Real Family Part 16

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The real penultimate chapter. Not kidding this time. Part 17 will be the finale as I have finally exhausted all possible avenues of thought.
The next morning Nancy was dropped off at school while Todd went to work. Mia was scared of what was going to happen but was told that arrangements had been made for her for the day. She was dropped off with her new grandparents, Joshua and Peggy Raymond, in Mattapan while Astrid went to work.

Joshua gave her a hug as he left for work himself. Peggy just gave her a look-over before being told to eat breakfast. Mia was too scared to refuse, she had forgotten to eat in the flurry of activity earlier and Peggy knew Todd and Astrid were so used to leaving quickly they never ate themselves.

Mia was given her schoolwork by Peggy and told what to do then allowed to go about her work without interruption. Peggy thought it best to just let her do as much as she could on her own, intervening when she needed help and lecturing her on the content as needed. There wasn't much for her to help her with anyway, it was mostly reading and some writing assignments but as time went on she'd have to do more work which Peggy could work around.

It didn't take long for Peggy to see that she was doing well and could be a good student if she wasn't tormented by her cousin for so long. She had a natural curiosity, one that was hidden but was now being allowed to shine through. It took most of the morning but by the lunch break she had gotten to the work where she would need someone to teach her and coach her along, she was a normal 5th-grade student educationally and from what Peggy saw she could be an honors student if allowed to thrive.

While Peggy was working with Mia on her schoolwork Valerie was busy filing the paperwork for the three adoptions. Her first stop though were the arraignments of the three people who made Mia's life so miserable for so long. She hated being there but she had to represent Mia's interests alongside Juan who was representing Mia and the rest of the family.

Judge Matthews wasn't pleased to see Valerie again but didn't let it show. Whenever she was in the courtroom someone was in for a lot of prison time and someone had been seriously harmed and was about to see justice carried out by Valerie's hands. Reading the dockets he understood, he recognized the name Castillo and thought he recognized the name Hernandez as well.

Carlos was the first up for arraignment. Judge Matthews heard the list of charges against Carlos who fought against the court officers as he was brought into the courtroom. He loudly denied all charges and vowed he'd get the people responsible for him being there no matter what.

Realizing that he was to be remanded for trial he managed to scale the glass partition to get away. He couldn't get to the door so he lunged at Judge Matthews who simply sidestepped him causing Carlos to fall flat on his face in a loud scream while court officers stormed in. Judge Matthews sighed and asked for a plea from his guardian and public defenders, getting a not guilty plea with Judge Matthews adding additional assault and attempted escape charges against him.

Judge Matthews calmed down and called the next cases, those of Juan's sister and brother-in-law. The two saw him with Valerie and swore at them, fighting the court officer to get at them but being unable to get anywhere. Judge Matthews just grinned, if they were going against Valerie it was a losing battle.

The two fought the charges and refused to enter a plea. They ignored the judge so their appointed lawyer entered not guilty pleas on their behalf then got permission to recuse himself due to their belligerence hampering his ability to defend them. Judge Matthews loudly told the couple they would be under strict bail conditions and any violation would ensure they would face a full prison sentence.

When they were led back Juan was forced to take a meeting with their lawyer. Their lawyer tried to claim that Juan had to defend the couple out of family obligation. Juan listened until he stopped, then was harsh in his critique telling him firmly "this same family obligation that allows them to lie to me and harm their child? They have no honor nor sense of decency, I don't have to defend them simply because I am her brother. She has shown she is untrustworthy and only cares about herself. It would also be a conflict of interest so therefore I recuse myself on the basis of being biased against them and having a conflict of interest that is documented and I am proud to point out."

He walked away while Valerie told him "any attempt to go to the bar about his refusal will backfire. There is no requirement to defend the family, he doesn't have to lift a finger for them. He chose to assist their child and as their child's lawyer can't defend them while representing their child. To do so is to break the rules of the bar and to even demand that he do so opens you up to investigation. Drop it, now."

