Click here for updated Character List ("<\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Jared<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 29<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'3\", 230 lbs of solid muscle, trimmed dark black hair and deep chocolate brown eyes<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Liam) \/ Shift Supervisor<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Liam<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Melanie Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Masqua, Standing Bear<\/li>\r\n<li>Titles: Sacred Medicine Man of the People, President and CEO Bear Investment Group (secret)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Liam<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 22<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", blue eyes, curly blond hair, nicely toned and tanned<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic (Partner: Jared)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Jared<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Eagle<\/li>\r\n<li>Nicknames: Mikisow, Soaring Eagle<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Troy<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, blonde hair, solid but not overly muscular.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Tyler<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Tyler<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'11\", brown eyes, dark brown hair, slim<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Josh)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Troy<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Josh<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 25<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 5'8\", blue eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Darrin could pass for cousins or even brothers,<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Police Officer (Partner: Tyler)<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Darren<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Ditch Pig<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Darren<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Age: 26<\/li>\r\n<li>Description: 6'0\", green eyes, light brown hair, solid. He and Josh could pass for cousins or even brothers.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Fire Fighter<\/li>\r\n<li>Boyfriend: Josh<\/li>\r\n<li>Spirit Guide: Wolf<\/li>\r\n<li>Nickname: Hose Puller<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\"> <\/p>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\"><span style=\"text-decoration: underline; color: #999999;\">Minor \/ Recurring Characters<\/span><\/h4>\r\n<h4 style=\"text-align: justify;\">Rob<\/h4>\r\n<ul style=\"text-align: justify;\">\r\n<li>Job: Ambulance Base Manager<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: CEOPS Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p> <\/p>\r\n<h4>John<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: CFO and Acting CEO, Bear Investment Group (2nd in command after Jared)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")
There is a small LGBTQ2 drop-in center downtown; a place where Jared had volunteered a few times by helping with some of the activities. He enjoyed it tremendously, especially working with the clients directly. Jared wanted to do more to help in their community outreach programs but was still deciding how to do it most effectively. Knowing both the Centre and the director, he was surprised when a call came in to attend to the location in response to an assault. The call was dispatched as a 'Delta' meaning the injuries were serious and considered life-threatening. Liam and Jared were on the move with the lights and siren operating to clear the traffic. As the ambulance pulled up in front of the building, they turned off the siren but left the lights operating.
When they came in the front door with their equipment, Liam and Jared were immediately rushed into the director's office. Zane, the director, was kneeling on the floor and leaning over the top of a young man lying there, and talking to him soothingly.
"Down here Jared, I was hoping it would be you to get the call. This is Conner and he's just 18 years old. He crawled or fell through the front the door just before I called 911. He came to us for help after being beaten badly by his father at home. I really don't know how he made it here on his own," Zane explained.
Jared knelt beside Conner and said, "Hi Conner. I'm Jared and this is my partner Liam. We're here to help you if you'll let us." Jared observed Conner was lying on his back but semi-recumbent, his one arm was holding the other up in a guarding position. This guarding position was different though. He was not only supporting his arm in a stable position, but he had positioned his arm tight to his chest. This could indicate both hurt arm, or chest or ribs.
Conner opened his swollen eyes as wide as he could to look at Jared, "I hurt everywhere."
"What happened?" asked Jared.
"This is my birthday gift from my father. He didn't want any abominations in the eyes of the Lord soiling his house and family so he beat me up more than usual. Then he dragged me to the door and rolled me down the front steps. He yelled at me that I don't belong to this family anymore, that he has no son."
As Conner was talking, Liam had moved to the other side of him and was starting to get some equipment out quietly. Liam didn't want to startle the young man so he told him, "I am going to put something on your finger and take your blood pressure as well. It won't hurt you, Conner."
"How did your father assault you, Conner? Like, with his open hands or a weapon?" asked Jared.
"He punched, slapped, and even kicked me when I was on the ground. Then he used something else to hit me with, maybe a broom handle. It broke when it hit my arm and he got even madder," replied Conner.
"Conner, you're doing fine. I need to poke one of your fingers for another test. You may feel a pinprick for just a second," said Liam.
