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"Morgan Sheppard here, standing outside Columbia Presbyterian Hospital with a GMA exclusive.
This is the scene of an unfolding drama centering around Justin Timberlake.
As Josh stated at the top of the show, late last evening a gunman fired on Justin Timberlake and his guests as they were exiting their limousines outside his Southern Hospitality restaurant here in New York City.
One man was shot and treated at the scene, then moved to this hospital in serious condition.
That man has been identified as Lucas Carver, Justin Timberlake's up and coming protégé, and lead singer of the new pop band Orion, who had just finished their second concert here in New York last evening to amazing reviews.
What was to be a night of celebration for the young band has turned into a night of horrific tragedy.
The young man's condition is currently unknown, but word from people we had talked to at the scene late last evening was that the young man was critically wounded, unconscious and unresponsive before being transported here.
Justin Timberlake was seen leaving the scene visibly shaken with his good friends J.C. Chasez and Lance Bass.
Lance was seen comforting Lucas Carver's sister Patricia, who is also in the band.
All Carver's bandmates were also with him at the restaurant last night.
Who the assailant was hasn't been released as the man fled the scene on foot.
Police have cordoned off the scene and Justin's Southern Hospitality restaurant remains closed this morning.
Justin was seen entering the hospital with his friends shortly after Lucas Carver arrived by ambulance last night.
The fate and condition of Lucas Carver remains unknown.
I will be staying here all day to find out what I can.
I will give a full report as soon as details become available.
Until then it's back to you, Josh."
Columbia Presbyterian Hospital
Josh's eyes were lowered, Justin's arm around his friend.
Justin's eyes met Lance's, his friend staring at Josh.
"Here, Josh. Get some coffee into you." Lance said with soft gentleness, Josh's head raising, staring at his friend who held a tray of coffee cups in his hands.
"It's been six hours, Lance. What's going on in there?" Josh said, Lance looking at the tired wetness in Josh's blue pools.
"Surgery takes time, Joshy." Lance said, Josh nodding, Justin taking the cup of warm coffee Lance offered him.
"He has to be alright, Lance. He just has to be!" Josh said, Justin rubbing his back.
"He will be, Josh. Lucas has a strong heart and an even greater determination." Lance said, handing Josh a cup of coffee, Josh taking it but setting it down on the coffee table in front of him, Lance moving to the others seated and standing around the waiting room.
Finn and Skyler sat with Drew and Trish, Drew's arm around his fiancée, Lance giving everyone coffee.
Grayson Wainwright and Carl Wilson stood by their couch, the two quietly watching everyone.
The two had remained with the group, their faces showing caring and compassion.
Lance sat down beside Josh, he and Justin on either side of him.
"I don't understand this. Lucas had no enemies, no one who'd want to hurt him like that." Trish said, Drew rubbing her back, the young man being her rock.
"The assailant never walked out of the shadows. He dropped the gun and ran under cover of darkness." Grayson said, his blue eyes staring at Josh.
"I'll get the constabulary on this. We'll find him." the lawyer said, Josh's blue eyes staring at him.
"I. . .I saw him." Josh softly said, Lance's eyes meeting Justin's.
"You saw him, Joshy?" Justin said, his friend's eyes moving, looking at Justin.
"It was. . .it was Bryce, Jus."
Everyone looked shocked, Justin staring at Josh.
"Bryce? He. . .he shot Lucas? Why? He's never met him." Justin said, Josh's eyes meeting his.
"I think he's still in love with me, Jus. And to have me he had to get rid of Lucas." Josh said, lowering his head.
"It's all my fault! My love for him has hurt him!" Josh said, tears falling from his eyes, the man visibly sobbing, Justin pulling him against him, Josh crying into his friend's chest.
"That's so not true, Josh." Lance said, his friend rubbing his back.
"Your love for Lucas is his alone. It would never hurt him. You are not responsible for the actions of a now clearly shown unbalanced man." Lance said, Justin staring at Lance.
"Lance is right, Josh. We always knew Bryce was
unstable, but to do this? The man needs help."
Josh nodded, wiping his eyes.
"I couldn't believe it was him. His eyes seemed so enraged. . .and determined." Josh said, Justin's arm still around him.
"Who is this Bryce?" Grayson asked, Lance looking at him.
"He was Josh's former boyfriend." Lance said, Grayson nodded, the truth now dawning on him.
"I'll inform the police, Josh. We'll see he's apprehended." Grayson said, Josh nodding at him.
"I'll give you all his information, Grayson." Lance said, standing up again, walking over to the lawyer, the two quietly discussing Bryce.
Josh's eyes lowered again, Finn rising from his seat, walking over to Josh and Justin, sitting down beside Josh.
"You have to focus on the here and now, Josh. Lucas needs your love the most. That love would never hurt him. We've all seen its beauty."
"What if. . .what if I lose. . ." Josh said, Finn's arm going around him.
"I refuse to believe you'll lose him, Joshy. Lucas' path can't end here. There's too much love and destiny in that man's soul. I feel his love, we all feel it. It's still here. We'll never lose that."
Josh nodded, his head going against Finn's chest, the man holding him, his eyes meeting Justin's.
"We have to have faith, Josh. I have total faith in Lukey's destiny."
Josh nodded, the group remaining silent, their thoughts on their friend.
Justin stared quietly at Josh, his mind on Bryce Hartwell.
Half an hour later the door of the waiting room opened, a green scrubs-covered doctor walking into the waiting room.
