Full disclaimer may be viewed at https://cornercafe.us
Doctor Austin Michaels’ Office – Clive, Iowa:
Austin sat in his office nervously awaiting his first patient. For the last six months, he had been seeing the young boy twice a month as ordered by the Family Court judge in Ames. ‘I hope she shows up this time’ he thought as he looked at his watch. Just then, his nurse knocked on his door.
“Doctor, believe it or not your first appointment is here on time. Do you want me to send them in?” She asked.
“Thanks, Caroline, send them in.” Austin answered with relief.
Shortly thereafter, a scruffy girl about 24 years old came in dragging a dirty boy behind her. As soon as they entered the room, Austin could smell the mixture of pot and booze from the woman’s clothes.
“I see you made it this time, Karla. My nurse has some updated forms that need filled out, could you please handle that while I examine Ricky?” Austin asked while trying not to gag.
“I don’t know what it is about you damn doctors and paperwork.” Karla grumbled. “The only reason you’re seeing the little bastard is that damn judge said to do it, and this makes six months so it’s gonna be the last time. Ricky, keep that trap of yours shut, let him look at you so we can get out of this shithole.” She then stormed out of the door, slamming it as she exited.
Austin shook his head as she left, and then turned to the six-year-old standing by the exam table. “Hi there Ricky, I see that she’s just as polite as always! What do you say we have a seat in the chair over there, little guy?”
“What if she comes back?” Ricky answered in a small voice.
Austin smiled. “Don’t worry about that, I told Caroline to keep her busy until I came back out. Are things still the same at home?”
Ricky gave a little grin as he headed for the chair. As soon as Austin sat down, Ricky cuddled into his lap and answered. “Yeah, she stills doing stuff that makes her act funny. The hot water stopped workin’, so I ain’t taken a bath yet ’till it’s fixed.”
Austin took a good look at the boy on his lap. While not malnourished, it was still evident to his practiced eye that the child was not eating as well as he should. His normally sandy blond hair was starting to approach brown due to lack of washing, but the green eyes still had a shine of hope in them. “Ricky, I know we have talked about this before, but I need to ask you one more time. Do you think things are getting better, or do you think you would be better somewhere else?”
Ricky turned and looked Austin in the eye. “Doc, Mommy said after today she ain’t gotta do stuff to make ya’ happy no more. Does that mean it’ll be like before the judge saw me?”
That was the final straw for Austin. “Ricky, she may think that, but we have a surprise for her. I think it’s time for you to have a new home where you can be a happy kid. How does that sound?”
“Where’s that?” Ricky replied. “Mommy tells her boyfriends I ain’t nuthin but a bast’rd leech. What does that mean?”
“It means your mommy does not realize what a special little boy you are. I think I know the perfect place for you to live, little buddy. How would you like to become part of my family; live with me, my wife, and our son.”
“Does that mean I’d have a big br’ther?” Ricky asked with an excited gleam in his eye.
“Yes it does; in fact, if I don’t bring you home with me today he’s gonna be extremely disappointed in me. The only catch is that this will be for forever, you will not ever live with your mommy again. We would be your family.”
Ricky answered in a matter-of-fact tone. “She’s always tellin’ ever’one she didn’ want me, so I guess she won’t miss me. Will I get to have toys at your house?”
“Yes you will, lots of toys! Don’t you have any?”
“Naw, mommy said theys a waste of money ‘cuz I’d break them.”
“I guess we’ll have to take care of that. Look over on my desk, you see that new thing on the corner?”
“Yeah, wazzit for?”
“That is a Starfleet Medical Tricorder, and it has recorded everything that happened since you got here. The important part is about to be recorded, as soon as you stand up in front of me.”
Ricky giggled as he stood up. “Kewl! Whats gonna happen now?”
Austin grinned. “Kiddo, you are about to have a wish come true. I remember a couple of months ago you told me you wished that you could live like the other kids at school; in a few minutes it is going to happen.”
Austin stood up and placed a hand on Ricky’s shoulder. “I have reviewed statements made by Ricky Guy Williamson, and observed both the appearance and conduct of his birth mother, Karla Williamson. In addition, there are physical signs of both illegal drug and alcohol abuse by the same Karla Williamson. I hereby invoke Section 17.4 of the Safe Haven Act due to the imminent risks to same child’s health and mental stability. As of 8:30am local time, Ricky Guy Williamson is a Ward of the United Federation of Planets, and shall be placed with me as ordered by Teri Short, Federation Youth Services Director. Psychological evaluation is to be completed by Dr. Daniel Richardson as soon as possible.”
Ricky looked up at Austin. “What did all those big words mean, Doc?”
Austin smiled as he looked down at the boy. “They mean that you are going to go home with me, and you get to live with us until you are all grown up.”
“AWESOME!” Ricky yelled as he jumped into Austin’s arms.
Austin shifted Ricky over onto his left hip, then picked up the tricorder and placed it on his belt. “Come on, kiddo, let’s go home.”
They walked into the hall, and turned to the admissions counter. Austin couldn’t help but smile as he made the formal announcement to Karla. “Miss Williamson, as the Medical Director for the Federation Youth Services Bureau, it is my duty to inform you that, as of five minutes ago, Ricky is now a Ward of the United Federation of Planets. You are not to attempt contact with him in any way from this point forward. Do you understand?”
“What the fuck are you talkin’ about, asshole? Gimme the brat so I can go pick up the food stamps. He ain’t going nowhere but home with me. You ain’t nuthin’ but a small time shit-ass clinic doctor, you don’t scare me.”
Austin’s face turned grim. “I will put this in small words so that you can understand me. Ricky is no longer your child. The Federation has taken responsibility for raising him from now until he grows up. You no longer have any reason to contact him. Oh, one more thing, since you seem to have trouble hearing too; I happen to be the Federation’s Youth Services Medical Director. Ricky’s case has already been reviewed with the Youth Services Director, so you pretty much have a snowball’s chance in Hell of getting Ricky back.”
Karla tried to lunge for Ricky, but was stopped by a large hand grabbing her shoulder. “Miss, I would not recommend that.” a huge Iowa State Trooper growled as he pulled her back. “You have enough problems without assaulting a Federation representative. Come with me, we need to discuss a few things that one of my fellow officers found in your apartment.”
As the officer escorted Karla away, Caroline attracted Austin’s attention. “Doctor, your son is on Line Five. He said it’s urgent.”
“Thank you, Caroline. Did you get the rest of the appointments transferred to the other doctors?”
“Yes I did. Were you serious about needing me?”
“Absolutely. Call me about nine tomorrow, I’ll let you know where to meet me. Starting today you are on salary as my on-call nurse, so why don’t you take the rest of the day off and I’ll yell if I need you.”
“As you wish!” she answered with a grin as she began packing her personal effects.
Austin picked up the phone. “Hello Gabe, what’s the problem?”
“Hi Dad. Uncle John needs to see you as soon as possible. I can’t tell ya’ over the phone why, but it involves the twins in a way.”
“I was just getting ready to leave. Is he at home?”
“Yeah, he’s here. Mom’s on the way over too.”
“Okay. Tell him we’ll be there in about thirty minutes – I have to stop and get your little brother a swimsuit.”
Austin managed to pull the phone away from his ear just in time to keep from being blasted by Gabe yelling “AWESOME! HE’S COMING HOME!!!!”
“Yes, son, your little brother is coming home. I’m going to get going, I will see you in a little bit. Love you, Gabe.”
“Love you too, Dad! I’ll tell Uncle John you are on the way.”
Austin placed the handset down in it’s cradle, then turned to Caroline. “I hate to do this, but it looks like duty calls already. Make sure you have that communicator with you at all times today; we might have to take a trip on short notice.”
Caroline looked at Ricky, still sitting in Austin’s arms, but now sporting a grin a mile wide after hearing Gabe’s excitement at being his new big brother. “After seeing the results of your new job, it will be a pleasure to keep the communicator with me, Doctor.”
Austin chuckled as him and Ricky said their goodbyes and headed for the door.
Cory looked at John in shock. “HE DID WHAT!? You mean to tell me there are pictures of the twins all over the NET!”
“Settle down, Cory. We …” John began.
“No, John, I will NOT settle down!” Cory interrupted. “Jeffy and Sammy are under the same pact as the rest of us, which means Sean and I have to watch out for their well being. I’m not gonna rest until every single picture that trash made of them is destroyed.”
Sean put an arm around Cory’s waist, then added. “Cory is right. You guys take care of catching those scumbags; we’ve got to convene a tribal council to figure out how to protect the twin’s identities.”
Teri interjected “Boys, I really don’t think it is necessary to involve the rest of the families. Jeffy and Sammy need at least some of their dignity preserved.”
“Too late, Mom.” Cory replied as he looked out the doorway towards the rec room. “I think JJ is on our wavelength; it looks like the meeting is about to start.”
Dan raised his hand to prevent an argument. “Teri, you didn’t see what John and I did this morning. JJ has always been the type to protect his friends and family; in fact I know he covered for Kyle a few times when Kyle first started visiting us, just to make sure he could come back. I don’t know why, and I’m honestly afraid to find out, but this has pushed him way beyond just protecting his brothers. He’s out for blood, and I’m not really sure if it isn’t literally. I trust both Cory and Sean to protect my sons; and I think they are the only ones who have a chance at keeping JJ from killing somebody.”
Before Teri could answer, John interjected “I’ve known JJ since he was in diapers, and have never seen him go off like this. Dan has the right idea, let the boys run an investigation from their end while we go the legal route. Sean, Cory, the only limit I’m going to place on you is any information you receive will be given to us to handle; none of the boys, including you, are to be physically involved in any apprehensions. Is that understood?”
“Yes John.” both boys answered.
“I’ll agree on one condition.” Teri said as she looked both boys in the eye. “You two make SURE that Kyle lets your cohorts in Orlando know that the same rules apply to them, and that INCLUDES Justy, Aaron, and David.”
“I’ll handle that, Mom.” Sean replied.
“Well then, what are you waiting for?” Teri answered with a grin. “Get your troops going, boys. We need to get things done!”
Sean and Cory almost tripped over each other as they scrambled to join their brothers in the rec room.
JJ had just finished filling everyone in on what happened to the twins when Sean and Cory reached the rec room doorway. Timmy spotted his parents, and in a flash, was in Cory’s arms. “Daddy, Unca JJ says some guys did nasty stuff wit’ Unca Jeffy an’ Unca Sammy. Are we gonna get dem?”
Sean reached over and rustled Timmy’s hair as Cory replied. “You better believe it, little angel. That’s what your Pop and I were just talking to Grandma about.”
They started to head into the room when the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it!” Cory yelled as he put Timmy down. Cory turned and went to the front door, Timmy tagging along like a little puppy.
Cory opened the door. “Hey Doc, you made pretty good time getting here! Mom, John, and Dan are in the office; they’re expecting you.”
Austin grinned. “Thanks … Cory? … Gabe said it was urgent.”
Cory giggled. “Don’t worry, Doc, you’ll have us all memorized in no time! You got it right, I’m Cory.”
Just then Timmy spoke up. “Hey Doc, who’s dat hidin’ behind ya’?”
Cory couldn’t help but giggle as Timmy scampered past him and pulled Ricky from behind Austin’s legs. “Timmy, I believe that is Ricky, he’s gonna be Gabe’s new little brother.”
“Hey Ricky, I’m Timmy – and that’s MY new Daddy!” Timmy exclaimed gleefully as he pointed at Cory. “My other daddy is in with our uncles, I call him Papa, you’ll meet him later.”
Timmy’s fast delivery took Ricky by surprise, and made him forget his fright at meeting Gabe. He gave Timmy a confused look. “Whadda you mean you got two daddies? What about your momma?”
Timmy giggled. “Yep, two daddies. If I need mommy stuff I go to Gran’ma or Helen. It’s cool, I can get double daddy cuddles!”
“What’s a daddy cuddle like? All my mommy’s boyfriends ever wanted was for me to leave the room so they could smoke that funny smellin’ stuff and get drunk.” Ricky replied with a downcast look.
Cory and Austin were watching the two young boys interact with amusement. They were both shocked when Timmy reached up and pulled on Austin’s hand.
“Doc, did you help Ricky like we helped Unca Twav an’ Unca Alec?”
“Yes I did, Timmy.” Austin replied, but was cut off from continuing by Timmy turning to Ricky.
“Guess what Ricky? She ain’t your mommy no more, you gots a new Mommy and Daddy! Are these clothes from your old mommy?” Timmy announced.
Ricky looked at the threadbare jeans and worn shirt he was wearing. “Yeah, these are my school clothes.”
Cory was pleased at his son’s first attempt at diplomacy, as Timmy took Ricky’s hand and turned to Cory.
“Daddy, you let me forget my bath last night! Can we go take it now, and Ricky can borrow my clothes while Gran’ma washes his old mommy outta his.”
Cory looked at Austin, who nodded his head in assent. “Okay Timmy, I think that’s a great idea. Why don’t you let me get Ty to help you guys, okay?”
“Okay Daddy!” Timmy exclaimed. He turned to Ricky. “Race ya up the stairs!”
The two boys took off, and once they were out of sight Cory and Austin finally entered the foyer. Before heading to the office, Austin put an arm over Cory’s shoulder. “Cory, don’t ask me how, but I think your son has done more in the last few minutes to relax Ricky than everything I tried on the way here. That boy had himself all worked up about whether Gabe wold like him or not, and I think Timmy has made him forget all about it.”
Cory giggled. “Thanks, Doc, I’m sure it wasn’t all intentional! I think he’s just excited to have someone his age here to play with again! We both better hurry up, I know everyone is waiting for you, and if I don’t get someone upstairs quick those two will flood the house.”
Austin chuckled as the two of them separated. Cory entered the rec room; he was not more than two feet inside the door before Gabe asked “Where’s my new little brother?”
“Relax Gabe, he’s upstairs with Timmy getting cleaned up. You could smell the stuff his old mom was smokin’ on him, so Timmy convinced him to share a bath. Ty, could you do me a big favor, bro?”
Tyler looked up from snuggling Kyle. “Whazzat, Cor?”
“Run up and keep those two outta trouble in the bathtub? While you’re at it, there’s a little boy up there who could use some help with his worry about his new family.”
Tyler turned and gave Kyle a noisy kiss. “Be right back, babe! I gotta go make sure our new nephew is ready to meet all his uncles!” He then hopped up and ran out the door, yelling “SAVE SOME WATER FOR ME!” as he ran up the stairs.
Cory had just cuddled up next to Sean when suddenly his communicator came to life.
“Ambassador Sarek to Ensign Cory Short.”
It took Cory a second to compose himself before he was able to answer. He considered where the call was coming from before composing his reply.
“Ambassador, this is Ensign Cory Short. Please proceed.”
“Ensign Short; I have just completed a disturbing call from my son-in-law and grandsons. The information I received suggests that two recent additions to your family have suffered grievous wrongs at the hands of their previous caregivers. I must insist you provide me with confirmation and scope of these allegations.”
The room was so quiet you could hear a mouse tiptoe across the carpet. Cory took a deep breath before answering.
“Ambassador, the information you have received is accurate. The Taylor twins were rented out for fellatio and filmed for profit doing the same. Preliminary information shows both their primary caregiver and those he trusted them with while away profited from this enterprise. At this time we are preparing to investigate further into the expanse of the damage done.”
“The information I received then was accurate. Is my information correct that my grandsons swore an oath of brotherhood while visiting your residence?”
“Yes it is, Ambassador.”
“Have the Taylor twins swore that same oath?”
“Yes they have, Ambassador.”
“That is as I hoped. I must chastise young Justin for failing to disseminate the implications of his swearing of the oath to you. I am aware that my two most recent grandsons were already under the same oath. When Justin responded by swearing the same oath as his brothers, he placed your group in an interesting legal position. Due to the size of your group, you qualify as a Clan pending approval by the Vulcan High Council. I have been in communication with the Council, and based on the positive effects of your actions your Clan status has been confirmed. By your actions, Ensign Sean and yourself have proven yourselves as the leaders of the Clan in the eyes of the Council. Under Vulcan law, as the senior leader you are responsible for ensuring these wrongs to the members of your Clan are righted as required by Vulcan law. In one Earth hour a technician from the Vulcan Embassy will be at your residence to install the terminal required at the Clan Leaders residence. I must insist these transgressions be righted with dispatch. You have the resources of Vulcan at you disposal.”
Though in shock, Cory still managed somehow to respond. “Thank you, Ambassador. Your assistance has been most welcome. I will review the applicable Vulcan statutes and ensure they are followed to their fullest extent. I shall await the technicians arrival.”
“That shall be acceptable. Live long and prosper, Cory.”
“Live long and prosper, Ambassador Sarek.”
The communicator went dead, and Cory looked around the room. Every single boy was staring at him in shock, and as he looked towards the doorway he found John and Dan standing there with their mouths hanging open. Cory couldn’t resist the chance to pick on the two adults.
“John, Dan, don’t you think you should knock before entering an Embassy?” Cory said with a giggle.
That broke the spell, as all the boys noticed the adults and broke into giggles.
John shook his head. “Cory, did I just hear what I thought I heard?”
Cory snuggled up to Sean. “Yep, you heard right! Me and my Teddy Bear here are the leaders of a Vulcan Clan, and there are some slimeballs out there who are about to find out that they crossed the wrong planet!”
“Yeah!” Kyle piped up. “We’re gonna grind ’em up inta’ Slimeburgers!”
Dan shook his head. “What ever happened to the two shy boys I used to treat at the Home?”
“You fixed their heads!” Tyler quipped as he pushed between the adults, followed by Timmy and Ricky. Right behind them came Austin, Teri, and Carrie. Ricky finally noticed all of the boys in the room, and turned to run out the doorway. Instead, he ran right into Austin’s legs.
Austin picked up the scared little boy and held him close. “What’s wrong, Ricky?”
“Who’s all those big kids? The’re gonna beat me up!” Ricky cried.
Austin kissed Ricky’s forehead. “Settle down, son. You don’t need to worry about these guys. They only beat up people who hurt one of them, and since you are one of them now they won’t let you get hurt. Let’s go meet your new big brother. It looks like he’s going nuts waiting on you!”
Carrie smiled as Ricky peeked his head over Austin’s shoulder. As soon as she had arrived, Teri had told her where the boys were at and she had went up to greet Ricky. She had walked into the bedroom as Tyler was drying off the boys after their bath, and found her arms full of wet, naked six-year-old boy as soon as Ty had introduced her as Ricky’s new mommy. She had been pleasantly surprised when, after he convinced the two little nudists to get dressed, Tyler whispered in her ear that he was throwing Ricky’s old clothes away and that Ricky could wear some of Timmy’s things until they went shopping.
Ricky peeked at Carrie; in his short life he had learned early not to trust males, but she was his new mommy so he knew he could trust her. “Mommy, is it REALLY okay?”
Carrie leaned forward, kissed his cheek, then whispered in his ear. “Yes baby boy, it is really okay. You can trust these guys.”
Ricky relaxed in Austin’s arms, and they headed across the room to where Gabe was sitting with Travis on his lap. Austin placed Ricky back on the ground, and turned him to face the boys. “Ricky, do you see the blond being used as a chair in front of you?”
“That’s your new big brother. Gabe, this is Ricky. Ricky, that’s Gabe; the guy on his lap is Travis.”
Gabe smiled at Ricky, then turned to Trav. “Hey babe, make a little room on my lap for my little brother!” As Trav shifted around to make room, Gabe held out his free arm for Ricky to join them.
Ricky hesitated, then slowly sat on Gabe’s lap. You could see the shock on his face when Gabe wrapped his arm around him in a one-armed hug and said joyfully “Welcome home, Little Brother!”
Travis then leaned around and made it a three-way hug as he added “Welcome to the family, Ricky! Trust me, you can relax. You got your big brother and me to watch over you now.”
Ricky wiggled around and got comfortable, then wrapped his arms around Gabe’s arm. “Gabe, is Travis your boyfriend?” he asked innocently.
Gabe shot a glance as his dad before answering. “Yes he is, bro. Why do you ask?”
Ricky giggled. “Timmy told me you hadda cute boyfriend, but he lied. You gotta BEAUTIFUL boyfriend!”
Travis turned beet red and tried to crawl into Gabe’s shirt. Gabe smiled and gave Ricky another squeeze. “Thanks little buddy! See, we already agree on something, now all we gotta do is convince Trav that it’s true!”
Travis turned his still-blushing face to the room. “ALEC! They’re picking on me!”
Alec was sitting with Kelly, both trying to keep from laughing. “Sorry bro, it ain’t picking on you when they are right! Face it, everyone realizes you are good looking! Even us straight guys!”
Gabe giggled at Trav. “Busted, babe! C’mon, we gotta introduce my little bro to the rest of the Tribe!”
Gabe got up and went to the arm of the couch, where he sat then pulled Ricky up with him. “You ready for the grand tour, lil’ bro?” Gabe giggled as Travis ran back into the room with his mom and joined them.
Ricky looked around and found everyone smiling at him. “Yeah, if I can ‘member all of them!”
Gabe giggled. “I know what ya’ mean, bro! If you can’t remember, just ask. All of us have trouble sometimes!”
Gabe made the rounds introducing all of the boys, then made sure Ricky knew all of the adults too. Each boy in return gave Ricky a warm welcome.
Once it was all over with, Cory stood up. “Hey guys, we need to get an area ready for the terminal, the tech should be here in about twenty minutes! Mom, I hate to be a pain, but could you guys hang in the kitchen or something while we get this all ready?”
Teri shook her head with a smile. “I swear, you are getting back to your old self more and more every day, Cory!”
John placed his hand on Teri’s shoulder as they turned and walked out. “Just wait, Teri, I have some news you’ll REALLY love!”
Ricky started to walk towards the door, but JJ stopped him. “Where ya’ goin’, bro? You’re one of us now, that means you get to be just as involved as the rest of us!”
Ricky looked at JJ in shock. “But I’m a little kid, I’m to little to do stuff, I’ll break it.”
Adam joined JJ, and kneeled down to Ricky. “Hey lil’ guy, you mighta’ been told that at your old home, but here it’s different. There’s lotsa things that are easier for you and Timmy to do, and if something gets broke on accident it can be replaced. Why don’t you go help Timmy empty those shelves?”
Ricky’s grin stretched from ear to ear as he ran over to give his new friend a hand.
Austin had been at the doorway watching, and called JJ and Adam over. “Way to go, guys. Let the rest of your tribe know, Ricky pretty much had to sit in his room and do nothing at his old house. He didn’t have any toys or anything, so all of you are going to have to help him learn what it’s like to be a real kid.”
“Not a problem, Doc!” Adam replied with a giggle as he looked over and saw Timmy whispering something in Ricky’s ear. “Knowing my nephew, Ricky is about to get a crash course in being a terror!”
Austin looked over, just in time to see Ricky in mid-air as he executed his first official pounce. A couple of seconds later, Ricky and Gabe were wrestling and tickling each other in the middle of the floor.
“I think you are right!” Austin laughed. “I see the pounce lessons have already started!” He then turned and rejoined the rest of the adults.
Cory looked at his watch as they finished preparing the area for the new terminal. “Way to go, guys – five minutes to spare!” he announced.
With one minute to go, Cory headed towards the front door. As his watch chimed the hour, he opened it to find two Vulcan technicians coming up the sidewalk.
Cory raised his hand in salute. “Welcome to my home. I am Cory Short. An area has been prepared for you.”
The lead technician stopped and returned the greeting. “That is excellent. We estimate twenty local minutes to complete the installation and testing. An additional ten minutes will be required for training.”
“That will be acceptable.” Cory replied formally. “I will accompany you to the chosen location.”
As expected of Vulcan technicians, the installation went flawlessly and exactly on schedule. The lead technician turned to Cory. “Mr. Short, we are ready to proceed with training. May I enquire as to your wishes regarding training of additional members of your Clan?”
“I will require myself, my life partner Sean Short, and Clan member JJ Richardson to be trained.” Cory replied.
“As you wish, Sir.”
JJ and Sean joined Cory as the technicians set up their logins and covered the operation of the console. Once they completed the run-through, the lead tech turned once again to Cory. “That completes the training. Will there be any additional services you require?”
Cory stood up from the console. “Your services were impeccable as expected. I shall make reference to that in my request to have you return for any future needed services.”
“That would be acceptable. We shall take our leave now.” the tech replied.
Cory raised his right hand in the traditional Vulcan salute. “From myself and my Clan, Live Long and Prosper.”
Both technicians stood up straight and returned the salute. “Live Long and Prosper, Cory Short. May Logic always be your guide.”
Cory nodded his head in acknowledgement of the additional honor, and then escorted the techs to the door. Once they were gone, he returned to the rec room and took a seat.
Gabe walked over to him, Ricky under his arm. “Man, Cory, those guys never smiled once!”
Cory grinned at Gabe. “Yeah, get used to it. Vulcans have learned to control their emotions. If you noticed, the entire time they were training us none of us messed around or anything, and I was always serious and professional with them. We are a Vulcan Clan now, which means all of us have to learn to interact on their level. It’s not really that hard, you just need to know what a lot of big words mean.”
Ricky added his thoughts. “It was kewl, they treated us like one of them instead of like kids! Are all Vulcans like that?”
Cory patted his lap, and Ricky climbed up on it. “All of them I have met are like that. As long as you are doing the best that you can do, they will respect you. The highest honor a Vulcan will ever give you is his respect, and the very worst thing you can do is hurt a member of his family. There are a lot of kids we have helped, including two of the Vulcan Ambassador’s new grandsons. Since they are part of the group here that we call the tribe, Ambassador Sarek made us a Vulcan Clan, which means that if anything happens to one of us it has to be fixed according to Vulcan laws. You were not here when we were discussing it, but some bad things happened to the twins. I was told by Ambassador Sarek to handle it, so now we have to take care of the people who were hurting the twins. You and Timmy are going to be helping just as much as everyone else, just because you are young does not mean you can’t do anything. How’s that sound?”
Ricky looked at Gabe in awe. “Bro, is this what it’s like in a real family?”
Gabe smiled as he picked up Ricky from Cory’s lap. “Yes little brother, this is what it’s like. Sometimes you gotta work, but you also get to have a lot of fun! Dad was so worried about what would happen to you after the last appointment, so when Cory offered him a chance to be the Tribe’s doctor and told him he could rescue you he jumped at the chance. I’ve always wondered what it’d be like havin’ a little brother; now that I have you I ain’t never going to give you up. That’s family.”
Ricky cuddled tighter into Gabe. “Bro, my tummy feels all tickly and I’m happy but it feels like I’m gonna cry. What’s that?”
Tears of joy began streaming down Gabe’s face. “Little buddy, I think for the first time in your life you are feeling love. I know one thing for sure, I love you.”
Ricky turned and saw the smile and tears on Gabe’s face. He let loose of his own tears as he replied “I love you too, bro!”
Cory silently signaled to the rest of the boys to follow him, and they left the two new brothers alone in their special moment.
Helen looked up from setting the table to see the mass of boys heading into the dining room. “I KNOW you can’t smell lunch, I just put in in! Are you reading my mind again, Kyle?”
Kyle giggled. “No Ma’am! Gabe and Ricky needed some private time, so Cory brought us out here!”
Helen smiled. “That was very considerate of you boys. Lunch should be ready in about twenty minutes, why don’t you all go get cleaned up so you are ready.”
Cory smiled. “Thanks, Helen. It sounds like a plan, c’mon y’all!”
Helen watched as the boys headed up the stairs. As they left, she thought to herself ‘Now I see what Aaron meant when he said Sean and Cory would support Kelly. As sweet as they seem, I feel sorry for anyone who ever crosses them.”
A few minutes later, Gabe came out with Ricky on his back. “Where’s all the guys?” Gabe asked.
“They went upstairs to get cleaned up. Why don’t you take your brother on up and join them, lunch will be ready soon.”
“Okay, thanks Helen!” Gabe replied as he turned and jogged to the stairs.
Carrie came out of the office as the boys hit the stairs. She couldn’t help but smile at Ricky’s giggles as he was bounced around as they went up. She walked into the dining room and joined Helen.
“Well, it looks like Gabe and Ricky have hit it off!” Carrie exclaimed as she walked into the room.
Helen turned with a smile. “Carrie, let me tell you a secret. There is magic in this house; Cory and Sean are the magicians. I think just being around those two brings out the best in any kid, and I’m sure you’ll see a change in Gabe as he treats his new little brother the way he has seen Sean, Cory, JJ, and Adam treat theirs. I didn’t ask why, but I know the boys gave Gabe and Ricky some private time together. It’s my guess that you can throw away any worries you had about the two of them getting along; the magic has worked once again.”
“Thanks Helen! After what we have been going through in the office, great news like that is exactly what I needed!” Carrie replied.
Cory and Sean gathered all of the boys around them before heading downstairs. Sean took the lead and addressed the group. “Guys, as much as we all joke about it, what I’m gonna say is serious. As most of you know, we all consider each other brothers – at least everyone but our boyfriends! It has not mattered if we were gay or straight, kids or teenagers; we have stuck by each other since the beginning. Today something special happened; we were recognized as a family by the Vulcan High Council. That means that every person in the room right now, along with Justy, Jamie, Jacob, Mark, Aaron, and David, is legally one of our brothers. After lunch, we are going to have to start dealing with what was done to Jeffy and Sammy. Some of the things you will see are going to make you mad, some might bring back bad memories, and others you won’t understand. Just remember we are all in this together, if you need help or a shoulder to cry on one of us will be there for you. Right now, I think we should have a group hug; and tonight it’s gonna be a group sleep-together here in the room so if anyone has a nightmare the rest of us are here for you.”
The entire group fell into a huge hug, as the hug broke every boy softly uttered “I love you bro.” to all those near him. As he finally separated from the hug, Ricky exclaimed “This is the bestest day EVER! I got more hugs today than ever at my old home!”
There were lots of muffled giggles when Gabe responded “Just wait little bro, it’s only lunchtime!”