This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

Love Conquers All

by Flaming Matt

Chapter 10

November 2015

"Oh fuck." Erica states in a stunned tone, after holding her hand over the boys chest and while it was barely noticeable, she was sure she wasn't imagining it. "Ben get me a mirror, quick." She then calls out, without taking her eyes of Matt, while cursing herself a little bit for leaving her bag in the house. "Ben? Where are you?" She then calls out in a louder tone, after not getting a response the first time and turning around and seeing that he had disappeared. "Ben?" She then calls out again, but just as she is about to get up, she sees him reappearing and couldn't help but be both confused and worried.

"I'm going for a swim, want to come with me?" Ben asks with a smile, as he looks around the room and then at his brothers girlfriend.

"Why are you..." Erica then begins to say, before remembering Matt. "Ben, I need you to get me a mirror quick." She then states in a firm tone and while she could tell that he was in some kind of shock, she needed him to snap out of it, so that she could concentrate on Matt.

"Don't be silly Erica, you don't need a mirror to go swimming, I will meet you out there." Ben responds in a playful tone, before walking towards the door smiling.

"Ben, stop, get me a mirror, I need to check on Matt, I think he is still..." Erica then begins to say, before being cut off and she couldn't help but look at him in surprise.

"Matt's in heaven Erica, he's gone now, let's go swimming, I like swimming, don't you?" Ben asks, after barely glancing at his fiancé's dead body, before smiling even wider as he turns back towards the door.

"Ben, snap the hell out of it right now, he's breathing, so I need you to find a phone and call an ambulance, you hear me?" Erica then states in a firm and commanding tone after getting up and walking over to the window to pick up the little mirror up on it and while she knew she could be imagining it, she wasn't going to just give up on the boy and just hoped she could get through to Ben as well, because she couldn't do everything and really needed his help.

"You're silly, he's gone, no one can hurt him any more and my mum will look after him." Ben responds with an unsettling smile, while he looks curiously at his brothers girlfriend holding the mirror over his boyfriends face.

"Ben I need a light, like a little torch or something." Erica then says, as she looks over to him and couldn't help but look at him sadly. "Ben please, I need you to come back to me, I need you to be strong for Matt, he needs you Ben, he needs you to save him." She then says in a strained tone, after deciding that she needed to do something to snap him out of it, while also trying to hold her own emotions in check and not break down and lose any chance of saving Matt.

"I already put sunscreen on though, don't be too long Erica, it's a nice day today." Ben then states in a cheerful tone, after ignoring what she had just said and begins to open the door.

"Okay Sweety, but can you pass me your phone please, I left mine in the house and I need to give your brother a call." Erica then asks in as calm a tone as she could manage, after realising that she couldn't get through to him and while she was worried, she had to do everything she could to save Matt and needed to at least be able to call an ambulance.

"Okay, but don't be too long." Ben responds happily while walking over to his bedroom and retrieving his phone, before handing it over to his brothers girlfriend and walking out of the pool house so that he could swim and relax for a little while.

"Hello? Yeah, I need an ambulance please..." Erica says, as soon as she gets through and while she talks through everything, she continues to check over Matt and again, while she knew she could be grasping at straws, she wasn't going to give up on him, not if there was a chance and while a little awkward with one hand, she manages to get his top off. "It's okay, I'm a nurse and I'm checking him over now, just get here quickly please, I don't think there's much time and please get in contact with Doctor Gilmar, I know it's his day off, but he will come in if you tell him that it's for Matthew Summers and well please just tell the ambulance to hurry and to let themselves in, the door is unlocked and they need to come straight out to the back garden and then to the pool house, we will be inside." She then says in a desperate tone, before listening to the operators response.

"I need to hang up, but you can call back on this number, I just need both hands and to concentrate, I know, but I need both hands." Erica then says, before hanging up the phone and while she knew that it would have been better to keep the operator on the line, she knew the chances of Matt surviving whatever actually happened to him were small and she needed to fully focus on him and quickly begins to check him over as best as she could.

One Hour Later

"What's the matter?" Lily asks in a concerned tone, after seeing her boyfriends face dropping during the phone conversation he was having. "Tobias?" She then asks in a now scared tone, after seeing tears rolling down his cheeks and quickly pulls him into a comforting cuddle.

"Matt's dead, he died." Tobias manages to answer in a distraught and devastated tone after a few minutes of crying his heart out and despite wanting it to be some kind of sick joke, he knew his brother would never do that to him and knew it must be true.

"What?" Lily quickly asks in a stunned tone and while she knew it was obviously bad news, this was just on another level and she couldn't believe it.

"Ben said he's in heaven now, he wouldn't lie Lily, he wouldn't." Tobias responds in a distressed tone, before tightening his grip on his girlfriend and crying his heart out again.

"It's... it's going to er... Tobias, I'm here for you." Lily then says in a confused and scared tone, after trying to think of something to say to help him and realising that there wasn't anything she could say or do, apart from just hold him and try to support him.

"Sir?" Mitch asks in a mixture of curiosity and apprehension, after being pulled out of his meeting with his team by his boss and could only assume that he wanted to talk about the name he had given him earlier, but he couldn't see how it could be important enough to interrupt an important meeting he was having with his team.

"Come with me Mitch." Hopkins instructs the young man in a professional tone, before walking towards the front entrance of the building.

"Is this about Nick Butcher, Sir?" Mitch then decides to ask in a confused tone, as he walks with his boss through the building and couldn't help but wonder what is going on, especially when they walk past his bosses office.

"No Mitch, it's not, just follow me and I will explain in the car." Hopkins responds in a slightly more strained tone, as he tries to hold of telling the young man what has happened and while he knew he wouldn't take the news any better in the car, he thought it would be better than giving it to him now.

"Did something happen Sir?" Mitch then asks in a worried tone, as a feeling of dread starts to spread through his stomach and when his boss gives his a sympathetic glance, he knows something bad has happened. "Sir just tell me, what's happened?" He then asks in a half pleading tone, after stopping and looking directly at his boss, who he could see looked hesitant to say anything.

"Your dad phoned the office Mitch..." Hopkins begins to say in a reluctant tone, before trailing off for a few moments, as a couple of officers walk past them. "Mitch it's Matthew, your dad didn't give me any details, but he asked me to bring you to the hospital as soon as possible and I think we need to hurry." He then finishes saying in a sad and sympathetic tone and as he looks at the young man, he just wished that he could have gotten him in the car before telling him, because he just looked broken.

"Matt? He's in the hospital?" Mitch then asks in a stunned tone, before really thinking about it and could feel his stomach churning.

"Yes, but we need to go now Mitch, so come with me, we have to get to my car." Hopkins responds, as he puts a hand on the young man's shoulder and gets him moving towards the front entrance again. "He's in the hospital Mitch, so what ever happened, he's in the best place he could be in." He then says in a confident tone, as he does his best to try and reassure him, although the phone call he received didn't give him a lot of hope that he was right.

"Yeah." Mitch responds in a numb tone, as he follows his boss out of the building and towards his car and although he wanted to be optimistic, he couldn't see why his dad would need him to go to the hospital straight away, unless it was really necessary and that could only mean one thing in his mind and the thought sent a shiver down his spine.

"What are you doing here?" Alex asks in a cold tone, as he opens the door and sees his former friend standing in front of him.

"Nice to see you too mate." Jarred responds with a small grin, before scolding himself mentally as he tries to stay focused and stick to this part of the plan.

"We aren't mates Jarred, you're nothing to me." Alex responds coldly, as he struggles to not attack his former friend, especially since he was now convinced he was behind the attack and his boyfriend being taken, but he knew that he couldn't confront him about it, not if he wanted to guarantee that his boyfriend was safe.

"Wow, seriously Alex?" Jarred quickly responds in a surprised tone, which wasn't completely fake, as he sees the disgust in his former friends eyes. "We were friends for most of our lives Alex, I'm just here to see if you're all right." He then states in as sincere a tone as he can manage, after being a little taken aback by the cold stare he was still receiving and he couldn't help but wonder if this part of the plan was as great as he had initially thought it would be.

"Fuck off Jarred, if you were really bothered, then why now and not sooner?" Alex then decides to ask and while he was still trying everything he could to not lash out at his former friend, he was genuinely curious about him being here now and wanted to find out why.

"Because like you said, we aren't friends any more and given the reason why we aren't friends, I didn't think it was a good idea to try and make amends too soon." Jarred answers in a casual tone, while looking over his former friends shoulder and although he knew he was alone, he couldn't help but be a little paranoid.

"Make amends? You have to be kidding me Alex, you're a prick and I don't want anything to do with you, so just fuck off." Alex retorts in an angry and irritated tone, but as he goes to close the door, he sees his friend sticking his foot in the door and stopping him from closing it.

"Not even if it helped Peter?" Jarred asks in a smug tone, before stepping back a few steps, as his former friend opens the door and gives him a hard stare.

"What did you say?" Alex then asks in a cold tone, as he steps into the doorway and only just manages to stop himself from attacking his former friend.

"You know what, fuck you Alex, I came here to say sorry and try and help, but I'm not taking this shit from you, so go fuck yourself." Jarred quickly responds with a grin, before turning and walking away from his former friend, knowing that he would stop him before he even got to the end of his garden.

"Wait!" Alex quickly calls out in an almost desperate tone, after thinking over his former friends words and while this whole thing was ringing all sorts of alarms in his head, especially since he was still convinced that he was behind it all, he knew he couldn't just let him walk away and on the off chance that he was being genuine, he had to get him to stay and talk.

"What, so you can tell me that I'm a prick and how much you hate me? No thanks, you had your chance and... what?" Jarred quickly asks in a sarcastic tone, after turning back around to face his former friend, who he could now see was looking a lot less confident now and could barely stop himself gloating over him.

"Come in and we can talk." Alex then suggests, as he steps back into the house and holds the door open for his former friend to walk through.

"You have to be kidding me Alex." Jarred quickly states in an unimpressed tone, before noticing the confused look on his former friends face. "You really think I trust you enough right now, to risk you locking me in your house and attacking me?" He then states with an expectant look, while crossing his arms over his chest and while he had every intention of going inside, he wanted to make his former friend practically beg for it and he knew he would.

"If I wanted to kick the shit out of you, I would have done it by now Jarred, so either get in or go home, because I don't care what you say, I'm not begging you for anything." Alex responds in an irritated tone and while he was desperate to find out what his former friend knew about his boyfriend or if he actually was behind it, he didn't want to beg and he hoped he wouldn't have to.

"Oh please, as if you could, one decent hit on that jaw of yours and you will be crying for your mummy." Jarred states in a teasing tone, before walking past his friend and into the house. "Oh sorry, begging for your daddy, we both know your mum thinks you're a disgusting faggot." He then states in an amused tone, before smirking as he feels himself being shoved against the wall.

"Shut the fuck up you arsehole!" Alex hisses at his former friend, as he holds his forearm against his neck and only barely manages to stop himself from seriously hurting him.

"Temper, temper Alex, we don't want those rumours that you did something to Peter to spread any further." Jarred manages to say in a slightly strained tone, although he still maintains his smirk and can see his former friend flinch at that comment and knew that he had caught him completely off guard.

"What? What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Alex then asks in a shocked tone, as he slowly backs of from his former friend and just stares at him in confusion.

