Sa'ren Part II

Chapter 9

The Power of Innocence


To give you all fair warning, the latter part of this chapter contains a love scene. A curious boy and a hurting boy together. The end result of what will happen will take chapters to unfold. The Broken shall be healed, and the Innocent shall learn – but Innocence shall remain. The love scene, by necessity, is rather detailed, but done tastefully. This is not meant nor designed to be erotic.

Thank you.



Jason's jaw dropped open, and Koth jumped to his feet. "What?!" they both exclaimed.

Spectre seemed to be in slight shock as well.

Joel continued to grin, even though everyone else in the room was gabbling at once. "I recognised you in the meld, Fa'komi."

T'Pol lowered her hood. "You are the first to ever see through such," she said as she removed the voice-changer from her collar. "I am impressed, Sa'ren."

Joel moved closer to hug himself around her waist. "I love you, Fa'komi," he whispered.

"And I you, grandson," she murmured before looking at the still stunned Jason. "I will take my leave of you, now."

"O...Okay, Spectre," Jason murmured as he watched T'Pol and Joel part and T'Pol vanish in a beam of transporter energy. He then looked at Joel, "How long did you know she was your grandmother? Not even I knew that!"

"I guessed as soon as she arrived, but I didn't know until the meld," Joel grinned.

"You're good... surprising, too," Jason giggled back. Then he gestured for everyone to gather around him - and Levi, who was stillseated on his shoulders. "Right, guys. I need to assign you newbies to Companies, or Corps. We call them companies in the Dragon, but then we like being different to the rest of the VSO," he giggled.

Koth grinned too. "There's seven areas. I'll list them out, and..."

"We get to pick?" Simon asked curiously as he played with his cloaking device.

"Nope," Jason laughed. "I place you by what you are fundamentally best at."

"That makes it so easy for Juan, then," Theadore smirked. "The Big Boom Company!"

"Too fucking right!" Juan giggled.

Jason grinned. "You might be surprised," was all he said before he nodded at Koth.

Koth then listed the companies. "Voice is Command and Espionage. Fire is Sabotage and Infiltration. Heart is Diplomacy and Counselling and are very small Company Groups. Wings is Wet-work, Sniper and Infiltration. Eyes is Data Collation and Distribution. Wisdom is Space Combat and Tactics. Finally, Talons, my Company, is Assassination and Close fighting."

The three Chipmunks' eyes had lit up when Eyes Company had been mentioned, and Juan's had when Wings had been. Joel's face was unreadable, but Kevin seemed thoughtful.

"Kev, you're Heart Company. You're a diplomat through and through, no doubt there. It's what you love," Jason smiled at the small boy.

"I guessed," Kevin smiled. "Thanks."

"Chipmunks... you're not all in the same Company, surprisingly. Alvin and Theadore; you're both in Fire Company. Simon, you're in Eyes."

"Mmmm...." the three boys hummed to themselves before nodding happily.

"Now, for the one that might get me hurt," Jason giggled as he looked at Juan.

"Oh?" Juan said, trying to sound dangerous but Joel had latched onto him for a cuddle, so it wasn't quiet as effective as normal.

"Juan," Jason smiled at the boy, "Joel has said it so often, so I know you know it in your head. But I know that, in your heart, you don't quite believe it yet. You are more than what you were made for. You are a marksman par excellence, and it is something you love to do. However, while in the Tardis, I ran a few scans on you near the end of your training while you slept. When given a choice, you will defend others to the death, and fight like a devil - but, once done, your heart leads you to help the suffering to recover as quickly as humanly possible. Little kids find you more than approachable, and those with emotional upsets are calmer when talking to you. You have, this very day, helped three boys with severe mental and emotional trauma; and you are still helping your Lil'Elf with his own. You have the heart of a counsellor. It is therefore the reason why I place you now into Heart Company. Diplomacy is not your strong suit - unless it is the peace of the gun and 'aggressive negotiations' - but when you see someone with a hurting heart, you help. It is more than something natural to you. It flows so easily from within."

Juan tried to look indignant. He really did. He looked from smiling face to smiling face around him, and really did try to gather enough 'outrage' to do 'being put out' justice. In the end, however, he, too, smiled. "Looks like my secret's out... but if you tell anyone, or make me wear pink, I'll rip your nuts off!" he informed them all.

Koth giggled, "You might be in Heart Company, love, but you're still able to do the rest of the stuff we do. I'm good at commanding, but Jace is best at it. He's excellent at close combat, but loves espionage more. It's about our focus, not about what we are only good at."

"Mmm... okay then... I like it even better," Juan decided as he increased his snuggle with Joel.

Jason visibly looked relieved. "Thank God that went well," he giggled. Then he reached and ran his fingers through Joel's hair, "Now for you, troublemaker."

"How am I a troublemaker?" Joel asked curiously as he turned around in Juan's arms.

"Because you fit into four areas," Jason giggled. "Voice, Heart, Eyes and Wisdom. You're also good with Fire. Talons and Wings are out as you won't kill, but you're still a damned good shot and close fighter. In fact, Riti and Juan said in the Tardis you were as close to being as good as them as you could get without being upgraded with Genesis or turned into a Lo'Garn; and Chang said you were his best student. That's high praise. However, I have to place you in my Division. So, I will put you under Telez. You are Wisdom Company, for your grasp of Space Combat and Tactics is unparalleled."

Joel grinned happily. "Thanks," he whispered.

"So what about me, then?" Levi giggled from Jason's shoulders.

Jason reached up and lifted the boy off of his shoulders before holding him up in the air between them all. "I present to you," he giggled, "the official Dragon Division Mascot - Levi, the Innocent Angel!"

"You're silly, Unca Jace," Levi giggled as the room broke out in laughter. "Do I get a kewl rank, too, Unca Jace?" Levi asked sweetly, trying out the puppy-dog eyes that Timmy had taught him as Jason lowered him to the floor.

"Yep!" Koth and Jason said together, "Lord of the Cuteness, and Master of the Cookies!"

"But I wanna REAL rank!" Levi pouted with a glint in his eyes.

Jason hugged the boy close, "Well, you did train with us in the Tardis... okay, you are Major Levis Hunter Richardson, Blue Level VSO - Heart Company."

"Thank you, Commander," Levi said seriously. Draco helpfully beamed in another uniform and extras, and Levi quickly got into the proper attire before swearing his Oath to Jason.

"One last thing," Jason said, after completing the Oath with Levi. "You Unit guys - yes, you are now VSO, but I also know that your first loyalty is to the Unit. That is as it should be. What you have been given are tools to help you. You now have access to more from the VSO than others in the Unit would normally have. Feel free to utilize them as needed. You've had the training in the Tardis, and you know our regulations. I would not have arranged this with Spectre - well, Aunt T'Pol as we now know - if I didn't trust you. Juan, you are still on leave from the Unit, though, for as long as you wish; until you are happy that Joel is better and doing okay. So until then, use the rank you have just been given. Commander in the Vulcan forces covers all the various General ranks and all Admiral ranks for Earth forces, as well as Starfleet. There are four levels within 'Commander', so you have the same authority now as you have under your Unit rank."

Juan nodded seriously at him before taking a step back and pulling Joel with him. He turned Joel around and knelt in front of him. A serious look encompassed his face. He pulled one of Kahless' daggers from somewhere inside his robe and he slowly drew the blade across his other palm, cutting deeply. No pain was evident on his face. His eyes were blazing blue and the power crackled, taking on a physical presence. He locked eyes with Joel's face while he held his hand up in the air. As he began to speak he rhythmically squeezed his fist making the blood flow and fall to the ground. His voice showed no emotion as he spoke softly to Joel, who was by this point watching in awe through Kevin's eyes:

"By Kahless, I swear to you, Sa'ren Joel Short, that I will do all in my power prevent any physical harm from ever befalling you again. As long as I draw breath you will never again endure trials such as you have already gone through. My life is a shield for your welfare. Your enemies will know woe at my hands, and I will be death incarnate to any that seek your harm."

Joel reached out and linked his hand with Juan's bleeding one. He had no words. From his right, Kevin walked, and laid his own hand over their linked ones.

Jason smiled at them.

As the group left the meeting room, and, after the three Chipmunks had beamed back to Utah, they all started toward the Rec Room. Before they got to the door, Timmy ran in with William on his shoulder, "Unca Joel!"

"What is it, TimTims?" Joel giggled as he explored with his fingertips his new uniform and equipment.

"We's goin' to a party in Des Moines, soon, and I wanted ta make sure you wouldn' miss us!" the little Fireball explained as he slammed into Joel's stomach for a quick hug.

Joel laughed, "Oh, that's okay. I've got a party to go to, myself."

At the console nearby, Seth was busy inputting some information onto the Clan's systems, and half listening to the conversation as well. The comm beeped at him, the tone making him go into full seriousness mode, fast. It was the Clan's hotline, the number that had been made public since the day of the Montana attack. He hit the button, aware that Jason, Joel and the rest were now crowding close to him to listen as well. "This is Clan Short of Vulcan, Seth speaking. What is the problem?" he asked seriously yet calmly.

From the comm, a child's sobbing voice could be heard. "They's gonna hurt me 'gain," came the whispered, and seemingly terrified, answer. It was obviously a little boy, and he was obviously scared out of his mind. "They down der now, gettin' ready! Please help me!"

Timmy's face flushed red in temper, and he hissed, "Find out where he is! I'm gonna go zap 'em and save 'im!"

Seth flapped his hand at Timmy to shush him as he said into the comm, "Okay. I'm right here, kiddo. Can you tell me what the matter is?" At the same time, he gestured for Jason to start tracking the call.

Joel ground his teeth together as he heard the small child's reply: "He hurts me, an' Mommy let's 'im. He sticks it in me and it hurts! He did it dis mornin' and he's gonna do it 'gain! You gotta help me! Mommy won't! She holds me tight so he can stick it in! They do it alla time!"

"I got him," Jason whispered as he listened to Draco in one ear and watched the screen before him. "He's just a few miles away, here in Orlando!"

Seth whispered back, "I'll try and keep him on the phone, you get there now, Jace!" Then Seth turned to the comm, "Okay, we're sending some good guys over now, kiddo. Don't worry, they'll be there real quick, okay? What's your name?"

"K...Kieron. Kieron Mark Handley. Hurry! He jus' got here, and soon he'll stick me!"

Joel heard enough. So, too, did Koth, Levi, Juan and Kevin.

Jason moved over to them, but before he could say anything, Timmy said, "Me an' William are goin' too!"

Jason grinned and nodded before looking at them all, "Come on. This is your first mission as VSO, so you know the drill. Put your Clan Short symbols on. Timmy, you put this one on." Jason handed Timmy a spare crest that he had taken from his belt. Levi also gave the small redhead a Clan robe he'd just created for him, and Timmy quickly put it on before attaching the Clan Crest. Once the others had put on their own crests on the right chest of their robes, Jason looked at the Mikyvis, "Levi? Can you take us to the address?"

Levi nodded, his face pinched white with his anger. They all seemed to blink for a moment, and then they found themselves outside a rather nice looking house in a good area of Orlando. Jason turned and found that they were not alone. "Hi, guys. Who sent you?" he asked the two G-Gorillas, the G-Chimp and the G-Cat leopard that were standing behind him.

"Daileass, sir," the larger of the two Gorillas said seriously. "He was monitoring with his boyfriend."

Jason nodded and gestured quickly with his hands. The four Unit members spread out quickly over the front lawn as Jason led his team to the front door.

Joel reached out with his Vulcan senses to guide him, but he did rely on the light touch on his arm from Kevin to follow close to Jason.

Once they were all ready, Jason knocked sharply on the door. He could sense that the child was upstairs in the house and clearly scared and frightened. He could also sense that there were two adults in the back end of the building downstairs. Might as well play this the easy way, he reasoned.

A moment or so later, the door opened to reveal a pleasant faced yet tired looking woman standing there. At first, curiosity was in her eyes, then shock at the sight of black and blue robed kids standing and glaring at her, and all had Clan Short symbols on their robes. Next to them, she saw the Genesis Hybrids and her jaw dropped open. She recovered quickly and stammered, "Wha... what's the matter?"

Jason, Levi and Juan were already scanning her, and they were beginning to look extremely puzzled themselves. Jason hesitated for a second before answering, "We are from Clan Short, Ms Handley, and we just received an emergency hotline call from this house. Do you have a child by the name of Kieron living here?"

The woman's jaw dropped open yet again, then she shut her mouth with a snap and her face grew angry. She turned and yelled up the stairs, "Kieron Mark Handley! What have you been doing THIS TIME?!"

Joel turned towards Kevin with confusion. This did not seem like the actions of a woman who was helping to abuse her son.

The three telepathic boys were equally confused, and it showed. There was nothing in this woman's mind that even hinted at abuse.

Timmy was bouncing from foot to foot, because he too could tell something strange was going on here, but he was still concerned for the crying boy he'd heard on the comm. William was clucking away on his shoulder, and was the only one of the group that didn't seem to be fazed at all.

There was deep silence from the upstairs of the house.

The door to the kitchen opened, and Jason saw an elderly man walk out into the hallway. He had to fight to stop laughing. The man was wearing an obviously new set of professional baseball catchers gear. He had a catchers helmet, chest protector, leg guards, and cup on over his clothing. What made it particularly ridiculous was that he also had on oven mitts.

Something weird was going on here.

Then, around the top of the stairs, a small face appeared and Jason could clearly see the tears still running from the boy's eyes. The boy's face suddenly lit up with relief and joy at the sight of the 'rescuers' in the doorway, and he started to speed down the stairs at the insane speed only a five year old could attempt. "You came!" he yelled as he dodged his mother's grasping arms and hurled himself into Juan's.

Juan fell into his normal behaviour around small kids; he clung onto the child and started murmuring to him softly. "What's the matter? Maybe we can help," he whispered softly, yet loud enough for everyone, including Mom, to hear.

"He's gonna stick it in me bum again," wailed the child as he dared a glance at his mother. The scowl coming back at him was withering. "Or he's gonna hold me and she'll stick it in me!"

"Wait a minute!" Kevin exclaimed. "Pardon?"

"She will! She will! She don' care! It hurts!"

As the puzzled Juan tried to get out of the boy exactly 'what' hurts, Kevin glanced into the hallway of the house. There, just inside and next to the front door, was a small table. Obviously used to place car keys, letters and the like on. There, on top of a pile of unopened mail from that morning, he spotted something.

"Juan," Kevin sighed, his breath exploding out of him along with the tension from expecting an abusive situation. "Juan, yes, his mom and this man was sticking things in him..." The tone of Kevin's voice was completely neutral, not angry as Juan would have expected.

Juan glanced at Kevin, and saw Joel start to giggle behind his hands out of the corner of his eye. It seemed like Kevin had already informed the small Vulcan down their link.

Kevin pointed.

Levi, Juan, Timmy and Jason peered into the hall, following the pointing finger.

"Oh, Jesus," Jason sighed. There, on the table where the woman had obviously left it while answering the door, was a hypodermic needle. "Is he diabetic or something?" he asked the still scowling woman, who was now standing with her hands on her hips and shooting daggers from her eyes at her 'crying' son.

"Yes, diabetic," she grated, "although I think 'dead' is going to be the more apt word in a short while!"

"It hurts! And I told you I'd call dem if you stuck me 'gain, so I did and dey came! Dey's gonna stop you good! I told you so!" Kieron exclaimed stubbornly, as only a five year old can.

Jason turned to look to each side of himself at that point, for some very strange noises were coming from the four G-Hybrids who had come over from Utah. The two gorillas, the leopard and the chimp were on their backs, their guns and weapons lying owner-less next to them, and each of them were laughing and pounding the ground with their paws and hands. The chimp, who had to have been in his mid to late twenties, was nearly catatonic. As for the gorillas, Jason just couldn't think of a proper descriptive word for the state they had worked themselves up to.

He turned back and looked apologetically at the woman, "I'm sorry if we startled you, but we couldn't just ignore a hotline call like that - especially not the way it sounded."

"I can imagine," she grated back. "Look, sorry for sounding angry. I'm not angry at you boys. I love what you guys have done for kids up and down our nation, never mind wherever else you've been helping. I'm just..." She stopped with a sigh and gestured for them all to enter the house, "Come in. I'll try and explain. I don't want you thinking I'm a bad mother or something."

"Sandra?" the man in the kitchen door called over. "What's going on?"

