From:     Snwdemon

Subject:  Who will catch my fall?

Chapter 11:    (M/b, b/b, abusive situations, no sex)


            WARNING:  This story contains descriptions of abusive acts, both physical and sexual in nature, 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 educate people as to what a minor child has to do in order to survive in a severely abusive environment they are trapped.  One of the most famous examples of this was Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped at age 7 and severely abused for 7 years that included physical, sexual, and mental abuse.  I have had the privilege of working with a number of boys like him, and I consider all of them to be extremely brave.  Many people still believe that children who stay with an abuser/captor do so because they want to.  This is utterly untrue, and is proven through numerous interviews, behavioral, and psychological studies conducted with these victims.  A young child does not have the same ability to cope with stressful situations as an adult would because they have not had the privilege of time and experience that an adult has.  Therefore, they rely more on their basic instincts, and learn quickly what they need to do in order to survive.  Thus, when they are removed from that abusive situation they also have an extremely hard time adjusting to their new environment because they are not familiar with trust, caring, and compassion.  These are the emotions the child has to learn once they are put into a new non-abusive environment.  People assume that these emotions are natural.  Many do not realize that all of our human emotions are learned.

The following story is a work of fiction; however, it does incorporate actual events that I learned from various victims I counseled over the years.  I also do not encourage others to perform any kind of abusive or sexual act with minors.  If the subject of Man/boy sex, child abuse, and/or rape of minors offends you, or this material is illegal to possess material of this nature 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 be printed and distributed in any form that requires payment either directly or indirectly.  Any similarity to individuals, living, or dead, is completely accidental.  Reference is also made in context to some locations, businesses, characters, and people to define the story line.  No other implication about the true sexuality or actions of the people, businesses, or places mentioned is intended.

Author's Note:  I will warn you that of all the chapters that I have written to date, that this was the most emotionally taxing one that I have ever written.  Therefore, I know that this chapter will be much more powerful for you because if it can affect me like this, then I recommend that you have a full box of tissues handy.  God Bless all.  Damion

Recap from Chapter 10:

            "We're sorry Uncle Jerry.  Me and Dev are just a couple of dumb kids, and we didn't mean to be disrespectful."  Ari told him timidly while his face burned with shame.

            "`Tis alright me laddie, yer words be harmless, and yer be actions noble.  `Tis a young man's job to protect the honor of their mother, and there be no shame in doing that.  It also takes a big man to admit when he is wrong too, and it makes me and the rest o' us proud to see ye both behaving like the respectable young men ye be.  Anyway, me be a tough old scallywag, and unless you smack me in me craw, then no harm be done."  Jerry said in his Irish brogue.  His accent and silly face made Ari giggle even though he believed he was in trouble.  "There now, ye be as happy as any leprechaun that I've met."  He said before Ari hugged him while giggling.  After Jerry kissed him on the forehead, he then hurried back over to the couch and sat with Devon.  Sara was still looking at Devon and Ari when she saw their facial expressions change to one of surprise before they hugged each other.  As she turned around to see what they were looking at, she discovered John down on his knee with a small case in his hand.

            "Jerry is right Sara, because I have been hiding behind my wife's memory.  These rings used to belong to my grandmother, mother, and to my wife.  She was going to give them to Katie when she was ready to marry.  They have been my family for a very long time, and I know that my grandmother, mother, and Lori would want you to have them.  I do not want you to think that I am asking this because Devon and Ari need you, but because I need you too.  My heart broke when Lori and Katie were taken from me, and Devon and Ari have helped heal my heart, but not completely.  That is because only a special woman who is intelligent, kind, generous, funny, and compassionate can repair my heart, and I have found that woman in you.  So would you marry me, and heal me, please Sara?"  John asked her with all of his compassion and sincerity.  Sara was speechless for a few moments while both Devon and Ari looked at John with awe, and then at Sara with hope.

            "I...I don't know John.  This is all so sudden.  I need some time to think, or maybe talk to my family about it."  Sara said with a serious face, and John blinked while his hope began to fade a bit in his eyes.  Sara then leaned back and put her arms around Devon and Ari, and hugged them.

"So what do you two think?  You guys are now my family, so what should I do?"  She asked them with a slight smile after kissing both of them.

"Um...say yes?"  Devon said with a serious face, but with a twinkle in his eyes while Ari nodded his agreement with a toothy smile.

"There you have it John, I've been advised by my family to accept, and I do accept because I feel the same about you.  You are the most special man I have ever met in my life, and I want us to grow old together; so yes, I will marry you."  She said before embracing John and kissing him while Devon and Ari embraced each other, and cried from their happiness while the others congratulated the happy couple.  However, Ari cried the most because just like John, his entire family was taken away from him in an instant while Devon had never had a family that he could remember before so he did not know the pain of losing his family.  Ari had refused to cry at their funeral, and refused to believe that he would be all alone from then on.  Since the day that had changed his entire world, and through all of his pain; all he had wished and prayed for was to have his family back.  Now, his prayers had been answered, so he cried to release all of his long held sorrow and pain of losing them and finally allowed himself to grieve for his parents' death.  John and Sara sensed how much Devon and Ari needed them, and they embraced them as Devon and Ari cried and clung to each other.  Ari cried for his loss and his gain, while Devon cried for his happiness and the end of his constant torment as John and Sara held them both.  Neither Devon nor Ari knew what the future held for them, but they knew that whatever happened that they could always depend on their new parents love and support.

End Chapter 10

I want to thank Miguel Sanchez, and BenBear for proofing this chapter.

Chapter 11:

Saturday, December 23, 1995 (early morning)


            Ari awoke needing to pee, so he got out of his bed being careful not to wake Devon, and padded softly down the darkened hall to the bathroom.  Once he finished, he moved silently towards his room in the dark.  He stopped by Devon's bed and knelt beside it before cautiously touching Devon's right arm.

            "It's ok Ari, I'm awake."  Devon said softly causing Ari to stiffen for a moment before relaxing as Devon turned his head towards him.

            "I just wanted to see if you needed me is all," Ari told him in a hushed voice.

            "Yeah, I need to pee too, hand me the bottle please?"  He asked him and Ari handed Devon the urinal jug before pulling down the front of Devon's briefs exposing his small, but very hard 3" penis.  Devon grasped it and aimed it into the opening of the urinal jug before letting a hot stream of urine flow into the jug.  He filled the jug almost halfway before he was through, and Ari quickly placed the cap on the jug to prevent it from spilling.

            "Its still big Dev," Ari said as he gently squeezed Devon's still hard penis.

            "I know it is Ari," he said before nudging Ari's hand away and pulling up his briefs although they remained tented.  He handed the half full jug to Ari who sat it on the floor next to him.

            "Um Dev, can I ask you something and you not get mad?"  Ari said in a whisper.  He was worried about him because he had overheard him crying again.

            "Sure, I promise," Devon answered in a whisper too.

            "I know that you don't like it when I talk about Pop, you miss him sometimes?"  Ari asked him carefully.  He could just make out Devon's face in the predawn light, and he saw Devon's jaw tighten before a tear streaked down the side of his face towards his ear.  "I'm sorry Dev, I didn't mean it," he said quickly.  Devon was silent for a long moment as more tears slipped down the side of his head.

            "Yeah...I do...all of the time," Devon said softly while his voice conveyed his guilt, loneliness, sadness, and shame.  Ari felt his own tears begin to slide down his face.

            "I do too Dev, so don't be sad.  Does that make us bad because we miss him?"  Ari said with a sniffle and Devon could sense that Ari was frightened and wanted to talk.  However, he didn't think Ari would understand.  Hell, he didn't even know if he understood how he could so painfully miss the man that he had hated so much.

            "I don't know Ari.  I really would like to talk to Dad, but I'm so afraid of what he will say.  He gets so angry sometimes when he talks about Pop.  Go empty the jug ok, and then you can come to bed with me.  I don't want to be alone right now."  Devon told him as he began to wipe his eyes.  He watched Ari go before he laid back and stared at the ceiling as he thought about the man he knew only as Pop.  He had tried so hard to forget everything about him, but he couldn't stop what he felt.  He did not miss the pain, or the beatings, but he missed other things.  He felt lost now without all of Pop's rules, and punishments for breaking the rules and he missed the closeness at night.  He remembered how John had watched him and Ari from the doorway their first night in the house.  He was supposed to be asleep, but couldn't go to sleep because of their excitement of moving in.  When he heard John come down the hall, he let his instincts take over.

"Do not move; do not make a sound."  His body stiffened as he heard the door open and he waited desperately for John to get into the bed next to him as Pop had always done for as long as he could remember.  He silently prayed to feel the warmth of John's body next to him in the bed, and for him to whisper the same things into his ear as Pop had done on so many lonely nights that he could not remember that far back.

"Don't move son, don't make a sound.  Be a good boy, and don't cry.  Just relax and it won't that much.  Be a good boy for your Pop, and do as I say."  Pop would tell him as he hugged Devon's small body to him before turning Devon's face into the pillow.  It was painful for a little while when Pop had first started doing it, but after awhile the pain went away, and then it began to feel good.  He liked it because it took away his loneliness for a little while, but now his whole being yearned to feel that closeness again, only with John.  He painfully missed the warmth of Pop's closeness in the night as their bare skin touched each other; and the heat when Pop was inside him.  However, he burned with shame for having these feelings because of his fear and hatred that he had for Bill Jefferies.  His tears started to slip quickly down the sides of his face again, and when Ari returned and lay next to him, he quietly cried into his shoulder until sleep finally came and claimed him.

            "What's wrong Dev?  Tell me so I can help make it better, please."  Ari said softly as he cradled Devon's head in his arms as Devon continued to cry.  "It will be ok from now on Dev, I promise.  Everything will be ok, you'll see.  Don't cry anymore ok?"  Ari said soothingly as he tenderly stroked Devon's unruly light brown hair and kissed his forehead and cheeks.  Ari finally drifted off to sleep once again after Devon had cried himself to sleep as he continued to embrace him.  Before he slipped back into unconsciousness, he promised himself to find some way to make things better for both of them.

