The disappearance of Joel and Levi is not going to be overly explained in "Sa'ren". As with "Hawaiian Honeymoon", there will be a short story in the near future that will fill in the adventure that the two boys are going on with Vincent Winters from "Frontier".
It is due to a wacked out idea that came to MultiMapper, ACFan and I one day when the Evil Plot Bunny was busy in our heads. The three of us will be working on a short, few chapter story where a Mikyvis, a Trach Manja and the Shaper will be unleashed.
And may God have mercy on all our souls!
It was a surprise to Spock when Juan, Koth and Artemus came raging into the living room, not to mention Black Feet barking and yapping like there was no tomorrow. I-Cheya let up on his attempt to get Mercury down from the top of the bookcase that he had scrambled up on in his frantic escape from a rather pissy Sehlat. For his part, Mercury stopped hissing and spitting at the Sehlat while swiping with his claws and looked on curiously. Then he climbed down carefully once he saw the look in his girlfriend's eyes.
"What has transpired? Where is my son? Where is Levi?" Spock asked as he took a very fast nose count.
"Fuck knows, but he said something about war and their friend?" Artemus huffed as she helped her cat-boyfriend down from the bookcase.
"The Guardian," Spock said before turning back to I-Cheya. "Are you going to leave Mercury alone?"
Mercury moved over and cat-kissed the Sehlat. "Sorry, boy... the joke went too far."
Since there was nothing that could be done to change the situation regarding the two missing boys, everyone simply sat down on the various chairs and sofas, hoping for them reappear alive and unharmed.
"Who is this Guardian?" Artemus asked politely. "I've heard the name but never managed to get all the details, other than he's someone Joel and Levi knows."
"He's a perv," Juan giggled, and they all looked at him. "Well... maybe not. It was a joke. I've met him. He's cool."
"But who or what is he?" Artimus asked, and Mercury was nodding his head along with her.
"A being of immense power," Spock answered. "Jim, Dr McCoy and I encountered him during our first five year mission together. However, we have since learned that he is far more than a window and door to the past."
"He is the Guardian of Forever," Juan said. "I don't understand it all, and he's not... well, he could do everything, I think... maybe... but he is... I don't know. He's the one keeping everything the way it's meant to be."
Spock nodded thoughtfully. "You probably know more than I and the Federation, Juan. That is certainly possible," he said softly.
A yawn at the doorway made them all look over, to find Jimmy rubbing his eyes and Solkar standing next to him. Solkar seemed wide awake - normal for a Vulcan even when just woken up - but Jimmy was not a 'morning person'. "What's all the noise about?" he complained as the two boys walked over to sit on Mercury and Artemus' laps.
"Sehlats roaring, cats squeaking, total chaos!" Solkar added with a giggle, then he laughed more as Mercury went for his ribs.
"I hiss, not squeak!" he protested with a giggle.
"It was a normal Clan style wake up call," Spock said dryly to Jimmy.
There was a sudden sound of liquid swirling near to the door, and again, everyone turned to see what was happening. Joel appeared, followed by Levi and with a third boy: A child, much younger than Joel.
A Vulcan, by the looks of him.
In fact, you would swear that he, Solkar and Joel were related.
Those that thought that would have been correct, for he was their brother - literally.
Levi, once more back in his more normal seven year old form, walked over; leading Joel by the hand, for the young Vulcan still did not have his Crown on with which to see with. The small boy was sitting on Joel's hip for a cuddle - and to be carried as well. He did not miss a trick, apparently.
"Sa'mekh," Joel said formally, "I have something important to tell you."
Spock rose to his feet and looked down upon the three boys. Solkar also bounced to his feet and ran over to look up into his elder brother's face.
"What is it, Sa'ren," Spock asked seriously.
Joel smiled as he hugged the small boy on his hip closer as well as reach out with his other arm to bring Solkar to his side. "There is a long story to this, and I'll tell you all later - but the basics are as follows. The Guardian sent me, Leevee and Vincent into another universe to stop a war. It was strange there; magic and everything. Well, we stopped the war, but the only way to keep it stopped is for the reason for the war being taken away to safety."
"But there was no safe place in that world," Levi took up. "If we had left without dealing with it, then..."
Spock nodded and said, "I gather this child is the reason for the war?"
"Yeah," Joel smiled as he kissed the boy's cheek. "He is... sorry, was... half human, half elven. Since we couldn't leave him, we had to find something else to do. The only option open to us was for him to die... then there wouldn't have been a reason for anyone to fight. I couldn't let that happen. He's my brother... at least, that's what I felt when I first met him... so... I changed Destiny."
Levi continued, "We couldn't just bring him out of that universe into ours because his race, the elves, need magic to exist, and there isn't any here. He'd have died here."
"So I made it that he was my brother by Destiny... and the Guardian was then able to make him such," Joel finished.
"You mean, this child is biologically your brother? My son and T'Sara's son?" Spock asked carefully.
Joel nodded. "Mother has already given him a middle name, like I have one. She agreed to it... but... Daddy; will you accept him as your son? He's never known his parents. They were both killed just after he was born..."
The little boy on Joel's hip looked up and into Spock's eyes. "Alún vatash, Methonel," he said in a sweet little voice that was the younger version of both Joel's and Solkar's. "I was Jem Karosh to my people. Death's Child. Now I am Avaz Karosh, Forgotten Child. I want Time's Warrior, Sa'ren, to be my brother... I want to find a place to be Q'rana'Hatal; To be Family. I know you from his mind, for he can Join, as was told by the Legends of my world. I know she who is now Mother, for she is in Sa'ren's mind. I wish to know you as Father."
Spock knelt down, and Levi whispered to Joel to place the little boy back onto his feet. Once down, the child walked over and into Spock's outspread arms. "I will accept you, child. I would not turn any aside, whether they were blood kin or not."
"Am I to have a name?" the boy asked as he enjoyed the affection of an adult male - something that had never happened in his short life.
"Once Lady Teri returns, I shall Name you. She stands as Mother to all my children, just as I stand as Father to all of hers," Spock explained. "Since she is due back today, I can keep to tradition without involving extended family."
"I see," the boy smiled as he turned in Spock's arms. "Mother T'Sara in Sa'ren's mind named me..."
"Bob?" Koth giggled as he and Juan looked on at the surprising turn of events.
The child raised an eyebrow as he looked over at the two Klingon boy's on the sofa. "Orcs can speak in your world? I thought them your pets, Sa'ren."
"They are Klingons... well, mostly," Joel laughed as Koth looked offended. Juan just grinned and chuckled. "They are a different alien race. You are now Vulcan, like me, our brother Solkar here and like Daddy." Solkar waved at his new little brother from Joel's side.
"Alien... from another world not this one, you said. I see," the boy smiled.
"He speaks well for a little boy," Artemus purred as the mothering instinct rose up in her. "How old is he?"
"Five," Joel answered. "And in his world, Elves learn and mature mentally far faster than human children."
"Much like Vulcans," Solkar added as he led Joel over to start a mass hug with their father and new brother.
"Cool," Mercury giggled. "You'll have to tell us this story later, Joel. Should be fun hearing about the war Juan missed!"
Juan scowled at the cheetah, but Joel giggled, "We stopped it before it started. There were a few good fights, though."
"You're not making me feel any better, Elf!" Juan grouched.
"So, what's your name from T'Sara?" Koth giggled as he hugged his bonded into submission.
The boy smiled...
Ten minutes later, the entire group left Teri's house and started off towards CIC for breakfast. Joel's newest blood brother had changed out of the strange, elven garb that he had been dressed in and was now in a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, much like Jimmy and Solkar. He was bouncing about with the other two chasing Levi, and they all thought it was a fine game. Joel simply grinned as he was being guided by Koth and Juan, for the laughing and squeals of joy from his new brother, never mind the other three, was something he loved to hear. In one morning, so much had already happened; and so much more awaited him once Cory and the others came back.
That thought wiped the smile from his face, albeit briefly. He refused to entertain those thoughts until he at least had a full breakfast inside of him.
They were met at the outside door to CIC by Kevin, whom Joel had sent a message down their link before he and Levi had vanished, telling him to meet them there rather than Teri's home. As Kevin pulled Joel into a hug, Levi ran over and then stopped at their side before enlarging to match both their apparent ages. Kevin looked at him and started to giggle, for Levi was also blushing six shades of pink. Reaching out, Kevin pulled Levi in between himself and Joel. "Silly Mikyvis! What are you blushing for?" Kevin giggled.
Levi giggled but didn't answer. He just snuggled.
"He's like you," Kevin said to Joel as the boy continued to giggle between them. "Silly."
"Yup," Joel grinned as he moved and kissed Kevin seriously. He then pulled back slightly and seemed to be communicating something.
Kevin stared back into Joel's blind eyes and then smiled at what he had been told down their link. He then squeezed Levi so tight that he squeaked and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks," Kevin whispered.
Levi blushed harder. "I should be saying that to you and Joel," he whispered back with a cute smile on his face.
"Thanks all around, then," Joel decided. "Now I want food, unless someone wants to be eaten!"
"I'll volunteer," Juan grinned with a tone in his voice that Joel recognised.
"Children," Spock muttered before saying more loudly, "Inside and eat breakfast. Love making later."
"There," Juan crowed, "we have his orders! You all heard him!"
"You're a nut," Koth laughed before dragging his bonded in through the doorway.
The others followed with Levi and Kevin now leading Joel.
At the breakfast table in the Dining Room, Joel introduced the newest member of the Family of Sarek to the rest of the group, but the squeak of surprise from Pauly stopped everyone in their tracks. Pauly ran around and stopped inches from Joel's youngest brother. "You're name is really Joseph?" he asked with excitement.
The boy, obviously named Joseph, beamed a smile and nodded, "Mother T'Sara said it was. Father will give me another name when Mother Teri arrives."
Pauly beamed, "I'm Pauly... Senva Paul Short, but my brothers call me Pauly! Can we be friends?"
Joseph grinned back, "Saiha! Yes! Sa'ren! I have a friend!"
"He won't be the last," Joel grinned as he reached out to where he could sense his brother and rubbed his black, curly hair.
Pauly grabbed Joseph's hand and pulled him over to introduce his new friend to Timmy and the others.
Joel sat down with Kevin on one side and Levi on the other. Not far along the table, Bryce and Dylan were seated with their boyfriends; Xandor and Thomas respectively. They were not eating anything, however; not even filling their plates, unlike the Lo'Garn and the human boy with them. They were staring at Levi; almost fixated, even.
For his part, Levi just blushed and continued to gather various pieces of fruit to put on his plate.
Dylan looked at his brother and then nodded over at Levi, "What's he hiding?"
"I don't know," Bryce answered, a smile on his face but his eyes narrowing. "If I didn't know better, I'd say he was up to mischief."
"Our Levi?!" Dylan responded in shock. "Never! He's the good boy!"
"Oh, he's good, alright!" Joel muttered under his breath, causing Kevin to snort into his morning milkshake and Levi to blush even harder.
"They're up to something," Dylan insisted.
Justy was only half listening to this conversation. He grinned at what he assumed was just standard Clan banter for a pre-back-to-school breakfast. He glanced in Joel's direction and said, around a nice mouthful of toast, "You're looking happier this morning, cuz. You making progress?"
"Yeah," Joel replied, and, like Levi, was keeping his face turned toward the table before him. He allowed Kevin to guide his hands to the knife and fork so that he could eat his full fried breakfast that he had chosen. "Levi helped me," he added as an after thought.
At this, Levi started to glow pink, so much so that none missed it.
"Right, that does it! What's going on? What are you hiding, Levi!" Dylan exclaimed. "We're the mischief makers, not you," he added, gesturing with his thumb at Bryce.
Levi continued to glow pink, while Joel was rapidly trying to catch up with his own green tinged skin.
"Joel?" Levi said, his voice filled with giggles as well as embarrassment.
Joel turned slightly, coughed and responded, "Yeah?"
"Shall we tell them?"
"Up to you," Joel grinned.
"Tell us what?!" Bryce asked in exasperation.
Levi looked at the plate of fruit before him seriously, then selected one item. It was the only one of its kind on his plate, and everyone at the table could see that. He studied it for a second or so, long enough for those kids old enough to understand to begin to work out what was going on. Then, as per the standard Clan practical joke that had existed since they had heard about Kenny and Rory's misadventure with the same, he held it out towards Joel's mouth, "Want my cherry, Joel?"
Justy, his mouth hanging open, just stared.
Dylan and Bryce blinked, looked at each other, nodded, and then walked around the table to both Joel and Levi. "We need to talk, Uncle Joel," Bryce said seriously.
"And I was worried about your parents finding out," Joel said softly to Levi as he pushed himself to his feet.
The whole table was just sitting there, stunned. Well, apart from the Tribe, who were eating and watching with amusement as the big kids reacted to what they all considered a small issue. So small an issue, in fact, that no-one better let it get between them and their breakfast.
Levi stood up and looked seriously at the slightly taller Bryce, "Where do you want to go?"
Bryce nodded his head toward the Rec Room, so Levi helped Joel walk out and sat him on a chair before sitting down next to him for a cuddle. Levi's brothers came and stood in front of them. Kevin and Juan also followed, and they shut the door on the rest of the Clan. They were there to make sure nothing would get out of control - however, what they intended to do to prevent that was not something they had thought all the way through at that moment.
Dylan, surprisingly, had the most serious expression on his face. He had his arms crossed in front of him and was looking hard at Joel. Bryce, seeming slightly more relaxed, was also looking exclusively at Joel.
Levi's eyes hardened dangerously.
Dylan spoke first, and he dropped the standard honorific from the young Vulcan's name. "Joel. I'd like to know where you get off tempting your nephew into having sex with you. I trusted you, and..."
Kevin and Juan flashed into their armour in a blink of an eye as Levi erupted from the hug with Joel. Juan didn't even know how he'd managed it, for he thought that he hadn't worn his armour long enough for it to respond - but he was glad that it did.
Levi was now in adult form and seemed enraged beyond all measure as he moved between his two brothers and Joel. His eyes were not their standard purple, but a deep blazing red, and his face was masked in anger. "You dare say that about Joel? After everything he's been through, you would risk his recovery to accuse him of abusing me?! And where do YOU get off on thinking that I cannot make an informed decision about something on my own?! I'm older than you in more than just being born first, and the Guardian wouldn't have chosen me if I was not able to think and decide for myself! HOW DARE YOU!" Levi raged at them, finishing so loudly that the doors around the room rattled on their hinges.
All conversation had stopped in the Dining Room, and footsteps could be heard rapidly approaching the door. Spock entered quickly to find two armoured boys just inside and Levi standing between his son and the other two Mikyvis. Dylan and Bryce had quailed back from their brother at the sudden unexpected outburst, and, surprisingly, looked a little frightened by it.
Spock felt it prudent to wait for a moment or so, for he was in no position to stop anything if a fight broke out between the three of them. Rather than walk directly over to them, he moved around to reach and pull Joel back from being near to the epicentre of a likely disaster. Joel trembled in his arms as Spock moved to stand near the door. He wanted to leave with his boy, but he knew that it might be best if Levi had the focus for his defence still in the room.
Bryce opened his mouth to say something to his enraged brother, but Levi cut him short, "Don't try it! You and Dylan thought the same thing, so lying to me now won't help! You thought Joel abused me. You thought Joel tricked me into bed. You thought it was just him getting his rocks off and using me as a thing! A sex toy! HOW DARE YOU! I'm a person too, and I can love JUST like you, and I can make a choice to make love, JUST LIKE YOU BOTH HAVE! Did I imply that Xandor, and ADULT Lo'Garn, tricked YOU into bed, Bryce? Did I DARE to belittle what you feel with Thomas when you two started making out, Dylan? DID I?! They ARE both far older than you two as well!"
Both shook their heads mutely, tears streaming down their face.
"THEN TELL ME WHY YOU SAID AND THOUGHT WHAT YOU DID ABOUT ME AND JOEL! We made LOVE. We did not 'have sex'. I asked him and had to answer his objections why we shouldn't. There was no reason against it, and he was just making sure... I decided, and Joel and Kevin said I could! Did I trick him into bed instead? What did he do to break faith with ANYONE?!..."
"What is this disturbance in the Force?" came a recognised voice from behind Levi, cutting him off mid rant.
Levi span around, still furious, but calmed somewhat when he saw who was there.
The Doctor - Time's Lord had returned; and just in a nick of time too, it seemed.
"G... Galli?" Joel trembled before breaking away from his father and into the arms of his brother who had Folded in mid-Levi-rant. "Gallifrey! Galli! I missed you so much!" he sobbed as the Doctor held him close.
Levi turned to look at the Doctor, and the Doctor looked back at him calmly while holding the frail little Vulcan in his arms carefully. "Sit down, Levi. You two as well, Dylan, Bryce. This is not a reason to start a fight between brothers," he said to them calmly as he, while still hugging Joel, moved around to sit next to Levi. Levi shrank back down to his nine year old form and cuddled Joel on his other side, while Bryce and Dylan sat down, cautiously watching their elder brother.
Kevin and Juan sent their armour away again before moving over to stand near to Joel, and their faces were troubled as well.
Galli kissed Joel's hair and murmured to him briefly before looking deeply into Levi's eyes. Checking. Searching.
He smiled and then looked over at Dylan and Bryce and locked his gaze with each of theirs in turn; also checking and searching.
