Teri smiled as the limos pulled into the restaurant. "Sam & Gabe's, Chip? How did you pull this one off?"
Chip grinned. "It's amazing what some places do when they get a call from the Enterprise. Especially if the Captain says he wants to throw a party."
"So THAT explains why you wanted the boys wearing their uniforms. I thought this was just us?"
"That was the original plan, but once the Captain heard what I was doing, he decided it should be an official function."
The limos let off their passengers at the entrance, and they proceeded to enter the building. As they entered, Josh's eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Sweetheart, you are amazing!" Josh told Chip in awe. "How did you find a place with LIVE jazz?"
Chip smiled. "The Captain has been here a few times. He highly recommended it."
As Chip approached the podium, Scotty noticed the group and joined them.
"Mr. Dodds, we was wonderin' when ye were goin' to arrive. Yourself, Joshua, and the boys will be a sittin' next ta the Captain. The wee Ensigns are to take their trainees to my side."
Chip's eyebrows shot up. "Their trainees, Mr. Scott?"
"Aye, they would be the ones training them, now wouldn't they?"
Chip shook his head. "You are incorrigible, Scotty. I'm curious just what you and the Captain are up to now."
Scotty rounded up the group to go with him as everyone else found their seats. Chip took his family to the table in the center front of the stage, while Scotty headed his group to the table immediately to the right.
Andrew tapped JJ on the shoulder. "What's up with this, bro? Why are we sittin' up front?"
JJ shook his head. "I have no idea. It's weird that we have to sit with the crew. I understand Sean and Cory, but why us?"
Adam was busy looking around the room. He noticed that even though the Enterprise had a large group, there were still regular patrons in the restaurant too. Once everyone was seated, the waiters began taking orders.
Lt. Commander McPherson leaned over so the boys could hear him. "Guys, we have been here a few times. If you like chicken, the Penne All Sophia is great, the Atlantic salmon is awesome, and for those of you with a liking to eating cows I recommend the beef tenderloin DeBurgo."
Cory giggled. "Thanks, Mac. I'm betting none of us had any idea what all these weird names were on the menu. The most exotic thing I usually order is pizza!"
The group settled into quiet conversations as they were waiting on dinner. Nobody noticed Josh sneak up to the stage, until the bandleader made the announcement.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems we are going to have a special treat tonight! Please welcome Mr. JC Chasez-Dodds from the band N'Sync, who has gracefully offered to join us tickling the ivories tonight."
The waiter came around to the Engineering table, and got Scotty's attention. "Sir, Mr. Chasez-Dodds has requested that delivery of the main course be withheld until the next band break. Will that be acceptable?"
"Aye, lad; that it would be. Thank you."
The waiter gave a short bow, and then headed to the other tables.
Adam slapped JJ under the table, then leaned over to whisper in his ear "Watch the band, not the waiter - unless you like singing soprano for the rest of your life."
JJ blushed, then whispered back "Sorry, babe. You have to admit he had a cute butt though. It just isn't as cute as yours."
Their interchange was broken up by Andy giggling. "I hate to say it, JJ - BUSTED!"
Scotty settled them back down, and then told the boys and Mac what the waiter said. There were no complaints as they all sat back to enjoy a side of Josh's music that was rarely heard.
At the Captain's table, Justy leaned over to Jamie and Jacob. "Bros, watch me when the food comes out. There are special forks for each course; I'll show you what to use since you have not ever ate somewhere this fancy."
Both boys smiled back. "Thanks, Jus," Jacob replied. "We were kinda scared we'd mess up and get laughed at."
Kirk heard the interchange between the three boys, and interrupted. "Guys, don't worry. Usually the people who laugh are the ones who did not know what to do either. Just try your best, and if you need help ask."
"Okay, Uncle Jim; thanks!" the twins chorused.
As the break started, Josh returned to his seat and the waiters started bringing out the first course. For most of the boys, it was a shock seeing the amount of food and the professional presentation. To the relief of the adults, Aaron, David, and Justy made sure the kids at each of their tables used a semblance of proper etiquette. At the Engineering table, Scotty ensured that Sean, Cory, and the other three knew what to do.
Once everyone finished their dessert, Captain Kirk got their attention, and in the process the attention of the surrounding tables. "Now that everyone has finished with this outstanding meal, I need to say a few words. As an Iowa native, it makes me proud when another Iowan performs admirably in the public view. In the last two days, two young men who are here tonight have reached heights never thought possible. I would like these two young men to please stand; Ensign Cory Short and Ensign Sean Short.
Both boys rose and stood nervously.
The Captain continued. "By their own accomplishments, these two were given the rank of full Ensign, despite their not having attended the Academy yet. Ensign Cory used his computer skills to design a change to the Enterprise which has increased her proficiency beyond what the designers thought possible. Ensign Sean used his problem-solving skills to locate and implement a change while using the training simulator which as we speak is being implemented in every ship in the fleet. Additionally, both of these men represent Iowa as the two youngest commissioned officers in the history of the Federation. Gentlemen, I speak for the entire crew when I say 'Welcome aboard the Enterprise'."
Kirk could tell by their blushes that neither of the boys was in any condition to speak, so he waved them to sit down before continuing.
"At the risk of getting 'pounced', I would like to also commend the youngest member of my crew, the ship's mascot Justin Dodds. In true Enterprise fashion, when he realized the two boys sitting next to him needed to experience a normal family, he took them under his wing. In three days he has already changed them both for the better, as evidenced by their expressions and how they carry themselves. Justin, you are a fine tribute to your parents and I am proud to have you listed as part of my crew."
Despite his blushing, you could see the pride in Justy's face at being publicly commended by the Captain.
Finally, Kirk turned toward the Engineering table once more. "Adam, Andrew, and JJ please stand up. The three of you have earned the right to sit with the crew whenever you are with us after your performance today. Your teamwork with Ensigns Sean and Cory during the surprise training simulation we ran today was commendable. I chose that particular simulation due to the difficulty it gives the senior class at the Academy. As a group, the five of you solved the situation in a unique manner, despite the odds being against you. You are now a permanent part of the Enterprise's extended family, and you have definitely earned it. Let's give all of these boys a hand; all six of them have earned it."
To Kirk's surprise, not only did his group begin clapping, but all the patrons of the restaurant joined in. After a few seconds, it turned into a standing ovation throughout the dining area.
As it became quiet again, an older gentleman sitting across the room stood up. "May I have everyone's attention, please? It seems that all we hear are the bad things about today's youth; obviously the news reporters are missing something. Watching this large group of boys tonight has been a refreshing awakening; even before the good Captain's speech, I had decided to revise my opinion of their generation. After hearing of their accomplishments, there is only one appropriate thing to do. A toast; to today's youth, tomorrow will be in very good hands."
Throughout the room, the toast was answered.
As they reloaded the limos for the ride home a half hour later, all the boys who would be staying in Iowa after the weekend joined Teri in her limo. Aaron and David also joined the group after a quick discussion with Chip and Dan.
Aaron spoke as he was getting in. "Mom, everyone else is heading to the house; we need to hit the mall. Dan said Southridge Mall would work."
Teri looked at Aaron. "Why do we need to 'hit the mall', Aaron? What have you got up your sleeve?"
Aaron made a show out of trying to look up his sleeves, then replied "My arms, why Mom?"
"I shoulda' known better!" Teri exclaimed as she shook her head at the car full of giggling boys.
During the entire twenty minute trip to the mall, every boy in the car tried to get Aaron to tell them what he was planning; all any of them got was one of Aaron's trademark smiles no matter how they begged or threatened. Once they got there, everyone followed Aaron and David as they walked inside, looked at the directory, and headed for their destination.
"AARON! Where we GOIN'!" Ty said in exasperation.
"Just wait bro. You'll see shortly." Aaron replied with a grin.
Everyone fell silent when Aaron and David walked into Kay's Jewelers. Aaron walked up to the counter.
"May I help you, son?" the elder salesman asked.
"Yes, sir, my name is Aaron Carter; I placed an order two days ago and was informed it was ready."
"Ahh, yes Mr. Carter. I hope you understand I will need to see some identification due to the size of your order."
Aaron pulled out his billfold and started to retrieve his Florida driver's license; but he changed his mind and pulled out his Starfleet dependents ID card. "Will this be okay?"
The salesman's eyes got wide when he saw the ID. There was no known way to forge them due to the color 3-D holographic photography and the proprietary Identichip; a technology which Starfleet refused to release even to the Earth-side governments. "This should be fine, Sir." he replied as he scanned the Identichip, which verified itself with the Starfleet HR server. Ten seconds later, an identification code was returned with instructions to replace Aaron's signature with the code.
"That's the first time I've seen someone your age use a Starfleet ID. Everything is in order, would you like the items all boxed?"
Aaron looked at David, and then grinned. "Actually - why don't you pull out the special necklace? I'll pass the rest out after we get home."
"A wise choice sir, if I remember our conversation correctly."
The salesman handed Aaron a small black felt box. Aaron took the box, thanked the salesman, and turned to Teri.
"Mom, I could not go back to Orlando without giving you a little something. This is just a little something from your sons to you, to show you how we care for you. Cory, Sean, Adam, Ty and I talked it over, and we all decided this said it best."
Teri looked at the necklace as Aaron took it out of the box and laid it in her hand. It was a gold herringbone necklace, with a small diamond cross. There were three hearts on each side of the cross, each with a birthstone and a boy's name. On the left were Mike, Sean, and Cory; on the right were Aaron, Adam, and Tyler.
"My God, it's beautiful!" Teri exclaimed as she tried to control the tears trying to force their way from her eyes.
"Mommy, can I put it on you?" Tyler asked.
"Yes, please Tyler. I'm so happy I don't think I would be able to hook it."
As Ty was placing it on her neck, Teri commented "This is so sweet; I will treasure it forever. Thank you each and every one of you." The tears finally won the battle as each boy, youngest to oldest, gave her a hug and an 'I love you'. Just as she started to recover, David held out another box.
"All of us future in-laws got together too, and decided you needed a bracelet to match the necklace." David said with a smile. He then opened the box, and placed the bracelet on Teri's wrist.
Teri looked at the bracelet; it was the same style as the necklace, only with three smaller hearts on it - one for David, one for JJ, and one for Kyle. Each heart also had the names and birthstones just as the necklace did. "All I can say is thanks, this means just as much to me as the necklace. All of you boys have gone beyond anything I would have ever expected of you, you are the best sons and son-in-laws anyone could ever have." She then looked around the store. "Hey guys, I think we better get going, y'all are drawing a crowd."
Aaron looked up. "EEK! You're right, mom!" He turned to the salesman, "Thanks so much for the fine work. If everything else goes like this, I will be the happiest guy in Iowa. Don't be surprised if you get an occasional order from Orlando; with service like this I know a few band members who will be more than happy to give you their business."
"Thank you, Mr. Carter; it was a pleasure serving you. It's not often I get a chance to see the results of my work; you have just presented me with a memory I will never forget. Goodbye sir and may God bless you and your family."
Teri had asked the limo driver to take the long way back, as she wanted to enjoy some private time with 'her' boys. They were on Highway 5 just past the Highway 28 exchange when they heard a loud BANG and an Explorer came flying across the road and rolled down the bank.
Cory reacted first. "STOP THE CAR! Sean, call McCoy and get a med team down NOW, everyone else follow me. We need to see if we can help. Aaron, grab the fire extinguisher just in case. David, direct traffic. MOVE!"
As Cory led the group to the vehicle, Sean pulled out his newly-issued communicator. "Ensign Sean to Enterprise."
"Enterprise, Uhura here. Go ahead, Sean."
"Commander, I need a full med team at these coordinates ASAP. There is a civilian vehicle which just did a very good imitation of a tumbleweed across the road here."
"Understood, Sean. Dr. McCoy was on the bridge, he is on his way. Enterprise out."
Sean closed his communicator as McCoy and Chapel beamed down next to him. "Thanks, Doc - this way!" he yelled as he headed down the hill.
They arrived to find that Cory had used his phaser to remove what was left of the top of the SUV, and was working inside in the back seat. Adam and JJ were removing the debris from the front seat to give the med team access.
"Sean!" Cory said as he saw him, "Get ready to catch!" A minute later, Sean was surprised to be handed a kid who looked to be five or six, still in his booster seat. Once they had him free, they took him up the hill to a safe area.
Lt. Simpson checked the young boy over. "Well, except for the arm it looks like he's gonna have a few bruises, but I'd bet that booster seat saved his life." The lieutenant then proceeded to set the boy's arm and then put on a soft cast. "This is just to protect it while it finishes healing naturally; the field unit is not as strong as the shipboard ones. He's all yours, Ensigns, I'm gonna prescribe some cuddles to prevent shock."
For the first time in the last thirty minutes, Sean and Cory made an attempt at smiles. They looked down at the vehicle, and saw McCoy and Chapel still working on the driver, which told them there was still a chance.
Sean carefully picked up the boy and took him to the limo to sit down, with Cory following right behind.
Cory gently ruffled the kid's hair. "Hey buddy, I'm Cory and the teddy bear you are cuddled up to is Sean. What's your name?"
"Timmy," he whimpered, "is Daddy goin' to be okay?"
"We got the best doctor in the universe checking on him right now. How old are you, Timmy?" Cory answered, trying to change the subject.
"I'm almost six. Why are you dressed like space guys?"
Sean giggled. "That's 'cause we are. Our Captain just threw a party for us."
Just then Aaron came up. "Bro's, Doc needs to see ya'. Why don't you introduce me to the stunt rider here?"
Timmy turned and looked at the source of the new voice. "I'm Timmy. Hey, you look like Aaron Carter!"
"That's because I am Aaron Carter. Hop on over here, these guys gotta talk to their boss."
Timmy moved over to Aaron, and then both Sean and Cory headed to where the Captain, Dr. McCoy, and Teri were standing.
"You needed to see us, Doctor?" Sean asked as they walked up.
"Yes, Sean, I do. The Captain, your mom, and I were just discussing the situation Cory got you into. Jim, why don't you break the news?"
"Ensigns, you did an outstanding job trying to save the occupants of the vehicle. We had to beam out a second bomb that was under the dash. The first one blew off the driver's side front suspension, and the driver's foot. Fortunately, the trigger on the second one failed. For the record, the official story will be that a front tire blew on the vehicle, the information I just gave you is for Starfleet internal purposes only."
"Excuse me, sir, but why is Starfleet that involved?" Cory asked.
"Good question, Cory. The driver was Terrance O'Neal, the only son of Ambassador Marcus O'Neal, who happens to be the only Earth diplomatic representative allowed on Rigel VII. Unfortunately, Terrance was unable to be saved; he lost too much blood before Bones got to him. He regained full consciousness long enough to ask about his son Timmy and to make one final request. That request is what got me involved. Seeing as Timmy's only relative is the Ambassador, I contacted him and he insisted his son's last wish is to be complied with."
Sean looked at the faces surrounding him, and addressed the Captain. "Sir, how does that affect us?"
Captain Kirk gave the boys a half smile before continuing. "Terrance's last wish was that the officer who was working so fast to save them is to be the one to raise his son. He specifically stated that he was talking about the one who cut off the roof. I explained to the Ambassador about your age, Cory, and he reminded me of a little-used regulation. When you both accepted active commissions, you immediately gained full status as adults Federation-wide. In other words, you both now have the full rights and responsibilities of adults."
Kirk looked at Teri, who nodded her head slightly, before he continued. "I realize the two of you are a couple, so you both need to make the decision; but only Cory can answer the question when I ask it, since he specifically was requested. Go talk about it, you have five minutes to decide."
The two boys joined hands, and walked down the road a few yards for privacy. Sean began first. "Babe, what are we gonna do? I don't want to put the little tike out, but I don't think I'm ready to be a dad."
Cory had a pained look on his face. "I know; I can't let him go, but yet I'm only fourteen, I'm too young to be a daddy!"
The two boys hugged each other for a minute while sorting their thoughts, when they were interrupted by a small voice. "Bro's? What's wrong?"
The two looked up to see Ty and Kyle looking at them with concern. Sean answered "Little Timmy's daddy is dead. Before he died, he said he wanted Cory to be Timmy's new daddy. Timmy's grandpa said that he wants us to do it too. Thing is, both of us are too young to be parents."
Kyle looked at the two older boys, and then said something neither expected. "Don't be dummies. Cory, you have been like a Daddy to me since the first day I met you in the home. When I was bad, you made me admit to it and take my punishment. JJ has been a big brother, but you always were more."
Ty continued. "Yeah, and Sean, all the times I came over you made me sit down and do homework before I could play. I know we all call you our big brothers, but really you are like our Dads; if we do somethin' wrong you are gonna make us answer for it. Besides, don't ya' think Mom will help you?"
Cory and Sean held out their arms to the two young boys. "Come here, group hug." As they broke the hug he continued. "Thanks, guys. I never thought you saw me like that, I just was doing what I thought was right."
"Same here." said Sean. "Are you sure you won't mind, Ty? This is gonna affect you guys too. Same with JJ and Adam."
"Justy and the twins say 'Hurry up', or else they are gonna sic their Dad and Pop on ya'. Does THAT answer your question?" Kyle stated with a grin.
When Ty nodded in agreement, Cory looked at Sean. "We know how everyone else feels, now what do you think, babe?"
"I'm willing to give it a shot, like Ty said Mom will probably help. What about you, no matter what you are affected more than me since you are the one taking custody."
Cory looked Sean in the eyes. "Sean, WE are doing this, your name is going to be right there with mine. That is one thing I will NOT bargain about."
Sean hugged Cory, then they turned to rejoin the Captain and Teri. "Thanks Ty and Kyle; y'all just helped more than you know."
As they were walking, Cory thought about how he was going to approach this. He finally decided just as they arrived at where the Captain was standing.
Kirk looked at the two boys, surprised that he was unable to read their faces. "What did you decide, Cory?"
Cory came to attention. "Sir, I request the Enterprise's Medical Officer record this conversation for inclusion in the Ship's log, with all due respect."
Kirk raised his eyebrows, he had been going to suggest just that himself, but Cory beat him to it. "As you wish, Ensign. Bones, could you do the honors?"
"I don't believe it, an Engineer with common sense!" Dr. McCoy muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear as he was setting up his tricorder. "You're on, Ensign. This should be good."
Cory grinned slightly; the Doctor's humor having its intended effect and relaxing him. "Thank you, Doctor. Captain; after discussing Timmy O'Neal's situation with my partner, we have reached a decision. I am willing to accept permanent custody with two requirements. First is that both myself and Ensign Sean Short be listed as parents, and second is that Timmy be required to change his last name to Short for his own protection. Due to the cause of his fathers' death, I don't think it would be safe for him to keep his original last name." Cory then gave the Captain a look which clearly stated it was his turn.
McCoy saw the look, and before the Captain could respond he tapped him on the shoulder. "Jim, don't bother arguing. He reminds me of a certain hot-shot captain I met quite a few years ago. Namely you. Honestly, you still get your way one way or the other."
Kirk grinned and shook his head at the Doctor's comment, then responded. "Ensign, I agree with your conditions, but need to clear them with the Ambassador. Give me just a minute here." He then pulled out his communicator.
"Kirk to Enterprise."
"Enterprise, Uhura here. Go ahead, Captain."
"Uhura, I need a priority channel opened to Ambassador O'Neal on Rigel VII. Relay it to my communicator please."
"One second, sir. Opening the channel."
It took a minute, but then the communicator sprang back to life. "Captain, I have the Ambassador for you; I'm putting him through now."
"Captain Kirk, this is Ambassador O'Neal. Is there a problem?"
Kirk responded. "Hello, Ambassador. I would not say a problem, but there are two conditions which Ensign Cory Short has before he can accept custody of Timmy. The first is that his partner, Ensign Sean Short, also be listed on the permanent guardianship as adoptive parent along with Ensign Cory."
"So am I to understand that Cory and Sean are a couple, both of which are in Starfleet? What is Sean's age?"
"Ensign Sean is thirteen, and yes they are a couple."
"In that case, I will accept that condition. If Starfleet recognizes then as a family then so shall I. What is the other condition?"
Kirk tensed slightly before replying, he knew this would be the tough one. "My Ensign believes that Timmy is still at risk from whoever caused his father's death. To reduce that risk, he requires Timmy to change his surname to match theirs."
The communicator was quiet for a minute, and then the Ambassador answered. "Unfortunately, I believe your Ensign could very well be right. Timmy is the last surviving member of my family; if that's what it takes to keep my grandson alive than so be it. Tell Cory and Sean they have already impressed me, and I look forward to someday soon meeting them in person."
Cory reached out his hand for Kirk's communicator. "Ambassador, this is Ensign Cory Short; we both were listening. Thank you and we both look forward to meeting you too. I'll give you back to the Captain now."
Kirk retrieved the communicator. "Thank you, Ambassador. I assure you Timmy is in good hands."
"I already get that impression. Thank you Captain. O'Neal out."
Kirk turned to Teri. "Teri, I believe this is your department, could you do the finals?"
Teri looked at her sons. "Cory, Sean, before I finalize this, I want you to know I'll help you as much as I can; all you have to do is ask. As much as it worries me, you two are now adults legally and have to live with your decisions. Ensigns Cory and Sean Short, do you accept full custody of the minor child Timothy Christian O'Neal?"
Cory spoke for both of them. "We accept custody and request his surname be changed to 'Short'."
"Approved. From this point forward, he shall be known as Timothy Christian Short. This concludes these proceedings."
Both boys gave their mom a hug, then turned to the Captain and extended their hands. Sean spoke for them both when he told the captain "Thank you for your support sir. I just hope we can handle this."
"You both can, your Mom is the best support network I know of. Now go get your son, Bones will go with you to help break the news."
As the three walked up to the limo, it was obvious the rest of the boys had joined Aaron and Timmy. Doctor McCoy opened the door, and everyone fell quiet as him, Sean, and Cory climbed in.
Cory and Sean sat in their favorite corner spot, and then Cory spoke. "Timmy, could you please come over here with Sean and me?"
Timmy walked over, and stood in front of them. When Cory signaled for him to sit on their laps, he climbed up and snuggled Cory.
Cory spoke in a soft voice. "Timmy, this is Doctor McCoy. He is the Chief Medical Officer on the Federation Starship Enterprise. He was the one trying to help your daddy; the one I said was the best doctor in the whole universe."
Timmy looked up at Cory, tears forming in his grey eyes. "Did Daddy die?"
Cory pulled the skinny four-foot tall boy closer and nuzzled his face into Timmy's short red hair. "I'm really sorry, he was hurt too bad to help. He woke up long enough to tell the Doc something. He loved you so much the last thing he did was to make sure you were going to be okay."
Timmy buried his freckled face in Cory's shoulder, tears freely flowing. After ten minutes, he calmed enough to ask "What did daddy say?"
Sean reached over and kissed the boy's forehead. "Why don't we let Doc tell you?"
Timmy looked over at McCoy. "What did he say, Doc?"
McCoy pulled out his tricorder. "Instead of me repeating it, I'll let you hear." He then played it back.
"Doc, is Timmy okay?"
"If Timmy was the boy in back, he's fine. Now let's get you out there with him."
"Doc, if I don't make it, tell Timmy I love him. If that happens, find the officer who cut the roof off the truck. I heard him working to get both of us out and want him to raise Timmy."
"I don't plan to have to pass that message, but I will."
There were some wet coughs, then one last statement. "Thanks Doc, it's my time now."
Timmy looked at McCoy. "Was Daddy hurting when he said that?"
"Yes, he was Timmy."
"Is Daddy hurting now?"
McCoy looked into Timmy's eyes. "No, I don't think he will ever hurt again."
"What about Granpa? Does he know?"
Sean answered. "Yes he does, Tim. We talked to him just before we came to the car. Do you understand what your dad asked to be done?"
Timmy though for a second, and then realized who was being talked about. "Cory, does that mean you are my new Daddy?"
"Yes it does little buddy. Actually you got two new daddies - Sean and me both."
"How can I call you both Daddy?"
Sean answered "Well, how does Daddy and Pappa sound? Would that work?"
Timmy thought for a second. "Yeah, I guess. That makes you Pappa and Cory Daddy, right?"
"If that's what you want, it's fine with us." Cory replied. "Did your Uncle Aaron introduce everyone here to you?"
Timmy looked confused. "Uncle Aaron? - - - WHOA! Aaron Carter is my UNCLE?"
McCoy chuckled. "Sounds like you have this zoo under control, Cory. I'm heading back up to the ship." He then left the limo.
"Yep, he sure is." Sean answered. "Did he tell you everyone's names?"
"Nah, we were having too much fun."
"That's okay, bud." Cory said. "Let me do it, and then we'll go meet your Grandma. First is your Uncle Ty, and next to him is his boyfriend, your Uncle Kyle. Next to them is your Uncle Adam and his boyfriend, your Uncle JJ. The two big ones are your Uncle Aaron and his fiancé, your Uncle David."
"Wow, I gots a lotta uncles!" Timmy snickered.
"Just wait, the rest are waiting at home!"
Cory playfully rubbed Timmy's head. "C'mon kiddo, let's go chase down Grandma so we can get home."
"I'll wait here, Babe. I need to relax a minute." Sean said.
"Okay, we'll try to be quick." Cory replied before reaching over to give Sean a quick kiss.
Cory climbed out of the car, carrying a giggling Timmy on his hip. They headed towards Teri and the Captain, who were standing with a State Police trooper making the required earth-side accident report.
They finished just as Cory walked up. "Timmy, this Pappa's and my boss, Captain Kirk."
Kirk rubbed Timmy's head. "Just call me Uncle Jim, the rest of my crew's kids do. How are you doing?"
"Okay. Daddy is intr'ducin' me to my new uncles. I got LOTS of them!"
Kirk chuckled. "Yes you do, I'll bet the rest are waiting at home for you. Cory, you need anything else before I head back to the ship?"
"Actually, sir, if you could have Security pickup all of Tim's stuff from his old place. I really would rather have them check it out first."
"Good thinking, Cory. I'll have it done immediately. You head on home with your new son. Consider that an order."
"Yes Captain!" Cory replied with a grin. He then turned to Teri. "Mom, meet your new grandson, Timmy."
Teri wrapped her arms around Timmy and Cory. "Welcome to the family, Timmy. Are you ready to go to your new home?"
"Yeah, I'm getting sleepy." Timmy replied.
"Let's go, then." Teri said as she headed toward the limo.
By the time the limo was moving, Timmy was asleep in Sean and Cory's arms.
Sean and Cory received a pleasant shock when they arrived at the house. Teri and the rest of the boys got out first, and then when Sean and Cory exited, with Timmy snuggled in Cory's arms; they found everyone in an informal honor guard along both sides of the sidewalk.
"Who're all these people, Daddy?" Timmy asked sleepily.
"These are a lot of your relatives, son. They all want to meet you."
"O'tay. Wake me when they're done." Timmy replied as he pressed his head into Cory's shoulder.
Cory giggled quietly as he walked to the house and into the Rec room carrying Timmy.
Aaron led the rest of the group in, all the kids quietly taking a seat on the floor near the couch with Timmy, Cory and Sean on it. Timmy finished waking up, and looked around at the assembled group.
"Daddy, Pappa, why are the Backstreet Boys and NSync standing here lookin' at me?"
Sean smiled. "They want to see their new nephew. They are your uncles too." Sean then introduced everyone there.
Anne walked up to them as he finished. "Timmy, I'm your Grandma Anne. Welcome to the family, kiddo." She then kissed him on the forehead, giving him her official seal of approval.
"Nobody leave yet." Aaron announced. "I have something I want everyone to see. After the last couple of days, I finally feel part of a full family again. After what I saw tonight, I'm glad I planned this surprise. You adults jokingly call us the tribe, in reality you are right. Tonight I saw the two 'leaders' of our tribe take charge and save a young life with the assistance of their brothers. In the process we all gained a nephew. I know some of us have to take off tomorrow, so I wanted to pass these out tonight."
Aaron opened the box he had brought from the jewelers. "I had these specially made for all of the 'tribe'; it's my way of showing we are always together no matter how far apart we are physically. Johnny, you first." Aaron then placed a gold herringbone necklace on each boy's neck, youngest to oldest, each of which had an Amethyst charm in a link on the front. Once he finished with Mark and David, he continued. "Now for my brothers, something extra. Cory, Sean, Ty, Adam, Justy, Jamie, Jacob and Nick; you all are special in the fact I don't just call you my brothers; you are all really my brothers. That means more to me than anyone could ever understand."
Aaron then pulled out nine red boxes, and removed a small cross from the first one. "Each of these are the same, they have the birthstones of each of us, and are designed to attach to the necklaces." He proceeded to attach one to each of his bro's necklaces, finishing by attaching one to his own.
"Finally, for my nephews, their own little mark." Aaron got out two blue boxes, and removed two small white gold crosses from them to put on the young boy's necklaces. "Before you ask, I got a few spares of everything, so adding my newest nephew was no problem! Anyone who is interested should have no problem getting Mom to show you what we got for her, just ask. Oh, if something happens to any of the necklaces let me know so I can get it fixed or replace it, okay guys?"
Everyone answered affirmatively, and then the adults started filtering out of the room.
Aaron leaned down to Timmy. "Lil' buddy, there's gonna be times in the next few weeks you are gonna wonder if this is all real. All you gotta do is reach up and touch that necklace; that will remind you that you have a big family that loves you. How's that sound?"
"Thanks Unca' Aaron. This is cool!"
Nick came up behind the couch. "Cory, we're about to put Johnny in his bath, if it's okay with you and Sean, Timmy can take a bath with him."
Cory looked at Sean, who nodded his head, then replied "Thanks, Uncle Nick. That sounds like a great idea, if he wants to."
Nick smiled, "First off, stop the 'Uncle' bit; you're my brothers too now!" he ruffled Timmy's hair and then asked "Timmy, you wanna take your bath tonight with Johnny?"
"Do I gotta take a bath?" Timmy asked with a pout.
"Yes, you do, kiddo. Either with Johnny or by yourself, you decide." Cory answered. "By the way, the pout won't work - your Pappa and I still try it, so we know what you are trying to do."
Nick cracked up at that. "I need to use that reply with Johnny! You two are gonna do great!"
Timmy realized he lost the battle, so he replied "If you put it that way, I guess I'll take it with Johnny. At least he's FUN."
Sean shook his head. "Go on, bud. Just try not to flood the floor, okay? Grandma hates it when the water gets in the hall."
Timmy giggled at the thought. "Okay, Pappa." He replied as he followed Nick and Johnny out of the room.
Aaron and David were both sitting on the floor stifling their laughter. "What's so funny, goofballs?" Cory asked.
Aaron managed to answer "Sorry, bros; it was just so funny the way you busted him about pouting. You know, Nicky is probably going to use that on Johnny for real!"
Both Cory and Sean giggled. "Only if Timmy does not tell him first!"
They were both surprised when a set of arms reached around them from the back of the couch and hugged them. Justy released the hug and came around in front of them. "That was from me and my bros. I know it seems obvious, but all of us are really proud of you, first for stopping for the crash, and then taking in Timmy. I'm sure you've heard why Jacob and Jamie think I'm their angel, well after tonight you have proven yourselves to be angels yourselves. There are a lot of kids in this house you have given a second chance to; in fact if it wasn't for you I would not have my brothers. Most of the guys don't know how to say this, so I'll say it for them. Thank you for being there for all of us when we needed you the most. I gotta go; Jamie and Jacob are waiting for me." Justy headed for the doorway, but yelled as he headed out "by the way, pouncing lessons start tomorrow!" then ran up the stairs.
Sean looked at Cory. "I don't know about you, but I need a drink!"
"Sounds good, let's go. We'll be right back, guys."
They walked to the kitchen, and as they were grabbing sodas from the 'fridge they were intercepted by Chip and Josh.
"Here we go again!" Cory quipped with a grin as he rolled his eyes.
Josh chuckled. "Been getting a lot of advice, guys?"
"Not much," Sean replied, "but if one more person tells me how great we were, I'm gonna puke! All we did was what any normal person would do; what's so special about that? At least Justy was thanking us for helping everyone instead of just saying we were great."
Chip smiled. "That's our Justy; he likes to make sure you know what you do right. What you two did tonight was what everyone is taught to do, but very few actually will do. That is what everyone is proud of. It reflects on not only you, but your mom as well. The Captain called me once he made it back to the ship, Tim's personal belongings will be here in the morning. When he told me what you two had agreed to, I seriously wondered if you were ready for it. After Josh and I talked about it, I realized the two of you are more mature than quite a few adults I know."
"Besides," Josh continued, "I'm sure you will probably be asking your mom for pointers. You can call us too if you need to; especially when he starts asking questions about you being a gay couple."
Cory relaxed. "Thanks, I think you might be getting a few calls! It's still sinking in; give us a few days to adjust. Nicky thinks we'll do good after he heard how we dealt with Timmy trying to pout his way out of a bath."
Chip chuckled "We heard about that! Nice tactic, telling him it won't work since you still do it. A word of advice, you might want to make sure you have something on tonight, I bet you get a third person in bed before the night is over!"
"Will do, thanks." Sean replied.
An hour later, everyone was winding down. The nest was created in the Rec room, and everyone began to get ready for bed.
Timmy came up to Cory and pulled on his arm. "Daddy, do I have to sleep in there with everyone else?"
Cory got on one knee in front of Timmy. "Where would you like to sleep, little one?"
"I wanna sleep in your bed with you and Pappa."
Cory smiled. "I guess that's where we'll sleep then. Where did you find the cool Pokemon 'jamas?"
Timmy grinned. "Johnny let me borrow them!"
"Did you thank him?"
"Okay, go find Pappa and we'll head up to bed after we say goodnight to Grandma."
"Okay, Daddy." Timmy said as he ran back into the Rec room to get Sean.
A few minutes later, the three of them located Teri in the office. "Night, Mom." Sean and Cory chorused. Timmy then walked up and gave her a hug. "Ni-Ni Gwanma."
Teri kissed his forehead as she returned the hug. "Goodnight sweetie and goodnight boys. See y'all in the morning.
Sean and Cory tucked Timmy into the bed, and then got ready and climbed in with him.
Teri looked in a few minutes later, and found the three boys sound asleep; Sean had cuddled against Cory's back and Timmy was scooted tightly into Cory's front with both of his parent's arms securely over his little chest.