A/N: Ok, here is chapter 2. Now I know everyone is hoping that Clay can go back to the team and everything will be perfect by the end of the story. Here's the thing though, I like to try and keep things as realistic as possible, especially injuries. Clay has been held captive where he has been tortured and restrained for six months. You don't just bounce back medically from that. So he's gonna have physical injuries that he will deal with for the rest of his life. He will get stronger and by the end of this book he will be in a better place, but his place within Bravo will forever be changed. I'm warning you now so if you don't like that fact then you don't have to invest the time into reading this story.
With that said, I am obviously not a doctor. Everything within this chapter about Clay's recovery has come from extensive research and speaking with a doctor to ensure it is as accurate as possible.
The second they were able to get Clay onto the plane Trent had no choice but to give him a sedative. He didn't want to sedate Clay, but he was in too much pain from the movement. He was also getting anxious and panicking. That was causing even more stress on his breathing and Trent was worried he would do more damage than good. He instructed the guys to keep Clay in the liter, but to place him on a cot base.
"Why not on a bed?" Ray asked, confused.
"Because he's covered in lice and if he's lucky it's only lice living on him. It's all in his hair and his beard and most likely everywhere else he has hair. Blackburn, tell the pilot we can take off. We have to get him to the hospital. They know we're coming?" Trent asked.
"I've made the call. They will have a room ready for him and a doctor on standby. I'll tell the pilot he can take off." Blackburn headed off to handle that real quick while Jason spoke.
"What needs to be done for Clay?"
"First, Brock, you are going to have to shave Cerb. Clay hugged him so there's a good chance he has lice or their eggs on him. Everyone who touched Clay will have to change out of their clothes. Also Brock, do you have a spare pair of boxers? You're as close to Clay's size as we're gonna get."
"I have a spare. I'll shave Cerb now." Brock said, as he got Cerb over on the other side of the plane with him. He would need to lay some garbage bags down before he could shave Cerb.
"And that brings us to what needs to happen now. I have to shave his hair, beard, possibly his underarm hair and his pubic hair to get the lice gone. So I am going to need garbage bags and clippers. Does anyone have any that they aren't emotionally attached to?" Trent asked.
"You can use mine." Jason easily said, as he went to grab them.
"You're gonna shave him here?" Vic asked, surprised that Trent would want to do something like that. That was something that a nurse could do. Plus, he really didn't want to watch as Trent shaved Clay's crotch.
"He's covered in lice. I don't want to leave him with that any longer than he needs to be. Not to mention taking that into the hospital. It's a lot easier for us to get changed and clean the plane than it is for them to scrub the hospital all along the path that they take him. He's also sedated so hopefully by the time he wakes up he'll be cleaned and the doctor will be done with him."
"Here's some bags." Lisa said, as she handed them to Trent.
"Thanks. You're gonna want to put your hair as high up as you can." Trent advised.
Lisa and Mandy both immediately started to put their hair up in a high bun to make sure there was no chance of getting lice from the plane. Trent got the garbage bags down as Jason handed him his clippers.
"How do you want to do this?" Full Metal asked.
"We get him on the ground, someone holds him up while I shave him. We try to keep the hair on the garbage bags and hopefully we don't get too many crawling away."
"You ready for him?" Jason asked.
Trent just gave a nod and Jason went and very carefully picked Clay up. He brought him over to their station and placed him down on the ground. He then picked up Clay by the back and held him so he was over his arm to give Trent better access to the hair on him. Trent made quick work of getting Clay's beard off of him. It wasn't until he started to shave his head did the guys all see how bad the lice was. As Trent shaved, the part that was buzzed, they could see the lice crawling away to the rest of his hair. He was covered in them. They could see the red marks where the lice had been feeding off of him and it only fueled their rage. Once Clay's head was shaved, Trent did both of Clay's underarms as there was lice there as well. When there was only one more place left to look the guys started to get slightly uncomfortable. They had all seen Clay naked, but this seemed a lot different. This wasn't them just patting him dry, this would be them shaving his pubic hair, it was personal on a different level, especially considering everything he had been through.
"Here, I'll do it." Yoder offered.
"It's fine, I can handle it. Everyone should turn around though, not everyone needs to see this."
Lisa and Mandy had already moved away to another part of the plane to give the guys privacy. It was just Bravo standing there. Something Jason was happy about. Everyone else had given them the privacy they needed to care for their brother without being watched. The one person Jason wished would go away though was still standing there watching and it was pissing him off even more.
"Trent, it's ok. I've done it before. He's been touched by enough guys, at least with me doing it, it's not a new hand to him." Yoder gently explained.
Trent handed the clippers over and he went and stood with the rest of the guys as they all turned around. Leaving Yoder and Jason to handle this part.
"I'm sorry, you've what before?" Sonny asked after a moment as what Yoder had just said clicked in.
"We've shaved each other before." Yoder said, but that did not clarify anything to the guys.
"We're gonna need more than that." Full Metal said.
"You should never dare either me or Clay, because we'll actually do it. One night on Team Three, we were all hanging out and drinking a lot. Someone brought up playing truth or dare and the guys thought that was for pussies, so Rex suggested we play dare or double dare, but if you pick double dare the person gets to pick who else in the group has to do the dare with you. So it's the third round and no one had picked double dare and Clay was nine shots in and he decided to pick it, because the guys were all too scared, his words. Rex picks me to have to do it with him and they both dare us to use a hand razor and shave each other's junk fully, balls and all." Yoder said with a warm smile.
"And you did it?" Vic asked, disgusted.
"Of course they did it, it was a dare. Ain't no good sailor turns down a dare." Sonny said fully confident and with complete understanding as to why Yoder and Clay said yes.
"We said yes. And because we were all so drunk that night, we had to do it in front of the guys to prove we actually did. And we never played dare or double dare as a team again." Yoder said smiling. It had been a shitty morning when they got up, but the night was fun.
Full Metal couldn't help but laugh and it started a chain reaction as all of the guys started to laugh at the story.
"Oh man, that sounds like a good game." Full Metal said,
"We're not playing it. I don't even want to know what some of you would come up with." Jason instantly said. Playing a game like that with this group was way too dangerous. Shaving each other wouldn't even hit the scale.
Once Yoder finished getting the hair off of Clay, Jason wrapped the blanket back around him as he spoke. "We're good."
The guys all turned around and Trent handed Jason the boxers. They slipped them on Clay and then got him situated on a proper cot on the plane. They had just finished getting Clay wrapped up in blankets and an oxygen mask on him when Cerberus came over and got onto the bed. He was freshly shaved and wagging his tail, perfectly happy to have Clay back within his sights. With Clay now situated, all they could do was wait until they landed in Ghana to be able to get him to the hospital.
The second the plane landed the guys were taking off for the base. Clay had been moved onto the liter and carried onto their vehicle and they headed off. He was still sedated, but it was going to wear off within the next couple of hours. Trent knew the doctor at the base would be giving Clay more to keep him sedated throughout the exam and the tests that he would need to run. It would be easier to keep Clay sedated until all of the touching was completed. They had no idea how Clay was going to react now that he was no longer in his cell. They were all set to handle Clay no matter what his reaction was. They were going to make sure he knew he was ok.
The second they were arriving at the hospital the guys all got out and they moved Clay onto a stretcher and they headed inside with a Doctor instantly speaking as they walked in.
"I'm Dr. Hunter, I'll be looking after your man."
"His name is Clay and he's my son. He's been held captive and tortured for six months within a human trafficking organization." Jason said.
"I had to sedate him for the flight over. We need to clean him up so you will have a better look at his injuries." Trent said.
"I got a room for him." Dr. Hunter said, as he guided the stretcher over to the private room. "Nurse Quil, let's get some warm water so you can clean him up."
"No, I got him. There's a bathtub in the bathroom. We'll get him cleaned up." Trent said, as he poked his head into the attached bathroom.
"That's not really how we do things." Dr. Hunter started.
"It is now. After everything he's been through, he's not going to be touched by strangers." Blackburn said, knowing that Trent nor Jason were going to allow Clay to be touched by anyone if they could help it.
"Make it fast." Dr. Hunter conceded, but it was clear he wasn't happy about it.
"Alright, everyone, let's give them some space." Blackburn ordered. He knew the guys would all want to be there for Clay and make sure he was ok, but he also knew they needed room to work. It wasn't going to do Clay any good if there were close to a dozen of them in the room with him.
Everyone headed out, including Dr. Hunter and both Trent and Jason were happy about that. Jason carried Clay into the bathroom while Trent got the tub ready. Once there was enough water in the tub, they removed Clay's boxers and got him into the tub. Jason held onto Clay's back as Trent picked up a cloth and started to get the blood and dirt off of him. He started at Clay's feet and worked their way up. They had to change the water five times before they could say Clay was actually clean. The whole time Clay didn't even stir and that was something they were both thankful for. Once Clay was clean they got him out, dried and put some hospital scrub pants onto him so he would be covered better than a gown. Jason once again brought him over to the bed while Trent went out to let Dr. Hunter know they were ready for him.
They both walked in and Jason planted himself firmly beside Clay's bed. He was going to be making sure the doctor didn't do anything that could hurt him and he was not about to let Clay out of his sight, not for a single second.
"I have to examine him fully. I know you both wish to stay here with him, but it's not going to be that easy for you to be here." Dr. Hunter warned.
"I know what you have to do. We're good, you do whatever you need to do." Jason said on their behalf. Neither of them were going to leave no matter how hard it might be to watch.
"How much longer before we get results?" Sonny asked for what felt like the hundredth time.
None of the guys could blame him. After Dr. Hunter had finished his examination on Clay; he had taken him to get a great deal of medical tests done. They had all been left waiting in Clay's hospital room until Dr. Hunter would finally come back and tell them what was wrong. It had been hours and the longer it took the more worried everyone was becoming.
"We'll know once they have them, Sonny. It can take a bit to get the blood work back and to review all of the scans. We have no idea what could be wrong with him. He was kept in a cell without sunlight or a light for six months. He's been tortured and raped the whole time, there is no telling what is going on with his body. You just need to be a bit more patient." Trent calmly explained.
"When are we going to tell people? I mean, everyone buried him." Vic commented.
He was pissed that someone had found Clay. He had been hoping he would never have to see him again. That he would die overseas and that would be that. Now he was back and he was going to have to deal with all of the guys babying him like he was an infant and not a grown man. This was going to make them all want to be around Clay and he was going to have to deal with it all over again. He had finally been free from all of the Clay drama. Him and Sonny had been going out every weekend they were Stateside. They were best friends now. Ray was teaching him all sorts of tricks and Vic had even been learning EOD to make himself even more valuable to the team. He had finally earned his place and now Clay was going to be back and it was going to ruin all of his hard work. He was going to have to go back to pretending to care about him. It was all exhausting and he just wanted this to be over and done with.
"I've already called Lindell. For now, we wait until we can do it in person. There's going to be a lot of paperwork involved in something like this." Blackburn answered as the door opened.
"How bad is he Doc?" Jason asked Dr. Hunter as he walked back into the room a few hours later.
They had been waiting hours to hear anything from Dr. Hunter from the tests that he had put Clay through. Clay was thankfully still sleeping and the guys were all hoping that he would stay sleeping as his body desperately needed it. They knew Clay was injured, they knew he was going to take a long time to be fully healed, but they were all still hoping that he would be able to make a full recovery and have a normal life again once all of this was said and done.
"You are going to want someone to write this down." He started, and the guys all knew that this was going to be very bad.
Yoder was instantly pulling out a notebook from his pocket and the guys gave the floor to Dr. Hunter.
"I'll start at the top and work my way down. He has some bruising on his brain and that will make him forgetful, confused, dizzy and give him headaches until it has healed. There is no concussion or skull fracture, but scans do show that he's had a skull fracture three months ago roughly. It has healed and I am not seeing any brain damage. I would recommend a neurologist sees him to make sure the bruising is healing properly and doesn't develop into brain damage." Dr. Hunter started.
"So his brain is cleared? With the exception of the bruising." Sonny asked, looking for clarification.
"At this time, yes, but like I said you'll want a neurologist to make sure the bruising is healing properly and it's not covering any damage up. You will also want to set up an appointment with an optometrist. His eyes are weaker from being held captive and he or she will be in a better position to inform you if there is any damage done to them or if he'll recover. As for his ears you will need to speak with an audiologist, based on my tests I can confidently say that Clay's hearing loss is permanent."
"He's never going to be able to hear properly again?" Ray asked, sadly. And all of the guys knew what that meant. If Clay didn't have perfect hearing he could never be in the field again. He could never be active, even on deployments in HAVOC. His career was over.
Vic had to fight with everything in him to not smile at the news. Clay would never be active and that meant he had finally gotten his wish. Clay would never be able to be Bravo One, putting him in the perfect position to take that place. He knew Yoder was brought on for it, but he would take care of Yoder when the time was right.
"His captors have repeatedly put a needle-like object into his ears to burst his ear drums. It would have been extremely painful and caused him repeated pain as his ear drums healed. They did it again though while his ear drums were recovering and that has permanently damaged his ear drums. He will need to be evaluated by an audiologist to determine if he is a good fit for hearing aids, which he will be, but he or she will be able to determine which kind would work best for him. Hearing aids have come a long way, if his ear drums have healed up enough he could have implants done so you can't see the hearing aids. He can hear normally again with hearing aids. Until he can get them done though you will have to speak loudly so he can hear you. He will also startle easier because he can't hear you coming."
"Are his ear drums healed now?" Trent asked.
"They are not. Even though his hearing has been compromised, his captors didn't feel like it was compromised enough or they enjoyed the pain it caused him. It looks like they were ruptured again three days ago. I would recommend that when you go into a room and he's not looking at you to flick a light, that will be easier on him compared to a loud noise."
"That's just his head and he needs to see three specialists." Sonny commented, very worried about what else could be wrong with Clay's body.
"He does have a very long road ahead of him. Moving downward his lungs are not good. As you all can hear, he is wheezing. He's fighting to breathe and each breath is very painful. It would feel like a stab wound every time he takes a breath. He has pneumonia, but it wasn't extensive enough that I had to drain the fluid. He is on an antibiotic and he will continue to take one for the next six weeks. There is massive scarring all over both of his lungs. It's from being locked up in a musty and wet place. That in combination with his asthma it was a prime environment for his lungs to develop what is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Essentially, he has fibroids, which are like small benign masses, and they are all over the lining of both of his lungs. With the fibroids he can't breathe properly and that is affecting his oxygen levels to his entire body."
"Ok, so he needs surgery to remove them?" Jason asked.
"Unfortunately it's too late for that. Clay needs to have a double lung transplant."
"Whoa, what?" Jason asked, shocked.
He knew that Clay was sick. He could clearly hear the wheezing with every breath that he took, but he didn't think it would be this bad. He didn't think he would need to have a double lung transplant. That was incredibly dangerous and it would take so much out of him. It was not a simple transplant to recover from. The reality of the situation was now starting to set in for everyone. Clay was a lot sicker than they all thought he was and the possibility of losing him was starting to creep up within their minds.
"I know it sounds extreme, but it's the only way he will be able to breathe properly again. If he doesn't get a transplant the fibroids will continue to grow and eventually he will have to be intubated and he will die. Fibroids feed off of his blood supply and they will take more and more of his blood. It is why he will bruise easily and become anemic. Until the transplant happens he will also have to be on oxygen twenty-four, seven. He will need to have a portable tank with him and a nasal canal to help him breathe better and give his body the oxygen it desperately needs. With the help of the oxygen he won't wheeze as badly unless he has exerted his body."
"How long does a double lung transplant take?" Ray asked.
"To operate, twelve hours assuming there's no problems. To receive through the VA, by the time you start the process, you're looking at easily a year or more. It takes longer through the VA because they are very backed up. They don't even get through all of their appointments in the day. Now with that said, if Clay or any of you have any political connections, you could get them to pull some strings and get him moved to the top of the list for a hospital. Hospitals have to follow the transplant waiting list; however, they are allowed to do direct transplants without having to go off of the list. So if someone dies from a car crash or is brain dead, they can convince the loved ones to do direct donation to a specific person. The hospitals tend to take a bribe to move someone up their own specific list. If you do it that way, he could have lungs within three months. He also has three broken ribs and six bruised ribs. That is also contributing to his pain with breathing."
The guys knew that none of them had any pull within the political world, but Clay did. They would be willing to reach out to see if any would be willing to help Clay. If it got him a new set of lungs sooner, they would all do it. They would do whatever they needed to do in order to help Clay have a better life. Even if that life was outside of the Navy. He deserved to be able to do anything he wanted without any physical limitations.
"He'll need a cardiologist then. What about his heart?" Yoder asked, as he wrote it all down.
"He will need a cardiologist for the lung transplant. His heart will also need to be monitored. His heartbeat is slightly erratic and a cardiologist will need to run some tests to make sure it will correct itself with time or if he will need a pacemaker implanted. I can't tell you if he will need one or not. It just depends on how his heart rebounds as his body heals. Moving down, his liver is starting to fail. He has scarring in his liver, he's only at the second stage of liver failure and with the proper medication and eating habits, his liver can repair itself. If it can't he will need a liver transplant. He will need to speak with a hepatologist, which is a liver specialist. He will run specialised tests to see if Clay's liver can recover on its own or not. He will also need a nephrologist, a kidney doctor, he is going to need dialysis a few times a week. Both of his kidneys are struggling and are borderline failing."
"Ok, so let me get this straight here Doc. He needs specialists for his head, eyes, ears, lungs and heart, liver and kidneys." Sonny said, shocked.
"His muscles have also atrophied quite a bit due to the lack of sunlight, nutrients and being able to move around. I didn't see the chain that was attached to his ankle myself, but based on how weak his muscles are he didn't get to move around much. He also had old scarring on his other ankle and both of his wrists. From what I can tell he was restrained fully for weeks. Between the pain and not having much room he wouldn't have been able to move enough to give his muscles the exercise they needed to stay healthy. Both of his hands, arms and legs are extremely weak. He will need extensive physical therapy to get his strength back up."
"That I expected. Ok, when can he be cleared to fly back to the States?" Jason asked.
"That's complicated, but if he doesn't get worse he can be cleared to fly in seven days. However, there are a few things we need to discuss. The first is his teeth." Dr. Hunter started.
"His teeth?" Full Metal asked, confused.
"All of his molars were pulled by his captors. It was either done as a way to prevent him from biting down on his rapists or they did it as a means of torture. Most likely a combination of both. They were all pulled completely out from their roots. The gums have healed; however, the dozen teeth he has left are all decaying. It's from a lack of nutrients in his system. His body has to distribute the nutrients to his organs to keep him alive. His teeth weren't important enough for his body. They are all decaying beyond salvaging. They need to be pulled and I would like to do that right now."
"He only has a dozen teeth and you want to pull them? Why can't you just fix them?" Sonny demanded.
"Because they are too far gone. I can't fix them, no dentist could fix them. They are breaking apart and they are adding to his pain. Your friend is very injured and sick. If you hadn't found him when you did, he would be dead within thirty days. His body is very weak and very sick. Every single breath he takes is hurting him. Every bone in his body is hurting him. His teeth would hurt him all day and night long. Everytime something touched them it would send a shockwave of pain throughout his mouth and head. He's also at risk of an infection, which could kill him right now. We can't give him that strong of a pain medication because they are narcotics and with him being born addicted to heroin, it puts him at risk of becoming addicted all over again. There is only so much we can do for the pain that he is in. However, the pain from his teeth, that is a pain we can fix. Once the teeth are pulled, the pain will essentially be gone. His gums will be sore for a day or two, but it will be nothing compared to what it was. As his next of kin Master Chief Hayes, it's your decision."
Jason didn't know what to do with any of this. He hated knowing that Clay would have no teeth left. He hated being the one to have to decide this for his own son. Just like he hated hearing that they were only thirty days away from Clay being dead. It was too close, way too fucking close. He was in so much pain though, and Jason couldn't bring himself to keep him in pain, not when he could stop some of it.
"Do what you think is best for his health." Jason said.
"What happens moving forward with his teeth?" Yoder asked.
"Once I pull them the pain will essentially be gone as I've said. Once you get Stateside in six weeks have him go and speak with a dentist and they will be able to give you some options. He's young though so I would recommend dental implants. They will do his whole mouth and each tooth will be surgically implanted into his gums. However, a dental surgeon won't touch him if he isn't healthier. So you need to focus on the next three months getting nutrients into him and getting some weight on him. I would recommend for you to speak with a nutritionist and see what they have that you can give him to get the proper nutrients into his body again and get some weight onto him without him having teeth."
"Ok, and that is all that is physically wrong with him?" Blackburn asked.
"Yes, physically. His STD panel came back negative for everything so they wore condoms for what that is worth." Dr. Hunter stated.
"How fucking considerate of them." Sonny said disgustedly that they even had to have this conversation.
"Mentally speaking he will obviously need to speak with a therapist. He's going to have PTSD and he is showing signs of having stockholm syndrome. Now, he might not have it. It's not uncommon for people that have been held captive to follow the rules even when they get free. It takes time for their mind to process being free and safe and getting back into being themselves. I will say this though, with Clay being on the spectrum the trauma might make his quirks worse. So be prepared for him to not like certain textures, sounds, lights, or tastes. If there were people he didn't like being around, if there were people he didn't feel safe around, I would keep them away from him, because those feelings could be magnified."
"Trust me Doc, the only people that will be around Clay are the ones in this room." Ray said confidently.
Jason shared a quick look at Full Metal and Yoder. They all made the silence promise that Vic wouldn't be going anywhere near Clay ever again. They didn't care what they had to do, Vic would never see Clay ever again if they had it their way.
"I'll let Lindell know what is going on and that we will all be able to fly back in seven days." Blackburn said.
"There is one more piece of detail that we need to go over before I will be able to release Clay. I have to know where he will be going for his inpatient recovery." Dr. Hunter said.
"Hold up inpatient. What the hell are you talking about?" Jason demanded.
None of them were expecting to hear the doctor to start talking about inpatient treatment facilities. They were taking Clay home where he belonged.
"Clay will need around the clock care. He will need someone to keep track of his doctor appointments, his medication schedule. He is going to be doing extensive physical therapy that will need to be done with his physical therapist at the facility as well as outside of his appointment times to get Clay's muscles back. Until his muscles have had a chance to get stronger he will have trouble with everyday tasks. He will need help with eating, bathing, getting dressed, he won't even have the strength to walk to the bathroom. He won't have the strength to walk nor will he be able to push himself in a wheelchair. He is going to need around the clock care and the best place for him to get the help his body needs is in an inpatient treatment facility with doctors and nurses that will help him." Dr. Hunter calmly explained.
"Like hell he is." Sonny instantly snapped.
There was no way in hell any of them were going to allow Clay to be going anywhere but his home. He had already been held captive for six months; they were not going to place him in another place where he would feel like a prisoner. He needed to be home where he could feel safe, where he could recover.
"He's not going anywhere but home. I will be there to take care of him. His brothers will be there for him. We will make sure he gets to his doctors' appointments. We will make sure he gets his medications on time and we will get him through physical therapy. We'll figure it out, but he is coming home where his bed is, where his things are, where he can sit in the sun and listen to the waves hitting the shores. I have more than enough vacation days saved up after the last twenty years of not taking them. If that isn't good enough for the Navy, then I'll hand in my papers. He's going home with his family."
Jason didn't care if he had to be discharged from the Navy. He was going to be taking care of Clay. It didn't matter to him how long it would take or how much help Clay needed, he was going to be there for his son through all of this. No matter what.
"Your devotion to your child is admiral Master Chief, but I don't think you understand the help he is going to need. The medical care he is going to need. At these facilities they will have the physical therapy equipment that he will need to do his exercises. They will be able to get him to the hospital for his dialysis and his doctor appointments. He will need to do breathing treatments a few times a day. They will be able to do all of that for him and they will have the medical experience to know how to do it properly. Around the clock care is not easy at all. It's like having an infant all over again, only a very sick infant that gets nightmares and has psychological trauma. It's too much for one person to do. He would be better off in a facility where there is a team of medical professionals that can help him." Dr. Hunter tried to explain.
The problem was, it was only pissing the guys off even more. They knew that Clay needed help, but to them he was their kid brother. They would do anything for him. If he needed help eating, getting dressed, getting bathed and help in the bathroom, they would help him. No questions asked and no judgments or regrets. He was their kid brother and they would get him healthy. They would get him through the medical treatments. They would make sure he was healthy and getting better. They weren't going to leave it to someone else. They weren't going to allow strangers to take care of Clay. He was going to be around people that he could trust, people that he did trust and felt comfortable around.
"You see the people in this room Doc? This is only a fraction of the people that Clay has in his corner. I won't be the only one there for him. He has a handful of medics, and dozens of brothers that will be there for him to help get him better. If we need special equipment, we'll get it. If he needs to have medications and treatments at specific answers, we'll make it happen. We'll get a schedule going and we will figure it out. He's going home where he belongs. He's going where he will have people he trusts touching him and helping him heal. He's going home and that's final." Jason said with an edge to his voice.
"And as his doctor I have a say in where he can be discharged. If I feel like it is in his best interest to be in an inpatient care facility, then the only way he can be released back to the States is into the care of his doctor in that care facility. I don't want to have to go over your head Master Chief, but I will if I have to." Dr. Hunter started.
"You aren't his doctor. Dr. Moore in Virginia Beach is his primary doctor. And I can have him here within forty-eight hours to replace you. The Navy has my son classified as dead, so the military doesn't get a say in what happens to him. They will be too busy with all the red tape they now have to work through to get my son declared alive again. But if you would like to speak to my Commanding Officer, he's right there." Jason said, as he pointed to Blackburn.
"And I can have my Commanding Officer on the phone in seconds. Along with a handful of Generals, Admirals and politicians that will all tell you to release Clay into the care of his father, Master Chief Jason Hayes. As for Dr. Moore, I already made the call and he's in the air on the way here now." Blackburn said with complete authority to his voice.
"You're making a mistake." Dr. Hunter said and it was clear he didn't approve. "I need to remove the teeth while he is still sedated, assuming that is still what you wish to do Master Chief."
"If it'll help ease some of his pain, then yes." Jason answered.
"If everyone could give me some space, that would be greatly appreciated and I will get set up and started."
The guys all looked at Jason and he gave a nod. They all made their way out of the room, Yoder and Trent already softly talking to divide up the medical needs. Jason knew that they both would work together to make sure Clay had everything he needed back home and that all of the guys knew what to do. Jason knew it was going to be a lot of work to get Clay back into proper health, but he wasn't about to walk away and leave him in the hands of some stranger. He was his son and he would be taking care of him. Jason kept Clay's hand in his as the doctor worked with a nurse and got Clay ready to pull the rest of his teeth. Jason hated that he had to agree to this, but he knew that if it was better for Clay then he would have to do it. That was only confirmed as Jason watched Dr. Hunter pulling Clay's teeth and seeing them breaking apart like they were nothing. The inside of his teeth weren't even black, they were a light brown, they were just decaying right in his mouth.
Jason had never felt this mad before in his life. He wanted to find the people that had done this to Clay and torture them to death. He wanted every single man that touched his son and he wanted to watch the light go out in their eyes. He wanted this human trafficking ring, he wanted the ones responsible for kidnapping his son and faking his death. He wanted them all and he was going to get them all. Once all of the teeth were pulled Dr. Hunter cleaned up as he spoke.
"He's all set. A nurse will be coming in to check in on him throughout the rest of the day and night. The sedative is starting to wear off so he should be awake soon."
"Thanks Doc." Jason said.
Dr. Hunter and the nurse headed out and Jason reluctantly let go of Clay's hand as he stepped out. He saw all of the guys hanging out by the door. He could tell they were all exhausted and upset about the extensive injuries that Clay had. He was upset too and he knew they had a very long road ahead of them.
"What do we need to do before Clay can go home?" Jason asked Trent and Yoder.
"I am going to reach out to Jax and see what physical therapy equipment Clay will need at home and making sure it is set up for him in one of the spare rooms." Trent started.
"Once Dr. Moore has arrived, we will speak with him about the acquisitions that Clay needs to all of the specialists. We are also going to reach out to a nutritionist once it's morning over in Virginia Beach and get started on learning more about what Clay can eat. We can have one of the guys pick some things up or Aly can and bring it over." Yoder added.
"Once Dr. Moore is here, he can take over Clay's care. He might have tests that he wants to run himself. He will make sure that Clay is released to you and he doesn't need to be in a facility." Blackburn said.
"I can't believe that son of a bitch even suggested something like that. Like we were going to let Clay go to some home to be touched by strangers. After everything he has been through, why the hell would being around strangers be the best thing for him?" Sonny said, still pissed off that the doctor had even suggested something like that.
"Given Clay's condition it wouldn't be that far of a stretch to suggest a facility. He is going to need a lot of help. It's not something that one person is going to be able to do." Trent said.
"I'll handle it. I'm not putting him anywhere, but his own home." Jason said with strength to his voice.
"That's not what I'm saying at all Boss. He's going to need all of us helping out." Trent clarified.
"Is there a way we could all get some time off?" Full Metal asked Blackburn.
"I've already spoken with Lindell about it. Everyone on Bravo will be working on base until we find out who is behind Clay's supposed death. Jason, you have been cleared to stay with Clay. Lindell is letting everyone come and go from base to help with Clay. No one will be going on missions or on tour until we find who is responsible. Mandy and myself will be looking into who is responsible for Clay. Davis is going to run with the human trafficking angle and we will find the ring leader and get them shut down. They will also have other victims that we need to help free. Everyone will be home bound and can help with Clay."
"We should see if one of the teams that are home can move Clay's house around a bit. We need the spare room on the bottom level set up for the physical therapy. But we should maybe have Clay's room down there for a little while. Turn one of the spare bedrooms into his room." Ray suggested.
"That would be ideal. We also have no idea if he is going to remember being raped before he was kidnapped. We should avoid him seeing his bedroom for a little while." Trent agreed.
"Alpha is in, I'll call Derek." Full Metal said, as he pulled out his phone.
Before anymore could be said there was a thud that came from Clay's hospital room. They were instantly jumping into action and ran into Clay's hospital room. They saw that Clay was on the ground and the IV pole had fallen over. Jason was instantly going over to Clay's side as Clay started to speak in Tigrinya once again.
"ጥዑያት እንስሳታት ኣብ ምድሪ ይድቅሱ። ዓራት ሕማቕ ኣብ ዓራት ከኣ ሕማቕ ነገራት የጋጥም ። ንፉዕ እንስሳ እየ."
"Hang on. He's saying, good pets sleep on the ground. Beds are bad, bad things happen in a bed. I'm a good pet." Yoder said, as he already had his phone out on the translation app.
"They must have tortured him to make sure he only got to be on the mattress when he was being raped." Trent said sadly.
Clay spoke again and they all looked at Yoder. "He just keeps saying I'm a good pet over and over again."
"It's ok Clay, you don't have to follow those rules anymore. It's ok to sleep in a bed." Ray said gently, but loud enough so Clay could hear him.
Clay started to panic and he spoke even faster now.
"Master will know, Master always knows. I'm a good pet. I can't make Master mad. Good pets get left alone." Yoder transplanted.
"It's ok Sunshine. You don't have to be in the bed, it's ok." Jason said gently.
"He can't sleep on the floor though Jase." Ray said sadly.
"He's not ready for a bed." Yoder insisted.
"Brock, find two thick blankets." Jason ordered and Brock gave a nod before he headed out. "Cerb." Jason ordered and Cerberus looked relieved when he was finally allowed to go over to Clay. "Sunshine, I'm going to lean you against my chest ok?"
Jason needed to get Clay to calm down, that was first. His breathing was horrible right now and he was very worried about what could happen if he couldn't get Clay to calm down. Clay gave a small nod and Jason went and moved Clay so he was leaning against his chest from where they sat on the floor. Now that Clay was moving slightly, the guys could all see how weak his muscles were. It looked like it was taking everything in him to move his hand.
"Can you feel Cerb Sunshine?" Jason asked, as he allowed Cerberus to reach Clay.
Clay gave a small nod and it took a great deal of effort for him to lift his arm. Cerb, sensing the trouble that Clay was having, went and laid down and placed his head on Clay's thigh so Clay wouldn't have to raise his arm as high.
"Trent, portable oxygen." Jason said and that was all Trent needed to know before he headed out in search of one.
Brock came back in and Yoder was instantly grabbed the one thick blanket and went over and laid it down on the ground along the wall by the bathroom. Brock grabbed a couple of pillows and they made a makeshift bed.
"He can't sleep on the floor the whole time Jase." Full Metal said.
"I know, but he's not ready yet and we have bigger problems than a bed right now."
Jason knew that Clay can't sleep on the floor for the rest of his life. He knew they needed to find a way to get him back into a bed. For right now though, it was more important that Clay slept than where he was sleeping.
"Jase is right. We just need him sleeping so his body has a chance to recover." Yoder agreed, just as Trent came back in with a portable oxygen tank.
"Sunshine. I'm gonna pick you up and just bring you over there." Jason said, as he pointed to the makeshift bed.
"Cerb?" Clay asked.
"He's gonna come with us. He can stay with you for as long as you want." Jason answered.
He knew that Cerb was Brock's dog, but he also knew that he wouldn't care if Cerb wanted to be living with Clay right now. Brock would be good with it because it's what both Clay and Cerb needed. Clay gave a very small nod and Jason very carefully went and picked him up. Clay let out a groan of pain as his body was moved.
"I know, I'm sorry." Jason instantly said.
He brought Clay over to the makeshift bed and he sat down very carefully with Clay in his arms. He then went and placed Clay down on the blanket before he placed a pillow on his thigh so Clay could put his head on it. Clay squirmed and they knew he was in pain. Yoder went over and helped Clay to roll over onto his right side. He then placed another pillow between Clay's legs where his knees were to help relieve some of the pain the position put his body in. Cerb waited until Yoder moved back before he went and curled up against Clay. Clay slowly moved his left arm and placed it on Cerb. Trent went over with the portable oxygen tank and bent down as he spoke loud enough for Clay to be able to hear him.
"Hey Kiddo, I need to put this oxygen mask on you to help you breathe better, ok?"
"He said ok." Yoder said.
Trent went and got the mask over Clay's head as gently as he could and he made sure the oxygen was set at the right level. With the oxygen right, Trent then double checked the IV line and he was pleased that it hadn't gotten dislodged from Clay getting out of the bed.
"It's ok, you can sleep Sunshine." Jason said, as Clay fought to keep his eyes open.
"ክትድቅስ ከለኻ ሕማቕ ነገራት የጋጥመካ እዩ። ድቃስ ሓደጋ የብሉን ።."
"Bad things happen when you sleep. It's not safe to sleep." Yoder translated.
"I know, but you're safe now Son. I promise you. We're not going to let anyone hurt you. It's ok to sleep." Jason said, as he fought back the tears.
"ጐይታ ኺረኽበኒ እዩ ። ኣብኡ ብዘይምህላወይ ኪሓርቕ እዩ። ነቲ ኳሌታኡ ኸም ዝተንከኽዎ። ንፉዓት እንስሳታት ከምቲ እተነግሮም እዮም ዚገብሩ። ንፉዕ እንስሳ እየ። ልክዕ ከም ንፉዕ እንስሳ ንጐይታ ኽጽበዮ ኣሎኒ።"
"Master will find me. He'll be mad that I'm not there. That I touched his collar. Good Pets do as they are told. I'm a good Pet. I should be back there waiting for Master like a good Pet." Yoder translated again.
"I'm gonna kill this son of a bitch." Sonny growled under his breath.
"It's ok Son, you're safe now. In a few days we can go home. You can go back to your house and enjoy the sun on the beach. Curl up on one of the loungers with Cerb and just listen to the waves." Jason said.
He knew it was going to take time for Clay to understand that he was safe. That he didn't need to follow the rules of the trafficking organization. That he didn't have a master and he wasn't a pet.
"ጐይታይ ኪረኽበኒ እዩ ኣቦይ ግን ኬዕቍበኒ እዩ። ኬዕቍቡኒ እዮም ኣይኰነን ድዩ?"
"What did he say?" Sonny asked.
"He's talking to himself. I think he got used to talking to himself in the cell. He said, Master will find me, but Dad will keep me safe. They'll keep me safe, right?"
"What if we stood on guard? If he could see that we were protecting him, if he could feel that, maybe then he would start to feel safe." Blackburn suggested.
The guys were more than happy to do whatever it took to make Clay feel safe. To help him sleep, if that meant they stood guard and treated this as a high level protection mission, then they would.
"Let's do it. Hell, if it makes him feel better, I'll wear my gear everywhere we go." Sonny easily said.
"Ok, Sonny and Yoder in here with me, everyone else spread out around the room outside. He can see you from the windows." Jason said.
The guys all gave a nod and Yoder and Sonny went and stood guard by the closed door as Jason spoke.
"We will always protect you Sunshine. No one is getting in here that isn't your nurse or doctor. I promise you, no one will get you ever again. We will keep you safe."
Clay allowed his eyes to travel over to where Sonny and Yoder were standing. He could see they were on guard and ready for action should they need to. It wasn't that he didn't want to sleep. His whole body was exhausted and screaming for him to sleep. But he also knew how much it hurt when he did sleep and his Master came in and he wasn't in his position. He was to always have his head down and on his knees. It was hard to go on his knees a lot now. Every movement he made hurt. But not moving and he could be hurt even worse by his Master. But his Dad was here now. His brothers were here now. He wasn't in that cold place anymore, he was with his family and Cerb. Clay saw Yoder give him a warm smile and an encouraging nod before he finally closed his eyes and let the exhaustion pull him under.
A/N: Ok, review and let me know what you think! They keep me going. Also I was re-reading A Threat From Within and out of curiosity I am wondering if anyone would be interested in me doing a prequel of sorts to that story. It would be about Clay and Brian meeting the guys on Team Three and their friendship between Yoder, Brian and Clay. It would feature different stories that were mentioned in this book, but also A Threat From Within. Let me know your thoughts!
Also I apologise for anyone who is currently scratching their head from the lice section. Lol. You are not alone, I did it the whole time I wrote that part!