The next day dawned with dark clouds and wind. Zeph wondered if the weather had decided to mirror his mood. He met his mother's look as they ate breakfast. She seemed serene.
"You want him there?"
A vehement nod.
Jonathan looked stunned and a little pleased. "He wants me there?"
"Apparently. Maybe he figures it concerns all of us."
"I'm not sure –"
She reached over and took his hand. "None of us are."
With a small nod, he agreed.
The three of them sat in the waiting room, Cal relaxed and paging through the oldest of the magazines available to them; Jonathan controlled and looking relaxed; Zeph paced like a small caged tiger.
The secretary looked up from her record keeping and advised them that the doctor would see them now.
Cal gave Zeph a quick smile and led the way. "Good morning, Dr. Davis."
Dr. Davis looked surprised as she shook hands with Zeph and Cal. "I wasn't expecting –"
"I know. Zeph insisted. Dr Davis, this is Jonathan Raven, Zeph's father."
"Mr. Raven. I'm a little confused?"
Cal chuckled. "It's a long story and I'm not certain that it has any bearing on what – well – maybe it does. Short form." Cal swiftly gave the Dr. an edited version of Jonathan Raven and Aki Mishamoto.
It was to the good Doctor's credit that her lower jaw did not hit the ground over the story. She made a mental note to see if she could get the father to consider some counseling as she was beginning to suspect that whatever the boy revealed today would have a great deal of bearing on the relations within the family grouping – what ever that was.
She took a few minutes to explain to Zeph exactly what she was going to do and how she would handle his hypnosis session. She could tell he was not at ease with the idea.
"Do you want to wait?"
"Not to sound too redundant, but you're certain?"
The almond shaped eyes met hers, so dark, so uncertain. "It is time to find out what can be helped," he told her, his voice soft but clear.
"All right." She had him get comfortable in a chair of his choosing. She assured him it was all right to hold his mother's hand if he wished. She noted the almost white knuckled grip his left hand had on the arm of the chair while Cal took his right. Gently, she guided him through the process of going into a guided sleep state.
"Can you still hear me?"
She blinked. It hadn't occurred to her he might resort to speaking in Japanese. She looked at Cal for direction.
"He can't hear me unless you tell him he can?"
"He can hear you, but you're not his control. He won't respond unless I turn him over to you."
"That's OK. Jonathan speaks fluent Japanese. It's Zeph's first language. We can translate if we have to do so."
"One other thing."
"Isn't it a little late for other things?"
"Not this one. If he stops responding to Zeph, try Hikari. That's the name his birth mother gave him."
"Right. Here we go."
Dr. Davis asked Zeph about his current life, confirming answers she already had from Cal's interview. Then she guided him backwards to his meeting with Kaitlin. That seemed to work well. Zeph was surprisingly easy to get to talk. He hadn't thought he would like the woman, but she was nice. They worked back to his waking up in the hospital, always assuring him that he was untouched by these experiences, watching them from a distance as he would watch a movie. He balked at the hospital.
"No. I don't want to go there. It hurts."
"No. It hurt. It hurt the boy you were. You are not hurt now. You are just looking back at it. That's all."
"Zeph – It's all right. I just need you to tell me about leaving the hospital. You're all right, you're healed."
The three adults stared at the boy. The voice was not his usual soft tenor. It was deep, guttural. Jonathan looked to Cal for an answer. She was staring at her son, half in recognition of the sound. Very softly, almost too softly to hear, she asked who spoke. She asked in Vietnamese.
The voice responded in the same language. "You called me. I came. The boy will not go back there."
"I called – " Cal's mouth felt dry. She had not deliberately called anything or anyone to the child, but she had willed his survival with all her might. "Oh, shit," she mouthed silently. She made a small formal bow toward Zeph, toward the being now speaking.
"Honorable protector, I do not know your name and I did not know I had called you. I thank you for your efforts on my behalf and for the boy. I know it is not comfortable for him. I know it is not – well - for you. But we need to know what seeds were planted by the Black Dragons that we may – not just divert them, but heal the damage they cause."
"The damage is healed."
"He attacked his father because of the dragon tattoo he bears. The damage is not healed."
Zeph's eyes flickered with red flames. His lips writhed back from his teeth in a snarl. "You call me a liar!"
"No. You are not damaged. He does not harm those around him, but the damage before you came is still unhealed. If he cannot speak, will you?"
Zeph's face acquired a crafty look, leering at the woman who adopted him. "Payment."
Calliope's face turned hard at that. "Your survival is payment enough. The boy survives without your presence, and I so desire it. Talk or I will rip you from him and send you screaming to a Chinese hell of my choosing."
The eyes widened. "You - It will hurt him."
"Not if you shield him."
"I can stay?"
"Let us work on his healing."
"Ask," the voice hissed.
Jonathan had been listening to the discussion closely. His Vietnamese was not the best, the war there having ended some years before he got into covert operations. He wished Ski was with them. Not that his memory would have necessarily supplied more than Jonathan's limited vocabulary did. He caught enough to know that something extremely odd was going on, and that disturbed him. He and Cal would have a long talk when they returned to her home.
Cal nodded to Dr. Davis. "See if you can get an answer."
"Zeph. Can you hear me?"
The boy's face turned toward her, his unfocused eyes on her face. "Yes."
"The hospital. You're 6. Calliope has been there while you healed enough to go home with her. Tell me about the day you left the hospital."
"I'm afraid. She knows I'm afraid. I think the others will take me from her.
"The one's with the dragon tattoos."
"You don't want them to take you?"
"No. They hurt me. They hate me. They want me to – to –"
"It's OK. They aren't there."
"No. I don't see them."
"What do you do?"
"I tell her she will leave me."
"And what does Calliope say?"
A smile curved his lips. "I will always watch over you," he said in Vietnamese.
"And what does that mean?"
"I will always watch over you," he translated. "She doesn't promise she will always be there, but she will keep me safe."
"You believe her."
Cal noticed that the Doctor and Jonathan are looking at her interestedly. The Doctor looks at her watch. An hour has gone by. An hour is usually enough time to deal with for the first time under. Gently, she brings Zeph back to the present and awakens him.
"How do you feel?"
The boy thinks for a moment. Nothing hurts. Nothing is odd. "Fine, I guess."
"Do you remember what we talked about?"
"And you're all right with it?"
"Good. Do you want to continue with the hypnosis?"
"We didn't get to what – to - "
"You did not speak of the Black Dragons," Jonathan assured him in Japanese. He was pleased with the look of relief Zeph sent his way.
"We only went to your leaving the hospital with your mother. The trouble she is worried about is before that. If you feel up to another session, we can schedule in a couple of days."
Zeph nodded. "Yes. I – yes." He looked at Cal and Jonathan. "Can we go now?"
Cal laughed. "Yes. We can."
The drive back to the house was silent, each of the three occupied with his or her own thoughts. Zeph's were the most basic. He was dealing with his own perceptions of acquiring Calliope Jones as his mother. He could look at his life with her, since leaving the hospital, and know that she had kept her word. She had always kept an eye on him, always done what she hoped was best for him. He was grateful to her, but there was more. He loved her. He knew he had been a difficult child for her to handle. He promised himself he would try to be more reasonable; or, at the least, let her know how much he appreciated her presence in his life.
He carefully skirted all thoughts of the entity who had spoken to Cal in Vietnamese. He was a little afraid of that voice. He wasn't certain he wanted to know any more about the owner of the voice than he already did.
Jonathan was lost in his own thoughts. He understood that the voice Hikari – Zeph – whichever – had used was indicative of a second personality. To him it was reasonable to think that Zeph used the voice to personify - something he didn't want to deal with, probably the Black Dragons. Only, that didn't quite make as much sense as he felt it should. He knew he was not comfortable with what the voice represented. He also knew that the voice represented something to Cal, something she had dealt with. Her voice had been sharp when she spoke to the alternate personality. He wished his Vietnamese was better. He wanted to know what that discussion was all about. He would ask her when they were alone.
Cal was also lost in her thoughts. The entity which had spoken through Zeph had said it was called. She knew she had wanted the boy to live, had been desperate for him to survive when she knew it was not necessarily reasonable to expect. The doctors and nurses had basically written him off when she brought him in. Only her insistence had made them try to revive him, to fix what was broken. Now, she had to face having summoned something to help him survive. It was going to take some research to figure out just exactly what she had done.
In the meantime, she was going to have to field questions from her houseguest. Maybe she could side track him into an investigation of what happened to his home. She hoped so, it would make her life so much easier if she could do that. She chanced a sideways glance at his profile. Oh, my. Lovely profile. She told her heart to behave itself and stop speeding up when she just looked at the man. She then pulled her brain firmly away from contemplation of just where another kiss might lead the two of them.
By the time they got back to the house, Cal was ready for a nap. So was Zeph. If Jonathan thought the two of them were avoiding him that was his problem.