She walked away with a big grin, their scare tactic wouldn't work and would backfire already. She had drafted a counter motion before the bar refuting all claims especially as he actually was acting on behalf of Mia thus can't represent both sides. They had no help from Juan, they would have to make due with public defenders or beg, borrow, and steal to pay for a better lawyer.

In Boston, Valerie was greeted by Judge Perez again. She again told Judge Perez about what she was doing and why. Looking at Mia's application she just smirked and told her "I am refusing your request for a delay. She needs help now, not later. This is important, I do hereby grant the application for one Adrian Hernandez to be adopted by Mr. Todd Flynn and Mrs. Astrid Flynn. Further, I hereby grant a change of name, Adrian Hernandez is to hereby be named Mia Tanya Flynn."

Valerie wanted to refuse but Judge Perez smirked, pointing out "she is in a heap of trouble otherwise you wouldn't be handling this on your own. I have my eyes and ears in your city, I know my third cousins are up to trouble. And yes, I am related to t hem. I suspect that Juan wasn't the name for the adopted father because of the family's unfortunate genetic abnormality. Out of all of us, he had to get stuck with the condition. It sucks but I believe he chose the Flynns for the right reasons."

Valerie just nodded, to which Judge Perez sighed and told her warmly "I am far enough away to be impartial but close enough to wish her luck." Valerie countered with a solemn "she needs it, she was expelled from school due to her cousin's actions, facing seeing nine kids who hate her, and trying to avoid the wrath of other family members who blame her for the current family situation."

She didn't respond to that but added "Jorge knows what to do. He is the one person everyone knows to trust and fear. The man would have made a great judge if he had been able to go to college, but he will do what is right when the time is right. Have some faith in him."

She put the paperwork away and walked out feeling like she had just done something impossible. Her first call was to Juan who just nodded at the news. Next was a call to Astrid who nearly fainted at hearing the news. Her third call was to Todd who dropped the phone causing his colleagues to laugh at his rare moment of humanity while congratulating him on his new fatherhood.

The last call was to Peggy. Valerie told her she'd drive Mia back as she had some important paperwork for her to see. Peggy didn't say a word, she figured she knew what it was and awaited the arrival.

At the Raymond home, Valerie sat Mia down and showed the orders. Adrian Hernandez was now officially gone, by ruling she was Mia Flynn and a girl. She then showed the adoption order which caused her to weep. It was the happiest moment of her life, she was family to people who cared about her and would let her be herself.

She hugged Peggy tight. Peggy hugged her back, letting her emotions drain before the inevitable crash. Valerie happily told Peggy that she had done more in 10 seconds than her former grandmother had done in 10 years. Mia nodded silently at hearing that, it was the sad truth.

Valerie drove her home, hoping to beat the other kids there so Mia wasn't forced to confront them head-on That didn't happen, I93 traffic and a sudden closure of the Mystic River Bridge for a natural gas tanker caused her to have to divert through East Boston. The two arrived to find the girls already there and talking to Hannah and Pete, each awaiting Mia's return but not knowing the history behind the four girls and Mia.

Valerie directed them inside, then told them to wait while Mia got situated. Nancy went upstairs with them, she wasn't about to wait especially not with her sister needing her. Mia sat down on the bed and curled in a ball waiting for Nancy to say something but instead hearing Valerie tell Nancy to go back downstairs. Nancy refused, telling her she wasn't leaving her sister's side.

Valerie smirked as she showed Nancy the proclamation. Nancy's mouth dropped open as she read it, hugging Mia while telling her she really was her sister now. Nancy asked if her parents knew, to which Todd told her "she called us right away. It was a surprise but Judge Perez doesn't like to wait and knows more about what was going to happen than any of us."

Todd went downstairs with Valerie then announced to the three girls "Mia is officially our daughter. Judge Perez ordered the adoption immediately due to her health being at risk. You don't have to like her but you do have to respect that she is our daughter and now Nancy's sister. What she did was inexcusable but why she did it is no different than what Scott, Polly, and Rachel did before. She had an even worse fear. You saw her face, that could have been worse had Mark and Chloe not gotten there in time to stop them."

The girls didn't respond. Kylie went upstairs to Mia's room and seeing her curled up scared of them hugged her. Nichole did the same, while Margaret hugged Nancy who was starting to become overwhelmed by the gravity of the moment.

The girls were quiet for a while as they tried to fight for the right words to say to Mia. They didn't need to say them, it was something they didn't need to speak about. Kylie could see in her eyes that Mia wasn't going to be alright for a while, she still had a haunted look but it wasn't as bad as before.

Nancy finally broke the silence by asking what they were going to say to Steven and Dante. The boys didn't know Mia was living there and may want to hurt her if they found out. They didn't have a chance to say anything as they were called downstairs to go to the York home to introduce Mia to her new aunt, uncle, and cousins.

Nichole went home while Kylie and Margaret went to Kylie's home, conveniently next door allowing them to be there for support or backup in case Mia needed it. Steven and Dante were outside playing with Junior, Logan, and Neil and spotted the car as it drove by with the new girl inside prompting the boys to go look and see who was inside. They had just turned the corner when they saw the new girl get out and quickly run inside but not before seeing her face.

Junior was going to say something but Valerie called them over. She pointed at Todd approaching and asked the boys to save the interrogation for another day. Steven wasn't interested in excuses, he loudly demanded to know why Adrian was there.

Todd took over and told the three boys that Adrian is no longer Adrian. He sternly told them "Adrian is now Mia. She is our daughter. I am not talking about her being our foster daughter, I mean she is legally our daughter by adoption. You don't have to like her but you aren't going to do anything that harms her. She has been through a living hell for years, one that you will never know. The closest among you who would even understand that are Scott and Kylie. If you need to know what I mean ask your cousins and the other teens."

Valerie pointed out Scott who was signaled to come over to speak with the boys. Junior tried to back out but Valerie made him stay, telling him that his grandparents would not appreciate that. She pulled out the grandparent card, with both waiting for his response as Sean stared intently at his grandson.

Valerie walked with Scott until they were out of earshot of the boys and explained the situation to him. He looked like he was going to hurt someone which Valerie had to calm him over, there was nothing he could do to Carlos or the Hernandezes. She instead asked he explain his story to them and hope that they understand that kids do what they do to stop from being hurt especially kids their age.

When Scott told them to follow him all of five followed. Sean shook his head at the whole turn of events but was glad that the boys had enough sense to trust Scott and Valerie. Danielle proudly pointed out that they simply needed to be told the truth, no matter how painful or how horrifying. It was easier to be honest with the kids than to sugarcoat something that needed to be learned.

Scott spoke for a half hour, showing them pictures that the Finns had of the four Missouri-born kids. It was shocking to them to see Jaimie looking the way she did but even more shocking to hear that Scott was exactly the same as Mia only without being transgender. The pictures of Jaimie standing in court only a few days after surgery prompted Scott to point out that Mia was doing the same, she just didn't have the chance yet to face her demons and explain her story to them. Others were doing it for her.

The boys heard Jaimie yell out "not those! You know I hate those pictures!" Scott shook his head then told her sharply "Aunt Valerie told me to show them. Well, not exactly but it was the only thing I could do to get them to see that Mia isn't that different from you and me."

Jaimie asked who Mia was, Scott was cut off by Steven who gave a harsh "he is Adrian. He all of a sudden claims to be transgender when he gets beaten by his parents and gets out of punishment." Jaimie was angry at what he said, asking him firmly "you don't believe Mia is transgender? You think that she is claiming to be transgender? Why would she do that? You might have thought that being a girl was going to be easier on you but she is out there in public wearing clothes, trying hard to not get noticed, and being forced to meet her foster family. You don't do that if you are just dressing up!"

Dante told her what Adrian had done the past three years with Steven adding in what he did as well. Jaimie laughed at them, telling them firmly "you may have believed you were transgender but Mia knows she is. Think very hard- why would she dress with you willingly if she didn't like being a girl? Why would she volunteer to dress so you didn't have to? Why would Carlos all of a sudden start forcing you to do more and more things easing up on Mia if she didn't like it? It was because Carlos didn't want her to enjoy what was going on! He wanted you two to hate Mia! Don't you see? Carlos did all of this to get you to do what he wanted! And what happened to you was tough but what happened to him was criminal. You could have gone to a different home and gotten away from Carlos but he would have died. I mean seriously- he could have died!"

Scott had to settle her down while telling the two "Aunt Valerie wouldn't have gone through all of this trouble to help her unless it was genuine. She went to court to file for adoption and got the change of name done. This is serious, not an attempt to escape punishment. No matter what she is still expelled from your school. She can't go to the alternative school either, they'd hurt her within an hour. She has to be homeschooled by her grandmother who is a retired teacher. She isn't faking, if she is she is going about it the wrong way because everything she has done is bringing scrutiny to her. She is a girl."

Jaimie told Steven and Dante to sit down and had the three younger boys go upstairs. Scott escorted them out while Jaimie steeled herself then gave the two a long, hard discussion about being transgender since the two clearly had no idea what Mia was going through and how you can't just be another gender overnight. Scott told the younger boys firmly "she is Mia, not Adrian. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise because you would be insulting Jaimie, Kylie, Nichole, Addison, Reyna, Trinity, and Aunts Kennedy, Amanda, and Katie. You know them, you love them. They are women no matter what they were born as."

The three understood fully. They waited for Jaimie to send the two up but she was in a deep discussion with the two as they were trying their hardest to understand Mia especially why she would put up with so much for so long before finally asking for help. They listened from the stairs, with Jaimie knowing they were there but not saying anything, letting them listen just in case they ever had doubts about her or the other ladies.

After a long hour, Jaimie emerged with the boys. She was angry which Scott added, "he will learn just how weak he truly is in juvenile detention." She nodded, hoping that he got a reality check before he ended up hurting someone who would end up maiming or killing him.

The boys waited for the girls to come back out with Dante and Steven both feeling like garbage over their reactions earlier. Valerie walked them inside, it was better to get it over with now rather than delay the inevitable causing more fear and anxiety that she didn't need. At least they would be less inclined to harm her with Todd and James hovering over them, but she didn't think they would with Scott making his feelings about what was going on known.

Virgil greeted them and showed them to where Nancy was waiting for them with a scared Mia. Virgil told them to be quiet or they'd wake up Louis getting the boys to realize they were being forced to act even more on their beset behavior or risk angering the adults for something else. He had a sly grin, he knew what he was doing and manipulated things to be best for Mia.

The adults waited quietly while the two boys went to where Nancy was sitting with the scared Mia. Both for the first time saw up close the swollen cheeks and bandaged nose their former "friend" was now forced to wear. She had none of the attitude, none of the intensity, none of the intimidation that Adrian had. She was almost a shell of a human being, nothing like the person they knew before.

Steven only asked one question "is it true?" Mia nodded, crying as she did. Dante asked her firmly "why?" getting a quiet "because if I didn't he'd make them kill me. He finally did it Saturday. He told them about my clothes and took me to the park hoping he would hurt Logan then I'd die after."

The two got up to leave, Mia couldn't face that look. Adrian didn't lie to them, Carlos always did but Adrian didn't lie. Nancy added a terse "he tried to beat up a judge. He is a psycho, if you don't think he'd get his own cousin killed for refusing to help him hurt Ella that is enough proof there."

The two looked at her like she was lying but Todd told them both "he climbed over the bullet-resistant glass of the arraignment box. He tried to escape but when he was cut off he went after Judge Matthews. For an elderly man, he is quick on his feet. It will be on the news tonight."

This now caused the two to see that Mia was in an even tougher place than they were. She had a genuine fear, they at least could survive other foster homes but she would have been murdered just because Carlos didn't get what he wanted. They tried to rationalize it but the only thing they could do was ask "why didn't you ask for help? Your uncle could have helped you, or your great-uncle."

Mia saw the genuine concern on their faces and started to smile. She sighed and told them "Uncle Juan lived in Chicago and mom and dad would have fought him. Great-Uncle Jorge cut off all ties with our family over them being upset at him helping Kylie and her family, he wouldn't want the trouble I brought him. It wasn't an option, I had to stay there."

Valerie realized just what she was saying, the two were so isolated from the family that when Mia was in her greatest need the ones who could have helped her were too far away even though one was a half mile away from her and would have fought tooth and nail for her. She didn't have know he would do anything to help her if she needed it, it was something that he had to tell her himself.

Valerie led the boys back home with Mia hugging both as they left. Steven blushed at the hug, he cared about her but he didn't like her that way. It just felt weird having a girl hug him especially one who he knew as well as Mia. Nancy noticed her lingering hug and tried to tease her, with Mia blushing but telling her "he is too close to me. Hugging him is like hugging your brother."

The Flynns and Yorks enjoyed a quiet evening together with baby Louis enjoying the attention of the newcomer. Virgil loved trying to get Mia's attention with Mia feeling like she was loved by a family for the first time in a long time. Astrid had a motherly glow as she reveled in helping Mia, being pregnant had made her more astute and aware of the kids' feelings and needs which she was using to make Mia feel both welcomed and loved along with her acceptance.

Mia had met everyone except Sam York who was out on a study date with her girlfriend Iris Sylvester. Sam came rushing inside with a big smile on her face as Iris and she kissed goodnight in the living room. Mia watched in awe as the two kissed, she was seeing two beautiful girls showing their love and opening her eyes to girls who liked girls.

Nancy saw her reaction and asked if she was alright. Her only response was "beautiful" which Nancy giggled at. She couldn't take her eyes off Iris, with Nancy finally telling her "it's alright to like girls. Iris's sister is dating a girl like you and Aunt Katie is just like you and she is even going to be a mom next month."

Mia looked at her in disbelief. Nancy happily told her "Reyna was born a boy and started to become a girl at our age. She had surgery down there after she was hurt by some nasty men but she could be a mom like Aunt Katie because she saved her semen. Mom and dad will make you save some when you start, Kylie is going to do that too once she is able to make it. Nichole can't make any though, she had surgery before she could make it."

Mia hugged her over telling her all of that. She felt embarrassed over her feelings but now felt like it was normal, not weird. Sam finally broke her kiss and hugged her. She asked if Nancy told her about her to which Sam told her her story, getting a shocked look. Sam loved to tell her "Reyna and Rachel are cute together, and Rachel understands you more than you know. Give it time, the old you will fade away and get forgotten by everyone."

The Flynns left with Mia hugging her new aunt and uncle then hugging and kissing Virgil who hugged her back. He loved telling her that Trinity was going to be jealous, she was prettier than her which Mia blushed at. Virgil gave Nancy and Sam a sly expression, he knew just what to say to make you feel better and for Mia, he knew remind her that she was pretty was best.

Inside the Kelly home, Dante was asked about Mia, giving William and Amanda a warm "she's beautiful. Why are all the beautiful women born boys around here? She just changed her clothes and styled her hair but she is beautiful." Amanda smiled and told him "you really know how to make a mom feel better" then asked how he felt about Mia, getting a somber "she is more man than we were, she really was a girl and we hated her for something she had to do to save herself."

She hugged him tight, offering "you know the truth. We would do anything to keep our secrets if it meant harm would come to those we love. She couldn't control what Carlos did to you, he had too much power over her but she didn't want to hurt you. You learned the truth, you saw the real person underneath. If she didn't endure the pain and suffering from Carlos exploiting her he would have moved on to you and Steven and done a lot worse. He made you do some horrible things to him for his perverse pleasures but they would have only gotten worse as you got older. Trust me on that."

She smiled at him and told him the good news "Valerie didn't just file Mia's adoption paperwork, she file ones for Steven and for you. In about a month you should become our son officially. Valerie would have done the same for you as was done for Mia but be thankful she didn't need to."

Dante went up to bed with a big smile. Junior asked if it meant they were going to be brothers officially, getting a snort and hug from her. She shot him a quick "you already are brothers, it's just making it official. I am proud of you, of all five of you."

Over at the Pierce home Riley talked with Steven about the day. Steven blushed and reluctantly admitted "I can't believe she is so beautiful. She just changed her hair and clothes but she looks like a totally different person. Adrian really is gone, Mia never was Adrian."

Riley, the professional beautician, happily told him "a lot of boys and men never realize what you just realized. You really can look like a whole new person if you change your hairstyle or color. She had neck length hair that she kept looking masculine but with some brushing a little styling a little boy transforms into a little girl."

Steven was actually curious and asked, "how?" Riley snickered then confessed "you kids haven't started puberty yet. Yes, that dreaded word where boys start to become men and girls start to become women. You look almost exactly alike with only your hair and clothes being different. Unless you looked in her panties you would not notice she has male parts, just as you can't tell with Kylie. Once hormones start to kick in you start to develop differently which you can see on Nancy and Margaret has been underway for months. She was always a girl, she is just now allowed to look like one."

He smiled and hugged her, telling her "thank you, mom." Riley shed a tear, it was a real heart-to-heart with her son that Oscar never gave her. Steven is a more sensitive boy, Oscar was always masculine and afraid to show his true feelings. Riley felt great love for Steven, he gave her a special parenting moment that she had not realized she had missed before.

Riley went to bed with a broad smile. Graham shook his head and told her that it'll wear off soon. She just kissed him, telling him warmly "they are different boys but they are so much alike. He is the counter to Oscar and both are the sons we always wanted."

Things were similar at the Finn home as Logan spent much of the evening in deep thought once the boys dispersed. Ella tried to get him to play with him but was driven off by Jaimie. She, in turn, understood what he was doing, he needed to think about Mia and Scott and girls like herself.

Logan fell asleep with his laptop open. Jaimie looked in and saw some of what he was looking at and had to smile. He wanted to know more about girls like her, he wanted to understand her but he didn't realize that no matter how much he researched every person was different and their experiences are never quite the same. Still, it was the thought that counts and he would at least see it wasn't all good, there were far too many girls like her who were never going to transition or prevented from doing so by people like Mia's former parents.

In the morning the kids went to school with Steven and Dante hugging Nancy. She smiled, telling them Mia was happy that they accepted her. She grinned and added that they didn't have to worry about her having crushes on them, she met Iris and Sam and heard about Reyna and showed who she may like.

The boys were shocked but the other girls showed pictures of Reyna and Rachel then of Alison and Katie. Dante mentioned meeting Alison to which Nichole shot back "she got you two the appointment with Dr. Bell. She is married to Aunt Katie, you haven't been around long enough to have met her since she was out with Trinity, Virgil, and Tyler during the move and visiting Uncle Louis and Aunt Tamara all day Sunday."

Yvette Prince stopped the six before they could enter. She let out a sigh and asked them to come with her, what she had to say she didn't want to say in front of anyone else. The six went along with her, hoping that whatever was going on wasn't serious but just in case they had Valerie on speed dial.

Yvette closed the door to her office and asked about the rumors regarding Adrian Hernandez staying with Nancy. Nancy looked around and asked where she heard that, getting a shake of her head and soft "one of the parents saw Adrian's things being removed by your uncles. They saw a kid in your mom's car yesterday. Nobody has seen Adrian for several days. I am concerned about him, I just want to know the truth in case things get serious or I have to set someone straight."

Nancy asked if she could keep this a secret getting a firm "if it's illegal or immoral I have to inform the proper people." Nancy just smiled and announced "Adrian is no more. He went into the hospital but Mia left it. Mia is my sister now, mom and dad adopted her on Monday."

Yvette tried to figure out what was going on. Nichole pointed out "Mia was hurt badly by her parents because of that asshole Carlos. Aunt Chloe and Uncles John, Todd, and Dan found her clothes and got her to see Dr. Bell. Dr. Bell got her to confess that she was transgender. Aunt Valerie filed the adoption paperwork for Mia, Steven, and Dante but was given an immediate adoption for Mia. Judge Perez was concerned that the Castillos would do something to her. She is now Nancy's sister, she is adopted."

Yvette asked if she was going to the alternative school. Nancy shook her head, explaining "grandma is looking after her. She is a retired teacher so she can homeschool Mia until she starts middle school. I don't know if she is going to be allowed to go with us though, but she is going to school at home."

Yvette had to think. Mia couldn't return and the alternative school was the worst possible place for her. She sent the kids on their way, this was something that needed direct action before someone retaliated against Mia through the city.

In class, the girls were asked if it was true that Adrian was gone for good. The rumors were flying about him being killed or running off. The girls didn't give a straight answer, only telling what they knew to be true- that Adrian was never returning. Their teacher quelled any rumor discussion with the girls getting odd looks over knowing more than they appeared but were never confronted about it. Whatever they knew wasn't for her to ask about, it wasn't worth angering their parents or aunts.

At home, Mia was being forced to take several tests by Peggy. She did well, so well that she finished early and caught Peggy off guard. She was allowed to read and asked to do a book report with summaries of individual chapters forcing her to focus and think, making her smile as she did so.

Valerie called to ask her to come up with a lesson plan as well as the resources she was using for her sessions. Peggy rolled her eyes and was going to say something but realized that it wasn't Valerie doing the requesting. She did what was requested and by lunch she had plans for the next four weeks with more expected as Mia finished her individual milestones.

Valerie took everything with her to Yvette's office and was met by a laugh. Peggy was doing more than was needed but given Mia was getting one-on-one tutoring it was understandable. She signed off on everything, adding that Valerie should bone up on the laws and Supreme Judicial Court rulings on home school education as well as show Peggy's licensing to have full backup for Mia's education.

With that out of the way, Yvette asked Valerie's impression of Mia. Valerie was all smiles as she told of Mia's transformation into a happy young lady who just needed love and affection instead of scorn and ridicule. She then explained Carlos' actions and how they directly impacted not just Mia but Steven and Dante as well. Yvette had only heard rumors about what he had done to other kids but hearing the stories about him tormenting and torturing Mia and the boys explained so much about Carlos's life.

Yvette was in tears as she heard how close Mia had come to death. Her own cousin tried to have her killed simply because he was now powerless thanks to the boys standing up for what was right and getting put with families who had love to give. She asked why Juan didn't take her in, getting a delay.

Valerie tried to think of a reasonable response that didn't' betray his trust. Yvette gasped then said "oh dear God he's dying? Oh my goodness, the poor man!"

Valerie simply said "he chose to pass on the care of Mia to someone he trusted, Todd and Astrid Flynn. He is the perfect father and would have been the perfect husband but he was cursed with a terrible condition that is slowly killing him. He leaves Mia with a home she needs, giving her up so she didn't have yet another disappointment and get lost in the system in a year or two."

This was causing Yvette to see Juan as a saint. Valerie nodded, adding "he saved the lives of four kids. First, it was Julio, then it was Ella and Logan, now it's Mia. He has love to give, he just shows it differently than anyone else."

Valerie left with Yvette giving her blessing on Mia being advanced provided she gets approval from either Dorothy Vega or Alice Rodriguez. The two ladies were flexible in how they dealt with kids who come from troubled pasts, she knew they'd let her attend school so long as she showed she was a whole new person and that Adrian's attitude and actions were truly excised from her.

In contrast to Mia's angst-filled time with her grandparents, Juan spent Monday trying his hardest to avoid a long talk with his uncle but he had to explain why he followed his order only to disobey it less than a day later. Jorge was not one to hold a grudge but it was rare for anyone to disobey him. Juan may be his favorite nephew but that could only stretch so far.

At his apartment, Jorge greeted Juan then asked where Adrian was. Juan asked him to sit down, then explained "I am sorry Tio but I had to give up Adrian to another couple. We found out Saturday evening that Adrian had a large amount of girls clothes that my sister and brother found and used as a reason to brutally beat him. When he talked with Dr. Bell she got him to tell her about his true self. My sister gave birth to a girl named Mia not a boy named Adrian."

Jorge could understand this but asked what that had to do with him giving up custody. Juan shed a tear and told him tearfully "I'm dying. I was told the results of my latest tests when Mia was talking with Dr. Bell. I inherited dad's disease and have been fighting it for years but it finally spread to my major organs. I only have another year, maybe two at most to live. I can't do this to Mia, I can't take her in only for her to lose another loved one. She needed a new place to go, I asked Todd and Astrid Flynn to care for her as they were the ones who I could trust to get her help and raise her right."

Victoria hugged him tightly. It took everything he had to tell his beloved uncle that he had to go against his wishes. Juan's phone rang and Valerie told him to great news. Juan told Jorge "Adrian Hernandez no longer exists, thanks to a friendly judge Adrian is now Mia Flynn. She is Todd and Astrid's new daughter."

Jorge just nodded his head. She got what she needed most. Victoria snickered and asked, "did she end up in front of your third cousin or was it another judge?" Juan asked what she meant, Victoria laughed now while Jorge explained "I guess you never had the pleasure of being before her. you have a third cousin who is a judge in Family and Probate Court, she knows the family pretty well since they have been in front of her a lot in the last year. I guess she forced Valerie to accept the adoption immediately."

Jorge got serious and told him "you have done something that was the noblest thing any family member could do- you helped a young child get the family she needs. That is something your father would be damn proud of and is why you are more of a man than any of you cousins. I don't have to tell exclude John, Willie, and Ricardo, they would all agree with me there."

Juan was made to eat as Jorge asked him about his cases. Juan grinned and explained "we have them all won. We just have to go to court in Chicago to deal with the hearings. Ricardo has been admitted to the bar out there so god forbid I pass on before these cases are through they will still go forward. I just need you to give the money that I win to Mia and her sisters, it won't do me any good but it'll mean the three are taken care of and not for want."

It was Victoria's turn to laugh as Jorge tried to say the right thing. She lovingly told him "we will abide by your wishes. The girls don't need to know about the money, but Todd and Astrid do. Besides, it'll be just like their cousins have. James will do wonders with it for them."

Juan talked with them the next day about things. Jorge was trying to keep his mind occupied and away from his situation. They worked out a will and had Ricardo file it with the court. Ricardo hated doing it but Juan insisted that Valerie is his executor with Ricardo continuing as his legal representative. He handed over his Chicago condo to him with Ricardo telling him he'd sell everything as per his wishes.

Ricardo thought he was off but Juan knew he was being followed as soon as he left Jorge's home the previous day. He wasn't stupid, the family was paying him back for what was perceived as his abandoning his sister against false claims. This was not going to end well for him and he wanted everything settled right away so they didn't get their hands on his estate.

Jorge entertained him for hours as Victoria tried to keep Jorge from realizing Juan was preparing for the worst. She had seen his cousins walking through the neighborhood and saw the coordination. They may be his blood relatives none of them acted anything like the head of their family nor the four most vulnerable members, something he was glad that the four didn't share. They were up to no good and Juan knew his time was short. She hugged him, giving him a tearful goodbye while Jorge told him he'd see him tomorrow.

Juan spotted his tail and drove home without raising suspicions. When he got there he knew where to stand to be in the sight of several cameras and waited for the blows to start. His cousins all yelled at him then went at him with bats and chains. Juan quietly said his goodbye as the blows to his head landed while his broken arms uselessly tried to protect it.

He made peace with what was going to happen, he expected it. He died in the arms of a frantic Hannah as Pete, Bryan, and Ian tried to chase down the attackers while Sheila Bailey called 911. He said one final goodbye, telling her it was his cousins who had killed him as he slipped away from life.

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