"Clan Short have come for a visit," Sandra answered, her eyes darting back to shoot daggers at her son, who was keeping Juan as a shield between himself and his butt and her hand - which he was watching warily. "Put the kettle on, Mick. This could take a while."

"Oh... Oh!" he exclaimed, then started laughing himself, "Well, at least I'll get some help tonight! Okay, one round of hot drinks coming up; just let me get out of this 'armour' first!"

As he disappeared back into the kitchen, Sandra led the boys and the G-Hybrids into the front living room. The Hybrids were crawling in on their hands and knees, their weapons dragging behind them from the straps, for they were still laughing uncontrollably.

They all settled down on the various chairs and such scattered around, and they all waited while the Hybrids managed to calm down. The chimp was the last. In the end it took one of the gorillas to help him, for the gorilla in question - Tim, usually called 'Tiny Tim' by those who fancied risking their lives - hoisted the chimp - a Doctor Constantine, who was usually the most placid and level headed chimp that the other three Hybrids knew - up to dangle from the ceiling from the light fitting.

Joel waited until only hiccups of laughter could be heard, rather than screams, and asked, "Ms.... is it Ms, or Mrs?" he asked curiously.

"Mrs," Sandra answered, "but call me Sandra."

"Okay, Auntie Sandra," Joel smiled. "Um, can you explain why you feel so weary? I can sense it, and it's more than being tired after work."

"You're an angel to ask, but really, it's nothing you guys can do. I just want to explain a few things so you know I'm not always angry at my little boy," she replied.

"You not gonna spank me?" Kieron squeaked from behind Juan on the sofa, where he had hidden once everyone had sat down.

Sandra looked at him seriously, "I didn't say that."

Kieron ducked back behind Juan with a nervous squeak.

Mick walked in with a tray of hot drinks and started handing them out, "I figured hot chocolate wouldn't be an issue."

Joel was about to sip the mug he had received, when Kevin shouted quickly to stop him. "Sa'r!"

"What?!" Joel exclaimed, his head turning around nervously.

"Wait a minute," Kevin said more softly. Then the brown haired boy looked up at Mick, "Could you make Sa'ren something without chocolate? I don't think you're going to have the Vulcan friendly stuff here."

"Oh?" Mick wondered as he took the mug back from Joel, who was looking rather relieved that Kevin had spotted the possible problem. "Why can't he have normal chocolate?"

"It is one of the few things that will make a Vulcan blind drunk," Jason and Kevin said in unison, then they both looked shocked. "Shit!" Jason exclaimed. "Sorry, Joel... I didn't, I mean..."

"Don't worry," Joel whispered softly as Kevin sent his own apology down their bond-link. "I'm blind, and people not saying anything about it won't change it, will it? It's a saying, and I didn't think anything bad until you started saying 'sorry'."

Mick asked softly, "Will coffee be okay?"

"Yeah, coffee is fine. Caffeine has no effect on us," Joel smiled before adding meekly, "Can I have cream and one sugar though, please? I don't like it bitter."

"Cream and one sugar it is," Mick smiled as he walked back out of the room.

"Mom?" Kieron squeaked again, still hiding behind Juan, "can I go back to my room?"

"Please. Do," Sandra said firmly.

"Me and William will go with him," Timmy piped up quickly as he drained his mug of the chocolate and bounced off the sofa. "Come on, Kieron! Come and show me your room!"

"Okay!" Kieron yelled as he bounced off after Timmy, "I've got LOADS of kewl toys and stuff! Wanna see?"


The six and  five year olds ran out of the room, with William flapping above them.

"Oh, Lord - grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can... and the protection from the law for the murder of my offspring," Sandra sighed again, although the twinkle in her eye was more than enough of a tell for the Clan kids and Unit members to know she was only joking.

"A shock collar might help," Dr Constantine put in from his upside down perch on the light fitting.

"I gather your son is a bit of a handful?" Joel said as the elderly gentleman returned with his hot, creamy coffee.

Mick chuckled, "Why do you think I was dressed up in that armour? He's a little hellion! Lovely boy, but high spirited."

"Oh, he behaves... sometimes," Sandra grinned tiredly, "for all of ten minutes at a time, if I'm lucky."

"Well, he's an absolute angel for up to ten hours on a go, remember," Mick added as he sat down the the remaining free space.

Sandra raised an eyebrow, and she wasn't alone.

"When he sleeps!" Mick laughed.

"Yeah," the woman nodded, also laughing.

Jason grinned, "Okay, do you want to explain what all that was about with the needle? And his statement of 'I told you so'?"

Sandra's face became serious, and a little put out. "He was diagnosed diabetic just last week," she explained. "And he hates the needles. I don't blame him for that. I don't like needles either, but he caused such a fuss when the doctor gave him the first injection to show me what to do that when I got home I called Mick. This morning, after his injection, he said he'd call 'those nice boys on TV'. Now, I didn't know he could use the phone yet, or even remember that number, but he did somehow. Mick and I just laughed after he ran off."

Jason grinned and looked over at Mick curiously.

"I live next door. I've known Sandra and Kieron since they moved in," Mick smiled in answer to the unasked question. "I've always said, if there's anything they need, I'll help if I can."

"You're regretting that now, aren't you?" Sandra laughed.

Mick chuckled, and shook his head. "No. No regrets. Just wiser. After being bitten in places I didn't know I had, kicked and punched by that little terror as we tried to give him his shots, I learned really fast. I just bought that baseball gear this morning. I wasn't going to have another three stitches!"

"Jeez!" Juan muttered. "He'd be great for the Unit! I like him already!"

"You can have him for free," Sandra said quickly before chuckling. Everyone else laughed as well.

"There's more, isn't there," Joel said in a clear statement, not a question. "I can feel it."

"Yes," she sighed. "He's about to be suspended from kindergarten - the second one to do this - and I don't know what to do about it. Three people I've spoken to say he has ADHD and should be put on meds, and my doctor is in two minds about it as well. I don't see it, however. When I take him out on a Saturday to the park, he runs himself out and is calm for the rest of the day. He's just a lively boy and full of energy. All school is boring to him as there's nothing much for him to do. Yet, I have to have a place for him... I just have no clue what to do now."

"Juan," Joel said as he turned towards where he knew Juan and Koth were sitting, "how many of the kids we rescued Friday from the base are going to become full Unit members?"

"Well, not sure." Juan mulled it over, then continued, "Most have had training, and most, that I know, like it. There's a bunch of younger ones, though, that might want a real life. Let's be fair, we Unit guys don't have normal lives. If some want a normal life, they're free to go for it. Why?"

"Camp Little Eagle is a school. I can't see why those in Utah who don't fancy becoming full time Unit members can't go to school in a more normal environment. Also, maybe some who do want to be soldiers can go anyway - get a more rounded education."

"I like that," Jason put in quickly. "The same for those who go to the school in the Camp. They could go to the Unit's school every now and again for more self defence and such lessons."

"Yeah," Joel nodded.

Juan was looking thoughtful. "I'd have to speak to Adam... I see some possibilities with it."

"What's this got to do with Kieron?" Sandra asked curiously, her interest having been piqued by the mention of a Clan ran school.

"Well, if you want, we could enrole Kieron in Camp Little Eagle. There's a whole bunch of us that go there, including Timmy - tomorrow will be the first time for me," Joel added with a smile. "If some of the Unit kids come over eventually, he'll have kids more energetic as him to play with."

"I have two kids that I can send tomorrow," Doctor Constantine said calmly. "I don't want them to be soldiers, unless they choose that life."

"I've got a few friends with kids too," Tim said, as he and his other gorilla companion nodded and grunted with approval at the idea. "And my brother, John, here, has a child," he added.

"I've got a five year old son who wants to be a space-ape," John grinned.

The leopard smiled, "There's a few little Cats that will benefit by going there. I'm their Uncle Larry, so I can send them."

"Wouldn't they be scared going some place new?" Joel asked curiously. "They've only been in Utah for a few days."

"Nope," all four G-Hybrids grinned. Constantine added, "My two are adventurous. They'd be happy as pigs in mud."

Kevin grinned at the banter, then looked over at the thoughtful seeming Sandra. "It's a good school. I couldn't read or anything before I went there two months ago. Now I'm a diplomat in the Clan, and Admiral Morrow of Starfleet wants to steal me from my family to join the Diplomatic Corp of the Federation!"

Sandra smiled gently before looking at the blind Vulcan, "How long to get him signed up?"

Joel, looking again through Kevin's eyes, smiled, "Not long. Just bring him round tomorrow at 9 and Mr T will get him enrolled."

"Thanks," Sandra grinned.

"You know," Jason giggled, "this is a first for the Clan, I think."

"What is?" Juan asked.

"Rescuing a parent from their child!"

Everyone started laughing and giggling.

Juan was quick to point out, once the laughter had subsided, "We're still going to have to do something for Kieron. If we side with his mom, then in his eyes, the Clan has failed."

"Even if he was being a naughty boy?" Joel asked with a giggle.

"Well, I'm not going to argue that, but even if he was a well behaved boy, he might have called us. He doesn't like injections, and it hurts, and the Clan saves kids from being hurt. That's what's been said on the TV for over a week, now, so..." Juan trailed off.

Dr Constantine dropped to the floor and said, "I've got a solution. He still should be told that he should behave better, but I'll set you up, Mrs Handley, with a hypospray. It's painless, and even Kieron could use it on himself correctly. Then we get rid of all the needles. Both sides are helped and he sees the Clan 'putting things right'."

Sandra rubbed at her jaw for a moment. "How much will it cost me? Those needles and insulin put my insurance back a bit already..."

"Nothing," Levi said. "We don't charge for these things. It isn't logical for the Clan to charge for medical treatment. If you're a doctor, you help people. If you're doing it to get rich, you're doing the wrong job."

"I'll call Timmy and Kieron downstairs," Juan said with a mischievous smile.

Koth glared at him, "What are you planning?"



Sandra watched Juan with concern as he left the living room and entered the hall. He called up the stairs for Timmy to bring his new friend back down before heading in the direction of the front door. Rather than open and leave, however, he seemed to be picking something up. That was when Sandra realised it was the needle she'd left there, ready for Kieron's next insulin dose. Juan re-entered the living room and a moment later, Timmy bounced in.

Kieron, however, just peeked around the door frame. His face was covered in water paints in tribal warrior markings, thanks to Timmy. He trembled, "You still mad, Mommy?"

"No, not now," she answered calmly. "Come in. The nice boys have a surprise for you."

Kieron did so, but saw the needle in Juan's hand. He stopped dead. "I thought you were gonna save me from those!" he yelled as he started to back away.

"We are," Juan said simply. "You and me are gonna go outside and we're gonna destroy ALL these nasty needles."

Kieron eyed Juan suspiciously. "Really?"

"Really," Juan nodded.

Smiling suddenly, Kieron bounced over and grabbed Juan's hand to lead him into the kitchen to find and gather all the remaining offending items. Then the back door was heard openning, followed by, a moment later, phaser fire and giggles from the two boys.

"That's the end of that," Mick laughed. "Now the only question I have is 'what do I do with that baseball gear?'" he added.

"From what we've been told, if you're helping out around here, you're gonna need it again anyways!" Kevin giggled.

Dr Constantine reached into his bag that was strapped to his back and withdrew a hypospray. "Mrs Handley, please come with me into the kitchen. I'll show you how these things work. It's very easy," he said pleasantly before leading the much larger woman out.

"Once they've finished, we can get back to the Compound. We've all got parties to go to," Joel smiled as he felt Timmy squirm up and onto his lap.

"Yeah!" Timmy yelled happy, and William clucked his beak to add his own confirmation.

Not long later, at the Clan Compound:

Those going to the Halloween Party at Southcrest gathered together in the Rec Room, and all three Sehlats in attendance were with them ready to act as guides. All the kids had their costumes in bags ready to be put on, for the trek across was through fields and they didn't want to mess up what they had prepared. Chip turned to Spock and T'Pol, "Are you sure you don't want to join in? We could use the extra adult help!"

"I am sure," T'Pol said seriously. "I have been to one of these 'parties' before. I will bow out, thank you."

Spock cocked his head slightly before nodding, "I will come. I was intending to work on my son's medical problem, but the desire to see him happy outweighs that."

"If I need you, Spock, I will call you," T'Pol said. "Take care of your children. That is your priority."

He nodded before moving to stand with Chip as the woman left. Spock said quietly, "Thank you for spending this day with me, my brother. It has been a most - difficult - time since yesterday's events."

"I can't imagine," Chip murmured. "But you know that I'm always there for you, brother. You just have to ask."

"Thank you."

"Father!" Solkar exclaimed loudly as he ran over. "Are you coming with us?"

"Yes," Spock answered with a ghost of a smile.

"Kewl!" the young Vulcan giggled before scooting back to find Jimmy and the others.

Chip glanced over the group, and noticed the animals there all ready to walk their human friends over to Southcrest. "Why is I-Metri still with us? Does she not belong to the Commander of the Sehlat Division?" he asked Spock.

"Sellik does not own I-Metri. She is a wild Sehlat and chooses her own way. She has chosen to remain here for now. If that changes, she will inform us in her own way."

"Sehlats are strange," Chip chuckled.

Spock agreed, "Indeed they are."

The Sehlat in question was huffing at her cub, I-Cheya, and receiving a detailed huff-answer in return. Marjur was watching with what could only be described as amusement, before he too put in his huff's worth of an answer to the huff-chat at paw.

Joel interrupted the chat by crawling up onto I-Cheya's back. "When we going, boy?" he asked excitedly.


The kids gathered around quickly before following the three Sehlats, and the other animals of the Clan, out of the CIC building and off toward Southcrest. Spock, Chip and the other adults going with them followed at a distance, so as not to be deafened by the shouts and calls between Clan members looking forward to a fun party.

The 'Oooo's' and 'Aaahhhh's' as the group saw the done up ranch house more than made up for the effort Chip and the rest had put in over Saturday night and early that morning. There were carved pumpkins everywhere with candles in them, spider's webs everywhere, flickering lights in the various windows, as if they were being watched by unseen forces.

It was generally spooky as hell.

Then 'Cousin It' answered the door. A tall 'Cousin It', and JC's voice could be heard chuckling, "Well, come in, guys! No tricks or treats if you stay out there!"

The first stop for the rampaging mass of kids was, of course, the room Justy pointed to where they could all change into their costumes. Most were done in a few minutes and then out exploring the 'Fun House of Horror', but Joel and a number of others were waiting until they were more alone. Justy grinned once the last of the others had left and said, "Joel. You pass out the costumes. You picked out who would be who. Airhead? Where do you think you're going?"

"I don't wanna be Big..."

"Hush," Joel told him as he pointed his finger in the general direction of Aaron's costume. "Just do as you're told," he giggled.

Joel was helped into his by Kevin and Juan, after having stripped to his boxers first. The costumes Levi had created were very warm, after all. The same went for all of the gang. Finally, Juan and Koth were the only ones not dressed. "Well. Who are we going to be?" Juan asked nervously as he looked around at the muppets he was now surrounded by.

"You could be like me, if you want," Kevin giggled.

"Nuh huh! No way! I'm not dressing up like that!" he retorted, trying not to break out in laughter at the sight.

Joel then offered, "Okay! This one!" He held up the only other uniform for Juan's examination.

Juan decided to dress up like Kevin.

It was Koth, grouching and moaning, that was forced into the final uniform.

Once accomplished, they all left the room to be seen by the rest of the Clan, and they received a round of applause for their originality.

Not werewolves, nor ghosts, nor monsters... well, not quite monsters.

They were the Muppets from Sesame Street!

Joel, of course, was Cookie Monster... with two large, walking cookies next to him; Juan and Kevin. Levi was Elmo. Solkar and Jimmy were Bert and Ernie. Aaron was Big Bird. I-Cheya was Barkley. Justy and Dean were both inside of Mr Snuffleupagus. Koth was in a dustbin and dressed as Oscar the Grouch. Tumelo was Slimey, Oscar's pet worm. Kenny was Gonzo. Jake was Count von Count. Xain ended up as Kermit the Frog, of course. Joel and Kevin's kids, as well as Reuben and Richardo, were in various other Muppet costumes from the main television programe, The Muppets.

"That is amazing! Stay still, we have to get a picture of this!" Chip called out as JC ran for the nearest camera.

"Damnit, Juan... why do I have to be the Grouch?"

"Because you're grouching?" Juan retorted.

"Hush, you two," Joel giggled.

"Eat Me!" Juan giggled back.

