Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. The story contains graphic descriptions of sex between men. Anyone who is forbidden by law to read such material must stop now. This story is being posted to the Nifty Archive solely for the enjoyment of its readers.


(AKA - Jeff)


David's Initiation: The Partnership 12


Saturday morning.

Shortly after 9:45 AM Mike, Dan, Dave and Tony arrived in the hallway leading to Todd's room. At first, the nurse attempted to stop them but Dave asked her to check Todd's records. When she did, she found Doc Gray's instructions and let them continue. The men kept their visit short so as not to interfere with the hospital regimen.

The four members of the Platoon proceeded to the hospital waiting room and held a meeting. They set up a schedule so that someone would always be with Todd, keep him company, and watch over his treatment. Tony volunteered to start then and stay until 3:00. Dave would relieve him for the 3:00 to 6:00 shift then Mike would come in at 6:00 and stay the night - if they'd let him. That schedule would give Mike the afternoon to look after his Subway Shops. Tony would pick Dave up at 6:00 and they'd go to dinner. Dan had things he needed to do at Philos but would relieve Mike Sunday morning at 9:00. Then they'd start all over again. Tony went to Todd's room as the others left the hospital.

Saturday afternoon, Larry Lawrence, Walt's new associate attorney, called Mike and effectively conducted a personal interview, collecting information he'd need to produce the various legal documents. Walt had apparently impressed Larry with the need to pursue this task with some degree of speed.

The day progressed as expected with Todd sleeping most of the time. Doc Gray arrived at 2:10 and was pleased to see that Todd's urine had a much lighter color to it. The Doc assured Todd that he was making good progress and, at Todd's request, he arranged for Mike to stay Saturday night as he'd hoped. Berk's replacement, Nurse Pamela, arrived at midnight. When she checked on Todd, she found him lying on his back with Mike, fully clothed, cuddled snuggly around him. As she closed the door behind her, she couldn't help smiling at such a loving scene.

Sunday morning.

Dan relieved Mike at 9:00 and he left at noon just as Nurse Berk arrived for duty. Tony was going to be a little late because of some real estate demands. That gave Todd and Nurse Berk some time to talk. After getting caught up with the floor activities Berk went to Todd's room.

"The other night before you so rudely fell asleep you were going to tell me about your Platoon."

Todd chuckled. "Oh yeah, that was rude of me wasn't it." Berk chuckled. Todd quickly related how he'd met Dave at the Westin Hotel but he decided to omit the circumstances - that was private information. Then he explained how Mike and Dave had been roommates in the Army and later he met Mike and the three of them remained close. Then Dan came into the picture. Because three of the group had been in the military, the term seemed to fit. Then Dave met Tony, who was a Marine, and the term seemed even more appropriate. Todd couldn't remember who first used the term 'Platoon,' but it no longer mattered.

Tony arrived just in time to hear the last of the Platoon discussion and added some choice comments of his own that generated a few chuckles. Dave showed up on schedule at 3:00 PM.

Doc Gray arrived right behind Dave. After examining Todd again, Gray stopped the IV and the pain medication and prescribed Extra Strength Tylenol. Until that time, Todd hadn't been very talkative. He seemed to sleep most of the time, a possible side effect of the pain medication. Stopping the IV also meant that Todd could soon begin eating solid foods. The monitor was also removed leaving the catheter as the only device attached to the patient.

Mike again spent the night with Todd. There were signs that Todd was beginning to return to a more normal state.

Monday morning.

Mike went home to get cleaned up and asked Dan to accompany him to Lawrence's office. Dan called Dave and asked if he or Tony could fill in for him while he went with Mike. Tony volunteered but said he had an appointment at 12:00 and would have to leave the hospital a little early. Dan said he would take Tony's shift and plan to arrive before noon.

Dan drove Mike to the attorney's office. Larry Lawrence had gone to his office Sunday afternoon and drafted a "General and Durable Power of Attorney" and a "Durable Special Power of Attorney for Health Care," one for each partner. Larry also drafted wills for Mike and Todd. Because neither of them had yet accumulated much wealth, the will could be very simple.

Mike arrived at Lawrence's office just after 9:00. Lawrence handed Mike a copy of the documents and explained his recommendations. Mike quickly reviewed everything and was quite impressed but stipulated that he wouldn't sign until Todd had a chance to review it all and they agreed jointly. Lawrence wasted no time. He asked his secretary, who was a notary, to join him and he followed Dan and Mike to the hospital.