8 AM the same morning.

            "Good morning Mejo.  Is your brother awake yet?"  John asked Ari as he shuffled into the kitchen where he was making coffee.  Ari went over and hugged him, but remained silent.  This fact alone immediately got John's attention, and he stopped what he was doing and knelt down to Ari's level so he could see his face.  He saw the sorrow and sadness in Ari's small, tear stained face, and the worry too.

            "What is it son, you can tell me what is the matter," John said reassuringly to him as he held Ari gently by his slim shoulders.  He watched as Ari struggled within himself over whether to betray Devon's confidence and trust him with his problem.  He didn't want to make any trouble for Devon, but he couldn't keep silent any longer either.  Devon wouldn't talk to him about it; but whatever it was, it was hurting him badly, and he had to make it right for him.  He thought about talking to Sara, but he knew how embarrassed and angry Devon would be if he had to talk about something this personal with her.  Therefore, he took this chance and decided to trust his Poppi because he knew that somehow John would make everything right.  He looked at John for a moment before his tears came hot and fast, and John quickly embraced him and began kissing away his tears.

            "What is the matter Ari?  Can you tell me what is wrong, son?"  John asked him soothingly as he brushed away Ari's tears.

            "I don't know.  I do not know what is wrong, Poppi.  I just know that something is hurting Devon really bad because he cries every night, and can't sleep unless I'm there in bed with him."  Ari told him as he cried softly.  Just sharing his worry and concern about Devon with John made him feel a little better.  John gently guided Ari over to the kitchen table and sat him down before pulling a chair over and sitting in front of him.

            "It will be all right Ari, but you have to tell me everything so I can help your brother.  Can you trust me and do this so I can help Devon?"  John asked him as he continued to comfort Ari.  He could see that whatever this problem was, that it was weighing heavily on him.  After a few more minutes, Ari had calmed down and stopped crying.

            "I will try Poppi, because I don't want to see Devon so sad all the time.  He will not let you or mommy see him when he is sad, but when we are alone, he cries all the time.  I used to be able to make him feel better, but now nothing I say or do makes him feel better.  He just cries more and more now, and I'm afraid something bad is going to happen."  Ari told him.  John thought about this for a few moments while Ari watched him for his reaction.

            "You are right Ari, something bad will happen if we don't do something to help him.  When someone is sad, if nobody helps them, then they will start to hurt themselves so they can escape from the pain.  Sometimes they hurt themselves so bad that they die, so let's help Devon before he does that ok?"  John said more than asked him, and to reassure him that he had done the right thing by telling him.  He thought for a few minutes while Ari fidgeted nervously in his chair.

"All right son, I need you to answer some questions as best you can so I know how to help Devon.  I want you to tell me everything, even if it is something bad, or hurts, or is embarrassing.  No matter what you tell me, I promise that you will not be in trouble in any way and I won't be mad at you.  Do you understand me?"  John asked him seriously.

            "Ok Poppi, I will tell you even if it is very bad," he said tentatively.

            "First, can you tell me what you were talking about when Devon was crying?"  John asked him.

            "Well, a lot of things, but mostly we were talking about Pop.  It's just...just that..."  He said before looking away and hanging his head in shame.

            "What Ari?  You can tell me.  I promised remember, so you can tell me."  John told him reassuringly being careful to keep his voice filled with concern.

            "Last night, I asked him if he missed Pop, then he started crying again," Ari said while his face showed the struggle he was having with his emotions.  John immediately sensed what was wrong, but he still needed to confirm it from Ari.

            "Does Devon miss him?"  He asked him and after a moment, Ari nodded his head slightly.  Feeling that there was more to this than he was saying, John pressed him a bit more.

"Do you miss him too, Ari?"  John asked him and Ari hung his head in shame while his face burned before nodding again as his tears came streaming down his face.  It was the confirmation that he needed, and he quickly embraced Ari, and then pulled him into his lap.  "It is ok son.  There is nothing wrong about you missing him.  I know that he did a lot of things to hurt and control you, but I know you; and your brother too.  Both of you are good boys...with good hearts, and I know that both of you would find some good things about Bill even though he was overall a very bad person.  Therefore, there is nothing for you to be ashamed of, because Bill Jefferies was your parent, even if it was for just a little while.  So don't cry and feel bad because you miss him sometimes."  John told him as Ari sobbed softly into his chest.  After a few minutes with John soothing him, Ari was able to look up and speak.

            "He wasn't always bad or mean to us Poppi.  If we obeyed the rules and didn't cause trouble, he was nice and rewarded us.  Sometimes he would take us out to eat, play with us, or buy us stuff.  And he was always nice after...after he," Ari told him before dissolving into tears again as his face burned with shame once more.  John understood what he was going to say, and said it for him to let him know that it was ok to tell him.

            "I know son, he was always nice to you after he was mean to you, beat you, or had sex with you."  John told him and Ari let out a strangled sob before nodding his head.  "Ari, there is nothing to be ashamed of, or for you to feel too ashamed to tell me.  Nothing you tell me about your life when you were at the home, or with Bill Jefferies, will ever change the way I feel about you.  I love you and your brother and that means I love everything about you including the things you consider bad.  I know it hurts to talk about it, but it will hurt more if you keep it all inside you.  That is why Devon is hurting so much right now, because he is keeping it all inside of him and no matter how hard he tries, the hurt will just get worse if he doesn't let it out.  Do you understand Mejo?"

            "Yeah Poppi and I think that is what's wrong with Devon too.  He's really hurting inside now though because he always hated what Pop did to him, but now he also misses him really bad too."  Ari said as he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.  John reached over and handed him some napkins from the table so he could blow his nose.

            "I think you might be right about your brother.  Devon has been with Bill for as long as he could remember, so he is kind of like you were right after you lost your parents."  John told him as he continued to hold him, and kiss his small head.

            "You think so?"  Ari asked him after raising his head up and looking at him with his big, beautiful eyes.

            "Yeah...I do, and he should miss him too.  Bill was the only parent he knew, and even though Bill was a very bad man, he was all Devon had.  So it is only natural for him to miss Bill."  John explained to him seriously.

            "Ok, but if Devon is feeling like I did, then he really must be hurting inside right now.  I never cried after my parents died...never on the outside at least, but I cried every day on the inside until I met you and Mommy."  Ari told him softly while he watched John's face for his reaction.  John's face just softened a bit before he smiled at him.

            "I know how you felt Ari, after I lost Katie and Lori, I cried on the inside too until I met your brother and then you.  Then I had no reason to cry anymore because the hurt went away."  John told him before kissing him on the nose.

            "But don't you still miss them?"  Ari asked innocently.

            "All the time Mejo, I miss them all of the time.  However, now I have you, your brother, and your mommy to keep me from thinking about them and feeling sad.  Nothing will ever replace them in my heart, but they are in heaven while I'm still here.  Also, just because I love you, Devon and your mommy now does not mean that I no longer love them, because I still do and always will."  John told him with a smile and Ari looked a bit relieved when he said this.  Then John gently lifted him up, and stood him on his feet.

            "Here is what we are going to do, I am going to talk to your brother today after I send you over to your Aunt Jeanne's with your mom.  Then tonight, I want you to come and get me if Devon cries again."  John told him as he mused up his hair.

            "Ok about me?  I thought you were going to finish helping me for that court thing Monday."  Ari asked him after a moment's thought.

            "I will be there to help, but I have to take care of your brother first.  I think making him remember so much so soon is what is making him miss Bill so much.  Don't worry though because your mommy will be there if you need her and Devon and I will be there after we talk.  Now, why don't we go see if Devon is awake while the coffee is making."  John told him with a final hug before standing up.  Ari waited for him to finish preparing the coffee maker and then took his hand and led him upstairs.  He followed him into the room where Devon appeared to be asleep still.  John sat down carefully on the bed next to him and Devon groaned before opening his eyes.  He smiled as John leaned over and kissed him on the nose.

            "I can tell that I didn't wake you from that grin," John told him.  He then took a moment to look carefully at Devon's face.  There were dark circles under Devon's red and puffy eyes and he could clearly see the tear stains on his cheeks.  Devon met his gaze for only a moment before looking down and away while his face reddened.  "Had a rough night again?"

            Devon shot Ari an angry look, but it softened as soon as he saw how worried Ari was about him.  His eyes filled suddenly even though he fought hard to not cry, but he couldn't stop the tears.  John quickly embraced him as his hard wracking sobs began and he gently lifted Devon up into his arms before standing up.  He looked around until he found Ari waiting patiently with a worried expression on his face.

            "I'm going to go into the other room for a few minutes.  Why don't you get dressed and then go make your mother a cup of coffee and take it to her?  Then, you can watch TV, or wait with her until I'm finished.  I also want you to tell her that I'm handling this and to not interrupt because its embarrassing for him, your mom will understand, I hope."  John told him before carrying Devon into the room that would be his once he was well enough to walk on his own.  Ari quickly peeled off his pajamas and got dressed.  He paused by the door to Devon's room just long enough for John to see him before he scampered downstairs to get the coffee.  When he returned, he was carefully carrying the cup of hot coffee so as not to spill it; the door to his room was closed.  He took the coffee to the master bedroom and quietly knocked on the door.  He opened it cautiously when he heard Sara say come in.

            "It's me Mommy...can I come in?"  He asked her before entering the room after she opened her arms to him.  He carefully set the coffee on the night table before jumping into her embrace.  He smiled up at her after she gave him a big, noisy kiss on the cheek.

            "Good morning doll, I thought I heard someone crying.  Is everything ok?"  Sara asked him.

            "It was Devon; he had a really bad night mommy.  Poppi said to tell you that he is taking care of it though."  Ari said quietly while looking down at his hands.

            "He did huh and did he say why?"  She asked him and he could hear a bit of irritation in her voice.

            "Don't be mad at him.  This is really important because Devon is hurting really bad inside because he misses Pop.  He will not show it around you and Poppi, but he is real sad and cries for hours every night.  Poppi told me to tell you that it was something embarrassing is all, but Devon will talk to him instead of keeping it all inside all the time."  Ari told her quickly before looking away.  Sara understood immediately and she turned his small pixie face back to her before kissing his nose letting him know that everything was fine.

            "I understand now and you are right because Devon will talk to him, but you know what this means, don't you?"  She asked him with a straight face.

            "I don't know; what?"  He asked her innocently.

            "It means that I get to use the ancient Chinese tickle torture on you now."  She said before grabbing and tickling him.  Ari gave a cute little "eek" before dissolving into cackles of giggles as he squirmed and rolled around on the bed while Sara tickled him unmercifully.  However, she made sure to stop after only a few moments because she knew that he would easily wet himself if tickled for too long.  After he had calmed down and she had taken a few sips of her coffee while he moved next to her in the bed she asked him a serious question.  "So, when did you decide to go speak with your dad about this, and how long has this been going on?"

            "I guess I decided last night after Devon cried himself to sleep again.  He has done that every night for over a week now, even before we left the hospital.  At first, I just thought that he was scared because everything had been happening so fast you know.  But nothing scares Devon though, not even Pop; so I knew it had to be something else.  Then I had a dream last night about us and Pop before he tried to make Devon go away to heaven, and when I woke up, I really missed him for a little while, until I remembered all the bad things he did to us.  That is when I knew that Dev must miss him too.  I was going to tell you this morning, but I know that Dev doesn't like to talk about anything embarrassing with you unless he really has to, and that's why I waited until I heard Poppi go down to make the coffee."  He told her solemnly, and she just put her arm around him and gave him a reassuring squeeze.  His face then brightened a bit as he looked at her before continuing.  "Poppi told me why Dev's like that though.  He said it is because Devon can't remember having a mommy before while I can.  Poppi said that is why I can talk to you about anything even if it is really embarrassing because I had a mom and dad before, but Devon can only remember Pop though.  Poppi also said that is why it is hurting him so much too because even though Pop was a bad man, he was all Dev had."  Ari said but something kept nagging him in his mind and he did not trust what he had just said to her.  Sara could see the doubt in his face and tried to reassure him.

            "Your daddy is a very smart man you know and he is right about Devon too.  However, with you, I think your Uncle Juan said it better that explains why you and I can talk so easily though.  He said that it is probably because you were closest with your mother before she went to heaven, and that is why it is easier for you to talk to me about everything."  She told him after taking another drink from her coffee and smiling at him, not knowing that she had just found the trigger to release his memories.

            "Well, I guess I was because my dad was always gone overseas in the Navy.  Mom used to tell me that he was fighting a war in someplace called Kosovo.  Then he came home for Christmas, and we were going Christmas shopping because he wanted to buy me a new bike.  That's when I..."  He faltered and then went very quiet except for a sniffle as the memories came back to him.  He had buried the memories of that day because of his guilt, but now the memories came rushing back to him along with the guilt.  His small face reddened and grew sad, and Sara gently embraced him and told him that it was ok.  However, when he finally spoke, his voice was very soft, full of sorrow, and guilt.  When he finished the sentence, his tears began to roll down his face.  "That's when I killed them.  I told my daddy that I did not want anything from him because he was just going to leave us again like always.  He got mad, turned around, and looked at me to say something to me for being rude.  When he turned around, he must have turned the wheel and that caused our car to go into the other lane.  Then I woke up in the hospital, and they told us that Mom and Dad had died, and I knew I killed them.  All I had was a broken arm, a bunch of cuts and bruises, and a big bump on my head.  I was so happy because he was home, but when he told us that he had to leave again that morning, I was so mad.  That is when he decided to get the bikes and it made me even madder because I thought he was trying to bribe us so we would not be mad at him for leaving again.  We were talking about the bikes in the car, and I just wanted him to know how mad I was about him leaving again.  I didn't mean to kill them though, but I did, and that was why I got sent away."

            "Oh honey, no, it wasn't your fault, it was just an accident.  Everybody makes mistakes, but that does not mean that they did it on purpose though.  You made a mistake by being rude, but then your dad made a mistake because he took his eyes off the road.  Also, the other driver made a mistake too because he had bad tires on his car that made him skid out of control and hit your car.  See, a lot of people made mistakes that day, but none of you meant for anyone to get hurt or die, so you cannot blame yourself for what happened.  I know that it hurt to lose your mom and dad, but it wasn't your fault honey."  Sara carefully explained to him as she comforted him.

            "I never thought of it like that before, I just thought I was to blame is all."  Ari told her as she wiped his face and kissed his forehead.

            "No Ari, you were not to blame.  Even the police said it was just an accident, so don't blame yourself for their deaths.  Your mom and dad loved you very much, and I don't want you to forget that ever, ok."  She told him gently before kissing him on his button nose.

            "I used to have a picture of them, but it is still at the house in Devon's hiding place."  Ari told her as he pulled her arm closer as she embraced him.

            "Hiding place?"  She asked him.

            "Yeah, it's in his room, in the corner.  There was a loose board on the wall, and an empty place between the walls.  That is where Devon kept all of our most special things so Pop couldn't find it."  Ari explained to her as he snuggled against her.  The nagging feeling that he was missing something returned, but it was stronger this time.

            "Do you know where this place is?"  She asked him cautiously because she thought this might be important.

            "Yeah, Devon showed me, and that's where he put my stuff that they gave me after the accident.  It was my parents' picture, my mom's jewelry, our earrings, and my dad's watch and ring.  Devon had his things in there also.  I know Pop was a bad man, but sometimes he would do nice things, or buy us things.  Devon kept some of the things Pop got him in there, and sometimes when Pop was really mean or hurt him very bad, I would get those things for him so he would feel better.  I can't do that anymore because Pop is gone now."  Ari said wistfully in a soft, sad whisper.  Sara was quiet for a few minutes has she thought about this.  Slowly she began to put the pieces together and make a connection.  Up till now, this was the most information that either Ari or Devon had told them about their lives with Bill.  Even with Ari, who is the more open one between Devon and him, they had only talked with him about just the things concerning him when he was at the boy's home.  Both John and she had felt that they should not press him about anything else yet because it might cause him to have a mental breakdown.  However, she decided to take a risk and press him just a bit more.

            "Ari, I know that this may be hard for you, but can you remember the day Devon came and freed you before Pop got home?  Do you think you can remember that day?"  She asked him, as Ari looked up at her for a long moment before looking down at his hands and nodding.

            "Good honey, because this might be important and it could really help your brother right now too."  She told him and waited for him to nod again before continuing.  "Now, on that day, Devon came in and helped you get away by undoing the handcuffs, and telling you to run away.  Now I want you to really think hard, and tell me why he didn't run away with you.  Why did he stay behind until Pop got there and caught him?"  She asked him, and Ari's forehead creased as he thought back to that day.  Then his small pixie face saddened as his eyes filled with tears.

            "I remember Devon running into the house calling me.  He came in to our room where Pop had tied me up cause he had said that I had to go, and Dev was saying that we had to get away because Pop was coming to take us to the bad place as he had promised.  He ran into Pop's office and tore it apart before he found the keys and came back and let me go.  He told me to run away, but I wanted him to come with me.  He just told me to go...go to the warehouse where we played sometimes and..."  He said before scrunching up his face as he tried to remember that bad day.  The nagging feeling was so strong now that he couldn't ignore it any longer.  When he thought about the feeling, it broke the dam and the memories came rushing back.  Then his eyes opened real wide and he gasped as the specific memory came rushing back to him.  "The poem!  He couldn't leave her behind!"  He said excitedly as he jumped up onto his knees.  Sara grabbed him by his wrists to calm him down.

            "What poem Ari?  Who couldn't he leave?"  She asked him in a calm voice while looking into his eyes.  All she could think about was that there might be another child there...another victim.

            "THE POEM Mommy!  When Poppi said that Devon could not remember his family as I could, I knew it was wrong but I could not remember until now.  Devon said that it was the only thing he had left from HER.  It is really important to him because she is his Mother, because he can only remember her when he reads the poem.  It was an old postcard with little boy angels on the front, and she wrote the poem on the back.  But his name was wasn't Devon was said um," Ari said before faltering.  "I know this because I figured out what his name was before Pop changed it to Devon.  He couldn't remember his name, but he remembered the poem.  It was the most important thing that Devon had, and he always kept it hidden from Pop.  He said he found it in Pop's secret files and he knew it was from his mom.  Oh...I remember...I remember.  His name used to be Simon, mommy, the card said `To Simon, love mom.'"  Ari said with so much excitement that he was practically crying as he bounced up and down on his knees.  "He is Simon Mommy!  Devon used to be Simon!"

            "Its ok honey; you did good, so calm down now, ok?  You did very good honey, I'm so proud of you and I love you so much.  Can you show me where his hiding place is?"  Sara asked him as she got up and started to quickly pull on her clothes, and didn't even notice as Ari quickly covered his eyes after emitting a little `eek' as she pulled off her nightgown before pulling on her bra and shirt.

            "Yeah, I can is ok to look now?"  Ari asked breathlessly as she finished dressing, and then picked up the phone and dialed a number.

            "You can open your eyes now honey, it is ok to look now."  She said with a slightly embarrassed grin on her face as she finally noticed Ari with his hands covering most of his face and all of his eyes.  She leaned over and kissed him before returning her attention to the phone.  "Hi Jeanne.  Look; I cannot explain right now, but is Jerry there?  Can I talk to him, please?"  She said into the phone while Ari waited patiently for her.  "Jerry, I need your help.  Devon is really doing bad right now.  He is really sad and won't stop crying.  John is trying to help, but Ari just told me something that I think can help him.  I need to get into Jefferies house though, so can you take me there?  Ok, thanks.  I will meet you in about 30 minutes at your house," she said before hanging up the phone.

            "Look honey, I need to talk to your daddy for a few minutes, so can you go stay with Devon while we talk?"  She asked Ari as she led him out of the room and down the hall.

            "Ok mommy, but I know what to do to make Dev better now.  I remembered how," he said to her as they stopped in front of the door to his bedroom.  She looked at him and he could see that she didn't understand.  He debated with himself for a moment about trying to explain it to her, or to just do it.  He chose the latter as he moved out of the way while she knocked on the door and opened it.  Ari waited until she motioned John over before he went in and sat down on the bed beside Devon.  Then he laid down facing him, and could see Devon's very red and puffy eyes, and it felt like something broke inside him as his tears filled his eyes.  His face suddenly became tender and caring, and then he kissed Devon gently on the lips before he began to speak to him.

            "It will be ok Simon, because I remembered about your special place.  She is waiting for you, and she will help make it better again.  So don't be sad anymore, ok?  I'm going to take you to her now.  I love you Simon," Ari told him before kissing him again as a single tear slid down the side of his face to his ear, and then he began to recite the poem in a soft, whisper like voice.

"The sky is bright with the moonlight,

The air is chilled like cold steel tonight.

Warmed within while tucked in bed you sleep,

After praying to the Lord your soul to keep."

            Sara had just started to tell John about her theory when they both stopped and watched the profound effect Ari's words had on DevonDevon had finally cried himself out and now lay in bed not responding to anything John said.  However, when Ari began to speak the words, he blinked several times and lifted his head up as he looked back at Ari.  Then he began to speak in unison with him reciting the poem in his soft, hoarse voice.  Fresh tears appeared in his eyes, but they never fell as he took hold of Ari's hand, and his body relaxed as they both continued to recite the poem.

"Something's wrong, something's scary, something's definitely not right,

and evil invades your dreams as you grip the pillow tight.

While the clock hands go round and round,

you struggle within the binds that your soul is bound.

The stormy wind howls outside,

while you do your best not to cry.

When your fears begin to encompass all,

you plead, "Who will catch my fall?""

            Devon eased his head back onto the pillow and a small smile appeared on his face as his eyelids began to droop.  His voice faded into a soft mumble as Ari continued to recite the poem using his voice to lead him to the special place, and to her.


"A single star shines its light,

like a beacon to you in the night.

As wind tries to drown out your cries,

you can feel my healing hands shield you from its lies."

Devon's eyes were almost closed as he followed Ari's voice to her, where she always waited for him at his special place in his dreams.

"Keep the faith in the trust you gave,

as my comforting presence lights your way.

You hear my voice say, "Hush now my little one,

I will keep you free from the darkness my son.""

            The tension and pain eased away and Ari's voice was replaced by hers now as she led him deeper into his dreams and to his special place where he always went to escape from Pop.  He ran swiftly towards her waiting embrace as her voice became clearer, and then he saw her, and he heard her call, `come to me Simon, come to Mommy,' and he ran faster.

"The stormy wind howls outside,

while you do your best not to cry.

When your fears begin to encompass all,

you plead "who will catch my fall?"

I will, my son.

I will.

I love you.

To Simon,

Love Mom."

            John watch with Sarah as Devon's body relaxed completely as he slipped off to sleep as Ari continued to recite the poem a second time.  Once he finished, he gently wiped Devon's eyes and sniffled before tenderly kissing him on the lips again, and then getting up carefully in order not to wake him.  After he had covered up his brother and gently brushed Devon's hair out of his face, he came over to John and Sara and they could see the tears in his eyes as he looked back at Devon.  He then took John and Sara's hands and quietly led them out of the room.

            "He will be ok for a little while now because he is with her at his special place.  Don't try to wake him up because he won't leave her until he has to.  I forgot all about the poem Poppi, I'm sorry."  Ari said as his tears trickled down his face.  John knelt down in front of him before gently wiping the tears away.

            "It is ok, you remembered it now when Devon needed it the most.  Now tell me about the poem please?"  John asked him as he hugged him.  Ari then repeated everything he had told Sara about the poem, but then added more.

            "See, when Pop was really bad, Devon always had me read him the poem over and over.  He said that it took him away to his special place where he didn't hurt, and wasn't sad so he could become strong again.  He also said that it was the only place where he remembered his mom, but he could never tell me what she looked like afterwards though.  He said that he could only remember her voice, and see her only when he was there because it reminded him of the kiss me cloud.  That is why Pop caught him that day because he went back to get the poem after making me run away.  Pop made him be Devon, but he is really Simon."  Ari told him as John picked him up into his arms, and carried him downstairs with Sara.  Once downstairs, he passed Ari to Sara, who kissed and hugged him before putting him down.  John made them both a cup of coffee, and made Ari a glass of orange juice before having them all sit at the table.

            "Now you are positive that you know where this hiding place is, and that you can open it and get the stuff out of it?"  John asked him after taking a drink of his coffee.

            "I'm sure Poppi, because I always used to get the poem and read it to him after Pop punished him...usually because of something I did wrong.  Sometimes he hurt so bad that he couldn't even move or even cry, but the poem always helped him go away to his special place until he was better.  He would go away for three or four days, or even a week sometimes before coming back.  Pop always made me take care of him when that happened, and until he was well again, I had to take his punishment, or go stay with Pop at night."  Ari said while his face burned with shame.  "Once he was better, he would come back and be Devon again."

            "It is ok Mejo and nothing to be ashamed of.  We both know what Bill made you and Devon do with him."  John told him gently while his face showed his understanding along with Sara.

            "But we did bad things with him...nasty things."  Ari told them, and then in a shameful whisper as hot tears slid down his burning cheeks, he added.  "Pop said that we liked it because our pee pees always got big."

            "That's not true Mejo, he lied to you."  John told him but was unable to say more, and then Sara came to his aid.

            "Poppi is right honey because I know the truth.  I am a nurse remember, and I have treated hundreds of boys as my patients, so I know what is true and what is not ok.  It does not matter who you are, when something stimulates certain nerves in your body like the ones in your pee-pee, the brain will react no matter what you are thinking or how you feel.  You can hate everything that you feel, but your body will still react the same way.  Because that is how your body is supposed to react.  So do not feel bad because your pee-pee got big, or because you liked those feelings sometimes because that is what was supposed to happen.  Pop told you those lies so you would feel bad and be too embarrassed to tell someone else about it, right John?"  She carefully explained before seeking John's confirmation.

            "It's true Ari, and he only told you those lies to control you so you wouldn't tell on him.  He used your fear and shame to control you in order to protect himself.  Mejo, remember back in the hospital when I had to put the medicine on your rash?  You were so sick, but your body reacted in the same way though."  John told him and Ari raised his head sharply and stared at Sara before glaring at him.

            "POPPI!"  Ari said in shock while his face turned crimson.

            "It is ok Ari, I already know what happened.  I'm a nurse remember.  You are not the first boy that has had a rash, and their pee-pee's did the same as yours did when I put the medicine on them.  Even if they were little babies, or big teenagers, it doesn't matter."  Sara told him in a factual way, while John agreed with her.  Ari looked at her and then John, but he couldn't see any deception or shame in either of their faces.

            "Really?  Our pee pees were supposed to get big?"  He asked as he looked at each of them while he still blushed red.

            "Yes.  The only time you should worry that something is wrong is when it doesn't get big anymore," Sara told him while he blushed pink as he giggled.  Now that they had reassured him and taken the shame away, he felt a lot better.

"So what are we going to do about Simon, um, I mean Devon though?"  He asked sheepishly.

            "We know what you mean honey, but it will be up to your brother to decide what name he wants to use."  Sara told him with a comforting smile.

            "Ok Mommy, but I meant that he is Devon when he is well, but he is Simon when he sleeps and goes to his special place.  That's why he can't talk to you guys about a lot of things cause he is always Devon when he is awake, and Devon is always strong and never afraid.  But at night, he becomes Simon again right before he sleeps, and that's when he can be weak and afraid.  Now that Pop is gone, maybe he can be Simon all the time now, but I think he has forgotten how to be him all the time.  So, what can we do for him right now to help him not be sad anymore?"  Ari asked them both with a pleading look, and both Sara and John recognized his concern was one born out of love, but not brotherly love.

            "Not me.  You and your Mom are going to Jefferies house, and I want you to tell her where Simon's hiding place is so she can get everything.  I am going to stay here with him just in case he wakes up.  You know how important promises are to him, and I promised to always be here with him every time he went to sleep and woke up when he needs me to be.  I don't know if this will fix everything, and I still think both of you need counseling, but this will help him feel better right now.  We can worry about his name later on, and concentrate on helping him right now.  Therefore, I want you to go now with your mother.  She is going to take you back to Pop's house, and I want someone to get all of yours and Devon's things, and bring them here.  However, the first things I want to get and bring here are the things from his secret hiding place, especially the poem.  I know it will be hard for you to see the house again Ari, but you don't have to go inside.  Just tell your mom, or Uncle Jerry where the hiding place is, and they can get everything for you.  Once Devon feels better, then we will all take him back to the house to get any other stuff he might want, if he wants to go back there.  You think you can do this son?"  John asked him, and with a serious face, Ari nodded to him even though John could still see the fear in his brown eyes.  "Sara, I also want you to bring back the case files from Jerry's house because I think I have some things that can help with one of the problems he has too."  John explained to both of them, and they both agreed.  Then John kissed them both before sitting down again to finish his coffee.  They all quickly finished their drinks, then Ari went and got Sara's and his shoes and they left while John went back upstairs to stay with Devon.  He thought about the discoveries he had made recently concerning Devon and Ari, and he hoped that the things he had would help both of them.

10:30 AM (outside of Bill Jefferies home)

            "Are you sure you are ready for this honey?"  Sara asked Ari as her worry clearly showed on her face.  Ari had been fine until they entered the neighborhood.  As she followed Jeanne and Jerry closer and closer to the place that Ari and Devon had called home; the more nervous and anxious he became.  When the house came into view, his breathing increased noticeably while his eyes filled and tears began to slip down his face.  She parked by the patrol car, sent there to protect the crime scene, instead of turning into the long driveway.  She got out and went around to his side of the minivan, and she opened his door then gently undid his seatbelt before pulling him into her arms.  He cried softly while she held him as Jeanne hurried over to help if needed as Jerry got the keys to the front door before joining them.  Almost ten minutes passed before Ari was able to calm down and stop crying, and then another ten minutes before he asked her to put him down.

"If you aren't ready, then just tell me where the hiding place is and we will get everything while you wait here with those officers there."  She told him as she sat him on the small step on the driver's side of the van.  She had carried him to her side so he was facing away from the house.  His whole body was still visibly shaking when she asked him.

"No Mommy, I can do it.  Its...its just hard to see the house after all that's know?"  He said quietly as he balled his small hands into fists to stop them from shaking.

"I know it is Ari, and you don't have to go back there if it hurts too much.  I understand if you can't do it honey."  She told him as she wiped away his tears.  Jerry came over and knelt beside her, and then spoke as his normally hard expression was now one of understanding and caring.

"Your mother is worried about you lad, and we are too.  `Tis no shame if you cannot return to this place.  We already know that you and your brother be very brave lads who make us proud."  Jerry said to him letting him know that there would be nothing shameful or cowardly if he stayed here instead of going in.

"I know Uncle Jerry, but I have to do this for Devon."  He said with a quiver in his voice as he hugged himself tightly.

"No you don't, just tell us where to look, and I will rip out the wall if need be."  Jerry said seriously, but Ari just shook his head no as his eyes filled once more.

"No, it has to be me.  Dev always did it for me.  He always took the blame and always took my punishment so that Pop wouldn't hurt me, or take me to the bad place."  Ari told them emphatically as his tears spilled once more.  "Now he needs me to help him, because he is sick and hurt cause of Pop...when it should have been me.  If I don't help him now because I'm afraid, then I will always feel that it is my fault for everything."

"No honey..."  Sara started to say, but Jerry cut her off abruptly.

"Nay...hold your tongue!  The lad is right.  If you want everything to turn out right for him, then the lad has to first believe it himself in here, and here."  Jerry told her before pointing to his heart first and then to his head before Sara understood.  Ari had to believe in his heart and mind that he was not weak; and thus not to blame for Devon's pain that he had emotionally and physically.

"All right, but let us help you Ari.  You don't have to do this alone," Sara told him as she relented her way by agreeing with Jerry, but still giving Ari another option if he needed it.  Ari was about to protest as he angrily wiped his eyes, but it was Jerry who intervened again.

"Hold on laddie, your mother is right.  You do not have to do this alone anymore.  That was the problem when you and your brother lived here, you know.  Back then, you had no choice because you were alone, and that is why your brother took your place because he has always been alone until you came along.  He decided to take your punishment and blame because he did not want to be alone anymore.  Now take our hands, and if need be, close your eyes, and let's go inside.  We will not let anything happen to you, you are not alone anymore because you have all of us to help you to be strong and brave now."  Jerry told him man to man just like he would tell a rookie cop, and held out his hand for Ari.

Sara watched as Ari looked deep into Jerry's eyes, and then he stood up and wiped his eyes with the back of his hands before taking Jerry's hand.  Jerry looked over at her as he stood up, and she followed his example and held out her hand to Ari who took it before they turned and faced the house.  Ari sniffled once, and hesitated for just a moment before taking the first step towards the house.  Soon, they were at the door, and Jerry let go of Ari's hand to pull the crime scene tape out of the way before unlocking and opening the door.  Ari tightened his grip onto Sara's hand and took a few deep breaths before leading her inside as Jerry and Jeanne followed.  Once inside the door, Ari froze and looked around the living room with tears in his eyes.

For the most part, the house was almost exactly the same as they had left it that day, and Ari shook his hand free from Sara's after a few moments once they entered before slowly making his way around the room.  He would stop for a moment, and reach out and touch something familiar with his trembling hands before slowly continuing on.  Sara and Jeanne were surprised at how utterly neat and orderly the room was, although there was now a fine layer of dust over everything.  For someone entering the home, there was not the slightest hint that two young boys had ever lived there.  There were no stains on the cream colored furniture or light sand colored carpets.  The glass end tables, coffee table, and windows were clear without a single smudge or fingerprint.  They could see that everything had its assigned place, and that Ari knew exactly where everything belonged.  As he slowly made his way around the room, he unconsciously straightened and set things in their assigned place.  They watched him as he did this while their stomachs knotted, and finally understood the full extent that Bill Jefferies had controlled Devon and Ari.  He had controlled everything in their lives down to the smallest detail, thus making them into mindless shells to be used for his pleasure.

"It hasn't changed really, except it needs to be cleaned.  Pop would beat us senseless if he found all this dirt on everything.  It's still hard for me to believe that he is never coming back.  Every time I look at the door, I expect him to come in and get me."  He said softly while his voice passed on his fear and pain to the others as he stood there trembling.  Jerry moved over beside him while Jeanne stood by the front door and Sara moved to block the hallway.

"Have no fear laddie, nobody will hurt you unless they go through us first."  Jerry said as he stood tall and menacing beside Ari.  Seeing them do this reassured him, and they all saw him relax just a bit while his small face showed his relief and gratitude for them.

"Thanks Uncle Jerry," was all he said in almost a whisper before starting to move again.  He continued around the room slowly arranging everything that was out of place while Jerry shadowed him until he reached the wall where the hardwood floors of the dining room met the carpet in the living room.

"We were not allowed to sit on the furniture, so we used to sit on the floor here quietly doing our homework or reading while Pop watched TV.  Then at 7:30 we were allowed to go to our room so we could take our baths and get ready for bed."  Ari said quietly as he bent down, and picked up a forgotten textbook from the small shelf before absently brushing the dust off it and putting it back.  Jerry could see that the books were all schoolbooks, and they were all carefully arranged in alphabetical order.  Ari continued on into the dining room and kitchen area, and stopped again before picking up a wooden napkin holder in the shape of a terrier dog from the table and showing it to Jerry.

"Devon made this for Pop for his last birthday and he actually liked it.  It was the only thing he ever said that Devon had done good enough.  He was actually nice to both of us for a whole week and didn't hit either of us except once.  I spilled some salt onto the table and Devon apologized and cleaned it up after Pop hit him and made his eye swell shut.  Pop slapped me first, but Devon still took my punishment for breaking a rule."  Ari told them quietly as he remembered these things while his tears began to slip down his face.  He replaced the napkin holder in the exact place from where he picked it up before continuing into the kitchen.  Then he stopped near the sink, leaned over, and began tracing a small scratch on the front of the cabinet door.

"This is why he killed Sammy, the boy who was here before I came here.  He was six...but Devon said that he wouldn't listen, or obey the rules.  He said he tried to make him behave, to teach him to be good, and to obey the rules like he taught me so Pop wouldn't hurt him.  But Dev said that it didn't work with him though, and that Sammy would get mad and throw his jacket onto the floor, or climb on the couch, and then he scratched the door here with a fork after Pop punished him for breaking the rules.  Pop killed him then...he choked him till he died right here in front of Devon, even though he begged Pop not to hurt him.  He said that Sammy messed all over himself and the floor before he stopped moving.  Then Pop made him clean it up before taking him to the bad place.  Devon said that is why he tried so hard to teach me to obey the he wouldn't have to watch Pop do that again and clean up the mess afterwards.  I was good at obeying the rules though most of the time, but when I did break them Devon would take my punishment...he always took my punishment.  Sometimes I think Pop hurt him more because he took my punishment, but Dev would never allow me to be punished.  Pop still hurt me, but not like he hurt Devon though."  He said in anguish as the painful memories flooded back to him as he crumpled to the floor and cried.  Jerry came up behind him, and gently picked him up before hugging him tightly as he cried.  "I can't do it Uncle Jerry, I just can't.  I'm too little and weak and I'm not brave or strong like he is, and that's why he always took the blame and my punishment."

"Nay son, you are as strong and as brave as he is; you just don't believe yourself to be is all.  You can do this laddie; Devon needs you to do this.  You have to be strong and brave right now for him because he can't be.  You don't have to do it alone though; we will be brave for you, but you have to be strong.  So cry out the pain and then let's go get what we came for, alright lad?"  Jerry told him softly as he held Ari in his arms and after a few moments, he felt Ari nod his head as he continued to cry.  After a little while, Ari was able to settle down once again before steeling himself and leading them down the hallway towards the back of the house.  He was still visibly shaking when he paused for a moment by the first door past the bathroom before slowly opening it, but he stopped, and stood there trembling with sheer terror unable to go inside.  Jerry saw the wet stain spread out in the front of Ari's jeans as he lost control of his bladder because of his terror.  Almost immediately, Jerry recognized the sickly sweet odor of death and decay that filled the room and he understood the source of Ari's fear.  He did not know how he knew it, but he was absolutely sure that this room was meant to be Ari's grave.  Therefore, he stepped in between Ari and the doorway blocking his view and breaking his fear.  This seemingly benign act allowed Ari to push his terror away, and be strong for Devon like they had told him because Jerry was being brave for him.

"Th...this was p...p...Pop's office Uncle Jerry, where he ran his business out of.  Over there, in that corner is the bad place.  The door to the bad place is there under that file cabinet and rug.  That is where he used to keep me locked up sometimes while Devon went to school and he went to work.  That's where the smell is coming from, but Pop always had that vent fan running, and we had to spray stuff to hide the smell.  It is hard to breathe down there because of the smell and it's so dark and cold down there.  Sammy is down in the ground there with Eric, and Zach...and the others.  Pop said that he was going to put me there that day with the others.  He said that I had to go cause they knew, and he chained me up in our room till he got home, but Devon came home first and let me go.  Then he made me run away and hide before Pop came home."  Ari said as his tears fell.  Jerry looked at Sara and Jeanne with a sick expression on his face.