Just as the flash of the camera went off Chip started laughing, for the scene taken was perfect. All the Muppets (and Kevin the Cookie) were smiling at the camera nicely, but 'Cookie Monster' was air-tackling the 'Juan-Cookie' to the ground while yelling, "Me want COOKIE!... OM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!"

Location: Alpha Centauri Sector

It was cramped and not very comfortable in the cargo hold for the three triplets as the ship they were on lept into warp.

"Couldn't you have found something better than this?" Seth complained bitterly to Cain.

"If you mean more comfortable, yes. If you mean better for our needs, no," Cain answered easily.

"Better for our needs?!" Seth hissed. "How is this better?"

Cain rolled his eyes. "First, those bastards who had us will expect us to get on the fastest ship possible for Earth. Other than that Starfleet one we saw in orbit, the others we could have chosen to hide on would be easy pray to them, wouldn't they?"

"Then we could have gone for the Starfleet ship!" Seth retorted.

"How?" Abel put in. "You know as well as I do, that sneaking on board a Starfleet vessel is suicide. We'd be detected in an instant."

Seth ignored him, but Cain started talking again before he had a chance to. "As for the others, since they would be easy prey, and since they are the likely ones that they'd think we'd take, we just didn't. Our bio-signs are unique, so we'd be detected on any ship leaving this system - unless it was a cargo ship! This one may be slow, and may be uncomfortable, but it's perfect for us. The hull is generally kept polarised on these older vessels, and that will block our readings. Those chasing us will expect us to go on a faster ship, but they'll still scan this one. They won't see us, though. That's why this one is perfect."

"But it's going to be a week to Earth!" Seth complained.

Abel sighed, "If you're worried about food, there's a replicator in this cargo bay, and I can hack it so that no-one knows we're using it."

"What about taking a piss and a shit?" Seth shot back.

"We have a bucket, and the replicator will get rid of the waste the same way," Abel explained with the patience of a saint.

Cain decided to settle down and go to sleep instead of arguing with Seth more. Seth and Abel didn't notice, for they were too deep into the discussion already.

Outside, in the rest of the ship, the 58 man crew continued on, unaware of the three stowaways in one of their cargo bays.


It was much later that evening when Joel and Kevin gave each other a long kiss goodnight before heading back home. Kevin was going to spend at least one more night in his house to allow Joel the time he needed to heal, and so he remained in Southcrest with his brothers and kids. Hermes and Aphrodite stayed with Kevin, while Mercury, Artimus, Koth and Juan followed Joel and Levi.

It had been one hell of a party, Joel thought to himself happily. He'd only had one other to compare it to, but if all Clan parties were going to be like this, he was going to love them all! Sweets, food, games... ducking for apples had amused him... hide and seek through the 'haunted house' that JR, Chip and the rest had set up. Then, the Vampire game – Brant giggled when he drew the secret card saying that he was Dracula. Much like Cluedo, the kids had to work out who was Dracula before the last of them were 'turned'.

I-Cheya had won.

Yes, it was a good party.

"When are you going to check that drawing you made against the mural in your hubby's house?" Koth asked curiously as they made their way over the fields back to the main Compound.

Joel shrugged as he and a bunch of the little kids rode on I-Cheya. "Dunno, probably tomorrow or something."

The Klingon nodded before they all continued walking to CIC, most of the rest chatting and giggling about the party they had just left.

After the group broke up at Main CIC, Joel and his group continued on to Teri's house. Once there, he cuddled up next to his father and Levi. With as much emotion as he had been exposed to in the party, he was feeling a little frayed around the edges. "I think I wanna be Sa'ren for a while," Joel murmured.

"I understand, Sa'ren," Spock said softly.

Levi watched curiously as Joel's face melted of all emotion, only for his normal expression to be replaced by a calm facade. "Feeling okay?" he asked his uncle.

"I am fine," Sa'ren answered. "Thank you for asking."

Solkar and Jimmy, half asleep and cuddled together on the opposite sofa, giggled together. Spock looked over. "It is time for you both to seek your bed," he stated simply.

"Do you not mean beds?" Solkar asked.

"No. I expect for you both to either sleep together, or to end up in either your brother's room, or even in mine again," Spock answered with a brief smile.

With a nod and a giggle, Solkar rose and pulled a pouting Jimmy along with him. They both hugged and kissed the others in the room before scampering off to Solkar's bedroom. "Cute," Artimus grinned. "So, when do you think they will get married?" she added with a chuckle.

"Most likely, never," Sa'ren stated simply.

Spock raised an eyebrow before asking, "What makes you say that?"

"I have melded with both; Solkar, yesterday, and Jimmy, this morning after our shower. I cannot be one hundred percent sure, but I get the impression that they are both heterosexual. At present, Jimmy is far more sexualized than my brother, and to him at this time, sexual contact with either male of female is just as enjoyable. I believe, however, that they will both wish mates of the opposite gender once maturity has come upon them," was the Vulcan man's answer from his small boy.

Juan looked impressed, "You can learn that about a child from a mind-meld?"

Spock nodded, "It is not infallible, but in most cases we can be sure. Both my youngest son and James Junior are likely 'straight', or bisexual. However, this is not something that we should tell them. They need to discover who and what they are for themselves."

Juan and Koth nodded seriously. Then Juan looked sadly over at Sa'ren for a second before sighing.

"What is the matter?" Spock asked, obviously having caught the look and the accompanying sigh.

The boy shook his head slowly for a moment, his eyes turned down.

"Juan," Sa'ren stated quietly, "you have not held back before, no matter the reason. Why did you not answer my father's question?"

Sighing again sadly, Juan answered, "Because you are not the Joel I know right now. Sometimes you are, even when you are hurting over your... over yesterday," he amended quickly at both Spock's and Levi's quick look in his direction. "Sometimes you are you, but when you do this, you... well, feel different. You don't feel like the little Elf I love."

"Ah, I see," Sa'ren whispered. Then added wryly, "Or, so I understand, might be more truthful. Juan. I am Sa'ren right now. At other times I am Joel. I am deciding which to be for the rest of my life - Vulcan or human. One who cannot experience the pain of yesterday or one who can. I am still me, however. Whatever you say to me when I am thus, I will know and remember when I am Joel."

"It's still not the same," Juan whispered miserably.

"I am sorry," Sa'ren apologised simply. "I believe I will want to be Joel later in the evening."

"Okay... maybe we can talk about this, then," Juan said simply, trying not to let his anger and hurt fill his voice.

Sa'ren did not need to hear it, however. He felt it. He slowly untangled himself from the cuddle between Levi and his father and moved toward Juan carefully, using his Vulcan senses to guide him. "Alone, or here, Juan?" he asked simply, not wishing to leave things the way they stood.

Juan shook his head miserably before looking up, his tear filled eyes meeting both Sa'ren's blind eye as well as the sunken space where his left eye should have been. "You're wrong, you know." Juan took a deep breath and then let it out, hoping he wouldn't hurt his Joel even more with his words, "Your wrong when you say that you couldn't handle the pain of yesterday as yourself. Do you realize what that simple statement means to those of us that love you? You know what that does to me? Especially to Kevin?" Juan started to get a bit heated in what he was saying, his tears spilling down his face unashamedly, "It tells us you don't give a damn about us; that you won't let us help you the way you've helped us. Do you really think that little of us? Fuck this emotionless shit. I don't care what anyone else says: who and what you are right now is NOT the person I fell in love with. I guess he really did die yesterday."

Juan couldn't handle it any more, so he blindly raced out of the room, slamming his shoulder into the door that did not open quickly enough.

Koth was on his feet in an instant, his face enraged as well as pain filled. Spock saw that he might, on some level, agree with Juan's opinion, but Spock also knew that Koth had had far more contact with Vulcans and their traditions and culture than most in the Clan, never mind the Unit members of the Clan. Spock reasoned that Koth knew how to handle Juan the best at this point, and stood to his feet to move to his son, whom he logically concluded would now be hurting - regardless of his emotional control.

Spock's reasoning was flawed in this case.

"Hold, Koth, son of Tanis," Sa'ren said softly but firmly.

With a double take, the Klingon paused and faced the Vulcan. "I need to give him..." he started.

Sa'ren cut him off. "No. Not you. I need to speak to him. I am the cause of his pain. I am the reason and the focus of it. If you go to him now, you will be hurt and he will be hurt more."

Koth fumed for a moment. He opened his mouth again, "No, Joel! I need..."

"As thy superior in the House of Surak, I order thee to stand down," Sa'ren stated in archaic Vulcan. "This is not for thee. It is mine own to remedy."

Torn between what his Klingon nature was yelling at him and what his Vulcan training was ordering, Koth hesitated.

It was just what Sa'ren needed. "Armour of my ancestors; Armour that is part of me. I command, and you shall obey. Take me to my Juan. Now." The air turned to liquid around him, causing Koth to take a step back and Spock's eyebrows to raise. The air also warped around Levi, linked as he was to Sa'ren.

Then, both were gone, leaving the adult Vulcan and the Klingon child behind in the room, with Mercury and Artimus peeking from behind the sofa where they had ducked when Juan had exploded.

Juan did not know which bedroom he had run to, but quickly discovered that it was a lady's room - judging by the feminine stuff scattered about. He did not care. He sat on the floor by the foot of the bed, leaned back against it, and continued to sob his heart out. He knew he'd said things that were bad, but that was just how he felt. The real problem was is that he knew that saying it had hurt Joel even more. But why couldn't Joel see that what he was doing was hurting everyone around him? Juan just couldn't understand it. Sure, there were times that he'd love to be able to just shut off his emotions, but then who would he be? He wouldn't be Juan, that's for sure. Why couldn't Joel see that he wasn't Joel any more? Juan didn't know this 'Sa'ren' person, and didn't think that he really wanted to.

He just wanted his Joel back!

He looked up through his watery, tear filled eyes as he 'heard' the air move and liquify before him, to resolve into the very person he had ran away from plus a sad looking Levi. He could see that it certainly wasn't Joel before him, not really. It was still this 'Sa'ren'.

"Why!" Juan cried out, "Why won't you let us help you? Why do you have to hide behind this Vulcan thing? You helped me bring my two parts together as one, so why won't you let me help you like you helped me? WHY, JOEL? Why are you just giving up?"

Juan lunged forward and wrapped his arms around Sa'ren's waist while still crying baseball sized tears. "Why are you letting those bastards beat you like this?!"

Sa'ren placed both his hands around the kneeling and weeping Juan's head and simply held them there, allowing the warmth and serenity he now felt to flow out and around Juan. Mixed in with it was what a normal Vulcan would call 'love' - the completeness and deep peacefulness they felt when held or holding the one they cared for. He spoke no words, and just allowed Juan to cry enough until the burning pain of Juan's tears had cleared the knot of misery that had been inside of him. The misery that had been building since their time in the Dream Realms when Juan had first learned of the duality and dichotomy that now existed in the boy he loved.

As Juan's tears lessened, yet not his grip around Sa'ren's waist, the young Vulcan spoke, "Do you remember our mind-meld yesterday afternoon?"

Juan nodded against Sa'ren's stomach.

"You felt the change that had happened to me, then. I was different from what you had felt in the previous mind-meld when inside of the Tardis, and from those before. You are correct in that something has changed in me, Juan. I am not who and what I was yesterday morning before the... the attack. I may never recover what was ripped from me. I had only two things that had never been stolen when Mikey rescued me. My life, and my virginity. I am glad I had given the latter to Kevin, but the assault has still tarnished that which was all Kevin's and yours. And I still believe, deep down, that it is partly my fault that it happened. I believe what I am told by all of you in that it was not my fault, but I also believe it was. That will heal in time. But there are still changes. You do not know what happened after I left Utah yesterday afternoon, do you? It was never said in the Realms. All you have seen is the aftermath." Sa'ren paused as he felt Juan's head raise slightly.

Juan looked up at Sa'ren's calm face and asked, "What happened?"

"I lost control. I felt myself slipping. I faced everything and one side of me went one way and the other went in the opposite direction. My Human side and my Vulcan side separated. Uncle Daniel believes I am schizophrenic, but that is not true. Unlike the two sides you had within you, I am both. They are two sides of the same me," Sa'ren answered. "I am unable to explain it any better than that. I believe it is my mind trying to decide whether or not to walk Surak's Path or the Terran's. I cannot fully control the switch, but I am able to change over on occasion.

"But you are wrong in saying that I do not need you and Kevin when I am as I am now. Vulcans still need and desire their mates, and we still feel to a certain degree. I am an adolescent Vulcan, so my emotional control is just that; control, and minor control at that. Not suppression and not repression. I still feel. More so than even Xain, for he has had more years to practice than I. I still feel, but it is distant. But my love for you is still there. My longing for your touch is still there. My need of your assistance in recovering is still there. Even if I were as mastered as my father, I would still need and desire you to be there to assist me, Juan. I would miss you greatly if you were to leave me."

"I won't leave you, I just want my Joel back. What do I need to do to get you back? I don't want to loose you!" Juan wailed, his voice filled with loss and grief.

"I am still here. What would you have done had I never been attacked, yet still, one day, chosen to walk Surak's Path? I am a Vulcan, just as I am a Human, Juan. My heritage is both, and my choices are equal. What is different between me and a full Vulcan is that my emotions are even stronger. Hybrids usually are. I can do untold damage, as I nearly did to you yesterday. I may have chosen this path had the assault never taken place. Would you have stopped loving me?" Sa'ren asked seriously before answering it. "I already know the answer. You would have continued to do so, just as Kevin would. If you had been unable to accept such a possibility, my father would not have said we were capable of bonding."

"But damnit Joel, don't you see?" Juan said earnestly while pulling back from Joel's hold. "Your doing so now is letting those bastards beat you. Let it be your own choice, not something they are forcing you into. You're right, no matter what happens, I still love you, and will no matter what, but you're letting them win. Don't you see? You're allowing them to dictate how you live. That's what I have the problem with!"

"I cannot explain how this happened, Juan," Sa'ren whispered quietly. "All I know is that it did. I felt the two sides of me pull and chose differently to one another, and now I am thus. It is not a choice that one can make. It happened. I do not know how."

//I can explain it. Come to me, my Hand, and bring Juan. My Voice? Collect the Strength. Come//

Juan looked around quickly as Levi popped out of the room. "That Guardian person again?" he asked as he brushed at his tears.

Sa'ren nodded.

"Where are you taking us?" Juan asked further as he stood to his feet.

"Somewhere not on Earth," Sa'ren answered as he pictured Forever World in his mind - and silently willed for both he and Juan to be there.

They vanished, leaving Teri's room as empty as it had been before Juan's tearful entrance.

Location: Forever World - Planet 'Gateway'

Time: Forever

"That felt strange," Juan murmured as he appeared on the dead seeming world, in the middle of a tumble-down city. The slight breeze blowing smelt dry and void of life, yet at the same time held more promise of the future than Juan had ever experienced.

"It is disconcerting the first few times it happens," Sa'ren agreed.

Levi popped in with Kevin and said cheekily, "I didn't feel a thing!"

"Ha ha," Juan poked his tongue out at the younger boy.

Kevin moved over to hug Joel. He looked over passed Juan and said, "Hello, Guardian."

Juan turned to see what Kevin was looking at and his eyes widened. "That's the Guardian?" he asked quietly.

//Yes, I am// the strange shaped oval pulsed.

Juan shook his head, "I didn't expect that."

//I know. Would you prefer to know that the very world you are standing on is me as well?//

"No," Juan shuddered.

//Then I will not tell you//

Juan poked out his tongue for the second time since arriving.

Kevin giggled, "I like your new sense of humour!"

//It is not new. You have just experienced very little of it so far. Thank you anyway//

"So... you're the all knowing, all seeing Guardian that runs just about everything?" Juan asked, only trying to be a little funny.

//No. I am the all knowing, all seeing Guardian who protects everything. The One who runs it is my Boss// came the answering chuckle.

"No offence intended, sir... and if you know me, then you shouldn't be surprised at this... but it kinda looks like you failed a few times in the protection aspect," Juan said, knowing deep down that he should be more respectful to something as powerful as the Guardian, but he just really didn't care any more.

