Chuck E. Cheese, Des Moines:
Teri couldn't help but smile as Alec came up behind her and gave her a huge hug. "Thanks for the dinner, Aunt Teri. This is AWESOME!"
"You deserved it, Alec. Go on and have some fun, enjoy your birthday!"
As Alec ran off to join the rest of the boys at the games, Helen commented "That's the happiest he's been yet. You've worked your magic again, Teri."
Teri just grinned. "Helen, the only magic I work is helping the boys feel free to be themselves. The real magic is inside each one of them."
Helen shook her head. "As the boys would say, 'whatever' Teri. Exhibit A just took his son up to trade in some game tickets, see?"
Teri looked to where Helen was pointing and smiled as she watched her son and grandson.
Cory walked up to the counter holding Timmy's hand. "Well lil' buddy, you see anything you like?"
Timmy grinned as he handed Cory his pile of tickets. "Do I got enough to get that big teddy bear, Daddy?"
"That's as big as you! You sure about that?"
"YEAH! It's KEWL!"
Cory counted out Timmy's tickets, then fished his own pile out of his pocket. After combining the two, he grinned. "It looks like you got yourself a bear, kiddo!"
Timmy wrapped his arms around Cory's waist. "Thanks Daddy, you're the bestest!"
The clerk gave Cory a puzzled look as she handed him the bear. "Why does he keep calling you 'daddy'? You're not old enough to be his father."
Cory smiled at her. "It was his fathers last wish that I raise his son, since I saved Timmy's life. Timmy chose to call me Daddy, and I'm doing my best to live up to the name."
She smiled in response. "Now I understand. There's not many guys your age who would even try to take on having a kid. You must be pretty special, good luck."
Cory blushed at the compliment. "Naw, Timmy's the one that's special; I'm just lucky to have him. Thanks for the compliment, though."
Cory jumped as Timmy suddenly gave a loud 'screech' followed by a pair of 'caws' which sounded exactly like a crow. Cory turned and looked down at his son, and almost dropped the bear when he saw Timmy's face. As Cory watched, Timmy's face went from it's earlier freckled slight tan to a dark brown. As the skin pigments changed, Timmy slowly regained his war paint in full glory. From across the room, an answering 'screech' was heard over the noise of the crowd.
Cory turned to the shocked clerk. "I don't know what's up, but it looks like there's about to be a problem. Pass the word to the rest of your employees, there is a possibility that some things that seem strange will happen, but don't worry. We have two Federation Security Officers here to handle problems, and can call more if needed."
The clerk ran off to pass the word, and Cory knelt down to Timmy. "What's wrong, son?"
Timmy looked at Cory with fire in his eyes. "Calvin chased down the twins and is here now. It took William a few minutes to confirm it was him. He's inside here somewhere."
Cory instantly went into defensive mode. "Can you pass messages to Ricky through William and Duke?"
"Yeah, that's easy."
"Okay, have Ricky go warn Eli and Benji; I want you to stay with your Grandma so that you can keep the grownups updated on what's happening."
"Okay Daddy. Can you carry my bear for me?"
Cory picked up the bear and weaved through the crowd with Timmy in tow. Half way there, they ran into Kyle. Cory grabbed Kyle's arm and whispered in his ear "Calvin's here, get your bro then round up the rest of the guys."
Kyle nodded his head, then ran off to begin organizing the retaliation force.
Eli had released his leg, and was sitting on Sebastian's lap watching the Animatronics show. In the seat next to them, Benji was sitting with Sammy perched comfortably on his lap. Ricky ran up to the giggling couples, and started to announce his message. "Guys, Calvin's he..."
A balding man with a prominent beer belly pushed Ricky into a nearby seat. He pulled a revolver from his pocket as he spoke. "Thanks for the introduction, shrimp; but I think the ones I'm concerned about know me already. Now just sit there, and I won't have to shoot you."
Calvin turned his attention to the other boys. "Well, Jeffy, I see you've developed a taste for crips! I hope you two have taught them your techniques, I have a few friends who would love to have a boy who can't run off. Oh, by the way, you have someone else to teach." Calvin pulled the boy that had been hiding behind him to the front and pushed him so that he fell into the seat shared by Benji and Sammy.
Sammy looked at the new arrival in shock. He instantly recognized the boy, there was only one kid that he knew that had that look; at a small twelve years old, he had distinctive hazel puppy dog eyes set in a thin face under his shaggy brown hair. "Tommy?!? Why are you with IT?"
Tommy turned his head to Sammy. "Mom OD'd, so Uncle Calvin's taking care of me now. Why are you and Jeffy here in Iowa?"
"Dang, I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Our old father screwed up and hit us while a Federation Security officer was able to see it. We have a new family here, and don't gotta do the stuff Calvin wants to make us do anymore. Oh, just so you know, my bro ain't called Jeffy anymore; he's using his first name now, Sebastian. The cute guy we are squashing is my boyfriend Benji, and the matching cutie on 'Bastian's lap is Eli."
Calvin interrupted. "You can have old home week later, get up and lets get out of here."
"We ain't going anywhere you bastard!" Eli answered angrily. "As a matter of fact, I'm gonna kick your ass; that was my little brother you pushed, and NOBODY hurts my little brother." Eli then silently communicated to Benji, 'Hey bro, that looks like the kind of gun Dad had. You think you can pop the cylinder with your mind?'
Benji gave a slight smile as he thought back 'That's easy; I'll take care of the gun, you handle him.'
"Oooohhh, I'm scared." Calvin sneered as he moved the gun to point at Eli's head. "You know, on second thought I think I'll just kill you; it would slow us down too much dragging your crippled ass around. In fact, I might as well take out your boyfriend too; I never did like his attitude."
Eli cracked an evil smile. "In a way I'm glad you showed up you S.O.B., you saved us the trouble of hunting you down. You are about to wish you hadn't got up this morning." As he said the last word, the cylinder of the revolver popped out, the bullets flew out and onto the floor, then the cylinder started spinning so fast that it began to squeal in protest.
Eli laughed. "Game's over, you lose!" he announced, as the leg Eli had leaned against the arm of the seats came up and kicked a field goal in Calvin's groin. The kick was so strong that it launched Calvin onto the stage, where he landed in agony.
As Eli and Benji checked on Ricky, Gabe and JJ came running onto the stage, both carrying phasers. They took positions covering Calvin as JJ announced angrily, "Go ahead and move, dirtbag. Give us a reason to vaporize you, please."
John came up behind them. "I'll take it from here, guys; you can stand down."
"Cover him, Gabe." JJ said before turning to John. "Pop, I'm sorry but this is out of your hands. Could you please get our Clan Patriarch; we are both claiming our rights as eldest family members under Vulcan law."
John nodded his head. "I understand, JJ. I also know what punishment is allowed for his actions tonight; if you go through with it the three of us need to sit down and talk when we get home." John then turned and waved for Cory to join them.
Cory jogged over. "What's up, John?"
John stood at attention. "Mr. Short, the man on the floor has transgressed against members of your Clan. Mr. Richardson and Mr. Michaels have declared their rights as elders under Vulcan law. How do you wish to proceed?"
Cory became all business. "Commander Martin, I must review the facts before making that decision. Move the detainee to a non-public area of the building, I will instruct Kyle to extract the relevant information from the suspect and the victims and will have a reply in thirty Terran minutes."
"As you wish, Sir." John replied. He sent Matt to find a private area as Cory motioned for Kyle to join them.
Kyle walked over, and as soon as he was near Cory he said "I'm already working on it, Cory. I've got Calvin's version already, I'm working on the rest of the guys now."
"Good. Can you push it into my head, I can't use a verbal report."
"Not a problem, Jamie and Jacob are helping. Justy said to tell you the Embassy is sending over a Vulcan witness due to the gravity of the charges we already have. He will verify my report for you before you make the decision."
"Tell Justy that his logic is flawless as always."
Kyle was silent for a minute, and then stated "I have your report ready. Do you wish for Jamie to echo it to the Embassy?"
"That is acceptable. Begin your report." Cory cleared his mind and awaited the information from Kyle. Once he had all of the information, he had to struggle to keep from pronouncing sentence immediately.
A minute later, two figures materialized in front of Cory. He immediately recognized the figure on the right and came to attention. As he extended his hand in the standard Vulcan greeting, he said "It is well to see you, Ambassador Sarek. It is my understanding that my liaison has briefed you on this disturbing situation. Is this information accurate?"
Sarek returned the greeting. "You have been informed correctly, Cory. With your permission, my assistant shall verify that your report matches the information retrieved during the investigation."
"Permission is granted, Ambassador. Please proceed."
It took five minutes to complete the mind-meld with Kyle, then another five minutes to verify Cory had the complete report. Once it was verified, Cory turned to Sarek. "Ambassador, due to the severity of the situation I ask you to also retrieve the facts. I believe your knowledge will be beneficial if my logic fails while taking this to the conclusion."
"Your request is logical." Sarek replied. Once Sarek completed the mind-meld with Cory, they went into the room where Calvin was held.
Cory walked up to John. "Commander Martin, I have reached my conclusion. Due to the severity of the crimes involved, I require Calvin Wilson be released to Clan Short for prosecution under Vulcan law."
John looked behind Cory and saw Sarek watching intently. John then looked Cory in the eye as he replied "Mr. Short, as required by treaties between Earth and Vulcan, I hereby recognize your jurisdiction in this matter and release Calvin Wilson to your custody. Will you require Federation Security to provide assistance?"
"That will be acceptable." Cory replied before turning to Calvin. "Calvin Wilson, your actions of the current Terran day and your previous actions regarding members of Clan Short have been reviewed. It has been discovered that you planned premeditated murder of two members of the Clan once you kidnapped them from this location. In addition, while on these premises you attempted to murder a third Clan member and assaulted one of the junior Clan members. This assault resulted in said member receiving two broken fingers. Under the laws of every member planet of the Federation you are a menace to society. I have also discovered that you caused Thomas's mother to overdose so that you could use him for prostitution, in addition to the outstanding charges against you for the prostitution of Sebastian and Samuel. The eldest siblings of the affected Clan members have declared their wishes to administer punishment as specified in Vulcan law for your transgressions. I grant them their right and sentence you to death."
Calvin turned pale. "You can't do that! This is America, I'm innocent until proven guilty! I want my lawyer!"
Sarek beat Cory to the reply. "Mr. Wilson, I regret to inform you that you are mis-informed. Clan Short has multiple members who are capable of a primitive type of mind meld. One of those members has scanned not only yourself but all persons involved; both myself and my associate have verified his findings. His report is legal evidence in every court on Earth and throughout the Federation, and as such convicted you before we entered this room. As Clan Short is a part of my own family, I am capable of overriding Cory. His decision in this situation is logical and proper; I concur completely."
Calvin turned his head to John. "Are you gonna let them get away with this? I demand you call your Regional Commander!"
John smiled as he replied. "Mr. Wilson, I am the Starfleet Security Director for the Southeast North American Region. You were just addressed by Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, and you were sentenced by Cory Short, Patriarch of Clan Short. If you had paid attention earlier, you would have heard Mr. Short when he informed me that he was taking jurisdiction. If I had refused him, Ambassador Sarek would have demanded the same right, and in addition would have filed a grievance with Starfleet Security for my refusal. To put it bluntly; you started an interplanetary incident and now you have to suffer the consequences."
Calvin's reply was cut off as JJ and Gabe entered the room. They walked up and stood in front of Cory. "You called for us, Cory?"
Cory looked closely at the sober faces of the two boys in front of him. "Yes. I have determined the punishment. Mr. Wilson's actions require a sentence of death; you have the option of deferring the punishment to a third party. What is your decision?"
JJ responded first, after giving careful thought. "As eldest sibling, it is my responsibility to deliver justice for my brothers. I accept the responsibility to deliver punishment."
Gabe looked at JJ before adding "I now have the same responsibilities, and also accept my responsibility to deliver punishment."
Cory considered their responses. "I will allow you to carry out the punishment on the condition you both submit to a mind-meld to ensure there are no damaging effects after you are done. Do you accept my condition?"
Both JJ and Gabe replied at the same time "Yes Cory."
Cory turned to John. "Commander Martin, please ensure that JJ and Gabe understand the necessary settings to perform their duty ."
John spent the next five minutes ensuring both boys were prepared, then turned to Cory. "Mr. Short, your Clan members are prepared."
Cory waved both boys over to him. "Get in position on either side of me. I will count down from three, on one you both fire. Ensure your phasers are set to maximum, it is not proper to make him suffer."
The boys took position, and followed instructions to the letter. A few seconds later, all that was left of Calvin Wilson was a small amount of ash, as he had been hit by both phasers at exactly the same instant. Neither boy had a chance to realize exactly what they had just done before Sarek and his assistant stepped forward and began the mind melds to protect them.
Helen and Teri relaxed as the restaurant returned to normal. It had took Matt announcing his position to convince the patrons that everything was okay, but soon after things returned to normal. Austin returned to the table, having just finished taking care of Ricky.
"How's your son?" Helen asked.
"Which one?" Austin replied with a smile. "Ricky's fingers on his left hand are going to take a bit to finish healing, but I think Timmy's fawning over him is making it worth it. Eli and Benji are huddled with Sebastian and Sammy working out their fright, and Gabe has disappeared with JJ."
Helen's reply was interrupted by a tap on her shoulder. She turned to find Kelly standing there with a boy she had never seen before.
Kelly grinned shyly. "Mommy, this is Tommy. I think he's cute, kinda like a little puppy. Can I keep him?"
Helen shook her head in wonder. "Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. As glad as I am to meet Tommy, I think he has family that would complain if you pulled a Sean and Cory with him."
Tommy sobbed once before softly replying. "Sorry, Ma'am, but I ain't got no family left. My Mom died of an OD and Uncle Calvin's got himself in a lot of trouble with some kid called Cory."
Kelly saw the looks Helen and Teri exchanged at hearing Calvin's name. "Yeah Mom, THAT Calvin. All I can say is he's in so much trouble that a certain Vulcan Ambassador has came over to witness. Aunt Teri, can you please help him? I wasn't kidding; I like Tommy and want him to come home with us."
Teri gave the two boys a small smile. "Kelly, you've been paying attention; that's good. Aaron is going to be proud of you when he hears about this. You got your wish, he can come home with you. But, Kelly, YOU get to explain to Sean, Cory, Adam, and Tyler why they have a new brother!"
Kelly pulled Tommy into a hug. "See! I told ya I'd take care of ya!" he exclaimed. After about a minute of celebration, Kelly suddenly spun and stared at Teri. "AUNT TERI! YOU are adopting Tommy?!?!"
Tommy jumped in. "You really want me?! Why?"
Teri broke into a huge grin. "Nice delayed reaction, Kelly! Yes, I'm adopting you, Tommy; for two reasons. First is that in one sentence you said enough for me to see that it's time for you to have a good family; the second reason is that this is the first time I have seen Kelly this happy since he moved in. Do you think you can spare one of those hugs for your new Mom?"
Tommy threw himself into Teri's arms and began crying the tears he had been holding inside since his mother was found dead.
Eli, 'Bastian, Benji, Sammy, Alec and Andrew were sitting at a table in the corner of the restaurant. "I'm really sorry for ruining your birthday." Sebastian moaned.
Alec placed an arm around Sebastian's shoulder. "Hey bro, you didn't ruin my birthday. You guys had no control over what happened, so how can you think you did anything wrong? Actually I look at it as an extra gift; two boys I think of as family are going to be able to sleep tonight without worrying about a certain jerk chasing them down. Besides, how many times have we been told that bad things happen so that good things can follow?"
All five of the boys stared at Alec. "Whadda you mean, Alec?" Sammy asked.
"Think about it. Right now Cory, JJ, and Gabe are discussing what to do to about a seriously sick minded man. If he had not tracked you down here, what do you think he would have done with Tommy? Speaking of Tommy, did you see how him and Kelly hit it off immediately? My lil bro had the same look in his eyes when he looked at Tommy as 'Bastian gets when he looks at Eli. I really hope I'm right; if so this is definitely the best birthday ever. I'm going to take a chance and tell you my birthday wish; I wished that Kelly could find someone that makes him as happy as Andrew makes me."
Andrew giggled as he leaned over and kissed Alec's cheek. "You are something else, babe. I hope you're right; your little bro could use a partner. Speaking of which, look over there by your mom."
All of the boys turned just in time to see Tommy throw himself into Teri's arms. As they watched, Kelly came up and began rubbing Tommy's back as he leaned in and joined the hug.
Alec turned back to the table. "I know you guys didn't plan it, but I think tonight there's one more boy who is going to get a good nights sleep for the first time in a while. Sammy and Sebastian, that's happening because you were strong enough to talk about what happened to you. As far as Eli and Benji, thanks to the two of you I was able to say that to your boyfriends; if it wasn't for your special gift they wouldn't be here right now."
Alec jumped as Cory commented from behind him "You got that right, Alec." Cory, JJ, and Gabe came around and sat down, then Cory continued. "We just did something that I hope I never have to participate in again; but I will if that's what it takes to protect you guys. All I care about right now is that you guys are all okay."
Just then Ricky noticed Gabe was out and ran over. He wiggled his way onto his big brother's lap and cuddled up closely. Gabe leaned his head down and kissed the top of Ricky's head. "How you feelin', lil bro?"
"Okay I guess. Why did that bad guy hurt me?"
Gabe gently rubbed Ricky's shoulders as he replied slowly. "I don't know, baby bro. I guess he just liked hurting kids. You're the last kid that he's ever gonna hurt though, that I promise. I waited all my life for a little brother; now I have three of them and I won't let anyone hurt any of you."
Sammy was the first to realize what Gabe implied. He turned to JJ and asked "JJ, why is Gabe so sure that Calvin won't come back?"
JJ looked at Cory; when Cory nodded his okay, JJ turned back toward his brothers. "Eli, Ben; you might wanna take a seat with Gabe and Ricky. 'Bas, Sammy; come on over and have a seat on my lap."
Once all of the boys had shifted so they were grouped by family, JJ continued. "Lil' bros, I made you a promise that I would make sure Calvin could never hurt you again. Earlier tonight I almost failed you, but in the end it worked out. I'm not going to tell you what Kyle found in his head, and Kyle is under orders from Cory not to tell you either. I can tell you that both Gabe and I, since we're the oldest brothers of our families, had a very hard thing to do to fill our roles under Vulcan law. Calvin can't hurt you anymore because he has been executed for his crimes against the five of you, as well as for what he did to Tommy. He was found guilty under Vulcan law, and Gabe and I delivered the punishment."
It took a second for Sammy and Sebastian to digest what JJ said. Once it hit them, they wrapped their arms around JJ and sobbed tears of relief.
Eli was the first of the trio on Gabe's lap to figure it out, and he turned to Gabe. "You did that for Ricky?"
Gabe shook his head. "No, little brother, I did that for all three of you. I know you're still getting used to it, but you two are my brothers now too. I promised Ricky when he first came home that I'd be there whenever he needed me, and that goes for you two too. I know that there's a lot of guys who say they'll do anything to protect their little brothers; Alec, JJ, and I have done more than say it, we've done it."
Benji was still confused. "I know he hurt our lil' bro, but what did he do to us that was that bad?"
Gabe pulled the three boys on his lap in tight. "Bro, you and Eli's gift saved a few lives tonight. I'm proud of both of you; instead of freaking out, you put him into a situation where you could take control. I punished him for what he would have done to you, along with what he did and was going to do to Ricky."
Cory interrupted the discussion. "Guys, I know that you wanna know what you missed, but right now the best thing you can do is cuddle with your big brothers; they just had a really rough time. When we get home we'll all sit down and talk, but right now just let it ride." He turned to Alec. "Hey birthday boy; grab your cuddle toy. Let's go find the rest of the guys and let these guys have some time."
It didn't take long for the three boys to find the rest of the group; they had all decided to invade the video game area. Cory snuck up behind Sean and poked him under the ribs.
"Cory, you're gonna pay for that!" Sean giggled as he twisted around. Sean wrapped his arms around Cory and asked quietly "How did it go, babe? Are you gonna be okay?"
"We'll talk later, but I'm alright for now." Cory replied as he returned the hug. "I just want to forget it and have some fun. This is supposed to be a party, and I'm not letting some slimeball ruin it."
Sean pulled his head back and looked Cory eye to eye. "You better believe we're gonna talk about it. You, me, JJ, Adam, Gabe, and Travis are going to sit down with Dan as soon as we get home. No arguments. I almost lost you once, and I will not take that chance again. I'm also not going to let Trav and Adam have to go through what I went through."
Cory smiled. "I really got to talk to Uncle Chip; he's rubbing off on you! Now are you gonna drop it until we get home, or do I have to drag you by the ear to the foosball table?"
Sean shook his head. "You're as hard-headed as you are cute. Let's go, it's been a while since I kicked your butt at foosball."
Matt chuckled as he commented to Teri "That right there just made these new Hummer's worth every penny!"
Teri looked at where he was pointing. Tommy was standing about ten feet away from the vehicles with his jaw dropped to his chest. "I think I'm going to have to rescue my new son!" Teri giggled. She walked over to Tommy and placed a hand on his shoulder. "What's up, kiddo?"
"Is one of those YOUR car?" Tommy asked in awe.
Teri smiled. "You're close; actually BOTH of those are OUR cars. Remember, I said that you are part of MY family now?"
"Yeah, but that can't happen until a judge says it's okay."
Sean and Cory joined the pair, Timmy riding along on Cory's back. Right behind them were Adam, JJ, Tyler and Gabe.
"What's up, Mom?" Sean asked.
"I see my favorite troublemakers decided to come out finally!" Teri giggled.
"But Gran'ma, they're out already!" Timmy deadpanned.
"That's NOT what I meant, you little turkey!" Teri laughed. "Anyways, maybe one of you can convince Tommy here that when I say he's my son now that there's no waiting for a judge."
Sean giggled. "Dang, Mom, do we gotta do ALL of your work for you!" He held out his hand to Tommy. "Tom, come on over here in this limo, I'll explain it all to ya' on the way home."
Tommy started towards Sean, but froze again as William and Duke swooped down and went through the open door on the limo. "I ain't getting' in there! Two big birds just flew in!"
"I'll be right back, Daddy." Timmy announced as he hopped off of Cory's back and ran to the limo. A few seconds later, he walked back to Tommy with William perched on his shoulder. "Unca' Tom, I'm Timmy and this is William. He says that since Gran'ma is 'dopting you, you're my Uncle now! Duke is waitin' with Ricky in the car to meet you. Duke's an Eagle too!"
Kelly walked over and saw the look on Tommy's face. He came up next to Tommy and placed his arm around his shocked new friend's waist. "What's wrong, cutie?" Kelly asked with concern.
Tommy latched onto Kelly. "Man, this is getting' too weird! I can kinda understand bein' able to go home with Teri, but I'm still havin' trouble with not having to go to court to make it permanent. Uncle Calvin got hauled off, and I'm worried that he's gonna come back; then these two birds fly into one of the limos and the next thing I know Timmy here hops off of Cory's back, calls him 'Daddy', then gets one of the birds and comes back with the bird on his shoulder. On top of everything else, he tells me the bird told him that I was his uncle now! I see all of these guys around here acting like it's not a big deal to be a gay couple in public; where I grew up in Mississippi you'd get shot for holding another boy's hand. I'm not even goin' to mention the strange shit that happened up by the stage! Y'all have got me freakin' here!"
Sean joined the pair and put a hand on Tommy's shoulder. "Relax, bro. As crazy as it all seems right now, I promise you will understand before we go to bed tonight. There's one thing I can settle right now for you; you will never have to worry about Calvin again."
"How do you know for sure?" Tommy asked.
Cory joined them. "I can answer that, lil' bro. About two hours ago, Calvin was tried and convicted for multiple crimes. Most of them involved members of Clan Short, for now all you need to know is that Clan Short is a Vulcan Clan; I'll fill in the rest later. Just his crimes against the Clan were enough to allow the final sentence, but there was also one crime that he committed here on Earth. That crime on top of the ones against Clan members gave me no choice as to what his punishment could be. Tommy, you can sleep in peace tonight; the man who murdered your Mom is now a pile of ashes, he was executed for murder, attempted murder, and other charges which just added to the proof that he was a menace to society."
Tommy got fire in his eyes. "I KNEW that bastard did it! Right after he heard Mom and I talkin' about me being careful about being gay, he started hinting that I would enjoy living with him. Mom shot down the idea, but since he was my only kin he got me after she died. Mom used to smoke some pot, but she never did the hard stuff, but that's what killed her. Now that I know he did it, I'm glad he's dead; but I just met you guys and now you're gonna have to go to jail for killing him."
Cory gave a little smile. "Actually, no we're not. There were two Federation Security representatives and Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan witnessing it. Earth can't touch any of us, it was a Vulcan trial and Vulcan sentence. His attack tonight was considered an interplanetary incident, so Earth police and courts have no jurisdiction over what happened."
The conversation was interrupted by Cory's communicator.
"Ambassador Sarek to Cory Short."
"This is Cory, Ambassador. How may I be of assistance?"
"I am preparing my report for the Council. Upon review of this evenings events, I determined that the disposition of Thomas Wilson was not properly addressed. I insist you look into this oversight and report his status."
"With all due respect, Ambassador, there was no oversight; at the time of your departure we had insufficient information. Thomas Wilson's status has been handled through proper Federation Youth Services channels. At this point in time he has been declared a Ward of the Federation and is in custody of my mother. This will be a permanent placement, his Clan status will be confirmed within twenty-four Earth hours."
"The outcome is acceptable. Yourself and the members of the Clan responded properly to this evenings event. Live Long and Prosper, Cory Short."
"Live Long and Prosper, Ambassador Sarek"
Cory put the communicator away. "Way to go guys; Ambassador Sarek basically just gave you all a Vulcan citation! You impressed him enough for him to say that you 'responded properly', that means a lot!"
Tommy looked at Cory in awe. "You really weren't kiddin' me, were you? Was he really askin' 'bout me?"
"Yes he was." Cory replied. "Now do you believe us about the rest of the stuff?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Well then, let's get going. I wanna get home so we can show you around!" Cory finished.
Everyone finally loaded up into the limos and sat back as they headed back home.
Later that night, Dan sat back after listening to Cory, JJ, and Gabe talk about their parts in the night's problems. "Well boys, it sounds to me like you were right not only in the way you handled things; but also in how you resolved the problem. JJ, why don't you go first son; tell me how you feel about killing Calvin."
JJ thought for a second before responding. "Honestly, Dad, I don't feel anything. Even when I did it, I didn't feel anything. Cory's been telling us that when we are acting in an official capacity as Clan members we should try to be like a Vulcan. From the time I claimed my rights as the oldest brother, I started thinking things out like I thought a Vulcan would. Calvin had a history of abusing, using, or killing to achieve his own desires. If you look at it, the only logical choice is to remove him from society. When Cory announced the punishment, I thought it over and agreed that it fit the crimes. After that nothing mattered, I carried out my duty. I don't even think about it; it's over and my brothers are safe."
Before Dan could say anything in response, Gabe added his reply. "Dan, I'll admit that at first I was mad about what he did to my bros, but then I saw how JJ was handling it and realized what he was doing. By the time Cory called us, I had done pretty much the same thing JJ did. When Cory gave us the chance to have someone else do it, I didn't even consider the possibility. My family had been hurt by him, so it was only logical that as the eldest member I deliver the punishment for his crimes. I'm the same as JJ though; it's over, my brothers are safe, so I don't even think about it."
Dan looked at Cory, wordlessly telling him it was his turn.
"Dang, Dan; I finally get out of the Home and you STILL pick on me!" Cory quipped before starting. "Seriously, even though Ambassador Sarek was there, I still was worried about whether I was doing the right thing. After sitting here talking about it, I agree with JJ and Gabe; there was no other logical choice. In fact, I'm pretty sure now that Ambassador Sarek would have stepped in if I had made any other decision. I don't enjoy passing judgement on someone's life like that, but given the evidence I would do it again if it saves innocent people from being killed or abused. I'm not going to hide the memories of it; I want them as a reminder of what happens to someone who goes out of control. I've been placed in a leadership role along with Sean; this is a perfect reminder of what happens when you abuse your influence."
Dan looked over the boys and their partners sitting in front of him. "Well guys, I think you've got a pretty good handle on things. I want all of you to keep an eye on each other for the next few days. If you notice anything unusual, even if it seems like nothing, let me know. What you guys did tonight would be hard on most adults, so don't be ashamed if it has an effect on you. Why don't you all head on upstairs; I'll make sure all of the adults know you'll be okay."
As they headed out, each of the boys thanked Dan for taking the time to talk with them. As Dan watched them head up the stairs, he thought to himself 'Thank God they are supporting each other. By themselves the last few weeks would have crushed any of them, but with them sticking together they are accomplishing miracles.'
Tommy sat in awe as Sean finished running through the Clan member's histories. "Wow, I thought I had it bad! I guess I gotta lot to learn. How do you 'member all of that stuff?"
Sean grinned. "It's easy; I care about all of you guys, and if you care about someone you try to remember important stuff about them. We all help each other, even Timmy and Ricky. As you found out tonight, we all stand up for each other too; and since you are one of us now that makes you just as protected as everyone else."
Tommy grinned. "Thanks, Sean. You know, I really need to stop wishin' so hard; I used to wish I had brothers, now I got TONS of them!"
Everyone in the room giggled. Tommy turned his head to Kelly. "Kelly, I do have one question. I know you told your mom that you thought I was like a cute puppy and that you wanted to keep me. Was you sayin' that you wanted to be my friend, or did ya' mean more than that?"
Kelly formed his reply carefully. "Before I moved in here, I considered myself straight. Even though I looked at guys, even in the showers, I didn't get 'excited' by them. Now that I look back, I was the same way with most girls too. After a couple of nights here, I noticed that since nobody minds if you look in this group I was looking more. I was actually appreciating nude males, but none of these guys gave me a stiffy by looking at them. When I saw you tonight, I felt something I never felt before; it was kinda like a need to hold you and protect you. And right now, thinking of seeing you nude is starting to give me a stiffy. So I guess I'd like to be your boyfriend; but I'm afraid to lose you as a friend. Do you see what I mean?"
Tommy nodded. "Yeah, I kinda felt the same way when I first met you. I'd really like to try it out as boyfriends; I've never had one and I bet these guys will make sure we still stay friends if it don't work out."
"You're right about that, lil' bro." Cory added. "If you both want to give it a shot all of us will help you, all you have to do is ask."
Kelly turned to face Tommy. "Tommy, I want to give this a chance. I've never felt like this before; will you be my boyfriend?"
Tommy wrapped his arms around Kelly. "Yes, Kelly! You make me feel special, I'd love to be your boyfriend." He then kissed Kelly quickly on the lips.
A few minutes later, the boys began getting around for bed. Tommy giggled as he undressed, then commented "This is wild, my first night with a boyfriend and I get to sleep nude with him!"
Kelly noticed Byron glancing around. "Hey Byron, you ain't kicked out! Just 'cause I've got a boyfriend don't mean you can't keep my other side warm for me. I told you when you came over here that you could cuddle with me, I'm not changing that."
Tommy added his approval. "It's okay with me too, Byron. The only argument you might hear is which one of us you get to keep warm."
Byron grinned. "If you put it that way, okay. I didn't want to mess you guys up just as you were getting started."
About five minutes later, all of the boys were cuddled in their groups. Timmy and Ricky cuddled up to the new bear, smiles on their pixie faces. After the excitement of the day, they were all fast asleep in no time.