If I Ain’t Got You – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 — Rehabilitation Much

Dec 22, 2002 – Orlando, FL – Florida Hospital – The Intensive Care Unit – Outside of Justin’s Room 
“Mrs. Hart, if he continues to act that way, I don’t think either of us will be able to help him,” Dr. Warrenton stated with a frown. “It’s like he’s accepted that he’ll never walk again and that’s his new gospel.”

“So he’s given up already,” JT said as he shook his head and then unzipped his backpack as he pulled out a laptop. “Let me check the schedule for tomorrow.”

“What do you have in mind JT?” Dr. Warrenton asked as he looked at JT closely.

“I’m going to see if I can get him in with Danielle. I think maybe she can talk to him a bit and hopefully he’ll open up and let us help him,” JT said as he typed some things into the computer.

“Who’s this Danielle person?” Lynn asked as she watched JT.

“Danielle Michaels is one of the psychiatrists here at the hospital besides JT,” Dr. Warrenton replied as he looked at Lynn. “Maybe she can get the point across to him that if he doesn’t give up and get started quickly, that there might be a possibility that he’ll walk again.”

“Is there really a possibility doctor?” Lynn asked as she looked at the doctor and then at JT.

“Yes, there’s a big possibility Mrs. Hart. Problem is, if he doesn’t try, then he won’t. I’ve looked at all of his scans and I truly believe that after the nerves along his spine heal from the trauma, that he’ll be back on the road to walking again. We don’t see any signs of permanent damage to the spine and there doesn’t seem to be a problem with his legs. The main issue lies with the nerves that sends the signals from his brain to his legs,” Dr. Warrenton explained.

“Thank God,” Jamie Banks said as he walked up behind all of them as Marshall followed close behind.

“Oh God, Jamie you’re here,” Lynn said as she turned and hugged him. “I’m so glad you’re here. When did you two get in?”

“We got in earlier this morning. We would’ve been here sooner, but there was some problems at the airport in LA and then another problem when we landed here,” Jamie replied as he pulled back from Lynn. “So how is he taking all of this?”

“He’s not taking it at all. He’s not in his right mind right now,” Lynn replied with a frown. “He’s closing us out and pushing us all away.”

“Is he sleeping?” Jamie asked.

“I don’t believe he is,” Lynn replied with a frown. “He’s only going to argue with you and ask you to leave if you go in.”

“You know as well as the rest of us do that you have to be rough with him to get him to behave Lynn,” Jamie said as he sighed.

“I know that, but don’t say I didn’t warn you beforehand,” Lynn said as she walked to Justin’s room door.

“Excuse me, Mrs. Hart, may I speak with you for just a moment?” JT asked as he rolled over to Lynn.

“Yes, sure you can,” Lynn answered with a slight smile.

“Right now, time is critical for your son. If he ever wants to walk again, then he needs to be prepared to work at it,” JT stated as he looked up at Lynn. “If he stays in his current mindset, he’ll never walk again.”

“What are you saying?” Lynn asked as she looked down at JT strangely.

“To put it simply, if he wants to walk again, he has to get out of bed and get to work,” JT stated. “I know he feels this is all too much to take in and that it shouldn’t have happened to him, but he has to look past all of that and make the effort needed if he wants to ever walk. If he doesn’t want to do that, then he can get used to one of these.”

“You’re saying he’ll have to get used to sitting in a wheelchair?” Lynn asked as JT nodded his head as she averted her eyes and then looked down.

“If he doesn’t want to sit in one of these forever or possibly be walking with a cane or crutches, then he needs to get up out of bed and see me downstairs in the gym as soon as possible so we can get him on the road to recovery,” JT stated.

“I—I don’t think he’s going to do that,” Lynn replied.

“Would you please let him know that I’ll be back with Danielle tomorrow morning to get him up anyway,” JT stated with a smile. “You have a good day Mrs. Hart.”

“You too Mr. Poole,” Lynn said as she shook JT’s hand again.

“Just call me JT, everyone else does,” JT said as he placed the laptop back into his backpack and then wheeled off down the hall.

“Dear God, how am I going to change Justin’s mind?” Lynn asked aloud as she looked down again as she wiped at her eyes.

A Few Minutes Previously – Justin’s ICU Room

“Talk to me Justin,” Jamie said as he held Justin’s hand. “You better snap out of it and talk to me or else.”

“Just leave me alone Jamie. I want to be left alone,” Justin said as he tried to pull his hand away from Jamie.

“Stop that Justin. You’re not a baby, you’re a grown man and there’s no reason for you sitting here, acting this way,” Jamie said as he shook his head. “Stop acting like a wimp. Do you want to walk again or not?”

“I’ll never walk again!” Justin screamed as he got his hand free from Jamie. “Just leave me alone damn it!”

“I’ll leave you alone when you can get up out of bed, walk across the room to kick my ass to make me leave you alone,” Jamie said as he poked Justin in the chest.

“Cut it out Jamie, just please leave me alone,” Justin pleaded as the tears streamed down his face.

“No Justin, I’m not going to leave you alone,” Jamie replied as he wrapped his arms around Justin, hugging him close. “You’re my brother and I won’t let you sit here and feel pitiful for yourself.”

“I’m not feeling pitiful; it’s hopelessness that I’m feeling and that’s totally different. I’ll never walk again,” Justin said as Jamie sighed. “Do you actually think I have a chance like this?”

“Yes I do Justin,” Jamie replied as he let Justin go. “Let us help you Justin. We’re all here for you.”

“Who?” Justin questioned as he looked at Jamie with wide eyes. “Who’s here?”

“Well I’m here, your mom, Chrissy, Donnie, hell practically the whole gang is here to help and support you,” Jamie stated. “Joey and his little army will arrive later on tonight and Chris will be here in the morning.”

“Everyone else is here?” Justin asked with a scared look on his face.

“Josh isn’t here and I don’t think he’ll come back here anytime soon, if he knows what’s good for him,” Jamie said as he kissed Justin’s forehead. “Don’t worry about him, me and Chrissy will keep him away from you. You can count on that.”

“Where is she anyway? I remember her being here earlier,” Justin said as he looked around and then back at Jamie.

“She went to go get food,” Jamie replied with a small laugh. “She said she was starving.”

“Jamie, where’s Marshall?” Justin asked as he struggled to sit up as he looked around the room. “Please tell me you two are still together.”

“He’s probably out in the hall with your mom. We’re still together man. I don’t think anything can split us up,” Jamie said with a smile.

“Good, at least you two are still together,” Justin said as he sniffled and then started crying again.

“What’s wrong?” Jamie asked as he wondered what made Justin start crying again.

“This is all wrong. How am I supposed to find someone to love me if I can’t walk?” Justin asked as he sniffled more. “There’s not a guy alive that will find me attractive like this or want to be with me, a cripple.”

“Stop talking like that Justin,” Jamie said as he shook his head. “You’re not a cripple and you’re so attractive.”

“Like hell I am,” Justin said as someone knocked on the door. “Whoever it is, tell them to go away.”

“Well hello, you must be Mr. Banks,” the young woman said as she walked into the room accompanied by Christina and JT.

“Hi and you are?” Jamie asked as he got up and looked at the woman and then over to the man.

“Oh, excuse my manners, I’m Danielle Michaels,” the young woman spoke as she shook Jamie’s hand. “This is one of my associates, JT Poole.”

“Hi,” Jamie replied as he shook JT’s hand, being officially introduced to JT.

“Hello,” JT replied as he wheeled over to Danielle.

“We’re here for Mr. Tanner,” Danielle stated as she looked over at Jamie. “I know JT was going to start things in the morning, but I think now is a perfect time to start things.”

“What is it that you do?” Jamie asked as he watched Danielle.

“I’m a psychologist and physical therapist, same as Mr. Poole here,” Danielle stated with a smile.

“I’m also a rehabilitation specialist,” JT added in.

“What exactly is it that you two do?” Jamie asked, looking at both of them strangely.

“I help guys in Mr. Tanner’s situation learn how to get started with the devices they have to use,” JT stated as he rolled over to the phone on the wall. “And I show them how to manage things, using those devices in everyday life.”

“What kind of devices?” Jamie asked as he watched JT.