The Guardian pulsed slowly for a moment or so before saying, //I protect Time and Space from the Fallen, from those changes that Should Not Be. I also protect my Sa'ren until he meets his Destiny... but I can be blinded, as happened 'yesterday'. What occurred was never meant To Be. Now, it Is and cannot be undone. My Brother's power was used by the Fallen, cloaking them and all they did. Empowering them. I had to fight to get to my Sa'ren. It would be akin to you having to fight through Jory and Will in order to stop Chang from attacking the one you love. Your rage would make you their equal, but it would still be a fight. For that pain, I can only say I understand//

Juan nodded slowly before responding. "I know this probably won't sound right, but it's the only way I can say it. It's kinda nice to see one as powerful as you not being able to stop everything. If you could, then I might have some problems with you... not that it would probably matter much," he said, the last part coming out with a snigger.

//I understand. Yet you need also know - I have the power to make all a paradise, but I do not do so. Free will cannot be interfered with. Such is Mandate. If I were to do so, it would make the Multiverse fail and fall. You need to know that, while things may happen that you cannot understand nor find a reason for, you are not seeing the 'picture' from the angle required. Even in this event with Sa'ren, there is a purpose and a plan. All will bind itself to the Hope that is coming, and only the Hope has the chance to win... you are a part of that Hope, Juan. Now is the hour Unseen yet Known. You have had this place prepared for you since Time began//

Juan looked over to Sa'ren, then at Levi, then Kevin, then back to the Guardian: then back to Sa'ren. "Uhhh... could you interpret what he just said and say it in something resembling English?"

"The Guardian has the power to stop all we call 'evil', but, if he were to do so, he would cause the death of everything. Everything has a purpose and a plan, and all are bound to the Destiny of Clan Short. As for your 'place prepared', I believe we are about to find out what that is," Sa'ren answered easily.

Juan nodded slowly trying to understand what was being said. He looked from the Vulcan to the Guardian and then back again, "Okay. I guess I can understand that, but... well, you know, maybe if he could actually come out and say that sort of thing it would be easier. You know, I'm just a killer... I ain't smart enough to figure out this mumbo jumbo."

Before Sa'ren could respond, the Guardian said, //You do yourself an injustice, Child of Kahless. Now, attire yourself in the armour that Kahless gave you//

Juan was about to say that he had not brought it with him, and that he only had the VSO uniform and equipment on, when a shimmer appeared at his feet and his Klingon style armour appeared. He blinked, shrugged and started to strip off.

He reached for the armour and then looked over at Kevin, having felt the boy's eyes on him. "Like what you see?" he giggled as he wiggled his butt in Kevin's direction.

Kevin shrugged and nodded while Sa'ren stated simply, "Yes."

It was then that Juan noticed that Kevin's normally brown coloured eyes were mixed with the blue he remembered from Joel's. "Perv," Juan sniggered, feeling a little better than something he'd become used to Joel doing was still there when Joel was Sa'ren.

He finally got himself dressed and then looked at the Guardian for further instructions.

//Your armour is of two worlds - Klingon in style, Vulcan Battle Armour by operation. In that, it is partly as the armour worn by the Strength, he whom you call Kevin. Only one thing remains. Step through me//

Juan started walking towards the Guardian, feeling somewhat unsure, until he turned and grinned at the others. "Do I have to worry about him being some sort of perv?" he asked before he stepped through.

As Juan disappeared into the mists, Sa'ren stated, "Just wait until his next request."

Levi fell about giggling.

Juan appeared from around the side of the Guardian's oval and was examining the changes to the gift from Kahless. He now had a helm, seemingly joined at the neck to the rest of the armour yet not causing any limitation to his movement. The same applied to his arms, which were bare before he had stepped through. Only his eyes, part of his cheeks and mouth were now visible from his body. The rest was armoured. It seemed very Klingon in style, even if no such armour had ever existed on QonoS.

On his chest was stylized the broken Sword of Sa'ren, with crossed D'kang daggers overlaid.

"This looks cool!" Juan exclaimed happily. He then looked at the Guardian once more, "There's only one thing missing... not that I am not grateful for the gift, but... um... where do all the guns go?"

A target appeared three hundred yards away. //Aim there, and will for it to be hit in any way you wish//

Juan looked perplexed before whispering over to Sa'ren, "What am I supposed to aim? My dick?!?!"

"Try your hand. Although, knowing the Guardian has a sense of humour, your beautiful, ridged penis might actually work as well," Sa'ren dead-panned.

Thankful for the helm that was blocking the fact that he was now blushing horribly, Juan just raised his hand and tried aiming for the target. He imagined his favourite 50 cal. rifle discharging and slamming into the target. There was a satisfying boom from his hand, and the target was indeed hit by a 50 cal. round. A slight feeling washed through him as the 'bullet' impacted. Not tiredness, but he guessed that, should he have tried for multiple hits, he would get tired.

//For use as a last resort. You are unable to bond with a phasenmorph, so your armour allows for such use unlike the Strength's. As for your standard weapons, they will be held in place wherever you feel they should go. The armour will hold them there. The reason is is that it now lives, as does that belonging to Kevin. It is not sentient, as Sa'ren's is, but once you have worn it for a few hours, it will respond to your commands more fully. For instance: Strength,// the Guardian said as he addressed Kevin, //Summon your armour. Sa'ren, do likewise//

Kevin did so without question and he was instantly covered with a suit of armour similar to that worn by Juan.

Sa'ren, however, paused. His emotions seemed to flood back over his face and all sight of passive logic vanished. Joel trembled, "I... I don't feel I deserve it any more, Guardian."

//Summon your Armour// the powerful being commanded again, his voice gentle and filled with understanding.

Joel sighed and brushed away the tears that were beginning to fall before doing as ordered. The Fo'Wein Sa'ren came into being and wrapped itself around the small Vulcan. The only real differences between his and Kevin's was the intact symbol of the Sword of Sa'ren on his chest and his Crown around his helm.

And it was the Crown that started to cause something new to happen. The symbol of the House of Surak at the Apex seemed to glow for a moment, then all the symbols and seals shifted. Now at the apex was the Sword of Sa'ren backed by the Sigil of Time, and overlaid by a sign that meant the most to Joel. A cross.

Joel gasped and looked around.

He could see. Somehow, he could see. Not as he once did, for the world seemed in azure tones and the figures of Kevin, Juan and Levi were glowing with an inner light that obscured their features; but he could see.

The others saw what Joel obviously could not - his remaining right eye was now infused with blue energy and radiated a mist of the same energy that wafted out and up, trailing a path that seemed to vanish at about the level of the apex of the Crown itself. His empty left eye was now filled with an eye made from that blue, mist like energy, and it too trailed a path on the equal and opposite side of his head.

"K... Kevvy! Jaun! Leevee! I can see!" he yelled joyously. "I can see!"

Forgetting everything else, Juan ran over to Joel at the same time as Kevin and Levi and together they pulled him tightly into a hug. All of them weeping happily along with Joel.

//Such will happen when you wear the Crown and call on its power. You can enable sight for quite some time, but doing so will cause strain upon your brain - the Crown overcomes the damage caused, but the trade is fatigue. You will not be damaged further, but will get tired and feel some pain from prolonged use//

Joel didn't really care. If Geordi La Forge could deal with it in Star Trek, Joel reasoned, then he could too.

As the boys calmed down from their crying and hug-fest, the Guardian said, //The Crown will work even when not attached to the Armour, my Sa'ren, so you do not have to wear the helm at all times to see//

With seriousness, Joel nodded. He then asked curiously, "I see everything differently. It's like I don't see Kevvy or Juan at all, but something inside them is glowing. Same for Levi."

//You will eventually learn what it is that you see, Sa'ren. You will find that some things are as you remembered. Others will be different; such as beholding the living//

The Vulcan nodded again.

They all separated enough to pay more attention to the Guardian again. Juan asked, "You said you could explain about why Joel does that switching thing. Why is that? Is it because he doesn't really think we can help him? I said a lot of stuff that was hurtful, but..."

"I wasn't hurt, Juan," Joel murmured.

Juan smiled sadly as he reached out and squeezed his Vulcan friend's hand, but he still continued, "But inside I really do believe Joel was doing it and saying to us that he didn't trust us. I just need to know, Guardian. What happened?"

The Guardian pulsed softly, //Sa'ren is like Strength. They are Gifted to a degree that very few others are; just as your brother Logan is. Once back at your home, ask either Nine or Buck to give the Strength and Sa'ren a designation. They will have one much like Logan's. It is in that Gifted potential that lies the cause for the split within my Sa'ren. There is a fine line between genius and madness//

"I'm insane?" Joel trembled. "And Kevvy could be, too?"

//You are unstable. It is possible for you to become stable. You are beyond the norm, just as Strength is. But yes, you are both unstable. Your Strength sometimes believes what his mother told him. Then he believes what everyone in the Clan tells him. Then he knows he is worthless. Then he knows he is priceless. He will have to find his own stabilization just as you will//

"Is Logan nuts, too?... oh, wait... BBQ sauce. Never mind," Juan giggled.

//Ah, yes... what Logan calls the 'nectar of the gods'. Funny. Now, Juan, Strength, and Sa'ren. Link hands. Sa'ren in the centre, Strength to his right, Juan to his left. My Voice; call your armour and climb onto Sa'ren's back. Walk through me as one//

Taking a deep breath, Joel held out his hands to the other two. Levi quickly summoned his own armour scrambled up and onto Joel's back, and then together, all four entered the mists of the Guardian of Forever.

Once they reappeared from the other side, the only changes that could be seen were the crowns that had appeared on Juan and Kevin's helms; like the Crown on Joel's own. Levi's had changed to match theirs as well.

//Strength, your crown as given by the Queen of the British Empire has now been adapted and changed to be one with your armour. Juan, you have not as yet requested your place and title as have Sa'ren and Strength. Once you do, then Queen Elizabeth will use what you now wear to ennoble you. My Voice, the same applies to you. Your crown was deeded before, but now it is linked with the other three. The use of your crowns are for you both to discover. They might do like unto Sa'ren's, or they might not//

"Go, Go, Gadget Binoculars!" Juan yelled.

Nothing happened.

"I think it's broken," he giggled to the others, making them giggle, too.

He stopped giggling at the Guardian's next order, however.

//Juan, I name thee 'Preserver' - for the day will come when you shall bring Peace to the Heart of my Hand. Now, however - as you were when you entered this life, so must you now be to pass through me one final time. Remove your armour and clothing//

"You know, I thought he was a perv," Juan grouched as he started to work on his armour. Kevin and Joel helped him, with Joel 'helping' in a few ways he really didn't need to help with.

Levi rolled his eyes. "Why is it that everyone but me had a stiffy when they went through you, Friend?" he asked as Juan disappeared once more into the mists.

//Do you wish to try again to remedy that, my Voice?//

Levi blushed a bright purple and giggled sweetly.

When Juan came back around the oval of the Guardian this time, he was toying with the pendant that he now wore around his neck. "This is nice," he said, a wide smile on his face.

Levi bubbled, "We all have one too, Unca Juan!"

Juan grinned at him.

//Just as with my Voice, my Sa'ren and the Strength, what you now wear cannot be removed unless your life is fled. How it will operate is, like your crown, for you to discover. Know, though, that you are now linked to me and to them - Forever// The pulsing light of the Guardian then flickered out and touched upon each of the four boys. //Go now to the dwelling place of the Strength, and take into your hands, Shaper, the drawing that you made. Look upon the vista of Prophecy with your new eyes. The Blind shall see what the Seeing cannot. Go//

They all vanished, leaving the Guardian to stand there in blissful solitude as he continued to perform his age long task.

Thompson Residence - Orlando:

After a quick stop to grab Joel's drawing, the four boys arrived via Levi-Taxi in the hallway of Kevin's home. Allen heard the giggling from the living room and he and the others poked their heads around the door to look at them. "You changed your mind, Joel?" Kenny asked. "You're going to stay tonight?"

Joel, still in his Armour, shook his head. "The Guardian gave me a task; then I have to go again. Kevvy understands."

Kevin nodded his agreement, smiling peacefully as he did so from within his own armour.

"Nice armour, Juan," Jake winked before turning and pulling Xain back toward the sofa they had been happily cuddled up upon before the newcomers' arrival.

"Thanks!" Juan yelled after him.

Once Allen and Kenny had also disappeared back into the living room, the four boys turned to behold the mural on the wall by the stairs. "That is... freaky," Juan said with about his usual subtlety. "Nice, but very freaky. What's it about?"

"We never worked it out," Kevin answered simply.

Joel, however, was looking at the wall through the power of his Crown and then he pulled out and opened up his drawing. He stared at it closely, then back up at the wall. "There's more there than what is on the surface," he said in awe. "My picture is just one of the layers... I see... it is the Legend of Sa'ren. It is about me. It's... it's also about Cory and Sean and Kyle and JJ. And Vincent and Leyman and three others like them. And there's Levi and the other Mikyvis... the Doctor and millions like him... Quint and his daddy and the rest of the Q... there are others like them... wisdom and knowledge combined, yet surrounded by liquid white... and there's... others... the lost who are returning... and there's people with wings, people I should know but can't see clearly... All surrounding the five of us: me at the centre, and at the four points around me, Cory, Sean, JJ, Kyle... the Nexus of Time. This is the Legend and the Nexus combined... there's the Guardian too! And another like him... the one he called his Brother? But why am I mixed in with that evil Brother?... then there's you, Kev, and you, Juan... you're helping me... then you disappear... my Destiny on a wall, surrounded by the Nexus, just as they are surrounded by all the others... pulling them in?... or are they being united yet sent out to work elsewhere?... I cannot make it out... but it's there. All of us are there. The entire Clan... many I've met. Many more I don't believe are in the Clan yet. Lives not started..."

Juan gulped nervously, for to him, the wall picture was just that: a picture.

"There's more... there's something written on the wall behind all the images..." Joel whispered as he peered closer, his blind eyes shining out with that blue energy so much so that the air seemed heavy with the moving mist of it. "Levi, you need to relay this to... to my brothers... to Blondie, Ted, Lil'Bear and JJ... are they in a place where they won't be hurt if they hear this pop into their heads?"

"Yeah, so Friend says," Levi whispered in awe.

Joel took in a deep breath and said, "Just my voice, Leev. Justy told me earlier the reasons why Blondie don't know what happened to me yet..."

"Okay," the Mikyvis trembled.

After a second or so more, Joel began to recite, and his voice altered and changed as it filled with a strength that seemed irresistible:


"From Time out of Knowledge,
I summon those I named from Of Old:



"May the Four defend the One.
May the Nexus surround my Shaper.
May the Heart support my Guardian's Sa'ren.



"Let all know that the Name of the Nexus is Clan Short.
Let all know that the Heart of the Nexus is Four.
Let all know the names of the Heart: Cory, Sean, Kyle, James.
They are the reflection of my heart made manifest.
They are the four points that will bind or loose all.
They defend the One, who is my Champion.
They must defend him, train him, love him, guide him.
He cannot be that which is needed without the Heart.
Then, at Destiny's Point, shall he defend you all.



"Herein lies Time's Mystery.
Herein lies the Hope of all that live.
This is the image of the Heart of Time and Space.
This is the Legend and the Vergence of Creation.
All pictured on a wall, done at my command and in my design.
Thus is the Heart of the Nexus and Destiny's Child combined.
This is the wonder that is Clan Short - the Sons and Daughters of all...
...and the One they protect shall set their Mandate."


Levi seemed at a point of a whirlwind as he broadcast what Joel recited to the ones Joel had named. Then Levi, too, started to speak and to broadcast it to them as well; although they were obviously not his own words but those of the Guardian's:


"...//Four is the Number,
The Closest of All;
Two pairs related,
And heeding the Call//



//First is the Capstone, the Name and the Start;
Next, Son of Mnemosyne, keeping the Song;
The Third holds Power, supporting the Heart;
Last, the Defender, protecting from Wrong//



//A Vergence in Time,
A Flux in What Is,
Surrounding the One
That none can resist//



//Named before Ages,
And Seen at the Fall,
Called by the Father...
To Gather us All//


Deep and abiding silence descended on the four boys who were now shaking before the mural in Allen's house.

Trembling, Joel looked at his little friend. "Uh... do you know what Blondie and Ted thought about that?"

Levi shook his head, "My Friend says he's making sure they don't freak out and come looking for us. Daddy is having an argument about it now with my Friend. Daddy's losing."

"Oh," Kevin and Juan said, feeling as shaky as Joel looked.

"I wanna get away from this thing," Joel trembled suddenly, feeling like the mural was almost demanding he look all the deeper into it. "Who the hell made it? How could anyone have done it?"

None of them had any answers for him, and so they moved towards the front door. Kevin twitched his head slightly and his armour melted away into the air.

"Where does it go when you do that?" Juan asked curiously.

Kevin giggled, "My bedroom upstairs. There's an armour stand that just appeared there Friday. It freaks Kenny out completely when I make the armour jump back and forth between it and me."

"Evil," Joel smiled softly. He seemed to concentrate and then his Armour vanished, but the Crown remained around his brow to allow him to see.

"Are you getting a headache yet?" Kevin asked with concern as he saw Joel wince.

The Vulcan nodded, "I was okay until I told the Armour to go. Then it started."

"Is it bad? Should I get a Tylenol for you?" Juan asked quickly.

Joel shook his head, "No, and that wouldn't help. That stuff does nothing for Vulcans. It's not bad, not really."

Kevin slipped his hands around Joel's neck and pulled his face to his own before kissing him. "See you tomorrow morning?" he asked as their lips parted.

"For school?"

"Yeah," Kevin grinned.

"Okay. Yeah, I'll see you then... unless you wanna come for breakfast?"

"Even better," Kevin decided with a quick nod and a giggle. "I love you! Good night, Sa'r."

Joel smiled, kissed Kevin once more, and then stepped back and took Levi and Juan's hands. Then all three were clouded out by the air turning to liquid around them.

Kevin left the empty hall and pounced onto his twin's belly, who was stretched out on the sofa with Allen.

Teri's House - Main Compound:

They arrived back to find Spock at the terminal talking to Admiral Morrow.

"... so, I'm cancelling the simulator tests for tomorrow. We can set it back up for a later date, if your son wishes," Morrow was saying as Joel, Levi and Juan appeared behind Spock. "Speak of the devil, and he shall appear - with minions! Hello, Joel," Morrow added with a light chuckle as he saw Joel poke his face around his father's body. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay right now, sir," Joel smiled as his energy filled eyes looked over the screen.

Morrow noticed, but decided to not mention what he was seeing. Spock looked down and did a double take before saying, "Sa'ren, Admiral Morrow was just informing us that he was delaying your simulator tests until you had recovered."

"Why?" Joel wondered. "I'm okay to do them, Uncle. Really. I was looking forward to doing them!"

Morrow shrugged and smiled, "I just thought that... well, okay, Joel. If you really feel up to it, then I'll keep the tests ready. You can always change your mind, though. The tests are for midday tomorrow, but if you come over at 11am PST, I'll give you a brief tour of the Academy."

"Kewl! Thanks, Admiral!" Joel crowed before disappearing behind his father to hug Juan and Levi.

"Children are remarkably resilient," Morrow observed to Spock.

Spock nodded. "Indeed, Admiral. I shall see you tomorrow. Spock out."

On screen, Morrow nodded before the picture went blank.

Spock then turned to question Joel on his eyes, as well as to enquire about how the talk with Juan had gone. Koth, who was also in the room with the two G-Cats, came over to find out as well. Although in Koth's case, he still looked ready to chew out his bonded over speaking the way he had done to Joel. They all chatted quickly, relaying as much information as they were comfortable with, before Joel yawned.

"I think it is time for you all to seek your beds," Spock said seriously.

"I'll take first guard outside your door," Juan said seriously.

"That is not needful, Juan," Spock answered. "This is a secure building, and the VSO are also here. You have had a room prepared next to my son's for both yourself and Koth to use. There is a connecting door between the two, so you have quick access."

"And we always sleep outside the hall door, Juan," Mercury said with a smile. "You know us cats: we'd hear a pin drop and wake up."

Artimus nodded her head in agreement.

Juan didn't look convinced.

Spock turned his attention on the two Cats. "Both of you have a room prepared opposite from my son's. You have just found each other as partners and need time to be together. I have been informed that Kevin and Kenneth have been roped into a nest with my grandchildren, and that Aphrodite and Hermes are sleeping in the twins' bedroom for the same reason."

"Then who's guarding Kev?" Juan raged.

"I have received a reliable report that a large wolf of unknown origins is sitting at the foot of the stairs to the attic play and sleeping area," Spock said dryly.

"Who told you that?" Juan asked suspiciously, "and who is the wolf, anyway? Oh! I know! That Wolf from Africa?"

My Dad, Black Feet nodded from the doorway where he and I-Cheya were sitting and watching the show. We will guard Boy tonight. You sleep. Orders from Our Father.

"So no arguing," Joel giggled as he looked at Juan with his power-filled eyes.

Juan sighed, "Okay. Okay. I can't argue with you, Joel. Me and Koth will sleep in the bedroom then."

"We'll sleep? Shame," Koth giggled.

Levi giggled, but then sighed just after. Joel noticed and reached out to hug his little friend, only to find when he did so that there was a momentary pang of guilt emanating from the little Mikyvis. Joel turned back to the rest of them, "Okay, I'm going to bed. Night, Daddy!" He swarmed into his father's arms and bestowed a few kisses before dropping back to the floor and kissing Koth and Juan on the lips.

Then he bounced from the room with Levi, hand in hand.

Juan and Koth giggled and started to follow the two smaller boys. "Night, Pops," Koth waved as they left the room.

Together with the two Cats, they left and started upstairs, followed by the Sehlat and wolf-pup.

"Children," Spock muttered before heading back to his chair and the book he had been reading.

Joel removed his Crown and felt it vanish away to rejoin the rest of his Armour before he moved carefully over to the bed and sat down. He felt the bed shift slightly as Levi sat next to him, so he reached out and looped his arm around the boy's waist and pulled him close. He smiled when he heard the small boy giggle.

"Are you okay, Leevee?" he asked.

Levi looked up and saw a concerned face looking back at him. "I... why are you asking?" he responded cautiously.

"I sensed you feeling guilty just now. What's the matter?"

Joel's face pinched with even more concern as emotions started spilling out from the Mikyvis snuggled to his side; feelings of guilt, longing, sadness, and more guilt. Behind it all was a feeling of searching, of wondering, of considering. As if, while feeling all this, Levi was also thinking deeply about something very important. Joel didn't quite know how to take it.

After a moment or so of silence, Levi eventually answered the Vulcan's question. "I'm bad."

"Wha...?" Joel spluttered before he recovered quickly. "Bad? How do you mean?"

"I... I, uhh," Levi hemmed and hawed for a few more seconds before blurting out, "I'm jealous of my brothers. I'm sorry! I shouldn't be, but I am!" He turned his small face and hid it under Joel's arm before breaking out into body shaking sobs.

Joel's mouth had dropped open, and his mind was working overtime, on many different levels, to try and piece together what all this was about. While doing so, he also reached out and started to study all of the emotions rolling through Levi's mind and heart, as well as also rubbing his hands gently up and down the smaller boy's back to soothe him. He lifted Levi up and sat him square on his lap before continuing the cuddle. "Why are you jealous of your brothers?" he asked as he continued to sort through the feelings coming off of the smaller boy.

Sniffing, Levi mumbled, "Because they have boyfriends. Because they're able to be with those they love and do stuff and I can't... I think it's 'cos I'm the oldest and still they found special friends before me... even Peter is close to someone... but my Special Friend hasn't come yet."

With all that, Joel started to put more of the mystery together.

"Oh, you're a silly mouse, Leevee," he giggled softly. "You're not jealous at all!"

"I am. I know it!"

"No, you're not, because I can't feel it, silly mouse!" Joel whispered back as he continued to rub his hands up and down the boy's back.

Levi sniffed and looked up into Joel's blind face. "Then what is it?"

"Desire. Longing. Hope. Wanting. Need. Nothing in bad quantities, but definitely no envy or jealousy. So stop those tears, Mousey, or I'll tickle you," Joel answered with a loving smile. "You have no reason to feel guilty. Not ever."

"That's what Grandma said on Monday," Levi whispered.

"Oh?" Joel murmured. "What happened?"

"It was about what Dominic told me 'bout being dressed and all, and I thought that I'd been bad before he told me, and I was trying to be so good and be dressed and stuff. Grandma talked to me 'lone and..."

Flashback - Monday, 25th Oct

"Levi," Teri called, and the small boy popped over to her with a sunny smile.

"Yes, Grandma?" he chirped.

Teri grinned and picked him up before heading outside for a walk and a talk. "I just wanted to have a talk with you about some things you've been told."

"What about, Grandma?" he asked curiously.

"Well, I wondered last night why you were going around in your underwear before bed. Everyone was in the nest, playing, talking and winding down. You were having fun with them as well, but most of them, if not all of the others, were ready for bed. Naked. You weren't. You weren't shy yesterday morning at breakfast, so I wondered why you were shy last night before bed. So I asked your daddies."

Levi smiled and blushed a bit in her arms. "I was just trying to be polite, Grandma. When I went to sleep I took off my shorts because it's okay to sleep naked, but I wanted to be polite before, kinda because I felt guilty for being naked down in Ark."

Teri chuckled, "Being polite is good, Levi, but it was okay for the others to be naked for an hour or so before bed. Just like it is okay for them to play outside naked if they want, or when they go swimming. Look at Riti. He's naked almost allof the time, and no one minds at all."

"But he's an alien, Grandma. Like Uncle Xandor. Only Uncle Xandor likes to wear speedo things or that robe sometimes. But they're aliens! They had different rules."

Teri laughed a lot at that. As she calmed down and looked at the politely waiting yet still puzzled and curious child in her arms, she chuckled again. "Oh, baby-boy. You're not human, are you?"

"Nope! I'm a Mikyvis!" Levi beamed with pride. "Like my daddies and my brothers!"

"That's right. But, if you're not human, why do human rules about modesty apply to you?"

He opened his mouth but then stopped to think about it.

"I know what Dominic told you, and yes, he's right that in most western human society it's not considered polite to run around naked all the time. However, some of that thinking is very outdated and restrictive. There is nothing bad or objectionable about the human body, Levi," Teri said quietly. "You might not be human, but you look like one. The Clan wouldn't go out to the shops or Disney Land naked, but around the Compound? I've seen Timmy and his Tribe play soccer naked before. It was a hot day, they'd all had a swim and then decided to kick a ball around. They didn't bother getting dressed because, once they were all hot and sweaty again, they'd be going back for another swim. No one had a problem with them doing that. In fact, most of the older boys and teens stripped off as well to sunbathe. In a safe place like this, you can do what you want most of the time. The only time I expect people to wear clothes is for breakfast and dinner. Other meals, the kids run in and grab something before running out. Four times out of ten, they are naked."

"So, if I wanna be naked I can, if it's a safe place like the Compound?" Levi asked, just to make sure.

Teri nodded. "If you were visiting somewhere else, like Charleston or Ark's base, then you'd need to behave as they would like out of respect. But, if you think about it, you're not even human. You don't need clothes at all, do you?"


"Like Riti. He doesn't need clothes in Orlando. So he doesn't wear them. He'd not even wear them if he went out to the Mall or something. Since he's obviously an alien, most in the big cities wouldn't care. Those that do generally don't say too much because of the general feeling in the big cities. You'd have some slight problems as you look so human, but once they see your eyes - glowing eyes are a dead givaway, after all - they'd assume you were an alien too. Now, I don't mind what you do. If you want to wear something at all times but not when you're sleeping, that's fine. If it's what you want. If it's just to please others, then don't feel that way. You're not human. You and your family need to build your society and build it how you'd like it. Don't let our modesty and prudishness hinder you from doing so."

"Okay, Grandma," Levi smiled. He then wriggled in her arms until she put him down. He quickly stripped off and made his clothes disappear back to his daddies' rooms. Then he swarmed back into her arms for more cuddles. "This okay?"

"Very okay. If you're happy, I'm happy. You never need to feel guilty for being naked around the Clan, sweety," Teri smiled before continuing with her walk, a cuddly Levi snuggled in her arms. The last thing she said as they moved off on a circuit of the playing fields was, "... but no matter WHAT JJ tries to tell you, turning off all the lights then answering the door when the pizza kid brings your order with Christmas lights dangling from your boy parts is NOT acceptable!"

End Flashback

Joel was smiling wistfully by the time Levi finished relaying his tale. "It's going to be a while before I'm comfortable being that way in front of everyone again," he whispered.

Levi smiled too, and put Joel's hand on his face so that his uncle could feel the smile. "You'll be better soon," he said with assurance.

"Yeah," Joel whispered, although he wasn't quite as sure as he'd have liked to have been. He then brought the topic back to Levi's recent problem. "What Mammy told you then is true now, Leev. You're not jealous, so there's no reason to feel guilty."

Levi's smile vanished. "But why do I feel these things?"

"Because you're waiting for your own special person. You'll find them when the time's right," the Vulcan answered.

"Our Friend knows," Levi grouched. "He won't tell me. He just says 'Soon'... but how long is that? It could be hundreds and hundreds of years. My brothers found theirs straight away. Where's mine?"

"Oh, Leev," Joel whispered as he hugged the boy tight to his chest. "Don't worry. If it comes to it, I'll find your special person for you, even if I have to make a miracle to do so!"

Levi's eyes shot open as a massive tremor ran up his back and a ringing sound echoed in his ears. "Whoa! That was kewl! You will, won't you? You'll really find me my special person!"

Joel was equally shocked and impressed. "It... it seems so," he trembled.

Levi smiled before hugging himself in more comfortably. "Uncle Joel?" he whispered after a few moments had passed.


"You're a Christian, right?"

"Yeah, I am," Joel answered with a peaceful smile. All doubt from yesterday morning seemed gone, now.

"You're a Vulcan, and it's okay for you to be a Christian, even though it's a human religion, right?"

"Right, but I am part human, but I don't think that really matters," the Vulcan boy explained.

After another long pause, Levi asked softly, "What about me?"

"Huh?" Joel grunted with mild surprise. "You want to be a Christian, too?" he asked after his mind ordered his thoughts again.

"Yeah, I've been thinking about it all day since this morning," Levi giggled. "Not because I got things I did wrong and wanna be sorry about them... I thought that was why I was thinking about it all day because I thought I was being jealous... but now you told me I wasn't, I still wanna be..."

"Not that I'm complaining, but why?" Joel asked curiously, yet with a smile wide on his face.

"Well... Jesus. He's kewl. I like him, and he said he loved me. That he's always known me... and... well, what he told you about a master..." Levi said, but stopped when he felt Joel start to shudder. "Sorry."

"No, s'okay," Joel whispered. "I'm working on it."

Levi smiled weakly before continuing, "Well, what he said about that made me think. Our Friend said I'd find a 'Master' after I started helping you... and, well... I kinda want it to be Jesus. He's nice and I think I'd like for him to be my master."

Joel thought for a long moment before asking, "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, kinda," Levi nodded seriously. "But I don't know if I really need to do anything. Maybe the Master I'll be getting won't be Jesus. So, I... I kinda don't know, but I'd want him to be."

Joel moved the boy to the side and sat him down on the bed, then he got up and walked to the window. He couldn't see anything without his Crown, but he just wanted to think for a bit with some fresh air. He opened the window and inhaled, his mind working overtime about Levi's statements. Faint, to the point of hardly being there, he caught the scent of roses and lilies. He grinned and turned to lean back against the window, just next to the part that was open.

He started to sing:


"Today I watched in silence as people passed me by,
And I strained to see if there was something hidden in their eyes;
But they all looked at me as if to say,
'Life just goes on.'
The old familiar story told in different ways,
'Make the most of your own journey from the cradle to the grave;
Dream your dreams tomorrow because today
Life must go on.'



"But there’s more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this life alone can be.



"Tonight he lies in silence staring into space,
And looks for ways to make tomorrow better than today,
But in the morning light it looks the same;
Life just goes on.
He takes care of his family, he takes care of his work,
And every Sunday morning he takes his place at the church;
And somehow he still feels a need to search,
But life just goes on.



"But there’s more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this life alone can be."


He moved from the window towards Levi, and was met half way by a softly crying boy who was quickly picked up and cuddled against his chest. Joel continued, singing into Levi's beautiful hair:


"So where do we start to find every part
Of what makes this life complete?
If we turn our eyes to Jesus we’ll find
Life’s true meaning is there at the cross where He died.



"He died...
To bring us more to this life than living and dying,
More than just trying to make it through the day;
More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see,
And there’s more than this life alone can be."



(More to this Life - Steven Curtis Chapman)


As the words of the song trailed away, Levi wept out, "I don't care if there's meant to be another, Uncle Joel: I want him to be my master like he's yours! Can you help me?"

In that simple statement, something profound happened inside of Joel, but he did not notice it at that time. It wouldn't be until later that he'd realize something had shifted in his perceptions.

"Yes, Lil'Mouse. I'll help you. I couldn't do anything else but help you," Joel smiled, yet with just as many tears in his own eyes.

For over two years he had been a Christian, and most of that time it had been a death sentence on the world and universe he'd been lost in. Never had he dreamed that he'd be able to lead another to becoming one.

And now, a child he cared for, the son of two brothers he loved and adored and who trusted him to do what was right by their child, was asking that very question.

Joel moved until he felt the bed with his feet, then he knelt down at the foot of it, sitting Levi on the edge.

"What do I do, Unca Joel?" Levi asked, his voice thick with tears.

"There's really not much," Joel answered, his voice equally thick. "Jesus said that we only have to ask, to seek, to knock, and we'd receive. Paul the Apostle said, '... if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.' All you need to do is ask, Leevee."

Levi was nodding, but was also looking shy and a little lost. "I don't know the words."

"I'll help you," Joel whispered, and Levi slipped off the bed to kneel next to him. "Do you believe he is Lord, and that his Father raised him from the dead?"

"Yes," Levi whispered.

"Then repeat after me," Joel smiled and closed his eyes.

Levi copied him, and then he repeated the prayer that Joel was saying...

Not long later, Joel was lying on the double bed with Levi seated at his side. The smaller boy's legs were crossed and he was asking questions in a rapid fire mode. Joel, his prodigious memory and Vulcan mental abilities coming fully into play, was answering them easily.

Levi listened attentively to each answer before launching back off on a different tangent of Christian theology, marvelling at how easily Joel seemed to be answering him. After the most recent answer, Levi just sat there and smiled. "Does Jesus ever speak back when we pray?" he asked after a long moment's silence.

Joel shrugged, "Some say he does, but not often. Most times it's by reading the Bible. I've never had that happen, though - other than Mikey appearing to answer my only real big prayer."

"He answers by people reading the Bible?" Levi asked.

"Yeah, so most of the Christians in the place I was lost in said on the internet. I just... just wish I could still read..." he trailed off.

"Try using your Crown," Levi supplied. "I'll go get your Bible, the one Unca Kev gave you."

Joel nodded and sat up as Levi popped away, mentally summoning his Crown which appeared in his hand. He placed it on his head, and saw the world come back into view in it's azure glow. Things like chairs and bookcases seemed etched from varying shades of the blue, but they didn't seem as 'lifelike' as before. Then Levi returned and the whole room seemed to echo the life that was in the boy. He took more time, this time, to study what he was seeing when he was looking at a living person. Levi's form was clear, but his features were indistinct. Joel could tell the boy had clothing on, but the light that seemed to come from within him flushed out that in its power. Instead of clearly seeing Levi's face, Joel found himself looking at a pattern of humanoid light burning out from within.

Azure blue, for certain, but there was a change there. Almost as if Levi had a core of yellow light burning - deep inside where his head was, again where his heart was and also, surprisingly, where his bellybutton was.

Joel looked down at himself. Again, his body was visible, but washed out by the Azure glow from within. Where his heart would be, and where his own bellybutton was, there was, unlike Levi, a purple glow. Actually, Joel decided, it was more indigo. He looked back at Levi, who was still standing there holding his present from Kevin: his Bible.

"You okay, Unca Joel?" Levi asked with concern, for Joel's face was a mask of curiosity.

Joel explained what he was seeing, and Levi also looked puzzled. "Unca Koth and Unca Juan are awake. Shall we go see them, just so you can check?" he offered.

Joel nodded and together, they walked over to the connecting door and knocked.

Juan called for them to come in, and Joel walked in quickly. Both Juan and Koth were in bed, and Joel started to blush.

"What's wrong?" Koth asked curiously.

Joel giggled, "I can see you. The sheets and blankets ain't hiding that you're both hard."

"You can see through things?!" Juan asked in surprise.

Joel shook his head. "No. I'm just seeing... I think I'm seeing the real you. Your... souls, maybe? Dunno." Then he went on to explain what he saw when he looked at Levi and himself.

"What about us?" Koth asked.

"You're like me. Indigo..." Joel mulled it over.

"Mmm..." Levi hummed thoughtfully, as something seemed to click inside his mind.

"What is it?" Joel asked.

"Okay," Levi waved at the two still in the bed. "Night! Me and Unca Joel have some things to talk 'bout!"

With that, Levi pulled Joel back into their room and shut the door.

"What's that about, Leev?" Joel giggled.

"You're coming with me. And I didn't want them to worry or follow. Come on, we need to see Unca Jace, then Quint, then we're going for a visit to a few places..." Levi giggled as they both vanished.

They returned about fifteen minutes later, and Joel was chewing on some alien seeming cookie thing, looking most impressed with his recent 'inter-universal-and-dimensional-road-trip'. He opened his cookie back and withdrew another of those strange treats and continued to munch as Levi watched him.

After finishing his most recent snack, Joel started talking out loud. "So, most corporeal people are like Tommy and Justy, violet. Some few are like me, Jace, Danny and all Vulcans; indigo. You energy ones come in yellow, green and blue, but not many yellows, slightly more greens and loads of blues. Our Friend is orange, and Mikey is red... and so is that nice angel, Tal... what is he again?"

"A Captain, he said," Levi giggled.

"He called himself a High Angel," Joel murmured. "I'd assume that all three types are red. Archangels, High Angels and then those who become angels when they die, like Mikey."

Levi just nodded.

"So what do the colours mean?" Joel asked. "You know, don't you."

"I can guess," Levi smiled. "The Younger Races you see as violet. Those of you in the crossover stage to Middle Race are indigo. Unca Galli calls them Intermediate Young Racers."

"So, Middle Races are blue, and those few others who are green are Intermediate Middle Racers - in the crossover to High?" Joel asked.

"Yep. Me and my family, and Quint and his people you see as yellow, and that new race, the Archans of Archnania. So Unca Galli would be as well if you could see him now. Nice world those Archans have, isn't it?" Levi giggled.

"Why'd they call me the White Knight, though?" Joel asked with a giggle.

Levi shrugged. "They are the High Race of Knowledge. They came into being today, but now they are out of time. They know a lot."

"They know what I'm meant to do? My Destiny?"

"No... no-one knows, Unca Joel," Levi murmured.

Joel shrugged, then went back to thinking. "Okay, so you High Races are yellow. The Guardian... and his brother, then... are orange. The Angels are Red... so I am seeing people's souls?"

"Seems so," Levi grinned as he sat on the bed and picked up the Bible he'd left there. "Wanna see if you can read too? And how's your headache?"

"Those cookies helped. Tal said they would," Joel answered with a sunny smile as he walked over and sat down. He pulled Levi onto his lap and they looked down at the beautiful gold leaf Bible before them. "I can," Joel whispered as tears sprang to his eyes. "I can read it!"

"Wanna read some now, or tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow. I wanna read some when I wake up," Joel decided.

Levi got up and placed the Bible on the bedside cabinet before taking off his clothes and climbing onto the bed. He then helped Joel strip down. Joel decided to stretch out on top of the covers for a while, for he wanted to think. Levi just sat, cross legged, next to him. His knees were pressed to Joel's left side, and Joel reached to wrap his hand around behind Levi, absently rubbing his hand up and down the smaller kid's lower back.

Levi, for his part, was also thinking.

Joel could sense it. Much of what Levi had felt earlier was now resolved, but there was still an underlying thought process ongoing inside of the small Mikyvis. Joel only used one layer of his mind to consider Levi's situation, while the rest were taking on the revelations that he'd had that day.

It was therefore with some small surprise that he realised Levi was running his hands up and down his body, from his thighs to his neck and back down again. The small boy was not avoiding his privates, but the sense Joel was getting from Levi was one of exploration rather than this being sexually based. Joel suspended his other thoughts and problems and paid more attention to the feelings coming off of the Mikyvis.

There was definitely some sexual attraction going on there. Nothing bad, and certainly nothing that Joel considered inappropriate; it was more akin to the natural exploration a young pubescent would feel. There was a strong sense of wonder, and a large, fierce love radiating as well. It made Joel smile. So this was far more than a simple crush. He even giggled internally as Levi found how quickly a Vulcan's nipple reacted to the feather light touches he was giving them.

Then Joel found that his left ear was being explored by one of Levi's hands, while the other simply rested on his chest. Since he was still wearing his Crown, he was also seeing the flux going on inside of Levi's being. The flow of the energy that he could see seemed to change tones with the emotions the small boy was feeling, and he could also see the physical reactions were right down the line of normal. Joel couldn't help but giggle aloud as Levi popped a woodie. Well, fair was fair; Levi had caused one on himself.

Levi removed his hand from Joel's ear and just looked down at his uncle, with understanding of the situation distant in his eyes. "What?" he asked in his cute little voice.

Joel grinned. "Nothin' - you can carry on, if you want," he answered softly.

Levi did, but then full realisation of what he was doing flooded into his eyes and he removed both hands. "Wha...! Sorry, Unca Joel!" he yelped as he blushed and tried to cover the fact that he was as stiff as a board.

Joel reached out and pulled the boy's hands away. "There's nothing wrong with what you were doing, Mousey. You don't need to hide that - I'm not," he giggled.

Levi looked down Joel's body and blushed further still. "I did that?" he trembled.

Joel nodded.


"Why be sorry? Was I complaining?"

"But you've been through too much... and you're with Unca Kev..." Levi started.

Joel laughed. "I've also been with Juan. Granted, Kev is the closest and my most beloved, but... does it matter? I touched Blondie and Ted's dicks when they got hard. There's nothing wrong with exploring, Levi. As for what I've been through... your hand felt of love. Their's didn't. That..." Joel face grew calmer. "Kev... Juan... oh, Leev... I won't be as scared when I get to Pon Farr, now... love is the answer..."

Levi smiled slightly, but his blush wouldn't go away.

"You're still not sure, are you?" Joel reasoned, feeling the emotions still churning inside of the anti-energy boy.

Levi half nodded and half shook his head.

Joel smiled and let go of Levi's hands. "I know you love me, just like I love you. I don't think we're going to do anything about it; at least, not the way me and Juan do, but then I could be wrong. All I know is is that we do love each other. Behind that is an attraction to my form... I think you find Vulcans very attractive, right?" Joel asked gently.

Levi was glowing by this point, but he did nod. Then he whispered, "Yeah... I kinda realised it on Friday..."

Joel grinned. "So, you want to explore. Your two brothers have already had sex..."

"Bryce has for certain, and I think Dilly has, or started," Levi mumbled with another glowing blush. "We don't go looking for things like that, see, so I dunno unless they said."

Joel grinned, "I could smell it on Thomas. They have."

"Oh..." Levi smiled in surprise, then he giggled.

"So, they are playing and having fun, so you want to as well. But, you want it to be special and not just 'play', right?" Joel reasoned.

Levi nodded.

"Well, so you started exploring with me. I can tell you won't go as far as they have without my say so, but I know you'd like to. I also know, though, that there's something holding you back. Don't know what, but..." Joel trailed off, leaving the question unasked.

Levi sighed. "You and Kev had your first time together. I kinda was wondering what it'll feel like to... masturbate," he whispered the word with a shy giggle before continuing, "but you did that first with the boy you fell in Love with. I dunno what to do... to try it and see what it's like, or to wait for my special person? But he or she might be ages away, so I... I don't know. What should I do, Unca Joel?"

Joel looked seriously at the confused boy for a moment, then said, "Sweetheart, if you want to find out the fun your body can have, it doesn't mean you won't love your special person properly when you meet. If you want to wait and find out together, that's good. If you want to find out alone, that's good too. If you want to find a good friend to help you find out, then that's also good. I played around with Sammy a few times. We love each other, like more than brothers but not quite lovers. It didn't affect anything between me and Kevvy. Then Juan; I love him a heap, and it doesn't matter that I've done stuff with Kevvy and him with Koth before we did stuff together - it didn't affect anything at all. It'll be the same with you and your special person. If you want to explore me like you were doing, that's alright too. It's just up to you, little angel."

Joel rested his head back on the pillow and just watched the boy at his side think.

Levi's hand moved out and touched lightly over Joel's lower belly. His eyes darted to Joel's mist filled ones with uncertainty.

Joel simply shrugged and nodded.

Levi gulped before looking back at where his hand was, before moving it down to lightly touch Joel's still standing stiffie. He was gentle, and Joel found very little that was erotic about what was happening. With innocent wonder, Levi simply explored. He moved everything this way and that with soft, light touches, and then rolled down Joel's foreskin to really check what was beneath. "Kewl," he whispered before looking up at Joel and giggling with a light, cute blush.

After making sure everything was rolled back up correctly, Levi stretched out on his side next to his Vulcan friend. He stared into Joel's power filled eye and 'eye'. "Was that really okay?"

Joel simply smiled and leaned forwards enough to kiss Levi lightly on the lips.

Levi grinned. Then curiosity filled his face, and with a tremble in his voice, he asked, "Could you do the same to me?"

Joel nodded and asked to confirm, "Just what you did to me?"

The boy nodded quickly, nervously, before rolling onto his back next to Joel.

Joel sat up and then knelt at Levi's side, and began to run his hands over the boy's skin. "You're anti-energy, right?"

"Yeah," Levi whispered as the feeling of fingers running over his chest and belly sent sparks off in his mind.

"It's amazing how normal your skin feels," Joel grinned. Then, after checking with a look into the Mikyvis' eyes, the Vulcan reached out and did the same to Levi's stiffie as Levi had done to his: he explored. The only real difference between how Joel had reacted and how Levi was reacting was that Levi gasped when Joel rolled back the smaller boy's foreskin. With a wicked giggle, Joel brushed his finger over the top of Levi's exposed member before rolling the skin back up. Levi's eyes were rolling.

Joel knelt there and just waited as Levi processed the minor feelings all that had given him. Then the small boy looked up at the slightly larger one and smiled. "What's it feel like? To have an orgasm?" he asked shyly.

"Haven't you ever felt that from the mind of another?" Joel asked curiously.

Levi shook his head. "I know it feels good, but I don't know it."

Joel smiled, "It's not something you can explain, really. You have to have one to know. You can play with yourself right now, if you want. Then you'll know."

Levi turned to look towards the window so that he could think.

Joel just continued to kneel there, watching.

After a while, Levi looked back. His face was still a mixed bag of emotions. Joel laid a hand over the boy's bare chest, right where Levi's pendant was, and sent, 'Don't over think it, Leevee. Do you want to wait, or do you want to find out? If you want to find out, do you want to do it now, or later? If later, then alone or with someone you trust? If now, do you want to be alone, have me watching, or me helping? Just answer each question inside, and let your heart tell you. Don't over think it.'

Levi nodded and then closed his eyes for a second. He trembled and then opened his beautiful purple eyes and looked up at Joel. "I trust you... could... could you show me, like you and Unca Kev showed each other?"

Joel nodded slowly as he reached and rubbed his hand over Levi's belly lightly. "Of course, sweety," Joel whispered.

Levi shifted and sat up, and he could feel his heart racing. An odd experience, he thought to himself. He smiled nervously at Joel and asked, "Shall... shall I age myself to your age? It won't seem as freaky then, 'cos I'm a little boy like this."

Joel shrugged, "It won't matter to me, Leev. You are you. I see the real you anyway, but yeah, it might be easier if you're thirteen too."

Levi was about to simply shift when he thought of something. "Uh... should I be thirteen or should I age to what you are physically... nine?"

Joel's brow creased for a moment, then he looked a little nervous himself when he realised what Levi had thought of. "Um... well, you could try being really thirteen, but... but..."

"If you get scared, I'll shrink down to nine, like you and Uncle Kevin are physically," Levi completed for him as he slowly started increasing his age.

Joel watched carefully, and at first there was no problem. Once Levi started growing larger than him, however, he started to pull back unconsciously. Levi was now as he would be if he was human and thirteen, and Joel was both seeing Levi in front of him, but overlaid were the images of Corey Scotman, Bradley and Stewart - the three youngest of those who raped him. Even though he knew Brad and Stewie were innocent of wrong, the fear didn't care and continued to remain. He started to inch back from the larger teen now before him.

"Okay, I'm going to your size," Levi decided firmly as he quickly shrank down to about nine years old to match the way Joel appeared.

The small Vulcan sighed explosively. "I... I guess I'm not gonna be able to shower with Co...Blondie for a while, am I?" he said unhappily.

Levi mutely shook his head. "Come on, Uncle Joel. Let's go to sleep. I don't need this right now. Maybe I can wait," he said, his voice caring as he moved to lie down.

Joel smiled and reached out. "No, Leev. I'm okay, now. If you want to, I'm okay," he smiled.

Levi looked deeply into Joel's eyes, then smiled himself. He giggled and shifted closer to Joel, "What do I do?" he asked curiously, and the nervousness was now back in his voice.

Joel had to repress a laugh, for the Mikyvis sounded just like he and Kev had when they'd asked Cory and Sean the same thing last Tuesday. Instead, he reached out and brushed his fingers over Levi's cheeks, "Don't worry. If something feels good, let me know. If you don't like something, also let me know. We can stop at any time."

Then, with care and compassion for the obviously nervous boy, Joel trailed the fingers of both hands down from Levi's cheeks, down his neck and lightly across his chest, brushing against the boy's nipples as he did so. He didn't want to take too much time with what he reasoned Levi would want to discover once he found his own special someone, but just to give a hint only as to what the body would like or not like.

Levi simply mewed at the attention.

The trailing, almost tickling, fingers brushed their way down over his belly. The young Mikyvis shifted at the sensation and then spread his legs out to sit more comfortably, using both arms as rests behind him to lean back slightly. Joel shifted as well so that he could sit, causing both their legs to overlap; Joel's left over Levi's right, and Levi's left over his own right. Now satisfied they they were both comfortable and within arms reach, Joel returned his fingers to lightly tickle over Levi's belly, trailing them slowly down to just above Levi's bouncing woodie.

"Can... can I copy you?" Levi asked, his distant, far seeing eyes regaining a little focus to lock onto Joel's.

Joel nodded. "Whatever you want, Leevee. Don't feel you have to..."

"Tell me if it scares you," Levi whispered as his mind continued to process the feeling of Joel's fingers and hands just above his boyhood.

The young Vulcan nodded, then sighed softly as Levi reached and ran his fingertips over the points of his ears, and then down his neck to his nipples.

Just as with Joel, Levi seemed to only want to touch on the edges of foreplay, rather than to dive right in. He just moved on down to rub over Joel's outtie bellybutton. Then, he too moved his fingers to just above Joel's excited member.

"What now?" the Mikyvis trembled.

"Copy me... if you like it, copy me. If you don't, do something else and I'll copy you. Just explore..."

"What if you don't like it?"

"I'll just tell you, but there's not much I don't like. Just pain," Joel grinned.

Levi grinned back, "I'd never hurt you. I love you too much... I loved you since I saw you arrive on Monday, all hurting and scarred, Joel... I'd never hurt you."

Then, just as Joel had suggested, they explored.

It didn't take long for them to cease copying the each other, and instead they just talked briefly on what each was feeling. Unlike with a human - as with Kevin and slightly less so with Juan - Joel found that he could hold a conversation about these experiences with Levi. While the Mikyvis' mind was different to a Vulcans, it did allow for more things to be thought of at once. Thus, both could fully enjoy the slow attention they were giving to each other while also talking about how it made them feel, their emotional reactions to it, and, as well, to express their tender concern and love for each other.

Levi giggled and went on an extended speech when Joel rolled down the boy's foreskin and rubbed his fingers over the glands. So to did Joel when Levi copied him. Levi was highly surprised at how nice his testicles felt when Joel massaged them gently. Joel already knew this, but still explained what he felt when it happened to him.

To anyone listening at the door, they'd have thought that the boys were reading a book and giggling and commenting on it rather than also exploring and helping each other have some good feelings.

However, when Joel started the time honoured movements over Levi's stiffie that would lead to the only logical conclusion, Levi stopped talking and just experienced it - also copying and doing the same thing to Joel. Both their hands were busy upon the other, and their eyes were locked together. Communicating in words not spoken, they each brought the other to that goal that one had previously experienced and that the other was nervously expecting and curious about.

Surprisingly, neither made much noise. It wasn't that type of situation, really. This was all soft, warm, cuddly and tender, and they just mewed and sighed as they both came; their bodies automatically leaning forwards so that they had their heads on the other's shoulder while their hands remained active.

This meant that, once everything had run it's course, it was so easy for Levi to initiate a long, loving hug - causing them to shift and fall to their sides to lie together and murmur into each other's ears about what each had felt.

In a way, looking back, Joel found it funny. Not funny in a bad way, but... hard to explain, really. It was not a situation that could have happened other than between two High or Middle Racers, or between two Vulcans. The human mind would not have managed it, Joel reasoned, to have an involved conversation while doing something so special - yet the conversation hadn't lessened anything. In fact, it itself became a part of the experience. A form of lovemaking.

When he said this to Levi, the boy nodded his agreement. He did ask, though, "We just made love?"

"Yes," Joel whispered. "Any time two or more people do something special together - even if no orgasm is involved - if it is special between them, then they made love. We just did. I don't think of this as play, do you?"

"No," Levi answered with a glorious, loving smile. "Thank you... thank you so much, Unc... Joel..."

"Why'd you stop yourself saying 'uncle'?" the Vulcan asked with a giggle.

Levi grinned, "Kinda sounds wrong to say it when we're like this... it's like you're all old and I'm being abused...If we're gonna do this again, then it'll just be too weird!"

Joel grinned at the slip, but simply said, "Anytime, Leevee."

"Oh!" Levi laughed innocently. "Sorry, I shouldn't have just expected you to want to... to..."

Joel silenced him with a kiss. He held his lips to Levi's for a moment, then broke away, "I'm happy if you're happy. Kevvy says he is as well."


"He was watching through me... he can see what I see with the Crown... he just found out. He says it was sweet, and he's really happy for you," Joel explained to the now blushing boy.

"Thanks, Unca Kev," Levi giggled.

They lay there for a while, just thinking and enjoying their closeness together. While they did, Joel also set those paused problems he had been working on back to work, his layered mind taking up the task with ease.

"What's the matter?" Levi asked as he felt a small part of Joel become sad.

"A few things. Kevvy is one," Joel whispered. "I've been thinking a lot since my... yesterday. I'm going to lose him eventually, aren't I? I'm a Vulcan... Most live for over two hundred to two hundred and fifty Vulcan years... My dad will live longer. I know that already... so will I. Humans only live for about a hundred on Earth... maybe a hundred and fifty on the colonies and if close to the fleet with the more advanced medical stuff. Whatever... I'm still going to him..."

"Not if I can help it," Levi said seriously. "He'll live as long as you will, I promise! Uncle Juan too," he added, guessing that Juan would have been brought up at some point in the future.

They both broke apart from the hug as a shimmer ran up and down their spines and throughout the room.

"Whoa! Twice in one night," Joel murmured. Then he looked at the wide eyed 'nine' year old next to him and giggled, "If you carry on, Saint Peter will tell you off for changing the Book of Life too much!"

"He's a grouch," Levi teased. "Besides, he likes me."

"I hope so... but Leev? Thanks... I don't know how you'll do it, but thanks for helping with that," Joel said in a choked voice.

The boy moved back and pulled Joel close to hug him again. "You're special to me, Joel... real special... I... thank you too..." Then he pulled back enough to ask, "What's the other thing you're worried about?"

"Tomorrow morning," came the answering whisper.


"I've got to tell Co... Blondie that I've been... been... that I was... everything. I don't think I can, Leevee... I've never said it. I can't say it! I don't want to say it..." he sobbed suddenly, allowing Levi to pull his head into both arms to soothe him.

"I'll be there with you, Joel," Levi promised. "I can't change anything like you can, but I'll be there to help you as much as you need me to. That's a promise!"

"You already have," the Vulcan whispered. "When we were making each other feel good... you really helped me already."

"I thought you were helping me?" Levi whispered back tenderly.

"I was, but I realised something just now... It felt like a first time, 'cos it was. It was the first time we did anything, you and me. I remember with Juan, that also felt like a first time, because it was the first time with Juan... I didn't lose anything yesterday, did I? I got hurt and I got violated and r... stuff... but... They'll only win if I let them."

Levi thought about it before nodding. "Yeah. They'd only win if you let them, Joel."

Joel raised his head and smiled through his tears at Levi. "You just made me see that. Thank you," he whispered.

Levi smiled again and helped Joel to lie down before cuddling close to his side, still in the same 'age' form that he had changed to. He draped himself over Joel's chest and interlinked his legs with the Vulcan's before looking and smiling down at Joel. "You wanna sleep now, or do you still wanna think more?"

"I'm not really tired," Joel smiled. "I'll think a bit more. You sleep if you want to; we can turn off the light."

Levi giggled, "I need sleep less than you do, Joel! I need none! You're feeling the food and drink helping make you more like your people? That you don't need to sleep every night?"

Joel giggled as well and nodded. "Vulcans normally sleep every night, but I just don't feel like it right now. I wanna think about... well, Pon Farr... when we were making each other feel good just now, I felt only love in it. I think I'm going to freak out some, though, when Kev or Juan makes love to me again... that won't be a problem for Pon Farr, though..."

"Why?" Levi asked innocently.

Joel giggled shyly, "'Cos I'll be the one after Kev, not him after me... I think... that's why I'm thinking. I wanna see what my heart is feeling when I think about making love with either of them."

Levi nodded. "Okay. I'll just watch you for a while. You're cute when you think," he added with a cheeky grin, causing Joel to blush a little. "See?"

Joel ignored him for a moment, but then blew a raspberry at him when Levi tried to tickle him.

For about half an hour Joel remained in thought, and Levi simply watched him. However, Levi was also thinking. Debating with himself, even.

Joel brought himself back out of his concentration when he felt Levi's hand start to explore his body. He grinned and looked down to see Levi kneeling next to his hip and manipulating his boyhood again. Only this time, Levi was watching what he was doing from a distance of a few inches. Joel was about to reach and return the favour when Levi moved those few inches forward and kissed the top of his now exposed excitement, bringing a gasp to Joel's lips.

Levi looked up, "Was that okay?"

Joel nodded, wide eyed. "Ah, yeah, but... I kinda expected that you'd want to keep some stuff for when... you know, you meet your friend?"

Levi shrugged. "Like you said, it doesn't matter as it will be my first time with him or her once we get together, in a way... and who knows! It might even be you!" he added with a giggle.

Joel started to laugh quietly before saying, "Leev, I don't think it's me, not that I'd complain. I just have a feeling it's going to be someone else... maybe. Dunno."

"Yeah, maybe," Levi nodded before moving up to lie on his side cuddled against Joel. "But... could we?"

"Could we what?" Joel asked curiously.

"Make love," Levi smiled, his eyes showing hope and uncertainty. "If Uncle Kev says yes, and if you want to... could we?"

Joel grinned, "We made love already, and Kev didn't mind. We can do it again if you want."

"No," Levi shook his head. "I mean... you know... really make love. I... I'd like you to show me stuff... you know, everything."

"Everything will take a long time, Leev," Joel whispered, his mouth suddenly going dry. "And I can't anyway... everything is something that is going to be between you and your special someone. Like it was way different making love to Kevvy on the beach in Hawaii than on our wedding night, and different again when..."

"You know what I mean," Levi giggled.

Joel nodded absently, "Yeah... well... it will still take more than... I'd not be able to do everything, Leev. I've not got the energy for that!"

"I have, and I can keep you charged," Levi whispered. "I can also slow down time around us so the night will last... Please?"

Joel, his eyes darting back and forth quickly, mumbled, "Well, Kev said yes... Leev! Are you sure? If you give me your virginity, it isn't something you can take back. Sure, for me it felt new and everything with Juan as it did with Kev; and again just now with you, but... but that might not be the case with you. What if you regret not waiting?"

"I won't," Levi assured Joel softly. "I really want this. I've been thinking about it for the last half an hour... well, since I met you, really. How can I regret it if you show me what making love is? You love me, and I love you. How can I ever regret that? It'll still be something new between me and my special person later... Will you? Please?"

"What about if I freak out?" Joel whispered. "I might not be able to have you do it to me... I might not be able to do it to you either... go all the way, I mean... I'm mumbling... sorry..."

"If you do, you can't hurt me and I can pop away to stop quickly... this way, you are getting something too, Joel! You're able to find out if you're gonna freak with Unca Kev, only you can't hurt me so it doesn't matter if you freak. Besides, I can feel your emotions and won't let it get that far. If I see a problem, we'll do other stuff," Levi whispered as he brushed at Joel's hair.

"You're much younger than me... you're only eight days old, Leevee!"

"I'm eight days by the big Creational Clock that runs everything, yeah," Levi smiled, "but I've been around a lot. I spent years with Quint... and a lot of time before that doing things for Guardian... I'm closer to forty five... so really, I'm the cradle snatcher with you," he blushed. "Anyway, Uncle Juan's only six, really. And Uncle Kev is just over a year younger than you... Age don't matter, does it? Please? I trust you. I want it to be you to show me what love is... you know... physically. Please?"

Joel was shaking his head, "Leev... thank you that you wanna do this to help me, but I can't take your cherry just to see if I can make love to Kev... or Juan! It's not right, and..."

"Joel," Levi said, tears in his eyes as he interrupted the Vulcan, "I want this for me. I want it to be you. The rest, finding out if you can, is a bonus I just thought of... please?"

Finally giving in, Joel nodded slowly, then he looked around. "We need some lube," he whispered, his voice still dry with nerves but a smile had started to appear on his face.

Levi giggled and held out his palm. On it, Joel saw the flesh become slick. "I can make slippery stuff easy," the boy giggled again. "We won't need anything else."

"Wait here," Joel whispered before quickly running to the bathroom to get himself ready.

Five minutes later, he came back over to the bed and sat down. "If you change your mind, we'll stop, 'kay?" he said to Levi seriously.

Levi nodded in agreement and then moved to sit next to Joel. "I liked what we did before... if it's okay, don't hold back? I wanna know..."

Joel silenced him by leaning in and kissing him properly, and Levi seemed to melt in his arms. "Like that?" Joel whispered as the kiss broke.

"Wow..." was all Levi felt he could say.

It was all he did say for a good ten minutes as Joel kissed, nibbled and licked his way up and down the boy's torso. Once Levi's body had been properly attended to - accompanied by all the coos and mews of pleasure - Joel headed for Levi's bouncing boyhood. All he managed was what Levi had done to him, to kiss it briefly, but then Levi's trembling hands reached and cupped his face. He looked up and allowed Levi to guide him up for a kiss which made his body turn to jelly.

Levi then pushed him onto his back and started to kiss and nibble Joel. The young Vulcan smiled; if Levi wanted to do this as a yo-yo, then that was cool. Then he too started to coo as Levi experimented and explored - most especially so over his nipples and outie bellybutton, which fascinated Levi no end, it seemed. It was therefore understandable that Joel didn't stop Levi when the Mikyvis descended on his own excited boyhood. He did raise his head to watch, for Levi seemed to know what to do, but not what would be best to do first. He kissed, nibbled slightly, even licked a bit. But ultimately, while this was driving Joel wild and felt great, the puzzlement in Levi's face needed only one logical answer.

Joel reached down and brought Levi up for a quick kiss before showing Levi by example.

If it had been possible for a Mikyvis to purr, Levi would have started there and then. He did gasp a lot. Squeaked too, in fact. The cooing and mewing noises remained a constant. Then the contented sigh when the expected end result came.

"" he breathed as Joel lightly kissed his way back up before seeing if Mikyvis had tonsils.

They did, Joel giggled to himself.

Levi's fingers were toying through Joel's hair as they kissed, and his own were trailing back and forth over Levi's neck and cheeks. When they parted, the looked of unadulterated respect, love and joy he saw in the aura he now perceived around Levi took his breath away.

"Thanks," Levi whispered, then, "Your turn..."

Joel giggled as he felt himself turned onto his back. Levi quickly kissed his way down his chest and belly before commencing his assault on Joel's woodie. He mixed and matched what he had felt Joel doing, and made some stuff up as well.

Joel didn't complain in the slightest. He didn't have the breath to, really.

Again, more kisses followed. What amused Joel was that he didn't feel out of breath at all. No panting to go along with the racing heartbeat. He cupped Levi's pendant and started telepathically communicating with him, and Levi followed suit by holding Joel's pendant. There, with Levi lying spread eagle on top of Joel, the two boys gazed into each others eyes and talked mind to mind. Their free hands were still busy running up and down the other's body, or as much as was possible and available for contact. Then, while still talking, they started moving together, rubbing themselves against each other's privates until they once again cooed in unison. All while still talking.

"Are you sure?" Levi said aloud after a few minutes had passed.

