A/N: I know, I know! It's been a long time, but I was working in other fandoms. I did say you would need to share lol. I have been very busy writing books for a publishing company and it takes up most of my time, but I am trying to get some stories wrapped up in other fandoms. I was going through my Google Docs and just realised that I didn't post this chapter. I don't know what stories I am going to be working on during what little free time I have, but it'll most likely be within my Seal Team fandom again. So you can expect updates, but I have no idea what story it will be.
"What do you mean you knew he wasn't dead?" Sonny asked in an eerily calm voice.
Jason knew this was going to be bad. He knew they were going to explode at him, especially Sonny. But he also knew he did what he thought was best for Clay, for his son, and he was not going to regret his decision or apologise for it. He made the call and all he could do was hope they would all understand why he had to play his cards like this.
"The day when everyone came over to Clay's place to go through his things, Yoder discovered a letter that Clay had left for him. After reading it, he gave it to Full Metal to see what he should do, they then showed it to me. Clay had written down everything that had happened to him. All of the times he didn't tell us about with his tires being slashed and the phone calls. He didn't remember much about the rape, but he did remember the guy having a bird tattoo of some sort on his neck. He did remember that Vic was the only one to give him a drink or make him a drink. He also remembered that Vic got him into a vehicle. He suspected that Vic had drugged him and was there while he was raped, that he filmed it." Jason started.
"That's bullshit. Vic wouldn't do that. He loves Clay, that's his brother. He would never hurt him like that." Ray instantly said in Vic's defense. He was pissed. Not only had apparently Jason had known that Clay was alive, but two other brothers had been suspecting that Vic had something to do with Clay being raped. It was complete bullshit and Ray wasn't going to stand for it.
"He also suspected that Vic started the social media page and had a hand in the so-called prank and poisoning in J-Bad. Within the letter Clay stated that if something were to happen to him that it wasn't an accident and he suspected that Vic would be involved." Jason finished.
"None of that is proof that Vic had anything to do with any of that shit. Once again you are taking Clay's side without even thinking or talking to Vic." Ray argued, annoyed that Jason had just blindly trusted Clay again.
"Who gives a shit? None of this explains how you knew Clay was alive." Sonny said, pissed off. He didn't care about some letter or what Clay suspected. He cared about Jason knowing his best friend was still alive and didn't tell him.
"The letter started to make the three of us question the circumstances surrounding Clay's death. We took it to Blackburn and he agreed that something was going on. Clay had been buried too fast and we couldn't even see him. We wanted to read Clay's autopsy report or to have him exhumed so another autopsy would be performed in case something was missed. If Clay had been pushed there would be bruising on his back or his chest if he had been held down, but it wouldn't show right away." Jason began to explain.
"Yoder had said that Clay was terrified of drowning. That Ash, during his last trip to Africa, had tried to kill him at the beach. Ever since he's been scared of drowning. Yoder was confident that if Clay were to kill himself it would be in a clean way. He would have taken pills and gone to sleep. He would have made sure his place was clean and everything was sorted out first. Blackburn had tried to get the reports, but they were classified higher than his clearance. We were being blocked by every attempt and to go through all of the red tape to try and get Clay exhumed, we decided to take matters into our own hands." Full Metal continued.
"You exhumed him?" Trent asked, slightly creeped out.
"We had to do something. We had to see if there was any bruising. It wasn't something we wanted to do, but it was the only way we were going to get the truth. That night the three of us went to the graveyard and Blackburn was there. We dug up the coffin and when it was open he wasn't in it. It was empty and that is when we knew someone had faked his death." Jason finished.
"So you have known this whole time that he was alive! You kept this from us? How the fuck could you all keep something like this from us? From me? He's my best friend, I mourned him and now you are telling me that I spent the past six months hanging out and drinking with someone that might have helped to rape him and put him in that hell?" Sonny yelled.
He was beyond pissed, pissed didn't even cover it. His body was trembling from the rage trying to escape his body. He had just gotten attacked by Cerb to protect Vic and now he might have protected the man that had helped to do this to his best friend, his kid brother? He felt sick and he felt betrayed by Jason, Full Metal, Yoder and Blackburn. They kept this from them all and they had no right.
"I understand you are angry, you get to be, but we did what we thought was right." Jason said, fully expecting for Sonny to explode.
"What was right? We protected Vic, we hung out with him, we brought him into our family. And now you are telling us that he's one of the people to blame for what happened to Clay. How did you think this would go?" Trent said, pissed as well.
"Why would you do this to us?" Brock asked, not understanding why they would keep something like this from them.
"I don't believe Vic was involved, but you had no right, none of you had the right, to keep something like this from us. We could have looked for him. We might have been able to find him sooner." Ray said, furious at them for keeping something this major from their family.
"We did what we thought was best. You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it and you get to be as pissed off as you want. We had to keep things quiet so no one would tip Vic off. You all know that if we had told you, none of you would have been able to keep acting normally. Vic is the weak link and we need him to lead us to the others involved in this." Jason explained.
"You know you would have attacked Vic if we told you Sonny." Full Metal added.
"I would have fucking killed him. That doesn't change the fact that I deserved to know what type of man I was standing beside. That my best friend wasn't dead in the ground because I wasn't there to protect him, to save him. I just protected Vic from Cerb. I got attacked by Cerb when all he was doing was protecting Clay. I betrayed my best friend and you want to tell me that you did what you had to do? That you were worried about how I reacted? I would have been pissed, I would have wanted him dead, but I would never have jeopardized finding Clay for anything." Sonny seethed, not even bothering with keeping his voice down.
Before anymore could be said the back door opened and Yoder came out. He closed it behind him and went right over to the group as he spoke in a soft and harsh tone. "Are you fucking kidding me? He's not fully deaf, he can hear you yelling. He can hear every word you are saying. He's in there curled up with Cerb shaking from the anger within your voices. He just spent six months being tortured and raped, you really think they didn't yell at him before they hurt him? He is terrified and it's because of the people that are supposed to protect him and make him feel safe. His supposed brothers. You got emotions, I get it. But guess what? Your emotions, your feelings, they don't mean shit right now. They don't matter. The only one whose feelings matter is Clay. He is the priority, which means when you are around him whatever you are feeling stays at the door and if you can't do that, then get the fuck out."
Everyone was instantly taken aback by the tone that Yoder was using. They had never heard him angry before and it was a shock to them all to hear it now. Jason knew this was going to go badly, but it really was the only thing he could think of to do. He knew the others were going to be upset, that it was going to shake Bravo to its core, but he also believed they could pull through it, with time they could get back to who they were. Now it was starting to look like it was going to be harder than he had expected. Yoder knew that the others were going to be pissed, but he had expected them to be a bit more understanding. To be focused on what really mattered and that was protecting Clay and getting those that were responsible behind bars where they belonged.
"I'm sorry. I just." Sonny said, as he walked away for a moment so he could collect his emotions.
He didn't want to upset Clay. He didn't even think about Clay hearing him because he had a really hard time hearing them right now. He never wanted to cause any pain or anxiety within Clay. That was his best friend, his kid brother, he loved him more than anyone and he just wanted to make this all better for him. He didn't want to make it worse. He was trying to understand where the others had come from. That they did what they thought was best and Sonny knew he would be a wild card in knowing if he would freak out or not and if he was honest with himself, he didn't know if he would have been able to be buddy buddy with Vic if he knew what Clay suspected. It wasn't even a question to Sonny if Clay was right or not, he trusted in his gut and he trusted in Clay. If Clay thought Vic had something to do with all of this, then he believed him and it was just that simple.
"I know we are all mad and feeling a lot right now, but Yoder is right, Clay is the only one that matters. His feelings are the only thing that matters and we have to put him first and not what we feel or think about this situation." Jason said, calmly.
"You must suspect other people were helping Vic. He wouldn't have been able to cover something up like this." Sonny said, as he tried to get his head into the game and focus on what matters. Clay would never be safe until they got everyone involved and he was not going to stand for any of these bastards going free while Clay would have to suffer from this trauma for the rest of his life. He could still die if he didn't get the lung transplant or didn't make it off the table from the operation.
"Vic isn't involved." Ray said with confidence.
"Clay says he is, so then he is. He didn't do this alone." Sonny said, not even willing to think about Vic not being involved. He trusted Clay with everything in him, it was just that simple.
"We don't have any proof that a fellow brother would go to these lengths. Maybe I would be willing to believe he might have been involved with the social media page and the pank on base, but come on, poisoning him? Drugging him? Video taping him being raped and then helping to fake his death and trap him in a human trafficking ring? We've worked beside him for almost a year now, are you telling me you think Vic is capable of that?" Ray said.
It wasn't possible. He didn't care what anyone said. He had worked the closest to Vic and he didn't seem like some devil in disguise. He was genuinely upset when they all thought Clay was dead. He had been there for all of them. He wouldn't do the horrible things that Clay was suggesting.
"So we prove it." Brock said.
"There's not going to be any proof. He's not involved." Ray countered.
"Then it won't matter if we are looking into him. If he didn't do it, if he's not involved or knows anything about it, then we won't find anything and no harm done." Brock argued.
"No harm done? Investigate a brother behind his back? That's a lot of harm done. I'm surprised you are going along with this." Ray said.
"Cerb didn't have a problem with him in the beginning, but then things started to happen with Clay and Cerb started to change. Cerb attacked Vic that day we went to the house to go through Clay's things. He would bark and snap whenever Vic went around him after that. And now today. Even if Clay ordered Cerb to attack, he's trained not to attack one of us. I could order Cerb to attack you and he never would. But he didn't just try and attack Vic, but he attacked Sonny without any hesitation when he got in between them. Cerb's been telling us all along that Vic can't be trusted, that Vic hurt his person. We just haven't been listening." Brock calmly explained.
"We're listening now." Trent stated.
"I can't believe you guys. You are standing here actually talking about Vic, our brother, doing this to Clay. You actually think he's that sick and evil that he would allow all of us to grieve his death. That he would play along and not say something for six months. That's some psychopathic shit."
Ray couldn't believe that the guys were all acting like they hadn't been working beside Vic for close to a year now. He's had their backs in every operation and when they were home. He was the one that dragged Sonny out of the bars after Clay's death. He was the one that helped to hold the team together when it looked like they were going to shatter. Now they want to say that he helped to not only bully Clay, but recording his rape, faking his death and trapping him in a human trafficking ring. It was absurd.
"Why do you believe Vic over Clay? Maybe Vic is innocent or maybe he really is a psychopath that wants to be Bravo One and all of the glory that comes with it. I've been watching Vic for six months now and he doesn't have real emotions. I've seen him looking at carnage like he's watching paint dry. He'll scan the room and everyone's facial expressions and mirror them. He's not who you think he is and I get it, you don't want to accept that you have let this man around your children. That you brought him into your home and family and he's the one responsible for all of that." Yoder said, as he pointed back to the house referring to Clay's condition. "But he is and you are only disrespecting Clay by refusing to face reality. Clay's memory is extraordinary. He remembers everything and the first thing he does when he is alone with Vic is get Cerb to attack him. He's telling us who hurt him, you need to listen to him." Yoder finished.
Ray didn't want to believe any of this. Yoder was right, he didn't want to know that he had allowed Vic to be around his family if he did this. He had brought Vic over for dinner once a week. They celebrated holidays and birthdays together. He was so much like a younger brother to him and he didn't know how he felt about the prospect that Vic could have been behind Clay's torture, behind his rape. He just couldn't see it, but he also couldn't ignore Clay's mind. He has always said that Clay's mind was unique and his greatest asset. His memory was remarkable and there was no denying that. He couldn't picture Vic doing these things, he just couldn't connect those two images together.
"I don't think he did this, but fine, how are we investigating this?" Ray said. He knew there was no point in fighting this, they were going to do this either way.
"We have mics and GPS trackers on Vic's, Ash's and White's cars as well as their phones. So far we haven't picked up any chatter about Clay. Blackburn is going to inform Davis about this. Mandy already knew from the beginning. We informed Admiral Anderson from the start and he informed Lindell once we were at the hospital. We're keeping this in house for now. We have been approved for an internal undercover operation. I want Ray going undercover and siding with Vic." Jason started.
"What?" Sonny asked, confused and doing his best to ignore how long the list of people that knew about all of this was. The only peace he had was knowing that Davis hadn't been keeping this from him as well.
"I want to confront Vic and tell him about Clay's letter. Play it off like we just found it. He will deny having anything to do with all of this and then I want Ray to defend him. We put a clear divide between us up and see what Vic tells Ray when he thinks that Ray is on his side." Jason explained.
"You want me to lie to Vic. To play him." Ray said, disgusted by the idea.
"I think the more important question you should be asking yourself right now Ray is, if Vic did do this, can you live with yourself if you didn't do this? Can you look at yourself in the mirror knowing you could give justice to Clay, but you refused to believe him. I know this isn't easy for you, but Ray, this is Clay, this is my son, are you really going to roll the dice on this?" Jason said, gently.
"If it was Jameelah or RJ, what would you want us to do?" Brock calmly added.
Ray gave a small nod before he spoke. "Ok, I don't think he was involved, but I'll do it. If nothing else, it'll prove that I'm right and he didn't hurt Clay." This was the last thing Ray wanted to do, but they were right. If it had been one of his kids, there was nothing any of them wouldn't do. The fact that this is Clay shouldn't change that.
"We can do it tomorrow at the base. We need to make it public, put the heat and pressure on him and make sure he knows that Ray is on his side. We gotta make it look real. If Vic is involved, he is the weakest link in the chain. We get him and we will get the rest. Until then, everyone needs to act normal if you see Vic. We're only going to get one chance at this." Jason said.
"Got it." Sonny said, before he left and headed back inside.
Jason knew it was going to take a long time before Sonny would have forgiven him from keeping this secret. He didn't want to hurt any of the guys like this, but he had to keep his son safe. That was the priority over anything else.
"He'll come around. This was harder on him than all of us. It's going to take time to repair the damage that this secret has caused." Trent stated.
"I know and I know I shouldn't have kept this from all of you. But it was the best option we had. We couldn't risk losing Vic, he was our only way of finding Clay." Jason said. He knew this was fucked up, but it was too late mow to change anything. All he could do was try and make it work.
"Were you close?" Brock asked.
"No, no we weren't." Jason said sadly.
"We didn't think he would be in a human trafficking ring on the other side of the world. We thought they would have him in some blacksite. We weren't prepared for any of this." Full Metal added.
"None of us would, but that could be how we get them. It's not like you can Google human trafficking rings and get a list of their locations. Someone had to know about them and how to contact them." Ray said.
"HERO." Yoder said and the guys could tell something clicked in his mind.
"HERO?" Trent asked.
"The Human Exploitation Rescue Operative, they work to track and shut down human trafficking rings all over the world. They employ veterans and train them on forensic and computer science to help locate and shut down these rings. They then work with law enforcement agencies to shut them down. The military attends fundraisers for them every year. White could have met with someone and learnt of this ring from a fundraiser." Yoder explained.
"Shit, we need to reach out to them and see what intel they have on this ring." Jason said. It might not be much, but it was a thread they could pull and after not having anything to pull for months, this was something they could potentially act on.
"I'll let Blackburn know and we can reach out to them." Full Metal said.
"What do we need to do for Clay?" Brock asked Trent.
"Best thing for him is to sleep. I'm going to speak with a therapist about how to start deprogramming him. It's going to be a delicate process and we have to be careful and we have to do it right. Tomorrow I also need to give him his breathing treatment."
"Lindell said he reached out to some of the political connections that Clay made. They are going to contact different hospitals and leave the donations to get Clay moved up on the list. He says Clay will most likely get a new set of lungs in three months. So we need to make sure he can handle the surgery." Jason supplied.
"It's going to be a rough surgery. It's roughly twelve hours and he will be on a vent for a few days afterwards. This week an audiologist will be coming by to give Clay a hearing test and figure out options for hearing aids. I also booked appointments for other specialists and most of them are going to come to us. He also is set up for his dialysis in two days from now, but it has to be at the hospital and it takes about four hours, but the kidney specialist will check him out at the same time." Trent added.
"We got a schedule somewhere?" Full Metal asked.
"It's on my Google calendar and I can share it with everyone so we all know. Tomorrow I will know more about how to handle the conditioning. Until then it might be best to try and keep things very simple. Even though he's home, he's still going to be scared and confused. He's going to naturally want to follow the rules and it's going to take time to break him out of it."
"I'm going to let him sleep as much as possible and I'll get him to drink some broth later. I won't do anything to try and correct the conditioning." The last thing Jason wanted was to put Clay in a position to be hurt. It was best to wait for a professional to inform them on what to do.
"We should get back inside, spend some time with him. He seems to feel safer when we're all around him." Yoder suggested.
They all agreed and made their way back inside. They walked in and saw Clay asleep laying down with his head on Sonny's right thigh and Cerb curled up with him. Sonny had his right hand on Clay's chest and was taking comfort in the up and down motion of it. They could see that he was still upset, but he wasn't about to let that get between him and Clay. Jason could tell that Sonny wasn't happy with him, but he expected as much. Out of everyone he knew that Sonny would hold the longest and deepest grude, but he also knew he wouldn't let that stop him from being around Clay. They were going to get justice for him, no matter what or who they had to sacrifice in the process.
A/N: If you are looking to read some of my work, feel free to check out some of the books I have written on Amazon for the author of Eve Riley From the Edge Series.