Subject: Who will catch my fall?
Chapter 8: (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 in. 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.
Recap from Chapter 7
"That is right Juan, I keep forgetting about that, so thank you for reminding me. John I am sorry, I did not mean to blame Devon because he is one of the victims here. I also think Juan is correct about you having a few talks with Devon though because it will help us with the investigation. However, I think that you should have Devon evaluated by a Child Psychologist, and follow his advice as to how to proceed with him, or let the doctor interview him instead." The Captain said to John who graciously accepted his apology.
"I will talk to him once I get him home, and I will also ask the staff at Bayside if they have a psychologist available. To be honest with you, there is no telling how many victims there are now because we have assumed that Jefferies had killed all of his victims. However, maybe there were some that Devon helped to escape, or helped them to run away. I just know that Devon has some how survived beatings that would have killed other people. His doctors told me that he has had dozens of bones broken with most of them improperly set, and you have not seen the extensive scarring he has all over his body. He is the biggest victim in this entire mess, and I get angry when someone suggests that he is not, or that he was complicit with Jefferies in committing these crimes." John answered the Captain before shaking his hand. They both looked back at Juan and listened as he continued.
"Now then, to continue, once the child, in this case it is Devon, once they have been removed from the abusive situation they were in; they will still have no memories of most of those periods until something triggers them. Devon said that he had been hearing Ari's voice as he dreamed, but that he could not remember any details until he started to talk about what Jefferies had done to him that day. That was the trigger for him because it took his mind back to the day of the shooting. When he began thinking about the shooting, it made him think of why Bill was trying to kill him; and that is what allowed him to remember it was Ari's voice that he kept hearing in his dreams. Devon is right on the verge of remembering everything John, and a bit a gentle prodding from you should help him to remember these awful things. He loves and trusts you John, more than he has ever loved or trusted anyone in his life with Ari being the only exception. That will help him to open up and face all of the painful memories that he has blocked out. Those memories will be extremely painful for him, and he will be very vulnerable emotionally afterwards, so do not push him very hard. If you need some advice, you know that I am just a phone call away." Juan told him as he patted John on the shoulder.
"Well, I think we should go out there and address the press about these new developments." Lee said to all of them, and they all agreed with him. Then Lee asked, "Juan, how should I handle this?"
"You and John just handle the investigation portion Lee, and I will answer any questions in regards to Devon's memory. John, I will warn you that most of the reporters will ask some very tough questions, and some might insinuate that Devon was a willing participant with Jefferies. We all know that to be untrue and far from the truth, but you cannot lose your temper. Let me handle their questions all right." Juan told both of them, and John reluctantly agreed. He knew that he was too emotionally involved now with Devon to remain objective where it concerned Devon, so he agreed with Juan.
"Captain, I also think it would be best that you assign someone else to handle the investigation from now on. I will support whatever you decide, but my relationship with Devon has compromised my objectivity, so I cannot lead this investigation any longer. Also, if you do this, then I can bring the detectives from my new office into the investigation for you to use how you see fit. Six US Marshals will enable you to vastly increase the scope of the investigation." John told him, and both Juan and Lee agreed with him. Although, Lee did let him know that John's office still would be under Seattle Metro Police command because the department would remain as the lead agency in the investigation. John had no problems with that, and with all of the decisions having been made, Lee led them out to address the assembled press.
End of Chapter 7
I want to thank Miguel Sanchez and RJ for proofing this chapter.
December 12, 1995 (evening)
It was already dark outside when John stepped out into the biting cold wind by the main entrance to Bayside. Jerry was standing off to the side just out of the cold wind doing something that John rarely saw him do; he was smoking, so John went over to join him.
"Mind if I bum one from you?" John asked, and Jerry just grunted while pulling out a box of Marlboro cigarettes and handing them to John. He took one, and then accepted a light from Jerry. Both of them used to be heavy smokers before John's family was killed, and while each of them had pretty much quit for the most part a few years ago, they still had the occasional cigarette when they were stressed out. Both of them had been under tremendous stress earlier after it was announced that the young boy Ari had been found alive and rescued. Once they returned to Bayside, both of them had been swarmed by reporters until they managed to slip through the throng and into the building.