Upon arriving at Todd's room, Dan thanked Tony for bailing him out that morning and told him to go ahead and leave, that he'd stay until Dave arrived. It was a good thing Dan was along because he could sign as a witness. Lawrence went over everything again with Todd and in less than thirty minutes the two husbands had a set of documents that went as far as they possibly could in that state to being legally joined and committed. Lawrence did caution them that although the POAs were legal, there were no guarantees, but they'd done all they possibly could to protect their relationship.

Lawrence took the signed documents to the hospital administration office and had copies made. He placed one set in Todd's records and gave another set to Mike. He made two more sets and recommended the two men keep copies in the glove compartment of their cars. Well… Todd no longer had a car but that's where he'd keep a copy when he got one. Lawrence took the originals back to the office so he could make file copies for the firm and create personal binders for Mike and Todd. The entire transactions were finished before 11:00 AM.

Mike wanted to spend the rest of the day with Todd but Todd knew that his partner had just opened a new Subway shop and he was needed there. Todd assured Mike that he was being well cared for and with the other members of the Platoon keeping him company he certainly wouldn't get bored. Todd also knew that sending Mike to look after his business would keep Mike busy and relieve a lot of stress.

Dan suggested Mike take his car - they'd work out the logistics later. Before Mike left, Todd practically begged Mike to bring his favorite sub because the hospital food was typically below par. Actually it was worse than below par.


Dan and Todd talked for a while until Todd lay his head back, closed his eyes and went to sleep. Although Todd was getting stronger almost by the hour, all that legal stuff had been a strain on him. Dan took the opportunity to walk out to the nurse's station. He'd only seen Nurse Berk briefly and was interested in getting to know him a little better. Berk had just arrived and was getting caught up on his patients. And with Todd no longer attached to the monitor, Berk wasn't required to watch over him as closely.

"He's sleeping," Dan said quietly.

"Good. That's the best thing for him right now." Berk finished what he was doing and looked up at Dan who was leaning against the counter. "I'm Berk, by the way, Berk Stanford." He smiled, extended his hand and Dan shook it. "Todd said you were in the Navy."

"Yeah, four years. How about you?"

"Four years, Air Force," Berk volunteered.

"You're not from around these parts, are you?" Dan asked rhetorically.

Berk chuckled. "I guess the accent, or lack of one, kinda gives me away, huh?"

"You might say that. Where's home?"

"I grew up in Northern California but now I call this home." Berk let his eyes scan the hospital area as if to give the impression that he lived in the hospital.

"Where about in California? I was station at Treasure Island before I got out and then lived in Silicone Valley for a while before moving to San Fran."

"Really?!" Berk seemed interested. "I was born in Berkeley and my parents still live there." Berk felt a little elated. Perhaps he'd finally met someone he might be able to relate to and talk to about his home territory.

"Yeah, I made it over to Berkeley a couple of times. Nice area!"

"A little pricey and all the college kids can be a pain sometimes."

"Berk. Is that short for Berkeley?" Dan thought he might have made a discovery.

Berk began to chuckle. "Oh yeah, ya see, my mother's somewhat of a romantic with a weird sense of humor. She grew up in Palo Alto and attended Stanford for a while. Then she went to nurses training and became an RN. Her first job was at the Student Health center at Cal Berkeley. She was on duty one day when my father, my future father came in."

"Your future father?" Dan asked. This was getting interesting. The more he looked at Berk the more he liked what he saw. Berk stood about fix feet tall, was slender with black eyes. He had no hair, his head was totally bald and shiny and Dan found it very sexy. Berk's skin was quite light, more of a light gray-brown, probably a person of mixed race. But Berk's nose and lips were more European than typically black. It was a very interesting look, very attractive.

"Yes," Berk chuckled again. His smile was wide and friendly. "My father was in grad school at the time and had been playing tag football with his fraternity brothers. As you might imagine, he twisted his ankle and wasn't able to walk so his brothers carried him to the Health Center. As he and Mother tell it they fell madly in love at first sight." Berk was really smiling now. "Well, because my father's last name was Stanford, when I came along my mother decided to name me Berkeley so that both schools would have equal representation." Berk laughed at what he considered his own joke.

"Ha-ha, that is funny," Dan joined in Berk's laughter.

