Nifty Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes including sexual relations between people of the same gender. If this isn't your cup of tea, or is illegal where you live, please do not read. Any relation between fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental.


Do Over

Chapter 6

By DK Stories


"Wake up, stud." I whispered into Brian's ear after shutting the door behind me, and I could see him smile as he woke up.

"You're here." He said brightly and I couldn't help but return his smile. He lifted his head up to give me a kiss on the cheek and I let out a small sigh. "What time is it?"

"A little after four." I said softly and his eyebrows furrowed.

"I still feel drunk." He said with a frown.

"It's probably because you still are." I told him without frowning. He was doing enough of that for both of us.

"Why'd you wake me up?" He asked softly. "I wanted to be sober when we woke up."

"Your dad asked me to get you up." I said softly and his brows furrowed even deeper.

"Am I in trouble?" He asked worriedly.

"For drinking?" I asked and he nodded. "Yeah, and it's up to me to determine your punishment since I'm a 'mature young man' as they say. I'm sure your dad is going to have a little talk with you sometime soon as well, about the things you said to me in the hallway. Don't bother lying to him, because I sure didn't."

"Oh fucking shit." Brian said with blushing cheeks as he brought the comforter up over his face.

"Don't worry, you were pretty much right about how he'd react." I assured him, pulling the comforter back down. "Don't blame it on me, I warned you about alcohol and doing stupid things."

"I am so never going to drink again." He said miserably and I laughed.

"I told you not to make promises you're not likely to keep." I said softly. "There's nothing wrong with a drink or two, but getting drunk like this was pretty damn stupid at any age. Now get up and get yourself in the shower. We've got to get going."

"Why?" He asked as I went to grab a backpack from his closet and moved to his dresser to get us some underwear and socks. Brian was a boxer boy, which was fine with me since I preferred boxers anyway. Mom still hadn't bought me any, and I'd only weaseled two pairs out of Nanny, not nearly enough for every day of the week.

"Your Uncle Rich is in the hospital." I said softly, trying to make sure he couldn't see my face. "They think he might have cancer and he collapsed last night."

"You're hiding something." Brian said as I heard the sounds of him getting out of bed. I couldn't turn and face him, and I heard footsteps behind me. His strong hands grabbed my arms and spun me around, and he was looking into my eyes. "You think he's got that 'gay plague'."

"Yes." I said softly, letting my head drop onto his warm shoulder. A few tears leaked out of my eyes as I remembered friends who'd died from that disease and their last days. That was in the days of the first protease inhibitors, and had supposedly been less gruesome than those that had died in the early days of the disease, the days I was now living in.

"Shhh, you're not to blame if he has it now." Brian said softly and I tensed at his words. They were what I wanted, what I needed to hear, but I didn't know why he was saying them. "You told me this disease takes months to incubate, at least six, right? That means he already had it before you came back to this time, and that means no matter what, he would have had the disease."

"Shit, they talk about me being mature." I mumbled into his shoulder and he laughed.

"It's from hanging around you, old man." Brian said lightly. "Pack up my good blue shirt and black slacks, and something for you too while I'm in the shower."

"Yes, Master." I teased him as he made his way, a little unsteadily into the bathroom. His mom came into the room a few minutes later to make sure I'd packed everything we'd need. I had, except for the toothbrushes (I'd long since claimed an unused toothbrush here as mine, as Brian had done at my house). When Brian returned from his shower, I went and took mine, moving quickly since there was now the smell of bacon coming from the kitchen.

Hey, my body was twelve and you know how kids are about food!

Brian had lain out a pair of his nice jeans, a pair of his boxers, socks, and a blue shirt matching the one he wore. I almost made a sarcastic comment about him trying to make me into a clone, but realized that San Francisco term wouldn't come into use for another few years. I had to admit, we did look really handsome once I'd combed my hair. My glasses were the sole distinction between us, well that and the fact my hair was a little lighter and was cut shorter.

"You boys look wonderful." Mrs. Breckenridge said as we moved into the living room and sat at the breakfast counter. Mr. Breckenridge was out loading up the car and she had set two plates of bacon and eggs down for us, along with two cups of orange juice.

