Chester was at home with his dads, who were looking up child therapists for their son so they could deal with Chester's abandonment issues and work through his trauma. "Chester, this is for your own good," Beckett replied. "We're very worried about you."
"I know. Just let me know when you're coming back to get me," Chester replied. "I don't like the idea of being left alone in there."
"We know," Beckett sighed. Chester sighed and walked himself out of the house towards the car. He was using his crutches today instead of his leg to get himself more used to the sensation. He didn't like it too much, but it was better than the wheelchair. At least he was upright with this.
His surroundings stretched away from him like bubble gum as the car drove over to the therapist appointment. Dwayne was going to be at work at that time, so Beckett would be taking Chester to the therapy appointment.
"Nervous?" the blond dad asked, while at a red light. "About the therapy session, I mean?"
"I've never done anything like this before," Chester murmured.
"You'll be OK, kid. He's a professional," Beckett replied. "He'll take care of you and help you process what you're thinking and feeling. You can tell him anything, just like how you can tell me and Papa anything." Chester nodded, letting out a sigh.
"Fine, let's go," Chester replied. He got out of the car and walked in with his dad by his side. He wondered if he would be stared at by the other people in the building, but it never happened. He waited behind his dad while he talked to the people at the front desk.
"Go into room 101 in five minutes," the receptionist replied. "It's on your left. Can't miss it."
"Thanks," Beckett replied. They walked in the directions the receptionist gave and they waited at the door. A man opened the door for them. He was old and fat and looked like he was someone's granddad. Chester imagined him with a cap resting on his head of greying hair and feeding the ducks at a local pond.
"I'm sorry, but do either of you have an appointment?" he asked.
"That's me," the boy replied. "What now?"
"You will be coming in to be talking to me about a few problems your dads said you were having," the man replied. "Oh, where are my manners? I ought to introduce himself. I am Dr Abraham Michaelson."
Chester hopped forwards. "I'm Chester Reynolds," he said. "I would shake your hand, sir, but I need them to hold up my crutches."
"Ah. That's OK, Chester. Just come inside and we'll talk," the psychiatrist replied. "If you want your dad to be there, it's OK."
"He can be there for the first time. I think I'll be fine the next few times, though."
"Good to know. Inside." Beckett smiled awkwardly as he followed his son into the room. "So, what would you like to talk about?"
"I don't know." Chester sighed. "Everything feels fine, but I know it's not."
"Can you give an example of what's not really fine?" the therapist gently pried.
Chester looked at the floor. "My family. I love my dads, but I still miss my brother and sister and my old parents, even though I shouldn't because I'm sure they hate me." And everything spilled out after that.
How his old parents had treated him compared to his brother and sister, the punishments they had for him, how his siblings hated him, the day he'd been abandoned at the hospital and how he'd been placed into social care, the new family he had made for himself in the care home, the cancer treatment he got without any of them there, the diary he kept the whole time, the new friend he met in hospital called Aurelia, meeting his uncles and eventually calling them his dads, having his leg amputated, relearning how to walk, going into his new home with his dads, his new leg, the bad days when it hurt too much to walk, his new school and publishing his diary. Once everything was said, the little boy deflated and he began to sob in his father's arms.
"Chester, will you be able to continue?" Beckett asked.
"Yes," Chester spluttered, taking a shuddery, hiccupping breath. "I'll be fine."
"Do you want it to stop for a little while?"
"No. I don't want to waste your money, like I always do," Chester replied. "I cost you so much money with my treatment and the lift and the physical therapy and everything."
"That's not your fault." Beckett sighed as he stroked his son's head. "It's fine. We have the money to pay for that. Don't worry about it."
"Chester, would you like to talk more about this?" Dr Abraham asked.
"I cost so much money. I always do. My old parents complained about it and now Dad and Papa are going to complain about it too, because they spent a lot more money on me than in my old home."
"And how do you feel about this?" the child therapist probed.
"Guilty. I wish I didn't cost so much money. I want to be normal. But I can't be normal ever again, because my leg's gone."
"This is a lot, so I suggest that we handle this one section at a time. Unless you want it to. If you wish, we can end this session early."
"OK," Chester replied. "This was helpful, a little bit."
"Good to know," Dr Michaelson smiled. "See you next time, buddy."
"See you. Goodbye." Chester actually smiled as he picked up his crutches and left. He was smiling, and his smile made Beckett hum with joy under his breath.
"I'm proud of you. You do know that, right?" Beckett told Chester. Chester stopped in his tracks.
"I'm proud of you. You did great at the therapy session today. I love you so much."
"Thank you," Chester replied, smiling weakly. "What now?"
"Straight home, if you want. Or we can get McDonald's," Beckett replied.
"My first McDonald's?" Chester asked. His eyes shone with hope.
"Yes. You can get whatever you want, buddy." the blond dad confirmed.
"Can I get small fries and an ice cream when I get there?"
"Sure; why not?"
As they drove home, both of them eating fries and wiping their fingers with napkins. "We should get McDonald's more often," Chester replied, stretching out happily in the car behind his dad.
"Yeah, and Papa got to have some, too," Beckett replied. Chester giggled, but his smile dropped off his face soon enough.
"About Papa . . . do I have to tell him about how therapy went?"
"Not if you don't want to. Why?"
"I don't want to talk about this to him, not yet. It feels . . . too much." Chester looked down at his remaining foot.
"OK. I'm not telling him," Beckett promised. Chester beamed at his dad.
"Now let's bring your papa his chips. He's going to be so happy to see this."
"Yeah!" Chester replied, giggling. Beckett opened the door to his son and let them both inside, looking around at the dark house with a sigh. Well, mostly dark. There was a light on in the living room, and the TV droning on in the background. Lovelace meowed and rushed out of the only room with light in it to greet them, meowing to alert them to the cat's presence.
"Hey, Lovelace." Chester petted the black cat. "Where's Papa?"
"Chester!" Dwayne got up and scooped Chester up in his arms. "You're home. And you brought snacks! Attaboy!"
"Chester did super well at his first therapy session," Beckett smiled.
"Great! How about you two unwind on the sofa with me while you eat your fries?"
"Yes!" Chester squealed, squirming in his papa's arms as he was taken to the sofa where he could eat with them.
Maybe going to therapy wasn't so bad if it ended like this for him.