The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 13

Plans Made

Being relatively early in the spring season, sunset was not late in arriving and Gwinis had gone into the house to prepare dinner for the family and their guest. Meanwhile everyone else remained sitting on the back porch, having quiet conversations, discussing the revelations of Jamie's companion.

Jamie leaned over and whispered in Kyle's ear, "Hey, I umm … well I need to change."

Looking down at himself as he said it, Kyle followed his eyes to where they led. He noted that Jamie was quite wet, and had to be very uncomfortable. Nodding in silent reply, Kyle stood up. He blocked most everyone's view of Jamie, using his body to shield his young friend in order to make him feel less exposed and therefore able to leave and go inside.

"Well after that run I smell," Kyle announced loudly. "I think I'm going to take a shower and then clean my sword before dinner."

"I'll join you," Jamie said with relief in his voice.

Both boys walked into the house and quickly made their way upstairs. Kyle was heading for his own room's door when Jamie stopped him, took his friend's hand, and led Kyle to his room. Jamie walked in the room after Kyle, closed the door behind them, and gave Kyle a huge hug.

"What's that for Sunshine?" Kyle asked.

Jamie responded, "For not embarrassing me and helping me get inside without anyone noticing. I'm sorry I didn't mean to do it."

"Jamie, there's nothing to be ashamed of," said Kyle. "I came real close to doing the same thing when that branch or whatever it was came down."

"I used to have to stay like this if I peed my pants back at that place. They would even make me go in them just to laugh at me; sometimes not just pee. Then they would make me sit in it or make me stand there while they rubbed it in, calling me a big baby; saying much worse as well," Jamie spoke with tears in his eyes. "Will you please stay with me? I don't want to be alone," he pleaded, tears now flowing freely down his cheeks.

Kyle smiled warmly and said, "Anything for you Sunshine." He wrapped Jamie even tighter in a hug; not worrying or even caring that Jamie's urine-soaked pants were pressed against his, or that he could feel the wetness seeping through the fabric of his jeans.

They released each other from their hug; Jamie wiped his eyes and then kicked his shoes off sending them near the mat by the door to his room. He pulled his dirty wet clothes off, threw them in the basket, and walked to the bathroom. Kyle sat on the cedar chest watching over his special friend as Jamie walked towards the bathroom, noting that the young boy had more scars on his body than he had realized. He pulled his shirt up and using the mirror in the armoire looked at the cuts that had been inflicted on his body by his former parents, few in number only as compared to those on Jamie. Sighing, Kyle thought to himself, '... and I thought I had it rough'.

A sudden thudding on the stairs let Kyle know the others were coming upstairs as well. Not wanting them to barge into Jamie's room unexpectedly and scare his friend, he got up and slid the little chain in place to secure the door. Kyle then heard Swift follow Eric into his room and smiled. He wondered if those two would figure out that they were also meant to be together.

Kyle spotted the Druhull book on Jamie's desk; he picked it up and sat down on the cedar chest and started to flip through the pages. He was impressed by the writing; many of the words being beyond his vocabulary since he was not the best of readers. Far more so however, Kyle was impressed that Jamie made the effort to continue to read even while on the streets.

The water in the bathroom eventually shut off; soon the knob on the bathroom door turned. Jamie walked out with nothing on and went over to the dresser. He pulled out a T-shirt and briefs, and looking over his shoulder saw Kyle still flipping through the book.

"I forgot to get clean clothes," Jamie smiled, as he headed back to the bathroom.

Kyle looked up as Jamie spoke smiling at the smaller boy. Seeing the scars again, he said, "Can you come here a second?"

Jamie looked at Kyle, feeling a bit unsure of himself as he stood there with nothing on; his T-shirt and underwear still in his hand. Slowly he approached Kyle, who then gently took Jamie's hand and turned him so that he could see his back. Jamie trembled a little wondering what was going on and about to happen.

Kyle touched one of Jamie's scars lightly with a fingertip making Jamie flinch, then he said, "I'm sorry do they still hurt?"

"No, it's just … well … I thought you were going to hit me," Jamie said softly, hanging his head down.

"I would never hurt you Sunshine," Kyle replied. "You look really tense, would you like a shoulder rub like I gave you the other day down at the gatehouse?"

Jamie still facing away, sat down on the floor in front of Kyle who was still sitting on the chest. The younger boy scooted up between Kyle's legs and got himself comfortable. He looked back and up into Kyle's face and smiled and thereby answered Kyle's question without saying a word.

Kyle placed his hands on Jamie's shoulders and once again he felt Jamie flinch slightly at the contact. Jamie then started to become calmer as Kyle began to rub his shoulders. Kyle felt the tension starting to leave as Jamie became more relaxed. Goosebumps started to form on Jamie's body as Kyle's hands worked their magic relaxing and relieving the tension in his body. It had another affect on Jamie as well, and he shifted his hands to his lap. Kyle noticed the movement and smiled; he felt the same way, even to feeling the increasing tightness in his underwear. Jamie laid his head back into Kyle's lap and looked up into Kyle's face smiling. Jamie let out a long sigh, shivering slightly from the goose bumps that still covered his body.

Looking up into Kyle's hazel eyes, Jamie said, "I love you, Kyle."

It was the first time that Jamie had ever spoken those words to anyone. In that moment however, Jamie knew deep down that he really might know how to love someone in spite of all that had happened to him in his short life. In that instant all Jamie knew was that he loved Kyle more than anything or anyone.

Kyle stopped rubbing Jamie's shoulders for a moment, caressed the side of Jamie's face with his hand, and said, "I know Sunshine, I think I have known for a while."

In Eric's room, Swift stood waiting while Eric took his shirt off. One of the buckles on his leather jerkin had bent during their escape from danger, and Eric could not work it loose. Swift tried several times to help and he too was unable to get the buckle to work.

"It just won't budge, Eric. I'm going to have to cut it off," said Swift.

Eric replied, "Okay, just do it. I'm soaked under this thing; I even feel like I'm peeing my pants with all the sweat running down my front and back."

Swift giggled at Eric's graphic description of his predicament, then realizing what he had said Eric began to laugh as well. Swift left the room for a moment in order to get a small knife so that he could cut the troublesome strap loose. Eric stood waiting and finally he stripped off his soaked pants and sticky wet underwear, and was letting the air dry him and hopefully cool him off a bit as well.

Swift soon returned and got Eric to turn around so that he could get at the buckle that had been causing the problem. He then quickly cut the leather strap freeing Eric from the leather jerkin. Eric tossed it on the floor and pulled the under tunic off, dropping it on the floor next to the jerkin. He finally breathed a sigh of relief.

"You Okay, Bud?" Swift asked.

"Yeah, man that gets hot if you run!" Eric commented. "I really need a shower now. Whew, that sure makes you stink," he added, referring to the leather jerkin. There was something about the combination of oils and sweat that would make any wearer of it smell; it was typical of all armour.

Swift replied, "Yeah I do too, wait 'til you run with adamant armour on. I'll come back after a bit so you can wash up, we've got a good hour before dinner; I can teach you some good moves with your sword. Or we can play a game."

"A game sounds cool to me," Eric replied with a smile.

Swift left and headed for his room. When he got there he opened the door and started to get ready for his own shower. Swift thought to himself how close Kyle and Jamie had become, and he wondered if he would ever find that. His mind drifted back to Eric who had been standing there with nothing on but a bit of armour, and he smiled. Maybe it was Eric he would find a life with; much as he was sure that Kyle and Jamie would be together forever.

In his head Swift then heard the voice of Jamie's companion. It was just a single word again: "Done."

Jamie had dozed off sitting on the floor, leaning back, his head still in Kyle's lap. Kyle stopped rubbing Jamie's shoulders and reaching down he carefully picked his young friend up and placed him on the bed. He laid down next to his Sunshine, and watched as Jamie breathed slowly, in and out, complete peace spread over his small face. Kyle hoped that peace would last. He thought about all the things Jamie had spoken of, and nodded inwardly acknowledging that Jamie had certainly had a rough time of late. Feeling sticky from running, not to mention his pants smelling of Jamie's urine, Kyle stood up, took his clothes off, and walked into Jamie's bathroom to wash.

Kyle stood under the warm water relaxing and thinking about how close his Sunshine had come to being seriously hurt. Kyle vowed to himself then and there that he would never let anyone hurt his Little Sunshine again.

As Kyle made the silent vow he heard Jamie's companion speak: "Done."

Kyle finished his shower and realized that he had nothing clean to put on. Shrugging his shoulders over the inconsequential matter he went and laid down next to Jamie. In short order he was sound asleep and Jamie had rolled and laid his head on Kyle's arm.

A gentle knock on the door roused Kyle from his dream; he looked around and noticed he was still lying next to Jamie. Both had drifted off into a much-needed nap. Jamie had curled up close to Kyle his teddy bear squished between both boys. Kyle tried to move, but realized that Jamie had wrapped a leg in his and that his arm was now under Jamie's back. He could feel a few tingles in his hand and knew that it had been under Jamie for some time; it was not a cause for concern however as it would wake up once freed and Kyle moved it about.

The knock came again a bit louder this time and Kyle spoke quietly, "Come in."

The door opened only a couple of inches and Swift said, "You've got the chain on."

Kyle swore under his breath, while trying his best to not wake Jamie up, replied, "Can you slip it off with a knife or something?"

Quickly surmising that Kyle must have been sleeping with Jamie and realizing that somehow Jamie was laying on Kyle in a way that meant he could not move, Swift responded, "I'll be right back."

In the meantime, Jamie having heard the sounds and felt Kyle's aborted attempts at movement, decided to play as if he were still sleeping and see if he might be able get a laugh out of the situation. He rolled even further over against Kyle, shifting his leg so that it covered Kyle's thigh and placed an arm over Kyle's neck as well. Jamie then added a soft 'Mmmm' sound as if he were deep in a dream.

A few moments later Swift was back at the door, he pulled it almost closed, and spoke quietly while placing a hand on the door. Kyle could no longer look in the direction of the door, but he felt the draw of energy as he heard the chain wiggle and slide free. Swift then opened the door and the scene presented itself: Jamie half-smothering Kyle in a feigned deep sleep, and the two boys at the door smiled and began to giggle. Kyle felt his face flushing at the rather compromising situation. Suddenly this was compounded when Jamie lifted his head, planted a kiss on Kyle's nose, and opened his eyes saying, "Hi there!"

Jamie pulled his arm back and let Kyle sit up; Kyle did not know whether to laugh or cry at that moment. Although more self-assured than Jamie, he too had a somewhat fragile sense of himself. Swift finally broke the tension saying, "Sorry to wake you guys, Mum said dinner is almost ready."

Jamie lying on his back suddenly realized that he had nothing on, as well as another small problem; he quickly grabbed a towel and covered himself. None of the boys at the door said anything, as both of their friends lay there on the bed. Jamie could not help also noticing that Kyle was in the same state that he was, and trying his best to hide the evidence.

"Sorry I was so sleepy. did I hear right? Dinner is ready?" Jamie asked, hoping that no one would make an issue out of the fact that both he and Kyle had been laying in bed together with nothing on. He sat up with the towel over his lap and his teddy in a tight hug.

"Yeah, dinner is about ready. Mom called up and when I checked Kyle's room he wasn't there, so I knew he'd be with you," Swift replied evenly, being considerate enough to not laugh or giggle. He knew that Jamie was very self-conscious about his body, and the fact that both he and Kyle had been laying in bed together with nothing on would not help the situation.

"Jamie was still a bit scared and asked me to stay with him. He fell asleep, so I just showered in his bathroom. I came out, sat on the bed, and next thing I know I'm curled up sleeping with Sunshine here. I guess we were more worn out than we thought," Kyle added, making sure to keep his voice calm fearing Jamie might crawl back into the shell he had finally started to come out of.

"S'okay, Swift and I fell asleep in my big comfy chair. He had to cut the strap on the jerkin so I could get out of it. I was so hot I took everything off that I could. I felt a bit silly standing there in just a piece of leather armour," Eric said with a giggle catching on quickly to not embarrass Jamie.

This got everyone giggling. Kyle stood up, bent down to pick up his dirty clothing, and said, "Guess I'd better go get some clean clothes on." He then started to head for the door; Swift and Eric following him out shutting the door so that Jamie could have some privacy.

Jamie got up, thought about what had just happened, and decided that maybe he was going to really be okay. Nobody had said or done anything; nobody had yelled at him for being naked, let alone naked with someone else in the same bed. Maybe what Swift had said was true, 'What goes on behind closed doors, is only those people's business'. He looked around and found his clean underwear on the floor, still lying where he had dropped them, and started to get dressed. All the while, he remained in awe over the unusual combination of events that had occurred during the last couple of hours.

He sat down after getting dressed, his mind still wandering. He heard a knock at the door and almost to his own surprise, he said, "Come on in."

Kyle opened the door, and was a bit surprised; Jamie was usually very afraid of opening the door due to his past. He asked, "Hey Sunshine, did you have a nice nap? I sure did."

Jamie smiled, "It was great. Sorry I wrapped you up like that, I thought it'd be funny."

"Well, it was cute, and I enjoyed it. I was more surprised by that kiss on the nose though," Kyle added, this time leaving Jamie to blush a bit.

"I'm sorry …" said Jamie, starting to look down at his feet.

Kyle rushed over to hug him and said, "No, don't be sorry; I really loved it. I know what it meant to you, and it really did surprise me and made me so very happy as well."

Jamie sniffled a couple of times, then said, "Thanks, I just figured you would be mad at me for that. I've never done anything like that before."

"I could never be mad at my Sunshine. You mean the world to me, if anything ever happened to you I think I would rather die than go on living," Kyle proclaimed.

Jamie's eyes teared up once again – this time with tears of joy. He had never felt so safe and so happy in his short life than he did today. It seemed over the last few days that Kyle had saved his life several times, and he was certain that Kyle really did care for him. He just did not know how deep those feelings went, and nor the fact that they went both ways.

"We should go, before they send a search party thinking we got lost in bed again," Kyle joked.

Jamie giggled, "Yeah, and the periscopes are down now." This gained a huge laugh from Kyle who understood all too well what Jamie was referring to.

"That was funny Sunshine," replied Kyle, with a large smile. Then turning his back and bending down so that Jamie could jump on asked, "Wanna ride?"

Jamie hopped up and Kyle carried him down to the dining room where the others were already sitting at the table awaiting their arrival. Kyle pulled Jamie's seat out and let him slide down onto the chair. Then he pushed him up to the table and sat down next to him. The others said nothing, but everyone was smiling.

"Sorry we're late," Kyle said quietly.

"No need to apologize son," Thondir replied. "We knew after the events this afternoon that you would be drained, and that Little One needed to be looked after; I know he was badly frightened. You did the right thing staying with him in his time of need. I am very proud of you."

"It smells good, what are we having?" Jamie chimed in, as a rumble was heard in the dining room, which got him a look from everyone. He grinned, adding, "All that running made me hungry."

Everyone laughed; the plates were passed. The food on the table looked good, with a large roast as the centrepiece. Thondir sliced pieces off as he asked how everyone liked theirs cut: he would take their plate, place the meat on it, then hand it back. Soon the small talk began around the table. The food was always good, of course to Eric and Jamie anything was better than the usual dumpster fare they were used to.

"I heard the voice again, Father," Swift said hesitantly, thinking he might have to reveal his feelings for Eric openly.

Kyle added, "I heard it as well; I had just made a declaration, and the voice said, 'Done'."

Swift looked a bit relieved. He thought maybe that was why he had heard it, but he knew in his heart that it was the feelings he had for Eric which had brought the voice. Nonetheless, he also thought it meant something about Kyle and Jamie, since he was thinking of them at the same time.

"That is interesting. Did anyone else hear it?" asked Thondir.

Everyone shook their heads negatively to the question. Thondir then asked, "Was it something specific to you Swift, were you thinking something in particular? Or was it just Kyle and his declaration, and only the two of you heard it."

"I was thinking about Eric … as well as Kyle and Jamie. To be honest, it was about how they are getting along so well, then the voice said, 'Done'. I think it means something, but I'm not sure what Father," Swift replied.

Thondir caught the deeper meaning of what Swift had said, knowing that his son was beginning to have feelings for Eric and he let it slide. Thondir then said, "That makes sense: the declaration and your thoughts, then the voice saying it was 'done'. I think I understand the meaning behind this.

"When you declare something it is an event, and it is something that The Light wants done. It needs to be accomplished for the final event."

Eric interrupted, "I think I get it. Every time we complete a task we're one step closer to the big event. This may not make sense, but I think light wants all good events, like Kyle's declaration. I'm sure without guessing it was to protect Jamie. The voice knew Kyle was meant to be Jamie's protector, so he said 'Done'."

Everyone's jaws hung open for a second, what Eric had just said was probably the most correct answer they had ever had. Brúndaer looked at Eric and smiled, "Eric you have more going for you than you know. You are quite wise and a good puzzle solver. I think you have just found a key we desperately needed. This should make the tasks easier, knowing that when someone hears 'done,' that a task was performed correctly, and completed. Very good job, Son."

Eric blushed, he was not used to being praised. His home life had been more about being tossed into a room with only a mattress and some rags to sleep with; when fortunate a small box of broken crayons and newspaper to colour on. His older brother was treated like a king, and he was the trash left for the dogs. His brother had tortured him, using him as a toy when he wanted to have a release; by hurting him, or lying about something, just so his brother could get his father involved in the beating that would soon follow.

His blush soon turned to tears as he thought about his past; up until that moment nobody had ever praised him or told him that he was wise, let alone telling him that he was smart. Swift reacted quickly and placed a hand on Eric's. Swift knew from what Eric had told him recently, as well as from things he had mentioned while on the streets, most everything that Eric had been through in his thirteen years of life.

"I'm so sorry, Eric," said Swift gently. "I know those tears are a mix of pain and joy. You're safe here. Yes, there are troubled times ahead for all of us, but I have a feeling we're going to win, and in more ways than one. I promise you this: no one will ever hurt you again. On my life, this I swear."

"Done."

They all heard the voice that time, and it confirmed what Eric had said. Eric's tears subsided, as he realized he had been correct. He started to smile again as the worst was over. He smiled at everyone and said, "I guess that means I got it right."

"You should be real proud, Son," Gwinis replied. "Never underestimate yourself. Just because others told you something, it does not mean you are that, or that it is even true. There is much about you that is good, that should have been said to you. Eric you are smart; you just have not had the opportunity to learn and grow. We will help you with that. That goes for all of you boys."

"That's right Eric, you are special. Your family may not have thought so, but everyone around this table does," said Brúndaer. "You have a new family now, and we will never put you down, nor will we ever use you."

"Thanks. I'm just so used to being the dummy. I don't know much; I never thought I would amount to anything," Eric said, still feeling emotional.

"Well you're somebody to me," Swift said, before realizing the full implications he just revealed with his words.

Eric caught part of the meaning, but not fully; it would come to him soon enough. He then added, "Thanks, Swift. That means a lot to me. My other brother hated me, and I know you all care about me. I can feel it, and it feels good."

"Before dinner gets much colder maybe we should finish and then continue this discussion a bit later," Aunt Faervel said with a smile.

Everyone laughed, and even though the small talk continued, dinner was soon finished. Jamie got up, picked up his plates, and walked them back into the kitchen. Gwinis took them and said, "Thank you, sweetie, you are so kind."

"No problem, Mom. I like to help out," he replied.

The rest of the boys then did the same; seeing as Jamie was doing it, and had done it before, they felt they should all help. It was part of their learning process, part of what good families do. With everything cleared away, they left the kitchen and dining room and walked into the parlour. Everyone got comfortable on the chairs and sofas; Jamie lay down on a fuzzy rug in the middle of the floor and looked up at the ceiling. He noted the intricate mouldings, and how the paint blended so perfectly as he looked about.

"Well we seem to have figured out what your friend is doing Jamie," Lornen began. "I think now, while it will not be a countdown since we do not know the precise number of times it will happen, it does let us know that certain tasks have been completed. Thanks to Eric's insight, it has solved one mystery. Now we just have a few hundred more to figure out."

"So, was what I cut with my sword really a part of Groxocho?" Kyle enquired.

"That is hard to say, since over time belief was lost and demons faded into memory, we do not have much information on them. We had thought they were all dormant, just waiting until their end days. Now, we need to contact other preserves and find out if they have any unusual activities going on that they might not understand. As a matter of fact, the time is right and I should excuse myself; it is afternoon and even morning in some of the places I need to contact," finished Lornen, standing up and excusing himself from the room and heading for the study.

Thondir then spoke, "Lornen is right. And now a warning: unless you are in specific areas like visiting the Dryads, or here on the property around the house, Kyle and Swift, make sure Eric and Jamie are certain of the boundaries of our property here. And most importantly, do not speak of any of the events outside these areas. If the demons are more alert than we had previously thought, they may be able to hear anything you say outside these protected locations."

"If I may," said Orrian, "Once I leave in the morning I am going to begin making enquiries. For now, I would like to excuse myself and get the ball rolling on some of the other things we spoke of earlier. I think it is of the utmost importance we find out who is running this gang. I know from the information I have gleaned from one of the other protectors, this is not a normal gang symbol – it was not found in any database."

Thondir replied, "Orrian, you are welcome to use our phone in the study. It is a secure line; most do not know it. The number for incoming calls is written on the first card in the Rolodex on the desk. Feel free to make as many calls as you need to."

"Thank you, that will save me a lot of time. I will also leave a list of numbers for some of the lesser known protectors with you, they will have to become more active now," Orrian replied. He then stood and left the room for the study.

Thondir started again, "Okay, we now have several plans in action. Now we know what has happened up until this point in time, and we now have a very specific goal to achieve … that is to find this orb that the Voice spoke of. Jamie, your love of reading will help us a lot, I am going to point you to some journals written by a former caretaker who loved to wander and travel. I think you will be able to glean much information from his books."

"Can we ask others? Like the faeries and stuff," Jamie queried.

Thondir thought a moment before replying, "If anyone should ask you questions, I would stay vague; even if they know something, we should not hand out information too freely. We could easily feed it to the other side without us knowing it. Better still, should anyone know to ask, they should probably not be given an answer and everyone should be told of any enquires that others might make. This is just a precaution. An afterthought to that: gather information, but do not give any out."

"Jamie, can you help me learn to read?" Eric asked, a bit sheepishly. "I'd love to learn and maybe I can help out."

Jamie stood up and walked over to Eric, gave him a hug, and said, "I'd be honoured, and the more help, the more clues we might find."

"How about me? I was looking at the Druhull book in your room, and I could barely understand it," Kyle asked.

"Kyle, I would do anything for you. Consider both of your educations to begin in the morning," said Jamie smiling, feeling very proud he had been asked to help others.

"I think while you are giving lessons, I will help Lornen and Orrian with their calls. There are some people I can talk with, as well as some on other preserves," Swift added. "I think I can help with the reading as well. If you get stuck Jamie, just ask."

Brúndaer spoke, "Well it seems we now have a plan and a goal to reach. I think we can officially say the quest has begun in earnest. If you boys need any help with anything do not hesitate to ask us. We know it will take you some time to get used to the idea that adults can be helpful due to your pasts. I just want to make sure you understand here and now: none of us will ever raise a hand towards you or hurt you in any way. I am sure you may have heard this before, and the words may sound hollow, but after some time you will see and you will find that we have never lied to you.

"I guess that concludes business. If you would like you can start diving into the dusty old books on the shelf, or you can go have fun and begin on the morrow," Brúndaer finished.

"I'm still a bit worn out after that run," Jamie said, as he stretched and yawned on the rug he was laying on.

"Maybe we should all relax the rest of today," Swift said, the chain reaction of Jamie's yawns catching him as well.

Jamie remained laying on the floor while the others got up and started to wander off in different directions; he stared at the ceiling deep in thought. Kyle sat in a small easy chair and watched him. Jamie had this intensity when he was thinking; one could almost see the gears spinning when his mind wandered off, over time Kyle began to inwardly name him 'The Thinker' when he would look off in the distance like that. He oft times wondered what Jamie was thinking of in moments like this.

"What's on your mind, Sunshine?" he eventually asked.

"I was just thinking ... Swift heard the voice and mentioned he thought it was something you said, but then he mentioned Eric also. I think he was thinking more of him being with Eric than either of us, and the voice was making sure he knew it by saying 'Done'," Jamie replied.

"You could be right. He seemed a bit unwilling to say everything. I think Dad noticed it, and was polite enough to let it be. I somehow think Mom and Dad know more about all us kids than they're saying," Kyle said, with a wink.

Jamie giggled, "You're probably right. They seem to know things we don't. I think that's also part of being Elvish, an awareness that others don't have. They can also see into the future – it's not exact, but they get impressions of things that may happen."

"Wow, did you get that from all the books here?" Kyle asked.

"No, a lot of books in the old library in town have some stuff about a lot of the whimsical beings. Not everything; the Druhull book covers much more. You also have to sort a lot of the fact from the fiction, there's a lot of that in those books as well," Jamie added.

"Well I hope I can learn to read as good as you, cause I would love to learn more," Kyle said, truly meaning it. The more he thought about things like faeries and dragons, as well as other beings, the more he wanted to learn.

"You can. It's easy once you understand some of the details. I have hard times because of being dyslexic," said Jamie.

"What is that exactly?" Kyle asked.

"There are different forms of it. Some letters look funny to some people, and some like me see letters and they can be backwards; like a lower case 'd', I can see it, and think it is a 'p' or even a 'b', or vice-versa. Sometimes when I write, I spell the words with the letters in the wrong place as well. When I do write certain letters like a 'd, b, p, or q,' I do it in upper case. I'll show you, let's go to my room."

"Okay, then maybe after we can do something fun," said Kyle, winking at him. Jamie blushed slightly; there was a lot that could qualify as 'fun' in Kyle's statement.

They ran upstairs and headed for Jamie's room. Kyle's education was about to begin; Jamie's as well. They both knew it was going to be a fun night. They heard noises coming from Eric's room and figured either they were busy playing a game or possibly doing something else. Jamie opened his door, ran in, and jumped on the bed. Kyle followed him in, a smile on his face.

"Got some music we can listen to?" Jamie asked, having begun to like the music that Kyle enjoyed so much.

"Yeah I do Sunshine. Can you survive five minutes without me?" Kyle joked back.

Jamie pretended to think for a moment, then replied with a giggle, "No. Three minutes, tops."

Kyle was only gone a few moments and came back with a CD he knew that they would like. He showed Jamie the cover, and Jamie giggled at the image of a man standing there on fire.

"Looks like Nidhogg got to him!" he laughed.

"Yeah it does, great music though. I know you'll love this album as well," said Kyle with a smile.

They popped in the CD, which began to play, and the boys then sat down on the side of the bed. Jamie took a piece of paper and wrote out a note on it to show Kyle how he went about writing in order to compensate for his difficulty. Kyle was amazed that Jamie could even read given how poor his spelling was, but he also knew how determined his young friend could be. After explaining more about dyslexia to Kyle, Jamie grabbed a book and Kyle's reading lessons began. He started by having Kyle read a passage; helping him with words he got stuck on by teaching him how to slowly sound them out, and correcting him as he made mistakes. As they went along, they also listened to the music as it continued. Jamie heard the phrase 'Crazy Diamond' several times, and thought to himself that that might be a good pet name to give Kyle.

A knock on the door shook Jamie out of his thoughts and also broke up the reading lesson. Jamie responded by calling out, "Come in!" This impressed Kyle, given how easily frightened Jamie could sometimes be. The door opened and Thondir stood there.

"Hi Pop," Jamie said a smile on his face. "What's up?"

"I need all you boys to come with me for a minute. Everything is fine, no need to worry," Thondir said. Swift and Eric could be seen standing behind Thondir in the hallway; Eric giving a quick wave to Jamie.

"Okay, let's go Kyle. It sounds important!" Jamie said, quickly jumping off the bed, Kyle following right after him.

They walked along the hall, then down the sets of stairs towards the kitchen, and out onto the back porch where the rest of the adults were waiting. Eric and Jamie stared open-mouthed when they saw Fáfnir and Nidhogg sitting on the ground looking down at them with two other dragons next to them. One was a brilliant white; his scales reflected the sunlight and shimmered in a rainbow of colours, not unlike Mother of Pearl. He was smaller and somewhat younger than the two dragons the boys had met earlier. The top of his head had four black horns: two going straight back, and two curling and pointing upwards; a fifth and sixth horn on his snout made him look somewhat like a rhinoceros. In spite of this however, his head had a streamlined appearance. His wings, which were partially folded next to his body, seemed almost translucent in the air. Jamie looked at him, almost mesmerized, and started to walk off the porch towards him.

The dragon bowed his head down as Jamie reached a hand out and touched the dragon on the snout. "You must be here for me," he said calmly.

"Fáfnir was correct about you, Little One. You shine with energy and I can feel it in your touch," the dragon replied. "My name is Nilanth the Just; my Father is well known. I have accepted the duty of protecting you with my life: if such be the need."

"Thank you," said Jamie. "It will be an honour to have you as my protector, Nilanth the Just."

The dragon then raised himself up on his rear legs and let out a roar. During the roar white flames came out of his mouth, but instead of feeling heat the air chilled and snow fell. Jamie held his hands up and let the snow land on them.

Eric stood there in awe watching Jamie greet his dragon, and yet his eyes were drawn to the other dragon that was sitting alongside Nilanth. His head looked like that of a lion and was gilded in green feathers; his shiny green scales looked like feathers as well. He looked directly at Eric with his golden eyes and Eric stood almost frozen in position.

"Are you my protector?" he finally asked, sounding a bit nervous, while taking a few tentative steps down the porch and towards the large green dragon.

"Yes Eric. I am Kamirth Lord of the Green. I am to be your protector," said Kamirth.

All a stunned Eric could say after that was one word …

"AWESOME!"

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