"Morning!" Marc said as he walked into the room. "Looks like this could be the big day."
"Already?" Dixon asked as Mrs. Amee gave Marc a concerned look.
"Doctor, I don't mean to sound as if I'm in no rush to bring Little D home with me, because I really am, but…" she got out before Marc cut her off.
"I know what you're thinking. It kinda seems like this is all being rushed," he said with a smile. "Trust me, it really isn't." He grabbed Dixon's clipboard and then compared it to the display on the biobed. "Traditionally, it would have taken about a week before we could even consider sending him home. Modern technology has made rapid advancements over the years. Our ties with the Federation have given us access to equipment like the biobed Dixon has been confined to. That coupled with the implant and its accelerated abilities to heal, in 24 hours he was able to accomplish a full weeks worth of cell regeneration. I give him a week without the biobed's assistance and the scarring will be reduced to barely noticeable," Marc said placing the clipboard back on the end of the bed.
"You mean it's gonna look kinda normal?" Dixon asked with a surprised look on his face.
"No," Marc said, ruffling his hair. "I mean unless you tell anyone differently, no one would ever be able to tell anything ever happened to you," he continued as he tapped a few controls on the biobed. "Well, the readout looks just as I expected." He turned to Mrs. Amee and said, "I need to give Dixon here his final checkup and explain some of what was done and what he can expect. I'm sure he'd like some privacy for that conversation." He giggled as he noticed Dixon blushing profusely.
"Well, even though it's nothing I haven't seen before when I changed his diapers, I suppose you're right," the old woman said matter-of-factly. "I'll just step out here and see if Nurse Patty has some more coffee hidden down the hall," she added with a smile at Dixon who at that moment was burying his face in the pillow on the bed. She closed the door behind her after telling her great-grandson that she loved him.
"You embarrass easily, huh?" Marc asked, dropping his professional tone.
"Wouldn't you?" Dixon asked meekly. "I swear, so many people have been lookin' at it, I almost told that big nurse to take a picture and put it on a billboard somewhere so the WHOLE world could see."
"I don't blame you," Marc said as he dropped the railing on the side of the bed. "You gotta put up with one more," he added with a smile.
"It's ok. At least you're a guy," Dixon giggled nervously as Marc pulled the curtain around the bed in case someone walked in.
As Marc was pulling back the bedsheets, he stopped and looked at Dixon thoughtfully. "Have you even seen what it looks like yet?"
"Not really," Dixon replied as he lifted himself off the bed and pulled the ends of the hospital gown out from beneath himself. "I got a quick look yesterday. That's when I noticed it looked a little different than it did before."
Marc raised Dixon's gown and began to remove the dressing, continuing his conversation, "So do you have any questions you want to ask? I mean, now's the time if you do."
Dixon winced as Marc removed the tape, but watched his every move, surprised at what was revealed when the gauze was removed. "Wow," he said in awe. "So, it's like… umm… mechanical now?"
"No," Marc laughed. "I won't lie to you; it does have small components to maintain itself. Cell regeneration is assisted by a tiny little device in your abdomen, just like my body relies on and there is a neuro-interface controlling it. It's 100% human otherwise. It will grow with you, and it will work just like it always had," Marc said with a grin. "The only differences you should ever notice will be that it will always function the same and will be a little sensitive until your brain gets used to the way it receives signals from it and the replaced surrounding skin." Just after he got the words out, Marc gently retracted Dixon's new foreskin, which raised goosebumps and caused him to shudder as it slowly worked its way forward. "See what I mean?"
"Whoa!" Dixon gasped with his eyes wide. "That felt weird."
"It will for a while," Marc said as he grabbed the clipboard and jotted down a few notes. "This is going to feel even weirder," Marc said as he inspected each of Dixon's testicles, causing him to squirm and giggle.
"It doesn't hurt at all," Dixon said in amazement.
"If it did at this point, I'd be a little concerned," Marc replied as he inspected the rest of the scar tissue. "Ok, something else you need to know," he said pulling the hospital gown back into place, covering the boy back up. "So you don't worry, as long as you're implant is accelerating cell regeneration, it won't allow your brain to tell it to become erect. You know, so no tension is put on it until it's ready."
"You mean get hard?" Dixon asked, tilting his head. "It can do that?"
"Block signals from your brain? Sure it can if it needs to or you learn how to tell it to," Marc replied.
"No, I mean get hard on its own?" Dixon said quickly before blushing once again.
"Ah," Marc said with a smile as he sat on the side of the bed. "Yes, it can and will just like before," he continued. "As a matter of fact, once its done healing, you will notice that it will respond exactly like it did before, with a couple of minor exceptions."
"Good or bad exceptions?" Dixon asked nervously.
"Good, I think," Marc said with a smile. "Look at this like a human upgrade," Marc said with a giggle.
"Okay," Dixon said, his eyes showing that he was getting worried.
"Here's an example," Marc said, crossing his arms. "I'm guessing at your age, it used to get hard at times that you didn't want it to. Am I right?"
"Well… umm…yeah," Dixon stammered. He could feel his whole body blushing at this point.
"How'd you make it go down?" Marc asked with a serious expression.
"I'd kinda think of someone… I mean something gross. Sometimes that worked," Dixon answered. His never ending blush was becoming a deeper red.
"What if I told you that one of these days you'll realize that you have limited communication with it?"
"It'll talk to me?" Dixon almost laughed.
"No, it's not like that," Marc giggled, "although that would be funny." He continued, "The nerve endings for your implant and the ones in your body now communicate through a series of controller modules, referred to as a neuro-interface. That's how it knows right now that it isn't good for you to get hard. Even if your brain tells it to, it can't because the controller knows its healing. Now if you concentrate on it, you can specifically give it commands. Once you're healed, it will allow you to send signals to command it to get hard or even to go soft. You can even tell it that you don't want to feel anything and it will block all signals," Marc said. He must have seen the confused look on Dixon's face, because he tried again. "Ok, how about this," Marc said as he took a syringe out of its package and cleaned it with an alcohol prep pad. "The interface that handles communication between you and your implant is a smaller one just like the one that is built into me." He took the syringe and stuck it into his own forearm. "That should have hurt," Marc giggled.
"You didn't feel it?" Dixon asked in amazement.
"Nope, because I forced my neuro-interface to block communication. You could cut my arm off right now and I wouldn't feel it," Marc explained with a grin as he pulled the needle out of his arm and handed it to Dixon.
"I'm not stabbin' my… uh… thing with this!" he said in horror.
"No, no, no," Marc said with a laugh as he turned his head away and extended his arm toward Dixon. "Stick me with it, not hard, but enough for me to feel it," Marc said, and hissed through his teeth when Dixon did as he asked. "Now I can feel it, just like normal," he said as he took the syringe and capped it before snapping the needle off and dropping it into a disposal container. "It's just as easy as moving a finger, once you learn how. Commands will be a simple thought that the unit will understand, and will take some practice to master. Manual overrides shouldn't be messed with unless you don't have any plans to go anywhere for a while," Marc got out with a laugh.
"What do you mean?" Dixon asked as he sat up and stretched.
"Well, commanding it to get hard is easy once you get in tune with the unit allowing those same signals to be allowed through. On some level you will be aware of them and when they happen. But…" Marc said beginning to laugh. "It will take practice to master it; kinda like learning to walk." Marc hopped off the bed with a smile. "Since we're on the subject, why don't we try a few steps around the room to see how well you walk? You've had a lot of work done around those muscles in your hips and then spent a couple of days in bed, so you're probably going to be a bit stiff and sore."
"But you said it won't get stiff," Dixon said innocently, and then blushed hotly. "Oh you mean my legs, sorry." Marc just smiled as he helped Dixon slide off the side of the biobed. "Feels good to stand up," Dixon announced as he walked in place for a few seconds. "It is a little sore, though."
"Well, I think by lunch you should have a green light to go home, buddy," Marc told him with a smile. "I'll go start the release papers now, in fact." As he turned to leave, Dixon caught his arm. Marc looked back to his patient as Dixon pulled him into a gentle hug.
"Thanks, Marc. You know, for everything. I thought I was gonna be some kind of freak after this was all over. You're the best doctor I've ever had, honest," he got out with a smile and a sniffle.
"Thanks," Marc said with a squeeze before breaking the hug. "I don't normally do humans but, I can still be your doctor if you ever need me. First things first though, if I don't get your paperwork done in time, Nurse Patty will have to come back in and do another inspection of your bandages."
"GO!" Dixon blurted as he shoved Marc toward the door. They both giggled for a second before Marc grew serious again.
"If you're still sore, that means you need some more time on the biobed," Marc told his patient. "By the time you're cleared to leave at lunch time, you should be fine to walk out of here."
"Ok doc," Dixon grinned. "I guess I can stand to stay in bed a couple of more hours." He climbed back into bed as Marc shut the door.
He was surprised to hear a soft knock on the door a couple of minutes later. Expecting to see Nurse Patty, he turned toward the door, but was stunned by what he saw instead. He couldn't believe his eyes, and it took a moment to find his voice.
Jessie slowly stirred as he began to awaken as if from a nightmare. Yeah, right. He was still alive so the nightmare would continue even if he wasn't sleeping. He wondered why Ezekiel hadn't already been in to beat him or anything else yet. Suddenly he realized that the bed felt comfortable. The sheets didn't smell dirty.
"Where am I?" he wondered aloud as he opened his eyes and looked around. His eyes caught the bio bed readout above his head, but he'd never seen anything like it, so he didn't understand what he was looking at. "I'm not in the preacher's house anymore," he mumbled.
"That's for sure," a strange voice told him from the doorway. He looked up to see a dirty blond haired kid standing there. "How are you feeling this morning?"
"Like I wish I had…. I feel terrible," Jessie told the kid. He had started to say that he felt like he had killed himself when he had the chance, but he didn't want to freak this kid out. He was kind of cute, and had a nice friendly face. Of course, he was no Dixon. "So what level of hell am I in now?"
"You're not in hell," the boy said as he walked into the room. "No matter what several of the contractors have to say about the shape the building is in. Anyway, you're in the Federation Youth Services Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina."
"Charleston, South Carolina?" Jessie wondered aloud. "How did I get here?"
"I had you transported here yesterday," the boy answered.
"I don't remember that," Jessie said simply.
"That would be because you were unconscious at the time," the other boy told him.
"It figures," Jessie said rather sadly. "Who are you anyway?"
"My name's Jerry," the boy replied. "What do you mean it figures?"
"I mean that I finally get the chance to do something really cool like transport somewhere, and I'm unconscious so I don't even get to enjoy it," Jessie explained.
"Well, given the condition you were in, you wouldn't have been able to enjoy it if you had been awake," Jerry told him. "We had to work on you for quite a while. Ezekiel almost killed you."
"It was the weirdest thing…." Jessie mused aloud. "When the beating should have been the worst, I didn't feel a thing. It was like there was something stopping the hits from connecting to me."
"There was," Jerry informed him. "That was my big brother. He's the one that made it so easy for us to find you, too."
"How did your brother know where to find me?" Jessie questioned. "How did he stop them from hitting me?"
"If I know Davie, he got between you and them and let them hit him instead," Jerry answered. "He would do that kind of thing for a friend."
"But I don't even know your brother," Jessie insisted. "How can I be his friend if I've never met him?"
"You don't have to meet him; he made it his job to look after kids that need help."
"You just said I was his friend, now you're telling me he was doing it because it was his job. You're a confusing kid, Jerry."
"Sorry, I don't mean to be," Jerry kind of giggled. "My brother is an angel. He's the assistant to Saint Mikey of Urbandale; Protector of Gay and Abandoned Kids," he added proudly. "When he learns of a kid in trouble, that kid just becomes his friend, and he will do anything he can to help and protect that kid."
"Well, why didn't he stop Ezekiel from nearly killing me?" Jessie asked somewhat angrily.
"I don't know the answer to that," Jerry answered sadly. "I guess he knew that we would be there to help you in time. Maybe he wanted you to have to be in the hospital here so you could….. Well he must have had some reason," he told Jessie. "The point is, you didn't get killed and you are here now. So let's see how close you are to getting out of here." He walked closer to the bed and started to lift the covers off of Jessie.
"What are you doing?" Jessie gasped.
"Oh, my bad," Jerry giggled. "I forgot to tell you that I'm your doctor, huh?"
"Yeah, now I get it," Jessie muttered. "Your brother's an angel and you're a doctor and I'm in a looney bin for kids. It all makes sense now," he added sarcastically.
"If I were a patient in a loo… psychiatric hospital, would I get to carry one of these around?" Jerry asked, pulling his tricorder out of his pocket. "I don't think so. Now, I know this may be embarrassing for you, so if you would rather have Nurse Patty come in and do your rectal exam…."
"DUDE!!!" Jessie exclaimed. "I don't want some strange woman looking at me back there!"
"Well, It's her or me dude," Jerry said firmly. "Ezekiel did a lot of damage to you and I have to see how well you have healed while you've been on the biobed."
"Well, ok, but this is weird," Jessie mumbled as he turned over in the bed. "I had wanted Dixon to be the first person to…."
"What were you saying?" Jerry asked. "I couldn't hear you too good, you were kind of mumbling."
"Never mind, just get this over with ok?"
"Well, I have good news for you," Jerry said happily a couple of minutes later. "It looks like the biobed has done its work very well. You are almost completely healed physically. You can get up and walk around at lunch, and hopefully we'll have you … well, we'll deal with that later." His face began to change color as he realized he still needed to warn Jessie about one aspect of his recovery. "It's still going to hurt really bad the first time you have to go… well, you know."
"That's cute, I've never seen a doctor blush before," Jessie laughed as he turned over and saw Jerry's face.
"Well, it's not my fault," Jerry pouted slightly. "I'm used to androids for patients, not people. I can just upload the information they need to know directly into their memory, plus they're able to block the pain by just shutting off the relays."
"You work on androids?" Jessie asked excitedly. "That's way cool. I wish I could see one."
"It's a safe bet that you will around here," Jerry giggled. "They're everywhere." He looked out the window of the room that showed the hallway just as a boy in a hospital gown snuck by. Jerry quickly crossed the room and opened the door. "In fact, they are everywhere except the bed they are supposed to be in," he said loudly.
Jessie couldn't help but giggle a little bit as the boy in the hallway stopped in mid step. He watched as this new kid turned to face Jerry with a cheesy grin on his face. He knew this would be good entertainment.
"Jerry, friend, pal, bro," the boy called. "Imagine meeting you here."
"It's a hospital, I'm a doctor, go figure," Jerry said deadpan. "In fact, I am one of your doctors. Remember, I'm the one that just told you to go back to bed before I have Nurse Patty tie you down to make you rest."
"Well, it's partly your fault, you know," the other kid said. "You fed your kid those killer sandwiches. It reeks in there."
"I seem to recall you eating the same thing and having the same reaction," Jerry pointed out.
"Oh forget it and get your butt in here and meet Jessie," Jerry sighed. "Jessie, this is KC. KC, this is Jessie; he was just saying he was hoping to meet you."
"My fame precedes me," KC said with a big grin.
"Yeah, you're notorious," Jerry teased with a grin. "KC, you can visit the other patients on this ward, but no more wandering off all over the hospital. You'll get that boyfriend of yours in trouble."
"But it wasn't his fault," KC protested. "I just had to get something to give to…."
"I know it wasn't his fault, but he didn't stop it," Jerry pointed out. "You be on good behavior and if he's on good behavior, then everyone will be happy. Remember, just the patients on this floor."
"I got it, dude," KC said in exasperation as Jerry left the room. "Sheesh! We're the only patients in the whole place so what other patients would I see? I'm used to a slightly larger social circle."
"At least you can move around," Jessie told him. "I'm stuck in the bed until lunch."
"If there's one thing I've learned about doctors, it's that what they tell you is just a guideline, most of the time," KC said with a grin. "They get all worried about a guy just because he likes to have a little fun. I mean it wasn't my fault that I was picking the professional hill the first time I wanted to go hang gliding. The guy didn't tell me until I was already off the ground."
"I don't want to go hang gliding, I just want to get out of this bed and get out of here," Jessie said firmly. "I want to find Dixie."
"Dixie?" KC questioned. "Is that your girlfriend?"
"Boy…. Oh shit!" Jessie began to panic.
"Hey! Chill out," KC soothed. "Didn't you hear Jerry talking about my boyfriend?"
"You have a boyfriend?"
"Yeah, I know us cute ones are always taken," KC grinned.
"That's really cool," Jessie told him, although he did blush. "I think I'm taken, too."
"You don't know?" KC asked.
"Not anymore," Jessie answered. "My boyfriend, Dixon and I were at my place, and his mom showed up and went all psycho on us. She hurt Dixon really bad. I tried to stop her, but I couldn't. She… she…she did things to him…. I couldn't make her stop. He was hurt so bad… there was blood everywhere…." His voice trailed away, lost in his sobs. KC crossed to the bed and wrapped his arms around the crying boy and held him.
"Ezekiel and his dad told me that Dixon was dead, and that my brother was dead too," Jessie gasped through his tears. "Dixon died because I couldn't protect him from his mom, and Jason's dead because I couldn't wait until I was grown to find a guy to fall in love with."
"I probably shouldn't tell you this since nobody else has but, I've been listening to them all talk out there. Dixon's not dead," KC consoled. "He was hurt really bad, though. I don't know what his mom did to him, but he's in the room next door and seems ok now."
"I have to see him!" Jessie exclaimed as he started to get out of bed.
"Hey! I thought you had to stay in bed until lunch," KC said quickly.
"I have to see Dixon," Jessie repeated.
"Well, you might want to put at least one of these gowns on before you walk out into the hall, dude," KC suggested with a laugh.
"Oh my god!" Jessie squealed as he dove back under the covers of the bed. "Sorry about that, dude."
"No problem, bud," KC giggled. "But when you get to Dixon's room, tell him he's a lucky guy. Now let me see if there's something around here to cover you with."
"Thanks KC," Jesse said with a blush.
"Umm… There doesn't seem to be anything here, Jess," KC told him.
"Aww man! I haven't seen Dixon since the ambulance guys took him," Jessie complained. "Now I'm right next door and I still can't get to him."
"Yes you can," KC said firmly. He reached behind himself and started untying the strings of his own gown. He handed the cloth to Jesse as he climbed into the hospital bed beside the boy. "Wear this and go see your boy," he said with a smile.
"Thanks man," Jessie said sincerely. He quickly tied the gown the best he could and held it together elsewhere. "It's a little drafty, but it'll do." When he reached the door, he looked back with both a blush and a sparkle of mischief. "You tell your boyfriend he's pretty lucky, too." At that moment he saw Dixon's diary sitting on the table beside his biobed. "He should have this back now," he said as he grabbed it and tucked it under his arm.
Jessie was still really sore, but he didn't care. He had to see for himself that Dixon was alive. He walked carefully down the hall and stopped in front of the door that KC had said was Dixon's room. Jessie was suddenly nervous. What if Dixon didn't want to see him anymore? It was his fault that Dixon had gotten hurt after all. He should have kept his feelings to himself. That lying murderer that had killed his parents should have taught him that. It was wrong to be gay, and now he was paying for it and so was everyone he cared about.
His pain got worse as he looked into the room where Dixon was supposed to be. There was Dixon all right, but he was hugging another boy. It was true then, Dixon didn't want him anymore. He turned to head back to his own room as tears began to stream down his face. He reached up to wipe them away, but as he did, the diary fell to the floor. Dixon should still have this back he thought to himself, even if he doesn't want me back.
He turned back to the room just as the boy Dixon had hugged came out and crossed to the nurse's station. He went behind the desk and grabbed a folder from the desk and started writing in it. The nurse looked around at the boy as if he was supposed to be there.
"Dixon gets to go home today, doctor?" the woman asked this boy.
"Yes, he should be ready to leave at lunch. Everyone will be gone at the same time and the construction crews can get their way… this time," the boy said darkly.
Jessie wondered again about what sort of hospital he was in if that boy was a doctor. Then again, Jerry was his own doctor and Jerry looked like he was about nine years old. He turned back again to Dixon's door and knocked softly as he pushed it open a bit.
"Dixon, can I come in?" Jessie asked softly as he opened the door. "It's really you, isn't it?" Jessie asked in wonder as he walked into the room. "I was so afraid they were right and that you were gone."
"Jessie, is that you, Jessie?" Dixon suddenly blurted. "How did you get here? Where have you been? Never mind, I don't care. You're here now. Did she hurt you too?"
"No, she didn't," Jessie admitted freely. He started to say that someone else had done it for her, but he suddenly was afraid to tell Dixon what had happened to him. He and Dixon had planned to take each other's virginity, now his was gone and it couldn't be replaced. Maybe Dixon wouldn't want to be with him anymore since he was used goods as Ezekiel had called him. He suddenly felt very dirty; too dirty to be near his precious Dixon.
"Are you ok?" Jessie asked the boy he loved.
"I'm still kind of sore when I try to walk," Dixon answered. He wondered if Jessie would be ok with his new parts. They might be based on his own DNA as Jerry had told him, but they still felt a little like spare parts to him. His talk with Marc had helped, but it would still be a while before he could really get used to the idea.
"Well, you have a lot of healing to do, I guess," Jessie said timidly. He wasn't sure how comfortable Dixon would be with talking about his injuries. He wanted to know if Dixon was going to become a girl now, but he was afraid to ask for both their sakes.
"I'm glad you're all right," Dixon told his boyfriend. Maybe he shouldn't call Jessie his boyfriend anymore. Jessie probably wouldn't want to be with him anymore, especially since he was different down there now. Who would want to date Frankenstein boy? There was one way he could find out, though.
"I'm kind of sleepy." It had been a tease they had used before the attack by his mother. It meant that the speaker wanted to play around in the bed. Dixon started scooting over as he said it so that Jessie could climb up in bed with him, but that's not what happened.
"I'm sorry I bothered you then," Jessie announced. "I just wanted to give your diary back to you." He laid the book on the bedside table then turned and left the room. He didn't even say goodbye. When Dixon said that he was tired and started to roll away from him, Jessie had gotten the message loud and clear. He wasn't wanted anymore.
Both boys were crying for the same reason within seconds of the door shutting behind Jessie. The boy they loved had just rejected them. Jessie fought his tears back as he walked back into his own room where KC was waiting.
"That was quick," KC observed.
"He was tired," Jessie said simply. "So am I."
"Well, I guess I'll head back to my place then and see if the air is any more breathable," KC announced. "Long story," he explained when he saw the look of confusion on Jessie's face. "I'll tell you about it some other time."
"Yeah, that's fine," Jessie murmured as he turned away from the door. He was losing control of the tears and didn't want KC to see.
KC had seen though. What's more, he heard the same crying sounds as he passed Dixon's door. He knocked on the door a little louder than he normally would and walked in. He had heard Marc talking at the nurse's station and used the information he had overheard to try to get Dixon talking again.
"Aww, you really are going home today?" KC asked as he walked into the room. He politely didn't notice Dixon hurriedly wiping his eyes and nose. "I'm gonna miss you, dude." He crossed the room and sat on the edge of Dixon's bed. "Where's your board?"
Dixon smiled a little bit as he pointed across the room. "It's over there under the chair," he said. They both looked up as Marc came back in the room.
"You gotta tell me how to keep in touch with Dixon," KC told Marc. "We have to go skatin'. It was kind of a promise."
"Well, maybe when I plan to visit him to give him his followup, you can tag along," Marc said as KC looked at Dixon and grinned.
"YES!!!" KC said happily. Dixon smiled a little but KC could still see the pain in his eyes.
"Well, you're all set to go, Dixon," Marc told him. "Right after lunch, you will head out that door on your own two feet. You even have a few surprises waiting for you when you get there, I'm told."
"Alright young man, you come along with me this instant." All three boys looked to the door as Nurse Patty walked in. She strode directly to KC and caught him by the shoulder. "That's enough socializing," she scolded gently. "This is two beds that have just told me that you are getting too tired, so you are grounded little man."
"The only but you have to worry about is your own if you don't get back in that room and in that bed, mister," the woman ordered.
He would have protested again, but he was interrupted by a yawn. He agreed to go to bed for a little while. Marc was hiding his smiling face behind a chart, and Dixon was grinning, but not exactly happily. Dixon and Jessie needed each other, but they would have to work things out together without his help. He trudged out of the room under Nurse Patty's watchful eye. Marc followed him shortly.