Joel nodded, even though his face held nervousness in it. "They... it was how it started, Leev. If I'm going to freak, it'll be if you tried it. I loved it when Kevvy or Juan did it, but... but..."

"Okay, but if you get scared, I'll stop..." Levi smiled, a little sadly due to the churning emotions welling up inside of the frail seeming Vulcan.

He rolled off of Joel and watched as Joel edged his way off the bed, before turning and kneeling to lie with his belly on the bed but his rear end exposed. "R...ready," he trembled.

Levi crawled over and tucked his face down to Joel's for a tender, and long, kiss. Then, kissing his way down Joel's back - paying close attention to where he knew would be the most sensitive - Levi got off the bed himself and then knelt behind Joel. In all of it, he kept at least one had touching Joel's flesh, and pushed for all he was worth so that the love and affection he felt for the scared, nervous and frail boy would be felt by him.

He looked down at his erection, which had not lessened since all this began - one of the many pros of being an energy based life-form, I'd imagine - and smiled as he made it coat itself in a lubricating substance. Once satisfied, he moved so that his body was spooning Joel's and kissed the back of Joel's neck. With gentle movements, keeping as much of himself in contact with the Vulcan as his flexibility would allow, he gave his virginity to Joel.

And Joel, his fear building for the briefest of seconds before seeming to vanish, moaned softly.

Inside of his mind, Joel could see those who had attacked him approach the instant he felt Levi's penis slip inside of him, but just as quickly, images of Kevin, Juan and Levi as well appeared to stand guard. The shadows of his assault remained, but the love he felt from each of the three remained, with that from Levi obviously feeling all the stronger at that moment. He lost himself in that feeling, and in the physical sensations Levi was giving him. He turned his face and glanced back at Levi's, and felt the final fears vanish as he nearly giggled. Levi's face was a picture of wonder and surprise.

"You okay?" Joel asked softly as Levi moved his body at a snails pace.

Levi nodded, his eyes still seeming lost elsewhere. "Don't wanna miss a second of it... anyway! I'm meant to be asking you if you're okay!" he giggled back.

Joel could only nod and smile. He was thinking of saying that Levi should move a little faster to get the most out of it, but then he remembered what Levi had said - he'd supply the energy and even suspend time to experience physical love with him. He looked at the clock on the bedside, and saw that it wasn't moving. He decided it was going to be a long night, so he would enjoy it. This was Levi, after all. He loved him dearly, and if this was something that Levi really wanted - well, he had to admit; it was something he wanted on some level as well.

Eventually, Levi sped up, and moaned as he came. So too did Joel. The snuggle afterwards was tender as they both held the other's pendant and talked about what Levi had experienced and discovered.

With a quirky grin, Levi giggled. "I've still got a type of virginity left..." he trailed off leadingly.

"Technically two, but I can't help with the last one. Maybe Viccy," Joel giggled as he kissed Levi's nose.

Levi considered it, but shook his head. "She's my sister... at least, that's how my heart thinks of her."

"What about me?"

"Well," Levi answered seriously, "at first you felt like my uncle, but more... a lot more. Now, I... I don't think of you as an uncle. I... I think I really love you, Joel; you're one of my best friends... can you have more than one best friend?"

"Sure," Joel grinned, inwardly humbled that Levi thought of him that way. "I have a few... you're one of them."

Levi beamed. Then he went on in his normal helter-skelter way, "You're my best friend and I also love you like a boyfriend - kinda more than it and less than it, which I don't understand, which is why I think you could be the one for me, but you've got enough..."

"You're mumbling, Leev," Joel giggled.

"Whatever," the boy answered, "it's not like I need to breathe or anything... I also think of you as a teacher, and now... I think... a lover?" he asked with a tremble.

Joel, his mist-eyes seeming to burn pink for a moment, embraced him tighter. "We couldn't make love if we were not lovers, Leev..."

Levi sighed with relief. "I didn't think I could be that... we could be that... if we weren't official or something. I thought that only Unca Kev and Unca Juan were your lovers."

Joel smiled tenderly. "They are, but Kev's also my husband. Juan soon will be... it's different though. I'll have to talk to Dad about the information in my head. There's a lot of stuff that's all jumbled since yesterday... but I think there's a way of establishing who is what in multiple relationships like mine... something like Kev is my husband-prime, and Juan would be my bond-mate - he said he was going to research it anyway."

"Could I be a bond-mate?" Levi asked in a deathly whisper.

Joel sighed before kissing him, "Yes, you could. Yes, I'd really like that. But if we were to do that now, before you find your special person, I'd be your husband-prime while you'd only be my 'bond-mate', and your special one would be your 'bond-mate' while you'd be their 'husband-prime'. That isn't logical, sweety."

"Couldn't I be like you and Kev?"

Joel's eye closed in concern, and was about to reply in the negative, when he stopped. There was something inside that he couldn't place. "I... dunno, Leevee. Kev is the other half of me. Not even Juan comes close to what I feel for Kev... but you... there's... I dunno, something inside. I don't know. I think I'm falling in love with you; with Kev, it was love at first sight, but with you... you're something special, just like Kev... but there's something else going on, Leev. So I don't know. You might be destined for another, that thing I'm going to make a miracle for..."

"Sorry... I shouldn't have asked..."

"No," Joel interrupted him, "it isn't wrong to ask. I'm just all jumbled inside... it's all so jumbled," he finished sadly. "I don't like it all jumbled..."

"Could I take a look?" Levi asked helpfully. "Maybe I can help you unjumble it."

Joel shook his head with a small, mischievous smile. "Nope. What you're gonna do is to lie back and enjoy what I'm going to do to you..."

Levi's eyes widened in surprise and wonder. "What are you gonna do?" he asked cutely, although his eyes did betray the fact that he knew quite well what Joel was about to do.

Joel raised himself up and dumped Levi gently on the bed properly, "Make love to you, Mousey."

"Squeaky Squeaky Squeak!" Levi giggled jokingly while he blushed.

He stopped giggling once Joel moved to lie on top of him and kiss him. "Tell me if it hurts and I'll stop," Joel whispered as the kiss broke.

"You can't hurt me," Levi smiled as he reached down and used his 'magical lubricating powers' to cover Joel's stiffie. "Don't worry..."

"Still, it might feel strange," Joel said tenderly as he brought himself into contact and slowly entered the boy.

"OoooOoo," Levi moaned as his eyes fluttered closed. He cracked them open to look into Joel's mist-filled eyes when Joel had finished moving. Just as the mist in the Vulcan's eyes was now pink, so too were Levi's eyes. If love had a form, it was being radiated between them for them both to see.

"Okay?" Joel whispered.

"More than okay," Levi echoed softly as he reached his hands to grab onto Joel.

Joel grinned before starting another bout of tonsil tennis while starting to move again...

They were still awake as the morning light crept into the sky. They lay there, Joel spooned behind Levi as the two nine year old seeming boys watched the dawn through the still open window of the bedroom. Levi's eyes were half closed as he rolled with the feelings he was currently having. They had been going non-stop all night, and Joel was still making love to him as they lay there spooned together.

Watching the sunrise. Talking. Making love. Just the same as what had happened all that night, for both their unique minds were able to process everything happening physically, and enjoy it, while still able to talk, giggle, even play word games...

They mewed in unison again as the sun peeked out over the horizon, for their bodies experienced yet another burst of pleasure. Joel then leaned his chin on Levi's arm as he watched the sun rise higher and higher. He murmured, "Good morning, Leevee."

"Morning, Joel," Levi giggled back as he turned around and cuddled the Vulcan chest to chest. "Thank you," he whispered simply, gratitude, concern, caring and love in his eyes. "Thank you."

"Thank you too," Joel said, his voice breaking. "I can make love, Leevee... you helped heal me... I'm not scared of being with Kev or Juan, now... or you..."

Levi smiled and then giggled. "Does that mean we can do this again?"

Joel giggled, "My turn for a Freudian slip, huh? Yeah... we can, but not if doing so will hurt Kevvy, okay?"

"I understand," Levi nodded. "But who knows, you might really be the one for me..."

"I think our friend knows who it is, Leevee, and I think he's giggling at us," Joel replied.


Joel just looked deep into Levi's eyes. That Crown had not moved all night, and while there was a faint throbbing in his temple, he reasoned that he didn't have a headache due to Levi funnelling energy into him all that time. Then he saw it. Deep inside of Levi's eyes. Something he had been half afraid would have gone.

Levi's innocence was still there.

It was obviously of a type far higher than simply 'making love' could wipe out. Joel sighed internally with relief. He didn't want to have to face Kyle or Tyler over corrupting their first born!

Then he burst out in laughter.

"What's funny?" Levi asked with a quirky grin on his cute face.

"What're your dads gonna say when they find out? 'Hey Dad! Hey Pop! I lost my virginity with Uncle Joel last night! Isn't that great?!'" Joel answered before breaking out in more belly laughs. "They're gonna kill me!"

Levi joined him laughing, then said once they had calmed down, "Oh, I'll find a way to tell them... I'd never do something to make them think I'd been hurt. And I'll make sure they leave you alone!"

"I hope so, 'cos I can't run away from a Mikyvis, can I?"

"Nope!" Levi giggled... then he blinked, "Well, yes! You can! You did it to me yesterday... but now I know how to use the pendants to find you, so... but you could hide from Daddy and Poppa, though."

Joel giggled before putting on a voice and saying, "Hi there, Kyle... what? Nooooo. No, nothing special... other than last night. What? Sorry, ask your son. Why not ask me? Cos I'm scared out of my exceptional Vulcan mind! Kk-thanks-bye-bye! ZOOM!"

Levi was holding his ribs and howling with laughter as Joel finished.

"Maybe I'll get Kataui to lull them into submission first... will that work?"

"Please stop! My sides hurt!" Levi howled as he rolled around on the bed, tears of laughter pouring from his eyes.

Joel had pity on the Mikyvis and pulled him close and into a cuddle. Levi's wide, open and still innocent eyes blinked at him from a few inches away. "You're going to make someone very happy, Leev," Joel smiled.

Levi blushed and grinned.

Joel moved and kissed him again, causing Levi to tremble all over. "You've made me happy since I've known you, and what we've... well, you deserve whomever will be the one to love you."

"I hope it's you," Levi whispered back. "You make me feel... alive. In a way I've not felt before..."

"What about Kevvy?" Joel asked softly.

Levi opened his mouth to answer, but then curiosity filled his eyes. Instead of answering, he just kissed Joel's lips softly.

Joel grinned and asked, "What time is it?"

"Early," came a voice from the door to Koth and Juan's bedroom.

The two boys on the bed raised their heads to look, and found both of the others standing there giggling silently at them. "How long have you been there?" Joel asked.

"Just a few minutes, since you two started laughing loud enough to wake the dead. Brant is gonna be so annoyed with you for that, you know," Koth giggled as he walked over with Juan at his side. "So, seeking more husbands, Joel?"

Levi and Joel both shook their heads. "No," the Vulcan answered, "at least, we don't think so. I..."

"I'll say," the cutely blushing Levi giggled. "I was curious about... everything, so... So I asked and Joel..."

Juan sniggered before smiling warmly at them. He bent down and pulled them both up and into a hug between himself and Koth. "You're sex crazed, but cute as hell. Good morning, guys!"

"Morning!" both the Vulcan and Mikyvis chorused together as they enjoyed the four way snuggle.

"Now, you, little angel, don't smell of anything other than strawberries... how do you do that, by the way?" Koth laughed, but rather than wait for an answer that would spoil the mystery, he then addressed Joel, "but you DO smell of sex... lots of it too! How long have you two been...?"

"All night," Joel blushed. "We didn't sleep."

"Fucking hell," Juan laughed before kissing both boys on the cheek. "Horny devils!"

Joel looked at Juan seriously, "I can make love, Juan... Levi showed me... I... well, I'm not scared. I was a bit, and they seemed to be there at first, but then you, Kev and Levi kinda came there in my mind and they went away... and I'm not scared, now... Levi really helped me, too."

Juan looked so happy that Levi thought he'd explode. "That's great!" he whispered, and then he looked at Levi. "You keep making him get better and better."

Levi giggled and then said mischievously, "He's so good already... how can he get 'better'?"

Joel blushed and Koth howled with laughter while Juan simply nodded in agreement. "Truthful as always, yet also using truth to tease. I like you, Levi," he decided with a very Juan-like grin on his face.

"Thanks," Levi giggled in a 'I'm such a cute little Mikyvis' voice.

Koth rolled his eyes. "Well, I am going back to bed for an hour... it's too early for breakfast..."

Juan decided that more 'sleep' would be a good thing. And that is what he told Koth. Who blushed.

Levi blushed too as the two boys left and closed the door on the rooms. The Mikyvis turned to Joel, "Want to get some sleep?"

"Not sleepy. Not sore either, which is surprising as hell!" Joel giggled.

"I wouldn't let you get hurt ever," the young Mikyvis said seriously, before his eyes started to burn pink again.

Joel noticed this, giggled and made a dash for the bathroom - with Levi hot on his heels. As the bathroom door closed and the shower started, Joel's voice could be heard, "Leev! You're worse than Ollie is!"

"Nope," Levi's giggled response was heard just over the sound of the shower. "I'm just like this with you!"

"So, are we having breakfast here or over with the guys at CIC?" Koth asked as the entire group plodded down stairs. Mercury and Artimus were in the lead with Joel, Levi, Juan and Koth behind them, and all were being followed by I-Cheya and Blackie.

Joel, his Crown absent as a headache was finally beginning to build up on him, was holding Levi's hand as he was guided down the stairs. He smiled, "I've told Kev I'll meet him in CIC, so we'll go there?"

"Good enough for me! I could eat a Sehlat!" Mercury giggled.

I heard that! No eat me, Kitty-Cat-Boy! the large creature retorted.

Mercury turned his head as he continued walking and shot back, "Just a piece off the side? You want to lose some of that flubber, don't you?"

Right! All out of way! Cat-Boy is now Breakfast menu! I-Cheya bellowed as he huff-roared and started charging.

Mercury let out an 'eep' and sped off with the large creature in hot pursuit.

Spock appeared from the living room door that the G-Cat and Sehlat had raged through and raised an eyebrow at the group. "Would any of you mind telling me why I-Cheya is attempting to eat Mercury?"

"It's a breakfast thing," Juan answered with an unconcerned shrug. "Very much a Clan tradition. Pay it no heed, Uncle."

"Oh," Spock responded non-committally. "Just make sure there is no blood left on the carpet. Lady Teri will not find that amusing."

"Okay, Daddy," Joel giggled. "Uh, Dad, you and I need to talk later, if it's okay..."

"That will be acceptable," he answered. "Will you be staying here for breakfast?"

"Nope," Levi smiled as he blushed cutely up at the tall Vulcan. "We're gonna meet up with the others at CIC."

Spock nodded, and then asked, "Why are you looking older today, Levi?"

"Ummm...." Levi and Joel both responded before blushing deeply.

"I rescind my question," Spock said before shaking his head and re-entering the living room to attempt to reason with a Sehlat.

Juan and Koth turned towards the door leading outside when both Joel and Levi stopped dead.

"What's wrong?" Koth asked as he turned to look at them.

"Our Friend," Joel whispered.

Levi added, "There's trouble. We have to go."

"Go?" Juan asked as he checked his gear was in place. "Go where?"

"Somewhere only we can," Levi said.

Joel continued, "... and you cannot come, Preserver. The Guardian Commands. The Voice and the Hand obey."

"Collect the Lord of Fate..."

"Assemble your courage..."

"Save a Brother...."

"End a War before it begins..."

"We have to go," Levi finished. "Now!"

Juan, Koth, Artimus and Blackie could only gasp as they were left staring at empty space where the two boys had been.

"GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!" Juan shouted in rage.

Koth nodded, "I know. He runs off without us! How can we protect him now?!"

Juan quickly looked sheepish.

Koth narrowed his eyes, "You weren't even thinking of that, were you?"

Juan shook his head.

"Then what?" Koth pressed.

With a sigh, Juan said, "You heard them... they're off to a war and I'm not invited! GOD DAMN IT!"

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

A war? Things have a way of developing at a rather fast pace in the CSU. Just when you think things are starting to settle down, everything goes all wonky.

Poor Juan; he wants to go with them and do war stuff. Oh, well! That's Juan for you.

Joel is starting to heal, and that is a very good thing. I guess we will just have to wait for the next chapter to see what is going on on the war front.

I'm ready for more!

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher