Clan Short Pacific Rim Division

Chapter 13


Kaho'olawe Island, Keoneuli Beach House

Saturday, November 6, 2004 10:35 AM

While Corey, Derrick, Reyes, Drew and Mike were getting newbies settled into dorm rooms, Prez and Keith arrived with their sons, outside the beach house. Alden placed them on a spot between the house and the beach, facing the waterfall to the North. The entire area was beautiful wilderness, and it was secluded. To the left, beyond the house, was an angular, gradual rise that became a steep mountainside. To the right was the beach and a distant view of Maui. Around the house was manicured lawn and a few evergreen and palm trees. The house and lawn seemed out of place for the environment, but no one thought twice about that; this was their retreat.

From the outside, the house was very similar to the single family homes at Ewa Beach. The primary difference was the additional wide lanai that wrapped around the entire house. Instead of five steps leading to porches at the front and rear, this house had seven steps leading to the lanai on all four sides of the house. On the lanai were patio tables, chairs and lounges. There were also two additional sliding glass doors, one on each side of the house; one was in the dining room, and the other was in the ground floor bedroom.

Grinning up at Prez, Sammy asked, "We're gonna be here the rest of the day, pop?"

Prez nodded, "And hopefully, baring any unexpected madness, we'll stay the night. Tomorrow, we'll go back home."

Keith suggested, "You guys check the upstairs and basement of the house. Make sure all the beds have sheets, pillows and blankets. Remember to make sure that there are things for you guys too. All of Mike's kids and all of Drew's kids will be here, so get the games and stuff you'd like. Get Alden to help set up the basement too. I'm thinking one corner could be arranged as a stage, so the band can play some music for our security guys."

As if they were just told to raid the candy store, the four boys grinned at each other, then hollered, "YAAAAAAAA!" and ran for the house.

Prez loudly laughed, "We'll make sure we have all the food and stuff we'll need."

Only Richie stopped, spun around and gleefully replied, "'Kay, Poppa." He then turned to race after his older brothers.

Over Prez's comm-badge, Alden said, "Hey boss, I didn't want to interrupt while Keith was talking to the boys, but food isn't too much of an issue here. When Quint created the house, he put a Starfleet replicator in the kitchen. Just tell it what you want and it will replicate it for you. You guys don't even have to worry about loading a dishwasher. Put the dirty plates and stuff in the side panel of the replicator and it'll all be taken care of. If you want to, you can cook something, but it's not necessary. As far as I can tell, Quint made this house exactly like what he knew was at Ewa Beach. From the cameras inside, I see enough to tell you that's there's not much you'll need from me, if anything. The basement is even set up with instruments, microphones and a suitable PA system. On the other side of the basement is a Foosball table, a pool table, and game systems for the kids. There's seating for your guests down there too. This is your place to chill out at, so Quint prepared just about everything."

Prez smiled, "Thanks, Alden. All we have to do is roam around opening doors and windows then." Keith took Prez's hand and they walked up the steps to the porch and inside. Keith and Prez made the rounds around the ground floor, letting fresh air circulate through the house. It was just like every other house at Ewa Beach, only the wall coverings, window dressings and furnishings were slightly different styles, more appropriate for teens than adults. They did notice that the ceilings had padding, like the Hundser home, which told them why they couldn't really hear their four sons scrambling around upstairs.

The four boys galloped downstairs. Without pausing, Gage giggled, "Ev'rything's kewl upstairs, dad. Even the bathrooms have all the stuff we'll need." The boys went down to the basement. A chorus of cheers erupted. Keith and Prez hurried down after their sons. On the way down, they started to see what Alden was talking about. The larger side of the basement was set up like an intimate night club, with tables, chairs, sofas and recliners. There was also a stage large enough for Platinum Habits, already prepared with instruments and amplifiers. On the opposite side of the basement was the gaming area. It was very much like the CIC's rec room, just scaled down.

Sammy scratched his head, then looked up at the ceiling, calling, "Alden?"

"What's up, Sammy?"

"The only things we haven't found are things for outside," Sammy said. "You know, beach balls, Frisbees, stuff we can play with at the beach."

Alden hummed then suggested, "There are four storage bins on the porch, one on each side of the house, Sammy. I can't see what's in them, but they're worth checking out." Sammy and his three brothers ran upstairs to investigate.

Slowly nodding and widely smiling at each other, Prez and Keith then embraced. They sighed with relief that they could finally enjoy all they had been given the prior week, then kissed before walking back up to the main level.

After closing the basement door, Keith tapped his comm-badge and called, "Naasir, Justin and Danny, if you're not busy, please join us at the Kaho'olawe beach house."

Obviously surprised that Keith's call was so early, Danny answered, "Already?"

Prez tapped his comm-badge, calling, "Gamba, Chris and Matt, let's hang out for a while."

In the UNIT's dorm common room with Danny, Chris and Justin, Matthew responded, "We'll be right there, Prez."

Prez then hurried to the kitchen with Keith only a few steps behind. Prez searched the cupboards until he found a box of Cheez-Its and a bag of potato chips. Getting the idea, Keith found two bowls for the snacks. While Prez poured the snacks into the bowls, Keith double checked the fridge. There was plenty of various sodas and juices, whatever the boys and gorillas wanted. He then got glasses out for their guests. Asking for a large bowl of mixed fruit, Prez tried out the replicator. It wanted specifics, so Prez told it what he wanted. In seconds, a bowl of bananas, apples, oranges and pears materialized. Prez put it out on the coffee table in the living room. Following with the bowls of potato chips and Cheez-Its, Keith placed them down on the coffee table. The doorbell rang and together they went to answer it.

Standing at the door were the two gorillas and four teenage boys, all of whom were wearing board shirts and light sport shirts with Hawaiian patterns. They actually looked like tourists. Keith warmly greeted them and waved his arm to prompt them to come inside. Prez shook all their hands and admitted, "We were just getting snacks together. Would you like anything to drink?"

The first to accept was Gamba, Prez's gorilla. "Could I have a glass of apple juice?"

Prez nodded, "Comin' right up," then went to the kitchen.

Keith scanned the eyes of the other five and prompted, "Please relax, dudes. You're off duty. Make yourselves comfy. We simply haven't had the time or chance to do this before today. Between our own kids, our parents, and all the other rescued kids, we've barely had time to get to know you."

Justin smiled and agreed, "It has been kind o' crazy, hasn't it?"

From the kitchen, Prez loudly said, "We know Adam and Logan chose you guys based on what they knew of us. Adam's been swimming around in my head. We just went with it, not really knowing how to act with personal security." Rather than try and sit on the furniture, the two gorillas simply hunkered down on the living room floor.

"Alden," Keith called, "one thing we do need is reinforced seating appropriate for our security gorillas. Please provide enough of those, scattered around the house, for all the gorillas showing up today."

Over the loudspeakers, Alden giggled, "Comin' up, Keith." In moments, steel framed chairs with thicker padding began appearing in the living room, dining room, at the kitchen dinette, around the lanai and down in the basement.

Matt went to the kitchen and playfully challenged Prez. "You didn't know how to act? Sorry, I ain't buyin' that."

Softly chuckling at himself, Prez smiled, "See, I had no idea you had a sense of humor. You haven't shown it once, before now."

Taking a seat on one of the new chairs, Naasir offered, "I was chosen because I like to listen to music."

Choosing to remain on the floor for the moment, Gamba grinned, "He sleeps to that long hair classical stuff."

Keith grinned, "Really? Which classical?"

Naasir softly admitted, "Mozart, Bach, I especially liked the Rachmaninoff concerto you played Saturday night. It was beautiful and you played it as well as anyone I've ever heard."

Keith smiled, "Thank you. That piece did take a long while to get memorized."

Returning to the living room with a large glass of apple juice, Prez passed it to Gamba, saying, "This is why we invited you. For a week, you dudes have been covering our butts and never said anything like that."

Chris said, "We're all musicians or very interested in music. Matt plays guitar..."

"Poorly, compared to Prez, Troy and Mike," Matt interjected.

"You're not as bad as you think," Chris countered.

Matt shrugged then said, "Chris plays trumpet. Danny plays keyboards."

Prez wondered, "What about Justin and Gamba?"

Gamba softly said, "I like trombone, and try. The chimps have provided me a mouthpiece so I can at least carry a tune lately."

Keith turned to Justin and asked, "What about you?" Justin blushed bright red.

Answering for Justin, Danny said, "He sings, really well too, but he'll never believe it."

In an attempt to save himself from further embarrassment, Justin huffed, "I've been happy listening to Platinum Habits."

Keith sat beside his personal security guard and softly said, "Your friends are saying the same about you as my friends said about me. I didn't believe it either, when they'd tell me that I was good."

"You are very good though," Justin insisted. "I just sing in the shower and with CD's."

Keith nodded, "I sang when I was practicing scales and chords on the piano. I still get a little nervous before every performance, whether I'm singing or not." Keith then said, "Ya know, Thursday, when we were confronted at school, I didn't see a shy person. I saw a very confident person."

Justin nodded, "That's completely different."

Danny softly asked Justin, "Would you sing for Keith and Prez, just a little?"

Justin vigorously shook his head, but with prompting from all the boys and the two gorillas, he finally gave in. "All right!" he shouted, "Just this once and only a little."

Keith repeated, "Just name the song, dude."

Humming uncertainly while considering songs with easy lyrics and an easy melody, Justin soon shrugged, "Live And Let Die?"

"Not a problem," Keith said, and then went to the upright piano in the living room.

Justin warned, "Not a word from any of you!"

Only to be sure Justin felt more secure, Prez instructed, "Seriously, guys. I want to hear this."

The other three boys and two gorillas instantly agreed. Keith checked with Justin. "Ready?" Justin only nodded and took a deep breath. Keith played the first two chords, then Justin sang, "When you were young and your heart was an open book. You used to say, live and let live."

Keith, Prez and the other boys sang, "You know you did, you know you did, you know you did."

Justin continued, "But if this ever-changing world in which we live in, makes you give in and cry. Say live and let die."

All the others sang with Justin; "Live and let die. Live and let die. Live and let die."

Keith went off, playing the entire thunderous middle section. Expecting Justin wouldn't continue, Keith sang, "What does it matter to ya, when you've got a job to do, you gotta do it well. You gotta give the other fellow hell." While Keith was playing the second segue into the next verse, their sons came inside. Prez held up a single finger to stop them, so Justin wouldn't get freaked out. They sat on the stairs, hidden from Justin's view.

Justin then sang, "You used to say, Live and let live."

All the others sang, "You know you did, you know you did, you know you did."

Justin sang the final section. "But if this ever-changing world in which we live in, makes you give in and cry. Say, live and let die. Live and let die. Live and let die. Live and let die."

Keith made a show out of the finale. Before he even finished, everyone began clapping. Prez nodded at his boys to come the rest of the way into the living room. Still clapping furiously, they turned into the room. Red as an apple at the applause, and sudden appearance of the four boys, Justin covered his face and began to cry. Getting up from the piano bench, Keith went directly to Justin, pulled him up from the sofa and hugged him tightly. "It's okay," Keith reassuringly whispered. "I cried too the first time. It does get easier, I swear to God, it really does."

Extremely embarrassed, Justin sobbed, "I'm supposed to protect you."

"You have and will continue to. There's only one difference now."

"What's that?"

"You thought I was special. I thought you were a security dude. Now we're seeing each other as real people, as friends, with fears just like anybody else."

Becoming weak in Keith's arms, Justin softly admitted, "My foster parents made fun of me when I sang."

"They were wrong on so may levels. You are very, very good. Not many would even attempt singing like McCartney, never mind manage it so well." Keith pulled slightly back then showed Justin to the bathroom, so he could wash up and pull himself together. Prez and the other guests took seats around the living room.

There was a knock on the front door. Already in the foyer, Keith answered it to find Derrick and Mike standing on the mountain side of the lanai. Always ready to bust Mike's balls, Keith walked away from the open door, grumbling, "Aw shit, there goes the party." Familiar with this routine, the boys and gorillas began sniggering.

Stepping in the house, Mike gave as good as he received. "At our first Shiny Mass, you may become the first human sacrifice in Shiny Religion history, dull one."

Prez scowled, "Why the hell did you arrive outside and knock? This is our beach house retreat; all of ours, any Core Rimmer can decided to take a break here."

Derrick shrugged, "We didn't think of it that way."

Closing the door behind him, Mike turned around, teasing, "Why is everyone dressed? I thought this was a day off and a party?"

Keith and Prez shrugged. In moments, they were undressed, their clothes tossed aside to the wall edge of the living room floor. Derrick and Mike followed suit. Soon, all the security guys, the gorillas, and the four sons were naked and there were piles of clothes.

Matthew faced Prez, remembering, "The first time I ever saw you, at Anahola Bay, you were naked."

Mike hurried over to the living room piano and began playing a slow blues strip tune. "Orgy!" he hollered, and everyone cracked up. Justin came out of the bathroom, looking much better and laughing at Mike's suggestion.

Not realizing the implications, Richie giggled, "Poppa, we got LOTS o' toys." Trying desperately to maintain, Mike's head dropped onto the piano keyboard, making a dissonant sound.

Gage nodded, "Badminton rackets, a net, all kinds of Frisbees and balls to toss around."

"There's some inflatable flotation stuff for Richie and other little kids," Sammy added.

"Even 'lectric cars and helicopters," Dee grinned.

Tapping Keith's arm, Gage asked, "Dad, could we play in the water?"

Keith thought about it, then nodded, "Only when there are some older guys watching you. It's the ocean, not a pool, so additional supervision." He announced, "Let's go outside, dudes," and led the way. Dee, Gage, Sammy and Richie hurried past and made it outside first. Derrick and Mike noticed the food replicator beside the refrigerator and briefly commented on it.

They all went to the beach. It was a protected bay and the waves seemed to be under a meter. Prez sighed, "I can't go swimming yet, especially in salt water. Doc Andrews will have a fit."

Keith evilly grinned, "So will I. We'll check out the water and the shore slope, baby." He tapped Justin and Danny and the three of them jogged into the water.

Prez tapped his sub-vocal, calling, "Alden, what are the rest of the Core Rimmers doing?"

Alden replied, "Kaleo and Tory are at the pool with Leonard Santana, Mark Fikes and some of the other younger California boys. AJ and Jerry are at the playground with the Hunnicutt brothers. Drew and Corey are showing their sons the townhouse they'll be moving into. John and Stephen are at the store, with your parents and some newbies picked up at Des Moines this morning. Reyes is at the diving well, being initiated by some of the teens there." He paused then giggled, "Troy and Sean are at dorm one, wrecking Sean's bed."

Softly sniggering, Prez ordered, "Tell Kaleo, Tory, AJ and Jerry to get their security, and come join the party. I'd like them to bring the boys they're with, those that want to come. When it's convenient for the others, let them know too, bring their security and their boys."

Derrick tapped his sub-vocal, adding, "Alden, tell Reyes to get his brothers and anyone that they want to bring along. After Thursday night and yesterday, I want Reyes to take a break."

Mike hummed, "It's almost lunch time." He turned to Derrick, suggesting, "Lets go figure out the replicator." Nodding and taking Mike's hand, Derrick and Mike started back to the house.

Glancing at Chris and Matthew, Prez smiled, "Just because I can't swim doesn't mean you guys can't. We'll have all day to get to know each other." Making the gentle reminder more appealing, Prez tapped his sub-vocal, saying, "Alden, we'll need a bunch of surfboards and bodyboards of various sizes for the boys, all the teens and the gorillas expected."

Almost simultaneously, four-dozen surfboards appeared, sticking out of the sand, and the AI Division materialized. All the new arrivals were on the sand, standing a few meters before Prez, Chris and Matt, except one of the group, with brown collar-length hair, who landed in waist-deep water. "Stevie!" the half-soaked brown-haired boy hollered. "That female-ferret threat is going to become your reality, I swear!"

Across the comm-badges of those laughing and sniggering on the beach, Stevie meekly offered, "Oops! I missed! I'll adjust the GPS targeting for the transporters, Danny. They'll be perfectly aligned by the time you're ready to go home."

Wading toward the beach, Danny grumbled, "So you can put me down in six-feet of water, no doubt."

Still sniggering, the white-blond teen stepped forward. "Prez, I'm Marc Furst, and that's Danny Page, our dripping director, coming ashore."

Prez chuckled, "It's good to finally meet you, Marc. I usually greet new friends with hugs, but since I'm naked, I'll make that your choice."

Extending a hand to Prez, Marc nodded and grinned, "I heard you burned your buns. We can save the hugs for later." While they shook hands, Marc said, "Let me introduce you to the rest of the guys. First, before he strips, grabs a surfboard and runs, is KC."

Bounding forward, KC giggled, "Nice to meet you, Prez." They shook hands. Prez welcomed him and introduced Chris and Matt. Dropping Prez's hand, KC quickly shook hands with Chris and Matt, and then started taking his clothes off, beaming, "This place is awesome, dudes. I haven't surfed in so long. Call me in when there's food." Once naked, he turned and jogged away, grabbed a board then ran to the water.

Marc sighed, "Do you have medi-kits, Prez? KC's a little accident prone."

The next boy giggled, "Yeah, and warp speed is only a little fast too."

Prez chuckled. Marc smiled, "This smart Alec is Jerry Owens. He's eleven going on forty; an amazing feat for a real human. Glued to Jerry, but more interested in the ocean, and dancing in place to go surfing with KC, is Jerry's son, Joey."

Waving his hand, Joey giggled, "Hi-ya, Unca Pwez. Who awe dhose odher boys?"

Prez smiled, "They're my sons, Joey. The smallest, red-haired boy is Richie, and the other three are Dee, Gage and Sammy. Go ahead and say hello."

Jerry nodded at his son. That was enough for Joey to start stripping and yell, "I'm comin' oud dhere, Cwash!" Seeing Joey naked and running toward the water, Chris', Matt's and Prez's jaws dropped in astonishment.

Marc playfully shoved Jerry and giggled, "What did I say? Did I warn you?"

Jerry shrugged and proudly grinned, "That's my boy."

Matt incredulously cackled, "No shit, he's a boy! I never would've guessed!" Chris cracked up.

Blinking fast and shaking his head, Prez chuckled, "There's a sixteen-year-old low hanger at our base who would've reacted the same way, and he's straight."

Jerry giggled and tactfully changed the subject by moving between his new brothers to introduce Paul and Ryan. The two teens shook hands with Prez and warmly said hello. Looking up at Prez, Jerry took a few steps away from his brothers, giggling, "Is Reyes here?"

"Not yet, but he's expected soon," Prez answered.

Ryan widely smiled, "Kewl."

Paul smirked at Jerry and groused, "Would you give us a break?"

"Little brothers can be really annoying," Ryan warned.

"What?" Jerry laughed, "We haven't seen Reyes since Wednesday, have we?" Before the verbal became physical, Jerry took off like a shot down the beach, with Paul and Ryan in pursuit.

Marc sighed then grinned.

Danny stepped forward and hugged Prez, saying, "Nice to meet ya, Prez. Would you consider swapping AI's?"

Returning Danny's hug, Prez laughed, "We'd both still have our challenges. After seeing Joey, I know now why the AI's are so confused."

Danny stepped back grinning, "We should ignore their wishes and give them statistically average dicks." Prez, Marc, and Danny seemed to wait for something to be heard from the AI's in their sub-vocals, but not a word was said. All three cracked up.

Patting Chris and Matt on the shoulders, Prez prompted, "It's our day off. Go, grab a board and have fun. I'll take Danny and Marc inside to meet Derrick and Mike." Chris and Matt nodded, and then jogged over to the surfboards. Starting for the house, Prez told Danny and Marc, "Mike's our band's lead guitarist and Derrick's our band's drummer. They're trying to figure out the food replicator. Whatever they're making will be loud."

Opening the sliding screen door for his guests, Prez waved Danny and Marc forward. The three of them went inside. Hearing Derrick's and Mike's chuckling from the front rooms, Prez loudly wondered, "What are you two doing?" Mike and Derrick roared. Heading through the kitchen, Prez told Danny and Marc, "They're our Clan historians too." Seeing the dining room table with a half dozen large trays of food, Prez stopped short and grinned, "Getting a little carried away testing the replicator?"

Still catching his breath, Derrick rapidly nodded. Mike sniggered, "I told it I wanted hamburgers, thinking I'd get two."

"As you can see, we got twelve, minus the two we ate," Derrick chuckled. Danny and Marc began giggling.

"So I asked Alden for operating instructions," Mike explained, and then picked up a large softcover book and waved it around.

Derrick smiled, "While Mike leafed through the book, I asked for and got hot dogs, to go with the burgers. Then we thought, some chili, shredded cheese and condiments would be nice."

"The ketchup, mustard and relish we found in the fridge," Mike grinned. "I ordered the chili and cheese from the replicator."

Smiling widely, Prez prompted, "And the large platters of spaghetti and meatballs?"

"Oh," Mike cheekily grinned, "I had to see if it could manage acceptable Italian food. The sauce and meatballs are good enough, but not like my mom makes."

Derrick leaned over to pick up a large, laminated card, approximately eighteen-inches long by ten-inches wide, innocently explaining, "That's when I asked Alden for this summary. So I ordered nachos for us."

Holding up his left hand with all five fingers displayed, Prez playfully bitched, "I left you alone for five minutes..."

"Closer to ten," Derrick and Mike giggled. Danny and Marc cracked up.

Prez sighed, "Danny Page and Marc Furst, these are our Analyst Rimmers and underpaid comic relief, Derrick Seibert and Mike Gibbons."

First to walk around the table, careful to keep his distance from Prez, Mike smiled, "Reyes told us all about you," and shook hands with Danny, and then Marc.

"Thanks for checking Reyes' systems for us, dudes," Derrick warmly smiled. He shook hands with Marc and then Danny.

Locking eyes with Derrick, Prez smirked, "Get your security guys here, so we can get all this food eaten."

Nodding, Derrick called, "Alden, tell Talib, Manny, Dave, Clay, Rudy and Rafiki to join us here please?" While Derrick was still speaking, Reyes, Randy, Jonah and Dillon transported into the living room.

Alden reported, "In progress, Derrick."

Reyes and his brothers greeted their dads. Randy was then introduced to Danny and Marc. Reyes wondered, "Where are Caleb, Noah and Hunter?"

Danny replied, "They're probably still in Louisiana, installing their AI. Then they're off to Norfolk, to install an AI on the flagship of our Naval fleet."

Prez was patiently waiting for an opportunity to call the guys that were outside for lunch when AJ, Jerry, and the three Hunnicutt brothers appeared in the living room. The group were introduced to Marc and Danny. While that was still happening, Kaleo, Tory, Leonard Santana, Mark Fikes, Marv Perkins, Russ Pass and Stan Given arrived. Soon, introductions were flying and the youngest boys were sitting at the table, being served whatever food they wanted. Prez let Danny and Marc know that he was going to step outside and call the others in for lunch. Thankfully, Keith was walking up the beach with his security, Justin and Danny, to help Prez announce lunch was ready. The last to come running out of the water were Paul and Ryan. The latter two brothers were giving Jerry Owens one more toss into the ocean.

Calls of "Dad" and "Pop" rang out.

Prez and Keith turned to their sons. Sammy asked, "Do we have to put clothes on?"

After checking with Keith, Prez answered, "Not here. Just don't scratch your willies and then touch food." Nodding, the four Rimmer sons giggled. Joey thought what Prez said was about the funniest thing he'd ever heard and howled laughing. Considering teasing the well-hung boy, Prez grinned at Joey, which Joey found even funnier. Prez chuckled, "Com'ere, Joey."

"I've seen dhad wook befowe," Joey insanely cackled, "You'we dickwe me!"

Prez slowly counted down; "Five... four..."

Dee giggled, "Uh oh!"

All four sons laughed, "Run Joey!" Joey took off running for the house.

Sammy and Gage scoped out their dads and their four teen security then watched Joey's little butt running away. Grinning madly, Gage shook his head, muttering "That's not right. He's only a few inches shorter than me, but… jeez!"

Nodding agreement, Sammy grinned, "It's a low-hangin', adult-sized package on a little eight-year-old's body. If he falls forward, we'll have to dig to get his dick out of the sand and stand him up!" Keith, Prez, Chris, Matt, Justin and Danny cracked up.

Jogging over to the laughing group, KC wondered, "What's goin' on?"

Justin shrugged and giggled, "We couldn't help noticing Joey's endowment."

Grinning widely, KC explained, "If you didn't already know, Joey's an android too. What he's got is all he'll ever have."

Prez nodded, "I assumed everyone in the AI group is an android, except Jerry. Marc specifically pointed Jerry out as human."

