If I Ain’t Got You – Chapter 3

Chapter 3 — Tragedy Strikes

Dec 21, 2002 – Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – The Emergency Room 
“Look lady, I was told that Justin Tanner was admitted here. Is he alright or not? I need to know; I need to see him!” Joshua snapped as the woman looked at him strangely and then went back to what she was doing. “Can I see him?”

“I’m sorry sir, but only family is allowed in to see Mr. Tanner at the moment,” the nurse stated.

“At the moment, I’m the only family he has around here. His mother is on her way here right now. Is he hurt badly?” Joshua asked as Donnie Knight, Christina Ashton and some other people walked up behind him.

“Josh, what are you doing here?” Christina Ashton asked as she tapped him on the back as he spun around quickly.

“I’m here to see if Justin’s okay,” Joshua replied as he looked at Christina as if he could beat her down where she stood.

“You need to leave here. You shouldn’t even be here right now,” Christina stated in a cold, harsh tone.

“No, I’m not leaving here,” Joshua stated as he turned away from her and then walked away.

“You can’t just walk away from me Josh. You shouldn’t be here damn it! You hurt him and I’m quite sure he doesn’t want to see you right now,” Christina stated as she caught up to Joshua, grabbed him by the sleeve of his shirt and spun him around as she jacked him up a bit.

“Stop it Chrissy, I must see him. I have to see him and make sure that he’s okay,” Joshua stated as he sniffled as a few tears fell from his eyes. “I—I think it’s my fault that he’s here now.”

“What’re you talking about Josh?” Christina asked as she let Joshua go and then crossed her arms across her chest.

“I—I went to his hotel room earlier to see him and when I wouldn’t leave him alone, he left and then I—I got the call that he was in the accident,” Joshua stated as he shook his head as Christina’s eyes widened.

“What! Why didn’t you just leave him alone Josh? You—you hurt him, you hurt him very badly when you broke his heard!” Christina screamed as she balled her hands into fist, ready to hit Joshua.

“I know I hurt him, but I was trying to make things right. I—I still love him,” Joshua replied as he looked away from Christina.

“If you really loved him Josh, you wouldn’t have cheated on him,” Christina stated as she shook her head and took some calming breaths, trying to get herself under control. “Why did you cheat on him with those guys Josh? Can you tell me that? You know Dan hurt him and…”

“How do you know about Dan?” Joshua asked as he looked up at Christina.

“Justin told me all about it,” Christina replied as she watched Joshua with disgust. “How could you sleep with the man that hurt him like that?”

“How did he now about Dan and me?” Joshua asked as he looked down at the floor as Christina shook her head.

“It’s all about you, what about what Dan did to him?” Christina asked as she pounded her fist into her other hand.

“But—but how did he know about what I did?” Joshua asked with a frown on his face.

“Duh, apparently he caught you two in bed some time ago,” Christina replied as she glared at him.

“Oh my God,” Joshua replied as the tears streamed down his face. “That’s how he knew, he saw us.”

“That’s right, he saw the two of you with his very own eyes, in your bed of all places,” Christina stated as she took a sip of her drink. “You don’t deserve Justin’s love.”

“I love Justin; I love him with all of my heart. I know I screwed up. I just wish he would give me another chance,” Joshua stated as he shook his head.

“He shouldn’t give you another anything,” Christina stated as she hauled off and smacked Joshua across the face, knocking him backwards a bit, leaving her hand print on the side of his face. “You stay away from him or I’ll kick your ass myself. You hear me Josh?”

“You two need to calm down over here,” Donnie said as he walked over to where Joshua and Christina were.

“I’m calm Donnie,” Christina declared as she glared at Joshua and then pointed her finger in his face. “Remember what I said Josh. You stay away from him or I’ll kick your lily white ass personally.”

“I’m not going to stay away from him Chrissy,” Joshua said with a frown. “I love him.”

“Try Jesus Josh, but don’t try me, if you do, you’ll regret it,” Christina stated as she grabbed her purse and then walked away.

Donnie’s POV

I can’t believe all of this is going on. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Josh was cruising for more trouble than he’s already in. If he doesn’t watch himself, Christina’s going to rip him a new one.

“Now you’ve gone and pissed her off Josh. You seem to be doing that a lot lately,” I said as I looked at him closely. “What’s got her so pissed with you this time?”

“She’s mad about some things that happened between me and Justin,” he replied.

“Oh that,” I said as I shook my head.

“Yeah that,” he said with a frown on his face. He’s probably wondering how I know about what happened between him and Justin. “She wants me to stay away from him, but I’m still in love with him. I just can’t stay away from him.”

“Well in order for us to maintain some form of order with you guys, you’ll refrain from seeing him. As of this morning, after he got your little mountain of presents, he requested that a restraining order be granted against you, barring you from being within one hundred yards of him. You must stay away from him Josh or you’ll be put in jail,” I explained to him as his eyes widened.

“What!” He screamed out, drawing attention to us. “I’ll be put in jail?”

“Yes Josh, you’ll be put in jail if you don’t leave here right now,” I told him as he shook his head and then frowned. “Just leave and give him some time okay. Maybe he’ll come around and want to talk to you again, but right now, he doesn’t want to see or hear you. So that means you can’t see him, call him or be around him. Do you understand that Josh?”

“I—I don’t fucking believe this!” He screamed out as he stomped out of the waiting area.

“I’m really getting too old for this kind of stuff,” I said just as my phone rang. “Hello…”

“Donnie, it’s me Kevin,” I heard Kevin Richards’ voice on the line. “Nick has been taken to the hospital. The plan is off.”

“Say what? What happened to him?” I asked, motioning for the temporary assistant to come over.

“Let’s just say that his depression has finally reached the ultimate level,” Kevin stated as I could hear crying and sniffling. “We were on our way back to Tampa and he—he slit his wrists in the plane’s bathroom.”

“Oh Lord; how is he doing right now?” I asked as I pulled out my notepad and scribbled that information down.

“We didn’t make it to Tampa, we’re in Orlando at Florida Hospital,” Kevin said as I looked over at the assistant.

“Where are you? I’m currently in Florida Hospital right now,” I spoke.

“We’re just now getting into the ER,” Kevin replied as I looked around, not seeing him. “He’s still alive, but he keeps losing consciousness.”

“Okay,” I said as I walked down the hall, looking for a sign of the two of them.

Tampa, FL – The Canton House

“Oh God! Mom! Mom! Come to the phone, it’s about Nick!” Aaron Canton said as he held the phone out to Janet Canton. “He’s in the hospital in Orlando.”

“What?” Janet said as she rushed over to the phone and then pressed the speakerphone button, turning it on. “Hello? What’s wrong with my Nick?”

“Mrs. Canton, it seems that while he and Kevin were flying back to your location, Nick had a terrible accident,” Donnie’s assistant relayed.

“Oh my God! What kind of accident?” Janet asked as she rubbed her wrists as the tears streamed down her face.

“Maybe you should talk to Kevin Richards about that ma’am,” the assistant replied.

“Why do I need to talk to Kevin? Why can’t you just tell me?” Janet asked as she rubbed at her wrists again.

“Ma’am, I think that’s a matter for Kevin to talk to you about,” the assistant stated. “I’m sorry Mrs. Canton, but that’s all I’m at liberty to talk about.”

“Well then you let Kevin know that I’m on my way there,” Janet stated as she pressed the button to end the call. “Aaron, get your sister, we’re going to Orlando.”

“Is he okay Mom?” Laura asked as she walked into the room.

“I don’t believe so and from what that woman just said, it must be something horrible, since she wouldn’t go into detail about what actually happened,” Janet said as she shook her head, her body trembling. “Pack a bag; we’re leaving as soon as possible.”

Somewhere in the Air on a Jetliner

Lynn Hart’s POV

“Look Randy, I don’t’ give a damn about your job right now. Damn it, your son has been in a car accident and he needs you. I’m quite sure he would like to see his father,” I hissed into my phone, trying to keep my temper under control. “Don’t you care enough about him to be there for him when he needs you?”

“Yes I care about him Lynn, don’t try acting like I’ve been an absentee father, because I haven’t been! I’ve been there for him throughout his life and you know I have,” Randy, my egotistical ex-husband and Justin’s father said as I shook my head. “You’re the one that chose to leave, not me. You made that decision Lynn!”

“If you love him like you claim you do, you should be there for him. Stop making damn excuses about your damn job. Fuck your damn job Randy! Your son should be more important to you than a damn job,” I said, scratching at my head. “Just be there for him Randy. You know he’s having a hard time dealing with things since he and Josh broke up. He needs all the support he can get. I don’t know where his mind is right now, but with this happening, he could be thinking anything. Paul and I shouldn’t be the only ones there with him.”