"Good morning, everyone. My name is Dr. Avery Miller." the man said, his looks showing him to be on the lower side of middle-aged, mid forties perhaps.
Josh stood up, Justin and everyone else rising as well.
"Lucas, is he. . .is he okay? I'm his sister, Trish." Trish said, Drew's arms around her.
"Your brother is sleeping, Miss Carver. Please sit down everyone." the doctor said, Drew returning Trish to her seat, her eyes on the doctor, everyone else sitting down.
"Mr. Carver's condition is serious, and critical. I'll try to soften what needs to be known." the doctor said, smiling gently at Trish.
"How is he doctor?" Justin said, the doctor smiling at Justin, the man moving and shaking his hand.
"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Timberlake. My daughters love your music." he said, Justin nodding.
The man's eyes moved to Trish, her blue eyes staring at him.
"Lucas' left aorta was hit by the bullet, its left valve nearly destroyed. How the man didn't bleed to death on the street is in itself a miracle. He's lost a lot of blood, but we were able to repair the valve. His heart rate has fluctuated, but it's stabilizing, as is his blood pressure. The bullet also damaged his left lung and passed through his spinal column, exiting out his left lower shoulder. There was spinal tissue damage, I am afraid. What that will curtail will only be known when the young man awakens."
"You mean he may be paralyzed?" Finn said, softly.
"What is your prognosis doctor?" Grayson said, the doctor looking at the lawyer.
"I am Mr. Carver's family lawyer, Dr. Miller."
The man nodded, looking at the refined older gentleman.
"As of right now my prognosis is that the young man
has a fifty percent chance of regaining full mobility. There could be nerve
damage in his spinal column. The damaged heart and spinal injuries themselves
would take the fight out of anyone. But he's young and
surprisingly strong. All we can do is wait and see. I'm sorry I can't give you more hope than
that. We've made him comfortable and we'll just have to wait. I wanted to be
honest with you."
"Thank you, Doctor. When will he wake up?" Trish said, standing up, the doctor smiling at her with gentle kindness.
"Your brother has a strong heart, Trish. He survived the surgery with unique strength. Perhaps that gives us the greatest hope. He could awaken in the next few hours or it could be tomorrow. It all depends on his own strength." he said, Trish smiling at him with tears in her eyes.
"My brother's heart is stronger than any of us know. May I see him?"
"Certainly, Miss Carver. He's being moved to a private recovery room. Once he's made comfortable I can take you there."
"Can we see him as well?" Josh said, the doctor looking at him.
"If his sister clears it, certainly Mr. Chasez." the doctor said, Josh looking at Trish.
"Josh is Lucas' best friend, Doctor. Everyone here loves him."
The doctor nodded, looking at Josh's face.
The doctor smiled, looking at Trish, then Josh.
"His friend gives too much away on his face. I am a man of discretion. You can visit your partner with Trish, Mr. Chasez."
Josh nodded, smiling softly at the doctor.
"I love him, Doctor Miller. My love he'll need."
The doctor smiled, nodding.
"That will aid him greatly. I'll return when he's settled. I suggest you all get refreshments. But it's best if you stay on this floor. The administration area downstairs is inundated with reporters and cameramen. The hospital's had to push all of them out of the building. They've staked out the front and back entrances. You're all big news, it seems, yourself at the top of their list, Mr. Timberlake." the doctor said, everyone nodding.
"It's just Justin, Dr. Miller."
The man smiled, Josh looking at him as well.
"I'm Josh, Doctor."
The man nodded, shaking Josh's and Justin's hands, quietly walking out of the room.
Grayson stood up, looking at everyone.
"Carl and I'll gather some refreshments and reinforcements. I'll make sure none of you are disturbed." the man said, Josh nodding at him, the older man whispering in Carl's ear, the young man nodding, then disappearing out of the room.
"I have some phone calls to make. Emerson and Lucas' parents need to be notified." Grayson said, Trish thanking him.
"Emerson will fly them in quickly, Patricia. They need to be here as well." he said, Trish nodding, walking up to the man, gently hugging him, the man surprised, but embracing her gently.
"Thank you, Grayson. Lucas' grandfather's dearest friend shows his giving love."
Grayson smiled, the man quietly walking out of the room.
Everyone sat down again, Justin's arm going around Josh, the man sinking into his friend's love.
Josh stared at the door in front of him, the man feeling a soft hand going into his.
His eyes turned to his right, Trish's blue pools staring into his.
"I feel his love, Josh. Wherever he is, his love flows back to us." she said, Josh's arm going around her.
The doctor smiled beside them, the man opening the door to the private room.
"Take all the time you need. But he's sedated, so he won't respond. But he'll sense you're here, I believe." the doctor said, smiling at Josh.
"We'll all be here, Josh." Justin said, everyone else remaining outside the room, the doctor advising them that they should go in in smaller groups.
Josh nodded, the man walking into his lover's room, Trish guided into the room by him.
Their eyes went to the bed in the room's center, Trish softly gasping, Josh's arm tightening around her as he guided her towards the single bed surrounded by machines, their soft noises echoing in the silent room.
Josh's blue eyes were locked on the beautiful face in the bed's center.
Lucas' violet eyes were closed, a tube running out of his nose, oxygen heard pumping in the background.
Josh walked up to the bed, Trish staring down at her brother.
"Oh, Josh! He looks so lost, so alone." she said, her eyes filled with tears.
"He's not alone, Trish. We're here. . .our love. . .our love is here." he softly said, Josh gently guiding Trish into a chair beside the bed, the young woman sitting down beside her brother.
Josh moved around the bed, sitting gently down on the bed's edge, his blue wet eyes staring at his lover lost before him.
"It's. . .it's me, Lucky. Your Beamy's here." he softly said, Trish's blue eyes going to Josh's tearful face.
She saw the underlying emotion on his handsome face.
"Please wake up, my love. I. . .I need to see your violet pools, my angel. Please come back to me, Lucas. I. . .I need your love. Mine is here waiting for you, Lucas. Please. . .please come back!" Josh cried, Trish moving, her arms going around him, Josh moving forward, gently resting his head against Lucas' shoulder, sobs wracking his body.
"Please come back, Lucas! I need you so much!"
Trish was crying, seeing the emotion on Josh's face.
"I'm. . .I'm sorry, Luke. This. . .this is all my fault. I'm so sorry. Please love me. . .please come back!" he cried, Trish rubbing his back.
"He loves you, Josh. My brother loves you, and he'll come back to all of us."
Josh raised his head, staring into her blue eyes.
"Where is he, Trish? Where's my love gone?"
Josh's eyes moved, staring at Lucas' silent still face.
Josh stared at that handsome face, his mind flowing with all the tragedy he'd witnessed last night.
One look on Lucas' face made Josh's mind focus.
"Oh God, Trish!"
Trish stared at Josh.
"What is it, Josh?"
Josh's blue eyes met her blue.
"He knew, Trish! Lucky knew something bad was going to happen!"
Trish looked surprised by Josh's words, staring at him.
"What do you mean?"
Josh stared at her.
"He said that word. 'Familiarity'. Then he said 'Oh, no!'"
"What does that mean, Josh?"
"He recognized something, or someone. Then he realized what was about to happen, he showed surprise on his face. Then he turned right to that darkened corner. Oh God, Trish! I think. . .oh it can't be!"
"What is it, Josh?" Trish said, her arm going around him, Josh staring down at his lover.
"It wasn't him, Trish. Lucas wasn't the target last night. I. . .I think Lucas. . .I think he. . ."
Trish stared at Josh in shock, then looked at Lucas, reality dawning on her face.
"You. . .Bryce was after you, Josh?"
Josh nodded, staring down at his lover.
"Oh, Lucas! Why did you. . .why did you. . .?"
Trish stared at her brother, then looked at Josh.
"Because he loves you, Josh. For heaven and earth he'd risk his life for you. I think he truly did that last night. His love is that deep."
"I love him so much, Trish. Why couldn't I stop this. . .why did he risk everything?"
Josh cried, Trish pulling him against her, the young woman staring down at her brother.
"Because you are his life, Josh. You are his
Josh cried, staring at his lover, he and Trish alone in the silence of the room, machines the only noise around them.
And the man laying in the bed was oblivious to those surrounding him.
The waterfall in his mind was making its own noise.
On the Road Again
Lucas' violet eyes opened, his hand going to his eyes, shielding them from the intensity of the warm sun.
They adjusted to the glare, Lucas lowering his hand, staring around the landscape.
He smiled, finding himself seated upon the white marble altar in the middle of the waterfall's pool.
Well, I didn't have to swim out here this time.
His eyes looked around, the young man finding himself alone in the watery world of his dreams.
He looked down at himself, finding himself in the clothes he'd worn after the concert, his mind filled with troubled thoughts.
Am I dead?
Is this the heaven of my dreams or the real heaven of my eternity?
"It is as you see fit to create it, Lucas."
Lucas' eyes turned, staring into two green pools, the man smiling at him, seated on the white marble altar, his naked feet dangling in the water surrounding them.
"Hello, Joshua. I was wondering where you'd gotten off to."
Joshua smiled, his green eyes filled with shining love.
"Sorry for disappearing the last time, Lucas. I have been on the edge of reality, and on the surface of destiny. Forces pull me either way."
"Riddling as usual." Lucas said, the young man sitting down beside the older man, Lucas staring down into the clear blue water.
"I was shot. Wasn't I, Joshua? I saw a gun flash. Am I dead?" Lucas softly said, Joshua staring at him.
"No, Lucas. You are alive. In the minds and hearts
"Meaning what? Am I dead or alive? Please tell me." Lucas said, his violet eyes meeting Joshua's green.
"You are lying in a hospital bed surrounded by the love you live for."
"Josh. . .he's with me?"
Joshua smiled, nodding his head.
"He would never leave you, Lucas. For a greater love I have never witnessed. You last night showed the finality of that love. It now spans eternity."
Lucas stared at Joshua, the man's hand going to Lucas' shoulder.
"You are the one, Lucas. The sacrifice of your true heart now shows the greatness of your soul. You need focus only on life to walk into the reality of time again."
Lucas stared around the pool and waterfall, staring at the falling water.
"A sanctuary of my own love. That's what all this is."
The man smiled, nodding his head.
Lucas stared at him, their eyes locked.
"Who are you, Joshua? Are you my grandfather's love? He said that he comes to this pool as well."
The man smiled, looking into Lucas' soul.
"You are the drawing truth of sanctity, reality and love, Lucas Carver Belmont. The path narrows ahead. They on it are coming to the fork."
"The fork, the fork to what?"
"The fork of your intelligence, of your giving love and of your giving truth. The destiny of all of them now lays in your hands."