"Just some stuff I heard, nothing official or anything like that, but you know how rumours can spread and you're certainly angry enough to give it some credibility." Jarred answers with an even bigger smirk, while he gently massages his neck a little bit, because while he knew what was going to happen, he was still a little nervous and with his friend so angry, he knew it would hurt a lot.

"What fucking rumours? What are you talking about?" Alex then hisses again, before trying to calm himself down, because he knew his former friend was up to something and he didn't want to let him get to him this easily.

"I'm surprised your faggot friends haven't told you, but then again, I doubt they have even bothered visiting you, they only really ever liked Peter, even I could see that." Jarred decides to say in response, before turning and walking into his former friends kitchen and he couldn't help but remember when he was last here and wondered what would happen if he attacked his former friend again, especially after seeing a new rolling pin on the counter.

"Just answer the question Jarred." Alex then states in a more measured tone, although as he watches his friend looking at the rolling pin, he couldn't help but shudder a little bit, especially since he was convinced that he was behind the attack and Peter going missing, but until he had actual proof, he was determined not to do anything stupid.

"People are saying, well kids are saying that you killed Peter and buried him somewhere, then came back here and knocked yourself out, you know, to try and get away with it." Jarred answers after a few moments in a causal tone, while slowly walking around his former friends kitchen and giving his friend a long hard look.

"That's a load of shit, it doesn't even make any sense." Alex quickly responds in a shocked and annoyed tone, although the look on his former friends face was causing him to feel a little uneasy and he was starting to wonder if he had made a mistake in letting him come inside.

"Maybe, but it's not like you've been doing much to look for him, I mean I couldn't give a shit, but some people have been wondering why you aren't out and about looking for him or using Facebook or something to try and find him that way and they kind of have a point, don't you think?" Jarred then says, while maintaining his amused expression and he hadn't missed the fact that his former friend seemed a little nervous and while normally he wouldn't stand much of a chance in a fight, his former friend was recovering from a fractured jaw and probably on some decent painkillers, so he was confident he would win easily if it did come to that, but that wasn't the plan and he knew what was going to happen and he just had to hope his timing is perfect.

"I've been in hospital and my dad won't let me outside alone, so what am I meant to do?" Alex responds in a defensive tone, before realising not just how pathetic he just sounded, but also that his former friend actually had a point and he couldn't help but feel like he had let his boyfriend down.

"Fair enough, I mean it's not like you have access to a computer or the internet... oh wait." Jarred then states with a chuckle, before walking past his former friend and looking into his front room. "You seriously going to start crying? Fuck Alex, you really are a faggot aren't you?" He then asks in an amused tone, after turning back towards his former friend and seeing him wipe his eyes with the back of his hand and he just couldn't believe how pathetic he was now.

"Just fuck off Jarred and get the fuck out of my house." Alex then hisses at his former friend, after pulling himself together and deciding that he wanted him gone, even if it meant he lost his chance to get the truth out of him, he just wanted him out.

"Giving up on Peter so easily, he will be pleased to hear about that." Jarred quickly responds with a big grin, as he walks around to the other side of the kitchen counter, before staring at his former friend in amusement and couldn't believe how fun this was, even if he wasn't exactly looking forward to what happens next.

"It was you!" Alex then states in a venomous tone, before slowly walking around the kitchen cabinet, while his former friend does the same and circles the other way around it.

"You're losing it Alex, I mean look at you, crying like a girl, being afraid of me and now you're accusing me of... well fuck if I know what you're on about, but you're fucking losing it." Jarred states in response to his former friends words and while he was right, he wasn't quite ready to make it that easy for him, there was too much fun to be had before he let that happen.

"Then what are you doing here Jarred? Why are you acting so weird and being so cryptic? You aren't that smart and you know it." Alex then says in a calmer tone, while still slowly moving around towards his former friend, who to his surprised, didn't look even remotely scared or nervous, which threw him off a little bit.

"Not that smart... and they call me the prick and arsehole." Jarred states with a shake of the head, before stopping and letting his former friend walk up to him. "Seriously, look at yourself Alex, you have your hands balled and I can see it in your eyes, you want to punch me and hurt me, I can see it Alex, I can see it in your eyes." He then states with a grin, before moving around his former friend and forcing him to turn around as well and knew that he was in completely in control now and knew it was almost time to push him over the edge.

"You don't know what you're talking about Jarred." Alex responds with a glare, as he edges towards his friend again and only just managing to keep himself under control.

"I don't know Alex, seeing you like this, all ready to jump me and beat me half to death, maybe you did kill Peter." Jarred then says in a casual tone, after glancing at the clock on the wall again and deciding that it was just about the right time now. "What happened? Did he want to break up with you? Is that it Alex? Weren't you man enough for the little..." He then begins to taunt, before stumbling backwards a few steps, after being punched in the side of the head.

"Shut up!" Alex then states in a venomous tone, as he knocks his former friend to the ground, after punching him again on the side of his head.

"Is this how it happened? Is this what you did to him Alex?" Jarred asks in the same taunting tone as before, after getting up and rubbing the side of his face with a grin and hiding just how much pain he was in, this was the plan and he knew he had to take it, no matter what.

"Just shut the fuck up, you piece of fucking shit!" Alex hisses as he grabs hold of his former friend and swings him into the fridge freezer and watches as he slumps to the ground.

"Did he beg for help? Did he beg you to let him go Alex? Did he?" Jarred then asks with a grin and while he was hurting badly, he knew it would be worth it and he could see the rage in his former friends eyes and knew that he had got exactly what he wanted, before grunting as he feels himself being kicked and kicked.

"SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP OR I WILL FUCKING KILL..." Alex then begins shouting, before falling silent in shock as he hears someone calling out and he couldn't help but turn around and look on in shock as he sees who it is.

"Step away from him, back off right now, nice and slowly." Andy calls out in a firm tone, as he slowly edges towards the boy and while he couldn't quite believe what he had heard and seen, he had to focus and stay professional.

"That's it Alex, step away from him and kneel down with your arms behind you head." Amanda then states, as she slowly walks towards the boy and looks over to the other boy, who she could see wasn't conscious.

"I... I... it's not what it looks like, I didn't..." Alex begins to say in a panicked tone, after it starts to sink in just how bad this looked, before being interrupted as he stands there in shock.

"Kneel down and put your hands behind your head Alex." Andy then states in a firm tone, although he couldn't help but think they were handling the situation badly, it was just a kid and neither had ever arrested a kid before and he wasn't quite sure what to do other than follow procedure.

"He's just unconscious Andy." Amanda then calls out, before radioing in an ambulance.

"I'm sorry, I... I'm sorry." Alex then says in a distraught tone, as he feels his arms behind pulled down behind him and then feelings his wrists being handcuffed.

"Alex, just be quiet for a few moments while we go outside and then I will read you your rights." Andy then says in a calming tone, as he helps the boy to his feet and then leads him towards the front door and again, while he knew he should have read him his rights there and then, he was still a little caught off guard by the whole situation and just had to try and remember his training, even though it never covered this kind of thing.

"Erica, what's happening, please, is he okay?" Sarah asks in a desperate and emotional tone, as she quickly stands up after seeing her friend coming out of the room where her son was.

"We don't know." Erica answers in an almost robotic tone, as she looks around looking a little lost and overwhelmed, she had been on autopilot ever since she had called the ambulance and she was starting to think about everything that had happened.

"What do you mean? Tell me Erica, is he okay?" Sarah then asks in a more hostile tone and despite feeling herself being held from behind, she just had to know how her son was.

"He's..." Erica then begins to answer, before leaning back up against the wall and running her hands over her face.

"Erica, please." Sarah then says in a pleading tone, as she almost falls to the ground, but is held firm by Mike's strong embrace.

"They're trying to stabilize him Sarah, but we don't know what's wrong and he's very weak, Gordon... I mean Doctor Gilmar is considering putting him into an induced coma, just to give us more time to figure out what's happening to him." Erica answers as best as she could, but as everything starts catching up with her, she was struggling to keep her composure.

"I don't understand, he's been fine, he's been getting stronger and stronger, it doesn't make any sense." Sarah then states in a confused and desperate tone, it just didn't make any sense and she couldn't bare to lose him, not after everything, not after he has fought so hard to get his life back.

"Why is everyone sad?" Ben asks in a surprised tone, as he walks back over after getting himself a drink and he couldn't help but look at everyone curiously.

"Ben, it's okay, you don't have to pretend you're okay any more." Mike says in a soft and reassuring tone, as he reluctantly let's go of Sarah and moves in front of his youngest son to comfort him.

"But I am okay, it's over now and Mum will look after him now Dad." Ben responds in a calm tone, before giving his dad a quick reassuring squeeze on the shoulder.

"Ben, it's really okay." Mike then says in a concerned tone, as he notices the look on his youngest sons face and realises that he actually looked okay, even a little happy and he couldn't help but be worried and concerned for him.

"I know, he's in heaven now and no one will ever be able to hurt him again." Ben responds in the same calm tone, before taking another sip of his drink and looking up at his dad with a smile.

"Mike, he's in some kind of shock or denial, I tried talking to him before we got here and he just keeps saying the same thing." Erica says in a tired tone, as she tries to regroup and do her best to keep herself together for a little bit longer.

"They must have some idea Erica, they can't just not know anything, there must be something." Sarah then says, as she walks over to her with a pleading look and while she knew she was being unfair, this was her son and she just couldn't lose him, not after everything.

"It could be a number of things Sarah, but without the results of the tests they're doing, we can't..." Erica begins to explain what is happening, before trailing off for a few moments after seeing her friends expression. "When I first realised he was still breathing, the way he had obviously been sick and his eyes being open, I thought it could be some kind of stroke, but..." She then begins to say, after deciding that they needed something, even if it turned out to be wrong, but quickly finds herself being interrupted.

"A stroke, he's twelve years old Erica, kids don't have strokes." Mike states in a confused tone and while he could tell that they were being unfair on their friend, she was all they had to get any sort of answer and he couldn't help himself, even if he was still concerned about his own son, he wanted to find out what was happening with Matt as well.

"It's rare, but he's been through so much Mike, so he is more at risk and I could be wrong, but it's what I think could have happened." Erica then says, before running her hand through her hair again and giving them all a sympathetic look.

"What else? You said it could be a number of things." Sarah then asks in a desperate tone and while a stroke didn't sound that bad, she knew that it wasn't as simple as that and she couldn't bare the thought of the damage it could have caused to her son and was hoping it could be something else.

"We're going to test for as much as we can Sarah, so we aren't ruling anything out, but the fact he was breathing on his own is a good sign, he's not out of the woods, but he's a fighter and he won't give up." Erica responds as positively as she could manage, while still doing her best to hold herself together at the same time.

"Come on Sarah, it's not fair on Erica, we just have to wait for the results to come in and Gordon will know more when he comes out and talks to us." Mike then decides to say, after seeing how much their friend was struggling herself and realised that they were putting her in an impossible and unfair position.

"I just want to know if he will be okay Mike." Sarah then says in a heartbroken tone, before feeling herself being pulled into his side.

"I know, but we have to call Tobias and tell him to come here, I already talked to Mitch's boss and he is bringing him here as soon as he can." Mike then decides to say, after thinking that maybe the mention of Tobias, will distract her for a little while from what is happening to Matt.

"I already phoned Tobias and he is coming here soon." Ben then states with a smile, before taking another long sip of his drink, as he looks at his dad curiously and still couldn't help but wonder why they were all sad, sure his fiancé was dead, but he was in heaven now and his mum would be looking after him, so it wasn't that bad.

"You did?" Sarah quickly asks in a surprised tone, although seeing the expression on his face, she remembered that he had gone into some kind of denial and despite her own heartbreak, she couldn't help but feel for him as well and knew they would have to help him somehow and soon.

"What did you tell him Ben?" Mike then asks in a concerned tone, after again seeing that Erica was right and that he wasn't being himself and couldn't help but worry what he would have told his brother.

"The truth, that Matt's in heaven and my mum will look after him now and that no one can ever hurt him again." Ben answers happily, before realising that his drink was now empty. "I'm going to get another drink and then play outside, bye." He then states with a smile, before turning and heading towards the canteen again, leaving everyone staring towards him in shock.

"I'll go with him." Erica then offers, after seeing the look on both her friends faces and knew that neither knew whether to go or not and knew that she couldn't go back into Matt's room and she really needed a strong coffee herself.

"Thank you Erica, but I think I need to go, he's going to snap out of it eventually and it's going to be..." Mike then begins to say and while he wanted to stay with Sarah, who he knew needed him, this was his youngest son and he was scared for him, but as he is interrupted, he couldn't help but look at Erica in surprise.

"Mike, I can't do any more here and I need a coffee, I will go and I will look after him, I promise." Erica states in a reassuring tone and while again, she could see the conflict in his eyes, she knew this was the best option and decided to turn and walk after the young boy, without waiting for a response.

"We'll get through this Sarah, Matt is stronger than any of us and no matter what he needs, he has all of us to help him recover, we're a family." Mike then says in a sincere tone, after taking a last look at both his youngest son and Erica walking away from them and deciding to try and be there for his friend, who he could see was struggling to hold it together.

"We need to call Tobias." Sarah then just about manages to say, after realising what Ben had said and how her other son must be feeling.

"He will be here soon Sarah and we should tell him in person, it will be easier to explain it to him." Mike quickly responds in a sympathetic tone and while they could call him, he knew they couldn't really reassure him that much, they had no answers and while Matt was alive right now, if they told him that over the phone and then something happened before he got here, then it could hurt him even more.

One Hour Later

"I don't care about costs and I swear to god, the next one of you to bring that up, is going to be looking for a new job." Gordon states in a serious tone, after losing patience with his colleagues and even though he knows they're just doing their jobs, he wasn't in the mood for red tape and bureaucracy right now.

"But is a toxicology report really necessary Sir?" Doctor Smith then asks in a slightly hesitant tone and while he knew his colleague wasn't being serious, he was still a little weary of angering him.

"This boy has been through enough, his family has been through enough and if it means I have to pay for it myself, then yes, a toxicology report is necessary and I don't want to hear any more about it." Gordon responds in a firm tone, before taking a final look at the boy on the bed and walking out of the room.

"Gordon, what's happening, is he okay, is he awake?" Sarah then quickly starts to ask in a desperate tone, after seeing him walking out of her sons hospital room.

"Come with me Sarah, we need to talk in private." Gordon states in a serious tone, as he tries his best to remain professional and not let his own emotions get the better of him.

"Come on Sarah, we need to just do as he tells us, I'm right here with you." Mike then decides to say, after seeing her hesitate and knew that she didn't want to leave either of her sons.

"It's okay Sarah, I'm right here and I won't go anywhere, I promise." Mitch then states in as reassuring a tone as he could manage, while holding his brother tightly against his chest and while he wanted to be with his little brother and keep an eye on him, he knew his girlfriend was with him and that she was better suited to getting through to him, although there was a part of him that knew he should still be the one talking to him, there was too much going on to debate who should be with who.

"Okay." Sarah then says in a reluctant tone, as she takes one last look at her sons room and then another sad look at her other son, who she could see what still crying silently in the young man's arms, with his girlfriend Lily holding his hand.

"We won't be long Mitch and you know where to find us if you need to." Mike then tells his eldest son, before putting an arm over Sarah's shoulder and guiding her towards the closest family room, as their friend leads the way.

"It'll be okay Tobias, he's too strong to go anywhere." Mitch then says in a quiet, but reassuring tone, as he gently rocks his brother in his arms. "It'll be okay." He then repeats, although he realises that he was saying it as much to himself, as he was trying to reassure his brother.

"What's wrong with Ben?" Tobias then manages to ask in a meek tone, as he gently shifts a little and looks up to his older brother with tears in his eyes.

"Nothing, he's just confused Tobias, but he will be okay, he just needs some time." Mitch responds with a sad look, as he looks down at his brother and automatically uses his free hand to wipe away his tears.

"He thinks Matt's in heaven though and he looks happy, I don't understand Mitch, how can he be happy?" Tobias then asks in a confused and slightly angry tone and even though he understood that his brother was in some sort of denial, he didn't understand it enough to not be confused by his behaviour.

"He's in shock Tobias, he found Matt just laying there and he couldn't find a pulse, so he er... well he..." Mitch then tries to start explaining, before trailing off as he struggles to think of a way for his brother to understand.

"But he's happy, he keeps smiling and making jokes, I don't like it Mitch, he shouldn't be happy." Tobias then states in angry tone, after waiting for his older brother to say something else and losing patience.

"He's not happy Tobias, he crushed and barely functioning." Mitch responds with a sigh, as he thinks about his little brother and how broken he will be if Matt didn't pull through this time.

"I don't understand, Mitch, please?" Tobias then asks in a pleading and desperate tone, he was barely able to cope with his brother being in hospital, but his other brothers behaviour was unsettling and he didn't know if he could deal with it any more.

"Is it er... is it like when Tobias was in the orphanage?" Lily then asks in a nervous tone, after seeing that her boyfriends older brother was struggling to come up with an answer and while she wasn't sure, she thought she understood what might be happening with Ben.

"What?" Tobias quickly asks in a surprised tone, after looking at his girlfriend and realising that she was still with him, before looking down and seeing that she was still holding his hand and he couldn't help but give her a shy smile, despite everything else that was happening.

"I'm not sure that's the same thing Lily." Mitch then says in a reluctant tone and while he didn't want her to feel bad, he couldn't make the connection between her idea and his little brothers behaviour.

"But er... when er... well didn't... I mean wasn't Tobias like a baby when Sarah found him, you know like not... well you know?" Lily then asks nervously and while she wasn't sure if she should get involved, she really thought she was right about this and if it could help her boyfriend, then it was worth at least bringing it up, even if she was wrong.

"Hey! I wasn't a baby, I was..." Tobias then quickly begins to protest, before just as quickly being interrupted by his older brother.

"It's okay Tobias, she didn't mean it like that and besides, I think she might actually have a point." Mitch states with a genuine smile, before giving his brothers girlfriend and appreciative look, after realising what her point was and that she was right and he couldn't help but be impressed by her.

"Tobias, remember what you told me, you know about how you were for the first week or two after Sarah found you? You said that you reverted back to er... well acting like a baby and it was because it protected you, you know, from what you went through, right?" Lily then says in a quiet and nervous tone, after getting a nod from Mitch and realised that he wanted her to explain it to her boyfriend.

"But Ben's not acting like a baby, he's acting like he's happy and that Matt is dead and that it's a good thing." Tobias quickly responds in a dismissive tone and while he appreciated his girlfriend trying to help, he couldn't see the connection and just felt like crying again.

"Tobias, just because he isn't reacting the same way as you, it doesn't mean he isn't doing the same thing." Mitch then decides to say in a serious tone, after giving his brothers girlfriend another appreciative smile. "Tobias, you reverted back to a baby to protect yourself, Ben is acting happy and pretending that everything is okay to protect himself, because if he doesn't do that, he wouldn't be able to cope, so while it isn't exactly the same thing as you experienced, it is the same, do you understand?" He then asks, as he does his best to explain what was happening and while there was probably a better way of saying it, he could see his brothers eyes light up a little and knew that between them, he and Lily had done a good enough job for now.

"So he's not really happy and he doesn't think that it's good if Matt is dead?" Tobias then asks in a confused tone, before giving his girlfriend a warm smile, after feeling her squeezing his hand supportively.

"No Tobias, he loves Matt more than anything else in the world, that's why he's acting like he is, because losing him is something he could never deal with." Mitch responds with a comforting smile, before pulling him a little tighter into his chest again, although while he was happy to reassure his brother, he had also unsettled himself, because he knew his little brother really wouldn't be able to cope if Matt died and he couldn't even begin to imagine how they would all deal with that.

"But why won't he listen, we've told him that Matt's not dead and he doesn't listen, I just don't understand." Tobias then asks in a confused and distressed tone, because even though he sort of understood why his brother was acting so strangely now, he still didn't understand why he was still being like it after being told that Matt was still alive and it just didn't make sense to him.

"It takes time Tobias, it took you a while to start acting normally, even after you came home to us and it will take Ben a while to snap out of it as well, we just need to keep telling him that Matt is alive and just be ready for when he does snap out of it, because he will struggle to cope." Mitch answers as best he can, before taking a deep breath, after again thinking about how his little brother is suffering and how much he will suffer if Matt actually died and despite his best efforts, he can feel tears rolling down his cheek.

"Okay." Tobias then says, before shifting a little and resting his head on his older brothers chest, while giving his girlfriend a sad and tired look.

"You should sleep for a little while, both of you, I will wake you up if anything happens." Lily the decides to say, after seeing her boyfriend looking so tired and she could see the same thing on his older brothers face as well and while she felt a little awkward telling someone older than herself to sleep, she could see the appreciation in his eyes.

"Wake me up for anything Lily and I mean anything okay." Mitch decides to respond and while he felt a little strange being told to go to sleep by a twelve year old girl, he could do with a short nap and he didn't need to see his brothers face, to know that he was exhausted and could already feel him trying to get a little more comfortable and did his best to let him wiggle around.

"I will, I promise." Lily responds with a warm smile, before looking at her boyfriend and seeing him closing his eyes and smiles sweetly at him, while keeping a comforting hold of his hand.

"I don't care about that Gordon, just tell me your best guess, I just want to know." Sarah states in a firm tone and while she knew why he wasn't giving her a straight answer, she wanted to know what he was thinking and whether it was good news or not.

"Okay, okay Sarah." Gordon responds with a sigh and while he knew this would happen, he was still reluctant to tell him what he thought was most likely reason for Matt's condition.

"Gordon, please, just tell us." Mike then decides to say in a tired tone, he like Sarah, just wanted to know, just so they could start preparing themselves.

"There are a number of likely causes, a stroke being one of them, but without the test results, I'm not convinced that we're dealing with that and the same goes with a brain tumour, although it is more likely than a stroke in someone Matt's age, there could also be a bleed on the brain, but they're all just guesses, but until the results of the tests start coming in, we just won't know for sure." Gordon responds in a reluctant tone and while he knew his friends understood that he wasn't giving them any guarantees, he was still uncomfortable talking about it like this.

"They're treatable though, all those things, they're treatable?" Mike then asks in an almost desperate tone and even though each of the things their friend had just said were both terrible and frightening, he didn't need to be a doctor to know that in this day and age, they were not a death sentence.

"It depends and I'm not trying to patronise you or be elusive Mike, until the tests come back, we just don't know." Gordon answers honestly, before deciding to try and find out if they knew anything that might help. "Has he been dizzy or nauseous recently?" He then asks in a professional tone and while that wouldn't narrow it down that much, it could help and it could give him more reason to think that this could be what he feared it was and while worrying and concerning, it would mean that Matt might recover a lot faster than the other alternatives.

