Master and the Mate

By: Deep Diver

(Copyright 2006 - 2007 by the Author)

Editor: David L.

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 34

Stormy Weather on the Horizon

When Ryan was sitting in the waiting room before his next chemotherapy session he began worrying about Manny's natural father's threat to take the boy from him and Kyle. Ryan, by nature an optimist, tends to trust in the original goodness of each person. However, in moments where he is forced to recognize the effects of original sin manifesting itself in people's meanness and their delight in evil, his blood boils. 'Isn't there quite enough suffering in the world without us deliberately intensifying it?' He thought to himself.

"Ryan!" The nurse called to him to follow her into the examining room. His weight was pretty much the same, but when she took his blood pressure, she shook her head in disapproval.

The nurse left the room with Ryan sitting there with no explanation. Shortly a doctor Ryan did not know came into the room and repeated the blood pressure test.

"I am afraid your blood pressure is too high. We cannot risk treatment today. You will need to see your GP and have him get your blood pressure under control before we can start again." He said authoritatively.

"Doctor, I am a doctor of psychology. While I was waiting my turn in the waiting room I was thinking about a very difficult problem I am facing. Could you give me fifteen minutes and then take my blood pressure again?" Ryan asked, not wanting to suspend treatment and give the tumor any chance of further growth.

The young resident oncologist looked askance at Ryan, fully believing that he needed to be medicated in order to get his blood pressure down to a reasonable level for treatment. "Okay, I'll be back in fifteen minutes." - 'To send you home,' he thought to himself.

Ryan immediately readied himself to go into a deep trance. It had been years since he needed anesthesia when he visited his dentist. Recently he had changed dentists and his new one was very leary of doing any procedures without anesthesia, but little by little was getting used to Ryan's eccentricity. Ryan began deep breathing, established eye closure and began to recall his favorite place in the house were he was raised as a small boy. He tried to focus his attention on the feel of that house which he had come to know as his home, the particular smells associated with each room, the color patterns and the aroma from the kitchen where his grandmother baked home-made bread. Ryan left his body as his mind re-explored his childhood home and his favorite toys.

When the doctor returned, Ryan came slowly back to the here-and-now, after giving himself some post-hypnotic suggestions. 'I will love more today than yesterday. My love, Kyle, will love me more today and I will be healthier tomorrow than today.' He repeated to himself.

The doctor mechanically and smugly repeated the blood pressure test, fully expecting to refer Ryan back to his GP. At first he thought he had made a mistake, so he repeated the test again and sure enough, Ryan's blood pressure was perfect.

"Damn, how did you do that?" He said, awed by Ryan's feat.

"Its a simple relaxation technique. I can teach it to you. But you will need to make an appointment with my secretary - don't worry: we don't keep our patients waiting more than a few minutes!" Ryan couldn't resist getting in a dig.

This time they put Ryan next to the nineteen-year-old; and Ryan asked him how he was doing.

The boy looked at Ryan and shook his head negatively.

His mother, who was standing on the other side of his bed, looking in Ryan's direction spoke for him. "He gets so nauseated from the treatment."

Ryan noticed that the youth had absolutely no hair on his face or his arms. His skin seemed like that of a baby.

"Maybe, I could help?" Ryan offered.

"How, what can you do? You're here for treatment too." The young man said hopelessly.

Ryan got up and moved his lounge chair up very close to the teenage cancer patient. He asked his mother if he could talk to him alone for a while. She doubted he could do anything, but was ready for a break anyway and went to get herself a cup of coffee.

"What's your name, son?" Ryan asked.

"Gerald." the boy answered.

"Gerald, I can't do anything for you, but if you follow my instructions you will begin to feel a whole lot better. Maybe not perfect, but a whole lot better. Are you willing to give it a try and do as I direct you?"

"I would do anything right now to feel better." Gerald replied.

"OK, Just take a very deep breath and hold it for a moment like this..." Ryan began to induce a trance-like state in the boy.

When his mother returned she found Ryan and Gerald chatting away about their favorite crabbing places. She was amazed at the change; the staff too noticed the remarkable change. For weeks Gerald had been unable to tolerate the chemotherapy very well and now here he was talking away as if he hadn't a care in the world. From that day on, Gerald always tried to sit near Ryan, until the day he no longer came to therapy. On that day Ryan received a letter from Gerald's mom thanking him for helping her son. It wasn't rare for the staff to call upon Ryan to help get patients' blood pressure lowered and to help others cope with the nausea. The young resident even suggested at a staff meeting that they hire Ryan and make him a permanent member of their staff.

Once treatment was over, Ryan and Kyle headed for the nearest oriental restaurant to have some hand pulled noodle soup. Kyle was amazed how well Ryan was dealing with the chemo- and radio-therapies.

"Kyle, I think we'd better consult a lawyer about Manny's Dad." Ryan said.

"Ryan, we don't need to worry about your will. You are going to pull through this and be fine. You'll see." Kyle said, trying to encourage his lover.

"Kyle, I was thinking about the problem with Manny's natural father." Ryan said, trying to get Kyle on course.

Kyle blushed so brightly that the waitress came over to the table and asked if everything was all right. "Yes, fine, thank you," he said. "I'm sorry Ry, I didn't mean anything."

"No Kyle, you are right. I should make a will too. If anything should happen to me in surgery we need to make sure you and the boys will be OK." Ryan said practically.

Kyle bowed his head realizing that Ryan was right, but not wanting to face the real risks involved in the major surgery that lay ahead.

That afternoon, Mark was the first back home followed shortly by Manny. They had just begun to play a game of backgammon (Ryan wouldn't allow them to have any Games Consols because he had seen enough studies which clearly showed a correlation between violence in games and increased violence in children's behaviour). Mark never let Manny win so that he would learn from his errors. They had played often enough and Manny had proven himself to be a proficient player and often by the luck of a throw of the dice he would whip the pants off Mark. Since neither had the prior experience of a sibling they had a remarkable ability to compete hard, but never lose their affection for one another. Both found much comfort in their new found brotherhood.

"Manny how come you never invite any of your classmates over?" Mark asked with insight into the probable dilemma facing Manny that he himself had faced.

"They are all so immature. I'd rather be with you and Petey and Joey," Manny said affectionately.

"You mean it doesn't bother you that we have two dads and no mom?" Mark inquired.

"Why should it? I had a mom and dad, who were always yelling and screaming. My mom was always high on something and I hardly remember seeing my dad sober. I'd rather have two dads like Ryan and Kyle any day over a mom and dad that forget I exist when they go at it." Manny said.

"So it doesn't bother you that they are gay?" Mark pressed, "I was really afraid that my friends would think I was gay too."

"I just don't care what people think of me. I just know that I have never been happier in my life with you, them and Sally!"

Sally immediately wagged her tail and came up to Manny and pushed her nose under his hand to try to get him to pet her. The two began wrestling with each other and Sally when the phone rang.

"Loud and Darling residence, Mark speaking."

"Hello this is the oncology clinic calling. Is Mr. Loud there?"

"No he isn't home yet." Mark responded.

"Well, can you give him a message, please?"

"Sure," said Mark.

Forgetting about HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - concerning confidentiality), the secretary said, "Tell him he needs to bring in a CEA [Carcinoembryonic Antigen -Ed.] blood test, before his next chemotherapy treatment. If he comes in anytime tomorrow, I will have the prescription waiting for him."

"OK, I'll tell him." Mark said as he felt his whole body tensing.

Manny had seen the change in his facial expression and asked, "What's wrong?"

"Ryan is dying of cancer!" Mark said and then bit his lip for having told Manny.

"No, it can't be true. You're lying." Manny insisted as he began running up the stairs to their bedroom.

"Yeah, I was just fooling with you. Bad joke," Mark yelled upstairs to Manny."

Just then Kyle and Ryan walked in the door.

"Where were you guys?" Mark asked, confused.

"We went out." Kyle answered, trying to be as vague as possible. Not wanting to upset Mark by telling him that they were returning from the lawyer's office where they had been planning their strategy to deal with Manny's father and had begun making Ryan's last will and testament.

"Out to buy a coffin?" Mark said with an air of superiority.

"What? Why would you say a thing like that?" Kyle said as Ryan came in the front door.

"No reason," Mark said sheepishly, while trying to assess Ryan's health.

"Your doctor called," he said without greeting Ryan. "His secretary said you need a blood test before your next chemo treatment and that they have a prescription waiting for you!" Mark said and began running upstairs as tears flowed down his cheeks.

"Mark, please come back here." Ryan called to him. But Mark just continued to his and Manny's bedroom and shut the door.

Ryan began to follow, but Kyle grabbed his shirt and held him back. "Ry, let me handle this for you."

Ryan just nodded his head in agreement. Kyle saw him tearing and half pushed him towards the kitchen. "Why don't you start one of your spectacular dinners?" And then kissed Ryan on the lips in a deeply affectionate, caring and non-sexual way. They both held the kiss until the need to breathe forced them to separate. Then Kyle ascended the stairs slowly, wondering how he was going to deal with the present situation.

He knocked gently on the boy's door. "Go away!" Manny yelled.

"OK, I will go away if you want me too, but I think you both need to know what is going on with Ryan who needs all of our help right now," Kyle said and waited.

Mark opened the door and Kyle went inside.

"Firstly, Ryan isn't dying if that's what you were thinking when you made that cruel crack about the coffin. Secondly, we were planning to tell you everything, but we didn't know how to tell you both without upsetting the two of you." Kyle began.

"So Ryan isn't going to die?" Manny asked.

"Manny, we're all going to die some day. I can't tell you which one of us will be next or when. But I can tell you that Ryan is not dying of cancer. He does have a very small tumor which the doctors are treating and will remove. Ryan is not sick, but the treatments may make him not feel very well and now he needs us all to support him." Kyle said, sitting on the edge of Manny's bed and petting his head as he spoke. Manny was lying face down but turned facing Kyle and Mark.

"Mark, has Ryan ever not been there for you? Since he saved your life, has he ever failed you?"

"No...," Mark answered, feeling somewhat guilty.

"No, he hasn't failed anyone of us, but now he needs to come home to a happy family. We need to keep his spirits up. I need your support too, because just like you guys, I thought first about myself and my fears when Ryan told me. But right now, its Ryan's fears that have to be first in our thinking. Right now he is more afraid of losing you two."

Mark bowed his head as he realized that Kyle was right. He was more worried about himself than his dad.

"Manny, there is something else you need to know. But first I want you to know that you will always be our son. Do you believe me?"

Manny nodded his head affirmatively.

"Manny, your natural father wants you to go live with him. But we are going to fight him legally and try to keep you with us, if that is what you want," Kyle revealed.

Mark's eyes opened wide. "He can't have him. Manny is my brother now. He belongs here with us."

"I wanna stay here. I don't want to go with him. Don't let him take me." Manny whined.

"When we got home we'd just come from a lawyer's office and we are going to fight to keep you Manny, but I can't promise you that we will win. Ry is very upset. More worried than I have ever seen him and this will weaken him. I need you guys to be strong for Ryan so he and I can fight this. Can you guys help me help Ryan?" Kyle said, rousing the crew.

To be continued...

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Much thanks to Dave L. and his hard work editing this story.

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