KC hummed for a second, and then suggested, "A brief huddle, so I can share something, please?"

Heads nodded and they all gathered around KC then leaned forward. KC softly told them all about Paul and Ryan, their time surviving on the streets, and that Ryan steadfastly insists he's completely human. "It's a delusion, but one that will turn this day to shit in a hurry," KC told the Rimmers. "Don't even go there, okay? Ryan will freak and Paul will get defensive, and then Jerry's in the dumps, so simply treat Ryan as a human."

Richie innocently asked, "Is there some other way to treat him?"

"Yeah," Dee prompted, "we don't treat Reyes or Alden like machines. They're just like us."

KC smiled, "That's great guys."

Keith told his sons, "What KC is saying is to not even mention that stuff around Ryan. Kewl?"

"Kewl, dad," Gage confirmed, and his other three brothers repeated the sentiment.

"Thanks so much, dudes," KC warmly smiled, and then stood up straight. He sighed, "I didn't get to do much surfin' before it got cold and things got crazy. I want to spend the day here, with everybody having a good time."

Prez nodded and joked, "Let's race inside and see if we can make our bits swing like Joey's."

Sniggering, "We can try," KC took off running, jumping and hopping, trying to make his adequate goods move like Joey's abundant bits. Prez, Keith and their teen security softly sniggered at KC's exaggerations, but the four Rimmer sons howled laughing. The latter group jogged after KC, toward the house.

Rapidly approaching from their right sides, Paul yelled, "What in the hell are you trying to do, KC?"

Since Jerry was with Paul and Ryan, KC only shrugged and kept going as he had been.

Everyone climbed the steps up to the lanai and entered the house. The sounds of voices were much louder than it had been when Prez went out to gather everyone for lunch. He realized that almost everyone invited had arrived and so had all the security teams. Outside the dining room's sliding doors, Prez saw that some had moved to eat outside at tables on the lanai. The only people invited that hadn't yet arrived were Corey, Drew, John, Stephen, their sons, and their security teams. Beginning to fix himself a plate, Prez wondered what was delaying them.

'Hey, Prez,' John sent, 'me and Stephen will probably stay here. We'll stop by for a little while to meet the AI Division, but we won't stick around very long. It's totally kewl by us, bro. You guys need the time with your security. We're kewl here, and already have friendships with our security guys. Corey and Drew are still debating how long they'll stick around when they go. Also, we just got more newbies. We're getting them through the store now. Also, our division's Intel department will have a Founder family assigned from the Ark compound by the end of the day. As soon as they arrive, I'll know and get them into a condo apartment.'

Prez wasn't particularly pleased that his brothers and their husbands would only come for a short while, but he knew that he couldn't force them. He could only hope that they might change their minds.

Entering the house, Paul and Ryan saw that Reyes had arrived, and was sitting with his brothers and personal security in the living room. Paul and Ryan had seen Reyes naked during the beach race late Tuesday night, but for the first time, Reyes was getting the full picture of his two friends. Reyes put his plate down on the coffee table and stood to greet his friends. Paul and Ryan noticed Reyes' blush, but only grinned as they sandwiched Reyes between them. "I missed you guys so much," Reyes softly smiled. "I hoped that there might be time to get together Thursday, and yesterday too. It just didn't work out. I didn't even know that you would be here today."

Paul sincerely said, "Don't worry about it. It gave us time and we knew you were busy."

Reyes insisted, "Next time I have any chance at all, I'll at least call."

"We missed you too," Ryan whispered in Reyes' other ear.

Reyes suggested, "Get something to eat." Turning to Paul, and knowing he would be more comfortable with less people and more space, Reyes asked, "How about we move outside and eat on the lanai?"

"Lanai?" Paul and Ryan queried.

Reyes nodded, "In Hawaiian, it's like a veranda, or a breezeway; the open porch."

Paul and Ryan agreed and released Reyes. The two brothers started toward the table. Softly giggling at the threesome, it was apparent that Jerry Owens still hadn't learned his lesson. Paul squinted wordless warnings to Jerry. Ryan smirked and sadly shook his head. Reyes rolled his eyes and turned to pick up his plate. He told his brothers that he was going outside to eat with Paul and Ryan, and then added, "Randy, you didn't get to meet them, so when you're done, stop out on the lanai and I'll introduce you."

"Kewl," Randy mumbled around the food in his mouth.

Reyes took his plate and walked around the dining room and beyond the sliding screen door to the lanai. This side of the lanai was pretty crowded. To the left, on the mountain side of the lanai, AJ and Jerry were with Shaun, Mike and Kenny Hunnicutt. Nearby were AJ's and Jerry's security teams. Closer to the beach were Sean, Troy, and their security. Reyes thought Paul would feel more comfortable sitting on the beach side of the house.

Ryan stepped outside giggling, "They're getting low on food. They had the replicator make more burgers, hotdogs, fried rice and eggrolls too. Paul's loading a plate."

While they waited for Paul to come outside, Reyes introduced Ryan to Sean Moorhead, Troy Faris, Jeremy Tribou, Lakota Harmon, and the two gorillas, Leo and Gary. Paul stepped outside during the introductions of the latter three, so Reyes repeated introductions of the former three for Paul. They then went around to the kitchen side of the house, with a wide open view of the beach, and took seats around a table. Conversation started where it had left off, with Reyes telling Paul and Ryan about the other Core Rimmers and their families.

AJ and Jerry had a meandering conversation with Shaun, Mike and Kenny. Jerry tried to keep the boys on the topic of their favorite interests and hobbies. The Hunnicutts were transitioning from big city life to the much smaller Ewa Beach community. Conversely, the three boys wanted to know more about Clan life in general. Of course, the boys were somewhat surprised with how easily other boys got naked. They were only allowed to do that in the privacy of their home or out in their backyard. AJ reminded them that there was nothing to be worried about, even on base where girls and adults were around. Jerry said, "Swimsuits are optional at all the beaches and resorts in this country. Today, it's all boys here, and we're in a very private spot where nobody else can see."

Seeing developing teenagers and tweens caused the Hunnicutt boys a bit of confusion. The primary difference the boys noticed wasn't size or hair, it was because all three brothers were circumcised at birth and so many other boys they saw weren't. That was easily explained since AJ, Mike Gibbons, and Prez were all circumcised as well. Overhearing the conversation, Troy admitted that he was also circumcised, proving to the kids that even some of their leaders were just like them and it didn't matter in the least. AJ and Jerry sniggered at some of the other typical questions about puberty and size differences, but easily dealt with making the three young newbies more comfortable. As soon as four-year-old Shaun finished eating, he slid off his chair and stripped, proving that he could easily adjust. Shaun's giggling older brothers finished their meals, and then got naked too.

Inside the house, none of the Rimmers or AI Division members said a word about Battle Of Earth, or what they had dealt with that day. The Rimmers were more interested in Marc's intended project to restore his boat, and the night that Danny had arranged for a boat ride with Marc. Danny, Marc, Joey, and KC were interested in Platinum Habits. Nobody spoke of Clan business of any sort during lunch; it was more important to concentrate on the various individuals' families, hobbies, and interests.

At the Ewa Beach CIC dining room, everyone arriving for lunch knew where the majority of Core Rimmers were and what the purpose was by the end of lunch. All the parents were relieved that their sons were taking a break. None of the rescued kids had any problem with them being away, because John, Stephen, Corey, Drew, and all the dorm leadership were there on base should anyone need anything.

Back at the beach house, lunch had been devoured and the mess easily cleaned up. Supervised by Kaleo, Tory, AJ, Jerry Hebda, Sean, Troy, Jerry Owens, and KC, the youngest boys returned to the beach first. In minutes, some of the boys were digging into the storage bins for more toys to play with. Sharing some of the more unpleasant aspects of their lives, Reyes, Ryan and Paul took a walk up the beach to the waterfall. Soon, almost everyone was back at the beach and in the water. KC grabbed a surfboard and paddled out, but since he had just eaten, he didn't catch any waves; he only watched the kids from the bay.

Sean decided to teach Troy how to surf. Kaleo took Russ Pass out for his first rides on a surfboard. Similarly, Tory took five-year-old Marv Perkins out on another surfboard, AJ took Shaun Hunnicutt out, and Jerry took Mike Hunnicutt out. The two little guys had life vests on, which turned out to be a wise move, because two over-excited and squirming boys sent themselves and their dads-to-be slipping into the ocean during each ride. So that Kenny Hunnicutt wasn't left alone on the beach, Jerry's new security gorilla, Kanye, lifted the eight-year-old and took him out for a few rides. Soon, the remaining surfboards were grabbed and the rest of the kids got taken out for rides by their fathers or by the friendly gorillas.

Drew, Corey, Geoff, Lenny, and Leo arrived. Drew reported to Derrick, Mike, Keith, and Prez that their band teacher, Mrs. Diaz, had been hired. Corey told Derrick that he would soon have four new brothers. The Steib quadruplets were making friends with Chad, Herbie, Kawazoe, and Sung. Corey giggled, "And now for the best part. The quadruple R's, and Cesar and Felipe have been hanging out with the Steibs too." Laughing his ass off, Derrick ran to the house to get dressed, and then transported back to Ewa Beach, intending to bring all fourteen back to the beach house. Corey took Geoff out for his first ride on a surfboard. Geoff had only gone Sehlat surfing the prior Saturday. Lenny joined Drew for a few rides and Uncle Keith took Leo out for his first surfing lessons. When Leo felt ready, Keith left the boy to try surfing on his own and returned to his beach-bound husband.

Since Prez couldn't go in the water, his and Keith's human security and their sons took a break on the beach blankets. Glancing around their security, Prez revealed, "None of you have any obvious issue with us being gay. I'm wondering if any of you are too."

Justin raised his right arm and nodded, "Now I need to find a partner that won't tease me when I sing."

"That would be a good test, and if he does, a reason to immediately move on," Keith nodded.

Chris held his hand up and quickly glanced at Justin as he did so. Raising his eyebrows, Justin was very surprised. Having been busy enough the prior week, Justin and Chris never had the chance to talk about sexual preference. Chris was genetically enhanced and his musculature proved that. Justin wasn't genetically enhanced, but Chris still found him interesting and attractive? At some point during this day or very soon, Justin and Chris needed to have a private chat.

Matt held his hand up only halfway and said, "I'm bi. I like guys, but want kids too, someday."

Dee wondered, "Can't you adopt, like Daddy and Poppa?"

Considerate of the boy he was answering, Matt replied, "I guess I could, but since I like boys and girls, I should first see which I wind up with."

Keith turned to Danny and briefly asked, "Straight?"

Danny nodded and smiled, "Workin' on the relationship this last week."

"Yeah?" Keith chuckled, "With whom, if it's not too personal?"

Danny laughed, "Well, actually it's pretty personal, but definitely no secret."

Justin grinned at Keith, "Your mom's personal security, Tanya Casey."

Keith chortled, "That's awesome!" Prez agreed and so did everyone else.

Deciding that they wanted to make sand castles, Jerry Owens and Joey came over to ask if anyone wanted to help. Gage, Sammy, Dee, and Richie agreed and got up to jog away with Jerry and Joey. Prez smiled at his departing sons.

Derrick returned with his four brothers and the four Steib brothers. With a few more interviews scheduled at the FYS building that afternoon, Cesar and Felipe decided to stay behind. The quadruple 'R's' had invited their friends from Des Moines and Las Vegas, and therefore decided to stay at Ewa Beach. Once the boys were settled and building sand castles, Derrick grabbed a board and returned to the waves.

Matt leaned nearer to Prez and whispered, "You really think of them as your own kids, don't you?"

Prez enthusiastically nodded, replying, "In the last week, they've made it so they are our sons, in every way."

Matt softly asked, "Can I talk with you privately for a minute, Prez?"

Prez nodded and told his gathered guests, "We'll be right back," then led the way from the blanket. A few paces away, Prez asked, "What's the scoop, dude?"

"Thinking and learning," Matt replied with a wide smile. Pulling his thoughts together while Prez strolled the beach, Matt said, "I'm bi, but there are a few issues I'm still working out in my mind."

Prez softly prompted, "Like?"

Matt sighed, "It's like, sex with guys is much more fun, but then I can't keep the non-sexual part alive. Sex with girls is less fun and more teaching them how, but outside the bedroom, keeping the relationship together is a bit easier."

Prez scowled, "I'm confused. Probably because I've always been gay, but what do you mean by 'teaching them how'?

Matt asked, "You've never been interested in any girl?"

Shaking his head, Prez smiled, "I came to Ewa Beach with my parents June of 1997. Before school started in September, I had already met Keith, Derrick and Mike. We grew up together, learned music together, about our bodies together, and ultimately chose our partners."

"Oh," Matt giggled. Behind the giggles though, he thought of all his male friends over the years.

Prez asked, "Lemme see if I've got this right?" Matt nodded, and then Prez summarized, "Girls don't do it for you in the sack, but guys do?" Again, Matt nodded. Prez queried, "Everywhere else, you'd rather be with a female friend than a male friend?"

Matt chuckled, "Yup, that pretty much covers it. That's why I'm still playing the field."

Thoughtful, Prez hummed then said, "I can only speak for myself and the three dudes that I know best."

Matt nodded and said, "Go ahead, Prez. I trust your opinion."

Prez sighed, "What makes you feel the best?" Making a fist and lightly pounding his belly, Prez said, "Here." He then cupped his privates saying, "Not here." Releasing his goods, Prez said, "Mike and I are both guitarists. When I got here and for another few years, we were both driving each other forward. I could've easily wound up with him. When I began playing bass guitar, Derrick and I spent time alone together; as the core of the rhythm section, we needed to be in sync. I might've wound up with him too. But when it came right down to making the decision, it was music and all the other times Keith and I were together that told me, he's the one for me. All three of them are sexy as hell, but sex makes up about an eighth of a day. Even in the most extreme case, we're still only talking four hours out of a sixteen hour day. It's the rest of the time that matters most. Keith does it for me all the time. We can joke around and laugh together, or be serious and cry together. Even in California, at the orphanages, he could read me as well as I could read him. Now, with our Vulcan bonding, it's incredible how much I feel from him."

"That's what I want!" Matt loudly declared.

Prez said, "It sounds to me like you really are split in half. You'll just have to keep looking, Matt. If you find another guy, then adopt kids. They're the greatest little mirrors. If you find a girl, then make some little mirrors of your own. The big thing isn't in your pants, or in his; it's the give and take, it's the partnership that counts most."

Matt tilted his head and softly asked, "You really don't care if I'm bi; if I go gay or straight?"

"Course not!" Prez laughed. He pointed down the beach, saying, "I've got my life here; a husband and four adorable boys. A week ago, I thought it would be four more years before I could marry Keith. And now we've got sons, who each told us they wanted us as their fathers. Without them, I'd be a waste of space, so everything else is secondary. I've got you, Chris and Gamba covering my ass when it needs to be covered. Now, I'm considering all you guys as friends. Who you choose to be with is none of my business. As long as we can still talk like this and you still do your job, we are very kewl."

Matt nodded, "Thanks, Prez. That means an awful lot. Me, Chris and Gamba were pretty annoyed with ourselves when we learned you got burned."

"That wasn't your fault," Prez quickly assured. "It was my fault entirely. I gave the order, but the entire team agreed to let our security save people on their own, rather than miss a single person because you guys were shadowing us. Don't sweat the small stuff, bro. Later tonight, I'll have one of our docs check me over. In a month or so, all the leg hair will have grown back and I'll be as good as new." Prez confirmed, "We're good?" When Matt nodded, Prez suggested, "Let's get back to the party then, before Mike gets that orgy organized."

Matt began sniggering, turned and walked with Prez back to the rest of their large group. As far as Matt was concerned, if he could find another teen boy that he could talk to like Prez, all his confusion and worries would dissipate very quickly. He softly told Prez, "If I could find a dude that I could talk with like you..."

"Tell me something?" Prez carefully interrupted.

Matt nodded, "Anything I can."

Prez asked, "What made you want to talk to me in the first place?"

"That's easy," Matt smiled. "You keep your division organized; you make time to be with Keith, your sons, and the rest of your family and friends. Chris, Danny, Justin and I understand how busy you are. Still, you put aside today to be with us. You're easy to admire and look up to." Prez looked over and locked eyes with Matt. In a few seconds, Matt realized what he had said. They both started chuckling. Matt grinned, "Yeah, just call me dense and dumb."

Prez stopped walking and held an arm out to stop Matt. Prez smiled, "Something a lot of guys misunderstand completely, and you can verify this with Mike and Derrick; the roles in gay partnerships change, Matt. With other guys, what's your role?"

"Consistently top," Matt answered.

"That's part of the problem, I think," Prez shared. "You said it yourself, you'd like someone you can look up to. In a perfect world, he'll look up to you too. You need to be everything for your lover, or risk losing him when he needs something you won't give. I need Keith in every way and he needs me. When Keith's aggressive, I might become a giggling spaz and accept his advances. Swap it around when I'm aggressive. When we're both aggressive, and alternatively, when we're both chillin', sparks fly majorly. That's when all bets are off and we flip-flop until we're exhausted." Matt laughed his ass off and suddenly turned then ran to the bay. Grinning madly, Prez bellowed, "Did I say too much?"

Once in waist deep water, Matt turned and laughed, "Not at all, Prez. I'll just turn some rocks into sand here and life will be good."

Moments later, Danny Page and Marc ran out of the water. They ran toward the house and beyond it like their butts were on fire. Jogging after them, Prez saw what the problem was. Marc screamed, "KC, get your ass down here!" Wide-eyed, but helplessly grinning, Prez ran over to the steep cliffs, where KC was climbing, about thirty meters up, and still completely naked.

Danny yelled, "KC, are you paying any attention at all to those safety protocols?"

"Course I am," KC loudly replied. "Joey's not here, is he? I'm perfectly fine, for now. I've been following this gorge most of the way. I could prob'ly make it half way up and back down again safely."

Prez tapped Danny and then Marc, signaling that he knew how to handle this. Danny and Marc gestured to the cliff. Prez tapped his sub-vocal, silently mouthing, "Alden, can you see KC?"

Alden privately replied, "Yup. I could get him down off there now. If he goes much further, my chances of transporting him will dwindle."

Nodding, Prez whispered, "Lock on to him, but listen to me and KC. Transport is your call, so do it when necessary."

"Got it," Alden giggled.

Moving a little closer to the steep cliff, Prez hollered, "KC!"

"This is one of two things I wanted to do as soon as I got here, Prez. I'm fine."

"Yeah?" Prez giggled, and started rubbing his crotch. "I'm way more than fine. I've got the most awesome view from here, dude. Why don't you spend the night tonight? If I could get Derrick, Mike and Keith, would you be interested in a five-way?" Marc's jaw dropped and Danny sputtered then giggled.

"A FIVE-WAY?" KC incredulously laughed, paused and looked down. Seeing Prez practically playing with himself, KC stumbled. Before KC could slip or fall, Alden had transported him off the cliff and out over the bay, beyond the surfers, where he splashed down.

Prez turned to Danny and Marc, winked and grinned, "We're not called Rimmers for nothin'."

Danny checked with Marc, "Why haven't we ever approached KC that way?"

"He's my son," Marc giggled, "it's just too weird."

Starting back to the shoreline, Prez nodded, "He's an android, but still a teenager looking for thrills."

"You gave him thrills, all right!" Danny laughed. "He'll be swimming for a good half hour or more."

Prez shrugged, "More importantly, he's off the cliff."

Marc grinned, "And if he tries to climb it again?"

Prez smiled, "If Danny tries the same method and strikes out, let Keith, Derrick or Mike give it a whirl."

Rapidly nodding, Marc cracked up.

Danny giggled, "Yeah, any of the three would get my undivided attention."

Marc laughed, "HUSH!"

Noticing Keith approaching with a purposeful stride, Danny giggled, "Keith looks determined, Prez."

Prez hummed, grinned and softly droned, "Yeah. Damn, he looks yummy." Marc and Danny giggled. Bouncing his red eyebrows at them, Prez said, "See ya a little later." He then veered off course, away from Danny and Marc, and toward the house.

Keith started running and hollered, "Prez?" Picking up his pace, Prez raced Keith to the house. "PREZ!" Keith laughed, and turned up the juice. Hurrying up the lanai steps and into the house, Prez led Keith up the stairs to the master bedroom, exactly where both needed and wanted to be.

Out in the bay, KC swam around the cool water, waiting for his erection to deflate. He and his condition didn't go unnoticed by those surfing. Reyes and Ryan went into a giggling fit. Paul yelled over, "KC! Down periscope, dude!"

"Yeah, right," KC smirked. "Blame Prez; he's at least as evil and twisted as Danny and Cory."

Ryan giggled, "What happened?"

Floating around the surfers, KC explained, "I was climbing the cliffs, minding my own business. And I did it when Joey wasn't around, so it's kewl, right? Wrong! Danny and Marc have their usual hissy fits. Then Prez hollers up at me, enticing me to join in on a five-way orgy!" Knowing more than most, Reyes howled laughing. KC bitched, "My bone will shrivel when the rest of me is pruned beyond recognition!"

"Just think of Grandma Morrison nude, dude!" Reyes giggled.

"Ugh!" KC grunted, and sank as if he were torpedoed.

Not too far away, Derrick and Mike were with their security. The latter four security boys had already talked to Matt, and told Derrick and Mike about Matt's chat with Prez. Noticing KC's condition and hearing why he got that way, Derrick and Mike were hysterical. Laughing himself hoarse, Mike squeezed his surfboard between his knees, holding on for dear life.

When KC had surfaced again, Derrick told him and all the others nearby, "That's Prez, on codeine. He's our best friend in the world, and would normally restrain himself with folks he doesn't know too well. So, between the pain meds, restricted contact with Keith and opportunities presented, Prez is being himself, as he would be alone with me and Mike."

"He's EVIL!" KC loudly laughed.

Derrick, Mike and Reyes giggled, "He's the Head Rimmer!"

Wanting to get even, KC wondered, "Where is he now?"

Derrick giggled, "I saw him racing Keith into the house."

"Afterward, Prez will be mellow for an hour or so," Mike cackled. Discouraged for the moment, KC swam away from the larger group.

Derrick tapped Mike, suggesting, "Let's make sure our two fearless leaders are okay."

Nodding, Mike asked, "And if they'd rather be alone?"

"Then we go to another room," Derrick replied. With the next wave, they rode to shore and hurried to the house.

Paul suspiciously smirked at Reyes, causing Ryan to loudly laugh. Reyes giggled, "What can I say? They were close before the Clan, they're still very close, and our entire Clan is learning what real friendships are like, from the best examples."

Paul bluntly told Reyes, "That's not really what I meant."

"I'm sorry," Reyes blinked, "I thought you were referring to Prez and our leadership." He then asked, "What did you mean?"

Ryan watched and worried. Paul huffed, "Do you want something from us, Reyes?"

Sitting there on surfboards in the bay with both brothers, Reyes honestly answered, "No. What I've got are two friends, two very special friends, and that's more than I could've expected when I went to get a check-up Tuesday. When I went there, I didn't give too much thought about meeting any other androids. Why would I? Since Caleb, Noah and Hunter are human, I expected Clan humans. Instead, I found a place that had a bunch of androids. I consider all of the people at Sullivan's Island friends. Wednesday morning, a dream I had caused me to call Jerry. Paul overheard that conversation. Since then, the three of us became closer friends. Since Wednesday afternoon, I have considered letting that friendship grow into more, but my own personal worry is doing anything that makes two brothers argue and fight. That will not happen. I'll walk away apologizing at the first argument between you two. One of you being my friend without the other just feels so wrong that I won't allow it to go there."

Tapping his surfboard, Reyes smiled, "This is what I want; friends to spend good times with. Alternatively, I want to be there for those friends when their human companions reach the end of their lives. I'll need these same friends too, when my human family and companions pass away. That's what is the most important to me, beyond Jerry's dreams and schemes to make us boyfriends. You two lost your parents. I lost my parents, and then my cousin and his wife. With the Clan, we have a lot less to worry about, but we still have to face human mortality. I don't want anything more from you than friendship, Paul."

Ryan giggled, "Reyes, put Jerry's scheme aside and think of the three of us as boyfriends. Do you realize what that means?"

"All too well," Reyes laughed.

Laughing along, Paul wondered, "Is that even possible?"

Reyes shrugged and smiled, "I have no idea, but there's only three people that could figure it out. I already said, me without both of you, as inseparable brothers, simply isn't good enough. I'd just as soon remain friends than go a step further with one and leave the other out in the cold. If you two go home later and decide, yeah, you can remain brothers and include me in whatever our friendship becomes, that's great. You could also say, no, we have to keep it limited to friendship, and that's great too. We're all still friends and can remain that way for a long time. If you're unsure, that's kewl, because I am too. Being a couple is one thing, being a threesome is new ground, for all of us."

Paul confirmed, "You can't leave Ryan out of it?"

"Not if it hurts you or him," Reyes replied. "You need Ryan and Ryan needs you. I like both of you, partially because of the way you both are together. Let's stay friends."

Ryan checked, "Could you really choose to stay friends?"

Reyes nodded, "Keeping friends is better than losing them." He then pointed at KC floating around many meters away, smiling, "He's a good friend too. All it would take is time talking with KC, like we've talked, to learn if he's boyfriend material. Of course, I'll keep a medi-kit handy." Paul and Ryan cracked up. Reyes smiled, "Yeah, the three of us is more complicated, but not impossible. I told you guys what I had to do to stay alive. You told me some of what you did to survive. After all that, here we are, chatting in the buff about a hypothetical situation, in the middle of the bay. None of us is stupid; we can talk about all that and this too."

Ryan checked with Paul, asking, "What're you thinking, bro?"

Paul thoughtfully hummed before replying, "What I know is that Reyes hasn't lied. I'm beginning to believe he couldn't lie if he tried. I absolutely believe Reyes is serious; he won't want to be with me if it meant hurting you, or be with you if it hurt me." Suddenly, instead of concentrating on answering his brother, Paul nervously glanced around and sighed, "I really don't know what to think or say beyond that. I like you a lot, Reyes. Ryan likes you too..."

"No," Ryan quickly interrupted. "Tell Reyes what you told me, bro. We have to be open and honest now, or it'll only haunt us later."

Paul glared at his brother several moments before returning his attention to Reyes, and admitting, "I trust you, Reyes, more than almost everybody else I've met since joining the Clan. I trust Mary and Jon, and Jerry to a point, and you; that's it."

Warmly smiling at Paul and then Reyes, Ryan explained, "Since Wednesday, when you made Paul so happy, all I'd have to hear is you need help and I'd be there in a snap. And you know wherever I go, Paul is too. Yeah, something special is happening and I want it to continue. I have no idea how we could progress any further than friends, but having you as a friend has been good."

"Reyes?" Paul called. When Reyes eyes locked with his, Paul grinned, "Do you ever lie at all?"

"When it's an obvious joke, I could and have. When it's serious though, I simply won't. It accomplishes nothing. I've told you what I really felt and thought the last two days. It's up to us where we go from here. None of us have ever had boyfriends before; what we did with others is only what we had to do and not what we wanted to do."

Ryan worried, "I... uh... we need time to think. At the same time, it feels bad making you wait."

"You're not making me wait," Reyes quickly assured. "I've got my dads, three brothers and I'm a leader here too. You've got a new family to adjust to. You know I'll visit Sullivan's Island every chance I get. If you two need to get away, I'm just a comm-badge tap away."

Paul checked, "In the meantime, things stay the same?"

Reyes nodded, "Unless all three of us decides otherwise, yeah. My crystal ball is foggy, so I can't say what might happen or when, but I like where I am and who I'm with right now."

"It seems to me that KC and you are complete opposites," Ryan grinned.

"Not completely," Reyes smiled, "and there are good things about opposites teaming up too."

Inside the beach house, Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez were cuddling on the king sized bed, basking in the afterglow and chatting. Mike contentedly sighed, "For days like this, I would gladly deal with all the other craziness."

Keith smiled, "Thank goodness we took some time at Archnania too. Our kids benefited from that every bit as much as we did."

"We'll have to take another trip there soon with AJ, Jerry and their boys," Derrick suggested.

Mike smiled, "When our Head Rimmer is less stoned, we'll arrange to get two more couples hitched and bonded."

"Lieutenant Vorik said he could do the bonding portion," Keith stated.

Derrick smiled, "The best part of that trip was that our team and our band really got closer. Reyes wasn't a Core Rimmer at the time, but I know it mattered to him. All our kids are real brothers, cousins and closer friends now."

Mike nodded, "I noticed Troy and Sean watching AJ and Jerry with the Hunnicutts, and Kaleo and Tory with Leonard, Mark Fikes, Marv, Russ and Stan. It seems Sean and Troy might be getting ready to start their own family. They're at least considering it."

Keith checked to see if Prez was awake by gently rubbing the back of his hand across his husband's face. Keeping his eyes closed, Prez purred. Keith grinned, "You're awake?" Prez hummed affirmatively.

Derrick chuckled, "You've got nothing to say, bro?"

Prez sighed, "I love this. I love you three dudes. It's turning into a really great day for everybody."

Mike sniggered, "Take another pill, Prez."

"After dinner," Prez grinned.

Keith giggled, "We wore him out."

Prez smirked, "It takes more than blow-jobs to accomplish that, and you three know it." Derrick, Keith and Mike sniggered. "I'll have to maintain with the help of my lover and two best buds," Prez smiled.

Keith planted a kiss on Prez's forehead. Derrick grinned, "We'll always be available for whatever and whenever, Prez."

Mike called, "Hey, Alden?"

Over the room's ceiling speakers, Alden giggled, "Shiny Daddy?"

Mike chuckled, "I'm pretty sure I have a good idea what Prez and the rest of us need."

"For the time being, I don't see how I could help with that," Alden giggled.

Mike cracked up. Derrick sniggered, "Not that, Alden. If you choose to be under ten-years-old, you can forget about it. Pubes are required now in this club." He then asked, "Is the beach side of the lanai free of our guests?"

"Yes, it is, Derrick."

Stretching and beginning to motivate, Derrick instructed, "Move tables and chairs out to the lawn, then move the basement instruments onto the lanai, and the PA system to the lawn." Prez's eyes popped open and mischievously darted around.

"Somebody just became wide awake," Keith chortled.

After transporting tables and chairs to the lawn, and the band's gear to the lanai, Alden reported, "It's set guys, and some of your guests have noticed."

All four bounded out of bed and hurried downstairs, bouncing ideas around for a set list on the way. Out in the bay, surfers caught the next ride ashore. Drew, Corey and Leo were the first to make it as far as the table with the PA mixer. Drew stopped and powered up that gear, instructing Leo on the workings of the PA system. Corey went to the lanai and began powering up amplifiers and microphones. Corey estimated that the lanai was about five meters wide, and the side where the gear was set up was about ten meters long, so the band had plenty of space. Derrick, Mike, Keith and Prez walked outside to find all their guests heading toward the house.

Slipping his bass guitar over his shoulder, Prez walked up to a microphone, saying, "Dudes, we're just going to have some fun. You can continue what you were doing or watch us, whatever you want. Drew can adjust the volume so no matter where you are, you'll hear us."

Flashing a thumbs up, Drew smiled, "It's just like our stuff in the auditorium, just fewer main speakers. This gear will easily fill this little area with sound, Prez."

Heading back toward Drew and the PA, Corey giggled, "We might be heard up over the cliffs and a little over at Maui."

Wide-eyed, Chuck confirmed, "Are you serious, Corey?"

Corey shrugged and grinned, "Sound travels." Chuck turned and walked away, waving the other security forces to him.

Approaching the house with Sean, Troy asked, "What's the first number?"

"We thought we'd play some of the new covers we learned at Archnania," Mike offered.

Watching Reyes, who was still walking up the beach with Paul and Ryan, Derrick grinned, "Let's let Reyes start us off with Fantasy." Suddenly stopping short, Reyes squinted at the gathering group on the lanai. Derrick and Mike softly sniggered at Reyes' reaction.

Before Reyes could say a word, Paul and Ryan wrapped arms around Reyes' back and guided him forward. Ryan teased Reyes; "You never told us you could sing too."

Paul smirked, "He don't lie, but conveniently omits certain details."

Reyes helplessly giggled. Paul and Ryan took Reyes' hands and started running. Reyes giggled, "At Archnania, we found out my vocal range is really high. Mostly, I sing backup vocals, except on a handful of tunes."

"Uh huh," Paul suspiciously grunted.

Ryan smiled, "He spills it after getting caught." He and Paul shoved Reyes forward, to the steps up to the lanai. Reyes walked over to the set of congas and timbale then put his hands-free microphone over his head.

Now that the whole band was ready, Drew hollered, "A quick sound check on the instruments, bros." Derrick started pounding a rhythm that Reyes, and then Prez, and then Troy, and then Mike and Keith played in time with. After a little more than a minute, Drew and Corey signaled with hand slicing motions across their throats that they were good. The band stopped at once. "Now only vocals, dudes," Drew prompted. Starting with Prez's baritone, and working up to Mike, Derrick, Troy, Keith and Reyes, the group sang a C major chord. After making a few minor adjustments, Drew smiled, "Go for it."

With that, the band started playing the mellow introduction of Fantasy. Keith played keyboards on the left side of the lanai. Derrick tapped cymbals, Reyes dropped his hands on congas, Prez and Mike played chords, and Troy played synthesizers on the far right of the lanai. With a swirl of horns and strings from Troy, the band picked up the tempo and went into the main part of the song. Playing congas and percussion, Reyes sang:

Every man has a place
In his heart there's a space
And the world can't erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasize
All your dreams will come true right away

Many of the AI Division guests and other boys scattered around the lawn were dancing. The entire band sang the chorus.

And we will live together
Until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever as one
Every thought is a dream
Rushing by in a stream
Bringing life to the kingdom of doing
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasize
All your dreams will come true miles away

Our voices will ring together
Until the twelfth of never

We all will love forever as one
Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life for you and me
To behold to your soul is ecstasy

You will find other kind
That has been in search of you
Many lives have brought you to
Recognize it's your life now in review

As you stay for the play
Fantasy has in store for you
A glowing light will see you through
It's your day shining day
All your dreams come true

Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life for you and me
To behold to your soul is ecstasy
You will find other kind
That has been in search of you
Many lives have brought you to
Recognize it's your life now in review

The audience exploded in loud cheers, whistles, and catcalls, because none of the band members had bothered getting dressed. Of the six on the lanai, only Reyes' and Derrick's goods couldn't be seen, but the other four swayed and bounced with the music, causing their male-bits to keep time of their own. Laughter and jokes traveled around the beach front.

Leaning over, KC told Joey, "They did that song great."

Still clapping, Joey nodded, "Dime Douched couwd pway id, widh weaw stwings and howns, bud id wouwd dake a wong whiwe do weawn."

KC giggled, "You've got the beat memorized already, don't you twerp?"

"Bodh of 'em, Cwash," Joey grinned, "dwums and congas. I needs some congas, by dhe way."

"Use your head!" KC laughed as he pulled Joey into a hug.

"You'we siwwy, Casey!" Joey giggled. "My head ain'd a dwum!"

By this time, Platinum Habits had reached agreement on the next song. Reyes moved from percussion to the electronic drum kit. Stepping away from keyboards, Troy picked up a Stratocaster. The band started playing Pour Some Sugar On Me. Keith sang lead vocals and purposefully overacted, swinging his free arm around with the echoing sound, to point to dudes in their audience. Troy played electric rhythm guitar, with Mike on lead guitar. Joey couldn't take it any more and ran with KC to the edge of the lanai. Joey watched Reyes and Derrick while KC stood before Troy and Mike.

Quite busy singing the backup vocals and playing guitar, Troy noticed KC watching, but couldn't do much about it. Mike decided to give KC a close up. Never missing a note, Mike sat on the railing surrounding the edge of the lanai, locked his legs around the top and leaned backward to hang upside down, with his guitar right in front of KC.

KC giggled, "And they tell me I'm looney!"

Mike smiled, "It's a big club and growing. Speaking of growing big clubs, I see yours is back to normal."

KC smirked, "No thanks to your Head Rimmer."

"Don't take what Prez said as anything other than a compliment," Mike assured. "He's whacked out on codeine, but not blind."

Warmly smiling, KC wondered, "So... about this orgy?" Cracking up, Mike sat up on the railing and returned to playing normally and on his feet.

Behind where Marc and Danny were kicked back on lounge chairs, John, Wade, Frankie and Stephen arrived, lined up and holding hands. Seeing a new young boy, Richie and Dillon led the youngest boys over to say hello. Rather than yell over the loud music, John telepathically introduced all the kids to Wade. Surprising the boys, Wade waved and telepathically said hi to them all at once. Stephen, John and Frankie couldn't help giggling at the boys' shocked expressions. The four Steib brothers were thrilled that a boy younger than them was powerful enough to be heard by the entire group of boys. They invited Wade and Frankie to build sand castles with them. Getting nods of approval from John and Stephen, the boys ran down to the water line.

When the band finished the song, John sent to his fellow Core Rimmers, 'There's only two rooms left on the first floor of dorm three. Travis has a roommate now too; Erik Kendricks saw Travis unpacking. Travis saw Erik and there's an attraction there. That was all it took. Are we doing more adoptions today?'

Jerry, AJ, Kaleo and Tory all answered affirmatively before Prez had a chance to say a word. Keith, Derrick and Mike cracked up. John led Stephen around to Danny, Marc, Jerry and the other members of the AI Division.

Stepping up to the microphone with a wide grin, Prez chuckled, "Okay, I brought my tricorder in case of emergencies. Adoptions aren't an emergency or work. We'll just play a few more songs, then we'll take a break, so others that might want to play can come up. We obviously have guitarists and drummers. I know of a keyboard player too, but who plays bass?"

"One of my security," Mike said. "Clay plays bass."

"I'll be taking some of the music classes you guys are teaching," Clay hollered.

Prez smiled, "Kewl. And we'll sit in whenever, and play more later." After a brief pause, Prez introduced, "Our next song is one Troy knew and shared with us. Y'all have heard Carry On Wayward Son on the radio before, but this next tune is on the same disk. It's appropriately titled What's On Your Mind, with Keith singing lead and Troy backing him up." Kaleo, Tory, Jerry and AJ sniggered and took playful jabs at each other, forgetting their first names and instead using daddy or poppa. Prez stepped back from the mic and Derrick counted off. All at once, the band started playing the song.

During the course of the song, Prez happened to notice John and Stephen going to the water line, where Wade and Frankie were playing with other boys.

John pointed at Frankie and Stephen then started taking his clothes off. Obviously, Wade was having a small problem wearing clothes and was uncomfortable getting naked, for the moment. The young family was simply reassuring Wade that he could keep his clothes on for as long as he liked. The other boys weren't saying anything upsetting to Wade or Frankie, but Wade could hear their thoughts and told Frankie, who called over his dad and pop to relieve Wade's concerns. John simply had boys of similar ages stand together. Starting with Richie, Dillon, Geoff, Leonard, Marv, Russ and Mark Fikes, who were in the same age bracket as Wade, John proved that everybody was a little different inside and outside. Now aware of Wade's telepathy, all seven of the more comfortable young boys gave Wade a hug and apologized for making him feel out of place. Finishing up his lesson, John stood beside Jerry Owens. Jerry was almost two years older and two or three inches taller than John, but what was hanging between their legs was similar enough. Turning his youngest son around, John pointed at groups of teens, some of whom were dressed.

Platinum Habits finished the song they were playing, and then went directly into The Moody Blues tune, The Voice. Keith extended the spacey synthesized string, bass and wind introduction then signaled to Derrick to count them off and get the band together. Strumming his Stratocaster with his effects unit set to simulate a twelve-string acoustic guitar, Troy stepped up to a microphone and sang lead vocals. At Troy's first break from singing, he spoke with Mike, because neither were satisfied with the tone of the twelve-string simulator.

While the band played the song, AJ and Jerry went to gather the Hunnicutt boys. Not only did those three boys bounce up out of the sand, but Marv Perkins, Leonard Santana, Stan Given, Russ Pass and Mark Fikes jumped up and followed AJ and Jerry toward the house. Five young boys surrounded Kaleo and Tory. At one point near the end of the song, Prez chuckled his background vocals. Tory cracked up. Softly sniggering, Kaleo locked eyes with Prez.

At the end of the song, all the band members and remaining Core Rimmers loudly laughed. Prez put his bass down and went inside the house to retrieve his tricorder. First to walk down the lanai steps, Keith locked eyes with Kaleo, chuckling, "Wasn't it just two nights ago that you and Tory strongly implied you weren't ready for kids?"

"Yeah," Kaleo smiled, "but Archnania made that more like nine days, and then Stan, Russ, Mark, Marv and Leonard made their interest very clear. They're already brothers. When we took them to the dorms for bedtime last night, five sets of puppy dog eyes attacked, and we caved."

Keith grinned down at the giggling boys, asking, "Did you guys do that?" Nodding, they all wore irresistible smiles and effortlessly reproduced the puppy dog eyes. Everyone gathering around softly sniggered.

"By the way," Tory giggled, "I think we'll be moving into a townhouse tomorrow."

Jerry chuckled, "Yeah, we'll be moving out of the dorm and into a townhouse tomorrow too."

Keith nodded, "We're expecting ninety-five of the Level two orphanage kids tomorrow. Rather than move and move again repeatedly, I guess we'll have to talk about which families are moving to the Oneula Base."

Walking down the lanai steps, Prez suggested, "Tomorrow, dudes. Unless some of you really want to talk about that, today's a day off to enjoy ourselves." Sean and Troy grabbed a kiss then joined the gathering group of Core Rimmers and their sons-to-be.

Derrick said, "We're staying the night here, with Keith and Prez and all our sons."

Seeing John, dressed again and approaching with his family, Prez pleaded, "Please say you're reconsidering and staying the night, bro."

John smiled, "I'll tell ya what, it all depends on who might be in the nest tonight. If the nest is empty, we'll stay here."

Stephen nodded, "All the boys we picked up at Des Moines this morning, and the last few from yesterday, all decided to move into the dorm. Unless we get a call to pick up more later, we'll be kewl to stay here tonight."

AJ checked with the Hunnicutt boys; "What do you guys think; shall we stay here tonight?"

Mike Hunnicutt looked up and smiled, "Dillon, Geoff and Richie is here too. That'd be kewl, daddy."

Kenny Hunnicutt nodded, "Yeah, kewl. Gage, Sammy and Jonah will be here." Kenny checked with Leo, asking, "Are you stayin' here too, Leo?"

Leo checked with Drew and Corey. Corey nodded. Drew grinned, "As long as we don't have more kids to pick up, we'll stay the night." Nodding, Leo widely smiled at Kenny Hunnicutt.

Sammy giggled, "Sweet!" and then called, "Hey Pop, would it be kewl to set up a nest in the living room for us?"

"Sure," Prez answered, "later, you guys can nest there if you want." The growing group of Rimmer sons cheered. Once the sound dwindled, Prez smiled, "Arnold James Smithson and Jerold Hebda, our two newest Core Rimmers latched onto kids faster than any of us. Only because of circumstances have we waited this long to make it official. Do you two Mouth Rimmers want Shaun, Michael and Kenneth Hunnicutt as your sons?"

Almost simultaneously, AJ and Jerry answered, "We definitely do, Prez."

Glancing down at each of the three boys, Prez asked, "Shaun, Michael and Kenneth Hunnicutt, do you want AJ and Jerry as your fathers?"

Shaun asked, "Forever, right?" which made everyone nearby smile. Nobody laughed because Shaun really had asked a valid question, one that was expected from a four-year-old that had recently lost his parents.

Prez nodded, "Forever."

"Kewl," Shaun smiled.

Giggling, Kenny interpreted, "That counts as a yes. And I say yes too."

Six-year-old Mike Hunnicutt nodded, "Yep, I want them as dads." Looking up at AJ, Mike admitted, "I didn't even know your real name until now. Pop calls you Arnie, and jus' about ev'rybody else calls you AJ, and we call you daddy." He blinked, "How can you answer to so many names anyway?"

The entire group began chuckling and giggling. AJ smiled, "I'm used to it. Besides, your pop is the only one who calls me Arnie."

Still chuckling, Prez smiled, "And with that said, it's official, you're a family." He then moved over to Kaleo and Tory, sniggering, "Five at once, dudes? That's a new Rimmer record." Soft chuckling turned into loud laughter and the loudest were Danny, Marc and KC.

"Just wait until Cory and Sean give you the advanced course," Marc sniggered.

Kaleo giggled, "We want these five, living in a house together with us."

"Waking together, living through each day and then going home together," Tory smiled. "We learned from you dudes, it seems that more than one kid works better, for them and for us."

Prez nodded, "That's all been recorded, so asking the formal question is pointless." Glancing at each of the five boys, Prez asked, "Leonard Santana, Mark Fikes, Stanley Given, Russell Pass and Marvin Perkins, do you want Kaleo Palakiko and Tory Burgas as your fathers, and each other as brothers?"

One after another, each of the boys replied affirmatively. As soon as Prez announced it was official, Russ cheered, "Kewl! We gets to play with gorillas too!" causing another round of laughter.

Off to the side edge of the lawn watching were Reyes, Ryan and Paul. Ryan whispered to Reyes, "Would you want to adopt too?"

Reyes eyes almost jumped out their sockets. Shaking his head, Reyes softly giggled, "We have enough to decide and work on without going there, I think."

"True," Ryan smiled.

John, Stephen and Frankie brought Wade to Prez. Having only seen Wade and not spoken to him at all, Prez squatted down, preparing to introduce himself. The telepathic five-year-old didn't wait for Prez to say a word and quickly answered, "Hi Unca Prez, I'm Wade Houseman. You're daddy's big bro, huh?"

Looking around, Prez saw Stephen giggling, John holding it in and Frankie cutely blinking. Prez smiled, "Yep, definitely a good choice for this family." Keith, Drew, Corey, Geoff, Lenny and Leo cracked up. Prez showed Wade the tricorder and explained, "This machine will store your voice. Tell it that you want John and Stephen as your fathers and Frankie as your big brother."

Wade leaned in toward the machine and said, "Uh huh. Yup, I want them cos they want me."

Prez asked, "Frankie, are you ready for a little brother?"

Frankie nodded, "Wade's kewl, Uncle Prez. Yes, I want him." Wade smiled up at his new brother and suddenly lunged, wrapping Frankie in a tight embrace.

Prez confirmed that John and Stephen wanted Wade as their son, and then announced it was official. Again, the entire group present applauded and cheered. John levitated his newest son and slowly spun him around, causing Wade to squeal and laugh.

On another area of the lawn, the Steib quadruplets surrounded Derrick, wondering if he would be their big brother too someday. Derrick smiled, "I'd love that, guys. Tomorrow, when we go back home, we're going tell my mom and dad, and then Uncle Prez can make it official. All you have to do is decide for sure that's what you want." Mike noticed Derrick's newest brothers a few meters behind his husband, obviously paying close attention to the discussion.

Right then and there, Kelly checked with his other three mirror images. "Is Derrick our big bro or our dad?"

Lawrence scowled, "Big brother, I think."

"Yeah," Mattie nodded, "I want Sung, Kawazoe, Herbie and Chad as brothers."

Nick hummed then nodded and smiled, "Yeah, their mom and dad is real nice. I think that's the way to go too."

"Tomorrow then, dudes," Derrick promised, "as soon as we can, we'll make us brothers."

"Kewl," all four chanted.

Noticing the other Core Rimmers were gathering around Keith and Prez, Mike tapped Derrick and tilted his head in that direction. The Steib quadruplets were heading off to the shoreline with the other boys anyway, so Mike and Derrick went to find out what was happening. They heard Kaleo saying, "Does it really matter where any of us live, Prez? We could get to the Command Center in no time anyway."

"And school's starting Monday," Tory added. "Even if we give the newbies time off from school, like we've had, they can still come to Ewa Beach."

John told Prez, "Mom and Dad had interviews today. You know about Mrs. Diaz, but they just had a teleconference call, with a Doctor Metzger from Starfleet, that Sean and Troy met in California. We'll assign him to Oneula, so there's a staff growing there, including chefs and housekeepers."

Prez sighed, "You dudes know the deal; I just don't want anybody thinking they can't approach me. The first few days on base, when kids were barely saying more than hello to me, drove me to playing Pissed Off Chickens. I don't want anyone ever feeling separated, and that includes all of you."

Keith reminded, "Comm-badges are ordered. We'll get them passed out to the kids tomorrow." He then tapped his sub-vocal, asking, "Alden, what's the status of the request for the Rimmers dimensional doors?"

Alden replied, "Stevie will answer that, Keith."

Into the sub-vocals of all the Core Rimmers, Stevie answered, "A minor modification was made, due to the refugees using bases on Hawaii, Maui and Kauai. Dimensional doors at those three bases won't be installed until after the refugees leave the bases. The doors at Ewa Beach and Oneula will be installed tomorrow. Rylan, who is currently leading dispatch for the Archivist from the Ark Compound, is coordinating all the installations."

"Thanks, Stevie," Keith said, and then assured the group, "We're kewl for ninety-five newbies tomorrow. The newbies that want to nest can join the basement nest at Ewa Beach."

Prez smiled, "Okay, so AJ, Jerry, Kaleo and Tory will set up townhomes at Oneula for their families. We'll do the usual orientations and trip to the store at Ewa Beach. Once that's done, all of us will help make the Oneula Beach base their home."

"We'll have another concert for the newbies," Troy suggested.

Nodding, Tory agreed, "That worked really well. That's why our boys were so ready to be adopted into a family."

Drew said, "We took a group of newbies to dorm three this morning. A bunch of the kids from level one orphanages came there too, to help welcome those newbies. It was very kewl to watch."

Having already forgotten something due to codeine, Prez wondered, "How many rooms are still available?"

"Only two on the first floor," Stephen answered. "The whole second floor is empty."

Prez called, "Alden, statistically speaking, are we kewl to make that entire dorm for boys only?"

"I think so, Prez," Alden replied. "Our Battle Of Earth intake were all boys, so we're near seventy-percent male at the dorms. Of the ninety-five expected tomorrow, that group is two-thirds boys. Eighty level three kids will be here later next week and they're split at the same percentage. Comparatively speaking, it approximates recent population statistics."

AJ grinned, "I didn't know you kept track of all that stuff, Prez."

Prez nodded, "I've been given a lot of resources. The more I know, the better I can allocate those resources. My only real concerns now are the refugees occupying three of our bases. How long will they be there? Will I need to move any of them elsewhere, so we can have the space for kids that need the space?"

Alden interrupted, "I'm sorry guys, but Jimmy in the command center wants to speak with Keith or Prez."

Prez instructed, "Patch Jimmy in to all of us, Alden."

"Guys, we just had three kids walk-up to our North Road gate," Jimmy said into the Rimmers' sub-vocals. "The oldest is one of the boys that was here in the Command Center on Thursday."

Opening his eyes wide, Keith wondered, "Has he said what he wants?"

"Not directly," Jimmy answered, "but the other two have suitcases. They're younger than your classmate, and if I were to guess, I'd say they're brothers."

Keith told Prez, "Since you're only able to wear a shower wrap, let me handle this." Prez nodded and grinned. Keith told Jimmy, "Give me a few minutes to throw my clothes on, Jimmy. I'll transport directly to the North Road gate."

"Kewl," Jimmy replied, "thanks, Keith."

"I'll be back as soon as I can," Keith said, and started jogging toward the house. John hurried after Keith. Never slowing his pace, Keith entered the house wondering, "What're you doing, bro?"

"I'm going with you," John answered. "I felt you, Prez, Derrick and Mike all get concerned because of that call. What happened Thursday made you angry enough, so I want to check these dudes myself."

Stopping at the living room, where there were piles of clothes, Keith huffed, "Part of me wants to argue, but you're right, it's a good idea." He searched the piles for his boardies and T-shirt, and asked, "You and Stephen are kewl?"

John smiled, "We're excellent, bro. Stephen was empathic enough when he got here. Alone together, we're figuring everything out and having the best times. I officially take back everything I ever said about you and Prez, and Drew and Corey. Just like Stephen, Frankie's a little empath who gets telepathic around me. Wade's a strong telepath for five-year-old. My family may be young, but we're just as kewl as you older dudes."

Pausing as Keith stood to dress, John grinned, "I did quick scans of AJ, Jerry and all three Hunnicutts. I'm certain that's an awesome match too. The kids have made AJ and Jerry even closer, and they'd fiercely protect their sons. Knowing that they have a family again, the kids have lost all their worries. All that remains are memories of good times with their original parents, and high hopes of more good times with AJ and Jerry. For the Hunnicutts and Leo, this day at the beach house is awesome. With far fewer people around, they can really get to know their new dads and all our sons."

Keith checked, "What do you think of AJ and Jerry?"

"They're very kewl," John smiled. "Imagine if you and Prez were both orphans, but still got to know each other, then got separated and reunited. At eleven-years-old, they were separated when Jerry was fostered. When they saw one another again, after Joel's teams rescued them, they all but jumped for joy. They're a perfect fit for our team too. Neither is thinking that they can't do the job. As a matter of fact, they're really glad and like the idea of being communications officers. Finding the Hunnicutts the way they did made what was good totally awesome."

Fully dressed, Keith scowled for a moment then reached a hand into his shorts to brush away some uncomfortable sand grains. John giggled, "I hate that too."

Keith smirked, "It don't get any better as you get older either. One minute it's like, hey, that feels pretty good and you pop a bone, then it's not so good and ya shrivel up. Pickin' sand out of your foreskin and pubes sucks." John howled laughing and nodded. Tapping his sub-vocal, Keith grinned, "Alden, take us to the North Road gate."

In a blink, John and Keith were standing outside the security station. Chaz and Billy came out to greet them. Beyond the gate and the shield, Keith saw Alec Triggs, the junior that had been amongst the group harassing them at school Thursday. It was Alec who specifically asked about gays in the Clan. With Alec were two younger boys; one was about twelve-years-old and the other about ten-years-old. All three were definitely brothers. John recognized the younger of the two from his school, but they were in different classes. Keith nodded at Chaz and said, "Let 'em in, bro."

The steel gate rose and the shield portal opened. All three walked the base driveway and stopped before John and Keith. Alec smirked, "Bet you didn't think you'd see me again."

Keith shrugged, "Not this soon, that's for sure."

Alec nodded and softly said, "I'm not homophobic, Keith. The truth is, I was fishing for information. My parents are good people, and they're not particularly homophobes, but they don't understand it. They think it's a phase they'll grow out of. Because of that, they're trying to steer my two brothers in their preferred direction. If it's a phase, only my brothers can figure that out, not my folks."

Keith mutely checked with John. John nodded once at Keith, signaling that everything Alec said was true. Keith asked, "So your brothers aren't being abused. What's the deal?"

Alec sighed, "It's like they're limited, who they can hang out with, where, and for how long." He placed a hand on the taller of the two boys and prompted, "Theo, introduce yourself to Keith and tell him what happened before school started back in September."

Reaching forward to shake hands with Keith and then John, Theo Triggs introduced himself as Theodore, then said, "I had this friend over the summer. We were just getting to know each other, and things got pretty... uh... hot, I guess." Alec grinned and the other younger boy giggled. Blushing, Theo smirked, "It was kewl between us and getting better, but then I said the wrong thing on the phone with him, not knowing my folks were home and could hear, so no sleepovers with him any more. And since I couldn't even go out if our parents thought I might be with him, he's moved on and it's over. I just feel angry a lot, at him, at my folks, with just about everyone."

Placing his hand on the other brother's shoulder, Alec said, "This is Bradley. I know and love both my brothers, Keith. Brad's going in the same direction as Theo, so he's already been restricted most of this school year. He can participate in sports and school clubs, where he's supervised, but the rest of the time, he's grounded more often than he's free. I'm taking a big chance, with my folks having a fit and all, but really, this is the right thing for everybody at home. My brothers would be happier here, discovering themselves and maybe being themselves for the first time in a long time."

Glancing around Alec, Theo and Brad, Keith explained, "What we have here are violations of the Safe Haven Act, section twelve-dot-two, subsection 'C', and a loose interpretation of section sixteen-dot-one, subsection 'B'. No matter what your parents might think, restricting social interactions, which are normal for most all boys around ten- or twelve-years-old, is defined as wrong. I don't have grounds to arrest your parents. We do have sufficient grounds to take custody of Brad and Theo."

Brad and Theo nodded and then grinned at each other. Alec asked, "Where do we stand, and what do I need to do, Keith?"

Holding up his index finger to signal a pause, Keith then tapped his comm-badge and called, "Mom?"

A moment later, Jen replied, "Yes, Keith?"

"I'm at the North Road gate with John, and a schoolmate and his brothers," Keith explained, and then outlined the Safe Haven Act infractions. He asked, "Do we have standard paperwork prepared? If we do, we might be able to put this situation to rest today."

"John's been keeping me in the loop, so I'm filling out the form now, Keith," Jen answered. After a few moments of typing, Jen asked, "John's given me the names of the subjects, but are there any family members to be allowed visitation rights?"

Keith gave his mother the subject name of Alec Triggs as allowed visitation rights. There were sounds of more tapping keys, the whir of a laser printer, pages printing and then silence. Thinking he had been disconnected, Keith scowled for a moment.

Jen Hundser placed a hand on Keith's shoulder, causing Keith to jump in place. John cracked up, pushing Brad and Theo to giggles. Jen grinned, "Now you know how I feel when I see you disappearing and reappearing twenty times a day."

Keith smiled and gestured to each of the three boys, saying, "Mom, this is Alec Triggs, and his two brothers, Brad and Theo. Dudes, this is my mom, Jennifer Hundser, Director of Pacific Rim Division Federation Youth Services."

Stepping forward, Jen greeted each of the three boys then focused on Alec. She asked, "Do you believe that you'll be safe when you return home, Alec?"

Rapidly nodding, Alec said, "Our parents haven't ever laid a hand on us, Mrs. Hundser. The worst I expect is some yelling, and I might get grounded for a week or two, but ya know, I don't care about that. Brad and Theo matter way more. Them being here and happier is all that matters."

Jen smiled, "All big brothers should feel the same. If at any time your freedoms are unreasonably infringed upon, as in the cases of your brothers, call us on the toll-free number or come back again." When Alec nodded, Jen showed him the pages she was holding and explained, "The first page is the summary. The next pages are explanations of the two Safe Haven Act sections infringed upon. If your parents think they can get this overturned, tell them to save their efforts and money. Months of restrictions on children is not acceptable, and most certainly not because boys are experimenting sexually with other boys."

Alec nodded and smiled, "I know it's true. I was there too." Completely surprised, Brad and Theo gasped and glared up at their big brother. "What?" Alec sniggered, and explained, "First of all, it was exactly that, convenient experimentation. Secondly, it was enough for me to say, nope, never again. I've heard both of you whispering at night. There's attractions that you two have that I don't. I still understand completely where you're at. You need to find the answers. Dad and mom can't find them for you, and shouldn't be preventing you from searching. Waiting until you're adults won't cut the mustard, in this case."

Jen nodded and seriously said, "Alec has complete freedom to come visit you two boys anytime he'd like. He's shown and proved maturity that your parents haven't." She then warmly smiled at Alec, saying, "I hope to see you again and often."

"Yes, ma'am, I'm sure you will," Alec smiled. "It might not be for a week or two, but I will be here. If my parents decide to get nasty and keep grounding me, I may just walk over here saying, enough is enough, and stay." He paused then locked eyes with Keith, grinning, "You said you take straights, right?"

Shrugging, Keith chuckled, "We'll make an exception for you, dude. If you happen to switch sides though, you can't complain about it." All five boys softly sniggered.

Rolling her eyes, Jen sighed, "So much for maturity. Boys are always boys, no matter which side of the fence they play on."

"We're wrapped up nice and neat, mom," Keith smiled.

John suggested, "Stephen, me, and our boys can show Brad and Theo around, introduce them and get them settled in a dorm room, bro. While I'm here, I'll take care of our Founder family, and get them set in a condo too."

Keith nodded but reminded, "Come back to the beach house when you're done. You heard our kids, they're all looking forward to spending the night together."

John nodded, "Kewl," and then waved Brad and Theo forward, saying, "Let's drop those suitcases off at a dorm room first." Jen joined the boys for the walk, but instead of going to the dormitory, she would go home.

Theo asked John, "Weren't you going to call some other guys?"

"I have already," John grinned. Jen smirked at John. Raising his eyebrows and stopping in his tracks for a moment, John giggled, "Here they come." A second later, Stephen, Frankie and Wade materialized before them.

Theo looked at his surprised little brother, sniggering, "I'm gonna like it here."

Smiling widely, Brad rapidly nodded. Stephen stepped forward, said, "Hi," to the two newbies, then reached for a kiss from John. Brad gasped.

Taking Stephen's hand, John grinned, "Yeah, I recognized you too, Brad. It's a small town. I didn't know for sure I was gay until I met Stephen. Now Stephen's my husband, and we have two awesome boys."

Back near the North Road gate, Keith shook hands and knocked knuckles with Alec, happily admitting, "You surprised me."

"You know how it is, appearances at school?" Alec grinned. "Some motives may have been as they seemed, but in my case, I was testing and confirming what Prez said on TV. I learned more than I expected, being transported here, and then learning you guys were married and had sons. That clearly told me this is where my brothers need to be; around good examples of gay couples."

Keith confirmed, "Are you sure that you'll be okay at home?"

Alec smirked, "I told the vice-principal what the deal was, so I don't have detention. Two weeks grounded at home will be a break I could enjoy. It's worth it as long as my brothers have a life."

"We work to make sure all the kids get the best opportunities," Keith explained. "They could even work their way into Starfleet someday. All they have to do is decide what they want and work towards the goal. Let us know if you need anything, Alec."

Nodding, Alec promised, "No sweat," and turned to go toward the gate. The steel bars rose and the shield portal opened, allowing Alec to leave and return home.

Before returning to the beach house and party, Keith decided to go round up some more family members, including Bruce. While walking toward the pools, Keith had a perfectly wicked idea; he would see who Bruce was playing with and bring some adoptable boys back too, specifically for Sean and Troy.

Back at the Keoneuli Beach house, Danny Page and Joey were playing drums; KC was playing lead guitar. And Clay, one of Mike Gibbons' security guys, was playing bass guitar. They were jamming a loose version of Heartbreaker, by Led Zeppelin. Prez was out on the lawn, monitoring the PA system and listening when Keith appeared beside him with Bruce, Ben and more boys. The boys immediately dashed for the beach, losing clothes along the way.

Seeing Ben and Bruce heading their way, Sammy, Gage and Jonah immediate jogged up the shore to them. The latter three hugged the two new arrivals. While Ben and Gage were close together, Ben whispered, "Hey, would you be angry if I said that I really like Sammy a lot?"

Giggling, Gage softly replied, "Not a bit. He likes you too, dude. Go for it!" Pulling back and locking eyes with Gage, Ben got confirmation it was true from Gage's nodding head and giggles.

After a quick kiss, Keith began telling Prez about Alec and his two younger brothers, and then shared his idea; "I found Bruce with Ben and the four boys from St. Joseph. Since Bruce is destined to be a Core Rimmer, and Ben is Mike's brother, I thought they needed to be here. The other four are already tuned in. They're all wanting to stay together and be adopted into one family. Since Troy and Sean need nudges to get with the program..."

"Perfect!" Prez loudly laughed.

Keith smiled and nodded, "Billy's eleven, Jason is nine, Scott is six and Jimmy is five. Seeing them with Bruce, who's from Ohio, I figured, okay, and Troy's from the American northeast too."

"You're a genius, babe. They were all together anyway, so half the battle is won."

Keith turned Prez around and pointed out to the bay. They saw Billy Whitmore swimming out to the surfers, with Jason a body length behind, and both were going directly for Sean and Troy.

Down at the beach, a group of younger boys were back building their sand castle. Included in the group were the two younger Hunnicutts, the Steibs, all five of Kaleo's and Tory's sons, Dillon, Randy, Geoff, Lenny, and Richie. The kids had a huge sand castle under construction. Dee was learning the finer points of toy dune-buggie racing from Conner. Out in the bay, the remainder of the AI Division and security teams were on surfboards. Also out there were Corey, Drew, Leo, AJ, Jerry, Kenny Hunnicutt, Kaleo, Tory, Sean, Troy, Mike, Derrick, Paul, Ryan and Reyes. The surf was perfect for beginners and the more advanced surfers to enjoy themselves. Wading and swimming together, off to the side and in shallow water, were Sammy, Gage, Jonah, Ben, Bruce, Sung, Kawazoe, Herbert and Chad.

Yells of "Oh, jeez!" and "Wait!" were followed by laughter as Billy and Jason tried to join Troy and Sean on their respective boards. In seconds, with almost everyone watching, Sean and Troy were sliding off their boards into the water with the boys, and the surfboards were popping up into the air. It brought the music to an abrupt halt and everyone around the beach howled laughing.

Scrambling to catch the surfboards, Sean and Troy got 'help' from Billy and Jason. Since Sean, Troy, Billy and Jason weren't managing very well, only slipping off the boards with more giggling and laughter, Lakota, Jeremy, Leo and Gary paddled over to offer assistance. The two gorillas, Leo and Gary, reached down and swept up Jason and Billy onto their boards. Moments later, Lakota and Jeremy held the two surfboards steady for Troy and Sean to climb onto again. At the next fair swell, they all returned to the shore.

Scott and Jimmy ran up to their brothers from Michigan. Scott giggled, "From here, that was too funny." Jimmy went to Gary and held his arms up. The gorilla took the hint and lifted the small boy.

Billy widely grinned, "It was fun too."

Troy smiled, "Thank goodness none of us got hurt."

"It might've helped if we had bungees connecting us to our boards," Sean sniggered.

Swinging his arms around, pointing at Troy's, Sean's and his brothers' crotches, Jason giggled, "Hey, perfect matches!" Softly chortling, Troy and Sean noticed what Jason was referring to; of the four boys, two were uncircumcised and two were circumcised. Desperately trying not to crack up, Troy turned beet red and covered his eyes. Jason giggled, "Wassamatta, pop?"

Billy grinned at the two confused teens, and then shyly explained, "Me and my bros have been around more than a lot of other kids. We've even been filmed. Those movies have been taken and destroyed, thanks to the Clan. Don't be embarrassed, okay?"

From his perch on Gary, Jimmy giggled, "We all got dicks, even the gorillas."

Scott nodded agreement and shared, "We know what we want too."

Raising his blond eyebrows, Sean wondered, "What's that mean, guys?"

Looking up at Troy and then Sean, Jason giggled, "We've been watching you!"

Noticing only confusion on Sean's and Troy's expressions, Billy nudged his younger brother, chuckling, "Let me handle this, doofus!" He then softly told the two teens, "Yeah, we've been watching a lot of you, all our leaders, and how they act with their kids too. We were forced to do stuff we didn't want, and all you guys know that, but we can see that all you guys really love each other. It shows all the time."

Rapidly blinking, Troy asked, "How old are you, Billy?"

"Eleven, and I know I like boys more than girls."

"Me too," Jason chimed.

Scott and Jimmy chorused, "Us too."

Scrunching his nose, Billy complained, "Ladies smell funny, and they sure don't know how to treat a dick."

"Yeah," Jimmy added, "fingernails!" and shivered in Gary's arm.

Everyone in the small group softly sniggered. Returning to his prior topic, Billy gently smiled, "We want dads, ones that won't want to mess with us, cos they've got each other; ones that can show and teach us how to find and keep real boyfriends. Some of that stuff, we'll learn just by watching you." His smile faded and he firmly reminded, "In another year or so, I'm gonna be sprouting pubes. A year after that, I'm a teenager. I'll want a boyfriend, someone that looks at me like when you two look at each other. Someone that makes me feel all goofy, without touching my dick."

"We want real fathers," Jason seriously offered, "not grumpy old men who only smile when we mess with them or each other. The four of us learned stuff in the wrong order. In two days in the Clan, we're seeing more of the right stuff than we ever saw before. How you guys are the way you are is the big question. I can't wait to learn the answer."

Having been in the same shoes as the boys, Sean easily absorbed all that was said. However, Troy's heart was shredded into five even chunks; one for Sean and one for each of the boys surrounding him. Troy knew the facts about many of the Rimmer rescued kids, but now he felt a deep desire to do something about it again, as he had Wednesday night, when he aimed a phaser at a cretin that deserved to die. Anger, compassion and fear were only the tip of what Troy felt. Without delay, Troy went to Sean and hid his face on his Tiger's shoulder. Already understanding what Troy was feeling, Sean gently rubbed Troy's back. Now that he had the reassurance and safety he needed, Troy quietly sobbed.

For Scott, Jason and Billy, the three boys on the ground, the most remarkable thing was two teenaged boys holding each other so closely, but neither had an erection. They glanced at each other, wordlessly conveying confusion.

From Gary's arm, Jimmy loudly wondered, "Wha's wrong?"

"I think pop's crying," Jason frowned.

Rubbing his Lover's back, Sean assured, "It's okay, guys. Troy needs a minute, that's all."

"Lemme down," Jimmy told Gary. Once on the ground, Jimmy ran to Troy and wrapped his little arms around one of Troy's legs, in an attempt to give a hug. Scott followed Jimmy's lead and embraced Troy's other leg. Jason and Billy moved closer to the group. Sean reached an arm out and pulled Billy up against himself and Troy. Feeling the extra body on one side and a cool breeze from the shore on the other side, Troy lifted his face and guided Jason around to fill that space. Troy didn't realize what his tears were provoking, but Sean and the four boys knew it immediately; they were caring about and for one another.

After a few minutes like this, during which time Prez had already picked up his tricorder, and Keith happily watched his weakly constructed plan fall perfectly into place, Sean playfully asked the four boys, "Who's your daddy?"

Billy, Jason, Scott and Jimmy hollered "You are, dad!"

Troy cracked up at Sean's question and the enthusiastic reply from the boys. His laughter shifted to more tears briefly, but as soon as the boys hugged him tighter again, they quickly dissipated. Lifting his face again and glancing down and around, Troy confirmed, "You really want us for fathers?"

Jimmy, Scott and Jason quickly said yes. Billy smiled, "Ya know, this morning, I think we could've become sons of any of the Core Rimmers. This right here makes it perfect. There are no other choices anymore." He checked with his brothers, "Right guys?" Again, the other three happily agreed.

Wiping his eyes, Troy nodded and then suggested, "Before we make this real and forever, let's have a pre-family, family meeting."

"Yeah," Sean agreed, "you guys need to know us and we need to know about you too."

"Kewl," Jason grinned, already overflowing with enthusiasm.

Titling his head, Billy carefully wondered, "Do you think we'll change our minds?"

Troy gasped, "I really hope not."

Sean explained, "Me and Troy started our relationship with hours of talking. We're just going to have a short chat, to get to know each other. It'll make us closer and a real family in the long run."

Stepping back from Sean, Troy told their security team, "It's kewl, guys. Give us a little time and we'll be back soon."

The gorillas nodded and grinned, and returned to their surfboards. Lakota smiled and Jeremy said, "Very kewl." Watching the new family head toward the house, Lakota and Jeremy decided to take a walk down the beach toward the waterfall.

Noticing Prez was ready, holding the tricorder, Troy smiled, "Keep that nearby, Prez. We just need a few minutes to chat."

Widely smiling, Prez nodded, "Take an upstairs bedroom, dudes." As the group was passing, Keith winked at the two closest boys.

Sean loudly giggled, "I saw that, Keith!" All four boys began giggling.

Snapping his neck looking to and fro, Troy asked, "Saw what?"

"Our boys will tell you when we're alone," Sean giggled. "And then I can foresee four very pink bellies." Jason happened to be nearest and most convenient for Sean to tickle. The nine-year-old yelped and ran up the lanai steps, with his other three brothers following.

Once the new family was indoors, Prez asked Keith, "How'd you know?"

"I didn't really know," Keith admitted. "Like I said, they were with Bruce and Ben. Since they're newbies, I asked them if they were interested in being adopted. When they said yes, I listed each set of available parents, starting with Troy and Sean and ending with them, mentioning that they were completely available and hadn't adopted yet. I also considered the boys' ages. Since Troy and Sean aren't so sure, I thought an eleven-year-old and a nine-year-old could look after the six-year-old and the five-year-old. Troy and Sean get the complete picture. The four boys get two great fathers. Everything else we saw happening was all them interacting." Noticing a twinkle in Prez's blue eyes, Keith excitedly giggled, "I did good?"

Slowly nodding and placing the tricorder down on the table near the mixer, Prez reminded, "Since Archnania, I think we're pretty even again."

"You might even be ahead of me again," Keith cheekily grinned.

Taking Keith's hand and leading the way to the house, Prez said, "Easily rectumfied."

Giggling, Keith asked, "Are you ready for that?"

Prez waited until they were inside and alone to softly answer, "Missionary, with your legs wrapped around my buns would be uncomfortable, but there's other ways I can manage quite easily." Starting to climb the steps, Keith whimpered. Prez grinned, "And this house has a nice big whirlpool tub we can easily fit in afterward."

Keith leered, "Additional incentive wasn't necessary, but since you mentioned it..." He starting taking steps two at a time and pulling Prez along with him.

Just returning from a ride with Paul and Ryan, Reyes saw his two dads hop off their boards at the shoreline, drop them on the beach, and race toward the house. Sputtering and trying to hold back his laughter, Reyes caught Ryan widely smiling at him. On the opposite side, Paul attempted to hide his grin and suspiciously glared. Pushed over the edge, Reyes loudly laughed, "WH-HA-AT?"

Sadly shaking his head, Paul paddled around to his brother. Paul told Ryan, "I think we have a problem, bro."

Nodding, Ryan giggled, "There are several ways to correct this problem." Without warning, both brothers pushed down hard on Reyes' surfboard, tilting it and knocking Reyes off balance. They released the board and it bounced back, throwing Reyes into the water. Reyes got even with Paul by jumping up and onto the back of his board, tossing Paul into the water. Laughing his ass off, Ryan caught a wave and escaped.

Two riderless boards drifted toward the beach while Paul and Reyes playfully dunked and fought each other. Running into deeper water, Jerry Owens flagged down Ryan. When Ryan approached, Jerry giggled, "Is everything okay, bro?"

Nodding, Ryan chuckled, "It's these Rimmers. We've been here about four hours. Twice we saw Prez and Keith go in the house, and they were soon followed by Mike and Derrick. We've witnessed adoptions of nine kids into three families, and there's another adoption of four sure to happen. These Rimmers eat and then have sex, they adopt and then have sex, they play music and go have sex!"

Jerry cracked up. He breathlessly asked, "Do you want to leave?"

"No!" Ryan giggled, and then quickly retracted it, loudly laughing, "YES!" Throwing his arms up, Ryan softly chortled, "Damned if I know. All I do know is that I need to pee."

An unexpected wave knocked Jerry over. Ryan grabbed his board and went to get the other two. Danny Page and Marc Furst rode a wave to shore. Hearing Jerry's hysterical laughter, Danny wondered, "What's so funny?"

Jerry couldn't respond at all through his laughter. Splashing over in knee deep water, with Jonah following along, Gage answered, "It's our dads."

Jonah smiled, "Two couples of four very close friends who grew up together."

"Oh, that," Danny grinned. Sneaking a few tickles in on Jerry, Danny giggled, "I thought it was something funny." Giggling at Danny's tickle attack, Gage and Jonah hurried away and dove into deeper water before they got tickled.

Marc smirked, "That's cute, not funny." Pausing at Jerry's wide eyes, Marc grinned, "Be careful kid genius, I think it's time for you to get a partner too. Then you'll know the difference between cute and funny."

Even from a few meters away, Danny could tell that Ryan's gears were spinning. Thankfully, Paul and Reyes were body-surfing back to shore. Knowing that there was nothing he could say to any of the three that would make anything easier for them, Danny took hold of Jerry's arm and led him to the beach, rambling, "New lovers are cute. In the case of Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike, you're seeing four teenagers that intimately know each other. Without saying it directly, they're proving what I assumed; they learned everything together. I see four boys that are completely comfortable with each other. I don't need to know more than that. As for your brothers and Reyes, you need to take that same perspective, Jerry. None of us really know what's between them."

Watching Paul, Ryan and Reyes walking together toward the house, Jerry grinned, "Three together though, Danny?"

Danny shrugged, "Difficult, but not impossible. All you might accomplish going forward is making it more difficult. You don't want to do that to Paul or Ryan, do you?"

"Course not," Jerry sighed. "They've just been so happy."

Marc nodded, "We all see that too. Reyes is their best friend in the world, right now. Without our intervention, they made that choice. By calling them boyfriends now, before they're ready, you could impact their decision."

"I still can't get over the idea of a threesome," Jerry grinned.

Marc shrugged, "Were we on the streets for twenty years, or in an orphanage getting sexually abused, and zapped by a Cynthetilife unit? We're not them, Jerry. It's that simple; with Reyes and your bros, and with the Rimmers."

Since their little group of swimmers seemed to be breaking into smaller groups, Ben asked Sammy, "Go for a walk with me?"

Sammy's heart jumped in his chest. He rapidly agreed and nodded.

Although Ben already had positive feedback from Gage and Jonah, Ben had no idea how to ask the question he wanted to ask. They walked out of the water and many paces before Ben turned and smiled at Sammy. Sammy was a little taller than Ben and in a lot better physical shape. Sammy's blond hair and dark green eyes were major attractions too, but Ben found Sammy's entire personality as attractive as anything else he could see. The problem was that Ben had been part of the original eighty-seven sexually abused kids and Sammy showed up the prior Sunday night. Sammy didn't press Ben by asking any questions. They were together and that was enough for both boys. While walking, the boys began sharing their feelings and other observations that had previously been kept very private.

Out in the bay, Gage and Jonah just rode a wave that flipped and tossed them around a little bit. Laughing hysterically, they knelt down in barely a foot of water. Catching his breath, Jonah cheered, "Now that was a wild ride!"

Rapidly nodding, Gage giggled, "Jonah?"

"Yeah?" Jonah widely smiled.

Gage's smile faded slightly, but then he gestured back out at the waves, asking, "Again?"

With a nod of Jonah's head, they got up and ran back out as far they could then dove into an oncoming wave. They went out almost as far as the surfers and watched their right side. When the surfers started paddling into the cresting wave, they waited for the wave to reach them and then swam like crazy. In seconds, they didn't need to paddle and were caught in the water's power. Trying to keep their bodies streamlined, so they could finish the entire ride, they unexpectedly crashed into each other and started tumbling out of control again. Two heads collided. Powerless during the remaining seconds, Gage's left arm and Jonah's right leg scraped the sandy bottom. Moments later, they were in only about a half-meter of water and popped up laughing, "OW!"

Hearing the two boys from his surfboard, KC turned toward them. Seeing their wide smiles, and hearing their giggles, KC chuckled and paddled back out again.

Jonah giggled, "We slammed into each other!"

"Did I hurt you?" Gage sniggered, and inspected his arm.

Shaking his head, Jonah smiled, "Bonking heads wasn't the problem. Your arm looks like hamburger and my leg feels like a palm tree trunk too."

Nodding, Gage grinned, "Time out to check with the nearest doctor."

Standing together, they both hollered, "Reyes!" and waded to the beach.

Out on the lanai, sitting at a table, having sodas and snacks with Paul and Ryan, Reyes stood and looked out at the beach. Watching Jonah limping up the beach with Gage at his side, Reyes sighed. He told Paul and Ryan what was going on and then jumped the lanai railing. Grabbing Prez's tricorder, Reyes ran down the beach. Paul and Ryan hurried after Reyes. Without intending to, Gage and Jonah also got Danny's and Marc's attention. They broke off their conversation with Jerry and hurried to check the two bleeding boys. Soon, Gage and Jonah were surrounded by six others.

Jonah giggled, "Jeez, guys. We're not dying."

"Just give us some Band-aids and we're back to riding the waves," Gage sniggered.

Fully in medic mode, Reyes checked the tricorder readings, telling Jonah, "First we wash the sand out of the wounds, then we scan again, then the topical antibiotics and bandages."

Inspecting Gage's arm with his own tricorder, Marc nodded, "Same here, sand in the scrapes."

Reyes tapped his sub-vocal, ordering, "Alden, transport Jonah and Gage into a shower." Before either boy could say a word, they were standing in one of the second floor bathroom tubs.

Jonah impatiently huffed, "Dammit! We're scraped and bleeding a little bit."

"I know," Gage grumbled. "This is nothin' to be so worried about."

Two wash cloths wafted down from near the ceiling. Alden said, "You'll need those, guys. A word of warning; if you don't clean the scrapes right the first time, Marc or Reyes are talking about doing it again for you."

Jonah gasped, "Shit! I can't see half of what I scraped."

Contorting his neck to see his arm and shoulder, Gage scowled, "Same here, dude."

Blushing, Jonah grinned, "I can be such a wimp too. Reyes will only do what he has to, but I'll be a baby in front of everyone."

Gage's blush was only slightly less than Jonah's. Nodding, Gage admitted, "I wouldn't be much better, if at all."

Turning on the water to warm, Jonah suggested, "Well, we each do what we can, then we can help each other."

"Umm... uh..." Gage stammered, and then thoughtfully hummed.

Facing Gage again, Jonah wondered, "What's wrong?"

Flushing even redder, Gage giggled, "A lot! I like you, Jonah."

"I know you like me," Jonah giggled. "I like you too, which is why we wind up doing stuff together, here and at Archnania too."

Becoming flustered, Gage emphatically stated, "I like you so much that I want to be with you all the time. It's not like we're not together a lot on and off during the days anyway, but I want more time with you. I've wanted to say that since Archnania, but couldn't find a way to. But now..."

Jonah waited for Gage to finish before softly asking, "Why now?"

Covering most of his face, except his eyes, Gage giggled, "Because I would love to help you clean your leg, and I'd love for you to help me clean my arm, but if I start touching you, and you start touching me, we're... I'm gonna... it's..." He rolled his eyes at his inability to say what he needed, and abruptly huffed, "We're gonna be in here for a long time."

Not knowing what Gage had tried to say, and wondering if his own orphanage experiences were clouding the issue, Jonah rapidly blinked, which only made Gage stare and giggle louder. Jonah turned around and checked the water temperature, finding it a little cooler than he would normally like, and then switched on the shower. Facing Gage again, Jonah asked, "You like me?"

Gage nodded, "Very much."

Jonah hummed, and then asked, "Like boyfriends like each other?"

"I think so," Gage smiled, "even though I don't know what having a boyfriend is like. When I imagine it, I imagine having fun with you." Bending down to pick up the two wash cloths and conveniently hiding his face, Gage quickly corrected, "Regular fun, like at the pools or the beach, not like sex fun, okay?"

Taking one of the wash cloths, Jonah repeated, "Regular fun. Like best friends."

Gage nodded and smiled, "We're already best friends. What I guess I want is to be there when you need or deserve a hug." Gage enthusiastically giggled, "That idea makes me feel all whacky and dizzy, dude."

Smirking, Jonah giggled, "I make you feel dizzy, huh?"

Nodding, Gage laughed, "Hug me and see for yourself. It happens every time you brush past me. When I fall to the floor of the tub, you'll have to wake me and tell me what happened."

Reaching his arms out, Jonah turned Gage so he could wash the scraped arm. Wobbling unsteadily because he thought Jonah was really going to hug him, Gage audibly huffed in relief that he wasn't hugged and didn't keel over. Jonah cracked up and then so did Gage. Without delay, Jonah soaped up his wash cloth, giggling the promise, "I'm gonna try my best so this don't hurt."

Gage sniggered, "And I'll try not to scream in agony."

After putting the bar of soap down, Jonah worked up a lather then gently laid the wash cloth on Gage's shoulder. With his fingertips, he pulled the bottom edge of the cloth, so it dragged down Gage's arm. He checked, "So far so good?"

"Awesome," Gage smiled.

"Best friends, remember?"

"I wish I had said something before."

"I guess there's always so much going on, neither of us had the chance."

"Do you feel a little scared?"

"Yeah. I know why too."


"Stuff that happened to me at the orphanage."

Gage thoughtfully hummed, "Yeah, my parents didn't give a shit about nothin', especially me."

"Prez and Keith care about you now," Jonah reminded, "your brothers do, and now I do too."

"You've got a real family too."

Jonah giggled, "It's so kewl too; having a big bro and two little bros."

Gage carefully wondered, "Will you tell me what happened to you?"

After a long pause where Gage never stopped looking over his shoulder, Jonah softly admitted, "They took pictures of me, messed with my dick and butt, made me mess with them too."

"My parents would cuss and scream, their friends would come over and they'd cuss and scream. It was crazy. Late at night, I'd hear them fighting in their bedroom too. I don't think they ever had good sex. My dad and pop never do anything like that. When they're not making love, the most we hear is laughter."

"My dad and pop are the same. That's what it should be like, I think."


"And easy, like all the other stuff we do together."

"This is real easy."

"Yeah. You're not mad about the orphanage?"

"Nope. You didn't like it. It's the same as me; we had to put up with it."

"Reyes, Kaleo and Liki were always saving us younger kids from stuff. They stopped a lot before it happened to us. Instead, it happened to them."

"I heard that from other kids, at home, in Ewa Beach, where no grown-up ever even looks at all the naked kids. Gram and Gramps look in my eyes."

"Like the lawn workers only look when a kid screams, like the kid might be hurt or something. Our grandmas and grandpas are the same, always looking in our eyes. Its weird, in a good way."

Gage grinned, "When you're not looking at my arm, you're looking in my eyes."

Jonah smirked, "You haven't stopped looking at me. Not once did you look down."

"I'm wondering how I can be as careful with your leg as you're being," Gage giggled.

Finished washing Gage's arm, Jonah prompted, "Look down now."

Doing so, and noticing that they both had erections, Gage smiled, "Yeah, so? You did an awesome job. I never flinched or gritted my teeth or nothin'."

Jonah stared deeply into Gage's brown eyes, asking, "That's all you're gonna say?"

Gage shrugged, "We see dozens of dicks every day. Your bone is nicer only because it's yours, my best buddy's."

Jonah squealed, "Really?"

Picking up the other wash cloth, Gage offered, "It's about the same as mine, maybe a tad longer, but mine seems thicker." He then asked, "Is that what you wanted to hear, a comparison?"

Completely surprised, Jonah softly asked, "It's not too big or nothin'?"

"Course not," Gage simply answered, and soaped up the wash cloth. "You hang a little longer than me, but now, there's not too much difference. If you wanna talk big, how about Darren Devault's monster? That thing must hang twenty centimeters, easy. He trims his pubes too, I think."

"He's sixteen," Jonah giggled.

"And you're nine, and I'm eight," Gage reminded. "When we're sixteen, then we can compare dick sizes." Displaying the soapy wash cloth, Gage grinned, "Cover up your dick and put your leg up on the edge of the tub."

Doing so and watching Gage's every move, Jonah smiled, "That's it, huh?"

Starting to carefully wash the scrapes around Jonah's knee, calf and thigh, Gage shrugged, "Since I like seeing all the guys, and none of the girls are near as cute, I know I must be leaning way to the gay side. Your dick is just as perfect for you as any other guy's dick. Like I said, yours is special to me only because it's yours. If we didn't already like each other, then we'd just be hangin', like the rest of the time. As far as boners go, I've only seen my brothers stiff. We've all seen our dads and pops with chubby dicks, but we can't compare to any teenagers. Based only on that, I think we're about average." Gage stood up and rinsed the wash cloth. Noticing Jonah's slight smile and intense gaze, Gage giggled, "What?"

All Jonah could think of was the sincerity in Gage's words. Between Gage's voice, his beautiful brown eyes and husky body, Jonah knew he was feeling more than friendship. The answers Jonah had been seeking were right in front of him for many days and he didn't even know it. Now he was seeing Gage in a new way, and Jonah liked it. Shaking his head and starting to giggle, Jonah reached over, pushed Gage's stiffy down at the tub floor, causing him to gasp, and released it to watch it bounce up and slap Gage's tummy. It was a game the boys at his orphanage played often enough, and he was curious how Gage might react to it.

Gage laughed, "Two can play that game!" and did the same to Jonah's bone, only he made his head bounce in time to Jonah's wagging dick. They both began laughing. Before Gage could brace himself, Jonah landed a quick kiss on Gage's mouth. Jonah laughed louder at Gage's shocked expression. Gage got Jonah back with a slightly longer kiss, that caused Jonah to stop laughing. Gage warmly smiled, "Boyfriends?"

Jonah nodded, "Best friends, working on becoming boyfriends."

"Let's get out of here, before someone comes looking for us," Gage suggested. When Jonah nodded, Gage reached around him to turn the water off.

Jonah softly giggled in Gage's ear, "Don't hold me too close now."

Once the water was off, Gage slid in close and whispered, "Bed time, I'm going to be right beside you, cuddled up really close." He topped off his promise with a patented Hundser facial caress, and then pushed Jonah's throbber down again and giggled at the bouncing bone. He hurried to open the sliding shower door and get out before Jonah got even. Jonah swatted Gage's butt as he exited the shower. Knowing they had spent an extraordinary amount of time in the tub, they hurried to dry off, but couldn't stop smiling at one another.

Just as they were finishing and almost ready to step out of the bathroom, Jonah asked, "How do you want it to be?"

Tilting his head, Gage wondered, "Like boyfriend stuff?"


"Anyway you want," Gage shrugged. "If you want to hold my hand, don't even think about not doing it. If you want a hug, or to give me one, we can do that too."


Gage giggled, "You keep asking that! Yes, really!" Seeing Jonah rapidly blinking and grinning, Gage softly explained, "The only reason I haven't come right out and said, I love you, is because I'm not sure about a lot of sex stuff."

Jonah nodded, "I am, but not like this, like us, I mean. This is going to be way different from that."

"Where we're at is totally kewl," Gage assured. "We'll try stuff eventually, ya know, when we decide we want to."

Holding his used towel out, Jonah called, "Hey, Alden? Do we stuff these in the laundry chute?"

The two towels the boys were using vanished before Alden replied, "Not here, guys. I sent them to Ewa Beach, for the housekeepers there to take care of."

Jonah reached for the door knob. Gage reached for Jonah's other hand and took it in his hand. Widely smiling, Jonah admitted, "You're making me crazy."

"Good," Gage grinned, "I'm not alone then."

They stepped out of the bathroom and saw Reyes climbing the staircase. He stopped, saw them holding hands, and smiled, "I was just coming up to see if you were okay. I guess the question is redundant."

Jonah smirked, "We're good, bro; best friends and then some."

Gage nodded, "We're on the same page."

Reyes admitted, "I don't know what's more surprising."

Walking down the stairs with Gage, Jonah told Reyes, "Gage figured it out already, and he don't care about that. He likes me for me."

It took Gage a moment or two to figure out what Jonah was referring to. Gage smirked, "Your dick is fine, Jonah. So what if it hangs long." Lifting their clasped hands, Gage reminded, "This is all I want, to be with you, okay?" He told Reyes, "That's another reason for me to hate those orphanage bastards."

Glancing at Gage, Jonah smiled, "You made me really happy about so much stuff. Remember, those orphanage bastards are dead already. Don't waste your time hating them."

Nodding and smiling, Reyes turned around and went down the last few steps then started for the kitchen, where Marc was waiting with a medi-kit.

Outdoors, Ben and Sammy had run out of sand and were carefully climbing rocks, still heading toward the waterfall. Now and then a gust of wind would blow mist onto them and the rocks they were on. When they saw that they couldn't safely go any further, they began giggling at the predicament they had gotten themselves into. Sammy made the first move with a hug, much to Ben's pleasant surprise. They sat down on smoother rocks and started chatting about their pasts in more detail than they ever had before. Admitting things he didn't want to really say, Ben shed tears. Sammy shushed Ben and wiped away some tears. Ben held Sammy's hand against his face. They locked eyes. A few tender kisses were shared. Neither asked questions. They simply knew where they now were; a young couple falling in love for the first time. Seeing Drew's and Corey's security, Chuck and Conner approaching, Ben and Sammy stood and started back to the beach. When asked what they were doing, they simply answered they had attempted to get to the waterfall, but couldn't climb the last bit of the way to complete the trip.

In the master bathroom, Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike lounged in the big whirlpool tub. Prez suggested, "Since we've got way more than a houseful, we're all spending the night in the master bedroom?" Keith and Derrick nodded and agreed. Signaling his agreement, Mike lifted Prez's foot and sucked on his big toe. Prez cackled, "Stop that! We'll wind up back on the bed again!"

While Keith and Derrick sniggered, Mike grinned, "You asked a silly question, so I thought I'd remind you how we started sucking toes. It was your doing, sex-machine."

Keith giggled, "I remember that day."

"You should," Derrick smiled, "I never heard you laugh so hard."

Massaging Prez's left foot, Mike teased Keith, "You got the hiccups, and couldn't stop hiccuping most of the afternoon."

Keith grinned, "Derrick straddled my chest and fed me his bone. You held my leg still so Prez could make me crazier without getting kicked in the face. The funniest part was when we got back home. My folks were there; I'd hiccup and all four of us busted up laughing. They must've thought we were insane."

"Now that I think about it, the scariest part was John was laughing as hard as we were," Prez recalled.

Keith chuckled, "We were ten, and John was six. He couldn't have known."

In all their minds, John giggled, 'I didn't know then, but I do now! Thanks for that little lesson. We'll be late getting back to the party, by the way.'

'Jo-ohn!' Stephen shrieked in all four minds, 'Don't start that now! Can we finish giving these Founders and newbies the tour first?'

The last thing Prez, Keith, Derrick and Mike heard was John's laughter fading away.

Releasing Prez's foot, Mike sighed, "That turned my chubby into shriveled meat."

Derrick nodded, "Even though we were there too, there's something about knowing our little brothers are going to mess around that really dampens the mood."

Standing in the tub, Keith nodded agreement, saying, "Ya know what's weird? I want to rehearse now."

"We're backwards today," Prez realized as he pulled the drain and stood. "We normally jam first then make love."

Derrick stood and reached for towels then passed them around, saying, "Let's play some stuff that will keep the interest of our fellow musicians."

"Yeah," Mike chuckled, "I get the impression KC and Joey would really enjoy something a little more challenging, with great vocals and intricate music."

Drying his back, Keith smiled, "I can think of a dozen songs like that."

Evilly grinning while drying Keith's chest, belly and naughty bits, Prez chortled, "I get to start us out then?"

Almost simultaneously, Keith, Derrick and Mike nodded, "Karn Evil 9."

Beginning to build the set list, the four boys hurried to dry one another off, and then walked out of the master bathroom and bedroom. Coming around the hallway with their four soon-to-be-sons, Sean and Troy knowingly grinned at their fellow Core Rimmers, who still had damp hair. Troy asked, "Ready to do more adoptions, Prez?"

Widely smiling, Prez locked eyes with Troy, nodding, "Sure, and then we'll play for our guests again before dinner."

Keith glanced at the four St. Joseph boys, asking, "You guys are all set?"

All four nodded and Jason answered, "Sean and Troy are the best possible dads for us." He then followed his brothers down the stairs.

Five-year-old Jimmy Carr, the youngest of the new family, abruptly cheered, "I can't wait!"

Sean explained, "They know as much about me and Troy as we shared with you dudes. We know more about them too." He smirked, "And we know what you did too, Keith." All six Core Rimmers softly chortled. Giving Keith a quick hug, Sean whispered, "Thanks, bro. They really weren't sure of anything more than wanting to be adopted as a group. We finished up with tickle torturing all four of 'em, for scheming."

Patting Sean on the back, Keith grinned, "It was a guess, really. All four were foster brothers before they got here. They knew they wanted to stay together and be adopted, but weren't sure by whom. Now they're happy and so are you."

"Everything's very kewl, bros," Troy happily shared. "Happy is a poor description of what we feel. When we learned what went on, me and Sean tickled them to tears." On the way downstairs, Troy chuckled, "Speaking of learning things, I've learned that I can be naked and not too self-conscious at Archnania, but can we perform with shorts on this time?"

Sean cracked up. Derrick, Keith, Mike and Prez pretended to be disappointed and reluctantly agreed. They went into the living room to put their boardies on. Finding his shower wrap, Prez quickly fastened the Velcro. Looking through the dining room and into the kitchen, they saw Gage and Jonah sitting on the counter, with Marc and Reyes fussing over the two boys. Keith loudly asked, "What happened?"

Marc glanced over, grinning, "First these two mini-Rimmers got all banged up body-surfing."

Reyes nodded, "Then we discover that they did more than clean the scrapes, like they were told to do." Gage and Jonah grinned at one another, subconsciously calling for their virtual halos to appear and brightly shine.

Hurrying into the kitchen while still pulling their drawers up, Keith, Derrick, Mike and Prez carefully looked over their sons. Seeing the scrapes and bruises, Keith smirked, "I warned you about ocean waves."

"They're more than fine, Keith," Reyes assured with a knowing grin.

Gage glanced at his dads, smiling, "Remember at Archnania, I told you how I was starting to feel about Jonah? Well, Reyes had us transported up into a tub. I had to say something to Jonah."

Watching his fathers, Jonah rapidly nodded and smiled, "I'm really glad Gage did too. All the worrying I did, about someone liking me for the right reasons, got washed down the drain."

Proud of both boys, Mike loudly cheered, "Awesome!"

"This almost makes us in-laws," Keith chuckled.

Derrick suspiciously squinted then confronted Gage, widely smiling, "And exactly what are your intentions, young man?" Giggling insanely, Gage turned ten shades of red. Jonah lost it and cracked up. Walking through the dining room with their boys, Troy, Sean and all four boys heard Derrick and all six began loudly laughing.

Prez grinned at the new family, wondering, "Was it that funny?"

Sean giggled, "Could be, someday."

Blushing, Jimmy Carr giggled, "I think Richie's the cutest boy here."

"Un-uh," Scott Deaver cackled, "it's Dillon, by a long shot."

Jason smirked, "You're both wrong. Leo's got all the right stuff."

Cheekily grinning, Billy joked, "Tomorrow, I get to go back to base and get myself one or two of the quadruple R's." Everybody in the kitchen cracked up.

"Well, those secrets lasted about twenty minutes," Troy helplessly giggled.

Picking up the tricorder off the counter, Prez spun around to face the newest Rimmer family. He set the machine up, and then said, "At last, Troy Faris and Sean Moorhead have been captured to fully immerse themselves in our shared delirium." Billy held onto Troy and looked up with adoring eyes. Similarly, Jason latched on to Sean, and the remaining two boys squeezed in to hold onto a brother and a father. While Prez got the kids adopted, Derrick told Reyes about the plan to play more music for their guests. Reyes helped Jonah off the counter and Marc helped Gage get down to the floor. As soon as Prez said, "It's official," the room broke out in cheers and applause.

"Time to go play loudly," Billy prompted Troy, and then reached up on tip-toes to plant a kiss on his pop's cheek.

Jason shared, "Pop's gonna teach me and Billy to play guitar."

"Kewl," Jonah cheered, "my pop's teachin' me too."

Gage smiled, "My dad's teachin' me to play keys, Jase."

Sean giggled, "Platinum Habits gives birth to Silver Habits."

So that he wouldn't be the only one on the lanai totally nude, Reyes went to put his boardies on. During that minute or two, all the boys were welcomed into the family, and Gage and Jonah were praised for becoming the first of the sons to start pairing off as a couple. When Reyes returned to the room, the entire group started walking out the doorway. Sean kissed Troy, and then led their sons, Marc, Gage and Jonah down to the lawn. Marc ran directly down to the beach to wave Danny and KC back to shore. The six members of Platinum Habits went directly to their instruments. Drew and Corey manned the PA system.

Keith and Troy soon began playing rapid arpeggios on their keyboards, introducing Karn Evil 9. Prez stepped forward to sing.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends
We're so glad you could attend
Come inside! Come inside!
There behind the glass is a real blade of grass
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!

Come inside, the show's about to start
guaranteed to blow your head apart
Rest assured you'll get your money's worth
The greatest show in Heaven, Hell or Earth.
You've got to see the show, it's a dynamo.
You've got to see the show, it's rock and roll

Oh, right before your eyes we pull laughter from the skies
And he laughs until he cries then he dies then he dies
Come inside the shows about to start
Guaranteed to blow your head apart

You gotta see the show
It's a dynamo
You gotta see the show
It's rock and roll, oh...

The band played the entire musical interlude flawlessly; Keith and Troy on keyboards, Derrick and Reyes on drums, Mike on electric guitar, and Prez playing electric bass. Drew had the volume so loud that security gorillas were transported up onto the cliffs and the other mostly naked security teams had ordered their rifles to protect the beach front. All those that had been on the beach or in the bay ran toward the house. Off to the side, Gage and Jonah were sharing news of their new relationship with their brothers and friends. That's when Sammy and Ben shared their good news too. During an incredible display of perfectly synchronized drumming by Derrick and Reyes, with no other music playing, Prez came in to sing the second half of the song.

Soon the Gypsy Queen in a glaze of Vaseline
Will perform on guillotine
What a scene! What a scene!
Next upon the stand will you please extend a hand
to Alexander's Ragtime Band, Dixieland, Dixieland
Roll up! Roll up! Roll up!
See the show!

Performing on a stool we've a sight to make you drool
Seven virgins and a mule
Keep it cool. Keep it cool.
We would like it to be known the exhibits that were shown
were exclusively our own,
All our own. All our own.
Come and see the show! Come and see the show! Come and see the show!
See the show!

The audience cheered and hollered for more. Holding down notes on the keyboard before him, while Troy moved to pick up his guitar, Keith giggled, "I'd like you all to note our unofficial Rimmer theme song. Let us know if it fits." Derrick began keeping a rhythm that would lead in nicely to the upcoming song.

Displaying his hands in the common heavy metal fashion, with the index finger and pinky protruding, Mike prompted "Show me your horns, dudes!" Kids around the beach mimicked Mike's horns.

Keith began filling in the strings parts. Bouncing his eyebrows, Troy smiled, "This tune is titled, Knocking At Your Back Door." Laughter was barely heard and their audience began falling about the lawn and beach. Prez came in pounding on his bass. In seconds, the whole band joined in, and soon Keith was singing the provocative lyrics.

With electronic drums and amplified acoustic drums going simultaneously, the song's beat thumped into the bodies of the bouncing audience, many of whom were still proudly displaying their horns. Dashing once again for the edge of the lanai, KC and Joey watched the drummers and guitarists. During the choruses, all six boys sang. When Keith sang, "knocking at your back door," Mike, Troy and Prez spun around to shake and wiggle their tushes for the audience. This time, with the music so loud, Mike had no chance of talking to KC. Instead, Mike watched everything going on around him and never once looked at his guitar's neck, even during his guitar solo.

When the song ended, Derrick asked the enthusiastic audience, "What do you think, is that our theme song?" Overwhelming affirmations were shouted from the eighty males in the audience.

Troy knelt down to adjust his effects pedal. KC wondered, "What're you doing, dude?"

"Making this Stratocaster sound like an acoustic twelve-string for the next song," Troy answered. "It's not my effects unit from the Ewa Beach auditorium, so a minor EQ tweak needs to be done. It sounded real thin and tinny the last time."

KC asked, "And what is the next song?"

Mike pointed at the cliffs and then across the bay, where several boats were seen moving into view. Troy stood and checked his tempo with Derrick and Reyes, then started playing the introduction to Over The Hills And Far Away. The adjustments Troy had done made the Stratocaster sound exactly like a twelve-string acoustic. KC nodded and flashed Troy a thumbs up gesture. Soon, Mike was playing along with Troy. Away from the keyboards and standing with Prez, Troy and Mike, Keith sang the lead vocals. Bass and drums came in with Mike's switch to power chords. Near the end of the song, Keith moved back to the keyboards to help complete the song.

Reyes moved over to the congas and hand percussion, announcing, "I think this next song is appropriate for Danny and Marc. It's titled, Reelin' In The Years." Jerry, Joey and KC cracked up. Out on lounge chairs, Danny and Marc smirked at each other then glared at Reyes, making hand motions that they could break him into two. Reyes grinned and bounced his eyebrows. Mike played the opening licks and the whole band joined in. Derrick sang the lead vocals. The band made playing the song seem effortless. They mostly danced and bopped along, occasionally talking, and then everyone sang the chorus backup vocals, then they returned to dancing and chatting until the next chorus. During the guitar solos in the middle and end of the song, Troy and Mike played harmonized guitar licks in exact synchronization.

At the end of the song, while still clapping, KC asked, "How long did it take you dudes to learn that tune?"

Prez answered, "We learned six Steely Dan tunes that day, so about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half."

Putting his guitar down and moving to the keyboards on the right side of the lanai, Troy nodded, "Once we got the sections and parts worked out, about eight times we played it from beginning to end."

From start to end, the song lasted four minutes and thirty-seven seconds. Calculating that eight full band rehearsals of the song must've taken them about forty minutes, KC was stunned. KC walked over to Joey and lifted his young android brother. Carrying Joey over around the side of the house, KC and Joey obviously had something to discuss.

Derrick announced, "This next tune is for many of the dudes here today. I won't embarrass anyone directly, you know who you are. The song's titled, Love Is All Around. Prez and Mike are gonna sing lead vocals." He counted off and the band started together, with Mike and Prez sharing a single microphone. Out on the lawn, several couples slow danced, among them were AJ and Jerry, Drew and Corey, Chuck and Conner, Kaleo and Tory, Ben and Sammy, and Gage and Jonah. As usual, Sean didn't need a partner to want to dance. He danced alone at first, until Billy tapped his dad's shoulder, and then Sean showed Billy how to dance. Troy widely smiled at his sexy lover and new son. At the final verse, all six band members sang.

Over the applause, Marc and Danny shouted, "Beautiful song, guys."

Troy put his guitar down and moved over to the right side keyboards. Mike announced, "This next song is another sweet slow dance tune, with a splash of funk and soul. It's called That's The Way Of The World. Reyes will do the honors, with Keith and Troy doing harmony vocals, and the rest of us backing them up."

Again, the lawn and beach were filled with slow dancers, with some of the youngest boys shaking their bottoms around. Jimmy Carr danced with Richie. Scott Deaver danced with Dillon. Jason tapped Leo's shoulder and enticed him to dance. Still teaching Billy how to dance, Sean noticed his youngest sons were already making their moves. Keith's security guard, Justin Fletcher moved nearer to Chris Watkins and started dancing. KC and Joey ran around the side of the house and planted themselves in the middle of the lawn, directly behind Drew and Corey, asking questions about the mixing methods they used.

The band played two more songs, in rapid succession, and without introduction; Play That Funky Music, with Troy playing rhythm guitar and handling the lead vocals, and followed that up with Bohemian Rhapsody. For the final song, all six band members stepped up to their microphones, sang a chord and then sang as one;

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality.
Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me.

Keith took over lead vocals and played piano while the other five filled in music and harmony vocals.

Mama, just killed a man,
Put a gun against his head,
Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.
Mama, ooh,
Didn't mean to make you cry,
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on as if nothing really matters.
Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine,
Body's aching all the time.
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth.
Mama, ooh (any way the wind blows),
I don't wanna die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all

Mike wailed the guitar solo, seemingly putting effort behind it, but again, he concentrated on the audience, never looking at the neck or fretboard. Afterward, Keith sang the next section, with background vocal help from his band-mates.

I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me. (Galileo) Galileo.
Galileo, Galileo Figaro
I'm just a poor boy and nobody loves me.
He's just a poor boy from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this monstrosity.
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go.
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go.
(Let him go!) Bismillah!
We will not let you go. (Let him go!) Bismillah!
We will not let you go. (Let me go) Will not let you go. (Let me go)
Will not let you go.
(Let me go) Ah.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
(Oh, mama mia, mama mia) Mama mia, let me go.
Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me, for me.

The band rocked out the segue into the last sections.

So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye.
So you think you can love me and leave me to die.
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.

Once again, the music slowed and became more mellow. In perfect harmony, Keith and Troy sang the last verse.

Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.
Any way the wind blows.

To loud applause, the band members stepped away from their instruments or put them down. At the edge of the lanai, they held hands and bowed for their audience. Once they stood up again, Prez hollered, "Dinner time!" and everyone came rushing toward the house. Laughing, the six band members got inside first and blocked the food replicator.

Questions about who wanted what were immediately answered and the replicated food was passed out; two large cheese pizzas, one large pepperoni and sausage pizza, and another with the works; a platter of cheeseburgers, and another platter of hot dogs; two three-foot long sub sandwiches, a tray of barbecued ribs, a bowl of mashed potatoes and a half-gallon pitcher of brown gravy, and large bowls of macaroni salad and cole slaw made up the first course. John, Stephen, Frankie and Wade transported into the house in time for the evening meal. Of course, with a grand total of eighty-eight present in the house and outside, all that was eaten and more was prepared as needed.

With Reyes, Paul and Ryan, sitting outside on the lanai, Joey excitedly gushed about the great songs the band had played that day. Not one of them had Time Touched ever tried to play, but Platinum Habits played them all marvelously. Inside, at the kitchen table with KC, Troy, Prez, Keith, Mike and Derrick explained some of the progressions and techniques used to learn and master the songs.

Two things in particular grabbed KC's attention; the vocals and Mike's sweep picking technique. Mike simply told KC, "Sweep picking means you're raking your guitar pick down the strings and maybe back up again. You can't use regular alternating up-down picking. If you need to, then play the notes necessary on a single string before sweeping down to grab those next notes on the adjacent string. You can't be picking in an upward motion when you're needing to do down. Modify your picking technique to adjust to all down strokes until it's time to sweep back up again, and then it's all up strokes."

"As for the vocals," Keith explained, "a lot of what we do comes from perfect pitch. We know our vocal ranges and simply hear what's on the record as we reproduce it."

KC grinned, "I've heard of perfect pitch, but I'm not sure what that means exactly."

"Colors and flavors," Prez smiled.

"Every instrument has its own timbre or flavor," Troy offered, "but every instrument or voice is still singing the same notes. Reyes sings his high 'C' and it's about an octave higher than Derrick, Keith and I, about two octaves higher than Mike or Prez. See the notes as hues of colors; darker colors are the low bass tones; middle range colors are the two octaves centered on middle 'C'; the brighter colors are the octaves above there, getting closer to white and shiny."

"Shiny," Mike giggled, "yeah, I like that."

Noticing that KC was trying to understand, Derrick tried; "Okay, the lowest tones, like the boom of a bass drum, timpani, tubas and basses are close to black – the very darkest browns, reds, blues, greens and violets. Start to move into the piano keyboard and they get just a little less dark. With every octave higher, imagine the notes getting just a touch brighter. The very highest notes of the piano, cymbal bell taps, violins, piccolos are all the bright colors."

Mike said, "Like a baritone sax blowing a low 'F sharp' would sound a lot like a distorted electric guitar playing a low 'E', with a fuzz box almost cranked. The timbre is really close, but knowing the difference is the flavor of that tone." He checked, "Getting it, KC?"

"Almost," KC chuckled. "I can promise you, I'll be sharing a lot of this with our band. Don't be surprised to find your music classes filling up."

Prez smiled, "Perfect pitch is one of those things folks say is impossible to learn. That's a bunch o' bull. If that were really the case, then no one could ever listen to a song and learn that song. Just start to see the colors of notes you're playing; feel the difference between a major chord, a minor chord, an augmented chord and a diminished chord; taste the difference between a plucked upright bass and an electric bass, or in your case, a six-string acoustic guitar and an electric guitar in its various amplified states, from clean to crunchy to completely over-driven distortion." He then glanced around the table suggesting, "Let's sing a C major seventh."

Getting nods, Prez sang the low 'C', Mike added the 'E', Derrick added the 'G', Troy sang the 'B' and Keith put the 'C' on top.

Wiping his mouth, KC said, "Wait just a second here," and then got up from the table, hurried to the piano in the living room and played a C major seventh chord. He shouted, "Holy shit!" and the five members of Platinum Habits around the table softly sniggered. Knowing where KC was coming from, because he wasn't a musician, Sean thought it was hysterical and busted up laughing. Returning to the table and his dinner, KC smirked, "You dudes were maybe a tenth of a tone off from a tuned piano. That's nothing short of completely remarkable."

Keith chuckled, "Anyone can do it, with practice. You tune your guitar to five tones; E, A, D, G, B. Those five colors should be the first you'll see, clear as day, every time you hear them."

"There are twelve repeating tones in the chromatic scale," Derrick explained, "get the five learned and there are seven left. Then it's simply a matter of making the colors darker or lighter."

Trying to wrap his android brain around the concepts, KC muttered, "So violet, blue, red, green, yellow... umm, twelve unique colors?"

"They start to mix and fade," Troy explained. "Ask yourself, is gold more yellow, or more orange? It depends on the shade and lighting, right? Violet is a mix of blue and red. Orange is a mix of yellow and red. It's not something you can completely define, like an artist mixes paints, but you can start to see colors. For instance, to me, when I hear an F sharp, it's shades of red, from dark red to a red-tinged white, which is brighter than pink. Pink to me is the F sharp an octave-and-a-half above middle C. There are still much lighter shades of red."

Prez said, "Exactly what color each of us sees isn't important. The distinction is what is important."

"Take Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing," Mike suggested. "We guitar players hear most tunes in a key of E really easy, but then Eddie plays and we're like, what the fuck, that's a D or a D sharp, because Eddie almost always tunes down a half-step or a whole-step. At first, it throws us off, until we figure out or learn that's what Eddie's doing. From there, it's easy, tune all the strings down a bit."

Keith smiled, "This will be one of our lessons, in the ear training classes. Relative pitch, figuring out one tone after another is usually the first step, like when you learn a solo or a melody for the first time. Those first times are rough; hunt and peck, until you start to make the mental connections. A perfect fifth always sounds like a perfect fifth."

"You're losing me," KC admitted.

"Then you need to learn theory," Troy smiled. "It's not so important until you work out songs with other musicians. Instead of showing someone what you mean, just say, it's not a major third away, it's a minor third away. A few words is quicker and easier than showing." Troy sang a major third interval, and then Keith sang a minor third interval.

Prez said, "Now extend that minor third an octave. There's no such thing as a tenth interval, but there is the sharp ninth, which is the same thing." Prez sang a tone and then Derrick sang the tone a sharp ninth above Prez's tone.

At KC's confused expression, Mike grinned, "We'll get into all that in school, in detail. And the great thing is, there will be no passing or failing. It might take some kids longer to learn, and they want to learn it, so they'll retake the relative pitch class before taking the perfect pitch class."

Derrick said, "The basic flow will be music appreciation, for those that just enjoy listening to music. Then, for those that want to learn an instrument, there will be lessons on the instrument and music theory classes. Those beginner musicians that are able and willing can then take the relative pitch class, and then the perfect pitch class. As bands begin to form from the intermediate musicians, we'll have special classes with them that tie all the knowledge together."

KC smiled. "That sounds kewl. 'Skunk' Baxter told me that I'd really need to learn the theory before I could consider myself a real musician. Dilly hooked us up using one of his time-loop thingies when we were setting up the band."

"Excellent!" Mike cheered. "Here's the deal, KC; you can play an instrument and play it well, copying what other people do, as far as your physical ability will allow you to play. Understanding theory, even just a little bit, means you can use what you've been playing to be a unique artist of your own. You can use all that knowledge and experience to play your own solos, develop your own melodies, put a chord progression to the melody, and then make decisions about how the song will be arranged, and with what instruments."

Keith nodded, "For us, playing covers of other artists' music is fun. We're learning so much about how a song is formed, how it's arranged and even a little bit about the techie side, like what effects might be needed to pull it all off. During Bohemian Rhapsody, Drew and Corey were out there at the PA, applying a chorus and a phase shift to our vocals, so we sounded exactly like the record. What the pros do, we learn from, and then turn around to play our own music. I might come in with a melody and chord progression, Prez might make a suggestion, so that he can play a kewl bass part, that Mike can then add a counterpoint harmony to. Any of the six of us can do those things I mentioned. The next thing we know, we're done jamming and looking around with wide smiles, asking, was that really kewl or what?"

"Just wait until Timmy comes to class!" KC giggled. "His lessons were from Jimi Hendrix, and I think the little rat was given some lefty secrets that he refuses to share!"

Keith grinned and rolled his eyes. Mike and Derrick cracked up. Troy chuckled, "But can Timmy develop a chord progression and a melody, or can he just imitate a guitar solo? That's the difference between an intermediate player and an advanced artist. I've read that Paul McCartney only knows the basics of music theory, but look what the man has done in his career; he's cut literally dozens of hit records of songs that he's written. Knowing the basics and having a good ear, Sir Paul does that."

Prez added, "Being a bass player, I've read articles about him. He considers himself only a fair player, but every bass player studies what he's done. That's proof that a little knowledge goes a long way. Even back in the sixties, he was writing songs using simple chord progressions in ways very few others were, and turning them into gold records. We'll play more advanced songs simply for the knowledge and experience we get doing so, but take Eleanor Rigby for instance; Paul played that first with only his acoustic guitar. Then their producer, George Martin, suggested, 'What about a string quartet?' And another hit record climbs the charts."

KC grinned, "If I named a tune, that you don't know and have never played before, could you show me how you approach learning it?" All five heads of the Platinum Habits band members nodded. KC suggested, "I'll stick with Sir Paul. How about Band On The Run?"

Troy sang, "Stuck inside these four walls, sent inside forever."

Keith said, "It's the key of D major."

"I think it changes keys later," Mike said, and then told Troy, "Sing the second half, dude."

Troy sang, "Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash as I fell into the sun."

"It sounds very C major," Derrick offered. Prez, Keith and Mike agreed.

KC giggled, "You've never played this song before?"

"Never even tried," Keith assured. Mike, Derrick and Troy all echoed Keith's words.

Prez honestly said, "I played the bass part once, along with the radio, years ago."

"Good enough," KC giggled. "Go play it."

They all got up and went outside. The amps were still powered on, so Prez went to check the PA system. It was powered up, only Drew and Corey had turned the faders down. Prez turned the faders back up. He then checked the power amps to the speakers and gave them half power. Keith was already adjusting his synthesizer for the song.

Eating dinner out on the dining room side of the lanai, with Paul, Ryan and Reyes, Joey wondered, "Whad's goin' on, Casey?"

KC grinned, "I gave them a new song to learn, so I could watch them." Opening his eyes wide, Joey ran over.

Up on the lanai, Mike had already figured out the opening guitar licks and well into the first verse. Troy strummed along with Mike, zeroing in on the chord progression as they went. Keith already had the synthesized keyboard part. On the lawn directly before the lanai, KC and Joey watched and learned.

Prez went up the lanai steps to join his bandmates. With his bass guitar hanging off his shoulders, Prez prompted, "Just the intro into the first verse?" Everyone nodded and Derrick counted off the tempo. They began playing only that section, with Troy singing the lead vocals, and Keith singing harmony vocals. Keith finished the section with the synthesizer part. They stopped playing.

Mike started playing the music leading into the second verse, with Troy, Prez, Derrick and Keith joining in. What was most startling to KC and Joey was the band was working out the tune's sections at almost full tempo. Keith asked, "Ready to give verse two a shot?" Heads nodded and vocal affirmations traveled around. Derrick counted off and the band played only that section. Again, Troy sang lead vocals and Keith backed him up. Troy and Keith sang, "if we ever get out of here," and the band played exactly three more beats then stopped.

At the pause, Keith shared, "That section modulates from D to A minor. It's a cute trick, since the prior section is in D major and the next section is in C major, Paul's using the D major and A minor chords to prepare the listener for the key change."

Troy led the way into the next section with his Stratocaster simulating a twelve-string acoustic guitar and strumming. He kept on going, sang the lead vocals, and the others joined to provide him the remainder of background music. At the end of the third verse, they stopped playing again. Troy said, "The next two verses are very much the same. It's only the very end left." He strummed his guitar and sang, "And the county judge, who held a grudge, will search for evermore." The band played just that little section twice more and then they completed the song, with Troy singing, "for the band on the run, band on the run, band on the run, band on the run."

It took Platinum Habits a little more than ten minutes to work out the song, KC noticed. Derrick asked, "Ready to give it a go?" All the others agreed, so he counted out the tempo again, and they started from the beginning, at full tempo, all together and completely in sync. They played the whole song, but weren't completely satisfied with two segue sections that lasted all of two bars each. As a band, they rehearsed those two sections. Then they played the entire song again, from beginning to end, perfectly. By this time, Reyes, Paul and Ryan were standing with Joey and KC.

Noticing KC's defeated expression, Reyes giggled, "You didn't dare them, did you?"

Shaking his head, KC chuckled, "Just a challenge to work out a song they hadn't ever played before." He showed Reyes his wristwatch and cackled, "They learned it all in just under twenty-five minutes!"

Joey giggled, "Id wouwda dakin' Dime Douched ad weast dwo ow dhwee houws do weawn dhad song!"

"And we'd still run through it a few dozen more times before ever performing it live!" KC laughed.

The band were putting down their instruments. Closest to the stairs, Keith walked down the steps to KC, smiling, "That's what a little knowledge and being familiar with the song does."

Prez nodded, "About four years ago, it would've taken us hours too. In those years, our ears have gotten better. That's what it's all about, KC; hearing and having the physical ability with the technique to reproduce what you're hearing."

Grabbing Troy around the chest and swinging him around, Mike chuckled, "Then this kid from New Jersey showed up, walking the walk and talking the talk. Every time either Keith or I challenge Troy, he rises to the occasion." Blushing and giggling, Troy let himself flail around like a rag doll while being manhandled by Mike. Nearby, Sean and Billy cracked up.

Nodding, Derrick gestured to Reyes, explaining, "Completing our band, Reyes gets his memories restored and brings a whole previous life of percussion experience along. He came back from South Carolina wanting an electronic drum set, so I got him one."

Leaning over and tickling Joey, Reyes grinned, "Guess where that idea came from?"

"Unca Dahnny?" Joey giggled. Reyes leaned over, hoisted Joey over his shoulder and started towards the bay. Joey loudly cackled, "WEYES!"

"You're a twerp, Joey," Reyes giggled.

"Bud I'm you'we dwewp!" Joey laughed.

Splashing into the surf, Reyes nodded, "We'we gedding wed."

Joey became absolutely hysterical. The last thing those on the beach heard before he and Reyes submerged was Joey hollering "Weyes is dalkin' wike me!"

Coming outside and seeing his boy being carried under water, Jerry Owens grinned, "What's going on?"

KC smiled, "Reyes learned that Joey really is a twerp, and how to speak like Joey."

Prez grinned, "By any chance, does Joey's monster cock act as a floatation device?"

Staring up at Prez like he'd really gone insane, Jerry saw him wink and then cracked up.

Pushing Jerry over the edge, Derrick tapped his sub-vocal, ordering, "Awden, dwanspowd Weyes and Joey oud ovew dhe bay fow a weaw spwashdown."

Seconds later, Reyes and Joey emerged about twenty feet above and far out over the bay. Hugging Reyes, Joey waved at his hysterical father, screaming "Hi Dahdy!"

In groups, the other boys, personal security gorillas, teens and tweens left the house and returned to the beach. Reyes and Joey were still periodically appearing above the bay and splashing down. Everyone noticed, but no one said a word about that. Finding Jerry on his ass in the sand, wheezing and hiccuping, Danny smirked, "Okay, what did you Rimmers do this time?"

Prez shrugged and innocently batted his eyelids. Derrick ordered that 'Weyes' and Joey be 'dwanspowded' to the beach. Once they appeared, Keith changed the subject by asking, "Is there any pizza left?" Hanging his head onto his right palm, Marc softly sniggered.

Danny smiled, "Okay, I was thinking, it's about midnight Eastern Time, so I think it's best we say goodbye, before any other damage is done." Reyes gave Joey a kiss on the cheek and got one in return then put Joey down.

Crossing his eyes, Prez turned to Danny, assuring, "No damage done here. The funny farm is always like this."

Danny sputtered and wrapped Prez in a warm embrace, giggling, "You guys were damaged when we got here. We'll leave well enough alone."

For the next few minutes, the AI Division and the Core Rimmers said their farewells. Reyes got sandwiched between Paul and Ryan again. This time tender kisses on the mouth were shared. Reyes promised that the next day wouldn't be terribly busy and suggested his two friends come visit the Ewa Beach base.

Derrick said goodbye to Paul and Ryan, adding, "We'll just have comm-badges to pass out and new kids to show around. We don't expect it to be too busy at all."

"Comparatively speaking," Mike playfully interjected, and shook hands with Paul and then Ryan.

Once his group were gathered, Danny tapped his sub-vocal, calling, "Stevie, take us home to Marc's living room, and I had better land dry this time!" The group waved and soon vanished from the beach.

"He said dry, he said nothing about clothed!" Stevie giggled into the Rimmers' sub-vocals. "Momma Mary thought it was funny!"

Chris, Justin, Chuck, Lakota, Leo and Lucky walked up to the gathered group of Core Rimmers. Chris told them, "If you guys are staying here tonight, we're going to work shifts to make sure you stay safe all night."

Prez scowled, "Is that really necessary?"

"Yes, Sir," Chris nodded. "This place is secluded, but not impossible to reach. There are enough of us to have eight on guard per six-hour shift; including two gorillas and two enhanced. We all get a good night's sleep and so do you. Once you guys call it a night, we'll patrol the outside, with one staying close to the house, on the lanai. If there's any sort of emergency, inside or outside, we'll know about it."

Prez sighed, "Alright, I'm not gonna argue. Those here tonight and tomorrow morning are part of this party though. When we eat, you dudes eat. Please, let's do our best to keep this a party?"

Saluting, Chris grinned, "Easily done... SIR!" and then bolted off down the beach before Prez could chase him. The rest of the Rimmers grinned or softly chuckled at Prez's irritated expression.

"Preston!" an adult male voice yelled. Everyone turned and saw Doc Andrews storming across the lawn and toward the beach.

Keith gasped, "Shit!"

"We forgot to go home and see the doc," Prez griped.

Not so surprisingly, the remaining Core Rimmers scattered like leaves in the breeze, leaving Prez and Keith to face the doctor. Doc Andrews complained, "I could've sworn we had a five o'clock appointment this evening. What time is it now?" Playing innocent, Keith and Prez pointed to their wrists, devoid of any watches. Doc Andrews smirked, "Don't pull that innocent little boy routine with me. What gets me is Alden or any AI could've reminded you. It's twenty after six, by the way. I waited, went to the dining room for dinner and spoke to your parents about their sons' forgetfulness. Luckily for you, they know of and approved of this break, or you'd both be sedated, under force fields on bio-beds, with tubes jammed up your dicks, pissing by remote control!"

"We're sorry," Prez and Keith sincerely sang.

Stopped before them, Doc Andrews sighed, "Tell me you haven't been out in the salt water."

Shaking his head, Prez assured, "Not once, Doc. We used the master bathroom's whirlpool tub."

"And you haven't been out under the sun all day, correct?"

Keith pointed to the lanai, answering, "Prez spent very little time in the sun; maybe a total of two hours. We performed for our guests twice, ate lunch and dinner inside and just said goodbye to our AI Division guests. That's how we managed to forget the appointment."

"You know I'm looking forward to your okay, doc," Prez reminded.

Doc Andrews gestured for Prez to drop his drawers and turn around. Prez pulled off his shower wrap and the doctor visually inspected Prez's bottom. Spinning around again, Prez got a nod from the doctor then put his wrap on again. Doc Andrews said, "Let's have the bio-bed run a final scan," and then ordered, "We're going back to Ewa Beach, to my examination room, Alden." In a blink, all three were inside the doctor's office at the FYS building, with Prez materializing already on his back and naked on the bio-bed. Going from standing to suddenly horizontal, Prez gasped and clung onto the side of the bed. Doc Andrews initiated the scan and stepped back.

Prez sighed, "I just want this over and done with. We've got ninety-five newbies showing up tomorrow. We have to greet them and put on a little concert for them."

Reviewing the readings on the bio-bed, Doc Andrews tilted his head uncertainly, saying, "Medical approval from me doesn't mean the burns won't hurt the first few times you put shorts on."

"As long as you say it's okay, I can deal," Prez smiled.

Keith said, "Waiting until you're more comfortable is no biggie, T'hy'la." Facing Doc Andrews, Keith assured, "I'm watching my husband, Doc. If he's not good, I will do what no one else would. Prez, John and my mom are having a stubbornness contest. Which of the three will make me, Drew and my Dad crazier is still being decided."

Pouting, Prez muttered, "John wins, almost every time."

'Hello?' John immediately sent to Keith and Prez. 'I am not stubborn, just persistent! Wrap that around your buns.' Keith grinned and sighed.

Doc Andrews nodded and ordered, "Stay out of the salt water one more night, and remember, sleep matters too."

Before sitting up, Prez confirmed, "I'm good to go?"

"No infections present, just some sand from the beach," Doc Andrews stated. "You might as well remain naked the rest of the night. Try putting clothes on tomorrow morning, but don't force yourself to stay in them all day. You'll be more comfortable switching to a shower wrap for periods of time."

Prez sat up. Jim Hundser strode into the doorway, snickering, "They manage two-hundred and seventy kids, fifteen other leaders, but can't remember a simple doctor appointment."

Hanging his head, Prez softly chortled. Doc Andrews grinned, "It's a disease present in all Clan Directors; they can do for others at the drop of a hat, but caring for themselves is an entirely different issue."

Keith chuckled, "How're you doing, dad?"

"Everything's fine," Jim smiled as he walked into the room. "After the Doc told us you missed your appointment, I gave him a few minutes then decided to come here. I would like to see where you've been all day, and say goodnight to Bruce, or offer to bring him back home. Carmella, Dewi and Kokaku are all right, but I can tell that they miss him. I won't mention that last part to him, naturally, but just ask if he's staying."

Prez said, "The last we saw, he was with other kids his age, playing at the beach and then having dinner."

Keith checked, "Bruce seems to be doing much better today, or is he faking it for our benefit?"

"No," Jim quickly replied, "he is doing better. I think these last few days he's taking stock of what he now has; most important in that list are two little sisters and two little brothers. He's a big brother too now, for the first time in his life, and he very much likes it."

Hopping down off the bed, Prez quickly hugged Doc Andrews. Stepping back, he thanked him and explained that they really did have guests from another Clan Division that caused him and Keith to completely space the appointment.

Doc Andrews smiled, "I just happen to be one of the few people that can make you jump and realize that you screwed up."

Taking on a Vulcan demeanor, Prez nodded, "Correct, as it should be. You not only can cause me to jump, but physicians and psychologists are the only people that can remove me from duty, outside of Cory Short."

Jim wondered, "And what about me and your mother?"

Prez kept his cool and stated, "Before the head of Pacific Rim Division Federation Youth Services relieved me of duty, she would very likely get the support of physicians and psychologists, correct?"

Sighing, Jim faced Doc Andrews, and then groused, "Vulcan training has taken all the fun out of being a parent."

Tapping his sub-vocal, Prez ordered, "Alden, return us and he who is our father to the beach house, in close proximity to where Bruce Downing is."

Immediately upon arrival at the beach, Prez and Keith couldn't hold back another moment and busted up laughing. Shaking his head sadly and grinning at his sons, Jim Hundser called for Bruce. Running out of the surf, Bruce bounded and landed about a meter before his new dad. At this hour, the setting sun and mountain cliff created a shadow that had darkened the entire beach front. There were lights on inside and outside the beach house. Flying around were several toy helicopters. Racing around in the sand were a couple of toy dune buggies.

Keith softly reminded, "It's pill time, baby. We delayed it three times now, for KC to learn Band On The Run, for the departing AI Division, and for Doc Andrews."

Starting for the house, Prez frowned, "I'm gonna take this pill and start getting drowsy." He glanced around and saw that most of their security had already left. He only saw the two gorillas, Lucky and Leo, and Chris and the others present when he was told the security plan for the evening. Even with all the Core Rimmers, their sons and the other boys around, the beach already seemed deserted compared to the daytime activity.

Walking up the lanai steps, Keith called, "Alden, please transport the band's gear back to the basement."

"Got it, Keith," Alden replied, and then executed the order.

Inside the kitchen, Reyes was cleaning, wiping up messes on the counters. He grinned, "Doc Andrews didn't sedate you after all?"

Keith chuckled. Prez smiled, "No, but I'm about to take my final pill. The fun's only just about to start."

"Relax, Prez," Reyes gently offered, and explained, "A bunch of the youngest kids are already watching TV in the living room with John and Stephen. Drew, Corey and Leo are down in the basement with another group, including Gage, Jonah, Sammy and Ben. The teenage Rimmers are outside watching that pack."

Keith scowled, "I didn't see Kaleo and Tory out there."

Reyes giggled, "They're upstairs, choosing a room for the night. Something about selecting a bed with the best bounce. It's a rough decision and taking a while."

"This is what I love hearing," Prez cheered. "Before we all get back to business, everybody is chilling."

"Including you too now," Keith smiled at Prez, and pulled out the small plastic bottle that contained the last pill.

Prez took the pill out and told the replicator, "Eight ounces of cold water, forty-five degrees Fahrenheit." The glass appeared and he popped the pill into his mouth, and then washed it down. Prez asked Keith, "Do us a favor, T'hy'la. When Kaleo and Tory come downstairs, make sure someone gets Troy, Sean, AJ and Jerry to take some private time. While I become a veg, I want to see a lot of smiling faces."

"They might be smiling at you, Prez," Reyes giggled.

"But if they've had that time already, I won't know that for certain," Prez chuckled. "It might just be happy pecker syndrome." Reyes stopped cleaning, tossed the towel he was using in the air and cracked up.

Taking Prez's hand, Keith giggled, "Come with me, pill poppin' Head Rimmer." He led Prez to the living room. There they found John, Stephen, Richie, Wade, Frankie, Dillon, Geoff, Shaun and Mike Hunnicutt, Scott Deaver, Jimmy Carr and all five of Kaleo's and Tory's sons.

Richie asked, "How're ya doin', poppa?"

Taking a seat on the far side of the sectional sofa, Prez smiled, "I'm okay, pal. The doc said I could put some real clothes on tomorrow."

Keith corrected, "It might only be for a few hours at a time, Richie. It depends how Poppa feels, and if the burns are still sore.

Sitting with Jimmy on the floor, Richie softly prompted, "Com'on, Jimmy." Richie and Jimmy got up and went to sit by Prez. A moment later, Geoff, Mike and Shaun went to sit on the other side of Prez. Stephen began giggling and then so did Wade. The latter boy levitated off the sofa and over onto Prez's lap. The other boys in the room giggled and got up to crowd around Prez.

Prez grinned at the boys, wondering, "Am I Mister Popularity tonight?"

Richie giggled, "We had fun today, Poppa."

Dillon shared, "Yeah, it was way kewl, like home, but different from home."

Nodding, Geoff smiled, "Yup, you think we don't know stuff, but we do. Ev'rything you do ev'ry day, you do for us kids."

Jimmy said, "We got the chance now to say, thanks, so we ain't missin' out."

Scott nodded, "Our dad and pop says tomorrow we're back home, and lots more kids are showin' up."

"We know, Prez," Russ Pass smiled, "you make all our leaders kewl, so we all feel like we're kewl too."

With happy tears pooling in his eyes, Keith smiled at John and Stephen. Prez chuckled, "I'll tell you guys the biggest secret ever, if you promise to tell every new kid tomorrow."

Scrunching his face, Marv mumbled, "How can it be a secret if we gets to tell ev'ryone?"

"It's a secret I've been keeping," Prez answered, "and now it's time for everybody to know the secret."

"Yeah?" many of the boys queried. "And we can tell ev'ryone?"

Nodding and waving them all closer, Prez softly shared, "All the leaders and all your dads were kewl to begin with. I'm lookin' for the kewlest guys around to make leaders. All you guys are kewl now. Maybe someday you'll be among the kewlest and I'll make you leaders." While the boys chattered about being kewl, like their dads and their leaders, Prez locked eyes with John.

'I didn't do this, Prez,' John sent. 'I only put Wade, your newest nephew on your lap. When you really think about it though, the kids have you all to themselves. Who knows when you'll get the chance to spend time with little dudes like this again? Do you know what it means to them?' After a moment, John sent, 'I know what you're thinking. Meetings of just little boys, little girls, or dividing up the division into groups for more formal meetings won't work, bro. It's gotta be like this, impromptu, on their terms. Try to make yourself more available at the pool or at the playground. Kids will come to you when they see you like this, just chillin' and doin' nothin'.'

Richie told the other boys that Prez had burned his butt in a fire while rescuing other kids. All the kids wanted to know about the fire, so Prez dressed up the story for five- and six-year-olds to understand, making it exciting and a little scary at times. He told them that Keith, Sean, Troy, Mike and Derrick were all there too, and that they were all saving other kids and their loved ones. So that Kaleo's and Tory's five sons didn't feel left out, Prez told them that their dads had stayed awake all night, helping get kids that had no homes to go to anymore to a place with new homes, just over on the other side of the mountain. Geoff was told that his dad and pop were also playing important roles in the Command Center and helping many more families all day. AJ's and Jerry's youngest boys, Shaun and Mike, were told that their dads worked all the previous day getting those kids and their families settled in their new homes.

Keith went outside to get AJ and Jerry to take a private break, explaining that Prez had the youngest kids' undivided attention. When he went to share the same with Troy and Sean, they were with Mike and Derrick, gathering up the remaining groups of kids to come inside for the night. Joining the pack to go inside, Keith noticed that his dad had left for Ewa Beach with Bruce. Knowing how Bruce felt about his youngest brother and sisters, Keith smiled. It would only be a matter of days before Prez offered Bruce his Core Rimmer role, or Bruce asked Prez about it.

Kaleo and Tory came downstairs while Prez was still weaving his tales. Of course, their five sons jumped up and ran to their dad and pop, yelling that they were heroes. By the time all those outside got inside the house, Reyes was telling the kids about all the people saved from the Hyatt and the Honolulu Airport. Thousands was a meaningless number to the kids, until Reyes recalled all the people that had been at the beach house that day and that there were twenty of them in the living room at that very moment. Suddenly, all the rug-rats gasped at idea of thousands.

In the basement and hearing all the activity up on the main level, Drew, Corey, Leo, Gage, Jonah, Sammy, Ben, Sung, Kawozoe, and Kenny Hunnicutt came up to see what was going on. As if Prez didn't already have a large audience, more boys piled into the living room.

Richie, Dillon and Geoff told brief stories about the prior Friday, when they met Joel, I-Cheya, and the Clan. Soon, AJ, Jerry, Kaleo, Tory and Sean were sharing stories about their rescues and the activities they shared Friday and into Saturday.

It was about nine-thirty when several fathers noticed their sons were constantly yawning. The coffee table was moved aside and Alden called to provide bedding for the thirty-four boys to create their nest. Since the Hundsers' basement was empty for the first time in a week, Alden pulled blankets, pillows and mattresses from the stacks there. Little guys made trips to the bathrooms. Reyes lowered the television volume and volunteered to stay in the living room with the boys. Once kids were falling asleep, and their own sons were asleep, John and Stephen would take the ground floor bedroom.

The remaining ten Core Rimmers climbed the stairs. At the top of the stairs, Prez reminded Drew, Corey, Sean, Troy, AJ and Jerry to go take some private time. When they were done, they were invited to hang out in the master bedroom until they were ready to call it a night. Unfamiliar with the house, AJ, Jerry, Kaleo, Tory, Sean and Troy peeked in the huge master bedroom suite. Seeing how truly massive it was, with a sofa, four reclining chairs, a big wall mounted TV, a stereo system, and two desks that each had computers, monitors and office chairs, as well as a smaller replicator for drinks and snacks, the six decided to accept the invitation.

Already raging and not the least bit embarrassed, Corey promptly led a blushing and giggling Drew to the smallest bedroom, at the end of the row of bathrooms, just down the hall. AJ and Jerry took the next bedroom, and Sean and Troy took the room after that. Prez, Keith, Mike, Derrick, Kaleo and Tory went into the master bedroom. The door was left ajar, so that their fellow Core Rimmers could come inside at will, and the sound from the television wouldn't disturb any of the kids downstairs.

As soon as the television was on and they had all gotten comfortable, Kaleo cheerfully raved, "This has been the most awesome day!"

"We're fathers!" Tory giggled, "I can barely believe that they wanted us."

Kaleo smiled, "What the hell are we gonna do with five boys?"

Mike chuckled, "What's your idea of the perfect father? Picture that and then be that person."

Tory sighed, "I have no idea," and Kaleo nodded agreement.

Keith suggested, "How about we table this conversation for a little while, at least until Sean, Troy, Drew, Corey, Jerry and AJ are here too. Corey, Drew and Troy could have input and the other three prob'ly need to hear the conversation too."

Flipping television channels, Prez paused on the movie Superman. He blinked and muttered, "I must've taken too many pills too quickly today. Why does Christopher Reeves look a lot like Kyle?" Everyone in the room roared laughing.

'Just as soon as the Doc says you're clear, you're goin' swimmin', Prez!' Kyle's voice replied in all of their heads.

While that was going on upstairs, and the youngest boys were cuddling up in groups on the living room floor, six older boys went to the kitchen for drinks and snacks. They all wanted something different; juice, milk, soda, brownies, cookies and popcorn were ordered from the replicator. Gage, Jonah, Sammy, Ben, Dee and Leo took seats around the dinette table. Dee asked Sammy, "So why haven't you told dad or pop?"

Ben giggled and reached for Sammy's hand. Sammy grinned, "Mostly because Ben's folks aren't here. Aunt Laura and Uncle Rob need to know too. We'll say something at home tomorrow."

Ben giggled, "Mike's my only brother here too."

Covering his mouth to try and be quiet for the little guys going to sleep, Dee cackled, "What's so funny, Ben?" Dee and Leo went into suppressed giggling fits. Gage and Jonah turned to one another, bouncing their eyebrows.

Coming into the kitchen after saying goodnight to his little brothers, eight-year-old Kenny Hunnicutt grinned at the six wide smiling faces around the table, softly wondering, "What're ya doin'?"

"Dee and Leo are bein' goofy," Gage sniggered.

Dee laughed, "All I know is that Ben hasn't stopped smiling and giggling since before dinner."

Nodding, Leo softly added, "Since he and Sammy went for a walk, it seems to me."

Ben giggled, "There's your answer."

Jonah checked with Ben, asking, "We got really lucky today, huh?"

"You know it!" Ben cheered.

Gage reminded Jonah, "Me and Sammy talked about you and Ben at Archnania. Sammy had it easier than me. Ben wasn't there, but you were, making me completely crazy."

Jonah whimpered and then asked, "Really?" Pulling Jonah close and helplessly giggling, Gage rapidly nodded.

Sammy told Ben, "Even when you weren't around, I was thinking of you."

Sitting down at the table with some chocolate chip cookies and milk in the chair beside Dee, Kenny grinned, "So you're boyfriends now?"

Gage, Jonah, Sammy and Ben all rapidly nodded and confirmed it by chirping, "Yup."

Dee carefully asked Kenny, "Where are you at, do you like boys or girls?"

Kenny thoughtfully scowled, "I'm not sure. My old parents were just starting to teach me some stuff. All I know is that my new dads are really in love, just like my old mom and dad were. They love me and my brothers too. Shaun and Mike felt it, now I see it too." He paused but held his thoughtful scowl.

Several of the other six boys asked, "What's wrong?"

Breaking out of his thoughts, Kenny grinned, "I just don't know. In the Clan, me and my bros can do stuff we could only rarely do at home; like spendin' all day at the beach naked. That wouldn't have happened at home. Here though, nobody cares about bein' naked. All our dads were naked too today. I never would've seen my dad naked at home. So, what do AJ and Jerry do? They point at their dicks and tell us which other guys here have cut dicks too. Me and my bros learned more today with them and all you guys then we ever did before. Now, I really need to think to tell you if I like boys more than girls."

"You know there ain't no rush, right?" Dee told Kenny, "I don't know either, and it's no problem for my dad and pop. It won't matter to AJ and Jerry either."

Nodding, Kenny said, "Yeah, I know. It's just, you know, sex stuff that I really can't answer."

Sammy said, "Sex stuff don't matter all that much, Kenny. My dad and pop said, when we're teenagers it'll get more important."

Ben nodded, "I like Sammy cos he's way cute, really nice, and we have fun together."

"Me and Jonah ain't done anything more than hug and kiss," Gage offered.

Jonah smiled, "The only reason everybody knew about us is because we were holding hands. Once Reyes and Marc knew, it was like, kewl, now we can tell everybody else..."

"Or just keep holding hands," Gage grinned. "That's us tellin' everyone, we're together."

Glancing around the table, Kenny blushed and asked, "So you ain't done nothin' with your dicks?"

"Nope," Ben giggled.

Shaking his head, Sammy smiled, "We saw each other hard, that's it."

Jonah giggled, "I pushed Gage's stiffy down at the floor, just to watch it pop up and smack his belly. He then did the same to me. That's all we did." The other boys giggled. Trying to control his own embarrassment and giggles, Leo appeared to be on the verge of self-combustion.

"It's probably all we'll do for a while too," Gage told Jonah.

Obviously pleased, Jonah grabbed a quick kiss from Gage, and then asked, "You're cuddling me tonight?"

"All night," Gage quickly promised. Jonah leaned over to Gage. Oblivious to the others around the table, Gage leaned over, forehead-to-forehead with Jonah.

Pointing at his brother and Jonah, Sammy grinned, "That's what boyfriends do, Kenny. It's like, understanding everything, and what we don't automatically understand, we figure out together."

Ben explained, "Really, I guess all you need to figure out is how you might feel if another dude touched your dick. If it makes you sad or angry, well, you probably don't want a boyfriend. If it makes you happy, then a boyfriend is what you want." Suddenly, the sight of Gage and Jonah forehead-to-forehead connected all the dots and Kenny stopped eating his cookies. He blushed bright red and both his hands dropped to his lap to cover up.

Dee giggled, "That question was answered easily." Patting Kenny on the back, Dee smiled, "Don't worry about it. We all get woodies, even Richie and little guys, like him."

"Yeah, I guess," Kenny softly giggled.

Pushing away from the table, Leo wordlessly got up and hurried into the nearby bathroom.

All the boys around the table glanced at each other. Kenny giggled, "He's smarter than me. At least he was able to get to the bathroom."

Dee whispered in Kenny's ear, "Do you like Leo?"

Cracking an evil grin, Kenny locked eyes with Dee. Leaning closer to Dee, Kenny whispered back, "He's really cute and so nice!"

Dee nodded, "He's mine, Gage's, Sammy's and Richie's cousin now."

Picking up on what Dee and Kenny were whispering about, Sammy softly encouraged, "Go for it, Kenny."

Flushing even redder, Kenny giggled, "How? I don't even know where to begin."

Gage smiled, "Be his best friend. After a while, he'll either tell you how he feels, or maybe you'll tell him how you feel."

"You have to get the friendship goin' first," Jonah reminded. "That's how all our dads got to where they are. That's how me and Gage were. When Gage told me what he was feelin', I didn't catch on at first."

Believing Leo was taking too long in the bathroom, Dee got up and went to knock on the door. He softly called, "Leo? Lemme in, cousin." All Dee barely heard in reply was a soft whimper. Dee assured, "You couldn't be safer, cuz, I promise." The doorknob rattled and then the door opened a little more than a crack. Dee slid in and quickly closed the door then locked it.

Leo wasn't looking at Dee, but only standing at the sink and willing his erection to deflate. Dee stood beside his cousin, asking, "You never had brothers, huh?" Leo vigorously shook his head. "It's completely normal, dude," Dee easily said. "Sammy and me share a room at our townhouse. I had a bit of a chubby this morning, but he woke with a stiffie that wouldn't go down. He couldn't pee or nothin'. I was done, washed my hands and went downstairs. It took that whole time for Sammy to chill." At last, Leo softly giggled. Rubbing Leo's back, Dee promised, "When us dudes manage to go a whole day without poking out of our shorts, that's the real surprise."

Leo softly wondered, "How do you deal?"

Shrugging, Dee shared, "I was an orphan and saw all my orphanage brothers with bones. We all had to do stuff with adult men and women, and with each other too sometimes. The adults took pictures of us, and did stuff that only boyfriends should do together. I just want you to know, it's normal. Sooner or later, your two little brothers will see you hard, and they'll joke around, teasing you, ya know? They'll do that only to show you that they really are proud of you, their big brother, who's growin' up, and getting boners every time a stray idea crosses his mind. Don't ever think that Geoff and Lenny don't love you, okay? Brothers goof on each other, for all the silly stuff we do. I can tell you, just from their expressions, Geoff and Lenny think you're awesome. Drew and Corey do too, it was all plain as day, when you got adopted."

"I didn't know much of that," Leo whispered.

"You just got here last night," Dee reminded, "today's your first day. Some of us were like me, abused by adults. Some were like Gage and Sammy, who's parents simply didn't care. Some kids were street prostitutes. And another recent set, from California, weren't fed right or allowed to do anything, other than go to school. Then there's guys like you, who lost good parents during riots. We all have two things in common."

"Yeah? What's that?"

"We're better off than we were, cared for and caring about our new families, and all us kids are Clan, brothers and sisters. That's why I'm in here with you, making sure you know that I'm your cousin, and your Clan brother too."

Leo asked, "How old are you?"

"Ten," Dee answered. Leo's jaw dropped. Dee sighed, "I wasn't fed unless I did the stuff I told you. I'd rather go a day without food than suck some man's dick, or get my butt fucked. When I could do stuff with my orphanage brothers, I jumped at those chances, because we were always careful with each other, and it was better than doing stuff with an adult. Then I would eat a lot, to try and make up for the other times I didn't eat. Gage is eight, Sammy's nine and I'm actually the oldest of my brothers. That makes you and me the same, Leo. We're big brothers now."

Leo nodded and smiled. He quietly offered, "We could go back out with the guys, but I feel really silly."

"Lemme tell you one other thing then," Dee offered, and then pointed at the door, saying, "All those dudes out there like you. Nobody's gonna mock you. I'd doubt they'll even tease you, because it's clear you were embarrassed. We're all boys, and about the same age. Nothin' new happened that they ain't seen before."

"How'd you get so kewl," Leo wondered, "after all the stuff you went through?"

Dee giggled, "My poppa's the Head Rimmer. My daddy's second in command. I watch them, even when they think I'm not watching or paying attention, I am."

Leo nodded and smiled, "Thanks, Dee."

"Are you ready?"


Dee went to unlock and open the door. All the boys were still sitting around the table and chatting. Dee led Leo to the chair he had been sitting in and pulled the chair out for him to sit, right beside Kenny. Dee then went around to the chair Leo had been in and sat down.

Leaning closer to whisper, Kenny asked Leo, "You okay?"

Nodding, Leo smirked, "Just embarrassed."

"I'm with ya there, pal," Kenny smiled.

Upstairs in one of the hallway bathrooms, just finishing up their after-sex shower, Corey told Drew, "Let's check on, Leo."

Nodding, Drew pulled Corey by the hips, so their dicks were smashed together, smiling, "It's all new to him. He'll be fine after another day or two."

"I'm sure he will too," Corey giggled, "but if you don't stop being bad, we'll never get out of this tub."

Drew started placing angel light kisses around each of Corey's lips. Between each kiss, he whispered, "I – love – you, Cor, always – have – and – always – will." Over the last year as Drew's partner, Corey had mastered the fine art of giggling and whimpering at the same time. The final deep, passionate kiss they shared almost left both feeling a little like Prez; whacked out and woozy on codeine.

The only reason Corey didn't jump Drew and instigate another round was that they were in the slippery tub. Turning off the water and stepping out of the shower, Drew and Corey continued talking about Leo. It had only been a little more than a day since they brought Leo to Ewa Beach, but the boy still hadn't said what happened to his parents, or anything about what he had experienced. Drew and Corey didn't even know what city the boy had come from. All they both knew was that Leo was clingy and definitely needed reassurances that he wasn't alone and wouldn't be left alone. They were certain that when Leo spilled the beans and told them what had happened, Leo would start to heal. Once they were dried off, they went downstairs in the buff.

As usual, Stephen was lying on John, about a meter above the sofa. Neither Drew nor Corey said a word, but Stephen began giggling at the thoughts they were having that John was telepathically sharing. Reyes softly grinned, "I know nothing." Around the living room floor, all the youngest boys were already asleep. The television had the Disney cartoon 'Aladdin' playing, but only the few oldest boys still awake were watching it.

'Leo's in the kitchen,' John sent to his brother and brother-in-law.

After kissing Geoff and Lenny, Corey and Drew turned and went down the main foyer to check on their eldest son. Before they even entered the room, they could hear giggling. Around the dinette table were, in order, Sammy, Ben, Dee, Jonah, Gage, Leo and Kenny. Finding Leo as red as an apple and still helplessly giggling, Drew smiled, "I can only try and guess what's goin' on."

Widely smiling, Jonah explained, "We came out here for snacks. One thing led to another, talkin' about me and Gage, and Ben and Sammy too. Kenny and Leo are new, so we were just chatting, getting to know each other. The next thing we know, Kenny stops eating and tries to keep his stiffie from rippin' through his shorts." Covering his mouth with both hands to mute the sound, Kenny cracked up. "A minute later," Jonah continued, "Leo gets up and goes into the bathroom. Dee goes to talk to Leo in the bathroom, then they come back out here again. Kenny makes sure Leo's all right. Finally, while Leo's telling us what Dee was telling him, alone in the bathroom, Dee pops a bone!"

Dee cackled, "It's all your fault, all of you! I'm the odd man out here."

Kenny giggled, "I told Leo that I think he's smarter than me. I sat here blushing and pushing my woodie down, but Leo had the sense to leave the table."

Sammy sniggered, "So, here I sit with my boyfriend..."

"And here I sit with my boyfriend," Gage added.

Ben giggled, "Not one of the four of us have popped a bone, but these other three have."

"What's wrong with this picture?" Jonah joked, and everyone in the room cracked up.

"And lastly," Kenny giggled, "to remind us that life is different in the Clan, two of our leaders..."

"My two fathers!" Leo playfully interjected.

"Walk in here, swingin' in the breeze," Kenny finished, just before AJ and Jerry, also freshly showered and naked, stepped into the room. "Oh God!" Kenny laughed, and then lowered his face to the table top.

AJ grinned, "We missed something, I think."

Widely smiling, Jerry suspiciously squinted, "What's happenin'?"

Billy Whitmore and Jason Mullins walked in, saying, "Gotta leak," and went around the table to the bathroom. The door was only partly closed and they went directly to the toilet.

Facing AJ and Jerry, Drew chuckled, "We were only checking on our boys."

"They're being boys," Corey giggled.

"Well, that's good," AJ teased. "That was confirmed during the day, but I'm glad they've all figured it out." Kenny cracked up.

Jerry joked, "Since they're all shirtless, but wearing shorts, maybe they forgot?"

"Not hardly!" Gage playfully assured. Loving the choice of words, Jonah howled.

Ben giggled, "Wait, this is where we started!"

Getting up from the table, Leo went to his dad and pop, and was sandwiched between them. Corey checked, "You're okay?"

"Much better," Leo softly assured, and then reached to give his pop a kiss on the cheek.

Drew told Leo, "If you need us for anything, turn left at the top of the stairs and go past all the bathrooms to the first bedroom."

Leo nodded, "I'll be fine," and gave his dad a peck.

Leading Leo and Corey a few meters away into the kitchen, Drew leaned in closer to whisper, "You fit our family, Leo. In lots of ways, all five of us are so perfect for each other."

Corey smiled, "We care a lot about you, Leo."

Leo blushed, "I felt that way before you adopted me. Thanks for saying it though."

Corey said, "You're fitting in with some friends too, I see."

"I'll be fine down here with these guys," Leo assured.

Drew nodded, "We'll see you in the morning."

With happy tears welling in his eyes, Leo nodded, "I love you."

"I love you too," Corey and Drew chorused.

Drew took Corey's hand and started back upstairs. Leo saw that AJ and Jerry were saying goodnight to Kenny. Also, Troy and Sean had come down and were softly chatting with Billy and Jason, who had emerged from the bathroom and were now in the foyer.

In another minute, the fathers had kissed their sons goodnight and gone back upstairs. After getting snacks from the replicator, Billy and Jason joined the other older boys at the table. AJ and Jerry trailed Troy and Sean up the stairs. The former pair began giggling. Briefly glancing back over his shoulder, Sean grinned, "Troy's got a real nice butt, huh?"

Jerry nodded and chuckled, "Actually you both do. Troy's is a bit rounder, almost a bubble butt, like Prez."

Sadly shaking his head, Troy teased, "Check the mirror sometime, AJ."

Chuckling, Jerry teased his lover, "I told you."

At the top landing, Troy grinned, "Your butt's muscular, Jerry. Still worthy of noticing, especially when you're surfing." Sean and AJ cracked up.

Before Sean and Troy could make the turn and walk the few more steps into the master bedroom, Jerry softly asked, "Hey, is this bedroom gathering kewl?"

Sean rapidly nodded and explained, "At Archnania, the bedrooms were exactly that; a room that was wall-to-wall thick mattress, pillows and blankets. All the older dudes shared one room, and all the younger kids shared a room with Reyes, John and Stephen. When Stephen was ready, he and John joined us in our room."

Troy smiled, "Those first two nights, it wasn't easy for me, but I learned something besides a bunch of new songs; we're all the same, especially when we make love. Our band needs more rehearsal time there anyway, so you two and all our sons will make the next trip together."

Nervously giggling, AJ balked, "It just seems weird, almost like the orphanage."

"No, AJ," Sean seriously said. "That was adult pervs. This is six couples. If we get randy, it's couples together, doing what we want, not what we're forced to do. That makes it easy and fun."

When AJ and Jerry nodded, Troy opened the door and went inside the master bedroom with Sean. On the king sized bed, sitting up near the headboard, were Keith, Prez, Derrick, Mike, Corey and Drew. Kaleo and Tory had taken the two recliners. There was an empty sofa and coffee table, as well as a desk and a computer workstation, both of which had office style chairs on rolling casters. Once AJ and Jerry were in the room, Kaleo prompted, "Close the door, Jerry, so we can talk and laugh without bothering the kids." Spinning around, Jerry closed the door.

Tory admitted, "We've been waiting for you dudes, so we can talk about being new fathers."

"Help yourselves to the replicator, dudes," Keith prompted.

Sean smiled, "This room is huge."

Troy grinned, "If it was wall-to-wall mattress, we could all fit in here easily."

"We were just telling AJ and Jerry about Archnania," Sean admitted.

Prez assured, "We'll get there again soon. We still have a bunch of songs to learn and rehearse."

Heading directly for the replicator, Jerry grinned, "I'm still a little confused about this Archnania place."

Drew and Corey loudly giggled, "So were we!" Neither said a word about having taken a second trip to Archnania.

While Jerry ordered two McCoy milkshakes for himself and AJ, Derrick grinned, "Only Reyes knew what time and day it was. The rest of us just went with it. When the week was over, we came back home."

Jerry handed a milkshake to AJ. They went to sit on the sofa. Troy went to the replicator, ordering, "Turkey club sandwich on whole wheat bread, with lettuce, sliced tomato, and light on the mayonnaise."

"He's a pro!" Mike chuckled.

"Go to a New York City deli sometime," Troy giggled. "If you don't know what you want, it's to the back of the line." He then imitated the Seinfeld show, loudly insisting, "No soup for you!" When he didn't get laughs, Troy handed his sandwich to Sean, smirking, "I guess none of you ever saw that TV show. It was big in the New York metro area." Seeing only small grins and shaking heads, Troy sighed, "As Moral Officer, I'll have to correct this." He then asked Sean, "What do you want, Tiger?"

Backing up a few steps, Sean giggled, "Hot Italian sausage, Lover." Smirking, Troy squinted, but still blushed as everyone in the room cracked up.

Troy smiled, "You backed away so I couldn't grab ya." Still giggling, Sean rapidly nodded. Troy sighed, "Do you want anything besides my sausage, as in real food?"

Handing Troy his sandwich, Sean smiled, "I'll get another shake."

Nodding and taking his sandwich, Troy softly joked, "You're gonna get another shake, alright."

Giggling along with the others in the room, Sean cheered, "Whoo-hoo!" and went to the replicator. He ordered his milkshake and then called, "Alden, are you and your brothers paying attention?"

Over the room's ceiling speakers, Alden giggled, "We have been all day, guys."

"Alden," Prez sniggered, "please tell us that you guys haven't been on that topic since our conversation this morning." Sean went to the sofa and sat beside Troy.

Alden giggled, "Well, yeah. We're taking these decisions seriously, and not just dick size; skin tone, eye and hair color, and apparent age, everything that we have to choose."

Kaleo wondered, "Have you specifically made any choices, Alden?"

"A few," Alden seriously answered. "I'm strongly considering sticking to Hawaiian skin tone and dark brown hair. I've pretty much concluded that I won't appear younger than ten-years-old, but I'm still working on the actual age. We've checked statistical average heights and weights. For instance, only five percent of eleven-year-olds are as tall as Corey, and only half of that group might have reached puberty, like Corey. I'm strongly considering appearing thirteen- or fourteen-years-old, but I'm still thinking about that too. Part of me wishes I could've helped at the Hyatt, the other part takes a good look at Prez's toasted tush and says, no way!" Again, more sniggering and laughter broke loose.

"Okay," Prez chuckled, "before my ass becomes the butt of any more jokes, let's change the subject."

Keith nodded and admitted, "Each and every one of the six of us were just as surprised and thrilled as you dudes are with your boys. About an hour ago, Kaleo and Tory asked us how they could be fathers. We postponed that until now, thinking Sean, AJ and Jerry would all like to participate, and that Troy, Drew and Corey could add valuable input."

"None of us does the job alone," Mike quickly offered. "Reyes got his memories back and has played big brother almost to the point where he's acting like a dad."

Derrick tapped his sub-vocal and asked, "Alden, please tell Reyes to join us up here?"

Drew said, "While we're waiting for Reyes, let me tell you about Monday. We were checking out the townhouses. Geoff didn't want to go inside to even see it. No matter how much me and Corey tried, and then Dillon, Jonah and Reyes tried, we couldn't get him to budge. Prez came outside, saw what was happening, and had a quick one-on-one with Geoff. The problem was almost solved right then."

"Today we went back to check out the townhouse," Corey smiled. "With Lenny and Leo with us, Geoff was as excited as any of us. He was flying from room to room, and up and down staircases, making the rest of us follow him. Prez hit the nail on the head; our family was too small for Geoff to feel comfortable in a house of our own." Reyes came in the room and immediately realized he was the only one that had boardies on. Corey finished, "Maybe we could've gone without Leo, but with Leo and Lenny there, it made all the difference. Changing homes wasn't scary for Geoff anymore; he really enjoyed looking around the place."

Derrick shared, "Our kids hang out together all the time. We've had them down in the basement store with us, helping with newbies. There are enough times where we can't be with them. Every chance we can be with them, like when we're dealing with newbies, they're right there. Since we can't possibly give every kid our undivided attention, our boys do at least half the job."

"That gets us right back to the question we left off with," Prez said. "The question is, what do you think makes up the perfect father?"

After many moments of silence, Kaleo huffed, "Well, right off the bat, all the stuff done to us at the orphanages and by foster parents was wrong. Not that I would ever even consider fondling any of our Clan's kids, but my sons won't ever have to deal with memories like that."

Sean softly said, "There are some memories I have of my dad that aren't great. I think he forgot what it meant to be a kid. There were things I did that he found hysterically funny. We shouldn't ever goof on our boys. If it ever accidentally happens, I'll see the sadness in their eyes and bend over backwards to set it right."

Finished chewing a bit of his sandwich, Troy looked to his left at AJ and Jerry, saying, "So we're all on the same page here, let me tell you guys that my mom divorced my dad, mostly because he was a homophobic prick. My being a good musician wasn't enough for him to be proud of; it wasn't manly enough." Glancing around the room at his friends, Troy continued, "First and foremost in my mind, our sons can have any hobby or interest they want. If any of 'em want to paint pictures of flowers, or draw pictures of girls' clothing, they've got my complete support. They can even wear the dresses if they really want to. Once I'm shown that's what they really want, they've got my support."

"Excellent," Keith, Drew and Mike softly cheered.

"This is good, and it seems we're all on the same page," Prez smiled. "A hypothetical scenario for discussion; pick any of our little tikes and put him in your mind. School starts Monday. You see him excelling at almost all of his schoolwork, but he has a really bad time with math. The subject is also interchangeable; it could just as easily be English, as in reading or writing essays, or any other core subject. What do you do with the boy that says, I don't wanna do that?"

Tory quickly answered, "Help him understand why he needs to know the basics of that topic. I suck at math too, but then again, I didn't have anyone that cared if I could count or do simple math either." He then grinned, "Now that I think of it, I'll probably be fishing for help at math here pretty soon."

Derrick warmly smiled, "And you'll get it too, from six musicians that deal with dividing tempos all the time." He told all the others, "If any of your sons need math help, we'll arrange for that to happen. Having a teacher help is great, but having a dad help and show how proud he really is, turns a problem subject into a favorite. Like everything else, dads do as much as they can. The rest of us fill in where we can and need to."

"A quick question," AJ interjected. When he had everyone's attention, he asked, "How can you guys be students and teachers, and fathers, and Core Rimmers too?"

"We'll only be teaching music and basic math," Prez smiled. "We'll be teachers assistants for other beginner subjects too, but primarily, we're music teachers."

Keith explained, "If this were a regular school, we couldn't create plans and all that stuff too, and still be dads and Core Rimmers. In the Clan school system, we can do a lot more, in a much more relaxed way. We'll get credit for the teaching we do, but still have to complete high school curriculum."

"We'll also have to be Core Rimmers first," Derrick told AJ and Jerry. "When duty calls, school moves back a notch, and we get school credit for doing that job too."

Getting the group back on topic, Prez said, "So, dads don't need sex from their kids. Dads need to be the primary sources of encouragement. Dads need to remember what being a little kid is like. What else do dad's do and what else shouldn't be done?"

Again, the room became quiet until Corey giggled, "My folks have never laid a hand on me. I mean, look at how tall my mom and dad are? A swat on my backside from either of them could send me into the next room, through the nearest wall!"

"Ask yourselves, what a slap on the hands or across the ass accomplishes," Mike prompted. After waiting a few moments, he then answered, "Not a damned thing. Now, if you all want to know the truth, I got to spend LOTS of time in corners." The room quickly filled with laughter. Mike giggled, "I wasn't counting dots on the walls. I was building guitar chords in my mind. Sometimes I forgot what the hell I did that got me in the corner in the first place!"

Derrick sniggered, "And then he'd get in trouble for forgetting what got him in trouble!"

Jerry giggled, "So let's say Shaun gets caught stealing. What should we do?"

"Steal something of his for a week or two," Drew quickly answered. "All our kids love their video game time, and we don't mind letting them do that, because they're building hand-eye coordination. If Geoff stole something, the Playstation would be the first thing he'd lose. He'd return whatever he stole and apologize, and get to listen to me and Corey telling him why it was wrong."

"The punishment is appropriate for the crime," Prez summarized. "Sometimes a kid just wants things his way and now. That's a time-out, into a corner, because the real world won't revolve around his demands."

Keith smiled, "We're big brothers for all our kids, and dads to our sons. I might suggest making angry faces in the mirror too. Prez and I tried making angry faces at each other, but that didn't work at all." Widely smiling at the memory, Prez bounced his red eyebrows and wagged his tongue around. Keith giggled, "So yeah, you can try that, but expect it to have the opposite affect, so make sure you're alone."

Derrick and Mike sadly shook their heads. Drew and Corey helplessly howled laughing.

Pushing onward, Troy smiled, "So we get to be strong and weak at the same time. Honestly, I don't see any problem with that."

"The only problem I can easily foresee is with Billy," Sean admitted. "He's eleven. I challenged the assholes at the orphanage when I was about that age. How do we deal with an eleven-year-old challenging our decisions?"

"It depends what he's challenging," Mike offered. "Assuming it's something major, affecting his life and well being, long term, then prove that you're more grown up and smarter than he is. Let's say he finds a boyfriend, off-base, non-Clan. You can see the kid's trouble, but he can't. All he'll see is his boyfriend. Rather than create a bigger problem that would affect all of you for years, as much as it hurts to do, you have to let him learn for himself. Then you have to forget the 'I told you so' and pick up the pieces of your son."

Troy smirked, "We all have a good idea of how we should pick our battles carefully, but these are our sons. In one afternoon, I can't believe how attached they've gotten to us, and how completely attached I am to them. After our shower, we went down there. Jimmy and Scott were sound asleep and we kissed them goodnight. We kissed Billy and Jason goodnight too."

"It was like a major priority," Sean admitted. "We couldn't come in here without going downstairs, just to see them, check on them, and kiss them goodnight."

Prez sighed, "Believe me, we know what you mean. As crazy as it's been all week, we still took every possible minute to be with our boys." He checked with Keith, saying, "It seems to me we we're more successful with that since Archnania." Keith slowly nodded, and Prez told the group, "Before Thursday night, we were kissing our boys goodnight hours before they went to bed. That has to change, for all of us. I learned a lot from twenty little dudes just a few hours ago. All I did was sit down with them, and in two minutes every one of them was gathered around me. That tells me very clearly, I haven't been available enough for them. That has to change too, and I can't organize that like I do almost everything else. Somebody, please remind me to do that from time-to-time. All the kids need to know that I'm not only working for them, I'll spend time with them too. I was bitchin' about kids barely saying hello to me, and then to learn that I've been too busy to just sit with them? That's wrong."

"Prez?" Jerry softly called. When Prez locked eyes with him, Jerry smiled, "I understand, but you have to also accept the fact that you're juggling a lot. Of course the kids gathered around you earlier. When we came in, we saw it. As far as I know, all the kids just love having the leaders around. I'd bet big bucks that every kid here, no matter how old, would love time alone with you. There have been times, especially last Saturday and Sunday, I wanted that too. When you guys are at the pool, it goes from good to great. Every mealtime you guys are there, the noise in the dining room is louder than when some of you aren't around. I'd like to suggest that we all make a point of spending time with the youngest kids, but if Prez could spend time with groups of kids, in all age brackets, for just an hour every week, I think we'd all be just a little happier. With fifteen of us, even paired up, we'd have a week covered easily. Each of us can take a group, starting tomorrow afternoon. How does that sound?"

Reyes smiled, "Easy, on normal days. So the more correct question becomes, what in the Clan is 'normal'?"

After a few seconds of them all glancing at one another, Corey loudly laughed, "OUCH!" and partially collapsed onto Drew, as if he'd been shot in the chest. They all cracked up laughing, and playfully tossed out ideas of Clan 'normal' stuff; like gorillas, G-Cats, ferrets, teenagers adopting kids, Valium popping mothers, learning dozens of languages in a single morning, N-Gens with all their diverse skills, occasional trips to a planet out of time where plants and animals talk, and an average of twenty incoming newbie kids per day over their first week. When it was all over, they still decided to go forward with Jerry's suggestion anyway, promising to never again broach the topic of 'normal'.