"Not that we know of, I mean he gets headaches and nausea from the painkillers he takes sometimes, but why would that affect him like this now and not before?" Mike asks after trying his best to think about whether he had noticed Matt acting differently recently and he couldn't think of anything obvious.

"Are you sure he hasn't been suffering more recently though?" Gordon then decides to ask, after thinking about his theory and not quite being ready to dismiss it just yet.

"He hasn't said anything to us, we could ask the boys if he has been though, they would know." Mike then suggests in a curious tone, as he starts to wonder why their friend seemed so concerned about headaches and nausea.

"Ben's in no state to answer any questions and I don't want anyone interrogating Tobias either." Sarah then states in a firm and serious tone, as she decides to rejoin the conversation, after letting Mike do the talking, while she tried to stop herself from falling to pieces.

"It could really help though Sarah and it would be either you or Mike asking him, no one else, I promise, but I think it's important and it could narrow things down for us." Gordon then says in a warm and caring tone and while he was being sincere, he was pressing a lot harder than he normally would and knew he had to ease off a little bit.

"What were you talking about with the other doctor Gordon?" Sarah then asks in a curious tone, after remembering what they had overheard from outside the room and wanting to know what it was all about.

"It's another suspicion I have, but it's unusual and not something we would normal test for in this situation." Gordon answers in a slightly surprised tone, before seeing the look on both his friends faces. "With the vomiting and from the way Matt was found and how weak his breathing and heartbeat were, it is consistent with similar symptoms in cases of drug overdoses or abuse." He then adds in a hesitant tone, after realising that he needed to give them a real answer and while he could be completely wrong, he was convinced that he was on the right track, but also knew that if he was right, then it wasn't all good news and he highly doubted a twelve year old boy could know about, let alone get a hold of the drugs required to do that to himself.

"A toxicology report, you think he tried to..." Mike then begins to say in a shocked tone, before the sound of the door being knocked on interrupts him.

"This room is occupied, please find another one thank you." Gordon calls out, after someone knocks on the door again.

"Doctor, it's really important, it's about your son." A voice then says through the door and Gordon can only look towards it in confusing, before getting up from his chair and walking over to it.

The Next Day

"How's he doing?" Carter asks in a caring tone, as he sits down with his boyfriend holding his hand next to him and looks over to the older boy.

"He will be okay, but he is still asleep." Mitch responds in a tired tone, as he keeps his eyes on the rooms door.

"So what was it? Is it serious?" Carter then asks in a careful tone, he could see the older boy was tired and stressed out, but he and his boyfriend had only arrived a short time ago and they didn't know anything about what had happened, except that their friend almost died and he wanted to find out as much as he could.

"They're still doing tests, but Erica told us that they're now almost convinced that it was poisoning, they just don't know how or why it happened yet." Mitch responds as he gives the small boy a reassuring half smile, he may be tired, but he wanted to try his best to answer any questions they had.

"He was poisoned?" Carter then quickly asks in a shocked tone and while it was possible their friend might have done it to himself, he just couldn't see him doing that and that just left one other possibility in his mind and it scared him.

"It's possible, but he has some pretty strong medication Carter and it's possible that he has been taking too many without realising, but until he wakes up, they can't confirm or rule that out." Mitch responds honestly and while he was a little hesitant to be this honest, he knew both boys were mature enough to handle the conversation, especially Carter, who was almost guaranteed to be a doctor himself one day.

"Wouldn't he have shown symptoms though Mitch, I mean I don't know much, but I've read about stuff like this and he would have been feeling dizziness and maybe been sick a few times or something." Carter then asks in a curious tone, as he puts his concern for his friend to one side for a few moments and tries to think like a doctor would, so that he could do something to help his friend.

"Tobias told us that he's been having some headaches for a few days now, but he hasn't spent much time with him and we know it's not unusual for him to have those anyway." Mitch answers with a little smile and while he was still tired and devastated by recent events, he couldn't help but find the boys enthusiasm for medicine and desire to help impressive and he really was proud of him.

"What about Ben? Has he noticed anything, if anyone would know, it would be him." Carter then asks in a hopeful tone, before giving the older boy a curious look, after seeing his face drop and he couldn't help but be a little confused and as he thought about it, he realised that the older boy had only mentioned Tobias and not Ben, which was very strange.

"Ben's er... Ben isn't doing so..." Mitch then begins to say in am unsure tone, before finding himself being cut off and he couldn't help but be both surprised and worried when he sees his little brother coming to a stop in front of them.

"Hey guys, what are you doing here?" Ben asks in a cheerful tone, as he gives both his friends and his brother a big smile.

"Huh?" Carter quickly states in a confused tone, as he looks at his friend and tries to figure out what is going on and why he looked so happy.

"Are you okay Wesley, you look a little sad, are you ill?" Ben then asks in a slightly worried tone, although he still smiles as he looks at his two friends and brother.

"I'm fine Ben, but what's going on, why are you so happy?" Wesley asks in response to his friends question and while he was happy to let his boyfriend and Mitch talk by themselves, he was genuinely worried about their friend, who was definitely not acting like himself.

"Because Matt's safe now, no one can hurt him ever again." Ben responds with a grin, before looking around and wondering why they were still in the hospital, especially if no one was ill, because he was starting to get a little bored now and he wanted to go and swim or something instead.

"Oh right, well yeah, it's good that he's okay now, although I bet he will feel rough when he wakes up." Wesley then states in a slightly relieved tone, as he realises that their friend was just happy that his boyfriend was alive and if he was in his place, he would be over the moon as well.

"Wesley, don't, he's not..." Mitch then begins to say, before his little brothers words cuts him off and he can only look on with a sad expression.

"Wake up? Don't be silly Wesley, you can't wake up when you're in heaven." Ben states in a casual tone, before sighing a little bit as he again finds himself having the same conversation, that he's had with everyone else already and he was starting to wonder why no one seemed to understand something so simple.

"Wait what?" Wesley quickly asks in a confused tone, before giving Mitch a worrying look and feeling even more concerned, after seeing the sad and almost distraught look on his face.

"Matt's in heaven now and my mum will look after him, she will make sure he won't be lonely." Ben responds with a content smile and while he would miss his fiancé, at least he would never be in pain ever again and that was comforting.

"But he's not dead Ben, Mitch just told us that he will be okay and is just sleeping at the moment." Carter then states in a confused tone and while he could tell that something was going on, he couldn't quite understand why his friend was acting like he was and the look on Mitch's face, just added to his confusion.

"I'm going to go and play outside, it's boring in here." Ben then states as he ignores his friends words and turns to his brother. "Where did Tobias go? He looked sad earlier and I want to cheer him up." He then asks with a smile, before waiting for his brother to answer and although he knew he was being a little rude to his two friends, they were saying some strange things and he didn't want to listen to them any more.

"Ben, why aren't you..." Carter then begins to ask, before giving Mitch a curious look, as he interrupts him.

"He's at Lily's for the rest of the day Ben, but why don't you go and find Erica, you know she enjoys talking with you and I think she is outside at the moment as well." Mitch suggests as he gives his little brother a reassuring smile, while ignoring the look on the other two boys faces, who he could tell were completely confused and worried about what just happened, but before he could explain it, he needed his little brother to leave and he knew his girlfriend wanted to try and talk to him again about his denial.

"Okay, bye guys and don't be so sad all the time." Ben responds with a smile, before walking away to go and find his brothers girlfriend.

"Mitch, what the hell?" Wesley then quickly asks in a confused tone, as soon as he was sure his friend had definitely gone and while he had his own issues, this was big and he knew something bad was happening and he wanted to understand what it was and hopefully help in some way.

"I don't even know where to begin Wesley." Mitch responds in with a shake of the head, as he genuinely had no idea how to deal with his little brother and couldn't help but be afraid for him.

"Can't you like slap him or something?" Carter then suggests in a thoughtful tone, before noticing the look on both their faces. "I mean, it worked before right Mitch? With getting him to accept what happened to Matt and what David er... you know, what he did to him." He then says, as he does his best to explain what he meant and instantly relaxes a little, after seeing that they both understood what he meant now.

"Honestly, if I thought it would work, I would have done it Carter, but he's beyond that and I have no idea how to snap him out of it, no one does." Mitch then states in response and while he appreciated the small boys idea, he had already considered it and it just wouldn't work this time.

"I don't get it though, I remember how he was when he found out about Matt being in hospital the first time, I was there Mitch and he was devastated and everything, but he never acted like this, so why is he doing it now?" Wesley then decides to ask and while his friend had actually passed out and gave both him and Mitch a massive scare at the time, he didn't go into denial and act so weird.

"They were home alone Wesley and from what Sarah and my dad told me, they had had some sort of falling out and Ben was avoiding Matt, who was in the pool house and hadn't come out at all." Mitch begins to explain, before pausing for a few moments, as it crosses his mind that Matt could have been like he was for all that time. "When Sarah and my dad left, they said that Ben was making sandwiches and a drink for him and Matt, so he would have taken them into the pool house, thinking they would be making up and..." He then begins to continue, before trailing off as he struggles to saying any more and has to take a deep breath as he feels himself shaking a little bit.

"Oh my god! He thought they would be making up and instead he found him just laying there." Wesley then states in a shocked tone and could only imagine how he would react if he was in his friends place and it wouldn't have been good, he knew that much.

"He must have seen that he was alive though, I mean he's alive, so he couldn't have been dead." Carter then decides to point out and even though he didn't want to upset anyone or try and play down what his friend was going through, he couldn't quite understand why his friend had reacted the way he had.

"I don't know exactly Carter, but when Erica got to the house, she said that Ben was just standing outside the pool house looking completely lost and out of it, so she took him in the pool house and that's when she saw Matt and she thought he was dead, she even checked his pulse and thought he was dead." Mitch then explains as he looks at both boys sadly and could tell that they were starting to get even more confused. "Whatever happened to him, it basically slowed his breathing and heartbeat down, Erica said that the only reason she realised that he was still alive, was because she had her hand over his chest and pressed down and even then she could barely even feel his heartbeat." He then decides to say, just to try and help them understand as best as he could.

"Shit, so he actually thought he was dead and they had been arguing and... fuck." Wesley then states as he realises what the older boy was saying and also what it must have been like for their friend, because if it had been him, he knew he would have broken as well and quickly squeezed his boyfriends hand instinctively.

"He broke and this is how he is coping." Carter then says in a devastated tone, after a few minutes of silence and he just couldn't even imagine how he would have coped in the same situation and as much as he loved his boyfriend, he knew their friends love for each other went beyond that and he could feel tears rolling down his cheeks.

"I'm sorry Dad." Alex says in sincere but hesitant tone, after walking into the kitchen and seeing his dad sitting down with both of their breakfasts on the table.

"Sit down Alex." Gordon states firmly, without looking up at his son and despite wanting to go easy on him, he was just too disappointed and angry, especially with everything going on at the hospital and the Summers in particular.

"Am I going to prison?" Alex then decides to ask in a scared tone and even though he could tell that his dad was angry with him, he couldn't stand the silence and was genuinely scared of what will happen to him.

"Eat your breakfast Alex." Gordon states firmly and again avoids looking at his son, he just knew that right now, if he actually talked with him, he would say something he would regret and he just didn't want that to happen.

"Sorry." Alex then responds in a meek tone, before forcing himself to eat, despite feeling anything but hungry right now, as it begins to dawn on him, that he could really go to prison and the thought terrified him.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead