Jared the Paramedic

Chapter 15: Connections

Click here for updated Character ListClick 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 \/ Paramedic Field Trainer<\/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;\">&#160;<\/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;\">&#160;<\/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;\">&#160;<\/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;\">&#160;<\/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;\">&#160;<\/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>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Conner<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Age: 18<\/li>\r\n<li>Student<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p style=\"text-align: justify;\">&#160;<\/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;\">Sgt. Frank Myers<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: Police Sergeant<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: A son and daughter. The son recently came out as gay.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\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>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Melanie Bear<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Description: 5'6\", with olive skin and jet black braided hair to her waist<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Executive Assistant to the CEO\/President, Bear Investment Group (3rd in command)<\/li>\r\n<li>Relationships: Jared Bear (cousin)<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/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>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Zane<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Director of the LGTBQ2 Centre<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Amanda<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Description: A pleasant woman, shorter, plump, eyes full of life, and&#160;grandmotherly. She is also a sensitive.<\/li>\r\n<li>Job: Hospital Social Worker<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>&#160;<\/p>\r\n<h4>Marci<\/h4>\r\n<ul>\r\n<li>Job: Paramedic<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<p>")

Both units hit their lights and sirens, Jared in the lead with the Supervisor's unit. Liam called on the radio and requested another unit as back up as it was a multiple casualty event. Dispatch advised them there was already a backup unit on the way with an ETA of a couple of minutes them.

Jared and Liam both arrived at the scene. The police had kept an area open for the ambulances and Jared parked furthest away from the doors to allow the two patient carrier units to be close. He grabbed the trauma management packs from the SUV and ran towards the bank's front doors. Liam and Marci had their gear piled onto their stretcher and were heading for the bank doors as well. Josh met them at the doors and said, "They're on the floor in the middle of the lobby. The shooter's dead; it was Conner's dad."

"Who's been shot?" asked Jared running through the door which Josh held open.

"Sgt. Meyers and a new recruit named Dave, his first week on the job," he replied.

They got inside the bank and saw large pools of blood under all of the men. Jared didn't have to be a Shaman to know it was bad. Liam and Marci went to Dave, and Jared started on Frank.

Frank opened his eyes and looked at Jared. "I've been praying that you were working, Jared. I don't think I'll walk away from this one; I'm having these feelings of floating. It's like... like I'm separating my spirit from my body. My entire body is tingling and warm, and... no pain anymore. Like too many Scotches after work. It's such a feeling of tranquility, peace... and I can't describe it." He took a deep breath and continued, "Please, keep an eye on my son. He's all I have. Look after him, Jared, he needs someone. Make sure my daughter gets Fluff Ball the cat."

Jared had tears in his eyes and said to Frank, "You're not going to die on my fucking watch, Frank."

Frank was watching tears escape from Jared's eyes when they began to glow a bright white. Frank watched as Jared placed his hands on his chest. He thought he saw Jared's hands glow briefly, and it looked like the glow was moving from his hands to the inside of his chest. He heard Jared praying, "Creator, guide my hands to do your work on this humble but more than worthy and deserving man." Frank was watching him and didn't understand what he was seeing or hearing, but he felt a very relaxing warmth inside his chest begin and grow within.

Many times, he had heard his men talk about how good Jared and Liam were at their jobs. Jared especially had earned the belief in his being an angel sent by God as an explanation of the unusual rate of successes he had as a paramedic. Many times, the men had commented how they didn't think a victim of a shooting or accident had a chance of survival but when they saw Jared arrive at a scene, the officers were usually wrong about the outcome to the benefit of the victim.

Jared had never placed himself in a position for his patient to see his gifts being used before, but he had quickly sensed the importance of immediately intervening on Frank. He could easily correct the situation once Frank is stable by altering his memories.

Frank thought to himself that he must be dreaming. "So, this is what it feels like to die. Feelings of warmth, relaxation, feeling like I'm a little drunk, and laying on a beach in the sun," were the last thoughts as he went unconscious.

In his mind, Jared saw the bullet had caused a fair amount of damage. The actual bullet did cause damage as it passed through a person's body, but the temporary cavity which forms from the force of travel through soft tissue creates challenges as well. The energy of the bullet creates a large gap inside a person, pushing organs and tissue outward. The gap doesn't last long as the tissue slaps back into its natural position rapidly. The energy which caused the gap continues through the body as a wave with the potential of causing more damage as it progresses.

Jared followed the trail the first bullet had left. He found a fractured a rib and some damage to the lung as it passed before blowing a hole in his back as it left. The second bullet had traveled through the liver and kidney barely missing the major renal arteries. Both of the bullets had traveled through layers of muscle and connective tissue, but none of that would be fatal. He concentrated on the tissue in the liver, watching it regenerate and blend together. As Jared relocated his thoughts to the kidney which had been damaged, he noted bruising on both the liver and kidneys which most likely caused by the force wave passing through them. After repairing the kidney damage, he took a quick look at the organs and decided he would leave the bruising for the doctors to monitor. It wouldn't be fatal to Frank. Jared could see no damage to the spine so he moved on to the lung. He concentrated on the hole and closed it up, leaving only a minor tear to account for some of the blood. There were so many things which could go wrong still such as infection but the current life-threatening problems had been solved. "He definitely needs fluid replacement," Jared thought to himself as he lifted his hand off Frank's body. Jared pulled his drug kit out of the jump kit, quickly establishing two IV lines.

Jared turned to Marci and looked at her. "We're going to tube him and follow protocol. Use the bag valve to saturate him with oxygen."

Jared moved quickly and prepared for airway control. He also prepared a syringe of drugs and connected it to the IV line. He was ready, and Marci had pumped his body as full of oxygen as possible. Jared gave her a nod from his head and she squeezed the drug into the line and he watched as Frank's body relaxed. A few seconds later, Jared inserted an ET tube, secured it and hooked it up to a bag valve. Marci took control of the bag as Jared listened with his stethoscope.

"Good air movement," said Jared and corrected Marci on the rate, increasing her air delivery to one breath every two seconds. He listened longer and said, "Decreased air sounds bottom left lobe with sounds of fluid. The rest is clear. Marci, let's suction through the tube." They did so and Jared removed about 30 ml of blood.

Liam was concentrating on his patient now that Marci was with Jared. Shoulder shot and bleeding, but it looked like it missed bones and vital organs. It did some damage to the muscle and tendons which potentially could end his career by screwing up his shoulder. He needs fluids and some minor surgery, but nothing extra. Suddenly Liam noticed a small trail off the main trajectory. "Shrapnel," he thought to himself. In his mind, he followed the path until it stopped at the pericardial sac, and the object was trapped inside against the heart muscle. This is the priority Liam thought to himself. He concentrated on the object, and it dissolved. He then repaired the pericardial sac.

Jared looked over and saw Liam's eyes glowing white and smiled as he returned to work on Frank.

Liam was watching in his mind as the major muscles were healing as well as the tendons. He left some damage which wouldn't cause any long-term problems for the man. He then concentrated in the entry and exit wounds, causing them to stop bleeding.

Liam pulled his hand out from under the patient as the extra crew arrived. He gave them a verbal report on Dave and told them to take over. Liam then jumped over to Frank.

"Hook up the monitor and bolus the fluids for the first 500 ml. Marci, get the vitals," said Jared.

Jared got up and went to check the shooter. It was Conner's dad and he was obviously dead from at least three shots to the center of his chest. Jared checked the pulse out of routine and determined he would not commence treatment, he was obviously beyond help.

They got Frank bundled up and were pushing him out to the ambulance when a couple of police officers came running up and asked, "How are they, Jared."

"They are doing very well; both are strong men," replied Jared. "Can one of you drive my SUV to the hospital? I'm staying with Frank."

"No problem. I'll tell the Sgt on the scene," one police officer said.

The other crew was loading Dave up at the same time they were. Liam closed the doors, leaving Marci and Jared in the back with Frank. Liam went to the front of the ambulance to get in when he noticed two police cars indicating they were going to escort the ambulances to the hospital. There had been a large crowd gathering to watch the activities at the bank. There were enough police cars and ambulances to keep even the most particular rubber necker interested. The police had been keeping the crowds back as far as they could, but it wasn't far enough for what happened next. Emergency vehicles generally use 40-80 watts of power for their sirens. When all the vehicles turned their sirens on at the same, it not only deafened the crowd, it created a vibration in the ground as well.

The ambulances and SUV took off down the street. It turned out there were three police cars on escort duty for the ambulances and they took turns sliding into intersections as a physical block to cross traffic. This allowed the ambulances to proceed without stopping each time they came to another intersection. After the ambulances had passed through an intersection blocked by a police car, they would catch up quickly and pass the intersection to the next in a leapfrog movement.

Even the fire department had left their base and pulled their trucks across a couple of intersections. The firemen were standing at attention and saluting as the parade of emergency vehicles went by.

The people along the streets and the intersections were trying to figure out what had happened. They were upset the road was blocked until the sirens of the approaching ambulances almost deafened them. What they saw was police cars leading, chasing and passing two ambulances and an emergency SUV in a real hurry.

It took about 15 minutes to get to the hospital. The last intersection was already blocked by a police car and the officer saluted as they drove by.

The emergency bay door was open and it looked like the entire upper brass of the police department was waiting along with two full trauma teams.

They pulled in and Jared kicked the back doors open. The ambulances were mobbed and the stretchers pulled into separate trauma rooms. Jared went with Frank and Liam went with Dave. They were immediately transferred to the examination tables and verbal reports given as the doctors and nurses started to unhook the paramedic's equipment and get theirs into place.

They got their stretchers and equipment and retreated to the bay to clean up. The press was trying to get in but some of the police officers were holding them back.

Marci looked at Liam and Jared. She said, "You guys are incredible. I've never seen anything run so smooth before and you guys didn't panic or hesitate in your treatments. You guys worked in such harmony; it was as if you just had to look at each other to communicate. I learned so much today and thank you for not kicking me to the side."

"Marci, you were part of the team today. We needed you and you came through. You can work with us anytime," said Liam.

They got the unit cleaned and stocked up. Jared phoned Rob to let him know what happened and how it went.

"Marci worked well with us Rob and she knows her shit. Cool, calm, and did a damn good job. Hire her to fill one of those spots," said Jared.

"I talked to Melanie after your earlier call and she said to do it as well. I'll call her back and fill her in on this call and how well she did," replied Rob. "Good job guys. Pass that on to Liam and Marci for me, please. I will phone the other crew personally to tell them the same thing. On second thought, you might as well tell her Jared, she starts your next scheduled days."

Jared passed on Rob's comments to Marci and Liam. "I also filled him in on the call and how well you did. You are now full time starting on our first dayshift. You'll be working on our shift, Marci."

Marci hugged them both and had watery eyes while doing it.

"Liam, did you hear what Frank said to me when we first got there?" asked Jared as he leaned in to whisper.

"Yeah, I did. I almost lost it when I heard him say that," he replied.

"I'm going to try and find his son. I remember what he looks like from our mental contact. Once I find him, I'll see how he is. I guess we also have to tell Conner he should have no fear now that his dad is dead," said Jared.

Jared left the two to finish the restocking. He also restocked the bag from the SUV and locked it in the vehicle. He went to the ER Desk and asked if Frank's son was here. They pointed at a young man standing near the Police Chief. Jared walked over to the Chief and shook his hand. The Chief thanked him for everything he did.

The Chief said, "The Doctors told me your teams of medics are top notch and saved both of my men's lives out there."

"We only do our jobs Chief, but I will pass it onto the crews on your behalf," replied Jared. Jared turned to the young man, "Are you Frank's son?"

"Yes, I am," he said quietly. "My name is Mark. Thank you for everything you did for Dad."

"Mark, your dad and I are friends and he asked me to take care of you for him. He told me you are all he has and wanted to be sure you were ok," said Jared.

The young man looked at Jared, and then tears started to roll down his cheeks. Jared reached out and pulled him into a hug. Mark was soon sobbing loudly.

"Chief, Frank is divorced but on good terms with his wife. He has a daughter that lives with her mom and there is a cat Frank got for his daughter as a pet at his place. Could you take care of notifications and make sure she takes the cat home as no one is going to be there to look after it," asked Jared.

The Chief was watching and smiled, happy to see someone with Mark's interest in their mind. A few moments later Mark settled down and let go of Jared. The Chief handed him his handkerchief to wipe his nose and face.

"That is so Dad, to make sure I was going to be ok while he was lying there bleeding to death. He has always put me ahead of himself," said Mark.

The Chief spoke up, "I will go and see if there is any news of the two men." He left leaving Mark and Jared alone in the hallway.

"Mark is your boyfriend here, or coming?" asked Jared.

Mark looked surprised. "You know about me?"

"Yes, your father and I talked about it," Jared replied. "It's not a problem with me."

"I appreciate that Jared. No, we broke up."

"You can stay at my place with us tonight. You don't need to be alone at home."

"I don't want to bother you and your girlfriend, Jared."

"That man over there is my boyfriend," Jared said as he pointed to Liam.

"Really? Jared, I would love to stay with you guys. Can we sit and talk tonight a bit if we are not too tired," asked Mark with a new air of confidence.

"Absolutely," replied Jared.

The Chief came back and told them Dave is going in for some surgery, fairly minor and expected to make a full recovery. Frank is going in for some surgery as well. They inflated the lung from the bullet hole but they have to do some surgery to fix it as well as a couple of minor bleeders they called them."

"It means a couple of blood vessels are still bleeding, so they are going in to do some work on them, Chief," explained Jared.

"Thanks. I was counting on you to translate it for me," said the Chief.

The Chief spoke, "Mark, where are you staying tonight. There is no sense in you being here as your dad will be in surgery and sleeping until at least morning. I'll be here until he comes out of surgery and then one of the deputy chiefs will be with him until morning. We can call you if we need you here, but I don't expect anything to surprise us the way the doctors were talking."

"He's coming home with me and I'll bring him back down in the morning. I start my days off at the end of this shift, Chief," said Jared.

"Good plan. Are you heading home now?" asked the Chief.

"No. I have to check upstairs with a young man who will be moving into our spare room as he lost all of his family recently. He's in here because of the vicious assault he suffered from his father," said Jared.

"That's terrible. I hope they punish his dad," said Mark.

"Conner felt the same way. His dad was on the run and avoiding the police," said Jared.

The Chief's eyes opened wide and looked at Jared as recognition of who the young man was.

Jared leaned in to whisper, "I'll tell them. I sense there will be no trouble, and they may even become friends."

"I will leave it in your hands, Jared. If Frank trusts you, I will too."

They got to the room and saw the policeman was no longer posted at the door. They stepped in and Jared introduced Mark to Conner. They looked at each other.

Jared had closed the door as he came in and sat on the edge of the bed. He pointed at a chair for Mark to sit in. "Conner, your father was located and was shot dead by the police in a bank on the other side of town. I have no clue what he was trying to do, but he is dead."

Mark's eyes opened wide and looked at Jared, and then Conner.

"I should be sad, but I'm not. He beat me for so many years that I feel happy and safe now that I know he is gone. Thank you for telling me, Jared. I sincerely hope and pray he didn't hurt anyone other than me," said Conner.

"Conner, he shot two police officers and they are both in surgery but expected to make a full recovery," replied Jared.

"That son of a bitch. Why would he do that? Those guys just do their jobs and they have families at home," said Conner.

"Conner, one of those police officers shot was Mark's dad," said Jared.

Conner looked horrified and glanced at Mark who was still sitting there with a look of shock on his face.  Jared spoke, "You both have something in common. You both were hurt by the same man, by different means but hurt just as deep. I'm going to help both of you through it so the pain caused by this man will be behind you so that you may continue down your pathways of life."

"Please don't hold me responsible for my father's action, Mark. I had no control over him," pleaded Conner.

"An hour ago, I might have," said Mark. "But after listening to you and Jared, I realize your dad was responsible for himself and I won't blame you. No matter how much it bothers us to think it; I believe we both think he got what he deserved."

Mark stood and offered his hand to Conner. Conner got out of the hospital bed and instead of shaking his hand, pulled him into a hug. They both started to sob, holding onto each other for support.

The door opened and the Police Chief stuck his head in. "Just thought I would see how it is going, Jared. But, I see you know what you are doing and everything is good. A deputy chief went to Frank's ex-wife's place and told her, and she will also take care of the kitten."

Jared gave him a thumbs up. The two boys never even knew there was anyone in the room but them at that moment, sharing their common grief. When the boys finally let go of each other, they seem to have bonded in the face of travesty.

"Conner, did they decide to release you yet?" asked Jared.

"Yes, they scheduled me for release whenever you got here. Amanda was in a couple of times today as well. She is such a nice lady to talk with," said Conner.

"Let me go to the nurses' station and check on what has to be done," said Jared. The nurses got the paperwork together and brought it down to Conner to sign. Jared had dropped a bag with some clothes in it on the bed as they had cut Conner's clothes off him at the LGBTQ2 Center when they were treating him. Conner ran into the washroom to change.

The nurses had dropped off a wheelchair for Conner to leave. Jared had argued with them but the nurses won saying as it was hospital policy for him to use a wheelchair when discharged. Jared looked at the two boys and said, "You heard them. Conner must use the wheelchair when being discharged."

The nurses were sitting behind their desk but looked up when they heard the wheelchair. They all wanted to say goodbye to the nice young man who had torn at their hearts with his circumstances. What they saw was Jared sitting in the wheelchair with Mark on his lap sideways. Conner was pushing it down the hallway.

"JARED!" one of the nurses yelled. "What are you doing?"

"You told me Conner must use the wheelchair when discharged. He's using it!" Jared said as he laughed.

The nurse moved from behind the desk and stood in the center of the hallway. She assumed a defiant position with her feet spread, hands on her hips and a look on her face similar to a mother who has found a child sitting in a puddle covered in mud in the backyard but having fun.

"All three of you, up in front of the wheelchair in a line, facing me," she said with an air of authority. By now, the doctor and two other nurses were watching by peeping around the corner when they thought it was safe.

"Stand up straight, boys," she stated.

"Mr. Bear. Not only do you know better, but you have now corrupted these two fine young men into your irresponsibility. What do you have to say for yourself?" she asked.

"Ask Mark, it was Conner's idea," said Jared pointing at him.

Mark spoke up, "It was Conner's idea, ma'am."

Conner spoke up, "They ganged up on me and said they would leave me here to eat more hospital food if I didn't do it."

Jared jumped in, "It was Mark who actually figured out how to do it though."

Conner spoke up again, "Yeah, he said Jared and him could ride in the wheelchair."

The nurse was having a terrible time trying to keep a straight face. These three men were acting like the Three Stooges. She could not believe the difference in the two young men in the short time Jared had been with them. It was also clear to her that her co-workers and the doctor were rolling on the floor around the corner laughing.

She then decided on a course of action. "You! Gimpy one," she said pointing at Conner. "In the chair now before I put you back in that room and bring you the hospital supper."

Conner moved quickly and sat in the chair.

"If you say anything Conner, it will be two more days in that room with no TV and a hospital meal served to you every two hours," the Nurse said.

Conner saluted her, and she returned it.

"You, the stooge they call Mark. Behind the wheelchair and grab the left handle. You, the stooge they call Jared and the ringleader," the Nurse was saying and then cut Jared off as he tried to speak, "And do not say a thing to me, young man, about how innocent you are. Wrong, you are guilty because I have worked with you too many years. Get your butt over and grab the right handle. Now both of you push the chair to the door so Conner can leave."

The nurse saw Jared whisper something to Mark and thought to herself, "Oh shit, he is so damn fast at mischief." Mark pushed the chair two paces and stopped and then Jared went four. Then Mark went four and so on. Conner was being moved in the chair like a skier in a slalom course.

Conner put his hand to his mouth and said, "I am going to barf."

"The three of you, GET OUT NOW!"

As they went by her, she stopped them and gave them a big group hug and kissed Conner on the cheek. He blushed. She looked at the two boys and said, "Stick with this man. He's good people when he isn't trying to piss off the nurses," she said.

Jared was trying his innocent 'who me?' look and all she said was, "Stow it. I know you too well." She gave Jared a hug and whispered into his ear, "Jared, thank God you are here to help us with these cases. I truly pray God will bless you."

Jared whispered back, "He already has. I can help people at work, and out of work. I also get to meet some good people as well as damn good and caring nurses. I have been blessed." He kissed her on the cheek.

She stood up and barked at them, "OUT! NOW!" They quickly went down the hallway and promptly drove into the closed elevator doors. The nurse didn't need to see the action as she knew the sound of something hitting the closed doors. She heard someone say, "I thought you pressed the button," and then someone else, "I thought you pressed the button." She had had enough when she heard "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk" and "you knuckleheads" being said. She turned around and saw the doctor and her two co-workers using Kleenex to blow their noses and dry their eyes from laughing so much.

"They didn't need your help either," she said and then smiled. "Those are two lucky young men to have met Jared Bear." The others present agreed.

They went out through the Emergency Department where Jared had parked the SUV. As they passed, they saw the Police Chief who had a smile come on his face when he saw the three men coming.

"Any news?" asked Jared.

"They are both in surgery and the surgeons said there wasn't as much damage as they thought. He should be out soon and then he will sleep until the morning," the Chief said. "What are you guys up to and I am very hesitant to ask from the stories I have heard here of what Jared is capable of. And don't even try the innocent act mister!"

"Did the nurses call down already?" asked Jared.

"Yes. They asked me to make sure you three left the building," he said chuckling. "What the hell did you three do to them? Wait, I don't want to know do I?"

All three of the men were now using Jared's 'Who me?' look.

"Oh god, if that is a sample of what you three did upstairs, no wonder they wanted you out," the Chief said as he rolled his eyes.

"MOVE IT, CHILDREN!" the Chief commanded. They saluted him and wheeled by. The Chief caught Jared by the scruff of the neck and said, "Thanks, Jared. We owe you."

"Never Chief. No one ever owes me. It's what I do," Jared replied with a serious look on his face. "This is why I am here, to heal people." Jared turned and ran after them. "Wait up you boneheads, you'll get lost."

The Chief heard "Will not" and then a "Will too" in reply as the voices faded out of earshot.

The Chief reflected on Jared. That man is one of the best paramedics he has ever met and saved both of his men today. His men have always spoken highly of Jared as well as Liam, but they watched him work today and could not believe how skilled he was not only in his treatment but controlling the overall treatment of both gunshot victims at the same time. One of his men called Jared and Liam angels sent by God to protect people. He had also seen the change in Mark since Jared had taken him under his wing. Maybe it was true.


The three of them got settled into the Paramedic SUV. Before pulling out, he called Rob and told him he now has two young men with him and they were heading back to the base. They got into the base and Jared introduced them to everyone in the ambulance bay. Marci was happy to meet them both and Mark hugged her when he found out she was with Jared giving treatment to his father.

They went in and met Rob. Liam came in shortly afterward and hugged Conner. He was introduced to Mark.

Rob told them to head out early as they probably had things to do. The four of them all loaded into Jared's own SUV and he asked if they were hungry. Liam, Mark, and Conner all yelled, "YES!"

"Well, we are going to the mall to get some clothes for you two so we might as well stop at the Dim Sum restaurant and feed you," answered Jared.

While the boys were eating, Jared looked at Mark and Conner.

Conner was about 5'10", about 150 lbs and slightly built. His body was one which could be easily built up as he seemed to have a natural tone to it. He just needed to be fed, taught how to work out and receive positive reinforcement. Conner had long fingers on his hands and he moved them with grace. He did jump a bit when someone moved too fast near him. He had brown hair with natural curls which was cut with no style at all, like someone had put a bowl on his head and trimmed what came past. His eyes were hazel. He didn't have much facial hair but there was some. He tended to trip over his feet a bit. They were big, almost if he was entering another growth spurt and his feet grew first. His skin was a light tan color, probably his natural color. He was a nice looking young man although girls would probably giggle as they called him cute.

Mark was about 5'11" and about 150 lbs. He was slightly built as well. He had a dirty blonde hair color and it hung like a mop head. That hair had never seen a curl and it was as straight as it could be. Mark was well spoken and seemed to have a happy disposition. He had grey eyes and long lashes. When he looked at you and smiled, he could melt butter. He looked like he shaved more than Conner, but still not daily.

They both could pack the food away and Jared had no idea where it went. Once the boys were filled, Jared took them to the clothing store. Their favorite clerk was working again and Jared told him to outfit them from top to bottom.

They picked running shoes and casual shoes, socks, short pants, jeans, shirts, light and medium weight jackets and then it came to the underwear.

"What do you guys normally wear for underwear?" asked Liam.

Conner blushed and said, "All I was allowed to wear was white Y fronts."

Mark said, "Baggy boxers."

"What type of underwear do you want," as he pointed to the rack. The boys looked at the packages and weren't sure what to choose. The salesman came over and looked the two boys up and down.

"Well," he started, "Jared and Liam bought this type and this type," as he grabbed them off the racks. "I think you two would do well in a smaller size but same types. They are more comfortable than you would think."

The boys were hesitating so Jared and Liam grabbed a bunch of each and took them to the cash register. When it was all rung through, the boys were shocked at the cost. What shocked them more was Jared had a black unlimited credit card which he used to pay.

Once outside the store, they stopped and looked at Jared. Both Mark and Conner thanked them for the clothes. Jared looked at them and they needed some toiletries now. But, there was one other thing to deal with.

"Mark. You are a very cute young man but you are really out of style with that haircut. It's chasing away what the rest of your body is advertising," said Jared.

"Dad is always nagging my ass about my hair. You're not going to start are you, Jared?" he asked.

"Mark, I think if you went to the place I use, they would work with you to choose a style which accents your eyes and lashes. Not hide them. Mark, think about it," said Jared.

Mark smiled a bit and then asked Conner, "What do you think?"

"I agree with Jared. Go and see what they can do. You're cute, but I think you could be hot with the right haircut," said Conner. Then he suddenly blushed as he realized what he had just said. "I can't believe I just said that."

"Will you go with me?" asked Mark.

"Liam, take Mark to the stylist and get him in. I'll take Conner and the shopping bags out to the SUV and put them in. We'll meet you there in a few minutes," said Jared.

Liam and Mark headed to the stylist and were lucky as there was an appointment open. Liam told the stylist to wash and cut the hair, but he needed help to choose which cut. The man brought out a couple of books with pictures and started showing Mark. Mark then thought for a moment and decided on a hairstyle like Patrick Schwarzenegger.

The stylist was enthused about the choice. He was looking at Mark like a tasty little twink for him to devour. Jared and Conner joined Liam and agreed with the choice Mark had made.

Jared obviously knew the stylist and he placed a hand on Mark's shoulder and said, "This young man is like a brother to me and under my protection, am I clear?"

The stylist huffed at Jared and replied, "Of course, Jared."

Jared then turned to Conner, "Do you want a cut too?"

"Jared, you have done so much for me already. I can't ask for a haircut, too," he replied.

"You didn't ask. I did, so sit your butt in that chair," Jared directed. Another stylist came over and looked at Conner.

"Do your best, please. My little brother is an ugly one and hard to work with," said Jared.

Conner stuck his tongue out at Jared. Jared turned to Liam, "You have been a bad influence on him already, Liam."

Liam gave him the finger.

"Boys, we will be back in about 45 minutes to pick you up. We have a few other things to pick up," said Jared.

Liam and Jared ran to Wally World at the end of the mall and bought two sets of razors, toothbrushes, deodorants, hair gels, body wash, body spray, and numerous other items they thought the boys would need. They also grabbed a fold-away bed. After they stored the stuff in the SUV, they headed back to the stylist shop.

The boys were just finished and when they saw them, Liam and Jared were shocked. The two boys had changed from cute, to very hot looking young men with their new haircuts.

"What do you guys think of them," asked Liam. They both moved forward and hugged Liam and Jared, thanking them.

"Let's head to the apartment," said Liam. "Shit, we better grab a few groceries to feed these two."

"Good idea," agreed Jared. After filling the shopping cart and paying, they packed just about every square inch of the SUV. Once they got to the apartment, they hauled everything up in a few loads. Jared showed them to the spare room, now called Conner's room. They rolled the hide-a-bed in for Mark. The two boys were pulling out the clothes and toiletries and checking them out and talking like long lost friends.

Liam had put the groceries away and made a bunch of snacks for the boys. They came to the kitchen island and sat to eat. The four of them were talking and laughing.

Liam nudged Jared and tilted his head sideways towards the boys. "Boys, it is time we had a little talk. Jared and I want you guys to know a few things," said Liam.

"First of all, Jared and I are boyfriends. We are gay," said Liam.

Conner spoke up, "I knew that. You told me when I told you I was gay." Conner stopped speaking and got uneasy.

Mark looked at him and spoke, "So am I. I am not sure how, but these two men had something to do with my dad accepting me after I told him."

Jared then spoke, "Ok, so we are all gay. Now, I see you two beginning to be good friends. Young men at your age are pretty horny. I am asking you until we resolve your dad's surgery Mark, and we resolve your family member's funeral Conner, you guys do not go out and chase the first cutie you see, or each other."

Conner blushed and Mark looked away. Liam spoke up and said, "Look, let's be honest. You two are developing a friendship and we don't want you to ruin it with sex to satisfy your lust. Give it time and when things have stabilized and you have become more than friends, it will mean something more than just a fuck."

"You guys can also talk to us about anything and ask any questions you want. If we don't want to answer we will tell you. You guys ok with that?" asked Jared.

They both answered, "Yes."

"Conner, I assume from your background you are still a virgin," asked Liam. After a hesitation, he admitted it to the others as if it was a death sentence.

Mark spoke right up after and said he was the same other than some blowjobs and mutual jacking with his boyfriend. "I actually broke up with him because he wanted to fuck me, and I wasn't ready. He was getting more belligerent and trying to get me to submit. He wasn't a virgin and I think he just wanted my cherry."

"There are people out there like that and especially looking for hot little guys like you two. Be careful, guys," cautioned Liam.

"That's all we wanted to say guys and I want to remind you that you can ask us anything about life, being gay, love, or whatever. You guys are safe here in this apartment," said Jared.

"We know you are adults and we can't tell you what to do or what not to do. We don't want you to do anything without the right reasons until you are really ready to do it with whomever you choose," said Liam. "I want you to know, I was a virgin until I met Jared. A virgin at 22 and there was nothing wrong with waiting for full sex with the one I loved."

"I appreciate that Jared, Liam. For the first time ever, I actually feel safe and not afraid to do anything wrong and then get a beating," said Conner.

Liam reached out and hugged him. Jared reached out and hugged Mark.

"Mark, do you want to stay with your mother?" asked Jared.

"No. My mother died of cancer. Dad got married again and they had my sister. Judy was always nice to me when she was with dad but we just never connected. She is younger than him. She loves me in a way, but she had no idea how to deal with me as a stepson. I would like to stay here if I can," said Mark.

"Of course you can, Mark, as long as it takes to get things settled out," said Jared.

"Ok guys, let's clean up and I want to introduce you to smudging. Boys, I am a member of the First Nations, or commonly called an Indian. Smudging is the way of the Creator to cleanse us. It is not a pagan or sacrilegious thing. It is something Christian's do themselves in various ways with incense. Do you want to try it? I think it will help you."

The boys looked at each other and Mark spoke up, "Does it hurt?"

"Not at all and it feels good, too," replied Jared.

Liam spoke up and said, "Different dress code for tonight, Jared?"

"Yes, that would be a good idea. We usually smudge in our underwear or with nothing on at all. But for tonight, we will do it in short pants," said Jared.

Mark turned to Conner and said, "I will go in my underwear if you will," he said.

Conner thought for a moment and then smiled, "Deal!"

"Alright. I guess that is the way it will be tonight. Liam and I will set the room up a little different because we have four people and then we will get ready.

The boys ran to Conner's room and they could be heard giggling and talking about what underwear to wear. Jared and Liam went into the smudging room and moved the table to allow extra cushions to be placed on the floor for the two extra people. Jared went to a cabinet and removed two fresh smudging bundles and two eagle feathers from within it and placed them on the lower table in the middle of the cushions.

"Liam, you will be assisting me during this smudging. You and I will smudge ourselves and then we will each smudge one of the boys. I will say the prayers, but listen good and learn them, little man," said Jared.

"You never thought I was little," smiled Liam.

"I stand corrected Liam," Jared chuckled.

"Let's get ready, ourselves," said Liam. They left the room and went to their bedroom. They both stripped down and put their form-fitting boxers on and then headed into the living room. The boys were there, wearing form-fitting boxers as well. They were standing beside each other with their hands in front of their crotches. Their eyes opened wide when they saw Liam and Jared walk into the room in just their underwear. The boys definitely checked out their new friends from head to toe, lingering on their crotches.

Liam looked at Mark. He was more solid looking without his shirt. He wasn't muscular but had a good form, nice chest with prominent nipples. There was no hair on him except under his arms and a faint treasure trail starting at his belly button and disappearing below his waistband. He had hairless thighs and his legs were covered in fine blonde hairs.

Jared was looking at Conner. Conner literally was trying to shrink himself by pulling his shoulders in and his head down. He was thinner and slighter than Mark, but also had some natural definition to his body. His nipples were sticking straight out, hard as pencils. There were a few beginnings of sparse chest hair around the areolas. There was a definite line of brown hair above his belly button which extended down and under his waistband. His thighs and legs were covered in fine brown hairs.

"Ok guys, we are all men here, and we will be living together for a bit. It is natural to have a hard-on at times, usually when you don't want them like now. You can be at ease with us, you may even see us with them at times as well," explained Liam. "We're wearing more clothes now than we usually do in the apartment because you guys are here."

Conner spoke up, "Liam, giving me the image of you two guys naked is not helping me go soft."

"Me neither," squeaked Mark and then blushed.

"What we are going to do is not about sex. It is a celebration of spirituality and cleansing the spirit," said Jared.

"Close your eyes and concentrate. Raise both of your hands out to me. Trust me, boys," said Liam. The boys raised their hands to Liam and he gathered them between his.

When the boys removed their hands, they exposed their crotches. Mark appeared to be about 5" or 6" in his underwear at this stage. The tight underwear revealed he was definitely cut.

Conner appeared to be quite well endowed consistent with the urban myth of the size of the feet being an indicator. He also appeared to be cut as the thick head was clearly outlined through the tight material. Both of them had wet spots forming at the end of their outlined cocks.

"Are you concentrating guys?" asked Liam. The both answered yes.

Liam held their hands and waited for a moment, telling them to open their eyes. You were comfortable with your hard-ons when your eyes were closed. No one said anything or made fun of you. Now your eyes are open. Nothing has changed. Neither of you has anything to be embarrassed about," said Liam.

"If you check the two of us out, we are half hard as well, looking at two very cute young men in front of us in their underwear. It happens. It's nothing to be concerned about boys," said Jared.

The boys looked at each other and then Jared and Liam. They visibly eased and relaxed their tense muscles. "That's better," said Liam.

Jared showed them into the room and had them kneel on each side of the table. Liam and Jared took their positions as well. All four were looking at the table with the sacred items on it. "Mark and Conner, please place your hands on your thighs, flat, palms down." They complied.

Jared explained the various objects on the table to the boys, and for Liam's benefit to learn it as well.

Jared used a wooden match to light the first candle. While doing this, he chanted, "I invoke the light of the God within. I am a clear and perfect channel. The Light is my guide." Jared closed his eyes and chanted for a minute.

Jared did this for each of the 3 candles. He indicated to Liam to use the second and to do the same as he was. They lit the bundles using the center candle. When they flamed, they let them burn for a moment to ensure a good ember. Jared nodded to Liam and they both tapped them slightly within the bowl until the flames were out and smoke was rising from it. As Jared stood, Liam did as well. They both drew the smoke with their hands towards their hearts and over their heads. They did this for each arm, over their shoulders and pushing the smoke down their backs, over their stomachs, groins, and their legs. They both lifted their feet and smudged the bottoms as well. While doing this, Jared chanted prayers which the boys realized were not in English.

Jared stood up and said to Liam, "I will do it again in English for you to remember. Mark and Conner, stand with your legs apart and your arms away from your body slightly, palms facing me." They both complied. Jared reached and gave an eagle feather to Liam and added, "Instead of your hand, use this on another person."

Jared was in front of Mark, and Liam in front of Conner. They began to feather the smoke to each of the boys' chests while Jared prayed.

Jared said, "We cleanse our hearts so that our hearts will feel the truth, grow with us in harmony and balance, be good and pure, be open to show compassion, gentleness, and caring for others."

Jared then spread smoke over Marks face and head. Liam mimicked him. "We cleaned our eyes so they will see the truth around us, the beauty of our Mother the earth, the gifts given to us by the Creator, the love shared with us through families, friends, and communities.

"We cleanse our mouth that all we speak will be truthful, said in a way that will be positive, only good things, always full of words of praise and thanksgiving to our Creator.

"We cleanse our ears so we will hear the spiritual truths given to us by the Creator, listen to the truth as it is shared by the Creator, the Grandfathers, the Four Directions, the Four Kingdoms, and be open to the request for assistance from others, to hear only the good things and allow the bad to bounce off us.

"We cleanse our feet so that they will seek to walk the true path, seek balance and harmony, lead us closer to our families, friends, community, walk closer to our loved ones and help us to flee our enemies, and lead us closer to our Creator.

"Mark and Conner, please kneel as you were before," asked Jared. Jared and Liam smudged themselves again, cleaning their bodies to ensure nothing from Mark and Conner joined with them. Liam and Jared both kneeled in front of the table.

They rolled the smudge bundles until they were out and then snuffed each candle while saying, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; the Creator."

They sat for a moment and then Liam asked, "What do you think, guys?"

They were both lively and animated while talking non-stop. They loved the ceremony and the way they seemed to feel better about themselves physically and emotionally. They had never seen anything like it before and appreciated Jared explaining things before and then using English for the prayers.

Liam asked, "Hungry boys? Is it snack time?"

They all got up and headed to the kitchen. It seemed like teenagers were always hungry and able to eat. Once again, Conner and Mark amazed Jared at what they could eat. "We were lucky we got groceries today. The locusts here are eating everything but the plates and counters," said Liam.

"I am going to call the Chief and ask for an update on your father, Mark. I know everything is good otherwise he would have called us by now," said Liam. He stepped out of earshot and placed the call. After talking with the Chief, Liam came back to the little group at the table.

"The Chief said everything went great. There wasn't as much damage as they were expecting but they were happy with that. He also said your dad was awake briefly and asked about you, Mark. The Chief had told him you were with us, and having the time of your life from what he saw," said Liam.

"Thanks, Liam. I was thinking about him, especially in the smudging ceremony. The Chief was right. I am really enjoying myself with you guys. Maybe when he feels better, Dad can come and smudge too. He is always stressed about work and worried about me as well," said Mark.

"You guys have had a long and stressful day. I think we should all be heading off to bed to get up and go visit Frank in the morning," said Liam.

"Mark, do you think I can come to visit your dad too? I mean, would it upset him when he finds out who I am," asked Conner.

Mark thought and then said, "I would like you to meet my dad. I think he will understand when he hears the whole story, especially since we are friends now."

"Don't forget guys, we will be with you too," said Jared.

"Are you guys going to set up the folding bed or share the big one in there," asked Liam.

The two young men looked at each other. It was obvious they wanted to share the bed but both were shy to say it. "I don't know. What do you think Mark?" asked Conner.

"If you stay on your side of the bed, I will," said Mark.

"Ok you two, get ready for bed. Throw the stuff on the floor and maybe we can sort it out and get it put away in the morning," said Liam.

The boys got up and headed to the bedroom, and then Mark ran from the bedroom to the bathroom. Jared headed into the master bedroom while Liam finished putting stuff away in the kitchen. Liam was just turning the kitchen lights off when Mark came out of the bathroom and ran to the bedroom. Conner came out and was running until he saw Liam. He stopped running and started walking with his head down.

"Conner, come here please," asked Liam.

Conner walked over to him, keeping his head down. "Did I do something wrong, Liam?" he asked.

"No, you didn't," replied Liam. Conner's head shot up and he looked straight at Liam. "May I ask you what just happened. You saw me and stopped running. Then you hung your head as if you were in shame."

Conner looked at him with tears in his eyes. "I saw you and had a flashback to dad catching me doing something wrong. I would get punished... actually, I would get punched or hit."

Liam reached out and pulled the young man to him and hugged him. "That will not happen here, Conner. We may have discussions, but we will not beat you."

Conner slowly began to hug him back. "Thank you, Liam. I wish you and Jared had been my parents."

"Well, we are your friends and we are going to help you be the best man you can be," said Liam.

They stood like that for a couple of minutes. Liam looked up and saw Jared standing in their bedroom door giving him the thumbs up sign. He saw movement at the other bedroom door and Mark was doing the same thing. Liam smiled at them both.

They broke the hug and Conner walked into the washroom. A few minutes later he came out and ran to the bedroom, closing the door behind him. Liam went to the washroom and it was obvious there were now two young men staying here. While not a disaster, they had left a trail of toothpaste and dirty towels. Liam finished his business and went into the bedroom.

"All clear?" asked Jared.

"Yes, and I tidied it up a bit, too," replied Liam. Jared headed out, and returned a few moments later and crawled into bed.

Liam snuggled up to him and asked, "Do you feel like a father at all now?"

Jared chuckled and replied, "Yes, I do. But, they are both great kids, or I guess I should say young men and it is fun to have them around."

"I have this feeling we are going to be visited tonight and have a couple of extra people in bed with us," said Liam.

"I expect it to happen as well. They will be in bed talking and then just thinking. That is when the day's events will hit them," replied Jared.

Almost on cue, two young men walked in and both looked sad. Mark spoke up, "Any chance we can stay in here tonight? We were talking and then all of a sudden, I realized what happened to my dad."

"When he reacted and said it, I thought about my family too," said Conner.

Jared and Liam pulled the covers back on the bed and the boys split and came to each side. "You two get in the middle," said Liam. Conner and Mark got into bed and arranged themselves on their sides facing each other. Liam slid up and spooned Conner, wrapping his arms around him while Jared did the same with Mark. Liam could feel the tense muscles in Conner slowly begin to release and settle down.

"Thanks, Liam. I love you and Jared for helping me," he said.

Mark spoke up, "You guys are like big brothers to me, and I appreciate your help."

They all settled down and fell asleep. Conner had a couple of nightmares but when Liam pulled him into a hug, he settled down.

End of Chapter Fifteen

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