"Thanks, is there any coffee left?" I asked. She almost frowned before nodding and fixed me a cup. I had to tell her two sugars and cream, and it tasted damn good. I hadn't had coffee since my little trip back into time, and I'd forgotten how good the caffeine was to wake up with.

"I'd think you'd be too young to have acquired the taste." She stated as I let out a contented sigh after the first sip.

"I'm a mature young man." I said, quoting her words from last night and she chuckled softly while Brian frowned around a mouthful of eggs.

"You wanting some coffee too so you'll feel all grown up like your boyfriend?" Mrs. Breckenridge asked him and I thanked god I didn't have a full mouth of coffee right then. It'd have sprayed all over her just like the eggs from Brian's mouth. He fell into a coughing fit and I had to laugh as I patted his back. His mom was doing the same.

"Mom!" Brian finally gasped aloud.

"Don't 'mom' me young man." She said sternly. "I guessed it months ago when I found two sticky jocks and singlets in the laundry. I've just been waiting until something came up that brought it to your dad's attention."

"You left them in the laundry?" I asked him totally aghast. "I told you to wash them yourself!"

"I didn't know what setting to use so I just put them in the washer." Brian argued back at me, his face beet red. "I figured she'd just turn them on!"

"Don't you know mothers are much more curious than cats?" I demanded almost angrily. Truth be told it was funnier than heck, but I wasn't going to let him off the hook that easily. "You give any mother the least little thing smelling of mystery regarding her kid and she'll leave no stone unturned. Why do you think half of every church is filled with little old ladies who do nothing but gossip about the kids?"

"Crap, I'm not the preacher's kid here." Brian said and I could see he wanted to say something else. I just smiled while his mother recovered from laughing and wiped the eggs off of her apron.

"Just remember your own words next time your mother figures out something about you." Mrs. Breckenridge warned me and I just smiled.

"Believe me, I know that very well." I told her. "My mom has more curiosity than any ten other mothers. I've been doing all the laundry in the house as part of my chores so she won't suspect I'm hiding sticky sheets."

"So, you really think we'll let Brian sleep over there anymore?" She asked me with a knowing smile and Brian actually groaned in despair. I just shrugged.

"We're not having out and out sex, and my sheets will be sticky whether he's there or not, pretty much by the same means either way. I know where this conversation's going, so let's get it over with. If you will be gracious enough to let us sleep together at my house or here, we promise that there will be no real sex going on."

"What do you mean by 'real sex'?" She asked in a very serious tone. I met her gaze evenly and didn't flinch as Brian was doing.

"Oral or anything…further." I said and she nodded slowly.

"That's the one thing I've asked of Rich when he visited with his… friend," she said slowly, "and Ben and I have talked it over after we heard the conversation in the hallway earlier. I think we can live with that."

"Thank you." I said softly.

"You boys finish eating." She said as she removed her apron. "I'll go check and see if Ben's got everything ready."

"Oh man, I almost pissed my pants there." Brian groaned as she left. "I didn't think she'd ever let you sleep in my bed again."

"You have cool parents, bud." I told him. "They understand there's not much they can do to stop everything between us, but they still draw a certain line firmly. We need to keep our side of the deal."

"Does that mean you're not dumping me after last night?" He asked in a small voice and I smiled at him.

"Are you going to get drunk again and let someone drag you aside for a kiss?" I asked him.

"If it's you, maybe." He said with a smile. "Anyone else and I'll deck them."

"Then it's not a problem." I said and was rewarded by a quick peck on the cheek before he returned to his food. I finished my own plate off and put it in the sink, running some water over it before adding it to the half-full dishwasher. I did the same to Brian's plate when he was done, and then added the coffee cup after I'd finished that off. The caffeine was buzzing into my system now, and I was wide awake.