At that moment a buzzer sounded and Berk had to leave. Dan went back into Todd's room and found him sleeping soundly. He returned to the nurse's stations and waited for Berk to return - he felt a strong desire to continue the conversation. The rest of the nursing staff was busy with other chores but none of them were overly busy on this afternoon. Berk returned, sat down, opened a patient folder and entered some information. After closing the folder and filing it, Berk looked up at Dan.

"I'm sorry, where were we?"

"You just told about how you got your name."

"Oh yes," Berk remembered but before he could say anything else Dan spoke.

"Would you mind if I asked you a personal question?" Dan had been trying to figure out Berk's heritage without any success.

"Okay, but I don't promise to answer if it's too personal." Berk smiled warmly at Dan eliciting a return smile.

"Well, I hope this doesn't offend you but…" Dan paused, "are you… I mean…" Dan was having difficulty framing his question and Berk felt sure he knew what it was.

"My father is black, light skinned, and my mother is Puerto Rican." He smiled because the look on Dan's face told him that he'd guessed correctly. "Some people think Puerto Ricans are dark skinned but my mother is pretty light, a lot of Spanish ancestry there. Her family owns a lot of land on the island and there are quite a few medical professionals among my uncles and aunts."

"Thank you." Dan chuckled with grinned. "I couldn't think of a polite way to ask that."

"That's okay," Berk grinned almost to the point of laughter. "I appreciate that you struggled with your question." Berk was about to ask how Dan felt about his heritage but didn't. At that moment a buzzer sounded.

"I think Todd's awake. We'd better go see what he wants," Berk said as he stood up.

As they walked toward Todd's room, Dan's cell phone went off. He stayed outside the door while Berk went in to check on Todd.

"Hi, Dave, 'sup?"

"Dan, we have a problem." Dave was quite emphatic. "This is the short story. Harry called Mike and Mike called me. Todd's parents found out he's in the hospital and they're on their way there. Harry says they plan to take him back home where they have some quack who's gonna try to 'cure' him."

"Oh fuck!" Dan exclaimed as quietly as he could and looked around to see if he might have been overheard. "Whatta we do? How much time do we have?

"I'm not sure," Dave replied. "But I was able to get hold of Larry Lawrence and tell him what was going on."

"Does that mean there's some legal thing we might do?"

"Again, I'm not sure. He said he had a couple of ideas and he'd get back to me. Are you still with Todd?"

"Yeah, I'm standing outside his door. Should I mention any of this to him?"

"No, there's nothing he can do and I don't know how much time we have either. You stay put and I'll call Harry. I'll let you know if I find out anything."

"Okay, I'll keep Todd entertained. He just woke up from a nap so I'll see what's on his mind. Call me when you hear something."

"Bye, Dan."

"Bye." Dan pressed the 'END' button on his phone and stood quietly for a minute trying to think of what he might do. He wasn't going to say anything to Todd but should he let Berk know what was going on? He walked into the room to find Berk changing out Todd's urine bag.

"How's it look?" Dan asked.

"Much improved," Berk said confidently. "I'm not supposed to tell you this, Todd, but you're progressing really well.

"Does that mean I'll be getting out of here soon?"

"That's the doctor's call but you're probably stuck here until sometime Wednesday."

Todd groaned. "Dan, when's Mike coming back?"

"He didn't know but he said he'd call the minute he's free and on his way. And remember, he's bringing your favorite sub."

"Yeah, I can hardly wait." Todd was obviously excited about getting some good food. "I hope Mike remembers the chocolate chip cookies."

"He will," Dan assured his friend and smiled.

"You guys are truly amazing," Berk began.

"Whatta ya mean?" Dan asked.

"I've just never seen a group of guys so closely knit and so supportive. You all know each other so well it's almost uncanny."

"Seems like we've always looked after each other; it feels so natural," Todd replied. At that moment Dan's phone rang again. He checked the caller ID before answering.

"Excuse me for a minute," Dan said as he turned and walked out of the room. "Yeah, Dave?" Dan was now out in the hallway.

"I just talked to Harry and judging by the time they left home, Todd's parents could be arriving about now. Then I called Lawrence and he needs about thirty more minutes. Think you can hide Todd for thirty minutes?"

"We'll sure as hell try!" Dan exclaimed. "Gotta go!" Dan ended the call and rushed back into Todd's room.

"Can you help me hide Todd for about thirty minutes?" Dan blurted out at Berk.

"Hide Todd? What for?" Berk asked.

"Yeah, what for?" Todd repeated Berk's question.