"Guys," he said to the younger of the two Mikyvis, "you're both working from a position of love and concern for your brother, but you need to learn one valuable lesson: ask questions first and accuse only when you have all the facts. This could have gotten out of hand. In fact, the Clan now knows that the rage of a High Racer is a terrible thing to witness - and this was small potatoes compared to what you are all capable of. You need to think ahead, even if you are blinded to the future right now, okay?"
They both nodded briefly, their eyes still streaming tears as they glanced between the ancient ten year old and their beloved elder brother.
The Doctor then looked at Levi, "I understand your temper, Levi. I can't tell you that you did the wrong thing in what you did, but you did scare everyone in the other room..."
"Not to mention me," Juan said with a grin as he looked with new respect at the young Mikyvis, "I nearly needed to change my shorts!"
Levi sighed before looking over at his brothers, "You hurt me, you know. It really hurt to know that you think of me as a child that can't decide anything for myself. And it hurt when you belittled what Joel and I shared as just 'having sex', not to mention insulting him. Do you think so little of me that I'd be led around like a 3 year old human child?"
Bryce bowed his head and whispered, "Sorry... I'm sorry, Leev... it's... just that..."
Dylan, also sniffing and trying not to cry more, took over. "You're always so... innocent. So pure, so child-like in everything you say and do... not like me and Bry. We're cynical compared to you. We're... well, we thought we were more experienced in things..."
Levi blushed slightly, "Well, about love making, you were both more experienced, but after last night..."
Bryce blushed, but Dylan, the cheekiest of them, brushed at his tears and grinned impishly, "What did you do, then, Casanova?"
"Everything," Levi grinned with a long look at Joel, who was wiping his eyes and blushing from the hug the Doctor was keeping him in. "I had to pause time and keep Joel recharged with energy and..."
"Leev... shhh," Joel giggled shyly.
Bryce looked impressed, if a little envious. "I've not done everything as we've not known each other that long! But I've never thought to do that with time and energy! Right then, Xandor's gonna have a good night tonight!"
Dylan looked a little put out as well, but not seriously so. He grinned self-deprecatingly and said, "I've gotta wait on Thomas... He's a little bit hesitant when it comes to everything."
Joel giggled and reached to poke Levi in the ribs. "There. Definitely no need to get jealous! You've beaten them both hands down..."
"I wasn't trying to beat anyone..." Levi giggled before kissing Joel's cheek briefly.
"Except Joel's meat?" Juan put in cheekily.
Levi simply smiled and said nothing, causing Kevin to burst out laughing. "I think I'm going to need to make a timetable, here... I get primary dibs on Joel-Time... Juan?"
"I'll take a night a week," Juan said magnanimously as he looked through the now open door to the Dining Room and winked at Koth.
"I'll take whichever second is spare," Levi grinned. "I'll just stop time again!"
"Hey, now! What about me?" Joel protested with a laugh. "Don't I get a say in this?"
"You've got three gorgeous boys throwing themselves at you, Joel," Galli laughed. "Don't jinx it, okay?"
"Sheesh... Levi, The Horniest Mikyvis," Bryce chortled. "Dad and Pop are gonna just love that title, right Dilly?"
"I'm getting the new room-signs ready for him," Dylan grinned.
"I'm ignoring you," Levi said, poking his tongue out at them.
Joel's stomach rumbled.
"I think you need to eat. I'll be around but not visible much," Galli said softly. "I never intended to be back so early, but a lot of things happened... sorry, will happen... maybe... whatever, ripples have caused me to return before I should have. I need to be on hand just in case."
"Do you know what will happen?" Joel asked softly, his face looking a little frightened suddenly.
Spock moved over from where he'd been standing quietly and rested his hand on Joel's shoulder as the Doctor said, "No, sorry, bro. I know the ripples, but now I'm in Alpha Prime, AND close to you, I'm blind about the path those ripples have sprung from. We'll just have to wait and see."
Joel whispered to his Time Lord brother, "When I met you earlier... it was so strange. You didn't know me at all, then you were scared and then you understood the message I gave you from the Guardian. I couldn't see that message, even though it was in my head. Can you tell me what it was?"
"No, bro... that is for you to find out. I could only prepare the way, which I did before I left on Friday," Galli answered. "Go on... you need food. I'll be around for a little longer. Things have changed that I did not expect. Go, bro."
Joel nodded his head sadly before allowing his husband to guide him back to his breakfast, while the Doctor sat there watching. Then, he vanished.
Everyone else also walked back in and took their seats, only to have all the Clan stare at them as if a titan was about to attack. Dylan quickly explained and apologised for the situation, with Bryce nodding along with his brother. Levi just heated Joel's breakfast up again, as it had gone a little cold, before also saying he was sorry for exploding.
Then, they all started to eat.
Joseph looked at Pauly and said, "You should have seen my Warrior Brother, Mage Levi and Oracle Vincent fighting... now THAT was scary! Even the Masters were impressed!"
Pauly giggled and continued to stuff his face, keeping his eyes on his new friend: he remembered the name on his tee-shirt, after all... and the Sword had told him that it would be Joel who would bring him his 'special person'...
It was lunch break, and Cody had just about had enough. His first day, and already he'd been teased about his accent, had his bag emptied out over the hallway outside one of the class rooms, and he was now backed into a corner as two third year students bulked large in front of him.
'Great. Just great. Why did we have to move here again?' he thought silently as he watched the two bullies carefully. Not that he had much choice about watching, for one had him by the throat and was glaring into his face while the other glared over his friend's shoulder.
"So?" Michael asked impatiently. "Where's your dinner money, Scotty?"
Cody coughed around the vice grip on his throat and repeated himself, "Don't have any! I told y... ouff!"
A fist to his gut cut him off mid sentence. "Wrong answer," Michael grinned. "We'll just have to make sure you remember to bring us your money tomorrow, and a few bruises might keep your memory clear, yes?"
Michael's 'partner in crime', Paul, was chuckling to himself as he kept a watch for any prefects or teachers that might spoil their fun, but they had the spot picked out well. There were any number of kids in the first and second years that knew that part of the grounds was a nightmare to be taken to. Cody, however, didn't know that - but he could guess that he was in for a beating of his life. He was still struggling to get his breath back, and to not cry or let on that he was scared, when he felt another solid blow land. This time, a cry did escape his lips, for he had received a kidney shot from Michael.
"First, you never speak back to us unless it's to say 'Here's your money'," Michael grated as he landed that punch. Then he pulled the staggering and openly crying boy up by his bright blond hair and kneed him in the groin. "And that is for not bringing money with you," he said easily, before landing his third strike; right across Cody's jaw, "and that is just because I hate Scots."
"My turn?" Paul asked excitedly as Michael let the sobbing boy drop to the grassy ground.
"Sure!" Michael laughed as he stepped back.
Paul never made it close, however. The reason was is that he and Michael were suddenly pinned against the wall, their feet dangling six feet off the floor.
"Are you alright?" a voice asked Cody, and the boy felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.
All Cody could manage was a weak shake of his head. His nuts felt like they were on fire, and he still had not gotten his breath back properly from the gut punch he'd had right at the start. His teeth felt loose in his mouth, and his left kidney was on fire. All he could do is weakly sob and try to still his racing heartbeat.
"What the fuck is this shit!" Paul cried out from above Cody and his rescuer.
There was no reply from the other boy that still had his hand on Cody's shoulder, but there was also no further outbursts from the two boys high up against the wall. Cody felt his rescuer kneel down next to him and place an arm around his back. "Come on. You and me need to go see about your injuries," the boy said.
Cody managed to lift his gaze to see who this other kid was. Brown hair, faintly red under the sunlight, and piercing blue/green/grey eyes. He wasn't in a school uniform, that much Cody saw right away. "Who're you?" he wheezed out before coughing.
"Jason Evans," came the answer. "My Mam's the headmistress."
Cody looked Jason up and down quickly, "That's not what you're meant to be wearing, is it?"
"What, this?" Jason giggled as he and Cody got to their feet, with Cody's weight being supported by Jason. "Sure it is... but I'm not from this school, so..."
"Don't look like no uniform I've seen before," Cody smiled weakly before wincing in pain. "Ah... my nuts hurt bad," he wept suddenly as he moved.
Jason's eyes hardened and he looked up the wall at the two boys he was holding there - and keeping quiet as well. Jason looked back at the weeping Cody and asked, "What's your name?"
"Surname?" Jason asked with a slight grin.
"Scott. I'm from..."
"Aberdeen. I recognise the accent, mate," Jason laughed. "Tell me, have you ever been on a starship?"
Cody's eyes widened and he shook his head.
"Ever been through a transporter?" Jason asked as he floated the two bullies lower until they were hovering a few inches off the floor.
Cody's eyes were bugging out of his head by this point. "N...no... but I've always wanted to! I love space stuff! Why?"
Jason simply grinned and touched a finger to a device on his neck. "Voice to Wisdom, four for transport directly to the sickbay."
There was no answer other than the whine and hum of transporter beams as the four boys were snatched away.
"WOW!" Cody yelled, then winced, as he reappeared in the medical bay of the Yoshuhlnak.
Jason laughed before signalling for the Vulcan doctor to come over and check on Cody. "I'm just going to deal with these two punks, then I'll be right back," he informed Cody, who simply nodded as he mutely let the alien doctor help him up onto a biobed.
Jason smiled and turned to leave, with the two still floating older boys in tow.
Ten minutes later, and Cody was all smiles as he jumped down from the biobed and pulled his shirt back on. It was about this time that Jason returned, alone. Cody waved, "Hey! Thanks! This place is just wicked, and I don't hurt or anything, now!"
"Vulcans make great doctors," Jason grinned.
The doctor looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "We do everything well, as you know, Commander," he said before turning to go back to his office.
"C...commander?" Cody spluttered as Jason took one arm and gently guided him from the sickbay.
"I'm in the VSO; Vulcan's secret service."
Cody just stopped at the door and stared at his new friend. "But... if it's secret..." he whispered.
"It's no biggie for me to tell you," Jason grinned as they walked down the corridor outside. "Just like if you joined MI6. You could tell your friends and family and what not. I don't do undercover much, and even if I did, we have advantages that the Earth services don't."
"Oh... so, who's in charge here? Your captain?" Cody asked as he looked around the corridor and at the Vulcan crew passing them.
"Me. Vulcan ranks are different from Starfleet, Cody," Jason chuckled.
They approached a door and it opened automatically. It was the bridge.
"Wow!" Cody breathed. "I... wow!"
On the command chair, an Andorian boy turned to look at them. "Ah, our guest! It's all ready in the office, Jace," he said to them.
"Thanks. I'm starved," Jason giggled as he guided - or half pulled, really - Cody through to the Commander's Office, just off from the bridge. The blond boy was simply agape at being on the bridge of an alien starship.
However, Cody's focus was immediately on the smell he caught as he entered. Burgers, fries and chocolate milkshakes!
"Don't be surprised. Dinner break had only just started, and I sensed you getting into trouble, so... tuck in, then we'll go back in time for your lessons," Jason laughed.
Cody needed no second telling. He jumped at the food, along with Jason. "Why were you in school if you don't go there?" he asked around a mouthful of fries.
Jason shrugged, "I went to bring a message to my Mam. I was heading out of the office when I felt you get into trouble. I've been in that spot before, only the bullies didn't get anywhere with me - that was before I left that school at Christmas, though."
"Oh," Cody mumbled, then went back to eating - and chatting with Jason too.
Half an hour later, a voice came over the comm. 'Jason. Daileass and I have stopped alarms from sounding, but we have to tell you. Tyler has just had a shit fit and blown Orlando CIC to hell and back. It's likely that you'll be needed for that prick in the brig, soon.'
Jason looked up, and Cody could see that his normally open and fun filled gaze had grown very hard. "Thanks, Draco. I'll standby for contact from them. Prep the Observation Room for us, though."
"What's happening?" Cody asked around his third burger.
Jason smiled at him, albeit shortly. "Nothing you need to worry about. So, your folks have moved here for work?"
"Yeah," Cody said, forgetting about what he had just asked as unimportant and returning to his food. "Although I don't think Uncle Pete likes the job. It's more money, though... I think."
Jason nodded absently, then asked, "What's he do?"
"School teacher, in a primary school," the blond boy answered. "Aunt Bev is a nursery nurse in the same school."
Jason smiled as a thought came to him. He also had a nagging feeling in his mind as he looked at this boy. "Do you have any cousins? Any other family?" he asked.
Cody nodded, "I think so. A brother, but my aunt and uncle lost contact with my birth family when I was two."
"Why were you with them, if your real mam and dad were around?" Jason asked curiously.
Cody shrugged, "My dad died before I was born, and my mum couldn't deal with raising another boy who would probably look a lot like him. Aunt Bev said that she thought my mum had a breakdown or something."
With a nod, Jason went back to his food. "I hope you find them," he said around a mouthful of fries.
Cody shrugged, "They've not tried to find me, so why should I be really bothered. I'm searching the net, but I don't know what I'll do if I find them." He then asked curiously, "What about those two pricks who attacked me? What did you do with them?"
Jason grinned, "Gave them a taste of their own medicine, then sent them back to school. Only thing is, they appeared in the middle of the school yard, but their clothes appeared six miles away. Strange, that."
Cody started laughing hysterically, and Jason joined him.
The entire group were gathered outside on the playing fields, and so were a large group from the Camp across the road. Mrs Handley and her manic son, Kieron, were also there, as were Bradley and Stewart. They were being talked to by Chief Tecumseh while Mr T was busy handing out clothing to all the children present. He pointed to various tents that had been set up around the edge of the field they were in so that they could all change in private if they wished, due to there being boys and girls present. Some chose to use them, others, mainly the younger kids, simply stripped and changed where they were.
Kevin, Joel, Juan and Levi were walking over to one of the smaller tents to get changed, with Kataui riding shotgun on Joel's shoulder. Levi stopped suddenly. "They're coming back now," he whispered. "Galli just said he's doing something to get it all sorted in the best way. We have to get to CIC."
"I'll tell Mr T," Kevin said as he sped over to the headteacher and explained what was going on. He received a nod before running back to Levi and his husband. "He said we can take as long as it needs, even if we don't do anything else today. The same will apply to those coming in who need it," Kevin explained breathlessly.
"Okay," Joel trembled. "Levi... can you get my Clan robe and VSO uniform?"
"Sure," Levi said as he popped away and returned a second later with the requested items. "Here," he said as he and Kevin helped Joel to put it all on. "Should you call your Crown? It might help."
"No. If they are going to see all this, then the worst first. Let's save the best news for after," Joel trembled again. Then he said, "Get your brothers to get everyone out of CIC. I've got a strange feeling things could go very wrong."
"Yeah, but if the world ends, would being outside of one building in any way help?" Juan muttered as Levi looked over towards his two brothers.
Joel shrugged. "Dunno. Just a feeling. Better be careful... oh, I feel all sick inside," he murmured nervously.
Levi then grasped both his and Kevin's hand, looked at Juan, and then popped them all directly into the main building. As they looked around Main CIC, they saw Seth being wheeled out by Prince Harry, with Dylan heading for the Kitchen to evacuate the cooks and Helen. Kevin turned towards the door leading to the main briefing room, for he could hear what he recognised as Cory's voice.
Joel whimpered. "I can't do this, guys... but I have to..."
"We're right with you," Kevin whispered as the three boys snuggled quickly around Joel.
Spock was in the briefing room going over a response he had received from the Kolinahr masters on Seleya when the room filled up with Teri and the group that had originally departed from Orlando the previous Friday. Cory blinked when he saw where he was and looked down at Tyler, "I thought you were going to take us to where the others are?"
"I meant to... Cor, it's only just past nine in the morning! What's happening? We've gone backwards in time!"
Teri moved quickly to calm things down, "This is meant to happen, guys. Please sit. We have a lot to talk about."
Cory looked at her strangely, and then noticed that the others who should have come with them had not done so. "Where's everyone else?" he asked.
"They'll come after," Teri answered. "Your 'bratty little brother' is arranging things, son. They left when we did, but we got here in our past to do what needs to be done. He just let me know just as Tyler was doing his thing."
"Great," Cory sighed as he sat down. "Just great. I have a holiday, and it's back to work with a bang..."
Spock stood up and moved over to him, "I am sorry to tell you that it is not going to be easy, my child. Please wait here while I fetch those who are required."
"I'm not feeling much better about this!" Cory called out loudly after him as Spock closed the door of the conference room behind him. He turned to his mother, "Can we at least call Joel in here? I miss my elf, and I want to thank him for that poem he wrote."
Teri's face became like stone for a brief second. "He is on his way," she said simply. "He'll see... he'll be here when he's here," she finished.
Mont and Bast could smell the unease as Teri said this. "You've been aware of this for a while now," Bast stated.
Teri just looked at him sadly.
"What is going on? You know, don't you?" Cory said, standing up and pacing with a mixture of anger and nervousness. "What happened? Is it Joel? Tell me, Mom!"
"No," Teri said. "Please sit, Cory."
"No! Where is my Lil'elf? Something's happened, and I want to know!" Cory said loudly and firmly.
Kyle was looking around as well. "I can't sense anything from outside this room," he said, his voice filled with uncertainty.
JJ and Adam took a long look at Cory's face and started to their feet. Teri turned on them, "Please sit, guys. This needs to happen."
Before anyone could say any more, the door opened and Spock re-entered, along with Quint, Juan and a nine year old sized Levi. The six boys blinked at Levi's present appearance, and Tyler asked, "You decided to go for a change, Leev?"
Levi shrugged seriously while remaining in the doorway, "You'll find out after, Poppa."
Quint moved over and cuddled in tight in between Kyle and Tyler, who suddenly looked more than a little nervous. "Okay, what's happening?" Kyle grumbled, his voice shaking slightly.
"Just what I've been asking!" Cory nearly exploded as Juan remained by the door with Levi. Spock, meanwhile, had gone to stand near to JJ and Adam, while Teri moved closer to Sean. Cory, however, continued to pace back and forth, glaring at them all. "Where. Is. Joel?" he asked slowly and firmly when he finally came to a halt.
Adam and JJ were about to stand as well to vent their feelings when a trembling voice came from out of the open door.
It was Joel's, but he remained around the corner and not in the doorway. "I'm here, C... Co... Blondie."
That made Cory's heart go cold, the fact that Joel seemed incapable of saying his name. Levi walked fully into the room, and Kevin appeared and took his place in the doorway. His left hand was held out to the side of the door, obviously holding Joel's hand. "You must promise me something," came the quavering plea from Cory's Elven brother.
"Anything, Lil'elf," Cory replied, concern for Joel overcoming his mounting anger.
"Keep your temper. Don't lose it. Don't get mad. Don't explode. Keep your temper," Joel's whisper came, and Cory could only just hear him. "Until I tell you you can, you must not lose your temper. You must swear it."
Cory's mind spun as he wondered what could cause Joel to be so insistent on him making that promise. It took a few seconds to compose himself before he was able to honestly make the promise that he was being asked to make. It took every bit of control that he had to do it, but finally Cory was able to say the words that he consciously could never break. He had never broken a promise that he had sworn to, and was not about to start now; especially not with Joel. "I swear with all my heart that I will not lose my temper, no matter what you say or show me," Cory stated firmly as his heart rate increased with the nervous tension in the room.
A thrill of power ran through the room and up everyone's spine. "D...done," came Joel's shaking voice.
"Don't be scared," came a mechanical, robotic voice from just around the door, and the voice made everyone inside look at each other; other than Teri, Spock and the boys who had not gone to Des Moines. "I won't let anything happen to friend-cookie-supplier!"
Then there were purrs. Lots of them.
Cory turned and looked at the rest of his brothers with unease as well as some puzzlement.
"Ready, Sa'r?" Kevin asked softly as he looked to his side.
There was no verbal answer, but a clan robed figure moved to stand next to Kevin, and was then lead slowly into the room.
Cory started forward immediately, but Juan moved quickly and placed a gentle hand on the larger teen's chest. "No, Cory. Please wait for him," he said softly, in a very un-Juan-like manner.
His nerves rising to breaking point, Cory simply nodded and just looked over at the robed Joel. Under the robe, on Joel's shoulder, Cory could see a small lump that seemed to be moving slightly back and forth - the source of the purring, Cory assumed.
Joel turned his head to face Cory more directly, and he murmured, "Just like him, Kev..."
"What is?" Kevin asked quickly as he looked around the room.
"Blondie... they are similar. So alike..." Joel trembled. Then he wailed, and Teri felt her heart tear in two at the sound. Adam and JJ felt fear for the first time since the Montana Attack, while Kyle started guessing and crying at those guesses. "It's not FAIR!" Joel screamed, and his heartbreak at the discovery was palpable in his voice.
"Will a hug make it better?" Cory asked gently, although his own heart was heavy and cold in his chest.
He moved toward the boy, and this time Juan did not stop him, but as he reached out his arms to enfold Joel in a hug, Joel screamed. It was a sound of terror, loss and pure, living fear, "GET AWAY FROM ME!"
Cory tripped as he was moved suddenly backwards by the strength of the emotions that blasted out from the frail figure before him. He stumbled and ended up just on his feet with his back to one of the walls. "What ...?!" Cory managed to exclaim as he slammed up against the wall. His voice was filled with a mixture of shock, concern and disappointment. Never had one of his brothers reacted this way to him before. Not after they had been made a member of the family and accepted him as their big brother, that is.
Kevin was whispering quickly to Joel, and the reply from the Vulcan was heard by all. "He's the same size... the same feel... everything, Kevvy... even the smell is like him! All I can see is him and all I can feel is his... his... NO! NOOOO!" he finished with a scream as he leaned forward and brought up his breakfast onto the floor of the meeting room. How the vomit managed to miss the inside of the hood of his robe was something no-one ever worked out, but Levi was fast in clearing up the mess.
Kyle, however, was wishing that he was not a Mikyvis so that he too could be sick. The dry retches he was having was simply due to his guessing what the problem was. He had been assaulted many times in his young life, and, like Joel now, he had reacted this way as well. Tyler and Quint were trying to comfort him, but Tyler was not having an easy time of it - he was one with Kyle and therefore Kyle's knowledge and guesses were his own. He looked at Cory, his eyes filled with pleading and denial, and he found in Cory's eyes the same knowledge - the same guess. The horror on Cory's face made it all the worse for Tyler, and he too started to dry retch.
Sean was pale and shaking like a leaf in the wind. On trembling feet, he stood and moved a step towards Joel.
The boy, sensing Sean's approach, flinched but did not seem as terrified as when Cory had approached. "No, Ted," Joel cried, "it must be... be... C..Corr...... I... have to..."
With his eyes running tears, Sean moved back slightly and whispered, "Okay, Lil'elf."
JJ and Adam were on their feet and JJ's hands were clenching and unclenching into fists over and over, while Adam was trying to take deep breaths to calm himself down. Spock had a hand on each boy's shoulder, but the Vulcan was not having much luck in syphoning off their emotions for himself to deal with.
Mont and Bast were shaking and infuriated, for they could smell Joel's fear, never mind the fear from the others in the room. They looked at Juan and received a one word telepathic message. Both cats unleashed their claws and started snarling in rage.
With a faltering step, Cory pushed himself away from the wall by a foot or so. "Elf? It's me, Elf. Your big brother... I'll... I'd never hurt you. You know that, right?"
Joel straightened up slightly with Kevin and Levi's help and nodded. "I know... but I'm scared... I..."
"Why?" Cory asked, his voice showing his love and concern, but he managed to keep his own fear at bay. 'Oh, God... please, not that. Anything but that...' he thought, trying to wish away the nagging feeling that it was all about what his guess was.
"Because... Because..." Joel tried but just wailed more in frustration and fear. He gently pushed himself away from both his husband and Mikyvis best friend, and started in generally Cory's direction. He was off by a few feet, and his hooded head was facing in clearly the wrong direction as he said, "I've been trying to find a way to say this since yesterday... since Justy told me it had to be me... But I can't! I don't know how!"
"I'm... I'm over here, Elf," Cory said, his voice hitching in his throat as the robed figure turned more to face him.
Then, gathering his courage, Joel did the bravest thing possible. He rushed forward. Once within three feet of Cory, he managed to adjust himself so that he slammed into Cory's chest rather than miss him completely. Sobbing his heart out, he wailed, "Hug me! Just hug me!"
Cory was driven back against the wall with the force of the impact, and remained there, keeping Joel in a vice grip that not even a Sehlat could have broken. "Tell me what's wrong, Little Elf. I can't help if you don't tell me. Please, let me help."
With a piercing sob, Joel blurted it out before his courage deserted him totally. "I've been raped, Blondie! Not once, but a lot! I...I've been gang r...raped!" Then he broke completely and wailed into his brother's chest; it was the first time he had said it and admitted it aloud, even to himself.
Cory sank down the wall, bringing Joel with him. He ended up sitting on the floor with his legs framing Joel's trembling body and his arms wrapped tight around his brother's back. "I'm here," he whispered, his voice thick with tears. "I'm here." It was all he could say, for his mind was frozen between rage, murder, grief, sadness and loss for his little brother. The promise he had made was not only a promise he could not have consciously broken, but it was also a Destiny point - stopping his temper, even though he longed to be able to do so.
Sean had fallen back towards his chair, missed it by a foot, and ended up on his butt on the floor sobbing. Kyle and Tyler were already crying loudly, while JJ and Adam were stock still in furious rage and grief.
Then things started to erupt. JJ picked up the meeting room chair he had been sitting on, shrugged off Spock's hand, and slammed it over and over into the wall of the room. Since it was drywall only, it could not take much abuse and the chair ended up after a few swings out in the hallway beyond. Adam elected to use his chair on the table itself, thus smashing the table and the chair into pieces after a few swings - Vifers are just a little stronger than your average human after all.
Juan's lips narrowed at this, for he reasoned that in Joel's current state, such actions by those he considered brothers would cause more distress. He started moving quickly over to JJ and Adam, intent on ending it with a light 'slap' to the side of their heads. It would have only rendered them unconscious, he reasoned, so no real harm done.
Spock saw him coming, and was also on the same train of thought regarding Joel's situation. He put his hands back onto both boys' shoulders and said seriously, "My sons; you must compose yourselves. There will be a time and place for rage and violence, but the time is not yet and not here. Sa'ren will need his two brothers to draw strength and control from, so you must have it in yourself to be able to give it to him."
Neither boy listened, for flames now filled their minds. Spock sighed and increased the grip of his fingers, locating and finding those areas needed for a very light nerve pinch. Whilst it did not render either of them unconscious, it did make them wilt and fall to their butts on the floor. Spock then knelt down with them and pulled them close to whisper to them.
On seeing that both JJ and Adam were being quietened by his uncle, Juan turned his attention on Mont and Bast - he could tell and sense they were also about to loose control; and being Genesis kids, they would cause one hell of a lot more damage and noise than JJ and Adam had just done. He marched right up to them and, in his full authority filled voice, said, "You will come to attention and compose yourselves this instant. That is a direct order."
The two lions glared down at Juan furiously. Mont spat, "But he's been..."
"Did you not hear me?" Juan asked dangerously. "Attention. Now."
Grinding their teeth, both cats did so.
"Breath and compose yourselves," Juan continued, "because I will not tolerate you doing what the other two just did. You will not scare Joel more than he already is. I will not allow it. Is that clear?"
"Sir, yes sir," they answered together.
Juan's face softened, then, and he said softly, "I know what you're feeling, guys. I went through worse Saturday..."
"This happened then? And no-one told us?!" Mont hissed furiously, yet still keeping a lid on his temper - if only just.
Juan nodded. "Once my Joel calms down, you'll understand why. This is very dangerous, guys. Cory is the reason for the secret. Please, just stay calm as much as you can. I know it's hard - much harder than when your brother died. That's Joel's fault, in a way. He gets into you and makes you do stupid things when he's hurt. Even Chang was affected by it, so don't feel bad. Just try your best, okay?"
"Okay, sir," Bast answered. Then, just to show that rank meant less than family, he pulled Juan over and he and Mont hugged him tight. "Thank you, brother. It must have been so much worse for you..."
"It was and still is," Juan answered, although his voice was muffed by having it mashed into the robe Bast was wearing.
As the three comforted each other, and as Spock continued to speak with JJ and Adam, Quint was doing all he knew to keep Kyle and Tyler from breaking off on a major Universe shattering rampage. Levi and Kevin could only watch, for they were torn between wanting to help Joel, help Cory, help Sean or help any of the rest of them.
Meanwhile, as Joel cried into Cory's chest, Cory was finding his conscious mind splitting into separate zones - more or less like a Vulcan, going by the mind-melds he'd been in. It felt very much akin to the way he felt Sarek thinking when he'd melded with his grandfather. One zone dealt with his towering rage, that had been blocked off by the promise sealed; the other allowed him to comfort and care for the sobbing, scared little boy in his arms. He whispered nonsense into Joel's hood covered hair softly, while his eyes drifted to his husband pleadingly.
Sean was in Teri's arms, for she had knelt down to hug him when he had fallen to the floor in shock. He saw through his tears Cory look at him, and cried softly to his mother, "They need me, Mom, but I don't think I can get over there."
Teri wiped at her own eyes before helping her son to stand. As they approached the crying Cory and Joel, Joel raised his head and sniffed, "Ted? Is that you?"
Cory narrowed his tear filled eyes. Sean was right there; why did Joel even need to ask that?
"Yeah," Sean whispered.
"Please hug me," Joel wept. "I missed being a Joel sandwich with you two..."
Sean wasted no time in snuggling in with them both, keeping Joel pressed tight between himself and his husband. Slowly, Joel stopped crying, and just cuddled in close to Cory's chest, feeling Sean's protective love washing over him from behind. "There's more," he croaked as soon as he was able to get around the lump in his throat that his sobs had caused.
"Tell us, Little Brother," Cory said softly, the comforting part of his mind still in firm control.
"There were five of them," Joel whispered. "Two, Bradley and Stewie... they were being hurt by the older three when I tried to help. But when I saw... saw him, I... oh, Blondie! It was my old master! From the other place, only here he's younger. He's fourteen, and... and..."
Kevin moved over to kneel next to the three, "His name is Corey."
Cory's face went white. "What?" he hissed.
"There's more," Quint said from his place with the two Mikyvis. "He is your Opposite and Equal, Cory. He is the other side of the coin. Which is why Joel was so scared of you just now..."
"I'm still scared... I'm terrified... you smell like him... you're... he's... the smell is reversed, but I can tell it's you... him... I..." Joel sobbed.
Cory's eyes were blank, almost dead of emotion at the words spoken by his little brother; although his mind was screaming out bloody vengeance.
Joel continued to blubber into his chest, the face that Cory longed to see still hidden within that robe and hood. "He and his two older brothers... they held me while he cut... cut me, and... then they raped me, and made Stewie and Brad rape me, and then they raped the three of us, and... then he stabbed me. He tried to kill me and..."
"What happened to them?" Cory asked softly, his voice much more ominous due to the complete lack of anger in it.
Kevin took in a deep breath. "The eldest two, Levi and Dillon, were..."
"They have our sons' names?!" Kyle shouted in rage.
Kevin looked over and nodded, "Yes. Levi, then Dillon, then Corey. Scotman, if you can believe it."
Kyle screamed with pain and rage before wilting on himself and simply crying.
Cory's face remained impassive, however, as he continued to hold Joel close. At first, the name 'Scotman' raised nothing particular in his mind; but then he remembered his birth name - Cory Scott. The very thought infuriated him more.
Sean's face mirrored his husband's as he wrapped his arms around both him and Joel from the front. He, too, had seen the relevance of the name.
Kevin continued, "The two oldest were emasculated by Viccy and Sammy, and they have been sent by Jason to Prison Planet R'tha Naraz for life..."
"Why?" Cory grated. "Why life? Why not executed for the rape of three boys and the attempted murder of my brother?"
His tone was cold. Lifeless. Icy.
Kevin's own face was filled with remembered anger, but he looked to Juan who, whilst he had not been in the room, had been given a direct mental feed of the proceedings.
Juan moved over with Mont and Bast in tow and said, "I would have killed them, but Levi was a retard and Dillon had the mental age of a far younger kid. Both were brutes who loved causing pain for the sake of it, but mainly they were led by their little brother. This Corey is... the devil."
Cory nodded before looking back at Kevin. "You were not there?"
"No, I was at Sa'r's side through all of it. He was in Utah's Med-bay then," the boy answered softly.
"Continue," Cory ordered.
"Corey Scotman was sentenced to emasculation followed by death by vivisection. He had killed more than once, and the worst had been two siblings whom he had killed that way. But..." Kevin paused. Then he whispered, "Then Jason said two angels showed up to stop him doing anything to that bastard."
"Mikey?" Sean asked, horrified.
"No," Juan mumbled. "They called themselves Gabriel and Michael."
"The Archangels," Joel whispered from Cory's chest, causing the teen to tighten the hug.
Juan continued with a nod, "They were the ones to tell Jason about Corey being your opposite and equal. If we did anything to him, we'd do it to you too."
Cory turned his steely gaze on Quint. "What is this about? Opposite and Equal?" he asked in his deathly quiet voice.
Quint half shrugged, "An old legend. The High Races can never tell if someone is in an Opposite and Equal status. It is something said to be fundamental to creation. There is to be balance at all times. Two Guardians, even if one is fallen; the High Races working as one as a pivot around them both. But, so the legends say, it is not based on good and evil. Good would exist without the evil. Light exists without the dark. The Opposite and Equal is a case of moral opposites. And it needs resolution before it unbalances all. Either the evil will win, or the good; and each choice is a pivot point in the growth or death of a universe. It is more critical as we have never heard of one in Alpha Prime, before. Going by what I got from Jason's mind, there are two sets of Opposite and Equal in Alpha Prime right now. You and the other Corey, and another set. We don't know who the other set is. No-one knows. Maybe the Guardian knows, but... If you die, Corey dies. If he is hurt, you are. When you lost your memories, he did. But he has regained all of his. You are still blocking some of yours."
"So we're the same, but opposites?" Cory asked.
"No. You are good, he is evil. In that you are Opposites. The Equal part, so I understand, is in your impact in the world around you. You are a genius. So is he, but while your power also lies in love and your mental abilities, his is solely in his genius. He is far more intelligent than you, Cory," Quint answered. "That's really all I know. That's all the Doctor knows. We only find out about an Opposite and Equal situation after the fact, so... sorry, Cory. All we know is that you must find a way to beat him, or he you without killing yourself. I don't know anything else. The legends are such as we never see the situation, only it's result. Until now."
