Guy shook his head as he commented "Tell me again how everything we own got moved from the house we were renting to this new house, which you stated wasn't here before our sons were brought in?"
Josh smiled as he replied, "Trust me, sometimes I wish it was flashbacks from my youth! This is for real, though; Peter is one of the possible directions Humanity is heading towards, and one of his skills is manipulating Time. From what I've been told, since the Clan saved his life, he's made it his duty to make use of the construction company he inherited to ensure that the Clan has necessary structures before they know that they need them. I wouldn't be surprised if he's arranged new tenants for your old house already; that seems to be the way all of these boys work. They look at what is fair for everyone involved, then try to do it. Usually, they pull it off in ways that make adults scratch their heads."
"So, in three hours, you healed our sons, gave us five more, hired me, built a house, moved us in, and you act like this is normal?" Guy wondered.
"The boys took their time; I just keep pace with them," Josh quipped. "Trust me, you'll keep your sanity easier if you just roll with it. I've met more young men with special skills in the last week than I ever met the rest of my life. They seem to be drawn to the Clan, and they are welcomed with open arms. All of them are encouraged to develop their skills, which leads to strange things that ultimately improve a lot of lives. Don't be surprised when it happens to your boys; CJ and Chad earned their AI Doctorates in a couple of days, and just completed their training on a planet outside time that the Clan has access to. The Clan follows Vulcan society; they do not look at age, they look at ability. Once someone shows a natural interest in something, they get everything they need to do it. This Medical complex was given to us because of Chad and CJ... BEFORE they started adding brothers to the family."
Josh was interrupted by Caroline. "Josh, why don't you wait until you, Jeff, Nigel, and Amanda can join you to get your new brother and sister up to speed; my grandsons are getting impatient waiting for the seven newest additions to the mob. Jamie is worried that you'll bore them to death!"
"Nigel, I think Jamie is a little too dry!" Josh grinned.
"I will do the honors," Nigel chuckled over Josh's commbadge.
"There goes any chance of him staying dressed," Caroline quipped. "Let's get inside before they mutiny; they've got us outnumbered!"
To the obvious relief of the five boys who had been silently listening, the rest of the adults followed Caroline into Josh's house. Just as soon as they walked in the door, Andrei intercepted them. "Grandpa's got the rest of the adults in the living room; we need you all to join them while I take my new cousins to the Clan meeting that Danny's holding to welcome them."
"Thanks, Andrei," Josh smiled. "Tell Danny to give a yell if he needs us."
"Okay," Andrei smiled, then turned to the seven boys watching warily. "This is my first one too, guys; Danny said that all it's really for is to give us all a chance to understand what we all had to live through, so we know who to talk to that will understand. If you had a good life so far, then those who didn't have a good one know who to trust about what is normal."
"They better not give Simon and Jeremy any crap about being boyfriends," Harry stated protectively, earning him smiles from his new brothers.
"Don't worry, they're not the only ones," Andrei smiled. "If they're not careful, they might walk out of the meeting married; Danny, Marc, CJ, or Chad all have the authority to do that, and Vulcan does not care about age." Pausing to focus on the two boys trying to be inconspicuous, he added "Wylie, Spike? I know it's going to be hard to believe, but nobody is going to lie about you being wanted in the group. I didn't believe it either at first, but there are so many kids in the Clan that have been hurt by adults just like you were, that nobody plays games like that with other Clan members. This is for real; my dad, Josh, follows those rules too, so what he promised you in the recovery room is the absolute truth."
"I hope you're right," Wylie replied softly.
"I'm going to have Nigel teleport us into the family room, that way Harry and Lyle don't have to deal with doorways," Andrei warned the group. "It feels funny at first, but you get used to it!"
"Okay," Harry replied.
"Go for it, Nigel!" Andrei stated after tapping his commbadge.
Within seconds of the final group joining the occupants of the family room, Jason anf Felix were next to the wheelchair. "We saved a big couch for all of you," Felix stated. "It has a recliner in it, so you guys don't have to be stuck in this chair. I'm Felix, and this is Jason; we'll help the two of you over to your seat, and the rest of your brothers can take the rest of the couch. Let us know if you need anything!"
"Thanks!" Harry and Lyle replied.
After some unexpected welcome hugs from the entire group, the new arrivals were finally seated. Once he was sure that everyone was comfortable, Danny began. "Welcome to the first official meeting of the AI Annex. As you can tell by Jamie's example, this is informal and you can get comfortable if you want."
"Hey, it's not MY fault that Josh dunked me!" Jamie protested.
"You enjoyed it, bro!" CJ and Chad chorused as they stripped down to their underwear.
After giving everyone a couple of minutes to get comfortable, Danny continued. "I'm Danny Page, and I'm the oldest youth android ever. I've been human, then android, then after a failed attempt at terminating myself, Marc brought me back online. After losing an argument with the Patriarch of the Clan, Cory, I was made Director of the AI Division. Cory started the tradition of Clan Meetings as a way for everyone to understand what the rest of their family has lived through, that way we can help each other recover. It also is a place to plan things that we're going to do, or discuss problems we noticed."
"One thing you all need to realize is that when the Clan calls you family, it's not just words. Every single one of you is family, and there's not a single Clan brother that would not put their lives on the line to protect you. They'll also chew you a new butthole if you're not thinking right; I found that out first hand when some of the early Clan brothers found out that I'd attempted self-termination. I'd been abandoned and was treated as if I wasn't a person; instead of looking for a purpose, I gave up. That part of my life is in the past, but I've learned from it so I can help others in that position; thanks to the Clan, I've got a purpose that will probably outlive every normal human on the planet, along with the generations following them."
Danny paused, then explained, "I'm going to introduce each of you; you can say as little or as much as you're comfortable sharing. I'll start with the guys who have done this before, that way you have an idea of how Cory has set it up." With that, Danny pointed at Jamie and introduced him.
By the time that the introductions reached the AI Annex members, it was obvious to everyone new that their deepest secrets were not as bad as they thought. Jamie, Jacob, and Beau had delved deeper into Clan history during their turn, so by the time it reached the new boys their inner shame at their experiences had been pushed to the side.
Harry was introduced first. "I'm Harry Peters, go ahead and laugh, I think it's funny too!" Harry began. "I really didn't understand just how great Mom and Dad are until I heard you guys. Some of the stuff you guys lived through, I thought the adults were just making up to scare us. The worst thing I've had was my name, but that's something that goes back forever in my family; the first born of a new generation is called Harry. Mom and Dad even took care of that the best they could, because they made sure I was ready for the teasing before I even knew that my weiner could be called a peter. Dad gave me ideas for replies, so the teasing never worked. I'll let Lyle tell you how he joined our family, but I used to have problems with fevers, so he decided to be my protector when I was a baby, and now he's my brother, best friend, and soulmate all at once."
Once he was sure that Harry was done, Danny stated "Lyle, before you start, I want to say something about one of the things Harry said, and how recent events might affect it. There are a lot of things that can cause what Harry had, so CJ and Chad had a genetic test and full profile ran. We just got the results back, and there is a seventy percent chance that the initial cause will cause him issues as an adult. If he decides to take advantage of the procedure that we have available that will drop those chances into single digits, his lifespan will be increased immensely. I recognised the tone when he said soulmate; the two of you need to discuss where that can lead with the new options available to you. From the viewpoint of the Clan, if the two of you share the feelings and decide that you want to be a couple, you have our full support and we will make it happen for you."
Lyle nodded. "Thanks, Danny; we've been having that talk for the last year or so! By the way, schedule the procedure; Mom, Dad, and Harry gave me unrestricted rights for medical decisions for the family years ago. I'll wait for my new brothers to decide if they trust me with those decisions too, so for now I'll just offer suggestions unless it is an emergency."
"We documented it on CSNIC, Danny," Jamie interrupted. "Vulcan has acknowledged it as a logical precaution; the legal forms that were filed are now recognised Federation-wide."
"Thanks, Jamie; great job with covering the bases," Danny stated. "Harry, once your new leg is healed, we'll get you set up."
Harry nodded. "Thanks! Mom and Dad told me they did that because Lyle knows more medical stuff than most doctors, so he can make better choices than we can. I know he won't let one of us suffer just to keep us around longer. He just saved my life earlier today, so I'm not going to argue with him!"
"Good," Lyle giggled as he stretched up to give Harry a kiss on the cheek, "You get crabby when I win arguments!" After more giggles at Harry quickly nodding his head, Lyle began his history. "I'm Lyle Peters; I was given to my now-Dad Guy as a little brother by his great-uncle Harold after I'd spent most of his adult life with him. Harold never married; once he told me that it was because he wasn't interested in relationships or sex with anyone, male or female. He bought me to have what he couldn't make; a son. Unlike quite a few of my series, I was never used for sex by him, I was his son and that was it. When he knew it was getting time for him to need more care than I could give him in his old age, he talked to his niece, our Grandma Kathy. They agreed that it would do me good to get a chance at being a little brother, and since me and Guy already got along they discussed me joining their family with me. By then, it was known what happens to androids who lose their companions, so I understood what Harold was trying to do; he was protecting the son he loved."
After a pause to dry his eyes, Lyle continued. "Six months after I moved in with Grandma Kathy, Harold died in his sleep. Guy was the biggest reason I made it through that; for the next month, he made sure I was never alone, day or night. He tried to be the best big brother in the world, and when he started dating he insisted that I was part of the package; if the girl didn't like me, or we didn't get along, he dumped her. I was starting to feel bad about messing up his chances of finding a wife when he met Violet; from the first day he introduced me, she treated me like family, and I think she confided in me about the rapes she suffered growing up before she told Guy."
After another pause, Lyle got a small smile on his face. "I was there when Harry was born. I was the first person after Mom and Dad to hold him. I've been by his side since his birth, taking care of him, teaching him when I was the big brother, and giving him advice from my lifetime once he became older looking than me. If an android could have a perfect life, I think mine qualifies. I almost ended up with a completely new body today, because there was no way I was going to let Harry be killed in an accident unless it killed me too while trying to protect him. I love him like I've never felt with anyone else."
"You just became the Division Big Brother, no matter how old any of us are," Chad announced softly. "That means if Andrei can't figure out what to do, he has you to help him."
Andrei nodded. "Yeah, you can teach all of us a lot about being a real family."
Lyle looked at Harry's face, only to find a smirk that told him that this was one argument he couldn't win if he tried. "I guess I'm the Division Big Brother, then!"
Wylie stood up unbidden, Spike latched to his side. "I'm Wylie, and this is my ... I mean OUR ... little brother, Spike. We've never been wanted before; both uf us were called mistakes from the day we were born. The first adult hug either one of us ever had was from Josh, in the recovery room today. This all feels like a dream, but after hearing all of you I'm starting to believe it is real. I think Lyle's gonna be able to help me understand when I get confused, and now I know that the rest of you can understand what we feel like right now. Thanks for giving us a chance."
"Spike?" Harry asked softly, trying not to scare him, "Would you like to cuddle on my lap, and Wylie can sit next to me so that Lyle can cuddle him from his lap? Lyle taught me that brother cuddles are the best thing when you are in a new situation that scares you. If we're holding you, you'll know that you're wanted."
"Go ahead, bro," Wylie told Spike. "I'll be right next to you."
Once everyone was in place, Spike carefully making sure he was putting most of his weight on Harry's right leg, the last three of the new arrivals stood up.
Speaking for the trio, Jeremy looked around the room before speaking. "Hi, I'm Jeremy, this is my boyfriend Simon, and his little brother Timmy. We grew up in the same house together, and all three of us were used by our so-called parents for sex before we were out of diapers - our mothers AND our fathers. Thanks to you guys, we don't have to use butt plugs to keep from making a mess anymore, and me and Simon can make love without a piece of wood tied to our butts so we don't fall in. Nobody's really said it, but I think there are a lot of us that can't trust adults here; we're going to have to count on you guys who know what a good family is like to teach us how to tell if an adult is safe. I see one thing here, and that is a bunch of kids who want to make it so nobody goes through what they did. We're all in for that, and we're not going to let what happened to us happen to any of you."
"You just verbalized the core thing that started the Clan," Danny stated. "We proved it isn't just a dream, we actually are doing it. Believe it or not, you are probably going to be the biggest help to androids who have been used for sex than any of us; because of what you lived through, you can understand how they feel deep inside. For some reason, each of us has ended up where we are needed most; I blame our Guardian angels. Cory's first son, who is also named Timmy, once said that bad things have to happen so good things can happen; That's become what we call Timmy's Law, and it helps a lot of us deal with the bad that we see."
Jeremy nodded. "You put it that way, it makes sense."
Just then, Davie decided to make his presence known. "Did someone page a Guardian Angel?" he giggled as he made himself visible in his full glory.
"Davie!" CJ and Chad exclaimed as they pounced their angel-brother.
"Hey guys!" Davie giggled as they latched onto him. "Great job today; you found all the presents the Boss had for you! I'm under orders to take a nap break, and I'm supposed to have all of you join me. Does anyone object to a cuddle pile with their Guardian Angel?"
"Like you would give us a choice, Squirt?" Danny sniggered.
"Hey, I'm an angel, I even have a halo!" Davie grinned. "I'll help Harry and Lyle get comfy, then the rest of you pile in; I don't know why we need to, but I get the feeling that you'll like it."
In the living room, the adults didn't get the luxury of a warning. Josh was the first of them to wake up after the forced nap, and his threat radar started kicking into high gear immediately.
Before Josh could say anything, his attention was diverted by Mikey appearing in his full glory, Candy at his side. "Josh, you can relax," Candy stated. "I'm Candy; Mikey and I have been watching the house while you took a nap on orders from Up High."
"I need to check the boys," Josh stated, only partially calmed by the Angel appearance. He quickly made his way to the family room, opening the door so that he could see in. When he saw the entire group cuddled in the center of the floor, wrapped in the extremely extended wings of Davie, he sighed, closed the door, and turned to the pair of angels behind him. "Are you going to explain now, or do I need to wake up Dad?"
Mikey grinned, "You sounded just like him! There are things that are not yet being revealed to even us feathered guys, so you can't get all the answers from us. What I can tell you, which is more than Davie could tell the boys, is that there is a good chance that my little brothers in Orlando might be calling you for something soon. Just say yes; what we call a 'fixed point' in Time is approaching, and your family is one of the keys."
"You know, if I didn't already know Davie and Pablito, I'd call you out on that," Josh stated seriously. "That doesn't explain sudden naps, though."
"In a way, it does," Candy explained. "There are very good chances that the boys will be part of whatever is happening, and the family that you just added would then need to know that they are included. Davie is doing his favorite part of his job, healing spirits so that the mind and body can recover. To do that, he has put this house in a time bubble; every minute in here equals a second outside. We're going to wake up the other adults so that you can fill them in, then let you finish your naps until Davie is ready to drop the bubble."
"I think I know where Davie and Pablito learned to be confusing," Josh quipped. "Let's get it over with; after today's excitement, the naps were not a bad idea."
Davie allowed himself a smile as he watched his charges settling in after taking care of their post-nap business. Once all of them were settled into a semi-circle to see what he had to say, he began filling them in. "Guys, I feel like something big is going to happen. I'm going to need you to all listen to your hearts, because that's how I can show you what your best choice is. I'll be right there with all of you, even if you can't see me, so I'll know things as fast as you do."
"I wish you'd been around earlier," Spike whispered.
"I heard that, Spike, angel ears are really good!" Dave giggled. "I was the one that made sure all of you were on that trip, even though your old parents didn't really want you to go. The accident had to happen so that you would end up here; I knew that my little twin brothers wouldn't turn down helping you guys."
"Sometimes bad things gotta happen so good things can happen," Timmy repeated. "That's what the other Timmy was talking about, isn't it?"
"Yes, Timmy, that's exactly what he meant," Davie acknowledged. "You guys need to start looking at the good things that you're getting now; that makes it easier to tell if a bad thing is needed. Don't worry, I'll help you when I can."
Timmy pulled Spike into a hug, surprising the seven-year-old redhead. "I know one really good thing; I got a brother my age that I can be friends with forever now!"
For possibly the first time in his life, Spike found himself crying happy tears as he returned the hug of his new brother.
Ron paused at the doorway as he returned to the family room with his coffee refill. All of the permanent residents of the compound were present; the younger group watching a Transformers movie, while the adults quietly exchanged stories about their charges off to the side. While he was unsure about what the boys had experienced during their meeting, there was no doubt in his mind that it had been a positive experience going by how they were comfortably cuddled into a single pile.
"Grandpa?" Andrei asked from the edge of the pile.
"Yes, Grandson?" Ron smiled.
"Could you please not stare too much? Some of our brothers get nervous if adults stare at them."
"Thank you for telling me," Ron replied with a smile. "I'm proud of every single one of you for what you've accomplished since we came home, so if I forget, just remind me."
"Thanks, Grandpa," Andrei replied before turning back to the movie.
Making his way back to the adults, Ron considered what he'd just been warned about, and who it came from. After he sat down, he commented, "Our group of young men appear to have bonded more than it initially appears. Based on my conversations with the Patriarh and his mother, we should expect to see them going to each other first. If there is an issue they can not handle, at that point one of them will come to whichever of us seems most likely to be able to help. Don't take them lightly; from what I was told, that bond is probably going to be what heals them."
"But they barely know each other," Guy commented.
"They just had a Clan meeting before we took our nap," Josh explained. "I was already warned about those; the chances of any of us ever being invited to one are slim, mainly because they discuss things that we are not supposed to know about. That secrecy allows them to open up to each other; I'd bet my life that all of those boys know more about each other than we'll ever learn about them. That's what makes the Clan work; after meeting the founding members and learning a little about their history, I'm not about to intrude on a process that works. I'll just say that what I DO know about should have ruined a few boy's lives; instead, it led to us sitting here today."
"What is our part, then?" Violet asked.
"Pretty much, we are who they look to for learning the appropriate ways to express their emotions, to be responsible, and most of all to teach them the skills they need to function as an adult. The big difference is that, unlike other parents, our kids could become parents themselves at any time; Ivo is eleven, yet he already has a son."
"At that point," Ron interrupted, "is when the real job begins. Clan grandparents have one job; to support their child as he or she raises their own child. That means giving the young parent breaks when it appears he or she needs them, and ensuring that the youth does not lose the chance to experience their youth as they raise their child or children. That is the reason you will find that the adult family members of the Clan stick together; our situation is unique, and we can only do it right if we pool our knowledge and experiences."
"Especially since our boys are going to go to whichever adult they trust to help them with what they need," Josh nodded. "They will be watching all of us to determine who they should risk extending their trust to. What just happened with Dad was a good example; I can promise that every single one of those boys took note of how he responded."
"You need to remember," Caroline added, "that in a lot of ways, they have the responsibilities of adults by being Clan. When they are exercising those responsibilities, our job is to support them and offer suggestions if necessary. If they need us to step in, they will let us know; otherwise, they have a set of rules that as adults we probably couldn't function under. When you feel like taking over and doing it the way that you were taught, just remind yourself that the ways we grew up with are the reason there is a Clan today; let the youth use their ways to break that cycle."
"Putting it that way, it makes sense," Guy nodded. "After learning about what our new sons went through, I can see where a few of the 'rules' I was raised with could lead to what happened to them."
The conversation was interrupted by Davie appearing and placing the adults in a bubble before he was noticed. "Hey, Josh!" Davie giggled.
"That's Dad or Pop to you, squirt!" Josh grinned. "For those who don't know him, this is Davie. He's one of the Guardian Angels of our boys, and one of my sons by declaration of brotherhood between him, CJ, and Chad."
Davie's smile was a mile wide as he came over and cuddled into Josh's lap. "Thanks, Pop," he whispered as he collected a hug. After a minute of enjoying the snuggle, he stated "I just got told that Cory's about to call about a party that he's having. All of you are supposed to be there. Pop, Uncle Jeff, and Aunt Amanda, you need to stay with most of your's and Phil's boys; Phil will join you there. Stryker needs to go with Grandpa, Grandma, and my new Uncles; he's gonna be needed there. Uncle Guy, Aunt Violet? You and your boys need to stick with Grandma; you'll find out why too."
"Did I mention that the Clan has members in some very high places?" Ron quipped. "Josh, I'm sure my grandson has important things he must do. I do not think you will appreciate the conversation if he does not receive his welcome to the family hugs from myself or his grandmother."
"As the boys would say, 'Whatever, Dad!'," Josh smirked. "Go ahead and get your welcome hugs, Kiddo; we'll finish this when there's not any pushy grandparents watching."
"I'm holding you to that!" Davie giggled before mischievously popping himself over to be directly in front of Ron. "Hi Grandpa!" he quipped as he let his halo show.
Seconds after Davie dropped the bubble and left, Nigel announced over the room speakers "Directors, I have an incoming priority call from Patriarch Short."
"I'm telling Cory that you called him Patriarch!" CJ sniggered. "Go ahead, Nigel."
Seconds later, Cory's voice came over the speakers. "Hey guys! I just finished the reports; great job today!"
"Thanks, Cory," CJ and Chad replied shyly, both blushing.
"I hear that blush!" Cory giggled. "Hey, we're getting ready to have a cookout over here, and I'd like for you guys to join us. Gabe and Trav can help you with getting the family you added up on Archnania, along with the new brothers that you added today, all set up. I think Mom's planning on helping the new adults figure out how they fit in, so you guys don't have to babysit them."
Cory paused as the pile of boys broke out in giggles, which turned into laughter when they noticed the expressions on their parent's faces. Once they'd recovered, Cory added, "DJ and Prez said they're going to hold a little bit of band practice, so this should be fun. I've already told Danny and Marc to round up their crew and take a break, so all of you should know at least a few faces. Just tell Nigel to pop you over when you're ready, okay? Phil is already here, he came over with your Uncle Mike."
"Okay, Cory," CJ replied. "We gotta get dressed first!"
"Shorts and tee-shirts," Cory suggested. "Remember, this IS Orlando!"
"Gotcha; thanks, bro!" Chad replied. "Give us five minutes!"
"Sounds good, catch ya soon!" Cory quipped before closing the call.
Once he was sure the call was over, Lyle asked, "CJ? why did he sound like he was telling us, not asking?"
CJ shrugged. "He's weird, but it's a good weird. Danny says that Cory gets gut feelings about stuff, and that if we follow his ideas good stuff happens. I guess that means we'll get more good today."
Lyle tilted his head for a second, then replied "I think that makes sense. He's promising food, so we better hurry!"