"Todd, your parents are on their way here to take you home and give you the 'cure.' Your brother says your parents could be here any minute and Dave says Lawrence is workin' on something to stop them but he needs thirty more minutes.

"Shit!" Todd exclaimed. He was obviously nervous and appeared ready to leap off the bed and run, he knew not where.

"I have an idea," Berk exclaimed. "You stay here for a minute, I'll be right back." He rushed out of the room and in less than a minute was back pulling a gurney behind him.

"Let's move Todd to this gurney and move him down the hall to a vacant room." Berk's voice gave away his sense of urgency. He rolled the gurney along side Todd's bed and pointed where he wanted Dan to stand. "Now take hold of his feet and I'll help him from up here."

"WAIT!" Todd exclaimed loudly. "What about this?" He was pointing to the catheter. He was obviously concerned about leaving favorite part of his anatomy behind.

"Right!" Berk exclaimed as he reached down, clamped off the tube to prevent any back-flow and handed the bag to Todd to carry. "Okay, here we go," Berk instructed. The two men, with Todd's help, were able to move him to the gurney. Todd was straining, grunting, moaning and groaning all the while. In the process, Todd became completely exposed but neither Berk nor Dan seemed to notice. They quickly covered him and, with Berk leading the way, they whisked Todd out of the room, and down the hall. As they turned the corner and disappeared, Todd's parents, accompanied by the quack doctor stepped off the elevator.

Berk quickly guided the gurney into a vacant room and closed the door. "How you doing, Todd?" He asked as he took the urine bag from Todd's hand and secured it to the side of the gurney.

"Oh man, I wouldn't want to do that every day," Todd replied with a grunt and a gasp.

"Dan, you stay here with him until I get back."

"Roger," Dan replied, he was totally focused.

"I'm going back to my station to be ready for anything. I'll probably have to make up some reason why he's not in his room." Berk turned and left quickly. As he walked past the entrance to Todd's room, Berk observed three adults standing inside talking to each other. Not being in any hurry to have an encounter, he continued down the hall to the nurse's station. It must have been five minutes before the two men and one woman approached his desk.

"May I help you?" He asked.

"We're looking for a Mister Todd Pepper's room. Is that it down there, room 314?" The question was asked by a man of about 65 years old who was wearing a dark, out of style, rumpled polyester suit.

"Yes sir, it is." Berk was playing a game he'd learned in the Air Force: answer only the question that's asked and don't volunteer any further information. Besides, it's not like there was any mystery about the issue; Todd's name was on a plaque beside the door.

"He doesn't seem to be there, do you know where he is?"

"Yes sir."

The man stared at Berk for a few seconds. "Well, where is he?" The man asked indignantly.

"He's downstairs, sir, his doctor ordered some more tests, an MRI." Then Berk decided to volunteer some information that would purposely throw the man off. "He's been gone for some time now and I expect him back any minute." Berk's reasoning was that if these people thought Todd was going to return soon, they wouldn't waste any time looking for him.

"What kinda test he gettin'?" The other man asked. Berk looked at a man in his mid fifties wearing dark brown Dickeys, light blue long-sleeved shirt, and a tan jacket which appeared strained to the limit to close over his ample gut.

"His physician was concerned about the headaches Mr. Pepper was experiencing and ordered the MRI. He suffered a pretty good blow to the head, you know." Berk almost laughed at himself, playing them along like he was.

"Well, this here's Doc Jones an' he'll be a decidin' what tests to run."

"And you are…?" Berk asked as politely as he could.

"I'm Mr. Pepper an' this here's my wife, Mrs. Pepper. We come here ta take our boy home."

"Here," Doc Jones handed Berk a paper. "This is a release signed by the county judge authorizing these parents to take their son home."

Berk examined the papers, stalling for as long as he thought he could get by with then looked Doc Jones in the eyes. "Sir, this is way out of my pay grade. You need to take this to the hospital administration office. I don't have anything to do with admissions or discharges." And he handed the paper back to the doctor. "You're more than welcome to wait in Mr. Pepper's room if you like, I'm sure he'll be back soon."

"Thank you, we'll go in the room to wait," Doc Jones replied. The party of three walked back to Todd's room and partially closed the door so that they could continue talking in private. Berk had already been able to stall for twenty of the thirty minutes Dan said he needed but he didn't know how much longer he could continue. Just then he heard footsteps in the hall to his left.

"Are we in time?" Dave asked quietly.

"Barely," Berk replied just as quietly. "Todd's parents and their doctor are in his room now." The surprised looks on the faces staring at him told him he'd better clarify that statement, and fast. "Dan and I hid Todd in another room." The looks on the faces instantly registered relief.

"Okay Counselor, this is your show," Dave spoke quietly to Larry Lawrence. Larry led a procession of Dave, Tony and Berk toward Todd's room. He slowly pushed the door open and the three people in the room turned toward him.

"Mr. and Mrs. Pepper?"

"That'd be me an' the missus here," Mr. Pepper said proudly.

"Sir, this is for you." Lawrence extended his hand in which held a folded document. Mr. Pepper took the document, unfolded it and began to read.

"What is this," he asked before he'd read more than a couple of paragraphs. He was obviously struggling with reading a court document.

"That, Sir, is a restraining order issued by the First District court of this state. Among the many things that it does is order you to have no further contact with Mr. Todd Pepper. Do not call him, do not write him, do not E-mail him, and do not Fax him. Further, you and your wife are to never get closer than 500 yards of Mr. Pepper beginning right now. The first two infractions will cost you $1000 each. The third and fourth infractions will cost you $10,000. The fifth infraction will land you in jail. As Mr. Pepper's attorney, I would advise you to depart this hospital immediately because you are already within the 500 yard limit."

Mr. Pepper, his wife and the doctor looked to be in shock. "Wh…, wha…, ho…," the old man sputtered and grew red in the face. "Goddamn faggot," he cursed under his breath. "C'mon, Mama, let's get the hell outta here. That queer boy's surrounded himself with a queer lawyer an' queer friends; let him rot in Hell." He took his wife's hand and practically dragged her from the room, the quack followed close behind.

The room was totally quiet for several seconds; everyone seemed stunned. Then there was a collective sigh of relief followed by group laughter.

"Great job, Counselor, that was an amazing display!" Dave said as he slapped Lawrence on his back. "How did you do that so fast?"

"I didn't work all those years in the DA's office for nothing, ya know." Larry grinned at his success.

"Yeah," Tony chimed in and he took hold of Lawrence's hand to shake it. "I sure would have like to have a video of the looks on their faces when you explained what that restraining order was. That was priceless!"

"Hey, I'd better go get Todd," Berk stated with authority and he practically ran out of the room and down the hall. Moments later he and Dan appeared wheeling Todd down the hall on the gurney. A cheer went up when the gurney rolled into the room; Todd was all smiles.

Lawrence explained to Todd exactly what had happened and it made Todd smile even more. As the group stood around laughing and congratulating Lawrence on his success, Doc Gray walked into the room.

"What's all the excitement about?" he asked. Dave proceeded to give him a summary and Doc Gray also had a good laugh.

"Now, gentlemen," Doc Gray began, "I'm going to ask you to step outside so that I can examine Todd and make sure you haven't caused him any further injury. And Berk," Gray looked directly at the nurse, "would you assist, please?"

"Certainly, Doctor." Berk closed the door completely after Dave, Tony, Dan, and Lawrence left.

"Well, Todd," Gray began as he looked at the catheter and the urine bag. "I'd have to say you're doing exceptionally well. The blood in your urine appears to have cleared up completely. I don't suppose you'd object if we disconnected you from this thing, would you?"

"Wonderful, Doc, absolutely wonderful," Todd exclaimed with slight trepidation. He didn't remember the tube going in but he just knew it was gonna hurt like hell on the way out.

Doc Gray pulled the sheet down to the foot of the bed leaving Todd completely exposed. Berk approached the bed with what looked like a small pad of some kind.

"Todd," Berk said, "I'll need your help so that I can slide this absorbent pad under your buttocks."

"Sure," Todd replied, willing to cooperate as much as possible if it meant removing the catheter. "What's that for?" Berk slid his hand under the upper portion of Todd's cast and lifted as Todd used his right leg to help lift his hips high enough so that Berk could slide the pad under him.

"That's to absorb any urine that might leak when we remove the catheter," Doc Gray explained. "Sometimes, when the catheter has been in for a while the sphincter looses its ability to close tightly and there's a possibility for leakage."

"Doc?" Todd asked nervously. "What's the possibility of any long-term injury to… to my plumbing?" Doc Gray knew exactly what Todd was referring to; would his sex life be impaired?

"None at all, Todd. You should be back to normal almost immediately. Except for this leg here," and he patted the cast on Todd's left leg. "Okay, Berk, you ready?" Doc turned and asked the nurse.

"Ready, Doctor."

Todd just couldn't watch. He lay back and closed his eyes. He just knew that pulling that tube from his bladder out through his prick was going to hurt like hell. He could feel hands touching his penis and groin area and could feel movement. Todd was determined that he wasn't going to make a sound, he'd be brave.

"Okay, we're done." Doc Gray announced anticlimactically. "Did that hurt any?"

"You're done?" Todd asked with surprise and lifted himself up on his elbows to have a look. To say he was pleased to see that his equipment appeared to be in original working condition would be an understatement. "That didn't hurt at all."

"Good," Doc Gray stated. "And there wasn't any leakage either."

"Say, Doc," Todd asked as Berk pulled the sheet up over him. "Any chance I can have a shower? I feel really dirty."

"You might have to bribe Nurse Berk here to help you out with that," Doc Gray smiled knowing perfectly well that a shower would do a great deal of good for Todd's mental wellbeing.

"Sure, we can do that, Todd," Berk replied. From his long experience he knew that most patients were often interested in getting cleaned up following any kind of medical procedure.

"Well, if you'll let the guys back in I'll send them home then I'd love to have a shower."

Doc Gray said goodbye and promised to drop in tomorrow. And on his way out the door, he told the guys they could go back in. Todd thanked everyone for all they'd done and said he didn't have any idea how he'd repay them for their help but that he'd try. The guys told him they were going to dinner and would see him tomorrow.

Ever since Todd awoke in the hospital, it seemed to him that he was constantly facing issues of modesty. This was the first time he'd been in a hospital since he was born and he was unsure of what to expect. Waking up to find that someone had shoved a tube up his dick seemed like the worse kind of indignity. Then to have a nurse come in several times a day to check on it was almost devastating. Then he thought, 'Todd Pepper, don't be a hypocrite! You're quite at ease with Mike and the rest of the Platoon when we all go skinny-dippin' at Dave and Tony's. And remember when Tony sat on your shoulders and you won the 'King of the Mountain' competition? Well, lighten up! The folks here in this hospital are trying to help you. They aren't interested in your sex life so get over it.' That was Todd's mindset after everyone left and he was alone - without that damn catheter, thank God.

Berk had some other things to do so he left for a few minutes and when he returned he was carrying a large bag with which to cover Todd's cast. The shower went well. Berk helped Todd into the shower where he sat on a stool with a mesh seat bottom. Berk used a hand-held showerhead to soak him down as Todd 'Oo-ed' and 'Ah-ed' at the wonderful feeling of the hot water cascading over his body. Todd washed his hair and most of his body, especially his privates and Berk rinsed him off. Todd relied on Berk for physical support when balance was in question.

To wash his butt, Berk had Todd stand and lean against the shower wall. This made Todd feel highly self-conscious. He'd become accustomed to showering with Mike and it was often a sexual thing. Yet here he was, in the shower, with a strange man washing his butt. Then he remembered his earlier analysis of his situation and relaxed as he smiled to himself. Todd couldn't help feeling a little embarrassed when his member began to firm up as Berk's hand spread soap over his anus but he was also greatly encouraged. It was the first time since he woke up in the hospital that his libido had given any indication that he was still alive down there. But the thing that made it so much easier was that Berk was all business, very clinical. Todd quickly developed a great deal of respect for the work that Berk did and knew he'd probably never be able to thank him enough.

As Todd leaned against the sink, Berk dried him off and helped him slip on a clean hospital gown. Before returning to bed, Todd combed his hair and brushed his teeth. Now, if he only had a razor!

Todd suddenly felt exhausted; so much had happened in such a short period of time. Back in bed, clean and groomed, he quickly slipped into a comforting sleep. He was dreaming that, just like in "Sleeping Beauty," Mike came into the room, kissed him on his lips and he awakened. Then he opened his eyes and there was Mike, kissing him on his lips. He reached out, wrapped his arms around his lover and added a big hug to the kiss.

"Hey, Babe, I brought your dinner," Mike said when their kiss ended. "How ya feelin'?"

"You're what I need for dinner," Todd replied softly and he pulled Mike into another kiss.

"I guess that means you're feelin' better," Mike chuckled after Todd released him. "You look good and you smell a LOT better but you could use a shave, though." Mike added.

"Yeah, suppose you could bring me a razor tomorrow? Berk helped me take a shower this afternoon."

"He what?" Mike exclaimed as he pulled back a little.

"Hey, cool it. That's part of his job. Now let's see what ya brought me to eat."

Over the next hour, while he consumed over half of his favorite foot-long turkey sub and two chocolate chip cookies, Todd explained the events of the day to his totally astonished partner. Mike found it almost impossible to believe that the Platoon had been able to form a rescue squad and successfully execute their mission.

Berk stuck his head in the door to check on the two men and Mike asked him if he knew where to get a razor and some shaving cream. Berk suggested that the gift shop might have those items but Mike would have to hurry because they would be closing soon. Mike was gone in a flash.

Mike had just returned to Todd's room when Dave, Tony, and Dan arrived. The shaving would have to wait. They all had a nice visit and after about thirty minutes decided they should leave. Only then did four members of the Platoon realize that their fifth member was missing. They found Dan at the nurse's station chatting with Berk. They all returned to Todd's room and said goodbye.

"Hey," Todd exclaimed as he reached out and grabbed hold of Mike's hand. "The rest of these guys can leave but you're stayin' here with me. You guys be here tomorrow?" Todd asked as he turned toward the three remaining members of the Platoon.

"You think you'll have time for us?" Dave asked and all three men looked at Todd and Mike as if to say, 'Maybe you two want to be alone.'

"Absolutely! Anytime!" Todd stated as he pulled Mike's hand close to his chest. There was no mistaking that the two were definitely in love with each other.

"Suppose we drop in tomorrow around noon?" Dave suggested.

"That'll be great. Doesn't look like I'll be going anywhere real soon. Maybe I can get out of here by Wednesday."

"Okay, see ya tomorrow," Dave said as the gang moved toward the door. Dave, Tony, and Dan waved as they exited the room.

Dan asked Dave for a lift home and without hesitation Dave said yes. Where was Dan's car? Well, earlier that morning Dan had driven Mike to meet with Larry Lawrence and then driven both of them to the hospital. Dan stayed with Todd while Mike drove Dan's car back to the apartment where he changed into his Subway uniform. Then Mike drove his own car to work. After work, Mike drove his car directly to the hospital, leaving Dan's at the apartment.

Dave slid behind the wheel of the Beemer and Tony took the shotgun position with Dan in the back seat behind Tony. No one jumped into an immediate conversation. When Dave rested his right elbow on the center armrest Tone made sure his arm was right along side; they didn't even need to look at each other to communicate their affection. Dan was the first to break the silence.

"Hey Dave, whatta ya think of Berk?"

Dave didn't respond immediately. 'What's up with Dan?' he thought. 'He seems interested in Berk and I can't see why. Berk's straight.'

"Oh, he seems like a nice guy." Not only was Dave's reply short, reserved, but he didn't immediately come back with a question like 'What do you think,' or 'Why do you ask,' anything to keep the conversation going, he kinda let the question die. The purr of the engine was the only sound that filled the interior of the car. Dan wasn't ready to let the subject go so easily.

"Yeah, I think he's a nice guy too, he's cool. He's originally from California, ya know?"

"No, I didn't know that." Again Dave let the conversation die. Dave continued driving in silence, wondering where Dan was going with this topic.

Normally Tony'd have jumped in to offer a comment or two but not this time. He quickly got a sense that this strange conversation was strictly between Dave and Dan and he was going to stay out of it. There were too many short sentences and too many long pauses. Then he had an idea on how to change the mood.

"So, whatta we gonna do for dinner? What say we go out?"

"Okay with me," Dave replied with somewhat more enthusiasm.

"Me too," came Dan's response. "Where to?"

"Let's go to Hooter's," Tony suggested.

"WHAT!" Dave and Dan responded simultaneously. "You can't be serious!" Dan exclaimed.

"Yell yeah, we can ogle the straight guys while they ogle the Hooter's babes. Besides, I like their hamburgers."

"God you are so sick… but I'm in!" Dan announced excitedly.

"Okay with me then," Dave chuckled and he turned at the next intersection, changing their direction to drive to the nearest Hooters.

Tony's diversion had worked and changed the mood completely. The three friends had a good time and enjoyed hamburgers, fries, and beer for dinner. And there seemed to be an ample supply of straight studs to ogle too.


Tuesday after lunch, when Dan, Dave and Tony arrived at hospital, Todd was sitting up in a wheel chair with his right leg sticking straight out. Mike was already there.

"Hey Guys, Mike just bought a new car," Todd announced.

"Really!" They all exclaimed.

"Well, tell us. What'd you get?" Dan insisted.

"Oh, I got that Toyota Highlander I've been lookin' at so long. Since Todd's car's a goner I need something big enough to haul him and his cast around in." They all chuckled. "So Dave," Mike looked at his former roommate with degree of sadness. "I guess your old truck is history." Mike stepped up to Dave and wrapped him in a hug.

"Well, between us we got a lot of good miles out of that truck," Dave said as he returned Mike's hug. "What color's this new chariot?"

"It's a tan or Champaign color, I'm not really sure what you call it. My partner here's the color guy," Mike grinned.

About that time Berk walked in with a Sharpie fine point pen and they all took turns scribbling cute and suggestive things on Todd's cast. Tony commented about Todd's shave, which prompted a humorous description from Todd about how Mike tried to shave his husband. They were still laughing when Doc Gray walked in.

"Well Todd, I'm glad to see you're finally getting that thing decorated," Doc grinned and they all laughed. "You think you'll be ready to get out of here tomorrow?"

"Really? You serious?" Todd exclaimed excitedly. Doc Gray explained that he'd arranged for Todd to be released in the morning and then he turned a little serious.

"I'm glad I could catch you all here together." Everyone noted the change in Doc's demeanor and gave him their full attention. "You know, I'm really honored that you guys called me in on Todd's care and I've really enjoyed doing this." The members of the Platoon anticipated the other shoe dropping and Doc didn't waste any time dropping it. "But I'm no longer in private practice and when Todd gets out of here tomorrow I'm going to refer him to a colleague to complete his care. Then I can focus all of my attention back on the patients at Philos." Everyone understood completely and had no questions about Doc's plan. "I'll bet none of you boys have regular doctors, do you." That was a rhetorical question and the 'boys' looked at each other and then at Doc Gray and shook their heads. "Just as I thought. Well, Todd and Mike, and Dave, you and Tony," Doc extended both hands, one to each couple, in which he held a business card. "I want you two couples to make an appointment with Doctor Karl Stern and get set up for a complete physical. Can you do that?"

"Yeah, Doc." "Of course." "Yes, Doc." "Sure thing." He got four responses with no hesitations.

"Uh, what about me, Doc?" Dan asked with a worried look on his face.

"You, Dan," Doc looked right at the young man. "If it's all right with you, I'd like to keep you under my care through Philos. You have special needs that I specialize in and besides, I feel I have a personal interest in your health." He smiled at Dan and got a smile in return.

"That's fine with me, Doc." Dan was happy.

"Now, if you boys will give me a few moments I'll examine Todd and then you can get back to your visiting." They all stood in the hallway chatting quietly until Doc told them they could return and then Doc Gray left. Berk had remained in the room to assist the doctor and when he left, Berk returned to his station. Mike, Dave and Tony returned to Todd's room and continued their visit for another 10 or 15 minutes.

The last topic of discussion before the Platoon broke up was about Todd being discharged in the morning. He needed clothes. Dan went to the nurse's station and asked Berk if he knew what happened to the clothes Todd was wearing when he arrived at the hospital. Berk went to Todd's room and explained that his clothes weren't worth wearing because they'd been cut off of him. For some reason they all thought that was funny and had a good laugh out of it. Perhaps it was the image of someone's clothes being cut off that was so funny.

Mike said he'd go home and get some clothes so that Todd wouldn't have to suffer the embarrassment of wearing one of those revealing hospital gowns out of the building. Besides, the weather was still quite chilly. Then Todd asked about his personal items and Berk told Mike where he could go to recover them. Dan offered to stay with Todd while Mike went home and once that was settled the party broke up.


Wednesday morning.

Mike collected Todd's personal items like wallet, watch, loose change, ring, earring, belt, and shoes. He was surprised to find Todd's cell phone in the bag, they'd pretty much figured that it was long gone. Of course, nobody had bothered to turn it off and the battery was dead.

Mike signed the papers authorizing him to take Todd home and at about 10:15, an attendant wheeled Todd out under the portico to Mike's new Highlander. Todd was dressed warmly in sweat pants and sweatshirt; Mike had selected clothing that could accommodate his cast and the sweats did the trick. Todd slid across the back seat, his cast resting in the seat with his back partially against the right door. He made sure it was locked so he wouldn't wind up on the street if Mike made a hard left turn. Todd felt much better when he got back to the apartment and Mike was just as happy to have him home. Todd's next task was to become proficient walking with crutches.


(To be continued.)