Lucas stared at the man, the younger man sighing.
"All I want is to be in my own Joshua's arms, Joshua. Why can't I have just that?"
Joshua smiled, his arm going around Lucas, the younger man feeling the older man's giving love and friendship.
"Because there is more to you than just your love, Lucas. Josh has that, and it possesses him, and he possesses you. You've both realized that together. What you have can never be destroyed. That is the benefit of the sacrifice you took upon yourself."
"The sacrifice? What do you mean?"
The man stared at Lucas, his green eyes staring into his soul.
"I wish I knew the truth of that. The Black Guide won't tell me all of it."
"The Black Guide? Who is that?"
"He is the wanderer of the paths of life and death. Who he truly is I cannot fathom, long have I tried to gain that truth. All I know is that he is the guide between the realms. He calls us back or lets us enter this world, or the true world."
"The manager of the Shades?"
"A good analogy, Lucas. For we are all players of the game."
Lucas nodded, staring at the older man.
"Is he Death?"
Joshua stared at him.
"No, Lucas. He is not Death. For I have yet to meet that final man."
"So you are not a ghost then? You haven't died?" Lucas said, the man lowering his head.
"Death shows itself in many forms, Lucas. As does life. There are many planes of reality."
"Riddles again. Are you real or imagined?"
"I am myself, Lucas. One day you and I will both have to face that. Until then I'd like to be your guide. But most of all your friend."
Lucas nodded, sighing.
"I trust you, Joshua. I believe you want to help me, or you seek my help. I will help you any way I can."
The man smiled, hearing the love and friendship in Lucas' soft voice.
"First we have to get you back into yourself. There's life that needs living."
Lucas smiled, nodding, the man's face softly changing.
"I sense danger, Lucas."
"I was just shot, Joshua. I take that as a sign of danger."
The man nodded, looking at Lucas.
"That unto itself is another drama surrounding your love. Your own Joshua will have to speak from his heart. Your love needs to be total."
Lucas stared at Joshua, the man standing up, his wet feet making a slapping sound as he walked to the edge of the altar.
"Rosa Sharon has seen it, Lucas. A walking
malice on the consciousness of all of us. From this world and that. There is a
presence walking between both worlds. An evilness of another's creation."
Lucas stood up, staring at the uniformed man.
"An evilness? You mean someone or something searches for me? That someone's set someone else upon me? "
"Yes, Lucas. What it is I have no fathom of. For there are many creations from that world. All I know is what she's spoken of."
"Who is Rosa Sharon?"
"A shade on remarkable love and intelligence. And a child lost between that world and the greater one."
"A shade? A child?"
The man nodded, smiling at Lucas.
"She calls you the Balancer. She says your love balances all that remains hidden."
Lucas nodded, staring at the soldier standing before him.
"Shades and guides. Is there no reasoning to all of this?"
The man walked forward, his feet slapping against the white marble, his hand going to Lucas' shoulder.
"You--I believe with all my soul--are the reasoning--and yes--the balance, my friend." he said, Lucas staring into Joshua's green pools.
"I'm only myself, Joshua."
"No, Lucas. You are yourself and you are much more. I know you possess the journal and the key." the man said, Lucas staring at him.
"Have. . .have you read. . .the words hidden there?" the man said, Lucas seeing a reverence cross the man's face.
"I have only read the introduction from Emmanuel."
The man nodded, looking at Lucas.
"A man of great courage and strength. The same courage and strength you hold within yourself."
"What lays in that book, Joshua?"
The man's hand left Lucas' shoulder, his two hands going together in front of him.
"I know not, Lucas. I have not read it. No one has."
Lucas looked confused.
"No one? But it. . .it steeps of truth and courage. And you know of its existence."
"I do, Lucas. And I would love to read it, but it isn't mine to read."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that he left it for only one person. For the one who shall right the past and shall guarantee the future. He wrote it for you."
Lucas looked surprised, Joshua smiling at him.
"Only he of the greatest truth could ever read those
lost words. That was the magic of destiny he instilled in those pages. And for
that magic he paid the ultimate price. As we all did."
"Paid the ultimate price? What do you mean?" Lucas said, the man staring at him.
"Life is about choices, Lucas. No matter how damned or destined the path is we are forced upon, a man always rises to the challenges thrust upon him. You come from a family of resilient individuals. We honour those of the past and the future with our own courage."
Lucas nodded, the man smiling at him.
"You need your courage now, Lucas. Life awaits you again."
"I can live again?"
The man smiled, looking around the watery pool, staring at the waterfall.
"Feel for his love and draw yourself to it." he smiled, Lucas smiling at him.
The man began to pull off his jacket, Lucas staring at him.
"Myself, I'm going to swim in the beauty of your love. I'll remain here for a while. The darkness for a while shall not have me." the man smiled, pulling off his uniform, Lucas staring at his revealing beauty.
The man was a vision of muscled beauty, although Lucas saw several scars on his smooth toned body.
"You wear scars of courage yourself, Joshua."
The man smiled, watching Lucas staring at him.
"Scars are given in anger, the courage lays in surviving."
Lucas nodded, the man pulling off the last of his undergarments, Lucas staring at his nude body.
"Go back to him, Lucas. Bathe in his own giving love." the man smiled, diving off the platform, disappearing under the clear blue water, Lucas watching his naked body glide under the water, the man cresting the water about fifty feet from the altar.
Lucas stared at him, his handsome face covered in a wide smile.
"Your love is ever healing, Lucas Belmont. It fills my empty soul." he said, swimming towards the waterfall.
Lucas stared at him, the young man closing his eyes.
I need your love, Joshua.
Where are you?
Lucas felt his mind fill with a flood of emotions.
He felt the pain and need of his lover's soul.
Lucas smiled, the man's eyes opening.
He stared across the pool, watching Joshua standing in the waterfall's center, the water cascading over his naked standing form.
Lucas smiled, the beautiful image fading before him, the young man's soul feeling a soft wetness surround him.
Lucas moved, swimming forward, his body surrounded by a familiar love.
Lucas' violet pools opened, staring into two wet blue pools.
Those two pools were in the center of a beautiful smiling face.
"Lucas. . .you're. . .you're awake!"
Lucas stared into a handsome face, the man seated on the edge of his bed.
"Jus. . .Justin?" he softly said, Justin's face widening with a larger smile.
"Oh God, Lucas! Thank God you've opened your eyes!" he said, his own eyes filled with tears.
"Josh. . .my Joshua! He's. . .where is. . .?" Lucas struggled to speak, Justin's fingers rubbing his cheek.
"He's okay, Luke. He's here, I'll. . .I'll get him for you." Justin said, the man gently rising from the bed, smiling down at Lucas.
Justin stood in the room alone, the man having been sitting beside Lucas for the last half hour, their friends having gone for dinner, Justin insisting Josh needed a breather, the man remaining to watch over his friend.
"He's coming, Lucas. He just went out for a
Lucas nodded his head slowly, looking at Justin.
Justin saw the pain and tiredness in the man's violet eyes, but he also saw a deep courage.
Lucas closed his eyes again, Justin staring down at him.
I love you, Lucas.
I'm so happy you've come back!
Please don't ever leave me again!
Justin's body trembled, the emotion of seeing his friend awake filling his soul with happiness.
He felt a hand go in his, the man's blue eyes looking down into two reopened violet pools.
"I love you too, Justin. I'm not going anywhere."
Justin sobbed, Lucas smiling at him.
"Lucas. . .I was so. . ."
Lucas smiled, Justin returning to the edge of the bed, his fingers going to Lucas' cheek again.
"I. . .I need to say something, Jus. Before. . .before I fall asleep."
"Rest, Luke. You need to regain your strength." Justin said, his eyes still filled with tears.
Lucas closed his eyes, then opened them again, Justin seeing the creeping tiredness showing more.
"I love you, Justin. I'm. . .I'll protect you always."
Justin looked confused, staring at Lucas, the man's face showing a tired staring love.
Lucas' hand raised, his fingers wiping Justin's tear-stained face.
"Be. . .be careful, Jus."
Justin nodded, Lucas closing his eyes again.
Justin stared at the young man, his fingers going to Lucas' smooth cheek.
I. . .I will, Lucas.
I love you too.
Justin stared at him, the man moving forward, his lips meeting Lucas'.
The man softly kissed him, moving back.
I never lost those feelings, Lucas.
I still love you deeply.
Please be okay.
I need you in my life, if only as my dearest loving friend.
Justin smiled, the door of the room opening.
He looked towards it; Josh, Trish and Finn walking into the room.
Justin stood up, walking up to his friends.
He pulled Josh into his arms, Josh looking at him with surprise, seeing a wide smile on his face.
"He woke up, Joshy! Our Lucas woke up!" he said, everyone's eyes widening in surprise, Josh's blue pools going to the bed laying in the room's center, Josh moving, Justin releasing his friend from his embrace, watching Josh cross the room and sit down on the bed beside his love.
"He. . .he was awake? What did he say?" Josh softly said, staring at his lover's smooth face.
"He was asking for you. He wanted to know where you were." Justin said, now at the bed behind Josh, his hand going to his friend's shoulder.
"He loves you, Josh. He was searching for your love."
Josh smiled, tears showing on his face, his blue eyes locked on his Lucky's closed eyes.
"He's coming back, Jus. My love's coming back!" Josh said, emotion heard in his words, Trish and Finn smiling at each other.
A soft voice made everyone silent.
"Josh. . .is. . .is that you?" Lucas said, his voice haggard.
His eyes slowly opened, staring into two blue wet pools.
"I'm here, my love. My love's here." Josh said, his voice laced with emotion and happiness.
Lucas stared into his blue pools, Josh feeling his returning love, albeit tired and painful.
"It never left me." Lucas softly said, Josh moving forward, his head going against Lucas'.
"Oh God, my love! You've come back!" Josh sobbed.
Lucas raised his hand, his arm going around his lover's back.
"I. . .I love you." Lucas said, his eyes moving, staring up at Justin's tearful face.
Josh raised his head, his eyes meeting Lucas' eyes again.
"I love you, Lucky."
Lucas softly smiled, his eyes fighting to remain open.
"Close your eyes, my love. I'll be here when you open them again." Josh said, his finger rubbing his lover's cheek.
"I'll sleep in your love." Lucas softly said, his eyes closing again, Josh leaning forward and kissing his lover's closed lips.
Justin smiled down at his friend, Josh's head raising, staring into his blue eyes.
"He's back, Jus. He's come back to all of us!"
Justin smiled, Josh rising from the bed, the man hugging his best friend.
Trish and Finn both smiled, Josh hugging them both.
"He's going to get better, Trish. Our Lucky's going to get well!"
Trish nodded with a wide tearful smile, Finn grinning.
"I'll get my best humour ready." he said, Josh laughing.
Everyone smiled, having seen no smile or laughter on Josh's face since before the tragedy.
"He's back. He came back for my love." Josh smiled, Justin hugging him again, the man's blue eyes staring at Lucas sleeping on the bed behind him.
"Yes, Josh. He came back for your love." Justin said, the man staring at Lucas, his mind filled with worry.
Lucas' eyes opened, staring into two blue pools, a wide smile attached to them.
"Welcome back, my love." Josh said, the man sitting on the bed beside Lucas.
Lucas softly smiled, the man's violet pools looking a little more energetic.
"How. . .how long was I out?" he softly said, Josh smiling at him.
"Twelve hours, my love. It's nine in the morning." Josh said, Lucas' eyes moving around the room the two were in.
Lucas saw the day's brightness shining through the one window in the room.
"I feel a little better, not so tired." Lucas said, Josh smiling at him, their eyes meeting again.
Lucas smiled at Josh, the man seeing the look cross Josh's face.
"I. . .I almost lost. . ." he struggled to say, emotion filling his words.
"You'll never lose my love, Joshua. We're locked together forever."
Josh smiled, Lucas' finger rubbing his wet cheek.
"I love you with a smile, my angel. Wipe away those tears. I'm going to get better fast. I have your love again."
Josh smiled, the man sitting up more, staring into his lover's calm smiling face.
"Be a dear and raise this bed, my pet. I want to see
what's going on around me."
Josh smiled, reaching for the remote, pushing a button, Lucas' head rising upwards, the front of the bed raising the young man to almost a sitting position.
"That's better, my love." Lucas said, raising his body a bit, the young man gasping.
"You're not moving, my angel. You're still sore and we don't know the full extent of your injuries. You were really hurt, Lucky. Doctor Miller is on his way. He was in last night but he wanted to look you over when you awoke."
Lucas nodded, smiling a soft smile at Josh.
Josh stared at him, the man's head lowering.
"I'm sorry, Lucas. I'm sorry that I almost cost you your life."
Lucas stared at him, his hand going into Josh's, the man's head raising, staring at him.
"I saw that it was Bryce, Lucas. I saw that it was my former lover that shot you. And I know what you did."
Lucas stared at Josh, the man moving forward, gently wrapping his arms around Lucas, his lips going to his ear.
"You stepped in front of me, Lucas. You took that bullet that was meant for me. You saved my life!"
Lucas held his man in his arms, Josh crying against him, Lucas rubbing his back.
"I love you, Josh. I will always protect those I love."
Josh moved back, staring into Lucas' violet eyes.
"Thank you, Lucas. Thank you for your love."
Lucas smiled, rubbing his man's cheek.
"When I'm well and out of here I want you to thank
me for hours."
Josh smiled, staring at Lucas.
"I look like a mess, babe. I haven't slept in two
days and I'm a mess."
Lucas smiled, rubbing his cheek.
"But you're my mess. I love cleaning you up."
Josh smiled, staring into his lover's loving eyes.
"I love you, Lucas. Don't ever scare me like that again."
Lucas nodded, leaning back into the pillows.
"I won't, Joshua. You know I hate being sick."
Josh smiled, nodding.
"Then let's get you better." he smiled, Josh pulling something out of his pocket, Lucas staring at it as Josh set it in the palm of his hand.
Lucas stared at the red stone, feeling its warmth.
"They took it off you when you went into surgery. I've held onto it. I know it will aid you greatly." Josh said, looking into Lucas' palm, the hand now empty.
Josh's eyes moved, the stone now laying around Lucas' neck.
"It knows when it needs to return to me." Lucas said, Josh staring into his violet eyes.
Josh saw a returned strength and determination showing there.
"It works its magic. I feel a little better." Lucas smiled, staring at him.
"So where is everyone?" Lucas said, looking around the empty room.
"Everyone left late last night. They all said they'd be here early to see you awake. Your parents just landed this morning, Grayson was bringing them from the airport."
Lucas nodded, smiling at Josh.
"The love returns to me. I'll heal quickly." he said, Josh smiling at him.
"They haven't found Bryce, Lucky. He's still out there."
Lucas nodded, staring at Josh.
"He's a very handsome man, Josh. I see easily why you fell in love with him. He looks a lot like Justin."
Josh nodded, lowering his eyes, Lucas' hand going in his.
"The past is just that, Joshua. The past. I am your future."
Josh raised his head, Lucas smiling at him.
"I love you, Lucas. You and only you."
"I know, Joshua. Your love surrounds me. I feel your soul and your beauty."
Josh smiled, leaning forward, gently kissing his lover's soft warm lips, Lucas pulling him closer, Josh feeling a renewed need in his soul.
The two parted, Lucas smiling widely.
"There's the best medicine!"
Josh laughed, Lucas smiling at his widening smile.
"You, my love, are exhausted. You're going back home to sleep." Lucas said, Josh smiling at him.
"I will, Lucas. Once our friends are back I'll leave you to their love."
"But yours won't be far away. It's always in my heart." Lucas said, Josh smiling at him.
The door of the room opened, someone knocking on it.
Josh smiled, staring into the doctor's smiling face.
"Good morning, Dr. Miller. Our patient is awake."
Lucas smiled, looking at the man now standing at the end of his bed.
"As I now see. Good morning, Mr. Carver."
"Please sir, it's just Lucas. You have after all seen all of me."
The doctor smiled, nodding his head.
"Yes, I've been deeper into you than your boyfriend."
Lucas softly laughed, Josh blushing.
"I like him, Josh. I now know my health was in good hands. Although they were probing hands."
The doctor laughed, walking around the bed.
"Remarkable, son. You're showing a lot of color back in your face, and your eyes are crystal clear and intense." the doctor said, staring into Lucas's violet pools.
"I've always been a fast healer, Doctor."
The man nodded, taking his stethoscope and resting it against Lucas' chest.
He listened for a few moments, then stepped back.
"Your heartbeat's intensified as well. How do you feel?" he said, his eyes glancing over Lucas' face and body.
"I feel tired, but getting stronger."
"That's good. Could you pull the curtains around the bed, Josh? I'd like to exam all of you, Lucas." the doctor said, Josh rising from the bed, pulling the hanging curtains all around the bed.
Lucas nodded, the doctor smiling and pulling back the blankets.
Lucas remained still as the doctor pulled off Lucas' hospital gown, Josh's eyes going to Lucas' chest, a large swatch of cloth running down the middle of Lucas's chest, Josh gasping, Lucas' violet pools meeting his.
"You'll have a scar from the incision, I'm afraid. We had to open up your ribcage to do heart surgery on you, son." the doctor said, Lucas nodding.
"I hope you found one."
The doctor laughed, Lucas smiling at Josh, his lover staring at him with emotion.
"Yes, we found a large one."
"Then I'm well endowed."
Josh couldn't help it, the man bursting into laughter, the doctor joining him.
"Remarkable! Recovering from heart surgery but so humorous."
Lucas smiled, nodding his head, his smile directed at his lover's smiling face.
"Do you feel any numbness? Any pain?" the doctor said, his hands going down Lucas' legs.
"My back feels warm, and there's a dull ache there. And my heart feels heavy, like it's been massaged."
The doctor nodded, the man gently moving Lucas' body over, Josh's eyes taking in the bandage on Lucas' back.
The doctor's fingers went down Lucas' back, lightly tapping his spinal column.
"Do you feel that, Lucas?"
"Yes, Doctor. You don't have to knock, just come on in."
The doctor laughed again, moving Lucas back onto his back, smiling at him as the doctor gently guided Lucas back into his hospital gown, the man taking his blood pressure just before he put his arm back in the gown.
"I just can't believe it, Lucas. You show no signs of any paralysis or lingering numbness. That bullet went right through your spinal column, and there was indeed nerve damage. You're one lucky individual. At the least you should show some paralysis. I was fully focused on giving you total physiotherapy."
"I have God's luck on my side, Dr. Miller. And I have my family's rejuvenating health." Lucas said, smiling.
The doctor nodded, looking into Lucas' violet eyes.
"You're still weak and drained. Total bed rest for you, son."
Lucas nodded, smiling up at Josh.
"Cool. I nominate him as my nurse."
Josh laughed, the doctor smiling at him.
"Love is the greatest remedy. You'll be shipshape in no time." he said patting Lucas' shoulder.
The doctor backed up, Lucas' hand going to his arm.
"Thank you, Doctor. Your gifts were needed as well."
The man smiled, staring into Lucas' violet pools.
"You're a remarkable man, Lucas. I sense a greatness in your determined resolve. Nothing will stop you."
Lucas smiled, nodding.
"But please, no more injuries."
"Alright, Doctor. I totally agree with that." Lucas said, the doctor smiling at Josh.
"I'll leave him in your charge. Make sure his family and friends don't tax him too much. He needs to regain his strength, which I don't believe will take long. I'll pass by on the evening rounds." he said, Josh shaking his hand, the man smiling at Lucas and quietly walking out of the room.
"A giving, healing man." Lucas softly said, leaning back into the pillows as Josh pulled the curtains back, returning to his side, Lucas smiling at him.
"I'm so glad there's no permanent damage. But the scars, Lucas." Josh said, tears forming again in his eyes.
"I'm with you, Josh. I don't care about superficial scars. I hope you can accept them?"
Josh smiled, leaning forward, his lips meeting Lucas', the young man smiling.
"I love you, Lucas. Scars and all. Your beauty will always show in my eyes."
Lucas smiled, yawning softly.
"I'm still tired, babe."
"Shut your eyes, Lucky. When you awake again we'll see about getting you some food."
"What a great nurse. And I want you in white."
Josh smiled, and then laughed, Lucas smiling and closing his eyes.
Josh sat quietly, staring at his love.
You'll have me in white, my love.
I'm going to marry you in white and love you forever.
Josh smiled, a tear falling down his cheek.
A few minutes later the door of Lucas' room opened, Josh looking up from the chair he now sat in beside Lucas' bed, the man having moved to give Lucas total quietness.
Josh smiled, Trish and Drew walking into the room, followed by Finn and Skyler.
"How is he, Josh?" Finn asked, the young man walking over to Lucas' bed, staring down at his friend.
"He was awake again. The doctor was in to see him. There's no damage to his spine or any paralysis." Josh said, Trish seeing the happiness in his blue eyes.
"That's amazing news, Joshy. Our Lukey's going to be okay." Skyler said, her arms going around her man, both smiling at each other.
Trish leaned down, kissing her brother's forehead, Lucas murmuring at the contact.
"My brother's going to get well." she said, Drew rubbing her back.
"We'll have his love back with us as always." Josh said, the four smiling at him.
Josh hugged them all, the man feeling their love for him and especially Lucas.
"I'm sorry your tour has been postponed." he said, looking at the standing members of Orion.
"Lucas' well-being is the most important thing right now, Joshy." Skyler said, Finn agreeing with her.
"Aren't I the loved one."
All eyes went to the bed, Lucas' violet pools shining up at them.
"Oh, Lucky!" Trish cried, the young woman moving, her arms going around her brother's neck, Lucas softly gasping, Finn's arm going around Trish.
"He's tender, Trishy. Back up a little." Finn said gently, Trish backing up, seeing the look on her brother's face.
"Sorry, Luke. I'm just so. . ."
Lucas smiled, kissing his sister's cheek.
"So am I, Trashy. I'm happy to be back, too."
She smiled, standing up, Drew's arm going around her, the man smiling down at Lucas.
"Glad to have you back, Luke. We're all glad."
Lucas smiled at his friend, his eyes meeting Finn's.
"Who's been reining in your enthusiasm, Welch boy toy?"
Finn laughed, the others smiling.
"Damn! I've missed that sarcasm!"
Lucas smiled, Finn leaning down and kissing him on the lips.
"Wow. I had to almost die to get some tongue from you."
Finn blushed, the laughter around him loud and happy.
"You wish, fag boy!"
Everyone laughed, sitting down on the couches around the room.
Lucas smiled, the young man closing his eyes again, Josh smiling and sitting down beside him again.
Half an hour later the door of the hospital room opened, six people walking into the room.
Grayson held the door open for everyone, Carl at his side.
Justin and Lance walked into the room, followed by Vivian and Henderson Carver.
Josh smiled at everyone, his eyes meeting Justin's blue pools, Josh seeing a concerned look there.
His blue eyes moved, the man rising from the bed, walking over to Lucas' parents, Vivian's blue eyes staring at him.
"Hello, Mom and Dad." he smiled, Henderson staring at him with concern.
Josh's blue eyes then moved, staring into Vivian's blue pools, Josh seeing a cold iciness staring back at him.
Josh didn't see the hand flying, Vivian's hand slapping him across the face.
Josh stood in stunned shock, Vivian glaring at him.
"You're to blame for this Josh! You almost got my son killed!" she screamed, everyone in the room staring in shock, taken aback.
Trish was at her parents' side, pulling her mother back.
"How can you think that, Mom?! Josh loves Lucas!" she said, tears showing in her eyes, Vivian pushing her daughter away from her.
"Love? He doesn't love him! He's only using my son! Get out of here, Josh! I don't want you anywhere near my son!"
Josh lowered his eyes, the man trembling.
"No one's going anywhere. Especially my Joshua."
Everyone's eyes moved, Vivian's blue pools staring into two violet pools staring back at her.
Lucas stood beside his bed, the young man standing in only his hospital gown.
"Lucas? You're standing?!" Josh said, the young man staring at only his mother.
"I'll always stand against hatred. Especially when it's against you, my love. Flee or feel the truth."
Josh looked confused, as did everyone else.
Lucas' eyes suddenly glowed, everyone staring at him.
Vivian Carter stared at her son, Lucas walking towards her.
Lucas' hand went to the stone around his neck, the red stone glowing instantly.
Another red glow suddenly appeared, its hue surrounding Lucas' mother.
Everyone stepped back in shock, Grayson's eyes widening.
"Leave or perish, Shade of evil. I shall send you back to his anger."
The red glow moved backwards, leaving Vivian's body, the woman suddenly collapsing, Justin and Henderson grabbing her, stopping her from falling to the ground.
The red glow was now a moving form, the door it headed towards flying shut, pulled out of Grayson's hands, the man having been holding it open.
"There is no escape, only the truth." Lucas said, his hands raising.
The red form turned, two eyes of blackness now shown.
A deep voice filled the room.
"You can't have that magic! There is no way. . .?" it screamed, Lucas' eyes glowing bright.
Suddenly the red glow was engulfed in whiteness, a flash of whiteness leaving Lucas' hands and surrounding it.
Everyone covered their eyes for a moment, its intensity blinding them.
When they opened their eyes the redness was gone, the room empty of it.
Josh's eyes turned to his lover, Lucas staggering, Josh and Finn at his sides, gently guiding him back into his bed.
Henderson had guided Vivian to a couch, the woman gasping and moaning.
"Get her. . .a doctor, Josh." Lucas softly moaned, the young man closing his eyes.
Lance rushed out of the room, the man in search of aid.
"What was. . .what was that?" Josh said, staring at his Lucas.
Grayson walked up to the end of the bed, staring at Lucas as well.
"It. . .it can't be, Lucas! You can't have. . .!" he stuttered, staring at the young man laying in the bed.
Lucas' eyes opened, his violet pools staring at the lawyer.
"I. . .I sensed the deception. I'll. . . I'll protect all of you."
Lucas closed his eyes again, everyone staring at the young man in silence.
End of Chapter 44
And so our Lucas dodged the bullet.
So to speak.
What has happened to his mother?
Was she possessed?
Grayson seemed shocked by what happened.
Does he know more than he's saying?
Lucas has been made aware of the murderous apparition that Rosa Sharon saw in the cemetery.
It seems there is danger following our young hero.
Josh has his Lucky back.
What of the elusive dangerous Bryce?
Will he stop or will he try again?
Read on, some surprises ahead, as well as more love.