Once Spock had finished with the five newest Wagner brothers, he found that the rest of the new family decided that they were NOT going to let their new brothers stand out, so all of them requested a meld. After a moment of reflection on what he had learned, Spock stated "I believe He-Who-Is-My-Father will find this development fascinating. I have determined that Clan Wagner has deviated from the path of their Family Clan, focusing on the healing of the interface between the 'Spirit' and the conscious mind within those brought to them. The logical outcome of this is that Family Clan Short will be enabled to focus on their primary mission. Clan Wagner's operations in the background will enhance the mission of their parent Clan, providing a facet which until this point was relegated to a select few within Family Clan Short. This shall also allow Camp Little Eagle to focus upon their primary skillset of healing the 'Spirits' within the ranks of their peers."
"That means good job guys, keep it up!" Tanner stated with a grin.
"Your translation is correct, Grandson, if not overly generalized," Spock replied. "It is apparent that you will need to concentrate more on your studies."
"Rand," Yist stated as he watched everyone considering Spock's statement, waiting to see if Tanner risked a reply, "Chief Soaring Eagle has stated that Uncle Tanner is overdue for swimming lessons."
Tanner didn't try to argue; he had a really good idea of what Timmy and Yist were probably up to, based on what DJ told him that he, Nash, and Spock had discussed earlier. "Go for it, Rand; I'm not in the mood to argue with Timmy," Tanner quipped, hopefully deflecting revenge dunkings from his sons on Timmy.
"Initiating Insta-dip!" Rand giggled as Tanner vanished. Seconds later, Tanner re-appeared with two juvenile red-tailed hawks. The two hawks immediately took flight, one homing in on AJ, while the other went straight to Pat.
"It looks like you two just got some feathered friends, guys," DJ stated with a smile. "If they're like William and Duke, they'll like to sit on your shoulders."
"They're brothers," Tanner added as he dried off with a towel provided by Rand. "Their mom and dad brought them to me; I really need to talk to Timmy and Ricky about plotting behind our backs!"
"You'll lose!" Chek offered. "All those two have to do is give you their famous pouty lip."
"Good point," Tanner agreed. "Do you guys know what you want to name them?"
"Asher," AJ stated as if it was already a fact.
"Orin," Pat whispered.
Reading their expressions like a book, Tanner replied "I think those names are great; as long as you and your feathered friends agree on them, there's nobody else that we'll allow to change it."
Unnoticed by the rest of the group, Yist allowed himself a brief knowing smile."We must head to the roof;" Yist stated, "the time has come to repair the injustices of the Past."
"The roof?" everyone who had not been in on the planning of the house renovation asked in unison.
"You didn't think we showed you EVERYTHING, did you?" Rand giggled. "Yist? Full ceremonial attire?"
"Yes please," Yist replied. "Could you assist those without appropriate clothing in their wardrobe?"
"I'm already getting the update from Timmy and Ricky," Rand replied. "I'll drop everyone off where they need to be once they're ready. Ricky is coming over to witness; Timmy's in conference with Chief Tecumseh right now."
"Our house has an Indian settlement ON THE ROOF?" Nash exclaimed within seconds of appearing, now attired in appropriate clothing for an official ceremony.
"It's unique," Matt quipped as he walked by, "but I've seen stranger things. Wait until you see Timmy's bedroom!"
Finn walked over, a pup keeping pace on either side of him. "Just wait, bro; I'm sure the rest of the family has some really weird stuff they ain't showed us yet!"
"I saw you with JR, but nobody introduced us," Nash stated cautiously.
"Yeah, things went kinda nuts," Finn admitted. "I'm Finn, the rest of our brothers decided to make me the family big brother, without checking with me first. Welcome to the family; I'll try to help you understand the weird stuff as soon as I figure it out!"
"Good luck!" Nash grinned. Noticing Finn's companions, Nash added, "What kind of puppies are they?"
"Wild wolf puppies," Finn replied with a smile. "They adopted me earlier today. Don't worry, you're family, so they'll only give a playful nibble when they're wrestling with you."
Kneeling down and holding out his hand, Nash commented "They're cute! I wish I had a pup like them."
"YippYip grrrr YIP!" Macha barked.