Since Bayside was a rehabilitation and long-term care type of hospital, they had a very small triage/emergency room that was used for their patients only. Only in instances where they were the closest facility, and the person sick or injured was unstable, would they accept ambulances from the general public. Even when this happened, all Bayside could do in most cases, was to stabilize the patient as best as they could, and prep them for transfer to a better-equipped hospital for further treatment. However, since the boy Ari was not suffering from a life threatening injury or illness, Bayside was fully able to treat him onsite. Once he arrived, the doctors all agreed with the paramedic's initial assessment and conducted tests to verify that diagnosis. Other than being very dirty, the worst thing that Ari was suffering from was his leg, which was not broken but was a badly sprained ankle. He also had developed a case of walking pneumonia from his prolonged exposure to the cold.
After assessing him, and running confirmation tests, the doctors had him bathed before putting an ankle brace on his right foot and wrapping it with ace bandages. They started him on two antibiotics while pushing as much of the pre-warmed fluids into his IV's. Two hours after he was bathed and treatment began, Ari's fever broke for the first time, and he was alert enough to answer their questions. However, it was his answers to their questions that really bothered John, Juan, Jerry, and Captain Lee Smith along with the Mayor. His answers also revealed that they had just touched the surface of the iceberg that encompassed Devon and Ari.
December 12, 1995 (8 pm)
"Where am I?" Ari asked when he awoke after a coughing spasm. He scanned the room until his eyes settled on Devon's tear reddened face. He struggled to sit up, but was still too weak, and Devon prevented him for sitting up also.
"You are in a hospital Ari, you are real sick, but the people here will make you better like they helped me get better." Devon told him in a scratchy voice with a sad, guilty look on his face.
"You have been crying...for me haven't you?" Ari asked him with a weak smile while Devon just nodded his head because he was afraid to answer. "You promised not to cry."
"I know, but I can't help it. You could have died out there waiting for me." Devon said in a soft, choked voice. Ari looked away from Devon's face to scan the rest of Devon's injuries. He could see Devon's right arm with the cast that covered his entire arm almost to the second knuckles of his fingers, and it was in a sling. Also, he could see the tape and bandages on his right side as Devon fiddled nervously with his T-shirt tail, and raised it up enough to reveal them. The last thing he saw before returning his gaze to Devon's face was how his left leg was in a brace from his foot to his hip. While Devon teetered precariously on his right leg while using a specially designed crutch to help keep him balanced with his left arm, Ari could also see that his friend was still in a great deal of physical pain too. This was by far the worst that Pop had ever beaten Devon to cause all of his injuries, Ari thought to himself. Then he felt a sharp pang of guilt as he realized that Devon had switched places with him, and that he should be the one hurt and not Devon.
"It wasn't your fault Dev, it was my fault...I shouldn't have left you alone with Pop. He wouldn't have hurt you if I had stayed with you, so don't blame yourself because it's my fault that you are hurt." Ari told his friend as he tried to reassure him.
"What was your fault Ari?" John asked as he stepped into the room. Ari jumped as John startled him, and he looked at John with unease and fear as John moved over next to Devon before sitting down. Devon could see Ari's reaction, and quickly spoke to reassure him.
"Its ok Ari, John saved me, and now he is going to adopt me. So don't be scared because he is here to help, right Dad?" Devon told him before looking to John for verification.
"That's right son, I am only here to help you Ari. I am a U.S. Marshal, and used to be a cop for the Seattle police until I met Devon." John explained with a gentle, caring expression on his face. Of all of things about John's appearance and mannerisms, Ari saw the gentleness and caring in John's eyes, and he relaxed a bit.
"So it is true then? That you really did save Devon, and now you are adopting him just like I read in the newspaper?" Ari asked in his high piping voice as he looked down at his hands.
"Yes it is," John said to him with a warm, caring smile.
"Is the rest true too? Did Pop really try to kill you Devon?" Ari asked, although he knew the answer already just by looking at all of Devon's injuries. Devon's face became sad while his eyes filled again as he thought about what Bill had done to him.
"Yeah, he really did Ari, and I almost died during the surgery after Pop shot me. Pop was taking me to the shed to kill me when I got loose and ran. He shot me five times, but I just kept running because if I stopped then he would have killed me. I finally could not run anymore and fell down, and I waited all night for Pop to come kill me. He never came because the police killed him, but I did not know that. I waited until it was light again and managed to get to the police station before I blacked out. That is when I met dad, and he saved my life. I can still remember him telling me to hold on before he called for help. Then I woke up in the hospital after the surgery, and everything hurt so bad that I wanted to die just so the pain would stop. Then Dad was there, he showed me how to catch a rainbow, and ride it up to heaven and the pain went away. I did not stay though because I knew there was something very important that I had to do still, but I could not remember. When I woke up again in the hospital four days later, it did not hurt so bad cause when everything started to hurt really bad again, I just caught a rainbow as Dad taught me. And you helped me too Ari; I woke up in a dark place, but I could hear you as you read to me like you did when Pop broke my leg. I followed your voice out of the dark place to the light and I woke up here in the hospital. That is why I came back, because I had promised that I would come get you, but I could not remember until today, and you almost died cause of me. I'm sorry." Devon explained as fresh tears trickled down his face. Ari's own tears began to slip down his face as he listened to Devon's story, and then Devon leaned close and kissed him on the lips before they both wiped away the other's tears and smiled. Afterwards, Devon straightened up, and with John's help, he sat in John's lap before hugging and kissing him too. When he turned back towards Ari, he had a content smile on his face. Ari smiled back for a moment before it faded, and his face became worried.
"That's good Dev, you deserve to be happy. It is not your fault you could not remember; it was Pop's fault. You always forgot cause of Pop, so it is his fault you could not remember. Just promise me that they won't send me back, please Dev?" Ari asked him in a small voice filled with unending sadness and fear as he looked down at his hands while he fiddled with his thumbs. His question and facial expression immediately got John's attention, and he gingerly helped Devon to stand on his good leg, and to move over to the other chair beside Ari's bed.
"Send you back? What do you mean Ari? I thought Bill Jefferies had kidnapped you just as he kidnapped Devon?" John asked him as he leaned onto the bed railing. Ari just shook his head when John suggested that he was kidnapped, and out of his fear, he shifted his upper body away from John without thinking.
"It's ok Ari, really. Dad is good inside, and he will not hurt you the way Pop hurt us ever. He's like me `R', when he makes a promise, he will never break it." Devon told him when he saw Ari shy away from John.
"Devon is right Ari, I know how Pop beat you and Devon, and I promise that I will not ever hurt you like that, ok?" John asked him, and Ari searched his face for a long moment before looking at Devon, and then meekly nodding his head.
"Now, will you tell me how did you end up here with Pop if he didn't kidnap you?" John asked him gently while reaching out and patting Ari's arm. Ari was quiet for a few moments as he struggled within himself over John's question. Finally, he briefly looked up at John before looking at Devon, and John could see Devon nod his head in reassurance. Ari knew that Devon would not give his trust to just anyone, and he had clearly given it to this man John. Ari took another long moment to study John's face, and he saw something different in it that the other men's faces did not have. He saw that John had sad, caring eyes, and he now knew why Devon trusted him, and that he could trust him too. Looking at John's caring face, then back at Devon, Ari's eyes watered before he looked away.
"He bought me," Ari said in a soft voice just above a whisper while wringing his hands together. His answer shocked John, and to stall for a few moments of time to allow him to absorb fully what Ari had just told him, John asked him to repeat it. When he did this, he watched the young boy's face flush pink with revulsion and hatred. Ari did as he asked, but he repeated his answer through clenched teeth as he balled both of his small hands into fists.
"I said Pop bought me. He did not kidnap me." Ari hissed, and his answer was a bit louder this time, and tinged with hatred. However, Ari's face softened and changed quickly into one of overwhelming sadness and pleading. "Please don't send me back there, let me stay with Devon. I'll be good, and won't cause any trouble. I'll do anything you want me to do, even if it's bad, and I won't cry. Just don't send me back to that place, please?"
"Listen to me Ari. Just as I told Devon, I'm telling you now; whatever you had to do when you lived with Bill is over. I will not ever make you do anything that is bad, or that you do not want to do. I will not ever hit you, or hurt you as Bill hurt you and Devon. That part of your life is over, understand?" John told him, and Ari looked at Devon until he nodded in agreement, and then Ari relaxed a little and said ok to John.
"So I don't have to do nothing for you if I want to stay with Devon?" Ari asked him in a meek, submissive voice.
"No, you do have to do something so you can stay. I promise not to send you back, but to do that Ari; I need you to tell me everything. The only way I can protect you from the people responsible for this is only if you tell me the truth about everything you can remember. Now Ari, what is this place, and where is it located?" John asked him gently. Ari's eyes filled with tears, and he looked away from John before speaking in a soft, trembling voice.
"It's Deacon Parish's home for boys, and it's just outside of Knoxville. I was sent there three years ago after my parents were killed. It's supposed to be a home for boys with no parents like me where we could go to school, or be adopted, but its not. They do bad things to us, and make us do bad things with others, and when I ran away, the police took me back even though I told them about all the bad things they made me do. That's because the police already knew, and Deacon Parish let them hurt me after bringing me back. Then Deacon Parish sold me to Pop," Ari said softly while a few tears managed to slip down his face. John could see him struggling not to cry, but his grief was much stronger than he could control, and his tears flowed faster. John just leaned closer and opened his arms to him. When Ari saw this, he quickly sat up into John's embrace as his tears and sadness overwhelmed him. He sobbed softly at first into John's chest, and then his cries grew louder as he released his long held pain as John just held him tightly as he rubbed Ari's bareback and kissed him on the top of his head. After a few minutes, John looked at Devon.
"Call the nurse for me please Devon, and ask her to find Juan and the Captain because they are around someplace, and send them here. Oh, and have her find Sara too and send her here also son." John told him, and Devon nodded before leaning close to him and whispering `thanks dad' to him. Then Devon called the nurse, and relayed John's instructions while John continued to sooth Ari. After he had done what John asked, Devon just held Ari's hand until Sara knocked lightly and entered.
"Um, I don't mean to interrupt, but you sent for me John?" Sara said as she leaned her head through the doorway.
"Please don't do that Sara," John said as he eased Ari back onto his pillows before wiping his small face while Devon handed him some tissues to blow his nose. Sara stepped inside and gave him a confused, questioning look.
"Sara, you know as well as I do that you are just as much a part of this family as I am. I do not think that Devon could wish for a better mother. That means that you have as much authority as I do in every matter that concerns Devon or his welfare. So please do not defer to me because you think it will cause a problem between Devon and me because it will not. I am surprised that you have not caught on to Devon's subtle attempts to get us alone together. The only reason he has been present when we are together is because he cannot walk yet, because if he could, I am positive that he would have found something to do away from us." John explained to her, and Devon looked at him with an alarmed expression when John exposed his efforts. Then he turned bright red as he blushed and lowered his eyes as John finished. John reached over, and gently pulled him back into his lap and hugged him before looking at Sara and continuing.
"Like I said, Devon could not ask for a better mother, nor could I ask for a better friend who I would really like to get to know better once we have Devon and Ari well and settled down at home. Don't you agree?" John asked her with a thoughtful look. Sara thought for a moment before answering.
"Agree with what, that we should get to know each other better later on, or that we can no longer think of just Devon as being part of our little family, but include Ari as well?" She asked him in answer to his question. Both Ari and Devon looked at her with their hope clearly showing on their angelic faces.
"Both," John answered with a smile. Sara smiled back at him as she came in and sat down beside him in the chair that Devon had just occupied. She reached over and had John help Devon over into her lap where she turned his face up until their eyes met. Then she just smiled at Devon before kissing him on his forehead and nose.
"I hope you don't think that you were fooling us. I know what you are wishing for, but life is not the same as it is in a dream honey. I do like John, and now I know he likes me too. If things work out, then maybe we will get married and be together, but if they do not, then we will still be good friends. We do not have to be married for me to be your mom Devon, just as John did not need me to be your dad. Do you understand now honey?" She asked him while his face continued to burn with guilt and shame. Devon finally managed to peek up at each of them, and when he saw that they were not angry or upset with him, he relaxed. He smiled briefly before his face became worried once more.