"Boys, let's get a move on." Mr. Breckenridge's voice came from the doorway and I hustled outside with Brian right in front of me. We got into their Buick and Mr. Breckenridge was pulling out before I'd even buckled my seat belt. Brian looked like he was debating something mentally and I realized what it must have been as he laid down with his head resting in my lap. I put a hand on his shoulder as we pulled onto Oakdale Road and Mr. Breckenridge headed towards Yosemite Road, which would take us to the freeway. I could see the worry fill Mrs. Breckenridge's face as we drove and the sky grew lighter. She'd turned on the radio to KCBS and was listening to the bay area traffic reports. It was Saturday, so things would be fairly light, and while Brian drifted back to sleep, I thought about what we would face when we got to the City. It wasn't going to be pretty, if I was right and I had a two-hour long debate with myself over my determination to make no effort to get involved in the upcoming AIDS crisis.

"Don't worry, Rich'll be fine." Mr. Breckenridge said softly to his wife as we passed through the toll stations on the Bay Bridge.

"Which hospital is he in?" I asked as we passed Treasure Island. It was still an active military base in this time and I reflected at how different it looked in the early morning light compared to what it looked like as a civilian island.

"San Francisco General." Mrs. Breckenridge said softly and I hid my wince from them. I'd know for sure if we found out he was in the infectious disease ward. San Francisco's skyline was slightly different than it was the last time I'd been there in 2004, but it was just as beautiful. This was before the yuppification of the City, and while PacBell stadium was beautiful, I found myself agreeing with the purists who insisted San Francisco had possessed more flavor in these earlier days.

Brian woke up again as we reached the hospital and Mr. Breckenridge sought out a parking space. Parking was an eternal problem in the city, and he finally found one not too far from the hospital that wasn't going to cost an arm and a leg. We went inside to the front desk. Even at six-thirty in the morning, the hospital was bustling with activity and the older lady at the desk looked up the name Mrs. Breckenridge gave her quickly. When she didn't find the name at first, she pulled out a red binder and looked through it before nodding to herself and frowning.

"Yes, here he is." She said softly, and looked at us again, her gaze lingering on Brian and me. "He's on the fourth floor, Infectious disease ward. You'll have to take the elevator up, and go to the double doors on your left. There's a buzzer there and you'll have to talk to the duty nurse. They'll let one of you in to see him at a time and explain what you have to do. The boys will have to wait in the waiting room on that floor though."

"Why's he up there, I thought my brother had cancer?" Mrs. Breckenridge asked and I could see indecision float across the older woman's face. I couldn't stand it though, and stepped forward to Brian's mother's side.

"Let's just go up, Mom B." I said softly, calling her that name for the first time. Her eyes widened in surprise, and a soft smile replaced the worried frown as she put her arm around my shoulders. I was nearly five foot nine now, but she was still a little taller.

"Okay, Davey." She said softly. "I'm sure the nurse will be able to tell me what's going on."

We walked towards the elevators in a group, with her arms around me. Brian was on the other side of his dad, but he knew from my reaction what his uncle was sick from and I was both grateful and saddened that they might not let him in to see the man. I knew that I didn't want to see it either. When we exited the elevator on the fourth floor, a middle-aged man who was very skinny came out of the waiting room as soon as he saw Mrs. Breckenridge.

"Barbara!" The man said with a tired smile and slight lisp. He crossed over to us and hugged Mrs. Breckenridge who stepped away from me in order to return the hug. "He's going to be so glad you're here!"

"What's he doing up here, Reggie?" She asked him in a concerned voice and I wondered how he'd answer. Hell, I couldn't exactly remember what the doctors knew and didn't know this early in the disease's appearance in the States.

"They say he's got some weird disease that's been going around the city." Reggie said with a very concerned voice. "It's not something a lot of people talk about, but there's been rumors going around that more and more people are getting sick and they think he's got it, whatever it is."

"Oh no, is it bad?" She asked in a horrified voice and I winced at the question. Reggie just shrugged, unsure of what to say and I turned away from them, an internal war going on inside of me. I didn't notice the adults leave, and Brian come to my side until he put his arm around my shoulders.

"You know, I love my uncle." Brian said in a voice that was choked with tears. "He has that disease, doesn't he?"

"I'm not sure." I insisted firmly. "I haven't seen him, and I can't know for sure until I do, but yeah, I think he does if he's up here. He's probably one of the first few hundred cases."

"Can you help him?" Brian's voice was strained and I looked at his face, noticing the tears there. I knew without a doubt that tears were falling down my own cheeks.

"Brian, there's not a cure even in 2004." I said softly. "I wasn't a chemist, able to make the drugs that even slowed the thing down! I can't even remember the name of the doctors that fucking discovered the disease! Even if I told them everything I know, it wouldn't save him now. If he's entered the terminal stages, it's only a matter of a few weeks or months before something comes along that will kill him off after the disease destroys his immune system."

"Then don't stress out over it." Brian said firmly. "If you can't save him, you can't save him. I'm not going to hate you for that."

"But what about all the others?" I asked him rhetorically. This had been fine when we discussed it theoretically in Mr. Campbell's office. But sitting over there in the waiting room were four people with loved ones in the ward, and I knew there were probably more than four patients in there. In a few years, there'd be thousands. Yeah, I couldn't save them, I couldn't heal them with some magical knowledge from the future, but did what I know hold the possibility of making a difference this early in the game, and was it worth the risk to my own possible future to make that change? What about what I'd said before of how the horror of AIDS had helped the gay community gain a grudging acceptance in the nineties?

"Boys, we might as well go sit down." Mr. Breckenridge's voice startled me out of that chain of thought. "Mom's going in to see her brother. Apparently all visitors have to wear gowns, masks, gloves, and those funny caps and shoes in order to visit with them."

"That's so fucking ridiculous." I said with a snort and realized that I couldn't just stand by without saying anything. My words struck Mr. Breckenridge by surprise, probably because he'd never heard me cuss before. "AIDS isn't spread through the goddamn air, or by touch. It's spread by bodily fluids and dies after contact with the air!"

"What are you talking about?" Mr. Breckenridge asked quietly and I could see Reggie standing behind him with a look of surprise on his face. Brian tightened his arm around me in support and I was momentarily at a loss for words. If I told Mr. Breckenridge the full truth, would he still think I hadn't seduced his son? What to do?

"Reggie, you're Rich's partner, right?" I asked the thin man who stared at me for a long moment.

"Yes, who are you?" He asked me, looking to Brian and Brian's father.

"He's my son's boyfriend." Mr. Breckenridge said firmly, and I could see the surprise register on the thin man's face. "His name's Davey and he's trying my patience right now."

"Sorry about that, sir." I said softly, slowly lifting my gaze to meet Mr. Breckenridge's. He was frowning at me, but also looked like he was trying to share confidence. I took a deep breath before continuing. "Sir, can you trust me?"

"What do you mean?" He asked me.

"Sir, if I tell you some things I know, you're going to have a lot of questions." I said softly, hoping he'd accept this explanation. "I'm sorry, but there's nothing I know that can save Rich. It can save others, though, but…if I talk about them, they'll lead to more questions, and some of those answers would result in things I don't want to happen. It'd tear me away from my home, from Brian, and I don't want THAT to happen. Will you trust me to share what's important, what's needed, and to not force me to answer questions if I tell you no?"

"That doesn't make a lot of sense." Mr. Breckenridge said softly.

"Dad, he's already shared all of it with me." Brian said from next to me and I tensed slightly, but his arm around my shoulders hugged me closer to him. "I know what he does not want to share and I think he's right not to share every thing he knows."

"After your actions last night you expect me to trust your judgment?" Mr. Breckenridge demanded of his son and Brian flinched.

"I've learned my lesson, dad." Brian said despite his flinch and I had to admire him for saying that. "Davey tried to get me to not drink after he found out the punch was spiked, but I didn't listen to him. I should have, he was right, and I trust him even more because of that. He's explained to me why he doesn't want to share everything, and I trust him about that just like I'll trust him next time he tells me not to do something that he thinks is wrong."

"Okay, I promise I won't push you to answer questions you don't want to answer, Davey." Mr. Breckenridge said to me and I let out a sigh of relief. I looked over to Reggie and took a deep breath.

"Reggie, has Rich been having mole-like growths appearing on his extremities lately?" I asked first.

"Yeah, on his feet and his head." Reggie answered with a puzzled frown.

"Has he had purple striations, sudden weight loss?" I continued asking.

"Yes, both." Reggie answered. "I have too, and I've had a few days in the last few weeks where I've been throwing up and nauseous, just like Rich."

"What rumors have you been hearing about a disease among the gay population of San Francisco?" I asked him and he looked at me in silence before answering.

"Some people are saying gay people are getting sick and dying from some weird disease." Reggie answered in a quavering voice. "They say they're calling it the 'gay syndrome' or something like that and everyone's keeping it all hush-hush so we'll all just die off."

"Well, that at least won't happen, although a lot of us are going to die." I said very softly, knowing this man here in front of me was going to be one of them. I suddenly realized how doctors must feel telling patients they had some terminal disease and as his face stretched in horror I knew I wouldn't have made a good doctor. It hurt too fucking much.

"What do you mean by that?" Mr. Breckenridge demanded harshly, his own face filled with horror.

"This disease…it's not really a 'gay syndrome', it's an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome." I said slowly. "It'll kill anyone who gets it, whether they're gay or straight, young or old. It's just easier for gay people to get it because unprotected anal sex spreads the disease faster with contact between bodily fluids and tearing in the anus during sexual activity."

"How do you know all this?" Reggie asked harshly and I looked at him calmly. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man coming out of the hallway that led to the nurses station. He was wearing a white coat over scrubs and looked totally exhausted.

"That's a question I'm not going to answer." I told Reggie calmly as the hospital employee approached us. He gripped Reggie's shoulder and the man turned to face him.

"Hi, Reggie, how are you holding up?" The man asked.

"I've been better, Doctor." Reggie said sadly. "These are Rich's family, his brother-in-law, nephew and his friend."

"It's nice to meet you." The doctor said with a genuine smile. "Too many of my patient's don't get their families to come up here. I assume that's his sister who's visiting Rich now?"

"Yes, my wife." Mr. Breckenridge said with a hint of tiredness in his voice.

"Have you figured out what's wrong with Rich yet?" Reggie said, sending me a quick look that I couldn't quite read as he asked.

"Well, he's got several symptoms matching several other patients." The doctor said with a very slow exhalation of his breath. "I wish I had better news, but his condition continues to deteriorate, and frankly we don't have many answers as to what's causing these things to happen. We've had a few dozen cases here in the last few weeks, and the prognosis is not good."

"What's his t-cell count?" I asked the doctor who looked at me with some surprise. He looked over at Reggie who just nodded, eyeing me with a very closed expression.

"The last test had it at 23." The doctor said after a moment. "The first test had him down to undetectable levels so that's a good sign."

"Until it drops down again." I said softly and the doctor looked at me in more surprise.

"You seem quite well informed on the subject for such a young guy." The doctor said and I shrugged. He turned back to Reggie. "There's a gentleman from the CDC here who'd like to talk to you. They're trying to develop a profile of this thing and every little bit of information we can get would help."

"Yeah, I'll talk to him." Reggie said tiredly, sending me another of those looks. I took a deep breath before speaking again.

"Doctor, can I maybe talk to you alone for five minutes?" I asked the tired doctor, who just stared at me as if trying to discern why I would ask that. He finally nodded and led me down another hallway to an empty room.

"What can I do for you, young man?" He asked me kindly. I noticed he was younger than I'd first thought, probably in his early forties, but his exhaustion made him look a lot older.

"Doctor, if I told you some things that seemed totally unbelievable coming from a kid my age, but they checked out, would you keep the fact that I told them to you an absolute secret?" I asked him cautiously.

"You mean about this disease?" He asked and I nodded.

"There's no way I should know some things, but I do." I said softly. "The thing is, I don't want anyone to know I know them because of the problems it could lead to for me."

"You mean you know who started this disease?" He asked with curiosity, and a slight amount of horror. "Is it man-made?"

"I have no idea on either of those questions." I answered him. "That's the god-honest truth, just as anything else is that I might tell you. The real reason is so far-fetched I wouldn't believe it if it didn't happen to me. Let's just say I know what you're up against. I'm not a doctor or a scientist though, so I don't know a whole lot of detailed information, and most of your questions I can't answer. What I do know, though, will probably help out in a big way with you knowing even less at this point."

"I'll be honest, right now we don't know anything more than people are dying from something they're catching somehow, and most of them are gay men." The doctor said with frustration resounding in every word.

"That's because what you're facing is a retrovirus." I said quietly and his eyes widened at those words.

"A retrovirus? That's impossible! It's just some theory that was published recently." The doctor's voice was elevated now and he turned to look at the far wall as I continued speaking.

"It's a retrovirus that attacks the human immune system." I continued, wishing I could remember more specifics, but what I had would have to do. "That's why the t-cells drop as the patients get sicker. When they get down to zero, that's pretty much it and any little infection they have, or bug, will kill them. That's why you're seeing so many with KS over them, because the retrovirus makes the patient particularly prone to that."

"What does KS stand for?" He asked me, turning around quickly. I winced when asked, because I wasn't absolutely sure.

"Uh, Karposi syndrome I think." I replied and he nodded for me to continue. "The Human Immuno Virus is spread through contact between bodily fluids. Anal sex among gay men is the most common form of transmission here in the US and France where you're seeing most of your cases. You'll also see the numbers spike in intravenous drug users because of the sharing of needles. It'll eventually spread into the blood supply, infecting hundreds more hemophiliacs and patients who need blood during surgeries. Mothers will give it to babies in the womb, and it'll eventually start spreading through heterosexual intercourse, especially in Africa and Asia Minor."

"You sound like you're giving a layman's history of the disease." The doctor said speculatively and I looked at him for a long moment.

"I am." I said softly and his eyebrows rose sharply. "It's called the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. There's a man, I think it was Doctor Gallo in the US who…"

"Who found the retrovirus." He finished with a nod. "If it was anyone who could do it, it would be him. Tell me, in your history lesson is there a cure in sight?"

"A cure? No." I answered softly. "A vaccine? Not even in twenty years. Drugs, protease inhibitors that slow the progress of the disease, that let the infected live longer, more productive lives, yes, those exist in a decade, maybe less now."

"Do you know what a protease inhibitor is?" He asked me and I had to shake my head sadly. He smiled though.

"You know, if you'd known more about this, I would have dismissed this as a prank." He said with a shake of his head. "Maybe I'm just exhausted from another all-nighter and losing another patient with five more ready to go at any time. Most of what you say though makes sense, and I have no idea how a young guy like you might know what you know. At the same time, you don't know enough to convince me right off the bat."

"It's spread through body fluids doctor." I emphasized softly. "Blood mostly, semen has the next highest concentration. Tears and saliva are next to impossible to infect someone with, even through an open cut. The anus tears during anal intercourse sometimes, and that combined with unprotected sex spreads the disease. Oral sores can spread it if the infected person shoots in their partner's mouth. Without any open sores in the mouth, the chance of spreading is thin. Get people to use condoms and every single one who does so is a life you will save. Find the bug faster, and people can start trying to figure out how to kill it or slow it down faster. Don't let it be associated just with gay people and drug users. By the year 2000, most of the people worldwide with the disease will be heterosexuals, and they will be African. That's where your patient zero likely caught the disease and spread it here and across the world. There's just the one you found, but there's probably more."

"Who was patient zero?" The doctor asked quietly.

"He was a flight attendant." I answered immediately. "I can't remember his name but he was Swedish I think."

"We're still looking for him." The doctor said softly and his eyes were focused on me sharply. "Time travel is impossible."

"In 1491 the earth was flat." I countered softly. "In the 1920's the term robot was invented as a word to describe fictional machines that are somewhat commonplace today. In the 1940's anyone would have laughed at the thought of a computer that could fit on TOP of a desk instead of taking up the entire room. In 1954, NASA would have laughed at the idea of a man walking on the moon by the end of the 1960's."

"What are you?" The doctor asked me with a horrified gaze.

"I'm not an alien or anything like that." I said quickly. "Let's just say I'm a mad science project gone wrong. I wasn't supposed to be stuck here, in my past, but I am. I don't want to make waves, just live my life as best and as normally as I can."

"Then why are we talking?" He asked me softly.

"There are just some burdens that I could never live with if I didn't say something." I answered simply, and truthfully. "This thing is going to kill millions. By 2004, over 33 million will be infected and no cure in sight. The mortality rate, even with drugs keeping people alive longer is still 100 percent. Not even cancer kills everyone who gets it, and right now, maybe some difference can be made. How I came here, I don't have the reams of files to call up to answer all the questions that would be asked, what I've told you is what I know and that's all I have."

"If, I can't even believe I'm accepting what you're telling me, but, if we find that this thing is a retrovirus, I want to stay in contact with you." The doctor said. "You might not remember much like this, but if we bounce ideas off of you maybe you can tell us which are in the ballpark. For instance, does treating with antibiotics help a patient live longer?"

"Not really." I answered. "I think it has something to do with the fact that there aren't enough t-cells for the antibiotics to work with, but then I'm no doctor or scientist. I'm a twelve-year old kid with memories of a longer life, nothing more, nothing less."

"Still, those memories can be helpful." The doctor pushed. "Think of it, I mean you know what's going to happen for the next few decades!"

"Yeah, I know Princess Leia is really Luke's twin sister and Darth Vader kills the Emperor to save his son, Luke." I said sarcastically. "I know that in the latter part of this decade they start a new Star Trek series set eighty years after the original series and starring a bald man named Patrick Stewart as the new captain. The first season sucks, the second is tolerable, and things really get good in the third season. Is crap like that worth having me locked away by the government and picked apart for every little bit of trivia I could think of? I don't think so. I'd rather live my life as normally as I can, and if you come running to me with questions about this thing, eventually someone in the government will notice, and my life will be effectively over. I shouldn't even have said anything to you, but my sympathy for people like Rich and Reggie, both of whom are going to die from AIDS overrode my common sense."

"Reggie has it too?" The doctor asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes, the weight loss, nausea and purple striations in the extremities are all warning signs of the disease." I said sadly. "Reggie has them.

"See, this is what I mean!" The doctor said firmly. "You just gave me more information we could use!"

"I'll be here today, and maybe a few days longer while Mrs. Breckenridge visits her brother." I said after taking a deep breath. "Maybe I can find reasons to visit in the future as well. You don't try to contact me though, and you keep anything I tell you secret. Take the credit for the ideas as your own, just leave me out of anything, even an innocent conversation with your wife."

"Prince Leia is really Luke's sister?" The doctor asked with a smile. "You know the last movie comes out next year."

"Yes, and hopefully by then you'll have other proof I've been telling you the truth." I said with a sad smile.

"I'm already convinced, and you'll be more secret than any of my patient's files." He said firmly. "I won't even write your name down anywhere. I'll give you my home number and you contact me there when you're coming to the city and we'll meet up outside of the hospital. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out how I'm going to broach my new ideas to the guy from the CDC."

"Good luck, doctor." I said softly before he left, and our eyes met briefly. He seemed to realize what I meant by that, the endless number of patient's he would see die in coming months and years, and his shoulders sagged slightly. Then they straightened and he held his head up high.

"I'm a doctor, young man." He said softly. "I won't rest until we beat this thing, no matter how many patients I lose along the way.

He walked out of the room after that and I stood there for a few minutes, tears still trickling down my face. Maybe I'd just ruined my chances at enjoying my second childhood, but deep down I knew I could at least live with myself. I knew that outside the room, Brian was waiting with his family, and that he too knew Rich would die, and could guess that Reggie would die as well.

Even now, when I knew things that would happen over the next twenty years, I was as helpless in the face of something like this disease as I had been in my previous timeline, my 'normal' life. I couldn't wave a magic wand and make it disappear, I couldn't whisper some magic words in the ears of a doctor and watch him come up with a miracle cure by the next day. People would still die from this disease, and it would still be around twenty years from now.

But maybe, just maybe, a few less would die, and I had to wonder if giving up my chance for a normal second life wasn't worth just a few of those lives.



As with all my stories, E provides immeasurable input, grammar checking, and all those other lovely editing thingies that make the story so much better!


Feedback, an Author's Lifeblood

A/N - Several Readers have asked if I have a website or other stories on the net. Some of my early stories, including MIsts of Fate were posted here to Nifty and to . Most of my later stories are now posted on in the Hosted Authors section (just look for DK Stories). Enjoy!