Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 6-B

O'ahu, Ewa Beach, C.S.P.R.D. Main Base

11:10 AM Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Jennifer Hundser transported back to the base with her security contingent. After dropping her jacket at the house, and then using the bathroom, she started towards the pool to check on the kids. On the way, she saw the merry-go-rounds, swing sets, slides and jungle gyms. At the playground were many of the youngest kids, including her three newly adopted children. She paused briefly to watch the kids play. Seeing their mother, Dewi, Kokaku and Carmella hurried to her side. She knelt down and kissed all three kids, wondering where the playground came from. The kids didn't know, but loved having it. As Jennifer walked around the indoor recreation building, her five grandchildren noticed and joined the three children walking with her. To her surprise, Joel was at the pool, surrounded by many kids, with a human woman and a Vulcan man. Nearby were four G-Cats, Juan and another young Klingon boy. The young Prince was barely recognizable in his black Clan Short robe and dark sunglasses. She assumed the woman with Joel was Teri Short and went over to introduce herself.

As she drew close to the group, Joel let go of Teri's hand and seemed to turn in her direction. "Auntie Jen?"

"Yes, Joel," she said softly, and she looked at the boy sadly, not really sure why he wasn't looking directly at her.

"Hi," he whispered back, and then he turned, reaching out for the man and woman he was standing near. "Mammy? Daddy? This is Mrs. Jennifer Hundser. Auntie Jen? This is my mammy, Teri Short, and my daddy, Admiral Spock."

While Teri moved forward to greet Jennifer, Spock picked up Joel and cradled him over his right hip before moving to join the two women.

Holding out her hand, Teri smiled, "So you are the famous 'Auntie Jen'? It is a pleasure to finally meet you."

Jennifer shook Teri's hand and smiled, "My pleasure, Teri." She turned and said, "Welcome to Ewa Beach, Admiral Spock." Cautiously reaching for Joel, Jennifer asked, "You've been talking about us, Joel?"

Turning to the sound of Jen's voice, Joel trembled, "Yeah... was I wrong to?"

Pulling her hand back, Jennifer glanced at Teri and Spock then back to Joel saying, "You'll never need to be frightened of me. What's happened to you, Joel?"

Joel bowed his head as he was held tighter by Spock. "I was attacked on Saturday," he whispered.

"We heard," Jen said.

Joel removed his shades to reveal his empty left eye socket and white right eye. "I was blinded and gang raped," he whispered.

Facing Teri, Jennifer said, "The boy has clearly been traumatized. I appreciate your visit, but Joel doesn't seem ready."

Teri nodded seriously. "You would be right, but in his case the interaction with those that he cares about has helped more than anything a psychiatrist has been able to do."

"Yeah," Joel whispered with a ghost of a smile. "And I insisted," he added with the beginnings of cheekiness.

Rapidly returning from the boy's bathroom in the pool house, John said, "Hi mom. You've met Aunt Teri and Admiral Spock, obviously." John and Stephen went directly to Spock and Joel.

Joel giggled as Spock put him down, "You can call Daddy 'Uncle', silly!" Then Joel reached for and cuddled in with John quickly. "He told you already," he added with a kiss to John's cheek. "Did we float?"

"No," John sniggered.

"Shame," Joel teased.

Noticing the immediate change in Joel's demeanor, Jennifer's eyes rolled and she reminded, "Only indoors, John."

John blushed, "We've tested it out, ma. We can lift off slowly and come back down slowly too now. It's just a matter of how we stop kissing that makes the difference."

"We're walking in the air!" Joel sang before giggling.

"You're just jealous cos you and Kevvy can't float!" John laughed.

Joel stiffened for a second, then giggled briefly, "No, but he can take me to heaven and back!"

"Only if you have a regenerator to heal the bruises!" Kevin yelled from across the pool.

'I was teasing,' John sent to Joel. 'Don't be scared of me.'

Jen looked at Teri and Teri mouthed, "Pon Farr. Thank GOD it's only once every seven years!"

Reaching and touching John's face with his fingers, Joel sent, 'I know. Just thinking 'bout me and Kev makes me nervous, again. Just like it was Saturday or Sunday, but it's getting better again.'

John replied; 'Ya know what we learned when Prez's parents died? Who's here now? Always show people you love that you care. Kev's happy because you're here and alive, Joel. I feel your hurt and confusion clearly. Let him know that he's important. Call him here just to hold his hand. It would make his day. Okay, it'll add to his day. Then the four of us, me and Stephen and you and Kev can go for a walk so our mom's can deal with business stuff.'

'Can my kids come too?' Joel asked. John started laughing, for he had already been mobbed by the eight kids Joel had adopted. 'I'll take that as a yes,' Joel added as he removed his hand.

John began introducing Joel's kids. "Mom, this little guy here is Rafe. The G-Cats are Aslan and Shere Khan, the badger hybrids are Brian and his twin sister Sue. Jules and Verne are the two ferrets and finally, we have Lee the chimp. Lee's mute, but he knows sign language."

Lee waved his fingers at Jen before climbing onto Joel's back. Kevin came running over, and Joel shyly took Kevin's hand. Kevin's face split into a smile.

'Told you,' John whispered in Joel's mind.

Looking up at his mother, John said, "We're gonna go for a walk. Did you notice the playground I had Daileass build for us?"

Jennifer nodded, "That was your idea?"

"'Course!" John proudly smiled.

Stephen grinned, "He just wanted to swing me," but then blushed and giggled.

"The kids seem to love it," Jennifer smiled, "Good job. Go on, have a good time boys."

Spock turned to Teri saying, "I will remain with our son."

"Thank you," Teri warmly replied.

Spock faced Jennifer and said, "It is agreeable to make your acquaintance. I look forward to meeting your sons."

Jennifer smiled, "Thank you, Admiral Spock. My boys will be pleased to meet you too." Spock followed the pack of kids, including her own children and grand children. Jennifer turned to Teri, saying, "The issues here with C.P.S. have shattered my trust. Two abandoned boys that my sons recovered over the summer were among those rescued by the Clan." She pointed out Aaron Farris and Stephen Wicks explaining, "I can barely describe the effect all these kids have had on me the last few days. Suffice to say, my patience is at its thinnest for some parents and care givers."

"It's understandable," Teri pleasantly said.

The two women began walking toward the F.Y.S. offices and Jennifer said, "I'm very much a pacifist. The only issue I may have is capital punishment."

"You understand you'll only have to prosecute, not deliver justice?"

"I do. There was one woman arrested Friday night. Her little girl, Daba was left behind. I spoke with her father and he doesn't want her. I've never wanted to strike a person so much before in my life."

"She's better off here then, Jennifer. All the kids are much better off here," Teri said, then paused and swung her arm, gesturing at all the kids. "Those that have made mental connections are teaching those that haven't. What we adults might be able to accomplish in weeks, they do in days or hours."

Jennifer nodded, "Doctor Wiener, our child psychologist, is having daily group sessions with some of the kids. What I find most remarkable is how the youngest seem to be learning fastest. Carmella, our adopted little girl, latched on to my husband Saturday. All Jim did was give her a piggy back ride. And Kokaku, one of our little boys, needed to go to the bathroom Saturday. I took him across the road and sat his little behind on the toilet then waited for him to finish. He was shocked that I waited for him and didn't fondle him. Since then, he attached himself to me. When I was busy with another child, Jim took him to the toilet in my place. Lanna Seaver told me that she had taken him to the toilet yesterday with the same results."

Smiling, Teri offered, "The adults that abused those kids are the extreme cases. If other less extreme cases can be educated and helped, they will be. The telepaths can determine in a minute or two if it's worth the effort."

Shuddering, Jennifer realized, "John's becoming telepathic. I heard him at work telling me you were here; clearly, as if he was standing beside me. I actually looked for him and expected to find him standing there in the room. It was seconds after Daileass called to tell me you were here."

"John is a remarkable boy," Teri smiled. "His empathic abilities alone are helping many of the kids, Joel included."

"Will it affect him?" Jennifer worried.

Teri answered, "In the short term, yes; but we have Vulcan methods to release the long term effects. To the kids, it becomes like a nightmare; unreal and not worthy of remembering. For instance, when we arrived, John came running over to us with Jamie, Jacob, Beau and Nathan. Joel and John held each other and cried for about five minutes. After that, Joel was a little better and John seemed to shrug off all he had learned from Joel about the attack. Spock is prepared to offer John assistance dealing with the shared images. If John doesn't ask directly, Joel will ask Spock. Jamie, Jacob and Beau can also help John, if need be. I can easily understand your concerns. My boys, Sean and Cory, have been helped similarly."

Nearing the F.Y.S. building, Jennifer said, "I'll perform these interviews as I would any other, only with the added qualifications required by the existing Safe Haven Act and Clan Short charter."

Teri added, "Your husband will perform secondary interviews based on Vulcan law, which will supersede Hawaiian law."

"Understood," Jennifer said. She opened the door and held it for Teri. Thanking Jennifer, Teri walked inside. Seeing Rob Gibbons at the reception desk, with his security gorilla standing nearby, Jennifer said, "Good morning, Rob. How've things been so far?"

Rob smiled, "Busy, but organized. Anna, Bill and Laura have been doing interviews. Four individuals were released by Jamie, Jacob and Beau for not having the correct temperament. I've arrested one for collecting child pornography."

Shaking her head sadly and smirking, Jennifer turned to the assembled group in the reception area. "Ladies and Gentlemen," she said, and paused briefly, noticing Tamara Hekekia amongst the group. "My name is Jennifer Hundser. I am the Director of Clan Short Pacific Rim Division Federation Youth Services. Let me make myself perfectly clear. Our job is to protect children from all forms of abuse. We will not have positions filled by those that cannot abide by our regulations both on the job and in their private lives." Jennifer briefly locked eyes with Tamara Hekekia and informed them; "The practices allowed by Child Protection Services will not be continued here. We will be performing thorough background checks of all prospective foster parents. Anyone that fails to do their job to the best of their ability and report cases of abuse to this office will be summarily released and, if appropriate and necessary, arrested for their lack of common decency.

"In my years working at Hawaii Medical Center West, I've seen the most horrendous punishments inflicted by parents on their children." Teri Short watched and listened, struggling to keep her composure and not giggle or laugh aloud. Jamie, Jacob and Beau came out of a room and stood at the end of the hall near the reception area, grinning widely at Jennifer's remarks. Jim Hundser walked in to hear his wife say, "One woman tried to explain to me that it was appropriate to burn her child's hands on the stove for playing with matches. That is not only inappropriate, it is illegal. No, no people; corporal punishment in the form of a slap on the wrist or swat on the backside is one thing, but loss of control and whipping children into submission is child abuse. Adults will not get away with blaming their children for their own actions. My own children have never gotten away with the phrase, 'he made me do it,' without an adequate explanation. Therefore the adults I hire will not get away with it either. Have I made myself clear?"

Everyone nodded or vocally affirmed that they understood. Jim Hundser grinned at his wife; "Having a good day, love?"

Jennifer smiled, "Generally, yes. I simply couldn't believe that one moron came here looking for work that was collecting child pornography."

The Terrible Triplets said, "That's why we're here, Aunt Jen."

Jennifer turned and instructed, "If you boys need a break, just let one of us know."

"We're good," Jamie confirmed.

"We just got here a little while ago," Beau added.

Checking his wristwatch, Jacob said, "It's not even been an hour."

Jim introduced himself to Teri Short. Now that she had released some of her concerns, Jennifer also properly introduced Rob Gibbons and Teri. The four adults briefly chatted then Jennifer asked Rob, "Who's next?"

Checking the clipboard of names, Rob called out; "George Lu?"

A man of Chinese ancestry stood and smiled warmly at the gathered group. Jim softly told Jennifer, "I'll join Bill and relieve him for a break. Send Mr. Lu over when you're done, Jen."

Jennifer nodded and appreciatively smiled then told the group, "We're going to try our best to have each of you interviewed by the end of the day." Facing Mr. Lu, Jennifer introduced him to Teri Short. The stout gentleman was very enthusiastic to learn he had met the mother of the famous boys. The Hundsers walked back to their offices and began performing their new jobs.

As previously scheduled, Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike arrived back on base about eleven-forty that morning. Keith and Prez had already received word from John that Joel, Teri and Spock were on base. They told Mrs. Diaz that they had more guests and asked if they could skip their sixth period band class. She eventually gave in when reminded that tempo for the band could be provided electronically by the synthesizer. Their concert had gone well, with only a few coffee and shake induced tempo increases. Prez tried to hold back Derrick, but it was like constraining a missile in flight. Walking towards the pool, they teased each other and goofed on the misfortunes of Bobby and Sheryl. While Mike and Derrick went directly to the pool to burn off excess energy doing laps, Prez and Keith went to find Kaleo. At the diving well, Kaleo reported that all the cards were handed out, that John had discovered his birthday and that Teri Short was on the base with Joel and Admiral Spock. Keith and Prez wanted to go find Joel and report to him all the good work they'd managed to accomplish in only three days. Kaleo held them back and prepared his two teammates for the shock.

"He's not the same mischievously playful elf we met on Friday," Kaleo sadly explained. "If you want my honest opinion, he's closest to himself around John, but even then, he's different." Pulling Keith and Prez closer, Kaleo sighed then whispered, "John sent me a brief thought. Joel was gang raped and blinded. All you can see is a scar on his face and dark glasses, but he's emotionally messed up."

"Where is Joel now?" Keith wondered.

"With John and Stephen," Kaleo answered.

Glancing between Keith and Kaleo, Prez asked, "Do you think we should leave Joel be until he's ready?" Prez received his answer in a surprising way. He suddenly found himself floating and then gliding backwards. "JOHN!" Prez yelled through his giggles, "Stop it!"

"It's not me!" John giggled from behind him. "Blame the Elf!"

Prez managed to twist enough to look over his shoulder. He saw Joel standing a little in front of John and Stephen with Kevin next to him. Kevin's normally brown eyes were mixed blue, somehow, and Joel's glasses were missing. Prez felt his heart break at the sight of the scar and missing left eye, and slightly sick at the deathly white right eye on his 'mischievous elf'. Curiosity was also there, however. Joel had his hands spread wide as if waiting for a hug, and his lips were moving.

As Prez drifted closer, he realized that Joel was whispering over and over, "Feel the Sands of the Forge... Feel the Sands..."

He was telekinetic; something Prez never knew about Joel. Was it a Vulcan trait, or something due to Joel being part human?

Prez finally made it to the Li'l elf and then had Joel snuggled into his chest. "Hi, Prezzy," whispered the smaller teen.

With his throat tight and tears pouring down his face, Prez only held Joel firmly with one arm and gently pet the hair on the back of Joel's head with his other hand. Gaining a little strength back, Prez softly sobbed, "I'm sorry. I feel that if I had let you leave sooner or kept you here longer, this might've been avoided. It's stupid, I know, but that's what I feel."

Softly, Joel answered, "What Was is now no more. What Happened was new. What Is is now to be lived. That's what Levi's Friend said. Don't worry, Prezzy. I'll be okay... eventually. It is only logical." His voice slowly shifted from emotive to void as he finished.

Kevin sighed, but John whispered, "Oh no, you don't," and laid a hand briefly on Joel's back.

Joel's suddenly emotionless face shifted back to emotive and he continued to snuggle with Prez as if nothing had happened.

Realizing that Prez was teetering on the edge, like he had been after his parents died, John took immediate action. John sent images into Prez's mind, reminding his brother that Joel had family and hundreds caring for him; just as the Hundsers, Gibbons, Seiberts and Seavers had been there for him two years earlier. To all the other Core Rimmers, John sent pleas for help before Prez completely lost it. 'Prez needs us all, now!' Keith and Kaleo were the first to hurry over. From the pool, Mike, Derrick, Drew and Corey came running to the diving well. Within thirty seconds, Joel, Prez and Kevin were surrounded and embraced by the entire team.

Joel spoke, but his voice seemed richer; feminine even. "Preston, Child of Vulcan. Do not grieve beyond that which is necessary, Child. As I remained for my own son, so too would your parents remain in their own way for you. A mother's love is forever, Preston. That is no difference between Vulcan and Earth. It is eternal."

Finally more secure and seeing logic beyond his own emotions, Prez looked down at Joel and uncertainly repeated, "Child of Vulcan?"

Joel shook his head slightly and in his own voice answered, "That was my birth mother. You're a member of Family Clan Short, now. That makes you a son, or Child, of Vulcan. You're my brother, so you have to be."

Prez asked, "The same can be said of the entire team then; and all the kids here?"

With a small smile, Joel nodded. "You are all Children of Vulcan as well as being Children of Earth." He added with a small giggle, "Good things need sharing about!" Then, after a brief pause, he added, "Besides, Cor and me're greedy. We like brothers and sisters, so we're collecting."

Prez grinned, "We won't let you down, Joel. We're collecting street kids, prostitutes now too."

Joel clapped happily. "I know. I've met some. More family! Yay!"

Keith chuckled, "I figure we'll have all our bases active and loaded by Christmas."

"That's two thousand more kids," Mike grinned.

Drew giggled, "The more the merrier!"

Derrick agreed, "That's one hell of a Merry Christmas!"

Humming hungrily, Corey reminded, "My mom's strawberry tarts." That was all it took for all the boys to begin rambling on about their favorite Christmas treats.

Kaleo offered to gather the Rimmers' sons and call the rest of the kids for lunch. With a nod and thanks from Prez, he was off.

"It's lunch time Li'l Elf," Prez said, and then asked, "You want a piggy back ride?"

Not only did Joel quickly scramble up onto the older teen's back, but his son, Lee the Chimp, was soon clinging onto his back as well. Keith offered Kevin a piggyback ride too. Derrick swept up Rafe and parked the boy up on his shoulders. Mike knelt down for Jules and Verne to climb aboard. Drew offered Aslan a lift as did Corey for Shere Khan. Not to be left out, John gave Sue and Brian a lift then took Stephen's hand and followed the pack to the C.I.C. dining room.

For this day's lunch, the chefs had prepared a Mexican feast of tacos, burritos, chili and Mexican rice. Once again, menu display boards had been prepared so the kids would know how to order their meals. Keith and Prez were a bit more careful with Dee, limiting their son to tacos and Mexican rice to avoid any digestion problems.

Joel, Kevin, Prez, Keith, John, Stephen, Derrick and Mike shared a table. The Rimmers shared with Joel and Kevin their current status and that a total of fifty-two more kids had been added to the Clan in only three days. Some more time was spent giggling about the insanity of Saturday night, trying to get dinner together for the masses, and then nesting with a hundred kids in the basement. At the next table were Drew, Corey, Geoff, Dee, Gage, Sammy and Bruce. At another nearby table were Dillon, Richie, Rafe, Aslan, Shere Khan, Jules, Verne, Sue and Brian.

The phone rang at the reception desk of the F.Y.S. building. Rob answered it; "Federation Youth Services, O'ahu, can I help you?"

A woman asked, "May I speak with Lieutenant Robert Gibbons please?"

"This is Lieutenant Gibbons."

"Sir, my name is Sergeant Rose Flora from Hawaiian Police. We've located Mrs. Kathleen Marr."

Rob smiled, "That's great news, Sergeant."

The woman softly explained, "Sir, she's been detained for petty theft."

"You understand that she had to relinquish custody of her only child to Clan Short?"

"I do, Sir. However, the grocery store manager is insisting we prosecute."

Rob sighed, "What is your location?"

"The Safeway store at 111 East Puainako Street, Hilo."

"I'll be there in two minutes or less. Standby with Mrs. Marr and the manager."

"Yes, Sir. Goodbye."

Rob turned to his gorilla and ordered, "Get Jim's security and be ready to take a short trip to Hawaii."

The gorilla nodded and, as Rob stepped away from the reception desk, contacted Jim Hundser's security. Rob knocked on Jim's office door.

After a moment, Jim said, "Come in." Rob opened the door to find Jim, George Lu, Jamie, Jacob and Beau smiling. Rob said, "We have a small issue to take care of, Jim."

Tilting his head uncertainly, Jim wondered, "What is it?"

"Stephen Marr's mother was located." Rob glanced at George Lu and decided not to say more.

Jim assured, "It's alright, Rob. George will be hired."

Rob nodded, "Mrs. Marr was caught stealing from a Safeway store in Hilo. The store manager wants to prosecute."

Standing, Jim huffed, "Not for very much longer." He grabbed his suit jacket then turned to George Lu and asked, "Care to take a short trip?"

George Lu answered, "I'd like to if it's a very short trip. I'm diabetic and have to eat soon."

"This won't take more than ten or twenty minutes," Jim promised. "When we return, you can have something to eat here."

George Lu nodded and stood. He then looked at the three boys and chuckled, "It was very nice meeting you."

"Same here!" Jamie, Jacob and Beau chimed.

Tightening his loosened tie, Jim asked Rob, "Security is ready?"

Rob nodded, "Standing by."

Jim placed a hand on George's shoulder and asked, "Have you ever been transported via a Starfleet transporter before?"

George shook his head and smiled, "No, never."

"It's a bit disorienting," Jim briefly explained. The three men walked out of the office. Waiting outside were two gorillas and two teen boys. One teen boy and one gorilla were dressed in standard dark blue police uniforms to blend in with Rob. Jim's security team were dressed in dark suits, white dress shirts and ties, similar to what Jim had worn to work that day.

Rob tapped his comm-badge and said, "Daileass, transport us to 111 East Puainako Street, Hilo, Hawaii."

"Yes Sir," Daileass pleasantly replied. In an instant, the group was outside the Safeway store. A gorilla led the way across the parking lot and into the store. Needless to say, people stopped and stared. Once inside the store, Rob pointed to the Customer Service desk and they all walked there.

At the desk, Rob held out his Police and F.Y.S. identification then asked to see the store manager. Nervously watching the two gorillas, the woman backed up, bounced against the cigarette display shelves then hurried to the manager's office and frantically knocked.

Jim turned to Rob and said, "I'll take care of this. I can easily prove that the woman was distressed and she wouldn't have been detained more than a few hours for petty theft."

Rob nodded and grinned at Jim's determined glare. "We'll wait until you're finished."

When the customer service clerk mutely waved him over, Jim went into the store manager's office. He politely introduced himself as Legal Director for Federation Youth Services, greeted the store manager, Sergeant Flora and Mrs. Marr then closed the door.

Back at the C.I.C. dining room, John was finishing his lunch when he suddenly stopped and grinned. Turning to Stephen, John smiled, "We found your mom, baby."

Obviously excited, Stephen squealed, "Really?"

John nodded and pulled Stephen close saying, "My dad's with her right now. It won't be long before she's here." With all John's empathic abilities, there was nothing that could have kept Stephen from becoming fidgety, and then kissing John repeatedly. "Okay!" John loudly giggled.

Becoming hysterical at Stephen's excitement and John's pleasure, Keith laughed, "I told you we'd find her."

As Stephen began to relax and rested his head on John's shoulder, Prez smiled, "First thing we're going to do is get your mom into one of the condo apartments. You two can catch up on what's happened during your time apart. Tomorrow, we'll find your mom a job right here."

John's eyes widened and he croaked, "Ooo! Dad's getting pissed off majorly!" Keith and Prez nervously glanced at each other. John then said, "Dad just told some store manager guy how we could help him with youth petty larceny."

"Larceny?" Keith nervously repeated.

John nodded and asked, "What's that mean?"

Keith sighed, "Robbery or theft."

"Dad's calming down now," John relayed.

Keith nodded, "The angrier he gets the more determined he is."

Prez was watching John closely, but behind John, coming into the dining room, were Troy Faris and Sean Moorhead. They were holding hands. Prez couldn't help cracking a wide smile and thinking, that's one less thing I have to do today. John locked eyes with Prez and giggled.

Obviously, Mike had also seen Troy and asked Prez, "What's the plan for the rest of this afternoon?"

Prez answered, "All we have on our schedules is phaser training from three until six."

"Kewl," Derrick smiled, "Wanna jam for a few hours then?"

Prez, Keith and Mike rapidly nodded. Prez looked at Joel and Kevin and asked, "If you'd like, you guys can meet us in the auditorium?"

Kevin smiled, "We might do that later."

Joel added, "We're going to stay with John and Stephen for now."

Keith promised, "We'll be back before you know it."

Stephen whispered, "Can you tell what's happening now, hon?"

John nodded, "My dad's still talking to the store manager." He then sent to Stephen, 'Do you really want to know what happened?'

Stephen whispered, "No, I think I can guess."

Prez grinned at Joel and Kevin, "Don't you guys leave before we get back."

Mike added, "We'd really like to meet Admiral Spock."

"Daddy's Uncle Spock to you!" Joel playfully reminded.

Kevin giggled, "We'll be here for dinner too."

"Kewl!" Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike chanted. They all stood then dumped their trash and decided to find Troy to invite him to jam with them. While Prez and Mike went to Troy's table, Keith and Derrick went to get Drew and Corey. They stopped at the kids table to see if any of them wanted to tag along. Of course, all their own kids did, but they didn't want to leave Joel's kids behind.

Brian grinned, "It's kewl. We're gonna go find the Scoobies then find some food that we find more tasty."

Richie wondered, "What's better than tacos?"

Knowing what kind of reaction she would get, Sue giggled, "Worms and grubs, of course!"

Richie, Geoff and Dillon groaned, "Ewww!"

Scrunching his nose, Dillon complained, "The Scoobies like raw chicken. They slurp it up like noodles too!"

At the far end of the dining room, Troy and Sean had taken a table by themselves and had only begun eating when Prez and Mike walked up. Prez pleasantly said, "It's good to see you two together."

Mike nodded and smiled, "You make a cute couple."

Cracking a wide smile, Troy blushed, "I'm glad you think so."

Sean nodded, "We're just getting to know each other better."

Prez said, "We're heading over to the auditorium to practice and jam for while. Would you like to join us, Troy?"

"Yeah, right after we're done," Troy nodded. He asked, "Can Sean come watch and listen?"

"'Course!" Prez and Mike chorused.

Prez said, "We'll have a bunch of our kids there too."

"What instruments should I bring, Prez?" Troy asked.

"Both saxes, the recorder, the acoustic and the electric guitars," Prez answered. "We'll need to get the right mics, amps and the stage rearranged."

Turning to Sean, Troy sweetly smiled, "I'll need a hand."

Bouncing his eyebrows playfully, Sean slyly grinned, "I'll give you a hand."

Troy's face flushed scarlet while Mike and Prez giggled. Shaking his head sadly, Troy softly chuckled, "Breaking the speed of sound, Tiger."

"Can I help myself?" Sean grinned. "I'll be lucky to brush my teeth after Mexican food before tryin' to grab a kiss."

Mike and Prez groaned then laughed.

"No burrito flavored kisses!" Troy helplessly cackled.

Looking down at the table, Sean smirked, "I only offered to show you my burrito."

Troy's eyes opened wide and he playfully shoved Sean. Mike and Prez howled laughing. They waved and walked away in fits of laughter. Troy giggled and softly asked Sean, "Do you really want to that much or were you just playing?"

Sean considered the question then truthfully answered, "Both. Yeah, I was just being silly, but at the same time, I really want a relationship with you. I can wait and I will, Troy. When you're ready, I will be too."

Troy chewed on what Sean said while taking a bite out of his taco. He swallowed then softly called, "Sean?"

Shyly glancing over, but with a mouth full of food, Sean raised his eyebrows.

"We have to go back to my apartment to get my instruments."

Still chewing, Sean nodded.

"If my mom's not there, wanna play some show and tell and kiss and touch?"

Swallowing, whimpering and nodding simultaneously, Sean began gagging and choking on his food.

Troy patted Sean's back and giggled, "You okay?" Sean nodded and coughed up the clog in his throat then swallowed properly. Troy leaned closer and softly chuckled, "It was your idea!"

Sean grinned, "Please tell me you have mouthwash or a spare toothbrush at your place."

Widely smiling, Troy nodded and noticed that Sean was eating faster. "Easy, Tiger," Troy chortled.

Not wanting to shoot himself in the foot or in the pants, Sean slowed down, ate a little more then asked, "I thought you didn't want to right away?"

Troy finished swallowing and clarified; "We ain't goin' all the way today. Part of me did want to take you up on the showing when you mentioned it before though."

Sean nodded understandingly, ate a little more, then flatly asked, "Which part?"

Quickly grabbing a napkin, Troy spat up his food and cracked up. Sean grinned and happily bounced in his chair.

While Prez and Platinum Habits were in the auditorium getting their stage setup modified, Admiral Spock walked into the C.I.C. dining room and went directly to Joel's table. John, Joel, Kevin and Stephen had barely greeted Spock when Jim Hundser transported into the room with Stephen's mother. John and Stephen's backs were turned. John hadn't said anything to Stephen when he felt his dad and Stephen's mom were ready to transport. John wanted to let Stephen have at least a little bit of a surprise. When they walked over to the table and Stephen's mom put her hand on her son's shoulder, Stephen immediately recognized the feeling and quickly jumped up into his mother's arms.

Both Stephen and his mother, Kathleen, cried happy reunion tears for several minutes. Mrs. Marr was a short, frail looking woman; maybe an inch over five feet tall and not much more than one hundred pounds. She had the same auburn hair as Stephen, but her eyes were deep blue, not hazel like her son's eyes. Finally, Stephen asked, "Did they tell you mom?"

"Tell me what, Stephen?"

Stephen happily said, "They're gonna keep us together; they're gonna give you work and give us a place to live!"

Mrs. Marr groaned, "Oh baby, they can't really..."

"Oh, yes we can," John loudly interrupted. "Can you mop a floor, Mrs. Marr? Can you vacuum a rug? Can you push dishes through a dishwasher? We'll find something for you to do. I'm part of the leadership team of this Clan. My big brother, Prez, is the Director and he's already said it's gonna be that way. We'll help families whenever we can."

While Stephen smiled proudly at his boyfriend, Mrs. Marr looked at John in amazement and disbelief, and then looked up at Jim Hundser for confirmation. Jim simply nodded and smiled, "It's true; John is my son and head of the Pacific Rim Division's Intel team. My foster son, Preston is the Director of this entire Division. We will give you work to be proud of and a place to live with your son."

John nodded and said, "All you need to do is relax for tonight. Put the old, bad stuff behind you. Tomorrow, we'll get you a job somewhere. Just tell us where you'd like to work."

Stephen smiled, "Keith said last night that you made the smartest decision ever when you brought me to the Clan. Do you know it too now?"

Mrs. Marr looked around and wondered, "Who is Keith?"

"He's Prez's boyfriend and John's big brother," Stephen happily answered.

"Boyfriends?" Mrs. Marr uncertainly repeated. Stephen nodded and giggled then hugged his mom tight.

John wanted to make sure Stephen wouldn't be hurt by anything his mom might say and performed a deep scan without asking. Amongst the things he learned was that Mrs. Marr was only sixteen when she gave birth to Stephen. Satisfied that the woman was only surprised, John smiled, "We got gays, straights, gorillas, G-Cats, chimps, ferrets, and visiting today, two badgers and two Vulcans!" Unable to logically define John's enthusiasm in the rambling description of his Clan, Joel clapped his hands and loudly laughed.

Over the dining room's loudspeakers, the Terrible Triplets giggled, "Don't forget," "the partridge," "in a," "pear tree!" In the corner of the dining room, well behind where Sean and Troy were still sitting, a potted pear tree materialized with a single partridge sitting on its highest branch. Around the tree, occupying the entire corner almost up to the ceiling was a large cage so the partridge wouldn't escape. The bird had plenty of room to stretch its wings, perches to rest on, water and food.

Mrs. Marr softly asked her son; "You really like it here?"

Stephen nodded and answered, "Yes. These people are really nice, mom. They fed me twice in four hours; they had a doctor check me over; they got me all new clothes, like the stuff I'm wearing. John, Keith and another boy named Troy went out of their way to make me feel less scared. We could have a better life here. Please say we can stay?"

Mrs. Marr squeezed Stephen tightly and answered, "Anything to be able to stay with you."

John was ecstatic. First he sent his dad a short message. 'Dad, can you get Stephen's mom something to eat? She looks like she ain't eaten right in days. She prob'ly needs to see Doc Andrews or Doc Howard too.' Jim Hundser nodded, but held up his index finger, signifying they should wait until Stephen and his mom were ready. John then sent to Stephen, 'Baby? Let my dad show your mom around and get her fed. She's kind of confused and scared, like you were last night. You can tell her about us later tonight. Don't dump it on her now, okay?'

Stephen briefly turned to John, smiled and nodded. Understanding that Stephen was fit to be tied, and that he was going to be on the receiving end of a hug and many kisses very soon, John blushed and giggled. He sent Joel a quick message. 'Umm, Stephen's gonna hug and kiss me as soon as he lets go of his mom. We're gonna start floating and she's gonna freak out! We gotta go someplace, really quick!'

Joel giggled then looked towards his father and smiled, "Daddy, can I give John and Stephen a tour of the Enterprise?" John's mouth dropped open.

Spock nodded understandingly and tapped his comm-badge. "Spock to Kirk."

"A tour of the flagship!" John excitedly squealed. He looked up at his dad and begged, "Please say we can go?"

Jim Hundser chuckled, "I don't see a problem with that. Remember, Jamie, Jacob and Beau are here too though."

Joel said, "It shouldn't take much more than a few hours. We'll be back by dinner time."

Jim nodded, "That's fine."

Stephen softly told his mother, "Get some lunch and a tour of the base, mom. Try not to be scared. Everybody's real nice, even the gorillas. While you're busy, can I go with John and Joel?"

Kathleen Marr kissed her son's cheek and said, "You be safe and hurry back. I've missed you."

Stephen kissed his mom and assured, "I missed you too."

Hesitantly, Stephen and his mother separated, but watched each other until she turned to Jim Hundser saying, "I can barely believe all this. I thought I had failed miserably."

Leading her towards the kitchen, Jim Hundser shook his head and explained the details behind the news stories Kathleen Marr had heard on the radio.

Throwing himself at John, Stephen repeatedly kissed every square inch of his face. Giggling insanely, John held his boyfriend and they slowly rose about a foot off the floor. Once satisfied he had shown sufficient appreciation and left no spot un-kissed, Stephen rested his head on John's shoulder and contentedly sighed.

Spock turned back to his son and said, "Your Uncle James has agreed for a tour to be granted, with a few 'surprises' as well. Orders have been given for Acting Captain Sa'ren Joel Short, Acting Commander Kevin Thompson, and Acting Lieutenant Commanders John Hundser and Stephen Marr to report immediately to the Enterprise and await further instruction from the Admiral." Kevin turned and waved four G-Cats over to act as personal security for Joel.

Joel giggled, pulled Kevin close to his side, and then smiled towards Stephen and John. "Ready, Commanders?"

John, his eyes as wide as an owl's, nodded his head foolishly.

Joel tapped his communicator, "Short to Enterprise, nine to beam up."

"Locked on," came the response, "Acquired... wait. Illegal life form? Excuse me for a moment, Ensign Short."

The kids all looked at each other and shrugged. Joel whispered, "Levi's not with us - he'd trigger that response. John? Do you have antimatter underpants or something?"

John laughed and shook his head. "No," he said, as he realized that Joel couldn't see the head shake. "Just normal boxers."

Stephen giggled, "Plaid cotton. I helped him put them on."

The next voice heard over the comm was that of the most famous Starfleet Engineer John knew about - Captain Scott. "Sa'ren Joel Short!" he barked, "Where in th' Seven Circles of Satan's Spawn did ye' aquire that ungodly creature, laddie?"

Joel's eyebrows raised. "One of what, Unca Monty?"

"That there blasted TRIBBLE! They're all dead! The only good thing those thrice damned Klingons ever did!"

"Ummm... Oh! You have a restriction on Tribbles? Still?" Kevin giggled.


"She won't be a problem, Unk!" Joel said sweetly.

"SHE'LL BREED, an' I'd be defurring the Lady's innards for months!"

"She won't breed. She's controlled."

"She be clipped?"

"Well... no. Not really, but she's controlled. She's a Borg."

"Laddie, have ye been sippin' Romulan Ale? There be no creature I've been made ken to known as Borg."

"I been... no! No... well, not... NO! No drinkies! Never mind, Unk... she's... snipped," Joel sighed, giving up.

Kevin glared at the back of Joel's head. "When did you go drinking Romulan Ale?!"

"Tardis... with Juan... he was a little... squiffy... after..."

"And what about you?"

"I got the biggest hard-on off my life! You enjoyed THAT night, Kevvy!"

John felt Stephen's embarrassment and smiled at his boyfriend, playfully bouncing his eyebrows. 'We've gotta try some of that Romulan Ale, baby. You're plenty big already, but... just wondering.' John and Stephen broke into fits of giggles.

Then Scotty's answer came back, "I'll be trustin' you for this time, Laddie... iff'n I hear whisperin 'bout any nestin' of those creatures in Spock's stateroom, I'll be puttin' you over my knee!"

Joel blinked, then giggled. He knew his Uncle Scotty would never really carry out such a threat. "Can we come up now?"

"Yes... transporting."

Relatively certain that his mom would not be in the apartment, Troy and Sean left the C.I.C. dining room. In the condominium's elevator, Sean and Troy were holding hands. Two hearts were frantically beating. Sean wanted to tell Troy that they didn't really have to do what they were planning, only to reduce any pressure he may have inadvertently applied. He simply couldn't make his mouth speak the words. Troy was wondering what Sean found so attractive about him. Sean had said that he liked him the moment he got up on stage the prior afternoon. What was so appealing, he wondered. Was it his eyes or hair or the clothes he wore or was it something else? But Troy couldn't find the words to express himself without making Sean feel uncomfortable. So he let his mind race off on multiple tangents.

In the auditorium, the four band members were keeping Alden busy while they waited for Troy to join them. Derrick ordered four-foot high risers for his drum kit and had his entire setup placed center stage. Mike ordered an additional Acoustasonic amp and a Bassman amp for Troy. Keith and Corey thought it would be really kewl to have some extra lights behind the drum risers. They wanted to be able to have the appearance of shafts of sunlight back stage. After nine yellow spotlight cans were placed and looked very nice from the audience, they added nine red spotlight cans. Separately the red looked nice too, but then they tried mixing the yellow and red cans to get an orange color. Corey could visualize beginning with the red lights, adding the yellow for orange and then fading out the red for yellow only. Four fog machines were added; one stage left, two center stage under the drum risers and one stage right. High above and forward of the stage, an additional white spotlight was installed for Troy. Prez worked with Alden to prepare a large sign with the band's name. They decided on using an italicized calligraphy font in a bright platinum color against the dark green curtain backdrop.

When Kaleo and Tory walked in the auditorium with dozens of other Rimmer kids in tow, the band were just finishing the new stage setup. Corey was up in the sound and light booth with Drew testing out the new lighting gear. Keith kept his piano and electronic keyboards stage left, and added a Hammond organ. Before the drum risers were the bass amp and Troy's guitar amplifiers. Stage right is where Mike had his guitar amplifiers. Prez ordered a GT-6B bass effects unit. Mike got two GT-6 guitar effects units; one for himself and the other for Troy.

From the stage and down into the audience, Prez loudly asked his kids, "How does it look guys?"

Richie hollered, "It's really kewl, Poppa!"

Gage agreed, "It's sweet!" Dee, Dillon and Sammy nodded their agreement, adding additional remarks.

Up in the booth, Corey still wasn't satisfied. He asked Alden to connect him to Mozart Music. Within a minute, Corey was chatting with Kayla, the woman that he had worked with during the luau Friday night.

Keith wondered, "Where's Troy at, baby?"

Prez grinned, "He's already met Sean."

"Oh great!" Keith knowingly cackled.

"Let's get started without him," Mike suggested. "How about we start with Something's Missing, since there's someone missing."

Outside and in the trees to the south of the schools, Jules and Verne had found the Scoobies. Soon, all the ferrets were gathered with Brian and Sue, Aslan and Shere Khan, Rafe and Lee.

Spike ran up to Sue excitedly shouting, "Lookie! Fat grub! Is this a nice one, Sue?"

Sue popped it into her mouth, and then hugged Spike. "Yeah. Really juicy! Thanks!"

"There's more! There's more! Under the shiny rocks and stones!" Xander yelled.

Aslan and Shere Khan were digging holes in the earth, looking for worms, while Lee and Rafe were getting their heads together to design a super-duper new device to find the best grubs ever. At least, that was Rafe's plan. Lee was simply playing along.

Walking into the apartment, Sean nervously said, "I'm just wondering, you seem to have the larger of the two bedrooms?" He then reprimanded himself; jeez, focus on the bed a little more, why don't ya?

Troy shook his head and, in an uncontrollably shaky voice from being excited and nervous, replied, "Both rooms are the same size. They each have sliding glass doors to the balcony. I get the morning sun and the better views outside." Troy wanted to mention that both rooms had similar beds, but stopped himself. Don't go there, he berated himself. You start talking about beds and you're gonna mess your pants! Yeah, you're already really attached to him, but slow the fuck down!

They went into Troy's bathroom. While Troy searched drawers in the vanity for his new unopened toothbrush, Sean picked up the bottle of mouthwash, opened it and took a quick mouthful from the bottle. Finding the toothbrush and putting it on the vanity counter, Troy then picked up the mouthwash and took a swig. Watching Sean swish the mouthwash around from the mirror, Troy grinned and a little bit of blue mouthwash dribbled out of his mouth. Grabbing the towel quickly, Troy patted his chin dry. Sean spit out his mouthwash then picked up the toothbrush and fumbled with the packaging before finally getting it out. Troy picked up his electric toothbrush and reached for the toothpaste tube. The simple task of unscrewing the top was somehow forgotten though and the unopened tube dropped into the sink. Impatiently rolling his eyes, Troy snatched it like it was alive and might jump from his hand again.

Sean seriously asked, "Are you nervous too?"

Running a squiggly line of paste on the brush, Troy grinned and nodded then handed off the tube and asked, "You are too?"

Sean nodded, "I really don't want to screw this up... you and me, us as a couple, I mean."

"It's not that I'm not ready," Troy tried to explain; "it's just my first time doing anything like this."

"It's not my first time as in first times, but this is way different."

"How so?"

Sean shrugged, "This time I really care," and stuffed the toothbrush in his mouth before he said anything more embarrassing or stupid.

Troy nodded then put his toothbrush in his mouth and turned it on. Rather than watch Sean in the mirror, Troy concentrated on Sean's hand on the vanity. He had nice long fingers with trimmed nails and a little blond hair too. Troy softly ran his fingers along Sean's fingers then slowly up his hand to his wrist. Sean flipped his hand over. When Troy began the process of tracing his fingers again, Sean slowly closed his hand. Troy looked up into Sean's eyes. There was softness there in Sean's dark blue eyes; willingness, but a genuine fear too, it seemed.

In Troy's paler blue eyes, Sean saw something he could only describe as respect. No one had ever really respected him before and it was shocking. He wondered; why would Troy respect me, of all people? There also seemed to be lurking questions in Troy's eyes, all possible questions at once; where, when, how, and why?

Leaving the toothbrush hanging from his mouth, Sean reached for Troy's face and caressed it again. It was a rounder face than his own and, thank goodness, it was a smooth face; the face of a teen boy, not an older man. Troy took a deep breath in through his nose and closed his eyes then pressed his face against Sean's palm. In that one simple action, Sean had a revelation. He trusts me! For the first time, I want to do all those things the gross older men made me do. Does he realize I could spend hours eating him alive? Go slow though this time, Sean told himself. There's no reason to hurry or scare him. I'll take a small step then let him take a step and we'll go back and forth like that.

Troy's eyes opened and he turned off the toothbrush before it wore his teeth down to stubs. Lifting his head off Sean's palm, Troy then leaned forward to spit out the toothpaste and suds in his mouth. While Troy wiped his mouth, Sean spat out the toothpaste in his mouth. Troy offered the towel and Sean took it to wipe his mouth. When Sean put the towel on the sink, Troy moved closer and wrapped his arms around Sean's back, resting his head on Sean's shoulder.

"You're shaking," Sean realized, and held Troy firmly in place.

Troy nodded and softly admitted, "Can't help it. It's so weird. I never thought it could be like this."

"Do you not want to?" Sean whispered, "We don't have to."

"I do want to; just don't know how to."

"For someone that don't know how, you're doing and saying the best things."

Troy giggled, "I'm there already."

Sean wondered, "Where already?"

"I'm falling in love with you."

Those were the most precious few words Sean had ever heard in his life. "I love you too, Troy."

"It's not even been three hours since we met."

"Is there a certain amount of time it should take?"

"I guess not. I just never believed in the possibility."

"Love at first sight?"

"Almost first sight."

"I'd never hurt you or anything."

Looking up into Sean's eyes, Troy smiled, "I know it." Sean softly kissed Troy, just long enough to feel soft lips against his own. Only to try to emulate Sean's kiss, Troy kissed him back. Pulling back, Troy asked, "How was that?"

Sean giggled, "Awesome!"

"I'm just following your example," Troy blushed.

Sean teased, "We could probably do everything we need to here, standing in the bathroom?"

Troy chuckled, "Or we could get more comfortable?" Sean nodded and Troy began pushing Sean backwards out of the bathroom.

Walking backwards, Sean giggled, "What are you doin'?"

Wide eyed, Troy playfully admitted, "I just don't want to let go of you."

Tossing his head back and laughing, Sean realized, "You're not shaking anymore."

"Be afraid," Troy giggled. "Be very afraid."

Stepping into Troy's room, Sean teased, "Of you? Never! Anything you did to me I'd prob'ly like a lot."

Troy laughed, "Kick the door closed, Tiger."

Sean did as Troy instructed and loudly purred then admitted, "I like that name."

Troy softly asked, "Show me a really deep and passionate kiss?"

Sean grinned, "I can do this." Their lips met and Sean snaked his tongue past Troy's lips and into his mouth. Holding Sean tighter, Troy whimpered and Sean desperately groaned. They began breathing through their noses and getting excited. However, they were still standing only a few feet beyond the door and the blinds Troy had opened hours earlier were still open.

When they finally broke apart, Troy gasped, "Oh Jeez! That was incredible!" Sean couldn't help giggling at Troy's enthusiasm. Troy then gathered his self control and softly smiled, "Gimme a minute, okay?" Sean nodded and watched Troy race from the sliding doors to the window, closing the blinds. Exactly why Troy was worried about the windows fifty feet up, Sean wasn't sure, but then he remembered the balcony. Troy then closed his guitar case, snapped the latches and put it on the floor. Lastly, Troy crawled onto his bed and patted the mattress for Sean to join him, saying, "My turn to try that out." Smiling widely, Sean sat on the bed by the headboard and pulled his feet up. Troy crawled over his boyfriend and landed the kiss he'd always dreamed of. This time, Sean briefly whimpered and pulled on Troy to have him eventually squatting across his lap. Breaking the kiss, Troy slid his face over Sean's shoulder and sighed, "Oh man! We ain't done diddly yet, but I feel all kinds o' crazed."

Sean nodded and breathlessly admitted, "It's all way different for me too, now that I actually love who I'm kissing."

Troy softly said, "Tell me something. Why me?"

"I don't even really know," Sean honestly replied. "I guess it's everything about you combined. Your brown hair with blond highlights really looks kewl, but that was only the first thing. On stage yesterday, you just caught my interest. Now that I know you, it's even more intense than it was yesterday. I can barely wait for tomorrow."

Troy then softly admitted, "Before I got on stage, I was scoping out the guys in the band." Sean softly chortled and Troy said, "You got them beat now." He then whispered, "I love you and think you're way hot."

Sean took that as a signal and carefully groped Troy's erection through his shorts. Troy gasped and his entire body lurched. "I'm sorry," Sean sincerely said. "I'm rushing it again, ain't I?"

Troy shook his head and said, "Just a shock. No one's ever touched my dick when it's hard before except me." He then grinned, "Touch it again?"

Sean whispered, "I love you, Troy," then more gently pressed his hand against the front of Troy's shorts. Sean watched Troy's facial expressions. Since he was obviously enjoying it more, Sean softly asked, "Can I see it?" Troy nodded, so Sean deftly unbuttoned the shorts with one hand. He then slid his fingers inside Troy's shorts to protect against accidental snagging then used his other hand to lower the zipper. Seeing his boyfriend's circumcised erection for the first time, Sean looked up and smiled, "Nice, really nice."

"Ya think so?"

Sean nodded, "I've seen tiny ones and real big ones. Yours is perfect, really."

Troy blushed, "God! You're so sweet! Who could've possibly ever taken advantage of you?"

"The slime of the Earth," Sean plainly answered.

Troy smiled, "Never again, Tiger." He then deliberately added, "You are all mine."

Glancing away shyly, Sean mumbled, "I really hope so."

Troy lifted Sean's chin softly saying, "Hey, I haven't had many friends, never mind someone I could call a best friend, until today. I really do care for you that much." He stole a quick, tender kiss then lifted Sean's arms to remove his shirt. Tossing it aside, Troy then removed his own shirt and carelessly flung it over his shoulder, causing Sean to giggle. Rolling off to the side of Sean, Troy pulled his shorts off. Returning to lay beside Sean and cuddling up close, Troy smiled, "Can I see your dick?" Sean nodded and Troy went to work on the boardies drawstring and Velcro. Seeing the size of Sean's uncircumcised erection, Troy softly gasped, "My God!"

Covering his eyes, Sean giggled, "I know. I'm surprised you didn't feel it."

"I did, but... what the hell do I know how a hard dick feels against my thigh? The good Lord gave you an extra helping."

"It's too much, isn't it?"

Troy looked up into Sean's eyes and seriously assured, "It's part of you. I didn't fall in love with your dick. I fell in love with the way you've acted and talked the last few hours." Troy then briefly looked down before smiling up at Sean and cackling, "This is one big bonus!" Feeling his face flushing again, Sean giggled and realized he hadn't smiled so often in years. Troy shared, "Yesterday, I was afraid to get on stage. If I hadn't, you wouldn't have wanted to meet me. I mean, talk about your life changes. I go from shy lonely gay boy to having a very well equipped boyfriend in a day."

Sean grinned, "It's not always like that."

Troy loudly laughed, "I would hope not!"

Sean cracked up then chuckled, "I mean it's barely more than a chubby for most dudes. You make my dick this hard, Troy."

Kissing Sean's belly quickly, Troy then looked up and giggled, "Ya know, when we walked in the house, I had a thousand questions, wondering why you like me. I'm just gonna count my blessings and shut the hell up."

"You really liked being with me all this time?"

"Hell yeah, I did! What's just as much fun, to me anyway, is talking with you. All those men that were after your dick should've done what I did; they should have gotten to know you first. I've seen you bashful and shy, serious and silly, with other kids at the dining room, pool and diving well. You're really a sweet person. I'm proud to call you my boyfriend."


Troy nodded, "I'm so proud I want you to have dinner here with me and my mom."

Sean worried, "What if she don't like me?"

"That's her problem," Troy stubbornly said. "Anyway, I know she'll like you. And you know what else?"


"Just cuddling like this is fantastic."

"Yeah, it really is."

"Ya wanna spend the night here?"

"Isn't that gonna push your mom over the edge?"

"I really don't think so. She knows I'm gay and has been pushing me out of my shell."

Sean grinned, "You're out now!"

Evilly cackling, Troy tugged on one leg of Sean's boardies and admitted, "I've never seen blond pubes before either. Yours are especially nice."

Sean giggled, "What makes mine so nice?"

"Two things; they're yours and they're blond. Now lift your ass so I can get these shorts off of you!" Sean roared laughing and raised his butt. After removing Sean's shorts and tossing them on the floor, Troy settled down close to Sean again and kissed him. "I have one other question, being a virgin and all."

Sean giggled, "What's that?"

Troy whispered, "I wanna play with your dick, but I really don't want to hurt you."

"Why would you think it would hurt?"

"It's uncut. Isn't it more sensitive?"

"The foreskin is, but it'll stretch pretty far in both directions before it hurts. It also adds some really good feelings." Sean then scooted down and demonstrated on Troy's dick what feels really good. Apprehensively, Troy copied Sean's actions. Sean sighed then whispered, "That's real nice." Their faces moved closer and they kissed once again.

Almost an hour and half after Platinum Habits arrived at the auditorium and thirty minutes after they began practicing, Troy and Sean walked in carrying saxophones, several pocketed harmonicas, a recorder and two guitars. The band was playing Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Mike was singing lead vocals with Keith backing him up. Corey was trying out the new laser lights he had Alden deliver and install; red and blue beams of light were dancing around the stage and out onto the ceiling of the audience area. Already more than pleased with each other, Troy and Sean were thrilled with the new stage setup and lights. At the front of the stage, Troy slid his guitar cases up and Sean slid the two saxophone cases onto the edge of the stage. The two boys then turned to each other, hugged tightly and kissed deeply; causing a stir of giggles in the audience that couldn't be heard over the music.

Leaning closer to Sean, Troy said, "Don't you go anywhere."

Sean replied into Troy's ear, "Never! We're going back to your place after this?"

Troy nodded and giggled then let go of Sean. Heading up on stage, Troy waited near the stage corner for the song's end so he wouldn't interrupt. Out in the audience, Sean found Horacio and parked himself next to his roomie. Horacio leaned close and said, "I left you around ten-thirty and now it's quarter of two. The ten minutes has passed!"

Blushing fiercely, Sean nodded and laughed.

Horacio grinned, "Give it up, bro! What've you been doing all that time?"

Sean shrugged, leaned closer and replied, "Talking mostly."

"You're so full of shit!" Horacio laughed.

Sean assured, "It's true," and then answered, "What I'll never have to ask you to do again."

Horacio repeated, "Never again?"

Sean nodded and said, "Thanks for the shove," then held up his clenched fist. The two boys knocked knuckles then settled back to watch the band.

When the band finished the song, Troy walked across the stage. Keith caught up with him and knocked knuckles. Prez then shook his hand and congratulated him. Derrick came down off the risers and knocked knuckles. Still wearing an electric guitar and wanting to avoid shocks, Mike simply smiled and offered his congratulations and a rain check for more later.

Troy waved his arm and commented on how great the stage looked and that the laser light show was especially kewl.

Keith said, "We've got you all set, dude."

Mike pointed at the two amps before the drum riser and said, "One of each dude; one for your acoustic and one for the electric."

Troy gushed, "I can't believe you guys got me a 50th Anniversary Stratocaster."

"Sweet!" Mike chirped.

Troy nodded, "It's got the most beautiful grain pattern I've ever seen."

"That's kewl," Prez smiled. "Let's work on 'Urgent' and 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond' first."

Troy said, "I'm ready, but can I ask a favor?"

"Sure, dude," Keith quickly said.

Troy asked, "Do you guys know The Moody Blues song, The Story In Your Eyes?"

Keith nodded, "Yeah, excellent tune too."

"We've never played it as a band before though," Derrick admitted.

Troy explained, "I played it for Sean this morning. I think Keith or Derrick should sing the lead vocals, but Sean wants me to sing it. Can we try it out, for Sean?"

Everyone enthusiastically nodded and Prez grinned, "You guys have really fallen for each other?"

Troy giggled, "He's so great! Where I'm weak he seems stronger and where he's less strong, I take over." He paused and noticed four wide smiles then blushed, "I'm trippin'?"

"Abso-tively!" Mike cheered.

Patting Troy's back, Keith assured, "We all know the feeling, dude."

Prez said, "We've got a vocal mic for you, and clip-on mics for the saxophones."

Derrick instructed, "Get the tenor sax out dude. Let's play 'Urgent' first." When everyone agreed, Derrick went back up to his drums.

Troy got his sax out and checked the tuning against the piano. He then clipped the microphone to the bell and grinned, "It's wireless too?"

"Prez, you and me are wireless now," Mike smiled. "Since Derrick and Keith are pretty much locked in place, the three of us can move around to keep the audience boppin' and hoppin'."

Through the stage monitors, Drew asked Troy for a quick sound check to set the level on the tenor sax. Troy played briefly and then Drew chirped, "Kewl, bro."

Platinum Habits and Troy ran through Urgent with Troy playing saxophone, and Shine On You Crazy Diamond with Troy playing his new Stratocaster and then the saxophone solo. They then played Stairway to Heaven, with Troy playing the opening flute part on the recorder and then switching to acoustic guitar. Keith easily handled the lead vocals. At the end of the song, while the audience was clapping and cheering, Drew's voice came over the stage monitors. "YEAH! That's how that song should sound live!"

The band then played Hoochie Coochie Man, with Troy providing an excellent blues harmonica solo. Keith played his keyboard solo on the new Hammond organ then Mike played a completely different solo than he had played the prior day. In front of the stage and before the first row of seats, Kaleo and Tory began dirty dancing together. The band then taught Troy a few of their favorite cover tunes that really required his rhythm guitar and background vocals. They played, Never My Love, Starrider, I'd Love To Change the World, Time Of The Season and Traces. Hearing more songs from Friday night's concert, sounding every bit as good with Troy, many of the original kids got enthused and began telling the newbies about that night. When the final song ended to more applause, Prez moved closer to Troy and asked, "You wanna sing lead vocals on 'The Story In Your Eyes'?"

Troy nodded, "This time, for Sean. If I suck, then Keith or Derrick could easily take it."

Keith walked up to the nearest microphone and said, "Drew? Only the stage monitors for a few minutes please, bro?"

Over the monitors, Drew replied, "The main faders are down, dudes."

Troy checked his guitar's tuning against the piano then they began rehearsing 'The Story In Your Eyes'. Mike began with the introduction and Troy joined in. Then Prez, Derrick and Keith joined in turn.

In the audience, Sean leaned closer and told Horacio; "Troy played this same song for me earlier."

"Was it any good?"

Sean grinned, "The song?"

Horacio shoved him and laughed, "Of course the song!"

Sean giggled, "He played the song perfectly. He sang to me in his bedroom." Horacio began mooing. Sean cackled then leaned closer and whispered, "For the first time in my life, I want to take him to the stars and back again, but he's a virgin."

"Was a virgin," Horacio softly corrected. He then wondered, "What's the problem?"

Sean rolled his eyes and asked, "What part of virgin didn't you understand?"

"Oh!" Horacio said a little too loudly. He then softly asked, "You know what you need to do then?" Sean shrugged, so Horacio explained, "Let him take you to the stars and back again."

Sean grinned, "Just the way he talks to me, he kind o' already has. He trusts and respects me. It's an amazing feeling."

"You know what I mean."

"I know. It's not a problem for me. I'll prob'ly be a problem for him though."

Shaking his head sadly, Horacio asked, "Why are you worried about it?"

"I just don't ever want to hurt him," Sean replied.

"Time bro. He'll let you know when he's ready." Horacio then had an idea and asked, "Would you say Troy's hung average?"

Sean shook his head and replied, "More than average, judging by what I've seen of men. I'd guess close to seven inches long and at least five inches around."

Horacio smiled, "I'll take care of everything," and then stood up.

Sean nervously wondered, "Where are you going?"

"Trust me," Horacio replied, and then shuffled down the row to the aisle and hurried to Kaleo. Horacio and Kaleo chatted for about a minute then Kaleo tapped his sub-vocal. The band were working on their harmonies and singing along with only Troy's acoustic guitar accompaniment. Horacio began walking back up the aisle. However, before Horacio arrived, three wrapped boxes appeared in the seat Horacio had been sitting in. Shuffling back down the row of seats again, Horacio grinned and sat on the other side of Sean.

Pointing at the boxes, Sean asked, "What are these?"

Horacio looked over at the boxes and answered, "Presents, from you to Troy."

Sean groaned then asked, "What've you done?"

"I'm helping you, dude!"

Almost afraid to ask, Sean eventually wondered, "What's in the boxes?"

"One is a box of chocolates."

Sean smiled, "Awesome! Thanks!"

Leaning closer, Horacio whispered, "The other two are dildos, with lube and condoms in each box. I asked for three; a five by four, a seven by five, and the last one is just like you, nine by six. You guys can play with 'em together."

Sean excitedly croaked, "Dude! I might as well say, 'I'm lookin' forward to fucking you!'"

"No," Horacio sang. "What you are saying is, 'I love you and want to play with you.' Give him the chocolates and the small box tonight. I'll take the other box back to our dorm room. You can give it to him whenever you're ready."

Satisfied that they had the vocals down and were ready, Keith waved both his arms and loudly said, "Crank it up, Drew."

"Kewl," Drew replied, "Let's hear it."

Sean shook his head and giggled, "I'm gonna smack you so friggin' hard!"

Quickly covering his mouth, Horacio cracked up and slid down into this seat, completely hysterical.

Derrick counted off then Mike began playing his electric guitar and Troy came in with his twelve-string acoustic right after Mike. Prez's bass and Derrick's drums came in followed by Keith's piano part. Finding Sean out in the audience, Troy stepped up to the microphone and sang emotionally, as if Sean was the only person in the audience.

Horacio leaned over and grinned, "He's singing to you again, dude."

Feeling an intense shiver race up his spine, Sean nodded and smiled, "I know it." Then he got up and walked down the aisle. Stopping at the first row of seats, Sean stood, proudly watching and listening to his boyfriend. Dillon, Geoff and Richie looked over and up at Sean. They looked up at Troy, noticing that he was only looking at Sean and all three little guys began giggling.

The song ended with five voices singing through the repeated main riff then everything ended sharply. Sean began clapping and cheering. Having just heard the original recording with Troy only a few hours earlier, Sean thought the band played the song perfectly and his new boyfriend had done an outstanding job. Out in the audience, Horacio stood and clapped, prompting everyone to get on their feet. Soon, almost everyone was standing and cheering.

Mike and Prez put their guitars back on their stands. Keith, Derrick, Mike and Prez surrounded Troy and congratulated him. Prez smiled, "You sing like that all the time?"

Taking his guitar off, Troy blushed, "This time was a bit more special."

"We could tell!" Mike laughed.

"All lingering questions have been answered," Derrick smiled, "You're in the band now, dude"

Glancing around at the others, Troy squealed, "Really?"

At Troy's obvious surprise, Keith chuckled, "You play guitar, harmonica, keys, recorder and sax and you can sing too. You're in."

Prez nodded, "An added extra, you know enough music theory so we can share stuff quick and easy."

Mike chanted, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck."

At the edge of the stage on the audience floor and behind Troy, Sean began laughing.

Stepping forward and giving Troy a hug, Mike giggled, "Someone's waiting for you," then stepped back.

Glancing over his shoulder briefly, Troy blushed, "We're done for today?"

"We're done for now," Derrick corrected. "If things don't get too whacky tonight, we'll play more then."

Prez nodded then told Troy, "We've got some Clan stuff to deal with. We'll be back about six."

Keith offered, "I'll have Alden transport your instruments back to your condo."

Troy grinned, "Don't bother, it's kewl. It gives him an excuse to come home with me." Turning red again, he then helplessly cackled, "And me an excuse to be alone with him some more."

Smiling widely, the four Clan leaders playfully sang, "Excuses, excuses!"

"Gotta love 'em!" Troy loudly laughed.

Patting Troy on the shoulder, Prez smiled, "We'll leave you two to pack up your gear." Keith, Mike and Derrick then walked across the stage and down the steps with Prez following. They each offered their congratulations to Sean then got their kids and started up the aisle.

Troy waved Sean up onto the stage. Sean hurried up the steps. Troy met him and they hugged tightly then kissed deeply. Troy pulled back, tilted his head and smirked, "You're excited?"

Sean nodded and giggled, "You sang to me again, in front of everybody."

Troy provocatively mooed then rested his head on Sean's shoulder. "I can't believe this day!" Troy excitedly gushed. "First you, then us and now I'm part of a band!"

"There's only one more thing to do," Sean reminded.

Troy softly assured, "Don't worry about my mom, Tiger. I know she's gonna like you."

Sean sighed, "I'm just worried about my past, ya know? She may not like that."

Hugging Sean tighter, Troy explained his perspective a little. "She took a job with Clan Short. She has to know a lot of these kids have been abused. In New Jersey, she had a similar job working with special needs kids. If it worried her at all, she wouldn't have accepted the job in the first place. For weeks she's been pushing me to get out more and do stuff. That's simply not me, Sean. I'm a musician..."

"A really good one too," Sean interrupted.

After another tight squeeze and an appreciative kiss, Troy stepped back saying, "What matters is us, you plus me. Your past is over and done. You'll see, my mom's gonna think the same things I did." Troy then began packing up his saxophone and instructed, "Take the strap off my guitar please?"

Sean nodded and went to Troy's guitar. He soon figured out how to take the strap off and wondered, "What did you first think of me?"

Blushing and giggling, Troy honestly replied, "Cute. A little shy. Dressed nice."

"In boardies and a T-shirt?" Sean giggled.

Taking the wireless device off his acoustic guitar, Troy nodded, "Yep, that's what I thought. Was it so different for you yesterday?"

Sean shrugged, "I guess not."

Placing his guitar back in its case, Troy said, "We had a good start. It's gonna get even better."

"Like how?"

"Right off the top of my head; neither of us is alone wishing for someone; next, you'll get me out of the house and by the pool; also, I'll get you more interested in music, which means you'll eventually be asking me to learn your favorite songs."

Sean nodded and smiled, "All good stuff so far."

With his gear packed, Troy went to him and reached for his hands, "What about going out on dates? What about slow dancing together? What about rainy afternoons just watching TV or playing games?"

Sean slyly grinned, "What kind of games?"

Moving closer, Troy whispered, "All kinds." The lights in the auditorium began turning off and Troy smiled, "Let's get out of here before they leave us in the dark."

"That's not such a bad thing either," Sean teased.

Troy laughed and picked up his saxophone cases. Sean grabbed the guitar cases and the recorder. As they started off the stage, Troy reminded, "It'll be another few hours before my mom gets home." He then joked, "Whatever shall we do?"

Sean roared laughing then remembered the gifts still waiting where he and Horacio left them. He worried if Horacio remembered to bring the one larger box back to the dorm. Approaching the area where he was sitting, Sean said, "Just a minute," and began searching the rows of seats as he slowly walked by.

"What are you looking for?" Troy wondered. "Did you lose something?"

Sean turned and grinned, but didn't reply. Eventually seeing the two boxes, Sean put the guitars down then shuffled down the row. He picked them up and turned around. Seeing two smartly wrapped boxes with ribbons and bows, Troy's jaw dropped. "These are for you," Sean simply said, and held out the packages.

Speechless, Troy put the saxophones down and wiped happy tears from his eyes. He took the boxes, sniffled and stammered, "I... can't... believe you... got me presents. When? How?"

Sean shrugged, "Horacio and me were talking. He went to Kaleo and a minute later, presents appeared. I guess it was Daileass." Carefully placing the boxes down on his baritone sax case, Troy then gave Sean a rib cracking hug. Sean grunted then giggled, "You ain't even opened them yet!"

Troy cheered, "It don't matter. You got me presents!" then kissed Sean hard and deep. Breaking the kiss and resting his head on Sean's shoulder, Troy giggled, "You're trying to impress me and my mom, aren't you?" Sean only laughed. Troy playfully sang, "It's working!"

Now standing in a mostly darkened auditorium with only a few dimmed lights above and the little L.E.D. tracks outlining the aisle, Sean whispered, "I really do love you, Troy. I only hope you like them."

"I already do," Troy assured. Opening his eyes and sighing, Troy realized they were in the dark. Stepping back, Troy anxiously chuckled, "I can't wait to get these home and opened. What did you do?"

Picking up the guitars and smaller sax case, Sean hummed then giggled. He could only hope that Horacio's ideas weren't going too far too fast. Troy picked up the other sax case and the two gift boxes.

Outside the auditorium, Madeline Hupp stopped Prez to ask if she could order commercial grade laundry carts for each of the dormitories, the pool house and the indoor rec center. She explained that more kids were moving into the dorms. Gathering and separating laundry would soon become an issue. Surprised that the housekeepers didn't have all the equipment required, Prez asked what was needed. He immediately had Alden acquire and deliver everything Madeline had asked for; including ten and twenty bushel laundry carts adequate for bedding, clothes and towels. Everything was delivered to the housekeeping rooms at the dorms, pool house and rec center.

At the C.I.C. conference room, the Core Rimmers had gathered and were waiting for instructions about their phaser training. Everyone was more than a bit disappointed they hadn't stuck around for a tour of the Enterprise. And it was obvious that the tour was taking longer than expected, because John wasn't with them for the phaser training that he was looking forward to.

Juan walked into the conference room on the Hawaii base with a grin on his face. Holding his hand was his son, Tumelo. His son. He still could not get over that fact; he had a son. For a moment, he dwelled on the idea of how much he personally had changed in the last few days since the little boy had been around. Everything seemed so different when he had to think about this little boy, and how everything he did would affect him. For a moment, he flashed back to his conversation with the boy less than an hour ago.

Watching his son play with some small cars on the floor of his room, Juan grinned and called, "Tumelo?"

The boy jumped to his feet, ran over to Juan and jumped into his arms. After a very wet kiss that the boy had placed on his cheek, Tumelo almost melted into Juan's chest and purred, "What's up daddy?"

Juan couldn't help basking in the feelings coming from the boy for a brief moment before he found his voice. "I gotta head over to Hawaii and train some of their guys in gun use. You wanna come with? I know they got a lot of kids your age, and the pool looked cool."

"Sure!" Tumelo exclaimed, but then got serious for a moment, or at least as serious as a five year old can get. "You mean you don't want me to learn about guns and stuff?"

Juan hugged the boy close to him trying to figure out what to say. For the first time in his life, Juan had something that was even more important than his guns. Yes, he had Koth and Joel and his family, but they didn't interfere with his love of guns. Tumelo though, it really made him rethink a lot of things he 'knew'. "What I want is for you to do what you want to do. If you wanna learn about guns, I'll teach you. If you wanna go to Hawaii and just play around with the other kids, that'll make me happy too. It's up to you."

"Maybe later," Tumelo said softly into Juan's chest.

"As I said, whenever you want." Juan said, squeezing his boy tighter for a second, and then suddenly he drove his fingers into the boy's side. Tumelo started to howl in laughter. Five minutes later, Juan finished the tickle torture, and got them both ready to go.

"Hey Juan!" He heard a voice say, and it brought him out of his musings. Looking over, Juan saw Prez starting to stand up out of his chair in welcome. A quick glance showed that everyone that was supposed to be there was in fact there.

"Hey guys. Before we begin, I wanna introduce my son, Tumelo. Tumelo, this is Keith, Prez, Mike, Derrick, Drew, Corey and Kaleo." Juan said pointing out each person as he named them. Shyly, Tumelo buried himself into Juan's side while trying to hide behind the bigger boy; however, he did give a small wave, and a barely audible "Hi."

After the normal greetings were made, Juan looked at Prez. "You mind if he goes out and plays with the other little ones? He needs some time to learn how to be a kid again."

Not knowing until now that Juan was a father, Prez smiled, "Not at all, Juan."

"Cool." Juan then turned and knelt in front of Tumelo. "Why don't you head on outside and see what you can't get into. You know how to recognize the security guys, so if you have any problems, just find one of them, okay?"

"Sure thing, Daddy." Tumelo said as he scampered towards the door. He stopped, turned around, and gave a shy wave to everyone before darting out the door.

Moving to the front of the room, Juan said, "Okay, let's get this show on the road. Hey Daileass, can you teleport my table in here. It should fit right behind me.

"Sure thing, boss man." Daileass giggled. Juan looked a little perturbed. Behind Juan a table appeared holding a variety of weapons, both ballistic and energy based; some assembled, some not.

"Okay, before we get started, I know you guys have been real busy lately, and who knows when something will happen, so if you guys agree, why don't we move the first part of this class into my mind. It'll save us a lot of time, and make things easier as I can set things up there in a way that will help. I don't know if you guys know or not, but the UNIT telepaths have many rules regarding what we can do with our powers and what we can't. One of the biggest rules is no using our powers on people unless they have done something wrong, without their permission. So I'm asking your permission to bring you all into my head for the book part of the training."

After getting agreement from everyone, Juan closed his eyes while sitting down. Next thing they knew, they were all in a close copy of the room, but they all knew they were in Juan's mindscape.

Juan let them look around for a moment as he knew this was a relatively new experience for many of them to be inside someone's mind. While he tried to copy the room exactly, he knew there were minor differences based on how he saw things, as opposed to how they saw the same thing.

"Okay, let's get going. The first thing you guys need to know about is the different levels that one can be trained in within the Clan. During our time in the Tardis, J.J., Riti and I came up with the different levels of training that one could go through. First off, there are two different classes that we teach to non-military personnel. The first is ballistic style weapons, and the second in energy based."

After making sure that they understood everything so far, Juan started talking again. "There are five levels to each class. Level one is standard Starfleet training in one or the other. This one will give you the certification to carry and use a weapon.

The second is Clan standard training. It builds off what is standard for Starfleet, and builds on that to give people a broader spectrum of knowledge in not only the weapon style they want, but also the basics of the other. In other words, you guys all want to know energy based weapons. If you go level two, then you will also get to know the basics of ballistic.

Waiting to make sure they all understood so far, Juan hid the smirk that on the verge of showing. He knew that all of them were surprised by how serious he was being. He liked keeping people on their toes, and this was one of his favorite ways of doing it. Not to mention, when it came to gun safety, he was religious about it, and he expected the same from everyone he trained.

"The third level is what the Military members would receive. Your basic UNIT security members have level three training in either ballistic or energy. And since they are level three in one, they are classed as level two in the other. With me so far?"

Getting nods from everyone, Juan continued, "Level four is expert level. That is the level that some of the normal military members have, but all of the hybrids are trained to, as well as all the personal security forces. The final level, level five, is the instructor level. Currently there are less than ten instructors within the clan, but that is slowly growing." Again he paused to make sure they were with him, and seeing all of them nod, he went on. "My question to you all is simple. I need each of you to personally decide and then tell me what level you wish to train to."

Prez turned to his teammates saying, "We each need at least level two. Does anyone want to go beyond that?" Keith, Corey and Drew shook their heads. Mike and Derrick checked with each other.

Mike said, "Once I get level two, I may want to go to level three or higher."

Derrick grinned, "I might go as far as level three."

Kaleo added, "I'm thinking the same as Mike and Derrick. After level two, maybe level three. I'll decide if I need to go further than three after passing that course."

Prez turned to Juan saying, "Level two for now. If or when Kaleo, Mike and Derrick decide to go further, they'll contact you, Juan."

Juan nodded with a grin. "I'm glad you all picked at least level two. To be honest, had you picked level one, I would have just had some Starfleet schmuck come and train you."

Prez and many of the Core Rimmers chuckled. Prez then wondered, "You don't think too much of level one Starfleet standard, obviously. Is there a reason why?"

After letting the laughter die down, Juan once again seriously said, "Yeah, there is Prez. JJ, Riti and I agree that the biggest difference between level one and level two is this; level one gives you the training to use a weapon, but does not make sure you will use it. I know this may sound strange coming from me, but it's great to know how to use one, but knowing when to, and especially when not to use a weapon in more important. Even more important than that, is knowing that you can use it if needed. It's one thing to say that you can grab one of these," he reached behind himself, and pulled out a standard hand phaser, showing it to the group. "It's great to say you can use one of these, but it's totally different when you have to sight down on a living breathing person, and make the decision that it is time for their life to end. It should never be an easy decision; however, it must be one that can be made in an instant."

Juan watched for a moment, as each one of the Rimmers was lost in their own thoughts. Finally Juan spoke again. This time his voice was soft and held a level of care and concern that they hadn't heard from him before. "I know none of you may believe this, but I do know what's going through your minds right now. I am sure since you all started up in the Clan you have had times where you've thought to yourself that you would like to kill the fucker that hurt some of the kids you've gotten to know. I am sure by now you have heard about some of what these kids have had to endure just to survive to this point, and you wanna make someone pay for it. I know very well what that is like."

He paused for a moment letting all take in what he had said. "However, when it comes time to actually pull the trigger it's another matter all together. Obviously, killing someone is a last resort. Most of the time, you can get away with just a show of force. If that doesn't work, then you can try to stun them. However, if that does not work, you must be willing to kill to protect your family and yourself. As I said, it should never be easy, but you must be willing to do it. Also know that if you ever have to do it, if you ever have to actually kill someone, as soon as it is safe to do so, you will be required to sit down and talk to one of the Clan shrinks or submit to a Vulcan mind-meld. It's a rule that I personally put into place because out of everyone, I know better what it is like to have to do it. Trust me, it never gets easier, nor should it. You will need to talk to someone about it. If you don't it will fester inside of you, until it hurts... hurts in ways you cannot even dream of."

He saw each of the boys lost in thought, and let them be that way for a bit before he brought them out of it. "However, that is the main reason why I will not train less than level two. Since the clan has telepaths, we use them. Before you are done with me, you will have faced scenarios that will test what I teach you, but more importantly, they will make sure you understand when to use force, how much to use, and if you can make the killing shot."

Seeing that all the Rimmers were okay with what Juan had said so far, he launched into his training. For what the boys thought were the next several hours, Juan went through and taught them the different pieces and parts of not just the standard phaser, but also the phaser rifle. Once he was done with that, he taught them all the basics of the hand gun, and the smaller and easier of the rifles. By the time he was done, each of the boys could take apart and put back together all the weapons they were being trained in.

Done with his training, and confident that the boys knew what they were doing, at least as far as the book knowledge was concerned, Juan stated, "Okay, now here's the question. Do you guys wanna head over to the firing range now, or wait till tomorrow?"

Prez checked with his team again. "I don't know about you guys, but I'd like to get out of the classroom and into the sun."

Keith asked, "Will the firing range be in your mind or the real thing, Juan?"

"Real thing. We'll head over to the UNIT's Rapid Response Base. I got full firing ranges set up there for both ballistic and energy weapons."

"Get me out under the Day Shiny!" Mike cheered. Laughing and giggling, everybody nodded and agreed.

Everyone was laughing as Juan let them out of his mind. Before they really knew anything else, they found themselves standing just outside of Juan's firing range. For the next half hour, Juan went over the safety regulations that they had to observe while on the range, and then went through how to properly use the range. After he was satisfied, he spent the next two hours acting as range boss for the seven boys.

Having completed level one and much of the level two training, all which remained for the next afternoon was running through some of the level two scenarios Juan had prepared. Juan and the seven Core Rimmers transported back to Ewa Beach, just beyond the pool. Tumelo saw his father approaching and ran towards him. Prez and Keith spent time playing with their boys. Mike and Derrick went with their boys to find the Scooby Gang. Corey and Drew found Geoff and Lenny together once again.

In Troy's bedroom, Sean was sitting on the bed, vigilantly watching his boyfriend open the larger of the two boxes. Troy took the ribbon and bow off then put them aside as mementos, so he would always remember Sean and the day. Ripping past the wrapping, Troy gushed, "Chocolates! Ghirardelli Chocolates! I've never seen a box of chocolates this big before!" He then looked at Sean and giggled, "I hope you're gonna help me eat all these? If I try, I'll turn into one big zit!"

Sean grinned, "Give some to your mom too. It can only help."

Opening the box, Troy smirked, "I hope you're kidding."

Sean shrugged, "Only partly. After today, she's lost her son."

Troy giggled, "You got that right!" He then sat nearer to Sean and offered him a piece of candy.

Glancing around the box, Sean mumbled, "I never had these before. Which is what kind?"

Flipping over the box lid, Troy said, "I like chocolate covered cherries. Do you like 'em?" Sean shrugged because he really didn't know, but then thought of something and sniggered. Soon, Sean was giggling uncontrollably and trying desperately to not laugh aloud. Troy smiled and innocently wondered, "What's so funny? Haven't you ever had a chocolate... covered... CHERRY?" Putting the box aside, Troy threw himself at Sean and laughed, "Are you implying that I'm a cherry?"

Falling back to the mattress and becoming hysterical, Sean laughed, "Compared to me? YEAH!"

Troy quickly discovered that Sean was very ticklish. While he straddled his boyfriend and his hands flew from Sean's belly to his armpits, Troy laughed, "I'm from New Jersey! There's more sex and violence on the news every night there than at midnight porn theaters anywhere else!"

"I'm sorry!" Sean laughed and frantically tried to block Troy's hands. "It's just that you never did anything before today!" Troy stopped his attack and squinted. Sean helplessly giggled, "I'm glad it wasn't a box of only chocolate covered cherries. I'd be a dead man."

Huffing playfully, Troy rolled off his boyfriend and picked up the smaller box. Unwrapping the box and placing the bow aside again, Troy evilly gleamed, "Believe me Tiger; I'm just as horny as the next guy. I'm into all the same stuff as any other gay teenager."

Catching his breath and sitting up again, Sean watched Troy open the second box and admitted, "I'm really glad to hear that."

Seeing the dildo in the box, Troy snorted then laughed, "You nut!" Pulling the plastic encased toy out of the box, Troy blushed and giggled, "Is there a message in this that I might have missed?"

Smiling widely at Troy's reaction, Sean honestly answered, "Just one."

Still softly sniggering, Troy wondered, "And that is?"

Relieved, Sean sighed. He pulled Troy down with and onto him on the mattress. He then caressed Troy's face and shared, "What I felt for you two hours ago or this morning has doubled and doubled again. I don't ever want to hurt you like I was hurt. I was so worried you'd take the dildo the wrong way and get angry. Hearing you laugh about it made all the difference. I just don't want you worrying about my size, ya know?"

After laughing so hard for so long, Troy's heart melted. He shifted himself completely onto Sean and tenderly kissed him. Making eye contact, Troy warmly smiled, "I know what you mean about the feeling doubling every few hours. I feel it too. Sex is important, but it's not what matters most to me. It's this feeling inside that just keeps getting stronger and stronger. While sex is intense, it's nothing compared to this feeling.

"What more can I say, Sean? Really, you seem to get so worried over stuff. How can I make you feel better?"

Tilting his head from side to side, Sean softly said, "I don't know. I guess stuff that worries you worries me even more."

"Okay," Troy began, "That gives me something to go on. I'm not worried at all about introducing you to my mom. I know she's gonna love you because I do. It's really not something you need to worry about at all. Does that help?"

Sean asked, "Your mom won't care about my past?"

"She prob'ly won't even ask you about it," Troy quickly answered. "I'm pretty sure she'll ask me when she and I are alone." He then thought carefully and softly asked, "What scares you so much about your past?"

Sean explosively sighed and wished he could turn away, simply so he could say what he needed and wanted to without Troy's beautiful eyes peering into his own. "I'm gonna tell you the truth, okay?" Troy nodded and Sean said, "I wasn't even ten before some man was sucking my dick. It was only a few days later, a different man was fingering my asshole. Not too long after that, I was getting fucked almost daily. On occasion, some men wanted me to fuck them, but rarely was I hard enough to actually do it. To me, sex is just an act that so happens to feel good. For the first time, today I felt real love and it was from you. It was there when you had me looking out the windows. It was there when you played and sang for me, both times. At the pool, it was still there. It was there again when we were naked together. There was something in your expressions while we were jackin' each other off that I had never seen before. I don't know if I can describe it right; it was more than happiness, more than appreciation, more than anything any man has ever shown me before."

Troy nodded and thought of what it might have been. He remembered what was in Sean's eyes at the time and finally hit upon a possibility. "I think it was passion, Sean. Yeah, there was happiness and appreciation there too, but beyond that, there was love. Really enjoying what you're doing and who you're doing it with adds up to passion. Passion is two things, love and desire. In our case, we wanted to do each other. You wanna know something else?"


"The sex you had before with those men was dirty and they knew it. They didn't care about anything except getting off. That's prob'ly why you never saw it before. When I got you off today," Troy paused and smiled, "it was like I had performed nothing short of a miracle. It was more thrilling to me than learning a song all the way through for the first time. It was more thrilling than playing for an audience. It was that special; that unique."

Sean finally smiled and admitted, "It was the greatest sexual experience I've ever had too. I think it was us kissing while we got off."

"That's all that matters, Sean. I don't ever want you to feel like you're just going through the motions with me. If something makes you feel that it's just an act, tell me, okay?"

"Nothing has been an act, honest. This is me, not an act."

Troy nodded, "I know it. Please promise you'll tell me if it ever feels that way."

"I will. I hope I never do though."

"If you do, we stop and figure it out. It's that simple."

"What scares you, Troy? About me or us, I mean?"

"Scares me?" Troy repeated. "About us?" He hummed thoughtfully then shook his head and answered, "The only thing that bugs me is my being jealous. It's wrong and a bad feeling, but I believe that just like I'm yours, my boyfriend is mine. That kind of love isn't something I can share; not now anyway, maybe I'll learn differently some day. I'm already there, Sean. I love you so much; I'm actually considering more than a sleepover tonight. I can see you living here with me and my mom. Maybe not this week or next, but I can see it happening."

Shocked, Sean asked, "You're serious?"

Troy nodded, "Why wouldn't I be? You're a sweetheart and a Tiger rolled into one. What's not to love?"

"My past."

"That was not your fault. And, what they left behind for me was a careful, considerate, warm and passionate guy that has more knowledge of sex than I do. I get a guy that's all that, who's also about my height and weight, blond hair, blue eyes, and, as if I might forget, he's got a nice dick that really grows. That's what I know today. I can only imagine what else I'll learn about you tomorrow."

Wiping his eyes, Sean weakly smiled, "You really think all that of me?"

Troy nodded and assured, "I want to spend my days and nights with you. I don't want to miss a single second, if I can help it."

"Nothing about me scares you; not even my size?"

"No, it don't scare me. It does make me wonder a few things though."


Slowly, a smirk spread across Troy's face. In a typically New Jersey blunt fashion, Troy answered, "How am I gonna get you in my mouth and how funny will I walk after I get you in my ass?"

Sean cracked up. After a few moments, he giggled, "Anything you do with your mouth is gonna be fine by me. As for your ass, that's why I got the dildo."

"It's half your size though!"

Sean seriously asked, "Have you ever had anything in your ass?"

Troy blushed and shrugged, "Just my own fingertip."

"Then that dildo is gonna feel huge. When it feels less huge, let me know. I've got two others for you."

Troy loudly cackled, "TWO?"

Sean giggled, "I'm taking no chances. That one's five inches long by four inches in circumference. One of the other dildos is seven by five, and then there's the nine by six. If I ever hurt you, down there, not only would I lose my erection, I'd probably hide from you for days."

Shaking his head sadly, Troy said, "You would too, I know it. See what I mean about being considerate?"

Sean shyly shrugged, "I guess."

"You're incredible," Troy smiled, "Add humble to the list. No other guy would ever be self conscious about a dick like yours. No other guy would be as concerned about his partner's comfort and then say, 'I guess'." Noticing Sean blushing, Troy assured, "This is not a bad thing."

Sean softly said, "I just wish I could list things about you that I like."

"You have listed some already," Troy reminded. He continued, "You've shown me the rest. You obviously like me playing and singing for you." Sean nodded and Troy added, "You like my sense of humor too."

"Oh yeah," Sean giggled, "Your reactions are too funny!"

"It don't matter that you can't explain it, Sean. You show it plenty." Troy then acted like he was searching his mind and teased, "If I recall correctly, you pulled me down and on top of you?"

"Yeah, I did."

Troy hummed then said, "We've been like this at least ten minutes. Do you want me to move?"

Sean cackled, "No way!"

"Somebody likes close contact as much as I do then."

"Yeah," Sean chuckled and blushed. "Close contact with you especially."

Troy teased, "Now I only have to wonder why our clothes are still on?"

Sean giggled, "You wanna have sex again?"

Shaking his head, Troy corrected, "I want to make love with you, but I'll be more honest; I'd really be just as happy spending the next hour cuddled up close and naked with you, before my mom gets home."

"What if..."

"If something pops up?"


"Then we can ignore it or do whatever we want, if we both want to."

"You could ignore it?" Sean incredulously cackled. "I don't even think I could do that; not with you anyway."

Troy slyly sneered, "That's what I'm hoping for, Tiger."

"Could we stay like this a little while longer?"

Troy nodded, "'Course." A few moments later, while running his fingers through Sean's hair and placing a few kisses around Sean's jaw, Troy grinned and softly admitted, "I'm trying not to dry hump you. Then my mom comes home and we've both got dirty shorts on."

Sean giggled, "That would be a slight problem."

Troy hummed thoughtfully then teased, "Then again, I'll bet you could fit into a pair of my shorts." He sighed and realized, "That would be a dead giveaway though, wouldn't it?"

Sean laughed, "Uh, YEAH!"

Troy continued kissing Sean then began twirling his tongue around under his ear. Hearing a desperate moan in response, Troy softly chortled, "Ya like that?"

Sean admitted, "No one's ever done that before."

"Fuckin' fools," Troy simply stated. "You taste really good." Troy went for Sean's earlobe next. Sean whimpered. "Don't tell me," Troy softly mumbled, "they never did this either?"

"Never," Sean sighed.

Troy whispered, "Assholes," then licked across Sean's throat and began the process over again by the opposite ear.

Sean imitated what Troy was doing. Eventually, he asked, "Is this foreplay?"

Troy giggled, "If it isn't, it should be!" After another few minutes of making out, Troy felt Sean beginning to rock to the left then to the right. It wasn't the type of movement Troy was expecting or hoping for. Suddenly, Troy was on his back on the mattress, hysterically giggling with Sean smiling down at him.

"You're in trouble now," Sean warned, and then pushed himself up to stand.

Propping himself up on both arms, Troy cackled, "The Tiger is ready to come out and play?"

Taking his T-Shirt off and tossing it aside, Sean nodded, "For someone that's never done stuff before, you're really good at it."

Troy giggled, "That don't mean I never dreamed of doing it."

"You can stop dreaming," Sean promised, and dropped his shorts. Reaching forward and pulling Troy by the shoulders into a sitting position, Sean then lifted his partner's arms and took his shirt off. Reaching for Troy's boardies, Sean had them loosened and off in mere seconds. Carefully crawling back over Troy and laying down on top of him, Sean sighed and snaked his arms under Troy's shoulders. He then admitted, "I wanted to grab you at the pool before, just so I could feel you against me like this."

"Do it next time, Sean. This feels real nice," Troy whispered, and then kissed Sean's neck, earning a giggle. After another few quiet minutes of grinding and making out, Troy thought, so Sean thinks I'm cherry, huh? He then raised both arms and slapped Sean's ass cheeks then squeezed them.

"Ow!" Sean chuckled. He raised his head and locked eyes with Troy wondering, "Is there something wrong?"

Grinning madly, Troy shook his head saying, "I just don't wanna be cherry."

Sean grabbed a kiss then softly asked, "You want more than dry humping?"

Troy nodded and whispered, "Wanna suck your dick, Tiger. I want to know how to do all the stuff you know how to do."

Sean softly said, "I'm not gonna fuck you, Troy; not today; prob'ly not for a long while."

"No, but with the dildo, we could probably both have some fun?"

"It might be better for you to play with it alone first."

Shaking his head, Troy explained, "My days of beatin' my meat are over. I'd only be thinking of you anyway. Besides, I trust you to do better than I could."

Shivering with a sudden burst of pride and self respect, Sean smiled, "Say you trust me again?"

Troy warmly smiled, "I trust you, Sean." Quickly hiding his face in Troy's neck, Sean began to shed tears of joy. Feeling Sean quake against him then hearing a soft sniffle, Troy sighed and held Sean's head in place. "I love you," Troy whispered. "I love that you're shy. I love that you're so humble. I love that you chose to love me. From now on, we're a couple. It's you and me, Tiger; every day, doing everything together. When you're at the pool, I'm there. When I'm practicing, it won't be to an empty room or an imaginary audience; it'll be with you here."



"I don't feel worthy of you."

Troy softly shushed him and assured, "Believe me, you really are, Sean. Your old life ended Friday. Your new life started today. In between was the transition."

Sean hugged him tightly and whispered, "I'm so lucky and you're so awesome."

"Who else were you close to at the orphanage?" Troy wondered and quickly clarified, "I mean other kids, friends, besides Horacio."

"Friends as in sex?"

"No, friends as in friends."

"Mostly the other boys, especially Hank and Keanu."

"Not Kaleo?"

"He was in a different orphanage. I like him plenty now, but as a friend. Why?"

"Because I'm making it my goal to be as much of a friend to you as any of your other friends. I can't replace them, I know. There's gonna be stuff you need to talk with them about because of the shared experiences. The rest of the time though, I want this, what we're doing right now."

"Talking and cuddling naked?"

"Talking and cuddling. Being naked is due to circumstance. I rushed you and I shouldn't have. I'm really sorry, Sean."

"Don't be. It was me, the past fucking with me. I was ready too, but when you told me that you trust me, it just hit me all at once. Maybe you don't know it, but even that small dildo could hurt you. Did you know that?"

"No; but that just proves my trust is well placed."

Sean growled then giggled, "That feeling just doubled again!" and firmly squeezed Troy. After another quiet minute or so, Sean whispered, "You didn't rush me."

"Be honest."

"Really, I didn't feel rushed at all. I was ready. I'm ready again if you are?"

Troy giggled, "I can feel you're ready!"

Lifting his head up, Sean whispered, "Wanna show you something," and then planted a deep kiss. The next thing Troy knew, Sean was nursing on his left nipple. After about a minute, the right tit was being teased. Sean then licked a wet trail down to Troy's navel. It was an outtie and Sean mumbled, "Wicked!" then went to work. The fact that it was a virtually hairless belly button is what turned on Sean the most. Sean gave it way more attention than he had either nipple.

Troy was giggling himself purple at the relentlessly exquisite torture. Before Troy completely recovered, Sean knelt on the floor and swallowed half of Troy's erection at once. Having never experienced it before, Troy gasped and sat up straight before falling right back down to the mattress again. That was a reaction Sean did not expect and he was briefly concerned until Troy shouted, "Jesus H. Christ! Sean!" Unable to help himself, Sean giggled, which only served to squeeze Troy's member in his mouth. Troy whined loudly then pulled a pillow over and covered his face before any neighbors heard his unrestrained cries and got the idea a kid was being abused.

A bit less surprising to Sean was how good Troy smelled and tasted. Those older men must not have believed in showering or just naturally reeked because Troy was completely different and so much better. Another thing Sean was not prepared for concerned timing. Since older men took longer, Sean wasn't really taking Troy seriously when, after only three or four minutes, he began warning him. Not that Sean would've backed off; for the first time in his life he was enjoying the entire process immensely. Pulling the pillow back over his face, Troy screamed at the top of his lungs and bounced on the mattress like a bucking bronco. Finally, Troy relaxed and threw the pillow aside. It fell off the bed onto the carpeted floor.

Smiling proudly, Sean crawled back on the bed and cuddled up close to Troy with his head resting on Troy's chest. Troy was still delirious, but managed to wrap his right arm around Sean and kiss the top of his head. Hearing Troy's heart racing, Sean shared, "This is real love. For the first time ever, I wasn't reluctantly performing. It was so much fun! Your reactions made it really awesome. I can barely wait to do it again."

Still breathless, Troy loudly laughed, "Please wait! Let me focus! Just kiss me, Tiger!"

Shocked once again, Sean pulled back and softly asked, "You want me to kiss you?"

"Hell yeah!" Troy laughed, and then rolled over on top of Sean and grabbed the kiss he wanted. Sean kept his mouth firmly closed. Snaking his tongue around and getting no more than lips, Troy pulled back and asked, "What's wrong?"

Sean shrugged, "My mouth... it's gonna taste like your jizz."

"Yeah. Do you think I care?"

"Don't you?"

"Absolutely not," Troy smiled. "What you just did for me was the most wonderful thing in the world. I love you, Sean; very much. I want to give you a real kiss, not a baby kiss, because you deserve it." He then leaned down and began kissing Sean all around his jaw then finally landed on his mouth. Troy made certain that his tongue reached every part of Sean's mouth possible. Confused and expecting Troy would soon be grossed out; Sean let Troy kiss him, but expected he would soon stop. Troy wouldn't stop until he got a response from Sean though. It was a long kiss that required them both to breathe through their noses. Finally, Sean's tongue began to respond and snaked its way into Troy's mouth. Squeezing Sean just as tightly as he had after receiving the gifts in the auditorium, Troy then broke the kiss. Troy softly asked, "They taught you it was wrong to kiss after a blowjob, didn't they?" Sean nodded. Troy carefully and softly stated, "It is not wrong when two people are in love. From my perspective, it's the most right thing to do. Do you understand?"

Sean nodded, "I think so."

"Let me explain a little more, okay?"


"We've still got about forty-five minutes before my mom comes home. Between now and then, I'm gonna suck you off, all the way, just like you did for me. When I'm done, I'm going to kiss you. My mouth's gonna be wide open, ready to invade, be invaded and swap spit. Do you know why?"

Uncertainly, Sean said, "Because you love me and I love you?"

"That's exactly right."

"I'm really sorry, Troy."

"There's no need to be. The thought never occurred to me that you wouldn't want to kiss me."

"I really did want to, but I was punched and slapped around for trying."

Shedding tears and angrily tightening his jaw, Troy forced himself to relax and sighed. "Remember what I called those men? They're fucking idiots, stupid and selfish to the extreme. I'll be just as honest with you as I want you to be with me." Troy paused then explained, "I'm from a city where there was plenty of violence. I was never personally bullied, but I was teased for being a musician. I have gotten into fist fights to protect myself. I want to find the men that hurt you and beat the fucking shit out of them. It scares me, but I know that once I got them down, I would kill them."

"You won't have to, Troy. I'm pretty sure that Clan Short killed them already. I didn't see them do it, but I did see the Prime Minister of Hawaii lying dead on a stage. I saw his body removed from the stage Friday night and put in a Coroner's van. What no one ever heard on the news was exactly what kinds of abuse those people did to lots of us."

"I'm actually relieved that they're dead already."

"So am I and so are a lot of the kids."

Troy nodded then smiled, "Hey, are you as thirsty as I am?"

Sean nodded and grinned, "Yeah."

"Let's go to the kitchen."

As Troy pushed up off him, Sean wondered, "Where's our shorts?"

Offering Sean a hand up, Troy reminded, "What do you need them for? My mom's not home."

Taking Troy's hand simply because he very much wanted to, Sean shrugged then grinned, "If you're not gonna, I don't need 'em either; as long as I get to walk behind you and admire the view."

Uncontrollably blushing, Troy giggled, "You can even touch it now, if ya want?"

"Yippee!" Sean laughed, and reached for his boyfriend's ass.

Playfully blocking Sean's hands, Troy giggled, "Is it really that nice?"

"Awesome!" Sean giggled, and successfully got in a grope.

Giving up, Troy moved in closer and grabbed both of Sean's butt cheeks at once. He laughed, "I wouldn't know, but I know you've got a real fine one too!"

No longer interested in Troy's ass, Sean held on tight and stole a kiss. There was a definite urgency and gratefulness that Troy felt and he reciprocated fully. When Sean slid his face over Troy's shoulder, he asked, "What have you got to drink?"

"I'm not too sure," Troy honestly answered, then giggled because Sean had completely destroyed his memory in less than a day. "Let's find out," Troy prompted, and then led Sean by the hand out of the bedroom to the kitchen.

Uncle Spock had been out by the pool area, spending time with his grandchildren and the other Rimmer kids, for several hours; since Joel, Kevin, John and Stephen left for their Enterprise tour. He excused himself to take an opportunity to meet with the Rimmer adults and spend time with his wife-to-be. While meeting with Jim Hundser and Bill Seaver, Admiral James T. Kirk beamed to Ewa Beach, arriving just outside the F.Y.S. building. He stepped inside where Rob Gibbons immediately recognized and greeted him. He wasn't expected, so Rob asked, "How can we help you, Admiral?"

"I thought I'd stop by and meet some of my extended family," Kirk casually smiled. "Besides, without my reminding Spock of his human heritage, he tends to become boring."

Rob chuckled, "Admiral Spock is down the hall, speaking with Jim and Bill about some Vulcan legal intricacies."

"Oh," Kirk groaned, "I've arrived too late." Rob chuckled louder. Kirk smirked, "Let me rescue your friends."

"Third door on your left, Admiral," Rob smiled.

Kirk thanked him and went down the hall. He was unexpectedly pounced by the Terrible Trio, just to say hello to their Uncle Jim. They followed Kirk to the open conference room door, where Jim and Bill were trying to wrap their minds around the concepts Spock was presenting. Of course, Spock's strong engineering and diplomatic experiences were not conducive to educating a lawyer and a banker.

To throw a monkey wrench in the works, Kirk smirked and asked, "How do you feel, Spock?" The triplets helplessly cracked up.

Raising an eyebrow, Spock refused to directly answer as would be expected. Spock replied, "I am relaying to the members of the F.Y.S. Legal department fundamentals of Vulcan history and the resulting legal ramifications, Admiral."

Looking down at Jamie, Jacob and Beau, Kirk asked, "Is this a Starship? Have I transported to an incredible simulation of Hawaii?" Again, the triplets roared laughing. Kirk grinned, "We're off-duty, Spock."

Returning his attention to Jim Hundser and Bill Seaver, Spock performed formal introductions. Upon shaking hands with Jim Hundser, Jim Kirk smiled, "Please call me Jim, or Kirk, or only if you must, Admiral." While shaking hands with Bill Seaver, Kirk asked, "The same Bill Seaver that played for U.C.L.A. in 1987?"

Bill nodded, "Offensive back, M.V.P. that year. I'm surprised you remember."

"That was a memorable year," Kirk replied. "This year is shaping up to be equally memorable, in many ways." Glancing around the room, he suggested, "It's far too beautiful a day to be cooped up inside." Needing some backup, Kirk asked Jamie, Jacob and Beau, "Are you boys ready for some sun?"

In unison, the Trio replied, "Sure, Unca Jim!"

Jamie smiled, "We can be ready in only a minute or two."

"We'll just tell Aunt Jen we need a break and give her what we've already got," Jacob added.

Beau giggled, "We'll meet you out by the pools." With that, the three boys scurried out of the conference room.

Jim Hundser told Bill, "Go ahead. I'll wrap up with Spock and Jen then meet you outside."

When Bill Seaver stood, Kirk slowly raised his head to make eye contact and grinned, "No wonder you were M.V.P." He then told Spock, "Don't take too long."

"Yes, Admiral," Spock obediently responded.

Kirk sighed and turned around, muttering, "Jim. My name is Jim. You used to call me Jim."

Bill and Kirk walked out of the conference room and began chatting about the Pacific Rim Division creation. While they walked, Bill told the famous Admiral about the leadership team. The Terrible Triplets raced past them towards the pool. Bill talked about each of the Core Rimmers then told Kirk where they were at that time and that he expected them back soon. Arriving at the pool, Bill paused only because the threesome were lined up naked, standing before his wife, getting sun screen lotion applied to their shoulders and backs.

Soon, Jim Kirk found himself surrounded by some of the older Rimmer kids that recognized him. Word spread like wildfire amongst the kids. Soon, Kirk was almost like Santa Clause, sitting on a poolside lounge with kids on his lap and others surrounding him, telling tales of missions from long before many of the kids were born. Minutes before five that afternoon, Jim, Jen, Anna, Spock, Teri and the team of Core Rimmers were meeting and chatting with him. He recognized leadership abilities in all of the Core Rimmers, much as he had with Cory and Sean Short and others in the original Orlando Clan. He was thinking of pulling Preston and Keith aside for a more detailed chat when his comm-badge chirped, ordering him back to Starfleet Headquarters. His concern never showed and he simply assured everyone that he would be back in a short while before transporting to San Francisco.

As Kirk left, Spock cracked the smallest smile at his best friend's back. He very much enjoyed winding Kirk up.

In the refrigerator, Troy found Coke and lemon-lime soda, orange, pineapple and apple juices and finally, filtered water. Troy was happy with a big glass of water. Sean had a small glass of pineapple juice. While in the kitchen, Sean asked, "Where's your dad?"

Troy replied, "My folks divorced. He was a homophobic asshole."

"Your mom divorced him because of you?"

Troy nodded, "It was mutual, I'm sure. Right after we moved here, I found out a couple of things that happened between them. It took a few years of arguing and fighting. He had had enough of her and me. She reached her limit with him too. She's my mom and I love her, especially for sticking up for me, but she's still a mom." He paused and giggled, "She can be a real pain sometimes. Boy, does she know what to say to push my buttons!"

Smirking, Sean asked, "What would she think if she walked in on us now?"

Almost spitting out the water he was drinking, Troy laughed, "She'd know I have a boyfriend!" and then wiped his chin.

Sean giggled, "That's it though?"

"Well, she'd be embarrassed. I'd be twice as embarrassed for you and me."

After a moment's consideration, Sean asked, "You'd be embarrassed for me too?"

Troy grinned, but managed to flatly remind, "Umm... you're naked, Sean."

Sean nodded and smiled, "Lots of adult men and women have seen me. It wouldn't faze me much at all, unless she got too close."

Troy wondered, "Not that she ever would, but what if some grownup did get too close?"

"While I'm naked, I'd freak out. Before Friday, I did what I had to. Since Saturday, I'll do what I have to to prevent it."

"Perfectly understandable," Troy nodded. After another mouthful of water, he shyly asked, "So what do you think of us?"

"A couple o' things," Sean smiled.

Troy waited and watched Sean look away. He prompted, "Like?"

"I'm surprised mostly. I really didn't think you'd even let me in. Letting me look out the windows was really sweet. Even sweeter was what you said after I told you I like you." Troy turned crimson and Sean helplessly giggled, "That's what's so amazing to me; you talk to me and wanted to know about me, even the bad stuff." He then shrugged and wondered, "Would most guys take the time to actually talk like you did?"

"I guess it depends," Troy answered, "if they want a boyfriend or to just get laid. I want a boyfriend. Remember me saying I'm the jealous type?" Sean nodded and Troy explained, "I only just met Prez and the band yesterday. Between then and dinner last night, I started to feel envious of them. Did you know they were two couples?"

Sean nodded and grinned, "Actually, they're three couples; Prez and Keith, Derrick and Mike, and Drew and Corey. Plus John and Kaleo make up our Core Rimmers."

Uncontrollably laughing while drinking, Troy sprayed water all over himself, Sean and the kitchen. "I'm so sorry!" Troy loudly laughed, then put his glass down on the counter. Sean cracked up then wiped water off his face and chest. Grabbing a towel, Troy quickly began sopping up the water on Sean. "I'm really sorry," Troy giggled. "I didn't know they called themselves that!" Before Troy had finished drying Sean off, he found himself wrapped in his boyfriend's arms. Still smiling, but not quite certain why Sean responded this way after getting soaked, Troy looked deeply into Sean's eyes.

Sean softly said, "I really love you."

"I love you too," Troy replied.

"For you, this is where you live cos your mom works here. For us rescued kids, we're all Rimmers." Troy began giggling and Sean explained, "They're not just a band. Prez is our leader. Keith's second in command. Derrick and Mike and Corey and Drew and Kaleo and John, they're all the leaders of this Clan. In every sense, they are the core of each of us. We revolve around them. We're like messed up, dirty chalkboards; ready to be cleaned so something new and better can be written. What we have here now is because of Clan Short. Without them, I'd still be some man's fuck toy. I don't want my life to ever be like that again.

"As far as I'm concerned, my life is here now, with you. I could've screwed up this morning. You might not have been interested or one of those that just wants to get laid. Not you though. You wanted to know me; the good and the bad. You're really patient with me. Then you got really angry about the stuff that was done to me. That's so awesome! I like when you call me Tiger too. I really don't want to mess this up, Troy. Sometimes though, I'm goin' on past experience only. It's like, I know where I want to be, but I'm in the dark, lost and feeling my way around. I kind o' know what love should be, but what I've been living with for five years has screwed that up too. Part of me thinks I'm screwing up now, telling you this stuff."

Vigorously shaking his head, Troy assured, "No, you're not. When it's from the heart, you're definitely not screwing up. Be this way for me and my mom. It's really great."

"I'll remember that, from the heart."

Troy reached in and stole a kiss. Backing up a step, he then softly said, "While I clean up this mess, tell me more."

Sean wondered, "Like what?"

Drying himself off, Troy shrugged, "Anything you want; about you, about us, about this Clan base, whatever."

Sean hummed then finished his juice. Figuring Troy would want to know more about the band, Sean said, "To you, they're Platinum Habits. When we met them Friday, they were Old Habits. There was a concert Friday night at a luau. For most of us rescued kids, it was the first time we really listened to music and heard the words being sung. Every now and then I'd catch a phrase that would hit me like a bolt of lightning. The next day, I learned it wasn't only me catching those phrases; it was lots of other kids too.

"Prez and the entire core team are awesome. When Prez tells us what to do, we do it simply because he's so kewl and he's our leader. Like this morning, Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike had a concert at their school. Before they left, Kaleo told everyone about the I.D. and credit cards. Prez asked if we had questions and then answered them. Then he told all the kids to line up, so we could pass out the cards. Prez is the director, but he rarely directs us. All the gay dudes think he's really cute. All the girls do too.

"Keith's really kewl too. His favorite saying is, 'be happy and safe'. Sunday, he caught two younger dudes goofin' around on one of the diving boards. All he did was shout up, 'Hey, knock it off! Happy and safe, remember?' The two dudes stopped, one backed off and waited for the other to dive then he went. It's so simple, but so effective. What makes it so different for us is there's no cussing or any punishment at all."

"Derrick and Mike are almost always together. Prez and Keith are too, but they'll separate a little more. Not Derrick and Mike; they're attached almost all the time. Me and Kaleo watch them a lot. We think that's what our relationships should be like. Now that I think of it, they're all just examples. Us older kids watch Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick. The younger kids watch Drew, Corey and John."

Finished cleaning the kitchen, Troy took Sean's glass and asked, "More?"

"No, thanks."

Troy put the glasses in the dishwasher then said, "I can't believe Drew and Corey are a couple. How old are they?"

"Drew's twelve and Corey's eleven. They told us they're in the same grade at school. Corey's only eight months younger than Drew."

Smiling and shaking his head, Troy remarked, "Partners at eleven and twelve! How totally kewl is that?"

Sean grinned, "I know. They're obviously younger, but act a lot older sometimes. Drew and Corey have a little dude named Geoff. Even John's got a boyfriend now; a new kid they just picked up last night."

"Did you just say Drew and Corey have a little boy?"

Humming affirmatively, Sean said, "Yep, all the Core Rimmers are Starfleet Ensigns and considered adults. Corey and Drew adopted Geoff. Mike and Derrick adopted Dillon, Jonah and Reyes. Prez and Keith adopted Richie and Dee then, last night, they adopted Sammy and Gage. I knew Richie from the orphanage. He's a completely different kid now."

"And Kaleo?"

Sean answered, "Kaleo's one of us, a rescued kid. He's got a boyfriend too now. He knew Tory from the orphanage, but they decided being friends wasn't enough." Sean paused again then beamed, "Our dorms are built really well; there must be cinder block walls between the rooms. When the doors are closed, you can't even really tell if someone's in a room or not. You can't hear stereos or TV's at all. Sunday night, Kaleo and Tory hooked up and all us dudes knew it. Kaleo's voice really travels!" Troy cracked up and Sean evilly snickered. Remembering that obviously got Sean randy again. Troy noticed Sean's dick lengthening and thickening. Sean was definitely a grower and it was impossible to not notice.

Stepping closer to Sean, Troy kissed him deeply. Taking Sean's hand, Troy smiled, "Come on, Tiger. We've still got time and it's my turn." Troy then started to lead Sean back to his bedroom.

Sean nervously balked, "You don't have to, Troy."

"I know, but I really want to. Who knows, maybe I can make you scream and holler."

Sean giggled, "I'll swallow the pillow like you did."

Troy laughed at himself then reminded, "That was my first time! I only wish I was your first."

"You are, Troy!" Sean assured. Noticing Troy's puzzled expression, Sean explained, "You're not the first person to have sex with me, but you are the first person to make love to me."

Troy playfully grumbled, "Damn! Did the temperature in here just go up ten degrees?"

As Troy closed the bedroom door, Sean cackled, "Twenty at least!"

Sitting Sean down on the bed, Troy knelt down then enthusiastically began. Troy thought Sean's dick was amazing. Flaccid, he and Sean weren't that different, but soon Sean overstuffed his mouth. The feeling of Sean's cock sliding in and out of his mouth, throbbing as it was, reminded Troy of the feeling of a saxophone reed vibrating against his lips. After about a minute, Troy took a short break to stretch his jaw. Troy wanted to get more in his mouth and make Sean understand that he was truly enjoying his first time. Sean softly instructed, "Pull the foreskin over the head and stick your tongue in there." Troy followed Sean's direction and got whimpers and groans in response. Ready for another full mouth, Troy tried to please more than half of Sean's thick tool. When Troy needed a second break, he dove down and licked Sean's scrotum then carefully sucked each testicle into his mouth. Again Sean whimpered then cheered, "You are so awesome! Are you sure you've never done this before?"

"Never," Troy confirmed, "Wanted to and dreamed of it only." Without instruction, Troy went down on Sean again, but this time used his hand to move the foreskin to and fro, in and out his mouth. Sean really liked it. Since it was good for Sean and a little easier on him, Troy kept at it.

Sean's hips started bucking and he grunted, "Fuck me!"

Troy thought the remark was an instruction, so he wiggled his finger into Sean's ass. Sean gasped and his hand began searching for the other pillow. Four times Sean warned Troy of his impending climax. Troy only thought, "No way I'm backin' off, Tiger. This is the way I've always wanted it and you are definitely worth it."

As previously promised Troy finished Sean off then crawled on the bed and kissed him. This time, Sean didn't hesitate. He accepted Troy's tongue and sucked hard then gave Troy his tongue. When they broke the kiss, Troy snuggled up close and asked, "The Tiger is tamed?"

Sean giggled, "Oh yeah! No one's ever swallowed before."

Shaking his head sadly, Troy softly confirmed, "They were morons. This is the right way." He then asked, "You know the difference now?"

Sean dreamily chortled, "I swear, I'll never forget it!"

Noticing the time, Troy snuggled closer and whispered, "We've got five minutes before we have to get dressed. We'll clean up a little and at least look like we didn't spend two hours making love."

Sean contentedly sighed then asked, "You really love me?"

Troy nodded, "For me, you're perfect, Tiger." Not because Troy needed to say it, but because he felt that Sean needed to hear it, Troy easily repeated, "You're a little shy, I love that. You're a little self conscious, understandably so, and I love that. Just those two things make us perfect for each other because I'm the same in different ways and for different reasons. You're humble and I'm a little more self assured; being a musician that taught himself a lot of what he knows, I simply became that way. That means you can make me more humble and I can make you more self assured. Are we kewl so far?"

Sean nodded, "Very."

"Kewl. I'm not done yet. You came here already liking me based only on the way I looked and acted on stage yesterday. You think I'm good looking, which I can't understand, so I know you won't believe me, but you Tiger, are smokin' hot!" Giggling insanely, Sean almost broke out in a sweat, he blushed so hard. Troy only continued. "Other guys have tighter abs and more defined chests than we do, but guess what? I like what I see a lot. Have I misinterpreted anything so far?"

Sean purred, "No, you're right on target."

Troy crawled over and straddled Sean then locked eyes with him. Slowly and very clearly, Troy said, "I love you, Sean. Every hour that I spend with you, I love you more. I want to spend tonight and the foreseeable future with you. My mom's gonna really like you. And she's going to be so surprised at me! I'm really looking forward to it too!" Acknowledging that Sean was looking directly into his eyes, Troy nodded and smiled then asked, "Are you ready to get dressed?"

Sean smiled, "As soon as I get another kiss. I gotta go to the bathroom too."

Troy admitted, "Me too," then rolled off Sean and onto the floor. They kissed, found their clothes then went into Troy's bathroom. They both relieved themselves. Troy flushed then began to pull his boardies on. Sean was at the sink washing his hands and then washed his dick. With his shirt hanging off his shoulder, Troy joined Sean at the sink to wash his hands and wondered, "What are you doing?"

Sean shrugged, "Just what I have to to keep it clean."

"Oh, I didn't know. I thought it was for my benefit."

"Yours and mine. No funky dick cheese. The last thing I want is to have to get circumcised at my age."

Pulling his shirt on, Troy giggled then croaked, "Ouch!"

Drying himself off, Sean nodded and grinned, "A few days of chronic dick pain and no sex... now? No thank you! A week ago, I wouldn't have minded if someone chopped my dick clean off. Now I've got the most awesome boyfriend."

Tossing the towel in the hamper, Troy waited for Sean to dress then together they went to the living room. They sat close together on the sofa. Turning on the TV, Troy began channel surfing. Unexpectedly, Sean turned slightly and lay down with his head resting on Troy's lap. Troy smiled, "I love you so much."

Sean softly admitted, "Close body contact with you makes me less nervous."

Troy playfully mooed then grinned, "My mom's gonna walk in to find me kissing you."

"I can kiss you tonight in front of her?"

Troy nodded, "Right after I kiss you, we're kewl."

"Kewl. I don't think I could last too long."

Troy nodded, "Don't worry, Tiger," and began running his fingers through Sean's hair. After only a minute or so, Sean whimpered and smiled. Grinning, Troy looked down.

Sean giggled, "I hate to tell you to stop, but I'm getting a stiffy."

Troy laughed and teased, "Show me later."

Sean giggled, "I will; as long as I can see yours!"

Troy widely smiled and he joked, "Hi mom! This is Sean and these are our tents! I think we love each other!" Troy then raised the pitch of his voice and squeaked, "Ya think?" Sean cracked up.

Sean was still laughing and Troy smiling at his reaction when the condo door opened. Judy Faris walked in and turned to her right. Seeing Troy with another boy who was resting his head on her son's thigh, she smiled widely.

"Hi mom," Troy grinned.

Sean wasn't certain if another joke was coming until he noticed Troy looking to his right, towards the doorway. Quickly sitting up, Sean waved, "Hi Mrs. Faris."

Gesturing to Sean, Troy said, "Mom, this is Sean Moorhead. He stopped by this morning to give me a Clan Short I.D. and a pre-paid credit card. We've been together ever since."

Barely containing her obvious excitement, Judy walked over and smiled at Sean, "It's my pleasure to meet you, Sean." She then locked eyes with her son.

Troy immediately began giggling. "Yes, mom," Troy playfully droned. He then took Sean's hand and confirmed, "We're boyfriends."

Bending at the knees slightly and raising her arms above her head, Judy Faris shrieked, "YES!"

Shaking his head and giggling, Troy turned to Sean and softly said, "Told ya!"

Judy joyfully teased, "If I don't get some hugs real soon, dinner won't be until breakfast."

Knowing that Sean was likely very nervous about an adult woman wanting affection, Troy softly offered, "It's okay, Sean."

Both boys stood and Judy wrapped them both in her arms. Each got a kiss on the cheek then she asked, "What would you like for dinner?"

Troy answered, "We had tacos and burritos for lunch at the C.I.C. dining room." He then checked with Sean, "What would you like?"

Sean shrugged and shyly admitted, "I don't even know what to ask for, so anything's fine, really."

"Whatever you were planning is fine, mom," Troy assured.

Judy sighed, "I was only planning on frying up some boneless chicken breasts. Let me see what I can do." She then released the boys and hurried to the kitchen.

Troy smiled at Sean then turned and said, "Don't go crazy, mom."

"What makes you think I'd go crazy?" Judy replied from the kitchen.

Turning back to Sean, Troy grinned and whispered, "It's too late." Covering his mouth, Sean insanely giggled.

Judy loudly asked, "So tell me, what've you been doing today?"

Leading Sean to the kitchen and offering him a seat at the breakfast counter, Troy then briefly outlined the day, omitting the intimate details. Judy was ecstatic to learn that Troy had gone to the pool then played with Platinum Habits again, and then been invited to join the band. Seeing that his mom was pulling out flour and bowls, Troy wondered, "What's for dinner?"

"Chicken Piccata and pasta," Judy answered.

Sean tapped Troy's shoulder. Troy leaned closer and Sean whispered, "What's that?"

Troy softly answered, "It's an Italian lemon flavored chicken recipe. It's really good."

Sean smiled, "It sounds like it."

"Wait 'til you taste it!" Troy excitedly cheered, and then wrapped an arm around Sean.

Relieved that Troy's mom was being so nice, Sean leaned against Troy. Neither boy realized that Judy was watching out of the corner of her eye when Troy leaned down and tenderly kissed Sean. She began softly giggling. Troy only suspiciously eyed his mother. She acted like she wasn't really watching, but concentrating on making dinner. Troy grinned and mouthed, "You ready, Tiger?" Sean glanced over at Mrs. Faris. She seemed completely oblivious so Sean smiled and gently caressed Troy's face. Troy closed his eyes and he deeply inhaled then sighed. Sean stood up and passionately kissed Troy. Troy only wanted to catch his mom peeking, but the kiss was so tasty and so intense that he forgot all about his original purpose. Judy saw them and couldn't help stopping dinner preparation for a few moments. It swiftly became apparent that Troy and Sean were more than boyfriends. Her little boy had grown up between the time she left that morning and the time she returned. Shedding happy tears, Judy reached for a paper towel and wiped her eyes. Sean broke the kiss extra slowly, repeatedly snatching just one more little kiss. Then Troy led him to the living room.

Smiling widely, Sean was ready for rolling around on the couch while they waited for dinner. Surprisingly, Troy had something else in mind. He led Sean to the Yamaha digital piano Prez had had delivered. Within a minute, Troy had the amp and keyboard powered on. Sitting down on the piano bench, he gently asked, "Tell me what you think of this song?" and began playing a soft piece. Sean didn't recognize it, but Judy did. Playing solo without any additional rhythm, Troy pressed the keys with extra dynamics; the soft parts softer and louder parts more present. From a place deep within himself never before reached, Troy closed his eyes and sang; "When you're weary, feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all. I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough, and friends just can't be found. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

"When you're down and out, when you're on the street. When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you. I'll take your part, oh, when darkness comes and pain is all around. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down.

"Sail on silver girl, sail on by. Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine. Oh, if you need a friend, I'm sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind." Troy finished playing the song, inhaled and looked up at Sean.

Unable to move or speak because he was shaking so badly, Sean forced a weak smile, nodded and wiped his eyes. In the kitchen, Judy Faris was almost as bad off as Sean. She always knew her son was talented and had heard him play the song before, but not like that. His very soul poured out to Sean.

Concerned because Sean was crying, Troy stood and was about to apologize, but he didn't get the chance. Sean unashamedly grabbed him and held on tight. "I just thought you might like it," Troy softly offered.

"I loved it!" Sean sobbed, "I love you so much!"

Trying to soothe his boyfriend, Troy rubbed his back and assured, "I love you too, Tiger. I'm really sorry it made you feel sad."

Sean sniffed then explained, "It's just my past again, Troy. I love when you sing for me, but this time, they felt like words you were singing to me and about us." After a pause and another sniffle, Sean said, "I'd tell you which words I especially liked, but I can't right now."

Troy softly shushed Sean and held him tight, waiting for him to eventually relax. Since Troy's back was toward the kitchen, he didn't know his mom was watching. Through red, cried-out eyes, Sean noticed though. Judy softly smiled then held her index finger to her lips. Sean suddenly realized he had gained the sweetest boyfriend and a surrogate mother or even a mother-in-law. Feeling Sean quake again, Troy again rubbed his back and assured, "It's okay. I've got you."

Many moments later, Sean whispered, "I need to wash my face."

Since Sean knew where his bathroom was and couldn't possibly get lost walking down the hall, Troy realized that his boyfriend didn't want to be alone and led him there. Behind the closed door, both boys were silent the entire time Sean freshened up after crying. Once he was finished, Sean faced Troy wearing a perfectly evil grin.

Recognizing the implication of his boyfriend's grin, Troy softly giggled, "Oh no!"

"Oh yes!" Sean smirked. He wrapped Troy in his arms and urgently kissed him. Once Sean was certain he had gotten a rise out of Troy, he slid his face over Troy's shoulder and whispered, "Bedroom?"

Troy mooed then chuckled, "You're really tempting me!"

"Anything you want, any time."

"This could turn into a vicious circle. I sing a ballad, you cry, we make love then start over again."

"This is bad?"

"No," Troy honestly shared, "It's simply not necessary. I'll sing for you plenty. Making love afterward sounds nice, but I don't need it; not every time anyway. A hug and a kiss, like this, is perfect, really."

For a few moments, Sean absorbed that then giggled, "The feeling just tripled."

"I know, Tiger. I'm there too."

"Later tonight?"

"If the band isn't jamming, you and me are locked in my bedroom all... night... long."

Sean giggled then called out, "Daileass!"

The last time Troy had heard that name called he was transported from the C.I.C. dining room to the basement store so fast he didn't know what had happened. "Oh God!" Troy softly chuckled.

Over the bathroom communications system, Daileass giggled, "Yes, Sean?"

Sean smiled, "Can you keep the Core Rimmers occupied for the rest of the night?"

Daileass laughed, "There's things I can do, but really shouldn't!"

"Try!" Sean grinned.

"It's the Core Rimmers!" Daileass giggled, "I can't make any promises."

Sean pleaded, "Just keep them busy from six-thirty until about nine-thirty. We have plans."

Daileass seriously said, "With Joel and Teri Short here, they'll probably be occupied most of that time without my intervention."

Troy quickly jumped in and asked, "Who the hell are you, Daileass?"

Daileass giggled, "The less you know the better, Troy."

"You sound like a little kid," Troy observed.

"Partly true," Daileass admitted, and left it at that. He then giggled, "You be good, Sean. Keep my secrets and I'll keep yours!"

"I have no secrets," Sean grinned. Locking eyes with Troy, he loudly added, "I'm in love for the very first time and it's awesome!"

Troy inhaled deeply, but melted anyway. "I love you too, Sean." He took Sean's face in both hands then tried to find his tonsils. Breaking the kiss, Troy softly suggested, "Let's lie down on my bed and wait for dinner?" Sean nodded and smiled. A few seconds later, Troy was cuddled up with his head resting on Sean's shoulder.

For a long few moments, Sean wondered why Troy was resting on him. It seemed to him that he was the emotionally weak one. He eventually figured out that maybe Troy needed a little emotional stability too. That was an amazing idea. He also wondered what Mrs. Faris meant when she held an index finger to her mouth while he was still upset. He asked Troy about it.

Troy grinned and softly answered, "That means she didn't want me to know that she was watching. She saw me kiss you at the counter too. She'll admit it someday, probably weeks from now, when it suits her. It means she really likes you too, trusting you to keep it a secret."

"Oops!" Sean chirped. "Guess I screwed up."

"Not as far as I'm concerned," Troy chuckled.

"Yeah, you're way more important."

After a few silent moments, Troy wondered, "Do you sleep on your back?"

"Yeah. I start on one side or another, but usually wake face up. Why?"

"I'm just so relaxed and comfortable, I could fall asleep. I was wondering about tonight too."

"I can't believe you want me to stay the night."

"Believe it, Tiger. Horacio might be looking for a new roommate by Christmas."

Sean thoughtfully hummed then said, "Christmas. What can I get my boyfriend for Christmas?"

Troy giggled, "You already got me presents! What do you want for Christmas?"

Sean shrugged, "I got my present early."

Nudging Sean, Troy giggled, "Really, what do you want besides me?"

"I'm gonna have to think about it," Sean answered. "So much has changed for the better, there's really nothing I can think of."

"Think about it and drop a few hints."

"The Clan's given us so much. Our dorm rooms are great. We've got TV's, computers, stereos and game systems in every room."

"This apartment was setup real nice too. None of the furniture or basic living necessities are ours. We brought a couple of suitcases and boxes of miscellaneous personal stuff. The rest was already here."

Sean repeated, "What do you want?"

"There are only two things I can think of. An iPod would be kewl. A portrait of you would be great too."

Sean squeaked, "You want a picture of me?"

Troy nodded, "Actually, one of you and another of you and me together would be even better."

Sean sighed. After a few quiet moments, he softly called, "Troy?"

"Yeah, Tiger?"

"You're really special."

Troy blushed and grinned, "I'm glad you think so."

"It's true. I want a picture of you and me too."

"Kewl. That's one Christmas present on your list."

Sean softly chuckled, "I don't think we're gonna get a lot o' sleep tonight." Troy's head popped up off Sean's shoulder. Their eyes met and both began laughing. "I'm serious," Sean chuckled. "Check it out."

Never losing eye contact, Troy reached down and felt Sean's boardies. "Again?" Troy cackled.

"Can I help it?" Sean chortled. "You're cuddled up to me; you mentioned Christmas presents and pictures."

Letting his face drop onto Sean's chest, Troy giggled, "I've never... not more than three times in a day. And we've already done it twice!"

Sean grinned, "Six times, easy."

Troy cracked up and laughed uncontrollably for at least a minute. He then lifted his face again, stole a kiss then grinned, "We can try after supper, Tiger."

"We could go over to the dorm?" Sean playfully suggested. "Then your mom won't hear us."

Chuckling and nodding, Troy answered, "I do want to see your room. What we do there is beside the point."

"Very kewl." Sean nodded. "I'm gonna show you off to any one that's there." He then teased, "I think I can wait until after supper for dessert."

Letting his face drop again, Troy playfully groaned, "God! I'm a dead man!" Lifting his face and making his eyes dart around mischievously, Troy cackled, "What a way to go!"

Feeling extremely playful, Sean reminded, "The other two presents are there."

Troy began laughing again then remembered, "Oh shit! I gotta put the first 'present' away before my mom finds it." He quickly rolled off the bed, got the box from the top of the night table then hid the condoms and lube in the desk. While he was there, he took a pair of scissors out and cut the plastic shipping cover off the dildo. Dropping the wasted plastic in the trash can then holding up the dildo, Troy turned to Sean and asked, "Do I really need one this small?"

"It's not small, it's average. And for you, it's the perfect beginning, I hope."

Checking it out, Troy hummed then wondered, "This is average?"

Getting up off the bed, Sean went to Troy and nodded, "Of all the men I've seen, yep; that's about right. I've seen lots of adult men with less than that, but only one had more than me. It seems small to you because you're more than average."

"Me?" Troy squealed.

Giggling at Troy's curiosity, Sean leaned closer and whispered, "Five to five and half inches long is average. What've you got; about seven?"

Troy shook his head and softly answered, "I wish. Six and a half."

Sean shook his head and honestly shared, "Don't wish for more. What you've got is perfect, tasty too." Troy blushed so Sean took him in his arms, whispering, "I want you, Troy. What we've already shared is so much more than I've ever had or could've hoped for. I want tonight, tomorrow and years just like today. Don't think for a second you ain't got enough for me. It ain't true, okay?"

"As long as I can keep you happy, Sean."

Smiling widely, Sean admitted, "I'm completely blown away by you already. Making love with you is more than I dreamed or even knew to hope for." Pausing, Sean shook his head and remarked, "Making love; it's not fucking or sucking any more. It's so real to me already. You're teaching me what it always should've been."

Troy rapidly nodded, "Love and desire equals passion. That's what we've got."

From the living room end of the hall, Judy saw them embracing again. She loudly called, "Dinner's ready boys."

"We're on our way," Troy replied.

Putting the bowl of pasta down on the table, Judy grinned and thought, yes, I can see that.

About the time Judy, Troy and Sean sat down to dinner, eleven sparkling shafts of light appeared outside the C.I.C. dining room. Joel, Kevin, John, Stephen, the four G-Cats and three other boys ran inside. Already knowing that his brothers and parents were in there, John practically bounced over to them.

From one table, his mother shouted at John, "Why are you wearing a sling on your left arm?"

From another nearby table, Prez loudly asked John, "And why are you impersonating a Starfleet Lieutenant?"

"Well," said Joel. His Crown around his brow and his eyes glowing, giving off mist like wisps of blue energy, he continued, "In reverse order, because he is a Starfleet Lieutenant, Sciences, and the arm because he hurt himself saving two others. And those medals, they're real too."

It was then that they noticed Joel had a Commander's insignia. They looked at Kevin and saw him with Lieutenant Commander Insignia on his shoulder strap. Stephen was the same rank as John. All three had medals as well, and Kevin was sporting a lovely black eye and the faint scar of a freshly healed wound on his forehead.

Admiral Kirk walked into the dining room. Prez, Keith, Kaleo, Corey and Drew quickly stood, but Mike and Derrick hadn't seen him enter. "Admiral on the deck; get up Ensigns," Prez quietly ordered. Mike and Derrick looked around and, seeing the Admiral, quickly stood up.

Kirk locked eyes with Prez, saying, "As you were." Stopping behind Joel, John and the other boys, Jim Kirk grinned, "There was a bit of excitement while acting Captain Sa'ren Joel Short was in command."

"If he calls that a 'bit of excitement'," one of the three identical eight-year-old triplets whispered to his brothers, "then paint me blue and call me the Pacific!"

Kirk gently ruffled the boy's hair while grinning down at him. Then he looked up at the others. Kirk took and held Jim and Jen Hundsers' eyes with his own. He began to explain, "First, our Joel took out the Enterprise, as was arranged, on a short hop to Alpha Centauri. There was an emergency delivery that Starfleet was requested to make. After all the tests Joel and Kevin had been through since last Thursday, it was easily within in their capability. Both Admiral Morrow and I wanted to see them in action, and it was a nice treat for them and their two guests as well.

"Little did we know that on the way back, the Enterprise would run into a bit of trouble."

"Here it comes," Jim Hundser whispered. He had recognized one of the medals on his son's chest, and the identical one on Kevin's.

Jim Kirk nodded at him, "I figured you'd put it together quickly. It was for this reason I was called away earlier. On their return trip, the Enterprise received a distress signal from a J2C class transport. There were over three hundred civilians on board, and they were under attack from an alien and unknown vessel. As per Regulations, Sa'ren Short diverted course and intercepted the ongoing firefight. It was brief and seemed to be weighed against the Enterprise. That unknown vessel was of a very high tech level, but with assistance from another ship, the attacking vessel withdrew and left the combat arena at high warp. We believe it might have even been transwarp, but our technicians are still looking over the data."

"It was KEWL!" both Stephen and John exclaimed.

John's voice sounded a little hoarse and raspy. John coughed out, "Phasers and rocks and everything flying everywhere!"

"Calm down, Lieutenant," Kirk chuckled. "I need to finish so that your parents can hug you to death and then seek some nerve relaxants."

Glancing between Kirk and her youngest son, Jen smiled weakly before her face returned to its hyper-serious expression.

Kirk continued, "Once the unknown vessel had departed, the ship assisting the Enterprise also vanished with very little communication. Acting Captain Sa'ren sent security and medical personnel over to the Transport ship. And he, Kevin, Stephen and John insisted on going as well; against Regulations, but I'm afraid they take after me in that regard. Once there, they found that there was a firefight going between human boarders and the crew and passengers. This adds to the mystery, as we have no clue as to the identity of the attacking ship, yet humans are in league with them. None of the ten hostile intruders were captured alive, sadly, so we have nothing else to go on. Kevin fought his way to the bridge with Stephen to establish control there, while Joel and John headed to Engineering. On the way to Engineering, John stopped to help one of the Enterprise Medics assist a seriously injured crew-member from the Transport. It was at this point that John came under direct attack from one of the intruders. After a brief exchange of fire, John stunned the intruder and was about to continue helping the medic, despite his own minor wounds, when the bulkhead collapsed, causing an explosive decompression of that room. Somehow, and this still stumps me how he did it, John was able to keep his wits and use his skills to save not just himself, but the medic and the injured crewman. He used his T.K. to hold the two in place while also holding himself steady on one of the control stations. The strain on his already injured arm caused it to dislocate, yet he still held on and therefore managed to keep the other two in place as well. Once the force-fields came up to stop the breach, the three of them were without air, because the room had automatically sealed itself from the rest of the ship. The medic was trained in such situations and was trying to get over to where John was to re-pressurize, but she had been hit in the brief firefight, and so couldn't get there.

"Here is where it goes from amazing to unbelievable. Starfleet personnel are trained for explosive decompression. We are trained to remain conscious for at least sixty seconds in order to attempt to save our lives or the lives of others caught in it. John had no training. By all rights, he shouldn't have been able to remain conscious for more than ten seconds, yet he managed to not only remain active for nearly forty-five seconds, he also worked out which of the buttons the medic was frantically gesturing at to enable the room to re-pressurize. He managed this just before passing out.

"This is the reason his voice sounds a little sore. He didn't know that he was meant to exhale in a decompression. He didn't have the training for any of what he did, yet he did it."

Jen and Jim Hundser just stared in horror at Kirk through all this.

"To add to this, not only did Kevin and Stephen return control of the Bridge to the Captain of the Transport, Kevin getting injured in the process in the fight; and not only did Joel stabilize the engines from an approaching core breach, John had unwittingly stunned the final invader who was about to detonate an antimatter bomb he had strapped to him. Such a blast would have utterly destroyed the Transport and would have crippled the nearby Enterprise. The stunned invader was spaced at this point, even though John says he tried to save him too. Holding three others plus himself in place was just too much of a strain, and choosing the lives of the innocent ranks higher in Starfleet than the life of a terrorist."

Prez, Keith and Drew couldn't contain themselves. They rushed over cheering to hug John half to death. Then they went for Stephen, Kevin and Joel.

Kirk smiled at them before continuing, "It was therefore with great pleasure that Admiral Morrow and I pulled the strings for all four concerned to receive immediate field promotions and medals. Normally it takes weeks to issue medals, but Morrow has already proved once he can pull strings for Cory, Joel and the rest that were on TV last Thursday. He did it again. I am proud to present Lieutenants Stephen Marr and John Hundser, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Charles David Thompson, and Commander Sa'ren Joel Short."

"They've got medals?" Drew asked excitedly as he started checking the four boys' chests. "Hey! Look! What are these for, Admiral?"

"I was getting there," Kirk chuckled. "Kevin and Joel already have the Star Cross each, and the Pantereas Commendation each. Joel also already had the Cochrane Medal of Excellence. The new ones; well, I'll start with Stephen. He gained Starfleet Command Commendation for Conspicuous Gallantry and The Legion of Honor. Kevin received the same, plus the Starfleet Purple Heart. As for Joel and your son: Joel received Starfleet Distinguished Service Medal, the Starfleet Silver Lifesaving Medal and the Medal of Valor, the second highest award for heroism in combat that we have. As for your son," he grinned at the two shell-shocked Hundsers, "he has received Starfleet Distinguished Service Medal, Starfleet Silver Lifesaving Medal, Starfleet Purple Heart, and the Medal of Valor."

Prez and Keith simultaneously gasped, "The Purple Heart and the Medal of Valor?"

Throwing his chest out importantly, John grinned and croaked, "That's right! Your incredibly cute little brother! Later, you may kiss my feet!" Prez, Keith and Drew groaned then all four brothers began laughing.

Trying to stand to go to her son, but feeling dizzy, Kathleen Marr began to slip off her chair. Jim quickly grabbed her arm, got her seated again then smiled, "Welcome to Clan Short."

Jen loudly sighed then tapped her comm-badge. "Jennifer Hundser to Doctor Janet Hayes."

"Janet here. I'm so glad you've gotten a comm-badge!"

"I'm sorry to have to use it so quickly," Jennifer smirked. "We have a new Clan mother here."

Janet giggled, "Uh oh! How much does she weigh?"

"About one hundred and ten pounds."

"I'll have Daileass transport the bottle."

Kathleen wondered, "Bottle of what?"

Jen, Laura, Lanna and Anna simultaneously replied, "Valium."

Over the comm-badge, Janet chortled, "You'll sleep, but still turn gray. I'm afraid we haven't found a cure for that or worry lines."

While the women continued to chat about the daily thrills of being a Clan mother, Stephen moved closer to his mother and softly assured, "I'm fine, mom." He then moved closer, wrapped an arm around his mother and whispered, "John's the one who kept me from going crazy last night. I cried at the Hawaii base and more after I got here. I love him and he loves me too."

John had locked eyes with his father. 'I didn't go there looking for trouble. I only wanted to help Joel and Kev. Stuff just sort o' happened.' Jim Hundser closed his eyes briefly and shook his head. 'How do I know why stuff happens around me? I pressed the right button though!' Reading his father's next question, John sent, 'My shoulder should be fine in another day or two. Then I can lose this stupid sling. My throat actually hurts worse, like a really bad cold, it burns. That's why I'm talking this way instead of speaking. The less I use my voice, the quicker my throat will heal. My voice should be fine tomorrow.'

"Are you able to eat?" Jim asked aloud.

John nodded, 'They recommended soup, ice cream and Jell-O, tonight.'

Jim grinned, "Go ahead and show our guests to the kitchen," referring to the young triplets.

Finishing his dinner, Prez remembered that he still hadn't contacted Cory Short. Swallowing the last of his iced tea, Prez tapped his sub-vocal and called, "Daileass, I need to send a quick message to Cory Short, please, dude."

Daileass giggled, "Any chance to annoy Blondie is good by me! I'll record your message and send it to him as soon as he's busy with something else!"

Prez smiled and said, "Hi Cory, it's Prez. Last night, as I was wrapping up my conversation with King Aalona, he gave Clan Short a very nice gift. We have an entire uninhabited Island now, dude! It's called Kaho'olawe and is off the southwest end of Maui. We can use it for whatever the Clan needs, bro. It's about forty square miles. That's way too big for another Rimmer base, so let me know if you have any ideas what we could use it for. Hopefully, everything's goin' well there for you today. If it hadn't been, maybe my news added a bright spot to your day. Take care, bro." Prez paused then said, "That should do it, Daileass."

"The message is recorded, Prez. I'll deliver it tonight, before he goes to bed," Daileass slyly answered. Rolling his eyes and smirking, Prez only shook his head.

A small pharmaceutical bottle appeared on the table before Jennifer. She thanked Janet and ended their conversation. Handing the bottle across the table, she then explained to Kathleen, "One before bedtime." Shooting flame from her eyes at John, she added, "I had this wild idea that I might not need to take one tonight."

Since almost the whole Rimmer Clan was present and everyone was in a good mood except the worrisome parents, Prez, Mike, Derrick and Mike gathered and decided it was time to soothe their shattered nerves. In an old Doo-Whop style, they began dancing and singing. "Only you can make this world seem right, Only you can make the darkness bright. Only you and you alone, Can thrill me like you do, And fill my heart with love for only you.

"Only you can make this change in me, For it's true, you are my destiny. When you hold my hand, I understand the magic that you do, You're my dream come true, My one and only you.

"Only you can make this change in me, For it's true, you are my destiny. When you hold my hand, I understand the magic that you do, You're my dream come true, My one and only you."

Lots of kids clapped and cheered, but not the parents. Before the old folks had another chance to dampen anyone's spirits, Mike had Alden transport his D-45 acoustic guitar. As soon as it appeared, they went right into Crazy Little Thing Called Love, with Keith singing lead vocals and performing a classic Elvis hip swivel and leg bounce. The rest of the band provided harmony vocals and tempo by clapping their hands. That got Drew and Corey dancing then John and Stephen held hands and danced a foot off the floor. Joel and Kevin joined in and soon all the Rimmers' sons paired up and joined their dads.

Prez was actually considering having Alden transport their parents into the pool to chill out. Thankfully, he didn't need to. At the end of the song, they clapped too. Then the dining room lights were dimmed. Three chefs came out of the kitchen pushing large carts of birthday cakes for Kaleo. When Kaleo ordered his cake that morning, he couldn't decide which flavor he wanted. So the chefs decided for him. With so many mouths to feed, it was simple to make one chocolate cake, one vanilla, and one strawberry. The final dining room performance of the night was for one hundred and thirty-nine voices to sing Happy Birthday to the Mouth Rimmer.

Kaleo got so many kisses, handshakes and hugs, the candles on the cakes were burning down to stubs when he finally blew them out and made a wish. Slices of cake were still being cut and passed to the kids when Prez went to the table where Spock was sitting with Joel, Kevin, Admiral Kirk and Teri Short.

Across the room, all the other Core Rimmers, Stephen, and Tory were watching anxiously. When the adults stopped talking and looked up at Prez, he smiled and asked, "Uncle Spock, my core teammates and I were hoping you could do us a favor." Prez paused, expecting that Spock would say something. Quickly realizing that he was waiting, Prez continued; "Saturday night, Harry and Jonas were telling us about the tel-tor ritual. Five couples would very much like to be bonded and married."

Spock nodded once and explained, "You understand that I can perform the mind-melds, but I may not be able to complete the bonding, dependent upon the emotional and mental states of the individuals."

"Yes Sir, we do," Prez acknowledged. "We understand that the worst that can happen is you can't complete the bonding. As long as you explain to the couples why and what is needed to successfully complete it, we see it as a win-win scenario. Also, we all want Joel and Kevin here to witness it and would be honored if you would perform it."

Almost imperceptibly, Spock smiled, "Very well. Are you ready, Preston?"

"Yes Sir! We all are," Prez excitedly chuckled. He then turned, nodded and waved the others over. Keith, Derrick, Mike, Corey, Drew, John, Stephen, Kaleo and Tory hurried across the dining room. Behind them, to witness the ceremony, came Dee, Gage, Sammy, Richie, Dillon, Jonah, Reyes and Geoff.

Spock stood before the five couples. His voice rang out, "Our people put the utmost emphasis on the idea of Family. Even our social structure proclaims this to all people, of all species. I am Spock, son of Sarek, of the Family of Sarek and the House of Surak, the senior house of Ektra-Maat T'Khasi, the house of all houses to which all Vulcans belong. My mother was of Earth, the daughter of Jeffrey Grayson, acrobat and scholar. I know that the peoples of Earth see Family as being as important as Vulcans do. And the foundation of Family is the bond of love expressed in marriage, into which Keith and Preston, and Michael and Derrick, and Drew and Corey, and Kaleo and Tory, and John and Stephen this evening propose to enter. I call you assembled here to stand witness to their union." Beginning with Keith, Spock entered brief mind-melds with each of the ten boys. Completing the melds, he said, "It is as I expected."

Walking into the dining room to find Prez, Troy and Sean heard Spock address the Clan. "We are gathered here this evening, to join Keith Hundser and Preston Albert O'Brian, and Michael Gibbons and Derrick Seibert, and Drew Hundser and Corey Seaver, and Kaleo Palakiko and Tory Burgas, and John Hundser and Stephen Marr in marriage, according to the laws of this nation, of the United Federation of Planets, and by the traditions of my people." He paused, and then said, "I am required to ask that if any person can show just cause why these couples should not be joined in marriage, that he speak now, or thereafter remain silent."

Not a single person said a word; in fact most of the kids had stopped eating and were proudly watching. Turning his attention back to the five couples; Spock led each couple through the wedding vows.

"According to the customs of your people, Keith, I charge you to take Preston's hand and pledge to him your wedding vow."

Keith faced Prez and took both his hands then clearly repeated; "I, Keith Hundser, take thee, Preston Albert O'Brian... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Prez joyfully repeated; "I, Preston Albert O'Brian, take thee, Keith Hundser... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Facing Derrick and swinging his hands, Mike grinned; "I, Michael Gibbons, take thee, Derrick Seibert... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Trying to stop Mike's swinging hands, Derrick smiled; "I, Derrick Seibert, take thee, Michael Gibbons... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Drew loudly proclaimed; "I, Drew Hundser, take thee, Corey Seaver... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Corey briefly giggled then joyfully repeated; "I, Corey Seaver, take thee, Drew Hundser... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Kaleo repeated; "I, Kaleo Palakiko, take thee, Tory Burgas... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Tory stated; "I, Tory Burgas, take thee, Kaleo Palakiko... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

John and Stephen were holding hands and floating almost two feet off the floor. They actually appeared taller than Kaleo and Tory and as tall as the eldest four. With his throat sore, John proudly croaked, "I, John Hundser, take thee, Stephen Marr... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

"I, Stephen Marr, take thee, John Hundser... to be my life partner… to have and to hold… from this day forward… in sickness and in health… for richer or for poorer… and I pledge my love to you… so long as we both shall live."

Everyone began clapping and cheering, but Spock returned to Keith and Prez. Realizing there was more, the applause slowly dwindled. Renewing the mind-melds with each boy in turn, Spock instructed, "Raise thy hands and rest them on thy beloved's temples. Repeat after me: My mind to your mind, my heart to your heart, my love to your love."

The smiles on Keith's and Preston's faces slowly faded as their hands touched temples and they repeated the short phrase. Everyone saw the same thing happen to all ten boys. Smiles were replaced with expressions of astonishment, like each was gazing reverently at perfect rainbows or works of art.

Once Stephen, the last boy in line, completed the process, Spock for the fifth time repeated, "You are bonded according to the deepest traditions of my people. Not being telepaths, you do not have the telepathic aspect of the bond, but each of you will find strength in your mate, each will know without conscious thought the feelings of your mate, each will be truly joined in mind and heart to your life mate."

After several moments, Richie softly wondered, "Are they stuck like that? When do they get to kiss?"

Glancing down at the boy standing beyond Keith, Spock couldn't help smiling. The first kiss began with John and Stephen and they rose even higher, towering above Spock. Almost simultaneously, the remaining four couples kissed. As clapping and cheering began, John powered up and lifted all four other couples so everyone could easily see.

All ten boys warmly thanked Uncle Spock. Joel came over to congratulate them all then explained that he needed to be in the U.K. soon. He, Kevin, their kids, Teri and Spock would need to leave. All the Core Rimmers hugged Joel, then Teri and even Uncle Spock. As John was finishing up, Prez had Alden patch him across the base P.A. system and send his announcement out to all the other Clan Divisions. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; it is our families tradition and therefore a Rimmer tradition to give and receive abundantly. We've received, now it's time to give. It's six-fifty-two Hawaii time. At seven-fifty Hawaii time there will be a concert at the Pacific Rim main base auditorium. We're celebrating our weddings. All who can attend are very welcome. Now, if you'll excuse us, we have less than an hour to get prepared. Alden, if you please, transport the ten of us, our kids, Troy and Sean to the auditorium lobby."

In an instant, the entire group was standing in the auditorium. Corey and Drew went right to work powering everything up. Troy turned to Sean and softly giggled, "It's so friggin' weird moving that way!" Smiling widely, Sean nodded and leaned in closer for a kiss.

"Okay," Prez began, "first things first. Alden, lock the auditorium doors. No one gets in until seven-twenty-five. Next, we all need to be dressed alike."

Mike quickly added, "Loose clothes so we can move around; shiny platinum-colored polo shirts, black pants and black sneakers."

Derrick instructed, "Close the stage curtains too, Alden."

Alden giggled, "I get to change the Rimmers! You're all gonna be naked for second or two."

Patting Drew on the back, Keith said, "Take a short break, bro. You too Corey." Once everyone was standing still, Keith instructed, "Do it, dude." In an instant, all the boys were standing in their birthday suits. It wasn't expected, but Alden got in a quick sigh and whimper before clothing them all again. Shaking their heads, but smirking, the Core Rimmers briefly remarked on their new A.I.'s enthusiasm.

Drew and Corey went back to the circuit breakers. Looking down at himself, Sean grinned, "Nice!"

Kaleo asked, "What do you need us to do, Prez?"

Prez said, "I'm thinking you, Tory and Sean can get the concession stand manned. Our kids, John and Stephen, you'll act as ushers. Get everyone seated as quickly as possible. Richie and Dillon, you guys can help just by starting at the front of the aisles. Keep everyone in the center section of seats. As the rows fill up, walk forward so folks know the seats in front of you are filled. When everyone's seated you guys come up on stage and let us know."

Richie giggled, "'Kay, Poppa."

Dillon nodded, "Okay, Unca Prez."

Finished with the power, Drew announced, "We're set, Prez."

"Great," Prez smiled, "get the popcorn poppin' and we'll get a set list together."

Troy reminded, "My gear's at home, Prez."

"Alden!" Prez laughed.

"It's all on the stage waiting now," Alden giggled.

Without further ado, Platinum Habits and their kids went inside the theater. Drew, Corey and Geoff went upstairs. Kaleo, Tory and Sean went to the concession bar. Kaleo grinned, "Thank goodness there's operating instructions on this corn popper."

Checking the freezer, Sean giggled, "We got ice!"

Searching the refrigerator, Tory sniggered, "Now if I could just find the butter!"

On their way up the stage steps, the band members were tossing out ideas for songs they could play. The ballads they had already rehearsed with Troy easily made the list. The band decided they wanted to play mostly ballads with a few light rock and blues tunes tossed in. They also wanted to test the capability of the sound system. Since it was a short notice concert, they expected only a few hundred Clan members to show up. Still, they wanted a dramatic opening number; something that would shake the ground. Slowly but surely, the set list was built.

Drew and Corey were given the titles and began getting a show prepared. With all the new lights and lasers, folks wouldn't know what to watch; the band and the stage show or the laser lights up on the ceiling. To check the audience sound levels, Corey raced back down to the theater with a tricorder set as a decibel meter. Behind the curtain, the band was rehearsing one of the tunes so they could get actual performance readings. Watching Corey closely from the P.A. booth, Drew slowly raised the power amps. The boys knew that eighty-five decibels was a normal and comfortable listening level and one hundred thirty decibels was near the sound of a jet engine and painful. They decided to start at ninety-five decibels. If many guests showed up, they could raise it a little bit and not deafen everybody in the audience.

Just as Corey returned to the P.A. booth, down on the stage the boys were singing A Capella. "You missed it," Drew smiled. "Troy and Prez taught the rest this song."

"It sounds awesome," Corey smiled. "Jaws are gonna drop."

"It's so perfect; it's making me want to cry," Drew grinned.

Realizing that their time was up, the band went back stage and got a little more rehearsal time in. At exactly seven-twenty-five, the auditorium doors unlocked. Rimmers began filing in from the door nearest the dining room. Others from various Clan divisions began transporting in. Some were stopping for soda, candy or popcorn, but most just went inside the theater and found seats. John tapped his comm-badge at seven-fifty and told Prez, "We've still got folks filing in, bro. Looks like a lot from the Rapid Response Base and Utah are here; a bunch from the Nevada Desert Division; judging by accents, more than a few from Oceanic Division too."

Prez grinned, "It's Wednesday afternoon there."

"It's thinning out some though. Give us another ten minutes."

Troy began nervously pacing and the other four encircled him. They all grinned at each other. "I've never played for more than a hundred or so," Troy admitted.

Keith nodded and explained, "We found out last Friday, audience size don't matter."

Mike devilishly grinned, "Sounds like the same ol' story to me."

Troy blushed and giggled, "Ain't goin' there!"

Derrick chuckled, "Ah, but you so want to, we can tell!"

Prez smiled, "There's some extraordinary rumors about your boyfriend."

Playing along, Keith teased, "Just tell us if the rumors are true."

Troy laughed, "I have no idea what you're all talking about!" but still blushed bright red.

Richie and Dillon came backstage. Richie said, "We're done, Poppa."

Dillon added, "There's still some middle rows way back."

Hugging both boys, Prez smiled, "You guys did an excellent job. Go ahead and find Uncle John and some seats." The two boys hurried back off stage and raced up the aisle. Facing his band mates, Prez said, "All set and together now, dudes?"

Everyone nodded and Troy nervously giggled, "Just hope I stay with ya's through the whole show!"

"Play like you did yesterday and earlier today and we're kewl bro," Mike assured, and then started up the backstage steps.

Following the rest of the band up, Prez nodded, "You've got no worries, Troy. It's gonna be great." He then tapped his comm-badge and told Drew, "Let's jam, bro. As soon as you hear the gong and timpani, open the curtains."

"Kewl!" Drew chirped. He raised the main faders on the P.A. system.

The audience lights dimmed and applause began to swell from the estimated four thousand now occupying most of the floor seats. From behind his drum kit, Derrick glanced around at his band mates and got thumbs up gestures. Simultaneously, he hit the gong and one of the timpani. The curtains began to open. Visible to the audience first was Derrick standing and hitting the timpani with flashes of red light above and behind him. After about twenty seconds, the curtain was fully opened and Derrick sat on his drum thrown. Most of the stage was dark until Keith began the opening synthesized horn notes of Fanfare For The Common Man. Near Keith was Troy, playing the Hammond organ, with his tenor sax hanging off his neck. White and yellow spotlights draped Keith and Troy. While the audience stood and cheered, Keith, Troy and Prez began playing the opening bass shuffle. About three minutes into the song, as the audience began to settle back down, Troy hurried out from stage left and the keyboards to play the first solo on his tenor saxophone at center stage. Soon, Keith was copying Troy note-for-note, reaching to play both the synthesizer and the Hammond. Mike joined the section with heavily distorted guitar chords matching the melody. Lined up in front of the drums, Prez, Troy and Mike got the audience revved up.

Ending the song on repeated blasts of sound to more applause, Troy put his sax down then went back to the piano. Taking his wireless microphone with him, Keith danced out to front center stage as rest of the band began playing Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'. Troy played the Steinway grand piano. Keith sang lead vocals with the rest of the band singing backup vocals. By the end of the song, almost everyone in the audience was singing the repeated Na-na-na's.

For the next song, Troy again changed instruments to the acoustic 12-string guitar. Prez announced, "Welcome to Ewa Beach everybody! Y'all are probably wondering why we're up here on stage? The easy answer is that we couldn't have gotten married today without Clan Short. So this is our way of saying thank you. Y'all need to keep an eye on our new band member. So far, you've seen Troy playing keyboards and saxophone." Prez paused then gestured to his right at Troy saying, "Now he's got a guitar for our next song. We all play various instruments, but Troy's our wizard."

The audience began chuckling except for Kaleo, Tory, Horacio and Sean who shouted, "YEAH, TROY!"

"A fan base on day one," Prez chuckled. He then stepped back and Derrick counted off the tempo for While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Mike played his Randy Rhoads Les Paul Custom and sang lead vocals. Providing backup vocals, Keith played electric piano and the Hammond organ. The next two songs were suggested by Troy. The first was The Story In Your Eyes and Troy sang lead vocals while playing acoustic rhythm guitar. For the second song, Mike switched to his D-45 acoustic and Keith played the Steinway. Troy remained on the 12-string and sang lead vocals on I Need You. All five sang the choruses.

Horacio leaned closer to Sean and teased, "Don't tell me he sang this to you too?"

Sean grinned, but shook his head saying, "Not this one. Another that almost ripped my heart out. You should've heard it. At least I wouldn't have been crying alone."

Confirming that Sean had found a very romantic gay boy in Troy, Horacio asked, "You know how lucky you are?"

Sean nodded and grinned, "I know." He then remembered, "By the way, he wants to see our dorm room."

"His eyes keep coming back here," Horacio noticed. "He's singing to you right now."

Smiling widely and nodding, Sean sighed then moaned, "Yeah." Shaking his head, Horacio cracked up.

For the next song, Every Breath You Take, Troy switched to his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, sang background vocals and Derrick sang lead vocals. Keith didn't have much to do through the first verse so he got the audience clapping along until keyboards were necessary.

About a third of the way into the song, Horacio had another idea and tapped Sean on the knee. "You want me to make myself scarce while you show him our room?"

"You don't have to."

"It's not a problem. Remember me asking you to help me help Sonia to the dorm the other night?"

Sean nodded, but because he was watching Troy, it took him about thirty seconds to turn to Horacio and grin, "You scopin' her out?"

Horacio smiled and nodded, "A couple of minutes at a time with her whenever I can. You haven't noticed? What am I saying? Of course you haven't noticed!" Sean cracked up.

At the end of the song, Keith made an announcement while Troy changed instruments from guitar to saxophone and Mike changed from electric to acoustic guitar. "This next song we learned from Troy. He really should be singing it, but singing and playing sax is somewhat difficult." Prez crossed the stage to be closer to Keith and Derrick counted off again. Keith began playing the electric piano introduction. He then sang; "Don't go changing, to try and please me. You never let me down before. I don't imagine you're too familiar, And I don't see you anymore." The whole band joined in with Keith singing; "I would not leave you in times of trouble. We never could have come this far. I took the good times, I'll take the bad times, I'll take you Just The Way You Are."

Many rows forward of Horacio and Sean, Judy Faris was sitting near Kathleen Marr and Jennifer Hundser. Right after Troy's first sax part, Kathleen turned to Judy and asked, "That's your boy?"

Judy proudly nodded, "I expected he would slowly come out of his shell. This afternoon, I came home to find him with one of the rescued boys."

Kathleen asked, "Aren't you afraid for him?"

"Naturally," Judy answered. "But Troy's obviously happy. Just like Stephen is happy with John. Every one of the boys that got married are incomplete without their partners. Look at them. When they watch their partners, their eyes soften, but they're obviously strengthened."

Kathleen nodded, "Stephen took risks today that I never expected from him."

Jennifer said, "Spock has checked them. They may still appear to be boys, but they have enough of adult perspectives and love for each other that he agreed to marry them. It's shocking though, isn't it?"

"Very!" Kathleen smiled, "It will take me days to get over the change in him."

"Don't worry," Jennifer assured. "We'll take shared custody of our young married couple. Between you and I, we'll guide them when they need it."

Troy moved forward and played the sax solo and the three women paused. Then Keith emotionally sang the last verse to Prez and then Troy played the ending sax solo. The song ended and the audience broke into applause. Troy waved at the audience then went back to play piano again for Count on Me. Keith and Derrick handled the lead vocals while the remaining three sang backup vocals.

The next song was Traces, during which Troy played recorder and sax parts and then Troy switched to acoustic 12-string for It's Only Love, and Can't You Hear My Heartbeat. Keith sang lead for the first song; Mike sang lead on the latter two. Then Derrick walked down and backstage to take a break with Reyes, who was waiting for the chance to perform on stage for the first time in twenty-one years.

On a mostly blue and green lit stage, with the shafts of red light rising from behind the drum risers, the remaining four played If. Keith provided synthesized strings and sang lead vocals. Mike finger-picked the lead acoustic guitar part while Troy played electric guitar. The audience was very impressed with Keith's vocals and loudly applauded. For the next tune, Troy went back to acoustic guitar and Reyes came out on stage to play bongos. Troy and Mike began playing the acoustic guitar introduction of You've Got A Friend, with Prez singing lead vocals. Keith moved back beside Reyes to play maracas and provide background vocals. About a third of the way through the song, the red shafts of light behind the drum risers turned orange and Derrick came back on stage to play drums.

The stage darkened again and Reyes went off stage to loud applause. Keith went to the electronic keyboards and Troy moved from guitar back to the Steinway. With a single overhead spotlight on him, Troy began playing and singing Without You. Soon, Keith was adding synthesized strings then joining Troy's vocals. Their voices together were smooth as silk. As the ending crescendo built, the orange lights behind the drums turned yellow and bright. By the time the song neared its end, Horacio noticed that Sean was a quivering wreck beside him.

For the next song, Keith went off stage to take a break while the remaining four switched instruments. Derrick came down off the risers to play bass guitar. Mike played lead acoustic guitar while Troy provided synthesized strings and harmonized backup vocals. Prez sang lead vocals and played acoustic guitar for If You Could Read My Mind. Mike and Troy provided backup vocals for Prez. The audience was pleasantly shocked that the band had moved effortlessly from rock to folk. They were also stunned that Prez could play acoustic guitar and sing so well. Applause slowly built and many in the audience stood for their leader. The band had carefully choreographed this part of the act just for the "moan factor". The stage lights went out and the audience stood for the first ovation. The four ballads were performed and executed flawlessly, leaving the audience breathless.

The band members moved around again while the audience cheered. Keith came back on stage to play synthesized horns and strings for the next tune. Reyes came up onto the drum risers to play maracas and tambourine. Suddenly, colored lights swamped stage right and Mike began playing What Is Life. The shock of going from almost pitch black to all that light almost most knocked many in the audience front rows back into their seats. Troy and Mike played electric guitars and Derrick sang lead vocals.

While the audience was still clapping, Reyes moved over to the bongos and congas. The band played the instrumental Samba Pa Ti, featuring Mike on electric guitar. Mike walked back and forth across the entire length of the stage playing with heart, soul and fire. When Mike was stopped in one place for a while, his eyes closed and he sang each note he played. While Reyes was on stage, the band continued with Just Remember I Love You. Troy played the D-45 during the first part of the song, but then pushed the guitar back and switched to baritone saxophone. Mike sang lead vocals with Derrick and Prez backing him up. Watching each other closely during the middle instrumental break, Mike and Troy played the exact same notes at the same time. After the song was completed, Derrick proudly introduced; "On bongos and congas, my son, Reyes Taraschke." Reyes waved at the audience then went off stage.

Barely pausing while the audience clapped and cheered, the band pushed on. Who Loves You was next on the set list. Corey activated the fog machines while Drew applied a slight phase shift to the hi-hat mic. Keith played the Steinway piano and Troy played synthesizers. Keith sang lead vocals with the other four band members providing harmonized backup vocals. During the middle instrumental break, Corey got clover shaped laser lights bouncing and spinning on stage and up on the ceiling. When they weren't singing, Prez and Mike bounced and danced around, obviously having a blast. Lights were flashing everywhere on each of the band members, making eyes dart around in the audience. Next, the band played Real Love, with more laser lights creating heart shapes that seemed to pulse in time with the music. Keith played keyboards. Troy played 12-string rhythm guitar. Mike played electric guitar and sang lead vocals. For the following song, Troy moved behind the keyboards and Keith moved to center stage, singing As Long As You Love Me. High up on the ceiling, a spinning mirrored ball with red, green and blue pin spot lights made its presence known and so did the Scooby Gang, chanting praises to the pretty Shiny ball. Dancing and groovin', Keith, Prez and Mike got the audience fully engaged. Kids all over the audience were up dancing. Singing to each other, John and Stephen held hands and danced a foot higher than the chairs they were sitting in, causing quite a bit of giggling and laughter.

More fog billowed onto the stage and laser lights flew around the auditorium during Time Of The Season. Once again, as had occurred during the luau, eyes in the audience darted around to each band member as they sang the various parts. The final song of the mini-set was Easy, with Troy singing lead vocals and playing the Steinway while Keith played synthesized horn and string parts.

At the end of the song, while the audience clapped and cheered, the stage went completely dark again and all laser lights stopped. Several of the band members could be heard laughing. Realizing something even more thrilling was coming, the audience was spellbound. Red shafts of light rose from behind the drums and red lights from above draped the band members. The band played Precious and Few, followed immediately thereafter by Truly Madly Deeply, with Keith and Troy singing a duet on the latter tune, and the rest of the band providing backup vocals during the choruses. Mike played the classical guitar for his short solos. It was Prez who whispered "I love you," near the end of the song.

The entire band was really pleased with the re-vamped version of Never My Love. With Troy's additional background vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, and Reyes providing castanets, tambourine and more background vocals, the song sounded exactly like the original recording. Without the audience even noticing, the shafts of light behind the drum risers were now orange. Then Keith sang lead vocals on How Can I Be Sure. Troy remained at the piano for Your Song. Midway through the latter song, Sean was a quaking, shivering mass of tear-drenched putty. Horacio reached for and held Sean's hand. Keith took over lead vocals for Don't Worry Baby and I Can't Tell You Why. The harmonized, multi-part vocals on the Beach Boy's classic impressed everyone. It was a song the four man band had tried and couldn't adequately accomplish, but with Troy, it was now perfect. Troy then left the stage for a short break and some cold water. Sean was almost thankful Troy had walked off stage before he needed to be scraped off the floor. The lights behind the drum risers were now yellow and the audience hadn't even noticed them changing color again. Keith manned the synthesizers and Mike moved over to the Steinway to play Imagine. Everyone in the audience was surprised that Mike could play piano. His voice was so much like Lennon's it was eerie.

For the final songs, Troy returned to the stage. Keith sat at the Steinway and Troy manned the synthesizers for Unchained Melody, with Keith singing lead vocals. After they had finished the song, Keith and Troy swapped positions and knocked knuckles. Troy sat at the Steinway and Keith manned the synthesizers. Troy began playing and, out in the audience, Sean began shaking again before a single word was sung. Horacio looked over at him. Forcing a smile, Sean said, "This is the song he played for me before supper." Troy sang the first verse of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Keith sang the second verse. Cymbal swells, drums, synthesized strings and bass guitar were added. The final verse was sung by all five band members. As the final notes rang out, the audience shot to their feet clapping and cheering. This part of the program was considered by the band as the "wow factor." Derrick came down off the drum risers and waved Reyes to come out and join them. Platinum Habits met center stage, held hands and bowed then the curtains began to close.

The audience would have none of that; they wanted more! Reyes hugged Derrick and Mike then went back off stage. Platinum Habits were ready for two encore songs that would leave the audience reeling. They gathered around one microphone at front center stage. In a semi circle, from left to right were Prez, Troy, Keith, Derrick and Mike. As planned, Corey opened the curtain partway, only revealing the band, the drums behind them and the yellow shafts of light behind the drums. The audience sat down. As one voice in four-part harmony, the five man band sang Because, A Capella.

"Aaaaahhhhhhh. Because the world is round it turns me on. Because the world is round.

"Aaaaaahhhhhh. Because the wind is high it blows my mind. Because the wind is high.

"Aaaaaahhhhhh. Love is old, love is new. Love is all, love is you.

"Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry. Because the sky is blue. Aaaaaaaahhhh."

Loving it, the audience cheered, clapped and whistled. But the band were smiling and waiting for the audience to settle down. Once more, as one united voice in five-part harmony, they sang A Capella.

"I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows. I believe that somewhere, in the darkest night, a candle glows. I believe for everyone who goes astray, someone will come to show the way. I believe, I believe.

"I believe above the storm the smallest prayer will still be heard. I believe that someone, in the great somewhere, hears every word. Every time I hear a newborn baby cry, or touch a leaf, or see the sky, then I know why, I believe. I Believe!"

The audience, half in tears and the other half with their mouths agape, jumped up and exploded with applause, cheers and whistles. Stepping back from the microphone, Platinum Habits lined up, held hands and again bowed. Drew turned down the main faders. Corey closed the curtains then turned up the audience lights.

While the boys were still in a five way hug, Prez smiled at Troy and asked, "Still scared?"

Troy shook his head and laughed, "After thirty ballads and love songs, fear is the weakest of my emotions right now."

Keith giggled, "You wanna stick around for the reception, dude?"

"Don't make him make a decision! He's got better things to do," Mike countered. He then tapped his sub-vocal and told Alden, "Get a fix on Sean Moorhead, dude; transport Sean and Troy directly to Sean's dorm room."

"Sean's standing and ready," Alden giggled.

Everyone released Troy and the last thing he saw was them starting to wave goodbye. Preparing to leave the auditorium, Horacio was standing behind Sean. Then Sean vanished and Horacio knowingly grinned. The next thing Troy knew, he was standing in a mostly darkened room. A little light coming in from the window blinds and a digital clock allowed him to notice Sean's silhouette moving towards him. Sean softly recited, "Like the winter needs the spring, I need you." They wrapped their arms around each other and passionately kissed. Many moments later, the kiss broke. Remaining close together, Sean whispered, "Did you like the stuff we did alone today?"

"I loved it all, Sean," Troy assured. He then wondered, "Did you think I didn't?"

Sean shivered and admitted, "I want you in so many ways, Troy. Before goin' crazy and showing you some new stuff, I wanted to check."

Troy giggled, "The dildo is in my condo, Tiger."

"First things first," Sean smiled, and began undressing Troy. Sean taught Troy a variety of kisses while he worked. Soon, they were naked and lying on Sean's bed. At first, they ground against each other, kissing and cooing. Crawling down the length of Troy's body, Sean whispered, "Wanna show you something." Troy uncontrollably shivered when Sean lifted his legs and began licking trails around each cheek of his ass.

Sean's tongue brushed over Troy's anus for the first time and Troy moaned, "My Tiger." Sean giggled and then loudly purred before lightly tapping the orifice with his fingers. Spiraling out of control, Troy gurgled utterances that made no sense at all. After many minutes of instruction, Sean swung around to let Troy practice. Once again, Sean discovered that Troy was a natural, enthusiastically repeating all he had learned.

Facing and embracing their partners, Prez and Keith, and Mike and Derrick, shared a few quiet minutes alone back stage. What was most remarkable to both couples was how much they could feel from their partners. It wasn't telepathy, but it was so much more than familiarity. The time of guessing what their partners felt was over. They didn't even need to confirm the feelings aloud. Finally, each began congratulating the other on the marriages and concert. Then they went out the back stage door and towards the C.I.C. dining room.

There, they found the entire Rimmer Clan, many other Clan members and five wedding cakes waiting. To his fellow newlyweds, John sent, 'I had Alden get us the cakes.' Grateful, Prez and Keith only thought of the relationship topics they wanted to talk with John and Stephen about. John relayed the messages verbatim to Stephen. Both young boys blushed and giggled. John replied, 'There are some things we will do together tonight and few others we're not quite ready for. Prepubescent, remember? You think you two can last a long time? HA! We make each other shake over and over again without pausing or making a big mess! Bet ya can't remember the last time you could say that!'

Keith and Prez laughed, remembering their own prepubescent escapades. Not until that moment did John know that once upon a time, prior to choosing their mates, Mike, Derrick, Prez and Keith had fun with each other as a group and as couples. However, the other Core Rimmers and their families were waiting.

All five couples gathered then went to cut the cakes. One couple at a time fed their partners a piece of cake. Then, starting with Derrick and Mike, each newlywed smashed a small piece of cake onto his partners face. They went to the C.I.C. men's room to cleanup. There, they decided they had waited long enough. Kaleo and Tory had Alden transport them to their dorm room. Prez and Keith, Derrick and Mike, Drew and Corey, and John and Stephen were transported to the townhomes for maximum privacy.

At the dorms, some of the kids were returning to their rooms. On the first floor, right after Aki and Hajime walked in, they could hear muffled cries and moans from Sean and Horacio's room. They had seen Sean with Troy that day and Horacio was still at the C.I.C. dining room when they left there, so they knew who was making love. Thirteen-year-old roommates Aaron Farris and Stephen Wickes walked in the dorm and heard more desperate cries and giggling from Sean's room. Having a good idea of what might be going on, they blushed and giggled. Aaron nervously asked Stephen, "Ya wanna try, maybe?"

Opening the door to their room, Stephen waited until Aaron had stepped inside, closed the door and reached for Aaron's hand, softly admitting, "That's why I slept near you in the nest the last three nights. That's why I wanted you as a roommate, Aaron."

Beginning to shed tears of joy, Aaron leaned close and tenderly kissed Stephen for the first time. Forcing a wide smile, Stephen whispered, "You're gorgeous to me, ya know? I can't imagine how I could live without you."

"I think you're hot too," Aaron giggled. "I never wanna be with anyone else ever again." With that, Aaron led Stephen to his bed. The boys giggled and rolled around, sharing their bodies and minds.

Sean's orphanage friends, Keanu and Hank were next entering the dorm and heard Sean making Troy squeal in delight. They helplessly laughed as they walked to the common room at the end of the hall. Both boys considered themselves bisexual, because of their orphanage experiences. As close as they had been through their orphanage experiences, they had no issue with seeking solace in each other's arms. They weren't ready for bed yet though and turned on the television in the common room. Keanu turned to Hank and grinned, "What do you think Sean's doin'?"

Knowing Sean for five years, Hank cackled, "You saw Sean with Troy today. The look in his eyes and the smile on his face says it all. I'd bet the Rimmers are rimming." Keanu nodded and evilly snickered.

Still chuckling from the sounds down the hall, Horacio walked in the common room. The three orphanage buddies became hysterical because, of all of them, Sean was the shyest, yet there they were, still making choices and watching TV while Sean had obviously found the boyfriend of his dreams. After hearing Troy sing so many ballads, they knew that Sean had no hope of ever breaking away from Troy. They also confirmed that it was a match made in heaven. Horacio only wondered when he would be able to return to his room and go to bed.

After the reception, eleven of the younger boys and nine of the younger girls decided it was time to move to the dorms. With Alden's help, Bill Seaver and Carl Seibert took the boys over and got them settled in three dorm rooms. Lanna Seaver and Anna Seibert brought the girls upstairs and got them in their rooms. The nest in the basement of the Hundser home had dwindled to twenty-five immediate family, the seven youngest F.C.C. kids rescued the prior night, the Terrible Triplets and Nathan. Almost all the kids were wound up from the concert and reception.

Circumstances however, cut the Rimmers' private celebrations short. At quarter of midnight, Prez's comm-badge chirped. Street kids had shown up at Hawaii, Maui, and their own main gate. Reluctantly, Prez contacted Mike, Derrick, Kaleo and Tory while Keith called his brothers and their partners. Soon the five couples and two doctors were at the Ewa Beach main gate, then at Hawaii and finally at Maui gathering nineteen more kids. Of the nineteen, twelve were boys and seven were girls, ranging in age from thirteen to sixteen. One boy and one girl were fifteen year old Betazed twins; Relud Glith and his sister, Inoyra Glith. John and Stephen found them to be the most interesting of the lot. Arriving back at the C.I.C. dining room, Derrick realized their numbers had reached one hundred and fifty-one. In only four days, the Rimmer Clan had almost doubled.

Emerging from the dorm room around half past midnight, Sean and Troy went down the hall, washed up in the bathroom then went to the common room looking for Horacio. Little did they know that, in addition to Horacio, they would find Keanu, Hank, Aki, Hajime, Aaron and Stephen in the room. Only Aki and Hajime remained seated and giggling while the other five stood and applauded the after concert performance. Blushing bright red, Sean and Troy hid their faces on the other's shoulder and couldn't help laughing along. On their way out of the common room, Aaron and Stephen paused to hug Sean and Troy, whispering their thanks for pushing them beyond friendship.

Sean locked eyes with Horacio and giggled, "The room is yours for the night, bro."

Troy nodded and brightly smiled, "Sean's spending the night with me at the condo."

More laughter and teasing erupted from Horacio, Keanu and Hank. Cackling their heads off, Sean and Troy turned and walked down the hall. Horacio followed and softly wondered, "So how far did you dudes go?"

Troy giggled and tried to hide his face with his one free hand. Sean answered, "As far as we could with hands, fingers and mouths." Facing Sean and wordlessly confirming everything they had done was fantastic, Troy brightly smiled and contentedly sighed.

They stopped outside Sean and Horacio's room. Horacio teased, "No dildo action yet?"

Sean and Troy shook their heads. Sean helplessly giggled, "Later tonight or tomorrow, after Troy's mom leaves for work."

Collapsing onto Sean, Troy giggled, "We got each other off six times already, Tiger."

Sean planted a kiss then smiled, "I told you that six times was easy. It's after midnight now. Restart the counter."

Laughing hysterically, Horacio prompted, "Wait just a minute," then hurried into his room. He came back out with the final wrapped present and handed it to Sean. Sean handed the box to Troy then leaned close to whisper, "We're workin' our way there; fingers and through each of the dildos."

Troy whimpered then tenderly kissed Sean. Troy turned to Horacio, offered his thanks and reluctantly admitted that he was jealous of him.

Shaking his head, Horacio assured, "Don't be jealous of me, dude. My hand's been on Sean's cock, but that's it. I wouldn't do with him what you've already done. I'm bi and want a girlfriend; everything's perfect and very kewl, Troy."

Troy smiled, "That's great. Thanks again for the presents. We'll see you tomorrow."

"Kewl," Horacio chirped, and then chuckled, "Have fun, dudes. Good night."

Sean and Troy shared silent thoughts. Sean took the box and handed it back to Horacio, saying, "Just leave it on my bed, bro." He slyly glanced at Troy and chortled, "If my finger and tongue makes you that loud, we'd better plan on playing with these here." Feeling his face flush again, Troy nodded and helplessly laughed at himself. Taking the box and cracking up, Horacio, Sean and Troy said good night. Horacio went into the room and tossed the box on Sean's bed. Sean and Troy returned to the condominium.

Kekoa had done his bit again, getting additional chefs to feed the new arrivals and giving them an introductory pep talk. Once the kids had eaten, the eight Core Rimmers, their partners and Kekoa took the newbies to the basement store to get them clothed. Kekoa pulled Prez aside and whispered, "I need to share something, Director O'Brian."

Hearing Kekoa refer to him with a formal title, Prez immediately knew it was important. The best area Prez knew of where there were no kids or chance for interruption was within the men's room. Once there, Prez formally said, "Your report, Colonel?"

Kekoa reported, "With the installation of your new A.I. this morning, additional security measures have been implemented. The technology is far above anything else on this planet and cannot be compromised." Prez simply nodded. Kekoa continued, "If the C.I.C. were to be compromised, then explosive charges would take out the A.I. and everything above ground. Only these basement areas would not be destroyed."

"What about Alden?" Prez worried, "He's a sentient life form, like Reyes, Daileass and Draco."

Kekoa answered, "All Alden's programming and memories would be stored off site. He'd be safe, Sir."

Prez thought for a few moments then asked, "If we have to use the shelters down here, would everybody be safe?"

Kekoa nodded, "Yes, Sir. Jory setup the charges personally."

Remembering the boy that setup the explosive charges so they could surf at Anahola Bay, Prez couldn't help laughing. Not expecting Prez to laugh, Kekoa curiously tilted his head. Leading Kekoa out of the men's room, Prez shared the surfing story.

Finally, the group was brought to the dorms. For the first time, a dorm room was shared by a boy and a girl; the twins, Relud and Inoyra. There were rooms still available in the first dorm for the girls, but all the new boys had overflowed into the first floor of another dormitory building.

It was almost three in the morning by the time the Core Rimmers went to bed. Only John's sleep was interrupted by a nightmare just before dawn. Completely freaked out by the images of fire, John got up and contacted the Command Center, fully convinced that somewhere there was a huge blaze and many kids were in danger. The on-shift UNIT team checked and double checked, but nowhere around the Pacific Rim was there any such fire. Stephen led John back to the nest, got him settled down and eventually they fell back to sleep.

Copyright Notices:

All music and lyrics referenced in this chapter are the property and copyright of their owners.

Editor's Notes:

Let's see, we got a new couple who are seriously in love and extremely happy. Troy is now part of Platinum Habits, and we have 5 weddings. Hmmm, I am missing some more stuff here! Oh yeah, they find Stephen's mom and Mr. Hundser gets really mad at a store manager, Mrs. Hundser starts hiring new staff members, and we can't forget that Joel, Kevin, John, and Stephen are now high ranking members of Starfleet and they saved the day with a rescue with the Enterprise. Then, we have an awesome Concert and more kid's show up at the gates!!!

What else is going to happen? What can Mr. Eggman come up with next? This Division of Clan Short is getting really busy! Congrats on another great chapter Eggman!!!! Can't wait for the next one!

Your friendly neighborhood editing pup!