“I know Lynn, I know. I just can’t drop everything that quickly and run out to Orlando right now,” Randy said as I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle the hell out of him.

“Randall Tanner, if I don’t see you in Orlando when I get there, you’ll hate me when you do see me. You know how bad I can be,” I said.

“I’ll see what I can do Lynn, but I’m not going to make any promises,” he said as I covered my eyes as a few tears slipped from my eyes. “I’ll talk to you later on.”

“Bye Randall,” I said as I closed my phone.

Los Angeles, CA – The Office of Jamie Banks

Jamie’s POV

“Come on Chrissy, speak slowly and calmly. Now what are you trying to say?” I asked, trying to understand what my friend Christina was saying.

“Justin was in a car accident in Orlando,” she said as I was finally able to understand was she had been trying to tell me and I got scared.

“Oh my God, is he okay Chrissy?” I asked, standing up from my desk.

“I… none of us really now. None of us have been able to see him yet,” she stated. “All I know is that no one is allowed in to see him until he’s awake and so far, he’s still out. He’s been out of surgery for a few hours now, but he’s still out cold.”

“He was in surgery?” I asked, covering my mouth as the tears slid down my face. “What’s going on?”

“The last time I asked a nurse, she told me that he was just out of surgery, so I don’t know what actually happened, but I know they had to go in and fix something,” she said as I shook my head again.

“I’m going to hop on the next fight out and hopefully by the time I arrive there, he’ll be awake,” I said.

“I hope so too, I’m getting worried,” she said as I could hear her sniffling.

“Chrissy, has Josh been around?” I asked, fearing the worst already.

“Yeah, his skanky ass was here earlier. I already read him the riot act and made him leave. He told me some crap that he thinks he’s responsible for the accident that Justin was in. I hope that isn’t the case. If it is, his ass is mine and he’s had it,” she said as I typed some things on the computer for my flight.

“Oh that’s just great. He really needs to be beaten with a brick you know. I told him to stay away from Justin when I was last there,” I said, shaking my head.

“I told him that too,” she said as I could imagine how she actually told him. “He claims he’s still in love with him and that he wants to make things right between the two of them.”

“If he loved Justin, he never would’ve slept with Kevin Richards,” I said, covering my mouth quickly.

“What? He slept with Kevin from Fifth Avenue too?” She asked as I heard the anger building in her voice.

“Yeah, he slept with him too. I caught them during the last leg of the tour. They were secretly meeting up with each other to have sex,” I said, regretting telling that information.

“I don’t fucking believe this. Is there anyone he hasn’t slept with?” She asked as I wish I hadn’t let that slip out. “Of all the people in the Fifth Avenue fools, I thought he was the straight one.”

“Yeah right, Kevin’s gayer than me and Justin put together,” I said, chuckling as I tried to lighten the mood of things.

“Speaking of gay, how is that husband of yours doing? What’s Marshall up to?” She asked as I could hear the smirk in her voice.

“He’s doing okay. He’s off in the studio, doing his thing with the guys right now,” I replied, picking up some papers. “So I’m all alone for the next few weeks.”

“Since you’re coming here, you won’t be. You got me and the others to keep you company,” she said, laughing. “It’ll be like old times. I’ve talked with Joey and he’s coming out as soon as possible and Chris and whoever he’s dating will be here too. I tell you, that little elf goes through girls like I write checks.”

“Ain’t that the truth? I guess it’ll be fun as long as Josh doesn’t show up to cause any unneeded problems,” I said.

“Well the doctor and Donnie are talking right now. Why don’t you call me back later with your flight information and I’ll have someone meet you at the airport, alright,” she instructed.

“Okay babe, I’ll see you when I gets there,” I said as I typed some more stuff into the computer.

“Later Jamie,” she said as I hung up the phone.

“This is all so terrible,” I said as I placed my papers back down on the desk. “Diana, I need you to cancel the rest of my day’s appointments, I’ll be leaving for Orlando immediately.”

“Okay James, is there anything else you’ll need me to do?” Diana asked.

“No, I’m going to make one call and then I’m headed home to pack. Once I’m done with that, I’ll head on to the airport,” I told her as I picked up the phone again and dialed my husband’s number and waited for him to answer.

“You got Marsh, what’s up?” I heard him say in his strange way of answering the phone.

“Hi baby, what’re you up to?” I asked.

“Hi Jamie baby, what’s going on with you?” He asked as I sighed.

“I’m going to head out to Orlando for a while,” I said with a sniffle.

“Is there something wrong baby? Are you crying?” He asked.

“Justin… Justin was in… He was in a car accident. I’m heading out there to make sure that things are okay with him and I’ll probably be there for a few days, possibly a week to help and support him,” I stated as I wiped at my eyes.

“That’s my baby, always thinking about other people,” he said as I sniffled again. “Now I know why I love you so much.”

“You say the sweetest things,” I said as I looked over at the clock on the wall.

“Of course I do Mr. Banks. You’re my husband and I’ll always say sweet things to you,” he replied as I looked at the phone.

“Is Andre around?” I asked.

“No, he’s not with me at the moment. He’s probably up in the other studio, working on some tracks with the guys. I’m down here with the studio tech guys, trying to figure out why this track isn’t sampling right,” he said as I shook my head.

“Well tell him I said ‘Hello’ and that I’ll see him when I get back,” I said with a smile.

“Alright baby,” he said as I could hear the sadness in his voice. “If you need me to come out there with you, just call me back and let me know. You know I’d go with you, if you want me to.”

“I’ll be okay baby. I don’t want to take you away from your work baby,” I said.

“No way babe, they can handle things without me here. I’ve laid down my tracks. I was only helping the guys with their stuff. I can go with you, that’s if you want me to go baby,” he said as I smiled again.

“That’s totally up to you Marshall,” I said, pushing some things around on my desk.

“In that case, when are we leaving?” He asked as I heard him fumbling for something.

“I’m leaving here as soon as I can baby. I’ve booked a flight on the next plane out to Orlando. I’m heading home to pack and then it’s off to the airport,” I informed him.

“Add a ticket for me and then grab some things for me too baby and I’ll meet you at the airport” he said as I smiled again.

“Okay baby, I’ll see you there,” I said as I made some kissing noises on the phone. “I love you baby.”

“I love you too. I’ll see you then,” he said as I hung up the phone.

Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – The Intensive Care Unit – Nick’s Room

“Oh Nicky, you’re awake,” Kevin said as he sat in the chair next to the bed.

“Where am I?” Nick asked as he looked around the room.

“We’re at Florida Hospital in Orlando,” Kevin answered.

“I’m alive? Why? Why am I alive damn it?” Nick asked as the tears streamed down his face. “Why didn’t you just let me die Kevin? Why damn it!”

“I wasn’t going to just let you die Nick. I would never let something like that happen to you, not if I can help it,” Kevin said as he watched Nick closely.

“You should have. There’s nothing left here for me to live for Kevin,” Nick replied as he looked away from Kevin. “Besides, you’re just delaying the inevitable.”

“Please Nicky, please don’t talk like that. You’ve scared me enough. Don’t do this again. I couldn’t bear to see you like this again,” Kevin stated as a few tears fell from his eyes.

“You don’t have to see me like this, you can leave,” Nick said as he turned away from Kevin.

“I’m not leaving you like this Nicky,” Kevin said as he got up from the chair.

“Just go ahead and go. I won’t mind if you did. It’s not like everyone else hasn’t left me,” Nick said as he sniffled. “You won’t be any different.”

“What you mean by that Nicky?” Kevin asked as he grabbed Nick’s hand, holding it in his own.

“Just go away Kevin, stop fooling yourself. You’re only here out of pity,” Nick said as he tried to take his hand away from Kevin. “Or is it because Laura asked you to come get me, pick one, but I don’t care.”

“Stop this Nicky,” Kevin said as he shook his head.

“No Kevin, I won’t stop. Just go, leave me alone,” Nick said as he shook his head. “I don’t need or want your fucking pity!”

“I—I don’t pity you Nicky; I just wish there was something I could do to help take your pain away,” Kevin said as he looked down.

“When I needed your help with my pain, you turned me away. It’s too late now Kevin,” Nick said as more tears fell from his eyes.

“It’s not too late Nicky, it’ll never be too late,” Kevin said as he sat down on the bed next to Nick.

“It’s too late for us,” Nick stated.

“What? What’re you talking about Nicky?” Kevin asked as he moved closer to Nick on the bed.

“You know what I’m talking about. Remember when I told you that I loved you?” Nick asked, not even looking up at Kevin.

“Yeah I do and I love you too Nicky,” Kevin replied as Nick shook his head.

“No Kevin, I really loved you,” Nick said as he started crying harder. “Just go away Kevin, go back to those other men that you gave your love to.”

“Ni…” Kevin started, but then stopped.

“Just get the hell out of here and never come back!” Nick screamed as he jerked Kevin out of his thoughts.

“I—I’ll leave for now, but I’ll be back later on Nicky,” Kevin said as he leaned down and hugged Nick. “I still love you, regardless of what you say.”

“Just go!” Nick screamed again, pushing Kevin away from him.

Around the Corner – Justin’s ICU Room

“No! Please stop! Just leave me alone! I told you… just stop… I—I don’t want to see you… no, no more… please, I don’t want to see you anymore,” Justin spoke, apparently having a bad dream about something or someone.

“Justin honey, wake up,” Christina said as she touched Justin’s cheek lightly, trying to wake him. “Justin, you’re having a bad dream.”

“Where—where am I?” Justin asked as he tried to sit up in bed. “Owwwwwwwww!”

“No Justin, don’t try to get up,” Christina said as she sat back down in the chair that was next to the bed.

“Chrissy?” Justin spoke as he tried to move his head. “Where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital honey,” Christina replied. “Do—do you remember what happened sweety?”

“No, I—I don’t think so. What happened to me Chrissy?” Justin asked as a few tears fell from his eyes.

“You were in a car accident Justin,” Christina replied as she reached over and smoothed Justin’s hair back away from his face.

“Oh God!” Justin exclaimed as his tears fell faster. “That really happened to me! It wasn’t a dream!”

“No honey, it wasn’t a dream,” Christina replied as she looked down.

“That happened because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I was too busy trying to get away from Josh, that I caused a damn accident!” Justin yelled as he turned his head away from Christina.

“I’m sorry honey,” Christina said as she held Justin’s hand. “Don’t worry about Josh; he knows to stay away from you. If he doesn’t, I’ll kick his ass personally.”

“No Chrissy, don’t do that, you don’t have to worry about him,” Justin stated.

“Why don’t I?” Christina asked.

“I—I had Donnie get a restraining order against him,” Justin replied as he sniffled. “Just make sure that he doesn’t come here. I—I don’t want to see him ever again.”

“I’ll do my best to keep him away from you honey,” Christina stated as he closed his eyes and was fast asleep again.

Sometime Later – Nick’s ICU Room

“The doctor’s here to talk with you Nick,” Kevin softly spoke as he walked into the room, followed by an older man that looked to be in his late fifties with an almost Santa Clause appearance.

“Good evening Mr. Canton, how are you feeling?” The man asked as he walked over to Nick’s bed. “I’m Dr. Andrew Donaldson.”

“Why am I hurting like this?” Nick asked as he looked over at the doctor.

“Where are you hurting Mr. Canton?” The doctor asked.

“My head is pounding… My fingers, arms and hands feel like they’re on fire, some kind of tingling sensation,” Nick answered.

“That could be just the blood flowing back into the collective blood vessels in your arms, hands and fingers and as for the headache, that could be the after effects of the tranquilizer you were given to calm you down earlier,” the doctor stated.

“Why was he given a tranquilizer?” Kevin asked as he walked over to Nick’s bed and looked at the doctor. “Why did you need to do something like that to him?”

“Mr. Canton got a little bit unruly earlier today. He wasn’t very nice to the nurses and orderlies that came in to check his bandages. So to calm him down, a tranquilizer was administered to help ease his unruliness,” the doctor explained as Kevin looked at Nick and then back at the doctor strangely.

“Nicky, why are you doing all of this? Things aren’t that bad,” Kevin stated as he looked down.

“Didn’t I tell you to leave and not to come back here?” Nick asked as he glared at Kevin.

“I’m not going to leave you Nicky. I’m not going to abandon you,” Kevin replied with a frown.

“Leave here Kevin, leave here now!” Nick screamed out as he thrashed about on the bed, finally noticing that he couldn’t move his arms or legs. “What the hell is going on here? Why can’t I move my arms and legs?”

“The restraints are to keep you from hurting yourself or possibly anyone else,” the doctor replied as he wrote some things down on Nick’s chart.

“Doctor, is that really necessary?” Kevin asked as he watched things play out in front of him.

“You tell me Mr. Richards. Is he like this often?” The doctor asked as he and Kevin walked to another part of the room. “Is this normal for him?”

“No, this isn’t normal for him. I don’t know where any of this is coming from. He’s always been a nice and easy going person. Within the last couple of months, he’s changed,” Kevin stated as he looked down again as some tears fell from his eyes.

“What led to this change, if you know?” The doctor asked as he looked at Kevin, while keeping an eye on Nick’s actions.

“I think this is because so many people in his life has broken his heard and let him down,” Kevin stated as he looked up at the doctor. “I just hope he sees that he has a lot to live for… sees that he has people around in his life that actually care for him. I wish he’s just stop with this stuff.”

“So depression is what’s fueling most of his behavior?” The doctor asked as he looked over at Nick and then back at Kevin.

“I—I think so. It’s been one let down after another with him,” Kevin stated as he wiped at his eyes. “I just think he can’t handle it anymore and so he left his family and friends behind and started plotting to end it all.”

“End it all,” the doctor said as he looked at Kevin strangely as he turned a page in Nick’s chart.

“I think he wants to kill himself,” Kevin stated as he looked back over to Nick, noticing that he was still thrashing about on the bed, trying to get free.

“Has anyone thought about trying to get him some kind of counseling?” The doctor asked as Kevin shook his head.

“This was all so sudden. This happened before we could get him any help,” Kevin stated as he turned to see Nick getting free from his restraints. “Nicky, stop!”

“Fuck you Kevin!” Nick screamed as he ran out of the room.

“Oh my, I’ll alert hospital security,” the doctor stated as he walked over to the phone. “Mr. Richards, with the actions you’re describing, I’m going to call a colleague of mine and maybe he would like to talk with her.”

“I doubt it, but you can try,” Kevin said as he rushed out of the room in search of Nick.

To Be Continued…

The Awakening – Chapter 9

Chapter 9 — Battered Souls

Day 48 — The Outskirts of Bensonhurst, NY

“Malevolent!”  Brian screamed as JT fell to his knees as he moved quickly, catching him in his arms before he could hit the ground.  “What’s happening to him?  Amazon?  Conjurer?”

“Hello freaks,” General Ranger spoke as he walked forward from the group of soldiers with Helia by his side.  “I’m so happy that you all could join me here this evening.”

“You!”  Brian screamed.  “What did you do to him monster?”

“Ranger!”  Tara snapped as General Ranger snapped his finger as one of the soldiers fired a weapon that hit Brian, knocking him and JT down to the ground.

“Chase!”  Darren yelled as Brian groaned and then moved quickly, getting himself and JT away from the others.

“I’m okay!”  Brian yelled as he waved his arms in a circular motion, using his speed to create force winds, knocking a few of the soldiers backwards to the ground as other soldiers fired on him and JT.

“We have to stop them before something else happens to Chase and Warrior!”  Tara snapped as JT’s body shimmered with energy.

“Stop!”  JT’s voice was heard as he stood straight up, raising both of his hands as he lashed out with his telekinetic powers, knocking the first wave of soldiers through the air as he floated up into the air as Brian just watched in awe.

“Thank God baby, are you okay?”  Brian asked, watching JT.

“I’m fine,” JT replied in a cold, heartless tone as Brian looked at him strangely.

“Man, are you really okay?”  Darren asked as he appeared near Brian as JT floated before them.

“As I already said, I’m fine!”  JT snapped as a few soldiers converged on his area, firing their rifles at him as he held his hand out, using his powers to deflect the beams, nailing a few of the soldiers around him.  “We have to put a stop to this madness now!”

“Stop firing you fools!  You’re taking out your own men!”  General Ranger yelled as he raised his hand as a soldier with a strange looking suit of armor on, ran towards JT quickly as he jumped into the air, tackling him.

“What!  No!”  JT screamed as the soldier was able to move past his protective field, grabbing him as the two of them went down to the ground.

“Get away from him!”  Brian screamed as he ran in a circle around JT and the soldier, using his speed to create a barrier around the two men as the other soldiers fired their energy rifles, trying to stop him.

“Are you fools crazy?”  JT asked as his body glowed brightly with energy as he got up off the ground, using his powers to knock the soldier away from him as Brian stopped running and then looked at him as the other soldiers backed away.

“Stand down Malevolent,” the soldier spoke with a sly smile on his face.  “General Ranger wants a word or two with you.”

“No thank you,” JT replied as he raised his hand as the soldier was lifted up off of his feet.

“What in the hell is going on here?  Put me down damn you freak!”  The soldier demanded as JT smiled.

“As you wish!”  JT screamed as he waved his hand as the soldier rocketed through the air, crashing through a nearby building and knocking down a wall.  “It’s time I put an end to all of this.  Star Prism Power!”

“No, it’s happening again!”  General Ranger yelled, having to shield his eyes from the light and energy being generated by the glow around JT’s body.

“Are you okay Master?  What has happened to you?”  Helia asked as she shielded her eyes also as the glow around JT’s body dimmed as a strange ribbon-like energy flared around his body as his clothing was replaced by a new set of clothes.

“It’s always good to have an upgrade,” JT stated as he flew upwards, heading higher into the atmosphere.  “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I have no choice in the matter.  Planet…”

“Not so fast Malevolent!”  Someone yelled as JT stopped and then turned slightly as a punch connected with his face, knocking him through the air and down to the ground.

“Damn!  What in the hell was that?  What fucking hit me?”  JT asked as he leaned up on his elbows, while lying on the ground, trying to see what had hit him.  “Who in the hell was that?  What hit me?”

“That pleasure was all mine freak,” JT heard as he turned around to see a young man land a few feet from him.

“You?  I—I saw you in the pens when I…” JT said as the guy bum-rushed him, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulling him up off the ground.  “You—you touched me!”

“Damn right I touched you freak!  Who in the hell do you think you are?  You’re not untouchable!”  The young man yelled as he punched JT in the abdomen.

“Owww!”  JT groaned in agony, doubling over from the pain as Brian appeared in a blur, punching the guy multiple times.

“Get away from him!”  Brian’s voice could be heard, but he couldn’t be seen as he continued punching the guy.

“That doesn’t hurt me freak!”  The young man screamed as he stomped his foot on the ground, shaking things up a bit as Brian tripped and then fell to the ground as he turned his attention back to JT.  “General Ranger is ready for you now.  You can come willingly or you can die here right now.  Choose wisely freak!”

“I don’t think so!”  JT snapped as his eyes flared with psychic energy as he grabbed the young man’s head as their gaze connected.

“Baby, what’s happening?”  Brian asked, getting up off the ground as he watched things transpire between JT and the young man.

“What in the hell are you doing to me?”  The young man asked as JT continued holding his head as his eyes continued flaring with psychic energy.

‘You will stop what you’re doing,’ JT mentally projected his voice into the mind of the young man as he ceased his struggles and stood still.  ‘General Ranger is a very evil man.  You should not be following his lead.  General Ranger is trying to kill people with special abilities like you—like us.  You are in grave danger being anywhere near that man.’

“General Ranger is an evil man,” the young man spoke as his eyes glowed the same color JT’s eyes glowed.  “I’m in grave danger being around him.  I must get away from him quickly.”

‘That’s right, you must get away from General Ranger.  He will kill you if allowed to. Use your gifts Mr. Perry and get away from here quickly,’ JT mentally projected his voice into the young man’s mind as his eyes stopped glowing as he removed his hands from the young man’s head.

“No!  I must get away from here!”  The young man screamed as he jumped into the air, taking flight as he flew away from the scene as General Ranger’s eyes widened as he balled his hand into a fist and then turned to Helia.

“You!  Bring him back here, now damn it!”  General Ranger yelled as he pointed in the direction the young man had flown in.

“I—I can’t,” Helia replied as she shook her head.

“I said get him back here!  Get him back here now, damn you!”  General Ranger yelled as he slapped Helia’s face as she screamed out and then held her face.  “You will do as I tell you to damn it!”

“Yes Master,” Helia replied as her eyes glowed as a strange phenomenon appeared before her and General Ranger as JT passed through the phenomenon and punched General Ranger in the face, knocking him backwards.

“Bet I’m not what you were expecting,” JT said as he grabbed Helia’s hand and then disappeared with her in a flash of light.

“No!”  General Ranger screamed, stomping his feet like a little child would as he’s suddenly lifted up off of his feet as he looked around quickly, trying to figure out what was happening around him as there was a strange shimmering of light as Darren appeared before him in giant mod, holding him within his hand.

“Nah uh General Ranger, I don’t think you want to put your hands on anyone else right now, while you’re in my hands,” Darren stated with a sly smile as General Ranger looked around again, trying to assess his options of getting away from Darren.  “Look around all you like, but there’s no escaping me from up here.  You’re almost twenty feet high in the sky.  A drop from this height would more than likely kill you.”

“Put me down freak!”  General Ranger screamed as he tapped a button on his uniform as a few soldiers converged on the area where Darren stood.

“General, freak isn’t a nice word to say to the person that literally holds your life in his hands,” Darren stated as he used his other hand to cover General Ranger’s body as he shook his hands, like he was shaking up dice in his hands as screamed could be heard.

“Get me out of here!”  General Ranger screamed, being bounced around inside of Darren’s enclosed hands as the soldiers on the ground fired their weapons at Darren.

“This is getting really old,” Darren stated with a chuckle as he continued shaking General Ranger up in his enclosed hands.  “Come on General, have you had enough yet?  Your soldiers are tickling me with their gunfire.”

“Destroy him, any way you can!”  General Ranger screamed as Darren shook his head.

“I guess you haven’t,” Darren stated as he opened his hand and then held General Ranger up by the collar of his shirt.  “I guess I have to resort to other methods of dealing with you.”

“Kill him!  Kill him right now!”  General Ranger screamed as the soldiers continued firing on Darren as one fired a bazooka at him, having no effect.

“You are a very evil man.  I swore I would never use my magic to hurt a living thing, but in your case, I may have to make an exception,” Darren stated as a tear rolled down his cheek.

(<PAMPH>)

“That’s something you don’t have to do!”  JT yelled as he appeared in a flash of light as he flew through the air, grabbing General Ranger from Darren’s hand as he carried the man through the air.  “Now tell me Ranger, what did you do to Helia Stroyer?”

“I don’t have to answer to the likes of you!”  General Ranger screamed as he struggled to get away from JT, the two of them physically fighting in the middle of the air.

“You stupid idiot!  Do you realize where you are?”  JT asked as he grabbed General Ranger by his throat, holding him tight.  “You’re in the middle of the fucking sky!  You’re really high in the fucking sky right now!  If I want to, I could kill you right now and be done with you forever!  All I have to do is drop your ass from up here and let you go splat all over the damn ground!  Now tell me, what in the hell did you do to Helia Stroyer!  How are you able to control her and her powers?”

“Do what you want to freak.  There’s nothing you can do to me that make me tell you anything.  The answers you seek, won’t come from me,” General Ranger said with a smile as he looked at JT strangely.  “Why don’t you use your psychic powers, if you can…”

“So, it seems you’re responsible for my psychic powers not working properly around here.  What have you done to create so much psychic static around here?  How did you do that?”  JT asked as his eyes glowed brightly as he reached behind his back with his other hand as a sword appeared.

“Oh look, he has a shiny toy.  What do you plan on doing with that thing?”  General Ranger asked as JT held the sword under his chin.  “Go ahead Malevolent… Go ahead and kill me if you dare, but that won’t change anything.  You’ll still be right here, looking for damn answers that you won’t find.  You might as well get used to things as they are.  I am stronger and smarter than you are freak.”

“You’re not stronger or smarter than me!”  JT snapped as his voice sent shockwaves outwards, shaking things up around the area.

“That’s very interesting.  My instruments are detecting that you’re using a power to alter reality with just the sound of your voice.  How are you doing that?”  General Ranger asked with a smile.

“Ask your so-called technology that question,” JT stated as General Ranger leered at him.  “So, your technology can detect energy, is that right?”

“You’ll never know that answer either,” General Ranger replied as he pressed a button on his uniform that created a strange field of energy around his body that repelled him away from JT.  “You’ve had it freak!  Men, take him down!”

“I don’t think that’s going to work!”  JT snapped as he gestured with his hands as if he was controlling something as General Ranger’s body stopped moving away from him.  “You might have something hindering my ability to read your mind, but nothing’s stopping my tactile telekinesis.  Let your damn devices detect that.  I still have you and I’m not letting you go until you tell me what happened to Helia Stroyer!”

“Men, I said take him down, now!”  General Ranger screamed as a few soldier converged on his location, firing their weapons at JT as Brian ran around the, taking their weapons from them and disassembling them, letting the pieces fall to the ground.

“I’m not going to let you hurt him!”  Brian screamed as another soldier arrived on the scene and fired his rifle, the beam knocking Brian down to the ground.

“No!”  JT screamed as his eyes crackled with energy as fire enveloped his body, making him look like a giant firebird in the sky.

“Oh no, Chaos!”  Tara screamed as she arrived where JT and General Ranger floated.  “Psychic Warrior!  Psychic Warrior!  Oh God, please don’t let him be Chaos!”

“What in the hell is happening?”  General Ranger asked as the fire around JT’s body dissipated a bit as JT appeared, moving closer to him as it looked like he had wings made of fire, connected to his back.  “What in the hell is going on here?  What in the hell is that thing?”

“Amazon, what’s going on?”  Brian asked as he leaned up on his elbows as Darren shrunk down to his normal size to help him up.

“J?  Come on J, is that you in there?”  Tara asked as she floated backwards, trying to put some distance between herself and JT.  “I don’t like how this is…”

“Stay back!”  Helia screamed as she appeared in between JT and General Ranger.  “Master, I’ll save you!”

“You call him Master, yet I am the one that can save your soul!”  JT screamed, laughing out as his eyes turned to fire as Helia gasped and then covered her mouth, the expression on her face showing her fear.

“Not again!”  Tara screamed as she floated down to the ground as Darren and Brian rushed over to her.

“What’s happening Dear?”  Darren asked as he looked up at the scene that played out before them in the sky.

“Something’s happened to JT and it’s not good.  He—he’s changed,” Tara stated as Brian looked at her strangely.

“What’s going on with him Amazon?”  Brian asked as he tried to shield his eyes a bit as he watched things.  “What’s with the wings of fire?  I didn’t know he had the power to changed into a bird made of fire.  What’s with the fire shooting from his eyes?  That fire makes him look like a demon or something.  Is that part of his powers?  Is he the devil?  Come on Amazon, what’s going on here?”

“Damn, his mouth moves just as fast as the rest of him,” Darren stated as Brian glared at him.

“I—I don’t know,” Tara replied just as Helia and General Ranger landed on the ground in front of them with a loud thud.  “Goodness!”

“Stand down freaks!”  A group of soldiers yelled as Tara, Darren and Brian stepped backwards.

“No one defies me!”  JT screamed as he raised his hands high as the fire around his body lit up the night sky, making it look as if it was high noon.

“Oh damn, this isn’t good at all.  We have to get away from here,” Tara stated as she looked around quickly, trying to assess the team’s options as Darren’s body shimmered as his body shrunk down to size and out of view as Tara held her hand out and then looked over at Brian.  “Come on, you’re coming with me.”

“What?  Where are we going… What’s going on?”  Brian asked as he looked up at the sky and then back to Tara.  “What about J?”

“We can’t be concerned with him right now, we need to worry about our own safety,” Tara stated.

“What about Alpha and Amaryllis?”  Brian asked as he looked around.  “Where are they?  Have they been found?”

“Don’t know where they are Chase, but we have to get away from here, now!”  Tara snapped as she grabbed his hand, taking flight as the soldiers nearest them fired their weapons.  “Once we get to safety, then we’ll worry about finding Alpha and Amaryllis.”

“Dear, what’s going on with Malevolent?  I know you know something here,” Darren’s voice could be heard, but he wasn’t seen.

“I believe he’s changed into a darker, evil version of himself called Chaos.  Back when we were kids, Chaos decimated the entire team,” Tara stated as she flew through the air.  “The way he looks right now, is the way he looked back then.  We’re all in danger here.  We have to get away from here before…”

(<PAMPH>)

“You have to get away before something happens to you all, is that it?”  JT asked as he appeared in a burst of flame in front of Tara and her passengers as he waved his hand as Walden and Jennifer appeared in a burst of flame as a strange phenomenon appeared and Helia fell out of it.  “Now, we’re all here.”

“What the hell!”  Tara screamed, stopping quickly as Brian fell from her grasp.  “Brian!”

“You act as if you’re frightened by me or something,” JT stated as he waved his hand again as Brian appeared in a burst of flame in front of them.  “Are you scared of me Amazon?  You’re not supposed to be scared of me, you’re supposed to be my best friend.”

“I—I am your best friend,” Tara replied with a frown on her face.  “But…”

“Break yo’self fool!”  Jennifer snapped as she slapped JT across the face as the fire dissipated from around his body as a strange energy-like ribbon shot out from his body as his clothes changed back to his regular street clothes as his body fell to the ground, hurling towards the ground like a meteor.

“No!”  Brian screamed as the four of them flew behind JT, trying to catch his falling body before he could hit the ground.

“I got him!”  Jennifer screamed as she projected beams of energy from her hands that enveloped JT’s body, holding him in place.

“Thank the heavens,” Tara stated as JT’s eyes opened as he waved his hand as all of them disappeared in a flash of light.

Between Here and There — The Limbo Dimension — Castle Limbo

Tara’s POV

What in the hell is going on with JT?  One minute he’s acting like Chaos and the next, he’s acting somewhat back to normal.  Where in the hell are we right now?  I can’t make out where we are and I would like to be able to get my bearings before he tries to kill us, if he is Chaos.  He was acting like he was going to kick our asses and then Jennifer slapped him back to himself.  She must’ve hit him really hard because he went out, almost dying in the process and when we all got to him, he woke up, waved his hand, teleporting us all away and here we are, wherever the hell here is.

“Where is JT?”  Brian asked as he looked over at me.

“Is everyone okay?”  I asked, turning to look around, trying to locate everyone.  “Roll call.”

“Walden here,” Walden spoke in a groggy voice.

“I’m here,” I heard Helia speak as I looked around at here to see that she was crying.

“You know I’m here,” Brian spoke as he shrugged his shoulders.

“Here dear,” Darren spoke as he looked around at Jennifer as she waved her hand.

“Jennifer’s here, alive and kickin’,” Jennifer spoke as I sighed.

“So the only one missing is JT,” I said as I looked around again, not spotting him anywhere.

“Where are we?”  Jennifer asked as she sighed and then looked around.  “Where is he?”

“I have a sinking feeling that we’re in Limbo,” I replied as she shook her head.  “He tends to enjoy traveling here when he’s in need of shelter.”

“Well that’s nothing new girl,” Jennifer spoke as she turned around and then bumped into a mirror.  “What in the hell!  What the fuck is this?  Where did this mirror come from?”

“Jennifer, I don’t think that’s…” I said as she struggled, acting as if she was trapped.  “Jen, is there something wrong?”

“This… Thing… Won’t… Let… Me… Go!  I—I’m stuck!”  Jennifer screamed as her eyes glowed an eerie red color.  “Let me go damn it!”

“Wait a minute, what do you mean you’re stuck?”  I asked as I flew over to where she was as her eyes glowed brighter as energy beams projected from her eyes, zapping the mirror as the beams were reflected back at her and other places where we were as we all had to duck and seek cover.  “Jennifer!  Stop those damn things!”

“I—I can’t!”  Jennifer screamed as another mirror appeared in the room with us as Darren backed up, stepping into the mirror.

“Darren!”  I screamed, flying towards him, trying to grab him, but the mirror disappeared before I got to it.  “What in the hell is going on here?  JT, show yourself!”

“This shit is freaking me out!”  Brian screamed as he took off running from the area.

“Brian, no!”  I screamed, not able to see him anymore as he disappeared into the darkness.  “Walden, Helia, stay close to me!”

“Yes ma’am,” Walden replied as he took on a fighting stance as another mirror appeared next to him, moving quickly and enveloping him as it disappeared also.

“What in the hell is going on around here?  JT!  Damn it, show yourself!”  I snapped as there was a blinding flash of light as JT appeared in the room, looking rather older than usual.

“Hello Tara,” JT spoke as his eyes flared with magical energy.

“JT, what’s going on here?”  I asked.

“This is your chance to get out of this,” JT stated as he waved his hand as a mirror appeared before him.  “You can walk through the mirror and be free from being my creation of Wonder Woman.”

“What in the hell is wrong with you?”  I asked.  “Have you lost what’s left of your damn mind?  We’ve had this discussion already man!”

“No Tara, this is your chance to live the life you wanted to live,” JT spoke, his voice sound a bit pleasant, considering where we were and what I’m used to hearing.  “All you have to do is walk into the mirror and you’ll be free and all the pain you’ve experienced in the last forty years will be…”

“Shut the hell up JT!”  I screamed as he looked at me strangely.  “I’m not going to let you use that funky ass mirror to erase my life and create a new one!”

“I’m trying to give you what you want here,” he said as I shook my head.

“How do you even know what I want?”  I asked.

“We’ve been friends for a few millennia Tara, I know what you want,” he said as I looked at him funny.  Hell, we’ve been friends for a long time, but not that damn long.

“What in the hell are you talking about JT?”  I asked.

“Look Tara, I’m trying to give you a way out here,” he said as he looked down.  “If you stay Amazon, my version of Wonder Woman, you’ll forever be cursed, living a life of always looking over your shoulder.  I don’t want you spending the next few hundred years, trying to keep the world protected when you can have a simple life.”

“What!”  I screamed, my voice shaking the walls around me as some torches lit in the distance to show that I was in the castle.  Why did my voice shake the walls like that?  “You’ve really lost your damn mind this time.  What did you drink?  Did you take anything?”

“I didn’t drink or take anything Tara,” he replied as he shook his head.  “You know from here, using my scrying glass, I can see through time and space and what I see, you and…”

“I don’t want to know JT,” I said as I moved back away from him and that mirror.  “Life is something that isn’t supposed to be always known.  We have to live life to experience new things and learn.  If it’s automatically told to us, we don’t learn and grow.”

“So, you’re telling me that you want to learn and grow for four thousand years?”  He asked as I looked at him strangely.

“Say what?  Are you’re saying I’m going to live to be over four thousand years old?”  I asked as he sighed.

“I’m saying that when I wished you into being like Wonder Woman a long time ago, I really wished you into being a goddess, just like the way they have her in the comic books I used to read.  You are nearly identical to her in power, strength, skill and wisdom,” he said as I shook my head.  “If need be, if Wonder Woman was real and someone needed to take her place, say something had happened to her, you would be a perfect replacement for her.”

“What!”  I screamed again as the castle shook as he looked around.

“Remember what I gave you when I made my wish?”  He asked, looking down at his hands.

“Yes, I remember your wish, but what does that have to do with me living for over four thousand years?”  I asked.

“Tara, my wish turned you into a goddess,” he said with a frown as he waved a hand as another mirror appeared as the image on the surface of the mirror changed to show me, himself and others, fighting.  “That’s me, you as Amazon still, your great-great-great grandniece Hyppolytah, your husband Conjurer, my great-great grandson Malik, distant offspring of our friends Illusion and Speedster, that’s DreamScape and her brother Speedy.  It seems the dream still lives on.”

“So you’re saying I’m not going to die?”  I asked as he looked down again.

“In every time I’m able to see, you’re still alive,” he replied as he turned as I grabbed his hand, stopping him from moving as multiple images appeared in my mind.  “No Tara, stop!”

“What… What was that JT?”  I asked, trying to piece together the images I just saw.  “Was—was that about me?  Where those thoughts about me?”

“Yes,” he answered as he shook his head.  “I—I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life being this way.”

“What way?”  I asked, looking at him closely.

“I don’t want you spending the rest of your life, being my Wonder Woman,” he said as his eyes glowed brightly as he waved his hand and then smiled.  “Goodbye Wonder Woman.”

“What!”  I screamed as everything around me turned black and I was no longer holding his hand.

To Be Continued…

To Protect and Serve – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 — Close Encounters of the First Kind

Aug 5, 1995 – Dallas, TX – An Unnamed Hotel – Joey and JT’s Hotel Room

JT’s POV

Oh that’s just fucking great!  What in the hell was I thinking?  Now he’s totally going to be suspicious of things going on around us.  Why did I have to telepathically speak to him this morning?  That was totally my fault.  I shouldn’t have done that… had I not done that, he wouldn’t be asking questions that I don’t want to answer.

“What in the hell am I going to do?”  I asked as I heard the water turn on in the bathroom.

Damn it, I don’t want to try erasing his memory of that.  Hell, if I try, I run the risk of causing some kind of brain damage or something.  I don’t care how gentle I can possibly be with his mind, there’s still the risk of something happening to his mind and being that he’s a rising star, him becoming a brain dead veggie isn’t something he needs happening in his life right now.  I’m going to do my best to not mess with his mind for the time being.

“Hey Joey, I’m going to breakfast.  I’ll see you in Chris and Wanda’s room when you’re done,” I yelled, looking around the room and then I made my exit.

In the Bathroom

Looking at himself in the mirror, Joey sighed and then walked over to the shower stall.  Opening the stall door, Joey turned on the water so he could shower.  Testing the water to check the temperature, Joey sighed again and then stripped off his clothes as he stepped into the shower, letting the water wash away his fears and doubts.

“I totally need a new look,” Joey said as he washed his body.  “I need a look that will get JT’s attention.  I need a look that will make him want me, like I want him.”

While shower, Joey allowed the images of JT’s sexy body dance through his mind.  Joey continued his shower while he sexually touched himself, bringing himself to orgasm.  Leaning against the shower stall wall, he did his best to catch his breath as he smiled.  Washing away the remains of his joy, Joey stepped out of the shower, grabbed a towel and started drying off.

“Damn, that was the best shower I’ve had in a week.  I guess I needed to act like that.  I need to do this a lot,” Joey said as he moved over to the mirror, checked his appearance again and then started dressing for the day.

Chris and Wanda’s Hotel Room

“Look, I know it was you that did it.  Please excuse yourself the next time you feel the need to try to suffocate us all Chris,” Wanda stated, pretending to gag as everyone in the room laughed at the embarrassed expression on Chris’ face.

“Honest, I didn’t do it, Lance did it.  Look at him; he looks like he’s gassy.  Dang Wanda, why are you blaming me for that?”  Chris asked with a pleading look of innocence on his face.

“No, don’t blame me, I didn’t do it.  Hell, I haven’t had anything to eat yet to be gassy or anything.  So don’t place the blame on me to pull it off of yourself Chris!”  Lance snapped, pointing his finger at Chris.

“You guys are too much,” Tyler spoke, fanning his hand in front of his face as Joshua, Lance and Chris watched him.  “You guys make little stinkies and then you want to blame other people for your actions.  You guys know that’s not the moral way to conduct yourselves.”

“Hey, what do you mean by moral?  What are you, a priest or something?  Excuse me, if I’m not mistaken, weren’t you the guy that leaned over Wanda and Barbara last night in the limo to get a soda and you didn’t say anything while your backside was all up in their faces,” Joshua sarcastically said as Wanda’s eyes widened.

“Calm down people, what’s going on in here?”  JT asked, walking into the room.

“Well to start, Chris farted, then Wanda made a comment about it, then Chris blamed Lance for it, then Lance shouted at him for it, then Tyler spoke up and then Joshua took offense to it and then you walked in,” Hank explained as everyone turned and looked at him strangely.

“Well thank you Onyx for that small summary of everything that happened in everyone’s life.  Could you be more of a tattletale or what?  I bet the teachers loved you in school,” Barbara stated as she cringed when she realized what she had said.

“What did you call him Barbara?  What’s an Onyx?”  Lance asked, looking over at Barbara and then over at Hank.

“It—it’s just a nickname that everyone calls me, mainly because I used to be so serious and I can’t remember who thought of that name,” Hank replied, glaring at Barbara.

“I’m sorry.  Damn, it like slipped out.  Sue me or something,” Barbara stated, walking over to JT and handing him a folder.

“Lighten up Hank.  You act like we’re picking on you or something,” JT said as everyone stopped what they were doing and looked in his direction, rather behind him.  “What’s going on?  Hello?”

“Oh God!  What have you done to your head Joey?”  Lance asked, getting up as he walked over to where Joey stood behind JT as JT turned around quickly to see Joey’s new look.

“You can all close your mouths now.  It’s not like you haven’t seen me change my hair color before,” Joey stated as he looked around the room and then walked over to the food serving cart and then picked up a plate.

“Are you kidding me here?”  Justin asked, shaking his head as he put his plate down on the table.

“Joey—Joey, your hair is blue and black,” Joshua said, sighing as he shook his head.  “When you dyed your hair red that time, it was for publicity for the show we were doing.  What’s with the blue?  There’s no publicity need for that.  What’s the deal here man?  What’s running through that brain of yours?”

“Lay off the hair Joshua.  No one said anything to Chris when he went back to the dreads and no one said anything to Justin when he went with the Mohawk.    Why are you guys acting like I committed murder for a little bit of color?  I’m not in the mood for this, so let’s just finish eating so we can get on with our day,” Joey said as he piled some food onto his plate and then found a spot to sit on the couch next to Lance.

“You changed your hair to blue!”  Justin snapped, walking over to where Joey sat.  “You must understand that we’re concerned about this drastic change here.  Is there something wrong?”

“There’s nothing wrong Justy.  I’m trying to eat here, leave me alone and finish your own food!”  Joey snapped, motioning with his plate at Justin.

“Okay guys, I think that’s our cue to let you all have some personal time,” JT stated as he moved away from the sofa.  “If you guys need anything, we’ll be outside.  Come on guys.”

Outside in the Hallway

“What’s going on JT?  I know you’ve already psi-scanned everyone’s mind to see what’s going on, so go ahead and tell us already,” Barbara stated as JT shook his head.

“I don’t know what’s going on in there.  I haven’t psi-scanned anyone and I’m not going to, unless there’s trouble or I feel someone’s hiding something,” JT stated with a sigh.  “I don’t think Joey’s decision to change his hair color warrants me reading his mind.”

“Well something is definitely going on in there with those guys and counseling of some kind is probably needed,” Barbara stated as she turned and looked at Hank.

“What?!”  Hank snapped.

“Buddy you need to calm down,” JT said as he looked over at Hank.  “By the way, what’s going on with you and Lance?  I noticed that Lance has been looking at you since I’ve been in the room and it seems his glance matches yours.  So did you two sleep together or something?”

“No, we haven’t done anything.  We had a little bit of a problem last night, but I think we’ve solved that and—and everything’s okay now,” Hank stated as he averted his eyes from JT.

“Well that’s good to hear.  At least we know that you’ll be doing your job at full potential and not be distracted by other things.  Also, I know something about where Mitchell and Ken are hiding.  On my way to breakfast this morning, I had a premonition.  I think it was triggered by the phone call I got after speaking to Marek,” JT explained as Barbara and Wanda looked at him strangely.  “I think they’re held up in a small building on the outskirts of town that Marek’s dad used to own.”

“Are we going to investigate this JT?”  Barbara asked as JT smiled wickedly as he pulled a notebook out of his pocket.

“Oh yeah, we’re going to investigate this.  When the guys are at their photo shoot and interview today, me and Wanda will teleport to the location and check things out to see what’s going on.  During that time, Hank will go back to headquarters and check on things there, to make sure we haven’t had any visitors while we’ve been away,” JT stated, looking around at his comrades.  “Tyler, you and Barbara will stay with the guys and if you need to, call in some of the others to take up the slack.”

“Are you sure we can pull this off without bringing unneeded attention…” Tyler stated as the door to the room opened as JT looked up to see Justin waving for them to come over.

“Is there something wrong Justy?”  Barbara asked.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but Joey just got a call on his cell and now he’s acting all strange,” Justin stated with a frown.  “All I know is that he answered the phone and now he’s not talking.”

“Oh that’s just great,” JT said with a frown as they rushed into the room.  “Joey?  Joey, what’s wrong?  What’s happening?”

“What did he say when he answered the phone?”  Barbara asked, walking over to Justin.

“Tyler, grab his phone and check the caller id.  Barbara, go get Jon so he can be informed of this.  Hank, you go do what I told you to do earlier.  Come on people, hustle!”  JT snapped, snapping his fingers in Joey’s face, still not getting a response from him.

“Did Joey say anything at all while he was on the phone?”  Wanda asked, looking at Chris.

“All he did was say ‘hello’ and then his face went blank, like it is now.  He looks like he’s heard some bad news or something,” Chris stated, looking at Wanda strangely.  “What’s going on here?  What’s wrong with him?”

“Chris, please sit down, you’re making me nervous,” Joshua said, trying to ease Chris into a chair to stop his pacing.

“That would be a good idea if everyone just calmed down so we can get to the bottom of this,” Lance said, returning to his seat on the sofa.

“I don’t know what was said on the phone, but I’m going to find out.  Joey, I don’t know if you can hear what I’m saying, but you have to talk to me and tell me what was said,” JT said, hoping he didn’t have to use his psychic powers to get the answers he needed from Joey.

“Please JT, please protect me,” Joey whispered to JT.

“I’m right here Joey,” JT spoke, taking Joey’s hand in his.

“He said that… He said that he was… He was… Wahhhh… He said that he was watching me and that he was going to have me and when he was done with me, he was going to make sure that no one else does… He’s going to kill me,” Joey stuttered out as the tears streamed down his face.

“What!”  Justin screamed as Joey jumped up from the sofa and jumped into JT’s arms, trembling violently.

“Oh God,” Lance said, shaking his head.  “Was it the same guy that sent us the gifts?  Was it the guy that’s been harassing all of us on the phone?”

“Joey… Joey… Come on man, stay with me here, you have to talk to me.  Stay with me Joey, don’t fade out on me,” JT stated as he looked Joey in the face.

“JT!  What in the hell is going on around here?  I was told that another phone call had been received by one of the guys.  I thought you guys had that problem under control!”  Jon snapped, standing in the doorway to the room.

“Jon, we don’t know where these guys are hiding,” JT stated as he looked over at Jon.  “But I have a feeling that will change soon.  I’m in receipt of some information about the identities of the people involved and Tyler is checking with the cell phone carrier about the recent call received.”

“JT, please help me.  Get those guys for me… I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to be his,” Joey said as the tears continued streaming down his face.

‘Sorry gang, but I don’t think I can filter out all of this fear.  I can barely get into his mind to calm him down.  It’s like he’s going into lockdown or something.  The plan stays the same.  Let’s just get past this and continue on with everything else,’ JT telepathically spoke to his comrades.

“Please help me JT… Stop him, stop him before he comes to get me!”  Joey screamed as Lance and Joshua jumped and then moved over towards the door.

“Jon, is it possible for the guys to cancel the photo shoot and interview that’s scheduled for today?”  JT asked.

“No, they can’t cancel.  We’ve already rescheduled things way too many times,” Jon stated, shaking his head.  “We’ve been here in Texas for an extra week and the guys have yet to handle their external commitments.  I don’t care what’s going on, but today’s events need to get completed today.”

“But Jon, what if that creep attacks us while we’re at the shoot or the interview?”  Joshua asked, looking over at Jon.

“We’ll be there and I’m going to call in extra security for tonight’s show,” JT stated as Joey looked at him closely.

“But JT…” Joshua trailed off when Jon glared at him.

Jacksonville, FL – The X-Ternals’ Compound

= Unauthorized Entry!  Intruder, please validate your identity =

“Computer, security check.  Onyx logging in with passcode Hart one,” Hank spoke as an infrared light beam shot out from a hole from the ceiling, bathing his body in a reddish glow.

= Identity of Onyx Validated.  Entry Authorized =

“Computer, are there any other members here within the compound?”  Hank asked, walking through the corridor.

= Negative.  Onyx is only validated member in area =

“Thank you, I’ll do a walk-through and then I’ll be leaving,” Hank stated as he continued walking through the corridors of the compound.

Dallas, TX – An Unknown Hotel – Chris and Wanda’s Hotel Room

“Being that there aren’t going to be any changes, let’s go ahead and get your day on the road.  I’ve called for extra security and we’ll make sure that we’ll do what we can to stop these freaks from bothering you,” JT stated as he walked towards the main door.

“Alright guys, let’s get moving.  You don’t want to be late, this shoot and interview needs to get done today, so get to it,” Jon said as he walked out of the room.

“That damn jerk is going to make us do something one day and it’s going to end up getting us all killed,” Chris said as he shook his head.  “The damn fool cares nothing about our safety.”

“Come on guys, our bodyguards are here with us and they’ll keep us protected,” Lance stated as he walked towards the door while pulling Joshua up off the sofa.

“Come on Justin, we don’t have all day,” Chris said, pointing at the door as he shook his head again.

A Few Minutes Later – Downstairs at the Limos

“Hey, where are you two going?  I thought you guys were coming with us,” Lance said as JT and Wanda walked towards another car.

“We’ll be there, we have something to check on first and then we’ll be right there.  Believe me, you guys won’t even miss us at all,” JT stated as he and Wanda walked in the direction of the rental car office.

“Okay guys, I’ll see you later.  JT, please don’t be long,” Joey said as he stepped inside the limo.

‘Wanda, when the limo pulls off, we are a go.  Also, you make sure that if I grab somebody, let me hold onto them, without you slicing through my energy bubble and giving them a way to escape,’ JT telepathically spoke to Wanda as the two of them faded away.

The Outskirts of Dallas, TX – An Abandoned Building

“Black Cat, over there!  Grab him and don’t let him get away!  I’ll get the other one!”  JT yelled as he and Wanda appeared in the room and spotted Poltergeist and one of his friends, the guy they knew to be responsible for causing problems for their charges.

“Don’t move or I’ll slice and dice you with my claws,” Wanda stated as her image shifted, making her look like a female cat that stood on her hind legs.

“Shaman stop!  What’s happened to make you go bad all of a sudden?”  JT asked, stepping up behind the man.

“Psychic Warrior, I was wondering when we were going to pit our powers against one another,” the guy identified as Shaman spoke as he waved his hand as a staff made of psychic energy appeared.

“Bring it on.  I don’t want to hurt you Mitchell, but if I have to, I will.  For your brother’s sake, stop this madness.  I thought you had given this way of life up,” JT stated as he waved his hand, using his powers to create a sword made of psychic energy.

“My life is none of your business!”  Shaman screamed, trying to jab JT with his psychic staff.

“I told you a long time ago that you couldn’t beat me.  Stop this, before it’s too late,” JT spoke as he sighed and then shoved his psychic sword into Shaman’s head as Wanda covered her mouth.

“Psychic Warrior!”  Wanda snapped as she and Poltergeist moved over to where JT and Shaman were.

“I told him I didn’t want to hurt him,” JT stated as Shaman stood paralyzed in place.

“I don’t know why he would go up against you,” Wanda stated, shaking her head.  “He knew that your psychic sword is the totality of your psychic powers and with it, you can do just about anything with the mind and body.”

“Right now, I’m going to extract the necessary information from his mind that we need to stop him and his friends,” JT stated as his eyes glowed an eerie purple color.  “While he’s paralyzed, I’m going to lock his powers away, so he won’t cause any more problems for Joey or anyone else.”

“Psychic Warrior, is that something you should be doing?”  Wanda asked as she held Poltergeist around the neck, holding him tightly so he couldn’t escape her.

“If he doesn’t remember he has powers and he can’t access them, he can’t cause any problems for any of us,” JT stated as Wanda nodded her head as Poltergeist struggled to get free.  “Don’t you agree with that Black Cat?”

“You—you’re right,” Wanda replied, looking down as JT removed his psychic sword from Shaman’s head as his body fell to the floor.

“Okay Black Cat, let’s get the hell out of here and get back to the guys.  Make sure you have a nice hold on him, so he can’t escape.  When we get back to the guys, he’s going to be arrested,” JT stated as Wanda looked at him strangely.

“He’s going to be arrested?  Why?”  Wanda asked.

“If the guys see him get arrested, they’ll feel more protected,” JT stated as Wanda nodded and then frowned.

“I don’t think jail is going to hold him Psychic Warrior.  He can turn intangible and teleport,” Wanda stated as JT shook his head and then stabbed his psychic sword into Poltergeist’s head as the man screamed out in agony.  “Psychic Warrior!”

“Don’t worry Cat, I’m locking his powers away, so he can’t use them either, the same way I did with Mitchell over there,” JT stated as he removed the psychic sword from Poltergeist’s head and then backed away from him as his eyes stopped glowing.

“Are you okay Psychic Warrior?”  Wanda asked, watching JT closely.

“I’m fine, why do you ask?”  JT asked, looking at Wanda strangely.

“I—I’m just shocked at this harsh way that you’ve adapted to using your psychic powers,” Wanda stated as JT shrugged his shoulders and then moved away from her.

“You ready to get back?”  JT asked.

“Yes,” Wanda replied as she held out her hand to JT, but he disappeared on his own, leaving her behind.  “He… He didn’t need me to teleport him?”

An Hour Later – Dallas, TX – NetRadio Studios

“Where is he?  He said that he wouldn’t be long… where could he be?”  Joey asked, continuing to pace the floor as he ran a hand through his hair while looking at his watch.

“Joey, who are you looking for?”  Joshua asked, concerned for Joey.

“JT, I’m looking for JT,” Joey replied as he looked around and then looked at his watch again.  “He said that he would be here to protect me.  Where is he?”

“I guess he’s off, doing security stuff,” Joshua replied as Joey threw his hands up and continued pacing the floor.  “Calm down buddy, he’ll be here any minute.”

“He should’ve been here already,” Joey said as Joshua frowned at him.

‘Oh man, I think Joey’s losing it.  He’s been acting like a lost little puppy since he got that phone call.  Now he’s acting like he’s about to freak out because JT isn’t here.  What’s going on between those two?’  Joshua mentally asked as he looked around.

(<SPLINGLK>)

“Wanda, let’s get the cops here to get this piece of trash,” JT stated as he and Wanda appeared down the hall from the room where the guys’ interview was being held as Wanda looked at him strangely.  “When the police arrive, they can take that crap into custody.”

“JT, I think we need to talk,” Wanda stated as she let Poltergeist’s unconscious body fall to the floor.

“We can talk later.  All we need right now is for the cops to get here and take him in,” JT stated as there was a burst of light in the area as Shaman appeared.

“I don’t think so Psychic Warrior.  Both of you step back away from him or I’ll do to you, what he tried to do to me!”  Shaman yelled.

“I don’t think so!  Wanda, make sure that creep gets arrested, I’ll handle Shaman!”  JT snapped as Wanda ran in the other direction as JT turned around.  “Asayo Masali Magotti!  Star Power Change!”

“Ahhh, revealing your true self to me… To all of us.  Look behind you, it seems you’ve gathered a crowd.  I don’t think you can keep your secret from the guys anymore,” Shaman stated as he hurled a magical ball of energy at JT.

(<BOOOM>)

“Some people never learn,” JT said as he shook his head.  “My psionic shield can withstand anything you throw at me.  Your energy balls can’t cut through that to get to me!  Don’t make me do something I’ll regret later on.  You just need to stop while you’re ahead!”

“I’m not going to let you stop my plans Psychic Warrior!”  Shaman screamed.

“Fine, have it your way then!”  JT snapped as he waved his hand in Shaman’s direction as there was an explosion, throwing Shaman against the opposite wall.

(<BOOOM>)

“I’m getting sidetracked here.  Where is Joey?  I came here to get my Joey and while I’m here, I’ll take Justin too far when Ken comes back to.  When he wakes up from the coma you put him in, he’ll have his man also!”  Shaman screamed as he got up off the floor as he waved his hand as his psychic staff appeared.

“Leave here, I’m not going anywhere with you!”  Joey yelled as he hugged onto Joshua.

“I’m not going anywhere with you either, so don’t think about it, I don’t go that way!”  Justin snapped.

“Stop it Shaman!”  JT screamed, his eyes glowing brightly.  “If I blast you again, you’re going down and I’m not going to regret it.”

“I don’t care what you do, I’ll have my Joey!”  Shaman screamed as he aimed his psychic staff in JT’s direction.

“Look man, I don’t like you.  Hell, I don’t even know you!  Why would I want to be with you?  Just leave me… Leave us alone you freak!”  Joey yelled as Shaman shook his head and then raised his psychic staff above his head.

“Noooo!  I love you Joey, you don’t know how much I love you.  I love you with all of my heart and soul and you’ll be mine!”  Shaman screamed.

“No he won’t!”  JT screamed as he waved his hand as a sphere of energy flew at Shaman, but Shaman waved the staff in JT’s direction, sending the sphere of energy back at him, slamming him to the floor.

“JT?  JT, are you okay?  JT… JT wake up!  Oh no, he’s not moving!  Oh God, he’s not moving!”  Joey screamed, looking around as Shaman moved closer and grabbed him by the him, pulling him close.  “Oh God, we’re finished now!  Get your hands off of me you jerk!”

“Wanda, do something!”  Chris screamed, jumping up and down.  “JT’s down, do something!  Help him!  Help him!”

“Sorry little  Christopher, Black Cat can’t help you, now that I’ve paralyzed her mind,” Shaman said with a smile.  “That’s why she’s not moving.  She’s helpless as a newborn baby.  Don’t even think about calling for Frosta or Stryker.  I’ve done the same thing to them also.”

“Who’s Frosta and Stryker?”  Joey asked.

“I’m talking about that dang-blasted Barbara chick and that fool Tyler,” Shaman stated as Joey shook his head and looked down as he continued to struggle to get free.

‘Oh God, where is Hank?  I need him… I need him to protect me,’ Lance thought as he looked around frantically.

‘JT, please wake up!  Oh, I wish you would please wake up.  I like you and I want you to wake up so this guy won’t get away with hurting me and taking me away from you, the person I want to try to love.  Please wake up JT,’ Joey thought as he continued to struggle with Shaman.

To Be Continued…