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Childhood Fantasies
Prologue


Sitting down at the table in the cafeteria, Jarod looked at the food in front of him. Not particularly appetizing, he had to admit, but he was hungry enough to make it look and smell better than it really was. Picking up the small milk carton he was about to open it when a loudspeaker began to make an announcement above his head.

"Dr. Jarod Kind to emergency."

Sighing, Jarod picked up the tray and dumped his uneaten lunch into the trash before leaving the room at a rapid pace, one hand pulling the stethoscope out of the pocket of his white coat and putting it around his neck.

* * * *


"What's going on?"

"Car accident. The kids are in room two."

He nodded and headed over immediately to find several nurses gathered around the two occupied tables.

"What do we have?"

"Little girl of about four and a boy of twelve months. They were in the back when the car was rammed."

"And the parents?"

"Next door." The nurse looked up. "They're doing everything they can."

Jarod nodded again, recognizing what she was trying to avoid telling him, and then approached the first table. On it lay a little girl, a brace holding her head in position, but the machines to which she was attached showed Jarod that she was alive.

"Assessment?"

"Broken leg, but that's the only obvious injury. We've ordered x-rays."

"Good." He glanced over at the other table, on which lay an even smaller figure of the baby boy. "And here?"

"No apparent injuries but we've ordered x-rays for him too."

Seeing that his colleague was checking over the girl, Jarod turned his attention to the boy, gently feeling each limb. As he pressed down on the small stomach, the baby opened his eyes and cooed gently.

"What the...?" The nurse turned startled eyes on the tall doctor.

"That's a pretty good sign," Jarod grinned. He looked down into the eyes of the baby that were almost as dark as his own and watched as the child bubbled. "I think he's pretty much okay, but I still want to get the x-rays done." He glanced over to the other side of the room. "How's she doing?"

"Just woke up, Doctor."

He stepped over and looked down at the little girl. Again, dark brown eyes met his but there was a look of pain in these.

"Hi, sweetie." He brushed the hair away from her face. "My name's Jarod. Can you tell me yours?"

"Bronwyn."

"And what's your brother's name?"

"Jamie."

"Good girl, Bronwyn. I want you to tell me, does anything hurt?"

"My leg." Her eyes filled with tears. "It hurts bad."

"I know it does." He placed a gentle hand on her forehead and the other over her hand. "Anywhere else?"

She tried to shake her head.

"Okay, Bronwyn." Jarod glanced up at the nurse, nodding towards the mask that she held in her hand. "We're going to give you something to make it better. Just shut your eyes for me."

He watched as they closed, the long lashes making half-circles on the girl's pale cheeks, and then at the mask that the nurse was holding above the slightly open mouth, making sure that the rubber of the mouthpiece didn't touch her. Slowly Jarod felt the hand that he was holding relax and kept an eye on the monitor, watching as her pulse slowed. Then he looked up at the man standing in the doorway with the large machine and nodded.

* * * *


"What have you got, Jarod?"

"A miracle."

"Really?" The doctor standing in the doorway raised an eyebrow and walked in, sitting opposite him. "Got any to spare? I could do with a few."

"I guess you didn't save them, huh?"

She shook her head. "Their injuries were just too severe. Massive internal bleeds with just about every organ ruptured - " she shook her head. "And the moron that hit them will probably lose his license for six months, if that."

"Leaving two orphaned children."

Dr. Childs brushed back a stray strand of her blond hair and looked over at him, a hint of smile on her face. "So what's your miracle?"

"One child with no injuries whatever and the other with only a minimally displaced facture of the proximal tibia, i.e. greenstick fracture. From that."

He tossed a photo of the mangled heap of metal across the desk to her and she picked it up.

"Miracle is about the best word."

"Amazing, isn't it?" He stared at a point above her head for a few minutes. "But I do have one problem."

"And that is?"

"I'll assume you haven't had time to do any investigation."

"No, but you obviously have, so what's the problem?"

"No family."

"What, none?"

"Nothing that we could find. We're doing well to get a surname. Apparently the house they lived in was repossessed this morning, both sets of grandparents were in their graves before the children were born and both parents were only children. Oh, and neither parent seems to have left a will."

"Insurance?"

Jarod shook his head. "So not only do we have two orphans, Sam, but they're penniless orphans in the truest sense of the word."

* * * *


"Dr. Kind, do you have a few minutes?"

"For you, Ruth?" He grinned down at the nurse as he walked into the children's ward and stopped by her desk. "Always."

"Then would you mind stopping in to see your newest patients? Bronwyn's been asking for you."

"She has?" Jarod's brow furrowed. "For me, not her parents?"

Ruth looked sad. "She doesn't seem to remember she even had any."

"Post-traumatic amnesia?"

"It looks like it. Anyway, will you go in?"

"Sure." He turned away and then looked back. "Has she asked for her brother?"

"That's the strange part. Yes, she has."

"Then I'll take him in with me."

Walking into the room, he scooped the small boy up out of his bed, smiling as the baby immediately clutched at his tie.

"Hey, kiddo, leave that alone! I need it!"

"Jarod!" The little girl looked up from the book she was coloring as he walked into the room. "I was hoping you'd come."

"Hi, Bronwyn." He sat down beside his bed. "Somebody else wanted to say hello as well."

"Jamie!" Bouncing on the bed, Bronwyn tried to get a look at the face of the boy but she couldn't manage it until Jarod put him down on the bed, knowing he couldn't get over the raised sides.

The man leaned back in his chair, a look of slight confusion on his face. He had thought that perhaps his question in the emergency room had prompted the girl's remembrance of the fact that she had a brother, but she could quite obviously recognize his face, so why didn't she seem to remember that she had parents?

"How much longer do I have to stay here?"

He blinked as she asked the question, looking down at her with a smile. "Until that's better anyway." Jarod tapped lightly on the cast. "Then, we'll see."

"I don't like 'we'll see'." The girl's bottom lip protruded. "Mommy used to say that before, too, and it always meant no."

Jarod's eyebrows shot up. "You remember Mommy?"

"Of course. She and Daddy were in the car, and now they're with the angels."

He glanced up to see that Ruth, standing in the doorway, had heard the words as well, but it was her next words that struck him dumb.

"But Mommy said that a nice doctor called Jarod would look after us and find us somewhere nice for us to live."

Ruth came over to the bed. "Bronwyn, do you mean that Mommy told you what was going to happen?"

"Yup." The girl picked up a pencil and started to color in again, but then she looked up, a puzzled expression on her face. "But there was supposed to be a doctor with yellow hair as well, and I haven't seen her yet."

Jarod leaned forward, picking up the boy as he was about to crawl over the picture. "Do you know what this doctor's name was?"

"Hmm." The girl sat back against the pillow for a moment and then looked up at him. "I forgot." She giggled. "But it was like a man's name, only it was a lady."

She turned back to her drawing.

* * * *


"Okay, what the heck was that?" Ruth demanded.

"I wish I knew." Jarod sat on the edge of the desk. "She knew. She knew about me, about the accident, her parents..."

"And who's the doctor? The one with 'yellow hair'?"

"Jarod, have you got a sec?"

They both turned to see Dr. Childs approaching, her hair gleaming golden in the lights from overhead.

"Sam?" As the word came out of his mouth, his jaw dropped and he turned back to Ruth to see a similar expression on her face.

"Uh, Jarod?" The other doctor came up. "Is something wrong?" As he continued to stare at her, she clicked her fingers in front of his eyes. "Hello?"

He blinked. "Sorry, what?"

"I just got this and I thought it might interest you. Seems those parents did leave a will after all - it was in the woman's purse. It's blood-marked but still readable."

"So why are you telling me?"

"Sitting comfortably?"

He nodded, glancing over at Ruth before looking back at Sam.

"You're their legal guardian."











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