Cleiton Macedo Ramos looked around the room that him and Kaique Duarte Barros had been sharing since the attack on Earth and shook his head. The pair of fourteen year old friends had just landed the plane that Kaique's father had been teaching them to fly; while the father was getting the plane secured, the boys had went to close out their flight plan. By sheer luck, the building that they were in was one of the few to survive the attack on the airport; unfortunately, both families of the boys were not that lucky.
Now they were waiting to see what would happen next. All they knew for sure was that one of the officers of the local CPS said that they might have a lead on a place where their flight training could be an advantage. As usual, politics and red tape were bogging things down.
Just then, their case worker knocked on the door to the room, stating "Boys, it's Felipe."
"Come in," Kaique replied in a bored tone.
Once Felipe came in, accompanied by a seven-year-old redheaded boy, he looked at the bored faces of the two boys under his care. "How confident are the two of you in your flying skills?"
Cleiton rolled his eyes. "Does it matter? The first time we land somewhere without a parent, we're back in custody."
Felipe shook his head. "There are ways around that. I've been in contact with some people who have a lot of pull, and they have assured me that they can make it legal if you wish to emigrate to the United States. Once you have arrived, there is an organization which will ensure that you meet all requirements for citizenship in the state that you arrive in."
"What are you not telling us?" Cleiton challenged as he brushed his wavy dark brown hair out of his hazel eyes.
"There are negotiations at the higher levels of Protective Services which could affect the outcome of cases like yours in the future. There is a delay due to certifications required; I submitted three names for consideration as preliminary subjects to assure the political machine that the youth of Brazil will benefit. Both of you were approved, as was Luan here."
"Were you planning on introducing us before you shipped us off?" Kaique asked, his amber eyes burning holes in the CPS worker.
"I considered it," Felipe quipped. "Boys, this is Luan da Silva Ramos Neto. Luan, that boy with wavy black hair is Kaique Duarte Barros, and his partner is Cleiton Macedo Ramos."
"Come here, Luan," Kaique said as he knelt and opened his arms.
"Thanks for not outting us," Cleiton scowled. "How many others have you told without telling us?"
"Also, just what have you told them about who our families are?" Kaique scowled as he took the medium-skinned little redhead into his arms. "We'll protect you, little guy," Kaique added softly as he saw the fright in Luan's amber eyes.
Felipe shrugged. "I understand that where you are going it will not matter. As all three of you are orphaned by the battle, it is in our best interests to place you together for this experiment. Luan's family had a plane like the one you are qualified to fly, so it is best if you fly his plane so that he has the last physical item that remains of his family's estate. Once you have informed us that you accept the accommodations made for you in the United States, the estates of your families will be settled and transferred to you."
"So you're sending us flying to the United States with no family and no money?" Cleiton challenged as Kaique came over to his side with Luan on his hip.
"Arrangements will be made financially," Felipe replied. "Unless you object, I will take Luan back to his room, then inform my superiors that we may proceed."
"You're not taking Luan anywhere," Kaique stated harshly. "Have his stuff brought here; he's not leaving our sight. The faster we can get out of this hole, the happier all four of us will be."
"That is true," Felipe agreed. "If you think you can handle Luan, that's one more problem off my plate." With that, Filipe turned and left the room.
"Asshole!" Cleiton muttered once he heard the outer door of the building close. Turning to see what was going on, he found that Kaique was now sitting on the bed with Luan cuddled into his chest. "What do you think, is he going to be okay?"
"I think we're going to have company at night until things get settled," Kaique replied. "This is bullcrap; we're the first ones to actually care about what he is feeling."
"I'm so surprised," Cleiton cracked sarcastically. Taking a seat next to the pair, he reached over and rubbed Luan's back as he added "Don't worry little guy, we've got your back now. My Dad had some friends in the States; I've got their numbers, and I'll give them a call once we're up there so they can make sure we're getting everything that belongs to us. You're our responsibility now, and we're not going to let anything happen to you."
"Promise?" Luan softly pleaded.
"Promise," Cleiton replied. "Once they get all of your stuff here, we'll all get cleaned up and then we can get some sleep; I bet you'll sleep really good with someone cuddled with you tonight."
Luan woke up feeling refreshed, unlike his fitful sleep the night before after losing his parents. He was sandwiched between two boys that he barely knew, yet already his heart told him that he could trust them to keep him safe. From what he understood from the previous day's conversation with their case worker, these two boys were going to take him to safety. Once they were out of the country, he knew that he'd have to tell them just who his parents were; there was way too much of a chance of his father's 'business associates' looking for him to complete the wiping out of the family line for them not to know.
"Why the serious look, little buddy?" Cleiton asked softly, interrupting Luan's thoughts.
"Nothing," Luan replied before shifting to softly whisper in Cleiton's ear "Walls can hear."
"I understand," Cleiton whispered back. "You're our family now, stop worrying."
Luan felt Cleiton's hand tapping him under the blanket, smiling as he realized what was happening. Cleiton had tapped a signal that showed that he knew exactly who Luan was, a signal that was a closely guarded family secret. Luan slid his hand to a hidden position that wouldn't move the blanket, and tapped out one of the possible replies, the only one that he had hoped to never need. Seconds later, the deed was done; the two families were now one, and by the movements of Cleiton, it appeared that it was actually three families.
"Let's get everything packed, I don't know when Felipe is going to tell us to get going," Kaique stated a few seconds later. A few quick taps from him told Luan the real story; they were getting ready to move out one way or another.
The boys had just finished breakfast when Felipe once again knocked on their door. After coming in, he looked around and noticed that the boys were already packed up. "Planning on going somewhere?"
"We just thought we'd be ready for when you had the approval for us to leave," Cleiton replied.
"Yeah, I believe that," Felipe stated. "That just sped up the timetable, so grab your things."
"Good," Luan said cryptically.
The boys quickly grabbed their few belongings, and in a few minutes they were in the car on the way to the airport. When they arrived, they were quickly escorted through a side gate to a hanger off in a back corner of the private field. Felipe waited just long enough to watch the boys load their belongings on the plane, then climbed back into the car and headed off while they began the pre-flight inspection.
The boys were halfway through the inspection when the area was rocked by the sound of a large explosion. Kaique and Cleiton exchanged quick glances, then Kaique ordered "Luan! Go strap into the jump seat in the cockpit! Screw the light checks, we're out of here!"
Luan didn't ask why; instead, he ran up the stairs like his life depended on it. Kaique and Cleiton were on his heels, with Kaique dropping into the pilot's seat and Cleiton dropping into the co-pilot's seat.
After a quick glance to make sure everyone was strapped in, Kaique stated "I have the conn. Luan, start praying that your father's people kept this thing safe, we're not waiting for an approval to depart. Call the engines, Cleiton!"
"Number one green!" Cleiton answered immediately, having began the start sequence as soon as he was strapped in. "Safeties green, number two green. Gear down, I pulled the blocks on my way in."
"Luan, make yourself as small as you can without unstrapping," Kaique stated as he quickly did a final check of the controls. "We're rolling out now!"
The caution of the older two boys was prudent; just as the plane was lined up on the runway, three cars came tearing down the road towards the gate. Catching it out of the corner of his eye, Kaique shoved both throttles to full power and began the emergency takeoff procedures that both boys had recently been taught. "Code Echo!" he announced as the plane sped down the runway.
"V1!" Cleiton called seconds later.
"Good thing your father got a Learjet 31A, Luan," Kaique stated. "You can get comfortable, little buddy; stay strapped in until we hit cruise altitude though, okay?"
"6000 and climbing," Cleiton announced.
"Okay, Da... Kaique," Luan replied.
"Plan is to level at forty-five, then see if there's anything in here that tells us where to go," Kaique stated.
"What if there isn't?" Luan asked.
"I call some family friends on the satellite radio," Kaique replied just as the aforementioned radio indicated an incoming scrambled call.
"I've got the conn," Cleiton announced, freeing Kaique to deal with whoever was calling.
"You have the conn," Kaique replied, releasing the controls as soon as he felt Cleiton take over. He then changed his headset to the satellite radio, and answered "Hello?"
Immediately, the scrambled voice on the other end stated "Tell Luan, 'Dogpatch'."
"Luan; Dogpatch," Kaique echoed, quickly realizing that whoever this was knew of the family procedures.
Luan quickly answered, "Mousetrap."
"Mousetrap," Kaique repeated.
"FUCK!" the voice replied. "Dutchmen! Set condition red; tell the spaceport to clear airspace!" After a second's pause, the voice then asked "Is this K or C?"
"K" Kaique replied, curious as to how much this person knew.
"Whirlwind," the voice stated.
"Tsunami," Kaique replied. That told him more than he'd expected; that particular level of code was changed randomly, so whoever this was had access to the inner circle of the family. If that was the case, all hell was about to break loose, because the particular sequence they had just exchanged indicated a life-threatening emergency detected by both sides.
"What is your altitude?" the voice asked.
"Crossing eighteen thousand," Kaique stated, unsure why they would need to know that.
"Level at twenty thousand, and hold on to your butts," the voice instructed.
"Cleiton, they say level at twenty," Kaique relayed.
"Level at twenty acknowledged," Cleiton replied.
Hearing that the orders had been passed, the voice continued. "You are going to be teleported into Des Moines, Iowa airspace as soon as you level. You have priority clearance at the National Guard terminal; approach frequency 292.900, emergency protocol. They're expecting you, and we'll have a strike team on the ground waiting for you. Identify yourself as Cessna 45 CS. Effective immediately, you are under the protection of Family Clan Short of Vulcan; I'll explain the details once all three of you are safely in our headquarters grabbing lunch."
Kaique had adjusted the radio in preparation as he listened. "Guys, they say we're going to be teleported to their location. I didn't know that teleporters were real, but right now I don't care."
"Okay," Cleiton stated. "We're leveling now, and I'm seeing traffic coming up our butts!"
"Leveling with incomings!" Kaique quickly relayed.
"GO! GO! GO!" the voice exclaimed on the other end. Within seconds, the satellite phone call was terminated, and all three boys found themselves looking over the cornfields of Iowa.
"Des Moines National Guard tower to Unidentified aircraft, acknowledge," the National Guard ATC announced.
"Des Moines, this is Cessna 45 CS requesting VFR emergency landing," Kaique replied after switching his headset back to the radio.
"Cessna 45 CS VFR Emergency Landing confirmed," the tower replied immediately. "You are clear on runway thirteen; National Guard personnel will relocate your plane to hanger once it has been declared safe. You are Number One in the order."
"Cessna 45 CS approach on Runway 13 VFR, do not taxi confirmed. We are Number One," Kaique responded.
"Acknowledged, Cessna 45 CS. Emergency teams standing by."
Once Cleiton had brought the plane around so that it was coming in from the north-west, he started the pre-landing checklist. Suddenly, he exclaimed "CRAP! I'm getting no response on the landing gear!"
Before Kaique could key the radio, Cleiton added "Air Brakes are dead too!"
Kaique turned pale as he keyed the radio. "MAYDAY! MAYDAY! Cessna 45 CS; Tower, controls are indicating no landing gear and no air brake!"
"Cessna 45 CS, acknowledged. Be advised that Clan Short has prepared for this possibility. You are instructed to glide at first marker; their personnel will assist from there."
"Cessna 45 CS, glide at first marker and pray they know what they're doing," Kaique replied.
"We're praying with you; just try to keep calm, and don't try to figure out what they are doing," the tower replied.
"I'm glad you trust them," Kaique quipped. "Approaching first marker."
Within a second of Cleiton cutting power at the first marker, all three boy's eyes grew wide as they felt the plane decelerating quicker than it should have. By the time they reached the point where they would have normally touched down, the plane had lost all forward momentum and was carefully settling into one of the fixtures used when landing gear required service. as soon as he felt the 'thump' that signified they were in the fixture, Kaique ordered "We need to get out of here, NOW!"
There were no arguments; in fact, Luan was opening the door before either of the two older boys could reach it. To their surprise, they found that a set of rolling stairs had already been put in place, so they quickly ran down them.
"OVER HERE!" a teenaged boy in full riot gear yelled from the back of a nearby pickup truck. "We have your stuff from cargo; it's already cleared!"
Deciding it best not to argue, all three boys ran over and dived into the bed of the truck. "I'm Colin," the boy announced as he quickly reached down and closed the tailgate. "Stay down and hold on!"
Colin grabbed onto the roll bar with one arm, and slapped the back window of the truck with his free hand. With squeals of protest from the truck's tires, it took off towards the National Guard tower, three Hummers following along as soon as they cleared the multiple fire trucks that were standing by just in case.
As the truck slid to a stop, the occupants of the Hummers took positions to provide a secure path into the building. The fact that not a single one of them was an adult registered in the brains of all three of the new boys, but none of them even considered questioning it at that moment.
Colin relaxed once they were inside the secure area of the building. "There's the bathroom, guys; I know I'd need it about now, along with a change of clothes if I'd have been you!"
"Thank you," Cleiton replied as all three decided it might be a good idea to check themselves.
A few minutes later, they came back out to find Colin standing there with a boy cuddled to his side. "Guys, this is my son Glen. Glen, the little guy is Luan, the protective one on his right is Kaique, and the other protective one is Cleiton. I know that look; I'm sure Julio can make Luan you guy's son once we get to Headquarters."
"Is SOMEONE going to explain what's going on?" Cleiton challenged.
"Just as soon as you're in a location that is secured to Clan standards," Colin stated. "We're just waiting for the ordinance guys to declare your plane clean, then we'll head home. Our Special Forces teams are already working on cleaning up your old neighborhood; your former social worker missed seeing all of the work he put into trying to get your estates undone. That big boom before you took off was his car; it seems one of your competitors put a bomb in it that was set to go off while you were scheduled to be on your way. His greed was his demise; you leaving early saved you."
"My Dad always told me that if you don't trust someone, make them follow your schedule, not theirs," Kaique replied. "We pre-packed everything, so he fell into our schedule and took us early."
"I'm impressed, I'll have to add that to my bag of tricks," Colin grinned. "I need to warn you guys about one thing before we go home, though."
"What's that?" Cleiton asked suspiciously.
"Nothing bad," Colin explained. "We have a Clan Grandma at our Division, Grandma Morrison. First off, she somehow sees things, so don't freak out when she tells you something that she shouldn't know. Also, she doesn't know the meaning of restraint, so expect her to order welcome hugs as soon as she meets you. She'll challenge you to see if you really will hold your ground if you're right, but she'll also tell you if you're absolutely wrong about something."
"So she runs things?" Cleiton asked.
"She thinks so sometimes, but Julio is the Director, and he's one of the very few people who will tell her to back off and her actually do it. When she's right, he just lets her run with it."
"Why have we not seen any Clan Short adults yet?" Keique asked.
"Because the adults don't hold any high positions," Colin explained. "There are a few dozen adults that are Clan members spread around the entire Clan, but they all have to answer to the teenaged Director in their region or to Patriarch Short, who is fourteen."
"Why are you not speaking English?" Luan piped up.
"Because one of the earlier guys to join the Clan, Xain, is Vulcan and was able to figure out a way to mentally teach us multiple languages mentally," Colin replied. "Until you guys have a chance to get the same update I have, it's only right that I speak in your native language."
"Dad?" Glen interrupted, "Uncle Lucas said that they got everything from the plane. He called whoever rigged it childish amateurs!"
"How many?" Colin asked.
"Six," Glen replied after a pause. "He says three of them would have never worked, and the other three wouldn't have been immediately lethal."
"Tell him I said good job; once the spooks clear the bugs out of it, we'll send it over to Utah for repairs and upgrades."
Turning to the three now-pale boys, Colin explained "That's why we got you out of there the way we did. I'll explain later why we chose the timing that we did, okay?"
All three boys nodded, not trusting their voices after learning that they were not even safe in the family plane.
At that point, Kerry's voice came over Glen's commbadge. "Away team reports ready to return on your command, Colin."
"Are you guys ready to go someplace where we can actually relax?" Colin asked.
After glances at the other two, Cleiton replied "Please?"
Colin nodded. "Kerry, recall Des Moines Spaceport teams. Take everyone to the dining room."
"Gotcha!" Kerry replied seconds before everyone that was brought in for the operation vanished.
All three boys looked around in shock as they found themselves in a room with two extremely long medieval dining tables, said tables almost half filled with happy kids. Realizing that the shock level was nearing overload, Colin suggested "Glen, why don't you introduce the guys to Julio while I'm debriefing the teams? That way I'll have answers, and they'll get the basic idea of how we got involved from the boss."
"Gotcha, Dad!" Glen smiled before turning to the three shocked boys. "C'mon guys, let's find somewhere less insane."
"Good luck," Cleiton muttered as they all nodded their approval of the idea. To their surprise, Glen led them out the door and began walking towards the soccer field in the back yard of the huge house that doubled as Divisional Headquarters.
Once outside, Glen commented, "I'm still getting used to knowing multiple languages. Dad told me that you all understand and speak basic English; are you okay with using English since we're home? Dad wanted to stick with your native dialect while we were off site, that way less people understood."
"That made sense," Kaique commented. "I'm okay with that, since we can ask if you say something we don't understand. What do you mean about still getting used to it, though? You spoke just as well as a neighbor would."
"Thanks!" Glen smiled. "Dad was on the team that rescued me from a guy who was trying to rape me two days ago. I just got the language dump later that day; sometimes I still get surprised when I understand something I never used to."
"How do you deal with all of this?" Cleiton asked.
Glen stopped, and motioned for the group to take a seat in the grass. Once they were all comfortable, he explained "A lot of the time, I'm still feeling like you guys are. It just doesn't take as long now to realize what's behind the crazy. Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan is the one who started this, by making Uncle Cory a Patriarch of a Vulcan Clan. Have you guys heard of Saint Mikey of Urbandale?"
"Yes," all three boys replied. Luan added "I prayed to him to help me."
"Next time he stops in, you can give him a hug of thanks," Glen replied seriously. "He's Uncle Cory's older brother, and he likes hanging out with us whenever he has a break."
"Or when one of my new charges thinks his new friends could use some help!" Mikey giggled as he appeared with Pablito and Davie, all three in their 'formal' dress.
"That too!" Glen giggled. "Guys, this is Uncle Mikey, the other two are his helpers Davie and Pablito; Pablito's the one muttering because he's having to dress up."
"Go ahead, Pabs; they might believe you're an angel now," Mikey grinned as he picked up Luan for a full-on Angel hug, complete with wing wrap.
"About damn time!" Pablito stated as he switched to cargo shorts and a loose tee-shirt.
"Potty mouth!" Davie giggled as he switched to jeans and an Angels baseball jersey.
"Suck up!" Pablito shot back as he playfully punched Davie's arm.
Davie stuck out his tongue at Pablito, then took a seat next to Cleiton; Pablito followed suit, taking a seat by Kaique.
"You're not dreaming, this is really happening," Davie advised the mute boys. "You can trust these guys, they're not out to get you, they're on your side."
"Yeah," Pablito added, "Right now some of my brothers are kicking ass back in Brazil. Your parents knew what those asswipes would try, so they asked for help at the Gates; I think Saint Peter actually enjoyed setting me loose down there!"
"What?" Kaique muttered.
"My brothers are the Clan Special Forces," Pablito explained. "Even though the shitheads try to kill me every time they see me, they're my shitheads, and they were more than happy to help teach a few hundred asswipes that you don't fuck with Clan Short."
"What he's trying to say," Davie giggled, "is that your parents were in the process of getting you ready to meet our Clan brothers anyway. It wasn't official yet, but you would have visited up here in the next few months. That's why Colin got so pissed off; you were already extended family, and he takes that personally."
"Also," Mikey added, "the instant that you stated that Luan was your family, that made it fact. The only way that Luan can be adopted by anyone but the two of you is if all three of you agree to it. I'll give you a clue, Luan doesn't plan on leaving your side for a very long time."
Having a good idea of what the pair was thinking, Glen contributed his thoughts. "Guys, the Clan works under Vulcan laws that are adapted to humans. Dad was able to adopt me because he is able to protect me and he cares about me. All that really matters is that both the adoptor and the adoptee want it to happen. I'm not going to try to force you, but I can tell you that in the eyes of the Clan, you've already proven that you will protect Luan."
Cleiton smiled at the statement. "Okay, we're attached to the little guy, and obviously you know we're boyfriends. Who's going to allow two gay teens to adopt a young boy?"
"Any officer of the Clan," Pablito stated. "This ain't no backwards shithole with some fucknuts preacher that ain't never opened a Bible telling you how to scratch your ass. You found Love; run with it, or I'm gonna prove that Angels can slap the stupid right out of someone's head."
"Mikey, I told ya it was a bad idea to leave Pab's leash at home!" Davie giggled.
"Behave, Pab, or I'll call Grandma over!" Mikey warned.
"Hey! That's playing dirty!" Pablito sputtered.
"I've been hanging around you, brat!" Mikey giggled.
"So, I guess you mean we need to follow our hearts and don't worry about what anyone else thinks?" Cleiton summarized.
"BINGO!" Pablito grinned.
"Why didn't you just say that?" Cleiton asked.
"Because your thick head wouldn't have listened," Pablito replied. "You had to be shocked to open it up."
Cleiton's reply was cut off by the sound of Kaique breaking out in laughter. "Yeah, laugh," Cleiton grinned, "You're worse than me!"
Realizing their ploy had worked, Davie commented "If you guys want, I can give you the language dump now, that way you don't have to wait for one of the guys to be free to do it. I'll warn you now, you're not going crazy when you start understanding animals. Julio's little brother Johnny has organized them as extra security, so it helps to understand when they warn you about something."
"That sounds strange," Cleiton replied, "but it also makes sense in a weird way. Are you going to give that to Luan too?"
"Mikey already did," Davie smiled. "Since Luan is probably going to hang out with Johnny, it makes things easier."
"Okay, I'm in," Cleiton replied. "Kaique? Can you stop laughing long enough to brush some of those cobwebs in your head out of the way to allow you to learn something?"
Keique sat up, still giggling. "Hey, if you can learn it, I could learn it in my sleep! Go ahead, Davie."
Davie grinned, and stated a few seconds later "Done. You'll just know it, but like Glen told you, it messes with you a little until you get used to it."
"Okay," both boys replied, realizing that Davie's statement and their response was in Russian just after they had spoke."
"I know that look!" Glen giggled in English. "Dad says it helps if you practice; if you guys want, we can all work together to get used to it."
Realizing that Glen had jumped to escort them because he wanted to, and not because it was an order, Cleiton smiled at the boy who was working on becoming their first friend in this new strange place. "I think you've got a plan; we're in!"
The discussion was sidetracked by Luan's giggles as Mikey folded his wings back. "Thanks, Uncle Mikey!" Luan stated. "I'll tell Daddy and Papa what my new Grandmas and Grandpas said later, okay?"
"You'll know when it's time, little one," Mikey replied with a smile.
"Okay," Luan smiled as Mikey sat him on his feet. He immediately went over to Cleiton, stating "Love you, Papa," as he cuddled into Cleiton's chest.
Smiling at the shocked looks that even Pablito and Davie were giving him, Mikey stated "Glen, tell Julio I said to just file the paperwork; the adoption was finalized before they even left Brazil. There are six parents that witnessed it."
"If he argues, I'm kicking it back up to you," Glen threatened. "Congratulations, guys; I think you're the first couple to have Uncle Mikey approve an adoption!"
Cleiton looked up from assuring Luan that he was loved and wanted. "If he argues, Saint Mikey's going to be the least of his worries."
"I'm gonna stick around to watch this!" Pablito giggled. "Maybe I'll get to join in the fun! Who knows, I might even get to team up with Grandma for once!"
Mikey grinned, sure that with Pablito onboard that there wouldn't be any issues. "Julio's wondering what's taking you guys so long, so I'll let you get going. Remember, even if you don't see us, at least one of us three is going to be at your side until we're sure that you've settled in."
"Thanks Uncle Mikey," Glen replied for all of them. Since Kaique had joined the cuddle with their new son, Glen was sure that the three of them were thanking their new Guardian Angels through much more official channels.
With smiles on their faces, both Mikey and Davie faded away. Pablito waited until he was sure that the three boys were paying attention again, then stated "I'm going to hide, but I'll be right next to you guys. Anyone gives you any shit, they'll deal with me."
"Thanks, Pablito," Kaique stated. "We're ready, Glen."
Glen smiled as he stood up, then proceeded to give each of his new friends a hug once they were standing. "I think you'll make an awesome family," Glen stated. "Thanks for letting me be here to see it happen."
"I think you're part of the reason that it was able to happen," Kaique smiled. "When we talk with this Julio, we're telling him that you're Luan's Godfather."
"Thank you, I accept the honor," Glen replied, knowing enough about the culture that the three boys came from to understand just what the declaration meant. From this point forward, Luan would be just as much his responsibility as he would be his parents, but in addition Glen now had the responsibility to assure that Luan walked the right path in life, even if it conflicted with the wishes of his parents.
To Glen's surprise, Luan gave each of his new parents one more hug, then took one of Glen's hands for the walk to meet Julio.
As they walked, Glen pointed out various features of the compact compound. They finally caught up with Julio at Herman's house, where he was supervising Johnny and Eddie as they learned about gardening from Herman.
"Took you long enough!" Julio grinned as he spotted the group approaching. "I was about to have Johnny send out the rabbits to find you!" As soon as he saw the two oldest new boys slip closer to protect the youngest, who was holding Glen's hand, Julio notified Kerry over his subvocal to stand by for some family updates. Ensuring that he didn't violate their 'safe space', Julio stood up and came closer. "Guys, welcome to Des Moines, Iowa. I already know who is who; our intel guys made sure of that. I'm Director Julio Hernandez, Director of the Des Moines Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan. Now that the official bullcrap is done, let's grab a picnic table and get caught up."
"Julio's one of the good guys," Glen stated. "He's the one that sentenced the guy who was trying to rape me to instant death."
Julio had to fight to keep his eyebrows from jumping off of his forehead, as Glen's statement caused all three of the new boys to visibly relax their defenses. Quietly asking Kerry just what he'd missed,, Julio smiled and motioned to a table off to the side where they could talk.
Julio had to restrain his eyebrows once again as they took their seats; Luan took a seat on Glen's lap, while Cleiton and Kaique each took one side, the two oldest boys holding Luan's hands while Glen had his arms wrapped around the young boy's belly. "Cleiton, Kaique?" Julio began, "After what you just went through, I think you need to know where you stand with security. Within our compound, we have an AI named Kerry who watches every inch of the neighborhood all of the time. As we found out when the Battle of Earth started, around the border of the compound, there are multiple friendly forces who add shields to our own shields. Within sight of right here, there is an entire strike team dedicated to protecting this lot. You're sitting at the home of the General that adopted the entire air wing that is also in charge of protecting this lot. Right now, Colin's got the Iowa National Guard patrolling the skies of central Iowa, with orders to down any aircraft that isn't supposed to be here."
"Why?" Cleiton asked skeptically.
"Because some of the asswipes that are responsible for the Battle of Earth in your region specifically targeted your families according to our Intel," Julio explained. "We are not standing down until every single one of them are dealt with... permanently."
"That'll never happen," Kaique muttered.
"Colin gives it a day at most," Julio grinned. "When the on-site Intel team are Vulcan-trained telepaths, the target list is quite accurate."
"I think Dad's taking this one personally," Glen added.
"I think you're right," Julio nodded. "If you guys want personal security, let Glen know and he'll get you set up. I already noticed that he's earned your trust, so I'm giving him full authority to do whatever it takes to ensure your safety and comfort here."
"You're WHAT?" Glen asked in obvious shock.
"You heard me!" Julio grinned. "Do I need to get Grandma to explain it?"
"I'm telling Dad!" Glen threatened.
"He's scared of her too," Julio laughed. "Okay, now could someone explain why Colin just requested a townhouse? He said one side is for the new family, and the other is for him and Glen."
"You're asking us to explain Dad?" Glen giggled. "You're losing it, Uncle Julio!"
"I lost it the day Cory drafted me!" Julio grinned. "Now, anyone have any ideas?"
Kaique decided to take the chance to pass the message they were told to deliver. "Saint Mikey said to tell you that me and Cleiton adopted Luan before we left, you just have to file the paperwork. Glen WILL be listed as Luan's Godfather."
Julio quickly scanned the faces in front of him, then tapped his commbadge. "Kerry, notify the Family Archivist that as Director of the Des Moines Division of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, I hereby retroactively confirm the adoption of Luan da Silva Remos Neto by Kaique Duarte Barros and Cleiton Macedo Ramos. He shall now be known as Luan Barros Ramos, and Glen O'Bairn Busch is confirmed as Godfather to Liam. My word is given."
"Acknowledged, Director Hernandez," Kerry replied immediately.
Noticing the looks he was getting, Julio explained, "Since Cleiton and Luan were distant cousins, the patriarchal name needed to be maintained. As I am recognizing you, Kaique, as his other parent, your patriarchal surname was required to fill in the matriarchal position."
Kaique nodded. "Thanks for following the standards of what we grew up with. It makes sense the way you did it, and now that you've explained why, I don't have any issues."
"It's being filed on Vulcan as we speak," Julio explained. "We'd know if there were any questions by now, so consider it approved Federation-wide. Now, the only question on that subject I have is how long you're going to avoid Grandma Morrison trying to get you two married before you give in?"
"We can't get married," Cleiton grumbled.
Julio shook his head. "You're both fourteen. Under Iowa law, you can get married with parent or guardian approval; since I've got standing orders to speak as Cory if I need to, that means I approve so you can go for it. On the Vulcan side, and also internally in the Clan, age and gender don't matter, just dedication and love. Only you two can decide; society can go stuff themselves if they don't like it."
"We'll let you know," Cleiton replied, knowing that this was something that needed to be discussed in private.
"Good answer," Julio nodded. "There's no rush, but you needed to know that the option was open."
Luan interrupted the conversation. "Papa, I'm thirsty."
Glen spoke up before anyone could reply. "How'd you like a shake? We can get any flavor, and Kerry will pop it in right here for us."
"Can you, Uncle Glen? I like chocolate!"
"Me too!" Glen smiled. "You guys want one, too?" Glen didn't miss the 'Uncle', as he knew it was customary for his Godson to address him that way. It still made him feel good, as it implied the trust that Luan placed in him.
Cleiton replied "Strawberry, please."
"Same here," Kaique added.
"Put me down for chocolate mint!" Julio quipped, doing his best to support Glen's newfound position.
Glen tapped his commbadge. "Hey Kerry? We need five shakes out here; two chocolate, two strawberry, and a chocolate mint for the nut on the other side of the table. You think you can pop them out here? I need badges and subvocals for my new brothers and Godson, too."
"I'll drop the comms stuff in with your shakes; Aunt Marcie is making them now," Kerry replied.
"Thanks, bro," Glen stated as he tapped the badge to end the call. Feeling the looks he was getting from both sides, he added, "When I accepted Luan as my Godson, I accepted both of you as not just Clan brothers, but as family. There IS a difference; I can't really explain it, but it's there."
"I could explain it," Julio inserted, "but Colin can explain it even better, especially after what he's been through. Glen's right though, there's a big difference."
"I'll accept that," Kaique replied. "Since it sounds like we're going to be neighbors, I'm pretty sure we'll get a chance to talk about it. Glen, I accept your offer of brotherhood."
"I accept as well, brother," Cleiton added seriously. "For the Ramos family, you are blood."
Julio wasn't sure that now was the right time to tell Cleiton just how much impact his statement had, but he silently made sure that Kerry officially logged and saved the interaction. He also notified Colin, who he knew was fully aware of the situation. Colin's exclamation of 'Oh, SHIT!' told Julio that he was thinking along the right track; Glen was unknowingly now one of the most powerful people in the Sao Paulo region.
Julio's thoughts were interrupted by the appearance of five shakes, along with the requested communication devices. He smiled when he saw that one of the shakes was obviously made special for someone, so he watched to see how it would play out.
Glen smiled when he saw the shakes. After reaching out and selecting the chocolate one that was piled with whipped cream and a cherry on top, he put it in front of Luan as he said "It looks like Aunt Marcie knows just how special my new Godson is; not everyone gets shakes made like this!"
"It's really for me?" Luan asked in amazement.
"Yes, it's just for you, Luam," Glen stated as he kissed the top of Luam's head.
"Spoiling him already!" Cleiton grinned as he helped by passing out the rest of the shakes.
The next few minutes were spent in silence, as all five boys concentrated on their drink. Once everyone was finished, Julio informed them "Don't worry if Luam drinks these a lot. Doctor McCoy from Starfleet designed them especially for the Clan, since we see a lot of kids that have not ate right. It's not medicine, but it's made with stuff that makes it actually good for us."
"Okay, I can get used to that!" Cleiton smiled. "Where are we staying while we're waiting for a place?"
"You'll be moved in by dinner," Julio grinned. "One of our neighbors just combined families with a family a few blocks from here. The Clan Construction Corps are in the process of putting up the new place now; Petey says give him an hour and it'll be ready for Kerry to put all of your belongings in it for you."
Already expecting the replies, Julio headed them off. "I've been where you guys are with all the strange stuff that's happening. Don't try to figure it all out right away; some of it will answer itself. For the rest, after a week or so look into it a little at a time, it goes better that way."
"If you say so," Cleiton replied. "so, how limited are we if we want to do something?"
"You're not in prison," Julio stated seriously. "Sometimes one of us will insist on security, usually if you leave the compound. That's for your protection, not because we don't trust you. You guys were high profile before, but now you're high profile universally, not just locally. The good news is that we've got access to an entire planet where we can promise absolute safety for you, so if you need a break from the madness let me know; I'll set it up for you to visit. It is secure enough that even I can get away with nobody looking out for me."
"Dad took me there, it's awesome!" Glen added.
"That sounds better than I thought," Cleiton stated.
Julio nodded. "Right now, I have my intel team securing all of your assets for you; the splat that was your case worker had already started the process to steal every bit of it from you, and from what they've found, he's one of the parties that ordered the sabotage of the plane, that way you couldn't contest it. We've recovered everything; my guys are just making sure the financial side is locked down so that only you can access it. We have a team onsite to evaluate your mineral operations, and should have some suggestions for improvements sometime tomorrow; we've already put things in place to keep local government fingers out of what belongs to you."
All three boys exchanged amazed glances, being fully aware of how their families made their fortunes. The fact that Julio obviously knew as well, and was assisting them, surprised all three of them.
Reading their faces, Julio added, "Now that you're part of the Clan, we can help with some tech that cleans up the bad parts of mineral extraction while keeping or even improving your profit margin. We've already bypassed the part where the local governments had to be paid off to ignore it; permits are fine, forced bribes are not. Once you guys get settled, we can sit down and sort out details of how you want to proceed from here; I'm not going to let you make big decisions until you have adjusted to how your lives have changed, though."
Julio was interrupted by a voice from directly behind him. "I just had a most productive conversation with a certain Bento Dias de Andrade."
"Grandma!" Julio moaned as he hung his head, "I thought you promised to stop causing international incidents!"
"You worry too much, Julio," Grandma stated as she sat the five-year-old boy that she'd been holding at the table, then took a seat for herself. "Boys, he sends his heartfelt condolences, and has assured me that he will personally ensure that your competition is aware that if they attempt to interfere with any of your holdings, they will suffer his personal wrath."
Julio looked up long enough to see the pale faces of all three boys in front of him; obviously they knew the name, and obviously the name had an extreme amount of influence; enough influence to turn their natural tan almost white. "Why did I get up this morning?" Julio moaned as he let his head drop once again.
"You spoke to HIM, IN PERSON?" Kaique asked in shock.
"Of course," Grandma stated. "One does not speak to underlings about important matters. I'm aware that you have already heard of me, just call me Grandma Morrison; my grandson Kerry was nice enough to let me know who is who here."
"Even God has to leave a message for him!" Cleiton quipped.
"As you boys have not had a chance to review your assets, I can see how you would not be aware of where you stand," Grandma explained. "With your adoption of Luan, your assets combined are now only exceeded by those of Bento. As such, he was more than pleased to assist in ensuring a lesser group would not acquire your assets and endanger his position. At this moment, he is ensuring the local competitors are aware that your position in the market is sanctioned by him, and that you are under his protection. As compensation, the assets of those who strove to harm you will be split equally between yourselves and Bento; the expected outcome is that the violence will not be repeated as none will wish the anger of both groups upon themselves."
"That's playing dirty, Grandma," Julio quipped, temporarily recovered. "Did you at least think of warning Colin?"
"Of course; he almost hyperventilated laughing," Grandma smirked.
"Cory's going to have a stroke when he hears this one," Julio giggled as he shook his head.
"He'll recover," Grandma sniggered. "Now, a certain foul-mouthed angel told me that there is a young boy here that was looking forward to the little brother his parents were expecting. Afonso just came in; he's a late recovery from the battle, and he lost his parents and a big brother that was only a couple of years older than him. Since he's from near where these boys are from, I believe that there would be no better place for him to be placed than with their family. Glen, if you would be so kind, could you bring your Godson over to meet his brother?"
"Guys, Grandma has a form of Precognition," Julio quickly explained. "She's not been wrong yet with placing families; so even though you have doubts, chances are you'll thank her later."
"You know them better than us. What do you think, Glen?" Cleiton asked.
"I've seen Grandma in action," Glen replied. "Julio's right about her. I think by the way she asked, it's more Luan's choice than ours."
"Will you carry me, Uncle Glen?" Luan interrupted. "She scares me."
"I'll carry you, and your Daddy and Papa will be right there making sure we're safe," Glen assured Luan, getting nods of agreement from his parents.
Taking the hint, Grandma stood up and stepped back as the four boys made their way around the table. Once Glen sat Luan down, Luan scooted over and put an arm over the small boy's shoulder. Speaking his native Portugese, Luan pointed as he made introductions. "Hi, I'm Luan, Grandma over there said were going to be brothers. That's Daddy, that's Papa, and that's Uncle Glen; he's my new Godfather. The guy over there is Julio; he just made me Daddy and Papa's son, and he can make you my brother. What's your name?"
"Afonso Lopes Carvalho," the young boy said softly.
"Do you want to be my brother? If you do, then you'll be Afonso Barros Remos. I used to be Luan de Silva Ramos Neto, but Julio had to change it when he made my new Daddy and Papa official."
Afonso's eyes got wide when he realized who was offering to be his brother; this wasn't just any kid, but one of the examples that his parents had used to show him what he could become. Even at his young age, Luan had a reputation for going out of his way to help others, and now it appeared that he'd set his sights on helping Afonso. Afonso answered in the only way he could think of; he shifted around and climbed on Luan's lap, wrapping his arms tightly around his prospective big brother as he buried his face in his shirt.
"That's a yes, I think," Glen quipped, getting nods of agreement from both parents.
"Hey, Pablito, we need you!" Kaique stated. "We need an emergency language dump!"
Pablito popped in, ensuring the three boys were between him and Grandma. "You got it; this has been fun to watch!" He quickly reached over and touched Afonso's head, then with a dramatic flash went back into hiding.
Glen reached over and tapped Afonso's shoulder. Once the young boy was looking at him, he asked "Can you understand me now?"
"Yes, Uncle Glen!" he responded with a wide smile.
"Do you want to be Luan's little brother forever?" Glen asked, having a sneaky suspicion that he'd just gained a second Godson.
"I know Luan's answer," Glen smiled. "Kaique, Cleiton, do you accept Afonso as your son, equal to Luan in all regards?"
"Yes, brother," both replied in unison.
"Director, please notify the Archivist of the addition of Afonso Barros Remos to the family," Glen requested.
"Don't forget Glen's Godfather listing," Cleiton added quickly.
"Kerry was listening," Julio giggled. "He's already filed everything, including Glen's status."
Glen reach over and gathered the commbadges and subvocals off of the table, smiling when he saw that extras had been added for the new addition. "We'll catch up later, Uncle Julio; right now I think my brothers and I need to spend a little family time with their sons."
Julio nodded, then Glen tapped his commbadge. "Kerry, find me an empty family room somewhere, then teleport me, my brothers, and their sons there."
"Mom said you can borrow one of ours," Kerry replied quickly. "One teleport, coming up!"
Glen woke to a feeling he'd never had before, the comfort of two little bodies cuddled into his chest accompanied by his new brothers cuddled in behind their sons. While the nap on the floor had not been the initial plan, the two youngest had obviously needed to unwind, and Luan insisted that Uncle Glen needed to hold them while Daddy and Papa protected them.
As Glen opened his eyes, a familiar chuckle got his attention. Lifting his head to make sure, he spotted Colin sitting in a chair watching them. "Hey Dad, is there something wrong?"
"No," Colin replied, smiling as he saw that Cleiton and Kaique were immediately awake as soon as he spoke. "Since I gained two more sons and a pair of grandsons when I wasn't looking, I thought it would be a good idea to make sure nobody interrupted their nap."
"Us?" Cleiton asked as he sat up. "We're older than you!"
Colin shook his head. "I only look twelve; I'm actually twenty-two years old. After I was healed from the abuse I suffered, I started aging about one year every ten years. I'm enjoying doing the kid stuff that I missed, but if someone ever attacks anyone I consider family, they usually die finding out that I'm not what I seem."
"What?" Kaique asked warily.
Guessing where this could go, Glen offered, "Dad? Don't ruin your day; call Uncle Hac, he's able to do show and tell." Before his new brothers could question it, Glen added "My brothers, lobisomem are real."
"Good idea," Colin admitted. "Before I do, I need to say one thing. Cleiton, Kaique? When Glen swore brotherhood to you, he was following a family tradition that I know he is fully aware of. You are his brothers by blood now; and I am honored to have you as my sons from now until the end of time. I believe that you will understand more once Hac covers a few things that still have a bad effect on me to speak aloud; just know that you are being told and shown them because your family status is locked in."
"Are you ..." Cleiton started to ask.
"Only partially," Colin admitted. "Please, let my Brother, Hac, explain."
Cleiton and Kaique exchanged glances, both easily picking up on the importance Colin used when he said 'Brother'. Both glanced at their sons next, who were still asleep and now held in Glen's arms. With a single small nod, they silently reached the decision they had been discussing via taps since they arrived. Despite their act, they were fully aware of just how much power they held; with the actions since their arrival, plus the bond that had been declared, it was now time to set things in motion that had been planned since their birth.
"Dad," Cleiton stated seriously, "There are people I must call."
"I know," Colin replied, earning him looks of surprise from all three boys that were awake. "If you're making those calls, you need Hac here; you've been protected by a group older than you can ever imagine since your births. He's going to have to confirm your safety on at least one of those calls; he told me that just as the shit started hitting the fan."
"That explains something I never understood," Cleiton acknowledged. "Where can we go to make them?"
"Right here," Colin stated. He tapped his commbadge, then stated "Nightmare to Muttley, you have a call holding at my location."
"On my way," Hac replied quickly.
Colin then stated aloud, "Kerry, I need the terminal in here on a max security scramble. Once Hac arrives, put room in full lockdown and set all microphones to scan and wipe. Set clear code to 'asparagus milkshake' and map to my voiceprint. Confirm."
"Terminal set to max security on private tunnel," Kerry replied. "Lockdown pending, clear code mapped."
A few seconds later, Hac ran into the room, stopping as soon as he was clear of the door. "Lockdown active in Three ... Two ... ONE" Kerry's voice announced before going silent.
"Hac, my brother," Colin began, immediately getting Hac's full attention, "Glen has swore the oath of brotherhood to those who are your charges. I accept his oath, and have accepted them as my own. Glen has suggested that you be the one to enlighten your new nephews as to the history of their new family, once necessary calls are placed."
Hac nodded, then faced the two boys warily looking him over. "I held you and gave you my oath of protection as babes, and I shall maintain that oath even as my Brother assumes your primary safety." After a pause, he added, "On the wings of Angels shall the World be saved, Younglings."
"And a Child shall lead them," Cleiton replied, completing the sequence. "Dad, how secure is the lockdown?"
"Soundproof, and a truck would bounce off if it tried to drive through a wall," Colin stated seriously. "Kerry is scanning for the code word, but otherwise anything said in here is erased by his VI subprocessors before it actually has a chance to reach his consciousness."
"Nice!" Cleiton smiled. "Where is that terminal?"
"I'll get it," Hac stated, walking over to the bookcase on one wall and moving a hidden lever, causing the case to rotate to reveal a terminal and desk. "You want me to make the connections?"
"Please, Uncle," Cleiton replied. "Glen, I think your cuddle buddies need to be awake; this call might be on their list, or it might just save them some calls."
"Gotcha, bro," Glen grinned as he began poking and tickling his charges. "Wake up guys, your Papa says that some really important calls need to be made."
In no time, both boys were awake and giggling from the tickle attack, which they quickly returned in full force. Luan was the first to notice Hac, and he quickly stopped as he asked "Who is that?", which caused Afonso to stop as well and seek shelter in Glen's arms.
"Furry Godfather," Cleiton immediately stated, hoping the code was the same for both boys.
"Okay," both boys replied in unison, immediately relaxing.
"You can call him Uncle Hac, since he's your Grandpa's brother," Glen explained. "Afonso, that is your new Grandpa sitting in the chair, okay little buddy?"
"Okay, Uncle Glen!" Afonso replied, satisfied with his new Godfather's declaration.
"Colin, give me a hand with this couch," Hac stated, impressed by Glen's effect on the two youngest. "I think seeing all of us together might be a good idea."
"Yeah, that sounds right," Colin replied.
Once they had the couch in place, Hac nodded to Cleiton. "You're on, Nephew; you drew the short straw as the Senior."
"I know," Cleiton replied. "Glen, this is scripted at first, so you might hear weird things that are not really true."
"Thanks for the warning," Glen nodded, inwardly suspecting that it was indirectly intended for his dad and uncle as well.
"I'm ready, please respond in Portugese if you are addressed," Cleiton announced. "Bento." he added, looking directly at Hac.
Hac nodded, quickly entering a series of codes into the terminal. A few seconds later, an elderly man in an elaborate room answered the call, but remained silent.
"The Moon is Full," Hac stated, ensuring his face was visible.
"The Sun shall rise again," the man nodded. "It has been a long time, Friend."
"Much has happened, and More is to come," Hac nodded. "Be aware that the son of my brother in blood has sworn the family oath to the two eldest of my charges."
"That is good news, my friend. The youth may proceed."
"Bento, my friend," Cleiton began, taking the hint. "House Ramos sends our regards and requests your guidance."
"What leads your family to assume I should accept the words of a child?" Bento challenged.
"The voice of youth shall guide the future, Grande," Cleiton replied.
"Under whose authority do you express such mistruths?" Bento stated.
"My own," Cleiton replied with conviction.
Bento nodded. "It is good to see you well, Cleiton. May I ask who you are speaking for?"
Cleiton smiled, relaxing as he replied "Along with myself, Avô, I speak for my soon-to-be husband Kaique Duarte Barros, our sons formerly known as Luan da Silva Ramos Neto and Afonso Lopes Carvalho, our brother Glen O'Bairn Busch, and our father Colin Juan Busch. I can not speak for Uncle Hac, as I have just learned of his status."
"That is as it should be," Bento acknowledged. "It was my hope that you would never have had to. I shall handle the calls for your family from this point, as the less public your position is the better I will feel. All of you have my condolences on your loss, and my personal assurance that those responsible will be Judged by the Highest Court."
"Thank you from myself and my family, Avô," Cleiton stated honestly.
"May I ask what names your sons now carry, so that I may update the records?" Bento asked.
"Luan Barros Ramos and Afonso Barros Ramos. The selection of the surnames was determined by the Director of the Des Moines Division of Family Clan Short, Julio Hernandez, who also officially documented the adoptions," Cleiton explained.
"Please express my gratitude for your Director's acknowledgement of our traditions," Bento replied. "You may assume my approval as you complete your family, Neto. You have retained the honor of the Ramos linage, and may begin the teachings of your sons as to their station in life. Upon your marriage, it would be acceptable to assume the surname Barros-Busch Ramos to signify the honorable families which are within your linage."
"Thank you for the guidance, Avô," Cleiton smiled. "We shall do as you suggest."
Bento nodded. "Have you interacted with the one known as 'Grandma Morrison', neto?"
"Yes, Avô," Cleiton nodded. "She brought Afonso to us. Our Brother, Glen, has assured us that she is one to be trusted. We have declared Glen as Godfather to our sons, so his word is trusted."
"As I have conferred with her as well, I believe you will find her guidance quite useful," Bento stated. "You may instruct your brother on his status as family; he now is equal to yourself as my neto."
"I will, Avô. What of our responsibilities at home?" Cleiton asked.
"You are my emissary to Family Clan Short, Cleiton; members of your Clan family which you have not yet met are already acting in your stead as your Lieutenants to ensure your recently expanded holdings are secure and efficient. Hac has arranged proper channels for me to assure that your holdings are managed appropriately while not revealing that I am assisting you in the background. Once you have recovered from your losses and your family has settled in, you shall be able to take as much or as little control as you wish. I would suggest discussion with Hac regarding having the Clan oversee day-to-day operations, as they have options which I am sure you have not had time to explore."
"I'll do that, Avô," Cleiton replied. "Would it be improper for me to ask you to pass the condolences of my family to those of our region who have lost family and friends?"
"As you have loss of your parents, it is preferred that you have someone trusted express your condolences for you," Bento replied. "I shall do as you ask, and shall reassure those of our region that all of you are well and safe. Now, you have much to do, and now that I am assured of your safety, I do as well. I shall see you later next week, as I wish to greet my new family in person."
"Thank you, Avô, Love you!" Cleiton replied.
"I love you too, Neto," Bento replied. "We shall see each other soon."
With that, the call ended and Cleiton fell back into the couch cushion in relief. His sons instinctively quickly moved to cuddle into his sides, comforting their new Papa the only way they knew how.
Glen, obviously confused, asked "Kaique? What just happened?"
"You mean besides me just finding out that I'm about to marry into the most influential bloodline in southern Brazil?" Kaique stated. "You are not the only one trying to keep up, trust me!" After a few seconds of pause, he continued. "The first part was code that said that we are okay and not injured in any way. If one wrong word was said, it would have been really bad for anyone near us; both of our families have a setup like that. Past that, it is mixed up, and since it wasn't my bloodline I'm sure I missed a lot of the private codes. I can say that we were just given the blessing to get married, we were told what surnames we should assume, and you are officially recognized as part of our bloodline. None of us need to make any calls; in fact, it would be taken as disrespect if we tried. Anything else, we'll figure out when he visits us; I'm not confident I can say there wasn't more said."
"I guess we'll figure it all out together, bro," Glen replied. "I think Uncle Hac's going to let Cleiton recover before he catches you guys up on this side of the family; at least he can do it without codewords!"
"Good, I hate those things!" Kaique grinned.