"I am going to open your shirt so I can examine you, Conner. Let me know if it hurts," said Jared. As he started to work on opening his shirt, Conner cried out. Jared looked at him and got out his scissors, cutting up both sleeves and the chest. He moved the material and exposed Conner's arms and chest. There were numerous bruises and swelling all over the young man's body. They weren't all fresh marks; many of them were in various stages of healing. Conner also had one very clear, very fresh, and very detailed shoe print on his chest. Obviously, his father had been wearing Nike running shoes when he kicked him. The trademark was clearly embedded in Conner's skin from the force of the kick. The police should be able to match the shoe print pattern on Conner's chest to his dad's footwear as evidence.
"If you would call the police Zane, and ask if Tyler or Josh are available to respond to this complaint," requested Jared. "Liam, the lead is yours on this call."
Liam nodded his acknowledgment and continued what he was doing. He called out the blood pressure, oxygen level, blood sugar and hemoglobin levels.
"Before we start too much, I think we need to snap a few pictures of Conner's injuries for our report and the police," said Jared.
Liam commenced cutting up the middle of each leg to remove Conner's pants. While he was cutting, he turned to Jared and said, "Internal bleeding with those numbers. Get the lines established with the biggest cathalon you can get into him. It doesn't look like he has much in the way of veins to work with though."
Liam continued to cut the pants off while Jared got to work. Finished cutting, Liam pulled the pants off the young man. Although the boxer shorts were still in place, both Liam and Jared could see his father had done a good number on him. Jared took his smartphone out and snapped several photos of the injuries.
While Liam was checking Conner from head to toe a more detailed second time, Jared was initiating the fluid therapy.
Conner cried out, "He hates me. My father hates me and wanted me dead because I'm gay. Let me die, I'm a disgrace to him. He's been trying to beat Satan out of me for years. I tried not to choose this lifestyle but I wasn't strong enough. Satan won the battle and I'm evil."
Jared spoke to him in a very soothing tone, "Being gay is not a choice Conner, but hatred is. The Creator made every person on this planet and he allowed people the ability to make many choices, but sexuality wasn't one of them. We should love everyone like a brother or sister, no matter who they love... like the Creator intended."
Liam looked and saw the office door closed and now it was just the three of them. He looked at Jared and nodded his head. Liam placed one hand on Conner's forehead and another on his chest. "Creator, guide my hands to do your work, this man needs to continue on his path in life and was not meant to take this trail," prayed Liam aloud looking up.
Jared watched as Liam's eyes began glowing a brilliant white. Liam started in Conner's head and healed a small bleed, the result of blunt force trauma applied by his father kicking him. He quickly moved from the brain down through the spinal cord noting the fluid's color was unremarkable. There were lots of superficial bruising, and that would heal on its own. Traveling through the abdomen, Liam observed fresh blood collecting. The spleen was obviously the root of the problem and he saw it was damaged and bleeding into the surrounding cavity. There had so far been about a liter of blood loss as Liam began to heal it. The tear was significant and was taking all his concentration. The damaged edges of the tissue began to glow as they reached towards each other, finally healing the organ. While the organ was healing, Liam thought he saw a shadow fighting to stay in the organ but finally leaving it. Liam concentrated on the blood in the cavity, allowing the walls of the intestines to absorb it for elimination. He realized this would give the young man some foul-smelling explosive diarrhea in the near future, but it was better than dying. Conner relaxed slightly as the glow disappeared.
"Jared, he's still injured, but the life-threatening conditions have been fixed," said Jared. "The doctors will have to look at the arm, but I don't think its broken."
"Good work Liam," said Jared. "Looks like even you had a challenge."
"The spleen was in rough shape. I sensed something in the injuries, like a residual shadow from his father's assault. His dad must be filled with the servants of the dark to do this to his son, and it may have been one of them," explained Liam.
"Let's focus on Conner now, and deal with the rest as it happens," suggested Jared.
Working together, they immobilized him in a neck brace and then gently moved him onto a spine board. The door to the office opened and a police officer walked in who Jared didn't recognize. Zane came in behind him and said, "The guys were tied up. This is Officer Newberry."
Officer Newberry looked like he didn't want to be here. "What have we got here?" he demanded of the medics.
Liam spoke up, "You have an 18-year-old male assaulted by his father, beaten with a weapon, punched and kicked numerous times, possibly a broken arm, possibly cracked ribs or at least badly bruised, and internal bleeding."
"What did he do to cause the assault?" asked the officer.
"He didn't do anything. He's the victim, Officer Newberry. His father beat him and then threw him out of the house just because Conner was gay," replied Liam.
Jared and Liam could both feel the officer's emotions even without having to make contact with him, and they weren't good. Jared sensed the officer was going to bury this incident and even help the young man's father. Then it came through clearly to Jared that Newberry was a religious zealot who actually knew the young man and his father as they went to the same church together. The hatred from Newberry towards the LGBTQ2 Centre, gays, and the young man was not physically obvious, but emotionally it was crystal clear to both Liam and Jared, sending involuntary shudders up their spines as they felt the emotional waves of energy.
Liam was repulsed by this man, but he also knew Officer Newberry was one of those people who he could not intervene with to make him change his path of life. He had chosen it freely and he didn't realize the poison and evil influences which were at work within him.
Newberry looked at Jared and said, "Well, I will look into it and talk with his dad. There is probably more to the story than this fag... young man is telling us."
After Jared and Liam lifted Conner onto the stretcher, Jared turned and said to Officer Newberry, "There is no reason for any father to do this to his son. There is nothing a son could have done to warrant this from the man who created him and gave him life."
"Well, I guess we'll see about that, won't we," he replied very disinterestedly.
Officer Newberry turned to leave the room when Liam called to him and asked, "Are you going to meet us at the hospital?"
"No, I won't be. I have to go for my lunch break and then I'll go take a statement from his dad first. I'll drop by to see him later," Officer Newberry replied with ice in his voice. "It's fitting that the abomination came here to this den of sin to find help from his kind. He needed to get help to get his story straight to blame his father."
Liam was about to become unglued when Jared held his hand up towards him.
Jared said to Liam, "Let's get this young man to the hospital where there are people who care to talk with him."
"Be careful of his blood, it is probably full of the disease God sent to cleanse the earth of those heathen abominations," suggested Officer Newberry.
Jared pushed by Newberry in the doorway, pulling the stretcher by him. Liam made sure the wheels of the stretcher hit and scuffed the spit polish of Newberry's boots very deeply. Newberry cursed and swore while looking at his damaged boots.
They loaded him up and Jared told Liam to stay in the back to continue treatment. Jared got into the driver's seat and edged his way into traffic. He turned on the lights and siren and proceeded towards the hospital. As he was driving, Jared activated his cellphone and said, "Call Sgt. Myers." The call went through. Jared asked for him to meet them at the hospital as there were some problems he needed help with. Sgt. Myers agreed and said he would be there in a few minutes.
Jared killed the siren as they got to the hospital. He drove into the ambulance bay where a nurse was waiting to meet them. They pulled out the stretcher and pushed it into the treatment room. Liam gave them a verbal report and the hospital staff looked shocked at what he told them. They transferred the spine board over to the hospital examination table and then pulled their stretcher out. The Doctor reached over and pulled the blankets back to look at the footprint which had been described.
While staring at the footprint embedded in the young man's skin, the Doctor spoke with anger. "Jared, are they going to get this son of a bitch? Who did it?"
Liam was across from the Doctor and replied, "His father did it, and he's still out there somewhere."
The Doctor locked eyes with Liam coldly. "I'm tired of seeing this shit; parents beating their children to the point where they die. This is the third one today, but the oldest. The previous ones were 3 and 8 years old. I don't care about the consequences but if his father shows up here, well I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by six."
Liam nodded to the Doctor, and the two of them looked at each other for a moment. He reached out and set his hand on the back of the Doctors. Liam looked into the doctor's mind and memories. He had been beaten by his father and when he saw kids with these injuries, it brought up unresolved memories. He saw the Doctor was seeing a psychiatrist but was resistant to opening up. Liam quickly placed a couple of ideas into his head. The first was to cooperate with the psychiatrist and work with her to find a path to healing. The second was to quit smoking. Finally, he would think of Jared and himself as friends and should he become self-destructive again, he would be compelled to seek them out before taking any action. Liam lifted his hand, and the Doctor shook his head as if he was trying to refocus on something. Their contact had only been for a couple of seconds, but that's all it took for Liam to move the Doctor back onto his path of life.
Jared and Liam got their equipment together and headed out of the trauma room.
Jared smiled at his partner. "You're getting good at that, Liam."
"He needed it, Jared. Without a couple of suggestions, he was probably going to be dead before the end of the week."
Jared raised one eyebrow in response to Liam's statement. As they were heading back to the unit, Sgt. Myers came into the bay through a side door.
"What's up, Jared?" he asked.
"Do you know an Officer Newberry?"
"Yes, I do. He is on my shift, general duties, but a self-righteous asshole if you ask me," Sgt. Myers replied without hesitation.
As Jared and Liam changed the stretcher and cleaned the ambulance, he explained the conversation he had with Officer Newberry about the victim they had just brought in. He quoted Newberry's comment 'It's fitting the abomination came here to this den of sin to find help from his kind. He needed to get help to get his story straight to blame his father' to Sgt. Myers.
Sgt. Myers listened without interrupting Jared. When Jared finished, Sgt. Myers sat and looked at him, obviously getting angry. "I've heard what you said, Jared, and believe you without hesitation. I want statements from the two of you, please."
"Ok, no problem. We'll pull out of the bay and meet you in the hospital cafeteria in a couple of minutes," replied Jared.
After parking the unit and updating dispatch, they caught the elevator to the basement and headed to the cafeteria. They arrived at the same time as Sgt. Myers and all three got a meal from the cafeteria with Jared picking up the tab.
While eating, Jared and Liam each wrote out their own statements. Jared also had Liam show his pictures of Conner's injuries to the Sergeant and then email him copies. After they had finished their statements as well as their meals, Jared looked at Liam who appeared to be in deep thought.
"What's on your mind, Liam?" asked Jared.
"I was just considering something. Why do they always have the morgue and the cafeteria in the basement of a hospital? Is there something going on with that? Like sharing coolers to cut costs?" Liam replied with a smirk.
The sergeant started to laugh at Liam's comment. Jared reached up and slapped him on the back of the head. "Shhhhh," he said. "That's why the prices are cheap here for a burger. Do you want to let the secret out?"
The sergeant recovered and said, "By the way, while I appreciate the respect to my rank, call me Frank. Both of you can call me Frank. I will tell you, none of my men are allowed to call me by my first name and the first time they hear you two do it, their jaws will hit the floor. Our sense of humor in this job is so bad, isn't it? When we go into our usual restaurant to eat, they put us in the corner and won't put other customers near us. I guess talking about guts, gore, and criminal acts turn some people's stomachs. I remember the first time I went to a fatal accident; the guys took me out for lasagna afterward."
They all chuckled and then Jared asked, "How's it going with your son?"
"It is better between us now than it has been for years. He brought his boyfriend home to meet me, too. He's a nice guy. Jared, I don't know what happened to me to suddenly understand all this but I am very thankful something did. I've also changed churches to the one my son goes to. They preach of love, tolerance, peace, understanding, and acceptance, and the whole service is great to be a part of, not like the old church. The old church's position on homosexuality was preaching everything short of outright killing them, and that was a mainline church. While I'm not gay, I understand and accept them as human beings and that knowledge has given me my son back."
Jared smiled and looked at Frank. He had to ask the man a question and he was trying hard not to laugh while he did it. "Is that cat hair on your tie?" asked Jared.
"Probably," he replied. "I gave in and let my daughter have a kitten. It's actually the cutest thing you have ever seen and when she's not at the house, it likes to curl up on me to sleep. She puts her paws around my neck like the little thing is hugging me. I hate to admit it, but I love the little thing. I only have my daughter with me a couple of times a month. My wife and I are divorced, but we get along really well and we share her between the two homes. Actually, having the kitten around the house reminds me of my daughter when she isn't there."
"That's great to hear. What do you think about this problem with Officer Newberry?"
"I'll deal with it. Newberry, Conner and his dad are all members of the same church and that church is even more out in left field than the one I left. Jared, I'll keep you both informed about what's going on. I appreciate you contacting me to look into this, not only to make sure Conner is treated fairly but to prevent the disgrace of the entire Police force. I'm indebted to you."
"No one is ever indebted to us, Frank. We're all just walking the paths of life and able to help each other at times in our journey. It was planned that way, my friend."
"Jared, if you ever start your own church, let me know. I would fill the seats with people who want to hear what you say about life."
"Thanks, Frank," said Jared. They got up, shook hands and headed out.
They went up to the Intensive Care Ward and stopped at the Nursing Station. They were told Conner was in bed 5.
Jared and Liam found him lying on the bed looking more comfortable than when they saw him last time. Jared and Liam looked at the equipment he was hooked up to and then smiled at each other. A Doctor was passing by when he saw Jared.
"Long time, no see, Jared... Liam, you too," he said extending his hand to them both. They shook. "He's doing better, Jared. We are still waiting for some tests to come back and he's going for a CAT scan soon. There were no spinal injuries but it was a good precaution on your part to immobilize him. We're worried about the possibility of small bleeders in his head and maybe something in his abdomen. What confuses me is his hemoglobin count is way down consistent with him suffering a more serious internal injury, but nothing is showing up except an explosive round of melena with no cause. It's really unusual but we'll keep testing to figure it out, or rule out everything we can."
"Thanks, Doctor. Please send me a text if anything changes or he wakes up," said Jared. Jared filled the Doctor in on the assault, and the reasons for it. Jared also recommended Conner be placed on a 'no visitors' status, including the police and his father. The exceptions to this rule would be Zane or Sgt. Frank Myers. If any police show up, they were to call Sgt. Myers immediately and tell him.
"I will document it on his chart for you Jared, and it will be written as an order to be followed," he replied. "Why so specific about the police who have access to him?'
Jared and Liam explained the problem with Officer Newberry. The Doctor just shook his head in disbelief. "I know this type of thinking still exists but it shocks me every time I hear it firsthand."
They left the hospital and got into their unit. It had been very quiet while they were in the hospital. Jared phoned Rob and brought him up to speed on the call as well as the problem with Officer Newberry. Jared told him they were going to go back to the LGBTQ2 Center and talk with Zane. Rob had no problem with that and told them to make sure they had their radios with them.
Zane invited them into the coffee room to relax for a few minutes. Jared filled him in everything he knew. He also mentioned they had met with Sgt. Myers and discussed Officer Newberry's attitude with him. Jared told Zane the sergeant may come by and take a statement from him as well.
They all got a cup of fresh Guatemalan coffee and sat down. They chatted back and forth for a bit.
Jared stood, put his coffee cup in the dishwasher and said, "Time to hit the road, cutie."
Both Liam and Zane answered together they were ready and started to laugh. Jared gave them the finger and said to Liam, "You're riding in the back cabinet until we get a call. Zane can be the eye candy up front with me."
Liam gave an exaggerated pout and the finger to Jared.
They drove to the base to fill up with gas and had just started when a call came in for them. It was another case of chest pains. The call went like clockwork and they were soon dropping the patient off at the hospital.
It was near the end of their shift so they returned to base and went over their unit to make sure everything was stocked up.
The next morning, after their run and a quick snack, they arrived at the base. After grabbing their radios, they went to the shift room and as usual, Rob was sitting there looking at papers.
The boys greeted him and found out they were on floater again today.
"Melanie sent me a message and said she would be here about noon. I can't thank you enough Jared and by the way, my wife is quite happy now. But, she did give me shit for not speaking up earlier to the boss. She has no clue, Jared," laughed Rob.
Liam spoke up, "That's great, Rob. We're both happy to hear it." He turned to Jared and asked, "To the hospital to check on Conner?"
"Good idea, Liam," replied Jared.
"Do I want to know?" asked Rob.
"It's the kid we picked up yesterday at the LGBTQ2 Center. He has no one and has been disowned by his family. So, we are sort of going to try and find out if we can help him," said Jared.
"You really do have a big heart, Jared, and that goes for your little sidekick, too," said Rob.
Liam stuck his tongue out at Rob.
They left the base and headed to the hospital. There were seven other units on the road today and so far, it had been quiet. They parked and advised dispatch by radio where they would be if needed. Liam sent a text message to Josh and Tyler and asked them if they could drop by the hospital to meet with Conner.
The two of them went up to the ICU and checked in at the Nurses Station. Conner had a quiet night and seemed to be doing better but not out of the woods yet. They still were monitoring for bleeds. The nurse told him Conner was one of the nicest young men she had met in a long time, but he was pulling himself into a shell. They were all worried about him psychologically as well as physically. Jared let the nurses know Tyler and Josh may be up to visit and the no police rule didn't apply to them.
They went down to the room and knocked at the door. When there was no answer, they went in anyway. Conner was lying in bed, the TV on but volume low, just staring at the ceiling with open eyes.
Jared spoke "Conner?"
Conner looked over at him, "Yes?"
"I'm Jared, and this is Liam. We're the paramedics who were on duty yesterday and we dropped in to see how it's going."
"I appreciate what you guys did, but I've nothing to live for now. I have no money, no clothing, no home, and no family."
Liam spoke up, "We heard that yesterday and that's part of the reason we came to visit you. You have at least two friends, us."
Conner looked at them both for a moment and didn't say anything.
Liam and Jared got chairs and pulled them up next to the bed.
"Conner, there are many times in life a person needs help. There are other times a person needs someone to lean on. Hopefully, it never happens to anyone but sometimes they also fall and need someone to catch them. You fell, and we caught you," said Jared.
Conner sat and looked at them for a moment before saying, "You're wasting your time. I'm an abomination in the eyes of God. My father was right, I should have died."
Jared spoke quickly, "Your father is wrong. The Creator loves all his children with no restrictions. All of mankind are brothers and sisters."
Conner spoke, "I hear you, but I can't believe it. I've been taught for years that gay is a choice, a lifestyle, and its evil. Satan is behind making people gay."
Liam spoke up, "Conner, I'm gay and came out to my parents at 14." Liam told Conner about his coming out and the relationship his parents had with him until they died.
"Really? They didn't mind and still loved you?" asked Conner.
"Absolutely. That's what the Creator intended. Parents loving their children, and their children loving them back," explained Liam. "One of the best things I remember about my mom and dad was their hugs. We gave each other hugs all the time, even when I had left for college I still got and gave hugs when we got together."
"I can't remember the last time I had a hug," said Conner with a tear leaking out his eyes.
Jared then spoke up, "Conner, I'm gay as well. In fact, Liam and I are not only partners at work, but we are boyfriends as well."
"You're serious?" Conner said with a bit of enthusiasm in his voice.
"Yes Conner, it's true," Jared replied. Jared looked at Liam and took his hand into his.
"Wow, you guys seem so normal. Sorry, I mean you don't seem... aw fuck," said a frustrated Conner.
"Conner, slow down. We're prepared to answer your questions but we don't want to overload you. You're still in a hospital and going for further testing this afternoon. We will have lots of time to talk," said Jared.
"I can't stay, Jared. I have to get out of here. Hospitals are expensive and I have nothing," said Conner.
"Conner, your expenses are covered and even your TV. The only thing not covered is pornos," laughed Jared.
Liam then added, "Yes, it's true. There is a hospital fund set up for young people who need help. The fund is covering everything. If you want some pornos, let me know and I will sneak them in for you."
"Liam!" said Jared.
"Ok. Jared will sneak them in," said Liam.
"Liam! That's not what I meant either," Jared said.
They both looked over at Conner and he was smiling, trying not to laugh because it hurt so much. "Are you two always like this?" he asked.
"No," said Jared at the same time Liam said, "Yes."
Conner started to laugh and then winced in pain. "You two are ok," he said. "Do you really want to be my friends?" he asked.
Liam spoke, "Of course we want to be your friends."
"I wanted to be a paramedic, but my dad said faggots aren't allowed and don't deserve good jobs," said Conner. "God's people, or straights, get the important jobs."
"He was as wrong as Liam in a dress," said Jared. Jared leaned over to Conner and said, "His legs are too hairy and they are ugly."
"What's wrong with my legs?" asked Liam as he lifted a leg and pulled his pant leg up for everyone to see.
Conner started to laugh again. "You guys are unreal."
There was a knock at the door and two heads popped in, one above the other.
"Are you guys decent?" asked Josh. The door opened and two large, good-looking policemen entered the room and closed the door.
Conner looked scared. Jared stood and said, "Conner, these two guys are our brothers, Josh and Tyler."
"Your brothers?" asked Conner.
"It's a long story, but we're brothers. None of us have a family anymore so we became our own. We have two other brothers as well. One of them is a paramedic and the other is a fireman," explained Jared.
"Which one is which?" Conner asked Liam pointing at the two new arrivals.
"It's easier to tell them apart when they are naked, Josh is the smaller one," said Liam. He then held his hand up and separated his fingers about 1 inch apart.
Josh leaned forward and smacked the back of Liam's head slightly and said, "Asshole!"
Conner started laughing again.
Jared looked at Josh and Tyler. "You know Conner's background and story, right?" asked Jared.
"Yes, we do," said Josh. "Tyler has been assigned to the investigation. Officer Newberry is on meter ticket duty until the sergeant figures out what to do with him."
Tyler stepped forward. "You have nothing to fear from us, Conner. We're both gay and have boyfriends. My boyfriend is a paramedic and Josh's is a firefighter." Tyler leaned down and whispered, "Josh doesn't have high standards. When you have a small dick, you date anything including a firefighter."
Josh stepped over and tried to give Tyler a pinch on the ass.
Conner was laughing again. "Are you sure you guys aren't really related? You are all nutcases!"
"But seriously, Conner, I'm the investigator on your assault now and I'd like to get a statement from you," said Tyler.
Conner looked at him, and then at Jared who nodded his head. "Ok," said Conner.
Jared's and Liam's radios warbled. They were needed for a transfer from the hospital to a nursing home on the edge of the city.
"Duty calls," said Liam. "We'll check in on you after our shift, Conner. Maybe even bring some real food for you to eat."
"Pizza?" asked Conner.
"Well, maybe this time," replied Jared with a smile.
The four brothers hugged and Jared left with Liam. Tyler got his notepad out and commenced taking Conner's statement. An hour later it was done and Tyler handed it to Conner, asking him to read it over. It took him a few minutes to read all the pages and afterward, he signed the bottom of each page, handing it back to Tyler.
"I have a medical release here for to you sign as well, Conner. It gives us the authority to obtain a copy of your diagnosis and treatment for this assault as well as any photos or diagnostic imaging the hospital did."
Conner signed that paper as well and handed it back to Tyler.
"Conner, now I need to ask you one question not as a policeman but as a concerned friend. Have you been sexually active or at least had safe sex?"
Conner blushed and replied, "No, nothing at all."
"Good, I was going to suggest you get a blood test to confirm no problems resulting from sex but as you haven't had any, it's not necessary."
"Thanks for your concern, Tyler, and it was a good idea. I can't believe I just told you I am still a virgin... unless jacking counts," said Conner.
"No, it doesn't count," Josh chuckled. "If it did, that would mean I lost my virginity at 9."
Tyler rolled his eyes as he chuckled.
"Thanks for your cooperation, Conner," said Tyler. "When we're dealing with your dad, we'll be seeking for him to remain in custody but I think he will be released. So, we will be asking for conditions of no contact with you, directly or indirectly. What about the rest of your family. Will they be a problem?"
"No, I don't think so. Mom was powerless to stop him but every time he beat me, she would try to help me out afterward when it was safe. I have a younger brother who is 17 and still at the house. I'm concerned about his safety," replied Conner.
"Why's that?" asked Josh.
"As far as I know, he's straight. We weren't allowed to hang out with anyone outside of the church except when we are in school sports. He got a fair share of beatings as well when his teams didn't win or his marks weren't what dad thought was high enough," said Conner.
Tyler thought for a minute and decided to take another statement, with a wider scope to cover what they had just spoken about. Just as he was to start, a nurse came in to check Conner's vital signs. After completing that task, she left. Tyler took another 45 minutes to get everything down on paper, which Conner signed as before.
The two policemen were just getting ready to leave when the Doctor came in and informed Conner he would be heading for an ultrasound. He also told him the CAT scan report was back, and everything was indicating his internal bleeding had stopped. Conner would be moved out of the ICU after the tests and into a private room within the ward. He figured if everything went well, he could probably get out in a couple of days.
"Conner," the Doctor started "We've noted some other issues and we will be scheduling a social worker to visit with you and have a chat. Don't worry, I don't think you're insane or anything, especially when I compare you to those two," he said pointing at the two policemen. They were both making innocent faces and gestures of 'Who, Me?'
The Doctor continued, "I just want her to talk with you and see how you are coping with your situation, and maybe she will even be able to help you adjust."
Conner was listening to every word. "I appreciate your concern, Doctor, and appreciate what you are doing for me. I have four new friends and I'm sure they will help, too. I know what they have said to me has helped already."
The doctor smiled and said, "If you are mixed up with these two as well as Jared and Liam, I know things will work out. This isn't the first time these guys have helped someone."
Josh and Tyler gave their farewells and left Conner talking with the doctor. In the elevator, Josh said, "Nice kid, isn't he?"
"He sure seems it," replied Tyler. "I have to go talk with his father now. You want to back me up, Joshie?"
"Absolutely, buddy," he replied.
They got into their cars and headed over to Conner's home. Josh pulled up in front while Tyler parked two houses down and walked to meet Josh at his car. They went out of service with dispatch at the address. They approached the house and even before knocking, they noticed the front door was open and they could see into the house through the screen door.
On the floor, there was a set of legs in view, toes pointed down; the rest of the person hidden behind the wall of the hallway.
The two policemen moved into the house, guns drawn, cautiously moving in towards the victim. Tyler hit the emergency button on his radio carefully. It was immediately followed by the police dispatch calling units by number and giving the address to respond Code 4. They checked the kitchen and living room, yelling clear at each other as they progressed. They slowly went through the rest of the house and found it clear as well. The house didn't have a basement so it was a short search. There was a woman, face down in the hallway with a large pool of drying blood around her head. While they were clearing the house, they had found a young man in a pool of blood in what was most likely his bedroom. Neither person had a pulse when they checked. This didn't surprise either of them as the injuries were most likely caused by gunshots and the injuries appeared to be inconsistent with the continuance of life. There were 9mm casing near the bodies.
Tyler's cell phone rang and he answered it. It was Sgt. Myers and Tyler explained what they had going on and the suspect they wanted to interview was on the run.
"Sgt. Myers, I don't think either one is alive, but the paramedics can confirm it when they get here. It looks like Conner's mother and brother from the family portraits smashed on the floor," said Tyler.
"Understood, Tyler. We'll be there in a couple of minutes," Sgt. Myers replied.
The two of them heard the multitude of sirens in the distance converging on the crime scene. Josh went to meet them at the door.
Jared and Liam had heard the dispatch for the assault victims in a home. They were still tied up on their transfer, so the call was given to another crew. The dispatched crew had arrived on scene within a few moments, shortly thereafter calling dispatch to advise them by code that the patients were DOA and that they were on standby at the scene for statements, but available for a call if needed.
Jared was in the back attending to the transfer patient when his cell phone rang. The call display showed it was Josh.
Jared answered the phone and simply said, "Go ahead, Josh."
Josh explained the situation they found at Conner's house. He also advised the father, the most likely suspect, was on the run.
Jared thought for a minute and then said, "Can you get someone to babysit Conner? If he's on the run, and from what Conner has said about him is right, he is unstable enough to try and finish the job by shooting Conner. We'll try and get back to the hospital to stay with Conner. When you do the notification, we want to be there to pick up the pieces."
"I'll deal with it," said Josh. "Sgt. Myers is here and I'll ask him."
Jared hung up the phone and moved up the front of the ambulance where he could speak with Liam.
"You heard?" said Jared.
"Just your end, Jared," said Liam. Jared filled him on the rest of the conversation.
"This is going to get rough, Liam," said Jared. Liam just nodded.
They finished their transfer and cleared with dispatch. Another call was dispatched to them almost immediately to head to a school. A grade 6 student had fallen off playground equipment and hurt his leg. Liam drove the ambulance normally for this type of call. Upon arrival, they found a fairly husky young man with a lower leg injury. The leg was bending in an area where there was no joint for it to do so. The two paramedics treated the leg, splinted it, and loaded the child up on the stretcher, heading to the hospital.
After unloading and restocking the unit, they parked it with the intention of going upstairs to see Conner. Tyler pulled up in his car and rolled the window down.
"He just went for his ultrasound. Conner will be in there for an hour and then with pain medications, he won't be conscious until morning. They're going to make sure he sleeps through the night. There is a police officer with him now and until Conner leaves the hospital," explained Tyler.
"Thanks, Tyler," said Jared. "Considering the circumstances, I have a feeling our family is going to grow by one person."
"I expected as much, Jared," said Tyler. "Josh told me that before I got here."
"I've had that feeling since we picked him up. Jared had that look on his face," said Liam. "I guess we can head back to base to see what is going on and a coffee."
"Sounds like a plan, Liam," said Jared. "Melanie should be here by now and I bet she has people running by now."
"Melanie is here?" asked Tyler with a smile.
Jared smiled and said, "Yup. John will be here tomorrow. They're here to help Rob get things back on track."
"Liam hasn't met Melanie yet, has he?" asked Tyler.
"No. He will when we get there," replied Jared.
In the most serious tone he could use, Tyler said "Liam, it has been great getting to know you. But, not even Josh and I can protect you from the Dragon Lady. Remember Liam, she takes real pride in the name she was given in the air force."
Liam looked at Tyler and to Jared. They both had smiles on their faces. Liam gave them both the finger and got back into the ambulance.
Jared watched and said, "I better get in before he leaves without me." He waved at Tyler as he ran to the unit and jumped in.