroom. After releasing the contents of my bladder, I looked around and marveled at how spotless the bathroom and tub were. After the mess we brought in and with all of us spraying water around I thought the place would be a shambles. I looked for Stephy's soiled clothes, knowing I better do something about them too, and couldn't find them. Then I looked in the washing machine and found them clean and rinsed and ready for the drier. I swapped them out and realized I owed Gene and Scotty more than thanks.

As I poured a cup of coffee from the thermos, I saw a little bunch of things on the table. There was a couple of cans of chicken broth, some bread and butter and cheese and a note that said, "Grilled Cheese! Wonderfood!" There was also a box of adult sized Depends, with a note that said, "Just in Case!" And finally an airline sized bottle of brandy with a note that said, "Nurse use only, Medicinal Supplies!"

I couldn't decide whether to laugh or cry, so I went back to the study to see my angel. The heavenly music coming from the CD player drew me there first and I saw a blue jewel case with what looked like a white swan's wing on the cover. "LiberaLuminosa" it said. I'd never heard of it, but I was sure if angels sang, this was what they sounded like. Placing the coffee on the end table, I lifted my boy back into my lap and we resumed our cuddle and comforting. I was worried that he still wasn't responding, but I knew from seeing him in the snow that these demons were strong and deep. I just lost myself in the music and the thought of making my boy feel safe and warm and loved.

It was dawn when I woke. Stephy was thrashing weakly in my arms and that is what had startled me awake. I tried to talk to him, but he was still not there. I held him some more and rocked and hugged him and he settled back down.

An hour or so later, as I gazed at him and was really beginning to worry, when his eyes fluttered and then opened. He looked right into me and then latched on for all he was worth and started sobbing and crying. I couldn't get him to talk or anything, he just cried and cried and clung to me like I was part of himself. His crying and sobbing slowly eased and suddenly he was asleep in my arms again. This time I knew it was sleep though. He had cried his way past some of the demons and I knew he would be better.

Exhausted myself, even having slept with him in my arms, I lifted him and carried him to bed. I rolled him under the covers and stripped and climbed in beside him. He was better enough that he scooted toward me and although he couldn't climb to his usual position, he draped one arm and leg over me and his other arm brought his thumb to his sweet lips. We were both asleep in minutes.

I awoke an hour or so later and gently slipping from beneath my boy, I answered the call of nature and headed for the coffee. I looked at the table again and realized that a grilled cheese sandwich did sound good. Making myself one I found myself silently praying that the aroma of frying butter and grilling cheese might bring my 'smelly boy' up from the depths he was traversing. Finishing my sandwich, I decided to start the CD player again. Sitting in the recliner hearing the beautiful voices singing 'hide me, hide me, hide me' I knew I had to call Gene and thank him for helping me last night.

He answered on the first ring and before I could even say hello, he was asking, "How's Stephy?"

"God Gene, I think he's okay. He hasn't really come around yet, but an hour after dawn he looked at me and then clung to me and cried and cried and cried. In fact he cried himself to sleep and he's in bed now. I know it's different though. I felt something of the terror go out of him while he was crying and I think this sleep is good. I can't thank you enough for helping, and Scotty too. Man he was terrific! I can't believe he'd do what he did for someone he had known just a few hours."

"Yeah," Gene answered. "He's a remarkable boy. He just knew what to do and did it. He cleaned up the bathroom and got the washer going while Brian and I got the supplies inside and got the coffee made. He puts me to shame often!"

"Well, I can't thank you both enough. I'll call again when there's more to tell. And Gene, thanks, thanks for the friendship and letting me know, well, you know."

We finished our conversation and I hung up just in time to hear the CD player start one of my favorite poems, Walter de la Mare's All That's Past. I couldn't believe this poem into a song, and what a song! The voices were stunning and the emotions had me crying for my Stephy, 'Silence and sleep, like fields of amaranth lie.' I prayed his dreams were banishing nightmares and he was finding some new buds of rebirth out of his brier's boughs.

I looked in on him and saw he was tossing and turning, but not awake. I sat beside him and patted his head and made soothing sounds, but it wasn't enough. I decided I needed to hold him, so I got his blanket and gently rolled him on it and then lifted him and returned to the study and our chair. I must admit, the fireplace, the music and my boy were wonderful together, I just wished with all my might that he would be awake and okay.

He opened his eyes again a couple of hours later and looking up at me he asked, "Is this heaven? I heard angels?"

I hugged him tight and told him it was home and that there were angels and they were named Gene and Scotty and that he was safe. I tried to ask him how he felt, but he was back asleep before I even started.

At dusk he awoke and said, "I'm hungry," and I rejoiced. He was hungry! He was going to be okay! He was going to win!

I lifted him in my arms and with him draped across my shoulder I managed to open a can of the broth and the get it into the microwave. Then with him sitting on my lap, I feed him about 10 spoonfuls before he started to nod off again.

I took him back to bed and tucked him in and ran for the phone. I called Gene and filled him in and even talked to and thanked Scotty for all his help. Gene reminded me that it probably wasn't over and that Stephy would need lot's of tender loving care. I told him not to worry, that was the only kind I had. Then I cleaned up the little bit in the kitchen and headed for bed. I crawled in and Stephy scooted over against me and draped across me, sucking his thumb.

I awoke in the morning with Stephy still draped across me, thumb firmly planted in his mouth. I eased out of bed and after finishing in the bathroom headed for the kitchen and started a new pot of coffee. I decided that oatmeal might be the kind of fortifying breakfast needed, so I whipped up a batch, heavy on the brown sugar and cinnamon. I was surprised by my baby circling my waist with his arms and hugging me for dear life. I guess the 'smelly boy' had been brought out by the cinnamon. He didn't say anything, though, just hugged and went to his chair. I dished up a little bowl and moved beside him and he didn't complain when I feed him the whole thing, spoon by spoon. As I cleaned up the kitchen, he wandered into the study and sat at his GameCube spot in front of the fire. I asked him if he wanted to play, but he just shrugged and sat there. I didn't know what to do, so for once, I did nothing. I sat in my chair and just watched him sitting there.

He didn't move for over three hours. He didn't sleep, he didn't play, he didn't do anything. From behind him I couldn't tell if he was watching the flames or not, but I think he was just lost in whatever haze still had him. Then he got up, and turning to me, he crawled in my lap and just hugged me. We sat for another hour before I decided we needed to eat again and asked him if he needed to use the bathroom. He shook his head no and made no complaint when I lifted him and carried him to the kitchen.

I opened the other can of broth and made two grilled cheese sandwiches. I did see him working his nose and sigh when the butter reached that wonderful temperature where it releases all its gorgeous smells. He ate the whole bowl and half a sandwich, this time by himself. He still wasn't talking though and I didn't force it. I decided he'd talk when he was ready or needed to.

While he was still sitting there I decided to call Gene. He answered quickly again and asked for an update before I could speak. "He's better," I said. "He got up and came to the kitchen on his own. He's had a bowl of broth and a half sandwich, but he still isn't talking. Could you and Scotty come over for a while? Maybe he would respond if Scotty played some videos games with him."

"Sure," Gene replied. "We'll grab something for supper and come by in about an hour. How are you doing?"

"I'm fine," I hoped more than said, "I have to be, he needs me."

I asked again if Stephy needed to use the bathroom, he shook his head no, but followed me when I led him to it. Standing there, I could see he tried to pee, but there just wasn't anything to come out. He had completely emptied himself in the snow. Amazing considering the size of the drinks in the theater and the amount of pop at Donatello's. I just hugged him and told him it was okay and asked if he wanted to put on any clothes. Again, a head shake no, but this time he pointed at the blanket. I wrapped him up and we went back to our chair.

When the doorbell rang, I asked him if he could answer it. He didn't respond, but I stood him up and gave him a little push. He just stood there. I got up and went to the door and was surprised that he followed, almost on my heels. As I let Gene and Scotty in, Scotty went over to Steph and gently and completely hugged him. I heard him whisper, "Steph, I was so worried, I'm glad you're better."

Gene and I watched in wonder as Stephy opened his arms still holding his blanket and drew Scotty into a hug with the blanket around them both. Then it was over and Stephy was back just standing there holding his blanket around himself like some silent Indian chief.

Scotty wasn't the least fazed and grabbing one hand, said, "Come on, let's play the GameCube, you have some neat games!" and he drew Stephy back to the study.

Gene and I went to the kitchen and as he started to make some hot chocolate, the whole two days caught up with me and I was sitting there blubbering and crying. Gene patted me on the shoulder as he put a cup of cocoa in front of me. After that he took two cups in to the kids. When he came back I was a little more in control, and he said, "Good, now that's out and we can talk about this. Has he said anything else?"

"No, in fact hugging Scotty is more than he's done, except eat a little."

"Well, that's okay. Remember, I told you Scotty didn't talk for a week? Well, he really didn't talk much for a year. An occasional word here or there, but it was like he just couldn't bring himself to risk saying anything. Even when he did start talking more, it was just this summer that the Scotty you see now started to blossom. I hope Steph isn't going all the way that far back, but would it matter to you?"

"No!" I hissed, "I love him and I'll love him, talking or not."

"Good," Gene smiled. "Glad you decided to tell yourself that too."

"I'm just so scared," I said.

"Me too, every day, every situation, every new experience. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, not anything. Scotty has never said a single thing to me about anything in his life before he woke in my arms. It's like it doesn't exist, but every now and then I see him stop dead. I can actually watch him steel himself against some old demon and when he's ready, on he goes."

"Steph did that a few weeks ago. Oh, God, it was just a few days ago. I can't believe he's only been here five days. I can't remember my life before him!"

"That's good, that means you're well and truly hooked." Raising his cocoa mug, he toasted me, "Welcome to fatherhood!"

We watched Scotty play the video game. Stephy just sat beside him. Scotty kept chattering away and zapping the little purpley things and grabbing the spinning coins. From his stream of chatter, you'd have thought Steph was an active participant, not just a little pile of bears sitting beside him. I did notice that Stephy made sure his knee or his shoulder was always touching Scotty and I thanked my lucky stars for these angels in our lives.

Gene and I heated up the rotisserie chicken they had brought and soon Scotty was leading Steph into the kitchen. We sat and ate, with Gene and Scotty doing most of the talking. Stephy did eat a bowl of broth, but no chicken. Then Scotty lead him to the bathroom and we soon heard the video monsters dying again.

Scotty came back with his cup for more hot chocolate, and then Stephy was beside me with his cup in his hands holding them out to me. I flashed back to our first few minutes together on Christmas Eve and I guess we were in sync. I cupped his hands under mine around the mug and asked, "Stephy, how long are you going to stay out there?"

He melted into my arms and shook more than said, "He had a big black dog."

It was all I could do to get the cup to the table first. I heard Gene gasp and say, "Scotty, let's go."

As I cradled my boy, I pleaded, "No, please, stay." Then to Stephy I said, "Want to tell me about it sweetie?"

"It was a big black dog and he'd come over with it. He'd put me and the dog in the kitchen and he'd tell it, 'Watch him.' and then he'd leave. If I moved the dog would growl, I just had to stand there, cause I knew it'd kill me. Then he'd come back and laugh and open the outside door and say 'Outside' and the dog would go. I'd collapse, I was so scared for so long. Then one day he came back to the kitchen and instead of saying outside, he said, 'Lick him.' The dog started licking me, you know down there," and he pointed to his groin. "I thought I was scared before! Now if I moved, it'd bite my thing off. I just stood there and shook and shook. Finally, he said outside and I think I passed out, I don't remember. Next time he had my mom watch as the dog licked and licked me. I was so frightened I just peed. I couldn't help it, it just came out. Mom was yelling and screaming and he was laughing and then he said, 'Other Way' and the dog went behind me and started licking there. I was crying and mom was laughing and he was roaring and the dog was just putting his nose and tongue everywhere. I wanted to die. I really did!"

I patted his hair and caressed his back and looked over to see Scotty tight against Gene in a mirror of my embrace of Stephy.

Stephy took a deep breath and continued. "He came a lot, always with the dog and always with the licking. I couldn't help it, I'd just see the dog look at me and I knew it would eat me if he told it too. I just couldn't help it. I'd pee and pee. Mom would scream at me, but not at him. When he'd finally leave, Mom made me clean up the mess. He got so he seemed to like seeing the dog better than seeing Mom. He'd tell it to watch, then tell it to lick. He'd laugh when I peed and then he'd say 'Other Way' and the dog would start there. Then he'd tell it to watch and it'd stop, but then he'd come back and start it all over again. I just prayed at night that I could die and go to heaven. I'd thought of running away when I heard him come in, but I was too afraid of the dog to even move."

"Then one time he really had me. Lick him, watch him, lick him, other way, watch him, lick him, I thought I'd die right then and there, but instead he said 'Other way hard' and the dog dove up my butt. Just when I thought I couldn't stand another moment of that tongue, he said 'Fuck Him!' The dog jumped up and knocked me down and jumped on me and started humping and humping. I was screaming and crying and rolling in my pee, but the dog wouldn't let up. It'd growl real mean if I tried to crawl away and then it would get on top of me. I was just in a little ball on the floor and the dog had its paws over my shoulders and was pushing its hard thing at my butt. Then, it got inside me. I thought I was being ripped apart. I screamed and screamed and peed and peed and then I pooped, big, messy, wet poop all over the floor and as the dog stopped for a minute I puked and puked. Everything inside me had turned to jelly and it was coming out everywhere it could. I know I passed out that time. When I came to, I was in a big lake of pee, poo and puke. There was a bucket and sponge beside me and I knew I'd better get it cleaned up before they came back. He came back the next day and when he told the dog to watch me, I just passed out and peed and pooped all over the room again. Then he didn't come back any more and I thought I was okay. When those dogs came at me, I just couldn't even think. I just paniced. Did I mess bad. I'm sorry, you guys hate me now, but I couldn't help it. I was so scared!"

Before I could even start to say anything, Scotty flew across the room and hugged us both and then Gene was there and we were all telling Stephy that we loved him and he was safe and nothing he could say would make us hate him. We must have stayed in the group hug for a good half hour before Gene and I realized that both boys had cried themselves to sleep in each others arms.

With a common understanding, Gene and I carried our respective boys into the bedroom and tucked them in together. As we returned to the kitchen, I managed to blurt out. "I remember the dog. This was just a few months ago and I remember I thought, 'Good, Stevie will have a playmate!' How could I be so stupid about what was going on right next door. How could I?" and I ended up blubbering and crying on Gene's shoulder.

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