Cory bowed his head to press a kiss into Joel's head. He wanted action, but until Joel could move then he could not either.
Sniffing softly to himself, Joel turned his head up towards Cory's face. His own deep in shadow, but Cory could make out the profile of his jaw and cheeks. "There's more you need to know," Joel whispered sadly as he reached up and fumbled until he could twirl his fingers through Cory's long blond hair.
With a little life in his voice, now, Cory whispered, "You can tell me anything, Elf."
Joel shivered for a moment, and then reached with both hands to lower his hood. His missing left eye was stark against the rest of his face, and the scar running from forehead to cheek, right through where the eye should have been, was clearly visible. His right eye, that which Cory remembered as being a beautiful royal blue, was white around the pupil instead. "I'm blind," Joel croaked as he blinked sightlessly at his older brother. "The first thing he did was to cut out my eye, then, at the end, he threw me off the boxes he was fucking me on. I landed on the back of my head on the floor. With his knife still in my chest... I've lost my sight..."
This time, it was Tyler who exploded.
He lost all control of his temper, and gave a physical description to the phrase 'blowing your top'. "BASTARDS!" he exclaimed in the loudest yell ever as he broke free of Quint. He barely cleared the young Q before breaking into a blinding red glow. Before anyone could blink, a ball of energy exploded from around him and shot skyward. It took out not only the ceiling of the room but the roof of CIC as well. Less than a second later, Tyler himself vanished with a crack of thunder that left everyone's ears ringing.
Quint quickly erected shielding to stop the falling pieces of what was once a perfectly sound building from falling on anyone in the room. "Good thing I've got designs ready. This place is totalled," he muttered as he watched some of the walls around them fall.
CIC was now, officially, a write off.
Levi huffed slightly before disappearing after his missing Pop. A second later, they returned. "Now sit, Poppa! Uncle Joel will need you, and you playing 'Kill the Asteroids' won't help him!" Levi said firmly.
Tyler glowered at his eldest child, obviously still not happy but calmed enough to see the reason behind his son's statement.
Cory was still staring into Joel's altered face, his own eyes filling with tears. Sean had moved to sit next to him, and he was crying openly at the sight.
"I ... swear ... by ... all ... of ... Creation ... that ... he ... will ... painfully ... pay ... with ... his ... life ... for ... what ... he ... did ... to ... you." Cory stated factually, the ice in his voice almost visible.
At that point Kyle turned his head, and through his own tears he got a look at Cory's face. "Oh Shit! Oh Heavenly Father, please help us!" he moaned in prayer.
Quint also noticed, and he nodded against the top of Kyle's head, "Just like Galli..."
"'The Fury of the Time Lord'," Tyler whispered fearfully, "but in my brother's eyes... oh God... help us!"
Kyle recited from memory a phrase which chilled the bones of those who now heard it; a phrase he had been told by the Doctor when he had been given a brief run down of the Last Great Time War:
"The Reaper walks amongst us, and those who have not felt the warmth of his heart and the touch of his love shall welcome death. It shall be a relief from his judgement and wrath."
Quint shivered, and unwillingly explained the source of the quote to those who did not know it. "That was the last public statement made by the Gallifreyan Council, made just as they sent Galli to end the Great Time War. Those that hadn't felt his love and his heart would beg to die. His own people accepted his judgement for he loved them and they him, as did all the other High Races who fought with the Time Lords. But the Daleks... from that day til now, they have called Galli 'The Destroyer of Worlds', and they tremble each time they cross his path." Quint pointed directly at Cory, "'Be ye warned: Death stands amongst us this day, and his fury is terrible.'"
Suddenly, over all the noise of the kids outside shouting in shock at the destruction of their CIC - and the cookies Helen had been making - came the voice of the Guardian:
//Call and Assemble. Now comes the Sundering. The first Opposite and Equal shall fall. Be it the Light or the Dark that endures, only the Choice shall tell... Destiny's Child - you must face he who was your master. You must enable this choice. For only the Shaper can make this so; only the Champion of the One... For you and you alone enabled the Capstone, Cory, to be the Justicar of Sa'ren, and you and you alone can contain the fury of his destiny//
With Sean's help, Cory got himself to his feet, and cradled Joel over his hip. "We're your eyes now, Lil'Elf. And I will deal with that bastard once and for all. He's not your master any more."
"I know he's not," Joel smiled sadly. "I have a new Master, now. For real, this time, and not holding back... at least, trying not to. Right, Leevee?"
"Yeah," Levi smiled, also a little sadly due to the current emotions in the area. "We've both got a Master."
Kyle sniffed and looked with confusion at his son. "What do you mean?" he asked through his hitching cries and sobs.
Levi quickly snuggled with his parents, "It's a long story..."
"We could sing the song I taught you last night... well, sometime last night... and see if they guess?" Joel offered weakly, but he did blush slightly.
Levi nodded slowly, also blushing. "It might cheer you up too, Joel," he whispered as he walked over. Cory knelt back down so that Levi could lay his hand tenderly on Joel's cheek.
Joel closed his eyes and lifted his free hand to the open sky above him... and sang:
"Father, let the world just fade away,
Let me feel your presence in this place.
Levi lifted his face and joined his voice with Joel's, his eyes also closed peacefully:
Lord, I've never been so weary,
How I need to know you're near me,
Father, let the world just fade away.
Till I'm on my knees,
Till my heart can sing:
"He is, He was,
He always will be!
Even when it feels like
There is no one holding me,
Be still, my soul:
"Father, let your Holy Spirit sing,
Let Him calm the storm inside of me.
As I stand amazed,
Lift my hands and say:
"He is, He was,
He always will be!
He lives, He loves,
He's always with me!
Even when it feels like
There is no one holding me,
Be still, my soul...
"Through every fear
And every doubt,
And every tear I shed.
Down every road
I'm not alone,
No matter where I am...
"He is, He was,
And He always will be!
He lives, He loves,
He's always with me!
Even when it feels like
There is no one holding me,
Be still, my soul..."
Joel went quiet, leaving Levi to sing, "Be still and know..."
"Be still, my soul," Joel finished alone, "... He is!"
("He is" by Mark Schultz)
Then the young Mikyvis turned to look at his parents, and saw their questioning expression. "Lord Jesus is my Saviour," he said simply in answer to the unasked question. "He's my Master, just like he's Joel's."
"I think that you're becoming more human than we are, Levi," Kyle said with a sad little smile as he waved his free arm at his son to call him over. Levi ran over and snuggled in tight.
Tyler also smiled a small little smile before kissing his son's hair. Then he looked at Kevin, and his face hardened as he dashed away his tears, "Where do we go so that Cor can deal with that piece of shit who dared to hurt our brother?"
Kevin tapped his comm. "Jace?"
A moment later, "Yes, Kev?"
"Cory is ready to... deal with that useless waste of breath on your ship. You free to give us a tour to the brig?" Kevin asked, his voice filled with the expectation of some real vengeance for what had happened to his husband.
"About bloody time. I'm going to have to fumigate that cell after... meet you up here. Whichever Mikyvis is doing the honours, go for the Forward Observation Room, and I'll see you there."
Kyle looked at Levi, then at Tyler. "I don't know what room he means. I've not been on his starship."
Quint grinned, "Well, good thing you have an all knowing Q with you, isn't it?" Then he snapped his fingers, and everyone vanished in a flash of blinding white light.
Jason closed the comm and looked at the time, "Well, you've still got twenty minutes before school restarts, Cody. I'll have you beamed back down, then I can deal with this other stuff going on."
"Sounds like something serious," Cody said, his face filled with awe. Then he smiled, "Thanks for bringing me up here, Jace. I only wish you were in school with us - you're a cool guy!"
"Thanks," Jason blushed. "Hey, if you want, I could get you transferred to the school we run at our Earth base. It's in Margam, so not too far for you to get to."
Cody smiled widely, "That'll be cool! I'll ask Aunt Bev... but you'll need to come over to explain."
"I can do that tomorrow, sometime. I'll go see her at her work place," Jason grinned.
"You know where it is?"
"Yeah. Draco downloaded your school records and did a trace. I'll be able to find her. You ready?" Jason asked.
Cody nodded, grabbed one more burger and stood up.
Jason tapped the comm, "Draco. Beam Cody back to Glanafan, but don't do the clothing thing with him."
'I'd never do such a thing to a friend...' Draco giggled as Cody vanished in a transporter beam. 'Unless it's YOU!'
Jason shook his head before leaving the office and heading down three decks to the Observation Room.
They appeared in the well appointed room, and started to look around. Outside of the windows, the vista they beheld was stunning. The Earth curving beneath them, and Terra Main off in the distance. Near to them, however, were two Constitution Class Starships: the Lafeyette and the Hood. Just beyond them was a sight that made Cory's heart lift up slightly. He had seen pictures, but had never seen it from this vantage point yet. His Flagship, the D'Kyr. It was in drydock, in the space station that NASA had deeded to them, but that did not decrease the awe he felt upon looking at her for the first time.
"Oh, Joel," he whispered. "I wish you could see this."
"I can," Joel whispered back.
Cory looked at him carefully. "I thought you were blind."
"I am, but I can see through Kev's eyes because of our bond-link. And I can sense things around me... about three feet or so; sometimes more if I concentrate. Daddy taught me that."
"And he can use his Crown from his Armour," Kevin smiled. "But he sees things different that way." The boy's face was not turned to Cory, however, but fixed outside at the starships in sight - Joel obviously wanted a good look at the Battleship that his people had given to his beloved big brother.
"I can get around mostly," Joel whispered before nuzzling his nose against Cory's soft cheek. "I don't feel as scared of you, now," he added softly. "I can tell the difference between you and him easier. You smell of love. He smelt of hate..."
"I believe he's going to smell of 'dead' really soon," Cory replied. "You smell of love too... and cookies," Cory added, a part of him wanting to hear his little elf giggle.
He got his wish, for Joel did giggle; but he also got a surprise. As did the rest of the group who were not 'in the know'...
"COOKIES! ASSIMILATE! COOKIES!" came a yell from that lump that was on Joel's shoulder. To be fair, Cory had never been so startled in all of his life, for the lump was right near to his ear and the yell was loud!
"Lil'elf, I think your robe just bruised my eardrum! Did you forget to feed it?" Cory said with a slight giggle as he kissed Joel's cheek.
"Put me down, Blondie," Joel smiled. "I've got to show you my pet."
"Pet?" Sean giggled. "That's a first. Make sure Timmy don't hear you say that."
"He knows," Joel smiled as he was set onto his feet by his blond brother. Then he pulled off his robe, revealing the Black Level VSO uniform he was wearing beneath.
Cory hissed in his breath, but Teri laid a hand on his shoulder, "Your father told me. Our elf was given that placement due to his life before we found him. It's equal to the Trial."
He nodded, feeling slightly more mollified about it. Then he noticed the creature on Joel's shoulder.
"That... is a tribble," he said in shock.
"Yup!" Joel smiled. "Her name is Kataui! Isn't she sweet?"
"It... is... a... tribble, Joel," Cory repeated. "They're extinct!"
Kevin sniggered, "Well, not this one."
Joel picked up Kataui and handed her to Cory. Cory looked at the purring ball of fur in his hand, and then curiously touched the two tubes that ran from one part of its body to another. "What on earth happened to it?"
"She's... well, you'll find out later," Joel giggled. "Kataui? Take a look at my big brother. He's a friend, and allowed into my cookie bag."
Cory's eyebrows raised as a laser sighter extended from the fur and started looking around. "Are they all friends?" Kataui asked.
"Yes. No assimilating them," Joel giggled.
"They are not food. Nine of Twelve assimilates sentients. I assimilate food. Did I hear cookie said?" the tribble asked as she moved around in Cory's hand to face Joel.
"She's a pet? She's sentient, Joel!" Sean exclaimed in confusion.
Joel reached to his hip and fumbled with his dimension bag for a moment before bringing out a large cookie and sliding it under Kataui's form as she sat on Cory's hand. While the tribble happily munched on the cookie and yelled 'assimilate' a few times, he explained. "She's not sentient. She has a VI system that heightens her mental functions, but she cannot think further than a few hours ahead. She is conscious of the moment, and a little of what she wants to do, and has perfect memory when the programming requires it, but that is all. She is a pet. A good memory, but a creature only. Less intelligent in her own right than a dog or a cat. It's the implants that make her sound sentient. See? If she was sentient, she'd be offended at what I'm saying, but she doesn't even equate what I'm saying as referring to her."
"What's her name again?" Tyler asked as he came over to look. Kyle was there too, and both were stroking the tribble's soft fur.
"Kataui. Devourer," Joel sniggered.
"I am Kataui of Borg! All food shall be assimilated!" Kataui yelled again before purring and moving up Cory's arm to find a perch on his shoulder.
"Just what does she mean by 'all food'?" Cory asked. "Do I need to start locking the fridge?"
"Raider of the Locked Fridge! Fighter of the Evil Helen, The Lord of the Food! The Return of the Kataui!" the tribble started to pronounce as she trembled with anticipation. "Go! Go! Gadget Fridge!"
"Okay, who let the tribble near the movie collection?" Cory giggled.
"Timmy, we think," Levi grinned. "She slept with him last night... after being extracted from the Clan's snack fridge for the tenth time by Helen..."
"She ate all the doughnuts, brownies, and chicken wings before she was discovered," Quint giggled. "We still don't know how she even got in there!"
Joel turned in Quint's direction, "You mean even the Q don't know how they do this stuff?"
"Nope," Quint giggled. "It's a mystery that will either never be solved, or drive us insane if we ever learned the secret of it."
"No fridge?" Kataui complained as she scanned the room. "Sleep mode active. Please place on Friend Sa'ren Joel's shoulder."
"Please tell me Timmy hasn't acquired his own tribble..." Sean begged with a grin as Cory placed Kataui back on Joel's shoulder.
"Nope," Joel smiled, "she cannot breed due to her... condition."
"She said she was Kataui of Borg. What's a Borg?" Cory asked.
"You'll see," Joel grinned. "It's one of the surprises we have to show you after... including a meeping Austin!"
"Meeping?" Sean giggled lightly. "What have you done to your nephew, Elf?"
Joel blushed and his face turned slightly towards Levi, who also blushed. It was not missed by either Cory or Sean, nor by Levi's parents. However, Jason arrived at that moment.
"Ah, you've all arrived," he said as he moved over to some chairs and sat down. "Please, be seated, guys."
Cory nodded and moved over to take a seat himself, while the rest spread out to occupy other chairs. His face had become serious again as he pulled Joel close and onto his lap possessively.
Jason folded his hands before speaking, "There is a lot to catch you all up on, and a lot of it is good. That can wait. The bad, however... that needs to be dealt with. Soon. Corey Scotman being the first."
"I've heard all I need to about him," Cory stated, his voice dripping with venom. "So let's hear the rest, Jace."
"Right," Jason nodded. "First: we all went a little mad... nuts... when we found out Joel got hurt. Kevin ended up trying to beat the everliving shit out of Juan, but that was dealt with easily."
Juan grunted, "If you call having a boy try poking out your testicles with his nails 'easy', then sure."
They all winced, including Jason and Kevin. Jason continued, "The worst to happen was between me and Brant. This is a major issue, Cor, as it's now affecting others. Brant has not spoken to Matthew since yesterday morning because of it."
"What happened?" Cory asked quietly, his face now impassive so that he could do his duty as Family Patriarch.
"Brant went after the three that attacked Joel, along with Matthew. The Ferrets from the Unit went as well, and then Nath' and Adam Casey appeared with them. They split up as the three targets had. Matt and Brant went after Dillon, Adam and the Ferrets after Corey, and Nath' took on Levi. When I arrived with Nathan, he was beating Levi senseless. Since I had orders from Vulcan to arrest and try the three properly, I stopped Nathan from killing Levi. Then we rushed to where Brant had Dillon. That one was a mess, for Brant was using his 'gift' on him. I had to order him to stop, but he refused. So I stepped in and started blocking his powers..."
"You can do that?" Sean asked in awe.
Jason nodded seriously. "Difficult, but doable. Yes. It got to the point where Brant stopped trying for Dillon and was outright going for me. So I shut him down hard. Mentally, I mean. Now, I left that be. He shouldn't have disobeyed me, but I understood why he did. It was natural, and because of who and what Joel seems to be, normal for us to react that way. Later, in a meeting I called to go over what we had discovered from the three prisoners, Brant struck out at me again, so I did as well. Fists only, this time. Then I threatened him with the brig. That was my bad. I've apologised to him yesterday afternoon, but I had to duck another blow. If I see him again, I'm afraid I'm going to lose control, Cory. And he certainly is with me. He refuses to acknowledge that I am Patriarch when you are absent. He just keeps saying that Joel was in charge, and that he reports just to you. Beyond that, he will not accept that I had the legal right deeded by Vulcan and even the President of the Federation to deal with Joel's attackers. I don't need his apology about fighting me, Cor, but if this continues, one of us will be dead, for he won't stay in the same room as me without blowing up."
Cory sat there impassive as he listened to this, while Joel, who hadn't heard anything about it, trembled sadly.
JJ asked, "What about Matthew? Why isn't Brant talking to him?"
"Simple," Jason answered, "Telez and Tony talked with them both Sunday morning. They told him that I was in the wrong about the threat at the meeting, but that he was in the wrong about my authority to stop him attacking Dillon. He turned it around on them, saying it was their word against his about the fight. He claims I attacked him. I did not. I just defended Dillon and myself. Matthew, who had been there and who has enough telepathy to know, said that Telez and Tony were right, and that it was Brant attacking only. That got them into the situation they are in now. Brant won't speak to my brother and Matthew is breaking his heart."
JJ grunted, "What a fucking mess this bastard has made of our Clan... Cory? If you don't kill that fucker in the brig, I will..."
Cory took in a deep breath. "I'll talk to Brant and you together later, Jace. You're right, it's going to need to be fixed. Anything else?"
Jason winced inside, for he could see an arse-chewing coming for himself as well as for Brant; but that was par for the course. He nodded at the question, however, and answered, "Yes. When Joel was getting hurt, all of Earth's satellites and computer systems were invaded by some weird virus. Including all androids, all of Starfleet and even Vulcan systems. Draco and Daileass too. Only Ark seems immune. It caused a slight... shit storm..."
"I'll deal with that in a little bit," Cory replied.
Jason looked at Kevin, and both winced. Jason turned back, "Jace... this virus or code or something... it's not there, but it is there. It was as if it had a will and a mind of its own. Draco hid himself on this ship and went to 'read only': didn't help. Now, it has vanished. We can't find a trace of it. Neither can the AI's, and they're the fastest they've ever... ever... oh shit." Jason winced again as Joel's face grew curious at the slip. Levi, surprisingly, was also looking puzzled, as were his parents.
Quint, however, rolled his eyes. "Yay! Go Temporal Fuckup-Boy! Superhero of the Village Idiots!" he muttered. "Never mind, guys," he added as he looked around at the rest of them. "You'll all find out later. Some in the Clan know already, but there's a time-loop involved. Don't worry. This one is a good thing. Bloody welsh patriarchs and their loose lips!"
"Up yours, smart arse," Jason giggled.
Quint flipped him the bird, and then went to stand in the corner at getting a single glance from Teri.
"As I was saying," Jason said as he returned his attention to the less than amused Cory, "this code is beyond any of us. Even the High Races I talked to. It means that there's an enemy out there that is powerful enough to hide itself from the Federation and us, yet has to be physical that needs to manipulate our technology to interact or spy on us. In response, Starfleet has enacted Article Three of the Federation, and the main Fleets are gathered at Wolf 359. All of Starfleet and all Member Fleets are on high alert. The Enterprise is currently on her way back in so that Uncle Jim can talk to Admiral Morrow," Jason continued quickly. "The gathered fleets are standing down to Yellow Alert for now, but remaining at Wolf 359. Since no threat has appeared visibly in the last two days since we found out, Kirk has set the Fleets to station keeping. This could take a while, Cory."
"I've got faith in me and my hacking crew," Cory replied, his self-assurance visible to all. "But what has all this got to do with Corey and what happened to my Elf?"
"Well... it was because of the hacking or whatever that Ark didn't see what was going on and why there are no video feeds of Joel anywhere between the Thompson house and where it happened," Jason answered. "And... well, we do have a lead. The VSO, I mean. Tenuous, but... in Corey and his brothers' minds there was a mental signature. An odd one..." he trailed off uneasily as he kept an eye on Cory for a reaction.
"Go on," Cory asked softly.
"It was a Reman mental signature, but there are problems with that. The influence was recent, about an hour or two before the attack; yet there were, and still are, no Remans on Earth right now. All from the Romulan Star Empire are watched closely when here, as you know," Jason replied. "But there's more... the pattern and feel of the mental imprint felt like a Reman, but the subtlety and technique... it's Founder, Cor..."
"We need to look into that more, but don't jump to too many conclusions, Jace. I've figured out a few things over the weekend; one of them was to get all the facts before blaming a group for something. I know it's possible to be Founder yet not part of the Founder group, so lets assume the possibility of someone with Romulan roots but not fully Romulan. We need more information," Cory said seriously.
With a nod, Jason agreed, "I know. To prompt someone to... attack another; it's just not like a Founder. Yet, going by what Kyle taught me of Founder minds and their powers, it is a Founder technique. Which is the boggling part. How has a Founder and a Reman from the Romulan Star Empire managed to meet up?"
Sean spoke up, "Well, that's for later. Right now, we have business to attend to."
This time, it was Joel who whispered, "If you're going to punish the one who raped me, then you might as well know everything else he's done to me or caused me to go through."
"There's more?" Cory asked in shocked surprise.
Joel twisted on Cory's lap so that his brother could see his face better, and said, "Two things: first, I'm now a little insane... I have one personality that shows itself in two ways. This one, the human one... and Sa'ren. A Vulcan. When stuff gets bad, I become Sa'ren. Or sometimes it just happens. I remember being both, and it's still me, but it's a different me... but sometimes I can't control the way I present myself to the world, and as Sa'ren I do things and say things I probably wouldn't as me; as Joel."
Cory nodded. "Don't think of it as insane, Lil'elf. A lot of your brothers have the same mind structure; it is a normal way for the brain to deal with bad events. Just ask any of the guys who were in mentally abusive families; you'll find out that they still have that dual personality so that only part of them had to deal with stuff. Some of them can probably still switch by just thinking of it too. It's a human trait that works quite well to prevent insanity."
Joel was shaking his head slowly at the end of this. "We talked to the Guardian," he said as Cory stopped speaking. "He said my mind is unstable. It's because... he called me Gifted, like many are, but more. There's three of us he named with a massive potential: me, Kevvy and Logan. He said there's a fine line between genius and madness, and two of the three of us are already across that line. Kevvy and me."
"We can become stable," Kevin added, "but we are not stable yet. Me, it shows as emotional. Sometimes I believe what my mother told me, other times I believe you guys. With Sa'r, he flips between being 'Sa'ren' and being 'Joel'. They appear two different people, yet they are one. Logan is okay right now, we think. But me and Sa'r have to heal ourselves."
Quint turned from the corner, "They are to you, Cory, what you are to a normal person. Not better, but exceptionally Gifted. There is always a possibility of any Gifted person going insane, but with these two, they already are. I can see it about Joel... it is in his past, too. His mind has fractured many times over and been rebuilt instantly many times over - this time, it's split yet remained one."
"Like I said, I'm insane," Joel said sadly, bowing his head before breaking down in tears.
"Einstein was insane too." Cory said softly as he pulled Joel tight. "You are still my Lil'elf, and you're still loved no matter which part of your brain is talking. I'm not worried unless you start drooling constantly or refusing cookies; at that point your brain is breaking down. Right now it's found a stability point that works until such time as things fall back into place."
Joel's tears stopped between one heartbeat and the next. Cory felt his brother reach up and rub at his eyes before raising his face so that Cory could see him. There was no emotion there at all. Blank. "Thank you, brother. It is of some small concern if you will accept me as I now appear, but your words seem to indicate that it will not be. That is acceptable."
Kevin sighed lightly before smiling. "So, my logical hubby has turned up again, yes?" he giggled.
"Just so," Sa'ren stated. "Joel could not handle the increased emotions, so I took over." There was a pause, then Sa'ren addressed Cory once more, "I feel your confusion and worry, brother. I am fine, and Joel is as well."
"You still can't say my name, though?" Cory asked sadly.
"No. I am incapable of doing so at this time," Sa'ren shook his head.
"Then I believe the proper thing to do is eradicate the pestilence which has led to this situation." Cory replied, unconsciously slipping into the same mode as Sa'ren.
"Maintain your current mindset, brother. You were told that there were two repercussions of my assault. The first you have accepted. The second might be more difficult," Sa'ren stated stoically.
With a tight hug, Cory asked, "And that is?"
"I am HIV positive."
As most of the kids who didn't already know stood there with their jaws agape, JJ let out a stream of expletives in multiple languages which nearly made Spock blush. Cory, keeping to the command from Joel, raised both eyebrows, "That is not logical; how does such a disease gain hold in Vulcan blood?"
Sa'ren answered, "Unknown, but it is not normal HIV. It is alpha strain, which is curable. However, it has mutated inside of me. My father, Grandmother T'Pol and my mother, T'Sara, have worked on samples and examinations since they discovered the problem. They do not have an answer as yet."
Quint, however, looked thoughtful.
"JJ; corner," Teri ordered to the still swearing boy. "Quint. Come here, please," she asked more softly.
Quint walked over and stopped before her.
"You look like you know something regarding what my son just said," she stated softly.
One hesitant nod, and a brief 'Uh huh' was all she got from him.
"Could you tell us?" Teri asked.
With a sigh, Quint nodded. "He is Sa'ren. The High Races have always known the Shaper would come, but not why. We were also aware of a special someone for Alpha Prime, but since we were not able to see in, nor get in for the last fifty thousand years, we didn't know the name. The Sa'ren. What we found surprising is that they are one and the same. We know the abilities of the Shaper. We know nothing about the Sa'ren. Logically, the only way for a Vulcan or Vulcan hybrid to contract HIV would be with another influence. That points to something beyond being a Vulcan. The Shaper could have done it, but Joel did not use that power to do so. Therefore it is something else natural to this one, special boy. He is the Sa'ren. The Redeemer, to translate. He has taken into himself this illness, and for reasons I cannot see - only that it is not hurting him in the slightest."
"Can't you remove it?" Kyle asked.
"No, just as I cannot return his sight, remove that scar or do anything to fix what was done to him on Saturday. Nor can you, and nor can Galli," Quint answered sadly. "What only a few here know is that not only are there some aliens involved with this, but the Fallen Guardian's power was taken and somehow applied to aid in Joel's attack."
"The angels and the Fallen," Kevin said softly. "Kuan Ti told us Saturday night. The Fallen used Vae'Za's power to blind the angels, and he and Mikey and a whole lot more had to fight."
"Who is Vae'Za?" JJ asked from the corner.
"Forever's brother, the Fallen Guardian," Kevin said to him. Then he looked at Sa'ren. "So, Sa'r being the boy from the Vulcan Prophecy has taken this illness and made it his own?"
Quint nodded, "It's the only thing I can think of."
"I think that accounts for everything," Sa'ren said as he wriggled out of Cory's lap. Then he paused and turned slightly, "I apologise, brother. Vulcans do not require physical contact to the same degree as humans."
"I do not mind it," Spock stated to his son.
"You are half human and have made a choice to incorporate much of humanity as possible within Kolinahr. I am Vulcan. The human side of me is Joel. I, Sa'ren, do not require it," he answered his father before turning back in Cory's direction. "I apologise."
"I understand, but ask of you to remember for future events that there will be times that others may require such contact for brief periods. I believe you will detect those times quite easily." Cory replied, finding that using his 'Vulcan Mode' was helping him greatly with processing the latest round of information.
"Of course," Sa'ren answered. "Both my younger brothers need such."
Teri raised her eyebrows. "Brothers plural?" she asked, looking at Spock.
Sean and Adam both exclaimed in unison, "Brothers? You adopted, Dad?"
Spock shook his head and smiled slightly, "No. You will find out once we return to our home."
Cory nodded. "I see that the adoption process has continued on both ends. If I may, JJ, I would point out that your inflection of 'fur-less gutter slut' in Tesnian was a little soft on the hard consonants. You should review your training in the Tesnian language."
JJ retorted with another bout of Tesnian swear words.
"Interesting, if anatomically inaccurate," Sa'ren stated, revealing that he knew Tesnian - obviously from his father's mind. "Even for Tesnians. Regardless of where JJ wishes my brother to stick his testicles, we have a mission to finish here. The brig should be our next destination, correct?"
Jason stood and nodded, looking at Cory. Cory also stood up and said, "I agree."
Sa'ren seemed to freeze for a moment, then he rubbed at the side of his head. Joel smiled, "It's me again."
"I'm glad you're back," Cory said seriously. "I miss my Elf-hugs."
Joel swarmed back up into his arms before kissing him soundly on the lips. "Well... here we go," he said softly into Cory's ear. "I don't know what I have to do, but whatever YOU do, don't end up dead with my ex-master."
"I didn't put Death on my schedule today, so he'll just have to wait in line," Cory replied.
Joel just smiled at him before tucking his face into Cory's neck. Inside, he felt scared. Corey Scotman could not be hurt without Blondie getting hurt as well. What was he to do to stop that?
As one, the group started from the Observation Room and made their way down the central corridor of the Interceptor towards the brig - after leaving Kataui in the Observation Room snack fridge to keep her occupied.
Corey had been more or less alone for the better part of two days. Bored no longer covered what he was feeling. The only company he had had was the Vulcan guard that was changed every eight hours, and they did not speak to him unless he asked them a direct question. He could handle many things, but boredom wasn't one of them. The cell was large enough for him to pace, and he had done so off and on throughout his two day incarceration, but that only reinforced his feeling of boredom. The small screen and terminal he had access to did not provide for much stress relief either: what television shows that were available to him were definitely not what he liked to watch.
On top of his boredom, there was a nagging fear in the back of his mind. What that Jason character had tried to do to him had freaked him out. Only those blasted angel beings stepping in had prevented him from ending in a rather painful fashion.
He sat back and smiled slightly. One, it was good to know that even God feared to mess with him and two, that near execution brought back to mind the deaths of those twins. It had been so much fun to slice bits and...
The door to the brig opened and interrupted his thoughts. 'So, visitors at last,' he mused as he watched a large group of people enter. He paled slightly as he saw that Jason kid with them, but then his eyes fell upon a fourteen year old blond kid who looked similar to himself: and the blond was carrying him! Oh, joy of joys! The Vulcan weakling was here to torment again! This would be fun.
Corey Scotman smiled evilly as the group came to stand in the space just outside of his cell.
Teri was at a loss. She had never been before a teenager who emanated so much hate and violence in her life. Evil just wasn't the word for it. Where had this kid gone wrong, and could he be redeemed? She was loathed to do anything against him for, in her eyes, he was still a boy himself. Yet, with what Spock had informed her down their shared link over the weekend, this teen was a multiple murderer and rapist. She just shook her head.
The others just stared with disgust at him, like he was something noxious they had picked up on their boots.
Cory only spared a second or so to look with anger at the thing behind the forcefield. His anger was larger than he'd ever experienced, but the trembling form of his elven brother in his arms kept all of his attention away from what was going on. As soon as they had entered the room, Joel had tucked his face into Cory's neck and had started to whimper, and so Cory was only half paying attention to what was going on while murmuring comfort to his Vulcan brother.
"The switch is by that other alien shit-stain," Corey grinned. "Then you can leave that little piece of ass in here with me for a while... he obviously liked what I did to him last time..."
JJ interrupted him before he could continue. "Listen you oversized sperm stain from a sleazy hotel, your job is to listen and keep that oversized anus that you call a mouth from spewing shit all over our nice clean room. Otherwise, I'll have to personally ensure that your lips become just as useless as the rest of that waste of brain cells which fills that rotten skull of yours."
Corey raised an eyebrow. "Oh, did I touch a nerve? I do hope so. Listen, dickless; you can't do shit to me without hurting someone else who has my name. I believe it's this useless, brain dead dickhead carrying my little dick warmer here... yeah, seems to be, going by the impotent rage in his eyes. Am I correct, retard?" he asked Cory sweetly, maliciousness clear in his eyes.
Juan stepped forward, his eyes blazing yellow. When he got just up to the forcefield he looked over towards the wall where the control was to bring down the wall. When he stepped inside, Corey actually took a step backwards. Never before had he seen such blatant violence radiating from one person.
As soon as Juan stepped inside, the shield went back up. Before anyone could say anything Juan sent a very calm message to everyone there save for Corey. 'No matter what I say, I am in complete control of myself. I will NOT harm him in any way.'
Although slightly nervous, Corey held on to the one thing he knew: they could do nothing to him. He yawned in Juan's face, turned his back and climbed onto the cell's bed and closed his eyes. "Tell me when you're done, peewee. Posturing means nothing. You can't touch me nor hurt me. Embarrassment means very little in this case, and your words are as empty as your brain," he muttered with a sly smile, his eyes firmly closed.
Juan actually laughed and said very calmly, "No Corey... you are right. I can't hurt you. No matter what happens, I can't touch you; I can't fuck with your head I can't do anything. Which is exactly what I am going to do. You see... you and the blond guy over there might be equal and opposites, but not me. No... you and I are very much alike. So much so that I can see myself in you if I were a bit older."
"That's nice," Corey yawned, not even remotely impressed. "What? You want me to applaud? Say how nice it is to find someone else like me? Hardly. You're weak. You love. I don't. You obviously do, especially that little alien freak I fucked a few times. Have you had a piece of that ass?" Corey, opening his eyes to look up at Juan. "Oh! You have. Good, isn't it? It was tight the first time, but then after my brothers got through with him, it was like fucking a train tunnel. Rather a let down. Anyhow... you love him. I've hurt you by hurting him. Which makes me smile. See?" Corey did so. "There. Anger. Hurt. Rage. I win, 'Mini-me'... no, wait. You're not that much like me after all, are you? Go away, peewee. Come back to play another time. Next!" he called as he sat up and completely blanked Juan.
Juan nodded and smiled slightly. "Again... you are correct. We can't touch you. What I want to do is even worse. Nothing. If I have my way, you will never talk to another person, you will never be out of a small cell... and you will be bored for the rest of your natural life. Hope you enjoy it." Juan then walked out of the cell, bringing the field down just as he passed, and bringing it right back up again after.
"I'd rather be bored than dead... next?" Corey repeated, looking around at the angry faces. He shrugged when no-one said a word before resting his eyes on Cory and Joel. "Ain't you going to say anything, plaything?" he called sweetly. "You or that blond drip carrying you? Because, I have to wonder - why are any of you here? There's nothing you can do."
"So you think," Joel whispered. His voice was just barely audible in the large space of the brig. He turned his face from Cory's neck and faced the direction of the cell, his blind eye glistening with unshod tears. "Blondie will find a way..."
"Listen closely, you oversized pile of Sehlat shit," Cory growled, the anger in his voice immediately chilling the room ten degrees. "If you utter ONE MORE SOUND which affects ANYONE in this room in ANY WAY... I ... WILL ... DESTROY ... YOU."
Corey smirked. "So you'll kill yourself, then? Wow, that's intelligent! And you are my opposite and equal? Give me a break."
Joel squirmed in his brother's arms suddenly, and Cory quickly placed him to the ground and watched as the small boy moved over to the side of the room. It was as if Joel was seeking a way out, but the only thing there was the security desk and window to the stars outside.
Pulling his eyes from his hurting little brother, Cory looked back with disgust at the scum in the cell. "I would lay my life down for any of my brothers, and if avenging Joel and cleaning this world of your filth means I have to die too, then I will gladly do so."
"NO!" Joel yelled as he span back around and trembled from where he was standing, framed by the stars shining through the window. "No... I won't let you go, I won't!"
"Elf," Cory near whispered, but Joel seemed lost in his emotions and thoughts.
'What do I do?' the small Vulcan wailed silently in his mind. 'How can I keep my brother safe, Guardian?'
There was no answer. Joel covered his face with his hands and wept. 'Jesus... what do I do?'
There was still no answer, and yet in this silence, something came to memory. What had the Guardian said? The Blind shall see what the seeing cannot?
He summoned his Crown, and Cory raised his eyebrows in shock.
So too did most of the others who had never seen this before. Corey Scotman just looked confused, but when Joel raised the Crown to his brow, he giggled. "So! I fucked a Prince! Wicked!"
Cory simply added that to Corey's list of offences and remained watching Joel carefully. He took a step or two closer to his Vulcan brother as he watched the Crown pulse with an inner light all its own for a second.
To his amazement, the Seal of House Surak at the apex shifted and was replaced by one of the others: a new one that he had not seen before. He saw a Cross with a sign of infinity behind it. Then he did gasp when Joel's right eye turned blue with a mist like power, and his empty left eye socket filled with that same misty energy. He had to admit, Joel looked immensely cute with the trails of mist radiating up from his eyes to disappear above the apex of his Crown.
"So is this what Kev meant by you seeing with your Crown, Lil'Elf?" Cory smiled as he knelt down and opened his arms to his brother.
Joel looked on one of his most beloved brothers with his new 'eyes' for the first time, and wept at what he saw within him.
Cory's soul was beautiful.
It radiated love, acceptance, friendship, companionship, brotherhood, caring... Joel's eye started streaming tears as he moved into his brother's open arms. "I love you, Cory..."
"Oh, my favourite little elf," Cory murmured, "I love you too. I'm glad you can say my name again."
"Me too," Joel whispered.
"I'm going to be sick," Corey vented from his cell. "All this gooey, feely shit is makin..."
None of them heard the rest of what the scum had to say, for Jason had moved to the command console and engaged the dampening field. "There," he groused moodily. "He can hear us, but thankfully, not us him. Shit, he's stinking up my ship... can I space him?"
"Everyone but my Friend says 'yes', but he says 'no' and insists that he outnumbers us," Levi replied with a pout.
Cory pulled back so that he could look into Joel's 'eyes' better, and he was amazed at the left eye. Made of blue mist, and radiating energy, he could clearly see that it was an exact replica of a real eye, moving in tandem with Joel's remaining right. "This is cool," he smiled as he ran his fingers lightly over his brother's scarred face.
Joel beamed at him as he wiped the tears from his eyes. He nodded before looking around at the rest of his brothers. He held each ones' gaze for a moment, staring into their souls as he did so but also letting them see that he was okay with what was going on. They could only silently echo Cory - the little Vulcan was cute, and their hearts were lifted that their Elf was not really as blind as they had feared.
Finally, Joel looked at his mother. He pulled away from Cory and walked over to her, and glanced to her side at his father before smiling up at Teri. "Ups?" he asked in a very child-like fashion as he held his arms up to her.
Teri chuckled as she bent down to lift her frail Vulcan child into her arms. She held him against her front, holding him up with both hands under his butt as he wrapped his skinny arms around her neck. "Thank you," he said as he stared into her heart that was showing clearly in her eyes.
"For what, sweety?" Teri asked curiously.
Joel smiled, "For being my Mammy. For being there Saturday night. For helping me. You didn't have to..."
"I'm your Mom; I have to just because I think I have to. It's one of the things that Moms who love their kids do willingly," she answered easily, then laughed musically at Joel's slightly confused look as he attempted to work his way through her statement.
"It's interesting how you take a perfectly sensible statement and manage to make it sound like warp physics, Aunty Teri," Jason giggled from just behind Cory, where he thought he could hide. Cory had none of it and pulled the giggling Welsh kid to stand before him.
"I will deal with you later, Mr Evans," Teri responded without looking at the giggling boy. She kept her eyes fixed instead on Joel's new 'eyes', "Are you really okay?"
"I will be," Joel answered. "Okay, put me down, Mammy. I... I need to see him."
"Who?" she asked as she lowered her son back to his feet.
"The one who raped me," was his simple answer. However, the first people he looked at were his other brothers.
Sean had tears running down his face as Joel moved over to him and started tracing his fingers over his face.
"Your soul is really pretty," Joel whispered, "but I still want to see the face I remember... but I can only do that now with my fingers."
Sean tried not to cry - he really did - but the soft touch of his Vulcan brother's fingers, with the heartbreaking words and the feeling of love being projected from the frail boy made that impossible. He wrapped his arms around Joel and lifted him up into a hug as he cried into his shoulder.
"Don't cry, Teddy," was Joel's whispered plea, his voice catching pathetically in his throat, "'cos you'll make me cry too..."
Joel felt warm arms encircle them both and looked up to see his father hugging them. "Let your brother cry, Sa'ren. His tears tell you more clearly than his words how much he loves you."
"Okay," choked Joel as he felt his black uniform become rather damp from Sean's tears. He then wrapped his arms around Sean's head lightly and murmured comfort to the teen who was, valiantly, trying to stop his tears. This, of course, made the tears worse. Which in turn meant that Joel had to continue murmuring comfort, while crying now himself.
A rather neat little sobbing circle had therefore been created.
In the end it was Cory who solved the problem by removing them from each others arms and telling Joel that he'd help Sean stop crying.
Nodding mutely, the little Vulcan turned his attention to Adam: and gasped. At this close range, the Crown was clearly showing his brother's soul, but due to the viferisation Adam had gone through...
"Your soul's all sparkly!" Joel squealed excitedly as he swarmed into Adam's arms and pecked kisses over his cheeks. "I've a sparkly little 'big' brother!" he crowed happily.
"Oops! I thought I had licked all that edible glitter off you, hon," JJ grinned evilly. "Sorry!"
Joel started laughing as he said, "Oh! A glowing, silvery, glittery and sparkly big brother!"
"You're sooo gonna pay for that," Adam threw at JJ as he hugged the elf close. "Here you go, bro. Embarrass JJ for a while!" he giggled as he handed the chortling Vulcan over to his boyfriend.
"Thanks," JJ giggled as well.
Joel looked closely at JJ and smiled. Then his lip quirked into a smirk, "You're such a bad boy, JJ."
"I'm innocent... Dilly says so!" JJ giggled.
"That's like a Jack Frost claiming that the winter is not his fault, and having a Snowman as a character witness!" Joel chuckled. "Anyways! I have it from a very good source that you answered a door to a pizza delivery kid in nothing but your skin with Christmas lights wrapped around your dangly bits!"
"I plead the Fifth -- what the heck, I'll plead the First through the 30th as well!" JJ giggled.
Joel chortled in his arms before leaning in and kissing him squarely on the lips. As he pulled back he whispered, "You've a lovely soul, brother. Mischievous and loving. Don't change."
"Never ever," JJ smiled as he kissed Joel back. Then he hugged the boy until he squeaked.
The next two, Joel approached together. Kyle and Tyler. Both with small rivulets of tears rolling down their faces. He got pulled into an immediate hug between them both, and he had to smile as the two smaller boys tried to make sure that he really knew they loved him. They burbled it enough through their sobs so that he could hardly miss it. Then Mont and Bast got a case of 'Joel-Cuddle-Attack' and started to purr the place down.
Feeling more secure in the love of his family and friends, Joel finally moved back to Cory. With his eyes closed tight, he turned so that his back was against Cory's belly and asked, "Can you hold me as I look at him?"
"Of course," Cory said as evenly as possible. His eyes, however, seemed filled with flame.
Joel let his brother guide him so that he was facing the cell that contained Corey before he opened his eyes. He was thankful that he could not see specific physical features with his Crown, but his new sight did show something that made his blood run cold.
Pure evil. Not by an accident of birth, for no-one is born as this, but by choices. Bad ones. Horrific ones.
"You... You are not my master. You are nothing to me," Joel said softly.
Corey looked puzzled, for he had never been master to anyone.
Joel continued speaking, not so much to Corey but to everything Corey represented to the little Vulcan. "I don't care what you always told me, I am my own person, and I have a value more than you said it was. I belong here, now. With my family. People who love me. People who want me. And my master is not you any more. It's Jesus. Never you."
Corey spoke back, but due to the dampening field no-one heard him. However, the look on his face and the grim twist to his lips made Cory quite aware that nothing said had been good.
Focusing his gaze, Joel looked deeper into the depths of Corey's soul, drawing steadily upon the love that his blond brother was feeding into him, and from down his bond-link with Kevin as well. The Vulcan's eyes seemed to glow brighter and brighter, making Corey take a step or so backwards nervously, as he began to see something that made his blood run cold.
'What do I do?' he sent to his Armour, Crown and Sword. 'How can Cory survive this? Can you protect him from the power he's going to release? Can you stop him from being hurt with his Opposite and Equal?'
/I can channel the power/ the Sword of Sa'ren sent back silently.
///And I can protect the Justicar/// added the Armour.
Joel smiled and sent, 'Then I'll call you and hand you to Cory!'
/We only answer to you, True Sa'ren. Only you can command, and only you can wield us in this/
///None other may use us as we are meant to be used. It will be as naught should the Justicar attempt it///
Feeling his heart go cold and heavy, Joel turned slightly and pulled away from Cory to walk back towards the window. 'Then... what do I...' He stopped as a thought hit him. Time, Space and Matter meant nothing to his Armour and Sword. He and he alone could command them and wear them and wield them to their full potential. He turned back to look at Cory...
He knew what he had to do.
"Fo'wein Sa'ren," Joel whispered, and he was covered instantly with his Armour.
This time, Corey Scotman really did become scared.
"Sa'ren!" he called, and his Shattered Sword appeared, hovering before him. For the first time since his rape, he took his weapon into his hands - and from a place deep within his soul he accepted that he had never really been parted from either the Sword or the Armour.
"Elf?" Cory asked, his eyes locked on his little brother. Neither he nor the others who had been away with him in Des Moines had seen Joel do this before; just like with the Crown, this shocked them.
Joel looked at him, and then at his rapist. Then, turning his power filled eyes back to his beloved big brother, Joel walked over to stand before him. "I am the Blade and Scion of Surak, and the Sword and Armour of Sa'ren are a part of me. I think I know what I must do to enable you to win, Cor..."
The Patriarch of Clan Short just stood there, his mouth hanging open. He shook himself slightly and asked, "And that is?"
"Become One," Joel whispered as he moved forward so fast that not even the Mikyvis or Quint could follow his progress. He seemed to sink into Cory as if a stick into water, and the blond teen went ridged.
Sean gasped and grabbed onto Cory's arm, "Cor? Joel? What's happening?"
Teri was no less concerned as she rushed over, Spock hot on her heels.
Cory, however, did not hear them. Inside his mind, he felt his brother move about. Inside his body, he felt a strange sense of otherness. His skin hardened. Then the Armour appeared from his body to cover him completely and perfectly. His mind expanded and shifted. A Sword appeared in his hand, shattered yet keeping itself whole.
Then a voice echoed in his mind. It was choral, and much like that of the Guardian's. /You are in control, Justicar. We are For Destiny and For Justice. Use us By Faith, and with Knowledge and Strength. Brother of the True Sa'ren, you and you alone can remove this blight from Creation... and we shall keep your power from destroying Creation. Think and it will be so. Command and it shall be. Use us... Living we are, and Sa'ren forever!/
With a click, the dampening field that Jason had set up fell, and they could then hear what the terrified looking teen in the cell was now saying.
"What the fuck is going on?" screamed Corey as he backed up in the cell he was in. "Where did that little shit go? Where did you get that fucking sword from? What the fuck is this, asshole?!"
That, Cory heard. In the back of his mind, he felt his frightened little brother pull back and hide, but leaving the strength of his nature at the fore to bolster his own. Garbed in living Armour and wielding a living Weapon, Cory turned and started walking slowly toward the cell.
"Cory?" Teri called. "Cory! What are you..."
"Leave him, Mam," the Doctor said as he Folded in and stood between Spock and Teri. He reached out and slipped his small hands into theirs. "This is as it should be... all is unfolding to bring the result I have already seen."
////You were warned//// Cory hissed, his voice not his own as he melted through the still active forcefield, the Sword of Sa'ren held upright before him. Once inside the cell, he stopped and lowered the Sword so that the point was touching Corey's chest.
Corey, for his part, had his back to the wall of the cell and was currently wetting his pants.
With knowledge gained from the Armour, the Crown on the helm of it, and from the Sword in his hands, Cory spoke again. ////I see bonds and ties from you to all the others like you; all your alternates. All are as fallen. All deserve death. Wherever you are, you cause pain, and so I remove that pain. You are no more. You are not. Thus speaks the Justicar of Sa'ren////
"Oh FUCK!" JJ whimpered.
With that, Cory took one final step forward, and a number of things happened all at once:
The Sword pierced into Corey's chest; Bluebeard, Cory's phasenmorph that was touching the inside of the Armour, decided to unleash what was building up inside of Cory and sent the whole overload of energy down the arm of the Armour, down the Sword and into the poor sap speared by it; the Armour blazed out in white fire; Juan yelled "GOOOOO CORY! YEEHAA!"; Time rippled; The Guardian held his breath; the Book of Life went into a conniption fit the likes of which Saint Peter had never seen before; screams of pain and agony echoed out through all Universes where there was a Corey Scotman (or whatever name the alternate went by); and, finally, as if that wasn't enough, Cory released his rage and with it the power to destroy the universe... all into the one person before him and all those linked to him.
"Doc?" Levi whimpered as the light from the Armour filled the room.
Galli shook his head. "Don't bother... my head hurts too..." he sniffled as he hugged himself into Spock's side.
Cory could not hear anything. He could not sense anything other than the death of billions of beings who were all exactly like the dying boy burning away on the end of the Sa'ren Sword. Inside, he almost felt like a part of him died with it, but the sense from the Armour was that it was only the link of Opposite and Equal dying. It did not make it any better, he thought to himself. Justice is one thing, but this... this was bigger than anything he'd ever done before.
As the light from the Armour faded, the rest of those outside of the cell could see that it now only contained Cory. The raping murderer, Corey Scotman, was gone. Not even ash remained. In the same way he entered, Cory walked back out through the forcefield and stood before them all, tears running down his cheeks inside of the helm. He saw the various High Powered kids all hurting like he was and pointed the Sword at each in turn. Blue energy rippled out and quickly healed the temporal migraines that his actions had caused. Then, he fell to his knees and started bawling like a young child.
As Teri and Sean rushed to him, the air around him rippled and became liquid as the Armour and Sword vanished. There before them was a semi-Vulcan looking teen who's face was an odd mixture of both Cory's and Joel's features. Then he seemed to shake and shimmer before splitting in two. From his side, Joel melted out and both brothers fell apart. Kevin, Levi and Juan rushed over to join Teri and Sean at both their sides.
Cory was pulled, sobbing and crying, into his mothers arms while Kevin nearly spread himself over Joel as he held his husband close.
"Sa'r?" Kevin sobbed as he shook Joel's still body. "Sa'r! Someone help! He's not breathing!"
Cory wrenched away from his mother's arms at that, and moved over to grab his little brother, but Levi was already busy. Covering Joel's mouth with his own, Levi breathed in and out, supplying energy and oxygen to the small Vulcan at the same time.
There was a small cough, and then a wail of a tired, grouchy child that had been woken up before his nap was done. Joel sat up, rubbing at his blind eye and sobbing for his 'Mammy', 'Daddy', 'Kevvy', 'Cory', and all his brothers in a rush of words and tears.
While everyone wanted to say or do something to help Joel, none were as fast as Spock. He reached down and pulled his scared and crying child into his arms and rocked him back and forth gently as he murmured to him in Vulcan.
Galli, almost attached to Spock's side, scanned around the rest of his brothers and family, and saw something in Cory's eyes that he so often recognised in his own heart: the feeling of being a Destroyer. As Teri pulled Cory firmly back into her arms, where Sean was also ensconced and waiting to comfort the still crying blond teen, the Doctor moved from his father's side to Cory's. He laid a hand on Cory's brow and said, "The blessing of the Time Lords I give you, Cory son of Spock. Think not upon these events until next I give you leave to."
Cory's tears slowed and stilled to be replaced by hitched breathing and gentle sniffs. "Thanks... brat," Cory whispered with a weak smile.
"You're welcome, pain in the butt," Galli giggled as he moved back to hug himself next to Spock again.
Cory still kept his eyes locked with Galli, "I can still remember everything, yet you said..."
"It means you won't worry or concern yourself to the point of being upset when you do, bro," Galli smiled softly.
Cory nodded and then glanced at Joel, "Galli. Can you explain what just happened? It all felt so... so strange. I can't really remember what I knew in that moment that I was a part of Joel and that Armour was on me... and that Sword! I just can't remember it - like a dream you know you had but just can't see any more?"
Galli giggled and looked around at the others. Even Spock was looking down at him expectantly while still murmuring to Joel. The Doctor grinned, "Let's wait for our Sa'ren to get himself settled, otherwise I'll only be saying it twice. Jace? Can we go have something to drink in your Forward Lounge?"
Jason nodded as he helped Teri get Sean and Cory to stand up. "Sure. I could use a stiff Coca-cola after witnessing all that!"
They were all seated in the Forward Observation Room, but neither Cory nor Joel were getting 'settled' as the Doctor had hoped. Cory was feeling more and more like he was ready to fight or run, and Joel was teary and lethargic. Gallifrey went to Cory first and scanned him with his sonic screwdriver. Then he scanned Joel. "That's the problem," he stated to the others. "Cory's metabolism is trying to move up to a Vulcan style one, and Joel's is trying to lower itself to human. Give me a moment," he smiled as he Folded out.
Levi sighed and just continued to stroke Joel's cheek gently while Kevin held his husband's hand. "It's always Joel," Levi smiled sadly. "Or Uncle Cory."
Kevin nodded with a grin, but his eyes were worried.
The others who had been away in Des Moines caught the word that Levi had left out. They had caught the change in the innocent boy as well, but they couldn't quiet put their finger on what the change was.
"I'm back! Miss me?" Galli giggled as he returned with a small carry-case.
"Brat," Cory giggled as he sat next to his mother, his legs twitching due to the increase in his heart rate, adrenaline and blood pressure.
Galli grinned, "Good to know I'm loved. Okay, primitive human. You're in a more serious situation so I'll deal with you first. Strip!"
"What, everything?" Cory exclaimed.
"Well... if you want; but just topless is enough," Galli giggled with a fake pout. "Come on, slow poke! I don't have... well I do have all the time I need, but come on! Off with that shirt!"
"Okay, one manly chest coming up!" Cory giggled as he stood and ripped off his shirt.
Galli continued to stand there looking at the now topless teen while the rest of the kids started laughing. Teri rolled her eyes, muttering about another shirt going the way of the dodo. Galli tapped his foot a few times, "Well? Where's this manly chest then, skinny?"
"Just kidding, pain," Galli giggled as he moved over and hugged his big brother. "I think you're pretty sexy, really. Yum!"
"No tasting. Looking, okay. Try, and I'll knock you into an earlier life!" Sean stated with a wicked grin.
"As long as it's my 10th life, cool," Galli smiled as he pushed Cory back until he was sitting again. Then he placed a small metal orb over where the human teen's heart was and clicked his sonic screwdriver. "There. That stays until I take it off, Blond-top. And I ain't messing. Don't fiddle with it, okay?"
"Ok, no fiddling. What about drumming?" Cory smirked as he looked at the metal orb attached to his skin.
"Whatever, you nut," Galli rolled his eyes. He turned to Spock, who still had Joel on his lap, and said, "He needs to come over here, Dad."
Spock nodded and carried his son over before putting him gently down on Cory's lap.
"Jace, we need a pair of shorts or something. This uniform is one piece, if I'm not mistaken - and I rarely am," Galli muttered as he began to help Cory remove Joel's uniform enough to expose the boy's chest.
Jason rolled his own eyes before moving over to the replicator and getting the required item of clothing. By the time he had returned, Joel was seated naked on his big brother's lap and also had an orb on his chest. Lower down than Cory's, of course, but identical in all other respects.
As Cory and Teri slipped Joel into the Bugs Bunny boxer shorts, Galli stood back and double clicked his sonic screwdriver again. "Right. Same goes for you, Joel. Don't touch the orb, and you both have to stay within ten feet of each other for a while as you re-stabilize."
"How long?" Sean asked as he moved to hug Cory while sitting half behind him and beside him.
"Oh, just an hour or so," the Doctor said seriously. "At least you can go to the loo privately. This isn't as serious as other cases I've seen."
"You've seen this before?" Teri asked.
The Doctor nodded, "Never between two Younger Races, but in all cases it messes up the two involved if they are not of the same species."
Galli looked down at Joel, who was now more awake and alert. "You don't remember what you did?"
"No," Joel whispered. "I just... just have a feeling like I knew... everything... for a moment. Just a moment. Then warmth. Comfort. Home. Cory. Then I was alone. It was a cool place. Quiet. Then I felt Levi pull me and I woke up but not really. That scared me. What happened?"
Galli reached and brushed his fingers through the Vulcan's curly black hair, "You called your Armour and Sword, and then you merged with Cory."
Galli giggled, for both Cory and Joel had asked that at the same time.
"It was strange for me," Cory continued as Joel wriggled about slightly until he was almost curled up on his brother's lap. "I remember knowing everything, but I don't remember the everything any more. I knew it, but then it slipped away, like sand through my fingers. I knew why and how Joel had done what he did, but now... it's gone."
Galli sat on the floor before them, and made sure everyone was listening and paying attention before he said, "The Sword and the Armour of Sa'ren are a part of Sa'ren. They are Joel. He is them. They are all distinct, yet also the same. The Blade, the Sword and the Shield. The Blade commands. The Sword fights. The Armour protects. The Sword could handle the power that Joel gave you as the Shaper, while the Armour could protect you from the result of you destroying your Opposite. However, neither can do it without the order and touch of the Blade. They can do some things on their own autonomy, but to do something of that level, they need to be with Joel. So... since they obey his commands, and since they can bend space, time and matter to their will... all three joined with you, Cory."
"What happened to... to Corey?" Joel asked softly as he snuggled further against Cory's chest.
"Your big brother destroyed him. Him and all those linked to him. All versions of Corey Scotman who existed or ever will exist. Gone. It was the reason I knew to come back, for when I was was after the fact and I felt the change," Galli smiled.
"Wait a minute," Kevin put in quickly. "You said before that you knew nothing about Joel's abilities with the Sa'ren bit. You've only told us about the Shaper side of things."
"I lied," the Doctor said simply. "Sorry, but sometimes, to say 'I can't tell you' makes you pay attention to what is coming. Other times, it distracts you. So, sometimes I lie. It was needed, sorry."
"Okay, I can understand that. Kinda," JJ said seriously.
"Galli?" Joel asked as he raised his head and pressed against Cory's chest to turn towards his Time Lord brother better. In doing so, he brushed against the orb over Cory's heart. "Oh shit! Sorry! I touched it!" he said in panic.
"Don't worry," chuckled the Doctor. "I said 'don't touch' so you don't try to take it off. If you just touch it or lean on it, nothing will happen. Just don't pull at it, okay? Now, what's your question, bro?"
Joel sighed then said, "If Corey was this universe's version of Mr Williams from where I was lost, and if Cory just destroyed all versions of Corey, then... how is it I'm still underfed? Scarred? How do I still remember Mr Williams?"
"You're the Shaper. I cannot affect your past, and neither can anyone else. Especially not yourself, which includes your Sword and Armour," was the Time Lord's simple reply.
Adam raised his hand slightly, "What would have happened if Cory had just... you know, unleashed that power or whatever without the Sword channelling it?"
The Doctor shrugged, "He'd have not been directed so well, and Corey's body would not have contained it. He'd have destroyed this universe. The Sword made it so that the power went into Corey, and then to all other versions of 'Corey'; in all dimensions, time-lines, universes. If that had happened without the controlling and focusing power of the Sa'ren... boom!"
Juan moved from his seat by Jason and walked up to the Doctor. "Will Joel have any side effects from what just happened? I thought my hearts would stop when he just - joined - with Cory!"
"He'll be fine in an hour or so. Right now, he's okay as long as he and Cory stay together," Galli answered with a wide smile.
"How together is 'together'?" Juan giggled as he wiggled his eyebrows. Then he glanced over at Joel, "Find a bed, horny. Might make you better quicker!"
"I'm a one Sean boy, Juan," Cory giggled.
"Perv," Joel added as he sniggered lightly. "You just wanna watch!"
"Kev did with you and me, so..." Juan shrugged.
"Like you complained!" Kevin retorted.
Adam and JJ looked at each other and then around at the rest. Only Teri, Spock, Levi, Quint, Jason and the Doctor seemed unsurprised. "Would someone like to explain what's going on?"
"Same here," Cory said seriously as he sat straighter and manoeuvred Joel so that he could look into his little brother's face. "Joel; Vulcan marriage is for life, and so is Socius. Now, you're not Socius joined yet, but..."
"My son," Spock said quietly but firmly. "Do not be concerned from a Vulcan's standpoint. Be calm, and I shall explain."
"I'd rather do that, Sa'mi," Joel corrected. "Please?"
"As you wish, Sa'ren."
Joel leaned forward and kissed Cory's cheek before explaining, "Kev is my other half of my soul and heart and everything, Cor. Juan is my friend, my lover, my companion, and more than any of them - but he's not my husband. He has his own. He was joined to Koth Saturday night, and Riti and Viccy were also joined. There's a bond between me and Juan that's special, but not permanent partner special. Daddy told us what he thought on Saturday night and he's checking right now with Vulcan for what we can do to be bonded correctly to truly portray what we feel. I make love to Juan, yes, but it's not like when I make love with Kevin. Kev and I are one. With Juan, it's when we really feel we need to bond that way... we've only done so eleven times."
"Since Friday? Jesus, Joel!" JJ howled with laughter. "And you don't 'make love' much?? I'd like to see your example of a nymphomaniac, Lil'elf!"
Juan snorted back a laugh before saying, "Remember the time in the Tardis, JJ? You were there, after all... well... we didn't let you know, but..."
"Oh! Riiiight, so eleven times in three and a half years. Makes more sense," JJ giggled as Adam rolled his eyes and shook his head.
Kyle, an innocent expression on his face but a mischievous glint in his eyes, grinned at Joel and Kev, "So... how many times have you two done 'it' if you've had more than three and a half years, Elf, Kev?"
Kevin blushed and shook his head, but Joel simply answered; as per his norm. "One thousand, three hundred and seventy six times."
"Now there's his example of being a nympo!" Sean giggled.
Cory was still looking seriously at Joel, "If this is acceptable to Vulcans, then I accept it from being a Patriarch, but Socius - it won't fly, Joel. I won't be able to support you and Kev getting joined under Socius."
Joel nodded slightly, "We'll talk about it later, but I understand."
"Me too," Kevin added as he moved over to lean against Sean's side.
Spock said, "Sa'ren, Kevin. Before Cory and the others arrived back I had just received a response from Vulcan regarding this very issue." He paused and gestured for Juan to move closer to join the other two.
"What's the answer?" the three boys asked at the same time.
Spock smiled slightly before answering, "I was unaware of any situations such as yours, but there have been three in the last thirty five thousand years. The first time that two people who were already married became attached to each other, their patriarchs authorised a full marriage link between them. However, since both parties had an already established link with their first marriage partner, the new marriage link became something unintended. It mixed up the other two links with itself, thus cause instability to all four Vulcans involved. Since then, a new form of link was created for such situations. The Telan t'Katra'shausu; the Bonding of the Soul-Lovers."
Juan's brow furrowed, "But what about when you said that three people married each other in a three way relationship. Wouldn't the links get messy then?"
"No," Spock shook his head, "as in such situations, the three people 'love' each other already. But take your case: you are bonded to Koth and Sa'ren is bonded to Kevin. Should you and my son also bond, it would mix in the bond-link from Kevin as well as from Koth. To take it further, Riti and Victoria are bonded. Should Koth bond with each of them, then you will also add in his bond with Riti, his with Victoria, and the original one between Riti and Victoria. You will not know from whom a certain feeling is coming from, and may end up 'feeling' in your heart that you are in love with Riti, not Koth. Riti will be in love with Kevin. Kevin with Victoria. Such could happen in this case."
"This is crazy... you mean Koth is doing what Joel and Juan are doing with Riti AND Viccy?" Cory exclaimed.
"Yes," came the answer from the three boys and Spock simultaneously.
"Oh..." Cory turned his head to look at Sean, "I'm so glad I want only you, babe!"
"Me too," Sean giggled.
Kevin poked Sean in the ribs, "Remember what the Doc told us Wednesday? The four of us have the same love for each other... so be careful!" Then he giggled mischievously.
Sean and Cory blew a raspberry at him.
Juan also giggled but asked Spock another question, "So, if I wasn't married or in love with Koth, I could have a full link with Joel, as there would be only one fulcrum, as you said, between us?"
"Yes. My son could bond in such a way with many, but as long as those bonding with him have no other bonds, no issues would be raised. In the ancient past, when certain Patriarchs would have what Humans would call harems, it happened frequently," was the answer.
Cory tilted his head and was immediately slapped by a giggling Sean, "Don't even think it!"
"Too late," Kyle giggled.
Tyler added, "He did."
"You're such a perv..." Juan giggled.
"I thought you said I was!" Joel protested jokingly before ducking his head down to quickly lick Cory's left nipple.
Cory yelped in surprise, Juan burst out laughing, and Joel just giggled a cute, silvery giggle. Neither Sean nor Cory could bring themselves to protest what Joel had done; it was no more than simple fun between brothers anyway, and something that made their little elf laugh like this after what he had been through was acceptable. They did tickle him, however.
"Could you do the Telan t'Katra'shausu now, Daddy?" Joel asked excitedly after fending off his big brothers.
Juan added, "And what does it do that's different from the marriage link?"
"Yes I can," Spock smiled, "and the difference is that it transmits feelings from each other. Emotions only. Care is taken to keep it distinct from all other links. It is very much like the Bonding of the Children, just strengthened so that both benefit from it." Spock them moved close enough to establish a joint meld with both his son and Juan. After a long moment, he smiled. "It is done. Now, just to make sure," he added as he melded with Kevin. "As I thought. All is in order, my sons. Juan, please inform Koth that when he, Riti and Victoria are ready, I shall establish the same for them as well."
JJ and Adam grinned. "Congratulations, guys," JJ giggled.
Juan smiled widely as Joel pulled him half onto Cory's lap while hugging him. Kevin joined in as well, just for good measure. Cory tried putting in a request to the Higher Power for a larger lap.
"So," Adam smirked, "any other lovers you want to tell us about, Joel?"
Juan broke out laughing again as he pulled away from the hug, and Kevin giggled cutely as Cory, with a gentle smile, pushed the boy onto Sean's lap so that his nuts weren't being squashed.
Joel simply blushed. "Well..."
Adam's jaw dropped open.
Kyle's eyes widened, "You're joking... no, you're not, are you?"
At this point, the light pink glow from near the windows overlooking the Earth and Spacedock was going unnoticed by the others.
Joel blushed and reached up to the pendant around his neck and grasped it. Cory whistled, "Nice! Where did you get that from?"
"The Guardian," Kevin whispered. "Here. It's the same as mine," he smiled as he pulled his out from under his top.
As Cory looked at it he asked, "There's no clasp. How do you take it off?"
"By dying," Juan answered as he pulled his pendant out as well. "The Guardian said only by dying would it come off us."
"You've got one too?" Sean asked. "What do they do?"
"Well, for one, they allow Sa'r and me to hear it when telepaths are talking to each other," Kevin explained. "And they let us talk mentally with each other as well. Sa'r and I have a bond-link, but I can use it to call Juan or Levi."
"Levi?" Kyle questioned. "Why Levi?"
"He has one too," answered the blushing Joel, who was still holding his pendant tightly.
Kyle glanced over at Levi, and it was then that he noticed the subtle pink glow emanating from his son.
At the same time, Cory noticed something different on Joel's neck. "Juan, did you give Joel a hickey?" he giggled.
"Nope," Juan laughed. "Klingons really bite; blood, and everything. I'd never do that to Elf. Why?"
"Someone has... Kev?" Cory smirked as he pointed to a small mark on his little brother's neck.
Kevin was giggling and shaking his head 'no'.
"It was me..."
Everyone turned at that point, and they all then saw what Kyle had just seen. Pink glow, blushing Mikyvis, shy face.
"I hope they react better than your brothers, Leevee," Joel murmured as the pink, glowing boy walked over to squeeze in on Cory's lap with Joel. He then sighed and summoned his Crown and slipped it on his head so that he could see his death coming.
"See Cory, I TOLD you that you and your mount were having a bad influence on our sons!" Kyle giggled, as Ty just shook his head with a grin.
"Hey, unlike you two, we keep it to one dimension!" Cory replied. "My only question is just how did THIS work out?"
"Do you want to long version or the short?" Joel asked, his voice still sounding nervous.
"Short," Sean giggled. "Well, what do you expect?! It's my name!" he protested when JJ raised an eyebrow at him.
"Bad!" JJ retorted.
Joel shrugged. "Well, me and Leevee were in my bedroom in Mammy's house, and Levi started exploring me. Then he said he wanted to have an orgasm, and wanted me to help him. Then he asked me to make love to him. So we did. All night... how long was it with all the time stoppings and stuff you did?" he asked Levi, who was now neon pink in colour.
"Ah... about six days... give or take a day..." the boy mumbled as he kept his eyes fixed on his Dad and Pop.
"Really?" Kevin laughed. "Wow!"
"Okay, so we made love for six days with Levi keeping me all topped up and energised and stuff... and well... that's it," he finished as he looked over at his little brothers.
"Well, you beat Cory and Sean's record..." Tyler said with a smile to his son. "I can't think of a better person to choose to learn about love with; and obviously you both enjoyed it going by the hickey!"
"You're not mad?" Joel asked, his face confused. "He's your son and you're my brother and he's my nephew and only eight..."
"Nine, now," Levi corrected quietly.
"Sorry... nine days old, and his brothers flipped out and..."
Kyle tilted his head. "Levi, how old are you really?"
"Forty five years," Levi smiled as he nuzzled his face close to Joel's. "See? I told you they'd be okay about it..."
"Mmm..." Joel murmured. "You're right... old man..."
Kyle smiled, then continued. "Do I need to have your Grandpa Dan figure it out, or can you tell me your emotional age?"
Levi tilted his own head to the side, much in the same way that Kyle had done - thereby showing where he got that little physical trait from. "Ummm... I dunno. Nine, right now. Seven when I'm in my birth age form. Dunno, really..."
"Better than me," Joel giggled. "I flip from being five to bein' thirty five..." he grinned.
"There's not much difference between those two ages emotionally." Teri interjected. "I think I see the point that your Dad was making Levi; we can't judge you by either of your ages as far as your maturity goes, we have to judge your actions on the emotional level that you are actually living. No matter what you look like or where you are, the emotional development of your species is a constant which can be used to judge appropriateness of an action."
Galli started clapping, looking very impressed with his new mother's statement. "Profound beyond your time, young lady... Mum..." he giggled.
Jason started laughing, however.
Galli looked over and asked, "What now, nut?"
"I've just thought of a code name for Levi!" Jason laughed.
"Oh?" Levi giggled. "What?"
Everyone blinked. Cory asked carefully, "Why Unicorn?"
"Well," Jason giggled, "it's because Levi's pure, innocent and HORNY!"
The Doctor just shook his head as Levi blushed five shades of pink due to everyone starting to giggle, before sighing and letting his gaze became slightly more serious. "I need to ask you something, guys, and I'm not being nosey for the sake of it, okay?"
"Okay," Joel nodded. Levi just smiled and nodded silently.
"What do you two feel for each other?" the small Doctor asked. "And I want you to really think about it. Take your time."
As the two boys became thoughtful, the Doctor looked around at the rest of the group. "What are you up to, brat?" Adam asked curiously.
"Something needful," Galli answered seriously.
Joel was the first to answer the Doctor's question. "I love him," he whispered simply, his arm pulling Levi tighter into his side.
Kevin wiggled closer from his seat on Sean's lap and looped his arm around his husband's waist.
The Doctor nodded and then looked at Levi. The small Mikyvis was still thinking, his eyes looking at the Doctor yet not really at him. Then they focused, "I love Joel... but, it's... something isn't right."
Again, the Doctor nodded. "What do you feel is wrong?"
"There's something in the way. Like a barrier," the young Mikyvis answered, "and it's holding me back. My Friend said that I'd find my love when the time is right, and all I can think of is that Joel isn't the one I'm meant to be with..."
"How does that make you feel?" Galli pressed gently yet firmly.
His bottom lip started to wobble as Levi whispered, "Bad. I don't... don't wanna be... I want to be with... but he's got Unca Kev and..."
The Doctor raised his hand to gently silence the nearly crying boy and looked at Joel. "What about you? What would you feel if Levi found someone else? Someone whom the Guardian knows to be his true love?"
The reaction as seen in Joel's face by everyone but Cory and Sean - who were technically behind Joel as he was on Cory's lap - was plain. Joel shook slightly. "If he really loved that person and if they were good together, I'd let him go," he whispered, but his arm tightening around Levi's body was telling a different story. "I'd not want to... not really... if... I dunno..." he continued, getting slightly upset himself.
The Doctor nodded again. "Okay. Levi. Kiss Joel. Just lips, before you give us all a show," he added with a smile.
Sniffing back his emotions, Levi turned his head and pressed his lips to Joel's lovingly. Without thinking about it, both boys raised their hands to run them through the other's hair as they kissed for nearly half a minute until the Doctor said, "Okay. I've got the answer I need there."
Kyle, tears of joy for the love he could see in his 'little boy's' face rolling down his cheeks, asked, "What were you looking for other than the obvious? You sound like it's something more than what I just saw..."
"It was," Galli smiled sadly before sighing. "It's a Time Lord thing. Kev?"
"Yeah?" Kevin looked over.
"If it's okay with you, can you kiss Levi? The same as Joel and Levi just did?"
"Well... yeah, but why?" Kevin asked curiously.
"I saw your face when I asked them what they thought about each other and for them to really think about it. You did the same thing, didn't you?" Galli smiled.
Kevin nodded slowly before a small blush started to mount his cheeks. "Yeah.... yeah I did." He then looked past Joel at Levi, "I'm okay if you are, Leev."
Joel moved back slightly until he was held firmly against Cory's chest, with the small orb on his brother's chest pressing into his back, to give Levi and Kevin some room. Levi blushed slightly as well before moving to press his lips against Kevin's.
While their kiss didn't last as long, everyone saw the automatic reaction from the boys' hands. They started to raise as if to embrace the other but they stopped them as soon as they realised what they were doing. They broke apart and just looked at each other oddly, a shy smile on their faces.
"Oh dear," Galli said seriously.
"What now?" Adam, Tyler and Sean asked at once.
Galli took in a deep breath before stating, "Kevin and Levi are beginning to fall in love. Levi and Joel already have over the past few days. Joel and Kevin did so at first sight. But there's a problem. A big one."
"We can tell that by their 'tents'!" JJ commented with a grin.
Galli looked at JJ and his face was dead serious, "I'm not referring to that, bro. This is serious... and heartbreaking."
Kevin's face hardened slightly, "Look, Galli. I'm not sure I love Leev in the way you suggest, or that I'm falling in love with him, but don't you try and break him up from Sa'r! If Sa'r and Levi want to bond and marry like Sa'r and me are married then I'm okay with that, and no-one better tell them they can't!"
Galli sighed, "Kev, it's not that I'd stop them, nor stop you once you realise you've fallen for Levi. It's nature. It's the order of things. This can't happen. It won't happen. There's nothing I can do to prevent it. You can bond with Levi - but Joel can't. Ever. And since he can't, that means you can't."
"You're confusing the blonds." JJ stated, his own face looking lost.
Levi wasn't confused, however. He was getting more and more upset. He had worked out what JJ and the rest hadn't; not even his parents. "Joel can't be a High Race... can he?" he blubbered sorrowfully.
The Doctor shook his head. "Kevin has enough genetic tags in him so that you could do what your Dad did to your Pop; make him a Mikyvis. But Joel's a Vulcan. Predominantly. His human side is more or less recessive. There's nothing for you to grab onto and change. At the very least, Joel would have to be an energy based being - Middle Race or higher - for you to be able to bond and marry him. Cross species bonding happens on occasion between various High Races of the past, the Middle Races now, and even, before the Time Lock, between Middle and High. We're on the same playing field, as it were. Even if High Racers have a responsibility that Middle Racers don't have, we can bond with them. But you can't make Joel a Mikyvis, which means if you do fall in love and admit it with Kevin, and change him into a Mikyvis, you would abolish the marriage and bond that they have. And I don't think Kevin would ever agree to that."
"No I wouldn't," Kevin choked out, his face pasty white.
Joel sat forward at this point and wrapped an arm around both Kevin and Levi, "So you're saying I can't be with Leev? Ever?"
Galli hung his head, "You and Levi can never bond, Joel."
Quint looked more than a little put out, as did many of the rest of those there. "You're forgetting something, Galli! I am a Q! We can change people into different things. If this is the problem, then I'll turn both Joel and Kevin into a Q, or even into a Mikyvis! Then, either just Joel and Levi can bond, and Joel can have two husbands, or if Kev and Levi do fall in love, they can be a three way partnership!"
The Doctor was shaking his head sadly long before Quint finished, but Quint ignored him and looked at Joel and Levi. "You first, Joel," he said simply as he snapped his fingers.
JJ and Adam jumped to their feet at the same time. "You should have asked!" they yelled together.
"No need," Galli said softly.
Quint was gapping at Joel, for nothing had happened. "Wha...?"
Galli looked at the young Q, "Joel is the Shaper and he is Sa'ren. He cannot be changed nor altered by us, Quint. Sorry. There's nothing we can do." He then looked back at the Vulcan and Levi, "That's the reason you feel a 'barrier' between you, Levi. That's why things are just not completely 'right', Joel. You cannot be together like you are with Kevin. Nature just stops it."
"What about Bryce and Xandor?!" Tyler said angrily, for the lost look on his son's face was tearing at his heart. "And Dylan and Thomas! Come on, Doc! How can they be together, or are you going to tell us that they can't bond either??"
The Doctor moved and stood up. Turning to look fully at his brother, he answered, "Xandor is an intermediate Young Race member. He's ageless. And he's likely to shift into his Middle Race form within a few millennia. Also, either I or Quint or any Q could change him into at least Middle Race level if needed. As for Thomas, he's got enough tags in him for a normal Mikyvis conversion. There's no issue there. There is here... and I hate being the bearer of bad tidings."
"B...but I love him!" Levi wailed forlornly.
Joel pulled his arm from around Kevin so that he could hold Levi tightly against his chest. "Leevee," he whispered as tears started trickling down his own face, "please don't cry. M...Maybe we were r...right last night. Maybe you've g...got someone else special to l...love..."
"But I love you! I d...don't wanna wait for a m...maybe!" he wailed, "And Galli's right... I can see the path behind me that's leading to me loving Unc... uncle... Kev too! It's not FAIR!"
Kyle was on his feet and in the Doctor's face by this point. "There has to be something to do for them, Galli!" he raged, his anger unfocused and not directed at his brother.
"There's nothing I can do, nor Q. None of the High Races can overcome what Joel is. Neither can the Middle Races. Not even Forever can undo the power that exists inside of Joel. And Nature itself is therefore stopping a bonding from happening... I'm sorry, Kyle."
Levi slipped quickly from Cory's lap and Joel's hug and ran over to fall into Tyler's arms, wailing and weeping his heart out. He turned himself back into his younger, seven year old form as he ran so that Tyler could more easily care for his child.
Teri was quietly crying as well, for any of her children or grandchildren hurting hurt her too; especially when there was nothing she could do about it.
Joel was about to follow after Levi when Kevin stopped him, "I'll go, love. Stay here and cuddle with your brothers." Kevin then hopped down from Sean's lap and ran over to cuddle both Tyler and the sobbing Levi. "Shhh, Leev," he comforted, "shhh. Something will work out. Remember what Sa'r said last night? I felt it happen, when he changed Destiny..."
Through his tears, Levi managed to squeak, "Make a miracle for me?"
"Yeah," Kevin smiled as he pulled back and turned Levi around his his Poppa's arms. "He'll make a miracle for you... maybe even do something to level the playing field."
"If it means I have to be mortal, I'll do it!" Levi sobbed as he looked into Kevin's eyes. "I'll become human if I have to! Really!"
"You're the Voice of Forever," Kevin pointed out to him. "Could you give that up for love?"
"Yes!" Levi blubbered.
Kyle felt his heart grow cold. His first born, his Levi... if it were possible for Levi to be made mortal, then one day, he and Tyler would lose him. Yet, could they keep their ageless son ageless knowing that he couldn't be with the person - or persons - he loved? He looked at Tyler and saw that his husband was thinking the same thing, and they both nodded together. If Levi could become mortal... if it meant that he could be with Joel, and maybe even Kevin... then they would let him go and bear the burden of grief when the time came.
The Doctor saw the look of horror on Joel's face as the small Vulcan realised the same issue that Kyle and Tyler had, and he also saw the look of compassion on the impulsive young Q's face. He stepped in quickly. "Quint! Wait, okay?" he asked forcefully before turning to look at Levi, "Sweetheart; please wait a while, okay? I don't think the Guardian would stop you giving up everything you are to be with those you love, but there might be another way if Joel's made an Event happen. I don't know what that could be, but don't make any rash decisions. If you give everything up and join with Joel and maybe even Kev, then something changes later, you might not be able to go back to being Mikyvis. You might be lost to us forever. Can you wait? Please?"
Levi's lower lip was still wobbling like crazy, and his eyes were still tear filled. "I wanna be with... with Joel now..." he whined.
Joel slipped from Cory's lap and padded over quickly, only to have both Levi and Kevin slam into him for a hug. "Mouse?" the small Vulcan whispered, his own voice thick with emotions.
"Did a big hand from the sky stop us talking? Ever?"
"Did a big hand stop us kissing? Wanking? Making love? Cuddling? Being together and telling each other we loved each other?"
"No," Levi repeated more steadily.
Joel raised Levi's face and took his lips in a serious kiss. Once done, and once Levi's legs had turned to putty, and once everyone else had echoed 'awwwww!', Joel whispered, "Galli didn't say we couldn't be 'boyfriends', did he?"
Levi stared, then grinned. "No! He didn't!" he exclaimed happily, his tears drying instantly. He then turned in the hug he was in from both boys and looked at the Doctor. "I can wait, Galli! I can be Joel's BOYFRIEND until the miracle happens!"
Galli's face split into a smile. "I did everything but knock you over the head with that, Levi. Sometimes you kids can be so dense," he giggled.
Kevin sighed, "More tests, Gallifrey?"
"Tests never end for us, squirt," Galli answered seriously, yet his eyes were gentle. "Never."
Levi felt himself being turned around and fully expected Joel to be kissing him again. When Kevin sought and found his lips for a match of tonsil tennis, however, he was shocked. Pleased, and curious on some levels, but still shocked. As Kevin backed off from the brief but wonderful kiss, Levi trembled, "Un... Kev?"
Kevin shrugged, "I liked the kiss earlier. I just wanted to see how if felt. It's... close, Leev. I think the Doc is right."
Levi smiled shyly, "I think so too."
"No rushing things," Galli giggled. "It might not get any further."
"Then again," Joel grinned, "Levi and KEV might be in for a six day marathon soon!"
Kevin blushed. So too did Levi.
Kyle and Tyler just grinned. "Don't they grow up fast?" Kyle muttered as he watched Levi change back into a nine year old so that he was on the same playing field as Kevin and Joel.
"Yeah," Tyler said in a very adult manner. "It seems like only a week or so since we were teaching our boy how to pick out his first set of clothes, and now he's a horny little devil."
"Mmm... yeah," Kyle giggled.
Levi turned in the three way hug he was engaged in and said sweetly, "But I'm your little angel, Poppa!"
"...and we totally blame your Uncle Cory for corrupting you...." Kyle ad-libbed.
"What?" Cory protested as he and Sean blushed. "What have we done?!"
Before Kyle could respond, Joel sniggered, "Well, there was this one thing that Levi did that he said he heard you and Sean whispering about on Thursday..." Then he went on to explain what that 'one thing' was. Teri decided that she wanted a drink of water, and so left the Lounge and went into the Bar next door.
"It made him squeal too, just like Uncle Sean did," Levi added as he studied his fingernails. "Joel can be quite noisy!"
Adam quickly put his hand over JJ's mouth and proceeded to drag him into the bar to join Teri.
Kevin watched as the two boys left before saying conversationally, "I didn't think they would be that prudish. Hey, Sa'r! Could you try that with me? Sounds like fun!"
"Yeah," Joel nodded. "Would be better with two, though... right Leevee?"
At this point, Kyle and Tyler left to join the others.
"You know," the Doctor giggled as he fought with a blush, "it really gets to something when your nine day old son can embarrass the bejesus out of you!"
"There are a few things that you and Jay do that the Tardis told me about that I haven't tried yet, like...." Levi stated.
With one thought, both Galli and Quint vanished from the room to join Teri, and Spock was already making a bee-line for the door. Mont and Bast were struggling to hide their 'excitement' and Sean was wishing that he could join them. However, since Cory was in effect nailed in place by not being able to move too far from Joel, he couldn't exactly leave his husband's side.
Juan was just rolling about on his back, laughing.
Joel sighed as he looked around at the remaining people. "Okay, that's enough of embarrassing the locals. Shall we go home and surprise everyone with the new 'stuff'?" he asked Kevin and Levi.
"Good idea," Levi smiled, his eyes still misty with his wound up emotions.
Kevin noticed and pulled the boy against his chest for a hug. "Nine will be fun," he smiled as Joel went over and retrieved his tribble from the now very empty fridge.
Kataui burped... then purred.
It seems as if things are moving right along. Joel seems to have begun to heal. We will just have to wait and see what will happen next. Believe me, there are many more interesting things to come, so to speak.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher