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From this chapter forward, Skylan will be referred to as "Sky", his nickname, to save me considerable time.
Sky was still asleep. The Thomas family stood around his bed; they had just arrived and let themselves into his room. As he watched him sleep, Harry realised that he had made the right choice the previous night. He knew he would do anything to protect Sky.
As Cody looked down upon Sky, his heart burst with the love he had for him. He figured that since he had told his parents, and his brother didn't seem to mind, he'd wake Sky up in a special way.
He leaned down until his face was millimetres from Sky's. He then placed his lips against Sky's in a sweet, soft kiss. Slowly, Sky's eyes fluttered open. He took in the situation around him, realised that Harry and Linda were standing over his bed. He looked and saw Kane sitting in a chair next to the bed, looking as though he had only just woken up.
Sky looked up at Cody and smiled, "Morning, Cody. Am I to assume you told your parents?"
Cody smiled back at him and said, "What does it look like?"
Sky looked at Harry and Linda. "So, you don't have a problem with this? I mean, me being in love with your son, and him loving me?"
Linda leaned in and kissed Sky on the forehead. "No, honey. We think it's wonderful that you and Cody have found each other. To find true love is a wonderful thing, and we both hope that you and Cody are happy together for many years to come."
Sky smiled, then got up out of bed, straightened his hospital gown, and extended his hand to Harry. "Mr. Thomas, sir. I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Skylan, and I'm your son's boyfriend."
Harry was shocked for a second, and Sky thought he had made a mistake; until Harry took Sky's hand, shook it a few times, and then pulled Sky into a big hug. "I'm VERY pleased to have met you Skylan. Even after all you've been through recently, you are still a well-mannered boy. You have my full support on your relationship with my son, and I wish you the best."
Sky's eyes became teary as he hugged Harry back tighter. He looked over to Cody, and saw that he was getting teary-eyed as well. He broke his hug with Harry, walked over to Cody, wrapped his arms around his waist and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Cody.", before kissing him,
When the kiss broke, Cody whispered back, "I love you too, Sky."
Just then, Harry spoke up. "Guys, I hate to say this; but Cody, you do have school today. We'll give you 5 more minutes."
"Okay dad. There's just something I need to take care of, and I'd like everyone here to see it. Sky, baby. I remember you telling me on the first day that we met, that you ended up in the hospital on your birthday. I decided that since I missed your birthday, I had to get you a birthday present. Now, I know that you would get bored here in hospital without me around, so I brought you this." And with that, Cody handed Sky the iPod Mini he had been given the night before. "I loaded it up with all my songs in my collection. It took me all night. I hope you like it." he said as he bit his bottom lip.
Sky's eyes again became teary, and he pulled Cody into a tight hug, and peppered him with kisses. "Thank you, Cody. This is the best present anyone has ever given me. God, I love you so much!"
After a few minutes, Sky pulled back from Cody, wiping the tears from his eyes. He looked to Harry and Linda. "You have a beautiful son, and I love him even more than I thought I could."
Linda smiled at the boys. "Actually, Cody surprised even us with this idea. We only gave him the iPod last night. He obviously loves you very much, if he was willing to give you such a thoughtful gift."
Sky looked to Cody in shock. "Cody, baby, I can't accept this. Your parents gave it to you, as a present! Me taking this would just be wrong."
Cody silenced Sky's protests by placing a finger over his lips. "Shhh ... baby. My parents gave me the iPod as a 'coming out' present. That makes it mine to do with whatever I want. What I want is to give it to you as a late birthday present. Please accept it as the gift I gave it as. Now I have to go to school, but I'll be thinking of you all day, and I'll see you after school. I love you." With that, Cody softly kissed Sky on the lips. After that, the Thomas family, including Kane, all gave Sky a hug and left his room, to go about their daily business.
Linda left her family to move on to their destinations. She then walked up to the reception desk. "Excuse me. I'm looking for Dr. Campbell's office. Can you tell me where to find it?" she asked the nurse at the desk.
"What is this in regards to?" the male nurse asked.
"The boy in Room 319. My name is Linda Thomas, Director of Starfleet Youth Services Oceania. My department is helping the boy, due to the signs of long-term abuse." Linda said as she flashed the nurse her Starfleet ID.
"Of course. Dr. Campbell's office is on this floor, Office 32. Down that corridor, third door on the left."
"Thank you." Linda said, then made her way down the corridor. She found the door with the sign, 'Dr. Alfred Campbell' and knocked. Dr. Campbell answered the door and was surprised at who he found on the other side.
"Linda. What a surprise to see you here. How are you? Have you found anything about the boy?" he asked Linda, as he offered her a seat.
Linda sat down and waited until Dr. Campbell was seated before speaking. "Technically we haven't found out much about Skylan's past. I would however, like to ask if it is possible to take Skylan out this evening for a meal."
"Well, I see no problems in that at all. As a matter of fact, from what I can see in his records, Skylan appears to be able to leave the hospital as soon as authorities have a placement for him. DOCS(1) is currently working on finding a foster care family to place Skylan in. If they can't find one, I'm afraid he'll have to be placed in a care home." Dr. Campbell said with a hint of regret.
"That's where you're wrong, doctor. I have with me in my bag a Starfleet Medical tricorder. Since you have informed me that he can leave the hospital, it's time to spring a surprise for him. I also have a document I would like you to see. This is to be placed into the hospital's database, and a copy sent to every doctor in the hospital that handles cases involving any child." She handed the document on the Safe Haven Act to Dr. Campbell, then pulled her tricorder and a flash disk out of her laptop case.
"Would you mind if I make a call on your communications console? It is in relation to that document. I need to contact Director Teri Short of Federation Youth Services and get her assistance in using the Act for the first time in this region." Linda asked the doctor.
"That will be fine. Let me see if I understand. If you invoke this Act on Skylan's behalf, then the Federation takes responsibility for his welfare until he turns eighteen. All that's needed for this to be invoked is a Federation representative and a suitable foster care family? Isn't this just like the current foster care system?" Dr. Campbell was sceptical of the possibility that this was the answer to their problem.
"Actually, this is the first Law that has helped children on a Federation-wide level. Soon, all Oceanic-region schools, hospitals and child-care facilities will have a means to help children who are stuck in bad home environments. By the end of this month, Youth Services Oceania will have SHA-trained liaisons located at all facilities that help children regularly." Linda said in a firm tone, as though she were making a vow.
"That will be helpful indeed. I've seen far too many cases of abuse against children caused by the parents of the child." Dr. Campbell said as he logged onto the communications console. "Here you go, Linda. Do you wish for me to leave the room?"
"No. Could you page Nurses Gutierrez and Muller while I organise everything? I have a feeling that I may need the testimonies of you and them for the following proceedings." Linda said as she entered the console commands to contact Starfleet Oceania HQ.
"Of course. I'll go to the reception desk and call them while you organise things. Be right back." And with that, the doctor left the office to call Luisa and Sarah.
Soon, the blank screen of the console was replaced by a male Lieutenant. "Starfleet Oceania. How may I direct your terminal?" he asked.
"Could you please put me through to Starfleet Central HQ? Inform them that it is a matter regarding Youth Services." Linda said, taking on her professional manner.
"Certainly. Please hold while I transfer you." And with that, the screen went blank again, only to be replaced by a female Ensign.
"Starfleet Central. How may I assist you?" the Ensign asked.
"This is Director Linda Thomas of Youth Services Oceania. I would like to be put in contact with Director Teri Short of Youth Services. Is it possible to be put in contact with her? It regards the Safe Haven Act."
"Please hold, Director. I'll try to contact her for you."
Teri Short was sitting at her desk in her office, going over the paperwork for the latest new residents of Camp Little Eagle, when her communications console chimed.
"Youth Services; Director Short." she said as she activated the terminal.
"Director Short. I have a Linda Thomas from Starfleet Oceania awaiting transfer. Will you accept the transfer?" asked the female Ensign.
"Put them through. Also, log and trace the call, just in case. Put it through on my command." Teri said as she hit the "All Call" button on the house intercom unit. "Cory, Sean, Dan, John and Austin, please come to my office NOW. I have a feeling something big is about to go down."
Once the group was assembled in her office, Teri turned her attention back to the terminal. "Okay, Ensign, put the call through." The screen went blank for a moment, then Linda's face came on screen. "This is Director Short. May I ask what this is regarding?"
"Of course; my name is Linda Thomas. I am Director of Starfleet Youth Services Oceania. I am calling in regards to applying the Safe Haven Act." Linda replied. She scanned her Starfleet ID into the console, so her credentials would display on Teri's screen.
"Director Thomas? Oh yes. I remember now. I had to approve of your appointment to the regional office. How can I assist you, Director?" Teri asked.
"Director Short. I have been led to believe that you are the world's foremost expert on the Safe Haven Act. Is this correct?" Linda asked.
"I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I do know most of the Act, having had to use it many times in the past, thanks to these two." Teri said, pointing to Cory and Sean, who both tried, and failed to imitate a pair of angels.
"Oh believe me, I know how boys can be. I have two of them myself. By the end of this call, that may be increased to three." Linda said with a smile.
"Oh my; these two must be contagious. Well let's get started then." Teri said.
"While we're waiting for the rest of my witnesses, please, could you tell me as much as you can about the Safe Haven Act? I know what it is, but I'm unsure about it's invocation."
"Well, to invoke the Safe Haven Act, all you need is proof of the need to invoke it, then it's a matter of finding a suitable placement for the child. After that, a Starfleet Officer or Youth Services representative must be present for the invocation to be official, and a log must be kept in the Federation Youth Services database. Do you know if the Act been used in the Oceanic region?"
"As far as I've found, the Act hasn't been used in this region. This will be the first use of it. After this, however, I'm placing Youth Services liaisons at all facilities that deal with children on a regular occurrence." Linda said with conviction.
"An excellent idea. Now, since you are Director of Youth Services Oceania, you have full authority over placements and other important factors, such as medical needs for the children. Do you have a Regional Medical department and a Mental Health department set up yet?" Teri asked.
"Not yet. We've been looking for a Mental Health Director for some time now, and all the possible Medical Directors have not been suitable for work around children."
"No problem. Dr. Daniel Richardson and Dr. Austin Michaels are going to contact you to help you fill the positions. Ah, I see the rest of your party have arrived." Teri said, as Dr. Campbell and the nurses walked into the office.
Seeing this, Linda made the introductions on her side, "Director Short, I'd like for you to meet Dr. Alfred Campbell, Head of Paediatrics here at Royal Sydney Children's Hospital. Accompanying him are Nurses Sarah Muller, Head Nurse for Floor 3 here at the hospital and Luisa Gutierrez, the nurse who has been caring for the boy in question."
Teri then introduced her side of the comm-link, "I'm pleased to meet all of you. Here I have Dr. Daniel Richardson, Director of Mental Health for Youth Services; Dr. Austin Michaels, Director of Medical Services for Youth Services; and Commander John Martin, Starfleet Security Director of the Southeast North American Region. Next to them are two of my sons; Ensign Sean Short, Helm Division, USS Enterprise, and Cory Short, Patriarch of Clan Short, of the Family of Sarek, of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan. Cory also holds the rank of Ensign, he's an Engineer's Assistant aboard the USS Enterprise."
"Wow. That's quite a title there, young man." said Dr. Campbell. "I see the rumours of a teen aged Clan Patriarch are true. I am honoured to be talking to you."
"The honor is mutual, Doctor," Cory replied formally. "Your professional responsibilities require helping children in need. Titles are only recognition of the services you provide to society."
"Linda, let's begin the proceedings; get the hard part out of the way. Then we can trade stories." Teri said in an official tone. "Just begin logging on your tricorder; I'll provide assistance when you need it."
"Okay." Linda said, then activated the logging mode on her tricorder. "This is Director Linda Thomas, Director of Federation Youth Services Oceania. The following proceedings are for the invocation of the Federation Safe Haven Act on behalf of the minor child, Skylan Lampis, aged fourteen, and to determine the placement of said minor. Present at these proceedings are Dr. Alfred Campbell, Head of Pediatry at Royal Sydney Children's Hospital, Nurses Sarah Muller and Luisa Gutierrez. Also present, over communications network are Director Teri Short, Federation Youth Services; Dr. Daniel Richardson, Mental Health Director for Youth Services; Dr. Austin Michaels, Medical Director for Youth Services; Commander John Martin, Starfleet Security Director for the Southeast North American Region, Ensign Sean Short of the USS Enterprise, and Patriarch Cory Short of Clan Short of Vulcan."
Linda then looked around the group to make sure she hadn't missed anyone, then continued, "The child, Skylan, exhibits signs of severe physical and emotional abuse over a period of time. It is the opinion of the treatment staff caring for Skylan that it is not safe for him to return to his home environment. The following is a statement on Skylan's physical health, made by Dr. Alfred Campbell, the treating physician." Linda then motioned for Dr. Campbell to do his part.
Dr. Campbell stood up and began, "This is Dr. Alfred Campbell, Head of Pediatry at Royal Sydney Children's Hospital. At 10:30PM on the night of the 23rd of September this year, Skylan was brought into the hospital's OR with cuts and bruises covering 80% of his body. A team of doctors and nurses spent three hours stabilising the boy, and then he was placed into an ICU room. During the operation, I took note of the fact that many of the bruises appeared to be days old, and that the boy appeared to be suffering from amnesia. During his time here at the hospital, the boy has been quiet, regressive but polite. It is my opinion that his parents or people close to him have caused this damage." With that he sat down again.
"Dr. Campbell. Have you noticed any signs of the extent of the emotional abuse? The distress might need to be looked at immediately." Dan asked over the comm-link.
"The boy has been having nightmares every night since he arrived in the hospital, except the past two nights. Unfortunately, the resident psychologist hasn't been able to get anything out of the boy." Dr. Campbell said with regret.
"Linda, I'd like to examine the boy myself after the Act is invoked. With my recent experience with the new members of Clan Short, I have excellent insight into any issues which may occur." Dan said.
"That's fine with me. Contact my communicator any time this evening after 7, and we can arrange the details. The next person to speak is Nurse Sarah Muller, Head Nurse of Floor 3 of this hospital, where the boy is located." Linda then motioned for Sarah to continue.
Sarah stood up and addressed the group. "My name is Sarah Muller. I am Head Nurse of Floor 3 at Royal Sydney Children's Hospital. From the limited contact I have had with Skylan, it has become clear that he lived a very repressed life before the incident. He rarely asks for anything, and when he does, he is timid and fearful. In ten years of nursing, I have never seen such an extreme case of abuse. It is my medical opinion that Skylan is not safe in his home environment."
Sarah then said down as Linda said. "Next is Nurse Luisa Gutierrez, leading nurse for Skylan."
Luisa stood up and began her testimony. "My name is Luisa Gutierrez. I am the nurse responsible for the well being of Skylan during his stay at the hospital. In the time I have known Skylan, I have a similar opinion to Nurse Muller. The boy exhibits signs of repression throughout his life. He had also been malnourished for a short time when he was brought in, but that has since been addressed. I have seen a change in Skylan ever since Director Thomas and her family have been visiting him. I believe Skylan needs a loving environment, in order to overcome the problems he has faced in life. I don't believe his previous home environment was suitable for a child to grow up in." With that, Luisa sat back down.
"Director Thomas, I believe there is sufficient evidence to invoke the Safe Haven Act, Section 11.01 - Signs of Beating, Strangulation, and/or Physical Restraint. Would you do the honors?" Teri asked.
"Certainly. This is Linda Thomas, Director of Starfleet Youth Services Oceania. After reviewing statements made by Dr. Alfred Campbell, Sarah Muller and Luisa Gutierrez, along with an interview with the boy himself, to be kept in this case file, it is my opinion that the child's home life is unsuitable for a child's growth and maturity. Therefore, I hereby invoke the Federation Safe Haven Act, Section 11.01. In accordance with Article 68 Parts (a) and (b), substantiation is provided by included medical documentation and through the testimonies of the staff responsible for the medical treatment of the child. Placement will be as follows: the minor child, Skylan Lampis, aged fourteen, shall be placed with myself and my family, until he turns eighteen. This placement shall be considered temporary until such time as a psychiatric review can be completed. The child's surname shall be changed to 'Thomas' if he does so wish. A psychiatric review is to be completed by Dr. Daniel Richardson of Federation Youth Services at the earliest possible moment. So ends these proceedings." With that, Linda turned off the tricorder's logging function, then turned to the group on the screen in front of her.
"Thank you all for helping me to do this for Sky. If you ever get a chance to visit Australia, please accept our invitation to visit our family." Linda said with gratitude.
"No worries, Linda. I think you will have a few boys visit sometime soon. The Clan has been needing a vacation for some time now." Teri said with a chuckle.
"Director Thomas. If you need assistance with Skylan's amnesia, I must request you contact me immediately. I have personal experience with recovering memories and the issues that arise. Please instruct Skylan on the procedures for contacting me and inform him to do so any time day or night." Cory said.
"That goes for the both of us. Skylan is very lucky to have found a mom that is willing to go through all this for him." Sean said with a smile.
"Thank you, boys. That means a lot to me. I have always tried to provide for my boys. I hope this is the right thing to do." At that moment, Linda's communicator chimed.
"Commander Troy to Director Thomas"
"Please excuse me for a moment. I have to take this." Linda opened her communicator. "Director Thomas here. What have you got for me, Elena?"
"Linda, I have located Skylan's birth parents. I can apprehend them now. Where would you like them taken?" Elena Troy said over the comm-link.
"Take them to Youth Services and have them secured in an unused office. There's a bit of news I have to give them before they are arrested." Linda said. "I'll be there in about ten minutes. Thomas out." With that, Linda closed her communicator. She the looked to the viewscreen. "Well, I think everything's in order here. If I think of anything, can I contact you about it, Teri?"
"Of course, Linda. And congratulations. Skylan will be very happy I think. Good luck. Teri out." And with that, the viewscreen went blank.
"What just happened? Is Skylan going to be living with you now, Linda?" Luisa asked, while Sarah looked equally confused.
"Yep. As of now, Skylan lives with me and my family. However, I need you all to act normally around Sky. We're going to surprise him at dinner tonight. If you aren't busy, you are all invited to join us. It's the only way we can think of to thank you for looking after our new son so well." Linda said with a smile.
"Well, I'd love to join you. What time and where?" Dr. Campbell asked as Luisa and Sarah both nodded at the invitation.
"I'll call and let you know when we make the decision. It will most likely be a Pizza Hut somewhere. At least then, we're guaranteed that Sky and Cody will be full." Linda said with a chuckle. "So just wear casual clothing. Oh, by the way, do you have Sky's sizes noted anywhere. I was thinking of getting him some things from the mall before dinner. I don't think he'd fit in well wearing a hospital gown."
Once Linda had Sky's sizes, she bade farewell to the group and went upstairs to see Sky before finishing her errands.
Cody was walking down the hall of his school, headed to his roll call room(2), when he heard a commotion coming from a nearby bathroom. It sounded as though someone was arguing in the bathroom.
Cody approached the door and opened it a crack to see what was happening, and found a Year Eleven boy trying to force a Year Seven boy to suck his dick. Seeing this made Cody's blood boil. He threw himself through the door and confronted the Year Eleven boy.
"Just what the hell are you doing, mate?" he all but shouted at the older boy.
"This kid's a fag. He loves cock, so I'm giving him cock. Now get out of here, before I have to bust up that pretty-boy face of yours." The boy said.
"I don't think so, asshole. It takes a small man to take on a boy younger than himself. Why not try me?" and with that, the older boy let go of the Year Seven boy. "Get out of here and go to class." Cody told the younger boy.
After the younger boy had left, Cody advanced on the older boy. "You know what I think? I think you are gay, but are too afraid to admit it. Is that right?"
The older boy didn't answer, but instead threw a punch, which, thanks to his smaller swimmer's frame, Cody easily ducked, then he grabbed the older boy's hand and swung it around so that he held it behind the boy's back. He then leaned in and whispered in the boy's ear. "It's okay. Honestly. If you are, there's nothing wrong with you."
The older boy pulled his hand away from Cody's, then turned around and faced Cody. "How would you know?! Do you have any idea what it's like knowing that what you really want is out of reach, because it's wrong in society's eyes? Knowing that if you act on those desires, you're likely to get yourself beaten or killed?" By now, tears were filling the boy's eyes.
Cody looked the boy in the eye as he spoke. "Yes, I do know. I'm gay too. And my boyfriend is in hospital, most likely because someone found out he was gay. I know EXACTLY what you're going through. But it's not the end of the world. You can still be happy, believe me. Because I was stupid, I got myself a boyfriend. I kissed him and he told me he liked it. So I understand what you're going through, but that's no excuse to go bullying anyone. I want you to apologise to that boy at lunch, then you can join me for lunch and we'll talk, Okay?"
The older boy wiped his eyes and said softly. "Okay. My name's Jason, by the way." As he extended his hand.
Cody shook Jason's hand. "Cody Thomas." He then pulled Jason into a hug. "It'll all be okay."
"Thanks." Jason said as they broke the hug. "I needed to hear that. So, I'll see you at lunch?"
"You'd better." Cody said with a smile, before heading off to the office to sign in, having missed Roll Call.
Sky was laying on the bed, listening to the iPod, his eyes closed, when something made of cloth fell on his face. Sitting upright, Sky found that the something was a set of casual clothes in his size. He looked around the room to see Cody and his family standing next to the bed, looking down at him.
"Hey baby. You like the present?" Cody asked.
"Of course I do. It came from you, so it's brilliant." Sky said as he leaned up and softly kissed Cody. "What's with the clothes, though?"
"They're your clothes for when we go out. Get changed, we've got to get going soon." And with that, Sky went to the room's bathroom. Five minutes later, he came back into the room, dressed in a pair of khaki jeans, and a black t-shirt that clung tight to his developed torso and wearing a brand new pair of white tennis shoes. Cody walked up to Sky and wrapped his arms around him.
"Mmmm. You look good enough to eat." he said before kissing Sky on the lips. The kiss was broken when the boys heard a throat being cleared behind them. They turned to see Harry and Linda looking at them with amused looks on their faces.
"Boys, while I love to see you both so happy, try to remember that we have a young, impressionable mind in the room." Linda said.
Both boys blushed when they heard Kane giggling.
"Okay, people. Let's get going." Harry chuckled, amused with the boys' embarrassment.
Sky and the Thomas family walked out of the room, each looking forward to a nice night out. Harry and Linda were both looking forward to springing a few surprises.
(1) - Department Of Community Services - An Australian Government department that is tasked with resolving family problems. This department encompasses child adoption agencies, family counselling groups and correctional services.
(2) - Home Room for you Yanks
Well, things are looking up for Sky. A new family, a loving and generous boyfriend and a new life. But what happened with his old parents? And what about Jason? Why is he scared of his attractions? How will Cory help Sky overcome his memory loss? Will it include Jamie and Jacob? Or someone else? These questions will be answered soon.
Thank you all for the kind words of encouragement. Many of you have posted on the Board or emailed me. Those who email me, I promise to try and get a reply to you. Thanks to you, The StoryLover is very impressed :-P. Thank you to The StoryLover and ACFan for editing, and to ACFan for the use of his characters.