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Love Conquers All

by Flaming Matt

Chapter 39

December 2015

"Thank you for coming in Mitch, I know you're busy, but there are a few things that I need to discuss with you." Hopkins states with a friendly smile, after waiting for the young officer to sit down and get comfortable in his seat.

"We're just going over all our evidence again, just to make sure everything is in order and there aren't any mistakes, Sir" Mitch responds with a calm smile and while he was still intimidated by being called into the office like this, he had started to relax more and more and to also get used to how often his boss called people into his office to talk to them, which the rest of the team seemed to think of, as a positive thing and he was beginning to feel the same way.

"That's good Mitch and I can cross that off my list." Hopkins then says with a smile, before looking down at his file and checking over some of the details. "Don't look so worried Mitch, if you were in trouble, you would know about it before you even stepped inside this office and trust me, you will experience that one day, everyone makes mistakes and I will make sure you know when you do, so relax." He then decides to add in a slightly amused tone, as he again sees how nervous the young man was and how he always looked the same way when he was called into his office.

"Sorry Sir, but you have to give me a break, I'm still new to all of this and you know what the team is like, they wind anyone who gets called in here up and it's hard to completely relax straight away." Mitch then says in response, as he decides to just be honest and hopefully settle down a little bit, even if he had thought he was, he knew he probably looked like a deer in headlights to someone like his boss.

"Fair point, but let's get down to why you're in here." Hopkins then says with a slight grin, as he remembers his time before he was promoted into his current position and knew exactly what the young officer was referring to. "While this isn't exactly procedure and it's definitely not something I will be making a habit of, I want to give you an update on Conner Smith and Jarred Miller, because while this isn't set in stone, it does represent the likely outcome of both their cases." He then states in a professional tone and while it wasn't exactly breaking any rules, he knew how quickly things can change in these situations, so it was unwise to take them too seriously, but given the evidence and the young officers relationship to Conner and the fact he led the Erickson case, he felt like he should be kept up to date.

"But they haven't even been to court yet." Mitch quickly states in a surprised tone and while he knew that they could make an educated guess and knew roughly what a guilty person could face, it was just a guess, so he was definitely more than a little curious about what his boss was about to tell him, because it seemed to be a lot more than just a best guess, well to him it did anyway.

"True, but with the evidence against them and no real defence, the trials are going to be more about how long their respective sentences will be, rather than if they are guilty or not and while there can still be new developments, anything is possible, I've looked over the cases myself and spoken to a few colleagues and we would be very surprised if Conner isn't sentenced to at least one life sentence and thanks to your friend Simon waking up as early as he has done, we expect that he will have no chance of bail and once sentenced, he will not be able to appeal either, so at that point, the chances of him gaining early release, will be pretty much minimal." Hopkins responds in a professional tone, as he does his best to explain himself as clearly as possible, because it was somewhat complicated and he didn't want the young officer to misunderstand anything that he was being told.

"So he could really spend the rest of his life in prison?" Mitch decides to ask in a slightly stunned tone, as the realisation starts to hit him and while he had told his family a similar thing himself, it was only now starting to sink in that his best friend, who he had known since he could remember, could die behind bars and while he knew he deserved it, it still felt strange and he couldn't help but feel a sense of loss either.

"It's very likely, he was give a chance already and while his release before was suspicious, what he did during that time, it damages any credibility that he has, not that he has much of that anyway." Hopkins responds honestly and while he could be wrong, as things can change, he really couldn't see Conner Smith ever getting parole or an early release.

"Oh..." Mitch then says in a slightly overwhelmed tone, as he looks across to his boss and sees the look on his face and knew that he was being as honest as he could be. "What about Jarred, what sentence is he looking at?" He then decides to ask in a slightly hesitant tone, as he thinks about the boy and despite what he had done and the his general behaviour before that, he was still just a boy and he wasn't convinced that being locked away would have a positive impact on him, well not a long sentence, especially one that stretched long enough for him to transfer from a juvenile detention centre to an adult facility.

"I've read the victim statements Peter and Alex have given and honestly, we believe that Jarred will either be given a two year suspended sentence, with heavy stipulations or be sentenced to two years in juvenile detention and even though we initially thought it could be longer, those two victim statements were both hard to read and yet at the same time, they expressed a belief that Jarred should be given a chance to get help, rather than just spending time locked up and judges and juries will take note of that." Hopkins quickly responds with a slightly unsure expression, as he tries to gauge the young officers reaction, because he knew there was a lot for the young man to take in and to process and on top of that, it was technically his first case and he wasn't sure if he would view a lenient sentence, as a victory or a failure.

"I haven't had a chance to read those statements yet, I was going to look over them this afternoon." Mitch then says in a slightly shocked tone, as he thinks about the statements and while he didn't want his first case to result in the accused being released, if Peter and Alex had both expressed a wish for Jarred to be given another chance, he couldn't exactly argue against that. "Wait, you said heavy stipulations, what exactly does that mean and shouldn't I know about that kind of thing?" He then quickly asks in a slightly annoyed tone, as he thinks about the fact that it was technically his case and while he was still a rookie and it was in the hands of the lawyers now, he still felt like it should be something he was aware of.

"Well, firstly and this is something you will learn as you gain experience Mitch, your job in this case was to find Peter and to discover what happened at the Gilmar house and you did that, you did your job and for someone of your experience and what else was happening in your life, you did it very well and you more than justified my choice to give you the opportunity to lead the case, but when it comes to the trial and sentencing, that's not your job Mitch and while you may be asked to be a witness, you aren't required to know everything, however, I am telling you now and that is out of respect Mitch, you've earned that and I want you to know that." Hopkins answers in a sincere tone and while a more experienced officer might be more involved in the trial, the young officer was just too inexperienced to be a part of that process.

"Oh, well er... okay... but what about the stipulations, what are they exactly, well if that is the outcome." Mitch then asks in a slightly overwhelmed tone, as he tries to make sense of everything and even though he was a fast learner, there was a lot more to being a police officer than he had imagined and a lot more rules, but he wanted to focus on what they were discussing and he was more than a little curious about what kind of stipulations his boss was implying.

"They vary, but the main ones that you should know about, are the counselling, he will be required to attend a set amount of sessions a month for a period of up to two years, he will be electronically tagged for at least a year, he will be required to move schools, which could mean moving house and even towns and he will obviously have a restraining order, restricting him from being within a certain distance from either Alex or Peter, but I don't know how that will be determined, restraining orders can be complicated and while there are other restrictions that will be put forward, they will mainly be about his behaviour and could even extend to his grades at school, but those are things that I know very little about, Mitch." Hopkins explains as best as he could and while he could have gone into a lot more detail, he didn't feel like that was necessary and from the young officers expression, he was pleased to see that he seemed to have taken it all in.

"And you really think they will go with all of that?" Mitch then decides to ask in a curious tone and while he could have asked for more details about everything, he didn't think that he needed to and instead, decided to see what his boss really thought and whether the young boy would end up behind bars or on this rehabilitation option, well that is what he thought of the alternative and while he had some doubts, Jarred was only twelve and it would be better to rehabilitate, rather than give up on him and lose him in the system.

"I would expect the main points that I just mentioned, would be a definite, although maybe a few tweaks will be needed, but the smaller things, well your guess would be as good as mine, but going back to the victim impact statements and like you said earlier, you will be reading for yourself shortly, I think rehabilitation would be the preferred outcome, over a long jail sentence, well that's my opinion on the matter." Hopkins answers honestly and while it could go either way, he would be very surprised if it turned out differently.

"I guess you're right and while Jarred did what he did, he's still just a kid and he was manipulated, so rehabilitation would be the best way to deal with him, although I think if either Alex or Peter weren't as you say, lenient in their statements, I might feel a little differently." Mitch then says in a hesitant tone, as he struggles to decide just how honest he wanted to be, they may be having a casual talk, but they were still at work and he wasn't going to say something out of line, he respected his boss and his job, too much to risk doing something like that.

"You wouldn't be the only one to feel that way Mitch, but there are some other things that I would like to discuss, before I let you get back to your work, but it shouldn't take too long." Hopkins then says with a smile, before waiting for the young officer to either say something or nod in response and when he nods, he begins to go over the other things that he had wanted to speak to him about.

"Maggie?" Gordon quickly says in a shocked and surprised tone, as he walks through the front door and sees his wife standing at the end of the hallway. "What are you doing here and how did you get in?" He then asks in a firmer tone, as he wonders how his wife had managed to get into the house, because he knew it was locked and there was definitely no chance that their son would be home, not this early.

"I need you to shut the door and lock it Gordon and then you need to come in here and hear me out." Maggie then states in an almost robotic tone, as she takes a few moments to study her husband and gauge his reaction, before turning and walking out of sight and back into the kitchen, where she knew he would follow her and while he was obviously suspicious, she knew him too well and knew that he would do as he was told.

"You need to explain yourself Maggie, because unless you're invited, you're not welcome in this house and you know that." Gordon then states in a serious and firm tone, after walking into the kitchen and while the sight of two cups of tea on the table distracted him for a few seconds, he was still suspicious of what was happening and wanted to get straight to the point and find out what was going on.

"I will tell you what you need to know, but you aren't going to like what happens, but I need you to trust me Gordon, trust me that I will do anything to protect Alex." Maggie states in response, as she slowly walks around the table and despite everything going on inside her head, she couldn't quite help but be a little surprised as she watches her husband walking the other way around the table and despite herself, she couldn't help but be impressed, even if it was going to make this harder than she had originally planned it to be.

"Maggie, I want you to leave, if you don't, I will call the..." Gordon then begins to say in the same firm tone, but as he sees his wife raising her arm, he couldn't help but trail off and freeze in his tracks. "Maggie, what are you doing?" He then asks in a shaky tone, as he stares at the gun in his wife's hand and although he didn't think she was there to kill him, it was still a gun and he really wasn't sure how to react.

"I need you to lift up that tea towel and then use the handcuffs to cuff your hands behind your back Gordon, so just do what I say and I will explain what I can, but you need to do as I say." Maggie states in response and while she really didn't want to do this, any of it, she had to and she had to hope that her husband and son did what she hoped they would, otherwise this would all be for nothing and she would have to do something she knew she couldn't live with.

"If this is some kind of joke, than you need..." Gordon then begins to say in a nervous tone, after managing to cuff his hands behind his back and while he was tempted to try and make a run for it, he wasn't sure where their son was, because while he should be out with his friend, his wife could have easily taken him and he couldn't risk running and leaving him in the house on his own, but as he tries to figure out a way out of the situation, the feeling on the gun pressing against his forehead, quickly silences him.

"Gordon, this is going to happen, but I need you to trust me, I'm doing this for Alex and you, but I can't explain right now, I may never be able to explain, but I promise, what comes next, is to protect you both." Maggie states in a quiet tone, as she carefully slips an envelope inside her husbands jacket and into the pocket inside. "Everything you need to know is in that envelope Gordon, but you can't show anyone and I mean anyone, if you do, than what happens next, it means nothing, so as soon as you read it, destroy it and tell no one." She then whispers into her husbands ear and while this was risky, she had to at least have someone else know why she was going to do what she was doing, especially after her friends visit the night before, which had unsettled her, especially after waking up to find that he had already left and even though it could just be the amount she had to drink, she was definitely not feeling like herself and it was slowly getting worse.

"I don't..." Gordon quickly tries to respond in a confused tone, before being surprised to feel himself being kissed, but before he can really process what is happening or react to it, he feels his wife pulling away and couldn't help but look into her eyes and what he saw just confused him even more, because it didn't make any sense or match what she was obviously here to do.

"Just don't let anyone else see that envelope and I promise, once you read it Gordon, you will understand why, it explains everything, I promise." Maggie then whispers in his ear again, after leaning back into him and reaching around to make sure that his hands were actually cuffed and that he hadn't attempted to do anything stupid.

"Just think about what you're doing Maggie, please." Gordon then pleads as he feels himself being turned than half marched towards the stairs and while he thought she might be telling the truth, nothing that was happening made any sense and he was starting to genuinely fear for not only his life, but their sons life as well, because there must be a reason she was doing this and the fact she had a gun, only made him in more nervous.

"If you shout out or call out, I will knock you out and gag you Gordon, so please don't make me do that." Maggie then says in a regretful tone, as she really starts to realise that there was no going back now and once she opened the bedroom door, it was just a matter of time before she called their son to come home and the fact that she was still feeling a little off wasn't helping either and she could feel herself getting a little hot and a little light headed, which was throwing her off slightly as well.

"Oh fuck, Maggie, what have you done..." Gordon quickly states in a stunned tone, before trailing off in shock, as the bedroom door opens and he sees what was inside and despite being nervous and a little scared before, seeing the three boys kneeling and bound on the floor in front of them, sent a shiver down his spine and even though they were gagged and blindfolded, he recognised two of them straight away and could feel himself shaking a little, before feeling a sharp pain across the back of his head and everything going black.

"You think I'm crazy, don't you?" Matt decides to ask in a lightly distant tone, as he continues to gently move his feet in the water and while he wanted to join his fiancé and brother in the pool, he was really comfortable and relaxed where he was and he didn't feel like moving.

"Well yeah, but what's that got to do with you wanting to go back to the lake?" Ben quickly responds with a cheeky grin, as he does his best to make light of the situation, which he knew his fiancé would appreciate, even if he was genuinely a little bit worried about him wanting to go back to the lack, especially after revealing what his nightmare was actually about.

"You're such a dumb ass, you know that." Matt then says with a shake of the head and a little smirk, as he thinks about his fiancé's response. "But seriously Ben, what do you really think?" He then asks in a curious tone, after taking a few more moments to enjoy the funny response from his fiancé, which was just what he needed and again, for what had to be the billionth time, just showed how in tune they were with each other and he really did love that feeling.

"After what you told me about your nightmare, it's just surprising Matt, I would have thought it would be the last place you want to go, but at the same time, it might be perfect and just what you need." Ben decides to answer honestly and while he wasn't quite completely convinced, he wanted to try and let his fiancé make the decision himself and for himself and not try to influence him one way or the other.

"It's not the only reason I want to go though Ben, I want to find our spot again and I also want Tobias and the others to see the lake, so it's not just about the nightmare." Matt then says with a soft smile, before looking down at his brother in surprise, as he suddenly half jumps out from under the water and grins up at him.

"What you talking about?" Tobias quickly asks in a curious tone, as he sees the look on both his brothers faces and could tell that they were talking about something serious and couldn't quite resist trying to find out what, even if he knew that he was being a little rude.

"I was thinking about asking our parents if we could go to the lake that Ben and I went to last year, so I thought I would see what Ben thought and well I guess I can ask you know as well." Matt responds with a smile, after taking a quick glance at his fiancé and deciding that he might as well get their brothers opinion as well, which he was going to get anyway before talking to his mum.

"It would be awesome..." Tobias then quickly begins to respond with the same grin as before, before just as quickly trailing off with a frown for a few moments. "But what about your nightmare, you said it was at the lake, so why would you want to go there?" He then asks in a curious and slightly worried tone, as he stares at his brother and tries to work out if he was okay, because while he definitely wanted to go to the lake, he wasn't so sure his brother would really want to go, not after the way he spoke about his nightmare.

"Well, like I told Ben, it's not just about the nightmare Tobias, but I guess I want some closure too and if I can go there and be safe, I can put it behind me, because I don't know if I can do that without going there." Matt decides to answer honestly and while he wasn't really sure why he felt the need for closure or even how it would even work, it really wasn't just about that and he genuinely wanted to go back there one day anyway, just like he knew his fiancé did and they could all use a break away from here, so it really felt like the right thing to do.

"And it will be all of us Tobias, the place is huge and it will be so much fun if we can get Carter and Wesley to come with us, plus Mitch and Erica, so it could be a good family week away." Ben then decides to say, after seeing their brother thinking over what his fiancé had just said and while he didn't think he would make any objections, he wanted him to know that he supported the idea as well, just in case he thought he wouldn't want to go.

"Oh, okay, but can I ask Lily and what about the others?" Tobias then decides to ask in a hopeful and curious tone, as he thinks about his girlfriend and how it would be cool to share a tent with her and how romantic it might be.

"Honestly, I know it's a big place Tobias, but even though it will be fun with everyone, I kind of just want it to be family and I know Carter and Wesley aren't technically family, but they're different and they might as well be." Matt responds in a warm tone, as he thinks over his brothers suggestion and while it would be fun to invite everyone, he did think it would be too many people and it would be hard enough to get some privacy with just the family, without adding all the others as well.

"But I guess with your mum and Erica going, well if Erica can come, it would be nice if Lily came, I mean with all us boys, it will be nice for them." Ben then decides to say in an enthusiastic tone, after catching the disappointed expression their brother had tried to hide and quickly realised that it would be unfair if they said no to inviting his girlfriend and after glancing at his fiancé, he could tell by his expression, that he agreed with him and quickly gives him a warm smile.

"If we can go, I will ask her, but her parents might say no, but I want to ask her anyway." Tobias quickly says with a big smile and while he wasn't sure if his girlfriend would be allowed to go, he was going to ask her anyway. "But are you okay Matt, you still look a little sad." He then decides to ask with a slightly worried expression and while he didn't think he looked upset, he still didn't quite look completely happy and he knew the nightmare was still bothering him.

"Just a little tired and to be honest, I wouldn't mind just going in the house and watching TV or something, it's getting hot and er... well you guys don't mind do you?" Matt decides to ask in response and while it was nice being outside, they did it quite often and he felt like a bit of a change today and while they could just go to the pool house, he wanted to go into the actual house and maybe spend some time with his mum, well when she eventually came home.

"I could do with a drink and I guess I'm a bit tired as well, so yeah, let's go inside, at least for a little while, we could always come out and play later again." Ben then says with a happy smile and while he wouldn't mind staying out, he had to admit, after being awake almost all night, he was actually more tired than he realised and just chilling out and watching some TV, sounded pretty good and seeing their brother already pulling himself out of the pool, pretty much showed what he thought about going inside for a while.

"Where's your cane?" Tobias quickly asks with a frown, as he looks around and not seeing his brothers cane anywhere and while it wasn't that important, he was sure he walked out with it and was genuinely confused.

"It's in the pool house, but it's okay, you two can help me if I need it." Matt quickly responds with a small grin, as he stands up and despite not walking around without it that often, he didn't always need it and they were only going to the house, so he was hardly going to be in agony or anything like that.

"I'm going to go get it anyway, I need to go to the toilet anyway, so I won't be that long." Ben then decides to say, after thinking about it for a few moments and while he could go in the house, it would be quicker if he went to the pool house and it would give him a chance to sort of the bed sheets, which were still in the washing machine.

"Okay, but we will be in the house." Matt responds with a smile, before giving his fiancé a quick peck on the lips and then turning towards the house and walking towards it with his brother, who to his slight amusement, was whistling to himself.

"Okay." Ben quickly responds, as he watches his fiancé and brother walking away for a few moments, before turning to the pool house and walking towards it and adds getting some towels on his to do list, as he suddenly realises that they were all wet and also probably needed at least some shorts and a top to put on as well.

One Hour Later

"I thought your dad was working all day?" Peter couldn't help but ask in a surprised and slightly disappointed tone, as he sits next to his friend and listens to him reading out the text that he had just received from his dad.

"He's supposed to be, that's what he told me earlier." Alex responds in a quiet tone, as he looks at the latest message again and while it was just a text, well three texts, it wasn't like it was the first time his dad had ever got off work early and asked him to come home, couldn't help but be worried, his dad knew how important today was for him and he didn't think he would tell him to come home, unless something had happened.

"I'm sure it's nothing bad, he would have called you if it was bad." Peter then decides to say in a reassuring tone, as he sees the look on his friends face and while he was still unsure about their relationship, he decides to put an arm around his shoulder.

"Oh er... well I don't know Peter, he's sent three texts in the last thirty minutes, it must be something." Alex then says in a distracted tone, as he takes a few moments to settle down, after feeling himself being comforted by his friend and despite knowing that it was purely a supportive gesture and nothing more, he couldn't help but enjoy the closeness.

"Want me to come with you?" Peter then decides to ask in a supportive tone, as he surprises himself by actually wanting to be there for his friend and also how comfortable he felt with his arm around his shoulders, because while it didn't exactly change his mind about how he felt, it was nice and it did feel familiar, which he could only take as a positive.

"If you don't mind, I mean it could be nothing or maybe he just wants to tell me that he's got to work tonight or maybe he's even got us some food or something, he knows we're spending the day together, so he might just be trying to be a good dad, even if it is weird and stuff." Alex quickly responds with a happy smile, as he takes a chance and puts his arm around his friends back and while he felt him tense up a little bit, he also felt him relax and the fact that he hadn't pulled away from him, gave him a lot of hope for the future, because he was willing to wait as long as he needed to and these little moments, just helped make that wait, that little bit easier.

"You should text him to say that we're on our way, we aren't that far away and it will stop him texting you again and maybe getting worried." Peter then suggests with a slightly forced smile and while his friends arm around his back didn't exactly feel horrible and if anything, it felt nice, he wasn't quite sure he wanted it to stay there and was half hoping his friend would take it away when he started texting.

"Yeah, okay, I can do that as we walk." Alex responds in a slightly disappointed tone, as he quickly realises that he needed both his hands and while he was tempted to thing of a way to not move for a little while, he was on high alert for any signs that his friend was uncomfortable and despite being worried by his dad and why he had texted him, he had still picked up on something and decided it was best to let go of him and slowly get to his feet.

"Cool and er... well we still have the rest of the day, so it's not that bad and we were going to head to yours in an hour or two anyway, so I guess we just get a bit more time to play some games or watch a film." Peter then decides to say, while doing his best to sound enthusiastic, not that he wasn't, because he wanted to spend more time with his friend, but he could tell that he was a little worried and he was hoping if he sounded more enthusiastic, it would help him relax a little and seeing the little smile on his face now, let him know that he had at least helped him relax a little bit.

"True and thanks Peter, I almost forgot about the fact that I will be kicking your arse at games for the rest of the day." Alex quickly retorts with a grin, before feigning injury to his arm, as he feels himself being punched playfully by his friend and couldn't help but find the sound of his giggling amusing and quickly forgets about the concern he had for his dad asking him to come home.

"What have you done?" Gordon asks in a suspicious and cold tone, as he stares at his wife, after seeing her putting his phone down and smiling, which was beginning to unsettle him, because he had slowly started to notice a change in her behaviour and it definitely wasn't a positive change and it was making him more and more nervous, as was the look on the three boys faces, that were still tied up on the floor on their knees.

"I told you to trust me Gordon, so shut up and stop shouting." Maggie quickly snaps back in response, before walking towards the window and looking out through the curtain. "He should be here in around ten minutes, then we can get on with it." She then states in a serious tone, before turning to stare at her husband and despite feeling increasingly flustered, she knew she had to do this and knew it was to protect her family, even if she did hate them, especially her faggot son, who had betrayed her.

"Maggie, whatever is happening, you have to stop it, these boys are just children and you need to let them..." Gordon then begins to say in a cautious tone, before finding himself being silenced by the cold stare of his wife and he could only worry even more, as he sees the look on her face and while he wasn't completely sure, he was starting to wonder if she was on some kind of drug, because her behaviour was definitely becoming more and more erratic as time passed.

"Just children?" Maggie almost sneers in response, before shaking her head a little and trying to get a grip of herself. "What we have here, are the three people who almost killed our son Gordon and yes, don't even try to deny it, you little shits." She then states with an almost sadistic grin, as she turns to the three boys, after hearing them attempting to protest their innocence or what she assumed they were doing anyway, not that it really mattered, she knew they were guilty and their individual fates were already sealed.

"Maggie, even if that's true and okay, Jarred and Barry are guilty, we know they were involved, but the police will deal with them and they already are, but the other kid, I don't even know who that is and he has nothing..." Gordon then begins to say in a calm tone, before again finding himself being interrupted, as he tries to make his wife see sense, especially since the third boy seemed to be some random kid, but being tied to the chair as he was, there was little he could do, especially given the state his wife seemed to be in now and while she was still holding the gun.

"The other kid is as involved as the other two, he's just a little bit smarter than the both of them, just not enough to save him from this." Maggie states in a cold tone, as she walks around the room and stops in front of the third boy. "Isn't that right, Ryan?" She then asks in an amused tone, before turning back to her husband with a smug expression.

"Just stop this Maggie, we can talk this through and Alex will never know, I promise, it's not too late, he isn't here yet, just let the boys go and untie me Maggie, it will be for the best." Gordon then states in a soft and warm tone, as he again tries to get his wife to come to her senses, because it was starting to really sink in, that she was not just doing this to scare anyone and he could only think of one reason to have the three kids here and tied up and he was genuinely scared of what she was going to do to them and even more scared, of what that would do to their son, if her plan was for him to watch her do it.

"Listen to me Gordon and listen carefully." Maggie then states in a calm tone, as she walks over to her husband and kneels next to him. "I need you to play your part, but you need to stop trying so hard, this is happening and once it is over, I want you to read that envelope and you will understand, now shut..." She then whispers into his ear, before smiling and standing up, after hearing the front door opening and closing and quickly smiles at her husband.

"Dad?" Alex calls out in a curious tone, after shutting the door behind his friend and looking in the kitchen and living room to find his dad.

"Call him up Gordon, but I swear to god, if you try to warn him in any way, you won't like what happens." Maggie quickly states in a firm and serious tone, as she continues to stare at her husband and knew exactly what he was thinking, but also knew that he would do as he is told and waited for him to call down to their son.

"Dad, are you up there?" Alex then calls out again, as he gives his friend a shrug of the shoulders, after double checking downstairs and in the back garden and still not finding his dad.

"Yeah, come up to your room Alex and if Peter is with you, tell him to come up as well." Gordon calls back in response and despite wanting to warn them to run and call the police, he only had to look up at his wife to know that she wouldn't hesitate to use the gun and while he would sacrifice himself in a heartbeat, he couldn't risk the other three boys lives, even if they did almost kill his son, he just couldn't live with himself, if he caused their deaths.

"Okay Dad, we're just going to take our trainers off and get a quick drink, then we will come straight up." Alex quickly responds with a smile, before giving his friend and expectant look as he starts taking his trainers off and grins, when he eventually catches on and does the same.

"Good Gordon, good, now just do as I told you and everything will be okay and you will both be safe, just trust me, I'm doing this for that pathetic faggot." Maggie then says in a quiet tone, as she wipes her forehead with the back of her hand and wonders why it was so hot all of a sudden, before looking down at her husband with a sinister smile after a few minutes and hears footsteps coming up the stairs.

"I'm sure they're fine Sarah and I wouldn't be surprised if they're in the pool still, it's a nice day and Ben looked pretty set on keeping Matt occupied and having fun." Mike decides to say in a reassuring tone, as they get out of the car and walk towards the front door, they hadn't planned on being out so long, but they had gotten a little sidetracked in the cafe and they were both hoping the boys hadn't even noticed how long they had been gone for.

"Well, as long as they aren't skinny dipping, then I'm hoping you're right, because we really weren't meant to be gone for this long Mike, especially after what Matt went through last night." Sarah responds with a half smile, as she eventually manages to find her keys, although as she tries to unlock the door, she couldn't help but be both surprised and a little worried, to find that it was already unlocked, because she knew they locked it before heading out and slowly opens the door and walks in.

"Mitch probably just came home Sarah, I'm sure it's nothing." Mike decides to say, as he closes the door behind them and while he sees his friend walking towards the kitchen, he decides to take off his shoes and walks towards the living room. "What's going on and who are you?" He then asks in a suspicious tone, as he stops in his tracks and looks at the man sitting on the chair with Tobias on his lap and his youngest son and Matt sitting together on the other chair in surprise.

"Oh, hey Dad, this is..." Ben quickly starts to respond with a smile, after looking towards his dad and seeing the look on his face, but as he goes to say more about what was happening, he is cut off by his fiancé's mum, who had just appeared at the doorway.

"Nick?" Sarah then says in a shocked tone, as she finds herself staring at someone that she never thought she would see again and despite not really understanding why he was here, she could see how relaxed the boys were and slowly walked into the room, just so that she could get a better look at her former friend, well he was more her former husbands friend, but they had got on very well and it was obvious her sons remembered him fondly as well.

"It's good to see you again Sarah, it's been a long time." Nick responds with a warm smile, as he gently rubs the boys arm and while he wasn't sure about doing this, the fact that the boys seemed to be happy to see him, helped him relax a little bit and focus more on why he was here, even if he knew the pleasantries wouldn't last very long.

"It's good to see you too Nick, but what are you doing here and how did you find out where we lived?" Sarah then asks in response, as her suspicions grow and while it was good to see him again, it was strange and after everything that had happened, she wasn't going to let her guard down just yet, not when the boys were in the house.

"It's okay Mum, it's just Nick and he's cool." Tobias then quickly says in a happy tone and while he could sense his mums apprehension and his uncles too, he knew Nick and he trusted him, even if his brothers did seem a little less enthusiastic than he thought they would be.

"I know Honey, but why don't you come sit next to me, I'm sure Nick would prefer to sit on his own." Sarah then says in a soft and calm tone, as she decides to sit down and try to tempt her son to get off her old friends lap, at least until she could work out what was going on, because it really was too suspicious for him to be here.

"It's quite all right Sarah, it's been a long time since I have seen these little devils." Nick quickly states with a smile, after quickly deciding to try and keep the boy in his arms and while he really wasn't that keen on actually holding him, it would make it a lot easier to keep the others from doing anything stupid, especially once he reveals why he was really here and even though he had other options to stop that from happening, he would prefer this to go as smoothly as possible, without the need for threats or violence, which wasn't why he was here.

"So you're from England and you were obviously a friend of the family?" Mike then decides to ask in a curious tone, after sitting down on the sofa and giving his youngest son a quick glance and still seeing the same expression on his face, which helped him relax a little, even if he was still suspicious and more than a little annoyed that the man had managed to get into the house, even if he did know Matt and Tobias from England, he still wasn't thrilled that they let him in.

"Ah, you must be Mike and yes, you could say that, although I would say that I hadn't really seen the boys since they were around six or seven, so it was a nice surprise to find out that they remembered me." Nick responds with a pleasant smile and gently tightens his grip on the boy just enough to not have him notice and when he doesn't feel him trying to pull away, he knew he had got away with it.

"So why are you here Nick and while it's nice to see you again, how did you know where we lived?" Sarah then decides to ask her earlier question and despite getting a quizzical look from all three boys, she couldn't help but take notice of her old friends expression and while it wasn't exactly a negative reaction, it was definitely a little off and it was making her even more suspicious.

"Valid questions, but I don't think it's that important and there are more important things to discuss." Nick states in response, as he decides to move things along a little bit and while he could just come out and say it, he had always enjoyed playing mind games and he was sure his old friend would figure it out soon.

"Look, I appreciate that you've obviously come a long way and it's just as obvious that the boys are both pleased to see you Nick, but this is our home and I don't think it's asking too much, for you to answer our questions." Mike then decides to say in a firm tone, as he looks at the man and while he wasn't quite sure what it was about him, he knew he didn't like it and he was beginning to get a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

"Tobias, why don't you come over here." Sarah then suggests in as causal a tone as she could manage, after suddenly realising something and while she could be wrong, it was all starting to fit together and the realisation terrified her, especially since one of her sons was in the man's arms.

"I'm okay Mum and he doesn't mind." Tobias quickly responds with a content smile and while he didn't let many people hold him like this, despite being quite affectionate, this was different and he always enjoyed playing around with the man he pretty much thought of as an uncle.

"It's really no bother Sarah, I think he's perfect exactly where he is right now, don't you." Nick then states in a slightly forceful tone, although he made sure to disguise it enough, just to keep everyone slightly unsure of what he was implying.

"I think you should come over here..." Mike then begins to say in a uneasy tone, after picking up on his friends change in attitude and while he could have been imagining it, he definitely wasn't imaging the way the other man was behaving, but just as he begins to stand up, he finds himself being cut off and couldn't help but be both surprised and confused when he hears Matt's voice.

"Tobias, Nightingale, now." Matt quickly states in a serious tone, as he gives his brother a look to match it, after seeing the look on their mums face and the tone of her voice and while he wasn't sure why she was reacting like she was, he knew it wasn't good and that his brother needed to get away from Nick, even if again, he had no idea why.

"Just wait a..." Nick then begins to say in a confused tone, before being cut off by an elbow crashing into his ribs and then his jaw. "What the fuck!" He then states in an angry tone, as he loses his grip on the boy and slouches over a little bit.

"Come here Tobias and you too boys." Sarah then states in a firm tone, before reaching out and grabbing her sons hands, while seeing her friend doing the same for his son, but just as they begin to turn away and towards the door, she hears a clicking sound and slowly turns back to her old friend and feels a shiver running down her spine.

"Well, fucking hell Tobias, I can't believe I forgot you were into that martial arts shit, fucking hell." Nick states in an impressed tone, as he slowly stand up a little gingerly and keeps the gun aimed firmly in the direction of his old friend. "Now sit down and just to make it clear, I will shoot and there is a van parked outside the house now and trust me, you won't get far." He then states in a firm tone, before waving the family back over with the end of the gun and quickly smiles as they do as they were told.

"Why are you doing this?" Mike decides to ask in a confused and scared tone, after sitting down with his youngest son in his arms and while he had been tempted to call the man's bluff, he just could risk his youngest sons life, not like that.

"I''m sure Sarah has figured it out already." Nick states in response, before looking at the three boys one by one, until he settles on Matt. "I have to say, you may be a faggot, but the code word thing is pretty impressive, he didn't even hesitate to act." He then states in an impressed tone, as he looks from one boy to the other and despite his hatred towards homosexuality, he wasn't a fool and had to give credit, where credit was due.

"Don't call him that Nick, I don't care..." Sarah then begins to respond in a more confident tone, than she was really feeling, but quickly finds herself being cut off and could only give both of her sons hands a comforting squeeze.

"Faggot, gay, homo, abomination, fairy, queer and all the other names they give the little freaks, it's all the same and to be honest Sarah, if I were you, I would shut up and listen to the man with the gun, that has no issues using it." Nick states firmly, before slowly waving the gun around and pointing it at each of the boys, just to make sure he made his point crystal clear.

"Who are you?" Mike then asks in a nervous tone, as he decides to try and get some idea of what the man wants, because it was obvious he used to be a friend of his friends family, but he looked anything but that right now.

"Okay, what part of shut up, don't you get?" Nick quickly states in a serious tone, as he points the gun directly at the man's son and quickly notices Matt flinching and trying to move to the other boy. "Okay, let's get one thing straight, if I were here to hurt you, you would be dead already, that's not why I'm here, but if any of you do anything stupid, I won't hesitate and if I were you, I wouldn't test my limits, understood?" He then states in a cold tone, as he relaxes back into the chair and lowers the gun back towards the floor.

"Then why Nick, why do this, why not just tell us?" Sarah then quickly asks in a scared tone, as she continues to hold her sons and stare at the man, who had been a good friend to her family once and even though she had put the pieces together and knew he had something to do with the same organisation as her former husband and Maggie, she still had no idea why he could be here now and holding them by gunpoint.

"Okay, I concede that I may have gone about this the wrong way, but despite the gun and my behaviour, I am here to put your minds at rest and I guess, give you piece of mind." Nick states in response, before smiling in amusement at their expressions. "I would have thought Maggie would have at least given you some kind of heads up, I know you've spoken to her recently." He then states in a curious tone, as he finds himself wondering if his old friend genuinely had no idea about the deal Maggie had made with him.

"Mum, what's he..." Matt then begins to say, before quickly falling silent, as he sees the man who he had always thought of as an uncle raise the gun back up to his fiancé and quickly got the message to be quiet.

"Shut up faggot, last warning and that goes for everyone, except Sarah and please don't test me, I would hate for this to get ugly." Nick then states in a calm tone, before lowering the gun again and looking directly at his old friend, for her to say something to his previous statement.

"Maggie told us that we were safe and that we didn't have to worry about... about you and your organisation." Sarah then says in a nervous tone, as she manages to build up the courage to respond to her old friends expectant expression.

"And that is all?" Nick then asks in a genuinely surprised tone and while he hadn't expected his friend to tell them everything, he was sure she would have made sure they at least knew something about what was actually happening and quickly started to come up with a new plan, for how this conversation was going to go.

"She didn't go into details and if, as I assume you do, know Maggie, than you know that I'm not lying Nick." Sarah responds in a braver tone, as she begins to relax a little, well relax as much as she could, while her family was in danger, but despite being scared, if this was about the deal Maggie had spoken about, than unless one of them really did do something stupid, they should be safe.

"Fair point." Nick quickly states in an amused tone, before pausing briefly for a few moments. "Okay, this is what we will do, there will be two parts to our conversation, one of those is the kid friendly version, which we will go over, but once that is out of the way with, the boys will need to leave, they can't hear the more adult version and that's not open to debate." He then states with a serious expression and while he again felt like he should have played this a bit differently, what was done, was done and he just had to make the best of it and hope none of them did anything to force his hand, this whole situation as a whole, was already an embarrassment and he just wanted it dealt with, without further incident.

"Okay Nick, but no more games, just tell us what you're doing here, please." Sarah then says in response, after giving her friend a worried look and seeing him nodding and while she could tell that he didn't like this either, they both knew they needed to play along.

"Okay, well first off, we know that you, as a family have been through a lot, which started as far back as when you lived in England and progressed once you moved here, what has happened since David did what he did, has spiralled out of control and I am here to let you know that as of today, you will no longer need to worry about being targeted again and while the people I work with, can't guarantee that nothing will happen to any of you again, I mean come on, the world is a dangerous place, I can promise you, that as far as we're concerned, your family and that includes the Walkers as well Sarah, you're to be left alone and we will keep an eye on you as well." Nick then says in a slow and steady tone, as he does his best to make it as simple as possible and while he expected them to be a little confused and ask questions, he felt like it was pretty straight forward.

"You're going to protect us, but er... well, you were trying to hurt us before?" Ben decides to ask in a confused tone and while he knew he should probably just be quiet and let his dad and Sarah talk, he couldn't help himself and the man was obviously talking about his fiancé, so he felt like he had a right to join in, even if he was scared.

"It's complicated and I'm not going to explain everything to you, that's not why I'm here, but I guess to answer your question, after David did what he did, it had consequences and some people took advantage of that, for instance, Matt's recent poisoning, that was a consequence and there have been threats towards both Sarah and Mike, as well as Mitch, so whether you children know about all of that or not, those will stop, you have our word on that." Nick states in response, as he looks at the boy and then towards his old friend again and while he knew he hadn't really answered the question, he really didn't want to get into the ins and outs of what had happened, he was here to give them peace of mind and apologise as much as his ego would allow him to.

"But why?" Ben then quickly asks in a confused tone and while he might not understand everything that was going on, he did understand that this was a good thing, he just didn't understand why it was happening.

"Ben, that is a very open question and I think you need to be quiet after I answer it, okay." Nick responds in a slightly amused tone, as he stares at the young boy for a few moments. "Faggots or whatever you want to be known as, well you're abominations and you may disagree, but that's not the point, it is what it is and while I or the organisation I am a part of, don't interfere with children normally, there are exceptions if it is a members child, we also don't just go round hurting or killing people, we may have a certain view point towards you faggots, but we're not going to hurt doctors, firefighters and those that contribute to society, there is always a reason we target someone, for instance, a good example is someone you all are very familiar with and that is a certain Mr Jones, so it's not just a case of asking why, it's too complicated for such a simple question." He then states firmly, as he gives the boy a little smirk and despite himself, he found it amusing to see just how much he hated the word faggot.

"Mr Jones?" Matt just about manages to ask in a quiet tone, as he stares at the man and despite still not fully processing just who he really was and that he had basically been lying all those years ago about who he really was, the mention of the teacher who had molested him, had his full attention now and he wanted to know what he knew about his former teacher.

"It was fun to kill him, when your dad called me, I was initially surprised that he hadn't done it himself, but after he explained why he couldn't, I was luckily in the country on other business and couldn't resist, even though we were too late to stop some of the abuse that poor boy had suffered, I believe it was your friend Jordan Anderson." Nick quickly responds in a surprisingly sincere tone, as he thinks about the boy and how hard it was to see him like he was and not be able to help him immediately.

"You just left him there though, I mean don''t get us wrong here, you killed a paedophile and despite everything else, no one is going to ignore that fact, but you just left Jordan on that bed." Mike then quickly says in a questioning tone and while he was knew he had to be careful not to provoke the man, he couldn't just sit there and let him speak like he was some hero, not when Jordan could have actually died because he just left him there.

"He wasn't left alone and be careful how you speak to me Mr Walker, because I don't take too kindly to accusations and just to answer the obvious question, I stayed with the boy until I was sure the police and ambulance were almost there and yes, I could have untied him and even took him to the hospital, but apart from being drugged and... and well I don't think the rest is relevant, he was okay, so given that and the fact I had just killed someone, even if it was just a paedophile, it would have been a very stupid move on my behalf, so I think you can agree with that." Nick states coldly, as he gives the other man an equally cold hard stare and while it was a fair question and if he was being completely honest, a very good question, he didn't appreciate being accused of just leaving a child like that all alone, he may be a lot of things, but he wasn't a monster.

"I still don't get it though, why are we er... well er... why are we safe now, what happened?" Ben decides to ask in a curious tone and while he had already been told to be quiet, this was important and he wanted answers or at least to understand what was happening, because this was big, very big and they may just be kids, but they had been scared, he knew he was and his fiancé definitely was and if they really didn't have to worry about someone being after them or their family, than he wanted to understand it completely.

"It's not just one thing and again, like your previous question, I'm not going to explain it Faggot..." Nick begins to respond, before seeing the look on all their faces and trailing off for a few seconds. "Okay, I get it and I will apologise, so sorry Ben, but like I was saying, what David did, caused a lot of problems and it caused enough problems to give a few people a chance to go against the way we do things, so your family was targeted and although most of it was just your standard intimidation tactics for a bit of fun, there were a couple of serous mistakes, which have been rectified and there are more things, but those aren't for your ears Ben and that goes for you as well Matt and Tobias, it's why I want you to go to that pool house soon and that isn't a request, so when I say go, you go." He then states in a calmer and friendlier tone, after realising that he had to treat them with a little more respect, he may have a justified hatred for homosexuals, but he was a professional and they weren't all evil, so he had to hold himself to a higher standard than he was doing so far.

"Nick... I er... well er..." Tobias then begins to ask in a timid tone, before quickly trailing off, as he feels himself tremble a little bit and loses his nerve to ask what he really wanted to ask.

"It's okay Honey, you can ask him a question, we're all here and you're safe, I promise." Sarah quickly decides to say in a reassuring tone, as she tightens her hold on her son a little bit more and while she wanted her old friend out of the house, she had to acknowledge that he could not only give her peace of mind, but also the boys as well and that could prove to be a turning point in all their lives.

"I had nothing to do with what happened to your family Tobias and for what little it probably matters to any of you, it wasn't David's fault either and he initially was genuinely protecting you afterwards, but what happened back then, that is also another reason why I am here today Tobias, we took something away from you and it wasn't right, but while we were willing to just forget it, this has given us an opportunity to at least protect your new family and I mean that Tobias, I am genuinely sorry for your loss." Nick then says sincerely and while he may have bent the truth a lot during this whole conversation, this was one thing that he was being completely honest with, because he knew the boys parents well and while there were initial concerns that Tobias might be gay, that didn't condemn a whole family and it really was something he wished he could reverse.

"Me want go now." Tobias then says in a sad tone, as he gives both his brothers a quick look, before looking down at the floor with tears building in his eyes.

"So we're safe, we don't have to worry about people hurting us any more?" Matt then asks in a serious and almost cold tone, as he stares at the man he used to think of as an uncle and while he appreciated what he had just said and knew it was sincere, he could tell how much his brother was hurting right now and he wanted to go to the pool house with him, but he had just make sure that he understood what was happening here, because if they were getting some kind of protection, it would make a big difference for them all, especially himself and maybe, it might even help him with his nightmares.

"The world is a big place Matt and I'm not offering twenty four seven protection, but as far as the things that have happened to you all, that will stop and we will keep tabs on you all, plus I will be giving my number to you in case of an emergency, but and I mean this, it is only in case of a life threatening emergency, any other use of it and there will be consequences." Nick responds in a reassuring tone, he knew why the boy was asking the question and he could also see how Tobias had reacted to his previous words, so the least he could do, was give a straight answer.

"Thank you." Matt then says in a sincere tone, after giving his mum a long look and getting to his feet, before then moving to his brother and helping him up, just as his fiancé comes over to help, but just as they begin to walk towards the door, the sound of Nick's voice stops him and he couldn't help but be a little nervous as they turn back towards him.

"If you make any attempt to call for help or to sneak back and overhear any of the conversation between myself and your parents, our deal will be void and that is a fact, but while you may see that as unfair and to some degree it is, there is a lot in play right now and this protection, it isn't just for you and your family, it's for the Gilmar's, Erickson's, Morton's and Fishers, so think really hard before you consider doing something you will regret, now go and don't make me repeat myself." Nick states in a firm tone, as he gives all three boys a long hard stare and while he knew he was probably being more than a little harsh on them, he wanted them to go and he wanted to get the next part of why he was here, out of the way so that he could leave and as they disappear from sight, with his old friend following them, he just grins at the other man.

"Dad?" Alex quickly calls out in a confused and scared tone, as he walks into his bedroom with his friend just behind him and sees his dad tied to a chair, before hearing his friend gasping and as he follows where he was looking he quickly gasps as well at who he sees kneeling on his bedroom floor.

"It's good of you to join us Son and you brought your friend as well, this is perfect." Maggie then states in a gleeful tone, after pushing them both forward and pushing the door shut.

"What... why... Mum?" Alex only just about manages to ask, as he slowly picks himself up off the floor and tries to process everything that had just happened.

"I know it's not Christmas just yet, but this couldn't wait and I'm sure no one will tell Santa, that you opened your presents early this year." Maggie states with a big grin, as she slowly walks over to her son and slowly reaches out and gently rubs the side of his face.

"But I don't..." Alex then begins to say in response, before being silenced by a sudden dull pain across the side of his head and everything going black.

"Maggie!" Gordon quickly calls out in alarm and desperately tries to pull himself free from the chair, as he watches his son falling to the ground and not moving.

"You... you... killed him." Peter then says in a quiet tone, as he quickly goes to his friends side and nervously pulls him into his arms in shock.

"Firstly, he's not dead Gordon, if I wanted him dead, you would all be dead and secondly, this is for you Peter, I want you to stand up and put your hands behind your back, unless you want me to get very, very angry." Maggie quickly states in a calm and almost soothing tone, as she lifts the gun up and points it at the now terrified looking boy kneeling beside her son, who to her relief, was still breathing, she hadn't planned to hit him at all and wasn't sure what came other her, but as quickly as her concern appeared, it was quickly replaced by amusement and she was now focused back on the task at hand.

"Peter, I know you're scared, but do as she says, please, for Alex." Gordon then quickly tells the terrified looking boy, after he makes no attempt to move and after looking at his wife, he could tell that whatever was happening to her, it was only getting worse and he wasn't sure what she was capable of right now.

"Good boy, so obedient, not wonder Alex loves you." Maggie then states with a chuckle, as she watches the boy finally get up and do as he was told and even though she had a momentary thought of just killing him, she had just managed to stop herself, she wasn't here to kill him and it definitely wouldn't be what her son would want, even if as the minutes passed, she cared less and less about what he wanted and more and more about how he had betrayed her and how her husband was poisoning him against her.

"Please, don't hurt..." Peter then begins to quickly beg, as the realisation of what was happening was slowly beginning to set in and his fear for his life, was growing more and more, but as he feels his hands being tied behind his back by something, he just as quickly trails off and could feel himself trembling in fear.

"Now, just kneel down here and please don't move, I would hate to ruin that beautiful little face of yours, Alex would never forgive me for that." Maggie then says cheerfully, as she gently forces the boy to kneel next to the other three boys already restrained on the floor. "Now be a good boy, I need to wake sleeping beauty up now." She then states with a grin, before turning her attention back to her son and slowly kneeling beside him.

"I swear to god Maggie, don't you dare lay a finger on him." Gordon quickly calls out in a venomous tone, as he watches his wife reach down and touch their sons face and while he knew he couldn't do anything, he was hoping he could focus her mind, because she was clearly on some kind of drug and while he couldn't trust her, he did believe that she wasn't here to hurt either one of them or at least she wasn't initially, but now he couldn't be so sure and he had to do something to try and get her to see sense.

"He's just sleeping Gordon and look, he's already starting to stir a little bit." Maggie then says with a soft smile, as she continues to stroke the side of their sons face and watches as his eyes begin to flutter a little bit. "Sshh, Sshh my little faggot angel, it's okay, everything is okay, Mummy is here and she is going to make it all better, because no one hurts my baby and gets away with it, no one." She then states in a comforting tone, while at the same time, turning to the four boys kneeling on the floor a few metres away from them and staring at them coldly and enjoying the look of horror on their faces.

"Mum?" Alex half mumbles in a dazed tone, as he tries to focus and as starts to come round a bit more, he can only look up in surprise as he sees his mum looking down at him and smiling in a weird and slightly scary way.

"Sshh you little sweet abomination... Sshh..." Maggie almost coos in response, as she gently rocks her son in her arms and begins to make little baby noise to him.

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