"Those names are not the ones we found," he said to them before kneeling down in front of Ari again.  "Son, I know this is hard for you, and I will not let anything harm you here; but I need to know for those other boys' sake.  How many other boys do you know of that are down there?"  He asked in a steely voice while his face showed Ari his sympathy and caring; but most of all, his strength and bravery.  Ari drew strength from him as he put his complete trust into Jerry protecting him.

"Ten...I think...ten boys that I know of.  I helped put five boys in the ground with Devon.  Pop always made Devon help him when he put them in the ground, but sometimes Pop just made Dev and me do it by ourselves.  There may be others that Devon didn't tell me about...I think he said that some were already there before I came, but I can't remember."  Ari said in a pain filled whisper because he knew that they hadn't found the bad place until just now.

"Dear many more innocent victims will we find from this fiend?"  Jerry whispered to the heavens before he looked back into Ari's pain ridden eyes.  "Blessed Mary, at least he couldn't take you or your brother away from us son.  You are safe with me because I will let nothing harm you, I promise you that sonny."  He said as he hugged Ari tightly to him as he own eyes filled with tears.

"When I first came here, Pop always hurt me, and I tried to do exactly as Devon told me to, but I kept messing up.  I think Pop hurt me bad though, he hurt my eyes cause I had to keep them covered for over a month till they were better.  After Pop hurt me, Devon said that he would teach me the right way so I would stop messing up, and he did.  I learned the rules and obeyed them without messing up anymore.  Even when Pop said I broke the rules, I took my punishment and never cried no matter how much it hurt just like Dev taught me to do.  Then everything changed because Pop started being nice to me most of the time, and he even told me that I knew what was good for me.  Then Devon changed too, but I can't remember why though.  At first, he just wanted me to follow the rules so Pop wouldn't hurt him, but then he started standing up to Pop to protect me, and he even took my place.  Pop told him that since he thought I was so good, then he could take my punishment if he wanted to...and he did.  Pop always hurt him more because he took my punishment, and Pop would still hurt me whenever Devon wasn't around to see.  Other than a few times when Pop was really pissed off in his crazy mad mood, he never hit me much in front of Devon, but he always hit Devon more instead.  Dev never complained though and never blamed me either.  He just told me to behave and to go say I was sorry to he could take my punishment.  Pop always tried to hurt hurt him so bad that he wouldn't take my punishment anymore, but he never stopped no matter what Pop did to him.  He took my place, and he was always brave and strong for me.  He wouldn't let Pop hurt me cause I was too little and weak."  He said so quietly that even Jerry could hardly hear him, and Ari had a blank eyed expression as he stared into nothing as he remembered these things.

"That day, I thought Pop had come home to take me to the bad place like he said the night before, but it was Devon though.  I thought he had come home to tell me that he was going to take my place, but he didn't.  He made all of the mess in here looking for the keys to unlock the handcuffs and the chain around my neck.  He told me to run away because Pop was coming to hurt both of us since he told on him at school.  I asked him what happened and he just said that he told on Pop; but then the Principal called Pop and told him everything that Dev had said, and that is why we had to get away.  When we got to the living room...that is when Devon stopped and ran back to our room to get the poem.  I was so scared...that I didn't wait for him...and I ran out the back and into the woods, but when I looked back I saw Pop come and go inside.  Then I saw him dragging Devon by his hair to the truck.  He stopped once, and kicked Devon like six times then punched him a few times until he stopped moving.  He tied up Devon's hands and taped his mouth before putting him in the truck.  Then he started coming towards where I was hiding.  I had to run away so he wouldn't catch me.  I didn't want to leave him, but I did as he told me to and then I ran away because I was so scared of Pop finding me," Ari told him with his small voice filled with his pain, guilt, and sadness.

"That monster is gone now lad.  He cannot hurt you anymore.  He cannot hurt anyone again anymore.  My friend made sure of that."  Jerry told him as he put his arm around him before standing and gently guiding him past the doorway before pulling the door closed behind him.  He knew that Ari was close to his limit of what he could take emotionally, so he wanted to hurry him up so he could take him out of this house of horror.  "Which one is your room so we can get what we came for son?"  He asked him, as Ari led them to the last room on the same side of the hall as the office was on and went inside.

"This was our room," he said as he went in and sat down on his bed before looking around while his small body and hands shook almost violently now.  Jeanne could see the worry on Jerry's face as he watched Ari sitting there trying to stop his body from shaking, then Sara quietly told him that she thought Ari was going into shock, and that they had to hurry.  When they looked around the small room, they saw that the room was meticulous, with the two small beds neatly made in a military fashion, and nothing on the floor or out of place.  To a stranger, it was impossible to tell that two preteen boys had ever stayed here let alone having lived in this room.  There was nothing in the room except the small dresser, the beds, and a small table between the beds with a few books on its lower shelf and a single small lamp on top.  After a long quiet moment, Ari got up, went over to the single chest of drawers, and began trying to push it out away from the wall.  Jerry quickly went over and moved it out of the way before Ari got on his hands and knees.  He felt along the baseboard for a moment before pushing against it in the corner where it met the adjoining wall.  When he did this, a small line appeared in the wall revealing the hidden outline of a two foot by two foot wooden panel.  He continued to press along the baseboard on both corners until he was able to remove the hidden panel from the wall which had covered the main water supply pipe as it connected to the house's plumbing.  In the remaining empty space was a cigar box that Ari pulled free before backing out and standing up.  He took the box over to his bed and sat it down before opening it.  Inside the box were a group of pictures, three rings, a diver's watch, a gold necklace, a black Onyx rosary, and some folded papers along with an old, faded postcard.  Ari surveyed the contents carefully and then satisfied that nothing was missing, he replaced everything with care back inside the box and closed it except for a single picture that he clutched to his chest.  He stared at the picture for a long moment as his tears came again.  Then he carefully handed it to Sara with his badly trembling hand and when she looked at it, she saw it was a wallet portrait of Ari with his mother and father.  Ari wiped his eyes after Sara handed him the picture and he carefully returned it to the box again.

"He never found this Mommy, even though he tried.  He wanted my parents' wedding sell, but Devon hid them before he found them the first day I got here.  The only thing missing is the earrings, but Dev said they had been lost.  The day that he broke Devon's leg, it was because Devon refused to tell him where this stuff was hidden and he thought Devon had stolen them.  I had been here for a month when the man who brought me here brought Eric.  I told him that all I had was my clothes when I came here, but Pop said that he was told that I had their rings and stuff too...the man who brought me here must have told him about them that day.  After he left and Pop put Eric in the bad place, he took everything out of our room and searched the whole house, but couldn't find them.  It was only after he had beaten me until I blacked out and broken Devon's leg that he finally believed the lie Dev told him...that we didn't know what he was talking about.  I felt so bad afterwards because he hurt Dev so much...he screamed so hard when Pop set the bone before passing out again.  Then when he woke up, he told me that Pop would come to his bed that night like always, but that he was hurt too badly to do that.  He was coughing up blood Mommy and I gave him my sheets and pillow to help prop him up in bed.  Then I told him that I would do it, so Pop would leave him alone and not hurt him anymore.  He didn't want me to do it, he begged me not to do it...he said it was because he loved me; but I love him much as he loves me, if not more.  When he saw that I wouldn't change my mind, he started to tell me how to make it not hurt so much.  I told him that I already knew how not to make it hurt real bad, then I read the poem and he became Simon again before I sent him to his special place.  After I took my bath, I got some Vaseline from under the sink and put some in my bottom, and then I went to bed and waited until Pop came.  When he came for Devon, I told him that Devon was hurt to bad and th...then I...g...gave my...sss...self"  He told her while he clutched the box to his chest before his quiet sobs overwhelmed him once more.  Then Jerry was there lifting him up into his arms and carrying him out.  As they exited the house, Jerry stopped and handed Jeanne the keys to lock the door again and then he spoke softly to Ari.

"It's over now son and you did good to go in there and face that pain like a man.  There is no need for you to ever feel guilty because of Devon taking your punishment, because you satisfied that bastard's twisted desires by giving him your body because of your love for Devon.  `Tis only the bravest and strongest of men who are able to that, so don't ever think of yourself as scared or weak because you and your brother are not.  By the gods oaths, only a very few men in this world would have been able to do as you and he have done."  Jerry said into his ear and Ari looked up into his eyes to see if he was speaking the truth.  Seeing the seriousness of Jerry's face, Ari just nodded for a moment before looking around and seeing that they were outside again before embracing Jerry tightly around his neck.

"I did it, Uncle Jerry, I really did it.  I did it for Devon...and me; and you helped me do it.  You helped me be strong because I didn't have to be brave.  Thanks Uncle Jerry, I love you," He said softly before laying his head on Jerry's shoulder and closing his eyes tightly and asking as his tears came again.  "I don't ever want to come back here hurts too much to remember.  I just want to see Devon ok, will you take me home please?"

"Aye laddie, I will and you never have to return here again.  I promise you that son."  Jerry told him before kissing him on the forehead.  Ari was spent emotionally and physically exhausted too after his trial in the house.  He relaxed a little as he felt Jerry's, then his mom's and finally Jeanne's kisses while he continued to cry quietly and kept his eyes shut tightly.  Jerry waited only long enough for Sara and then Jeanne to come over and kiss Ari before heading towards the minivan.  Ari was asleep by the time Jerry had carried him the short distance to the minivan, but his small body still shook as if he were still awake.  Before they left for home, and after Jerry had put Ari into the van; Jerry picked up a large rock about the size of a baseball and hurled it through the bay window of the house shattering it.  Jeanne had Sara sit in the back with Ari, as he lay curled up on the seat clutching the box while she drove them home as Jerry followed.  Once they arrived, Sara shook him gently by his shoulders waking him up.  He sat up with a frightened look as he clutched the small box tightly.

"We are home honey," she told him as he relaxed a little and rubbed his puffy eyes with his small fist while still clutching the box tightly to his chest.  Just before she opened the door to let them out, she looked directly at Ari and said; "I am very proud of you for how strong and brave you were today.  You have proven your love for Devon to all of us, but most importantly, you will prove it to Devon.  I love you darling; now let's go see your brother."

"Thanks mommy, I love you too."  He said before hugging and kissing her, then letting her help him out and guide him inside.  Jerry and Jeanne followed them inside, but Sara had them wait while she took Ari to the laundry room and had him change out of his damp jeans and underwear.  He tried to apologize for wetting his pants, but she hushed him and explained that it was nothing that a little water and soap could clean up making him feel better.  She wiped him down with a wet washcloth before dressing him in clean underwear and a pair of sweat pants.  Then they all proceeded into the den where they found John sitting in the recliner along with a very puffy eyed Devon in his lap.  Other than a pair of shorts, his clavicle and leg brace, and his shoulder immobilizer, Devon was not wearing anything else.  He looked up with his sad, pain contorted face at them when they all entered.  Ari went right over to him, dropped to his knees, and set the box down so that he could kiss Devon on the lips.

"I'm sorry Dev, I didn't mean to forget for so long, but I promised to make it right so you would feel better.  So I brought you our stuff from the secret place."  He said softly before showing him the box, and then handing it to him.  Devon's teary eyed face brightened considerably when Ari did this although his tears began to flow once again.  He carefully opened the box, and took out the postcard before holding it up to his nose and inhaled deeply smelling the lingering perfume of his mother.

"Thanks did you get this?"  Devon asked as he wiped his eyes with a tissue before blowing his nose.

"I went back to the house and got it just now," he answered him.

"You what?  I told you to never go back there, ever.  You can never go back there no matter what because it will make you rem...," Devon angrily snapped at him, but then he caught himself, and bit his lip and he looked at Ari.  His face softened as he stared into Ari's reddened eyes.  "It's a very bad place, and it hurts everybody who goes inside.  I told you to never go back because I didn't want it to hurt you anymore, but it did...didn't it?"  He asked him and his eyes filled and spilled over as he saw Ari nod as his own tears also slipped down his face.  Devon reached out with his left hand and gently wiped away Ari's tears before Ari reached up, took hold of Devon's hand and just pressed his palm to his cheek and held it there.

"I had to go back because I promised to make things better.  I did it for you and for me...for us; because I love you."  He said softly as he looked into Devon's eyes.  Devon leaned over, and gently pulled Ari to him before kissing him.

"I love you too Ari...forever ok."  Devon said solemnly.

"Forever," Ari repeated as him and Devon touched foreheads and noses and smiled at each other before Ari continued.  "I'm sorry that I disobeyed you, but you've been so sad though, and I only remembered the poem this morning.  You have always protected me from Pop and always took the blame and my punishment.  This morning when you told me that you missed him, I knew that something was wrong because you were happy that he was gone.  That is when I remembered why you went back inside that day.  You went to get the poem, but Pop came home and caught you.  When I told Mommy and Poppi, they asked me to go get it.  Uncle Jerry offered to tear down the walls to get it for me, but I had to do it myself.  I had to do it because you would have done it for me."  He said softly with a sad, but caring face that showed all of his love for Devon.

"I'm sorry too, but I couldn't leave it Ari?  It is all I have left from her.  I can't even remember her except in my special place now."  He said sadly, as more tears slipped down his face while John and Ari tried to comfort him.  After a few minutes, he was able to stop crying again and he looked at Ari again.

"Did it hurt really bad to go back there?"  He asked him worriedly because he knew how terrified Ari had always been of Pop.

"Yeah, it hurt a lot, but seeing you so sad hurt me more.  It was really hard to go back, but not like before though.  That is because I knew that he wasn't coming back to hurt us again, to hurt you anymore for taking my place.  It was still really hard to go inside and remember, but Uncle Jerry helped me to be brave like you always are.  I know I'm not brave or strong like you are, but I can be when you need me to be, even if it is only just for a little while.  This is all I could get from our room, because it was all I could stand.  I don't think I can ever go back there again though cause it hurts too much.  Mommy thought that when you are well, then all of you guys could go and get our other stuff together, but I don't want you to go back there either cause I know that it will hurt you even more than it hurt me."  Ari told him sadly, as his eyes brimmed.  "They didn't find the bad place until I showed Uncle Jerry where it was, and I told them about Sammy, Eric, and Zach too.  I wet myself when I opened the door to Pop's office to show Uncle Jerry where the door was to the bad place."

"But Dad said that they found...the bodies."  Devon said before his voice trailed off, then he turned, and faced John with a shocked look on his face.  "You didn't find it Dad?"

"Find what son?"  John asked him as he looked at him and Ari and then to Jerry.  "What is he talking about Jerry?"

"I'm sorry John, but he is talking about more bodies, we were wrong about who the last victim was.  Ari said that there are at least ten more bodies buried in a hidden cellar, and the boy before he came was named Sammy."  Jerry told him gravely and John looked like he had just been kicked in the gut when he looked back to Devon and Ari.

"No, that's wrong Uncle Jerry; there are 17 bodies there.  I know because I had to help Pop dig the holes, and help bury them.  When you told me that you found 17 bodies Dad, I thought you found the bad place.  I did not think that you could have missed it; I'm sorry."  He sobbed as he realized that he had it all wrong all this time.  "See what I mean Dad; no matter what I do, I still mess everything up.  I will never be good enough no matter how hard I try.  I wish that I would have di," he began to say `died', but was cut off as Ari slapped him.

"Don't you ever say that, not ever!  Poppi saved you with Uncle Jerry and all of us love you."  He said sharply to him as his face turned red with his anger and tears.  Then the anger quickly fled as Devon looked at him wide eyed and nodded as he held his burning cheek.  "I love you and always have.  You have always been good enough for me."  Ari told him softly.

"I didn't mean it like that...I didn't mean to hurt you Ari, I'm sorry.  I don't know why, but I feel so lost all of the time now.  Nothing is the same anymore and all the rules have changed.  Before, with Pop, I knew the rules and all the punishments for breaking the rules; but now everything has changed.  That is why I miss him now, because I don't know what to do, or who I am anymore."  He told him softly while his sadness and despair was heard in his voice.  "I have always tried to protect you so you wouldn't be hurt because you are the only good thing that I have had, but now I can't even do that right anymore.  Pop always told me that I was never good enough until you came and then he said that you were the only boy who knew what was good for you; because you always obeyed the rules, apologized, took your punishment, and never cried.  Ever since then, I tried to be just like you and Pop even said that I was good once for a change remember.  It was when he took us to the park with all of the rabbits that day and I loved and protected you since that day.  I know I will never be good enough, but I don't have to be with you because you already believe that I am.  I don't know if I can protect you anymore, but I can promise to never leave you and I will try not to hurt you ever again ok?"

"I promise too and you don't have to be Devon anymore if you don't want to."  Ari said with a smile as he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and Devon did the same, but Devon gave Ari a confused look.

"Listen to me for a moment," John told them to get their attention before he continued.  "This isn't your fault, either of you.  It is mine because I should have done an interview with both of you a long time ago.  I decided not to for the same reason that both of you have just said to each other, because I love you.  Therefore, it is not your fault, but mine.  However, now we all can see how important it is for us to do them and not delay them any longer, but they can wait for a little bit longer.  I know you are both confused and that everything is changing so fast that you feel lost now, but we can all see how important it is for both of you to know the truth about everything.  More importantly, I think I can help both of you a little right now to clear up some of that confusion by telling you the truth instead of trying to keep it from you two."  John told both of them before signaling for Jerry.  Jerry came over and handed him the briefcase containing the case files before stepping back out of the way.

"Help me, please Sara," he said to her before she came over and picked Devon up out of his lap, and then moved him over to the couch where Ari joined him.  John opened the briefcase, and began going through the files until he found two manila folders.  He set them aside before closing the briefcase and setting it on the floor next to him.  Then he got up with the folders and sat down next to them, but closest to Ari.  He put his arms around both of them after setting the folders down, and hugged them.

"I love you both, we all do, and we think both of you are the bravest boys in the world.  I know that both of you have a lot of bad, and painful memories right now.  However, I think that maybe this will help the two of you to remember that you did have parents who were nothing like Pop."  He told them both as they looked at him.  He picked up the first folder, opened it, and then took out several pictures before handing them to Ari.  Ari looked at the first picture and began to weep quietly before slowly flipping through the rest.

"It's my family; these are the pictures of us at the beach that summer before they died."  He said in a soft choked voice before carefully handing them to Devon and hugging John and sobbing.

"It's alright Mejo, now you will never forget them or how much they loved you.  You can always carry their memories in your heart, and now you can see them whenever you need them the same way I do when I need Lori and Katie.  Your mom and I never want you to forget them, or to ever forget that they loved you as much as we love you."  John told him soothingly before letting Sara lift him up into her arms as he continue to cry softly.  Devon handed John the pictures before sniffling and they could see that he was crying too.  He turned towards Sara and did his best to comfort Ari before kissing him and turning back to John.  John then picked up the other folder and took out several more pictures and a portrait drawing before looking at him again with a soft expression on his face.

"Before Bill took you and made you become Devon, you also had a family who loved you too.  Your name was Simon back then.  Simon Baker," John said as he handed Devon a photo of himself when he was four years old.  Devon gasped when John said his name and her voice came back to him clearly, as he looked at the picture of himself.  In the picture, he is wearing a Mickey Mouse hat, red shorts, and t-shirt.

"Simon...Baker?  I'm Simon Baker...that's who I was before?"  Devon asked in a stunned voice as he looked up at John for a moment, who nodded to him, before looking back at the picture of himself.  Then John held up another photo and handed it to him.  It was a picture of a man with dark brown, curly hair.  The man did not look like him at all, but he was oddly familiar to Devon just as the teen boy was in the next picture was.  Somehow, not only did he know them, but he knew that he loved them very much, and they had loved him too.  However, it was the third picture, her picture that triggered the flood of memories for him, and he began to tremble as his memories of all of them came thundering back to him.

"This is my Dad, and brother...and it's her," was all he was able to say.

"Yes, that is your adoptive father, and his name was Jacques.  That one is your adoptive brother Marc, and she is your adoptive mother Marie who wrote you the poem."  John told him in his warm, caring voice as he handed Devon some more pictures of his adoptive family. 

"It's her Ari.  My mother...she's the one," he said haltingly as he stared at her photo before holding it out towards Ari.  "She is the one in my special place and she always made me feel better.  She's the one who makes me strong again after Pop would hurt me.  I...I almost forgot her, but you wouldn't let me forget."  He said they both held the picture as they hugged each other.  After a few moments, John cleared his throat and got Devon's attention again.

"This is the reason why you remembered the kiss me cloud."  John said before handing him a picture that showed him standing with his family under the sign saying "Welcome to the Kiss-me-cloud, Kissimmee-St. Cloud, Florida."  A small strangled sob escaped from him as his tears came faster.  His hands trembled more visibly as he held the pictures so carefully and stared at them.

"It's the kiss me mother would always kiss me over and over when we passed this sign.  She called it the kiss me place.  She wanted to move there because everything was so pretty there.  We went there because I was their son finally and I thought I would live with them forever.  I was so happy...we all were so happy that I was their son.  They took me to the kiss me cloud to celebrate us being a family, but then he came...he took them away from me."  He said in almost a whisper as his tears fell while he remembered what happened to him.  Last of all, John handed him the drawing.  It was an artist's portrait of a young teenage girl and Devon could see how closely she resembled him.

""  He asked John between his hiccups and tears as Ari embraced him and tried to sooth him this time.

"No, she is not your sister, she is your real mother; Katarina Kostov.  She died giving birth to you; she was only 14 years old."  John told him gently.  Devon just stared at the portrait for a long moment before lightly tracing the features of her face as his hand trembled badly.

" beautiful; and so...young."  Devon said haltingly as he tried to hold in his sobs.

"Yes she is, just like her son is now."  John told him as he gently placed his hand on Devon's bare, trembling shoulder.  Devon quickly embraced John as his sorrow filled sobs came for the mother he never knew until now.  Then Sara and Ari were there too, comforting him along with Jerry, and Jeanne.  After a few minutes, he stopped crying.

"You ok now Devon?"  Ari asked him and Devon shook his head no.  That wasn't his name, he was not Devon, and never had been.  That was the name Pop gave him, but it wasn't who he really was.  Then he looked at Sara, then at Jerry and Jeanne, then finally at John, and he told them the last missing piece of the puzzle to his past.

"I don't want to be Devon anymore.  I was never good enough for Pop.  Devon was his son, and I could never be good enough to be his Devon.  I was born Anatoly, until I was adopted, and my name became Simon.  We met Pop when we were at the kiss me cloud, but he must have followed us when we left, and came to our home in Edmonton.  He killed them all...he made me watch as he took them all away from me, and told me I was now Devon.  He would hurt me every time I tried to tell him I was not Devon; he put me in the bad place until I said I would be Devon so he would let me out into the light again.  He told me that I had to be Devon, but he still kept hurting me even after I said I would.  He always said that I was never good enough to be his Devon though, but he told me that he would teach me how to be his Devon.  He said he would teach me how to be good enough to be his Devon; that if I followed the rules, took my punishment, and did not cry, then I would be good enough to be his Devon.  I tried to follow the rules, to take my punishment, and not cry like he told me, but he kept hurting me even though I tried so hard even when I hurt so badly all of the time.  I did everything he told me to do, and ate my aspirin, and never attracted attention to us, but he still kept hurting me more and more.  He always said that I was never good enough no matter how hard I tried, but he said that I was the only boy who knew how to obey the rules, and he still kept on hurting me."

"I learned to blank out the bad things because he kept putting me in the bad place, and he no longer said that I was not good enough to be his Devon, but just said that I could never be good enough for anything.  He wanted me to forget, and not remember her because her memory always made me feel better and be strong.  I almost forgot her though, because I blanked out everything so he would stop hurting me so much, including my family.  Because when I thought about them, I remembered how he made them kneel on the floor, and shooting them over, and over as I watched.  So I blanked it out, and almost lost her because he still kept on hurting me.  Then you came to live with us Ari, and Pop changed because of you, he stopped hurting me for a little while.  I was happy at first because he was hurting you and not me, but then you said you loved me, because I had taught you all of the rules, and showed you how to obey them so Pop would not hurt you as much.  You loved me so much, no matter how bad I messed things up, and you still loved me and wanted to be like me.  I began to hope and believe once again that maybe I could be good enough after all.  Maybe I could have someone love me without hurting me, someone I could love as much as they loved me, as much as I loved her.  I knew that he would take you away from me, just as he took her from me, and that's why I took your punishment so he wouldn't hurt you.  Then he started hurting me even more because I took your punishment, and you helped me make my special place in my dreams where I could put the only memories I had left of her there, and where I could go to escape from him.  You told me how because that is where you kept your parents memories, and how you used to visit them too.  You saved her for me because you knew already that I was not Devon, and you even found out what my real name was too.  Now, I know that I am good enough, and I have always been good enough because I am not Devon."  He told them as his pain filled his voice, and showed on his face.  He was now just sitting there staring straight ahead, but not seeing anything at all as his tears came once again.

"He wanted me to be his Devon, but I could not be because I could never be good enough to replace him in Pop's mind.  He hurt me so much, for so long, and I do not want to be like him.  I don't want to be Devon knowing I can never be good enough to be his Devon.  I don't want to hurt anybody like he hurt me, but I am scared that I might because of what he did to me, because of the bad place, and because I hurt so much inside.  I just want to be me now, and not hurt anymore so I can be with you Ari, with all of you, but I do not know who I am anymore.  I just know that I'm not Devon because I cannot be good enough to be his Devon, and I don't want to be Devon because all I know as Devon is how much it hurts to be him.  I don't want to be him anymore because I don't want to hurt anymore."  He said softly, and then John gently turned his head until their eyes met.

"I know, and we all promise that soon you will not hurt anymore.  You were never Devon Jefferies, because you had a name and a family who loved you as we love you, as Ari loves you.  Bill could see that, and he thought that by taking them away from you; and by hurting you, that he could make you forget about that other boy who you used to be.  However, he could never make you forget her completely, no matter how much he hurt you, or hurt others to control you; he was never able to make you forget her voice, and make that boy that you used to be go away for good.  Then Ari came, he showed you what true love really is, and he helped you to remember what a parent's love really is.  That allowed you to keep her memory alive, and to use it against Bill Jefferies so that he could not control you anymore.  Ari showed you that to love someone, that it meant to never hurt them, and that both of you cared more for the other too.  When he tried to take Ari away from you, you fought back, and refused to let him take Ari from you as he took her.  You could not save her because you were too small, too young, but you saved Ari didn't you?"  John asked him, and Devon nodded as he saw John's face was filled with all of his caring and love, for him and Ari.  Then John asked him; "now, who are you?"

"I'm Simon.  Simon Baker.  My mother is Marie, my father is Jacques, and my brother is Marc Baker."  He said remembering his adoptive mother's voice and seeing her smiling face as a flood of memories came back to him about his family.

"That's right, and before you were Simon Baker?"  John asked him.

"Anatoly...Kostov."  He said as the memory of him as a very young boy playing in the deep snow with other kids came into his mind and John nodded again.

"Now what is your name son?  And who are you?"  John asked him with a gentle smile.

"I'm Simon Roberts now.  That is who I am; Simon Anatoly Roberts."  He said to all of them, and they all smiled before hugging him.  Then he leaned his head against Ari's forehead, opened his eyes very wide, and smiled before saying.  "My name is Simon...Simon Anatoly Roberts, and I love you Ari."  Then, he kissed Ari on the lips and they both smiled.

"I am Ari Isaac Roberts, and I love you more Simon," Ari answered as he nuzzled his nose against Simon's, and for the first time in Simon's life, he knew who he was.

End of Chapter 11


Endnote:  Hello everyone; I know that all of you want many more chapters in this story, and this was supposed to be the final chapter for `Who will catch my fall Part One.'  However, due to some last minute brainstorming, it is no longer possible to end Part 1 with this chapter so your wish has been granted somewhat.  Therefore, please pardon the delay and enjoy the last few chapters of `Who will catch my fall?  Part One'.  However, once I do complete part one, the story will continue in `Part Two' with some new characters, along with all of the original characters from `Part One'.  Then `Part Three' will have all of the characters from `Part One,' and `Part Two'.  So, this is not the end of the entire story, but just the end of this particular part of the three planned parts only.  While I considered just writing one continuous story, I had to admit finally that this particular approach would just detract from the overall storyline.  This first part has been about a boy who has never known who he really was.  I've taken you through his painful journey as he discovers the truth.  In these last few chapters, I hope to continue his journey of finding his true identity, which was touched upon for just a moment in this chapter; and as he discovers the true depth of love while also dealing with the last hold that his former captor still has on him.

In the next part, please don't ask how long it will be because I do not know myself yet.  I plan on taking you on a journey into one of the darkest sides of human society.  While I may not be very familiar with the day to day operations of police work, I will be using actual case histories that will show the depths of human depravity as it concerns to children.  While 90% of civilized society is law abiding, and moral human beings, with 8% being the criminal class, it is the final 2% that I will be introducing you to in Part Two.  It is this 2% of the human race that has no conscious, or morality, which is shown by the acts they inflict upon human society.  They thrive off the power, fear, pain, and suffering of others in an unending cycle of violence as they feed the basest of their desires.  At the same time, I will also show the best of human nature as people, and society as a whole excise this small, diseased portion of the human race.  Therefore, I hope that you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed this part.  Again, I would like to thank everyone who has commented and enjoyed my story.  Your comments and appreciation is welcomed and appreciated.  God Bless my friends.  Damion.

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