"That's mean, Macha!" Finn giggled, earning him a confused look from Nash. Smiling, Finn stated, "Macha just told Rand to send Grandpa Sean to get one of his littermates for you! I should have warned you; watch sayin' wishes out loud, sometimes whoever hears it might decide to grant it!"
"You understand them?" Nash asked with disbelief as he started scratching both pup's ears.
"Yeah, get with Yist; he'll hook you up. Something tells me you'll need it really soon." Finn stated. "Grandpa Sean should be back about ... NOW!"
"Okay, who ordered another pup?" Sean asked as he appeared next to Finn, surprisingly dry for a change.
"Macha did for Nash!" Finn giggled. "Grandpa Sean, this is one of my new brothers, Nash. Nash, this is Grandpa Sean!"
"We've got a Grandpa that ain't an adult yet?" Nash asked, confused.
"Yep," Sean replied as he handed the puppy to Nash. "Welcome home; you ended up with some pretty awesome parents. You're going to hear some things that sound really weird over the next few days; you can trust your brothers, they're just getting you up to speed on the things that surprised them."
"Okay," Nash replied, "Does he have a name?"
"That's up to you," Sean explained, "the pups like letting their pet humans decide what they want to call them."
"Is there an Indian name for little wolf?" Nash asked softly.
Finn smiled as he watched the new puppy stretch up and start licking Nash's face. "I think that means he likes the idea for his name, bro."
Nash smiled as he cuddled his new furry friend. As Sean and Finn were watching Nash, none of them noticed Yist joining them. "Little Wolf is Yv'huce; I find the name acceptable. "Ailkatesa Yv'huce chatsosiobaho." (It has been a long time Little Wolf, younger brother wolf.) (Pronounced Yah-hoo-CHEE)
"Rrrr-yip," Yv'huce seemed to reply.
"I only understood part of that," Finn admitted.
"That is as it should be, as I greeted Little Wolf in the dialect of my fathers," Yist explained. "Nash, please let Dylan teach you the languages that you will require telepathically; Yv'huce has already received his update, so he will now understand you."
"Go ahead, it's a lot better than sitting through English class," Finn advised.
Nash giving a quick "Stop that!" yip as Yv'huce playfully poked his nose into Nash's armpit told Finn and Yist that he'd taken them up on it.
Yist smiled as he said, "Nash, as blood to your younger brother, I will require your assistance with ensuring he has a name which matches his Spirit. Finn, you will need to assist JR, as AJ has earned his Spirit name as well."
"I think you better explain it to Nash," Finn stated. "Give me a couple of minutes with JR and AJ; I'll prep Pat as well, since he's glued to AJ's side right now."
"Know that the name he was addressed as is not his to bear," Yist stated seriously. "That name is as if it was never given; Chief Soaring Eagle and Grandfather Spock agree that his name in this life is yet to be determined. You must make him aware of this."
"Got it," Finn replied. "Nash, this is all for real, no matter how much it seems nuts based on what you've been told."
"Okay," Nash replied, turning his attention to Yist as Finn headed off to follow Yist's orders.
"Brothers and Sisters of Family Clan Short and Clan Wagner," DJ began as he addressed the group spread in front of him. The group was in, on, and around the three open chickees located in the sand-covered recessed compound in the roof. A fourth chickee, with decorated skins closing it to outside view, was the focus of the group, as Yist was currently inside preparing for the upcoming ceremony. Along the outside wall of the recess in the roofline, there were four towers, one at each point of the compass, with walkways between each one. Said walkways were now filled, as not only were DJ and Tanner's brothers occupying them, but empty space was filled by other family members and friends from Camp Little Eagle.
Once he had everyone's attention, DJ continued. "Just over two months ago, Dad Cory signed a treaty with Chief Tecumseh making the Seminole Tribe an equal with Clan Short. At that signing, my little brother Timmy and his Bonded, Ricky, were selected by the Spirit Protectors of Camp Little Eagle to be Spirit Guides, and were then declared Braves and given their Warrior Names. A lot has happened since then, but one promise Dad made has never changed; the Seminole Nation is one with the Family of Clan Short. Tonight we get to re-affirm that promise, as Clan Wagner follows in the example that Timmy and Ricky gave us; tonight, we are witnessing as members of our family are Called by the Great Spirit to their intended stations in their lives."
"Every culture, Human, Vulcan, Andorian, or otherwise, has its good points and its bad points. All cultures have conquered others is the past, and attempted to get rid of the culture of those that lost. When Dad was made a Patriarch, him and Pop had to scramble to learn as much as they could about Vulcans, since we were supposed to deal with the people abusing kids under Vulcan Law. All of us that were around when this all started still do that, but we do it with any culture that's new to us, and we bring the best parts of each culture we meet into what is becoming our Clan culture. Clan Wagner is an example of that, as both Vulcan and Seminole cultures have Clans within their Families or Tribes, as do some other Human cultures."
"Another thing that both Seminole and Vulcan cultures have in common is the importance of a person's given Name. Before there was a Clan, Grandma Teri insisted that every single kid that she helped had the chance to change any part of their name. From the very first rescue Dad did, each of us has been given that choice, and I'm doing the same thing now that I'm a Patriarch. Earlier tonight, Grandpa Spock discovered that one of our newest family members was given a name to intentionally hurt him throughout his life. As a Vulcan, he could not allow that, and he declared the name invalid in the eyes of Vulcan. As Patriarch of Clan Wagner, I can not allow it either, as it violates the lessons and customs we've adopted from many cultures."
DJ was interrupted by Ricky popping in next to him, in full formal dress with warpaint on display and Duke on his shoulder. After a glance at DJ, which stated without words that it was his turn, Ricky spoke.
"I am Like-Lv'mhe, which means 'Sitting Eagle'. The Great Spirit has touched many of you, bringing you here to fulfill your Destiny. Casper, join us."
Casper quickly hopped off of the platform of the chickee that he was sitting on, not even considering questioning an order from one of the two boys that saved his spirits. Once he had joined DJ and Ricky, Ricky's Eagle wings appeared as he stated, "You have accepted that which few could do. The Native Nations shall now know you as 'Póktv-Yvfékcv', 'Twin Spirit'. Display your war dress for all to see, rv'hv (Elder Brother).
Casper's inner being did that which he was not consciously aware he could do; within seconds, he was fully covered in warpaint. His yell of triumph was answered by the family, echoing the acceptance that was given to one of their senior brothers.
"Shane; now is your time," Ricky stated once the family settled down. "Póktv-Yvfékcv, remain to honor your Bonded."
Like Casper, Shane had no intention of questioning Ricky. He quickly made his way to the front, giving Casper a hug of congratulations before facing Ricky.
"You have shown that you are protective of those weaker than you," Ricky stated. "You lead the many brothers of the Perkins clan with honor. The Native Nations shall now know you as 'Mekkomvnet'té-nokuse', 'Young Chief Bear'. Display your war dress for all to see, rv'hv."
Shane's yell once his warpaint was visible was loud and long; while the first appearance of his warpaint had been a surprise, he now understood that it was a badge of honor. The quick glance he got of his Mom before Casper pulled him into a hug told him all he needed to know; her pride was obvious, even at a distance.
To everyone's surprise, including DJ, Chief Tecumseh exited the chickee that was behind them, Cory at his side. Both were dressed as appropriate for a Chief for the current ceremonies, which meant that Cory's outfit matched Chief Tecumseh's. Timmy was with them as well, his outfit matching Ricky's.
"Like-Lv'mhe," Chief Tecumseh asked reverently, "is it the wish of the Great Sprit that DJ is to learn his adult name?"
"It is so," Ricky replied.
Turning to Cory, Chief Tecumseh stated, "Mekko-Ahecicetv-Mvnétte-Féke, (Chief to Guard Young Heart), your son awaits your blessing to embark on his spiritual path."
"I shall follow the guidance of the Great Spirit," Cory replied seriously. "Spirit Guardians of Camp Little Eagle; has the Great Spirit declared the Name of my Son?"
Timmy and Ricky concentrated for a few seconds, then stated in unison, "Kátcv-Erke-Env'come-máhe-Tulas'wv" (Tiger Father of Many Tongues)
"Thank you, Spirit Guardians," Cory replied. He turned to the table that was behind the group, picking the colors he would require and placing them on a tray. He then moved in front of DJ, stating, "Son, today you become a Man. May I have the honor of giving you your first painting?"
"Yes," DJ replied, still processing this unexpected event.
Cory nodded, then began the process of giving DJ his first painting. As he worked, he noticed that the same thing was happening that had happened with Timmy; as a section was completed, it seemed to sink into DJ's skin. With what he now knew, Cory was certain that DJ would be following in Timmy's footsteps, displaying this very painting in times of need.
Once Cory finished, he stood and took DJ's hand, raising it into the air. "Family, I give you MekkoKátcv-Erke-Env'come-máhe-Tulas'wv."
The yells answering the one DJ gave were heard clearly in Camp Little Eagle, as every person tried to outdo the other in showing their congratulations.
Once the tribes had settled, Cory announced "Aunt Mary, I have instructed Dylan to transfer your dinner preparations to the Camp Little Eagle Ceremonial Grounds for inclusion in the feast and celebration. He will assist you in making sure everything is ready."
"I see where DJ gets his hard head from!" Mary shot back, earning her a wave of giggles from the assembled kids. "Thank you, Cory."
Cory and DJ stepped back to join Shane, Casper, Timmy, and Ricky. As they took their places, Yist exited the chickee with Finn, JR, AJ, Nash, and Pat.
"Chief Tecumseh," Yist stated as all six of them came to a halt, "The Great Spirit has Gifted two of my brothers with Guides. Tribe Short wishes to extend the Honor to you for giving them their Names to match their Stations."
"I accept the honor offered, Wise One," Chief Tecumseh responded.
"Finn, child of Tribe Wagner, you have been Summoned by the Great Sprit," Yist stated. "Step forward to be acknowledged."
Finn stepped forward, Macha and Maikoh at his side with their heads held high. "I have accepted your summons, Wise Chief of my People."
"As a boy matures into a man," Chief Tecumseh stated, "he may have many names; as a man, he may have many more on his spiritual journey. A wolf is nothing without his Pack; as your brothers have been drawn to you as the pack Chief, the Great Spirit has chosen Macha and Maikoh as your Guides. Be seated, as your Guides determine your Destiny."
Having been forewarned, Finn nodded before taking a seat cross-legged in the sand. He held himself still as a statue as the two pups seriously sniffed and occasionally licked various exposed points on his body. After a few minutes of this, the pups settled into the area around his ears. After multiple licks, they simultaneously shifted their heads to nip at Finn's earlobe, each leaving an incisor as they pulled back.
"The Spirits have Spoken," Chief Tecumseh intoned. "Rise, Póktv-Yáhv-Tekak'-kvte , (Twin Wolf Brothers).
Aware of his duty, DJ stepped forward to address Finn. "Son, the Wolf Spirits see what I see in your heart. Today, you are no longer seen as a child, but as a youth who has earned the title of a Warrior. May I have the honor of giving you your first painting?"
"Yes, Father," Finn replied, unconsciously showing everyone just how much trust he placed in DJ by the tone of his voice.
DJ followed the example of Cory, except for painting wolf markings instead of the tiger markings he bore. After the acknowledgment yell from the watching family, Finn quickly moved to escort Nash to stand where he'd once stood. Finn then turned to face DJ, stating "Father, Yv'huce has chosen Nash as his companion. I present them to you for determining the wishes of the Great Spirit."
Suddenly glad for the lessons in Seminole Traditions that he'd taken at Camp Little Eagle, DJ advised Finn, "Close your eyes, clear your mind. Listen to your Spirit, Son; tell me what you see."
Finn was silent for a minute, then in a distant voice he replied "Nash and Yv'huce are on the Happy Hunting Grounds. Nash hears something... now he's turned into a really big wolf, and Yv'huce is as big as him. They just ran off, they're growling and their ears are flat on their heads."
Finn's eyes popped open, his face showing his confusion. "What was that?"
"You just saw your brother's Name." DJ explained. "What I got from that is 'Hunts with Brother Wolf'."
"Yeah, that sounds right," Finn agreed.
"Fáyetv-Vpvketv-Tecak'kat-Yáhv," Chief Tecumseh stated formally. "The Great Spirit has spoken; the Seminole Nation shall know the brave known in Federation tongue as 'Nash Gabriel Harrison-Wagner' as Fáyetv-Vpvketv-Tecak'kat-Yáhv. Prepare your son, Tiger Warrior of Many Tongues."
Once DJ and Nash finished, Spock joined the group, his panther at his side. "Before Yistanku may proceed," Spock stated, "it is my duty as eldest present family member of House Surak to correct the attempt of the genetic sire of the newest son of my son's sons to unbalance said son's Spirit by assigning improper names. It has been determined by review of telepathic scans of the genetic sire that he purposely and maliciously assigned the names 'Patrycjusz Rickert'; to compound the error, he addressed the child as 'Pat DASH Rick', thereby nullifying any possibility of the Katra choosing one or the other of the paths the names offered. Know that those names are as North and South; as one can not be both north and south, one can not bear names which are opposite."
Spock turned to DJ. "Patriarch DJ Wagner of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan, Son of Patriarch Cory Short of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan; present your Child for the Naming."
DJ turned and helped Pat remove the robe he was wearing, telepathically explaining what was about to happen. Once Pat was clothed as he arrived into the world, DJ picked him up and carried him as he moved to stand in front of Spock. "Grandfather, as Patriarch of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan, I present He-who-is-my-son for Naming as a Family Member of House Surak."
"You may proceed," Spock stated.
DJ assisted his son as he sat him on the ornate table that had been acquired for just this purpose. Once the boy was laying down, DJ stepped back as Spock stepped forward. Spock went into a trance as he ran his hands just above the boy's body, not actually touching him. After a few minutes, Spock spoke, still in his trance, "As a Child of Earth, logic dictates that your Name must be of Earth. The Katra of this Child is peaceful, reflective and yet strong. I sense a loyalty to those who are compatible with his ideals. As a Human, his Katra qualifies as that of a quiet, loyal friend. As such, his Name is Axel Damon Harrison-Wagner, son of Patriarch DJ Wagner of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan, son of Patriarch Cory Short of Family Clan Short of the House of Surak of the Planet Vulcan. My Word is Given."
As Spock stepped back, DJ didn't even need to ask how Axel felt about his new name; the smile attempting to split his face in half made it quite clear that he loved it. DJ came forward and picked up Axel, stating "Welcome home, Axel; I'm glad you're my son."
"Thank you for asking Grandpa to give me a real name, Daddy," Axel replied softly as he wrapped his arms around the back of DJ's neck. He turned his head towards Spock, and added, "Thank you Grandpa, you gave me a really nice name!"
"You are welcome, Grandson Axel," Spock replied. "I find it quite likely that you will find your life considerably different with having a proper name."
"That means you're starting over," DJ explained. "you only have to keep the things in your past that you like, things like your friendship with AJ, and Nash being your brother. The bad stuff happened to someone else; you just know how to deal with it now."
"He-who-is-your-father is correct," Spock stated. "You have time to accept the welcome of those-who-are-your-family as Yistanku prepares for the final ceremonies."
"C'mon Nash," DJ smiled. "You and KZ gotta help me with introducing Axel to all of your new brothers!"
After making the rounds of the residents of the Clan Wagner compound, DJ took the opportunity to introduce his three newest family members to some of the people responsible for helping him back when he was rescued. They had just finished with Jamie, Jacob, and Beau when DJ felt a familiar foot tapping him on the shoulder.
"Dad?" Nash asked in a shocked voice, "Someone's leg is floating behind you!"
DJ nodded. "Yeah, you'll get used to it, that's Uncle Eli's pet. Guys, meet Leg. Leg, these are your new nephews; Nash, KZ, and Axel."
Leg bounced off of DJ's shoulder, and gave knee-kisses to the three shocked boys. Shaking his head, DJ stated "Okay Leg, could you do me a favor? Go give Eli a kick and tell him I said to get his butt over here."
Leg bounced in agreement, then hopped off to find Eli. KZ stared at DJ like he'd just grown an extra head, asking "Did you just talk to a leg?"
Giggling, DJ replied, "There's a commbadge embedded where Leg used to attach to Uncle Eli before Uncle Marc gave him a permanent leg. Eli can make things float, and the little kids thought it was fun when he would let them chase his leg around. He kept it after he was given his android arm and leg, and now Leg is considered part of the family."
"Look!" Axel exclaimed softly as he pointed and started laughing.
The rest of them turned, only to join in the laughter as they saw Eli, Sebastian, and an eleven-year-old native boy heading their way, with Eli receiving repeated kicks from Leg to ensure he kept moving. Once Eli and his companions had joined them, Leg hopped up to get a hug from DJ, then hopped down and cuddled into Axel's side, earning him more giggles.
"You're nuts, Eli!" DJ laughed. "Nash, KZ, Axel? This is your Uncle Eli, Uncle Sebastian, and I'm not sure who their friend is. Eli and 'Bas were part of the team that rescued me when the asshole that posed as my male parent shot me."
"Thanks for helping save our new Dad," Nash stated. "Dad says that you got a new arm and leg, Uncle Eli."
Eli nodded. "Yeah, me and my twin brother Benji showed off at the wrong time, which made our parents crash the plane we were in. Benji kept me from being killed when I lost my arm and leg in the crash. Uncle Mikey, he's our Guardian Angel, says that the plane was gonna crash anyway, so I guess it wasn't our fault as much as we thought it was. 'Bas and his brother Sammy came over with a few guys to get us out of the hospital, and after he pulled my head outta my butt we became boyfriends."
"Yeah, Eli's almost as hard-headed as DJ!" 'Bas quipped before stealing a kiss from his boyfriend. Becoming serious, he added, "Patriarch DJ Wagner, the Navajo Nation has commissioned myself and Elijah to determine a fitting position within Family Clan Short for one of their youth who has received Gifts from the Great Spirit. Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' (Flying Without Wing) has been guided by his Spirit to make the choice of sealing the Treaty between his Nation and Family Clan Short by joining our Nation."
'Uncle Jamie and Uncle Jacob are helping me ask our brothers!' Axel's voice announced in DJ's head before 'Bas had even finished speaking. Just as 'Bas finished, Axel added 'You can make him our brother if you want to, Daddy; we all think it would be okay.'
'Thanks, Axel, you did a really good thing," DJ thought back, earning him a beaming smile.
After a quick check with Tanner and Chek, he turned to the eleven-year-old who was obviously unsure of what was going to happen. The thin boy had long hair tied into a braided pony tail that reached halfway down his back, and he was watching DJ's every move with his dark brown eyes. Smiling, DJ replied, "As Patriarch of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, I officially accept the Sealing of the Treaty, and have been guided by those within my family to offer Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' the choice of joining my Family and becoming my one of my sons."
Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' looked around with wide eyes, not believing what he'd just heard. He'd been orphaned as a baby, and had spent most of his eleven years in his tribe's orphanage. The orphanage had been the ones to suggest that he considered joining the Clan when the footage of the Clan boys stabilizing the hotel in Hawaii had hit the news; the request to look into the possibility had reached the Elder Council just before the attack on Earth, and was included in the treaty that had been signed when they declared allegiance with Family Clan Short during the battle. Finally finding his voice, Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' stated without thinking, "I'm just an orphan, I don't know how to be the son of a Chief!"
"Neither do your brothers," DJ stated as he held out his arms, "but they're getting really good at faking it. C'mere; I want to get in my welcome hug before your new Pop and Mom find us."
Realizing that Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' was in too much shock to move, Eli decided to 'help' by picking him up and floating him over into DJ's arms. As soon as DJ closed his arms around him, Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' latched on as years of tears began falling from his eyes.
Smiling as he heard the acceptance in the surface thoughts of DJ's now-newest son, 'Bas tapped his commbadge. "George, please let the Navajo Elder Council know that Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a', also known as Aiden Lightfoot, has been accepted into the family of Patriarch DJ Wagner of Clan Wagner of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, and that this makes Aiden the son of the eldest son of the Chief of Family Clan Short."
"You're too slow," George replied over the commbadge. "Knowing DJ, Rand and I were recording and relaying live to the Council. Once DJ gets Aiden to actually believe this is real, let him know that the Elders thank him for the unexpected honor of taking one of their own into his family, and that they have declared Clan Wagner a brother nation of the Navajo."
"Thanks," 'Bas replied, "if DJ sends me swimming, I'm gonna have Cory tweak BOTH of you guy's voices!"
"You wouldn't dare!" George replied, before cutting off the conversation with a click.
DJ looked up from where he now had Nash, KZ, and Axel helping him comfort their new brother. "Thanks guys, but why did you choose our family?"
Eli grinned as he replied, "I gotta look out for my fellow TK friends! There's nobody in the family as good as you and Tanner with helping guide someone into living a totally different life than what they're used to. You two set the standard, so you were our first choice for Aiden."
"Thanks," DJ replied, deciding this was the wrong time to argue the fine points. Noticing some familiar heads moving towards them, he added "Aiden? It looks like the rest of the family isn't going to wait for us to find them, so get ready to meet the rest of your brothers, parents, grandparents, and nephews!"
Now back at the ceremonial stage, DJ stood with Nash, KZ, Axel, and Aiden as they waited for Cory to finish his whispered conversation with Chief Tecumseh, Spock, and the current President of the Navajo Nation, Henry Nez, who had been brought in by George. His eyebrows shot up as he noticed Colin Powell popping in and joining the conference. "Hey Aiden, it looks like you're pretty important," DJ stated softly. "I think you just earned us a visit from the President of the United States!"
"I'm nobody special," Aiden countered as he backed into DJ's chest.
DJ gave Aiden a quick hug. "You were picked by the Navajo Nation to be their representative to the Clan. Also, you're my son now, which makes you pretty important since I'm next in line if anything happens to Cory. Even if you didn't expect it, you're all kinds of special now, and it is all in good ways."
"Thanks, Dad," Aiden replied softly, his smile obvious in his tone.
The group of Elder's conversation was over a minute later. Colin immediately came over to DJ and the boys, stating "Congratulations on getting married, and my condolences on your promotion, DJ!"
"Thanks, Uncle Colin!" DJ giggled. "Pull up a chair, Tanner's bringing the rest of our mob to meet you. I'll start you off with the latest additions; these are my sons Nash, KZ, Axel, and Aiden."
Colin chuckled at the confused looks on all four boy's faces. "Welcome to the family, guys. Just like your new Dad, I was given a title that I wasn't trying to earn. Everyone in Clan Short, including Clan Wagner, has been told to just call me by my name. The Pacific Rim crew decided to add Uncle, and it stuck; now I'm an uncle to more kids than the population of some states!"
Tanner, Chek, and the rest of the crew arrived just in time to hear the explanation. Once introductions were completed, Colin explained what the big meeting was about. "Okay, as I'm sure your parents can explain, the Native Nations believe actions speak louder than words. Due to the Navajo Nation occupying territory large enough to be a State on its own, any treaty they go into that affects their status has to go through the US Government. Aiden's request to look into joining Clan Short was approved based on how the Clan has integrated the Florida tribes without trying to change their culture."
After pausing to make sure everyone was still awake, Colin continued. "Just like he's done for all of your uncles and you boys, DJ followed his heart and took in Aiden with no questions asked. While he was comforting your latest brother, he had Tanner checking with the Navajo Nation to see if there was any assistance they needed that was not already being addressed. After Tanner explained how Camp Little Eagle was set up to provide spiritual healing to Clan members in need, the services of the other Divisions were explained. The Navajo Nation observed that the one environment that no Division fully provides, is the part of their heritage that they most fiercely protect; to put it simply, they live off the land as much as possible, and tend to spread out enough to allow farming and herding of animals. Chief Tecumseh just answered the last few questions they had, and I just signed the Executive Order which gives them full authority to join with Clan Short. Timmy informed us that we have to sign the treaty before Yist can do what he needs to do, so you guys get to watch history being made on your roof."
"Uncle Colin?" Finn deadpanned, "Has anyone told you that you talk more than Grandpa Cory?"
"Yes, a few times!" Colin laughed. "Find some seats up here in the ceremonial area; you guys are the official witnesses."
Once the treaty was signed, Henry Nez looked out over the assembled boys. "I have been warned that you might be getting hungry, so I'll keep it short. I'm sure that you have all been told of how proud the adults that you interact with are of what you have accomplished. I shall tell you of the more silent accomplishment that all of you have earned, one that is rarely voiced. That is respect; and more of this world respects you than the few loud voices that disparage you. Continue your quest to ensure those that follow you do not experience the horrors that you have lived through, and know that there are many peoples throughout the world who are silently assisting you in reaching your goals. Thank you for allowing the Navajo Nation to join in your fight for justice; I vow that my people will back our Clan brothers and sisters until our last breath."
As Henry stepped back, Yist took his place. "The Great Spirit has touched many this night. Chief Soaring Eagle has Seen that two have been Chosen by the Great spirit to fulfill their Destiny within Clan Wagner. AJ Wagner and Axel Wagner, come forward with your companions to determine your Destiny."
Once the two boys and their hawks were standing with him, Yist continued. "Epu-hecícv-Yvfékcv (Our Guard Spirit) Asher and Epu-hecícv-Yvfékcv Orin, I present the youths AJ and Axel for your consideration as seen by Chief Soaring Eagle. AJ, Axel, be seated with your companions."
It took just over a minute for the two young red-tailed hawks to make their decision; after exchanging a series of clucks and chirps, they made their way to the left shoulder of their respective boy, and then inserted the talon reserved for the sole purpose of marking their chosen Guide into each of the boy's earlobes. Gary and Gerry immediately stepped up and began binding the talons in place, using the training Yist had given them as soon as Timmy had made him aware of what was possibly going to occur.
As his brothers bound the talons, Yist stated "Thank you, Guardian Spirits, Tribe Short is honored by your choices. As AJ and Axel now bear suitable worldly names, so must they bear tribal names that reflect their stage of spiritual development." Yist walked over to AJ, placing his hands over AJ's heart as he closed his eyes and listened to his spirit. In a distant voice, Yist stated "I see much in your past and future ... all of it has one common base ... you shall be known as 'Walks with Strong Spirit'; you must now summon JR to seal your destiny."
Asher gave an approving 'squawk' at Yist's name choice for AJ as Yist moved to Axel. Repeating the procedure, Yist stated after a minute of concentration, "You shall be known as 'Hunts with no Sound'; you must now summon Hunts with Brother Wolf to seal your destiny."
Once JR and Nash completed the painting of their brother's faces and presented them to the watching crowd, Yist once again spoke. "Two tonight have received the Gift of Spirit Pack-mates to guide them in guiding their Brothers, and two have arisen as Guides to the Guardian Spirits of Clan Wagner. Yish-t'ah T'áágééd 'At'a' of the Navajo Nation has been guided by the Great Spirit to join Clan Wagner, and is welcomed with open arms into Tribe Short. Camp Little Eagle has honored us with offering to host the celebration of our new family members moving to the next stage of their life journey. Let the celebration begin."
DJ, Tanner, and Chek were finishing their rounds for the night, making sure each of their sons was comfortable in their new bedrooms. Their last stop was AJ and Axel's room, which they had just arrived at.
After knocking on the door, Tanner announced "AJ? Axel? Is it okay if we come in to wish you good-night?"
"You can come in, Poppa," AJ replied.
Tanner led the way into the room, smiling as he saw AJ and Axel comfortably sharing the same bed. "You guys got a really good idea," Tanner stated, "it's always easier to get used to a new place if you're sharing it with a friend!"
"If you guys decide to cuddle, it's okay with us," DJ added. "Don't forget that your new feathered friends are watching out for you too, and they'll tell Rand if you need us."
AJ and Axel scooted closer together, smiling at hearing they would not be in trouble. "You're really not going to be mad?" AJ confirmed.
"We'll never be mad about something that makes you feel safe," Chek stated. "In fact, with what you have been through, there's a chance one of you might have a bad dream and pee in your sleep; if that happens, you already have our permission to share a shower or bath to clean up, and you will not get in trouble if it happens."
"Why are you always so nice?" Axel asked in his soft voice.
"Because we care about you," DJ replied seriously. "You can't learn to be nice to other people if nobody is nice to you, and we won't treat our sons any different then we want them to treat us."
"Okay," Axel replied. "Are you gonna make sure we're in bed every night?"
"We're not here to make sure that you're in bed," DJ stated. "We're here to make sure that you're not needing anything before you go to sleep, and to show you that we care enough to wish you a good night's sleep."
"I like having you as a daddy, poppa, and momma!" Axel smiled.
"All three of us like having you two as sons," DJ replied as he led the line to the edge of the bed. After leaning over and kissing both foreheads, he stated "Sweet dreams, guys. If you need one of us, just ask Rand and we'll be right over. Love ya'."
"Love you too, Daddy," AJ and Axel replied in unison.
Once Tanner and Chek said their good-nights as well, the three parents left the bedroom and headed to their own room. AJ and Axel cuddled into each other, smiles on their faces as they drifted off to sleep. For the first time in their lives, the two boys felt safe and loved by their family as they drifted off into dreamland.