DISCLAIMER: It's a shame these characters aren't mine…


Devlin crossed his arms and pouted while turning away. Moments ago, a tall man with short blond hair and a white lab-coat uttered a phrase that made Devlin's heart nearly leap up his throat and out of his mouth. Never before had the young raven-haired boy wished this hard that his closest friend and brother were there - not behind…not to his side, but directly in front of him as he had done to keep Max and Ben from throwing him in to the Null-void.

"Without this, the pain's only going to get worse…" the doctor trailed off as Devlin slipped into his shirt after sliding off the exam table before tracking to the door.

Almost instantly the boy stopped, turned back and shook his head. "No way, no how, never going to happen!" his voice turned demanding as he opened the door. Right away the pain hit. Wincing, grunting and nursling his right side, Devlin dropped to his knees and fell hard to his left. This act drew the attention of several nurses and other doctors, and of course, other in-and-out patients.


"I'm on it…" a younger nurse called back before retrieving a wheel chair. Waiting her return, the doctor knelt down and put his hand over Devlin's hands "Let me interject; without this you could die!" The boy released a long held gasp as his eyes widened at the realization.


Devlin glared around the cold dark room around him. Two solution bags hung bedside as he turned his head to the side to see a younger male technician glaring between him and a monitor. In the techs hand, an odd device ready to press against the boys bare belly. Slowly, the doctor from earlier entered with a slight grin.

"You doing okay there kiddo?" the tech asked noticing Devlin's eyes growing large with fear and question.

"What…what is that thing?" Devlin asked trying to sound manly but managing a timid squeak.

"It's an ultrasound scope. Basically it works by letting us see what's inside without having to actually…well, go inside. Don't worry, it won't hurt at all; if anything, it'll feel like getting a thumb rub" with this, the tech gently placed the head of the device against Devlin's skin resulting in the boy drawing a sharp breath and shivering.

"Why is everything around here so flipping cold!"

Time drugged along. Test after test left Devlin wanting nothing more than to be left alone. More precisely, he wanted the medical staff to leave him alone; Kenny, Ben and Max, on the other hand, he didn't mind having them around because they were familiar…they were his foster family after all.


"It's what!" Devlin - dressed in a pair of light green hospital pajamas - barked while abruptly sitting up in the hospital bed with both side rails raised; in the span of only a few seconds, he realized such actions were best not to do again as he forced himself to lay back down. Feeling a hand on his shoulder, he glared to his left to find Kenny reaching through the metal bars; Ben and Max stared at the blond haired doctor whom carried a clipboard in hand.

"Appendicitis; and it requires surgery to remove" the doctor reiterated his point; hearing it, Devlin opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling panels. Thoughts danced through the boys mind identical to a wildfire raging in the night sky.

"So…" Devlin spoke dryly as Kenny gently rubbed his shoulder "…you're going to slice and dice me like a fish? Then leave me for dead?"

"No, no…" the doctor held his hands out "…we're just going to go in through a small slit about two and a half inches long, snip out the bad part, close up said slit and send you on your way. It's scheduled for tomorrow at seven thirty in the evening" With nothing else to add, the doctor stepped out allowing his young patient alone time with the people around him.

The hour grew late. Ben and Kenny - whom would not leave without giving at least several hugs to his brother - have long since departed leaving Max to watch over Devlin. Settling down in a spare chair bedside, Max opened a book he had meant to get into for so long; in the dim lighting, he glanced over to Devlin and took note of closed twitching eyes and a faint mumbling escaping his throat. Poor kid… he thought with a slight chuckled before turning his focus on the book.

"NO!" Devlin shouted bolting up catching Max off guard; the boys deep breaths and cold sweat lined face added to the intrigue.

"You okay? Son?"

"No! I'm…I, I just can't…" the boy brought his hands up to wipe streaks of tears coming from his eyes.

"You're scared, aren't you…" Max smiled while reaching over to put his hand on Devlin's back; with a slow rubbing motion, the boy quietly settled his emotions. "Many years ago, I knew this boy that was in your exact dilemma. He was young; thought he was the bravest person around, but he had a fear of going under the knife…much like yourself"

"How did he do it? Get over his fear?"

"Well; see, he thought about his hero and what his hero would do in the situation; and after everything was said and done, he realized there was nothing to be scared of"

"And it worked?"

"You bet'cha. When something seems scary, start laughing at it; then you'll find yourself wondering why you were ever scared of it in the first place" Max moved his hand to the boys chest and gently guided him back against the mattress and pillows "How about getting some sleep. You're going to need your spunk for recovery" With a slight nod, Devlin closed his eyes and drew a deep sighing breath.


Devlin rustled under a massive white sheet as several nurses stood around the bed side; against the far wall, his adopted family watched with wander at how quiet and still the boy remained even though he were mere moments away from going down to the cave.

The room was cold; bright; Devlin glared around to everything around; stainless steel glittered at every turn. Without warning, Devlin chuckled before laughing lightly; everything that was intimidating moments ago turned down right hilarious. Even a tech gently placing a breathing mask to his mouth and nose seemed strangely amusing.

This is just a cold bright room; I'll be asleep the whole time; hell…I'll just have another battle scar to show off. The boys eyes falling upon the blond haired doctor was the last thing he consciously remembered as the fog came over him. Everyone watched Devlin as his laughing silenced breath by breath.

Kenny paced back and forth; Ben and Max waited patiently for any news good or bad.

"Tennyson?" the doctor came out into the waiting room; his entrance was rewarded by the family circling around him "Everything went perfectly, he's on his way up to recovery right now and you can see him tomorrow"

"What! Why?" Kenny nearly shouted.

"Well, son, see…" the doctor knelt down to meet Kenny eye to eye "…your brothers still pretty out of it from the anesthesia. It'll be like holding a conversation with a brick wall" with this the boy nodded while looking down to the floor. "But you can see him all you want tomorrow, when he'll be dramatically more functional"


Devlin smiled seeing the familiar and most certainly welcomed faces that entered into the hospital room; the smallest and softest of which immediately darted over and gripped him in a tight but loose hug.

"How you doing bro?" Kenny asked with a wide smile seeing Devlin sitting up slightly.

"Better now that you're here"

"Does it hurt?"

"Not really" Devlin grinned a devious smirk. His attention then turned to Max sitting in a small chair. "Max?" he asked shyly as tough unsure about something "That boy you told me about the other night…"


"It was you, wasn't it?"

Max smiled. His sons Carl and Frank, his grandchildren Ben, Gwendolyn and Ken, even his great grandson Kenny had never before made the connection that the boy in his story was indeed Max himself.

That lone smile was all the proof positive that Devlin needed.


"Kenny" Devlin smirked as he lounged on bed in his own room with Kenny sitting next to him; currently Ben and Max remained off battling trouble brewing in the old quarter of the city. "You don't have to hang around if you don't want to…"

"But I want to" Kenny protested leaning back sliding his arm under his brothers neck before gently pulling him closer. "You've got another two weeks of recovery before you can go back to hero work and I want to make sure you're not going to go hurting yourself. If you need something, I'll help you to get it" a comforting smile crept across his face.

Before Devlin knew it, Kenny leaned in to brush his lips against his brothers, the motion lasted for a few seconds, but in that short amount of time, Devlin understood the significance of the act. He knew Kenny cared about him, and he cared about Kenny; and even though Devlin didn't understand his feelings, he felt the simple brush of lips was Kenny's way of showing just how he felt about the elder.

Slowly, Devlin inched closer and closer until he was snuggling as close as possible to Kenny. "As long as you're here…" he whispered "…I won't go doing anything stupid…"

True to his word, Devlin spent the next two weeks gradually recovering his abilities; even at the end of the time span, he still leaned on Kenny when standing up…not because it hurt or he wanted to take it easy, but because he liked having someone to lean on. On a few occasions, the raven haired boy would whisper "I like you" to Kenny's ear which resulted in Kenny whispering "I like you too". On the rarest of occasions, when nobody was looking, he would give a quick cheek kiss to Kenny whom returned the action with one of his own before blushing a deep tomato red.

NOTE: Yeah, yeah, future medicine would have some fancy gizmo that would do all the work without leaving any marks…but this is a 'what if' fic, and with that gizmo I would have nothing.