“I help them use their wheelchairs, crutches, prosthesis or other things needed to help them throughout the day,” JT answered as he leaned up in his chair. “Danielle, let me see his chart.”

“Here you go,” Danielle said as she handed him the chart.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Jamie asked as he moved closer to JT. “Are you a doctor?”

“I’m looking at Mr. Tanner’s chart,” JT replied as he looked over the top of the chart at Jamie. “I’m not a medical doctor, but I know how to read charts. Is there a problem Mr. Banks?”

“I—I’m just checking to see what your qualifications are,” Jamie replied with a frown.

“Mr. Banks, I have a master’s degree in sports medicine and psychology. I also have eight years of experience working here in this hospital,” JT explained as he finished up what he was doing with Justin’s chart and then handed it back to Danielle. “Are those qualifications good enough Mr. Banks?”

“Ah… Yes—yes they are, I was just… Ah… well…” Jamie stuttered out.

“Trying to see if I knew my job and knew what I was doing,” JT said as he looked at Jamie as he looked down at the floor.

“No,” Jamie said as Justin grabbed his hand.

“Shut up Jamie, you’re failing miserably,” Justin said as he shook his head. “What is it that you two want?”

“Well at the request of your mother, she wants to get started with your rehabilitation as soon as possible,” Danielle stated.

“You guys are going to start that now?” Jamie asked as he looked over at JT and then over to Danielle. “He just had surgery like what, a day or two ago.”

“What I’m going to do isn’t going to hurt him,” Danielle said with a smile. “We’re going to start your counseling sessions and then I’ll turn you over to work with JT at some point.”

“Is it really possible for me to walk again?” Justin asked as he looked over at JT.

“You can if you want to walk again Mr. Tanner,” JT replied as he looked over at Justin. “If you want to walk again, you have to work at it.”

“My name is Justin,” Justin said as he moved a little bit in the bed. “Mr. Tanner is my father. What do I have to do right now?”

“If you’re up to it, we can have your first counseling session, only if you’re up to it,” Danielle stated as she looked at Justin closely.

“Ah… what will we do?” Justin asked.

“We’ll talk about you or anything you want to talk about,” Danielle told him.

“Okay, I guess we can do that,” Justin stated as he looked down. “So, when are we going to start?”

“Anytime you’re ready to start,” Danielle answered as she looked at him and then over to JT as she gave him the thumbs up.

“I—I guess we can start now,” Justin replied.

“Okay JT, you heard the man. Get to work,” Danielle said as she walked to the door, motioning for Jamie to come with her.

“What’s going on here?” Justin asked as he looked around.

“We’re starting your therapy session,” JT replied as he rolled over to Justin’s bed. “Hi.”

“Hi,” Justin said as he looked at JT strangely.

“Let’s see here. First things first, I need to remove the catheter,” JT said as he looked at the bed and all the different wires, pipes and other items around Justin’s bed.

“What?” Justin said as he looked at JT strangely. “What’s a catheter?”

“A catheter is this little tube right here that was inserted into your bladder to allow you to go to the bathroom while you were unconscious and such,” JT explained as he pointed at the tubing that disappeared under the sheets.

“A tube? What tube?” Justin asked as he followed JT’s line of vision. “How did it get into my bladder?”

“This tube right here,” JT replied as he grabbed the tube and then lifted it up slowly and gently, showing it to Justin. “When you were in surgery, one of the nurses inserted the tube into your penis, pushing it into your bladder, so that it could carry the urine and other fluids out of your body and into the small container down there.”

“So you’re saying that as long as that thing is down there, I don’t have to go to the bathroom?” Justin asked as JT nodded his head.

“That’s how it works, but you can’t keep it in for too long. You’ve already had it in for forty-eight hours. It’s time for it to come out,” JT told him.

“Is it going to hurt? It’s like down there in a very bad spot,” Justin said as his expression changed to a scared one.

“I will be gentle and I’ll go very slow,” JT stated, trying to reassure Justin that he would do everything in his power to keep from hurting him. “Let me know when you’re ready.”

“Regardless if you go slowly, I know it’s going to hurt anyway,” Justin whined as JT shook his head.

“Well it has to come out, rather I do it now or sometime later on,” JT stated as he looked up at Justin. “You don’t want it to come out? Do you think it being there is going to help you out?”

“No, but you’re doing your job,” Justin said as JT pulled out a pair of plastic gloves, pulling them onto his hands as Justin frowned. “Like you said, you have to do it anyway.”

“Well if you prefer someone else do it, then I can have someone else come in…” JT said as Justin interrupted him.

“No no, you’re okay. Let’s just go ahead and get this over and done with,” Justin said.

“Okay,” JT said as he moved the hospital gown up Justin’s body, exposing his private parts. “One… Two…”

“Just do it already,” Justin said as he held his eyes tightly closed, trying to anticipate the pain that was to come.

“Do what?” JT asked as he tapped Justin on his arm. “I’m already done.”

“You are? That didn’t hurt at all,” Justin replied as he looked at JT strangely as JT held up the small tubing. “I was sure it was going to hurt like hell.”

“Justin, can you feel this?” JT asked as he pinched Justin below his knee.

“A little bit, but it’s very soft,” Justin answered.

“How about this,” JT said as he pinched Justin’s thigh.

“I think I do, I felt a little tingle,” Justin answered.

“Okay, how about this?” JT said as he pinched the area above Justin’s private parts.

“Yes, I felt that,” Justin said as he looked at JT. “You’re pinching below the belt.”

“Okay, so at least we have a good idea of what you can and can’t feel and where,” JT said as there was a knock at the door as he pulled Justin’s gown back down quickly.

“Hi JT, here’s the chair that you requested,” a young man said as he walked into the room with a wheelchair. “I’ll have everything else you requested for Mr. Tanner in the morning sir.”

“Thanks Steve,” JT said as he looked at his co-worker. “Stop calling me sir, you make me feel like I’m old or something.”

“How old are you?” Justin asked as he looked over at JT.

“I’m twenty-nine years old,” JT answered.

“Can I ask you a question?” Justin asked as he looked down at his hands.

“Sure, you can ask me anything, well anything within reason of course,” JT replied as he looked over at Justin.

“How did you end up in a wheelchair? If you don’t mind telling me of course,” Justin said as he watched JT.

“It’s okay Mr. Tanner…” JT said as Justin interrupted him.

“Call me Justin, I’m not old either. Mr. Tanner is my father,” Justin replied as he smiled for the first time since he’s been in the hospital.

“Okay Justin,” JT replied as he rolled around to face him. “To answer your question, I have a hereditary illness called degenerative joint disease which causes my joints to degenerate, stiffen and sometimes lock up, making it difficult for me to walk. Tied in with that issue, I have a strange autonomic brain disorder that stops motor control in my body, mainly my legs, but sometimes it effects my arms too. Both disorders wreak havoc on my body and causes bouts where I’m wheelchair bound and other days I’m able to get around fine or use crutches or a cane.”

“Oh, so you weren’t in an accident or anything like me,” Justin said as he looked down again.

“Nope, just something I was born with,” JT replied as he put the brakes on his chair as he took in a breath. Closing his eyes, he grabbed the sides of his chair and then pushed himself forward and out of the chair as he stood up in front of Justin. “There are times that I’m able to do this and then there are times when I’m not able to do anything at all.”

“You—you can get up and walk?” Justin asked as he looked at JT with a confused look on his face.

“Yeah, I can walk when my brain and the joints let me. My legs hurt like hell right now, but I wanted to show you that I didn’t give up on walking. I still have the chair for times when I’m not able to get up and actually do this,” JT said as he walked a few steps away from his wheelchair and then stood in front of the door. “It’s pretty simple. Now all we have to do is get you up and walking too.”

“I’m sorry JT, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Justin replied as he looked down as he shook his head.

“Don’t give up hope Justin. If I can get up and walk, so can you,” JT said as he took a few steps back in the direction towards his wheelchair, stopped and then grabbed his left leg, going down to the floor hard. “Owwww!”

“Are you okay JT?” Justin asked, showing concern for the person that tried to help him.

“I’m okay, it’s just a sign that I stood up longer than I should have,” JT replied as he crawled back over to his chair and then pulled himself up into it, resuming his previous position. “See, I’m back where I belong for right now.”

“Ah JT, we have a problem,” Justin said with a worried look on his face.

“What’s wrong Justin?” JT asked as he looked at Justin closely.

“I—I have to go to the bathroom,” Justin answered as the sweat broke out on his forehead. “I—I don’t think can hold it in for much longer.”

“Well good news, you’re about to get your first lesson,” JT said as he grabbed Justin’s wheelchair and then pushed it over to him. “First, you’re going to get out of bed and get into your chair and then go to the bathroom.”

“I… No, I can’t do that,” Justin replied as he shook his head.

“Yes you can Justin,” JT said as he crossed his arms, watching Justin.

“Isn’t there something I—I can like, you know, go in, like one of those containers or something,” Justin said as he looked around the bed.

“No, there isn’t one of those in here. You’re going to the bathroom,” JT declared.

“I can’t do what you want me to do. I have to go right now,” Justin whined.

“Get in your chair and go to the bathroom so that you can take care of business Justin,” JT sternly said.

“No! I said I can’t do that! I need help!” Justin screamed at JT.

“Justin, get your ass in that chair and go to the bathroom!” JT snapped back at Justin as Steve’s eyes widened as he waved and then walked out of the room. “Stop acting like a spoiled brat and get your ass in that wheelchair there and then get into the bathroom now! I don’t want to see any puddles in that bad!”

“What in the hell is going on in here?” Jamie asked as he and Marshall rushed into the room.

“Nothing’s going on in here. Justin is about to get up and go to the bathroom,” JT said as he looked over at Justin, not taking his eyes off of him.

“I can’t JT, help me Jamie,” Justin said as Jamie was about to move to help him.

“No, he’s going to do it himself,” JT said as he held his hand out in Jamie’s direction as he kept his eyes on Justin. “Justin, stop the whining and get into that chair so you can go relieve your bladder.”

“I can’t do it JT, just help me please,” Justin said as the tears streamed down his face.

“Mr. Banks, you and your friend need to exit the room please,” JT said, not moving an inch from where he sat.

“What? I’m not leaving here now,” Jamie said as he glared at JT.

“Mr. Banks, please leave the room,” JT said again.

“Jamie, just leave,” Justin said with a sigh.

“Come on baby, do as he says,” Marshall said as he grabbed Jamie’s hand as the two of them walked out of the room.

“Just get into your chair Justin,” JT said as he continued watching Justin.

“I—I can’t,” Justin replied.

“You must have very good bladder control Justin. You’ve wasted a good ten minutes of time, arguing with me about not being able to go to the bathroom,” JT said as he shook his head. “If you had to go to the bathroom as bad as you claim, you would’ve gotten in there already to take care of business.”

“I do have to go, it’s starting to hurt,” Justin replied with a frown.

“Well get your butt in that chair and move. No one in here is going to help you. The first part of your training is to get you to see that you can’t always get help when you need or want it. All you have to do is slide out of bed and land into the chair. Once you do that, roll into the bathroom,” JT said as he rolled over to the bed and pushed Justin’s leg. “Come on man, time’s a wastin’.”

“I can’t do it JT. Just help me please,” Justin begged as he looked at JT pleadingly.

“Oh alright,” JT said as he shook his head. “Give me your hand.”

“Thank you JT,” Justin replied as he grabbed onto JT’s hand as he slid off the bed and into the chair.

“Okay, you’re with your best friend for now. Get to it,” JT said as he rolled out of Justin’s way, pushing the IV monitor around the bed as he unplugged it.

“What do I do when I get in there?” Justin asked as he rolled towards the bathroom.

“I’m sure you know how to use the bathroom man,” JT said as he looked at Justin with a raised brow. “I know you know how to do that. I’m not about to go in there with you and shake it for you. Be careful of your IV line while you’re in there.”

“I can’t stand up,” Justin said as he stopped at the door.

“Um hello, you can sit yourself down on the bowel,” JT said with a sigh as he rubbed at his temples.

“You sure are making this hard for me,” Justin said with a frown.

JT’s POV

“It might be hard now, but you’ll get used to it, sooner or later,” I said as I rolled back over to the bed and then pulled my laptop out. Turning it back on, I loaded his file to make some notations on his progress notes. As I typed my notes, I picked up the phone and called for Steve to return. “Hi Steve, I need you to come back up to Mr. Tanner’s room.”

“Alright Mr. Poole, I should be back there in a few minutes, bye,” he said as I shook my head.

“That guy is going to drive me crazy,” I said with a laugh as the door to the bathroom opened as Justin came back out with a relieved look on his face.

“I did it JT, I did it,” Justin said as he rolled over and stopped next to me as he reached out and hugged me.

“Well I told you that you could do it all along and you did,” I said with a smile. “You have to be able to depend on yourself. You can’t always depend on other people being around to help you.”

“If this is all there is to it, then I guess I can do it,” Justin said with a smile as I shook my head.

“Oh this is just the tip of the iceberg Justin,” I said. “Wait until you have to manage your life like this all the time. This has just been a small sample of it all.”

“Say what,” Justin said as he looked at me with a sad expression on his face.

“You have to learn how to take your baths, learn how to get yourself dressed. You have to learn how to do all those things you are used to doing standing up, while sitting down, you know the normal everyday stuff,” I said as there was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” Justin called out as his mother, Jamie and another woman walked into the room.

“Hi Justin, how are you doing?” The woman asked as she walked over to where he sat.

“I’m doing okay at the moment,” Justin answered as the woman leaned down and hugged him as he frowned.

“What’s wrong Justin?” Jamie asked as he noticed that Justin’s mood had changed.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Justin replied, his frown noticeable by everyone now.

“Something’s wrong with you Justin, what is it baby?” His mother asked.

“Fine, this is wrong,” Justin replied as he pointed at his chair. “All of this is wrong, it isn’t fair!”

“What isn’t fair baby?” Justin’s mother asked as she looked at him closely.

“This! My whole life is different now. How in the hell am I supposed to go anywhere now? How in the hell am I supposed to show my face to the people that know me?” Justin asked, crying full out again as I turned and looked at him. “This is shameful.”

“Shameful?” I asked, turning to face him.

“I don’t think he means it that way JT,” his mother said as she shook her head.

“I do mean it, it’s shameful! Chrissy just had to bend down to hug me! She had to bend down to hug me! That means from now on, everyone that wants to give me a hug or something will have to bend down to me and it also means that I’ll forever be looking up to people,” he said as he shook his head. “Everybody get the hell out! I want to be left alone!”

“Justin stop,” his mother said as he turned his head and then looked down.

“I said everybody get the hell out!” He snapped again as everyone moved back and then started filing out of the room. “I would appreciate it if you didn’t come back either JT. I’m not going to be doing anything that requires your services.”

“Say what?” I said as I looked at him, my expression probably showing how pissed off I was with him.

“I said I’m not going to be using your services, so that means you’re not needed here any longer,” he said as he wiped at his eyes.

“So that means what exactly Justin?” I asked.

“It means I’m going to just sit in one spot and disappear from the world altogether,” he said as he wiped at his eyes again. “Just go.”

“Alright Justin, I’ll leave now, but I’ll be back in the morning,” I told him as I grabbed my bag.

“It’ll be a waste of your time. I give up,” he said as he looked down again.

“You can’t just give up Justin. If you give up now, you might not ever walk again,” I said as I watched him closely for any possible body language responses.

“Well then I won’t walk again. Goodbye JT,” he said as he rolled to the windows in the room and continued crying.

To Be Continued…

To Protect and Serve – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 — Is It Love?

Aug 5, 1995 – Dallas, TX – NetRadio Studios

“Stop your pathetic whining and struggling, you’re mine now!”  Shaman screamed, smacking Joey across the face as he turned to walk towards the stairs as Joey continued to struggle with him.

“No!  I won’t go with you!”  Joey screamed as JT’s body started to glow as a strange ribbon-like energy flared around his body.

“Stop!  You will cause no more harm here today!  You have caused enough problems for one day!”  JT yelled as his body floated up from the floor, glowing brightly as rays of energy shot from his eyes, knocking Shaman down to the floor.

“Noooo!  You’re supposed to be unconscious!  You’re not supposed to be able to move!  I used my strongest magical spell on you!”  Shaman screamed, flinching as JT waved his hand in his direction as his head fell backwards.

‘Joey, are you okay?  Yes, I’m speaking to you in your head.  Don’t worry, I have you and I’ll make sure that Shaman doesn’t bother you again,’ JT telepathically spoke to Joey.

“I… I knew I wasn’t going crazy.  I knew you were able to talk to me without using your mouth,” Joey said as he and JT floated down to the floor.  “Why did you act like you didn’t know what I was talking about when I asked you?”

“I had to keep my secret so I could better protect you.  If you knew I was a person with special powers, then you would’ve probably did things to keep yourself in danger or freaked out and been totally scared of me.  I didn’t want any of that happening,” JT stated as he and Joey walked over to the others.

“So you’re a real protector, my super hero,” Joey said as he leaned in and kissed JT’s lips as Justin looked away as Lance and Joshua frowned.

“Do you want to explain what just happened around here?”  Justin asked as Wanda’s eyes glowed an eerie gold color.

“No, I don’t want to explain anything,” JT replied as he moved away from Joey.  “You guys need to go ahead and get back to what you were doing, so you can get the rest of your day started.”

“We need to talk about what we just saw,” Lance said as he looked over at JT.

“We can talk about that later on, after your show tonight,” JT stated as he looked down.  “Right now, you all need to finish up here.”

“Fine, we’ll talk about this later on,” Joshua stated with a frown.

Later On – After The Concert

“Wow, that song was slammin’.  I really enjoyed it.  I wonder when the guys are going to be finished with the meet and greet.  I’m ready to get on the bus and head on to the next location.  I’m ready for some much needed downtime,” Tyler stated.

“I can sense the guys walking down the corridor now.   I know they’re ready for their well deserved break for the next couple of days,” JT stated, looking around.  “I’m sure they’re going to enjoy the next  couple of days before having to do another show.”

“Hey guys, how’d you like the show?”  Justin asked, walking past Tyler and JT.

“The show was great Justin, but I have one comment,” Barbara stated as Justin frowned at her.

“What’s wrong Barb?  What didn’t you like about the show?”  Justin asked, walking over to where Barbara stood.

“Come on Justy, why are you looking sad like that?  All I was going to say was that you hit some good notes tonight.  You sang those songs as though you were really feeling it.  When you guys sang Tears from my Heart and Lost Without My Baby, I had tears in my eyes.  I—I was so moved,” Barbara stated, thinking back to the songs.

“Wow, you liked it that much?”  Justin asked.

“Yes, I enjoyed it that much,” Barbara replied with a smile.  “The way you performed tonight was so moving.  What brought that on?”

“I guess because I was so happy,” Justin replied as he looked at Barbara with a wide smile.  “I guess the others were happy too.  I’m happy that you guys caught the freak that had been stalking us for so long.  I felt I had to give it my all.”

“Okay guys, while you’re changing, we’ll be standing outside.  When you guys are done, we’ll head for the buses and get on the road,” JT stated as he and the other guards headed towards the door.

“Cool, we shouldn’t be long.  Give us about fifteen minutes and we should be ready to go,” Joshua said as he walked into the bathroom area, following behind the others.

Outside the Room

“JT, is there something wrong?  Why do you have tears in your eyes?  What’s going on buddy?”  Wanda asked, walking over to where JT stood and looked at him closely.

“These guys aren’t happy,” JT replied as he looked down and then slid down the wall to the floor.  “As Joey walked past me just now, I felt pain… I felt a great deal of pain from him and I saw hurt in his eyes.”

“Come on Tim, I’ve known you for a very long time… I’ve known you a very long long time and I know you don’t cry about something, unless you really care about it.  Are—are you in love with Joey, the same way he’s in love with you?”  Wanda asked, sitting down on the floor next to JT and pulling him close as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“I—I like him, but I don’t know what to do here.  I—I don’t want to get involved with someone that I’m protecting,” JT stated, looking down at his hands.

“Tim, remember when you first discovered your powers and you were dating that guy that was protecting you?”  Wanda asked, lifting JT’s chin so he could see her face.

“Yes, I remember him all too well Wanda.  Why did you have to bring that up after all this time?”  JT asked as the tears streamed down his face.  “He tried to turn me into his own personal weapon against all of you and the rest of the world Wanda.  When he found out all that I could do, he thought that was his sign that he could get all that he wanted.”

“Yeah, but when you found out he had powers too, you still dated him and you didn’t have a problem, carrying on a relationship with him.  Remember, he was your protector for a while,” Wanda stated.

“Yeah, he was my protector and he turned into my captor.  Regardless of that, we’re talking about Joey Fallon here, not Marek,” JT stated as Wanda looked at him and then sighed.  “Joey isn’t like Marek… Joey is normal, he’s not…”

“Well Joey knows you have powers, but the others don’t,” Wanda stated as JT looked at her strangely.  “I went ahead and wiped their memories clean of what happened earlier today.”

“What?  How did you do that missy?”  JT asked, looking at Wanda strangely.

“I did it with a magical spell I learned from SpellCaster,” Wanda replied as JT shook his head.  “I know, I know…”

“I can’t believe you Wanda,” JT said with a sigh.

“Well, the guys remember their stalker being arrested, but they don’t remember you using any of your meta-psychic powers or anything along those lines,” Wanda stated.

“Why did you choose to allow Joey to remember?  Why didn’t you erase his memory like the others?”  JT asked, looking at Wanda strangely.

“To put it simply, I didn’t want to erase the love that will develop between you two.  I learned something from you a long time ago.  I learned how to spot love and I see it within you and Joey.  I want you to explore it,” Wanda stated as she shifted into her half cat form.

“What are you doing Wanda?  Are you crazy?”  JT asked, standing up as he looked around.  “Why did you change into Black Cat, is there something wrong?”

“I—I think you needed to see me for me, as I truly am,” Wanda stated, looking down.  “For some strange reason, I wanted you to see me as I was, to make you remember how I used to be when you found me, that young, helpless girl that was scared of everyone and everything.  You helped me to see that I was able to get past all of that crap that happened to me.  Now you need to do the same thing and see that within you.  You need to embrace that man and be happy for once.  Marek is gone and you’re no longer the evil person that he made you out to be.”

“You—you have a point,” JT stated as Wanda changed back to herself, just as the guys were walking out of the dressing room.  “But I don’t know Wanda.  It seems that everything is trying to mess up.  Marek called me yesterday and I don’t even know how he found my number.”

“You shouldn’t be concentrating on Marek,” Wanda stated.

“He called me Wanda and asked when I was coming home.  We’ve been apart for almost five years, but he talked as if it’s only been six months,” JT stated as Wanda shook her head.

“Are you guys ready to go?”  Tyler asked, walking past Wanda and JT.

“Can’t wait to get out of here and go on that lovely vacation.  I’ve been waiting for this, I need this,” Joey said as he turned and looked at JT and then turned away with a sad look on his face.

“Tim, go to him and change the outcome of his sadness,” Wanda stated, nudging JT with her arm.

“But Wanda, oh alright already, but if I get hurt by him, I’ll blame you forever,” JT stated as he pointed his finger at Wanda and then walked away, heading towards Joey.  “Remember Wanda, I’ll blame you forever and you know I will.”

“Hi Hank, can I talk to you for a moment?”  Lance asked, walking over to Hank and held his hand out to help Hank up off the floor.

A Few Minutes Later – Outside

JT’s POV

Damn, what am I going to say to Joey?  What, am I just going to walk up to him and tell him that I love him?  Walk up to him and tell him that I want to love him and be his husband?  Yeah right, like I could really do something like that.  What chance do I have of becoming Joey Fallon’s husband?  What brought that on?  We haven’t even gone on a date yet.  How in the hell did I jump on the subject of being his husband?

“Hey Joey, wait up,” I called out as Joey stopped walking and turned around to look at me.

“Hey JT,” he spoke as I caught up to him as he had this strange expression on his face.

“Hi Joey,” I said, not really knowing what to say as I looked down at my hands.

“Something you want to say JT?”  He asked as Chris walked past us and then got onto the bus.

“Well… Ah… I… Ah…” I stuttered, looking around quickly, still not knowing what to say.

“JT,” he said as I pulled him close and then kissed his lips.

“Wow!  JT, whyd did you just kiss me?”  He asked as I looked at him like he was crazy.  Didn’t he want me to kiss him?

“What!  What do you mean, why did I just kiss you!  Didn’t you want me to kiss you?”  I asked, wondering what was about to happen.  I really need a premonition now.

“Yes, I want you to kiss me, but you were the one that screamed at me when I kissed you the last time,” he said, looking me straight in the face.  “You’re giving me mixed signals here and I don’t lie that.”

“What!”  I snapped as he turned and then walked onto the bus.  “I—I don’t believe this!  I kissed him and then he walked away, saying that I’m sending mixed signals!”

“Hey buddy, you okay?”  Tyler asked as I walked past him, heading towards Wanda.

“JT, why are you looking at me like that?  JT?  JT, why are you looking at me like that?  JT, we’re in public and your eyes are glowing and your clothes are starting to reveal a hint of magic,” Wanda stated as she started walking backwards as my clothing started to change into my previous costume.

“You said go to him, embrace him, love him and things would be okay!  I went to him, I kissed him and he basically walked away from me, saying I was sending him mixed fucking signals and he didn’t like that!”  I snapped, sure that my appearance was revealing a new look, one that she hadn’t seen before.

“Calm down JT and go get on the bus.  Sit with him and things will work out, believe me,” she said as I shook my head as she started pushing me backwards towards the bus as my clothing settled back into what I was wearing previously.

After everyone had put their belongings on the bus and was situated where they wanted to be, Jon arrived and it seems things took a turn for the worst.  Sometimes I wonder about that man.  If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was a slave driver or something.  He works these guys like mules and don’t care fi they get any rest or not.  He only cares about his pocket’s bottom line.

“What is it that you want Jon?”  Justin asked, sitting across from where I was seated.

“I came here to wish you all a happy vacation,” Jon stated as Justin raised an eye at him.

“You didn’t have to come here to do that,” Lance spoke up next.

“I want you guys to get some rest because in a few days, you’ll head to your next venue and you got to put in a hundred and fifty percent.  Some new executives with the label will be in attendance and they want to see what you guys are capable of.  I want you guys to show them what ‘All Star’ is all about.  When they leave the show, I want them to think that they can’t do any better than you guys.  Do you feel me?”  Jon asked, looking at the guys as I just shook my head.

“Yeah, we feel you,” Chris replied as he shook his head, got up and then walked towards the back of the bus.

“Alright guys, I’ll see you all in a few days.  Enjoy your mini vacation,” Jon said as he waved and then walked off the bus.

Joey’s POV

“Hi, is this seat taken?”  I heard as I looked up to see JT standing there with a small smile on his face.

So, is he back again for another round?  Are we going to kiss again?  I don’t want to run from him, but I don’t want things to be awkward either.  I want him all to myself, but since we’re on this damn tour bus, in the lounge.  There’s not really much I can do but keep it PG-13.  Not knowing what to really say and do, I threw caution to the wind and stood up and kissed his lips.

This is so hot.  We’re kissing and he’s not pulling away and I’m not about to pull away.  Wrapping my arms around him, I groped his ass as he did the same thing to me.  I guess that’s a sign that he’s really into the kiss as I am.

“That was so awesome, let’s do it again,” I said as we kissed again.

“What in the hell is going on in here?”  Justin asked, standing in the doorway.

“Shit,” I muttered, pulling away from JT quickly.

“JT, why were you just lip-locking with Joey?”  Justin asked, sitting down on the sofa across from where we stood.

“Damn… I… Don’t… Ahhh…. Well… Ahhhhh… Well Joey, why don’t you answer him,” JT stammered out.

“Well ahhh, I… Don’t… Well… Shit… Who gives a flying rat’s ass here.  Justin, I’m gay and I think… I think I’m falling in love with JT,” I said, sitting back down as Justin watched us like a hawk.

“You’re what?!”  Justin screamed.

“Hey hey hey, what’s with all the screaming in here?  What’s going on?”  Joshua asked as he and my other friends walked into the room.

“Joey, I think you need to tell your friends, so everything can be out in the open,” JT said with a smile as he waved and then stepped backwards, slipping out the door, leaving me all alone with these guys that look like they want to beat the hell out of me right now.

“Guys, just sit down, I—I need to tell you all something,” I said.

“What is it Joey?  What’s wrong?  You look like you’re in pain or something,” Lance said as he got up and then walked over to where I was and then sat down.

“Well guys, I—I think I’m gay.  I know what all of you are going to say about what this can possibly do to us, if it ever went public, but for the last nine months, I’ve been sleeping with men.  I know this is a lot to take in, all at once, but as JT said, I might as well put everything out on the table,” I said as Chris shook his head and then got up from his seat.

“Is that why you broke up with your girl?  Is that why you stopped going out clubbing with the rest of us?”  Chris asked, staring at me.

“I stopped clubbing with you guys so I wouldn’t get caught doing anything gay in public.  I broke up with Brooke because I wasn’t sexually attracted to her and I didn’t see any reason or me to carry on a relationship with her, since I wasn’t sexually or romantically attracted to her,” I said as Chris shook his head again.  “Can’t you see where I’m coming from Chris?”

“She was my friend and you dumped her!  You told her in the beginning that you loved her!  She loved you man!  She loved you with all of her heart and soul.  You stepped on her heart and ripped it up!”  Chris snapped as he pointed his finger at me.  “I hope you experience the same kind of hurt and pain that you caused her you fucking faggot!”

“Chris,” I said as he held up his hand and then walked out of the room.

“I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone.  I can’t help it that I don’t like chicks like that anymore.  I’ve been lying to myself for a long time and I can’t hide those feelings anymore,” I said, wondering what the other guys were going to say.

“How do you expect him to feel Joey?  You hurt his friend.  With this new information about you, you can possibly hurt the group also,” Joshua stated as I shook my head.

“I can’t believe this.  All this time you’ve been gay and you didn’t tell us.  We… I… I’ve been in the same dressing room with you, changing, revealing myself to you… we’ve been revealing ourselves to you all this time and you didn’t tell us.  Joey, this is something I can’t deal with.  I—I can’t be around you if you’re going to be gay!”  Justin snapped, getting up from his seat and then walked out.

“Joshua, Lance… Do you two feel the same way about me too?”  I asked as the tears slid down my face.

“I can care less if you’re gay or not, as long as you’re not trying to put the moves on me.  I like the chicks and it’s going to stay that way.  You’re still my friend and all, but keep it friendly.  These guys will come around some time,” Joshua stated as he leaned in and gave me a hug.  “Keep it friendly bro.”

“I—I understand how you feel.  Just don’t let Chris and Justin get you down.  Just keep your head up and things will be alright,” Lance said as he leaned in and hugged me also.

“Thanks you two, that means a lot to me.  I don’t know what I would do if all of you were mad at me.  Now I need to go talk to JT.  I think Justin scared him a lot when he came in and caught us kissing,” I said as Lance looked at me strangely.

“You and JT were kissing?”  Lance and Joshua said in unison.

“Yeah, we were kissing,” I replied with a smile.  “I like him and I think I’m falling in love with him.”

“Really,” Lance said with a smile as he looked down.

“I think he likes me too.   I hope he does because it would break my heart if he doesn’t,” I said, waving and then walking out of the room.

“Well, I wonder what Jon is going to say about all of this when he finds out,” I heard Joshua say as I saw him leave the room too.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to sleep so I can be fully rested up.  I feel we’re going to have a rough break here,” I heard Lance say as he followed behind Joshua.

Aug 6, 1995 – Somewhere in Texas – All Star’s Tour Bus

“I don’t know what he’s going to do Wanda.  As I was leaving, I heard Justin and Chris yelling at him and then I telepathically overheard all of the horrible things Chris said to him,” JT spoke as he shook his head.  “What should I do Wanda?  What can I do, short of erasing everyone’s memories of what was said and done?”

“Just be there for him Tim.  That’s all you can really do for him right now.  All you have to do is support his decision and be by his side,” Wanda stated, noticing that Joey stood near them.  “We have company.”

“Excuse me Wanda, can I steal him from you for a bit?”  Joey asked as he sat down besides JT.

“Sure,” Wanda said as she got up and then turned around.  “I’ll be in the back, if anyone needs me.”

“So, can we talk JT?”  Joey asked as JT nodded his head.  “I need to say a few things and I need to ask some questions, if that’s okay with you.”

“What’s on your mind?”  JT asked.

“Where do you see this going?  Do you like me?  Are you looking for a relationship?”  Joey asked, grabbing JT’s hand and holding it in his own.

“I do like you Joey and I’m looking for a relationship.  If we’re compatible for each other, maybe one day we can go further with this and take it to the next level,” JT said as he squeezed Joey’s hand.

“What’s the next level… sex?”  Joey asked.

“No, marriage silly… if we’re compatible and love each other, then I would be open to getting married, if our love is strong,” JT stated.

“Really?  I would like to settle down and have a partner for life, someone to keep me happy, someone that I can keep happy, someone that loves me and someone that I can grow older with.  I hope that person is you JT.  When I first saw you, I knew I wanted you as my boyfriend,” Joey stated as he slid closer to JT.

“I must admit that I’ve had a small crush on you for a long time, since I discovered you guys’ music.  When you guys first came out, I listened to your music, I watched all of your videos and I even bought those teen magazines that showcased you guys.  Then, my life and reality started to take precedence and my crush was put on the back burner because I felt it would never happen, but now that it’s happening, I don’t believe it,” JT stated as he shook his head as his body glowed.

“Why are you glowing like that?  Is that a special part of your psychic powers or do you have other powers?”  Joey asked, looking around quickly.

“I have other powers Joey.  All of my powers aren’t psychic,” JT stated as Joey raised an eye at him.  “I’m a bio-morph, which means I have the ability to copy the powers, skills, talents or abilities of other people around me and I also have magical powers like Wanda, except I don’t change into a cat, but I could if I wanted to.  Believe me, Black Cat is enough by herself, we don’t need two talking cats.”

“That’s so cool, but someone’s coming down the corridor.  Don’t you think you need to stop glowing…” Joey said as he stood up and walked in front of Justin’s view of JT as JT stopped laughing and then turned around.

“Excuse me, I would like to talk to JT for a moment.  Could you please leave us alone,” Justin said as he walked past Joey and then waited for him to leave the area.

“I’m not about…” Joey said as JT held up his hand.

“It’s okay Joey, I’m a bodyguard, I think I can protect myself from Justin here,” JT said as he laughed again.

“Hey, that wasn’t funny man!  Look, I don’t know what you did to Joey, but I’m telling you now that if you cause him trouble or do anything to hurt him or this group, I’ll see to it that you never work again and I’ll do what I can to make your life miserable,” Justin stated as he glared at JT.

“I haven’t done anything to Joey.  The only ones that have done something to hurt him is you and Chris.  I’m his bodyguard here, my job is to protect him and make sure nothing happens to him!”  JT yelled at Justin.

“Look, I have nothing against you or anything for being gay, but I just want to ensure the safety of this group.  I want to make sure nothing happens to mess us up.  Do you follow that JT?”  Justin asked.

“I understand that very well Justin.  I know about the publicity thing.  We all signed the required statements to keep us from revealing any of you guys’ personal information or activities that take place in your private lives to the media or anyone.  Besides, I wouldn’t do anything to cause problems for any of you.  If that were my goal, I wouldn’t have used so much time to catch your stalker,” JT stated as Justin looked down.

“Well you got me there, but just don’t do anything that can hurt this group.  I haven’t worked this hard to get where I am now for nothing.” Justin stated.

“I understand all of that.  I know how the media works and I know how the world is.  I’ve done this job before.  You don’t have to worry about me doing anything, except for my job,” JT said with a frown.

“I guess we’re finished here.  Oh and JT, if you break Joey’s heart, I’ll kick your ass,” Justin said as he shook JT’s hand and then got up and walked away down the aisle.

To Be Continued…

The Awakening – Chapter 11

Chapter 11 — Time Travel, Nah Uh — Part 2

Sometime in 2014 — A Home in Sparrows Point, MD

“Is this the place Townes?”  A tall man that wore a ninja outfit asked.

“This is it Raymond,” the man replied as he rubbed the side of his head.  “The woman is in there.”

“Good, is there anyone else in there with her?”  The first man asked.

“I—I don’t know,” the second man replied as the first shrugged his shoulders and then pulled what looked like a mini-rifle from his duffle bag.  “What are you going to do with that thing?  This is only an information collection mission, nothing more.”

“For you, but not for me,” the first man spoke as he smiled and then pulled a mask over his face as he looked around and then rushed towards the house, firing his weapon at the door as he got closer to it and then kicked it as the door fell to the ground.  “Tango one to Flash four and five.  I’m inside and there are others with the main one.”

“What in the hell are you doing?”  The second man asked as he looked around as a gang of men dressed like ninjas rushed the house as screams and cries from children could be heard.

“All right Townes, stop with the damn whining and silence them now or I’ll kill them.  Which do you prefer?”  The first man asked as he held a woman in his arms that struggled to get away from him.  “Hurry it up and do your damn hocus pocus!”

“Fine,” the second man said as he placed his hand on the woman’s head.  “You’ll be calm… This is just a dream.  You’re completely safe; this is just a bad dream.  You should think about love, think about happy things.  You are completely safe.”

“Hurry up with this,” the first man said as the second man turned to another man that held two kids in his arms as another one came outside of the house with another kid in his arms.

“What are you doing to these people?”  The second man asked.

“If you don’t get them quiet right now, we’re going to kill them.  That’s totally up to you,” another man said as the second man moved over to the kids.

“This is all bad dream… This isn’t really happening to you.  You watched a scary movie before going to bed and you’re just having a bad reaction.  Be calm, be quiet, be happy.  This is all just a dream, nothing more than a dream.  None of this is happening, you are just dreaming,” the second man spoke as one of the men looked at him strangely and then shrugged.

“Why is this one still crying?  Either you shut him up or I’ll shut him up, permanently,” the man said as he placed his hand around the little boy’s neck and started squeezing.  “It wouldn’t take me long to crush his windpipe at all.”

“Please, give me a few minutes more,” the second man spoke as the first two kids drifted off to sleep as the third one continued crying, the man’s hypnotic suggestion having no effect on him at all.  “I need more time here.”

“Nope, times up!”  The man exclaimed as he squeezed the boy’s neck, cutting off his air supply, crushing his windpipe as an audible pop could be heard as the crying stopped and then he laughed as the second man gasped and then covered his mouth.  “You should’ve done your hocus pocus a bit faster.”

“You fucker!”  The second man screamed as someone hit him in the back of the head with a blunt object, knocking him out as his body hit the ground, hard.

“Let’s go, the boss is waiting for this one.  She’s been missing for a long time, but she’s been found again,” the first man said as he smiled and then turned around.  “One of you pick that piece of shit up and throw him in the back.”

The Present — Day 77 — Washington, D.C. — A Secret Area of the Pentagon — General Ranger’s Main Lab

General Ranger’s POV

What is it with these super enhanced humans?  What makes them tick?  Why is it that I can’t discover what it is that makes them do, what they’re able to do?  If I can just discover that little key, I’ll be the most important person in the damn world.  I’ll be invaluable to the nation’s security.  If I’m able to find that connection, I can make my own super enhanced humans and take over the world, shaping it to the way I see fit.  I’ll be able to shape the world into a place where the strong will inhabit the earth and the weak shall vanish.  Only the strong can be a part of my utopian vision.

“Excuse me sir, but I have the information you requested,” a cadet spoke, snapping me out of my reverie.

“Let me see that,” I responded, snatching the folder from the young man, being that he had interrupted my thoughts of the future.

Catching a glimpse of his face, I was shocked momentarily.  His face… He has a face that reminds me of how my son used to look a long time ago, when he was still alive.  That was a time when I was happy—truly happy.  Before those super enhanced humans  appeared and destroyed my family, my life was perfect.

“Sir, will there be anything else?”  The young man asked as he saluted.

“This is all, you’re dismissed cadet,” I replied as he turned and then walked away as I opened the folder, viewing the results from the scientists that had analyzed a few of the patrons that had been tested here, mainly that Stroyer woman, when she was under my control.

This is all interesting.  It seems the Stroyer woman is able to move matter from one place to another, regardless of where that place is.  It seems she’s able to open a doorway to other places, but the tests only show that the doorways don’t stay open for long.  With this information, using her the way I planned wouldn’t have worked fully.  The tests only show that her doorways can only transport one bodily mass at a time.  That means she wouldn’t be able to transport more than one body at a time and not the group of soldiers envisioned to do what I want.

“Damn it!”  I snapped as a few of the scientists in the room looked in my direction.

That woman has the power that I want.  Her power is the one that can catapult me to the top of the nation’s power chain.  There has to be a way to enhance her power so that she’ll be able to transport more than one body at a time.  There has to be an answer.  Wait, that black man…

That’s the answer to the problem at him.  That black man that I faced in Jacksonville has the powers that I want.  He can transport multiple bodies at a time.  I have to look at the analysis of him.  That black man got into our stronghold and was able to stealthily do so without our instruments detecting him, until it was too late.  That’s what I need.  I need his powers to do what I want.  I need to be able to use his powers to do what I want.

“Sir, are you all right?”  One of the cadets asked as he stood in front of me, saluting.

“I’m fine,” I replied as I gathered the things I needed and then walked towards the door.  “Cadet, I need you to assemble a few of your buddies for me.  We’re going on a mission.”

“Yes sir,” the cadet said as he saluted and then walked away.

It’s time I strike at those freaks and this strike will be the end of all strikes.  When I’m done, I’ll have all the information I need, to do what I want.  I know where the Stroyer woman is and I know how to get her back.  Once I’ve gotten to them, I’ll get that black man and the others with him and turn them to my view of things so they can help with the cause.  It’s time for things to change for the better.

Between Here and There — The Limbo Dimension — Castle Limbo — The Throne Room

“I know you can hear me Psychic Warrior,” Tara’s voice was heard as JT stood in front of a mirror, watching her.  “I’m not going to just let you throw me away into a damn mirror!”

“Why can’t she understand that I’m only doing what I feel is necessary for her to have a normal life?  If she’ll only just let the mirror do it’s job, she’ll see that I’m trying to help her—help her from being saddled with protecting me and others with her life forever.  She can’t be Amazon forever, she just can’t.”

“Come on Warrior, I’m going to use the powers you gave me to resist this!  Just let me out of this and we can get things back on track,” Tara’s voice could be heard again.

“I can’t do that Tara, you have to have a normal life and a normal life is what you’re going to have, even if it kills me,” JT spoke as the mirror started to shimmer as a hand reached out from the surface of the mirror and grabbed him, pulling him into it.  “No, Tara!”

“Hello JT,” Tara spoke as JT appeared next to where she stood .  “Remember this?”

“Why did you do this Tara?  You’ve made a grave mistake here,” JT stated as the two of them watched scenes of his younger self and a younger Tara, play out in front of them as a battle took place between JT’s younger self and a possessed evil young man.

“I didn’t make a grave mistake here JT, you did,” Tara stated as they watched as the younger JT fought to keep the younger Tara protected.  “Before I was changed into Amazon, I always admired the way you fought to keep others protected.  I always wished that I could do the things you were able to do.”

“Do you think I’ve always enjoyed doing the things I do?”  JT asked as he looked at Tara and then looked down.  “When I was a kid, I always wanted to be special, to be a super hero, but as I got older, that wish changed.  I stopped wanting to be a super hero and wanted a normal, regular life for myself.”

“Why?”  Tara asked as she looked JT in the face.

“Because I couldn’t have the things that I truly wanted,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “Being a super hero stopped me from having love—having the love that I wanted.”

“Being a superhero didn’t stop me from finding love,” Tara stated as she caressed JT’s face.  “I found Darren, you’ve found Brian.  Why did you do this?”

“You can’t have the life that you want, being Amazon,” JT stated as he sighed.  “How are you going to have the family you want, if you’re always fighting for what’s right in the world?”

“The same way I have for so long,” Tara stated with a smile.  “I’m happy being Amazon and I’m happy being Conjurer’s wife.  I have the best of both worlds.  I have love and I have actions.  I get to be romantic and I get to kick some ass every now and again,” Tara stated as she waved her hand as things started to change around them as the younger JT and the younger Tara disappeared to show Tara and Darren’s lives, before JT came back into her life.

“Things were different for you,” JT stated as he shook his head.  “If I hadn’t come back into your life, you two would be happy.”

“Who says we’re not happy?”  Tara asked as she looked JT in the face.  “Before you came back into my life, I was still Amazon.  I was still fighting for justice and Darren was doing a good job helping me.  The only difference is that when you came back into my life, Darren started using a code name.”

“But your life…” JT said as Tara shook her head.

“My life has been everything I wanted it to be,” Tara stated with a smile.  “Since that day you wished me into being your version of Wonder Woman, I’ve been a very happy woman.  That day changed my life; it gave me the means to experience new things.  I’ve seen things that if I hadn’t been Amazon, I don’t think I ever would’ve experienced.  I probably never would’ve met my husband if I wasn’t Amazon.”

“I don’t think you want to spend the next few hundred years, fighting for what’s right,” JT stated as he shook his head and then looked down.

“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t, but that depends on me JT, not you.  My life doesn’t revolve around you, using your powers to see into the future to make decisions for me.  I’m the one in control of my life, not you.  You need to undo what you’ve done here.  Give me my husband back and bring the others back from your mirrors,” Tara calmly demanded as she pointed her finger at JT, poking him in the chest.  “Go ahead JT, undo what you did with your magic mirrors.”

“Fine,” JT stated as he raised his hands as he and Tara disappeared and then reappeared back in Castle Limbo.

“Where are the others?  Where did you send them?”  Tara asked as she looked around the area.  “Why aren’t they here?”

“You’ll have to give me a moment here,” JT stated as his eyes flared with magical energy as mirrors popped up in multiple places in the area.  “Now we just have to reach in and grab our friends and pull them back here.”

“Are you sure of that?”  Tara asked as she looked at JT strangely.  “Is this some kind of trick?”

“It’s not some kind of trick Tara,” JT replied as he stepped over to one of the mirrors as he touched the reflection as it shimmered and then glowed as his hand disappeared as his eyes flared with magical energy as he stepped back quickly as the mirror shattered into many pieces.

“JT!”  Tara screamed as there was a blinding flash of light as JT appeared with Brian in his arms.  “You’re okay, what about him?”

“He’s all right, probably just a bit dazed.  He’ll be confused for a bit,” JT stated with a frown.  “I’m thinking maybe this isn’t a good…”

“Get a move on man,” Tara stated as she pointed at JT.  “Where’s Darren?”

“He’s over there,” JT stated as he waved his hand as the mirror floated towards Tara.  “All you have to do is reach in, grab him and then pull him out.”

“Are you sure of that?  What happened to the mirror that Brian was in?  Why did it shatter like that?”  Tara asked.

“That’s probably because he didn’t want to leave the new world he was in,” JT stated with a frown.  “He was a very happy man.  When he figures out that I’ve changed his destiny from the carefree life he was happy with, back to this one that caused him so much pain, he’ll never like me again.  He had everything he wanted and now he’ll have…”

“You’re wrong about that.  I’ll have you.  I don’t like you JT, I love you,” Brian spoke as he opened his eyes and then pulled JT’s face to his as they shared a kiss.  “I wasn’t happy where I was, I’m happy here with you.  I don’t care about the struggle here as long as I have the man that I love in my life.”

“You hear that JT?”  Tara asked with a smile.  “Is there a simple way of getting everyone back here?”

“I’ll see what I can do about that,” JT stated as he placed Brian down on a cushion next to a window as he floated over to where the mirrors were as his eyes flared with magical and psychic energy as psychic clones of himself appeared in front of each mirror.  Taking a breath, each of the psychic clones reached into the mirror’s reflection, pulling someone out.  “Ahhhh!”

“Are you okay JT?”  Tara asked as all the mirrors disappeared, leaving behind the person that was trapped in the mirror earlier.

“What happened to me?”  Walden asked as he looked around.  “For the life of me, why do I feel like I’ve been asleep for a long time?”

“It’s a long story, but we’ll save that for another day,” Tara stated as she floated over to Darren, wrapping her arms around him.  “If you don’t mind, I would like to go back to my home.  Let’s get the hell out of here!  No pun intended.”

“You got it,” JT stated as his eyes crackled with energy again as everyone around him disappeared in a flash of light.

Day 81 — Washington, D.C. — Restricted Area of the Pentagon

“Good morning Admiral, I hope your visit here has been a great one,” General Ranger spoke as the man looked at him and then looked back down at the report in his hand.  “Let me start out by saying sir, that I really…”

“Can it Ranger,” the man said as General Ranger closed his mouth.  “I don’t need you trying to kiss my ass here.”

“Sir, I wasn’t trying to kiss your ass.  I was just trying to tell you that if you need anything, everyone here is at your disp…”

“If I need something, I know how to ask for it.  I don’t have time for this ass kissing show you’re trying to put on here,” the man said as General Ranger’s eyes widened as the two of them walked down the corridor.

“Yes sir,” General Ranger replied as the man walked past a special door and then stopped in front of it.

“What’s in this room Ranger?”  The man asked as General Ranger looked down and then back up at him.  “Well, what’s in the room Ranger?”

“Well… Ah… Sir… That… Is… Ah… Well…” General Ranger stuttered as the man stepped closer to him, looking him in the face.

“I don’t want to hear your damn stuttering Ranger!  Now tell me what’s in this room right this instant!”  The man snapped as General Ranger’s eyes widened.  “Are you looking to be court mars…”

“That there is the—the… Ah… Well… Ah… Yeah, that is the super enhanced human testing lab,” General Ranger replied as the man looked at him strangely.

“The super enhanced human testing lab?  What kind of testing goes on in that lab?”  The man asked.  “Go ahead, open the door, I would like to see inside there.”

“Sir, I—I don’t think you have the proper clearance to…” General Ranger spoke as the man grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, lifting him up off of his feet.  “Yes sir, anything you want sir.”

“Just open the damn door!”  The man demanded as General Ranger grabbed his badge quickly and inserted it into a card scanner next to the door as there was a loud beep and then the door opened.  “So, this is where the magic happens.”

“Whatever you say sir,” General Ranger spoke, rubbing at his neck as he and the man walked further into the room.  “Is there anything in particular you want to see in here?”

“No, just looking around,” the man replied as a strange beam of light shown down on him as his image blurred and then completely changed.

“You!”  General Ranger yelled.

“Damn, I guess the cat’s out of the bag now!  Oh well, so where’s my friend?”  Jennifer asked as she moved back to avoid General Ranger’s grabbing hand as she floated into the air and then over to a set of prison cells in the room.  “Where is the woman you kidnapped from Jacksonville?”

“You’ll have to be a bit more specific,” General Ranger stated with a smile as he pressed a button on his wrist cuff as an alarm sounded.  “You’ll never find who you’re looking for and you won’t be leaving here either.”

“You’re wrong on that account,” Darren’s voice could be heard, but he wasn’t able to be seen.  “Span out gang!”

(<PAMPH>)

“Hurry, there are more people in the cells.  It seems General Ranger has been very busy lately,” JT spoke as he flew past General Ranger, floating in mid-air as his eyes glowed as all the prison cell doors opened.  “I’ve detected five super enhanced humans here and it seems…”

“It seems what freak!”  Someone screamed, zapping JT with a bolt of energy from behind that knocked him out of the air.  “I hope you have a nice sleep freak!”

“You know, that wasn’t very nice, not at all!”  JT snapped as he leaned up on his elbows as his body shimmered with magical energy as a shadow-like image of himself leapt from the floor and flew off.

“What in the hell was that?”  General Ranger asked as he followed the shadow-like image of JT.  “You—you’re lying on the floor.  How is your shadow moving around like that?  That’s not possible!  What kind of trickery is this?”

“No trickery at all, it seems you don’t know how to act when you’re wrong,” JT stated as he appeared next to General Ranger, punching him in the face and knocking him across the room as he smashed into a wall as he smiled and then rubbed his hands together.  “Now we get what we came here for.”

“You’re going to regret that!” General Ranger yelled.  “Flashpoint!  Jinx!  Take him down, now!”

“What!”  JT screamed as his eyes glowed brightly as energy emanated from his body that moved him quickly, avoiding the two people that arrived on the scene.  “No!  He’s got more super enhanced humans fighting on his side!”

“Try not to hurt them!”  Darren yelled as he appeared nearby, growing taller than his normal height as he used his hand to swipe a few of the soldiers down to the floor.

“You might want to tell that to them!”  JT snapped as he held his head as his surrounded changed.  “Okay, something’s not right here!”

“Hey Daddy, what are you doing here?”  JT heard as he stopped and then looked around.  “Daddy, don’t you hear me talking to you?”

“Xander?”  JT spoke as he looked around, trying to figure out where the voice was coming from.  “No, something’s wrong here, this isn’t right!  Xander’s dead!”

“Snap out of it buddy,” Darren said as he moved over to where JT stood as he snapped his fingers in his face, trying to snap him out of the trance he was in.  “Come on buddy, what’s going on?  Who’s Xander?”

“What kind of game is this?  I don’t like it when people muck around with my mind!”  JT snapped as his eyes flared with psychic energy as his body caught on fire, the fire manifesting as a giant bird.  “Who in the hell are you?  What game are you trying to play here?”

“Malevolent, come back to us buddy,” Darren spoke as he backed away from JT.  “Come on buddy, what are you hearing and seeing?”

“You!”  JT snapped as he gestured with his hand as the woman identified as Jinx floated off the floor as her body caught on fire as it looked as if she was being held by a giant claw made of fire. “You’re not a psychic, so how did you do what you just did?”

“Come on buddy, stop this.  We have a job to do here,” Darren spoke as JT waved his hand in his direction, lifting him off of his feet also, looking as if he was being held by a giant claw made of fire.  “Malevolent, put me down!”

“Woman, what is your game here?”  JT asked as the tears streamed down his face.  “How did you make me see those images if you’re not a psychic?  Tell me damn it!  Tell me!”

“What did you do to him lady?”  Darren asked as he struggled to get free of JT’s power.

“J, what’s going on?”  Jennifer asked as she floated near JT.  “You’re attacking one of us man!”

“You have me confused with someone else,” JT spoke as he looked at Jennifer as she covered her mouth.

“Oh no, we have a big problem here,” Jennifer stated as her image shifted, her form changing to that of a big burly man with chain mail armor on as she grabbed JT.  “Come on man, snap out of it!”

“What’s going on Amaryllis?”  Darren asked as he continued struggling against JT’s power.

“He’s zoned out and he’s not himself!”  Jennifer snapped as she shook her head.  “What did he say before he changed?”

“He spoke of someone named Xander,” Darren replied as he waved his hand as he shrunk down to size, escaping JT’s grasp as he grew back to his normal size.  “Who is Xander anyway?”

“I don’t know,” Jennifer replied as she did her best to hold JT in her arms as the woman named Jinx screamed out, sounding as if she were in agony.

“Be careful of his flames Amaryllis,” Darren warned as he looked around.

“His psychic fire can’t hurt me much,” Jennifer stated as the fire around JT’s body disappeared as his costume started changing.  “Come on buddy, you need to get back to normal here.  We’re already in a bad spot.  We don’t need you zonking out on us.”

“She—she’s like us and she has the power to warp reality,” JT spoke as his eyes sparkled with energy.  “She—she showed me another dimension.  She’s very dangerous.”

“You deserve to die, people like you are evil!  People like you stole my kids from me!”  The woman screamed as JT looked at her strangely.

“I didn’t steal anything from you,” JT stated as he moved away from the woman as his eyes stopped sparkling.  “We have to get away from here, quickly.  Your friend isn’t here Amaryllis.  It seems Ranger has her locked away someplace else.”

“Where is she damn it?”  Jennifer asked as the lights went out in the area.  “What the hell is wrong now?”

“She and the other one is doing it,” JT stated as he raised his hand as his body glowed brightly.  “Let’s make waves right now!”

“Fine by me,” Darren stated as the three of them disappeared from the room in a burst of light.

To Be Continued…