"But what about Ari though? He is my only friend Sara, but I think of him as more like my brother. I cannot leave him Sara, I just can't. He is the only one who ever tried to protect me from Pop, and took care of me when nobody cared. I want us all to be a family, so we can now have a real mom and dad, but if he cannot stay with us, then I will go wherever he goes. I promised him see, I promised that I would never leave him." He spluttered as he poured out his heart and soul to Sara while hoping that she would see how much Ari meant to him.
"I know sweetie, and if it were up to me, then I would make it happen just like you said. However, it is not up to me because I am just someone who cares for you under the law. You need to ask your dad since he will have a better chance of making it come true for you." Sara explained gently to him as she gently rocked him back and forth. When she said that he needed to ask John, Devon tried to stand up, but only succeeded in stumbling. John caught him as he started to fall, and Devon hugged him tightly as he buried his face into John's shoulder and sobbed, oblivious to the physical pain he was in since his heart was breaking at the thought of losing Ari.
"Please dad, I'm all he's got, he is the only family that I've ever had, and I love him. Please don't make him go away, please." Devon stuttered through his tears as he clung to John. Sara could see John's face was wet from his own tears as he gently held Devon in his arms.
"I know you love him Devon, I know you promised him. He is probably the only person you have ever loved before Sara and me. I promised him that I would not send him back, and I will not send him away either. I do not want you to be separated from him, so you have to rest tonight because tomorrow we will go to the judge and ask if he can stay with us. That means that the judge will want to talk to you alone about Ari, and you have to tell the truth and not lie. Even if it means that you or Ari might get in trouble for something, you still have to tell him the truth. Do you think you can do that for me, and for Ari?" John asked him as he gently lifted Devon's head up until their eyes met, and then John started to wipe away his tears.
"I will Dad, I promise to tell him the truth even if he tells me that I have to go to jail." He said before Sara handed him a tissue so he could blow his nose.
"I doubt if he would do that to you. Now, I want you to go over there with Sara, and get into that bed and take your medicine. Then I want you to go to sleep and rest so we can go see the judge in the morning. I will stay with Ari, and take care of him tonight. I love you son." John told him as he kissed his eyes and nose.
"I love you too Dad," Devon said before kissing John on the lips and hugging him tightly with his left arm.
"Sara, do you need me to carry him, or can you manage?" John asked her.
"Oh, I think I can manage; I still need to fatten him up a little because he is as light as a feather. A good gust of wind will blow him away if he stays this skinny." Sara said with a laugh as she easily lifted Devon up into her arms.
"Wait, can I say good night to Ari? Please?" Devon asked her.
"Sure Hon, then let's get you out of those clothes. Now you can sleep in your tighty whities, or I can go dig you up some pj's with pink poodles on them if you like. It's your choice." She said as she carried him over next to Ari and sat him on the bed. Ari giggled when she said that, but that only caused him to have a bad coughing spasm. John quickly moved around to the other side of the bed and sat him up before lightly patting his back until his coughing subsided. He had Ari spit out the mucus that he coughed up into a small dish as the doctor instructed, and then lightly rubbed his back and shoulders for a few minutes until Ari caught his breath again.
"You ok now Ari?" John asked him with concern. Ari finally managed a weak nod as John laid him back against the pillows.
"I...um...I have to pee," Ari said while managing to blush crimson with embarrassment.
"Oh, uh...well, I do not see a urinal jug in here at the moment. Do you think you could hold it while Sara puts Devon into the bed? Then she can help move your IV bags while I carry you to the toilet." John said to him, but Ari's eyes widened with alarm.
"But she's a girl?" He said to John, but before John could respond, Devon spoke up.
"No, she isn't just any girl Ari, she's going to be our Mom," Devon said with a completely serious face.
"Oh, then its ok," Ari answered just as seriously. It took much willpower for Sara and John to keep a serious face, and not cry as they heard this, but both of them understood. They both knew that on average young boys did not become self-conscious about others seeing them naked until the ages of 9 and 10 years old. At the same time, boys are taught that it is not proper for them to let a girl see them naked or that they should not see a girl naked while it is ok for another boy to see them naked. The only exception to that rule is if the girl is that boy's mother, or someone they equate with their mother. Devon's passionate plea to Sara to be his mother was all Ari needed to allow her to see him undressed since he considered Devon his brother.
"Dad will take care of you tonight Ari, but I will be right over there if you need me. I am so glad you are going to be ok. Now, you listen to Sara and Dad, and let them help you. I love you." Devon told him before kissing him on the lips, and hugging him tightly with his left arm. Ari nodded in obedience, letting John know that while they had lived with Jefferies, that Ari had been Devon's responsibility.
"I love you too Dev," Ari said as he hugged Devon back. As Devon started to sit up, his left hand slipped and caused him to fall against Ari. He cried out in pain as Ari instinctively grabbed Devon's injured right arm to prevent it from being jammed against him, and only realized his mistake after it was too late.
"Devon! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you," Ari said almost in tears as he tried to help Devon sit up. Both Sara and John were quick to respond. While John scooped him up into his arms, Sara gently supported Devon's injured arm before she removed the sling and examined it carefully. When she saw how he was unable to make a closed fist due to the swelling of his fingers that the cast did not cover, and she got upset with him.
"I told you to take it easy today, didn't I? However, I can see that you did not listen, which is why you are in so much pain now. Why should I worry about you when you are not going to listen to me?" She said scolding him. Her disappointment in him was more painful than twisting his injured arm at that moment.
"I didn't mean to disobey you, but I had to help Ari. It is all my fault that he is hurt and so sick right now. Please don't be mad at me, I promise to listen and do better Sara." He said tearfully as he hung his head in guilt and shame. John could see that no matter what he said that Devon still felt that he was to blame for Ari's injuries. However, Sara was able to find a solution once again which revealed the depth and power of her authority in her role as "surrogate" mom.
"It's all right Devon; I just don't want you to re-injure your arm is all. I did not mean to upset you, and you are not to blame here, so quit feeling sorry for yourself. Now, let's get you into bed before Ari wets himself." Sara told him as she kissed away his tears making everything all right again. She carefully took Devon from John and carried him over to the other bed in the room. Next, she helped him undress until he was just clad in his white cotton briefs. Once she finished, she made him take his medication before she covered him up with the sheet and blankets before kissing him noisily on the cheek.
This made everyone laugh as she quickly tucked Devon in before turning her attention to Ari. She carefully pulled the privacy curtain around so that it blocked the view of anyone walking by in the hallway. John gently pulled the thermal blankets down that were covering Ari. Other than the small hospital gown that they had put on him after bathing him, Ari was completely naked. While he did nothing to cover his privates, he still blushed as Sara carefully moved his IV lines out of the way and hung the bags onto a portable ringer, so John could pick him up and move him. John gently lifted him up into his arms, and the gown slid off to the side completely exposing Ari's frail, nude body. His buttocks, inner thighs, and groin were all covered by a bright red rash. Sara stopped John once he had picked him up, and let him know about the rash caused by Ari soiling himself.
"When he's finished, I need your help so we can dress him properly, and I will go get something for this rash. Use the wipes if he needs to do more than just pee instead of toilet paper." She told him and John agreed as he moved around the bed, and carried Ari to the bathroom while Sara followed behind with the portable IV ringer that the bags hung from. Once John had sat Ari down onto the toilet, Sara left and went to the nurse's station to get the things she needed. It only took her a few minutes to gather the items and return. John was just putting Ari back into the bed when she returned. She explained what she wanted to do, but Ari balked as he heard this.
"No, you can't...please don't make me." Ari said in embarrassment, to ashamed to say anything more while he covered his privates shyly. John understood completely, and informed Sara.
"It will be ok Ari; I will take care of it, all right?" John told him gently with a knowing smile. Ari searched his face for some sign of deception, but not finding any, he just nodded his head while he blushed pink again.
"The problem is that while it's ok for you to see him undressed, touching him there isn't allowed yet since you are a girl even if it is to only apply the ointment. Once it is official that you are their Mom then it will be ok." John explained quietly to her. She understood, and pulled the privacy curtain closed leaving just John alone with him.
John took the tube of zinc oxide ointment, and sat on the bed next to Ari. Ari's teeth began to chatter as he became chilled, so John tried to hurry. After removing the small gown leaving Ari completely naked, then gently rolling the small shivering boy onto his side, he quickly applied the ointment to the backs of Ari's legs, and buttocks covering the affected area completely including his small anus causing it to spasm automatically when he touched it. Then he had Ari roll onto his back before spreading his skinny legs and applying the ointment to his inner thighs and genitals. Even as his small body trembled with his chills, Ari still managed to give a little squeak and giggle as John applied the cream to his tiny scrotum and small, circumcised penis. When John was finished, Ari's tiny point of a penis was standing straight up like a tiny missile. John estimated that it was only two and a half inches long, and not quite the thickness of his pinkie finger. It was clear to John that Ari was nowhere near puberty yet, and possibly would not be for several more years. This was most likely due to the abuse he had suffered, just like Devon. While Devon was almost twenty months older than Ari on paper, both boys were extremely under developed physically when compared to other boys their own age. John saw Ari blush crimson with embarrassment when his penis became erect, so he quickly reassured him in a hushed voice that it was supposed to do that, and that took the shame away and made everything ok again. Then he carefully dressed Ari in the loose snap briefs that Sara had brought for him, and then had her come in and help him finish dressing Ari into the boy's snap pajamas. Last of all, they carefully recovered him with a sheet and the thermal blankets until just his head was exposed while Ari's teeth chattered loudly. Sara checked his temperature, and then called the duty nurse before opening the privacy curtain while John washed his hands.
Captain Smith and Juan were waiting patiently outside of the room for them, and after a couple more minutes, Sara and John joined them once Devon and Ari were settled in bed for the night. John shook hands with both of them, and then the Captain and Juan kissed Sara on the cheek as they shook hands.
"There is a small lounge just down the hall John, why don't we talk in there. Just let me speak to the duty nurse about Ari's fever first." She told him, and the others agreed. When the duty nurse approached a few moments later, Sara spoke to her about Ari's fever, and had her check with the doctor about it. Then she led the others to the small lounge where John waited until they were all seated before speaking.
"Lee, I think you will now agree that removing me as the lead detective on this case was a good decision because it now appears that you will need my new office, and my detectives. Just before I asked for all of you to meet me, I was able to ask Ari a few questions, and his answers shocked me. We have all been assuming that Jefferies was just a serial child killer and kidnapper who acted alone up to this point. However, when I asked Ari when Jefferies took him, he told me that Jefferies had not kidnapped him. On the contrary, he informed me that he is an orphan, and that Jefferies had purchased him from the orphanage that he was placed in by the state. He also told me that this place was prostituting out the kids in their care, and that he had tried to run away. He said that the local police caught him and returned him while ignoring his complaints of what he was being forced to do. Then they were allowed to do as they pleased with him after bringing him back to the home. From the way he said it, I think that the local police know what is going on, and are either participating, or at least protecting the people running things. So how does Jefferies fit into this, well apparently Ari was sold to Jefferies as punishment for him running away and telling. If what he told me is true Captain, then we may be dealing with one of the biggest pedophile and prostitution rings within the US." John told them all, and they were just as shocked as John was.
"John, did Ari tell you the name of this orphanage and its location?" Juan asked him.
"As a matter of fact, he did. He said that he was from Knoxville, Tennessee and that this home was called Deacon Parish's Home for boys." John said, and Juan spoke in unison with John after he said "Deacon Parish's."
"I take it that you know of this place then Juan?" Lee asked him.
"Yes I do, and this place is currently under investigation for child abuse. It is also not the first time these types of allegations have been made by some of the children placed there. However, those boys were conveniently adopted soon after they made these allegations so the local police conveniently let the matters drop. While I have had my own suspicions that some members of the local police were involved in some way, I never imagined that the whole force was involved. If what Ari says is true, then this investigation will become global. The home has been linked to the pedophile network known as the "Blue Orchid Club." This could be the opening that the FBI has been looking for to get inside this ring, and if it is, then we are going to need the cooperation of over 50 countries." Juan told them all. Everyone just sat in stunned silence until Lee spoke.
"If all of this turns out to be true, then the scope of this investigation has just changed. While the FBI can handle the prostitution and pedophile ring for now, we still have to handle this murder investigation. It could be that Jefferies and others like him were only disposing of these boys once their usefulness to this club ended. If this is the case, then there may be other boys like Devon and Ari in grave danger. This case just switched into high gear guys, and every moment we delay could mean that another boy dies, and I don't want that on my conscious. I know you have business with Devon in the morning John, but once you are finished, get your ass over to headquarters." The Captain told him and John nodded in agreement. Juan and the Captain said goodbye and left while John and Sara walked back to the room where the boys were.
"Sara, once I finish with Devon in the morning, I will bring him back here to you. Will you be able to take care of things after that?" John asked her, and she informed him that she would.
"I will take care of Devon and Ari. You just go get those bastards who are responsible." She told him.
"I will Sara. Now let's not say anymore so they will not overhear. You can reach me on my cell phone if you need me for anything. Oh, I almost forgot," John said as he took out his wallet, then handed her a credit card. "I had you added to the account so use this to get anything that you or the boys need. Did you fill out those papers for legal guardianship that I gave you?"
"Yes I did, but I told you that it wasn't necessary for you to do all of this." She told John after taking the credit card and looking at it.
"Sara, this is not for me, but it is for them. I have a very dangerous job, and I could be killed just as easily as a rabbit being hit by a car driving by the park. If anything should happen to me, then the boys will be fine because they still have you. It does not matter what I think Sara. It is what Devon and now Ari thinks, so you go tell them that it isn't necessary." John told her knowing that she could not do that to them after Devon's passionate pleading for her to be his mother.
"You are right John, and you know I won't do that. I spoke with the doctor, and he thinks that Ari will be able to leave here in a couple of days if his fever breaks and his lungs clear up. If he can, do you want me to take the boys home or to my place until you are done?" She asked him.
"Take them home, and I will see them there if I need to. However, I plan on taking them home myself, so call me if the doctor says Ari can go home. I will break the news to Devon in the morning about me having to go back to work. Right now, I just want a cup of coffee." John said in response to her question.
"So do I, but let's check on the boys first before we go." Sara told him, and then they both went into the room where Devon and Ari were sleeping. When they entered, Ari opened his eyes a bit, but smiled and closed them once he saw that it was only them. John moved over to his side, and put his hand onto Ari's damp forehead. His eyes opened once again when John did this.
"How are you feeling now Ari?" John asked him as he gently brushed Ari's sweat drenched hair out of his face.
"I'm hot, then cold," Ari said weakly.
"That is because the medicine is beginning to work making your fever go away. Your breathing sounds a bit better too." John told him with a warm smile.
"My mouth is so dry, and I'm thirsty. Can I have some water please?" Ari asked him in a soft, but hoarse whisper.
"Sure honey, but how about some apple juice instead?" Sara asked him as she kissed his small hand. Ari nodded and she left to get it for him. Ari then looked at John with a questioning expression.
"Did you really mean it?" He asked. Since his mind was a bit preoccupied, Ari's question caught him off guard.
"Mean what Ari?" John asked with confusion.
"That you want me to stay with you and Devon?" Ari asked him while his eyes showed a glimmer of hope in them. John thought for a moment before answering him.
"No, I don't want you to just stay with us. What I want is for you to get well, and to come home and be Devon's brother, ok?" John asked him. Ari managed a weak little smile and said.
"I want that too. Dev and me, we made a promise to take care of each other when I came to live with Pop. So we already are brothers."
"Well this different because the only way you can be Devon's brother now is if you become my son first, just as Devon has chosen to do." John told him with a serious expression that let Ari know the importance of what he was asking him.
"You really mean it? You really want to adopt me too?" Ari asked him in disbelief as his eyes opened wide.
"Yes I really do, if you want me to be your dad. See I lost my family six years ago, and I never thought I would have another one until I met Devon, and now you. You are a special little boy, and I would be proud to be your father, and Sara feels the same way also because she is going to be Devon's legal guardian so that she can be his mom. She will be proud to be your mom too, if you want her to be." John told him as he held Ari's small hand in his own as Sara stepped up beside John. She had come back into the room and overheard everything John said. She nodded her head in agreement when Ari looked at her for confirmation of what he just heard. Then his eyes filled and his tears spilled down his face.
"Yes, I do too cause now I will have a family again and won't be alone anymore. It's a very bad thing to be all alone," Ari said softly as his bottom lip trembled, and then both John and Sara were there to wipe away his tears.
"Well you are not alone anymore, welcome home son," was all Ari heard from John and then Sara while they both hugged him and kissed away his tears.
End of Chapter 8
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