Love Conquers All

by Flaming Matt

Chapter 34

December 2015

"Oh come on, that's a fucking counter and you know it." Wesley states in a less than impressed tone, as he stares at his boyfriend with a shake of the head and despite enjoying the view, he wasn't going to let it slide, not after the things his boyfriend had pulled him up on.

"What? It slipped." Carter quickly responds in as innocent a tone as he could manage, while at the same time turning around and slowly bending over and reaching down for his towel, which had actually fallen off by accident, but he knew his boyfriend wouldn't believe him and as it was already going to cost him a counter, but he was sure he was far enough ahead, to lose another one.

"Fuck me." Wesley quickly half mumbles as he stares at his boyfriends bum and from where he was sitting, he could actually see his hole and quickly felt himself reacting and instinctively moved his hand down to his shorts.

"And that's two counters for you, you horny creep." Carter quickly announces with a big grin, which widens when he sees the confusion on his boyfriends, quickly followed by a look of annoyance and knew exactly what he was going to say.

"How the fuck is that two counters for me, you just dropped your towel and bent over in front of me, it's two counters for you, you little shit." Wesley eventually retorts in an annoyed tone, after taking a few moments to gets his mind off his boyfriends bum and process what he had just said and couldn't help but stare at him in confusion.

"You just asked me to fuck you, that's worth two counters, so pay up." Carter quickly responds with the same big grin, as he walks over to his boyfriends desk without bothering to wrap the towel back around himself and pulling out the sex jar and his bag of counters, before placing two of them in the jar and turning back to his boyfriend expectantly.

"What the hell, it was just an expression, I wasn't..." Wesley quickly begins to protest in a defensive tone, before seeing the look on his boyfriends face and trailing off. "You're such a little shit." He then states with a shake of the head, before suddenly getting an idea and while he knew it would cost him, he wanted some revenge and slowly gets to his feet.

"Don't you dare." Carter quickly states in a firm tone, as he sees the look on his boyfriends face and knew he was going to do something. "Seriously, Wesley, I mean it." He then says as he backs into the desk and watches his boyfriend slowly moving towards him and despite already knowing the bedroom door was closed, he still looked over at it, it was the only way he could have got away from his boyfriend and as he turns back to him, he could see him smirking now.

"What was it? One counter for teasing, two for suggesting and five for..." Wesley starts to state with a mischievous smile, before trailing off as he reaches for his boyfriends waist and pulls him into his arms and quickly kisses him, while as the same time rubbing his hands down his back until he reaches his bum and squeezes them for a few minutes.

"Initiating something naughty." Carter then states in a slightly breathless tone, after being lifted up by his bum cheeks and then carried and gently laid down on his boyfriends bed, with him on top of him and despite the fact this was against the rules they had come up with, he didn't want to stop it.

"You're so beautiful." Wesley then says in a loving tone, before leaning down and kissing his boyfriend deeply for a few minutes. "But we said we would meet up with the others, so come on, let's get ready." He then states in a serious tone, with a straight face to go with it as he stands up from the bed and looks down at his boyfriend, who to his amusement was looking completely confused by the situation, which was amusing and cute enough as it was, but the fact he had a boner and was leaking pre cum, just made it even better and he knew he had definitely got his revenge for his boyfriend teasing him with the fake dropping of the towel.

"You can't be serious." Carter just about manages to say in response, as he stares up at his boyfriend and despite himself and the sex jar, he was too turned on now to stop and he was hoping his boyfriend was just messing around, because if he wasn't, than he was definitely not going to be happy, not even close.

"Are you initiating..." Wesley then begins to ask in response, as he looks at his boyfriend in amusement, before finding himself being interrupted, which just makes it even better and knew that despite more than likely paying for this at some point in the future, was definitely worth it right now.

"Yes, now get naked and get in bed." Carter quickly states in a firm and impatient tone, as he gives his boyfriend an expectant look, while also deciding to slowly reach down with his hand and slowly stroke himself, which he knew would get his attention.

"Wow, initiating and suggesting, while also teasing, that makes around eight counters, plus your two from earlier, that equals ten tokens and I teased you just now, so that's one token for me." Wesley states in a teasing tone and slowly walks over to his desk to get his bag of counters and puts one in the sex jar, before slowly turning back to his boyfriend, who was now standing up and half glaring at him.

"If you don't put another five counters in there, than you aren't going to get so much as a kiss or cuddle from me for at least a week." Carter states in a slow and serious tone, as he stares into his boyfriends eyes and while he was half bluffing, he was fully committed now and just had to hope he wouldn't call him on it or worse, turn it back around somehow, which he knew his boyfriend was more than capable of.

"Nice try Beautiful." Wesley quickly responds with a grin, which widens when he sees his boyfriends expression. "Ha! I knew you were bluffing." He then states triumphantly, after his boyfriends expression gives him away and while he was taking a chance on the bluff, he was willing to risk it and now that he knew he was right, he couldn't help but smirk.

"You're such a moron." Carter weakly retorts with a shake of the head. "For fucks sake, you're at least cleaning that up while I get dressed, it's your fault." He then states in an annoyed tone, as he looks down and sees that he was still leaking a little pre cum, which had dripped on to the carpet and despite being slightly mortified about this happening so often, he knew despite a little teasing, his boyfriend loved him and genuinely didn't think it was a problem, which meant a lot to him, even if his boyfriend was a complete moron most of the time.

"Fair enough." Wesley quickly response with a smug grin, as he takes a few wet wipes from his desk draw and walks over to where his boyfriend was standing a few moments ago. "Carter." He then says in a soft and caring tone, he had had his fun now and even though they had talked about this before, he saw the look on his boyfriends face after he had noticed the carpet and he wanted to make sure that he was okay and wasn't feeling ashamed about it.

"Yeah?" Carter quickly asks in a curious tone, as he pulls out some clothes for himself from the closet and begins to get dressed.

"I know you get embarrassed, but you don't have to be, I think it's sexy and it's kind of a little ego boost for me as well." Wesley then says in a honest tone, as he begins to clean the carpet and looks up to his boyfriend, who he could see was now giving him a curious look.

"An ego boost?" Carter decides to ask in response, after stopping getting himself dressed and looking down at his boyfriend, who looked and sounded sincere, but at the same time, he couldn't help but be a little defensive, he was proud that he had entered puberty, but at the same time, he really didn't like how much pre cum he made, so he was definitely more than a little confused about how it could be an ego boost for his boyfriend.

"We've talked about it before Carter and yeah, you make a lot, but it's because you're turned on and how can I not get an ego boost out of that and I know it's embarrassing for you sometimes, especially if we're out, but so is getting a boner and so what if you have to be careful what colour clothes you wear sometimes, you look good in anything and no one has ever noticed anything, so yeah, I love you Carter and I just don't like seeing you get upset about something like this, because you shouldn't." Wesley responds from the heart, as he stands up and walks over to his boyfriend and slowly pulls him into a loving kiss.

"I love you." Carter then says in a breathless tone, after feeling the kiss ending after almost five minutes and while his boyfriend could be a moron sometimes, he was also sweet and loving and at times really romantic and it made him love him even more, because he knew he understood and respected him, which meant everything to him.

"Love you too Beautiful." Wesley responds with a loving smile, before giving his boyfriend a quick peck on the lips. "But we should get going, so get dressed and I will finish up cleaning and wash my hands." He then states in a reluctant tone, as he stares into his boyfriends beautiful violet eyes, which right now were sparkling.

"Okay." Carter responds with a slightly shy smile, he loved when his boyfriend stared into his eyes and knew he loved their colour, before reluctantly backing away and starts to get dressed, as he watches his boyfriend pick up the wet wipes from the floor and then walk out of the room.

The Next Day

"What?" Matt quickly asks in a slightly paranoid tone, after looking up from his homework and realising that his fiancé was just staring at him.

"Nothing." Ben quickly responds with a smile, before just as quickly looking down at his own homework again and trying to to get his focus back after getting a little sidetracked after looking up at his fiancé and getting lost in his thoughts.

"Right." Matt then says in a slightly bemused tone, as he gives his fiancé a shake of the head, before getting back to his homework, which despite being quite difficult, was actually quite interesting, even if History wasn't always his favourite subject, it wasn't his least favourite either. "Okay, seriously Ben, what's going on?" He then asks in a slightly amused tone, after looking up after almost ten minutes of concentrating on his homework, just to see his fiancé staring at him again with a weird dreamy expression.

"What?" Ben quickly asks in response, as he suddenly snaps out of his thoughts and looks at his fiancé in confusion.

"Oh come on Ben, you're staring at me and you have that goofy expression you get when you're daydreaming, so come on, what's going on." Matt responds in a serious tone, as he continues to study his fiancé's face and while he quickly realised that he was just daydreaming, he was definitely more than a little curious about what and knew he wouldn't be able to concentrate on his homework until he found out, well not fully, anyway.

"Just thinking about something, but it's stupid, so let's just get this finished, we're meant to be meeting up with the others later." Ben states in response, before looking down at his Maths homework, which he realises he hasn't even finished the first page yet and as he takes a little glance at the clock on the wall, he couldn't help but blush a little bit at seemingly wasting half an hour staring at his fiancé and daydreaming.

"Well you're blushing, so just tell me, because I'm curious now and I'm never going to be able to get this finished until you tell me, so come on, tell me." Matt then says in a firm tone, as he puts down his pen and sits up a little and smiles as his fiancé does the same, although the fact he was actually blushing, made him wonder if he was just thinking about sex, which wasn't exactly a bad thing, but they had to get some of their homework done and had agreed to at least get two pieces finished before they went out.

"I was just thinking about when we used to do our homework together, you know, before we realised that we liked each other and it's just weird thinking about how we were back then and how things are different now." Ben decides to say in response and while it wasn't all he had been thinking about, he thought it would be better to take it a little bit at a time and see how his fiancé reacts before saying too much.

"Oh." Matt responds in a slightly unsure tone, as he starts to think about how different things were now. "Do you ever wish things were different?" He then decides to ask in a curious tone, as he looks across at his fiancé and could see straight away that he had taken him by surprise.

"Different? What do you mean, different?" Ben quickly asks in response, after taking a few moments to process his fiancé's question, which came out of nowhere and he couldn't help but wonder why he would even ask a question like that.

"I don't know, I mean you said you thought it was weird how different things are." Matt answers in a slightly unsure tone, as he thinks about what he was asking and couldn't help but wonder if he should change the subject or just see where the conversation would go.

"Well yeah, I mean we have sex and stuff now, we live in our own little house, well pool house, but it's still ours and we're engaged, so yeah, it's a little weird considering how just a year and a few months ago, we were just friends who used to lie side by side on each others beds, while we did our homework and how we used to play things like tag and just throw and catch a ball together and that sort of stuff." Ben then decides to say in a slightly cautious tone, as he decides to try his best to explain what he meant and avoid his fiancé getting upset, which he was sure wouldn't happen, but he wanted to be careful, just in case.

"Oh, well we still do that stuff, maybe not as much, but we still do it." Matt then says in a surprised tone, as he thinks about his fiancé's words and while he was happy with his response, he was finding himself wanting to ask something else, but he wasn't quite sure how to ask it, without making a complete mess of it.

"Yeah, I know, but it's still weird, I mean come on Matt, you must think about how things have changed and how things are different now, it's natural." Ben then decides to say with a soft smile, before reaching for his drink and taking a few sips, as he watches his fiancé thinking over his words.

"I guess so." Matt eventually responds in a distracted tone, after taking almost a minute to think over his fiancé's words. "Would you change anything? You know, if you could do it all again, would you do anything different?" He then decides to ask, as he thinks about what he wanted to ask earlier and while it wasn't quite how he had wanted to ask it, it was close enough and watches his fiancé's expression closely, to gauge whether he had made a mistake or not.

"I don't know." Ben responds in an unsure and slightly nervous tone, as he watches his fiancé closely and starts to wonder if he should be worried or not, because the question was definitely out of the blue and he wasn't really sure how to answer it.

"Come on Ben, there must be something, adults are always talking about how they would do things differently if they could go back in time, so you must have something." Matt then says with a warm smile, after deciding to push his question a little bit and while he could see that it made his fiancé a little uncomfortable, he wasn't quite ready to let it drop just yet.

"Well what would you change?" Ben then decides to ask in response, as he tries to buy himself a little more time to think of something, well think of something else, because what he would change, wasn't something he wanted to bring up, even if they have talked about it together a few times, it wasn't a conversation that either of them enjoyed talking about.

"Loads, but mostly little things, but I guess one of the bigger things would be er... I guess, making you waste ten days trying to meet me, instead of just getting over myself and not hiding in my room." Matt responds in a slightly shy tone, as he thinks about how he wanted to answer and while there were other things and some a lot bigger, he had always been a little embarrassed about how he acted when he first arrived in the country, even if it was justified and understandable, he was still embarrassed by his behaviour.

"Really?" Ben then quickly asks in a surprised tone and while he wasn't keen on bringing up the other stuff, he was surprised by his fiancé's answer and wasn't quite sure why he hadn't mentioned anything about Mr Jones or his dad, because no one else was around and they had talked about what happened a few times, so he was genuinely surprised.

"Yeah, what's wrong with that?" Matt quickly retorts in a slightly defensive tone, as he gives his fiancé a surprised and slightly hurt look, because while there were bigger things, it was still something personal and he was surprised by his almost dismissive response to it.

"Nothing, it's just er... well er..." Ben beings to answer, before trailing off and breaking eye contact as he sees the look on his fiancé's face and knew that if he wasn't careful, he could really upset him and that was the last thing he wanted to do.

"Just what? Come on Ben, seriously, I'm already a little bit mad and you obviously want to say something, so just say it and I promise not to get angry and I mean it, we don't lie to each other Ben, so just say it." Matt then states in a firm tone and while he was a little upset at his fiancé's reaction a few moments ago, he didn't want to fight and even though he suspected what he was going to say, he was willing to hear him out, even if he didn't really want to think about all that stuff, they were talking now and he couldn't just end the conversation now, not without being annoyed for the rest of the day.

"Fine, but er... well come on Matt, I know we can't really change things, it doesn't work like that, but I just kind of thought you would want to do something to change what happened, you know with er... well you know, not that what you said isn't good, because it is and it's kinda romantic and I definitely wouldn't mind that change, but if it was me, I would want to stop the other stuff happening." Ben responds honestly and while he was worried that he might upset his fiancé, he knew he had to be honest now and could only kick himself mentally for letting the conversation get to this point in the first place.

"Like how? What am I meant to change, to change what they did to me?" Matt quickly asks in response, after getting to his feet and glaring at his fiancé and while he knew what his fiancé was going to say, he couldn't help but react and could feel himself tremble a little bit, as he tries to calm himself down.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to remind you about it." Ben states in an apologetic and vulnerable tone, as he looks at his fiancé and then down at the books in front of him on the table, he knew this was a possibility if he brought the subject up and just felt like an idiot for not thinking of something else to say.

"I'm okay Ben." Matt then says in a soft tone, he was still a little worked up, but seeing the look on his fiancé's face, quickly brought his mind back to what was important. "Well okay, I'm not okay, I don't know if I ever will be, but I'm not mad or angry at you Ben, I promise." He then decides to say, after looking into his fiancé's eyes as he looks up at him again and despite still trembling a little bit, he slowly sits down and holds his hand across the table.

"I'm still sorry." Ben responds sincerely, as he reaches over and takes his fiancé's hand into his own. "I would do anything, if it meant that you didn't have those things happen to you." He then states with a sad smile, he had thought about it ever since they happened and there wasn't anything he wouldn't do, if it meant his fiancé never had to go through any of it.

"I know and it helps Ben, having you makes it bearable." Matt then says with a sweet smile, as he stares into his fiancé's sparkling green eyes. "But even if you could go back in time, there's nothing you can do, I've thought about it Ben and it's not like I could change anything to stop any of it happening." He then decides to say in a honest tone, which he knew was hardly the happiest of things to say, but he had thought about it before and he could never come up with anything, well nothing that would be possible anyway.

"If you never came here, your..." Ben then begins to respond in an unsure tone, as he tries to think of a good response, but as he hears his fiancé interrupt him, he quickly fears that he had upset him already.

"If I never came here, then I guess I wouldn't have been molested by Mr Jones, so yeah, that would be good, but I didn't have a choice in that Ben and the only reason I came here was because of my dad, so there's nothing I could change." Matt quickly states in a dismissive tone and while he didn't want to sound rude, he really didn't feel like talking about this now and regretted pushing his fiancé into carrying it on in the first place.

"He only did it because he saw you kissing Tobias, so you..." Ben then begins to say, before again finding himself being interrupted and this time, he could tell that he had definitely made a mistake, as his fiancé pulls his hand out of his and sits upright.

"My dad was a paedophile Ben and homophobic on top of that, so even if he hadn't caught me then, it would have happened eventually, he would never have accept that I was gay." Matt quickly states in an angry and frustrated tone, as he really regrets this conversation now, because it was stirring up some pretty strong emotions inside him and he really didn't want to be thinking about those at all.

"But if you didn't kiss Tobias, you wouldn't have come here and fell in love with me, without that, you wouldn't be gay." Ben then says in a confused tone, as he thinks about what his fiancé was saying and at the same time, wondering why he was pushing this so much, he was only daydreaming earlier and it was nice and comforting thoughts, but now he really wasn't sure what they were actually talking about and could tell that his fiancé wasn't enjoying it at all.

"This is so stupid." Matt then half mutters to himself, before looking back up to his fiancé and sighing. "Okay, you know how I felt about Tobias at the time Ben, I've never denied it, I loved him and okay, looking back now, it was more of a brotherly love, but if my dad hadn't moved us when he did and never interfered, than maybe I would have really fallen in love with Tobias, it could have developed into that, which would have been really bad and not just because of what I now know my dad would do to me once he discovered it." He then states with another sigh, before slumping a little in his chair, as he thinks about how things could have turned out, if he never came to New Zealand and while not being molested by his teacher would have been nice, he knew he would have suffered the same fate with his dad, even if he was still in England.

"I don't understand Matt." Ben then says in an even more confused tone, as he looks across at his fiancé and while he understood the words, he couldn't see how it could have gone the way he thought it would, not like it had done since he had moved here.

"I know we've talked about this before Ben, but recently I've been thinking about whether I would have been gay, even if I never met you, let alone came here to live and I think I would have and I think I would have definitely fallen in love with Tobias, even if it is kind of gross to think about, I mean he's my brother now and it's well er... gross, but still, back then, I think I would have, but thinking about it even more, I think maybe Tobias would have been happy to fool around and do stuff, just look at what he's done with Wesley and Carter, which we both know he loved, yet he always said he was straight and he's even found a girlfriend, which means he would have in England eventually as well." Matt responds as best as he can, he still didn't want to talk about this, but at the same time, he kind of felt a little better getting it off his chest, even if he hadn't realised that he needed to before this conversation.

"Well it's a little weird because he's our brother now, but well er... even though it's weird to say this, I don't think he could not fall in love with you Matt, so er... well you two would have been boyfriends and okay." Ben then says in an awkward tone, with an even more awkward frown to go with it, as he thinks about what he was actually saying and even though he knew he shouldn't be jealous, he couldn't help but be a little bit jealous of his fiancé and brothers fictional romance.

"I've talked to Tobias about what happened before I left Ben, trust me, we would have had fun and I would have fallen in love with him, but he was always going to be straight and it would have broke my heart and ruined our friendship, I mean if my dad hadn't found out by then and well er... well, you know, did what he would have done." Matt then decides to say, as he thinks about it a little bit more and realised that no matter what, his dad would have turned on him eventually and quickly felt himself shudder a little bit.

"We can stop if you want." Ben then says in a soft tone, after getting up and walking around the table, so that he could kneel next to his fiancé and hold his hands, he had seen him shudder and knew it was tough for him to talk about this kind of thing and while he was curious about what else he might say, he didn't want to risk him breaking down or freaking out.

"I'll be okay." Matt quickly responds with an appreciative smile, as he let's his fiancé turn him towards him and while it felt a little silly, he really did appreciate it. "Ben, my dad was always going to find out that I was gay and he was always going to do what he did to me, so yeah, maybe if I didn't kiss Tobias or at least not done it in the middle of the park it would have been better, but those feelings we had at the time were strong and confusing, so we would have ended up doing something eventually and I've never really hidden things from him or my mum, so I would have probably talked to them about it, especially my dad, I would have been nervous, but I would have definitely told him." He then decides to say with a sad expression, although as he looks down into his fiancé's sparkling green eyes and then down at their hands and smiles as he sees their matching rings.

"Amor Omnia Vincit." Ben then states with a loving smile, after following his fiancé gaze and seeing their rings and while he could have been looking at the engagement rings, he knew which ones he was actually looking at and knew exactly what to say. "I really would do anything if it meant you didn't have to go through what you have been through, even if it meant we never met, it would suck and I would hate it, but if it meant you were never hurt, then I would do it." He then decides to say from the heart and while it would hurt, especially if he had to remember what he had given up afterwards, if it meant his fiancé never got raped and molested, he would live with that knowledge and just be happy that he hadn't suffered.

"You're such a dumb ass sometimes, you know that." Matt responds with an amused smile, as he blushes a little bit. "Don't give me that look, you know I'm right and besides, you may be willing to do that, but I love you Ben and being without you and not having you in my life just doesn't work for me, so while you would give me up, I would go through anything to be with you and I'm being serious Ben, it sucks what happened to me, it really sucks and I've lost my dad, my foot will never fully heal and there are naked pictures and videos of me somewhere out there and it's horrible and some days, I just can't even think about it, but then I see you, I smell you and I touch you Ben and it's enough, it's what I want and you make me happy, so fuck the shit stuff, because I have you and from now on, no one is ever going to hurt us again and even if they try, Amor Omnia Vincit." He then adds from the heart, after seeing his fiancé's doubtful and slightly confused expression and while it might not be as simple as he just said, he believed it and meant every word.

"I love you Matthew Walker." Ben then says in an emotional tone, as he struggles to stay composed, his fiancé's words meant so much to him and while he knew it already and didn't need him to actually say it, he was glad he did and he could feel tears forming in his eyes.

"I love you too Benjamin Walker, you and me, we're soulmates and no matter what happens, we're forever." Matt then says in response, as he speaks from his heart, before pulling his fiancé by his hands into a tender and loving kiss. "It's a little bit funny, well in a weird way." He then decides to say with a shy smile, after pulling away from their kiss and while he didn't want to, he knew they had to get their homework done and then get ready, time was getting on and they promised the others that they would be there.

"Oh god, you're either going to say something romantic or take my place as the resident dumb ass." Ben quickly responds with a small grin and while he was disappointed that his fiancé had ended their kiss, which had lasted almost five minutes, after glancing at the clock behind him, he was pretty sure that he knew what he was trying to do and was happy to go along with it, even if it did turn out to be something stupid, it would still be funny.

"You will always be the dumb ass Ben, always." Matt quickly retorts with a small grin, before taking another look at their matching rings. "It's just a little bit funny, because you're willing to give up being with or even meeting me, just so that I wouldn't have gone through what I did, yet at the same time, I would go through all that a million times over, just to be with you." He then states in a serious tone, as he looks at his fiancé a little nervously, because while he thought it was a nice thing to say, the conversation had gone back and forth between good and upsetting, so he was a little on edge about how his fiancé was going to react.

"It's a little funny, but kind of romantic too." Ben decides to say in response, as he gives his fiancé a warm smile, while gently using one of his fingers to trace the rings on his fiancé's ring finger. "I still wish you never had to go through any of it." He then adds in a quieter tone, after looking up at his fiancé's face and giving him a shy smile.

"Me too, but it happened and we should try to move on Ben, I mean I don't want us to never talk about it or to just pretend it never happened, because that's impossible, but er... well er... I don't want either of us to keep thinking about how could er... well shit Ben, I don't know how to say it, but you know what I mean, right?" Matt then asks in a slightly frustrated tone, after trying his best to explain how he felt, but struggling to find the right words to express himself.

"I get it and it's okay." Ben responds with a loving smile, before pulling on his fiancé's hands to bring him closer and quickly gives him a tender kiss on the lips. "Should we get our homework finished now?" He then asks with a small grin, as he gets to his feet, while still holding his fiancé's hands.

"Yeah, we don't want to be late, it's been a while since we all spent time together." Matt responds with a smile, before shaking his head a little in embarrassment, as he feels his chair being turned back to the table and getting a kiss on the cheek.

"Like you're complaining." Ben then states in an amused tone, as he sits down and notices the look on his fiancé's face and knew exactly what he thought about being turned in his chair.

"Whatever, just get your homework done." Matt quickly retorts with an playfully dismissive shake of the head, but even as he looks down to his own homework, he knew his fiancé couldn't have missed the shy smile he was trying his best to hide.

Three Hours Later

"They're out for the day Mitch and won't be home for hours." Mike responds as he waits for his eldest son to sit down at the table and smiles as Erica sits down as well.

"All of them?" Mitch then asks in a surprised tone, not that it was really that unusual, but he was still a little surprised by it.

"Yeah, apparently they haven't all been together for a while and are down the park just catching up and I guess, just being kids for a while." Mike responds with a smile, as he thinks about them just being kids again, they had all been through so much and could do with a break from all of that.

"That's nice for them and Carter sounded really happy when he called me earlier." Erica then says with a smile, which widens a little bit when she sees their expressions. "We don't talk that often, but he calls me sometimes to talk, he's a good boy and he's like a little brother to me, even if we don't spend that much time together." She then decides to explain, as she thinks about how confusing it must be from their point of view, although she knew her boyfriend knew all about it, it was obvious Sarah and Mike didn't.

"That's sweet and nice of you Erica." Sarah decides to say in response, as she thinks about the small boy and how his parents had mentioned a few times that he had always wanted an older sister, which was a little strange for a boy to want, but sweet at the same time.

"He's a little sweetie and it doesn't hurt that he wants to be a doctor, so it's nice to be able to give him advice and give him an insight of what it's like to work in a hospital." Erica then says with a proud smile, she really liked the small boy and while she wasn't sure if it quite extended to love or to be more precise, brotherly love, she did care for him and she knew he did care for her as well.

"I know the boys should be out for a few more hours, but just in case, maybe we should talk about the other things and decide what we should do." Mike then decides to say, before blushing a little as everyone turns to him in surprise. "Sorry, I didn't mean it to sound like that, but we should discuss what Mitch knows and also what we've been told." He then states in an apologetic tone, after realising how rude he had just sounded and while he had a point, he knew it didn't make any less rude.

"It's okay Mike, you're right and to be honest, there wasn't much else for me to say about Carter, so don't worry about it." Erica then says with a soft smile and while it might have come across as a little rude, she really wasn't offended and was a little relieved to talk about something else, because other than what she had said, she wasn't lying when she said there was much more to tell, well nothing without breaking the promises she had made to Carter, which she wouldn't do.

"Why don't you tell us about what you've learned Mitch and then we will go over what we know." Sarah then decides to suggest with a slightly awkward smile, although she was feeling a little more relaxed now that they were back on track, even though she genuinely thought her friends fondness for Carter was sweet, they didn't have much time to waste and they needed to talk about the other things before the boys came home.

"From what I've been told, Conner is going to be convicted, he's pretty much confessed to everything and there are enough witness statements and evidence to go with that to secure a long sentence." Mitch states in a slightly strained tone, as he thinks about his former best friend and his other friend as well, who had still shown no signs of waking up or getting better.

"Do they know how long for and which crimes he is actually being tried for?" Mike decides to ask in a curious tone and while he knew it wasn't exactly that important which crimes the young man was being convicted of, he definitely wanted to make sure he wasn't getting off with anything.

"At least life Dad, although it could be longer, he admitted to the murder of Jim and they have forensic evidence anyway, he's admitted to tampering with Matt's medication and with Sarah's statement and also a couple of neighbours seeing him enter and leave the house, there is no questioning that, the same with his attack on me and Wesley at the church and of course his role in what happened to Alex and Peter, even if it appears that apart from being involved in the planning stage, he had no further part in it, it's still a serous charge and again, with his own confession and Jarred's statements, there isn't any question of his innocence." Mitch answers as honestly as he could, he knew he could be a little more open with the details, but despite his boss talking him through what he could and couldn't say, he was still airing on the side of caution and knew that he wasn't leaving out anything of any great importance, at least as far as what his dad and Sarah needed to know.

"Good, he's a vile piece of shit and hopefully he will never get out." Mike then quickly states honestly and with a little bit of an edge to his tone, he had never liked the boy and the fact he had almost killed Matt and his eldest son, just intensified those feelings and he was glad he would be spending the rest of his hopefully short life behind bars.

"What about Simon though, surely he is going to be charged with what happened to him as well." Sarah then decides to ask in a surprised tone, after realising that the young man hadn't mentioned his friend and while it could have just been a case of him forgetting to mention it, she found that hard to believe and the look on his face now, seemed to prove her thoughts.

"He is going to be charged for that, isn't he?" Mike decides to ask, after his eldest son doesn't seem to make any effort to respond the question and while he thought it wouldn't make that much difference, considering the other charges were more than enough, he didn't think that was a good enough reason to not charge him for kidnap and possibly manslaughter or even murder, if Simon didn't make it.

"It's complicated." Mitch then eventually says in response, as he tries to find the right words and also not lose his composure, his friend was still showing no signs of waking up and he really wasn't sure how he would react if he actually died, he had lost too many friends recently and another one was just too much to think about. "They will charge him eventually, but until Simon wakes up, there isn't much evidence to get a conviction, even though Conner told us where he was, it wasn't a confession and he hasn't said anything else about it, so they have to wait, but at the same time, they don't want to delay the other charges and risk something happening to jeopardize the case, so they're still investigating, but the other charges are being dealt with now." He then explains with a slightly strained tone, as he tries his best to not let his emotions get the better of him, he had cried enough recently and he wanted to get this conversation over with, before the boys came home.

"Oh, well I guess that's something." Sarah then says in an unsure tone, as she thinks about the young man's response and while it sounded a little complicated, she understood the reasoning behind it, but also understood how hard this was for him and she didn't want to say anything to upset him.

"It's okay Mitch, he's a fighter, no one can do what he did and not recover, just look at Matt, he shouldn't have made it to the hospital, let alone the first night and he is down the park right now, running around and having fun, so be strong Mitch, because Simon will need a good friend when he wakes up." Mike then decides to say from the heart and while he might have disliked Conner he had always liked Simon and while a little quiet and reserved, especially compared to the others, he was a good kid and while he could do with having a bit more self confidence, he was a good friend for his eldest son to have and he genuinely wanted him to recover from what had happened to him.

"I know Dad and I know a coma is not the end of the world, but this is a little different and..." Mitch then begins to say, before turning to his girlfriend in surprise, as she interrupts him and while he was annoyed, he was also a little relieved as well.

"I won't lie to you Mitch, because Simon is in a bad way and while Matt wasn't in a good way either, with Simon it is different because his organs had started to shut down and when that happens, it's not that easy to reverse, but he is making progress, he survived the first night and is still alive, so he is fighting and being in the coma is giving his body a chance to recover, so while his chances are low, don't give up Mitch, because like your dad said, he's a fighter." Erica decides to state in a serious tone, as she looks at her boyfriend and while she didn't want to interrupt him, she knew what he was going to say and wanted to try and stop him from getting upset.

"I know and I'm not giving up, but can we get back to the other stuff, because I can't keep talking about Simon and... please." Mitch then says in response, as he gives the others a pleading look, he would never give up on his friend, even if it was unlikely that he would ever wake up, but he really didn't want to talk about it and he was hoping they would respect that.

"Of course and we're sorry for bring it up." Sarah quickly responds with a sympathetic smile, as she looks at the young man and then to his dad, who she could tell was struggling to see his eldest son like this.

"How about your case Mitch, what are they going to do with Jarred Miller?" Erica decides to ask, after thinking over her boyfriends words for a few moments and despite wanting to help him through his problems, she knew this wasn't the right time and was more than happy to change the subject, even if it wasn't exactly a good subject, it was something they needed to discuss.

"That's pretty complicated as well, his age just makes everything harder, but with the evidence and statements, he is likely to spend the next few years in juvenile detention at the very least and depending on whether they take it easy or not with him, he could be sentenced long enough, to be moved to an adult facility once he is old enough, although we think that is unlikely." Mitch responds in a controlled tone, after taking a few moments to put his friend out of his mind and focus on why they were here.

"He could get that long?" Sarah quickly asks in a surprised tone and while she had little sympathy for the boy, he was only twelve and to think of him being in an adult prison, was hard to contemplate, especially since she had two twelve year old boys herself now.

"Honestly, I really don't know, I think the victim impact statements Alex and Peter give us in the next few weeks will really give us an indication of what sympathy Jarred would get for his age and it's easy to let that sway you, but at the end of the day, what he did was premeditated and unless his lawyer tries to angle it as Conner manipulating him, which is a possibility, I can't see him avoiding serious charges." Mitch answers honestly and again while it was always difficult with children, he didn't think that Jarred would get off lightly, not with the evidence they had.

"I don't want to sound like I'm defending him or justifying anything, but breaking in, assault and kidnapping are serious, I know that, but he is still technically a minor, would they really sentence him long enough to serve in an adult prison, it sounds a bit extreme." Mike then decides to say in a curious and slightly surprised tone, after thinking about what the boy had done and while bad and something that needed punishment, he wasn't sure spending the rest of his childhood and young adulthood in prison, was the best thing for anyone.

"I agree and I don't want him to get away with what he did, but he is just a child and wouldn't rehabilitation be a better solution, rather than just locking him up?" Sarah then decides to quickly add, before the young man could respond to his dad, because she had to agree with her friend, what the boy did was awful, but no one wanted a child to be sentenced to that amount of time.

"Whatever sentence he gets, rehabilitation will be a major part of that as well and for what it's worth and from what I can tell you about the case, I think we will be aiming for a sentence that won't involve being sent to a adult prison at some point, but we will be speaking with the Erickson's and Gilmar's about this as well, because the last thing we want to do, is cause them any distress or make them feel like what Jarred did, wasn't that important by going easy on him." Mitch again answers honestly, before looking at his girlfriend in surprise, as she starts to talk and while she hadn't interrupted him, he had expected his dad or Sarah to speak next.

"I know you see him as a child still, but you weren't in the house when I found Alex, he would have died if Michelle and I hadn't checked on the house when we did and that's not something I will ever forget, ever." Erica states in a strained tone, as she looks over to Sarah and her boyfriends dad. "There is also what he did to Peter, sure when you think of Jarred as a child and keeping Peter in a shed doesn't sound that bad, but he hit Peter hard enough over the head to not only knock him out, but cause temporary amnesia, he then spent almost a week trying to manipulate and brainwash him into hating Alex, instead of getting him to a hospital as soon as he could, that's not something a normal child does and the fact that it was premeditated, makes it not only worse, but also frightening." She then decides to add in a serious tone, as she tries her best not to actually picture holding Alex in her arms and while she knew he was okay now, the image still affected her and it was something that she never wanted to experience again.

"That's why I mentioned how the victim impact statements Alex and Peter give, will influence the sentence he receives, because if they are brutally honest, then I do think he could be looking at a long enough sentence to end up in an adult prison, but if they decide to be a little more lenient and decide that it would be better for Jarred to get a little less time, while getting more rehabilitation, than he could avoid the adult prison." Mitch then decides to add in as clear a tone as he could manage, this wasn't easy for him to say, especially as he was still thinking about Simon and Conner, but he knew it was important to get his dad and Sarah up to date, so that when it came to talking to the boys, they could all help them understand.

"Do you think they would though, I mean Alex and Peter, do you really think they would show any sympathy?" Mike then decides to ask, after taking a few moments to process what they had both just said and trying to think of any reason why either of the two boys would do that, especially Alex, who Jarred had seemed intent on hurting both physically and mentally.

"I have spoken with Peter a few times and I honestly don't know where he stands, but I can't see Alex giving Jarred a chance to somehow get away with anything he has done and I can't really blame him." Mitch answers honestly and while he couldn't be sure about Peter, he had no doubts that unless Alex's dad intervened for some reason, Alex's statement will be anything but damning.

"I don't want this to sound wrong and I only ask because we have to talk to the boys about this, but you've talked to Jarred a few times now Mitch, is he guilty? I mean he's twelve years old, is someone that age capable of all of that?" Sarah then decide to ask in a slightly reluctant tone, she knew how it would sound and she just had to hope they understood why she was asking, because she was sure one of the boys would bring something similar up and she wanted to be prepared, well for them all to be as prepared as possible.

"Honestly, it was difficult interviewing him Sarah, because he is just a kid and at times he showed that, which believe me, even knowing what he did, is hard to stay focused and not sympathise with, but there were definitely times where he showed that not only did he know what he had done, but how much he enjoyed it and believe me, it's unsettling." Mitch again responds honestly, as he thinks back to the interviews he had done and how unsettling it was to realise that the boy had no regrets and certainly no remorse for what he had done.

"He enjoyed it? He actually said that?" Mike then quickly asks in a stunned tone, as he wonders whether his eldest son meant that or if he had just misunderstood what he had actually meant, because if he hadn't, than the sympathy that he actually still had for the boy, was definitely going to disappear.

"Honestly, if I hadn't heard it for myself and seen his expression, I would struggle to believe it myself Dad, but it's clear that his motivation was to hurt Alex as much as possible and as far as he is concerned, he did that and he is proud of himself, although I think that as it dawns on him how much trouble he is in, he could start showing some regret, but it would be more self preservation, than genuine remorse for his actions." Mitch responds, as he sits forward a little bit and takes a few sips of his drink and then sits back again.

"Damn." Mike then says in a shocked tone, as he sits back and thinks about how a twelve year old boy could act that way and while a part of him wanted to dismiss it, he knew his eldest son too well, to ever doubt what he says and he was clearly being honest, which just made the whole thing even worse to think about.

"Is there anything else we should know about?" Sarah then decides to ask in a slightly quiet tone, as she struggles to really process what they've just been talking about, but she had noticed the time and while she was sure they still had an hour or two, it wasn't worth the risk and she wanted to have enough time after they had finished talking, to process everything and try and think of how to talk to the boys about it, even if they were likely to wait a day or two before they had that conversation.

"It ties in with what you are going to tell me, but it's not much and I can't tell you everything, but they looked into the name Maggie gave us and into this organisation or group or whatever you want to call them and they found nothing and I mean nothing, which according to my boss, means they either don't exist at all or they're very powerful, but other than that, I can't really say anything else, not that there is much more to tell." Mitch responds in a slightly cautious tone, it wasn't that he didn't trust them or that he had anything else to say on the matter, it was just the thought of this organisation being big enough to appear to not exist, was a little scary and it unsettled him more than a little bit.

"We know they exist, David is proof of that and Maggie has told us enough about them to confirm it." Mike then says in a disheartened tone and while he knew he was stupid for thinking it, there was a part of him that was hoping it didn't exist and what happened to Matt, was just the work of a sick and twisted individuals and not a part of something so big.

"I know and I could tell that my boss suspected they existed, but if they're that big, than I don't think anyone wants to openly admit to being aware of them, which doesn't mean that no one is investigating." Mitch then decides to say in a quiet tone, as he thinks about what his boss had actually told him, without really telling him and while it actually took him a few hours to realise it, he did feel a little better about the organisation, knowing that it was at least being taken seriously, even if the official stance the police seemed to be taking, was that they didn't exist.

"You aren't going to be involved in anything to do with them, are you Mitch?" Sarah decides to ask in a slightly worried tone, she knew he had a job to do and he had to follow orders, but if he was part of an investigation, even if it was discreet, it could jeopardise the arrangement that Maggie had told Mike and her about and she didn't want to risk the consequences that might come from the young man investigating the organisation.

"Honestly, I can't see how that would be possible, what we know from Maggie, it's very rare for children to be involved and that should mean that I won't be involved, but there could be times where they could be linked to my line of work, like with what happened to Alex, Peter and Matt, but that's about as far as it would go." Mitch responds honestly and while he knew he couldn't guarantee anything completely, he was definitely not going to volunteer for any investigation, his brothers and family had been through enough, so he didn't want to put them in danger by becoming a target by investigating the organisation.

"I know you can't promise, but what we have to tell you, will help you understand why you can't investigate them Mitch, we just can't afford to risk that happening." Mike then states in a serious tone, as he glances at his friend and gives her a nod, it was their turn now and while they didn't have a lot to say, it was important and his eldest son needed to know about it and then discuss whether or not the boys need to know about it as well.

"Have they threatened you again?" Mitch quickly asks in response as he gives his dad and Sarah an worried look, but as soon as he sees their expressions, he couldn't help but just look at them in confusion, because while they were obviously not happy, they didn't look scared either.

"No, nothing like that, although at the same time, we're talking about Maggie Gilmar here and I think we can all agree, that we can't completely trust her." Mike answers honestly and while he could have elaborated a little more, he wanted to let his eldest son know that they hadn't been threatened and they still had plenty of time to discuss it.

"So Maggie told you to tell me not to get involved" Mitch then asks in a confused tone and while he was still thinking about the threat this organisation posed to them as a family, his dads response wasn't what he was expecting and he wasn't sure how to react.

"Not exactly Mitch, but like your dad just said, we may not be able to fully trust Maggie, but this time, I think we have to take her word for it and believe that it's for the best and she made it very clear, that you shouldn't be involved in any investigation that is directly connected to them Mitch, she made that crystal clear." Sarah then says in a serious tone, after deciding to join in the conversation, this concerned all of them and she knew how important it was, that they all knew where they stood and agreed on what they had to do.

"I'm a little confused, I mean I know Maggie was a part of this organisation, but hasn't she made it clear that she is no longer a part of it?" Erica then decides to ask in a curious tone and while she had planned to stay out of the conversation, she couldn't help but wonder what Maggie Gilmar could actually do to help them, as it appeared that she was on her own now, well to her it seemed that way.

"It's complicated and she didn't tell us much, but it's not really that important, what is important is that as a result of what we've done for Alex and what she helped do to Matthew, she owes us a debt and we did help her get bail, so because of that, she has or at least claims to have negotiated some kind of protection for our family, so that from now on, we are safe and we don't have to worry that they will come after us." Mike answers with a slightly unsure expression, it wasn't that he doubted the woman, especially as it was clear that her son and husband were a part of this protection, it was just it was her and it was almost impossible to trust someone like her even a little bit, let alone with something this big.

"Protection? What does that even mean and Erica made a good point guys, from what we know, Maggie left the organisation when she chose Alex over it's beliefs, so how can she negotiate anything?" Mitch quickly decides to ask in a slightly stunned tone, as he tries to process what his dad had just said and while the idea of protection sounded good and it would be good, he just couldn't quite believe what he was being told and because it was Maggie Gilmar making the claim, it was even less believable.

"We know Mitch, we know, trust us, because we are still not completely sure ourselves, but what your dad didn't quite explain, was that Alex and Gordon are a part of this protection and despite what we think of her and you know what I would like to do to her Mitch, she does love Alex and she, in her own way has shown that and I believe that she would die for him, any mother or father would or should die for their children if they had to, so while we know we can't trust her completely, your dad and I do believe she is being honest about the deal she made." Sarah answers honestly or as honestly as she could, because there were definitely a lot of unanswered questions and unknowns, but it's all they had and it was better than nothing, a lot better.

"Okay, I guess you have a point, but it still doesn't explain how she negotiated anything, surely she cut all her ties and choosing her gay son over them, that has to have some kind of consequence and I don't think prison sentence is the kind of thing that something like this organisation would settle for, it just doesn't make sense." Mitch then states in a thoughtful tone, as he tries to think of possible scenario's in his head, just to give him some idea of how Maggie could have pulled this off, because it didn't make any sense and that worried him, even if he did agree with what they were saying about her love for her son, it was still confusing.

"Maggie is a resourceful woman Mitch and while she didn't give us much, it seems like she still has friends in the organisation or at least someone who she trusts and honestly, we could debate this all day Mitch, but we won't get any closer to finding out how she did it." Mike then says in a neutral tone, his son was pretty much asking what both he and Sarah had been asking themselves and while it was still hard to trust Maggie, there was just something about the way she spoke and her general demeanour, that helped convince them, that she wasn't lying or manipulating them in any way.

"I don't like her Mitch and I would be happy if she died a slow painful death, she hurt my son and I will never forgive her for that, but and this is a big but, she was being genuine and I hate to say this, but she was sincere and I believed her Mitch and I wouldn't say that, unless I meant it, because there was just something about the way she spoke and the look in her eyes." Sarah then decides to say, as she thinks about the look on the woman's face and while she had obviously tried to hide it, she was studying her expression closely and could tell that she wasn't lying.

"So we don't have to like her and we don't have to trust her completely Mitch, we just have to accept what we have and you said it yourself, this organisation is either a complete fairy tale, that doesn't even exist or it's big enough and powerful enough, to appear to not exist and because of David, this family is on it's radar and if they do exist, than having a deal in place to protect us, is better than not having it and we just have to believe that Maggie wouldn't put Alex in danger, it's all we can do Mitch." Mike then adds in a sightly reluctant tone, he had wanted to try and make it sound more positive and make it sound like he had every faith in it being true, but even though he wanted it to be, he still couldn't let his guard down completely and this was too big for him to try and pretend not to feel that way.

"Okay, well I guess we just have to trust her, even if none of us do." Mitch then states reluctantly, as he fails to think of any other options and while not ideal, it was better than nothing and it definitely took a lot of weight off his shoulders, especially when it came to his brothers safety, which was the most important thing.

"I agree, but there is still something I'm a little unsure about." Erica then decides to say, as she finishes processing everything and while she obviously had a quick way out of all of this, she loved Mitch and she loved all the boys, so the thought of just breaking up with him and going back to her own life and away from it all, just wasn't going to happen and even thinking about it, made her feel more than a little ashamed of herself.

"Which part are you unsure about?" Sarah decides to ask in response, as she smiles at her friend and while she wasn't sure she could answer her question, she wanted to try and it was the whole point in talking about this now, so that when it came to talking with the boys, they could do it as clearly and as calmly as they could and hopefully avoid just confusing and upsetting them, which no one wanted to happen.

"You said that as long as Mitch doesn't investigate them directly or is involved in any investigation involving the organisation, we will remain protected, but what does directly mean, it's not like if some kids go missing or get abused, he can just not get involved, how would he explain that, did Maggie say anything more about it?" Erica asks in a clear tone, as she does her best to explain what she meant, her boyfriend meant everything to her and she knew he would never forgive himself, if he did something to put his family in danger, even if it was accidentally, he would still blame himself.

"While she could have been clearer Erica, it pretty much comes down to direct, as in actively investigating them, if he is working on a case and there are indications that the organisation are involved, then he should carry on, but not focus on them, just the actual case." Mike answers as best he can, as he thinks about what Maggie had told them and suddenly realised that it wasn't as simple as it first seemed, although he knew his eldest son and he knew he was more than capable of being careful, especially if it involved keeping Ben safe.

"It's okay Erica, I get it and to be honest, from what we know about them, I shouldn't come across them and from my talk with my boss, they really aren't going to involve a rookie, from what I understood, if there is an actual investigation happening, than it's pretty much top secret and those usually only involve specialists and experienced people, so it will be okay and I will be careful, I promise." Mitch then decides to say in a reassuring tone, as he looks at his girlfriend with a loving smile, he really did love her and the fact she was thinking about him like this, just gave him a warm and happy feeling inside.

"Okay, I just wanted to make sure we know as much as we can, this isn't going to be easy and we're all going to have to be careful." Erica responds with a smile, as she leans over and gives her boyfriend a quick peck on the lips.

"Well, I think we have covered as much as we need to, so maybe we should start figuring out what to tell the boys, because they should know about this, but obviously, they're still only twelve years old, so we need to be able to explain it as clearly as possible and also we need to make sure we don't tell them anything that they don't need to know." Mike then decides to suggest, as he looks around the table and while they could have talked for longer about everything, he knew time was getting on and he felt like they had said everything that needed to be said and now they just had to prepare for the talk with the boys.

"I agree, but remember, we aren't going to tell them just yet, so we can talk about it a little bit more over the next couple of days, just to make sure we don't scare them or cause any other issues, they've been through enough and this is meant to reassure them." Sarah then decides to say in response, as she thinks about the boys and how they needed to do a better job of protecting them, well protecting them from as much as they can, the past few years had proven that you can't control everything, so she wanted to make sure that when they could, they could at least protect them from some things.

"Sounds good to me and I think we should start with what's happening with Jarred and Barry and go from there, we should talk about the organisation and Maggie last, I just think it would be better that way." Mitch then suggests and as he looks around the table, he sees all three on them looking at him expectantly and quickly realises that they were waiting for him to begin and despite wanting his dad or Sarah to start, it was obvious they wanted him to and decides to just start talking and go from there.

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